Monday, December 23, 2013


Victor Davis Hanson articulates conservative (or more broadly, non-leftist) frustration and outrage at Obama's Pajama Boy Nation.

Pajama Boy is the bookend to vero possumus, the faux-Greek columns, the Obama rainbow logo, cooling the planet and lowering the seas, hope and change, Forward!, “Yes, we can!”, the Nate Silver infatuation, Barbara Walters' "Messiah", David Brooks’ crease, Chris Matthews’ tingle, and the army of Silicon techies who can mobilize for Obama but not for Obamacare.

If I were to focus on just two of the many characteristics of Pajama Boy nation in the Age of Obama, one would be that the consequences of one’s ideology apply always to someone else. Obama obsesses on inequality, but cannot even go through the populist motions of avoiding Martha’s Vineyard, or not dressing like a nerd for golf at the latest tony course.
He is an arugula-eating man of the people who tries to bowl only during election season. Michelle rags on the 1%, but still hits Costa del Sol and Aspen. Obamacare for us; for congressional staffers and insiders something quite different. A Nobel Prize and a half a billion dollars for guru Al Gore; and dumping Current TV on a fossil-fuelled, anti-Semitic, authoritarian Middle Eastern regime to fund more good work of our green Elmer Gantry. Amnesty for illegal aliens, but private academies for liberal kids far from the ensuing chaos of the public schools.  Pajama Boys are fiercely liberal so that they can fiercely avoid the people they so champion and are so afraid to live among.

Second, the architects of Pajama Boy nation always expect others to go on despite rather than because of them. The frackers must frack so that Obama can brag about their productivity, while he bites his lip and looks pained to billionaire coastal benefactors about pumping liquid into the bowels of their Mother Earth.
On Friday, Barack Obama was back out to again brag about his three supposed accomplishments: One, the deficit is shrinking; two, the gas and oil picture is brightening; and three, we are not witnessing anymore shut-downs of government over the debt ceiling. He should have added — “We do best when no one listens to me.”
Savings accrued from the sequester that was forced upon Obama by those Tea Party nuts in the House. Gas prices are dropping despite the efforts of Obama to stop fracking and horizontal drilling on federal lands.  Senator Obama himself voted to shut down the government under George W. Bush, rather than to raise the debt ceiling — having once passionately adopted the very stance that he now demonizes others for.

Half the country may have already tuned Pajama Boy nation out. Millions more or less don’t watch TV other than older movies and a few episodes of some serial like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad. Most expect just three things of today’s Hollywood celebrities: they are mostly spoiled and uneducated; they are very rich; and in their boredom they will find a way to annoy those without their money.
We also find the grating nasal-twanged voices of our young talking heads on the news shows a tip-off that all their over-clever rhetoric is never grounded in reality. We have no idea whom MTV is awarding, or why, and couldn’t care less. We are sick of slick slightly pornographic commercials, and sicker still of the crude left-wing Victorians who push sex down our throats, but can’t handle a caricatured hick talking just as graphically as they do — but about sodomy in a way they don’t appreciate. Which is the cruder: to see a three-quarters naked Miley Cyrus on national television stick a huge foam finger toward the anus of one of her performers or to read that a bearded reality star in overalls finds vaginal sex preferable to anal sex — and then tells us why?
Most don’t watch Oprah. Rap is a sort of occasional bothersome grate overheard at the service station or parking lot. No one goes to the movies to watch another tired Hollywood script of a courageous liberal maverick who fights the cancer-causing, stream-polluting, CIA-intriguing [fill in the blanks] corporation — as the actor is paid millions by the corporation producing the movie for his few hours of mediocre work. Company men and women don’t play renegades well anymore.

There is a growing tiredness with Pajama Boy nation. Millions are sick of being lectured, caricatured, and slandered for their supposed pathologies by the Sandra Flukes of the age and those in their pajamas who still grasp with two hands their hot chocolate. Add all their annoying Stalinist efforts up — to selectively going after Chick-fil-A or the Washington Redskins or Duck Dynasty — and the public is becoming tired of the shrill nerdocracy.
How many are revolting against Pajama Boy nation and his bunch, no one quite knows. But I’m beginning to think for the first time since 2009 that the rage and numbers of the disengaged have not crested yet, not quite yet.

Kevin Williamson again thinking and writing brilliantly, explains the chaotic insanity of Obama's ACA revisions. A case of political ambition and arrogance trampling free market efficiency and humanity.

The belief that markets are cold and inhumane is one of the great errors of our time, and it leads to a great deal of public stupidity, from British unionist Len McCluskey’s declaration that “there are some things too important to be left to the market” to endless Democratic demands that we put “people over profits.” Mitt Romney was mocked for maintaining that “corporations are people,” but that mockery is only one more piece of evidence that Mr. Romney is a good deal more intelligent than his critics: Of course corporations are people. That is what the word “corporation” means — a group of people acting as one body (corpus) toward some shared end. “Corporation” assumes “people” the way “hive” assumes “bees.” Profits accrue to people. Scratch an evil corporation and a retired teacher bleeds: Government pension and benefits funds such as CalPERS are among the largest shareholders in the United States, and the world. Two-thirds of Chevron shares are held by mutual funds, which are in turn held by what Mr. Romney recognizes, seemingly alone, as people.

...When somebody says that a market is not rational, what he really means is that people are making choices other than the ones he would make for them. It is not irrational that the market for reality television programming is many, many times the size of the market for productions of Shakespeare plays — people prefer Duck Dynasty. If the purpose of an economy is to help people get what they want, then the economics of reality television are not irrational. They’re only irrational if you believe that the purpose of an economy is to help people get what you think they should want.

...Those who deplore the element of self-interest in free markets reliably forget the fact that politicians have self-interest, too, meaning that the alternative to having millions or billions of people individually pursuing their self-interest in a free and voluntary fashion is to have a few hundred people — or, in the case of the health-care law, one man — pursue their own self-interest with the force of law at their disposal.

Williamson quotes Hillary Clinton early in the article paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, “The market knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.”

That Clinton believes that is conclusive proof that she should not be allowed anywhere near a position wielding policy making power.

And I was right about Mark Steyn, (previous post), though he discusses Pajama Boy in conjunction with the ado over Duck Dynasty.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Would You Buy A Used Car From This Man?

(Or Health Insurance?)

Willing to guarantee that Mark Steyn will comment on Pajama Boy in his weekend column.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Good And Hard

This excerpt from the New York Times (!) brings to mind H.L. Mencken's comment about democracy and the common people.

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.
They are part of an unusual informal health insurance system that has developed in New York in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.
But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.
“I couldn’t sleep because of it,” said Barbara Meinwald, a solo practitioner lawyer in Manhattan.
Ms. Meinwald, 61, has been paying $10,000 a year for her insurance through the New York City Bar. A broker told her that a new temporary plan with fewer doctors would cost $5,000 more, after factoring in the cost of her medications.
Ms. Meinwald also looked on the state’s health insurance exchange. But she said she found that those plans did not have a good choice of doctors, and that it was hard to even find out who the doctors were, and which hospitals were covered. “It’s like you’re blindfolded and you’re told that you have to buy something,” she said
It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people — liberal, concerned with social justice — who supported the Obama health plan in the first place. Ms. Meinwald, the lawyer, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

Saturday, December 14, 2013



It's been widely reported that President Obama had a grand old time at Nelson Mandela's funeral. However, he didn't enjoy himself as much as Mark Steyn did when Steyn wrote about it.

