Saturday, March 31, 2012

Question: What Would You Do?

I don't know about you, but I'm all race-baited out. And to top it all off, the Mega Millions people decided that my numbers were not good enough for them. That is okay, I didn't want their stupid $640 million dollars anyway. It would have just complicated my tax return. Okay, I lie. I would love to win the lottery and just the possibility sends my fancy into flight. What would I do with all that money? Would I buy a fancy car, a Park Avenue penthouse, set up my own SuperPAC? So, let your fancy take flight...

Question: If money were not object, what is the first thing you'd do once the bills were paid, the loans paid off, and the family secure?
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Film Friday: Clash(es) of the Titans (1981-2010)

The 1981 version of Clash of the Titans really was an inspired movie. Clash 2010 wasn’t. In fact, it stank. And what better way to explain why it stank than to compare the two?

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

Pelosi Loves Judicial Review

We’ve been tossing around the meaning of the questions and answers during oral argument at the Supreme Court in the matter of Obamacare. Some of us are feeling fairly confident that the high court might find the entirety of the law unconstitutional. Others of us feel that the insurance purchase mandate may go, leaving everything else temporarily intact. But whatever the result, we have at least one thing that should allow us to rest a bit easier. Nancy Pelosi says the Democrats will accept the ruling.

Now I gotta tell ya, in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, this is a big f-ing deal. San Fran Nan speaks for the Democrats in the House as well as the People’s Republic of San Francisco. She has now put our minds at rest by stating that her team isn’t going to grab pitchforks and torches and head for the Supreme Court building. Thank God, they’re not going to turn the premises into Red Square. And of course I always take Nancy’s word for her respect for the Constitution.

Says the Bay Area genius: “Democrats in the Congress have long believed in judicial review. We respect the third branch of government and the role they play under the Constitution, and that is a role to have the opportunity to review laws passed by Congress. This is part of our constitutional process and we respect it.” Now isn’t that a relief? Of course that made me wonder what she meant by “long believed.” Is she saying there’s a time when Democrats didn’t believe in judicial review? The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Oh, well, let’s move on.

I must admit that I find it a bit odd that the leader of a major Congressional party would find it necessary at all to announce that her faction would honor a Supreme Court decision. Isn’t that pretty much what everyone has agreed on since Marbury v. Madison back in 1803? So we’ll have to wait to see what she really means. Considering the “respect” that the Democrats in Congress and have shown for the Constitution during my lifetime, I’m going to sleep with one eye open.

Given that Pelosi (and more recently the attorney arguing in favor of Obamacare at the Supreme Court) stated that the health care law was actually about freedom, is she saying that she has no problem obeying an order that takes freedom away? Yeah, I know. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, but when was the last time you had to deal with anyone with a mind smaller than Pelosi’s?
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

College Board Suppresses Minority Admissions

The angry left which hates voter ID laws now has something to hate even more. It’s not bad enough that certain states want to suppress the votes of minorities, but now the Scholastic Aptitude/Assessment Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) administered by the College Board are implementing student suppression even more effectively than the states are implementing voter suppression.

At this rate, only qualified students will be admitted to college. In the wake of a major scandal involving really bright students who score well on tests being paid to take the SAT or ACT for less bright students, the College Board will now require photo ID standards more stringent than those required of voters in voter photo ID states. Just as voter ID suppresses the votes of innocent minorities, the requirement of the College Board will suppress the college entrance of innocent minorities, the poor, the lowly, and the not-too-bright. How dare they?

So how are the requirements for taking the College Boards different from voter ID? Well, just let me tell you how these racist/fascists are keeping non-white folks down even more obviously than the states. For voter ID, if the oppressed minority doesn’t have a photo ID or can’t afford one, the state will provide one for free, and still allow the person to cast a provisional ballot pending verification of the photo ID. Not so with the oppressive College Board.

First, the oppressed high school student who wants to take the test(s) must upload a photo when registering for one of the two tests. If too poor or too stupid to have a computer, he can mail in a photo which the testing agency will then scan into its computers. But (oh, the horror of it) if the student can’t afford to upload or mail a photo, he’s out of luck. The College Boards make no provision for paying for the photo or taking a “provisional test.”

Then the bastards raise more roadblocks. The photo is then verified, a photo ID relating solely to the test(s) is sent to the student, while at the same time the testing service will have a duplicate photo ID at the test site which can be checked against the one the test-taker provides at the time of the test. Not oppressive enough? Wait, there’s more! The IDs will be checked when the student enters the test site, and each time the student exits and re-enters the site. And to add insult to injury, the monitors will be empowered to check IDs during the tests, particularly if there is any suspicion of cheating.

Is it possible that the requirements don’t actually single out the poor and lowly? The New York Nassau District Attorney who is prosecuting the cheaters in the cheating scandal noted that at least twenty miscreants paid other miscreants to take the test for them, paying as much as $3,500 to do so. I don’t know a lot of poor people who have $3,500 laying around for paying surrogates to take tests for them. But I may be looking at this with the jaundiced eye of a privileged white person, so I need to turn on my white guilt genes.

Proponents of the new requirements scurrilously argue that this isn’t about the poor, minorities, or the underprivileged, but rather about the integrity of the system and protecting the millions of students who don’t cheat and need to have confidence in the overall college entrance examination system. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? What they’re not telling you is that the new security procedures were developed by a security firm headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. And we all know he’s a racist fascist who wants to deny a higher education to the non-privileged, non-white population. Don’t we?
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Supreme Court ObamaCare Wrap-up!

It seems the individual mandate in ObamaCare is doomed. The question now is whether or not all of ObamaCare will be struck down. I originally doubted that it would be, but now I’m thinking it might be. One thing is for sure though, losing will not help the Democrats as many of them are trying to suggest.

Thought One: Down she goes! The Supreme Court will strike down the individual mandate. Kennedy was considered the weak link for the conservative side but even he observed that ObamaCare “changes the relationship of the Federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.” That’s lawyer speak for “unprecedented power grab.” This court will not sanction an unprecedented power grab. The mandate is toast.

Thought Two: Incompetence. The MSM’s legal analysts should be fired for incompetence. When this lawsuit was first filed, they claimed it was “frivolous.” In legal parlance that means the arguments are so ludicrously wrong that no rational attorney could possibly make those arguments in good faith. Even as late as two days ago, these same “experts” predicted ObamaCare would win on a 7-2 vote. Now they’re despondent that ObamaCare will be beaten. To give you a sense of how wrong this is, it’s like an “expert” in aviation claiming that airplanes are too heavy to fly. . . after having flown to the interview on a Boeing. Everyone who claimed this was frivolous should be fired for incompetence.

Thought Three: Incompetence (redux). Everyone now wants to blame the solicitor general for blowing this case. That’s wrong, and the “experts” know that. The Supreme Court does not base decisions of national significance on which side brought the better lawyer. All Verrilli’s incompetence means is that the court will do its own research into these issues. And don’t forget, “it’s own” in this case also means hundreds of legal briefs filed by friends of both sides (amicus curiae briefs). This case never hinged on the performance of either attorney. So don’t let liberals get away with pretending that the law should have been found valid if only Donald Verrilli weren’t such a moron. That is false and it’s meant to distract from the fact this law was an abuse of power.

Thought Four: Severability. The hardest part of guessing Supreme Court decisions is guessing how far they will go. Right now, we have no way to know if the Supreme Court will strike down the entire law or just the individual mandate. They essentially have three choices: (1) strike the whole thing, (2) strike the mandate but leave the rest, or (3) strike the mandate and send the case back to the lower court to gather more evidence on what other parts also should be struck. Logic tells me, they will pick number three, but this court has proven to be bold.

Politically and legally speaking, it makes sense for the Supremes to strike the mandate and send the rest back to the lower court to gather evidence on which parts of the law rely on the mandate. Why? Because the court doesn’t like to decide things it doesn’t need to, and with the Republicans likely to control the House, Senate and Presidency after the election, the Supremes have the luxury of waiting to see how things go, i.e. Congress may do their dirty work. BUT. . . should Romney NOT win, then the 5-4 Court could end up a 4-5 Court. That fear may give this court an incentive to firmly decide as many things as possible right now -- hence, they are unexpectedly taking an affirmative action case next year.

