Monday, November 30, 2009

Health Care Reform Summarized. . .

With the health care debate beginning in the Senate today, Washington is going to smell distinctly like a cattle yard. Let’s summarize everything you need to know about health care (in one simple to swallow article) so that you can confidently call ”El Toro Kaka!” whenever you hear your Senator drop some.

Q. Why does our health care system need reform?

Seven out of ten Americans say our health care system needs “fundamental change” or must be “completely rebuilt.” The problems with the American system fall into three broad categories: (1) out-of-control costs, (2) access to health care, and (3) quality control:
• Americans spend $2.1 trillion each year on health care, 16% of our GNP, about half of which is wasted spending.

Forty-six million Americans have no health insurance coverage, though only 7.3 million Americans lack insurance because they cannot afford it. Another 9.7 illegal aliens lack coverage, and another 5 million people are considered uninsurable because of pre-existing medical conditions.

• The American system suffers from massive over-treatment, exposes patients to an amazingly high risk of under-treatment, and results in an incredible number of preventable medical injuries and deaths.
Q. What causes our system to be so expensive?

There are many reasons our system is so expensive. First, we have an innovative system, and half of the growth in health care spending over the past decade has been the result of medical advances. Secondly, we are compassionate. A 1996 study found that 1% of health care users accounted for 27% of the total spending on health care. These services are related mainly to prolonging life for the elderly (Europe lets them die . .. euthanasia should be renamed eldereuropeanize).

Aside from this, our system experiences the following unnecessary costs:
• Medically Unnecessary Procedures: Americans spend $500-$700 billion on treatments, tests, or hospitalizations that do nothing to improve health. This is directly related to the payment methods established by the government and by poor quality control.

• Overhead Costs: Because of conflicting and overlapping government regulations, 31% of health care spending goes to pay administrative/overhead costs (this is nearly double the 16% percent spent in Canada). A reduction to even Canadian levels would save Americans $339 billion annually.

• Hospitals provided $35 billion worth of uncompensated care (for the uninsured) in 2008. This is largely the result of the government’s failure to control the illegal alien problem.

• Lawyers/Malpractice: According to CBO estimates, tort reform could reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance by $11.3 billion. Another $66 billion could be saved in “defensive medicine.”
Each of these costs is directly or indirectly the result of government interference. (See our solution.)

Q. Will PelosiCare or Baucus reduce these costs?

No. These bills seek to reduce costs by cutting $500 billion from Medicare and by reducing reimbursements to hospitals for covering the uninsured (they are reimbursed because federal law requires them to cover anyone who arrives at the hospital). They do not address the fundamental problems driving costs.

Q. Won’t that hurt Medicare?

Yes. Medicare already needs a $250 billion cash infusion just to maintain the current system, which is falling apart as more and more doctors refuse to take Medicare patients. The Democrats are proposing to take another $250 billion away from that system. They will also eliminate Medicare Advantage, a program used by nine million seniors.

Q. But it will decrease the cost of my insurance, right?

No. The portion of the public that has private insurance, 60%, will find their insurance costs going up almost immediately. Insurers have estimated that the new requirements will increase the cost of a typical policy by $3,000 to $4,000 per year. Moreover, many members of the public will suddenly find their benefits being taxed at a 40% rate. This is the excise tax on so-called “Cadillac benefits” plans. This will apply to approximately 14% of families and 19% of singles in 2013 (despite indexing, this will increase to 31% and 34% by 2019).

Moreover, these bills include tax increases on drug makers and medical equipment providers, and cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors, each of which will be passed on to you.

Q. But at least everyone will have coverage, right?

Not even close. While recent polls show that 60% of ObamaCare supporters expect to get free health care from this bill, these bills will extend coverage only to persons who make less than $14,403. Everyone else will simply be fined if they don’t get coverage. Even the Obamacrats themselves admit that the bill will only reduce the number of people without insurance from 46 million to 25 million. . . and it takes until 2019 to do this!

Q. I can get fined?

Yes. If you don’t obtain appropriate health care, you will be fined each year. If you fail to pay that fine, you can be fined $25,000 and sent to jail for up to five years (the Senate version does not include jail time).

Q. But I’ll get a subsidy. right?

Sure will, most Americans will. Indeed, 67% of Americans will qualify for some subsidy, but the amounts will be insignificant. Using Democratic estimates, the typical subsidies will be less than $200 a year, and even the maximum subsidies cannot exceed 10% of the cost of the policy.

Q. Do I get to keep my current insurance?

Sure, if they keep providing it. Since insurers will not be able to enroll new members, the pools upon which those plans are based will become smaller and smaller as people change jobs. Eventually, insurers will need to shut these plans down. Not to mention that most insurers will go bankrupt.

Q. But the public option will protect me, right?

Nope. You will only be eligible to go into a public plan if your employer doesn’t offer a plan. Moreover, the CBO has already determined that the public plans will cost more than private plans. And you may have a very hard time finding doctors who are willing to take such coverage if, as expected, it is priced like Medicare.

Q. Do these bills do anything to improve quality of care or safety?


Q. Does it really only cost $829 billion like the media keeps saying?

Not even close. The CBO scored the Baucus bill at $829 billion, as reported. But to reach that number, the CBO relied on the assumptions given to it by the Democrats. Obvious problems with this estimate is the assumption that $250 billion in savings can be found in Medicare, that health care costs will magically fall below the current levels paid by the private sector, and that people will not adjust their behavior in response to the tax increases.

Moreover, the bill was scored in such a way to hide the true long-term cost. Rather than looking at the expected yearly cost of the bill, the CBO looked at the first ten year period to arrive at this $829 billion estimate. Importantly, the benefits don’t roll out right away during that period. Indeed, it takes nine years for each of the benefits to kick in. Thus, a comparison of the first ten years with the second ten years would show a massive increase in expense during the second ten year period.

And this doesn’t even address the fact that the House version is estimated to cost $1.65 trillion.

Just looking at the numbers logically, applying the current Medicare rates to only the new 12 million people who will be covered (forget the other 34 million), will cost the taxpayer $173.2 billion per year -- or $1.7 trillion over ten years. You can image what the whole package will cost.

Q. At least the bill is deficit neutral, right?

Not on your life. To be deficit neutral, the Democrats have taken 23% of the cost “off the budget.” What they did was to attach a provision adding $210 billion in payments to doctors to a “pay-go” bill requiring that all amounts spent be accounted for rather than adding them to the deficit. Only, the Democrats specifically exempted the $210 billion from that requirement. It goes straight to the deficit.

Moreover, the House does not even bother accounting for $340 billion of the cost of its version. And the Senate pulls a trick that could be even worse. As we just noted, the CBO scoring understated the cost of the Senate bill because it looked only at the first ten years, during which time many of the benefits don’t yet exist. To declare the bill deficit neutral, it compared those costs against the tax increases which run throughout the entire ten year period. When all of the benefits kick in after ten years, those tax increased will likely cover less than half the cost. This is why many Democrats are talking about eventually needing a value added tax.

Q. Isn’t the European system better? Maybe we should just copy them?

Heck no. The figures most commonly used to claim that the United States lags Europe in health care are our infant mortality rate and our life expectancy. But, the Europeans exclude certain types of deaths from their figures, e.g. babies who are less than 30 centimeters long when they die are not counted in Europe, but are in the United States. That artificially improves their numbers. If we did the same, our numbers would be slightly better than Europe’s. Not to mention that the United States is in the middle of a full blow diabetes epidemic (which Europe is only now beginning), which dramatically skews our health care numbers.

Moreover, when you look at survival rates for the top killer diseases, availability of treatment, and cost of things like generic drugs, the United States exceeds or far exceeds the Europeans in each of those categories. Click here for a full breakdown.

Not to mention that the world is piggybacking on American innovation. The top five US hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in every other developed country combined. Since the 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to US residents more than the residents of all other countries combined. And the United States spends three times as much as the rest of the world on R&D in biotechnology, which also explains why our costs are higher. That would all end if we changed our system.

Interestingly, the Europeans are no more happy with their systems (less so in fact) than Americans.

Q. Then why do the Europeans believe our system is so much worse?

The European media is no more honest with their people than our media is with ours. Indeed, check out our discussion of this article to see the kinds of propaganda they get about America. If you believed this reporter, vast numbers of Americans are roaming the streets looking for medical care. Nothing this guy says is accurate or makes sense, but it’s typical of what the Europeans get in the way of American news.

Q. Finally, what other effects could these bills have?

Here are some of the unintended consequences that are fairly obvious from these bills:
• Doctor shortages: First, there are not enough doctors to treat the sudden influx of people. Secondly, doctors will stop taking Medicare and will not participate with the public options as they cannot afford it. Third, the number of people going to medical school will fall.

• Failing Insurers: Most of the nation’s 1300 insurers will go out of business, ending most people’s currently existing plans.

• Hospital Bankruptcies: Hospitals, which are already in financial trouble, are slated to have their reimbursements cut by another $155 billion. This will cause many to fail.