How heartening, as one watches the viral video of Obama droning on while a mere foot and a half away (sign language interpreter) Mr. (Thamsanqa) Jantjie rubs his belly and tickles his ear, to think that the White House’s usual money-no-object security operation went to the trouble of flying in Air Force One, plus the “decoy” Air Force One, plus support aircraft, plus the 120-vehicle motorcade or whatever it’s up to by now, plus a bazillion Secret Service agents with reflector shades and telephone wire dangling from their ears, to shepherd POTUS into the secured venue and then stand him onstage next to an $85-a-day violent schizophrenic.

Speaking of enjoying themselves, back in the VIP seats President Obama, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and British prime minister David Cameron carried on like Harry, Hermione, and Ron snogging in the back row during the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup presentation. As the three leaders demonstrated their hands-on approach, Michelle Obama glowered straight ahead, as stony and merciless as the 15-foot statue of apartheid architect Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd that once stood guard outside the government offices of the Orange Free State. Eventually, weary of the trilateral smooching, the first lady switched seats and inserted herself between Barack and the vivacious Helle. How poignant that, on a day to celebrate the post-racial South Africa, the handsome young black man should have to be forcibly segregated from the cool Aryan blonde.

Also - Andrew McCarthy puts Mandela's legacy in proper perspective.

The MK (the military wing of the Marxist African National Congress) led a terrorist insurgency that included bombings of public places. It killed many, many more civilians than it did members of the regime’s security forces — copiously including women and children. Indeed, it killed many more people than the approximately 7,000 black South Africans who, according to the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, were killed by the regime during the 46 years of apartheid. In fact, twice that number, over 14,000 people, were killed between 1990 and 1994 — the period during which the ANC was legalized and black-on-black violence became rampant, just as it is in South Africa today. The ANC systematically killed rivals for power and suspected regime informants — most notoriously, by the savage method of “necklacing,” in which a tire filled with gasoline was hung around the terrified victim’s neck and then set on fire.

...Under one-party leftist domination since 1994, South Africa has become a Third World basket case. It vies with Iraq and Colombia to be the world’s most violent country. In a country of 43 million, the official estimate of 60 annual murders per every 100,000 people (compared to six in the U.S. and fewer than two in the EU), is a gross understatement: Interpol pegs it at nearly twice that amount, for a staggering 54,000 homicides per annum. Rape is so commonplace it is estimated that one occurs every seven minutes (with one report putting it at one every 26 seconds). Most of the crime is black-on-black, but it is open season on whites — especially white land owners — as one would expect in a place where ditties like the one Mandela was filmed singing in 1992 remain immensely popular. A million white South Africans have fled the country.
It may not be a civil war. But it is surely the slide into dystopia that is Communism’s inevitable end. Giving Nelson Mandela his due should not mean obscuring that fact.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Over at NRO, Charles C. W. Cooke provides a revealing look at MSNBC. It's funny, scary and sad. That silly network animates a large segment of the left and helped inspire it to foist the phenomenon of Barack Obama on the nation.

A recent Pew study revealed that the supposedly neutral CNN spent 54 percent of its time broadcasting “news” and 46 percent of its time hosting “opinion.” Fox, by contrast, transmits 55 percent opinion and 45 percent news. But MSNBC — well, MSNBC consists of a remarkable 85 percent opinion and only 15 percent news. This has consequences. During the election, Pew added, the ratio of unfavorable to favorable treatment in stories on candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on MSNBC “was roughly 23-to-1; the negative-to-positive ratio on Fox News was 8-to-1.”

“Biased” doesn’t cut it. To watch MSNBC for an afternoon is not so much to be given a slanted account of what is happening here in America, but instead to witness a series of discussions about current events in parallel America II — a rather silly place in which the political center of gravity and all things Good are defined by the preferences of the faculty at Berkeley and the comments section of the Daily Kos and in which anyone who dissents from this position is believed to possess two heads, a black heart, and a pocket copy of Mein Kampf.

America II, as anyone who watches the channel will discover rather swiftly, hosts a supermajority of well-meaning multi-culti, progressive types whose foolproof plans for explosive economic growth, uniform social justice, and general human utopia are constantly being undone by a blossoming white-supremacist movement, split apart by neo-secessionists, and existentially threatened by traitors whose defining characteristic is a never-quite-explained hatred for progress. America II features no gray areas whatsoever: All local variation is apartheid, each and every identification requirement is the second coming of Jim Crow, all criticism of the government is sedition. It’s exhausting.
Hour by tedious hour, America II is saved from its own worst instincts. What destroyed Detroit, a city that has been run into the ground by Democrats for half a century? “Republicans” and “capitalism,” naturally. A pressing question? “Are conservatives the new Confederates?” A topic worthy of Chris Matthews’s investigation? Whether Sarah Palin can actually read. It’s like watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 — just less realistic.

...what would one possibly add to Martin Bashir’s suggestions that someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth, that conservatives are using the acronym “IRS” as a stand-in for “n***er,” or that Ted Cruz is the “David Koresh” of the Republican party? What could be achieved by sexing up Chris Matthews’s conviction that tea partiers “still count blacks as three-fifths” of a person, or that the perpetrators of 9/11 “just have a different perspective”? What might a worker bee charged with feeding the outrage machine do to make more impressive Joy Reid’s asseveration that Republicans are “resentful” of “post-1964 America,” or to improve upon Ed Schultz’s faith that “God supports Obamacare,” or to render more absurd Michael Eric Dyson’s contention that Eric Holder is “the chief lawgiver” and the “Moses of our time”?

There's much more. Cooke provides a good analysis of the thinking (or lack thereof) behind the production of MSNBC's dreck. A really excellent piece. Read it all here.

While reading, remember that late during the 2012 presidential campaign, MSNBC's parent network, NBC, without irony, broadcast a program decrying the extent to which the quality of our political discourse had deteriorated. Hosted by the ever-so-respectable and bias-free (uh-huh) Brian Williams, the "investigation" chose as its prime target, Fox News, of course.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obama's Superficial Mind

Of all the conceits regarding Barack Obama, the most wildly delusional is that he is the possessor of a towering intellect and speaks with soaring prose. Obama himself is quite enraptured with this fantasy and has done much to promote it.
In today's WSJ, Bret Stephens, writing of Obama's decision not to attend the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, contrasts the two presidents.

Abraham Lincoln spoke greatly because he read wisely and thought deeply. He turned to Shakespeare, he once said, "perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader." "It matters not to me whether Shakespeare be well or ill acted," he added. "With him the thought suffices."
Maybe Mr. Obama has similar literary tastes. It doesn't show. "An economy built to last," the refrain from his 2012 State of the Union, borrows from an ad slogan once used to sell the Ford Edsel. "Nation-building at home," another favorite presidential trope, was born in a Tom Friedman column. "We are the ones we have been waiting for" is the title of a volume of essays by Alice Walker. "The audacity of hope" is adapted from a Jeremiah Wright sermon. "Yes We Can!" is the anthem from "Bob the Builder," a TV cartoon aimed at 3-year-olds.
There is a common view that good policy and good rhetoric have little intrinsic connection. Not so. President Obama's stupendously shallow rhetoric betrays a remarkably superficial mind. Superficial minds designed ObamaCare. Superficial minds are now astounded by its elementary failures, and will continue to be astounded by the failures to come.
Speaking of Obamacare...Why was its rollout scheduled 3 and 1/2 years after it was passed in early 2010? (Yeah, I know. Even that wasn't long enough for Kathleen (I Need At Least Five Years) Sibelius to get it up and running). If it is such a vital piece of legislation, shouldn't it have been implemented as soon as possible? Save lives and all that.
The answer is another question. Why does this administration do anything? Politics, of course.
Obamacare's implementation was delayed, in part, by legislative politics, allowing its promoters to advance the deceit that its ten year cost would come in under one trillion dollars - ten years counted as 2010 - 2019 - only six of which the law would actually be in place. The phony $940 billion price tag has given way to a more accurate 10 year (2014-2023) estimate of $2.6 trillion - and that is sure to grow (if the law survives).
But the most important reason for the delay was electoral politics. Had Obamacare made its debut in 2011 or 2012, its destructive influence would have been exposed to the electorate by Election Day, 2012. That Obama needed to obscure his signature "accomplishment" to win re-election is reflected in a recent Washington Post poll showing that if the presidential election were held today, Mitt Romney would win 49% - 45%, mirroring Obama's 4 point win in 2012 (51-47).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Obamacare Lies

NRO contributors, Andrew McCarthy and Andrew Stiles (no relation), document some of the deception and criminal fraud being perpetrated during the selling and implementation of Obamacare.