Right now, the comments of the justices indicate they are leaning toward striking the entire thing. Scalia took the lead here and said that when you “take the heart out of the statute, the statute is gone.” His reasoning is simple: it distorts the congressional process for the court to pick and choose what survives. He also said it would be unrealistic to comb through the 2,700-page law to decide which parts were independent of the individual mandate. Liberal Justice Breyer actually echoed this when he asked the government, “What do you suggest we do? I mean, should we appoint a special master [to go through the law]?” He then placed the blame on the government for not specifically pointing out each provision which should stand. That’s usually a sign of a justice washing their hands of the case. I don’t believe Breyer will vote to strike the entire law, but this tells me he thinks the conservatives will and he is at peace with it.

Kennedy, who is viewed as the swing vote, also appears inclined to throw out the entire law. When Ginsburg said that the court should perform a “salvage job” rather than “a wrecking operation,” Kennedy retorted that doing surgery on the law would be “a more extreme exercise of judicial power.” And he said that “by reason of the court, we would have a new regime that Congress did not provide for, did not consider.” In other words, this would be court-created legislation and that is unacceptable.

The justice who concerns me a bit is Roberts. When it was argued that leaving the rest of the law in place would leave “a hollowed-out shell,” Roberts responded by saying, “but Congress would have passed part of that hollowed-out shell.” That could indicate a desire to leave the repeal up to Congress or at least get more information about Congress’s intent (i.e. send it back to the lower court for more evidence). That was the thrust of Ginsburg’s argument, that Congress must decide this, so they should leave the rest in place and let Congress fix it. But the thing about Ginsburg’s argument is that you can flip it on its head and make an equally valid argument. In other words, you can just as validly say that if Congress must make the decision, then the court should strike the law to give Congress a clean slate. That makes her argument worthless and if that’s all she’s got, then her side is out of ammo.

So while I really can’t tell you what will happen, it looks like it’s 4-4 with Roberts at bat, and I suspect he will strike the entire law because I’m not hearing a good reason not to.

As an aside, let me clarify the severability clause issue. People are claiming the absence of the severability clause means the whole law should be automatically struck down. That’s not accurate. That was the law 200 years ago -- if any portion of the law is bad, the whole thing gets struck down. That’s why people invented the severability clause, because it told courts that the legislature’s intent was to leave the rest of the law in place. Over time, the law morphed to the point that courts no longer automatically strike down whole laws. And the severability clause now is interpreted like this: if the clause is present, then the court must automatically uphold the rest of the law. But if the clause is absent, then the court MAY strike the entire law, IF the court finds that the unconstitutional piece is so vital to the intent of the legislation that the rest of the law could not continue without it -- there is no automatic striking. And we know the Supreme Court has accepted this interpretation of this missing severability clause here, because the arguments outlined above are the court working its way through the legal test of how integral this mandate is to the rest.

Thought Five: Can’t win by losing. The Democrats are trying to put a brave face on this. They claim that losing would wipe the slate clean for the Democrats and would remove the toxic stain of ObamaCare which cost them the 2010 election. Wrong. Their ObamaCare abuse was so bad it spawned a new political party -- the Tea Party, and it led to an historic thrashing at the polls. Having the Supreme Court declare ObamaCare unconstitutional does NOT wipe away that stain anymore than being convicted of murder makes people forgive you for killing your wife. To the contrary, this will confirm to the public that the Democrats massively abused their power.

James Carville also claims a loss will help because once ObamaCare goes down, “health care costs are gonna escalate unbelievably.” Hardly. ObamaCare does nothing to restrain costs, so why would its death cause costs to rise? To the contrary, with the elimination of the taxes, requirements and restrictions imposed by ObamaCare, one would expect costs to go back down -- or more likely stay flat. Moreover, health rates are generally fixed for the year at the end of the year and won’t go up until after the election, so even if Carville is right, it won’t happen before the election. Nice try, idiot.

Thought Six: Who are the ideologues? Finally, it’s fascinating that the left can simultaneously call the conservative justices “ideologues” as they admit that they don’t know which way three of the five justices will vote. At the same time, they ignore the fact the liberals made up their mind before they arrived and all spouted lockstep opinions. Who are the real ideologues?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guest Review: Innerspace (1987)

By ScottDS

When Steven Spielberg was at the height of his powers (and still had talent to match), his production company Amblin Entertainment cranked out family-friendly hit after hit, including masterpieces Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Amblin also made several other fun films we still fondly remember today, like The Goonies and Gremlins. My personal favorite is Joe Dante’s underrated sci-fi comedy Innerspace, starring Martin Short, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, and a menagerie of character actors.

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

The Bad News Keeps On Coming. . . For Obama

Yesterday, we talked about some of the problems Obama faces getting re-elected. That made me happy. So let’s do it again. Today, let’s talk about the economic problems Obama faces.

The economy is a mess. We’ve technically been out of recession since May 2009, but growth has been anemic (slightly below the long-term average) and job growth has been nonexistent. This will hurt Obama come re-election time. But “top line” economic numbers don’t bother people. What bothers people are the things that hit them personally. And that is where Obama is really hurting:
Unemployment: The unemployment rate in February was 8.3%. That means 12.8 million people are unemployed. The actual rate is closer to 16%, which means 25 million people are unemployed. Talk all you want about growth, but as long as most people in the country know one or more of these 25 million people personally, they won’t believe things are getting better.

Inflation: The official inflation rate is 2.9% in the US. But unofficially, people are recording a 12% rate. That means everyone is taking a 12% pay cut each year right now, and that’s the worst it’s been since Jimmy Carter’s era.

Home Values: It may not be fair to blame Obama for the housing collapse, but he will still feel the heat because Americans have used their homes as a form of retirement savings. And that means people are hurting. According to Case-Shiller, which provides housing price data to the stock market, home values are at their lowest level since 2003 AND they now suspect that suburban home prices may not recover in our lifetimes. Shiller says the shift toward renting and city living could mean “that we will never in our lifetime see a rebound in these prices in the suburbs.” That’s disastrous for Obama because it means that until things change, people will feel insecure and will spend less, which depresses the economy.

Gas Price: The biggie is gas prices. Gas currently sits at a national average of $3.90 and is expected to hit $4.25 by mid-May. Some analysts think this will go as high as $4.50 to $4.70 during the summer. Indeed, everyone is now warning that gas will keep going up until the summer is over. And while the MSM has studiously avoided letting anyone blame Obama for this, a Reuters poll shows that 68% of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue.

What “handling” could they be upset about? Well, people overwhelmingly favor the Keystone Pipeline, they overwhelmingly favor offshore drilling, and they overwhelmingly favor fracking for natural gas. Obama has stood in the way of each.

Utility Costs: Obama’s EPA just issued rules forcing power plants to cut their carbon emissions. This means energy costs are about to go up again, just in time for air conditioning season.
Beyond this, seniors are worried the pension system keeps getting closer and closer to bankruptcy and Medicare barely works anymore because it's broke, the budget is out of control which is crushing consumer purchasing power and causing massive inflation, and civil servants have transformed themselves into a permanent elite class of rich, protected jerks living high on the amounts stolen from poor and middle class taxpayers. . . who aren't happy about it.

All of this is disastrous for Obama. That’s the good news.

The better news is that all of this can be fixed. . . just not by Obama. Getting spending under control will solve the budget and inflation problems. Extending the retirement age and capping benefits or running them lower than the rate of inflation will fix the pensions and Medicare issue. Gas prices can be fixed by approving more drilling and switching to natural gas. Republican attempts to break public sector unions are changing the bureaucratic landscape, and Republicans are getting the credit for things like school reform -- an area that once belonged exclusively to Democrats in voter’s minds.

Moreover, one of the biggest imbalances in our economy, the “collapse” of manufacturing is starting to right itself. First, manufacturing never collapsed. The US is still the largest or second largest manufacturer in the world depending on how you count it. Secondly, with wage inflation in China, it is now more cost efficient to open a new plant in the United States than it is to open the plant in China. And with wage growth showing no signs of stopping in China, you will soon see manufacturing return to the US.

The moral here is simple. The Democrats are doing everything wrong and are causing people genuine pain. That will ruin their election chances. And the Republicans have a chance, after the election, to set all of this right and win over the American people probably permanently. Good times will be here again!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obamacare Means Freedom!

