Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Defending the Temple of Doom

Few films stir up more conversation on this blog than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Steven Spielberg’s 1984 sequel (prequel, actually) to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I love the first three Indiana Jones films equally and while Raiders is rightfully accepted as a masterpiece, Temple of Doom does nothing but divide. It’s either an action-packed piece of pulpy fun... or an annoying mess of a movie – Spielberg and George Lucas doing nothing more than indulging themselves at the expense of the audience (and, at times, their stomachs).

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Up Your’s, Honkeys!

The Democrats are the party of the “working man.” They represent that core of America that builds things, which makes things, which toils in the dirt, which keeps America running. These are the hardworking people of this great land who looked to FDR to save them. Yep. That’s the Democrats. . . right? Well, no. Those people vote Republican now, and the Democrats are about to concede that.

The biggest myth in politics is that the Democrats are the party of the working man and the Republicans are the party of the rich. In reality, the Democratic party consists of welfare cases who live off the state and white millionaires who inherited their wealth or live off trading political favors. They have no middle. And lest you doubt they are the party of the corrupt rich, check out these statistics:
● According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2007, the fifty biggest companies in the country gave 60% of their political donations to Democrats.

● According to, in 2008, Obama raised $145.7 million from corporate America. Of this, $42 million was from Wall Street and $46 million was from lawyers and lobbyists (K Street).

● The Democratic Party took in another $166.7 million from corporate America, of which $44.4 million came directly from Wall Street banks and $35 million came from K-Street lobbyists.
And this is direct contributions only, it does not count independent spending or PACs, where the real money gets spent. Moreover, the Democrats are awash in influence peddling scandals and they regularly move between government, K Street and Wall Street. Yet, we’re supposed to believe the Democrats are the party of middle-class America. . . of workers? Hardly.

Anyway, things are about to change.

According to Democratic analysts Stanley Greenberg and Ruy Teixeira, for decades now, the Democratic Party has been bleeding white, working class voters. This trend started in the 1960s, accelerated in the 1980s and continues today despite the Democrats’ best efforts to woo these voters. How bad has it gotten? In 2004, John Kerry lost the white working vote by 58% to 41%. Obama improved slightly to 55% to 43%, but in 2010 this gap reached an all time high of 63% to 33%.

So how do the Democrats plan to respond. Apparently, the Democrats have decided they can’t win white working voters, so they’re giving up on trying! Verily. In 2012, they intend to treat these honkus-escapuses as “unobtainable.” Instead, they plan to cobble together a coalition of over-educated whites (professors, lawyers, artists, social workers, teachers, therapists, human resources manager, journalists and librarians), single women, blacks, Jews, Hispanics and Millennials.

Now let me make a few observations about this:
● First, this strategy relies on groups who historically don’t turn out for elections. Good luck with that. Moreover, this strategy depends on Hispanics out-breeding whites. As I’ve mentioned before, that’s not going to happen.

● Secondly, this strategy depends on the gap in the white vote not growing worse -- anything above 17% is fatal for Democrats. But it will grow worse. Once the Democrats embrace being the party of snooty-whites and minorities, they will lose all the rest of the working class whites. That’s how it’s always worked. This is how the South became Republican and this is how places like Ohio and Michigan will follow.

Also, the idea of a race-based party of rich and poor simply will not play well with most Americans. Americans ALL like to think of themselves as non-racial, middle-class, working types. . . exactly the opposite of what the Democrats will be. This should lead to middle-class flight to the Republican Party, leaving only the angry left for the Democrats.

● Third, this is going to kill them with their union friends, who are the source of their ground game and a good portion of their financial strength. And ironically, they have chosen to do this now just as manufacturing is about to rebound in this country because the comparative advantage Asia has is ending. Whoops.

● Fourth, the biggest flaw in this plan is the idea that Hispanics will mimic blacks. If the Republicans can win even 40-45% of the Hispanic vote, the Democrats will be doomed. And here the Democrats have given the Republicans the perfect way to do that -- Hispanics, like everyone else, want to become middle class Americans. It’s time for the Republicans to offer them that chance.
The Democrats are about to hand the Republicans an historical opportunity here to rebrand the party and truly become the party of middle class America. The Republicans need to seize this moment and expose the Democrats for the frauds they are.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's A Bird. It's A Plane. It's A Drone!

The FAA is considering new rules which would allow civilian use of drones. Presently, use of drones is restricted to military activities, and even at that are somewhat limited within the borders of the United States. Now these won't be the kind of drones we picture dropping bunker-busters in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will be much, much smaller versions, most incapable of handling the weight of a serious bomb.

Initial use of drones would be restricted to law enforcement agencies, utility companies and farmers. The police want them for surveillance and tracking of escaped criminals. The utilities want them for patrolling power lines and water, oil and gas pipelines. Farmers see them as a far more efficient way to spray their crops than helicopters and small aircraft. I have visions of a scene out of The Fifth Element, with flying objects flitting about like cars on a stacked freeway. But I'm known for a fevered imagination.

Currently the FAA has issued 266 active testing permits for civilian drone use. The drones are not allowed in busy air corridors yet out of concern for lack of adequate "detect, sense and avoid" technology. But that is in the potential plan as well. Naturally, there are many other concerns which will need to be addressed before final implementation. The potential for criminal use is obvious. UCLA professor and fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Technolgy Innovation says: "By definition, small drones are easy to conceal and fly without getting a lot of attention. Bad guys know this."

Still, the appropriate good guys seem to outweigh the bad guys. The leader in this potential boom business is AeroVironment, located in Monrovia, California. They are already the major provider of small drones for the military. They estimate that police agencies alone give them a potential new customer base of nearly 18,000. Above my old stomping-grounds in the mountains around Simi Valley, they have also been testing helicopter-style drones called Qube that fly 100 to 200 feet above the ground, matching height to terrain.

Unlike their big brothers at war, the Qubes weigh only five and a half pounds, are three feet long, and fit nicely into the trunk of a police cruiser. The Qube was unveiled at the Chicago convention in October of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It drew considerable excitement with its multiple surveillance capabilities which are controlled by an easily-manned tablet computer. A representative of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was particularly impressed. His department just purchased twelve new manned helicopters at a cost of $1.7 million each. Except for not carrying weapons or personnel, the Qube has superior surveillance talents, at a cost of $40,000 each.

The FAA still has to address certain important issues before test approval in regular civilian air lanes and over populated areas. First, they want to know what would happen if the tablet computer operated by a police officer lost communications with the drone. One FAA official put it quite simply: "What will we know and when will we know it when one of these things falls out of the sky, takes a nose dive into a backyard pool or crashes through some homeowner's roof?"

Even certain humanitarian and charitable organizations are interested in the drones. One company has already done studies proposing a network of drones to deliver food and medicine in remote areas which are otherwise largely inaccessible by road and difficult to service by manned aircraft. Real estate companies are interested because of the ability of a drone to quickly and easily show a potential buyer a large tract of land in real time.

Developers of the potential drone expansion into civilian life recognize there are inherent dangers. The small drones are unlikely to be very efficient at terrorist activity according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Says Gretchen West of AMVSI: "Small drones are not designed to carry weapons or explosive materials, and the extra weight makes the drones difficult to control." But if they can carry medical supplies, they can carry weaponized chemical and biological aerosol weapons that don't weigh as much as a conventional bomb or dirty nuke.

One critic pointed out that small drones are already being used to spray fields in England and Japan. "If they can spray fields with pesticides, they can spray cities with biochemical agents." Many experts acknowledge this, but also say that strict controls would make it extremely difficult for terrorists to get hold of a drone capable of serious damage, let alone the weaponized biochemical agent that the drone would potentially deliver. Still, the danger is not to be easily dismissed.

Finally, there's the usual concern over privacy. Even perfectly normal, non-conspiratorial folks might not like the idea of a surveillance drone casually taking pictures of them skinny-dipping in their backyard pool. But mostly, it's the abstract concern that will be raised. In fact, the ACLU already has. Catherine Crump of the ACLU says: "It's important that the FAA is scrutinizing the safety of the technology, but they should also make sure Americans' privacy is maintained."

"Having cheap, portable, flying surveillance machines may have a tremendous benefit for law enforcement, but will it respect Americans' privacy?" Somehow, I think she may be more concerned about filming of suspected criminal activity than she is about the generic right to privacy of the much larger body of ordinary law-abiding citizens. But since she has a point, I won't question her motives any farther.

One thing I am absolutely sure of. If the FAA can sort out and solve the potential problems, this is a potential boon to the economy. Without having to hire a single public employee, and without having to invest a single taxpayer dollar, this industry is truly shovel-ready and will produce both new jobs and generate legitimate tax revenue.

