Monday, December 31, 2012
The results of the recent presidential election are perplexing to many and Kevin Williamson does a great service explaining the inexplicable in a lengthy column in NRO. Williamson is an economics expert and an astute observer of politics, and partisans, right or left, would benefit from reading his piece.
Williamson includes some links in his article, one of which is an insightful response of his to a leftist critique of supply-side economics (below).
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Presented without comment - Two views of the recent election results and its causes - One by Peggy Noonan and the other by Mark Steyn.
OK, one comment. Noonan is wrong. Steyn is right.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Visitors to this space may notice a change in its title. I’ve (finally) dispensed with the banality – Just Thinking and replaced it with The Yacht Club. The current title is a parody of the leftist caricature of conservatives as rich, out of touch elitists. I chose The Yacht Club over other possible alternatives, (The Country Club for one), in recognition of The Weekly Standard's John McCormack's priceless response to a Reuters news report a few years back.
December 11, 2008
(Reuters) U.S. Conservatives rubbed their hands with glee on Wednesday over news that the Democratic governor of Illinois has been accused of attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.
(McCormack) I was actually twirling my moustache while sipping scotch at the yacht club.
"The facts of life are conservative." - Margaret Thatcher
"What can't continue, will stop." - Economist Herbert Stein
On November 6 American voters embraced European Socialism. Let's take a brief look at what they've chosen.
The overall EU unemployment rate is currently 11.6%, but that number, awful as it is, obscures the worst of the region's malaise. Skewing the results is Germany, with its large and relatively free economy. The Angela Merkel led country managed to get through the 2008 recession without burdening itself with a "stimulus" package and is now being rewarded with a 5.4% jobless rate. Most of the rest of the region is a shambles. Spain's unemployment rate is 25.8%, Greece's, 25.1%. These are 1930s Depression level statistics. 23.3% of all EU "workers" under the age of 25 are out of work. In Greece, that rate is 55.6% (!!). Not included in these numbers is the massive cohort of Europeans for which unemployment is a profession. (A favorite subject of Mark Steyn's). The streets of Athens are regularly filled with rioters and tear gas. The protesters are opposed to austerity measures to be imposed as a condition to having their country's wrecked economy bailed out. (Austerity, in this case, is the term used to describe the loss of the right to other people's money). When our time comes, we won't have it so good. No one is going to offer to bail us out.
Yet the European model is the one that Obama and the Democrats have chosen to emulate. $1,600,000,000,000 is the sum he would like to extract from the U.S. economy over the next decade to help fund his party's seemingly insatiable appetite for government programs favoring political benefactors. Funny, I don't remember him mentioning that number during the campaign. There was a lot of stuff about his opponent's dog and Big Bird and binders and the imminent scarcity of contraceptives, a commodity more ubiquitous than water in some parts of the country. Obama did say that he wanted to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for those earning more than $250,000, "millionaires" and "billionaires" in Obamaspeak. But that would raise, at most, in a utopian fantasy world where tax rates don't affect behavior, a mere $80 billion, not a sum twenty times as large. 1.6 trill would affect a whole lot more than 1% of the people. And it is little more than a down payment on what promises to be a series of anti-growth, anti-innovation, anti-job tax hikes, one of which could be the mother of all sales taxes, a European-style VAT (Value Added Tax). Obama has purchased for us, with lots of our money, 8% unemployment and meager economic growth. Now the bill is coming due. And the Obamacare tsunami hasn't even hit yet.
There is hope that the GOP controlled house House can limit the damage. Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's considerable talents will be tested. Then, in four years when he moves into the White House, (and assisted by his highly capable VP Marco Rubio), there may still be pieces to pick up and put back together again.
Here are just a few of my thoughts on the election. (Most of my thinking on the subject is unprintable).
A good line by Dennis Miller, suggesting that Mark Steyn's apocalyptic book, "After America", be retitled, "Wednesday".
The day after the election I was listening, unwillingly, to NPR (National Palestinian Radio as David Mamet calls it) and heard a woman being interviewed saying that she voted for Obama because Romney didn't understand her "plight". Without exactly knowing what her "plight" is, and assuming it's not caused by some unremediable physical or mental affliction, I suspect that Romney knows more about it, and how it came about, and how to better remedy it than she does. And she can be sure that the Democrats are quite happy that she and millions of others continue to have "plights" like hers which the party can pretend to care about and sustain with their incentive crushing welfare programs.
Ironically, Obama was helped immeasurably by two factors he bitterly opposes. One is GOP control of governor's mansions and state legislatures. Many of the 29 governors (now 30) have worked hard to get their states' finances in order. This has helped keep unemployment down and improve the national economy.
The other is the ongoing revolution in natural gas fracking and private land oil drilling which has proceeded in spite of Democratic attempts to curtail it. With an even marginally less corrupt president not so securely planted in the pocket of billionaire Al Gore's "green" industry, private enterprise's latest triumph would be currently producing an economic boom rivalling the one generated by the development of the internet in the late 90s. (Incidentally, natural gas is an "earth friendly" fuel, emitting half as much carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour of energy generated than coal, which is what it is replacing. That is the reason that U.S. carbon emissions are currently at a twenty year low).
Obama was also helped out by the timing of Hurricane Sandy and by that weasel, Chris Christie, who was emotionally overcome by the storm's devastation and the task he had been handed. Crumbling under the pressure, the governor threw himself into the arms of the preening, bomber-jacket clad poseur who showed up at his door feigning concern. This allowed history's most partisan president to stake a claim of bipartisanship. Christie has been an Ann Coulter favorite. I wonder what she thinks of him now.
Many conservatives are blaming the loss on Romney's lackluster campaign. True, he made mistakes, but given his opponent, the case he presented should have been sufficient to win. It was a clear choice -Execrable vs. Excellent and the former won. Jay Nordlinger's assessment is on the mark.
"Some of my colleagues are almost comically incapable of blaming the people — of holding them responsible for their votes. This is charming, in a way, in addition to comical. Some political version of “The customer is always right.” I don’t have this problem, thank heaven. I think the people are in fact responsible. And often wrong.
...I think the people — the holy, sacred people — are wrong about movies, music, morality. A whole range of things. But they’re supposed to be brimming with wisdom when they enter the voting booths on Election Day?
That would be strange.
...I think Romney would have made an excellent president — a superb, sterling president. Perhaps an historic one, the “turnaround artist” we needed."
Sports teams significantly inferior to their opponents sometimes utilize the strategic ploy of shortening the game. That is, they slow down the pace, try to maintain possession of the ball or puck as much as possible, and employ delaying tactics like repeatedly kicking the ball out of bounds in soccer or standing around in the huddle longer in football. In this way, and by catching a break or two, they hope to pull out an unexpected victory. (Of course, this only works with timed games. Baseball games and tennis matches can't be "shortened".)
In politics, a strategy analogous to shortening the game is shrinking the electorate. As an inferior candidate who knew he was going to get less votes than he did the first time around, Obama needed to attack and demonize his opponent. Thus, voters disapproving of Obama's performance in office would be still be disincentivized to vote for Romney, opting to stay home rather than trudge out to the polls. This is indeed what happened. Even though he recieved a higher percentage of the votes than did John McCain, Romney's actual number of votes was lower.
In sports, quality usually prevails and shortening the game rarely succeeds. In politics, quality is a minor factor and shrinking the electorate succeeds all too often.