"According to Obama, these individual-market consumers whose policies are being canceled make up only 5 percent of all health-insurance consumers.
Even this 5 percent figure is a deception. As Avik Roy points out, the individual market actually accounts for 8 percent of health-insurance consumers. Obama can’t help himself: He even minimizes his minimizations. So, if Obama were telling the truth in rationalizing that his broken promises affect only consumers in the individual-insurance market, we’d still be talking about up to 25 million Americans. While the president shrugs these victims off, 25 million exceeds the number of Americans who do not have health insurance because of poverty or preexisting conditions (as opposed to those who could, but choose not to, purchase insurance). Of course, far from cavalierly shrugging off that smaller number of people, Obama and Democrats used them to justify nationalizing a sixth of the U.S. economy.

But that’s not the half of it. Obama’s claim that unwelcome cancellations are confined to the individual-insurance market is another brazen lie. In the weekend column, I link to the excellent work of Powerline’s John Hinderaker, who has demonstrated that, for over three years, the Obama administration’s internal estimates have shown that most Americans who are covered by “employer plans” will also lose their coverage under Obamacare. Mind you, 156 million Americans get health coverage through their jobs.
John cites the Federal Register, dated June 17, 2010, beginning at page 34,552 (Vol. 75, No. 116). It includes a chart that outlines the Obama administration’s projections. The chart indicates that somewhere between 39 and 69 percent of employer plans would lose their “grandfather” protection by 2013. In fact, for small-business employers, the high-end estimate is a staggering 80 percent (and even on the low end, it’s just a shade under half — 49 percent).

That is to say: During all these years, while Obama was repeatedly assuring Americans, “If you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep your health-insurance plan,” he actually expected as many as seven out of every ten Americans covered by employer plans to lose their coverage. For small business, he expected at least one out of every two Americans, or as many as four out of every five, to lose their coverage."


"...a recent CBS News investigation found that contains a pricing feature that tends to “dramatically underestimate” the cost of insurance. The website’s “shop and browse” feature divides users into two broad age categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.” Price estimates for the first age group are based on what a 27-year-old could expect to pay, whereas as the latter group’s price estimates are based on what a 50-year-old would pay, a practice that inevitably produces wildly misleading results for individuals significantly older than the base age. In some cases, actual premiums are nearly double the projected amount. In the words of one industry expert, the feature is “incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they’re paying.”

The FTC requires companies to provide essentially every possible form of information about a given product up front, prior to the point of purchase. Private companies engaged in’s kind of behavior would face severe consequences, (Orson) Swindle (former FTC commissioner) tells National Review Online. “Businessmen would lose their businesses, salesmen would lose their licenses — that’s the kind of thing we are talking about here,” he says. “The bottom line is that no private entity would be allowed to get away with what the Obama administration is trying to get away with.”

...Representative Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) gave Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a dressing down at a congressional hearing two weeks ago, noting that was operating with a “completely unacceptable level of security” and that the administration had known this yet had directed people to the site anyway without warning.
According to an internal memo at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the administration had “only partly completed” a full assessment of the website’s security features ahead of the October 1 launch of the exchanges. The potential lack of security was determined to be “a risk that must be accepted” in order to meet that deadline.
“You accepted a risk on behalf of every user of this [website] that put their personal financial information at risk,” Rogers told Sebelius, “because you did not even have the most basic end-to-end test on security of this system. Amazon would never do this; ProFlowers would never do this; Kayak would never do this.”
One reason they wouldn’t is that, if any of these companies had done this, they would almost certainly have faced serious legal action under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits endangering consumers by “failing to maintain security for sensitive consumer information.” The FTC has pursued such action on 32 occasions since May 2011. “When companies tell consumers they will safeguard their personal information,” the commission notes on its website, “the FTC can and does take law enforcement action to make sure that companies live up to these promises.” Swindle suggests that a violation like that of could even warrant a referral to the DOJ for criminal charges."

Question - Will the notoriously left leaning Consumer Reports, enthusiastic supporters of the ACA, inform their alleged constituency - consumers - of these egregiously deceptive and illegal tactics?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Outside The Box

We could have a first class health care system if the influence of third parties (government and insurance companies) were substantially reduced or eliminated from our current system. (Obamacare perversely increases our reliance on these third parties).
Leftists curious about alternatives to their myopic worldview might want to visit the linked site below. Join David Mamet (and many others) in emancipation from what the playwright termed, "brain dead liberalism".

Also - The Jonah Goldberg article I cited in my last post has been made available on the (free) NRO website.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ah, Those Bothersome Glitches

The lead story in today's Wall Street Journal is titled, "Health Glitches Tarnish Obama". Imagine some past WSJ headlines.
"Race Baiting Dulls Hitler's Luster"
"Food Misallocation Takes Bloom Off Stalin's Rose"
"Titanic Mishap Impacts Captain's Reputation"

Meanwhile, Obama's home town paper, the left wing Chicago Tribune, has finally figured out what those Tea Party crazies understood four years ago.

President Barack Obama's signature accomplishment is teetering. The Obamacare website is a national punch line. Millions of Americans, repeatedly reassured by Obama that they could keep their doctors and health plans, are discovering that they can't. Their insurance policies are being canceled. The price of new coverage is substantially higher. The new coverage may force them to choose new doctors. And the law says they have to buy insurance or pay a fine.
People are deeply concerned, and for good reason. This is, as Democratic Sen. Max Baucus famously predicted seven months ago, a "train wreck."

...Democratic leaders forced the law through Congress without a single Republican vote. The architects of Obamacare brushed aside sharp warnings from tech wizards that the computer system wasn't tested and ready. They piled hundreds of pages of last-minute regulations on insurers. They forced insurers to cancel policies by the thousands because those policies fell short of the soup-to-nuts coverage required by the law.
...Accept that government doesn’t know what’s best for everyone. That people can decide what coverage they need and can afford. A strong marketplace offers choices for every wallet. Obamacare’s rules curtail those choices.

 ...It was a mistake to attempt such a massive government intrusion on a marketplace and a mistake to do so without anything close to a public consensus.

Question. Where were these (expletive deleted) when the bill was being debated?,0,459810.story

Former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy makes the case that President Obama's repeated lies promoting the ACA amount to an impeachable offense.

If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.
How serious was this lie, repeated by Barack Obama with such beguiling regularity? Well, how would the Justice Department be dealing with it if it had been uttered by, say, the president of an insurance company rather than the president of the United States?
Fraud is a serious federal felony, usually punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment — with every repetition of a fraudulent communication chargeable as a separate crime. In computing sentences, federal sentencing guidelines factor in such considerations as the dollar value of the fraud, the number of victims, and the degree to which the offender’s treachery breaches any special fiduciary duties he owes. Cases of multi-million-dollar corporate frauds — to say nothing of multi-billion-dollar, Bernie Madoff–level scams that nevertheless pale beside Obamacare’s dimensions — often result in terms amounting to decades in the slammer.