Therefore, I fear the FAA will not solve the problem because it is a federal agency beholden to the Obama administration's policies of business-squelching and creation of federal "ownership." Why lend money to a profitable going concern when you can lend it to pie-in-the-sky technologies which are not even close to being shovel-ready and which have a startling track record of bankruptcy?

What are your thoughts on civilian drones?
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The “Right” Tax Hikes

Before Turkey Day, Pat Toomey and Jeb Hensarling were taking a lot of heat for a tax proposal they made as part of their supercommittee work. Let’s talk about why their proposal actually is something conservatives should adopt. The proposal in question involves either capping or eliminating both the state tax deduction and the home interest deduction. Here’s why you should support this.

The arguments against this are that it would constitute a broad-based tax increase. In other words, most taxpayers would see their taxes go up as a result of this. And if you phase this out above a certain income, then you are playing into the Democrats’ class warfare arguments. Also, eliminating the home mortgage deduction would hurt the home industry by eliminating the incentive for people to buy homes, which conservatives see as promoting personal financial responsibility.

The MSM argument for this is that eliminating these deductions would result in a pretty massive increase in tax revenues, and something on this scale will be needed to reduce the deficit or pay off the debt.

Sounds like a loser, right? Well, not so fast. Consider these points.
● As a conservative, the idea of helping a particular industry through the tax code should be anathema to us. We should not be picking winners and losers no matter how much we like particular industries. And we should not look favorably upon social engineering.

● The complaint that this would broadly raise taxes can be offset by lowering rates as part of the agreement. Some people would end up paying more and some would pay less, but overall lower, flatter rates without distorting deductions should always be the conservative goal.

● The class warfare point doesn’t really support the idea of leaving the current system in place either. Instead, it argues against phasing out the deduction for the rich. But if we eliminate these deductions entirely or simply cap them at some amount, then everyone is treated equally and there is no support for class warfare.

● And in favor of capping these deductions, if not eliminating them entirely, consider this. The purpose of the home mortgage deduction is to encourage home ownership because that’s fiscally responsible, but does this argument still make sense when we are talking about people who are buying million dollar homes? Presumably, they don’t need the government trying to tell them where it’s best to put their money.
Those are the preliminaries. Now it gets interesting. See, it turns out that both the state tax deduction and the home mortgage deduction disproportionately benefit liberals and support liberalism.

By allowing state taxes to be deducted, lower tax states are essentially subsidizing higher tax states and making higher taxes more palatable. In other words, through the state tax deduction, the federal government will effectively pick up about a third of the tax burden imposed by the states. Thus, if State A taxes income at 6% and State B taxes income at 12%, the federal government gives State A a hidden 2% subsidy and State B a hidden 4% subsidy by reducing the federal taxes it demands from the taxpayers of those states. Because federal spending is a zero sum game, meaning it is finite, that extra 2% is basically money transferred from other states to State B, i.e. lower tax states are subsidizing higher tax states.

Why should a responsible state like Texas be forced to subsidize an irresponsible state like New York or California? If New Yorkers want to pay 12%, let them pay 12%, don’t let them pay only 8% with tax money from Texas going to make up the other 4%. Make these liberal states experience the full consequences of their stupid policies!

And make no mistake, liberal states are the ones benefiting from this.

Moreover, “the rich” who benefit the most from this deduction and the home mortgage deduction are disproportionately supporters of liberals. In fact, according to Michael Barone, voters in high-tax, high-income states overwhelmingly voted for Obama. Nationally, those with incomes over $200,000 voted for Obama by 6% more than voters below $200,000. And in the high-income-tax states, Obama blew McCain away: Connecticut (55%), New York (56%), New Jersey (52%), Maryland (55%), Illinois (54%), California (57%).

Why should a middle class worker in Kentucky be forced to send tax dollars to Washington so that Washington can support the spending habits of rich liberals and rich liberal states?

It’s time to eliminate these deductions or cap them at a low level which doesn’t subsidize liberal states.

Toomey and Hensarling are right in this. Eliminating these deductions is solid conservative economics and philosophy and it’s solid conservative politics.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was nice. In fact, I still feel a little full as I’m sure many of you do. So let’s ease back into the political scene with a quick catch-up post on what you missed over the holidays.

Item One: There Is No God! Guess who left “God” out of the annual Thanksgiving Day address? If you guessed Obama, then you win a prize. So Obama makes sure the White House honors Islamic holidays, but he won’t mention God on a holiday that honors Christians who came to the New World to find religious freedom? I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised, the left has waged a war against religion for decades now.

Item Two: Let’s Not Be Frank. Barney Frank announced today he will retire. His reasons were the usual, wanted to spend more time at gay bars and politics is too nasty now that the Republicans are in charge. He also hinted at the real reason: he was going to lose. Last election he almost lost his seat to a no-named token Republican. Since that time, his district has been re-districted so that he lost a chunk of supporters. Rather than blow his money in a possibly embarrassing loss, he decided to abandon ship and make off with his ill-gotten booty.

Item Three: Colon Powell. Did I misspell that? Nope. Old Rectum’s latest bit of stupidity is to blame the Tea Party for the “divisive tone” in Washington. Forget that this has been the case since the MSM went to war against Nixon and went full-retard against Reagan and almost went blind from their hate against Bush II. . . yep, forget all that. It’s the Tea Party! Those average Americans who want their government to stop spending so much, are the reason everyone in DC hates each other.

We should be thankful the Republicans never fell for the idiotic idea of drafting Powell to run for President. Powell is a turkey. He’s not a great general (in fact, he was the guy who whined we would lose 60,000 troops if we attacked Iraq), he has never shown much in the way of brains, he’s liberal on all issues, and he’s shown tremendous disloyalty. In other words, he’s the ideal RINO and should be tossed out of the party.

Item Four: Tebowmania. Speaking of the war against religion, I have to mention Tim Tebow. I’m not a Florida Gators fan, nor a Denver Broncos fan. I knew little about Tebow before he was drafted and I cared even less. And I don’t care what anyone’s religious beliefs are. That’s all up to you and it’s none of my business.

But I don’t like the way Tebow’s being treated. From the very beginning there was a real wave of venom aimed at him. People, especially sportswriters, HATED him. Why did they hate him? Here's a clue: every single article they wrote or comment they made on the air went out of its way to attack him for being religious. Sure, they denied religious bias, but they couldn’t help themselves. . . they had to keep mentioning it. Now they’re even trying to project their obsession onto his fans by claiming the fans are the ones who keep bringing up his religion, which just isn’t true. They keep saying the fans are claiming that just because Tebow is religious, he should be allowed to play quarterback. Only, no one has ever said this. To the contrary, it’s the sportswriters who are saying he shouldn’t be allowed to play quarterback precisely because he is religious.

I know obsession when I see it, and this is obsession.

What’s interesting is that if Tebow were black none of this would be a problem. Ray Lewis (who has murdered a man) and others regularly profess their faith in all their interviews and the media praises them for it. But let Tebow be seen giving a quick prayer and heads begin to explode.

Moreover, I find the criticism stunningly hypocritical. Tebow is now 5-1 as a starter. That’s better than most black quarterbacks in their rookie years, yet criticism of those quarterbacks for failing to win was called “racist.” We're told Tebow can’t throw, yet he has a higher completion percentage than Mike Vick did in two of his seasons and has already thrown for more yards than Mike Vick did in his rookie year -- yet the same people who hate Tebow and say he can’t play were verbally fellating Vick and calling his critics “racists.” These are also the same people who now write articles condemning the rest of us for not forgiving Vick for his dog fighting crimes even though he never showed any contrition. So we're the intolerant ones, huh?

What is going on here is liberalism in action. The affirmative action mentality says that any criticism of black quarterbacks is racist and must be shouted down. And Christianity is oppressive, so it must be oppressed. How else do you explain that full-on obsessive, public hatred of a white Christian kid simply because of his religion is suddenly acceptable? It's despicable.

Item Five: Supercommittee Fails. And no one cares. In fact, Pat Toomey pointed out they can just ignore the deal’s requirements to impose the draconian cuts. More false Washington drama.

Welcome back!

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Declaration Of Nondepence

If ever there were such a thing as a perfect bumper-sticker, it's this one: "New Company Policy--We Are Not Hiring Until Obama Is Gone." It sums up in a simple phrase both the plight and the pluck of the small business owner. West Georgia businessman Bill Looman has posted the notice on his place of business as well as on the trucks that deliver the named goods for U. S. Cranes, LLC.

Mr. Looman clearly has no love for Barack Hussein Obama, but he is also very clear that his ire is aimed at the economic mess that the Economist-in-Chief has created in his three short years in office rather than being aimed at Obama personally. Looman has been posting his policy on Facebook for some time, but a recent picture of the notice went viral on the internet. He has since received thousands of Facebook postings and e-mails regarding the signs. According to Looman, the comments are running 20-1 in favor of his position.