Democrats believe that the right to vote should be extended to anyone with a pulse (and to some without one). Self interest fuels this committment, of course. A dumbed-down electorate populated with felons, illiterates, the undocumented, and non-English speakers leans leftward. It is also a major cause of the low quality of governance we receive. The correct course is to raise the eligibility standards to vote, not lower them. I would require prospective voters to pass a test similar to those given to prospective citizens. Require the presentation at the polls a government issued ID (driver's license, passport). No felons. Ballots printed in English only. And raise the voting age back to 21. It was a bad idea extending the vote to idealistic dreamers lacking real world experience, especially when many are currently marinating in the muck of radical academia. As an election worker in a precinct overwhelmingly comprised of university students, I'm also made aware of their intellectual shortcomings. One young voter this past election day asked if he was supposed to vote for the person running against the candidate he favored. "Why would you think that?" he was asked. "Well, the instructions on the ballot say to mark the space opposite the candidate of your choice."
Obama to supporters - "We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us".
Obama rejecting House Minority (now Majority) Leader Eric Cantor's offer to negotiate aspects of health care reform - "Eric, you lost, we won ... get over it".
Obama to the country (after the election) - "...in the coming weeks and months I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together..."
Suggested GOP response to Obama - "Go have sexual relations with yourself".
Monday, November 5, 2012
I Didn't Leave The Democrats. They Left Me, is the title of a column in today's Wall Street Journal. Philanthropist, entrepreneur and son of Jewish immigrants, Sheldon G. Adelson expresses his dismay at what the Democratic Party has become and why he now strongly supports Republicans.
So why did I leave the party?
My critics nowadays like to claim it's because I got wealthy or because I didn't want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing.
...It's the choice that, I believe, my old immigrant Jewish neighbors would have made. They would not have let a few disagreements with Republicans void the importance of siding with the political party that better supports liberal democracies like Israel, the party that better exemplifies the spirit of charity, and the party with economic policies that would certainly be better for those Americans now looking for work.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Must read journalism – Mark Steyn’s latest weekend column.
For future reference just go to the NRO website every Saturday (it should be there among your bookmarks) and click on the featured column – it’s Steyn’s.
As usual, it’s difficult to select just one representative excerpt, but here’s one involving (old reliable) Joe Biden. (Charles Woods is the father of Tyrone Woods who died while courageously defending the Benghazi consulate. The son died along with three others, as Steyn relates in his column, because of a political calculation made by President Obama).
At the photo-op staged for the returning caskets, Obama et al. seem to have been too focused on their campaign needs to observe even the minimal courtesies. Charles Woods says that at the ceremony Joe Biden strolled over to him and by way of condolence said in a “loud and boisterous” voice, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” One assumes charitably that the vice president is acknowledging in his own inept and blundering way the remarkable courage of a man called upon to die for his country on some worthless sod halfway across the planet. But the near-parodic locker-room coarseness is grotesque both in its inaptness and in its lack of basic human feeling for a bereaved family forced to grieve in public and as crowd-scene extras to the political bigshot. Just about the only formal responsibility a vice president has is to attend funerals without embarrassing his country. And this preening buffoon of pseudo-blue-collar faux-machismo couldn’t even manage that.
I’ve linked the video of the “voting for Barack Obama is like losing your virginity to a really cool guy” ad that Steyn references. The Romney campaign should help Democrats get this message as much exposure as possible. It appeals to the idiot youth demographic, which is large, but already locked up by Obama. Meanwhile, serious undecided voters will view it as silly (at best), irritating and repulsive.
As a contrast to the garbage above, here's an ad that has been running locally. It was produced by a private citizen, Thomas Peterffy, who grew up in socialist Hungary.
One more thing. To elaborate on what Mr. Peterffy is saying, here is George Will, citing Nicholas Eberstadt's "A Nation of Takers : America's Entitlement Epidemic".
Will, Eberstadt and the countless other conservative commentators (Steyn is one) who repeatedly identify and condemn our dependency culture, are not motivated by avarice or to engage in some abstract academic exercise. They do so in the genuine hope that their warnings will inspire policy makers to dismantle that culture and repair the damaging effects it has had on our society. Will's column quantifies many of these effects and (without going into details) I have seen some of them on a personal level. My own experience is infinitely less extensive than that of Thomas Sowell who has noted, "the war on poverty has been able to accomplish what slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and other forms of discrimination has not: it has largely destroyed the black family."
That is the true cost of the welfare state.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Kimberley Strassel in today’s WSJ.
With 10 days until the election, Barack Obama's latest strategy is to claim that his opponent has developed "stage 3 Romnesia." Mitt Romney, the argument goes, is conveniently forgetting his real agenda, flipping his positions to better appeal to the electorate. Since Mr. Romney's conservative base would surely disagree, this raises the question of whether the president isn't himself suffering from a psychological malady that experts call "projection."
Strassel goes on to cite just some of Obama’s politically expedient policy shifts, as described in his own words. Here are a few on her list.
"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program"—Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama, June 2003.
"I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter"—President Obama, August 2009.
"If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election"—Sen. Obama, 2007.
"We've made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election"—Sen. Obama, June 2008.
"I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign"—Sen. Obama, June 2008.
"The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is . . . [he] added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. . . . That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic"—Sen. Obama, July 2008.
"I don't remember what the number was precisely. . . . We don't have to worry about it short term"—President Obama, September 2012, on the debt figure when he took office ($10 trillion) and whether to worry about today's $16 trillion figure.
"[Sen. Hillary Clinton believes] that . . . if the government does not force taxpayers to buy health care, that we will penalize them in some fashion. I disagree with that"—Sen. Obama, Jan 2008, opposing the individual mandate for health insurance.
"I'm open to a system where every American bears responsibility for owning health insurance"—President Obama, June 2009, supporting the individual mandate.
"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages"—Obama questionnaire response, 1996, while running for Illinois state Senate.
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage"—Sen. Obama, November 2008, while running for president.
"It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married"—President Obama, May 2012.
Here’s one Obama statement that Strassel didn't cite, made during his anti gay marriage period.
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian…it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”
Even God gets thrown under a bus, (a BFD for a devout Christian like Obama), when it suits our president's political needs.
And Peggy Noonan on Bob Woodward's latest book, "The Price of Politics".
The portrait it contains of Mr. Obama—of a president who is at once over his head, out of his depth and wholly unaware of the fact—hasn't received the attention it deserves. Throughout the book, which is a journalistic history of the president's key economic negotiations with Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama is portrayed as having the appearance and presentation of an academic or intellectual while being strangely clueless in his reading of political situations and dynamics. He is bad at negotiating—in fact doesn't know how. His confidence is consistently greater than his acumen, his arrogance greater than his grasp.
...In negotiation he did not cajole, seduce, muscle or win sympathy. He instructed. He claimed deep understanding of his adversaries and their motives but was often incorrect. He told staffers that John Boehner, one of 11 children of a small-town bar owner, was a "country club Republican." He was often patronizing, which in the old and accomplished is irritating but in the young and inexperienced is infuriating.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
That would be The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz. Here she comes up with a pitch perfect analogy to illustrate Obama’s “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” routine -
acted out most recently with the Benghazi fiasco.