You can take the boy out of San Francisco, but you can’t take San Francisco out of the boy. I look forward all week to the weekly e-mail from my former House Representative, Nancy Pelosi. But as good as those e-mails are, they are carefully vetted and edited for maximum appeal to the left. One thing is better—NANCY LIVE! Whenever I need my dose of crazy, I pray that Nancy will show up.

She never disappoints. On Thursday last, San Fran Nan actually outdid her Obamacare speech in which she said that Congress should pass the bill so they could read it. Now that the act has been on the books for two years, good ol’ Nancy topped it with her pithy analysis of just what Obamacare actually means. I know I’m being lazy, but I’m going to let Nancy’s own words comprise the largest part of this post.

You see, Obamacare isn’t about health care at all. It’s about freedom. Freedom to do just about any damn’ thing. Nancy herself finally read the whole megillah and discovered that it truly is the wonder of the 21st century. Death panels aside, Obamacare has taken up the torch of the Founding Fathers because it allows everyone the freedom to quit his or her job and become a photographer, a writer, a musician, or (verbatim) “whatever.”

Ignore the incoherence, just go with the emotion. “This is what our founders had in mind—ever expanding opportunity for people. You want to be self-employed, if you want to start a business, you want to change jobs, you no longer are prohibited from doing that because you can’t have access to health care, especially because you do not want to put your family at risk.”

Who knew? The Occupy bums would all be titans of industry or playwrights to rival Shakespeare if only they had had Obamacare when they were younger. But their children will be able to fulfill those dreams, all because of the brilliance of a health care act that nobody but Pelosi actually understands. Best of all, Obamacare almost guarantees perfect self-fulfillment for coming generations, since parents can pay for their children’s health insurance until those “children” reach age 26. Nancy should hop on a horse, grab a spear, don a kilt, paint her face blue, and trot around shouting “Freedom!”

Having discovered that brevity is the soul of wit, Nancy goes halfway there by declaring: “How many people in America do you think have a preexisting medical condition? That is, they may have been sick when they were little, or they had cancer and now are cancer free, and isn’t that a celebration? But you always carry that preexisting condition and the discrimination with you—until now. And we cannot let that be rolled back because it affects tens of millions of Americans directly and their families as well, so our whole country.” Whew! I had to listen to that several times before I entirely understood it. Well, maybe I haven’t entirely understood it yet. If I had cancer, but now I’m cancer free, I can write a symphony? Is that it?

Nancy closes by proving that she understands free enterprise from the basics up. Yessir. “We see it as an entrepreneurial bill. A bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspiration, because you will have health care. You won’t have been locked.” I wish English were my native tongue so that I could bask in the brilliance of each nuance in Nancy’s speeches. Uh, wait. English is my native tongue. Help!

Why does this all remind me of a very old joke? Patient: “Doctor, after I have the operation will I be able to play the piano?” Doctor: “Absolutely.” Patient: “That’s odd, I never could before.”
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Obama's Bad Week Continues. . .

Obama can’t catch a break. He keeps making wrong move after wrong move because he has bad instincts. Not to mention, he apparently doesn’t have a clue how to get himself re-elected. Ha ha. Let’s discuss his most recent bad moves. Consider this the feel good article for the week. :)

El Stupido One: Obama really screwed up this week. While speaking to Vladimir Putin’s mini-me, Dmitri Medvedev, in South Korea, Obama said into an open microphone that he needed more time to surrender our missile shield as Putin demanded because of the election. Said Obama, “after my election, I will have more flexibility.” Whoops.

It is a scandal that Obama plans to surrender our missile shield and thereby expose Poland to an aggressive Russia. But that’s not why this was a problem for Obama. The real problem for Obama is the broader implication of what he said. This statement reminds voters that the only thing keeping him in check is the need to get re-elected. Once he gets re-elected, he will act like “real Obama.” That prospect will frighten conservatives, who will wonder how much worse he can get, and it will turn-off moderates, who had hoped he would moderate his views with a Republican Congress. What this does is rally conservatives behind Romney (now that the primaries are effectively over), and it will cause moderates to see Romney “the moderate” as more likely to be moderate than Obama, who has been using moderate rhetoric in public but is privately promising to go full-retard after the election. This hurts Obama.

El Stupido Two: This Trayvon Martin thing will blow up on Obama. He should have kept his trap shut. Why? For one thing, because it reminds people that Obama is a racist and he only seems to care about the suffering of blacks. . . “what state was that flood in again?” Indeed, people are starting to ask why Obama commented on Trayvon, but didn’t comment on the shooting death of a white Mississippi State student by three black males this week, or why he hasn’t commented on the shooting of two unarmed British tourists by a black Sarasota, Florida teen. Americans do not like presidents who play racial favorites and this reminds people that Obama is such a president.

Further, the misconduct of Trayvon’s exploiters will turn off the segment of the electorate that took Obama at face value when he said he would be the first post-racial president. Indeed, since his election, his allies have smeared anyone who criticized him as racist. Blacks in the Congressional Black Caucus cried racism when they were caught breaking laws. They made up false claims of racism against the Tea Party. Eric Holder has pursued a truly racist “civil rights” agenda. And now, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Black Panthers and others are busy inciting racial hatred. This is the exact opposite message Obama needs to send to win over moderate whites. And as more evidence comes out that Team Race is trying to lynch a possibly innocent man, the blowback is building. This appears to be Duke Lacrosse all over again. Indeed, we’ve now learned that a 13 year old witnesses says Zimmerman was the one being attacked -- and his wounds were consistent with that, we’ve heard the 911 call which is not at all what it was portrayed, and we’ve learned that Trayvon was a thug. Add in a mother who has trademarked his name so she can profit from his death and you have a recipe for significant blowback.

El Stupido Three: Finally, let’s discuss Obama’s campaign video. Obama has produced a 17 minute video pimping his re-election. The video is narrated by Tom Hanks. And it is fascinating.

First, this was a stupid thing to release because only diehard supporters or opponents will watch a 17 minute video. So there was nothing to be gained here. Then it got worse because right after its release another video was released of Tom Hanks getting caught on stage with a hedge fund manager who is in blackface and who makes racist comments. Hanks now claims that he was blindsided by the appearance of this man, but he wasn’t. He doesn’t leave the stage or chastise the man. Nope. Instead, he launches into an attack on Bill O’Reilly. This has neutered the 17 minute video entirely and raised the question of the double-standard liberals use. And following Slutgate, where the left tried to defend people like Bill Maher, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

Moreover, when you look at the video’s contents, you quickly realize that Obama has no idea how to get re-elected.
● The video itself is dark, depressing and defensive. And it’s crawling with self-pity as it keeps whining about how much responsibility has been dumped on our oft-golfing president. You can’t win the White House being whiny or pessimistic.

● Most of the video blames Bush. That’s not going to work four years after Bush left office.

● He’s terrified of his record. He never says “the stimulus package,” though there is one mention of the “Recovery Act.” He doesn’t tout Dodd Frank. He does talk about the auto bailouts, but he’s defensive as he tries to claim they extracted significant concessions from the unions. He mentions ObamaCare a lot, but only the promised benefits, which is the same sale pitch which keeps ObamaCare at the 40% support level in the polls. There’s almost no foreign policy mentioned except the killing bin Laden, which got Obama a 3% bounce which faded immediately. What the video does contain is a laundry list of promises to his different constituent groups (blacks, gays, feminists, enviros, etc.). That won’t play well if someone puts them all together for a general election commercial. Also, the whole video has been torn apart for being packed with lies and distortions. Even the leftist mouthpiece The Washington Post awarded it 3 out of 4 Pinocchios. That’s bad.
So what does this mean? It means he’s planning to run a depressing campaign. That’s a loser. He’s planning to blame Bush. Good luck. It means he’s afraid of his record. But without a crazed Republican in the race, that’s what this race will be about. Hence, he’s doomed, especially since the only achievements he’s willing to discuss either can’t get above 50% support in the polls or got him no credit with the public.

Add in the above, and you also have the Democrats going out their way to alienate the electorate by stirring up racial tensions, and Obama’s Medvedev comment putting the lie to his plan to run as a moderate. Right now, Obama and friends are doing everything wrong. They are alienating moderates, alienating whites, and energizing the conservative base. This could be one of the least competent campaigns in human history.

Finally, before you say, “don’t underestimate him,” keep in mind that Obama has never won a competitive election. All of his opponents imploded on their own. What’s the one thing Romney has shown cannot happen with him? He won’t implode.