Mr. Looman is clearly able to think in terms of practical business necessity rather than political slogans. He is making the point that he is unable to hire rather than refusing to hire by choice. And he blames Obama and his socialist minions. In interviews, Looman has used the same word that economists and Wall Street pundits have been using regularly since the market crash. That word is "uncertainty." Looman says his successful business could be more successful if he could free up capital to purchase equipment and hire new employees.

But for now, given the already burdensome taxation and regulation on his business, he cannot expand so long as there is the expectation of additional taxes and regulation--an Obama certainty. He says that the cost of doing business has risen considerably in three years, and now he will be facing new fuel price increases, payroll taxes, and health care costs. Which would be bad enough if there were any way to calculate with certainty what those additional costs would be. For now, he is holding on to his current employees and his current capital rather than investing in the expansion of his business in order to have sufficient working capital when the next round of unknowable Obama costs strikes. Looman himself says that he can only hazard an educated guess as to how much he will actually need, but he knows he doesn't dare spend his reserve on expansion and/or hiring.

He summarizes his business thoughts by saying: "Can't afford it [hiring new employees]. I've got people I want to hire right now, but I just can't afford it. And I don't foresee that I'll be able to afford it unless some things change in DC." Looman is merely stating very publicly and very defiantly what millions of small and medium-size businesses know to be true. In the near future, if Obama remains in office, it is likely that we will see something worse than not hiring. We will be seeing massive small business layoffs and even failures.

In the event that Obama should be re-elected, those who vote for him will have a notice of their own to post: "I voted for Obama, and all I got was this lousy unemployment check."
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're closing shop until Monday to honor the Holiday. Feel free to use this as an open thread. Tell us what you're thankful for, tell us your football thoughts, tell us whatever's on your mind. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! [+] Read More...

Debate Wrap: Of Icebergs And Dissemblers

Last night’s debate was interesting. It may have changed the race too, though we won’t know for a week or two. First impressions are that Newt probably shot himself in the head Rick Perry-style. Paul lost a few friends. Cain stopped the bleeding. And I never want to work at the Heritage Foundation.

Imploder of the Week: Newt. Last night, Newt reminded us exactly why he makes us nervous. When Rick Perry got called onto the carpet in his second debate for subsidizing the education of illegal immigrants, he pointed a cow-pokey finger at the rest of us and told us we ain’t got no hearts. That was the moment Ricky hit the iceberg. Newt was fully aware of Ricky’s tale of woe. Yet, when he was called onto the carpet for supporting the DREAM Act and amnesty, he proceeded to dissemble, telling us that he hates the DREAM Act and amnesty but would happily support both by any other name if they could be set up so he wouldn't be blamed for implementing them. Then he pointed a lobbyist-pocket stained finger at the rest of us and told us we ain’t got no hearts. If arrogance, stupidity and gall had a child, it would have been that moment.

Moreover, Newt was rising in the polls because he seemed to be smart, conservative and firm in his opinions. Last night, shifty Newt was back. To borrow a word from tryanmax, Newt came across as a chameleon, shifting positions to please the crowd without ever saying anything substantive or pinning himself down. And while he was definitely emphatic to the point of arrogance about everything he said, the only good and firm answers he gave were the ones he cribbed from Herman Cain – handling Iran, handling social security, the biggest threat to the nation, etc.

This will probably stop Newt’s momentum cold and may even throw him into a Rick Perry nosedive. Who will benefit? Odds are 46% Cain, 44% Romney, 10% other.

Winner: Cain. Cain is most likely to benefit from Newt’s implosion because he did two important things last night. First, he stopped the bleeding by stopping the narrative that he’s an idiot. There were no gaffes. His answers were solid and thoughtful and showed remarkable judgment. Indeed, everyone else was stealing his answers, which tells you something. And when it came to explaining his judgment, he proved why we should be looking to business rather than politics for leaders. He accepted no sacred cows and said he would make decisions by looking at everything we do and asking if we are getting the benefits we want from our efforts. Clear, concise, correct.

Secondly, he re-energized his supporters with a strong showing that highlighted why people liked him before the scandals, and by showing broad knowledge on a range of topics. This probably earned him a second look when Newt collapses.

Winner: Romney. If Cain doesn’t benefit from Newt’s collapse, Romney will. Here’s why. Romney said nothing. . . diddly over squat. He didn’t even sound like he was saying anything. In fact, I honestly cannot tell you anything he said except that every single sentence staked out firm positions on both sides of the issue. But what Romney has going for him is a stamp of approval and just enough fibbing to make you think he’s to the right of Gingrich on illegal immigration. That stamp of approval has generated the “electability” canard and the “maybe it’s time for conservatives to give up and support Romney” meme. This makes him well-placed to benefit from Newt’s implosion if Cain can’t capture Newt’s supporters.

Loser: Ron Paul. I’ve debated where to put Paul. As usual, he was brilliant at times, but also said things which simply disqualify him with the Republican Party base and the public at large. So I call him a loser because while he made good points, I doubt he reached anyone who didn’t already support him.

Loser: The Heritage Foundation. What a bunch of stiffs.

Loser: Perry. Old Rick spent the last two weeks trying to get noticed by challenging Pelosi to a debate, declaring he would make Congress part time, pulling the ears off a gundark, and promising to set up a no-fly zone over Denver Broncos football games and Syria. He didn’t Tebow during the debate, but it might have helped. Instead, the other candidates took turns gut punching the hapless Texan. Bachmann in particular made him look like a fool, as did Paul, when they slapped down and dismissed every one of his ideas. And Perry didn’t help himself with disjointed and nonsensical answers, e.g. at one point, he suggested that Iran is trying to conquer Mexico and his solution to stopping this was another Monroe Doctrine, which he defined as building a fence between the US and Mexico. Monroe was not amused.

Winner: CNN. Wolf Blitzer did an excellent job keeping the debate moving and being unobtrusive. He had a couple minor gotcha questions, but rarely felt like he was manipulating the discussion.

Whatever: Bachmann seemed more knowledgeable, but still just floods you with trivia. I’m not sure I heard her enunciate a single principle except repeatedly saying, “we’ve got to do something,” which sounds like the woman in The Simpsons who always yells: “what about the children!” Santorum wasn’t a jerk and almost made sense a couple times, though he remains about as relevant as the furniture. Huntsman continues to say smart things and smug things. His slappy fight with Romney made them both look effete.

Security: Finally, let’s highlight a particularly interesting area last night. Ron Paul made the smart point that we should not trade our freedoms for false promises of security. He’s 100% right. The cry of “crisis” and “I’ll protect you” have been the bait tyrants have used for generations to get power handed to them willingly.

When Paul said this, the other candidates (except Cain), stumbled all over this issue. Each recognized the danger of openly saying “screw the Constitution,” so they proclaimed a love for the Constitution before they said the Constitution shouldn’t stand in the government’s way when the government screams “security.” This is dangerous thinking. Rights exist for a reason and if the government can simply declare an emergency and terminate those rights, then we have no rights, we have privileges at the whim of the federal beast.

Paul again countered, this time by asking if this meant these candidates supported the government groping old people at airports. Each tried to evade this by attacking Obama for letting those workers unionize. Several suggested privatizing this “function” was the answer. But this is ridiculous. When someone shoves a flashlight up your rear under government authority, it doesn’t really matter who they work for, it’s the government authority that’s the problem.

Newt and Romney tried to slide around this by mixing the issue of foreign invaders and criminals. Both basically said that foreign invaders, i.e. enemy agents, have no rights. Correct. Then they said we need to keep criminal and “security” issues separate. Ok. Then they wiped out these distinctions by claiming that whenever a terrorist act could be stopped, the Constitution should not stop the government from using any tool to uncover that terrorism. In other words, when the government says security, there is no Constitution.

Paul is the only one to remain true to the Constitution on this. The others (excluding Cain) were hypocrites and showed a total disregard for the rights of citizens. Cain is the only one who split this baby by stating that he was willing to look at each power given to the government, demand proof of its effectiveness, and tweak the system to reduce the government’s powers. You can decide where you come down on this issue, but it is highly instructive of the mindset of the candidates when it comes to the issue of respecting the limitations of government power.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T-Rav's Sockpuppet Theater Presents: Yet Another Debate

No intro tonight, as the debate is about to start and I was out procuring basic foodstuffs, i.e. fast food. Tonight's debate is on CNN (here's the feed: LINK).

T-Rav apologizes for being late, but the sockpuppets got into a fight and a basketball game broke out. He'll join us as soon as possible.

As usual. . . there are no rules!

(P.S. The MSM has already projected Hillary the winner tonight. :))

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Liberals to Obama: “Quit!”