In the 1967 film "A Guide for the Married Man," a husband, played by a peerless Walter Matthau, is given lessons in ways to cheat on his wife safely. The most essential rule: "Deny! Deny! Deny!"—no matter what. In an instructive scene, he's shown a wife undone by shock, and screaming, with reason: She has just walked in on her husband making love to a glamorous stranger.
"What are you doing," she wails, "who is that woman?"
"What woman, where?" the husband serenely counters, as he and the tart in question get out of bed and calmly dress.
So the scene proceeds, with the distraught wife pointing to the woman she clearly sees before her, while her husband, unruffled, continues to look blankly at her, asking, "What woman?" Confused by her spouse's unblinking assurance, she gives up. Two minutes later she's asking him what he'd like for dinner.
...Team Obama clung to its original story—the (Benghazi) attack had come spontaneously at the hands of a mob enraged by that now famous video insulting to the Prophet—long after it was clear that it had been an organized terrorist assault by an al Qaeda affiliate. By Tuesday's debate, we saw a Barack Obama in high dudgeon over suggestions that his office might have deliberately misrepresented the facts. It was, he fumed, an intolerable insult that such charges could have been made about him, the president who had had to receive the bodies of the slain Americans—and who then had to set about getting to the bottom of this murderous terror assault.
Profound and urgent concerns indeed—which, the president neglected to say, had not prevented him from jetting off to his fundraiser in Las Vegas the day after the murders.
... More and more clearly, the Obama administration has put its faith in the view that the governed, who must be told what is best for their lives, whether they want it or not (see ObamaCare), can also be told that they have not seen what they've seen, have not heard what their ears clearly told them. When the "if you've got a business, you didn't build that" speech proved to be a political land mine, team Obama instantly charged malicious, out-of-context distortion. The president was only talking about—infrastructure! About government-built roads vital for businesses, transportation, etc.
It isn't likely that Americans who had heard the Obama address failed to understand, rightly, its sneering tone directed at those who believed they had a right to think they were responsible for their own success. Not likely that they didn't notice the icy thrust of those words, "I'm always struck by people who feel, 'Well, it must be because I'm just so smart.'" The president had revealed, with unforgettable clarity, his contempt for faith in individual enterprise—a value Americans of every station hold dear.
And John Stossel with a few well chosen words about one of the left's favorite platitudes.
"Community" is a loaded word. Statists misuse it to criticize individualism, as though the two don't coexist, as if, without government, people don't work together. But this is nonsense. Real communities emerge organically from individuals who volunteer to come together for common purpose. Communities are not created by government edict, which amounts to a threat of violence against peaceful people. As classical liberals like Herbert Spencer and F.A. Hayek taught, there is no conflict between individualism and social cooperation. These are two sides of the same coin of freedom. Individualists form families, clubs, charities, churches and softball leagues, and participate in thousands of voluntary communities.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
I see dead people.
“On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes – and I see many of them in the audience here today – our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.”
On a related note, be very afraid, Christian Brossard.
"One such translator was an American of Haitian descent, representative of the extraordinary work that our men and women in uniform do all around the world -- Navy Corpse-Man Christian Brossard."
Make sure those kids aren’t just faking asthma to cover up their drinking.
“Everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma. They end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs when, if you, they just gave, you gave, treatment early, and they got some treatment, and uhhh a breathalyzer, or uhh, an inhalator, not a breathalyzer...”
I felt like an effing retard.
"No, no. I have been practicing...I bowled a 129. It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something."
I’m pretty sure it’s called givenundtaken in Sudetenese.
“'It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There’s a lot of -- I don’t know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics..."
And expose the Republican War On Women, babe.
"Hold on one second, sweetie, we're going to do - we'll do a press avail."
Now if we could just move Detroit to a different location…
''The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.''
My powers of persuasion are astounding.
"The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system."
"UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? It's the Post Office that's always having problems."
“Have no friends not equal to yourself”. – Confucius
"Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel's...”
You should’ve seen her trying to dance at my wedding.
"The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person…”
Not only are we going to New Hampshire ... we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York! And we're going to South Dakota and New Hampshire and Oregon and Texas and Washington and Michigan and Arizona and South Carolina! And New Hampshire and Oregon and New Mexico! And…and…Texas! And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House, Yeeeeeaaaaaargh!
"It is just wonderful to be back in Oregon. And over the last 15 months we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states; I think one left to go."
We are deeply indebted to those brave soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy and saved us from a steady diet of kielbasa and pierogies.
“Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.”
Two would be just about right.
“When four Americans are killed, it’s not optimal.”
Where do those birthers get their cockamamie ideas anyway?
"When I meet with world leaders, what's striking -- whether it's in Europe or here in Asia..." (Obama in Hawaii)
Maldives, Malvinas, Malapropism, whatever.
“And in terms of the Maldives or the Falklands, whatever your preferred term, our position on this is that we are going to remain neutral.”
After Obama said this the UK Daily Telegraph reported that “Barack Obama made a gaffe more associated with predecessor George W Bush".
Really? I’ll give a gold star to anyone who can cite an example of Bush misnaming a geographic entity.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Give credit where credit is due. The left is adept at concocting political ads so outrageously off the mark and so lacking in subtlety as to make them genuinely entertaining. The hilarious production of Paul Ryan Throws Granny Off A Cliff (link) is a classic example. Much like Ed Wood movies, these ads are so bad, they’re good.
Among the most misleading and funniest ads are those that show a bunch of paunchy, late middle aged, pinstriped suited, white (always white), men (always men) beating up, stealing from or otherwise manhandling small, helpless, innocent children. One current version running locally has a group of these well-dressed bullies infiltrating a football game being played by a bunch of youngsters. They steal the ball, take over the game and end up performing celebratory dances much to the puzzlement and consternation of the pitiable tots. The voice over message is that so–and –so gave tax breaks to rich, fat cat CEOs and paid for it by cutting school funding. One is left wondering how this unspeakably crass and mean-spirited a--hole ever got elected to public office in the first place.
What actually happened in this case is that so–and –so supported a business tax cut to encourage investment and job growth in a state (Michigan) which had been disproportionately hurt by the recession and eight years of Governor Jennifer Granholm. (As the ad would have it, all business tax cuts go directly and exclusively to the CEO). Separately, so–and –so voted to reduce and re-direct education funding away from the teachers’ unsustainably large retirement budget and toward local schools. Thus the “children” - a leftist euphemism for “teacher’s unions” - actually benefitted. It was the teachers that had to make do with less in their retirement. (And only those hired after September 2012).
The problem in Michigan as in many other states and the nation as a whole is this - as the entitlement policies of the left expand and consume more of the culture and the economy, growth and productivity slow, and there is less innovation, less employment, less prosperity. As people become poorer, advocates for "social justice" demand more government assistance - longer terms of unemployment insurance, greater reliance on food stamps, calls for subsidies for housing, education, energy and the like. This strains government's budgets, especially with the reduced revenues resulting from low economic growth. The left's prescription is higher taxes, especially on the "rich". Higher tax rates on job creators further impedes economic growth and fortifies and perpetuates this vicious cycle of entitlements and dependence. This scenario is currently being played out, and we are worse off for it.