Don't forget, it's Star Trek Tuesday at the film site. Today we resume the Politics of Trek series!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Justice Actually Can Prevail

The monster that is the Environmental Protection Agency has just received a big slapdown from the United States Supreme Court. The EPA, using its huge resources, entrenched bureaucratic mentality, seemingly endless ability to spend the taxpayers money and determination that it is a law unto itself lost a true David versus Goliath battle. A family which refused to be intimidated by Leviathan won.

I’ve written on this topic twice before, each time with the hope that this brave couple, Mike and Chantell Sackett would be able to fight on until they won their battle to re-establish the very American proposition that your land belongs to you, not to the federal government and a gaggle of environmental fascists. You can review the underlying facts of the case here: Sacketts vs EPA. So this post is actually more celebratory than the previous two.

In a nutshell, the case involves a small parcel of land which the Sacketts had purchased so they could build their dream home in the Priest Lake region of Idaho. After pulling all the proper permits and complying with all environmental regulations imposed by the local, regional and state authorities, the Sacketts began to build. After the Sacketts had graded the land, laid the foundation for the house and erected some of the walls and support structures, the EPA came in, ordered the construction to halt forthwith, and ordered the Sacketts to dismantle what construction had been done and return the land to its natural state as a protected wetland.

The idea that the land was a protected wetland came as a total surprise to the Sacketts and every agency involved except the EPA. The “wetland” amounted to a small portion of the property, not much more than a puddle, which had only come to exist as the result of an unusually wet winter and spring. It hadn’t been there before or during the permit process, and left alone, would dry up on its own eventually. No wetland flora or fauna had yet discovered the puddle. It takes the sharp eye of an EPA bureaucrat to locate such obscure ecological marvels.

This was another example of ecoweenies and federal bureaucrats finding a “problem” to act on in order to make sure that their power intimidates both the objects of the protection orders and anyone else who might dare to think of building on or near the same location. Why is it suddenly a protected wetland? The EPA’s response was “because we say it is.”

What was determined in the Supreme Court decision is that the EPA (and by inference, other federal alphabet agencies) may not prevent injured plaintiffs from challenging the power of the agency early in the proceedings. In order to win by intimidation, the EPA had issued what is called a “compliance order.” Such an order requires that the victims of that order must first comply with all the terms of the order before attaining standing to sue the agency for a reversal of the order. For a family of moderate means, that is a near impossibility.

The Sacketts would have had to pull down all the construction done so far, including re-grading the land to put it back into its “natural state.” Then, and only then, they would have been allowed to challenge the EPA’s determination that their land was a protected wetland. Assuming they won the subsequent suit (no sure thing), they would then be able to start construction all over.

As an additional bullet in the head of the Sackett’s dreams, refusal to obey the compliance order would mean they could spend their limited funds on reversing the construction, then hiring counsel to sue just to get back where they started or pay daily fines of $37,500 until they did comply. The Sacketts chose not to comply, and after unsuccessful appeals, their fines had reached nearly $1 million by the time the case got to the Supreme Court.

The argument in court revolved around the nature of the compliance order, with the issue of the questionable wetlands determination a secondary issue. The EPA contended that a compliance order is only one step in ongoing litigation to make that determination. The Sacketts argued the opposite. And the high court agreed with the Sacketts. Speaking for the unanimous court, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the Sacketts had the right to sue to overturn the compliance order rather than obey it at their own expense and litigate further later.

Scalia reviewed the Administrative Procedures Act on which the EPA relied, and found that a compliance order such as the one in this case is so onerous that it comprises a final order, complete with monetary fines. The order requiring the Sacketts to restore the property to its original condition was therefore subject to immediate judicial review, both under the Administrative Procedures Act and the Clean Water Act.

No need for a private citizen to bankrupt himself complying with the order before suing to overturn the agency decision only to get back to where he was in the first place before the arbitrary and crippling order was entered. Scalia added: “There is no reason to think that the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for judicial review—even judicial review of the question whether the regulated party is within the EPA’s jurisdiction.”

Justice Samuel Alito also suggested that Congress amend the Clean Water Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and similar bureaucratic legislation in a way that would clearly and affirmatively define the limitations of compliance orders while at the same time preventing more arbitrary and capricious actions by federal agencies effectively quashing the right of private citizens to seek redress in the courts at the earliest possible time. Said Alito: “The Court’s opinion is better than nothing, but only clarification of the reach of the Clean Water Act can rectify the underlying problem.”

The attorney for the Sacketts argued before the Justices that the EPA (and by inference, any other federal agency) is not above the law, nor does any such agency have the right to prevent private citizens from seeking legal redress against the agency when those citizens reasonably believe they are being treated unfairly. He further argued that private citizens should not be required to suffer crippling sanctions without being able to petition the courts to grant redress and protect private property rights pending further litigation. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed.

Although this was an important and unanimous decision, caution must be advised before determining that this battle won a war. The EPA doesn’t like being told it has limited powers, and under this administration at least, it’s likely that it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion which pointed out that the underlying issue of whether the Sackett’s property is or is not a protected wetland is not being determined by this Supreme Court decision.

The decision is limited to the right of a private citizen to challenge a compliance order without first having to comply with it. In other words, big government-friendly Ginsburg wanted the EPA to know that she, Justice Sotomayor and perhaps one other Justice might very well be amenable to accepting their determination that the Sackett’s property is in fact a protected wetland if the case should make its way back to the Supreme Court on that issue alone.

I’ll take my victories where I can find them. This was a major limitation placed on the power of irresponsible poorly-monitored federal agencies to harass, intimidate and threaten private citizens into surrendering to unjust federal authority. In order to win the final battle and ultimately the war, Congress must act to severely restrict the now nearly-unlimited powers of the EPA to declare private property off-limits to the citizens who own it. Now you have another reason to elect a conservative Republican majority to Congress in the upcoming general election, as well as kicking The One out of the White House.
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Conservatives ARE Smarter Than Liberals

Liberals love to think they’re smarter than conservatives, but they aren’t. Conservatives are smarter than liberals, and we know this to be true for a variety of reasons. Now, Pew has give us more proof to add to the pile. But before we talk about Pew, let’s consider the proof we already have that conservatives are indeed smarter than liberals.

Here are six reasons why we know liberals are simply not very smart:

1. They support liberalism. No, I’m not being facetious. Liberalism has been an unmitigated disaster everywhere it’s been tried. It has bankrupted countries, destroyed inner city families, and made a mockery of education. Indeed, any area of our culture or economy which is dominated by liberals is a mess. And the more liberal a country is, the more likely it is to be broke with massive unemployment and little idea how to turn itself around. Not to mention that liberalism runs contrary to human nature, and its cousin socialism has slaughtered hundreds of millions of people. Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same behaviors and expecting different results, yet that is exactly what liberals are doing. Hence, anyone who still believes liberalism can work is either stupid or insane.

2. They reject reality. Anyone who ignores facts they don’t like and insists on believing things that are provably false just isn’t very smart. Yet, that describes liberalism to a T. They will believe things which have been debunked and ignore all evidence that disproves their beliefs. And, not only do they ignore evidence they don’t like, they attack the messenger and try to force people to accept their fantasy version of reality over genuine reality through groupthink and political correctness.

3. They accept contradictions. Anyone who can accept a logical contradiction is an idiot because it shows they have no ability to reason and they are willing to believe that which cannot be true just to maintain their worldview. And liberalism is crawling with logical contradictions. My recent favorite is Keynesian thought, which says that spending money helps the economy because it adds to the economy but simultaneously claims that taxes don’t hurt an economy even though taxes pull money from the economy.

4. They lack a principled framework through which to see the world. The liberal decision-making process is emotive and reactionary, it lacks consistency and any sort of framework upon which to base decisions. It is essentially “reasoning through gut feeling.” Inconsistency and lack of problem-solving methodology are evidence of weak, useless minds.

5. They are incapable of seeing the long term. All decisions have short-term and long-term consequences, yet liberals simply cannot grasp the concept of long-term effects. Only being able to grasp half an answer is evidence of stupidity.