There have been rumbles for some time about Obama dragging down the left. . . as if they need help. But nobody reputable has said anything publicly, until now. In an editorial in The Wall Street Journal two Democratic pollsters, Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen, have openly asked his Messiahness to step down and let someone competent replace him in 2012. Specifically, they want Hillary. Ha! While I LOVE the sentiment, the argument is actually pretty ridiculous.

Caddell and Schoen first state that they think Obama can win re-election, “but the kind of campaign required for the president’s political survival would make it almost impossible for him to govern.” Then they invoke both Truman and Johnson as Presidents who “accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election.” Both took what Caddell and Schoen call “the moral high ground” of not running for re-election. Thus, since Obama cannot campaign in a way that will let him govern, they call for him to step aside and let Hillary run in his place.

Good times.

Entertaining though it may be, this argument is completely flawed. For one thing, Obama can’t win re-election. Not only is he historically low in the polls, but he’s been there so consistently no matter what’s happened that it’s clear the public has stopped listening. In other words, he’s run out of second chances. And running the negative campaign they think is necessary for him to win won’t help either. This election will be a referendum on Obama and Obama only -- attacking the other guy can’t help him. Not to mention, going negative will only fire up the Tea Party who want to ship his lazy *ss back to whence it came.

Secondly, they are sadly mistaken if they think narcissist Obama will EVER step down. Buddhist monks could literally be setting themselves on fire on the White House lawn and his majesty would still believe the people love him.

Moreover, there’s a huge flaw in their assumption that Obama resigning would somehow change the calculation. Indeed, this concept highlights several of the problems with liberal thinking. For example, they don’t grasp that it’s his policies that have been the problem, not the man. Sure, Obama is a turd as a human being, but people don’t hate him because he’s a turd, they hate everything he’s done. Hillary wouldn’t do a thing differently and we know that. So why should anyone think changing the figurehead for a hateful, pathetic bowel movement like liberalism will somehow make liberalism acceptable? That is frankly stupid.

Further, they argue that Obama resigning “would put great pressure” on Republicans to compromise. <<== That right there is why liberals lose wars, folks. These bozos actually think Obama’s complete surrender will suddenly get Republicans to compromise?! That’s not how reality works. The consistent human instinct for thousands of generations has been to crush an enemy when they are down. . . not cater to their desires.

They also argue this would be constructive because it would “change the dynamic from who is more to blame – George W. Bush or Barack Obama – to a more constructive dialog.” Uh. . . no. Only hardcore leftists think this is still the dynamic. Obama has been the leader for three years. He shoved the federal government up our collective rumps over and over, he tried to unionize private companies, spent the country to death, crushed our medical system, gave aid and comfort to our enemies, abandoned our friends, and otherwise soiled and ruined everything for which the United States stands. The only question people will ask now is: “do you want this to continue or not?” And the dynamic will be those who work for a living versus those who leech for living. That’s it.

Finally, they contend Hillary could reach “an historic agreement” with Republicans just like her husband did, but Obama can’t. And they claim this is important because it’s the best way to “preserve Obama’s achievements.” Hardly. The public wants Obama rousted and the country fumigated. The Republicans get this and they will not cut deals with Hillary or anyone else to preserve Obama’s “achievements.” This goes back to the surrender fantasy.

Obama stepping aside is fun to talk about and I love the demoralizing aspect of this on the left, just like I LOVE how Chris Matthews’s tingle has turned into the burn of an STD, but forget Obama stepping aside to save the Democrats. . . that will never happen. And definitely forget the idea the public would forgive the Democrats if Obama does step aside. The Democrats spent the last few years raping the American dream and the American public is in no mood to forgive them.

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More Buckets of US Money For Palestine?

Currently, the Obama administration has requested $550 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority for 2012. That request is based on present notions and past reality. Although the head of the Palestinian Authority is Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, all assumptions were based on his retaining sole authority over all of Palestine. But that is simply not the case.

While Fatah may hold nominal leadership of the P.A., it has never fully-controlled the artificial creation called Palestine. Though Fatah has its strongest representation in the West Bank, it had a strong rival in Gaza. It is estimated that Fatah controls about 40% of the Palestinian population while its rival controls approximately the same percentage. The rival is terrorist Hamas. Hamas is Iran-fueled, anti-American and pledged to the destruction of Israel.

Until recently, the American State Department could maintain the fiction that it was dealing only with the duly-constituted government of Palestine, namely the Palestinian Authority controlled by Fatah. Then last May, P.A. chairman Abbas entered into an agreement with Hamas to form a "unity government." The strength of Hamas in the negotiations is evidenced by the recent exclusion of American trained economist and current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from the future unity government.

For all practical purposes, the United States would now be negotiating with a government that American law says we cannot deal with, let alone fund. The 2006 Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act conditions aid to the Palestinian Authority on its exclusion of any group which will not renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by current agreements. Until now, the U.S. has also maintained that it is America's policy to abide by the decisions of the Middle East "quartet" comprised of the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations which require that the Palestinian Authority maintain all agreements between the P.A. and Israel.

It will be well-nigh impossible for the Palestinian Authority to continue to adhere to any of these foundational agreements once Hamas is part of a unity government. Hamas is pledged to its very core to the destruction of Israel. That is its guiding principle. This created a problem of serious proportions during the Bush administration when Hamas won the parliamentary elections of 2006. The "quartet" reacted to this by issuing its firm statement that it would not tolerate any Palestinian government controlled by a terrorist group such as Hamas.

After an angry Hamas seized the Gaza strip from Fatah in 2007, a coalition government which did not place any Hamas members in important executive positions was formed. The pretense continued, but will no longer be viable once Hamas is actually made a formal, active member of the Palestinian unity government. Yet the Obama administration acts as if tomorrow were yesterday, and continues to request aid for a government which will be openly hostile to both the United States and Israel. The vast majority of rocket attacks on Israel are already launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza. It will soon have the entire area to work from.

The chairman of the House Appropriations foreign aid subcommittee, Republican Kay Granger of Texas and the ranking minority member, Democrat Nita Lowey of New York sent a joint letter to Abbas warning the P.A. that forming a government with Hamas would "threaten the provision of United States assistance and support." That prompted the Obama administration to request the $550 million aid package to counter the objections of the subcommittee.

A decision will have to be made, and the potential victim is Israel if Obama prevails. With the exception of the mass-murder part, the President seems far more in tune with Palestine than with our longtime ally Israel. Obama has been openly contemptuous of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is hard to say at this point how the whole matter will play out. If Congress refuses to fund the new unity government, there is always the chance that Obama will simply issue an executive order diverting funds from other targets and giving them to the Palestinian Authority. The House's sole power of the purse means very little to constitutional scholar Barack Hussein Obama.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Is Western Civilization Too Civilized?

From banning jungle gyms and monkey bars to eliminating tackle football, American schools have slowly been removing any potential danger from our children's lives. Some schools have gone so far as to eliminate swings and slides, lest some poor child get hurt. Though girls are affected by the weakening of the American child, most of the activities being suppressed on the schoolyard are aimed at boys. But leave it to Canada to lead the way to the complete neutering of Western boys. They've taken away their balls.

The feminization of American males has been going on for decades since the rise of radical feminism. But sadly, even those who should know better have often joined in the blurring of natural biological differences between boys and girls, men and women. One Harvard president was even booted out of his post for daring to suggest that males tend to lean more toward the hard sciences than females.

Toronto public schools are now ball-less. Nerf balls are OK, but no longer will the kids be threatened by oncoming projectiles such as footballs, baseballs, volleyballs, or any ball with an exterior harder than Jell-O. I remember when I was playing football in elementary school, and I somehow got lined up against the biggest kid of them all. I prepared for death. But I was faster than he was, and managed to get out of his way. And I was nowhere near the ball. I don't think having the quarterback throwing a nerf football would have altered my fear one iota. As for baseball, I became a great hitter simply because the alternative was that the leather-bound rock being hurled from the mound would hit me instead of the bat. I survived.

I'm hoping the action in Toronto doesn't metastasize into America, but I'm not holding my breath. No wonder the jihadists think Americans are pushovers. Fortunately, our military has no such delusions about life being without danger. Life itself is about calculated risk. Boys tend to be greater risk-takers than girls. There are plenty of tough girls out there, but on the whole, boys tend to be the daredevils. They are overall more prone to competition, particularly physical competition. Take that away from them, and you get two types of male adults--the effete pinky-finger French wine drinker and the street thug.

Future Christian warriors are being told by their namby-pamby pastors, weak-kneed mothers and metrosexualized fathers that violence never solves anything. Well, tell that to the Japanese and the Germans. Rough schoolyard play, including those hard balls, are part of learning how to take necessary risks while avoiding injury as best you can. As the Duke of Wellington said, "the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Instead, we are converting our children into the boy in the plastic bubble. Nothing, not even the smallest virus or bacterium must ever reach them. Remove the plastic bubble, and our children are exposed to all kinds of nasty dangers to which they have no defense.