The alternative is a virtuous cycle - Stop punishing success. Lower the barriers to investment and innovation by implementing a simpler tax code, lower tax rates and a sensible regulatory environment. (An example of a non-sensical regulation - declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant). This will spur economic growth, improving living standards for everyone while raising government revenues. These revenues can then be utilized for legitimate government functions like defense (priority one of course), basic scientific research, infrastructure spending, and assisting the truly needy (who will be vastly reduced in number). Local governments, should they choose, could then apply a fiscally responsible portion of income to subsidizing benefits for its workers. Even teacher's unions will be pleased with the result.
We've been spoiled, ironically, by that which the left so despises, free market capitalism. A common belief seems to be that wealth somehow falls out of the sky and into the laps of greedy industrialists reluctant to distibute even miserly portions. "Share the wealth", Obama commands. This is dangerous nonsense. Share the wealth? The wealth is gone. The nation is $16 trillion in debt. That's $16 with 12 zeros after it, heading to $20 trillion and beyond. Want to fix it by taxing the rich? Hey, I'll go one better. Let's confiscate all of their assets. Take away everything - all the money, stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, art, baseball cards, everything, from every "millionaire" and "billionaire" in the country. The resulting sum would just about cover one year of Obama's deficits - never mind the debt. (And plunge us into a deep depression). Share the wealth? No. Create the wealth. And nothing does it better than capitalism. That there exists in the world any degree of prosperity can be credited to the development of this remarkable system.
Economist Walter Williams divulges one the great secrets of our time.
There's nothing intellectually challenging or unusual about poverty. For most of mankind's existence, his most optimistic scenario was to be able to eke out enough to subsist for another day. Poverty has been mankind's standard fare and remains so for most of mankind. What is unusual and challenging to explain is affluence -- namely, how a tiny percentage of people, mostly in the West, for only a tiny part of mankind's existence, managed to escape the fate that befell their fellow men.
As its silly ads demonstrate, the left repeatedly demonizes business people. It ridicules the strategy of removing obstacles to the free exchange of goods and services in order to improve living standards. That this is a politically effective ploy doesn’t speak well of an electorate generally ignorant of that strategy. And it doesn't speak well of its leaders. Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven (NRO) argue that even the President of the United States seems shamefully unaware of the glorious benefits of having motivated people chasing profits. (To help illustrate their point, the writers use the unlikely example of potato chips).
Because it's relevant to the subject, I'm posting the following link again.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Of all the contrivances offered in support of Barack Obama’s performance as president, most fallacious is this – when he took office nearly four years ago the nation faced unprecedented challenges so severe that merely managing its survival over that time should be considered a significant achievement. Thus, rather than asking whether we are better off than we were four years ago, we should be thankful we’re not rummaging through garbage cans amidst a nuclear winter.
Admittedly, Obama inherited a difficult situation with the country in a recession precipitated by – and this can’t be repeated often enough – government interference in the housing market. But Ronald Reagan took office under similar circumstances, except that Reagan also had to deal with runaway inflation and usurious interest rates along with slow growth and high unemployment. Within two years his remedy (supply-side stimulation), and that of the Fed (tight money) had reduced unemployment, shrunk inflation and began generating GDP growth in the 6-8% range on the way to nearly 20 years of prosperity. For good measure, Reagan collapsed the Soviet Empire with increased defense spending and the threat of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Aside from the shaky economy, Obama had everything else going for him – approval ratings approaching, and at times exceeding 80%, (apparently even the racist class supported him), strong Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, an adoring media, and a general perception that his predecessor had left him an intractable mess.
But things weren’t nearly as bad as advertised. With TARP’s enactment in October 2008, credit markets had stabilized. We were approaching the final stages of the recession, (it officially ended in June 2009), and the economy was poised for recovery. The bane of George W. Bush’s presidency had been resolved as well, with the surge in Iraq having produced a tenuous, yet solid victory, and dealing al-Queda a crushing defeat. (Which Obama is in the process of frittering away). Most importantly, the national security architecture that Bush had erected ensured that his successor would be provided the necessary tools to prevent an attack equal to or greater than the one carried out on September 11, 2001. It was the perfect setup for a successful reign – in both substance and perception.
By contrast, when Bush took office, he was confronted with a narrowly split Congress (Jim Jeffords switched his party affiliation from Republican to Independent giving Democrats control of the Senate in June 2001), an opposition party that questioned the legitimacy of his authority because of the Florida electoral controversy, and a hostile press. In addition Bush came into office immediately following the two decade Reagan boom – a tough act to follow. And he was facing a sagging economy caused by the bursting of the tech bubble (that bubble which had propelled the economy under Clinton). Then, nine months into his term, the 9/11 attacks triggered a recession. Yet Bush quietly assumed his responsibility. He never complained that he got a raw deal, never blamed anyone. Never.
Obama and his apologists have taken the opposite tack, whining about the hand he was dealt and blaming Bush and a profusion of unrelated factors to try to explain away the administration’s failures. His entire re-election campaign is built on the premise of his powerlessness.
Victor Davis Hanson (NRO) examines the gulf between the illusory Obama narrative and the reality and how a great opportunity for achievement has been squandered.
...the future seemed to be all Barack Obama’s. Bill Clinton’s second term offered an easy blueprint of what bipartisan centrism might achieve. Balance the budget and create jobs, and the nation will forgive anything, from lying under oath to romancing an intern in the Oval Office.
And what happened?
Barack Obama chose to ram down the nation’s throat a polarizing, statist agenda, energized by the sort of hardball politics he had learned in Chicago. Rather than bring the races, classes, and genders together, he gave us an us-versus-them crusade against the “1 percenters” and the job creators who had not “paid their fair share,” accusations of a Republican “war on women,” and the worst racial polarization in modern memory. Statesmanship degenerated into chronic blame-gaming and “Bush did it,” as he piled up over $5 trillion in new debt. Financial sobriety was abandoned in favor of creating new entitlement constituencies, and job creation was deemed far less important than nationalizing the health-care system.
And so here we are, three weeks before the election, with a squandered presidency and a president desperately seeking reelection not by defending his record, but by demonizing his predecessor, his opponent — and half of the country.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Not only was Joe Biden in character in his debate with Paul Ryan Thursday, playing the obnoxious clown to perfection, his trademark dishonesty was also on full display, documented here by the National Review editors.
As NR noted, Biden lied most brazenly on the subject of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the subsequent Obama administration coverup. That scandal is a microcosm of the administration's foreign policy failure, as demonstrated by its impotence, incompetence, perfidy, confusion and lack of strategic and tactical vision. As one would expect, the scandal has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media. Not, thankfully, by Messrs. Andrew McCarthy (NRO), John Fund (NRO), Steve Hayes (Weekly Standard) and Thomas Joscelyn (Weekly Standard). (Mark Steyn's commentary was linked in my previous post).
How important is this issue? McCarthy explains,
"...even if there were not a thousand other reasons for denying President Obama a second term, the Libya scandal alone would be reason enough to remove him."
Saturday, October 13, 2012
September 7, 2012
As for Joe Biden, I love him and will hear nothing against him. He's like Democrats the way they used to be, and by that I do not mean idiotic. I mean normal—manipulative only to a normal degree, roughly aware of the facts of normal life, alert to and even respecting of such normal things as religious faith.
October 12, 2012
Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully.
...Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore’s sighs in 2000 – theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting.
Since it’s Saturday, there’s also Mark Steyn and this week he takes on the growing Benghazi scandal. Steyn makes too many salient points to provide excerpts. However, here’s one bon mot of note.
