Wednesday, August 31

Experiment finds global warming caused by sun; AGW crowd censors results

Next time you hear Al Gore or some other global-warming moron claim that "the science is settled" that human activities are causing the planet to warm, just laugh.

For almost two decades now, the theory of "anthropogenic global warming"--that humans are causing it--has been pushed with a ruthlessness that's astonishing. When anyone voiced even the mildest skepticism about the theory, the pro-AGW fascists immediately rallied their network of friendly journalists to villify and discredit the skeptic.

Pro-AGW scientists also worked hard to ensure that experiments that had a good chance of debunking their pet theory didn't get any funding.

Fifteen years ago a pair of Danish scientists speculated that cosmic rays might have a much larger role in forming high-altitude clouds than had previously been thought. They proposed an experiment using the CERN particle accelerator that would either prove or disprove the theory.

Sounds harmless enough, eh? But the AGW establishment saw a big danger to their stream of government grants: Clouds reflect the sun's energy away from the earth, so anything that affected the amount of clouds formed would play a huge role in climate change.

Since it was already known that the number of cosmic rays reaching earth varied over time, and was controlled by the sun's magnetic field, it followed that IF the theory was right, a huge chunk of global warming would be due to...the sun, not humans.

Accordingly, pro-AGW scientists succeeded in killing funding for the Danish cosmic ray experiment for a whole decade. It was finally funded due to the great efforts of one one scientist who was willing to stand up to the mud-slinging from the AGW establishment.

The results of the experiment were released last week, and show convincingly the role of cosmic rays in cloud formation. But if you think the AGW establishment has been defeated you're naive: CERN--the lab where the experiment was done--is totally dependent on government funding, so its executives are careful to avoid offending the politicians that control those funds. Thus the bosses at CERN ordered the Danish team to avoid “the highly political arena of the climate change debate,” telling them “to present the results clearly but not interpret them” and to downplay the results by “mak[ing] clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.”

For the AGW establishment, it doesn't matter what the science actually shows as long as you can control what's printed about it later.

Monday, August 29

Democrat intellectual: "Danger isn't huge debt, but Fox News and WSJ"

Did you hear the one about the U.S. being in great danger because we owe $14 Trillion dollars on money the government's borrowed?

Turns out that according to a former Secretary of Labor for Bill Clinton, the U.S. is NOT in any jeopardy because of our huge national debt!

Whew, that's such a relief! For a second there I was gettin' pretty worried.

But this same guy says we ARE in danger, just not from the huge debt. Instead, he claims the peril is due to--are you sitting down?--lies allegedly told by Fox news and the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

His actual tweet (7 a.m. Central time today) was:
America is imperiled not because we're broke but because Americans are being fed continuous lies by Fox News and WSJ editorial page.
The stunner is that this isn't just some anonymous socialist idiot spouting off at Democratic Underground or Daily Kos, but Robert Reich--a guy regarded as one of the main intellectual lights of the Democratic party.

Again: He's widely regarded as one of the main intellectual lights of their party.

Why would Reich claim our huge debt is NOT a problem? Could it possibly be one more move designed to shift blame from failed Democratic/Socialist policies of the welfare state onto the convenient enemies of that state, Fox and the WSJ?

Looks like Reich is angling for a job in Obama's wreck of an administration.

Sunday, August 28

Baghdad Bob

Saddam Hussein's "Information Minister"--his public-relations man--was an affable guy who the western press nicknamed "Baghdad Bob."

Bob will forever be remembered for the demonstrably false statements he made in April, 2003 when U.S. battle tanks entered Baghdad at the end of that short, decisive military campaign.

As our tanks rolled into Baghdad, journalists embedded with our troops used satellites to send out video of columns of tanks rolling past identifiable city landmarks. These were flashed around the world instantly. An hour later, in a film clip that's become famous, Baghdad Bob repeatedly and vehemently denied to dozens of assembled video journalists that there were any American troops in the city.

The juxtaposition of these two videos--American tanks rolling into the city versus Bob's brazen denials--perfectly illustrated the fact-free zone in which Hussein lived: All Iraqi citizens constantly told him how wonderful he was. Because he was the arbiter of all favors and power, Iraqis tried to curry favor with him and his crazy thug sons. But the truth was far different.

Whether Bob knew the American tanks were three miles away and was simply lying in an effort to keep the support of Iraqis a bit longer or was simply unaware of the situation I don't know. But either way, the accidental airing of the two live clips just a few minutes apart is without equal as a metaphor for either blatant lying or cluelessness.

Flash-forward just eight short years: We see Obama repeating that jobs are his number-one focus, a laser focus, the first thing he thinks of each morning. We hear him jabber about cutting spending, while simultaneously increasing "investment." Then minutes later you see the unemployment rate staying put, new jobless claims "unexpectedly" rising, more businesses closing, more wasting of taxpayer dollars on a week-long, ten-million-dollar vacation, and you think...

We elected Baghdad Bob.

Saturday, August 27

Libyan rebels may have uncovered 25-year-old hoax

If you're over 50 or so, you may remember that back in 1986, Libyan "agents" (terrorists) bombed a nightclub in Germany that was popular with U.S. troops stationed there. After determining who the bombers were, President Reagan said, in effect, "If you bomb U.S. personnel, you'll pay a price," and he ordered U.S. forces to bomb Qadaffy's compound in Tripoli.

Not wanting that to happen again, Qadaffy announced that the raid had killed his six-month-old adopted daughter, Hana, and showed friendly journalists the body of a baby that age.

Predictably, leftist media outlets around the world pushed the story endlessly, reinforcing the meme that the U.S. routinely went around the world killing babies.

Any of that ring any bells?

Now it turns out that may have all been a hoax: Libyan rebels who overran Qadaffy's main residence/bunker report finding an entire group of files on "Hana," who now seems to be a 25-year-old doctor practicing in Tripoli.


If this person does turn out to be Qadaffy's adopted daughter--proving the hoax--wonder if we'll get any corrections (and apologies) from Time, Newsweek and all the other lefty rags that bought the propaganda hook, line and sinker?