Bullies and jihadists count on the other children being weak and submissive. A boy who hasn't learned how to dodge a foul ball isn't likely to grow up to know how to dodge a bullet. And he sure as hell isn't going to know how to fight back. Those who have not learned to face the dangers of a flying baseball bat or an oncoming linebacker haven't learned to dodge the hardballs of life or to hit them out of the park. They also haven't learned what differentiates Western civilization from Middle East barbarism--the rules of the game and good sportsmanship. To win honorably or suffer defeat graciously, knowing you've lived to fight another day. It is not the inherent danger that makes a boy a man, but how he handles it.

So to the American schoolmasters who teach left wing propaganda, gender confusion, rabid egalitarianism, cooperation without competition and childhood sexualization, I say "keep your hands off our kids' balls."

Note: It's annual physical checkup day at the doctor's office. Since the doctor's office is over an hour away, and the appointment is at 2 PM Pacific Time, I'm afraid I won't be getting to your comments until late in the day. My apologies, but I will respond as soon as I can.
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Newt: “I’ve Changed.” Reality: “No, You Haven't.”

It’s easy to believe someone has fundamentally changed their thinking on a particular issue. People change, they learn new things or gain new perspectives all the time. It’s harder to believe someone who claims they’ve fundamentally changed their thinking on a lot of issues. It’s harder yet when those issues are the issues that stand in the way of them getting something they want. And it’s pretty much impossible to believe when their claims are buried in verbal trickery. By the way, Newt wants you to know he’s changed.

Hoping to defuse the many problems with his candidacy, Newt Gingrich has put a question and answers section on his website where he tries to explain his biggest mistakes. In this section he points out that the media will try to smear him. He mentions he’s cast over 7,000 votes, given over 1,500 speeches, written thousands of articles and 24 books, and made thousands of television appearances, each of which will be scoured for dirt. He then tries to defend 15 areas where he previously molested the canine:
● Paul Ryan Plan: Newt undercut Paul Ryan’s budget/Medicare plan by calling it “right wing social engineering.” He says he agrees with Ryan now, BUT he wants to undercut Ryan by letting seniors stay in the present plan if they want. Why? Because he’s “opposed to any political party imposing dramatic change against the consent of the governed.” Translation: Being loved is more important than achieving results.

● Health Insurance Mandate: Newt now believes imposing a mandate to buy health insurance is an unconstitutional infringement of individual liberty. In the 1990s, he favored such a mandate. His excuse is other conservatives advocated it too! Nah nah! He also says he wants to find a better way to achieve “the goal of healthcare for all.” Translation: The only part of ObamaCare Newt opposes is the individual mandate.

● Ethanol: Newt remains pro-ethanol as part of an “all of the above” approach because he loves Iowa and South Dakota more than Saudi Arabia. This is a false dichotomy. Translation: Pandering trumps principle.

● Fairness Doctrine: Newt thinks the Fairness Doctrine is “prohibited government censorship.” But he supported it in the past because back then the media was dominated with liberals. Translation: Principles are malleable depending on who benefits.

● Global Warming: “Newt does not believe there is a settled scientific conclusion about whether industrial development has dramatically contributed to warming of the atmosphere.” (Hedge words in italics). He does oppose cap and trade but doesn’t want “conservatives to be absent” from offering solutions. Newt then says: “this unsettled scientific question has nothing to do with the best approach to protecting our environment, which is always markets, incentives and entrepreneurs creating better... products.” Translation: Newt doesn’t care about the science, he will stop climate change through less obvious ways than a carbon tax.

● Immigration/DREAM Act: Newt opposes the DREAM Act, BUT supports what the DREAM Act does. He opposes amnesty, but thinks local communities should be given the power to make illegal immigrants legal. . . they just can’t call them citizens. Translation: Newt believes in stealth amnesty.

● Farm Subsidies: Newt supports subsidies for farmers. Translation: Business as usual.

● TARP: Newt didn’t really support TARP when he supported the TARP, he supported some version of it you would have liked, except Paulson lied about how TARP would work. . . don’t ask him to explain the difference between good and bad TARP. Translation: Newt thinks you’re stupid.

● Foreign Aid: NEWT BELIEVES IN ZERO FOREIGN AID (as a baseline from which we will then decide how much foreign aid to give). Translation: No change in foreign aid.

● Dept. of Education: When Newt voted for the creation of the Department of Education, he thought it would only collect data. Imagine his surprise. Now he will “dramatically shrink the agency to a research and reporting overview agency.” Translation: Newt wasn’t wrong, the world lied to him. How was he supposed to know a bureaucracy would grow?

● Dede Scozzafava: Newt made a “mistake” endorsing Scozzafava, BUT he will always endorse the Republican against an independent, i.e. he made no mistake. Newt blames the locals for putting him in a bad situation. Translation: Newt is very sorry you are mistakenly upset.

● Government Shutdown: Newt thinks the media was unfair about the government shutdown because he improved the government and economy. Translation: Newt doesn’t grasp what it was about his handling of the shutdown that bothered people.

● Ethics Problems: Newt never “violated any tax laws.” Translation: Newt was technically right about a small portion of one of the corruption claims against him, please ignore the rest.

● Freddie Mac: Newt is not a lobbyist! He just gets paid to provide advice to government agencies about programs that will help his other clients, who just happen to earn a living off the government. Translation: Newt thinks technicalities are wonderful things.

● “Personal Life”: Newt had an affair, but it wasn’t as bad as Clinton’s. His daughter has debunked the claim he ignored his sick wife while she was in the hospital. No mention is made of recent spending scandals involving jewelry and his wife and the overuse of private jets. Translation: Newt thinks that by comparison, his corruption ain’t so bad. . . and that one thing was a lie so he’s completely vindicated on all points.
This article did not turn out at all like I expected. When I first read about this, I figured Newt would list how he was wrong in the past on various topics and explain his new mindset. I could maybe, possibly accept that. Instead, I found a series of smokescreens, stunning evasions and huge red flags about Newt’s integrity, his understanding of the problems people have with him, and his intentions once he gets into office.

I have been trying very hard to get over my concerns about Newt but this just brings them back with a vengeance. Newt is proving to be Romney without the integrity.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nosferatu Government

Knowing that wooden stakes, pitchforks and gravediggers shovels are not allowed in the halls of Congress, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) felt free to quote from the Vampire Diaries during a hearing on irregularities in the Department of Energy's granting of federal taxpayer dollars to bankrupt Solyndra et al. House of Waxman is the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Before lobbing softballs at Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Waxman opened his remarks by saying that subsidies to flaky green weenie corporations like Solyndra are saving the world from fires, droughts and floods caused by global warming. Waxman was silent about the warming caused by Solyndra executives burning up the $535 million taxpayer gift to the corporation and big Obama political donors. What can be salvaged from the Solyndra funeral pyre will be given to Obama pal and crony socialist George Kaiser. The ashes will go to the taxpayers.

The Energy Secretary has been under serious fire for allowing a half-billion dollar stimulus to go to Solyndra, which he knew or should have known had one foot in the financial grave and the other on a banana peel. Waxman knows the truth however. Giving taxpayer money to pie-in-the-sky outfits like Solyndra is an investment in Al Gore a green future. Anyone who believes otherwise is just a paid agent or stooge for the coal and oil industries who, says Waxman, are "making up a scandal to block green energy subsidies."

Thinking that 535 million taxpayer dollars is a mere piffle, Waxman greased up Chu with: "I want to put this in perspective Dr. Chu. You've been trying to move our nation toward a clean energy economy. And that's essential to protect American families from fires and droughts and floods and other extreme weather that climate change will bring." Nice segue from global warming to climate change, as if a whole army of Dr. Chu's could do a damned thing about either.

Waxman of course was very nonpartisan in his criticism of those who think that Dr. Chu and his merry band of green pirates are just glorified scam artists and eco-hysterics. "I think you are on the right side of history and the Republicans are on the wrong side and I think what they're doing is leading us astray. My message to my colleagues is to stop dancing on Solyndra's grave." Waxman doesn't understand that unlike himself, bankrupt corporations don't rise from the grave at night. They already sucked all the blood from the taxpayers that they could before expiring, permanently.

Then, long before any evidence was in and long before the testimony was complete, Waxman pronounced that Chu had done nothing wrong. That ignores reams of testimony and documents, including e-mails, which prove that high-ranking Department of Energy officials and Obama administration green energy extremists pushed the half-billion dollar loan to Solyndra knowing that the corporation was already on the rocks and that no infusion of cash was going to make it viable. All that was really left for the committee to determine was whether Chu was complicit in the conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers, or merely an incompetent leader who didn't know what his troops were up to. Either way, Chu did a whole lot wrong.