6. They “admit” it. Liberalism’s most obnoxious trait is that liberals project their own worst traits onto others. Thus, while they act like racists/sexists/homophobes/ageists/etc-ists, they deny being any of these things and instead project these flaws onto others. They whine about conservatives speaking in code because they themselves speak in code. They accuse people of being liars when they are the liars, they accuse others of being “haters” when they have the hate, and they accuse others of being “fascists” when they are the fascists. So what do we make of liberals accusing conservatives of being closed-minded (a distinctly liberal, but not conservative, trait) and stupid? Hmm. Sounds like an admission to me.

And now we have more from Pew. Every year, Pew asks people a variety of questions to gage the public’s knowledge of various topics. If liberals are indeed smarter as they claim, they should dominate these tests, but they don’t. To the contrary, conservative blow them out.

Here are the results from the 2010 quiz:
● Men did better than women (50% to 35% correct) and in fact beat women on every question.
● College grads did much better than high school grads (61% to 33%).
● Age-wise, those in the 30+ brackets did much better than the 18-20 bracket (50% to 32%).
And Republicans (50%) and Independents (47%) did better than Democrats (40%).
In fact, it was even worse than it appears for the Democrats. On the 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed the Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and the Democrats winning the other question. On this year’s survey it was even worse. This year, Pew asked 19 questions and Republicans outperformed the Democrats on ALL 19 questions. Imagine that.

So these condescendingly smug liberals who see themselves as vastly more knowledgeable than Republicans. . . after all, they watch Stephen Colbert while you hillbillies are watching NASCAR. . . got smoked on 19 out 19 questions. And this continues a trend of Republicans smoking Democrats.

Sadly, the Democrats are probably too stupid to understand what this means, but feel free to try to explain it to them the next time they claim they are smarter than conservatives. I suggest using puppets to make it easier for them to understand.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 31

If Hollywood were real life, there would only be three professions: cops, doctors and lawyers. And what a sad world it would be.

What other occupation would you like you see more of on film?

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Question: Innovative or Exploitative?

For more than 125 years, organizations have been trying to figure out ways to help the homeless. Innovative projects, first started by The Salvation Army in the 19th Century, have included "homeless" newspapers to give the chronically homeless a way to collect money with dignity and, in turn, to publicize the plight of the poor and homeless. In 1989, one such newspaper "The Street News" began operation in New York City.

The way Street News works is that they publish and sell daily tabloid-style newspapers to homeless individuals for a small up front fee. Then the homeless people sell the papers on the street or subways for the retail price and get to keep the profits. Therefore, rather than panhandle, they have a job selling newspapers and people were much more willing to buy rather than just hand out spare change for nothing in return. Even better, many of the articles are written by the poor and homeless who sell the paper which helps give a voice and face to their plight. However with the recent proliferation of free daily newspapers readily available at every street corner in New York City and the ever increasing rise of digital papers, the "homeless" papers and street sellers have lost their cachet.

Seeing a looming need to replace these newspapers with the next new innovation, an Austin, Texas-based homeless advocacy group Front Steps partnered with a New York City-based advertising firm Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty, to create "Homeless Hotspots". The new idea was to give homeless people mobile hotspot units and tee-shirts like the one in the photo. They could roam the parks and public areas and offer wireless network connections to tourists and anyone in need of an internet connection for a small fee. So with hardware in hand, the first 13 "homeless hotspots" were introduced at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin in March. If the idea proved successful, they would next be rolled out in New York City.

Well, as you can imagine, everyone across the nation weighed in including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post, and the overwhelming opinion was negative. One woman was horrified that human beings would be degraded to the function of mere wireless network access points. As a matter of fact, about the only people who thought it was a great idea were the first 13 homeless "hotspot" men. They thought it was great. Clarence, the man in the photo above who considers himself "houseless" rather than "homeless" said it gave him a chance to interact with many different people and the chance to make an honest living at a real job.

Frankly, I was one of those who, when I first read about this, I thought it was a terrible idea. But after I thought about it awhile and read more about it, I changed my opinion. For the record, Homeless hot spot idea* has been discontinued, but what do you think?

Question: Do you think this is innovative or exploitative?

*You can read a brief biography of each of these thirteen men on this link.
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Mass-Murdering Right-Wing Extremist

On Wednesday of this past week, a right-wing extremist went on a killing spree in the environs of the city of Toulouse in La Belle France. The mainstream media in America and France knew immediately that the killer was some sort of right wing nut when it was announced that he had killed three Jewish children, their father (a rabbi) and three French Soldiers.

A repeat of the mass murder in Norway, undoubtedly. The story quickly began to fall apart, so the liberal press on both continents went into rapid spin cycle. Just as they did after the Fort Hood massacre, they cautioned against drawing any conclusions just because the murderer had shouted “Allahu akbar.” When they found out his name was Mohammed Merah, they still had no clue as to what his motivation might have been. They advised caution, since two of the soldiers were of North African Muslim descent, and the third was black. The name Mohammed was most likely a coincidence and the murders were still the act of a right-wing terrorist.

That didn’t work out too well either. Even before the French police finally put a bullet in the murderer’s head as he tried to escape, information was coming in that he was a French citizen of Algerian origin, had fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and had broken out of a Kandahar prison in 2008 and returned to France. The sensational headlines about the right-wing extremist who was a racist murderer who was driven to hatred by Islamic immigration to France began to move to the back pages as it turned out he was nothing but another jihadist terrorist.

They drew conclusions from rumors that the murderer had filmed his murders using a camera suggested to him by the Norwegian nutcase mass murderer Anders Breivik. The New York Times particularly promoted that nonsense in two front page stories. Before admitting, however reluctantly, that the right-wing story was all wrong, the BBC, London’s Telegraph, the Paris dailies, French TV and a few fellow travelers in the American press decided they had another great story to beat “Islamophobes” over the head with.

The entire premise of an unaligned terrorist with no particular agenda finally went entirely out the window when the transcripts of the negotiations with the jihadist prior to his head-cleansing were released. In those transcripts, the follower of the religion of peace stated in no uncertain terms that he was seeking revenge for the French army’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan. In addition, he was avenging the deaths of the victims of Jewish oppression in Palestine. And lest anyone think he shot the two Muslim soldiers and the one black soldier by mistake, he made it clear that Muslims are fair game if they belong to any military establishment which opposes the Taliban.

So, the liberal worldwide press immediately retracted their earlier stories and admitted their mistake, right? Wrong. They turned on the turbocharger on the spin machine. Forget the damned Jews and kids and soldiers. Who’s the real victim here? Why who else? It’s Mohammed Merah. Though the American press leaned toward the “lone wolf” theory, proposing that Merah had no connection to other Islamists, the European press rolled out its favorite mantra:

“Yes, Mister/Monsieur/Herr Merah did a terrible thing. But in doing so, he was an extremist who in no way represents the religion of peace. No true Muslim would ever consort with mass murderers or antisemites” (see caption photo). The British Guardian and the French dailies know who the real culprits are. First, there is French President Nicolas Sarcozy, who finally has taken action against radical Islam in France (in other words, he’s an Islamophobe). And second, there’s the growing right-wing sentiment of certain French political parties opposing further immigration from the lands of Jihadistan.

Thus, Merah did act alone, but in the name of Allah and Islam (however mistakenly, wink, wink) and only after being forced to do so by sinister Western forces of Christianity, Judaism, and secularism—fascists all. To put the frosting on the cake, they repeat the falsehood that Breivik was a Christian with right-wing leanings who did the same thing as Merah, only worse. Jimmy Carter must love that moral relativism, particularly since it’s based on a lie to start with.

The facts haven’t changed, but the liberal press stories sure did. Allahu akbar. And by the way, the photo is from the 30s showing the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem meeting with some German guy.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Film Friday: Green Lantern (2011)

This may surprise you, but I did not hate this film. Don’t get me wrong, Green Lantern is an awful film: generic pointless plot, bad acting, bad effects. . . but somehow, I didn’t hate it. And in today’s Hollywood, that’s a pretty big victory.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Obama Goes Full Shizoid On Gas Prices

Our beloved energy and jobs President is embarking on a tour to explain how the anger over rapidly rising and crippling gasoline prices is misplaced. As we have come to expect, he is blaming everybody but himself for the skyrocketing costs of fuel. I keep waiting for him to blame the prehistoric plants for not dying fast enough and in sufficient numbers to make oil more readily available today.