Thursday, August 25

Big Labor to give less $ to Dems? Not a chance!

Frankly I'm surprised we didn't see what follows a LOT sooner:

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka announced that the labor federation--the nation’s largest--will give less money to Democrats in the coming election cycle.

Since this is extremely unlikely to be true, one immediately wonders what the catch is. And here it is:

The labor group plans to create a new "political action committee" (PAC) to spend money independently and directly, rather than donating to candidates. This would allow it to spend unlimited amounts of money on political activity, rather than being limited by campaign finance laws to only relatively small contributions.

In other words, the headlines on this story are deliberately misleading: there’s no indication Labor is going to ditch the Dems. They’re just going to spend their money “independently” campaigning for Democrats so they can sidestep contribution limits.

For corporations and individuals this wouldn't be very attractive, since campaign contributions are (or at least used to be) tax-deductible but independent advocacy isn't. But the unions are awash with forced dues money, and couldn't care less about the tax deduction because in theory they're non-profit outfits.

As I said, I'm surprised they didn't do this years ago.

Wednesday, August 24

NASA to pay publisher to produce inspiring fiction about...NASA!

With the space shuttle having flown its last mission, NASA has lost the capability of launching men into space and thus is facing likely downsizing.

Since the number-one goal of bureaucrats is power, which is roughly proportional to the number of people in your organization, the agency has been desperate to find ways to avoid the reductions.

One way is to get the public to see you as absolutely essential.

Solution? The agency has signed an agreement with a publisher to create a series of "NASA-inspired works of fiction"--stories relating to current and future missions and operations.

"Ultimately this agreement will benefit the public, as we look for innovative ways to communicate our past and current achievements, while focusing on the needs of the future," said a NASA spokesperson.

Yeah. I can see all kinds of benefits to the public from paying PR flacks to write glowing fictional works mentioning NASA. Sure.

Actually, if the government ever does get serious about cutting spending--try not to die laughing--this may turn out to be a popular bureaucratic tactic. Imagine how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (yeah, I know they changed the name) could polish its image by paying some flack to write glowing fiction about tracking the thousands of heavy weapons the agency allowed drug cartels to buy and smuggle into Mexico.

In a recession-hammered economy, a few dozen of these deals could create jobs for literally hundreds of out-of-work writers and PR flacks.

It's a win-win.

What's wrong with this picture?

Sunday, on the national mall in Washington D.C., next to the Lincoln memorial, a memorial to Martin Luther King was opened to the public.

Its centerpiece is a 30-foot tall statue.

Carved by a chinese sculptor. In China. Then shipped here and reassembled.

Wait, it gets better.

According to the N.Y. Post, the "foundation" in charge of getting the memorial built paid King's family $800,000--plus another $70,000 "management fee"--for the right to use his likeness and phrases from his speeches around the memorial.

Now, I'm a great fan of the free market. And it's true that in most cases a person's "likeness" is his intellectual property. But to demand to be paid to allow someone to build a memorial to your ancestor on the national mall--man, talk about tone-deaf.

Tuesday, August 23

Federal Reserve finally discloses *its* loans to banks

After repeated Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress, the Federal Reserve has finally--and obviously reluctantly--disclosed how much of your money it loaned to various banks and other financial institutions in its efforts to solve the "mortgage crisis" of 2008.

Before getting to the details, let's try to give some perspective to the outrage:

In 2006, as home prices peaked, the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms had their best year ever, earning combined profits of $104 billion.

Just two years later, with home prices collapsing and record numbers of foreclosures (most due to defaults by borrowers who would never have qualified for a loan under time-tested standards), the U.S. Treasury loaned these same top-ten firms $160 Billion to keep them in business.

The media reported this, typically with some degree of outrage about the Bush administration bailing out "its friends in the banking business."

Now comes the forced disclosure that the Federal Reserve loaned banks and "other financial institutions" as much as $1.2 trillion of supposedly-maybe-perhaps public money. That's seven times more than the U.S. Treasury bailout.

Just the three biggest recipients alone--Morgan Stanley ($107.3 billion), Citigroup ($99.5 billion) and Bank of America ($91.4 billion), got more in loans than the combined profits of the ten largest banks in their record year.

Another shocker is that almost half of the top 30 recipients of Fed loans were European firms.

In an effort at damage control, the Fed says it hasn’t lost any money on these loans. Of course it can't know that until they've all been repaid, can it? And if you think they've all been repaid, you probably shouldn't be voting because you're too gullible: In order to do that the banks would have had to record eleven times more profit in the last two years than they did in their record year of 2008.

Didn't happen. So the Fed do you say it? Oh yeah: spouting crap.

The Fed also says it has actually “netted $13 billion in interest and fee income” over the past two years. Let’s assume all of that $13 billion was interest. $13 B in interest on a $1.2 Trillion loan for two years works out to an interest rate less than one-half of one percent.

To say thats a good rate for the banks is an understatement. By comparison, the interest the government pays on our national debt – a phenomenally low rate that we’re damned lucky to have – is about nine times higher.

Why did the Fed fight so hard for so long to keep 90% of its loans secret? The Fed says it's because “releasing the identities of borrowers and the terms of their loans would stigmatize banks, damaging stock prices or leading to depositor runs,” according to Bloomberg. Thus any banking and borrowing decisions you made during this time were made without knowing the facts--because the most important objective was to maintain the illusion of stability. At least that's the judgment of people you don’t get to vote against.

(If you don't trust the information because of the link used, here's the original data at Bloomberg Financial.)

How the media supports Democrats, part gazillion

Ever seen stories in the mainstream media that make some of the following points?:

When Republicans win an election, the media says the public is "acting irrationally" and "lashing out."

But when Democrats win, the media describes the result as a "repudiation of Republican principles and ideas."

An election where 63 Democratic house members lost to Republicans and just two Republican congressmen lost to a Democrat should qualify as a repudiation of Democratic policies. Instead the MSM described voters as being in an "anti-incumbent mood" (never "anti-Democrat").

When Democrats block a Republican bill the MSM describes the blockers as "making a principled stand."