Waxman also ignores the fact that at least two other major green weenie boondoggles on the taxpayers money are about to explode in their utopian faces. The LightSquared deal is not only a major waste of taxpayer dollars, but would have had an extremely deleterious effect on national security by tying up and interfering with bandwidth needed for our military and covert activities agencies.

Waxman has been in Congress so long that he actually thinks $535 million lost to a foolhardy adventure is "not a big deal." He doesn't care that Secretary Chu OK'd a contract which subordinated the financial interests of the taxpayers to that of the preferred shareholders such as crony socialist Kaiser--in direct violation of federal law. Waxman says it's "unfortunate" that taxpayers had lost $535 million on a failed clean energy gambit. Waxman doesn't have the least idea that the federal government is supposed to be there to protect business. He thinks it's there to gamble with the taxpayers money on foolish schemes which can at best be described as economic and financial Frankenstein monsters. The intentions are good, but the road to hell (and bankruptcy) is paved with good intentions.

With the arrogance reserved for Democrats like himself, Waxman closed his remarks with: "We have lost the money, it's unfortunate, but there's no scandal there." What do you mean "we," paleface? Mr. Waxman, you, your fellow leftist Democrats and the Obama administration placed that bet, knowing there was no chance of winning. And you placed that bet using the taxpayers dollars. You even knew that the Obama administration had pressured Solyndra to delay the inevitable layoffs and terminations until after the 2010 elections. No scandal? Go back to your dirt nap.
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The Great (film) Debates vol. 16

Bond. . . James Bond. There have been many James Bonds, but some would say there was only ever one. But we don't accept half answers here, so tell us:

Rank the James Bond actors from best to worst.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Discussion: Regulations and Rules for Unruly Representatives

Congress has once again proved that they just cannot be trusted. It seems that our esteemed elected officials have been making a killing in the stock market! At the same time many members of Congress have been railing against the Evil Wall Street Robber Barons and "Banksters", they have used pending legislation and lobbyist insider information to make a killing on Wall Street. If only they used pending legislation to balance the budget or help create a healthy climate for job growth. It is getting tiresome to know that what would land private citizens hefty fines and jail time, leads only to rebukes and hand slaps for our elected officials by our elected officials.

When did our government officials stop living by the same laws, regulations, and rules that they foist on us? Probably since the beginning of time, but now is the time to stop. We, the People of Commentarama need a manifesto of regulations and rules for our unruly representatives that we must insist that they follow like the rest of us. So put your thinking caps on.

Discussion: What laws, regulation, and/or rules do our Government officials egregiously flout at the same time they insist that We The People must follow or face the full force of the law?
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Friday, November 18, 2011

TV Review: Hell On Wheels (2011-????)

I hate predicting how a series will turn out after only two episodes. But only two episodes into AMC’s new show Hell on Wheels, I’m having serious problems with the show and I think it’s only going to get worse because the problems lie within the writer’s liberal worldview and dishonest motives.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Federal Regulations Good For The Economy

Or so says Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid. In fact, he's so sure of it that he has used his parliamentary power to make sure that no less than fifteen House-generated bills curtailing bureaucratic excesses have died aborning in the Senate. Never mind the findings of the committees over in the House of Plebeians, this Senator knows that regulations do no harm to the economy because, well, he just knows.

On Wednesday, the great Patrician rose on the floor of the Senate to tell the Ignorati: "While it's proper to guard against and remove onerous regulations, and we need to do that, my Republican friends have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that the regulations they hate so much do the broad economic harms they claim. That's because there aren't any (emphasis added)." Tell that to the farmers and and agricultural workers in California's Central Valley. Or perhaps the 20,000 workers, union and non-union alike, who will now have no jobs generated by the stalled Keystone XL Pipeline.

Those House bills will not see a vote so long as Reid remains in charge of the machinery of getting bills to Senate committees and the Senate floor. In fact, Reid touts the record of Democrats in preventing new regulations from being enacted during the Obama administration. His stalking-horse (or Judas Goat) is nobody less than the regulations czar himself, Cass Sunstein. Sunstein is nothing if not an accomplished liar.

In the three years of the Obama administration, the number of regulatory federal employees has increased by thirteen percent to 281,000 petty bureaucrats. In 2010 alone, the number of regulations increased by eighteen percent. For 2011, there are over four thousand new or revised regulations pending. The budget for regulators and regulations during the Obama administration is now at $54 billion annually, an increase of sixteen percent.

And those are only the direct costs. The Small Business Administration estimates that federal regulations are an annual cost to everyone of $1.75 trillion. In all fairness, this big government regulatory monstrosity has been burgeoning for decades. Like Topsy, it just growed. Most of that trillion-plus figure was snowballing before the Obama administration ever slithered its way into office. The seventy-five new regulations from the first twenty-six months of Obamism have added a mere $40 billion to the burden to business and consumers (I never thought I'd find myself saying a mere $40 billion).

But never fear. The One is working on it. The above figures don't yet include the costs of the pending EPA clean air/clean water rules, carbon suppression, FCC net neutrality rules, Dodd-Frank banking and investment regulations, and the Big Kahuna--Obamacare. I think it's time someone walked up to Harry Reid, slapped him hard in the face, and yelled "wake up you unconscious fool!" During the worst economic times since the Great Depression, crippling regulations (including pre-Obama regulations) are continuing to proliferate, bureaucracies continue to grow, the federal payroll continues to increase, and the brain-dead Reid still holds that there is no adverse effect on the economy.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Sun Doesn't Set On This West

While doing my fact-checking on the Keystone XL pipeline fiasco, I came upon several honorable mentions about one Congressman who fully understands what is wrong so far with the Republicans in general and the presidential candidates in particular. Rep. Allen West (R-Florida) calls them as he sees them, and tells the media to "stop being afraid of this president who is destroying this country."

Now isn't that refreshing? At a press conference this past Tuesday, Rep. West laid into The One and the mainstream media who think that lightning will strike them if they criticize their tin god. He also laid into any of his fellow members of Congress who might consider letting Obama get away with killing at least 20,000 "shovel-ready" jobs just to satisfy his leftist green-weenie constituency. Speaking of Obama, Rep. West said: "And here we have a president that's gone off to Australia, playing golf in Hawaii (while placing it geographically in Asia), and you guys allow him to make this decision to shut down the Keystone XL project."

Rep. West went on to say: "The media needs to call out this president and stop coming over here to the House Republicans and telling us what we're not doing. We're the ones taking action. This guy sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is destroying this country." God, how I love a Republican who isn't afraid to say what he thinks without worrying what the damned MSM is going to say about him.

Rep. West is a no-holds-barred truth-teller, which befits his military background. He knows you don't beat an enemy by blowing kisses at him. As a retired military man who has faced the enemy on the enemy's home ground, he knows how to criticize a namby-pamby president. He was blind-sided by the political generals in regard to an incident in which a terrorist wasn't treated as if he were a paying guest at the Waldorf-Astoria. His response was "If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can." Even though he would not, as a good soldier, publicly criticize his Commander-in-Chief, he is no longer restrained by that obligation.

So what does he think about the abilities of our current Waffler-in-Chief? "America needs a commander-in-chief. Instead we have a Campaigner-in-Chief, and that's what continues to happen. Whether it's the decision to go to zero troops in Iraq, which gives a green light to Iran, or whether it's the decision to shut down what you have heard is a win-win situation for the United States of America [the XL Pipeline]--we cannot continue to send hard-earned American taxpayer dollars to OPEC--nothing but despotic dictators, autocrats and theocrats. For 22 years I served in the United States military, and I've been on the battlefields in the Middle East, where the funds we are sending to these countries are in turn being turned on our young men and women in combat."

At the press conference, he was joined by a few other members of the bolder wing of the Republican House. Following Rep. West's speech, several of those House members reiterated that the decision on the pipeline was politically-motivated to push it past the 2012 election. But Obama can't even get those troops in line. The envirowackos are now quarreling with the unions which would have benefited most from the jobs the pipeline would have created overnight.

I think the current Republican presidential candidates who are sniping at each other (with a few exceptions) should take a page out of Rep. West's playbook and concentrate on the most dangerous, incompetent, dishonest, ineducable, and sneaky president in memory. Equally, they should follow Newt Gingrich's example and stop worrying about what the mainstream media will say about them being attack dogs. They're going to say that anyway, so join Rep. West and screw the MSM. And just as a reminder, attack dogs are used to bring down criminals and terrorists.

Note: If you missed the post about the Keystone XL Pipeline and want more details, here's the link: Obama Kills Another 20,000 Jobs.
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The Tea Party Is THE Middle

So many self-described moderates or independents whine about the disappearance of the center. They want people to put “ideology aside,” to reject both the leftwing and rightwing view of the world and to come together “to get something done.” The Economist laments the absence of these people a lot. But the truth is, they’re already here. . . they’re called the Tea Party.