His explanations are quickly becoming more ridiculous than ever. You see, the President has a message that is completely self-contradictory. He cites huge international forces over which he has no control as the real reason behind rising gas prices. At the same time, he is telling us about all the wonderful things he has done to reduce gas prices. He tells us that we can’t drill our way out of this problem, and says that anyone who disagrees is lying or ignorant. Then he tells us how he is working to reduce gas prices by allowing more drilling (an outright lie).

In fact, most of the drilling now being done is the result of actions taking during the Bush administration, and are the rare survivors of Obama regulations that greatly reduced the number of drilling sites which would have been created had his administration not intervened. Yes, some additional drilling is being done, but no, Obama did nothing to encourage it. Had the Bush-era approvals all been left intact, there would have been a great many more new drilling sites today.

Another way that Obama has proposed to increase oil production is to wait for a big oil company to announce it has produced more oil, and therefore more profits, then call it a “windfall” and tax the company to death. Using this method, which he is touting during his tour, he gets to have it both ways. “Look, I’ve increased oil production, but I’m not letting those greedy oil barons get away with making too much money.” What kind of suckers are going to fall for that? Answer: liberals. And let's not forget those evil Wall Street speculators who drive the price of oil up (the same ones who drive it down when economic conditions are better). They didn't invest in Solydra, so they must be demonized.

And then, as the piece de resitance, he blames the increased demand in China and India and unrest in the Middle East for the explosion in gas prices. But he does nothing except babble about democracy in the Middle East while diverting Canadian oil to China by nixing the Keystone XL pipeline. He’s even talking about raising tariffs to punish China and India for making those demands. Apparently he has never read anything about how the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act turned the Depression into the Great Depression.

He also fails to explain how increased domestic oil production would not alleviate the problem of oil from the Middle East going elsewhere. I guess a simple fact like that is not sufficiently “nuanced” for his great mind. He also fails to understand that increased domestic production would have a positive effect on world prices, not just American prices. The more oil that is being produced to meet the demand means greater profits from selling more oil at a lower price than selling less oil at a higher price. And domestic oil has the benefit of being determined by the market, not by the greed of Middle Eastern dictators and terrorists. Obama’s reply: “What’s the market?”

In fact, Obama has done a great deal more for oil production in Brazil than he has for production in America. But he would have you believe otherwise. Based on Bush-era actions, the Department of Energy predicted that oil production from federal land and offshore locations would be a minimum of sixteen percent higher than they have actually been under the Obama anti-oil administration. Conversely, the DOE’s information agency reports that Obama’s policies reversing the Bush-era actions resulted in fifteen percent less domestic oil production in 2011 and will reduce it by another twenty-six percent in 2012 from the 2010 highs.

What few increases have occurred during the Obama years have been accomplished on privately-owned land. Exploration and production on federal or federally-controlled lands have gone down precipitously. In the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, the protection of mosquito hordes is more important to the energy President than exploiting the postage-stamp sized proposed drilling site which would release billions of barrels of oil. In the Gulf of Mexico, Obama uses the BP spill as his excuse to cripple oil exploration and production. And when it comes to importing Canadian shale oil, he has neutered that by phony environmental concerns which were fully addressed and solved with the Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama’s Secretary of Energy is appearing before Congressional committees to answer questions about why the Obama administration thinks that domestic production has no effect on prices at the pump. Even though Secretary Chu has back-pedaled on his radical views about raising gas prices artificially to European levels, his other answers have been totally inadequate. How less production means higher prices is a total mystery to him. Ditto for higher gasoline taxes meaning higher prices at the pump.

It will be interesting to follow Obama on his “Ain’t I Great on Gasoline?” tour. Americans tend to be very good BS detectors, and I suspect this will be no exception.
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The Conservative Tantrum Continues

In the past couple months, conservatives have proven that they don’t know what conservatism means, that they are hopeless suckers for the MSM rope-a-dope, that they are incapable of understanding math, and that they’re whiny hypocrites. Good grief. The latest involves their disparate reaction to two recent “gaffes” by Romney and Santorum.

Yesterday, Romney’s campaign spokesman was asked whether or not Romney had moved too far to the right to win the general election. He said:
“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
Conservatives went insane. “This proves Romney’s a flip flopper” they whined. Meanwhile, last week, Santorum was asked how he plans to win over voters seeing as how he has no plan to create jobs. Said Ricky:
“I don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. It doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates.”
Conservatives stuck their fingers in their ears and pretended not to hear this one.

So which one is more important? Or said differently, if conservatives weren’t acting like retarded children, which one of these should have bothered them more?

First, note a critical difference between these two gaffes in terms of who said them. Santorum’s gaffe was said by Santorum himself. It thus provides an important insight into his mindset. The Romney “gaffe,” however, was made by a spokesman. It is therefore inappropriate to attribute this to Romney or to whine that he’s gaffe prone or to claim that this gives us an insight into his true mentality... as conservatives are doing. Instead, the proper response to such a comment is to seek clarification from Romney himself. Romney, by the way, immediately rejected this quote when asked about it -- though conservatives continue to whine about it. Santorum, by comparison, doubled-down on stupid and conservatives doubled-down on intentional blindness to keep ignoring it.

Secondly, the biggest test to determine whether criticism is valid or just hypocritical is to ask if the critic would still be upset if someone else had said it. If the Romney question had been asked of Santorum and he gave the same response, would conservatives get all whiny-outraged? Hardly. They would have said, “well, that’s true. That’s why it doesn’t matter that Santorum’s been whining about pornography and Satan because the general election is a whole new contest and everything said now pretty much disappears.” In other words, if Santorum had said this, conservatives would not have called it a gaffe. So calling it a gaffe because Romney’s spokesman said it is hypocritical.

Now compare the response to Ricky’s gaffe. There is no doubt that any candidate who claimed that the unemployment rate doesn’t matter and who says they don’t care about unemployment would be viewed as having committed an horrific gaffe. Yet, conservatives hypocritically ignored this one.

Third, lets look at what was really said. In the Romney case, the aid was responding to a specific question about whether or not Romney could compete in the general election. His answer was both truthful and essentially what any candidate would have said -- general elections are fought differently from primaries and they essentially begin with a clean slate. He never said Romney planned to abandon his values. In fact, Romney’s values weren't even under discussion. What was under discussion was simply the question of candidate packaging. To interpret this as evidence that Romney has no values requires a deliberate misinterpretation because it requires assuming that the answer addressed a different question than what was really asked.

Now lets look at what Santorum said, because unlike the “Romney” quote, this one is vitally important. Rick has claimed repeatedly to be a Tea Party candidate despite the utter lack of an economic plan and lack of any plan to cut spending or the size of government. Rick also has whined that he’s been unfairly maligned as being concerned only about social issues despite the fact he has no economic plan, and he’s spent the campaign slurring Romney’s religion, slurring Obama’s religion, declaring himself the arbiter of what constitutes Christianity, waging a war against contraception, promising to push gays back into the closet, promising to somehow make people marry, and promising to focus the powers of the federal government like a laser beam on pornography.

So when Rick says that he doesn’t care about unemployment, Rick is accidentally admitting both that he does not care about Tea Party values AND that his attack on the MSM for “mischaracterizing” him is a lie. Indeed, Rick entirely confirms everything his critics have been saying with this quote, i.e. that he does not care about economic concerns.

Further, Rick wasn’t done talking when he said the above. He went on to say this:
“We have one nominee who says he wants to run the economy. What kind of conservative says the president runs the economy? What kind of conservative says, 'I'm the guy because of my economic experience that can create jobs?' I don't know.”
Think about this. Rick is essentially saying that HE BELIEVES conservatives should not get involved in trying to make the economy run better -- an interpretation which is completely confirmed by Rick’s lack of any economic plan. This is a declaration of satisfaction with the government the way it is today. And yet, conservatives weren’t stunned by this?

Moreover, Ricky then laughably claimed that his candidacy is about “freedom” (unlike Romney who wants to “control” the economy). Only his definition of “freedom” includes leaving Big Government unchanged, pushing gays into the closet, stopping people from having sex unless they intend to procreate, letting the government decide what people can read, having the government control the internet, forcing taxpayers to pay billions so Ricky can have HHS "promote families" (that’s his economic plan), having the government forcibly unionize companies like FedEx, etc. etc. etc. Again, conservatives ignored this.