• Job Market Changes: As the employer mandates kick in, employers will switch to more temporary workers (in place of permanent workers) and will reduce part time workers’ hours to below 30 hours per week to avoid fines and the need to provide insurance.

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Question: Too Much Love In The World?

Let's reverse last week's question. Who got together, in films, books or television, that never should have? Whose happiness ruined your viewing pleasure? [+] Read More...

Outrunning The Delta Smelt--Never Surrender

Although it hasn't made any of the mainstream media slots, the governmental/ecofreak alliance's attempt to kill California agriculture has not been forgotten either by the beleaguered citizens of California's Central Valley or a spontaneous nationwide network of sympathetic ordinary citizens. If you are not familiar with the artificially-created water shortage in America's most productive agricultural region, move over to our "recommended reading" list in the right-hand column, and click on The Fish That Conquered California.

Fresno, California, is the largest city in the Central Valley (San Joaquin Valley), and as such has been the city most dramatically strangled by the eco nuts and California's far left environmental regulatory bodies. A recent event shows that the fighting spirit and citizen cooperation are still alive and well. The Farmer Relief and Freedom Relay was another demonstration of the need for the involvement of ordinary citizens in keeping alive the will to fight for freedom from governmental dictatorships which save fish and destroy human beings. No mainstream media have reported anything much about the reasons behind the steep decline in agricultural production in California except occasionally to blame it on low rainfall (a lie, pure and simple).

Farmers, tea party participants, and just plain outraged citizens put the rally together, and the proceeds from the Relay raised about $20,000 which was used to fill three eighteen-wheelers with food, clothing and toys for Central Valley families left bereft by the slow strangulation of California agriculture. Other tea party donations increased the truckloads of basic needs for those families. Not a paid ACORN "volunteer" to be found anywhere. Just ordinary citizens, paying for their own fare and temporary lodgings, coming from all over the country to help their fellow Americans in time of trouble. Liberals can only dream of this kind of volunteerism.

The Fresno Bee quoted volunteer/activist Daniel Blackford of San Jacinto, Texas as saying: "The educational aspect of the relief effort is critical. Today, it's the Delta smelt out here. Tomorrow, it could be some microbe in the water in Tennessee or any of those other states." One of the few TV mentions of the event came from the Fox affiliate in Fresno: "Now they got the message--they're getting organized to help us with whatever we need to do here" was a video quote from tea party activist Piedad Ayala. "If these pumps don't run [and the spigots aren't opened], no matter how much it rains, we're not going to have the water we need to farm with next year, especially on the west side." As mentioned in our earlier article, there's plenty of water in the rivers and reservoirs, and it's all being poured straight out into the ocean via San Francisco Bay. Perhaps the environmentalists have determined that the Pacific Ocean is running low on fresh water.

This horror is just a small sampling of what is to come if the socialist, dictatorial agencies of the Obama administration and their leftist allies in Congress succeed in their cap and trade schemes for turning America into a third-world nation. Not only will the lives of Americans be determined by the government, but that determination will regularly involve government-mandated poverty and starvation. Of course if Obamacare passes first, many of us will die of cancer and heart failure before we even have a chance to starve to death from cap and trade. But be of good cheer. At least Al Gore will continue to thrive.

I wish to acknowledge the heavy-lifting and fact-gathering of Andrew Ian Dodge at Pajamas Media for the best coverage of the Rally available online. Here in San Francisco, which benefits greatly from the agricultural brilliance of the folks in the Central Valley, there was not a peep from anyone in the newspapers or TV about this important event. Does everybody understand why the government dictators in the Obama administration want to get their next strangle-hold on the free exchange of information on the Internet?
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Liberals Betrayed By Obama!

In October of this year, I did an article, the third in the series actually, outlining the way liberals think. In that article, I explained that liberals put their faith in their leaders, not their ideas. This is why they can repeat the same old mistakes time and time again without learning a thing -- because they conclude that the failure was the result of poor leadership rather than a flawed theory. Well, things are about to turn ugly for Obama.

Here's why:

As I mentioned in the October article, liberals need to feel worshipful of their leaders, which is why they obsess over them, why they dream about them, why they trying to dress like them and eat the same foods, and why they need to see them as smarter, sexier, and all around superior to everyone else. Basically, liberalism is a cult.

So what happens when things go wrong? Well, like most cultists, they react poorly. They don’t look at the facts and realize that their ideas are wrong -- that they themselves were to blame, no, they don’t do that. Instead, they turn on their leader. They start to see the problems as the result of a failure of leadership, not a failure of theory. And like most cultists, this quickly descends into anger and feelings of betrayal. We’re now entering that stage with Obama.

We declared Obama a failure at the beginning of October of this year. Yet, despite the obvious evidence available, the left continued to hold out. They wrote articles outlining the hopes they still had for him. They talked about his future successes. They awarded him a Nobel Prize. And they tried to believe his failures were temporary and were the result of vile Republicans Judases.

But the left has finally caught up to reality, and boy are they angry.

The leftist Der Spiegel (The Mirror) outlines Obama’s foreign policy failures and worries that he will over-react to avoid appearing “too soft.” They note unflattering comparisons to Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush -- these are not the measured words of analysis, but a virtual rant against a leader who has “lost some of his initial stature” and whose policies “proved to be an illusion.”

Indeed, his foreign policy has come to nothing. The center-left government in Tokyo has pulled out of refueling missions in the Indian Ocean. China gave Obama no concessions whatsoever. It will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions, re-evaluate its currency, or anything else. It will not agree to sanctions on Iran and it will not work toward nuclear non-proliferation. Russia likewise will not agree to sanction on Iran, even after we sold out our Eastern European friends. Israel won’t stop building settlements. Hondurans vote today, and whatshisname is still stuck in the Brazilian embassy.

This has become too much failure to ignore. And Der Spiegel is not alone in seeing this as a failure of Obama personally. Former New York Times reporter and former President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie Gelb, wrote a little piece titled “Amateur Hour at the White House”, which notes everything Obama could have achieved in his Pacific trip, but concludes: “Mr. Obama should have taken a well-deserved vacation in Hawaii.”

And it’s not just foreign policy either. With Obama’s policies being exposed as the unpalatable by-products of fools, and his poll numbers crashing about as low as poll numbers can (he’s below 50% in the latest Gallup poll, with his approval standing at 39% among whites and 42% among people older than 65 -- Rasmussen has his approval ratings at 46%), the utopian dream is over.

The Washington Post notes that:
“Growing discontent over the economy and frustration with efforts to speed its recovery boiled over Thursday on Capitol Hill in a wave of criticism and outright anger directed at the Obama administration.”
According to the Post, the Congressional Black Caucus is “exasperated” by Obama’s handling of the economy, so much so that they blocked Barney Frank’s attempts to regulate the banks in retaliation. Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio called last week for Tim Geithner to step down because of his handling of the AIG meltdown.

Pro-abortion groups are furious about the health care bill, and they blame Obama for not handling this matter better. Gay groups angrily blame Obama for the failure of the gay marriage proposal in Maine. Environmental groups are using language about Obama that was formerly reserved only for the likes of Bushitler.

Even the comedians are finally taking shots at Obama. . . and they’re getting nastier and nastier.

So what does this mean? Well, if you realize how liberals think, you’ll see where this is headed. They expected Obama to install liberal policies, to fill the world with good intentions, and for everything to work out. He was going to eliminate nuclear weapons, show that talk could solve the issues with Iran and China and North Korea and Russia, generate millions of jobs in green technology, end pollution, give us nationalized health care, tear down the rich, build up the poor, and make a better, nicer, happier, more humble United States. But none of that has happened and none of it will, and they are starting to realize it.

Since liberals do not view government as the implementation of policies, but instead see it as the tool to be used by specific leaders to make the world better, the fault lies with Obama, not liberal policies. Right now they are dazed and confused. Why isn't this working? If Obama is all-powerful and he loves us, why does he let bad things happen? Soon they will see Obama as a false prophet. They will count his broken promises and they will declare themselves misled.

The anger stage is only now beginning. As it continues to rise, watch for articles by leftists that conclude that “Obama isn’t capable of doing what needs to be done.” Shortly thereafter, watch for articles about Obama’s “false promises” and “lies.”

Finally, watch for the magic word: “betrayal.”

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The Great Land Grab Continues--ACORN Helps

The Supreme Court's unconscionable Kelo decision continues to wreak havoc in states which have not passed legislation preventing government takeovers of private property for "public purposes" rather than the constitutionally-allowable "public use." That stylized "ghost" picture you see at the right is the proposed Atlantic Yards project superimposed over the existing private property being grabbed from those pesky "poor people."

Brooklyn will be the site of the new government gift to developers who need to get rid of generational landowners who just aren't producing those wonderful tax payments that the government so desperately needs to feed its social welfare programs. And if 220 years of protection of the rights of private property ownership and eminent domain have to be perverted by a Kelo-like takeover, so be it.