...Barack Obama is guilty of fraud — serial fraud — that is orders of magnitude more serious than frauds the Justice Department routinely prosecutes, and that courts punish harshly. The victims will be out billions of dollars, quite apart from other anxiety and disruption that will befall them.The president will not be prosecuted, of course, but that is immaterial. ...the remedy for profound presidential corruption is political, not legal. It is impeachment and removal.

It is highly unlikely that Barack Obama will ever be impeached. It is certain that he will never again be trusted. Republicans and sensible Democrats take heed: The nation may not have the stomach to remove a charlatan, but the nation knows he is a charlatan. The American people will not think twice about taking out their frustration and mounting anger on those who collaborate in his schemes.

There hasn't been much to celebrate over the past five years, politically speaking, but celebrate is exactly what Jonah Goldberg does in the latest issue of National Review (Schadenfreudarama, 11/25), gloating over the intractable mess the Democrats have created for themselves with Obamacare. Fun reading. (Can't link to it, sorry. However, if you go to the NRO website, you can buy the article for a mere $0.25 without a subscription. Well worth the expense).

In the same issue, Mark Steyn explains the inevitable abysmal failure of Obamacare and every other enterprise undertaken by this administration.*

For the past half century, Obama has simply had to be. Just being Obama was enough to waft him onwards and upwards: He was the Harvard Law Review president who never published a word, the community organizer who never organized a thing, the state legislator who voted present. And then one day came the day when it wasn't enough simply to be. For the first time in his life, he had to do. And it turns out he can't. He's not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos.** And is about what you'd expect if you nationalized a sixth of the economy and gave it to the Assistant Deputy Commissar of the Department of Paperwork and the Under Regulator-General of the Bureau of Compliance.

*See for example

**Mark's standards are way too high. Obama is no Joe The Plumber either.

And lastly, this letter published in the Wall Street Journal, 11/12/2013.

It was with a great deal of empathy that I read Edie Littlefield Sundby's "You Also Can't Keep Your Doctor" (op-ed, Nov. 4). My wife died earlier this year from a recurrence of breast cancer. She had been ill off and on for about six years. She was one of the "uninsurable millions" on which the spin to pass the Affordable Care Act was based.
My wife received treatment for her illness because Arkansas had a high-risk pool specifically designed for its residents who had no other options for coverage. I believe that at the time the ACA was passed 36 states (if you include Massachusetts) had similar pools, which offered a state-level solution to a state-level problem. My wife was never once denied coverage. I lost count of how many doctors saw her or offered opinions during her illness. I have zero complaints about the care she received, right up to the hospice care that was provided at the end of her life. Of course, her coverage would have ended on Jan. 1, 2014.
John Trickett
Charleston, Ark.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Obamacare's Wreckage

The following are links to an op-ed written by Obamacare victim, Edie Littlefield Sundby in the Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2013 and a follow up editorial, November 7, 2013.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I see that Charles has been reading my blog. Note his comments regarding Obama's use of the word "period" - strikingly similar to what I had written in my previous post.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Biggest Lie

Jonah Goldberg expands on his blog post yesterday with a column today.

“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people,” (Obama) told the American Medical Association in 2009. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

...that lie looks like the biggest lie about domestic policy ever uttered by a U.S. president.

...Say I like my current car. The government says under some new policy I will be able to keep it and maybe even lower my car payments. But once the policy is imposed, I’m told my car now isn’t street-legal. Worse, I will have to buy a much more expensive car or be fined by the IRS. But, hey, it’ll be a much better car! Why, even though you live in Death Valley, your new car will have great snow tires and heated seats.
This is what the government is saying to millions of Americans who don’t want or need certain coverage, including, for instance, older women — and men — who are being forced to pay for maternity care.

Notice that Obama uses the word "period" to emphasize certainty. You can rest assured! This is guaranteed! No exceptions, caveats, qualifications or conditions!
It takes a high level of disdain for one's audience, the American public, to lie so blatantly and repeatedly - at least two dozen times by one count. (video). (The video was posted by the uber-leftist New York Magazine!)

With regard to Goldberg's car analogy above - The narrative being spun by the administration is that, sure, most people will be paying more (in some cases much more) for their health insurance, but they will be getting a better product than what they currently have. This narrative is false. Consider my situation.

I am fortunate to have been employed by a large, respected corporation for all of my working years. As a retiree, I am eligible for health insurance that is heavily subsidized by the company. The insurance is fairly comprehensive, and as such it fulfills Obamacare's coverage mandates. However, since it is comprehensive, it covers services that I neither need nor want in a health insurance policy. These include mental health coverage, maternity care, substance abuse treatment, acupuncture, bariatric surgery, infertility treatment, chiropractic treatment, smoking cessation classes and contraception to name a few. If all these services were dropped from my plan it would not make the plan worse, just more economical. Likewise, mandating unnecessary coverages does not make a policy better.
Features that do make a policy worse are higher co-pays and higher deductibles which, in many cases, along with the higher premiums, are being forced upon individuals whose coverages have been dropped. I, for one, would rather have lower co-pays and deductibles than to have the privilege of paying for Sandra Fluke's birth control.
True reform would support the existence of a free market for health insurance and allow consumers to choose from a virtually unlimited array of options much as they can in almost every other market whether it's food, housing, electronics, cars, banks or car insurance. (Notice how many more advertisements there are for car insurance than for health insurance). Even with my relatively advantageous health insurance situation, I still only have two plans to choose from - a basic policy and a high deductible policy. And with Obamacare, even that situation is tenuous.

Here is Joe Scarborough on Hugh Hewitt's radio show.

...86% of Americans who like health care, you know, the health care that they have through their employers, don’t care right now. But you know what? They’re going to care, because some of the biggest corporate leaders in America have told me over the past three years off the record that they’re going to wait a few years, and then they’re going to cancel all the policies, because it would be much cheaper for them, and much more cost efficient, and pretty soon, all Americans are going to care.

Something to look forward to.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stay Angry, Jonah

A great post by the usually mild-mannered Jonah Goldberg on NRO's The Corner. He's responding to WP columnist Greg Sargent's call for a reasonable debate about Obamacare's tradeoffs.

"...Obama’s statements were not  ”narrowly untrue.”  They were broadly, knowingly and entirely untrue. He repeated them over and over again, often straight into the camera. It’s nice that Greg Sargent concedes now that the president “could have been clearer.” But “could have been clearer” implies that he was a little clear about how this would work and just didn’t clarify enough. The truth is the complete opposite. He wasn’t even deliberately unclear. He was clearly dishonest. Obama was stridently deceitful.

...what is so infuriating to many of us is that now that it’s the law of the land, Obamacare supporters act as if all of the lies were no big deal and no serious person believed them anyway. But as anyone can tell you, if Obama had been honest about the trade-offs in his signature piece of legislation, it would never have become his signature piece of legislation. So please, don’t tell me the lies don’t matter.

...Republicans (or at least a great, great many of them) know that this law glided to passage with tracks greased with b.s. And not just about the ability to keep your plan and lowered premiums, but endless balderdash about extending life-expectancy, bending the cost curve, etc. When they pointed out that what the president was saying was flatly untrue, even impossible, they were called fools or racists.