The United States is the first nation in history whose democracy has evolved to the point where its leader is provided with a wide-body transatlantic jet in order to campaign on the vital issue of public funding for sock puppets.
Read the whole thing here.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Here are a couple of comments from admittedly conservative writers on the GOP nominee for president.
Whatever you may think of the former Massachusetts governor’s politics, there should never have been any hesitation about Romney the man. This is a bright, self-made man, one whose public and private philanthropy, which puts most of us to shame, should be legendary. It is not. That’s because his good works weren’t done to burnish his political credentials and his decency discourages their exploitation toward that end. You don’t have to agree with Romney on everything to see that he is a mensch. He obviously loves the America that is — the land of opportunity that has rewarded his work ethic. Like most of us, he wants that America preserved, not “fundamentally transformed.”
If you got your information from the mainstream media … you would never know Romney is an impressive man. You would never know he has been successful in most everything he has ever done. You would never know he was bright, experienced, or capable. Or warm, decent, and charitable.
And Romney’s opponent? Well, have you seen the recently released video of President Obama’s speech to a mostly black audience in Virginia in 2007? Below is a link to a brief excerpt of the angry 40 minute outburst, including a shout out to "mah pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright". As you watch, remind yourself that this is the future President of The United States speaking. I can’t believe it either.
Bloomberg’s scrolling news feed noted that “Obama video injects race into campaign”. This anodyne spin obscures the utter depravity of Obama’s speech. Here is an Ivy League educated child of privilege assuming a “negro dialect” (per Harry Reid), and race pandering in the worst tradition of Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan. As for his drawl, Obama doesn’t talk this way and never did. Imagine the pushback if a white politician, say a Hillary Clinton or a Joe Biden pulled the same stunt. (Wait, never mind – bad examples).
Worse than Obama’s pretention and incitement is his breathtaking mendacity. Characteristically, he outright lies about the issue that just “steams him up”.
In fact, ten days before Obama gave that speech, Congress had waived the Stafford Act requirement for Katrina. He was well aware of that fact, too. After all, he was one of only 14 senators to vote against the waiver. It was part of a bill to fund the war effort in Iraq. That is, to pander to his Bush-deranged, anti-war base, Obama decided that squeezing New O’leans was a price worth paying. Then, he lied about what happened in order to foment racial resentment — an atmosphere that he calculated would help his presidential bid.
Meanwhile there’s this.
The Gallup poll released Friday (8/24) found that 54 percent of Americans say Obama is the more likable between him and Romney. Thirty-one percent said Romney was more likable.
Perhaps I will inhabit a more comprehensible world in my next life.
Contrary to the left's caricature of her (and to some on the right) as a mindless, invective hurling demagogue, Ann Coulter is a smart, witty writer and speaker who presents well researched and tightly crafted arguments to support her positions. Just read her books. In this interview with Mark Levin, she comments on the Obama video and then talks up her new book on the racial demagoguery of the left, “Mugged”.
Friday, October 5, 2012
When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli ineffectively argued the case for the constitutionality of Obamacare before the Supreme Court last spring, leftist commentators blasted his supposed incompetence. What they didn't understand/overlooked/ignored (choose one) was that Verrilli had no case to argue. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to compel a person to purchase a product. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out, Clarence Darrow would have fared no better than Verrilli trying to convince thoughtful (aka, conservative) justices otherwise. Only John Roberts' weakness in the face of left wing pressure, his misreading of the bill's text and his obtuse understanding of taxation saved the obnoxious thing (at least temporarily).
Mitt Romney's debate victory Wednesday night came about not because of President Obama's poor attitude, his lack of preparation, a weak moderator, or the rare air in Denver (Al Gore's interpretation - exactly what one would expect from that clown). It happened because Obama had, and continues to have, no case. He's been a terrible president and the results are obvious, or should be, to anyone paying attention. He's lied about Romney's proposals and his own (e.g. - $4 trillion to be cut from the deficit) and aided by a compliant press, gotten away with it. In the debate, Romney exposed those lies. On top of that, Obama's vaunted intelligence and talent for communication have been grossly overestimated. "Obama is the single most overrated politician of my lifetime," is how Jonah Goldberg put it. Without a teleprompter on which to prop his empty thoughts, Obama is lost. The most revealing line of the night was Obama's desperate appeal to moderator Jim Lehrer, “You may want to move on to another topic.” How about the Nationals' playoff chances. Anything but taxes.
Romney remains the underdog. This is still a popularity contest with judges whose qualifications are suspect. But at least we're back in the game. Next up - The better half of the ticket, Mr. Ryan, gets his turn to dispel myths, lies and misconceptions.
Mona Charen has an excellent column (NRO) on the debate and how Romney made the articulate case that conservatives have long been waiting for.
Also, speaking of Obamacare, a column in today's WSJ by Heather R. Higgins and Hadley Heath reports that in a survey, independents became much less likely to support the bill when they were presented with information they had been previously unaware of.
An excerpt follows - (Support for Romney/Obama is used as a proxy for support for Obamacare. IWV refers to Independent Women's Voice, the group that conducted the survey).
The change was startling. The numbers moved a net +14 points, from 44%-42% in favor of Mr. Romney among the control group (which had received no IWV messaging) to 50%-34% in favor of Mr. Romney among the test group (which had received the IWV messaging).
Just what were the little-known facts about ObamaCare that the 24,000 independent households found so persuasive? You can find them, and their sources, at HealthReformQuestions.com, but here are a few examples:
• Americans know that ObamaCare requires insurance companies to allow families to keep adult children up to age 26 on their parents' policy. They are less likely to know that the provision increased the average family premium—even for families that didn't add adult dependents—by $150-$450 in 2011.
• The average family's health-insurance premiums are already up $1,300.
• Young workers who buy their own insurance will see a 19%-30% increase in premiums as a result of ObamaCare.
• Remember the 700,000 people whom the Congressional Budget Office predicted would make use of ObamaCare's federal high-risk program? Just 78,000 people have enrolled. As a result, each person in the program costs taxpayers millions of allocated dollars. Americans, when they hear this, know instinctively that there must be a better way to address the problem.
• ObamaCare was sold as the solution to covering the 47 million uninsured in America, but 10 years after the law is implemented, 30 million Americans will still be uninsured. What problem, exactly, is ObamaCare solving again?
• Americans are also generally familiar with Medicaid's problems, among them the refusal by many doctors to accept Medicaid patients. What most people don't know is that approximately 10 million of those who gain insurance under ObamaCare will just be dumped into the already cash-strapped Medicaid system.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The political season is upon us and the electorate is seemingly poised to repeat and endorse the disastrous error it committed four years ago. That is the backdrop to this futile attempt to educate a badly misguided public - a link to the clearest, most concise argument for free-market capitalism that I have read, six years to the day it originally appeared in the WSJ.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Jay Nordlinger (NRO) on media bias, Romney and the Convention.
"Media bias does not mean everything. And it can be overcome. But it means a lot.
Every Romney error is magnified; every Obama error is diminished. There are even some Romney errors that are not quite errors: such as his recent performance abroad, and his comment on our embassy in Cairo.
If you got your information from the mainstream media — I wish there were a better term — you would never know Romney is an impressive man. You would never know he has been successful in most everything he has ever done. You would never know he was bright, experienced, or capable. Or warm, decent, and charitable.
You would think he was a moron. And a jerk, to boot.