Whenever groups like The Economist lament the left-right divide, here is how they describe the two sides: On the right, you have an intolerant group beholden to social conservatives. They worry about gays and abortion and little else. They won’t touch a penny in military spending and they will never accept a tax hike of any sort. The ideological left is described as beholden to unions, in particular teachers unions, and won’t accept a penny in cuts or any change in labor laws to make the labor market more efficient.

Let’s accept this dichotomy as true, despite some obvious errors. Now let’s see how the Tea Party fits into this structure:
1. The Tea Party is clearly not beholden to unions.

2. The Tea Party is willing to eliminate the types of regulations that protect teachers and government workers from competition.

3. The Tea Party has consciously ignored social conservatism. They have in fact repeatedly made the point that now is the time to deal purely with economic issues.

4. The Tea Party is willing to slash military spending, provided the cuts are sensible.

5. The Tea Party is willing to accept higher taxes on some in exchange for a more efficient, cleaner, less corrupt tax code for all, i.e. an elimination of deductions in exchange for a flat tax or Cain’s 9-9-9 plan.
Thus, the Tea Party specifically rejects everything The Economist uses to describe the left AND the right. In other words, the Tea Party does not fit into the stereotype The Economist has of the right, nor does it fit into their soft-pedaled version of the left. They are, in effect, the very people The Economist keeps calling upon to bring a new “non-ideological” focus to politics.

So why won’t The Economist recognize this?

The answer simple: this isn’t “the middle” they were hoping for. The Economist and their ilk wanted to believe the middle looked exactly like RINOs. They thought the middle would be people who trust the government, who don’t mind regulation but maybe want to tinker a bit here and there to make the regulations run smoother, and who don’t mind tax hikes to balance the budget. They figured the middle would be people who were willing to accept higher taxes and fewer services but otherwise wanted business as usual. . . people without strong views about anything who simply want to make the left and the right split every baby.

But the reality is the middle has very definite opinions and they aren’t at all what The Economist was hoping. The middle wants a government they don’t have to worry about. They want a government that leaves them alone except where absolutely necessary. They want a government that taxes less, spends less and does less. They want a government that stays within the boundaries set by the deal we’ve all struck called the Constitution, and they want a government that rejects everything about the current state of business as usual.

This is not the middle The Economist or anyone else really expected to find. But this is what you get when you bring together all the non-ideological people in the country. And thus, another leftist fantasy comes crashing down.

Interestingly, this also tells us why the Tea Party people and the Republicans haven’t meshed so well. The Republican Party is based on several interest groups. Social conservatives care about gays and abortion. Neocons want big government and foreign adventuring. Big Business Republicans and K-Street want the government handing out goodies to corporate America. Libertarians have spent the past few decades trying to legalize drugs. And the grumpy Republicans simply want whatever the liberals don’t want.

The Tea Party people reject all of this. They don’t care about the desires of these factions and they want no part of business as usual.

Will the Tea Party people eventually win or lose? It’s too early to tell. But the Presidential primary has been interesting. Romney is the choice of Neocons and big business, and he’s stuck at 20% support. Bachmann and Santorum are Religious Right darlings and they’ve collapsed. Perry was your standard K-Street Trojan Armadillo and he’s collapsed. Ron Paul isn’t doing as well as he has in the past either. Right now the guys with the momentum seem to be the two guys who don’t fit into any of the traditional Republican interest groups.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Review: The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

A Film Review by Tennessee Jed

Few would deny the Coen brothers are among the most acclaimed film makers of their generation. Yet much of their work has not resonated quite as loudly at the box office as with the critics. Some claim the brothers dwell too often on negative or depressing themes. That could certainly be argued for one of their more obscure films, The Man Who Wasn’t There. Perhaps so, but it is probably my favorite Coen Brothers film for a variety of reasons which I’ll discuss below.

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Libya Gaffe: This Was No Boating Accident!

I owe Herman Cain an apology. This “Libya gaffe” thing is just another smear, and sadly, I bought into it. Mea culpa. Here’s what really happened, along with my thinking on what really matters with the candidates.
Issue One: The Libya “Gaffe”
When Cain’s candidacy started taking off, the media smeared him with bogus sexual harassment allegations. Brought as anonymous and non-specific allegations, the MSM obsessively savaged Cain for failing to satisfy some undisclosed moving-target standard to acquit himself. Yet, within only a week, it became clear there was no substance to these allegations. The accusers aren’t credible: a serial complainer and a money-desperate liar. They have ties to David Axelrod, who has a history of this type of smear. The media witch hunt was overplayed. And polls continue to show Cain at or near the top. The scandal is D.O.A.

But just as Cain appeared to be recovering, a new allegation appeared: that he’s stupid. This allegation was based on his supposed “Libya gaffe,” and has again been pushed by the MSM and useful idiots like Byron York at National Review. But this is a smear too.

According to people like York, the Libya gaffe is this: A reporter asked Cain if he agreed with Obama’s policy on Libya. Cain had no idea what that policy was. He eventually mumbles something about Obama opposing Gaddafi, and then has to ask the reporter if what he’s just said is true.

IF this is true, then Cain really isn’t all that bright. Only. . . it’s not true.

Commentarama reader tryanmax sent me a link with the full interview. Here’s the link to the interview (LINK) and here’s a link to tryanmax’s thoughts on the subject (LINK). The interview is a lengthy discussion of many topics. About 20 minutes into the interview, they turn to the question of whether or not Cain would support democracy movements abroad. Cain tells the reporter he would support democracy movements, but he wouldn’t try to create one. Up to this point, Cain has come across as knowledgeable and relaxed.

The reporter then asks whether Cain thought Bush’s foreign policy was effective in this regard or if Cain has “a major critique” of how Bush handled the balance between American interests and democracy movements. Cain thinks about this and says he believes Bush ultimately struck the right balance. Cain repeats that where a democracy movement exists, he would support it, but he “won’t try to talk people into democracy.”

The reporter then says: “so you agreed with President Obama then on Libya or not?” Note first, that this is a strange question and it assumes much that has not been said by Cain or the reporter up to this point. They were talking about Bush’s foreign policy and suddenly the reporter asks this statement-question which assumes what Obama’s policy was and assumes that Cain has just provided an answer consistent with it. I am not saying this is a “gotcha” question, but it is a vague and ambiguous question with an uncertain subject. It is the kind of question a lawyer would object to and make the reporter rephrase.

Cain again thinks for a moment. Then he says:
“President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi. Just want to make sure we’re talking about the same thing before I say ‘yes, I agree’ or ‘no, I don’t’.”
There’s the supposed gaffe. This is what is being portrayed as Cain asking the reporter to help him with the facts. The MSM is saying Cain’s use of the word “correct” means Cain needs the reporter to assure him he guessed right what Obama did in Libya. BUT that’s a blatantly false interpretation. Watch the video and it immediately becomes clear that Cain is neither confused nor is he asking the reporter to confirm the facts. Instead, Cain is asking the reporter to confirm that this was the topic the reporter meant with his odd question. Cain is using the word “correct” as a rhetorical device to make sure they were talking about the same thing. The fact both Cain and the reporter remain calm and continue the interview without any sense a gaffe has occurred confirms this.

There is NO reasonable way you can interpret this video as Cain being unsure what Obama did in Libya or asking the reporter to help him get the facts right. To assert that, as supposedly-reputable conservatives like National Review have done, is to adopt yet another smear, just as they did with the sexual harassment allegations. It is to intentionally pretend there is confusion, where there is none – just as they continue to wrongly claim Cain was confused about the difference between pro-life and pro-choice or as they tried to turn his verbal slip about China’s nuclear capability into evidence of ignorance.

I have also heard claims Cain must be stupid because he took time to consider his answer before responding. That is simply ridiculous. To expect someone to provide rapid-fire soundbites throughout an informal, 20+ minute conversation style interview on a variety of topics, rather than gather their thoughts, is disingenuous at best.
Issue Two: Dissecting Candidate Brains
Finally, I want to explain why I don’t care if Cain makes gaffes or Perry freezes up occasionally or Romney sounds prissy. Those things don’t matter. They are style over substance. What matters is understanding how the candidates think because what is truly critical is understanding how each candidate will approach whatever problems they face on the job. In other words, whether or not they know the capital of Mexico doesn’t matter, but knowing how they would analyze an invasion of Mexico by Venezuela does. Here is what I’ve seen so far (you may see things differently):
Cain: Cain thinks like an executive. He’s hands off when it comes to details and he expects “his people” to carry out his orders. This is similar in style to Ronald Reagan. However, Cain lacks Reagan’s strong knowledge base and fundamental theoretical understanding of conservatism, and he has yet to show solid political instincts. His biggest flaw appears to be an assumption that those around him will work toward the goals he sets.