Bruce Ratner's Forest City Ratner Companies LLC is a huge real estate development firm with strong connections to the Democratic political machine that wishes to build a $4.9 billion, 22 acre mixed-use project on the ashes of the homes of the marginal working class residents (who foolishly vote consistently Democrat). Before Kelo, the project would have been out of the question since it would take private property and turn it over to other private parties. Only land taken by the government for governmental use on behalf of the public was allowed under the laws of eminent domain. This is a takeover of private property for private use which may or may not eventually provide a public benefit by virtue of taxes proposed to be earned from the private development. In common parlance, "a pig in a poke."

But oh, what a magnificent project! It would include the Barclay's Center (a mega bank) and multiple large wholesalers, retailers and financial institutions, as well as a sports arena that would become the new home of the New Jersey Nets basketball team (we westerners found it a little odd that a New York football team had a home field in New Jersey, but now that we're used to it, we won't find a New Jersey basketball home court in New York quite so strange).

Now all of this would be bad enough, but we also get to demonstrate how politics makes strange bedfellows. Those of us who have actually read corporate reports know that megacorporations are not the home of evil Republicans but are almost exclusively multinational Democrats. So the local crooks joining up with the development crooks shouldn't be much of a surprise. But guess who the surprise bedfellow behind the curtain is. None other than ACORN.

ACORN is the criminal enterprise which claims to stand for the little guy, the poor, the oppressed against the ravages of Republican big business. They have been among the loudest opponents of "gentrification" of poor neighborhoods which forces up property values and makes the area too expensive for Democratic/socialist proles to live in. In other words, exactly the same situation being created by this development.

ACORN has signed a binding agreement with the developer in which it agrees to support the project, no matter what. For its efforts, ACORN accountant Anita MonCrief reports that ACORN is receiving a $1 million loan, plus $500,000 in "donations" from the developer. A promissory note provided a low interest rate for the loan of 4.58% with a final balloon payment of $100,000 due May 31, 2011.

In order to do a really poor job of covering up this nefarious arrangement, Forest City Ratner wrote a letter of intent to ACORN in which it would disburse the $500,000 "grant" to the ACORN Institute. The Institute is an accounting gag which was created along with hundreds of others to put the money into ACORN tax-exempt nonprofit affiliates. In fact, ACORN will become a paid lobbyist for Forest City. Now that's what I call community organizing! Particularly since the only people not involved in this faustian bargain are the community homeowners who would like to continue living on their own property, thank you very much.

So why would a fine upstanding businessman (conservative credentials, no doubt) like Ratner become involved with a crypto-communist organization like ACORN? Well, think again folks. The mega-rich Ratner makes Van Jones look like Calvin Coolidge. His sister Ellen is a strong leftist commentator on National Public Radio. His role model is George Soros. His brother, Michael, is a Che Guevara superfan, and is president of the Marxist Center for Constitutional Rights, which incidentally also represents ACORN in its suit against the federal government for withholding future public funds formerly earmarked for ACORN.

Ratner and ACORN have a powerful ally in Congress. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) the two-faced (literally, this porcine legislator has at least two faces) has vociferously supported the project and nearly went ballistic over the withholding of Congressional grants to ACORN. But not to worry. On December 18, the ban expires, and Nadler will lead the pack in restoring millions of dollars of the taxpayers' money to ACORN's public feeding frenzy.

Are you scared yet? Coming to your town soon: The ACORN-Nadler-Ratner superdevelopment. Hope you don't live in the wrong part of town.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Film Friday: The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

This film is the greatest film of all time. You must see this film. Indeed, they should force school children to watch it. Forget the original, the new The Day The Earth Stood Still, staring Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, imparts just the kinds of values we need in this horrible, capitalist world.

** spoiler alert **

The Day The Earth Stood Still begins when the fascist pigs grab Demi Moore... er, Jennifer Connelly. Connelly plays a scientist, but the good kind. She doesn’t make weapons or work for the military industrial complex or for evil corporations, she works at a nice northeastern university. And her students love her! Oh she’s wonderful. She’s a liberal who speaks her mind. She speaks truth to power, she drives a Prius (actually it’s a Honda but it looks like a Prius), and she’s raising a little African-American child (his father died in one of George Bush’s wars).

What? Oh no no, he wasn’t that kind of soldier, Dr. Jennifer never would have married that kind of soldier. He was an engineer. He went “over there to build” stuff. And while they don’t specifically tell us what he was building, I’m sure it was schools, not roads or power plants or oil refiners or other environmentally unfriendly structures.

Anyway, the kid. . . I don’t recall his name, but it doesn’t matter. He’s so gosh darn cute! He’s like a young Obama! The moment I saw him, I said, man I hope he saves us all. But, as I said, before we get to little Obama, the film begins with the fascists. After the fascists grab Dr. Jennifer, we learn that a spaceship is headed straight for New York City. In addition to Dr. Jennifer, the fascists have grabbed a rainbow coalition of scientists. I think the fascists are trying to kill this rainbow coalition because they're taking them to New York City and we're told the spacecraft is moving so fast it will wipe out New York City. So when the evil military claims it wants these scientists to “observe” the million megaton-explosion from the air. . . a few hundred feet above the city, I can only assume this is a complex attempt to kill these scientist. Isn't that just like the military?

Anyway, the ship turns out to be a huge glowing marble. From the marble comes a creature. And just as Dr. Jennifer walks up to it to speak to it, an evil soldier shoots the creature. Long story short, it turns out to be Al Gore. OMG he plays this role perfectly -- he wanders around like a wooden robot saying amazing things so prophetic I honestly had a hard time understanding them. I felt I learned so much watching him in this film. Al Gore wants to speak to our leaders at the United Nations, but Hillary Clinton won’t let him. She's the Secretary of Defense and she's rotten. She's no Dick Cheney, but she's no Obama either.

Dr. Jennifer helps Al Gore escape and they ride around the country in her Prius. Al Gore meets some old Chinese dude who turns out to be one of Al Gore’s people. He says we’re an evil race and we can’t change, so while he loves us, we need to be exterminated. Al Gore agrees. Al Gore then goes to a swamp in New Jersey where he finds a glowing bubble that isn’t radioactive waste. When he touches it, some of the animals on the planet get transported into space. Al Gore then explains that the world has reached a tipping point and evil humans are on the verge of permanently destroying the planet. So he’s come to wipe us out to protect the Earth, because it’s one of the few planets in the universe that can sustain life.

Meanwhile, there’s this evil general or colonel. I’m not sure which. He’s got a moustache which reminds me of the old West, or that guy from the Village People, and I think he keeps yelling “yee haw!” and “kill it” but that could be my imagination. He tries several times to blow up Al Gore’s marble in New York because that's exactly what the military would do -- try to destroy an alien race for no reason whatsoever! I hate them so much.

In the process of trying to destroy a robot that came with Al Gore, the military unleashes a killer storm of metallic insects from inside the robot that eat everything. Al Gore explains to Dr. Jennifer (after a quick visit with Dr. John Cleese), that there is nothing he can do. And then the miracle happens. The fascists capture Dr. Jennifer, leaving Al Gore with little Obama. Little Obama explains that while he originally wanted to kill Al Gore when he first saw him, because he thought Al Gore was a danger, he no longer wants to kill Al Gore now that he realizes that Al Gore means us no harm and has no choice but to kill us.

Weeeeeellll, this little admission was all it took for Al Gore to see the error of his ways. He now decides not to destroy the human race. At first, I felt let down by this. But then Al Gore promised there would be a price! Long story short, Al Gore stops the insects and saves us all. But to do so, he wipes out all of mankind’s evil mechanical creations. No more cars, no more machines, no loud ambulances or fire trucks, no more trains or ships delivering "goods" and "food" to evil consumers. I don’t know what happened to the airplanes, but I guess they all landed ok.

In the end, you can’t help but feel hopeful for the future! This was an environmentalist dream come true, a super race come to save the planet from us and show us a better way! Dare I say, it almost felt enviro-pornographic! Oh, it was beautiful.

Wait a minute. . .

While it is true there would be no Starbucks anymore, there also wouldn’t be any food staples. Hmm. Mass starvation is no big deal, I guess. After all, they’re only humans. But those hungry humans are going to eat every animal they can find. And without all of the machinery to help them, they’re going to need a lot more farmland to survive. Shoot. That means they’re going to cut down the forests. . . at least those that are left after they cut down all the trees for firewood. Wow, that’s a lot of carbon that’s going to be released. I’ll bet they won’t even worry about the delta smelt! And what about nationalized health care? There really won’t be any health care. Even things like antibiotics will only be available to the lucky few who know the right kind of doctor that they can barter with.

That sucks.

You know what? Now that I think about it, this film sucked too. Wooden acting (if you can call it acting), a pathetic plot that made little sense, constant blasting of the same liberal bullsh*t message, indifferent sets, effects and costuming, contradictions galore, and it will bore you to tears.

Up yours Al Gore.

Check out the new film site -- CommentaramaFilms!