...The president and the Democrats lied us into a bad law. The right opposed the law on principle. A single party — the Democrats — own this law in a way that no party has had complete ownership of any major social legislation in a century. They bought this legislation with deceit and the GOP said so. Now that it is going into effect, the facts on the ground are confirming that deceit. Moreover, the same haughty condescending bureaucrats and politicians who told us they were smart enough and tech-savvy enough to do just about anything are being exposed as incompetent political hacks. And this is the moment when Sargent thinks the GOP should simply throw in the towel and work with the Democrats to make Obamacare bipartisan?
I find that puzzling."

There's more, including a video compilation of Obama's serial lies.

A couple of other We Told You So's.

Jim Geraghty (NRO)

"Wouldn't you love to meet the woman who wrote, "I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it"? Ma'am, this is what happens when you refuse to listen to anything the Republicans say. I don't want to scream at you for being foolish, ignorant, close-minded and so on, but...really, this is what the whole fight for the past couple of years has been about. And you really could have and should have paid a little more attention to all this."

Allahpundit (Hot Air)

"Democrats made a cold calculation. They had the numbers in Congress to do this and they were going to do it even if it meant lying repeatedly to the public about the cost and consequences, even if it meant forfeiting a majority in the House for the next decade. This is what they wanted and now they've got it and they can't stand it. Enjoy."

And finally, Kevin Williamson (NRO) examines the successful national health care systems of Singapore and Switzerland and contrasts them with the dysfunctional ACA.

" is worth remembering that under Obamacare there will still be millions of Americans with no health-insurance coverage, while many (and possibly most) of those added to the coverage rolls will simply be given Medicaid cards, which practically come with their own spinal infections.* All together, that means that we have managed to combine the worst elements of the state-run systems with the worst elements of the private systems. We have designed a structurally defective system and entrusted its execution to a gang of politically connected incompetents with less technological sophistication than your AOL-using grandmother."

*  Researchers analyzed data from nearly 1,600 patients who had spinal surgery over two years. ...They found that Medicaid patients had a 68 percent higher rate of complications than patients with private insurance and that the link between Medicaid coverage and increased risk of complications remained strong even after other factors were taken into account, according to the study, which was published in the July 15 issue of the journal Spine.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nobody Does It Better

Many years ago the baseball superstar Al Kaline was in a department store signing autographs when a boy came up to him and sneered, "You're not half as good as Mickey Mantle."
To which Kaline responded, "Son, no one is half as good as Mickey Mantle."

The Mickey Mantle of political opinion writing, Mark Steyn, shreds Obamacare (again).

No slouch himself, Kevin Williamson writes about the abysmal result of decades of leftist social policy. He offers this bit of astounding data -

...after enduring endless posturing from Barack Obama and the moral preening of his admirers, that is what black American families have to show for themselves: an average household net worth of $4,955. The average white household in these United States has a net worth of $110,729. Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.
By way of comparison, black South Africans under apartheid had a median net worth about 6.8 percent that of white countrymen. Repeating: Black Americans are worse off relative to their white countrymen than black South Africans under apartheid were to theirs...

Williamson places the blame for this disgrace where it belongs.

‎Everywhere it has been tried, the Democrats’ dependency agenda has been a social and economic catastrophe for black Americans — and a full-employment program for Democratic apparatchiks. This is not a conspiracy — it’s right out there in the open, every time a Democratic politician knows that he can count on 90 percent of the black vote without lifting a finger, winning the opportunity to add four more years to the 50 years of broken promises Democrats have made to black Americans, who lag their fellow countrymen on practically every social indicator. “These Negroes,” said alleged civil-rights hero Lyndon Baines Johnson, “they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppity-ness. We’ve got to give them a little something — just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”
So far, the LBJ plan seems to be working perfectly.

Not cited here by Williamson is another notorious quote by LBJ which provides additional insight into the ultimate goal of his "Great Society" programs.

“I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Politics Of Division And Anger

Peter Wehner, writing online at Commentary magazine, Oct. 3 (Quoted by the Wall Street Journal)

"In the current debate about the continuing resolution and the government shutdown, and because of their determination to begin to unwind the highly unpopular Affordable Care Act, Republicans are being referred to as jihadists, arsonists, anarchists, terrorists, extortionists, racists, gun-to-the-head hostage takers, grave threats to American democracy, the heirs of Joe McCarthy...
There are several points to be made about this, the most obvious of which is that these charges are being leveled by President Obama and the aides and allies of Mr. Obama - a man, it's worth recalling who promised he would "turn the page" on the "old politics" of division and anger. He would end a politics that "breeds division and conflict and cynicism." He would help us to "rediscover our bonds to each other and...get out of this constant petty bickering that's come to characterize our politics."
Yet things are worse now than before; and they are worse in large measure because of Mr. Obama himself.
Now, even if you believe what the GOP is doing is unwise - even if you believe the Affordable Care Act is one of the great achievements in American history - the characterization of Republicans by the left is not just unfair but slanderous. One can actually believe the Affordable Care Act is harmful and should be undone without being "people with a bomb strapped to their chest," in the words of White House aide Dan Pfeiffer. But the kind of sulfuric rhetoric that's being commonly used these days is also, on a deep level, damaging to our country."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Crashing The Barrycades

Mark Steyn on the government "shutdown".

"This week’s “shutdown” of government ...suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America. “Mandatory spending” (Social Security, Medicare, et al.) is authorized in perpetuity — or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress’s so-called federal budget process. That’s why you’re reading government “shutdown” stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady’s ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.
...The perfect symbol of the shutdown-simulacrum so far has been the World War II Memorial. This is an open-air facility on the National Mall — that’s to say, an area of grass with a monument at the center. By comparison with, say, the IRS, the National Parks Service is not usually one of the more controversial government agencies. But, come “shutdown,” they’re reborn as the shock troops of the punitive bureaucracy. Thus, they decided to close down an unfenced open-air site — which oddly enough requires more personnel to shut than it would to keep it open.
...I would like to have been privy to the high-level discussions at which the government took the decision to install its Barrycades on open parkland. For anyone with a modicum of self-respect, it’s difficult to imagine how even the twerpiest of twerp bureaucrats would consent to stand at a crowd barrier and tell a group of elderly soldiers who’ve flown in from across the country that they’re forbidden to walk across a piece of grass and pay their respects. Yet, if any National Parks Service employee retained enough sense of his own humanity to balk at these instructions or other spiteful, petty closures of semi-wilderness fishing holes and the like, we’ve yet to hear about it.
The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations — plus $15 million or so from Washington: In other words, the feds paid for the grass. But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades. The Barrycades are such a perfect embodiment of what James Piereson calls “punitive liberalism” they should be tied round Obama’s neck forever, in the way that “ketchup is a vegetable” got hung around Reagan-era Republicans.
...Alas, the court eunuchs of the Obama media cannot rouse themselves even on behalf of the nation’s elderly warriors.A century of remorseless expansion by the “federal” government has tortured the constitutional order beyond meaning. America was never intended to be an homogenized one-size-fits-all nation of 300 million people run by a government as centralized as France’s. It’s no surprise that when it tries to be one it doesn’t work terribly well."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Debacle (cont'd)

Following up on my previous post - Norman Podhoretz (WSJ) presents an excellent analysis of Barack Obama's misadventures in Syria and around the world. Mostly sincere, but with a small serving of tongue-in-cheek, he suggests that Obama's seeming incompetence on the world stage is actually a carefully planned strategy designed to diminish American power abroad.

Well, maybe. On the other hand, Obama's national security team includes Biden, Kerry, Hagel, Rice, Rhodes, Holder and Powers. The last time we saw a lineup this awful, its names were Kanehl, Chacon, Mantilla, Throneberry, Hickman and Choo Choo Coleman.