But when Republicans block Democrat legislation the MSM wails about "government paralysis," "gridlock," describing Republicans as "petulant" and "the party of No." The MSM never describes Repubs as making a principled stand.

When Bush was in office the MSM wailed to the heavens about a federal budget deficit of $400 billion.

But when Obama racks up a single-year deficit 3 or 4 times higher than Bush's worst, the MSM defends Obama by saying, Well, Bush had huge deficits too.

It goes on and on.

(h/t to commenter Ben at Ace's place)

Monday, August 22

Free lunch for everybody! Well, borrowed tax money but...

Think the federal government has cut out wasteful spending? Think again:

The Department of Education is starting a pilot program--budget $4.5 billion--to provide free lunches to ALL public-school students in Detroit.

That's "all"--regardless of income.

Detroit is one of three pilot programs starting this month, but the plan is to expand the program to similar districts nationwide.

The rationale for the program is...are you sitting down? The administration says it wants to pay for rich kids' lunches to keep less-fortunate kids from feeling bad.

“We’ve worked very hard to reduce the stigma,” Aaron Lavallee, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman, told the Detroit News. “We’re seeing a lot of working-class families who’ve had to turn to free school meals to feed their children.”

If that's true, wouldn't free lunches the next popular social fad? In which case wouldn't it be regarded as a coup instead of a stigma?

“Now all students will walk through the lunch line and not have to pay,” says Mark Schrupp, Detroit Public Schools COO. “Low-income students will not be easily identifiable and will be less likely to skip meals.”

With logic like this, you expect the next program will be to give new cars to all 16-year olds, so poor kids driving old beaters don't get their feelings hurt.

And if you protest, you’re a terrorist.

Saturday, August 20

WaPo: who better to discuss power production than our food-section contributor?

Ezra Klein is an idiot. A moron. A pencil-necked geek whose only qualification to do anything seems to be that leftists in New York and Washington think he writes cutesy, cutting-edge commentary.

Fair enough. If you care, you can now see his idiocy for yourself by clicking on this link, to a WaPo article entitled "Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns."

In it Klein holds forth on the EPA's "flurry" of new rules on emissions from coal-fired powerplants. The electric power industry has claimed the new rules are so costly that one-fifth of all coal powerplants are too old to economically be modified to comply, and so they'll have to be shut down.

Since almost half of the nation’s electricity comes from coal, that means an instant loss of almost ten percent of generating capacity. But Klein says not to worry.

Also, complying with the rules on the remaining plants will cost utilities an estimated $129 billion. But since utilities are corporations that don't have to make a profit, they'll eat the extra cost, instead of passing it on to consumers in the form of higher electric bills.

Okay, that's a joke: Obviously the cost of complying with the new rules will be passed along to you as higher electric bills. Also there will probably be some lost jobs--but hardly enough to worry about with unemployment at 9.2%.

Klein calls on his engineering degree and his experience as an economics analyst for the electric power industry to reassure us that the power industry is crying wolf--there's really nothing to worry about, and the new rules will be risk-free to you.

Okay, that's another joke, as here's Ezra's C.V. in a nutshell, from the Post's website:
Ezra Klein writes an opinionated blog on economic policy, collapsing banks, cap and trade, health care reform and pretty much anything else.... Before coming to The Post, he was an associate editor at the American Prospect. Klein has appeared as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, NPR and C-SPAN....[He] will also be a regular contributor to The Post's Food section.
So let's see if I've got this right: A former associate editor at a leftist mag, with zero background in electric power or engineering, is given a forum in a reasonably influential paper to argue that contra to what the power industry is saying, new EPA rules forcing a shutdown of one-fifth of the coal-fired powerplants in the country will neither cut power production nor will it raise your electric bills.

Oh, wait. Now I see how he's had the brazenness to do this: The Congressional Research Service--allegedly a "non-partisan" outfit--has issued (wait for it) a report expressing skepticism.

Well okay, sparky, what's it say? Here's Klein's take:
The report notes that “there is a substantial amount of excess generation capacity at present,” caused by the recession and the boom in natural gas [power]plants.
So we've got "substantial" spare present. But the present has this funny way of vaporizing into...the past. The actually relevant question is, will we have enough generating capacity five or six years from now? Because even Klein notes that the excess capacity he finds so reassuring has been "caused by the recession."

What happens when the recession eventually ends (which is what most of us expect to happen if Obama is defeated next year)? If a recovery soaks up all the spare capacity, we're on the verge of rolling blackouts.

At which point lefties like Klein will be squawking the loudest about the awful lack of planning on the part of utility executives--no doubt part of crafty plan to force higher electricity prices on the poor working stiff!

And the other part of Klein's "spare capacity" is due to powerplants fueled by natural gas. Oh yeah, very clean, fairly quick construction. But wait...I seem to remember back when Carter was president, natural gas was getting a bit short in supply, so the grabberment decreed that starting right then, no one could build any new gas-fired powerplants in the U.S.

The theory was that utilities can afford to buy all the costly gear needed to be able to use coal fairly cleanly, but steel mills and factories and homes mostly had to use natural gas. So if there was a gas shortfall, the grabberment didn't want to pit homeowners against powerplants in a bidding war for natural gas.

When you think about it, it seems like a good idea.

But the ban on gas-fired plants was eventually torpedoed by environmentalists. So now we'll have plenty of coal but fewer powerplants that use it, and much greater demand for natural gas. And if there's a shortage or supply disruption for gas, Washington will have to order electrical generation curtailed if homeowners are to avoid freezing.

What a great choice! That's some really great planning there.

And this is what passes for brilliance in Washington.

Friday, August 19

NYC mayor: Best way to increase jobs is to bring in more immigrants??

Full-throttle stupidity can be found anywhere, and especially in city officials--whether the city is small or huge.

So it is with a video of NYC mayor Bloomberg opining on the best way to create jobs in America: Here's the transcript:
Mayor Bloomberg said Friday that the “single biggest” thing President Obama can do right now to spur job creation in the United States is to allow more immigration.

“Most importantly, we want to get immigrants from around the world to come to America,” Bloomberg said.