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Next, They Came For The Frontline Fighters

Our prissy President and his prissy military officers have decided that as long as we're going to bring foreign terrorists into the United States civilian courts for show trials, why not make the package complete? Let's gut the ability of our bravest and toughest to wage war overseas and get information out of murderous subhumans who attack civilians and military alike with no regard for any of the rules of civilization.

In Obamaland's rush to make America a weak, subservient member of some fantasized global family, the latest round of national humiliation is the cowardly decision of the political military officers to try four Navy Seals for offending the sensibilities of one of the scummiest, most vicious, and deadliest terrorists on earth. The mastermind behind the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater security officers had his feelings hurt by the mean Seals. Ahmed Hashim Abed had the bodies of the four men burned, dragged through the streets, and then hanged the bodies of two of the men from a bridge over the River Euphrates. And he is known to be the planner behind multiple sneak attacks in Iraq resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians and American military.

But gosh, we all know that Islamic terrorists always tell the truth. And ol' Ahmed says that those vicious Seals actually hit him and gave him a bloody lip. Oh, the horror of it all. Of course there are no witnesses to this vicious attack, and nobody but darling Ahmed saw the bloody lip in any connection with his incarceration. It would seem that amiable Ahmed didn't get the full Al Qaeda handbook on how to fake injuries while in custody of the Americans. If he had, he could have done better than a bloody lip, don't you think? He must also have missed the part of the Koran that says it's OK for a good warrior of Allah to lie to infidels in the advancement of Islamic world subjugation. This was just a little lie, and Allah wants the big lie, or at least that's what the prophet Mohammed says Allah wants.

So in the middle of a violent and unpredictable war, with daily attacks by Islamofascist troops who observe none of the civilized rules of war, the Pentagon's worst and stupidest have decided that this is the perfect time to destroy troop morale over an alleged attack on an "innocent civilian" by four members of an elite military group that goes in first, gets hit first, and risks death first. Too bad they couldn't have thrown in a few Green Berets and Rangers while they were at it.

This case doesn't even rise to the level of the debate over enhanced interrogation versus torture. If the scumbag terrorist were telling the absolute truth (which I don't believe for a minute), this is at worst a good wrist-slap and a "go and sin no more." But the political staff officers from the Pentagon and the entire Obama administration are a bunch of reprehensible pantywaists, and by the time they get done with their exercise in group therapy, a cut lip will have become the moral equivalent of the Holocaust.

But there was one thing the sissies in the Pentagon and the White House didn't count on, since they wouldn't recognize bravery if it jumped up and bit them in their ample asses. These Navy boys aren't afraid of death, so why would they be afraid of a cowardly back-room Captain's Mast fixed game? To their eternal credit, they demanded full court martials. Explaining honor to the politicians is like explaining the theory of relativity to a platypus.

American law, the American Constitution and the Geneva Conventions provide no protection for terrorists like Ahmed, the beloved of Allah. American military law provides nothing more than "humane treatment" for prisoners of war, and that policy refers to legitimate enemy armed forces, not sneak murderers in civilian garb. The problem is that Ahmed doesn't understand the rules of civilization, and the politicians don't understand that war isn't hopscotch on the school grounds. And this is a war like no war before it. Yet the word of a lying backstabbing murderer is somehow sufficient to bring brave military men to task for a split lip. A split lip, for Christ's sake! And nobody except the honorable Ahmed can even account for the alleged split lip.

The law is actually quite simple. Under the terms of the Geneva Convention, the Seals had every right to shoot a nice big hole in Ahmed's head when he was caught conducting warfare against the United States when captured not in uniform. But the four Seals merely detained him, and put him in a jail, and possibly one of them might have had a moment of indignation and might have given the fathead a fat lip. That's it! Stop the war! We have barbaric cruelty to deal with (the Seals, not dear Ahmed).

The leftist press (is that redundant?) has been in high dudgeon ever since Abu Ghraib. And they will now go into full feeding-frenzy mode. The soldiers punished for their frathouse hijinks at Abu Ghraib came off in the press as destroyers of truth, justice and the American way. Women's panties on a terrorist's head and the sight of an undressed American woman is exactly like the My Lai Massacre. And at Abu Ghraib, nobody got a cut lip, so this must be far, far worse.

But let's remember what Abu Ghraib really was. It was Saddam Hussein's mass torture and murder chamber for 24 years while the prissy press said next-to-nothing about the inhuman cruelty committed there by Saddam and his sadistic sons and officers. Ah, but embarrassing a non-uniformed soldier of Allah, that's the real deal. Pure torture. Oh, the humanity! Weeks' worth of hysterical headlines about how America's military men and women had gone barbarian. Franky, I've seen more violence and humiliation at a junior high school prom.

In Afghanistan, one local grieving father whose son lost his leg in a roadside bombing made more sense than all the Western press and media put together. "I do not mind if I am killed, provided that the Americans get rid of the Taliban. Those tyrants have taken my son's leg. They laid mines on the road. Don't they see that these roads are also used by civilians?" Yes, sir, they do. But what's your son's leg compared to a split lip?

If the Seals are not exonerated, the terrorists will be further emboldened. If convicted, of anything, Americans and locals will be even less safe. And for other Seals, there are only two future options in the wake of a conviction. Air-condition the bastard's brain and leave him lying on the battlefield, or make a stop along the way to jail with him to pick up 72 virgins to keep the terrorist too occupied to file phony brutality charges against them.

Ahmed Hashim Abed is lucky that he was captured by four professional Seals, instead of one unprofessional Hawk. Had the latter been the case, they would still be searching for the terrorist jigsaw puzzle pieces. The Seals are willing to go in harm's way ahead of anybody else, and take risks that the regular military is not asked to take. The least they have a right to expect is that if they are killed, it will be during an operation against the terrorists and not from a knife in the back from home.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Stimulus? They Got Nothin'

On Thursday, Obama will be hosting a “jobs” summit at the White House. This morning, they gave us a peek of what they are planning. Apparently stupid pills were on the Thanksgiving menu.

The plan consists of four parts and has a price tag of $200 billion.
1. Extending Unemployment Benefits

2. Tax Credits for New Hires

3. Aid for States and Cities

4. Incentives for Environmental Upgrades
Clearly, this won’t work. In fact, it would take an idiot to think it would. Cue Joe Biden.

Extending unemployment benefits? This is a reflex action for Democrats (like raising the minimum wage), and they can’t help themselves. But that's no excuse. This will depress employment, not increase it. The longer the benefits run, the longer people can wait to find work, the longer they can hold out for “better” jobs rather than taking what is available, and the more people will simply use the system as a vacation. So why would this be part of the plan? I’d like to think Team Obama views this as a bribe for lazy people. But I’m afraid they’re not that sophisticated. They actually seem to think this will “spur demand” by ensuring that unemployed people can still afford to buy consumer goods. Morons.

A tax credits for new hires? When has that ever worked? Last week I talked about a payroll tax cut. That spurs employment because it becomes cheaper for companies to add more employees. This is apparently what Team Obama hopes to achieve with this tax credit. But, unlike the payroll tax cut, the employer doesn’t get the benefit of this tax cut until the end of the tax year. That does little to stimulate job growth in the near term. And, since this is a one-time tax cut, there is no incentive to hire anyone in the long term -- or at all. Yes, they are cheaper to hire now, but they become too expensive again the moment the tax ends the following year. This was the same problem Clinton ran into with his 100,000 new cops program. The cops were cheap to hire, but too expensive to keep, so few were hired in the first place. Combine these problems and you have little incentive to hire in the near term or the long term. Perfect.

Aid for states and cities? Filling budget holes just like the last stimulus did which did nothing to create new jobs? No, not this time. This time, Team Obama is thinking of creating make-work jobs like Roosevelt did with the WPA in the 1930s. Talk about throwing good money after bad.

Finally, we come to the only one of the four parts that could possibly result in a stimulus effect! Woo hoo! And most of it will be felt in China or Germany, where environmental hardware is made. Vielen Dank Arschloch! Of course, I could be mistaken because this item really tells us nothing, and appears to be nothing more than the usual “green jobs” hocus pocus. Indeed, the idea of creating “green jobs” through some magic subsidy has become the alchemy of the modern Democratic party. And just as ancient alchemists failed to ever turn lead into gold, the Democrats will find no jobs through their subsidies.

What really amazes me about this plan is that Team Obama is genuinely worried about the economy (because it's killing their agenda and their re-election hopes), yet they don’t seem to be able to come up with any answers. It’s not like the answers are hidden or untried. They are, in fact, quite obvious. So why won’t they do what works? Are they blinded by ideology or stupidity?

I’m actually thinking it’s stupidity.

If it were ideology, they wouldn’t be listening to Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Economy and a former advisor to John McCain, on how to solve this problem (apparently all the experts Obama assembled have let him down, so he's turned to a McCainiac -- talk about the blind leading the retarded!). So they don’t seem to be stuck on ideology. But if this is the best they could come up with. . . wow. . . just, wow.