...You remember those “ordinary people” at the Republican convention who told about the extraordinary acts of charity Mitt Romney has performed? If Obama had performed those acts, they would be famous. They would be legends, they would have entered the national lore. Schoolchildren would be instructed to sing about them.
...Whatever the current wisdom is, I enjoyed the Republican convention a lot, and thought it was excellent. I thought the “ordinary people,” testifying about Romney, were wonderful. I thought Mrs. Romney was fantastic. I thought Chris Christie was formidable. I thought Condi Rice was great. Paul Ryan’s speech was master-crafted. Marco Rubio was well-nigh brilliant. Clint Eastwood was weird as hell, but effective in the end, I think. And I thought Romney was very good. I might have preferred a more red-meaty speech. But I’m a partisan nut."
Monday, September 24, 2012
A stylistic change I've made recently is to eschew the terms "liberal" and "progressive" when writing about leftists and instead call them, well, leftists.
A brief explanation follows.
F. A. Hayek used the term "liberal" quite liberally in "The Road To Serfdom". He was referring to classical liberals - those who advocate individual freedom and believe that an individual derives his rights, if not from God, then from nature, and certainly not from government. Further, a true liberal believes that no individual can trespass upon another individual's natural rights. Health care, for example, is not a right since it requires the appropriation of the rights of other individuals.
Today's leftists favor the illiberalism of collectivism over individual freedom. They are not liberals.
Social progress describes the general historical trend toward a more just and moral society. This trend has advanced, in large part, due to the liberation of individuals from centralized control - monarchies, caliphates, empires, communist and fascist dictatorships, independent payment advisory boards and the like. The leftist desire for top down power is thus regressive, not progressive.
Leftists have successfully hijacked much of the language, contorting the true meaning of words*. I will not help advance their agenda by calling them what they're not.
* Jonah Goldberg gives the subject his usual rollicking, in-depth treatment with his latest book "The Tyranny of Cliches".
Saturday, September 22, 2012
The official response of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the satirical Broadway play, "The Book Of Mormon" :
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.
The reaction of Muslims to the You Tube trailer "Innocence of Muslims", a short video critical of Islamism.
Mark Steyn -
"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” says Hillary Clinton. “We absolutely reject its content, and message.” “We reject the efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” adds Barack Obama...Fellow government-funded film critics call Innocence of Muslims “hateful and offensive” (Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations) and “reprehensible and disgusting” (Jay Carney, White House press secretary).
What other entertainments have senior U.S. officials reviewed lately? Last year Hillary Clinton went to see the Broadway musical Book of Mormon. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”? The Book of Mormon’s big showstopper is “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which apparently translates as “F*** you, God.” The U.S. secretary of state stood and cheered.
Why does Secretary Clinton regard “F*** you, God” as a fun toe-tapper for all the family but “F*** you, Allah” as “disgusting and reprehensible”? The obvious answer is that, if you sing the latter, you’ll find a far more motivated crowd waiting for you at the stage door. So the “leader of the free world” and “the most powerful man in the world” (to revive two cobwebbed phrases nobody seems to apply to the president of the United States anymore) is telling the planet that the way to ensure your beliefs command his “respect” is to be willing to burn and bomb and kill. You Mormons need to get with the program.
Friday, September 21, 2012
A major reason for the unwarranted electoral success of Democrats is public ignorance of economics. (Not being a politician, I'm allowed to be condescending). To help remedy this unfortunate situation, I offer the following links; one to an essay by (the estimable) Thomas Sowell entitiled "Trickle Down Economics and Tax Cuts For The Rich", (two fantasies existing only in the imaginations of leftists). The other is to an article written by Andy Kessler appearing in Tuesday's WSJ (9/18) explaining why what he calls i-side economics, (for investment, innovation and individual incentive), is far superior to g-(for government)side economics for producing prosperity and jobs.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
"The first attempt to analyse the data in order to estimate the number of famine deaths was carried out by American demographer Dr. Judith Banister and published in 1984. Given the lengthy gaps between the censuses and doubts over the reliability of the data, an accurate figure is difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless, Banister concluded that the official data implied that around 15 million excess deaths incurred in China during 1958–61, and that based on her modelling of Chinese demographics during the period and taking account of assumed under-reporting during the famine years, the figure was around 30 million. The official statistic is 20 million deaths, as given by Hu Yaobang. Yang Jisheng, a former Xinhua News Agency reporter who had privileged access and connections available to no other scholars, estimates a death toll of 36 million. Frank Dikötter estimates that there were at least 45 million premature deaths attributable to the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1961 other sources have put the figure at between 20 and 46 million."
For an almost unlimited assortment of Mao and Mao-inspired T-shirts, some displaying the image of our current Great Leader, follow the link below.
For an almost unlimited assortment of Mao and Mao-inspired T-shirts, some displaying the image of our current Great Leader, follow the link below.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Andrew McCarthy offers a good discussion of the self-inflicted difficulty Republicans have in competing in national elections, even against the hapless opponent they're currently facing.
Though clearly a conservative, Peggy Noonan has a reputation as a moderate voice of reason in a world of raging extremists. Conrad Black, for one, calls her "delightful". Though I read her columns in the WSJ, I find her equivocations bland and boring as she tries too hard to maintain her signature evenhandedness. Noonan is also a prisoner of conventional wisdom. I remember her on Fox in 2003 enthusiatically endorsing the planned invasion of Iraq. Then, when things got difficult, she turned against both the war and George W. Bush. And naturally, she was, at least to a degree, smitten with Obama's Hopin' Change routine four years ago. And, though not exactly a fan, she currently holds a grudging respect for Bill Clinton, whom she previously detested. In her latest column, Clinton's DNC speech is criticized but only because it was, as she put it, "smaller than he is". (Perhaps she would reassess her reassessment if she read here how Clinton was a major architect of the 2008 financial meltdown).
On occasion though, Noonan makes a pointed critique that hits the mark.
"Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception," Ms. (Sandra) Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?
What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.
And, speaking of Sandra Fluke, Mark Steyn devotes his latest column to the absurdity of her sudden, undeserved notoriety. (Why does the left feel the need to trot out these airheads to promote some asinine agenda item only to discard them at its earliest convenience? Remember Cindy Sheehan?)
Here, Steyn makes much the same point as Noonan.
(Fluke) completed her education a few weeks ago — at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light B.S. in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum — first job, first paycheck.
So this is America’s best and brightest — or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Total U.S. government expenditures for 2012 come to $3.8 trillion. This is twice (!!) the 2000 budget - President Clinton's last year in office. As a percentage of GDP, spending has increased over this period from 18% to 24%. With "only" $2.5 trillion in revenues, our current deficit is $1.3 trillion. Current U.S. debt has just crossed the $16 trillion threshold. Unfunded liabilities for future entitlements - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid - has been estimated as high as $225 trillion. To put this in perspective, current global GDP is somewhere in the range of $70-$80 trillion. There is literally not enough money in the world to pay for what we plan to spend.
But surely all that money has bought us a comfortable existence today, even if our descendants will have to pay for our profligacy with a much lower standard of living. After all, leftists tell us that the path to prosperity goes through the federal government. Are they right? Have these otherworldly levels of government spending produced prosperity?