“That’s the single biggest thing the president could open up the borders to those that will create jobs here.

He told CBS that immigrants “don’t take away jobs” but rather they create jobs for people already living in the United States.

This is stupid on steroids. Immigrants "create jobs for people already living here"? Really?

So all the unionized construction guys who've been claiming immigrants have been taking work away from them by being willing to work for less...were lying? Mistaken, maybe?

I dunno, maybe this is some novel academic theory none of us has ever heard of.

Wait, I've got it: This is a setup so Obozo can "correct" Bloomie and thus stick up for his union friends. Or something.

Nah, just a goofy pol talking out of his a$$. Thoroughly nuts.

It's now official: Illegal immigrants can stay in the U.S. indefinitely

For over six months now, all the signs have suggested that the Obama administration had quietly made it their policy to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. as long as they wished, as long as they had no record of "serious" crimes.

At first the administration denied this was their policy (since it would clearly violate the Constitution's requirement that the president enforce the laws of the U.S.), then they clammed up. But now, with Obama's re-election chances falling, they've officially announced it.

Q: Why would Obozo's handlers do something that would anger so many voters?

A: Apparently they believe they'll get more votes--they'll lose a few current voters but hope to gain more immigrant votes than they'll lose.

Q: I didn't think illegal immigrants could vote unless they became citizens. So how could they help the Democrat vote before then?

A: Haven't you seen how polished the Democrats are at stealing elections? Hell, dead people vote Dem, Mickey Mouse is a registered Dem, people living at addresses that turn out to be vacant lots vote Dem. With real live people it will be even easier to cast fraudulent ballots.

Note the source for the quote below: The Democrat-loving Associated Press.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says many illegal immigrants who don’t have criminal records but are facing possible deportation will get to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and have a chance to apply for a work permit.

Deporting illegal immigrants who are convicted criminals will be the Obama administration’s priority.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says authorities will make a case-by-case review of the approximately 300,000 illegal immigrants who are facing possible deportation.

Immigration advocates say the Obama administration hasn’t lived up to its promise to only deport the “worst of the worst,” as the president has said.

You were warned this was coming. You didn't believe the Democrats could be this brazen. And note that's "Democrats" rather than just Obama, because if senate Dems opposed this move Obama would be impeached and convicted in a heartbeat.

Refusing--I say again, refusing--to enforce the law by deporting people who have entered this country illegally--i.e. in violation of the laws of this nation--is a direct violation of the Constitution and thus is an impeachable offense.

If he can violate this law with impunity (as he will), what law will be next? What would prevent him from ordering his corrupt treasury secretary to seize your bank accounts or stock holdings? If you answered, "Why, that would be illegal!" you still don't get it.

Here's another quote from the article that pinpoints the Democrats' clear, blatant, egregious move to nullify the laws of the U.S. when they know they don't have the votes to get the law changed in congress (i.e. the legal, time-honored way to do it):

Laura Lichter, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said...the [new] policy does bring administrative changes to the immigration system at a time when congressional action seems unlikely.

Yep, it sure does bring changes all right.

Wake. The. Hell. UP !!

"Congress is so stuck in its partisan politics, the immigration situation is getting worse and worse and worse," Lichter said. "This is the administration's only way, and frankly a very appropriate way, to come up with an interim fix."

Ah yes, of course: Wanting the Obozo administration to actually enforce the laws of the U.S. is being "stuck in partisan politics."

And by "fix" Lichter doesn't mean "stop illegal immigration and deport those here illegally" but rather, to institute a policy that is clearly contra to the law, to simply allow illegals to stay here "indefinitely."

They sure put the "fix" in all right. Wake. The. Hell. UP !!

Finally: We already have illegals flooding across the border (though said to be a bit fewer at the moment with our unemployment rate so high). What effect do you think this new official policy will have on the rate of people entering the U.S. illegally?

Now, do you think the cunning policy-makers in the Obama administration didn't think about this and take it into account when planning this official announcement?

Wake up!

UPDATE: The quoted article was far too candid in reporting the story--it attributed the new policy directly to the Obama administration. Apparently someone on the Obama crew noticed, because the AP article was quickly rewritten to make it less obvious.

Take the headline: It now reads "U.S. makes criminals priority for deportation." Now that's something the average voter would love, since--well, hasn't everyone who's entered the U.S. illegally broken the law? And isn't someone who breaks the law a criminal by definition?

Now the first paragraph of the AP story as originally posted:
The government says many illegal immigrants who don’t have criminal records but are facing possible deportation will get to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and have a chance to apply for a work permit.
In the revised version the first 'graf now reads,
Many illegal immigrants who were facing deportation despite having no criminal record will be allowed to stay in the country and apply for a work permit under new rules from the Homeland Security Department.
Looks substantially the same. But notice the first version gives the source as "the government." Since Obama is in charge of the administration, many voters would understandably believe this change was approved by him (which of course it was). That's far too candid. So the AP rewrites it to read "under new rules from Homeland Security."

Also note that the illegal immigrants were facing deportation "despite having no criminal record." The artful phrasing implies that illegal immigrants haven't broken any laws. Because they have "no criminal record." A seed has been planted in the minds of readers.

One of the hardest changes to spot is because it's not there. Just kidding: it's a word--and actually a significant concept--that's been omitted in the rewrite. If you didn't spot it on the first read, take another look.

It's the word "indefinitely." The very first sentence of the original article
said that illegal immigrants "will get to stay in the U.S. indefinitely." That's far too candid an admission, so that "psychological flag word" was taken out of the revised version.

The story's second paragraph has also been totally rewritten:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Thursday that the department will focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety.
The original version said
"Deporting illegal immigrants who are convicted criminals will be the Obama administration’s priority." The problem was that this specifically put the phrase "the Obama administration" near the top of the story, which again would make the association too obvious.

Solution: Change the focus to Napolitano.

Did you notice the other significant change? The original said the priority would be on deporting "convicted criminals." The rewrite says "will focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals."

Wow, thinks the average voter, that's great, right? Means the government's gonna deport 'em all eventually, right? 'Cause, y'know, that "criminal" thingy.