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San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

As promised, I'm going to continue with opening pictures of sights other than the ubiquitous Golden Gate Bridge (at least until I run out of them and return to the most notable symbol of the City by the Bay). Pictured is Coit Tower, visible from almost every spot from downtown to Fisherman's Wharf, high atop Telegraph Hill. In front of the tower is a statue of Columbus, holding out his hand toward the great unknown west. He thought he was looking toward China. Since the tower overlooks the largest Chinese community outside China, he might have concluded he was right if he came to The City today.

The legend, common even among San Franciscans, is that the tower was designed to look like a fire hose and nozzle to commemorate the role of the firemen who so bravely fought the destructive fire following the Great Quake of 1906. It's an understandable mistake. The tower was commissioned by society queen Lillie Hitchcock Coit in 1933. The grande dame donated one-third of her considerable fortune to the beautification of the city she so loved, and Coit Tower was among her bequests. Coit was particularly fond of Knickerbocker Engine Company Number Five which had rushed through the explosive demolitions to attempt to save as much of the Telegraph Hill area as possible. But the design itself had nothing to do with the fire companies. It was meant as an art deco symbol of The City, to be seen by all the ships entering the Bay on their way to their moorings. And it is, indeed, one of the most visible symbols of The City as ships enter the harbor, to be dwarfed by the Transamerica Tower only after the ships have rounded the northern shore before proceeding to their moorings on The Embarcadero.

The interior contains a brew of murals that don't seem to fit Madame Coit's basic beliefs. They are fabulous (as in "like a fable," not like Perez Hilton "fab"). Most were done as early examples of FDR's Public Works of Art depression program. Needless to say, the art was very left wing. But San Francisco, being San Francisco, and Lillie Coit being Lillie Coit, it ended up being a left-right joint venture in defiance of anti-communist outcry. After New York's Rockefeller Center destroyed Diego Rivera's Man at the Crossroads for its depiction of Lenin as a hero of progress, the demand went out for similar destruction of the Coit murals. Lillie stood firm--"Nobody is going to destroy my murals." And she meant it. Still available for view are Stackpole's Industries of California, in which Stackpole depicts himself reading a newspaper describing the destruction of the Rivera mural. Bernard Zakheim's The Library mural depicts a fellow artist crumpling up a local newspaper (The Chronicle?) while reaching for a copy of Marx's Das Kapital. Arnautoff's City Life shows a news rack prominently displaying The Daily Worker and The New Masses. Today it's all campy good fun, and in keeping with Dame Coit's wishes, it's all free to the public.

On Wednesday, the tower got a treatment unlike any it has ever had before. It became a giant movie screen, visible from Nob Hill, Russian Hill and the Wharf. In keeping with crazed San Francisco tradition, the whole dusk to dawn presentation commemorated the 1969 Indian takeover of Alcatraz Island. The producer calls it "a film feature for the spirit." At least he didn't say "The Great Spirit." Any Indians still hiding on Alcatraz would be able to see the projection, if they still have their Native American eagle eyes. Otherwise, binoculars would be in order. At least it wasn't Marxist, so I guess that constitutes a refreshing change.

Note: Sarah Palin's blockbuster hit is not faring well in San Francisco. Somehow, I'm not surprised. The venerable Chron headlines "Bay Area Not Maverick Enough To Read Palin Book." So a couple of rogues at Pajamas Media thought it might be a good idea to see what "smart" books made the shelves in San Francisco bookstores. While the Palin book is reluctantly displayed at the megastores, the independents just don't want to take room away from the more intellectual books that San Franciscans so love.

The Chronicle points out that the Palin book "Might as well have cooties. Hardly anyone wants to touch the thing, or even get close to it." They quote bookstore owner Nathan Embretson: "Our customers are thinking people. They're not into reading drivel." So let's take a look at the books which are prominently displayed at the independents, and which are so, so, intellectual.

Inside Job: Unmasking the 9-11 Conspiracies by Jim Marrs. Originally planned for a major publisher, the tome couldn't pass legal muster. After major revisions and editorial support, they still couldn't reach an agreement. Marrs found a minor paperpack publisher after the original publisher cancelled in 2003. Six years later, it's sitting prominently on the shelves of the independents.

Discovering America as It is by Vaidas Anelauskas. Anelauskas has been identified as a white racist anti-semite by several respectable journalists. A quote from the book reveals: "Only from people of that peculiar tribe can we expect such Talmudic hatred for humanity. There is even a famous saying that wars are the Jews' harvest." I seem to remember that this particular saying was very popular among Nazis and neo-Nazis.

The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood by Rashid Khalidi. A companion piece to Discovering America, from the viewpoint of jihadists rather than Nazis. When will those Jews just go away and leave decent folk alone?

On The Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality by Ward Churchill. Expanding on a theme of Malcolm X, the unwashed, unshaven pseudo-Native American with zero academic credentials other than being fired by the University of Colorado for plagiarism, providing false information, and subversive activity, this is a fine leftist fantasy about terrorist America.

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones. The communist race-baiting former Green Czar for his soulmate Barack Obama has simple solutions for complicated problems. Par for the course for simpletons.

Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds Through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies by various mushroom-shaped authors. "Those who regularly navigate the hyperspatial landscape that some have called the 'tryptamine dimension' have long suspected that the portals to inner and outer space may be one and the same. This book, a collaboration of the most cutting-edge shaman/neuroscientists working in this field, boldly explores this concept in a stunning tour de force." What more can I say?

And the list goes on, seemingly interminably. The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal by J. Patrick O'Connor; Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Anti-War Activist by Willam Ayers; Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke (there's an "e" at the end of that name. I'm no relative of the sissy-boy actor, I assure you); Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen by Mark Rudd; Cold Fusion: Challenge to U.S. Science Policy by Lyndon LaRouche (remember him?); and finally, J.Lo: The Secret Behind Jennifer Lopez's Rise to the Top by National Enquirer writer Sarah Gallick. They could have cut that last title to: J.Lo: The Not-So-Secret Behind.

I may be a bit of an academic snob, but I gotta tell ya, next to that list Sarah Palin is looking like Ludwig von Mises. You betcha.

Note: Among the multitudinous female candidates for public office, a new one has joined the fray. Meg Whitman is running for governor, and her first urban stop since announcing her candidacy in September is in San Francisco. The second Silicon Valley high-powered woman executive to throw her bonnet into the ring, Republican Whitman has left the Senate race to her counterpart from Hewlett-Packard. Whitman made her bones as CEO of e-Bay. Whitman made a good start by talking to her fellow business owners and execs at the St. Francis Hotel gathering of the Chamber of Commerce. So far, she is ahead in the preliminary Republican polls, and has already spent $19 million of her own money on the campaign. How come I never made that kind of money when I was a business executive?

Whitman is slowly emerging, but so far it's hard to tell if she's a moderate or a full-blown RINO. She is clearly pro-business, but her stands on social issues and government interference in private matters have not yet been fleshed out. An example of her biz-speak includes: "What is remarkable is whether people are talking about a spending cap or the growth of costs in the state, no one ever talks about the government getting more productive. Productivity metrics not in the nomenclature." The last I looked, almost every Republican and conservative was talking about government lack of productivity and how the job could be done better privately (and profitably), and if she means "government actions in places which belong to the private sector," we're all opposed. But those productivity metrics sound cool, don't they?

But she does have a serious image problem. The Sacramento Bee reported that she had registered to vote in California as recently as seven years ago, and only registered as a Republican in 2007. It took a week for her to respond to the charge, and during that interim, she was already labeled a carpetbagger and had developed a public image as a dilettante and a candidate with little previous interest in GOP politics. Her slow response was that she was a registered Republican who voted in Ohio throughout the 80s, but it may have been too late to change the immediate perception of her as just another opportunist who hasn't earned Republican loyalty.

The best candidate in the Republican field is the serious and successful conservative Tom Campbell. But he can't come even close to raising the kind of war chest available to Whitman or his other opponent, Steve Poizner. Though Poizner is a relative unknown like Whitman, he is also a former Silicon Valley success story, having started a couple of Silicon Valley high-tech firms, and selling SnapTrack for a billion dollars.

Most of the buzz about Whitman is related to her organizational skills rather than her political positions. Poizner said of Whitman: "She's a marketing expert. That's an important skill. I've hired a lot of these people. If folks want to re-brand the state, they'll vote for her. If they want to rebuild it, they'll vote for me." Sorry, Mr. Poizner, that honor should go to Campbell.

But still it's clear that she couldn't do any worse at destroying the state's once leading economy than RINO Schwarzenegger or her likely opponent in the general election, former Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown. Although Brown's leftocrat party holds a thirteen point registration lead over Republicans, Whitman has shown as being in a dead-heat for the governor's job in several recent polls, including Rasmussen. For that reason she goes out of her way not to come off as a celebrity know-nothing running against a liberal machine. Ahnuld has damaged that image, perhaps forever. But she does attack professional politicians. "If the professional politicians had done such a great job in Sacramento, maybe California would be in better shape than it's in."