Also, In the well-worn tradition of Democrats using children as props to promote their idiocies, Nancy Pelosi put on exhibit her 5 year old grandson, who, after doubtlessly immersing himself in the around the clock coverage of the issue on CNN, asked her whether she was for or against U.S. war with Syria. Her response, "We're not talking about war; we're talking about action." utilized another customary Democratic tactic, using euphemism to obscure distasteful party policy. One might ask the congresswoman how she would describe North Korean warships (oops, sorry, action ships), parked off the coast of California, lobbing a couple hundred Tomahawk missiles in the general direction of San Francisco.
This is the same Pelosi, remember, that visited Syria in 2007 (when that country was actively engaged in supporting the terrorists fighting American forces in Iraq) and proclaimed, "the road to Damascus is a road to peace". The visit was part of the ongoing Democratic campaign to promote Bashar Assad as our "reformer" in the Middle East (as Hillary Clinton described him).
Now, that campaign has been shelved, not because of 100,000 dead and two million refugees but because Barack Obama went (per Mark Steyn) "off prompter".

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Up to the moment of decision, and even past it, he has seemed ambivalent, confused, unaware of the implications of his words and stands. From the "red line" comment to the "shot across the bow," from the White House leaks about the nature and limits of a planned strike to the president's recent, desperate inclusion of Congress, he has seemed consistently over his head. I have been thinking of the iconic image of American military leadership, Emanuel Leutze's painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware." There Washington stands, sturdy and resolute, looking toward the enemy on the opposite shore. If you imagine Mr. Obama in that moment he is turned, gesturing toward those in the back. "It's not my fault we're in this boat!" That's what "I didn't set a red line" and "My credibility is not at stake" sounded like.

Peggy Noonan

More so than most of Barack Obama's debacles - (Guantanamo, "stimulus", "health care", the Russian "reset", the botched Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, Benghazi, IRS, sequester) - the mismanagement of the situation in Syria puts all of his inadequacies and unsavory characteristics on clear display - the sloppy, imprecise, undisciplined rhetoric ("...move a whole bunch of chemical weapons"), the lack of knowledge and insight, the absence of thoughtful reflection, the paralyzing indecisiveness, the naivete and inexperience, the shunning of responsibility, the comically unwarranted arrogance, and of course, the placing of political considerations above all else.

Here’s how deterrence works in the Middle East. Syria, long committed to the destruction of Israel, has not engaged Israel militarily in 30 years. Why? Because it recognizes Israel as a serious adversary with serious policies.
In this year alone, Israel has four times launched airstrikes within Syria. No Syrian response. How did Israel get away with it? Israel had announced that it would not tolerate Assad’s acquiring or transferring to Hezbollah advanced weaponry. No grandiloquent speeches by the Israeli foreign minister. No leaked target lists. Indeed, the Israelis didn’t acknowledge the strikes even after they had carried them out. Unlike the American president, they have no interest in basking in perceived toughness. They care only about effect. They care about just one audience — the party to be deterred, namely Assad and his allies.
Assad knows who did it. He didn’t have to see the Israeli prime minister preening about it on world television.

...There’s no strategy, no purpose here other than helping Obama escape self-inflicted humiliation.

Charles Krauthammer

Meanwhile, on the domestic front...In August, 2013, the labor force participation rate hit its lowest level, 63.2%, since 1978 when Jimmy Carter (who else?) was president, Reza Pahlavi ruled Iran, Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson were leading the NY Yankees to their second straight championship and the cutting edge of consumer computer technology, the TI 99/4, with 16K RAM, was still a year away from release.
Under normal, or rather, better, circumstances - with a marginally less incompetent president not focused on confiscating, redistributing and thus, squandering, the nation's wealth - we would  currently be experiencing a period of prosperity rivaling those most notable in American history - the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century, the two post World War eras and the period of development of the Internet in the late 1990s. The ongoing technological revolution in fossil fuel and natural gas procurement, hindered at every turn by Obama and his colleagues, should be providing us with the benefits of outsized GDP growth, low unemployment and concomitant debt reduction. Instead, with increasing federal spending and taxes, a rapidly growing debt (currently $17 trillion), a crushing regulatory burden and the looming shadow of Obamacare, we get this...

According to the Sentier research, households headed by single women, with and without children present, saw their incomes fall by roughly 7%. Those under age 25 experienced an income decline of 9.6%. Black heads of households saw their income tumble by 10.9%, while Hispanic heads-of-households' income fell 4.5%, slightly more than the national average. The incomes of workers with a high-school diploma or less fell by about 8% (-6.9% for those with less than a high-school diploma and -9.3% for those with only a high-school diploma). 
To put that into dollar terms, in the four years between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and June of this year, median black household income fell by just over $4,000, Hispanic households lost $2,000 and female-headed households lost $2,300.
The unemployment numbers show pretty much the same pattern. July's Bureau of Labor Statistics data (the most recent available) show a national unemployment rate of 7.4%. The highest jobless rates by far are for key components of the Obama voter bloc: blacks (12.6%), Hispanics (9.4%), those with less than a high-school diploma (11%) and teens (23.7%).

Stephen Moore

Moore notes that the groups he cited were those most likely to vote for Barack Obama. Call it social justice.

It's distressing but not surprising. In its search for a new CEO, Microsoft would never consider a candidate who was a technological novice philosophically opposed to its corporate mission. Yet, this is closely similar to what we have done by choosing Barack Obama (twice!) as our CEO. A novice at governance, Obama was an academic theoretician, a "community organizer", ideologically antagonistic to the nation's historical values and ignorant of the source of its greatness. He buys into the ludicrous Zinnian caricature of America as a racist, colonialist, imperialist bully. Never having produced a good or a service of any value to anybody, (some Chicago Law School educated radicals excepted), never having held a position of responsibility (until assuming the presidency!), he was and is clueless about the workings of the private sector. He expresses disdain for the one actual job he ever held, (“Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office and sat at my computer terminal.”), for the work that millions of Americans dutifully perform daily, (“You didn't build that.”). Such a person is manifestly unqualified for his job. Only hard leftists, myopic sycophants, or the politically indifferent could fail to know this.

Noonan mod=WSJ_Opinion_BelowLEFTSecond



Mark Steyn's (essential) reading of the Syria situation is linked in my previous post.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

How "That" Gets Built

As one of the left's hated one-percenters, T.J. Rodgers, the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, is one of those primarily responsible for the high standard of living we enjoy. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal he educates those ignorant of the mechanics of wealth and job creation.

Since its 1982 founding, Cypress Semiconductor has been a net creator of jobs and wealth. We have returned $2.2 billion more to the economy through stock buybacks, share dividends and spinouts than we have taken out in total lifetime investments. That figure doesn't count the $4 billion in wages the company has paid or the taxes paid on those wages. Currently, my investment helps maintain 3,479 permanent, high-paying jobs with good health-care benefits that are now threatened by more taxes.
A couple of years ago, I decided to invest in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wis., by building a $1.2 million lakefront restaurant. That restaurant now permanently employs 65 people at an investment of $18,000 per job, a figure consistent with U.S. small businesses. If progressive taxation in the name of "fairness" had taken my "extra" $1.2 million and spent it on a government stimulus program, would 65 jobs have been created?
According to recent Congressional Budget Office statistics on the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus program, each job created has cost between $500,000 and $4 million. Thus, my $1.2 million, taxed and respent on a government project of uncertain duration, would have created about one job, possibly two, and not the 65 sustainable jobs that my private investment did.