But of course this is not the policy--the administration doesn't propose to deport "criminals," and for the rewrite to omit "convicted" took an overt decision. That is, the rewrite misleads the average voter into thinking the Obama crew is getting tough on illegal immigration, when the reverse is true. And again, it cleverly breaks the association between "criminal" and "illegal immigrant." That is, when it comes to immigration you can break the law and yet magically not have committed a crime!

Wire-service stories don't rewrite themselves. Unless the writing was grammatically atrocious (it wasn't) or someone attributed a quote incorrectly (that doesn't seem to have happened in this case), you don't rewrite just for fun. Someone picked up a phone and "strongly suggested" that the story needed to be rewritten.

Thursday, August 18

What's the underlying cause of riots?

From the always-delightful ... oh, why not try guessing?
Why were young people in Britain tearing apart their cities, burning down businesses and stealing electronics and designer clothes? Because the cops shot someone? Please.

What has angered rioters in Greece, Paris and Vancouver? Are they jobless? Government benefits being cut? Their hockey team lost? They might as well destroy police cars because they're upset about rainy days.

Why were public sector union workers in Wisconsin busting up the capitol and physically attacking Republican legislators? MSNBC's Ed Schultz says it was because Republicans were trying to take away the people's "civil rights."

Why were black and Hispanic gang members looting after the Rodney King verdict? An L.A. policeman recently told me that the gang members he arrested in the riots said they didn't know or care about Rodney King.

Why were masked hoodlums smashing Starbucks windows in Seattle a decade ago when some bankers came to town? They're against the "global economy"? What does that even mean?

Mobs of "Liberals" form because libs love mobs--because rioting and anarchy is their path to power.

Making sound proposals based on facts and logic is not their strong suit. Rather, their specialty is making impossible promises to the easily=fooled. For more on this, see the 2012 Democratic Platform.

For example, right now Democratic Party leaders are promising to "save" Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in their present form. But according to Obama's Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, in less than 10 years spending on those three entitlement programs alone, plus servicing the national debt, will consume 92 cents of every dollar in the federal budget.

So by promising they can save SS in their present form--that is, without major changes--the Democrats are brazenly lying to voters. It's a mathematical impossibility for these programs to continue without major reform now. Absent major changes, they'll be completely bankrupt later -- and not very much later.

But Democrats' real achievement has been in destroying the family, and thereby creating an endless supply of potential rioters.

When blacks were only four generations out of slavery, their illegitimacy rate was about 23 percent (lower than the white illegitimacy rate is now). Then Democrats decided to help them! Today--just two generations since LBJ's Great Society programs began--the black illegitimacy rate has tripled to 72 percent.

Meanwhile, the white illegitimacy rate has jumped seven-fold, from 4 percent to 29 percent.

Instead of a "War on Poverty" it should have been called a "War on the Family."

The vast and permanent underclass created by the welfare state is a actually a great success for the Democratic Party, since it creates a loyal constituency of deadbeats who automatically vote Democrat in order to keep their "free" (i.e. taxpayer-funded) benefits flowing.

As long as Democrats are serving their principal constituency -- recipients of taxpayer money--they don't seem to be much concerned about what happens to the rest of society.

Instead they champion any mob that will increase their political power. Liberals promote welfare dependency, class warfare, endless government programs staffed with public sector workers, street protests, coddling criminals and physical attacks on their ideological opponents.

And then congratulate themselves on creating a new cadre of reliably Democratic voters.

Some Leftists crowing about Wisconsin recall

A leftist pinhead by the name of Greg Sargent writes a column for the WaPo, and argues that the recent recall elections in Wisconsin killed governor Scott Walker's working majority in that state's senate and all but ensures that he'll lose a recall election in 2012.

That's certainly possible, as the state does seem to be evenly divided. Since I don't live there, to me the outcome is of academic interest only. The reason I posted this is that I urge you to click on the link and read the comments to Sargent's article.

About a third of the commenters not only sound crazy but also amazingly combative.

Interes funny: Every article I've seen on Wisconsin says that Walker's new procedures have already closed a billion-dollar budget shortfall. Since these are articles in the lefist "MSM" I can't believe they'd lie to favor a Republican governor.

Which raises a few questions for Wisconsin residents:
  1. Is your budget in better shape with the Walker changes, or is the MSM lying?
  2. Other things equal, do you feel it's better for a state to have a balanced budget?
  3. Is it true that once Walker allowed school systems to get health-insurance bids from more than just the union-owned company, that company drastically cut its own bid for the same coverage?
  4. Do you approve of the tactic of legislators fleeing the state to avoid a vote on a measure they know they don't have the votes to win?
  5. Will you approve of the same tactic if it's used by Republicans?

Suddenly the MSM loves both Bush and Romney. Wonder why?

For roughly a year now Mitt Romney has been widely considered the most likely Republican nominee for 2012. And during this entire time the mainstream media has been running or broadcasting stories that emphasize his negatives.

But now that Perry is in the race, suddenly I'm starting to see stories in the MSM touting Romney's admirable qualities. Gee, wonder what caused that sea change?

Prediction: Between now and the day the Republican nominee is locked in, you'll see *lots* of stories in the MSM noting how many fabulous qualities Mitt Romney has. Because the Left/Dems would far rather run against Romney than Perry.

Similarly, CNN always had the knives out for George W. Bush--couldn't run the man down often enough. Yet yesterday CNN ran this piece comparing Perry--unfavorably, of course--to Bush. The CNN propagandist says Perry has the “anti-version” of Bush’s “charisma and charm” that made people want to vote for Bush.

Now personally, I thought W was both funny and down-to-earth. Unpretentious. But when I hear CNN talk about Bush having "charisma and charm" I'm thinking, Wow, these guys must be really worried about Perry.

Wednesday, August 17

Seattle program gets fed grant to make money vanish

Want to see how government rolls up its sleeves and solves a problem? Well last year Seattle got a $20 million grant from the federal gummint (that would be from us taxpayers) to insulate 2,000 low-income homes.