It's unlikely that any issue, even gay marriage, will be able to push the economic crisis off the top of the list of "fix it now" issues. And Whitman thrives on that. She says, with a large amount of veracity, that her experience running a large company can translate into success at a state capital held captive by strong union interests and an unruly legislature. Brown has never done much of anything except dither around in state politics, and his best friends are Hollywood celebrities, big unions, state employees, and ACORN.

Much about Whitman remains to be seen. But for now, it looks like she's a relatively sensible candidate who knows how to read a balance sheet and hasn't taken any radical views along with her on the campaign trail. And she won't be intimidated by Brown's dismissive snarl and snarky one-liners the way so many others have. This may turn out to be one of the more exciting contests in recent years.

Note: Gavin Newsom, illustrious missing mayor and former candidate for governor, is well known for his reluctance to fire any city appointee. But he just fired Stefanie Coyote (wife of renowned actor, drug advocate and general all-around lefty Peter Coyote) from her position as Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission. The $132,000 annual job is supposed to promote the desirability of San Francisco as a spot for Hollywood filming. Two years ago, she caused a major flap by making the Marine Corps jump through liberal, politically-correct hoops to film a recruiting ad featuring San Francisco backgrounds. The Marine Corps allowed that next time it would film in less hostile territory, like Berkeley.

Apparently, Newsom blindsided Coyote. She was away on a Thanksgiving leave, and got the news second-hand. I have to give Newsom credit--his action served up two turkeys on one platter. Attaboy, Gavin. There may be hope for you yet.

Note: Speaking of banana republics (We were speaking of banana republics, weren't we? Or was that an earlier column?). Banana Republic, the popular clothing store for yuppies who want to live in the South Seas in the 30s, is owned by The Gap. San Francisco's unemployment rate is approaching 17 percent, and Banana Republic is doing its part to alleviate that. At their main store on Grant Avenue, they just hired 39 greeters. Unfortunately, that doesn't actually help our unemployment rate, since 35 of the 39 hirees are neither Californians nor San Franciscans. In fact, they're not even Americans.

All 35 are visiting tourists or foreign students. Banana Republic insists that the minimum wage jobs were open to anyone, but no locals applied. Well, as your intrepid reporter, I must let you know that I have low friends in high places. I am friendly with several business owners in the nearby Westfield Shopping Centre where Banana Republic has its second largest San Francisco store. They all report daily applications from locals willing to take any job for any pay rate that's legal, and more than a few have mentioned that both Banana Republics had told them there were no jobs available.

Note: Not to be outdone by the local booksellers, Mad Mark Morford has his own opinion on Sarah Palin's blockbuster hit book. If you want to know his suggested usage of the book (he doesn't clarify if you should wait for the parperback or not), here it is: Top Ten Uses for Going Rogue.
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Captions: Baby Got Back...

When people say they want to see the back end of this administration, I don't think this is what they had in mind. . . You know, for a rice-fed Kenya boy, our President has quite the caboose. Let us all take a moment to admire the Presidential Posterior (POPOTUS). Do you think those are implants?

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

American Idioms (Revised)

Weekends and holidays are the best times for politicians to release bad news. That makes today the perfect day. And boy do we have a doozy scoop for you! It seems that Team Obama is going to use the cover of this great holiday to announce a new program called The Media Cooperation Program.

How do we know this you ask? Well, Commentarama has a post office box at 1601 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington. This means that we get a lot of mail from the White House by mistake -- especially Biden’s credit card bills. We don’t normally open their mail, being good neighbors and all, but the one this morning was hard to resist -- it had “Confidential Official Document Do Not Open Under Penalty Of Law” written all over the envelop. . . that’s practically screaming “open me!” So we did.

And what is The Media Cooperation Program? It turns out that the Obama people and their friends in the media have decided to try a little brainwashing. For weeks now, Team Obama has been paying bloggers to slip “revised” idioms into their blogs in an effort to subconsciously align the public's thinking with Obama’s agenda. How evil!! And now they want to expand this to the mainstream media!

Here are several specific idioms they've already snuck into blogs. Watch for these and others from here on out people! Don’t fall for this!!!
Waste a crisis not, want not.

Patience and Silence are now virtues.

A bird in the hand is worth more now than it was under Bush.

The best things in life are provided by the government.

Don’t judge a book by its ghostwriter.

Honesty is one policy.

If a job’s worth doing, it should be done by union labor.

A borrower be.

Give a man a fish because he may not like fishing.

A snitch in time saves nine union jobs.

Tax on all trades, targeted growth in some.

Terrorism begins at home.

People who live in glass houses should be taxed.

It’s always darkest because of Bush.

We don’t have time to learn to walk.

Biden’s mental prowess runs deep.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, except in Congressional Ethics Committee hearings.

All that glitters could be gold.

You can make a horse drink, but Bush made it impossible to lead it to water.
Creepy huh? Have you run into any of these? Seen any others?

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today's a big day for the family, friends and general all-around, well, giving of thanks. Thanks for our bounty, even in hard times. Thanks for a nation that still allows us to make choices. Thanks for the freedom to believe that there is a God who watches over us all, and who feeds His children. Raise the song of harvest home. All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.

This year my family is spread pretty much all over California for their Thanksgiving get-togethers. For the first time in many years, I won't be spending the holiday with them. At first, I found it sad. But then this seemed like a good year for solo reflection, something I don't do enough of. Instead of feeling bad that the pickings would be a little smaller this year than in years past, I can be thankful that my family is well, happy, and able to enjoy their good fortune with their now-extended families. I am thankful for the calls that will be coming on Thanksgiving Day from the kids and the grandkids who are all gathered in Southern California this year.

I am thankful for all the good friends who have stuck with me through good times and bad, some of whom have left this world for a better place, but I know are still watching over me. And for other friends who nearly threatened me if I didn't join them for the day. And thankful that they know me well enough to understand that sometimes a guy just needs to be happily alone with his thoughts and his prayers.

I am thankful for those brave men and women in our armed forces overseas, in danger and far from home, who are so willing to put their lives on the line so that we can be safe here at home to celebrate Thanksgiving as we choose.

But perhaps, most of all, I am thankful that I live in the greatest nation on earth. A nation that can go through hard times such as we have been suffering since Thanksgiving last year and yet give us genuine belief that God has not abandoned us, and that if we keep our faith in God and America we will endure and prosper.

So to all our readers, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Don't forget to laugh, and hug, and eat yourself half into oblivion.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Message From Joe Biden

** Editor's Note: Today we have a very special guest, Vice President Joe Biden. Mr. Biden asked if he could give a Thanksgiving Address to our readers. Who are we to refuse.

I’d like to thank the good people of Contentarama for letting me address you good people on this great American holiday.

Thanksgiving day is a day for giving thanks. . .

. . . man, that’s clever speech writing *reads speech to self*

. . . this looks like a good speech. . . but today isn’t a day for reading speeches, we all know there’s been too much of that these days! *laughs* So let’s throw out the teleprompters. I’m going to speak from the heart.

Thanksgiving day is a day to be thankful, unless you're an Indian. *laughs* Not the kind that works in "a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts" but the kind that owns a casino. *laughs* I should probably stop that.

Look, I want to talk to you about why I’m thankful.

Being the party in power, we get a lot of criticism. . . a lot of criticism. Let me tell you, it comes in by the truckload! And much of it is deserved. I read so much of it and I just nod my head. I say, 'Joe, yeah, that’s true.' But some of it isn’t fair. We can’t get everything right, and some of the stuff we do will never work. We know that, we’re not stupid. But sometimes in politics you’ve got to do things that just don’t make any sense because somebody who gives you money wants you to do it.

But we don’t do that much. And the reason we don’t is because of this guy we’ve got as President. I thank God every day that we have him. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” We should all be thankful for him.

Let me tell you, he’s something special. He’s not like some of those “turkeys” you have to work with in this job. But you’ve got to work with each of them -- “even if you don’t like the SOB.”

Just this morning he showed real leadership. Leadership like we haven’t seen before in this country’s history. Listen to this. Now, a lot of people say, pardon that turkey. . . pardon that turkey Barack. .. pardon that turkey Joe. (I hope they don’t have to say that when our term is over! *laughs*) But I looked at Barack and I said, you can’t do that. What kind of message does that send? This turkey must have done something or he wouldn’t be in trouble. You can’t just pardon him.

I looked at Barack and I said, ‘Barack, you’ve got to do the right thing. You can’t just pardon that turkey and you can’t do what Bush would have done. You’ve got to give this turkey his civil rights.’ And I told him, ‘you’ve got to try this turkey in Federal District Court, maybe in New York.’ And he looked at me and. . . and this is the leadership part. . . he said, ‘Joe, I agree.’ And now that turkey is going to have his day is court.

I’m thankful for my wife too. “My wife Jill. . . is drop dead gorgeous. She also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem.” My wife. Man. Let me tell you, “I’d rather be at home making love to my wife while my children are asleep” than giving this speech.