...Yet the politics of envy, promoted most notably by President Obama himself, continuously stokes the idea that the wealthy are not paying their "fair share." This injured sense of unjust rewards was summed up on a radio show I heard the other day, when a caller said of the rich: "How much more do they need?"
How much more do I need? How many more jobs do you want?

...Silicon Valley is today's brightest example of the traditional American dream still at work. The investments for most startup companies must come from individuals who can wait 10 years to get a return on investment. Only very wealthy Americans can afford that.

...Does anybody really believe that moving investment decisions from Silicon Valley to Washington by raising taxes on venture capitalists and their investors would make Silicon Valley more productive? Consider the Solyndra debacle: It was obvious to most of us here that the solar-energy company had zero chance of survival. That's why the company had to be government-funded near the end; no real investors were willing to step up.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama insulted America's entrepreneurs by telling them: "You didn't build that." Progressive taxation is just another tool used by government to take over an ever-larger part of the U.S. economy. The horrible irony is that the government keeps telling the very people whose jobs it destroys that if we only tax the rich more, everything will be better.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


On the Hot Air website, Mary Katherine Ham provides a series of graphs revealing the sorry state of the economy. The 2nd and 3rd reflect the destructive impact that the employer mandate - the cornerstone of the "Affordable" "Care" Act - has had.

Ham points out that of the 953,000 jobs "created" in 2013 so far, only 222,000 (23%) were full time. In the graph below, red is part time, blue is full time.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

No Free Lunch

Many thanks to a WSJ letter writer for supplying insight into why we get the political leaders we do.

One aspect of the pension problems in Detroit and elsewhere that I never see addressed is the loss of spendable income by those whose pensions will be affected. We can probably assume that the majority of pension income is spent, thus creating jobs, creating more spending, more taxes coming in, etc. As we were all told by the wise Nancy Pelosi: "Unemployment benefits are creating jobs faster than practically any other program." Wouldn't reducing pensions and thus spendable income take away jobs and hinder our recovery even more?
We need more people getting pension payments, not fewer.
Harold Stoetzer
Glendale, Ariz.

Ah yes. The wisdom of Nancy (we've got to pass it to see what's in it) Pelosi.

Transferring wealth to retired pensioners from working taxpayers will allow the former to spend and grow the economy while having no impact on the latter's spending habits, their depleted incomes notwithstanding. I see.

Meanwhile some good sense still exists back on planet Earth.

The problem with Detroit pensions is obvious. You quote a police officer who retired in 1998 at about the age of 50 after working for 26 years, as well as a 50-year-old man who spent 25 years repairing potholes and who plans to retire in October.
How can someone expect to retire in their early 50s after working 25 years and expect to collect a pension for 35 years or more, much longer than the years worked? That's what happened in Greece.
Those of us in the private sector realize retirement isn't possible unless we work 35 to 40 years or more, or well into our mid-to-late '60s. Do the math. The expectation needs to be changed.
Bessie Montesano            
New Fairfield, Conn.

Detroit and Greece have much in common. The governments of each spend more than they take in. Both governments have accumulated years of increasing debt they can't repay. Neither government can print money to cover its spending habits. Both governments have antagonized private capital markets by forcing haircuts on bondholders. Where does the new money come from to finance their deficit spending? Not from me.
John McDonald
LaQuinta, Calif.

Unfortunately Mr. McDonald (and the rest of us) may not have a choice. King Barack may decide to support the reckless and immoral profligacy of his political allies with a bailout. Guess who pays?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Misdirected Outrage

Shelby Steele on the Zimmerman/Martin case.

The verdict that declared George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin was a traumatic event for America's civil-rights establishment, and for many black elites across the media, government and academia. When you have grown used to American institutions being so intimidated by the prospect of black wrath that they invent mushy ideas like "diversity" and "inclusiveness" simply to escape that wrath, then the crisp reading of the law that the Zimmerman jury displayed comes as a shock.
On television in recent weeks you could see black leaders from every background congealing into a chorus of umbrage and complaint. But they weren't so much outraged at a horrible injustice as they were affronted by the disregard of their own authority. The jury effectively said to them, "You won't call the tune here. We will work within the law."

This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today's civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and  Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone).
The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman.

One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today's civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

City Of The Left

This is what "progress" looks like.

Leftists bemoaning the presence of Republicans in Congress and in state and local governments could point to, over the past half-century, one notable oasis of unrestrained "progressive" policymaking and public sector and trade union dominance. Detroit, formerly the 4th largest city in the U.S., has had not one (zero!) Republican in government for 44 years. Louis Miriani, voted out of office in 1962, was the last Republican mayor of Detroit. He was also the last of his party to hold a seat on the city council, retiring in 1969. Since then, Democrats have had unanimous control of the city. And without the mitigating effects of the entrenched, vibrant, and in some cases, centuries old academic institutions of eastern Massachusetts or the natural riches and optimal climate of California, Detroit was left exposed to all the noxious effects that "progressivism" has to offer.

Mark Steyn and Kevin Williamson on the city's downfall.

40 percent of Detroit's streetlamps don’t work; 210 of its 317 public parks have been permanently closed; it takes an hour for police to respond to a 9-1-1 call; only a third of its ambulances are driveable; one-third of the city has been abandoned; the local realtor offers houses on sale for a buck and still finds no takers...

To achieve this level of devastation, you usually have to be invaded by a foreign power.

To any American time-transported from the mid 20th century, the city’s implosion would be literally incredible: Were he to compare photographs of today’s Hiroshima with today’s Detroit, he would assume Japan won the Second World War after nuking Michigan. Detroit was the industrial powerhouse of America, the “arsenal of democracy,” and in 1960 the city with the highest per capita income in the land. Half a century on, Detroit’s population has fallen by two-thirds, and in terms of “per capita income,” many of the shrunken pool of capita have no income at all beyond EBT cards.

Forty-seven percent of adults are functionally illiterate, which is about the same rate as the Central African Republic, which at least has the excuse that it was ruled throughout the Seventies by a cannibal emperor. Why would any genuine innovator open a business in a Detroit “innovation hub”? Whom would you employ? The illiterates include a recent president of the school board, Otis Mathis, which doesn’t bode well for the potential work force a decade hence.

Given their respective starting points, one has to conclude that Detroit’s Democratic party makes a far more comprehensive wrecking crew than Emperor Bokassa ever did. No bombs, no invasions, no civil war, just “liberal” “progressive” politics day in, day out. Americans sigh and say, “Oh, well, Detroit’s an ‘outlier.’” It’s an outlier only in the sense that it happened here first. The same malign alliance between a corrupt political class, rapacious public-sector unions, and an ever more swollen army of welfare dependents has been adopted in the formerly Golden State of California, and in large part by the Obama administration, whose priorities — “health” “care” “reform,” “immigration” “reform” — are determined by the same elite/union/dependency axis. As one droll tweeter put it, “If Obama had a city, it would look like Detroit.”

Detroit has lost nearly two-thirds of its population. The decline of the automotive industry alone is not responsible for that: Ford by itself still employs enough people that it could employ one member of every family in Detroit. GM and Ford together could employ the entire working-age (18–65) population of Detroit, along with every man, woman, and child in Flint, Mich., and every man, woman, and child in Pontiac, Mich., and would still need to fill a few vacancies. That’s to say nothing of Chrysler, the American operations of firms such as Toyota and BMW, or Mercedes-Benz’s SUV business — or the countless manufacturers of automotive parts, components, materials, etc. What do most of those firms have in common? They do not want to be in or near Detroit.