Let’s be honest. To attack Romney for something his staffer said, which Romney immediately refuted, and which was both truthful and accurate and wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if some other candidate had said it, and which wasn’t even discussing the point over which it has been used to attack Romney, is hypocritical and ridiculous and reflects very poorly on conservatives. To simultaneously ignore Rick's quote, which confirms all the worst fears conservatives should have of Santorum -- that he cares about nothing more than forcing his hateful version of Christianity on the country and that he utterly disdains economic conservatism and Tea Party values -- is even worse.

Conservatism has gone off the rails. It is in the midst of a temper tantrum and is acting hypocritically and childishly. It is making itself a laughing stock. And it’s going to take a lot to prove again that conservatives aren’t the mindless, idiotic zombies the left claims. Ug.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scott's Links March 2012

Scott roams the internet far and wide. Because of this, he supplies interesting links to Big Hollywood every day. I've asked Scott to give us a list of the best links he finds each month and a quick synopsis of what's behind each one. Check these out. . . share your thoughts! And away we go. . .

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

Fighting Fire With Fire

ScottDS and I had an interesting discussion yesterday, related to the Andrew Breitbart’s Bigs. Later in the day, Rufus at Threedonia, posted some similar thoughts. So this is probably worth discussing. Right now, the Bigs are kind of annoying. . . BUT here’s why they are actually doing a good thing.

The reason the Bigs are annoying is because they are jumping on minutia and mercilessly pounding it into the ground. Game Change had some inaccuracies, but is it worth 500 articles calling Tom Hanks everything from a truth rapist to the last American communist? Tom Hanks also appears in a video with someone in blackface. Is that worth pounding away? Bill Maher says much worse things than Rush ever said, but do we need to hear about it 10,000 times? Etc. All of this seems petty and it’s somewhat hypocritical in the sense that the Bigs are judging these people under politically correct standards which conservatives don’t accept. And frankly, I don’t personally like it. I don’t find this interesting and I would rather they were more constructive.

So it’s bad, right? Well. . . no.

Here’s the thing. For at least two decades now, the left has worked to isolate conservatives from the culture and make them pariahs. Every time a conservative spoke their mind, the left attacked them using some faked-sleight invented by the left. They would feign offense at some non-offensive word or act and then smear the conservative as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. It didn’t matter that leftists routinely said the same things, they still attacked. In fact, they would hound these conservatives until the conservatives either left the public sphere or surrendered to the mercy of their persecutors. In this way, they made it impossible for conservatives to have their voices heard because every time a conservative got noticed, they were destroyed personally and professionally. The idea literally was to make sure conservatives were afraid to speak.

And how did conservatives respond? Most cringed and did nothing. And when they saw leftists saying or doing the exact same things the left had attacked conservatives for doing, they remained silent. Why? Because they decided to take the high road. They reasoned that if it wasn’t fair to attack conservatives because of X, then it wouldn’t be fair to attack liberals for X either, so they refused to attack. This was stupid.

For twenty-plus years now, conservatives have let the left destroy conservative after conservative with hypocritical attacks without a peep of challenge except to whine about the hypocrisy. Public life became intolerable for conservatives (look at what they did to Palin for example), while liberals got to skate through saying and doing anything they wanted, secure in the knowledge that conservatives were unwilling to attack them.

No more. The Bigs have declared war. They have taken the same pathetic, petty attacks the left has used to smear conservatives for years and they are now applying those same attacks to leftists. They are fighting fire with fire, because that's the only way to stop what the left is doing. When someone has a weapon they can use with impunity, they will. But when they suddenly realize that others will use it against them, they will stop. Think of it as the cultural version of Mutually Assured Destruction: if you want to try to destroy a conservative as racist/sexist for using a particular word, then we will destroy every liberal who uses that word. This may not make for a pleasant world in the short term, but it is the only way to put an end to these attacks.

Indeed, fighting fire with fire is the only technique which works against the left because they win through incremental progress. In other words, they can win by getting a little bit at a time each time they come to power unless conservatives roll back their gains. For example, for decades, the left concentrated power in the executive branch and the courts. They used that power to force leftist ideas onto businesses, schools, state governments, charities, churches and individuals. When conservatives came to power, they would stupidly declare that they would take the high ground and not use the powers created by the left. The left laughed. And once the conservatives lost power again, the left picked right up where they were before and kept right on pushing -- secure in the knowledge that conservatives lacked the will to use these instruments of power against them.

All of that changed under Bush, particularly in education where Bush used the levers of power liberals created to push liberalism onto schools as a means to impose conservatism instead. Suddenly, the left started howling about state’s rights and attacks on personal freedom and they did their best to strip away the powers they had created. Ditto in the courts, where the left now squeals about legal principles like stare decisis, binding precedent and judicial restraint. . . things they ignored for fifty years while the courts were pushing the country to the left.

It’s the same thing here. Taking the high ground equals surrendering. Conservatives must learn to make the left pay for creating these weapons. This means using the government to bring lawsuits against liberal businesses that violate the laws, sending the IRS after liberal churches, unions and charities which engage in politics, going after race hustler groups and black racist organizations under the civil rights laws, targeting Obama-crony companies like GE with the environmental laws they demanded. . . and making life hell for liberal celebrities who step into the traps liberals have set for conservatives.

That’s what the Bigs are doing. And while I don’t personally enjoy it, I absolutely recognize the value of what they are doing. They are firing back the same nuclear weapons the left has been lobbing at us, and they’ve been rather successful at it. And when the left starts to realize that they are living under an unfair microscope of their own making, they will surrender. . . just as they have every other time conservatives have fought back.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stopping the Ghost of Mussolini

by The Individualist

The purpose of this article is to make the case for an amendment to the constitution that I will label the anti-fascism amendment.

The Spirit of the Anti-Fascism Amendment

The greatest danger of Fascism is governmental control of the means of production. This is Benito Mussolini’s Third Way between Capitalism and Socialism, where the machine of industry is not undone but rather the ownership of that machine is transferred to a national government. This is accomplished through byzantine regulations or the appropriation of the equity of industrial entities, most notably the transfer of ownership of corporate stock to the government. This grants the government the ability to control the means of production, even as the government retains its traditional role of watchdog policing disputes.

The problem with combining these two functions is something called “Segregation of Duties”. When one has the power to control an asset, to record the use of that asset and the authority to approve its use, then there is a potential for abuse and fraud and a breakdown of controls. When governments combine these powers over industry with a takeover of social services, the potential for abuse can lead to dictatorial control. The Anti-Fascism Amendment I am proposing is intended to stop our government from being able to exercise this type of power.

Thus, first, I propose the following:
Neither the federal government nor any state or local government may ever hold any ownership interest in any business or partnership, including for-profit and nonprofit corporations.
With the assignment of US Senators from state appointments to general elections, we began to move power from the states to the federal government. The federal government expanded its reach into what are now "entitlement programs". This creates a "segregation of duties" issue similar to the one caused by government ownership of equity, but more subtle. Government operation of these services by using regulation to override the authority of the states, means that issues with how they are managed are less likely to be corrected by the same government that is responsible for them. Since Federal courts and agencies are the auditors who regulate and the final arbiter of disputes there is a conflict when the federal government manages the operations.

Since these “entitlements” have become an accepted part of our culture and likely can’t be removed, the fix as I see it is to divorce the regulation and decision making from the federal government. I propose the following:
All monies for programs or services that would violate the strict interpretation of the tenth amendment because they cannot be justified as a power granted by the US Constitution must be decided upon by state authority. Each state will appoint one financial expert answerable to that states comptroller’s office and their decision making authority will be subject to the executive and legislative branches of each state as deemed appropriate by state authorizes. These individuals will make up a Commission located in Kansas.

Monies appropriated for these programs will be sent directly to the Kansas Commission. The federal government may only define the purpose of the funds. All matters as to program operation and the distribution of funds shall be the express authority of the Kansas Commission. The Kansas commission must provide the rules and procedures for these programs to the federal government. The federal government will then have the duty to audit those operational procedures and financial results in accordance with the rules and procedures provided by the commission.

Fascism without Godwin’s Law

Godwin’s law states that any internet discussion will eventually devolve to a comparison to Hitler. I wish to ignore Hitler and concentrate on Fascism’s father Benito Mussolini. In his book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg places Mussolini as Fascism’s philosophical father. Fascism as an economic philosophy was based off of Corporatism which is an offshoot of syndicalism. These were ideologies which centered around worker’s unions or syndicates controlling corporations and businesses.