I thank God that I get to travel in private planes and cars. That swine flu is really bad. “I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now. . . When one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft.” I don’t know how you people are going to do the Thanksgiving travel thing. Of course, my motorcade isn’t much safer. Three accidents in a week. But I’m ok, and for that I’m thankful.

I thank God too that I’m not a Detroit Lions fan. How bad do things get before you need to like that baseball team.

I can't think of anything else. Maybe I should have read the speech? *laughs*

Let me just finish by saying that we all need to think about why this administration makes us thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving. Felice Navidance.

** Everything within full "quotation marks" is an actual Bidenism, spoken in earnest by your Vice President.

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Question: Turkey Day Memories. . .

Tell us what you like most about Thanksgiving? What are your favorite memories? What are your favorite foods? Did anyone else watch the MST3k Turkey Day marathons when they were on? [+] Read More...

Illinois Congresswoman In Honduran Wonderland

The smiling face you see in the photo is the first Democrat Congress Critter to visit Honduras since the U. S. president declared the Honduran constitution void. Numerous Republicans have made the trip on fact-finding tours, but it took a Democrat finally to go down there on a fact-fabricating tour.

It should come as no surprise to any thinking person that the Democrats would show up late for the party, and then get everything wrong--purposely. After all, the Democrats have consistently supported left-wing takeovers in Central and South America for the past fifty years. And since the action on the part of the Honduran government was a valid legal and constitutional move to prevent such a takeover, the Democrats must oppose it.

Ms. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois (where else?) spent three days wandering around in a daze in Honduras, meeting up with the obviously crazed Manuel Zelaya, ousted power-grabber. She waved at the Honduran Supreme Court building and took a quick look at the houses of the Honduran Cortes ("Congress"), but didn't spend a lot of time speaking with the judges or the legislators. Had she done so, she might actually have learned that the removal of Zelaya from office was done by the book, with a due respect for law and the national constitution. But as I've said on numerous occasions before, the Democrats don't follow our own Constitution, so why would they care about somebody else's?

Upon arriving back in the United States, Schakowsky hastily called a press conference to announce "the coup against President Zelaya is illegal and along with every other nation in the region and the world, we don't recognize the coup regime as the legitimate government of Honduras." Ms. Schakowsky's legal credentials which allow her to make such pronouncements are that she received a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois, and as an Illinois legislator got a law passed requiring that groceries be labeled with expiration dates.

But she does have more than a nodding acquaintance with illegality. Her husband, Robert Creamer (different last name, of course) was indicted on multiple counts of bank fraud and check-kiting, but being a privileged Chicago pol was allowed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of failure to collect withholding taxes. He and Schakowsky were both officers of the Illinois Public Action Fund (think North Side version of South Side ACORN). As is almost always the case with Democrat politicians from Chicago, "public" means "private method of raking off public funds." Schakowsky signed the joint tax returns with her husband, but amazingly escaped the prison sentence hubby got. He served five months in prison and then an additional eleven months on "house arrest." While in prison, he wrote a guidebook for leftists entitled: Listen To Your Mother: STAND UP STRAIGHT. How Progressives Can Win." In press reports, he is referred to as "an Evanston politician," but rarely as the husband of Schakowsky, and never as "convicted felon."

No doubt Schakowsky has developed secret legal skills which allow her to refute the opinion of the Law Library of Congress which stated: "Available sources indicate that the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zelaya in a manner that was judged by the Honduran authorities from both branches of the government to be in accordance with the Honduran legal system." They must be wrong, since Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and now legal scholar Schakowsky have said so.

Schakowsky is also unable to explain what kind of coup follows the law, promotes the lawful successor of the ousted power-grabber, allows regular elections to go forward, and has no military or civil authority which is attempting to perpetuate itself in power. Some coup. When forced into a corner by a reporter to explain how it was a coup if Zelaya's successor will surrender power in due course following the elections, Schakowsky went into a liberal song and dance: "I think there were a number of things, including raising the minimum wage. A number of things that the Zelaya administration had done that were offensive to the business class, the elites in Honduras, and so , I know, I think they wanted him out." Well, that explains it.

So where is the business community's hand-picked successor? Well, there isn't one. Zelaya's current successor is no more of a business puppet than was Zelaya, and in the free elections coming up this week, there is no clear business candidate. These business elites must be real amateurs. And of course Schakowsky makes no mention of Zelaya's attempt to amend the Honduran constitution to perpetuate himself in office in direct violation of Honduran law regarding a sitting president.

Schakowsky made a good Obama-type speech in which truth was turned on its head. She said "democratic order needs to be restored in Honduras." As opposed to what, pray tell? What she obviously means is "our favorite leftist Hugo Chavez buddy must be returned to power." This must have been a painful experience for Schakowsky. They miss the good old days where they got to go to banana republic leftist nations which governed extra-constitutionally, but loved money-bringing Democratic political hacks.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Conservative Litmus Test?

Should the Republican National Committee require Republican candidates to pass a litmus test before it helps those candidates financially in their races? Indiana Republican James Bopp Jr. thinks so. On Monday, he began circulating a proposed resolution that imposes such a litmus test. I like the idea, but I’m not thrilled with Bopp’s execution.
The Bopp Resolution
Bopp, the Vice-Chairman of the RNC, is proposing a resolution that would require Republican candidates to support certain positions as a condition of receiving funds and an endorsement from the RNC. This is his response to candidates like Dede Scozzafava and Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island. Bopp intends to offer this resolution at the RNC winter meeting in Hawaii in January.

If the RNC adopts the resolution, a candidate would need to agree to support at least eight of the following ten statements:
(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing, denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.
** Bopp, an attorney, also begins his resolution with eight representation clauses that I won’t bother reproducing. These type of clauses work in poorly drafted contracts, but are a mess in political documents -- not to mention, these are repetitive, pointless, and needlessly invoke Reagan in ways that makes it appear that Bopp is trying to steal the Reagan mantle. Let’s just do this on the merits Mr. Congressman. **
Whether or not the candidate supports these positions would somehow be determined by “voting record, public statements, and/or signed questionnaire[s].” The exact mechanism is not specified.

Is this a good idea? Yes and no. I believe that a litmus test of sorts is entirely appropriate. But I’m not thrilled with this one, nor do I think this resolution is well done.
There Is Nothing Wrong With Litmus Tests
There is nothing inappropriate with requiring party members or candidates to support the fundamental principles of the party either as a condition of membership or as a condition of receiving funds from the party.

Political parties are collections of individuals who have banded together to promote their common interests. It is an arrangement in which people agree to disagree on various matters, meaning that they will support each other despite those disagreements, so long as each supports the agreed-upon set of common interests. Those common interests form the fundamental principles of the party.

This agreement is what forms the party. And for a party to function, the agreement must be respected. That means that members cannot disclaim fundamental principles nor can they make their support for the party or its candidates contingent on positions beyond those fundamental principles. Indeed, if a party member is free to reject the fundamental principles, then they are in violation of the agreement and they have destroyed the foundation upon which the party was founded. At the same time, an individual who withholds their support unless the party accepts some position beyond the scope of those fundamental principles also is in violation of the agreement (this is basically two sides of the same coin).

Thus, there is nothing wrong with a litmus test, provided that it is limited solely to the fundamental principles of the party.
My Problems With Bopp’s Litmus Test
And that’s where my problems begin with Bopp’s resolution. Some of Bopp’s positions move beyond fundamental principle and involve the acceptance of specific policies that cannot be considered fundamental principles of the party.

First, opposition to Obama’s stimulus; opposing cap and trade; opposing card check; issues affecting Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran or North Korea; health care rationing; and the Defense of Marriage Act are all specific policies, not principles. These may be favored conservative positions at the moment, but they are hardly the foundation of what makes the party the party.

Secondly, these remain negative issues -- things we oppose -- not things we favor. This only tells us how the party would not vote, not what it would do instead. Having a positive vision of how the party will solve problems generally is much more important (and telling) than knowing that a particular candidate will oppose one particular bill.

Next, looking at our own poll results, there are some key issues missing, like opposing judicial activism and supporting free trade. And little of the nuance shown by Commentarama conservatives is reflected in Bopp’s resolution. For example, our own poll showed high support for gun ownership rights, but virtually no support for opposing all restrictions on gun ownership. Yet, Bopp’s resolution appears to lie in the latter camp. And if it doesn’t, then it’s a meaningless statement. . . at least the way it’s written.

Likewise, when did the party decide that it would become a required stance to support the military’s recommended troop surges? Are we to swear to blindly follow the military? And is there even a surge being planned in Iraq? And what is “effective action to eliminate” Iran’s nuclear threat? Why should a candidate sign up to a position that isn’t even defined? Not to mention, there is no mention of Russia or China or protecting American interests overseas? Aren’t those more important?