Gingrich: Gingrich is the smartest man on stage. He is also politically savvy. BUT his history tells me he will often base his decisions on the wrong motives, such as ego or a desire to be loved. This overrides his intelligence and makes him unpredictable.

Paul: Paul is a smart man with deep knowledge and a generally solid decision making process. However, he is prone to erroneous conspiracy theories and is fundamentally wrong on certain issues.

Romney: Romney is afraid of decisions. He avoids them at all cost and immediately backtracks at the first sign of disagreement.

Perry: Perry wants to let others make decisions for him. This means we don’t know who will actually be making decisions.

Bachmann: Bachmann has failed to demonstrate any independent thinking. She follows bandwagons and believes knowledge of trivia is a substitute for analysis.

Santorum: Santorum is a disaster. He only wants to hear people who agree with him and he simply does not understand the issues or people.
Some of these problems I can overlook, others I can’t. But one thing is clear: most of the things the MSM focuses on are irrelevant to understanding these people.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UN To The Climate Change Rescue!

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon wants to fight the effects of climate change. He's not sure what climate change is, or if humans can do anything about it. But he knows it's bad, and he wants to spend whatever is necessary to prevent it. $100 billion per year would be a good start, he says. I wonder whom he intends to extort most of that money from. Or do I?

Ban has already put the proposal into writing, but intends to make his major presentation at the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa on November 28. Considering what usually happens at those Durban conferences, he may think that most of the money can be used to eradicate the Jews who are causing the climate change. The initial fund was first set up back in December and is called (what else?) The Green Climate Fund. Ban did a test run at a climate conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to a warm reception. My suspicion is that Bangladesh won't be providing much of the annual fee of $100 billion.

Ban announced: "Governments must find ways--now--to mobilize up to the $100 billion per annum. An empty shell is not sufficient." When the coin in the coffer rings, the world from global climate change springs. Bangladesh has already put up its $2.73, now it's the turn of the rest of the world. And if history is any indication, the "rest of the world" means America paying 75% and everybody else filling in the remaining 24.9999%.

Lest we miss the message, the Climate Change Vulnerable Forum, representing 30 nations from Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific at the Dhaka meeting made it clear they are seeking "action by industrialized nations to cut carbon emissions and provide technical and financial support." The Forum was originally organized by President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives in November of 2009. When I finish here, I'm going to Google "Maldives" just so I'll know where the hell that is.

The Forum, with Ban's enthusiastic support, will produce its report to the 190 nations attending the upcoming Durban conference. Says Ban: "I will count on the members of this Forum to arrive with a strong and unified voice." That's another way of saying that the countries which will do next-to-nothing toward funding the initiative should be prepared to browbeat and guilt-trip the wealthier nations into handing them boxcar loads of money and assistance.

Ban goes on to say: "In this time of global economic uncertainty, let your commitment to green growth be an inspiration to more developed countries--the major emitters. Even in these difficult times, we cannot afford delay." Well, Mr. General-Secretary, America cannot afford to be funding another UN initiative based on junk science and failed UN policies. You are suggesting (much like your comrade Obama) that we should fund this nonsense "right away." Don't look too closely, and don't worry about how the money will actually be spent. Trust us.

The money-grab aside, the Durban conference will be designed as the replacement for the Kyoto Protocol which expires next year. Since every nation which subscribed to the Kyoto Protocol has failed to reach even the minimal goals, which have been revised several time, it seems strange to be coming up with another pie-in-the-sky proposal that is even more expensive. On the other hand, this is the UN Wonderland, so why not?

Bill Clinton tried to shove Kyoto down our throats, and was soundly rejected by the Senate. It is extremely likely that the current Green Weenie-in-Chief will attempt to do the same thing. After all, how can we resist any initiative with "green" in the title? And why should we resist? Look at the success of Solyndra--and that only cost the taxpayers a half-billion or so. So as soon as the UN members meeting in Durban are done burying Israel, expect a bill from the UN for $75 or $85 billion to get Al Gore back on track.
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60 Minutes Outs Pelosi

The Democrats are masters of corruption. They talk about hating evil corporations and helping the poor, but it’s all for show: the Democrats use government to enrich themselves. The reason they’ve gotten away with this for so long is the media covers up for them. So why did 60 Minutes just “out” Pelosi?

Here’s the story. In 2008, Nancy Pelosi “somehow” got the chance to buy into (subscribe to) the Visa initial public offering (IPO). For those who don’t know, this is something only insiders get to do. IPOs are almost always limited to company employees, their families, and large companies connected to making the public offering happen, i.e. the investment bank, a few institutional clients, company creditors and lawyers. Pelosi was none of these, yet she got in.

Indeed, Pelosi bought between $1 million and $5 million worth of stock. She paid $44 per share to buy in. Two days later, the IPO was issued to the public and the stock price soared to $65 per share. Two month later, it was $85 per share. She had almost doubled her money in two months.

So how did Pelosi get into this IPO? Well, it turns out that companies looking to build good will in Congress will sometimes let selected members of Congress in on their IPOs. And why would Visa care about Nancy Pelosi? Because two weeks after Pelosi bought into this IPO, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act was introduced in the House. This bill would have prevented credit card companies like Visa from charging certain fees. How much in fees? The credit card companies took in $48 billion in these fees in 2008 alone.

This bill passed the Judiciary Committee and apparently had broad public support as high as 77% in one poll. Yet, for some strange reason, Pelosi never let this bill get to the House floor for a vote. Imagine that.

And Pelosi wasn’t done there. Another bill, called the Credit Card Interchange Fee Act of 2008, which would have required credit card companies to disclose rates, met the same fate: Pelosi killed it. Instead, she brought to the floor a vote on a similarly named bill which only provided for further study. That's not a bad return on investment for Visa since it cost Visa nothing to let Pelosi ride along on their IPO.

Other IPOs in which Pelosi made money include Gupta (88% profit in two days), Netscape and UUNet (100% profit in one day), Remedy Corp., Opal, Legato Systems, Act Networks, etc. In 2007, Pelosi put $100,000 in an IPO with natural gas company Clean Energy Fuels and $500,000 in an IPO for natural gas company Quest Energy Partners. Then she started pushing natural gas bills in Congress. Tom Brokaw actually asked her if she had made significant personal investments in natural gas companies and if this represented a conflict of interest and she dodged the question.

But this is nothing new for Democrats. In just the last couple years:
● Pelosi got special treatment for donor Kaiser Permanente under ObamaCare.

● Democrat Max Baucus, who made his girlfriend the US Attorney for Montana, apparently made the same kinds of insider trades Pelosi did.

● Democrats Jim Moran, Peter Visclosky, and John Murtha directed $137 million in defense contracts to clients of a lobbyist who funneled more than $380,000 in illegal campaign contributions to them.

● Democrat Chris Dodd, who wrote banking regulation legislation, got sweetheart loans from the banks that would have been effected.

● Pelosi budget supercommittee appointee Xavier Becerra, sent out a fundraising letter to the companies whose programs he could now cut.

● The Congress Black Caucus has been particular good at illegally giving federal money to their friends and family, see e.g. Democrats Sanford Bishop and Eddie Bernice Johnson (scholarships to relatives), Charlie Rangel (tax breaks to donors) and Maxine Waters (money to relatives’ banks).

● As a Senator, Democrat Joe Biden, who was basically owned by MBNA worked to make credit card debt harder to discharge in bankruptcy.

● Democrat Obama gave the Treasury to Goldman Sachs and GM to his union friends. His donors at GE had record profits yet paid no taxes. GE also gets waivers from Obama for laws they’ve lobbied for. Of course, Obama also gave thousands of Obamacare waivers to donors.

● It’s getting increasingly obvious Obama steered $535 million in taxpayer dollars to big-time Obama donor ($100k) and “green-jobs” showpiece Solyndra as it was failing.

● Democrat Jon Corzine managed to “lose” $700 million in client money when his new company, MF Global went belly up. . . after donating $500,000 to Obama’s reelection.
Of course, the MSM has long ignored all of this. So why report the Pelosi story now? Could the MSM be about to become honest about exposing Democratic corruption? Or did Pelosi just cross some secret line?

How about this: this information was first uncovered by the Heritage Foundation. They were, in fact, writing a book about it. I suspect 60 Minutes realized this information would reach the public, no matter how hard the MSM tried to ignore it because Pelosi has such a high profile. Rather than let this blow up during the election and hurt all Democrats, 60 Minutes chose to cover this now, during the silly season where little is happening in Washington and the public is preparing for the coming holidays, i.e. 60 Minutes wants to defuse this now.

If I’m wrong, then 60 Minutes will follow up on this and attempt to get Pelosi to disgorge the profits and/or resign from Congress. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

What do you think is going on?

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