That works out to a net cost of ten thousand bucks per home, but what the hell--it's a gummint project so we'd expect some waste. Plus they were gonna spend a chunk of that money *training* folks to use a caulking gun or unroll rolled-up insulation. In fact, they were planning to "create" (as in, "created or saved") a whole bunch of jobs at the same time.

And not just any ol' jobs, but real honest-to-goodness "living wage" Jobs! None of those cheap-ass jobs in factories or Starbucks.

If fact, the grant writer said the money would create--by coincidence--2,000 such Jobs. So we'll cut 'em some slack here, since some of that money was to be used get the picture.'d they actually do with that $20 million of your money?

As of last week they'd insulated ("retrofitted") a total of 3 homes.

Wait, that must be a typo, right? Should be 300, right? I mean, they'd said they were gonna insulate 2,000 low-income homes, and even 300 would be a huge failure. To have insulated just...three?... I wouldn't think it possible that anyone could be that incompetent without getting fired.

So let me check the source. Yep, three homes.

Typical Seattle liberal: "Welllll, that's probably because once they got to studying the economic effects, they realized that creating jobs was SO much more important, so they ended up putting 98 percent of the grant money into job creation instead. Yeh, dat's da ticket."

Okay, so how many jobs were created?

Answer, according to the former Seattle Post-Intelligencer (now on-line after folding the print edition...because it was so hugely profitable and had so many readers)?


C'mon, that must be fourteen hundred. Darn typos.

Nope. Fourteen jobs, period.

And as the PI article euphemistically notes, "Many of the jobs are administrative, not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers."

This, dear readers, is classic government: Throw tens of millions of precious dollars at a program, run by ultra-liberals with zero business experience, whose only qualifications are 1) they support the Democrats in power in DC; and 2) they've got a grant writer who knows what buttons to push to make the grant machine pay off.

And then when the program achieves less than one-tenth of one percent of the results it claimed would be achieved, hope that no one notices.

On the other hand, from the grant writer's standpoint it was a huge success--and you can be assured he's already put his "success" on his resume.

Similarly, the grant funded 14 "administrative positions" for a year, quite nicely, thank you. From the standpoint of those grandees as well, the program worked perfectly.

Think on this all-too-typical tale next time Obama and the Dems propose a second huge "stimulus" bill to fix the nation's economy, at the bargain price of only mumble-billion dollars.

Oh, and I'm not picking on the dumb liberals in Seattle. I'm sure in at least half of the 57 states the results would have been just as laughably bad.

Tuesday, August 16

No such thing as an "illegal immigrant"--Fox

Today's reporters are notorious for being politically correct: There are certain terms and phrases that, even though accurate, simply can't used in reporting stories.

Here's an example:
Though most farm workers are here legally, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that about a quarter of them are ______.
The most logical phrase to complete the sentence is "here illegally." But the actual report used "undocumented"--a euphemism that avoids the implied criticism of "illegally."

The sentence above was used in a story by Fox News reporter Judson Berger. Unknown whether the euphemism was used by Berger or substituted by an editor.

California Dems and the "Amazon tax"

Liberals have a consistent blind spot: They believe that if they pass laws or regulations to take more money from people, the people will keep doing exactly the same things, in the same quantities and locations, as they did before the libs upped the taxes or regs or whatever.

Case in point: Companies that sell their products in the state where they're located understandably have to collect and remit state sales tax. But companies that sell their product out of state can't be compelled to do that when they sell to a resident of another state.

When internet-based companies started booming several years ago, lots of states tried to force those companies to remit sales taxes even if they were located in another state. Supreme Court told 'em to F. O.

Now comes California: Scores of billions in debt, the Dem legislature tried a variation: They claimed that out of state companies that had "affiliates" in CA were actually located there, and thus that the parent companies had to collect the tax on sales to CA residents.

Amazon and other big internet companies claimed this was unconstitutional, but that even before it went to court, they'd simply sever affiliate ties in that state.

The Dems passed the law anyway, calling their bluff.

Except the companies weren't bluffing, and now the state has seen several either leave or sever profitable affiliate relationships within the state.

Governor Brown and the California Democrats failed--as they always fail--to recognize that people change their behavior if government changes the rules on their efforts.

Obama's bus tour

Obama is campaigning through the midwest by bus.

Some wag suggested naming the effort "Rolling Blunder."

Some other suggestions:
The Audacity of Dope Tour
Someone on Rick Perry's staff suggested "
Magical Misery Tour"
Running On Empty
Don't Worry, I'm in Charge Tour
It's all George Bush's Fault tour

Obama tells car industry to stop making so many SUV's and trucks??

Comrade Obama is campaigning through the midwest on a big ol' bus--because that shows voters what a regular guy he is.

Yeah, that's what his re-election advisors think he needs to do to be re-elected.

So this "regular guy", man of the people, brilliant extemporaneous speaker, is speaking at a town hall forum in Cannon Falls, Minn--no Republicans, no hostile questions. And he says:
You can’t just make money [by making] SUVs and trucks. There is a place for SUVs and trucks, but as gas prices keep on going up, you have got to understand the market. People are going to try to save money.
Now, you have to remember, Obama is a guy with zero experience running a business, no experience in manufacturing or financial analysis. This isn't disqualifying, but you'd think the guy would have the sense to confine himself to broad platitudes and leave the details to the guys who're involved with each specific industry.

But of course, not Duh Won. Though he can push consumers toward smaller cars by simply continuing his drilling slowdown until gas reaches $5 a gallon, or some higher price.

When Obama essentially decreed that Chrysler and GM bond-holders would get just ten cents on the dollar, and a huge block of stock would be given to the United Auto Workers, did that fix GM's underlying problems (excessive retiree and health care costs, and less-than-stellar products)? Of course not. Instead the Unions just got more control of it. And they promptly doubled-down on stupidity.

Thus we have the Volt: even with a $7,500 per car government rebate, GM only sold something like 350 last month. The public simply isn't impressed.

But this doesn't stop Obozo from telling people, "You can’t just make money [by making] SUVs and trucks." Okay, so what should they make?