No. Real median income is down $4300 since January 2009 and we have 11+% (and rising) unemployment. (That phony 8.3% number, which is disgraceful enough, doesn't include those who have dropped out of the work force since President Obama took office). Of those unemployed, over 4 million have been out of work for more than one year. The first black presidency has been particularly hard on blacks, who have a 14.4% unemployment rate. Teenage (16-19) unemployment is 24%. Among 18-29 year-olds, those engorged on the Obama Kool-Aid four years ago, the rate is 12.7%. (Again, these are the phony numbers. The real numbers are much higher). The percentage of working age Americans currently employed is at a multi-decade low of 58%.
The U.S. is currently like a family whose two bread winners have lost their jobs. In response to their situation, they go out, put a million dollars on their credit cards, buy new cars, furniture, clothes and think to themselves, "Gee, we're really doing well!" Only, they're not and we're certainly not.
The fix for the economy's malaise? More government spending, of course. Since it's been working so well, Obama wants to expand the transfer of resources from our dynamic, productive private sector to his corpulent commissariat of central planners (or CCCP). Obama's budget projections for the next decade call for a 57% increase over today's insane levels. That's $46.2 trillion over 10 years, generating an additional $9 trillion in debt. These projections are no doubt understated, especially with the laughably low estimates for the cost of Obamacare. And Obama's "plan" to address the deficit and debt problem? A proposed tax increase on the "rich" which would yield $40 billion in revenue, without the drag on the economy it would certainly create. That (fantasy) revenue gain doesn't even qualify as a rounding error with respect to the overall numbers.
It is absolutely bewildering. There is no sensible explanation why this unserious man still has a serious shot at re-election.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
...to defeat Barack Obama. The National Review editors have managed to condense the list down from book length.
Everything is covered - the "stimulus", Biden, Obamacare, the debt, the deficit, unemployment, the foreign policy mess, Biden, post-partisan posturing, post-racial posturing, Holder, Napolitano, Biden, and on and on. The list is too long to present even a representative sample, but here are a few random items to provide a flavor.
3. Because Julia needs to get off her lazy, federally subsidized butt, get a real job, and pay for her own damned birth-control pills.
22. Because he listened to the Reverend Wright’s crackpot racist diatribes for years and then gave us a lecture on racism.
23. For ignoring his own deficit commission.
28. Because “jobs created or saved” is Enron accounting.
60. Because corpsmen deserve a president who can pronounce “corpsman.”
103. “You know, I actually believe my own bulls**t.”
104. Yeah, we know.
115. For passing it to see what’s in it.
371. The apology tour.
382. Shaking Hugo Chávez’s hand.
411. Humiliating Benjamin Netanyahu.
421. Assad the reformer.
496. Installing wind turbines that kill bald eagles.
584. Because the vaunted intellectual speaks fewer foreign languages than George W. Bush.
And my favorite...
688. Because the post-election National Review cruise can’t stock enough liquor if it goes the other way.
And the last one is, of course...
689. Because you built that.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Writing in his typically forceful and elegant manner, Conrad Black reflects on the savagery of the attacks on Paul Ryan and his religious faith, focusing on those from Maureen Dowd of the NY Times.
"Ryan is a traditional Roman Catholic, but to imply that he is morally on a plane with the tiny minority of Catholic clergy guilty of sex offenses, or that he is indulgent of rape, is so scandalous it must be considered aberrant.
"Indeed, if it were not the case that what is needed is a de-escalation of these wild accusations and smears, I would describe it as insane. It has been a notorious fact for many years that Maureen Dowd was irrationally partisan, and that somewhere in her feminism there was a revulsion against traditional Catholicism that was very searing. Further speculation in such matters would be inappropriate, and anything so heartfelt must be respected, at least in its privacy, if not necessarily in where it ramifies in public-policy advocacy. But for a prominent columnist of the New York Times, a newspaper whose rabid antagonism to the Roman Catholic Church is notorious and caused it at the height of the sex-abuse scandal virtually to offer a free tour of Manhattan capped by dinner at a five-star restaurant to anyone who could remember being looked at raffishly by a member of the Catholic novitiate in Patagonia in the Thirties, to utter such maniacal slurs at a vice-presidential candidate who is a moderate and decent man demonstrates more strikingly than any previous evidence how severely riven philosophically America has become."
(To save time for numerologists, that's a 98 word final sentence).
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Even if Obama is re-elected, there will still be Mark Steyn, mocking the president's sycophants (and entertaining the rest of us).
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/315658/play-clinty-me-mark-steyn (on Eastwood)
Steyn's weekend column (first link above) deals with the absurdity of what the left hears as racist code words. Michelle Malkin has her own take, listing the words (or phrases) in glossary form. Her list isn't comprehensive - for instance, she omitted "pickup truck", symbol of Senator Scott Brown's racism.
By the way, who are the targets of these shadowy words? Do conservatives use them to communicate to each other? To pass along subliminal messages to closet racists? To insult and warn minorities? The mind of the leftist is a strange thing indeed.
Friday, August 31, 2012
First – Ignore Democrats and the media (As the NR staff points out, we do need a shortcut key for that phrase) and keep pounding away with the “We DID build it" theme. Those groups will continue to hector your campaign to give up what they claim is a dishonest and overused message. It aint. It is dead-on truthful and will never get old. The teleprompter-less revelation of Obama’s mind and soul is the gift that keeps on giving.
Suggested campaign T-shirts – For workout fanatics (tightly fitted) – “I Built This”.
Maternity top with arrow pointing down – "I Built This" asterisked with “with a little help from my husband /partner” (whatever the case may be).
Onesies – “My Mom and Dad Built This”
All shirts will have a Romney-Ryan logo to clarify the point.
Second – It seems that most effective among anti-Obama ads is the one showing former supporters expressing disappointment with his performance. However distasteful it is to appeal to voters whose lack of judgment has been clearly demonstrated, it's important to get their votes and is therefore necessary to treat these confused and misguided souls gently. Keep those ads coming.
Along the same line, I’d like to suggest that the recent Republican convert, Artur Davis, be made a prominent feature of the campaign. After all, he was the first congressman outside of Illinois to support the Obama campaign in 2007. And he seconded the motion to nominate Obama at the DNC in 2008. To complete the trifecta, he’s a young African-American. Davis appeals to the disillusioned Obama supporter crowd as “one of us”. That he is now an enthusiastic Romney supporter should convince a considerable cohort of fence-sitters to do the right thing.
On a different topic –
As someone who votes for Republicans and will vote for Mitt Romney, and who has an African-American son-in-law and an African-American granddaughter, I deeply resent (now former) Yahoo News’ David Chalian’s “joke” that Romney and his wife Ann were "not concerned at all" and "happy to have a party with black people drowning." More despicable than the “joke” itself was the ignorant, hateful mindset that produced it. This mindset, that Republicans are fundamentally racist, is widespread among the left. Hearing the laughter in the background to Chalian’s idiocy and reading the words of support he received from “respected” media types like Gwen Ifill, you'll understand why Jonah Goldberg has written on more than one occasion in response to similar outrages, “To hell with you people.”
Monday, August 27, 2012
In my previous post, the final link is to an item by Mark Steyn that provides a look into the true character of Barack Obama. To contrast Mitt Romney with Obama, Steyn includes the following link. You might ask yourself why virtually no one has heard this story while everyone knows the one about Mitt's dog.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Guy Benson lists and refutes the arguments being made against Romney. Aside from correcting untruths, Benson makes note of the triviality and irrelevance of most of the claims.