Many label Fascism as “rightwing” because the fascists were at odds with the communists for the control of Socialism. Both ideologies support dictatorial collectivism in the name of achieving a utopian dream. Conservatism in America is based on the classical liberalism of Jean Baptiste Say and Thomas Malthus. These are the philosophies of the US Constitution: Free Markets, Limited Government, Constitutional Republics, the regard for Property rights and Individual Liberty. Fascism is none of these things.
"There is no security of property, where a despotic authority can possess itself of the property of the subject against his consent. Neither is there such security, where the consent is merely nominal and delusive."
-Jean-Baptiste Say, A Treatise on Political Economy, 1803
Compare this with the following quote from Benito Mussolini:
“The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organization of production is a function of national concern, the organizer of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.”
–Benito Mussolini
Mussolini believed in Totalitarian control and a command economy. He achieved this goal without destroying corporations. However they were directed by the state and thus economies were planned. This article from the Library for Economic Liberty explains it very well (link). Thus, Fascism is promoted when a single state power is given control over the institutions that run our lives. That control can be in the form of regulation or in state ownership. The end is the same either way, it will be government bureaucrats who make life choices for the individual.

Can I get a Trade in on my New Deal?

Prior to the New Deal this issue was a limited one since the federal government controlled much less of the social services provided. Every day social services and charities were governed only when necessary by the state and local governments As the New Deal expanded to the Great Society, the government slowly crept into the cradle to the grave socialism.

Roosevelt enacted Social Security in 1935 and Johnson enacted Medicare in 1965. Fannie Mae started in 1938. Confiscatory income tax rates up 90% were put in place to pay for these programs. The New Deal started the meme that there were “things the government should provide,” which is the basis for justifying entitlements. With the encroachment of entitlements paid by the government, the federal bureaucracy saw fit to control how the funds were spent and Federal usurpation of power began. I truly believe in my gut that this change in the zeitgeist of Washington started with the advent of Roosevelt’s New Deal.

A Funny Thing Happened to My Freedom when I let Others Secure it for me
“The general will rules in society as the private will governs each separate individual."
Maximilien Robespierre
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”
Charles Dickens
Carl Sagan was an atheist because he thought that there was no God based on rational thought. In the French Revolution high minded individuals rejected God to revolt at the notion that men had a higher calling. These kinds of Atheists reject the idea of God because they see Man and thus themselves as the preeminent authority. To those who are ambitious and want power, a belief in a Creator that judges men is nothing more than a road block to power. Fascism with its totalitarian control will be the vehicle of choice for people who harbor these ambitions in their heart.

We have seen our government take stock in banks and auto industries and fund entities like Fannie Mae and Solyndra. At Gibson Guitar the government walks in, accuses them of violating Indian laws though India sees no violation, and absconds with their inventory. In the French Revolution, an unscrupulous individual named Fabre D ’Englantine ingratiated himself with the Jacobins and used similar tactics to take the estates of the “evil rich” by accusations to the Counsel of Twelve that sent merchants to the guillotine. Vive la révolution!

When a private corporation makes a mistake the government is first to chastise the leaders of the company and to enact penalties for wrongdoing. Agencies dutifully report to a congress, eager to gain a political payday appearing to protect voter’s interests. When a government sponsored entity makes similar mistakes the same politicians will obfuscate the issue to avoid the political fallout of what is Congress’s responsibility.

Giving Congress and bureaucrats the kind of control over industry, social services and government which economic Fascism trumpets and heralds, and which government has been slowly adopting, creates the justification for fraud in the mindset of politics. This is the best argument that I can come up with to try to explain it. Please remember these two things:
“The government cannot honestly regulate what it owns.”

“A Fascist Economy attracts Jacobins and brings the Terror.”


We must not allow the federal government to own or control industries or companies within industries. And when federal funding programs are necessary, that spending should be made through an independent National Commission answering to representatives of each state. Otherwise, we invite economic Fascism, and once economic Fascism takes hold, unlimited power and corruption follows, which destroys freedom. The amendments I propose are my modest attempt to answer that issue.

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The Abominable No Man Strikes Again

The House recently passed the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) with the assistance of 158 Democrats. Then it went to the Senate, where it was crushed by the DOPES (Democrats Opposing Practically Everything Sensible). Majority Leader Harry Reid led a team of job-killers which included Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Mary Landrieu (D-La), Carl Levin (D-Mich) and Jacke Reed (D-R.I.).

Even Barack Obama supported the bill.

The bill raised the shareholder threshold for companies to go public but created a fast track for companies to avoid the worst provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank regulations and roadblocks for five years. This bill was a boon to small business startups, which everyone except the DOPES agrees is the key to getting the economy moving again. Over the past few years, there was a precipitous drop in American IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), largely as a result of the deleterious regulations of Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, and this was a way to get past that.

No dice, said the DOPES. And this is despite the fact that the Treasury Department’s own experts estimate that the throat-gripping IPO regulations of Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank have probably cost as many as 22 million jobs (yes, you read that right—22 million). Technically, Treasury was saying those were jobs "not created." You want a little irony? Back in the House, Barney Frank (D-Mass) himself supported the JOBS Act, along with his heir-apparent Maxine Waters (D-Ca).

It’s very hard to understand the DOPES’ reasoning. Clearly, if implemented quickly, this act would have given the Democrats and their leader in the White House another talking point about being pro-business. It’s nonsense to think that, of course, but jobs would likely have been created in substantial numbers very quickly had the JOBS Act passed. It’s not the stock market “recovery” that voters are looking at in large part. They are looking at pernicious unemployment numbers, and this would have worked to the Democrats’ advantage by possibly reducing those persistent 8%+ numbers.

Reid’s quashing of this very sensible bill instead proves that the recalcitrant Democrats in the Senate don’t fully understand new realities, even though they call themselves progressives. One of the major features of the JOBS Act was that it allowed companies to solicit purchases online, following the CraigsList and E-Bay models. That meant that entrepreneurs could raise money online in $100 or less increments per investor, somewhat akin to the old “penny stocks” concept. Senator Jack Reed pooh-poohed the idea that such a model would work, saying that the model flies in the face of decades-old securities regulation.

That was the point, of course, but Reed doesn’t like it. Most of those regulations that Reid and Reed love so much were imposed originally during the Great Depression, at a time when many people had no telephones and the Internet wasn’t even a gleam in the eye of yet-unborn inventor Al Gore. But Reed snarkily said that E-Bay and Craigslist selling used tennis shoes and unwanted clothing is not the same thing as purchasing small stock offerings. The gummint must vet it first. Reed ignores the fact that those same private entities also sell outrageously expensive jewelry, antiques and real estate. But Reed thinks $100 online investments require more government regulation than million dollar trades in real property.

The other advantage of using the Internet for funding startups is the speed with which it can be done. The faster the startups can fund and get to work, the sooner jobs are created and unemployment reduced. But Reid and the other DOPES, who claim to hate Wall Street, have chosen to protect those old Wall Street firms and their arthritic way of doing business over innovation and fresh ways of raising money. “Progressives” indeed. It’s much faster and much less expensive for a small, viable startup to post an offering on the Internet than to hire huge prospectus teams, regulations experts, and an entire mailing and telephoning team to get the word out. Yet that creaky old system is what the Senate DOPES are protecting.

Online investors would get more realistic and useful information through the Internet publication than the Obama administration got about Solyndra using all the traditional methods. And savvy small private investors would do considerably more investigation into the company for a $100 investment than the Obamists did with the half-billion dollars of taxpayer money wasted on the Solyndra scam.

The JOBS Act would have lifted the threshold for most Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations and mandates from 500 to 1,000 shareholders before the regulations kicked in (2,000 for community banks). Moreover, it would have removed the restrictions on stock ownership for company employees. Who is more likely to know the viability of a startup than employees who are willing to invest their own hard-earned money in the company they work for? Insider trading rules should be applied to institutional investors and management in this particular instance rather than to employees who want to share in the wealth.

If there is nothing else to be learned from this, it must teach us that it’s time to get rid of Democratic Senators who are still in love with Roosevelt-era rules and regulations which were designed in a much more primitive economy. We must rid ourselves of those who don’t know the difference between logical and necessary regulation and gross overregulation. We must elect younger, savvier, pro-business Senators who understand the verities of the twenty-first century. And if you won’t take my word for it, ask Barney Frank and Maxine Waters.
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