Oh, look at the time! I'm late for my next fundraiser! Nice talkin' to ya!

Anyone who had been paying attention during the mortgage meltdown would have known that when the government starts meddling in the marketplace, things go bad in a hurry.

The justification for Fannie and Freddie was that they would help more people buy homes. Which everyone knew was the key to stable neighborhoods and societies.

The result was catastrophic, as unqualified buyers walked away from homes they couldn't afford and defaulted on mortgages they never should have been approved for.

Let us be more clear: Government is thick with two kinds of 'experts" or consultants: One class is composed of dilettantes, people who have never worked in the private sector but believe their degree or their title qualifies them to tell businesses how to operate. Outcome: too obvious to explain.

Second class: Top execs and former execs of major companies. These people know how business works, and if they were honest they might help install some good programs. But all they want to do is increase profits for their former employer (in which they usually still own a lot of stock). So they recommend establishing a program that will enrich corporate suppliers, regardless of whether it does anwhere near what the original objective was.

Given a choice between the two, I'd rather fight the second guy, because at least he can be identified, tried and jailed. The bureaucrat will always remain invisible to outsiders--it's part of their job training.

Monday, August 15

Flashmobs: The new carjacking

Remember the epidemic of carjackings about ten years ago? Thugs would jump inside a car stopped at a traffic light or gas station and force the driver to drive off. In many cases they'd kill the driver and dump the body--all to steal a car.

Because the crime took place at unobserved intersections or gas stations, thugs realized it was relatively risk-free, which resulted in several hundred (if not thousands) of such crimes.

Now we're seeing what appears to be the new equivalent of carjacking: the "flashmob." If you don't already know, click here to see one in action.

Then click here to see a list of known flashmob crimes in the U.S. Note the incidence each year: one or two each in 2002, '05, '06 and '07. Then eight in 2008, 37 in 2009 (32 of those in one city, Denver), 26 in 2010 (various cities), then this year an explosion: 78 so far.

This is a classic exponential growth rate, suggesting huge popularity among the thug/leech class, and zero fear of being prosecuted or shot.

Those of you with good memories will recall that the carjacking epidemic lasted several years, and at its peak there were several a week nationwide. It lost its luster for the thug class when cops and judges began to crack down and throw the book at perps: a 20-year sentence does eventually get the attention of all but the brain-dead.

Flashmob crimes will almost certainly take much longer to extinguish, for three main reasons: First, the perps are likely to kill or injure fewer victims than the carjackers did. This is partly because each member of the mob is likely to only loot a few tens of dollars, so there's no point in killing the witnesses/victims. As the libs say, these are just crimes against property, big deal. Because as the libs say, property is theft.

Unless it's their property, of course.

Second: The welfare state worm has had another decade to burrow into the nation's psyche, so more of the public is disposed to tolerate theft by "the poor."

Third: Barack Obama and Eric Holder. These two have turned the United States into a nation of connections rather than a nation of laws. 'Nuff said.

Oh, and if you want a better idea of what these groups are like, try these clips:

Sunday, August 14

Dalrymple on the U.K. riots

Theodore Dalrymple is the pen name of a man who spent several years working as an M.D. in both the U.K. prison system and in the poorest neighborhoods of that country. He writes for City Journal, and for many years he's warned about the state of whatever passes for "mind" among the stoned, strung out "yob" culture in the U.K.

Short answer: No one has formulated--much less tested--a workable recovery mechanism for these people.

They believe they're entitled to a high standard of consumption, even if they do nothing all day but drink and get high. And if they don't receive the things to which they feel entitled, they see it as proof that society is being unfair to them.

They believe these things because leftist intellectuals and left/liberal politicians constantly tell them they're true. And a huge social-welfare industry--compose of public employees and a core of sharp attorneys--make a good living catering to the needs of these people and ensuring that the government continue to pay them as much as possible.

These are people who have never held a job, who were raised in single-mother households where no one in their circle had a regular job. The notion of getting up early and going to work for eight or ten hours is absolutely beyond belief for them.

They have lived their entire lives on the taxpayer's dime, but lack the education and perspective to find this fact the least bit unsettling--let alone alarming. On the contrary, they understandably want the government to give them more money so they can buy more things.

They've gotten an expensive education but have no skills that would command more than minimum wage. And in the U.K., being unemployed and on the dole pays as well as a minimum-wage job. Thus all unskilled labor in England is done by foreigners, while low-functioning locals remain permanently unemployed--and permanently subsidized by taxpayers.

Lacking any sort of discipline or ambition, marriage is unheard of. As in the U.S., children are raised by the mothers and trigger higher welfare benefits. The sperm donors rarely play any role in raising their offspring, thus ensuring that those children will follow exactly the same path as their parents.

With essentially no positive role models nearby, no one can even imagine any other way of living. And as long as the welfare state keeps it more lucrative to stay on the dole than to work, why would anyone take a more difficult road?

If election were held today, Obama would....

If you're a conservative, you may not like what you're about to read. But unlike most liberals/Democrats/"progressives" we prefer to confront uncomfortable facts straight-on instead of pretending they're not there. So....

Gallup's latest poll of Obama's approval rating shows that he's above 50% in just 16 states. That initially sounds pretty good for our side, but unfortunately those states have a lot of electoral votes.

Moreover, it's been shown that incumbents almost always do better than the polling results when matched against a specific candidate instead of a generic member of the opposing party. Thus once the Republican nominee is known, we can expect Obama's support to rise a couple of percent.

So as a first hack, if we assign Obama the electoral votes of the states where he currently has at least a 48% approval rating, he'd win 263 electoral votes.

Takes 270 to win.

That's not bad news for us--frankly, given the percentage of idiots in the electorate I'm amazed that Obama's not leading by 20 or so.

However, if one more smallish state (7 or more EVs) goes blue--or if the "generic vs. specific opponent" effect actually turns out to be worth 3% or more instead of two percent as I've assumed--then Obama wins. Again, based on Gallup results of a week ago.

The above results are not cause for wailing and rending of garments. What they tell us is that we'll have to make a maximum effort next November to prevent this clever Kenyan socialist from getting another four years to continue destroying our long-suffering nation.