This list reads like a list of things Bopp doesn’t like about what Obama’s done recently with a smattering of pie in the sky solutions thrown in. We can do a lot better, as we’ve outlined before.
I Would Rather See. . .
At this point, I would rather see the party adopt a statement of actual principles, and then develop a series of policies that reflect those principles. This would be much more useful to guaranteeing conservative government than merely getting candidates to swear that they don’t like some of Obama’s bills.

I like the idea of a litmus test based on those principles (8 of 10 support would be acceptable), but would rather first see the party (1) ensure that every candidate is chosen after a primary, rather than a caucus or secret meeting, and (2) ensure that all primaries are closed to anyone who has not been a registered Republican for at least 90 days. I think those steps would go a long, long way to solving the RINO problem.

So, I would call Bopp’s resolution a good start, but it needs a lot of work.

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Welcome To The White House, Honored Guests

It's hard to believe, but after eleven months in office, President Barack H. Obama has taken a recess in his global surrender tour to have his very first official State Dinner. The honored guest is the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh. The rest of the guests will be the usual suspects, but they'll all enjoy the refurbished White House where the dinner will be held (see photo).

As long as he's finally going to have a formal dinner for the ally he's going to insult next, Obama decided to have the lavish affair in, yep, a tent. No White House State Dining Room, which holds 130 to 140 guests. No East Room, which can hold up to 200 guests. Not good enough for our president and his guests. The tent can hold up to 400 guests, thus allowing Obama to make up for lost time. Two dinners for the price of one, as it were. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

Now just who will get invited to this exclusive affair? It's a big game with the press. They're handicapping the possible participants. Most agree that Obama doesn't have much choice and will have to invite Vice President Biden and his wife. All the troops of the socialist left of the party will be there, including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. You can bet you'll see David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel. Probably new White House Counsel Bauer and his wife Madame Mao Dunn. Probably not Van Jones and his merry band of communist revolutionaries.

The danger for Obama is that by expanding the guest spots by nearly double, he risks offending the celebrities who would not have expected to be invited to the more intimate indoors of the White House, but become miffed by not being invited into the big tent. And celebrities feed the Democratic coffers in disproportionate sums compared to their numbers. Remember, after feeling snubbed by the Kennedy White House, Frank Sinatra threw the support of the "rat pack" behind Richard Nixon.

Naturally, Hillary Clinton will be there with her husband, old what's his name. Hillary, as Secretary of State, hand-delivered the invitation to the Indian prime minister. And she is an expert at tent meetings. She and the guy she is married to once gave a traveling tent extravaganza for another Indian prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. But the Clintons had even grander numbers in mind. They were able to crunch nearly 700 guests into their revival tent.

Still, one would have expected the pinky-finger dilettante of a president to hold his first official state dinner under more formal conditions, like inside the house. And this isn't the crown prince of lower Congogeria he's entertaining. India is a crucial democratic ally and trade partner with the second largest population of any nation on earth. In fact, it's not really just a country--it's a subcontinent.

Latin comedian George Lopez attended an earlier presidential tent event, and commented that "he appreciated the president inviting everyone over to his yard." A little less-slyly, the Times of India seemed a bit confused as to why an important state dinner would be held on someone's lawn, but graciously allowed "it called to mind a shamiana, a decorative circus-style tent used for outdoor weddings."

The Washington Post was reluctant about pointing out the weirdness of the tent, and had to take a shot (deserved) at George Bush for having one of these affairs for the president of Ghana which highlighted a performance of The Lion King, an African tale. Their comment: "Highlighting Disney's version of the story seems a bit like asking Olive Garden to cater lunch for a group of Italian diplomats." Nevertheless, even they found the tent meeting to be a strange first choice.

Given Obama's notorious ignorance of foreign affairs and international history, it's hard not to wonder if he thinks Indians live in tents. Worse, it's hard not to worry that he will get the whole concept wrong and have some harem dancers perform, followed by the beheading of a couple of infidels. That should liven up the festivities.

So, Obama will discuss serious state matters with the prime minister. Trade, global warming, India's immense contribution to air pollution, and relations with the Islamic nations surrounding her. But first, the elephants, the high-wire acts, the peanuts, and the clowns (or is that all the same thing?).
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THE WILD, WILD WEST: A State of Contrasts

By Writer X

Something a little different today. Cue the cowboys and happy trails.

Rather than write about books and publishing this week, I wanted to write about Arizona politics and attempt to explain why RINOs like John McCain continue to get elected in my adopted state. I don’t claim to have all the answers but I do have more than a few opinions and observations and even a few facts.

Before I discuss the Maverick, first a little about Arizona.

Arizona has about 6 million residents, half of whom live in Maricopa County where Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the United States, is located. I can count on one hand how many people I’ve met in Arizona who can actually claim to be natives. Every other person seems to relocate here from one of three places: California, Illinois, and Michigan. Really can’t blame them, considering our lower taxes, wide open spaces, and consistently beautiful weather, if you don’t count the summers. It’s a dry heat. Really.

Despite the hodgepodge of humanity, Arizona votes largely Republican while the city of Phoenix (in certain pockets) leans Democratic. Tucson, Prescott, and Flagstaff are the other larger cities in the state but they’re really small (population-wise) in comparison. Tucson and Flagstaff, homes of the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University respectively, lean Democratic but vote Republican in their outlying, rural areas. With Phoenix in the center, these cities literally stretch from one end of the state to the other in almost a straight line. In between and sideways, you’ll find endless miles of open desert, ranches, farms, military bases, and Indian Reservations.

I travel to rural northeastern Arizona regularly. Many of the people I meet are horse-riding, bola-tie wearing, rodeo-loving, hard-working people. They want as little government interference in their lives as possible and, predictably, prefer conservative candidates. Let’s just say you don’t see too many Priuses and Change We Can Believe In! bumper stickers when you drive through tiny mountain towns with names like ShowLow, Snowflake, Pinetop, and Heber.

Other travel book tidbits: Arizona is also home to America’s toughest sheriff, Joe Arpaio, as well as the least toughest Homeland Security Director and former Arizona governor, Janet Napolitano. Sheriff Joe is probably the most popular and colorful politician in the state. He’s more popular than McCain.

John McCain’s political career started about the same time that I moved to Arizona in the early 1980’s when he ran for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. His heiress wife’s fortune certainly didn’t hurt his political aspirations, although his personal story is certainly compelling and resonates with many Arizona residents.

McCain’s U.S. senate career began in 1987 and he’s been entrenched and enamored by Washington D.C. politics ever since. I forget when he started referring to himself as the Maverick, but I think it was during the mid-90’s when he dreamed up the McCain-Feingold Bill. Public opinion for him in Arizona hit its lowest point when he tried to ram the Amnesty Bill during President Bush’s last term. Since that disastrous exercise, he’s said, “We heard you” about a thousand times at townhalls that are attended mostly by senior citizens from Sun City. Illegal immigration, as you can imagine, is a hot-button issue in Arizona and only grows hotter. Arizonans overwhelmingly poll against amnesty and consistently list illegal immigration as one of their biggest concerns.

Despite his declining popularity within the state, McCain continues to win his senate elections because he’s got shoeboxes full of money and no one ever provides much competition. However, Minuteman founder, Chris Simcox, is challenging the Maverick for his 2010 senate seat. John Kyl, McCain’s senate buddy, laughed off this challenge not long ago in our local newspaper, The Arizona Republic. Turns out this wasn’t smart. This angered many people, especially those who’ve grown tired of John McCain and his RINO ways. Rasmussen, interestingly, did a poll last week between John McCain and J.D. Hayworth. Hayworth is a former U.S. Representative for Arizona; Harry Mitchell, one of our “moderate” Democrats who has disappeared into the Witness Protection Program since his vote for PelosiObama Healthcare, won Hayworth’s seat in the last election by a slim margin. According to Rasmussen, McCain and Hayworth polled in a statistical dead-heat. The only problem is that Hayworth isn’t running. Yet.

There’s a perception among Arizonans that John McCain only gets tough and only becomes a Republican when he wants something or when he’s up for re-election. Example: Suddenly he’s changed his stance on Cap and Trade, even calling it Cap and Tax now, leaving his friends Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham in the lurch on this issue. Must be election time. Many in Arizona would like to see McCain retire to one of his wife’s ranches in Sedona. Permanently. And if he could take his Paris Hilton-wannabe daughter, all the better.

Consequently, there’s a chance 2010 might be a closer election, especially given Simcox’s strong and visible stand against illegal immigration and open borders. If J.D. Hayworth decides to run? The game might be over.

As an aside, Janet Napolitano was rumored to be considering a future senate run for either John Kyl’s or McCain’s seat, but after her dismal (and daffy) performance as Homeland Security Director, I don’t think she would resonate with most Arizona voters again. Her ship has sailed. All anyone would have to do is plaster that goofy photo of her wearing the goggles and awkwardly clutching a rifle below a caption that says, “Terrorism doesn’t exist.” Besides, she left Arizona in a financial shambles when she didn’t think twice about accepting the position with Homeland Security.

More from the Wild, Wild West as it develops.

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