The hunt for low wages is not the explanation for that fact. Motor Trend named the Mercedes-Benz GL Class the best SUV in the world this year — prices for that truck cross the $100,000 mark — and it is made in Vance, Ala. Does anybody really think that Mercedes, a company used to paying its German workers very attractive wages, is in Alabama so that it can pay Third World wages to toothless hillbillies to build its flagship SUV? A quick look at the numbers confirms that this is not the case.

Here’s a wild guess: Mercedes is in Alabama because nobody wants to live in Detroit except Kwame Kilpatrick, whose most likely next option is a six-by-eight cell, and the gentlemen of the United Automobile Workers union and their associates. The UAW, having helped to destroy the automotive industry in and around Detroit, is currently in the middle of its third attempt to unionize Mercedes-Benz workers in Alabama and elsewhere in the South, having committed tens of millions of dollars — where will that come from? — to the project. Joining the UAW is like joining the European Union — no matter how many times you vote against it, there’s always another vote, until it goes the other way, and then there are no more votes.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


To repudiate the left's self-congratulatory pose that opponents of same-sex marriage are hateful "homophobes", I present a conservative viewpoint as articulated in a recent National Review editorial.

The real argument for continuing to treat marriage as the union of a man and a woman is that marriage and marriage law exist to channel sexual behavior in a way that promotes the flourishing of children. They exist, that is, to solve a problem that does not arise in same-sex unions: that heterosexual sex often gives rise to children. They exist to uphold the ideal that children need the mother and father who created them to stay in a stable relationship together. Recognition of same-sex marriage means that the institution is no longer about those things.
There are, of course, coherent arguments against this view, and while we do not think them ultimately successful, an increasing number of people clearly disagree with our conclusions.
What should have mattered in court was that weighing that question is not their business. Justice Samuel Alito's dissent got it right. "Same-sex marriage presents a highly emotional and important question of public policy - but not a difficult question of constitutional law," he writes. The Constitution is neutral on whether governmental recognition of same-sex marriage will undermine the institution of marriage, strengthen it, or have no effect at all; it does not contemplate the question.

(I would substitute "address a consequence" for "solve a problem". NR should know better.)

For what it's worth, I believe that while the protection of children was the purpose that the institution of marriage was developed for in the first place and remains its most important function, the institution has also become a vehicle for expressing a commitment to a lasting relationship between two people. As such it should not be restricted by the sexual identity of the participants.

Canada legalized gay marriage nationwide in 2005 and same-sex marriages now constitute less than one percent of total marriages in that country. Suppose the U.S. ultimately follows suit and suppose legalized gay marriage here leads to a substantially higher prevalence of all marriages here than in Canada, say 5% (or 6% or 7% or 8%). Even if one agrees with the National Review editors that marriage exists to support procreation, progress toward that admirable goal will not be diminished (as it hasn't been) by that small proportion of couples who marry for another purpose.

Conservatives are a wild and wonderful bunch, but they waste too much time and passion on this matter, much as they do on the issue of immigration. Ann Coulter recently tweeted that Chris Christie, one of her long time favorites, was "now dead" to her. The reason? He appointed Jeff Chiesa to replace the recently deceased Frank Lautenberg as New Jersey senator. Chiesa subsequently voted for the immigration bill which passed the Senate with 68 votes. That Mitt Romney's presidential bid was torpedoed by Christie when the latter staged a lovefest with Barack Obama over federal funding of the Hurricane Sandy cleanup had no impact on Coulter's allegiance to Christie. It was the selection of a representative who cast an inconsequential vote on an inconsequential bill (it's DOA in the House) that turned her against him.

We have a wretched president whose foreign and economic policies are driving the nation to ruin from without and within. Those who oppose him need to focus their energies on what matters - investigating and exposing the administration's scandalous crimes, rolling back its pernicious regulations, spending and taxes, repelling its assault on personal liberty and the Constitution, advancing American interests abroad, repealing Obamacare. Other issues, even those worthy of attention, should be put on the back burner.

Friday, June 14, 2013

MSNBC's Revisionist History

Note to MSNBC : Not only was George Wallace a Democrat but so were fellow racists Orval Faubus, Bull Connor, Lester Maddox and Robert Byrd, to name a very few.

NSA and Obamacare : Two Scandals

From an editorial in today's WSJ :

It has been instructive to watch liberals rediscover that the Constitution limits government power, at least on civil liberties. Too bad they show no such compunction about economic liberty. The ObamaCare mandate-tax that commands Americans to buy a private product is far more offensive to the Constitution than NSA reading the emails of terrorists overseas.
The regulatory agencies claim—and use—the power to seize property and control individual conduct. The very administration of the entitlement state depends on tracking (Social Security numbers), data-processing (Medicare benefits) and individual scrutiny (tax audits). The IRS knows far more about American citizens than the NSA does, and while there is much speculation about the potential for surveillance abuse, we now have real evidence of corruption at the IRS. So which is the greater scandal?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Disagreeable And Dangerous

In his latest column, George Will writes of yet another Obama administration scandal, the recently released Office of Civil Rights - Department of Education guidelines on what constitutes sexual harassment at institutions of higher learning. He concludes with the following.

Like the IRS abuses of power, the OCR-DOJ initiative demonstrates how permeated this administration is with disagreeable people with dangerous intentions. So the administration is making conservatism’s case against the unlimited arrogance that is both a cause and a consequence of unlimited government.

"...disagreeable people with dangerous intentions" - A fitting description of the gang populating the executive branch these days. It applies perfectly to Lying Lois Lerner, former overseer of the IRS' notorious exempt organizations office. Deroy Murdock speculates on her current taxpayer supported lifestyle.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Politicize The Political

A writer I'm not familiar with, Kurt Schlichter, suggests ignoring those overly cautious voices urging conservatives not to politicize the Obama administration's scandals.

There’s nothing wrong with politicizing politics. In fact, it’s kind of difficult to imagine why politics shouldn’t be politicized – politics is, after all, by definition political.

We now have an Administration that lied about what happened in Benghazi, and is now lying about its lies. We have a cabinet secretary shaking down healthcare companies for “donations” to a propaganda fund for Obamacare. We have the government grabbing up reporters’ cellphone records, and we have the IRS randomly selecting for persecution people and entities who just happen to oppose the regime’s goals.

For some liberals, this is just too much to swallow, and we should focus on splitting them out of the liberal coalition.

He also makes these perceptive observations.

We spend so much time seeing and reading the ravings of the zombie liberals of the media and the blogs that we forget there is another group of liberals who are liberal because – for whatever misguided reason – they think liberalism is the right way to be. In other words, there are liberals who actually believe what liberalism used to purport to support – including civil rights, civil liberties and the rights of traditionally disadvantaged people.
It is interesting that from those ranks come some of the most dedicated and effective conservative activists – people who became conservative not because they changed their views but because they didn’t. Liberalism left them. (From personal experience, I know this is true). They believe in individual rights and in equality before the law. They hate prejudice and bigotry in all their ugly forms. They embrace every individual’s value, and want to see every individual have a chance to live and to succeed.

They are people like Andrew Breitbart. Andrew was not born a conservative. He wasn’t raised a right-winger. He started out a liberal, but he actually took seriously what liberals said. His great sin – and why he was and is so hated by liberals – is that he refused to stop believing in those values when those values stopped being useful. His outrage was not that liberals were liberal; it was that establishment liberals were liars, that they struck poses as defenders of what was true and good and then abandoned them without a second thought if another pose better served their purpose.

Schlichter also wins the metaphor of the day award for this -

Today’s liberalism is a festival of hypocrisy, of purported values solemnly praised and heartily
defended right up until the second it stops being in the interest of liberalism to do so. At that point,
these sacred values get discarded like so many whiskey bottles in the Kennedy compound’s recycling bin.