The always sage and sensible Theodore Dalrymple weighs in on Britain’s NHS.
Victor Davis Hanson does a good job of summarizing the gravity of the situation we will be facing over the next decade and beyond, emphasizing the difficulty in achieving a political consensus to fix it. VDH doesn’t mention any politician by name, but he implicitly invokes Paul Ryan and his willingness to look for solutions to problems when others won’t.
Holman Jenkins in today’s (8/25) WSJ –
Premium support, the heart of both the Romney and Ryan plans, is as much a Democratic idea as a Republican idea going back decades. Premium support only became “radical” when Mr. Obama - that great healer, that great avatar of partisan transcendence – anathematized the sole bipartisan idea on the table as “radical” to meet his own short-term political needs.
Along the lines of what Jenkins is saying, Deroy Murdock writes about the Ryan-Wyden Medicare plan, Premium Support, and the hypocrisy of the Democrats demagoguing the issue.
Abortion and Rape BS
Eight years of Bush-Cheney had no effect on the nation’s abortion and rape laws. Eight years of Romney-Ryan, (if we are so fortunate), will have the same non-impact. This subject shouldn’t even be a campaign issue, but with the media and the Democrats desperate to change the subject from Obama’s failures in office, it will remain in the news. So, just for the record, here are the lies and distortions corrected.
By the media’s telling, Romney’s recent foreign trip was a gaffe filled disaster. CK shows otherwise.
On the emptiness of the Obama campaign.
The Republicans are waging a "War On Women"! What a brilliant political ploy - Alienate half the electorate! Steyn redirects the focus away from this invention of the Democratic Party and towards its ongoing War On Children. That a party would exploit a group too young to vote or not yet born or, honestly, too dense to know what is being done to them, at least makes a lot more sense politically.
The following appeared on the NRO blogsite, The Corner. I recently wrote about the discrepancy between the public perception of Obama’s “likability” and the reality. Here’s some insight into the latter.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I don’t defer to anyone when it comes to enthusiastically supporting Republicans for public office. I know it’s crazy, but much of my happiness in the next few years will be predicated on the Republicans taking back the White House, and to a lesser extent, the Senate (and holding the House). I say this not to put my rather peculiar state of mind on exhibit, (though maybe it’s not so peculiar considering I have kids and grandkids), but to make the point that I believe I am a highly effective barometer of conservative sentiment. If a Republican candidate loses my support, he loses. Period.
You’ve already refused to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race despite being urged to do so by the party leadership (Romney, Ryan, Cornyn, et al). And I know that even if you read this, my views will move you not one iota. But know this – You will not win. You have no chance. Zero. If I lived in Missouri, I would not vote for you. That makes your defeat as certain as the sunrise. If I support you, as a Republican, you may or may not win. But if I don’t support you, as a Republican, you cannot win.
As Jonah Goldberg said, you’ve certainly proven yourself stupid enough to be a senator. Unfortunately for you, you did it before being elected – by saying this,
"From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare (pregnancy resulting from rape). If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Trying to undo the damage, you claimed,
“I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong.”
Really? How can the words be possibly changed or rearranged to make your statement anything but abhorrent? To ask is to answer. There is no way. You said what you did because you believed it.
You also claim, correctly, that elected officials have done worse.
"I hadn't done anything that was morally or ethically wrong, as sometimes people in politics do.”
I know it’s not fair. (Like life). Being Republican, you must meet a higher standard. A Robert Byrd can be a past Exalted Cyclops of the KKK and still be held in high esteem by Democrats, elected and re-elected as House Speaker for umpteen years. A Ted Kennedy, while drunk, can drive a woman off a bridge, leave her to drown and still be recognized as “The Lion” of the Senate. A Bill Clinton can (allegedly) rape a woman and still be championed by left wing feminists.
These are actions and activities, going beyond mere words. (And words are all it takes to get Republicans in hot water. Trent Lott's ouster as Senate Minority Leader for expressing admiration for segregationist Strom Thurmond is one example.) But Democrats are also masters of idiotic, mendacious commentary. Just this past week, the current Vice-President of the United States, next in line to the presidency, doing his best to spread racial animosity, spoke a malicious slander every bit as reprehensible as yours when he warned blacks with a faux Southern drawl, “They’re (Republicans) gonna put y’all back in chains.”
No matter. I don’t want you in public office any more than I want them there.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Eager for a “gotcha” moment, ABC News “reporter” Brian Ross tried to link the Aurora, Colorado massacre suspect James Holmes with the Tea Party.
“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site...talking about him joining the Tea Party last year," Ross reported.
"Now we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes, but it's Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo."
The implication, of course, was that if the shooter was a Tea Party member, it confirms the contention of leftists that the group is by nature violent. (Racist too, but the opportunity to prove that hasn’t yet presented itself).
It turned out that the shooter and the Tea Party member were two different people. (Here’s hoping that the Tea Party Holmes, who was besieged with hate e-mail, sues the stuffing out of Ross and ABC). The main criticism of Ross and ABC News, voiced even by conservatives, was that Ross went ahead with his Holmes-Tea Party connection before fact-checking his information. While a valid point, this misses the larger one - that the shooter’s political affiliation is irrelevant, especially since he (apparently) didn’t commit the crime for political reasons. What does it matter if the shooter was a Tea Partier? If he was a Democrat, (as he might well be) would that vilify all Democrats?
Now we have Floyd Lee Corkins, a gay activist, who allegedly shot a security guard at the conservative Family Research Council, (FRC) an organization which is supportive of traditional marriage. Corkins chose his target explicitly for political reasons.
I’m going to go way out on a limb and speculate that Corkins is a left wing partisan Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and planned to do so in 2012. Does this mean that all gay activists/Democrats/Obama voters are homicidal maniacs?
Violence has long been a characteristic of the left. Within living memory we’ve had large scale acts of destruction - the Vietnam protests in the 60s, the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, the “Occupy movement” today. Some revel in this tradition. President Obama's buddy and associate Bill Ayres reflected on his past Weather Underground activity in a 2001 interview with the NY Times. The Times quoted him saying, "I don't regret setting bombs" and "I feel we didn't do enough". In contrast, conservative political movements are rarely violent. Tea Party demonstrations are reliably peaceful. Violence and destruction are inconsistent with its belief in individual liberty, equal treatment under the law and respect for public and private property. (With regard to the latter - need trash pickup? Just hold a Tea Party demonstration. Want to provide taxpayer supported work for sanitation crews? Celebrate the Obama inauguration on the D.C. Mall). The Occupy “movement” is synonymous with rioting, rape and vandalism. Riots in Oakland cost the cash strapped city millions of dollars. Pardon my Schadenfreude, but I hope Oakland residents are pleased with their choice for Mayor, OWS supporter Jean Quan.
Contrary to the media narrative, hate filled invective is far, far more prevalent on the left than the right. Sarah Palin is a c--- according to Bill Maher (and numerous other self-proclaimed feminists). “I don’t want to satirize George W. Bush but to ‘vaporize' him". (Comedian Tom Lehrer). Demon-du-jour Paul Ryan is a “zombie-eyed granny-starver,” and a “murderer of opportunity.” (Esquire’s Charles Pierce). Republicans? “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains.” says our illustrious Vice-President speaking to a predominately black audience. The FRC? It rates a "hate group" listing from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
That is the language of incitement.