What got us $14 Trillion of debt? "A perfect storm"

As more Americans have begun looking at both our staggering national debt and huge, continuous yearly deficits, many have started to wonder how the hell the nation's political "leaders" could have put us on this path.

While it's a cliche that money is fungible (so one can't blame just one program for our debt), it's also true that so-called "entitlement programs" now account for over half of all government spending. They're now so vast that if we eliminated all other federal spending, just these programs would exceed national income. So that's a reasonable place to look for starters.

So did no one bother to realistically estimate the cost of the various "entitlement programs?" Or did the pols simply ignore the forecasts and vote for the programs to win their own re-elections? (How typical.)

Whatever the reason, we owe it to ourselves and our kids to find out--and then to create lethal measures to prevent politicians from repeating this disaster. If the U.S. survives the next decade, of course.

For what it's worth, here's what I've found:

When JFK was assassinated in 1963, his vice-president--Lyndon B. Johnson-- stepped into the presidency. Johnson was the antithesis of JFK: Where Kennedy was sophisticated, urbane and charming, Johnson was crude, loud, overbearing. He was the stereotype of the obnoxious Texan, and the only reason Kennedy chose him for his running-mate was that Johnson would win the vital electoral votes of his home state for the Democratic ticket.

It's not an overstatement to say that the northeastern Democratic elites who loved Kennedy hated Johnson--a fact of which Johnson was keenly aware.

Derided by Democratic elites as a crude lout, Johnson quickly began looking for ways to burnish his image. His solution was in ramrodding into law a cause Kennedy had been exploring: creation of a conglomerate of "entitlement programs" aimed at giving money and services to the poor. Johnson called these programs "the Great Society."

Had Kennedy tried to introduce these programs while he was president, it's likely that the normal adversarial American system of government would have forced him to do so incrementally, giving congress and voters a chance to see how well they worked before they were expanded to fatal levels.

But the assassination--essentially broadcast live to the nation--was so devastating that it elevated JFK to virtual sainthood overnight. Once that happened, no congresscritter wanted to be seen as opposing anything JFK ostensibly wanted, so anything that could reasonably be said to be one of his wishes was now a legislative slam-dunk.

Thus the massive edifice of entitlement programs--and the unthinking, financially unsound expansion of older social welfare programs like Social Security--was adopted because of the socio-political equivalent of the perfect storm: The shocking assassination of a young, handsome, charismatic president; the ascension of his crude and widely disliked veep to the presidency; Johnson's overwhelming resentment of his sophisticated and widely loved predecessor and his need to win his party's support, regardless of the cost; and the unwillingness of congressmen to vote against programs said to have been cherished goals of the slain former president.

Against this powerful combination of factors, no cautionary analysis would have ever seen the light of day. It was the perfect storm.

Parents: Show this to your kids and explain it. Because it's absolutely certain that they never learned any of this in school--by design.

Saturday, August 13

Leftists: "Obama's problem is he's not liberal enough!"

I'm starting to see more and more editorials and comments by libs in the MSM that accuse the America-hating socialist in the White House of not being liberal enough.

Yes, you read that right. They say he's been too cautious. NYT columnist Paul Krugman described Obama as "centrist, moderate." And my favorite: the Left claims he's been too eager to compromise with Republicans on key points. If only he'd get tough with those stupid right-wingers! they lament.

Was Obamacare too cautious? I guess some leftists think so, but the rest of us? Last I heard, likely voters were running two to one against it, and for repeal.

It won zero Republican votes in the House, so if Obama was compromising during that battle, he's as bad at compromise as he is at speaking without a Teleprompter.

On the debt-limit crisis, Republicans in the House passed a bill that gave Obama virtually everything he wanted, and before it could be tabled in the senate Obama announced that because it didn't contain higher taxes he planned to veto it even if the senate passed it. Of course senate Dems weren't willing to let their leader take the heat for doing that, so not enough votes were available to reverse senate leader Reid's tabling order.

In other words, Obama not only didn't compromise, he threatened a veto if he didn't get 100 percent of the terms he wanted.

And yet amazingly, the Left comes up with this "He's too eager to compromise" crap.

So the question is, do the morons on the Left really believe this crap, or are they deliberately lying to win a larger goal? My money's on the second choice, because by portraying Obama as too cautious, too centrist and too eager to compromise, the Left immunizes him against charges of simply being a terrible leader.

Thursday, August 11

A London editor on what's causing the riots

Max Hastings writes for the U.K. Daily Mail. Here's an edited version of his take on the cause of the riots there:

The people who wrecked scores of city blocks, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.

Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass, and live in single-mother homes, or one in which the father is unemployed.

They are illiterate and innumerate--essentially wild beasts, responding only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, and steal or destroy the property of others.

For the depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They have their being only in video games and street-fights, casual drug use and crime. The notions of doing a nine-to-five job, marrying and sticking with a wife and kids or learning to read properly are beyond their imaginations.

Every company manager knows that if he hires an East European worker he'll get an employee who will 1) show up; 2) work harder; and 3) be better-educated than his or her British counterpart.Who do we blame for this state of affairs?

Ken Livingstone, contemptible as ever, declares the riots to be caused by the Government’s spending cuts. But the rioters’ behaviour isn't due to deprived circumstances or police persecution.

Of course it is true that few have jobs, learn anything useful at school or feel loyalty to anything beyond their local gang. This is not, however, because they are victims of mistreatment or neglect, but because it is fantastically hard to help such people without imposing a measure of compulsion which modern society finds unacceptable.

These kids are what they are because nobody makes them be anything different or better.

A key factor in delinquency is lack of effective sanctions to deter it. From an early stage, feral children discover that they can bully fellow pupils at school, shout abuse at people in the streets, urinate outside pubs, hurl litter from car windows, play car radios at deafening volumes, and, indeed, commit casual assaults with only a negligible prospect of facing rebuke, far less retribution.

Anyone who reproaches a child, far less an adult, for discarding rubbish, making a racket, committing vandalism or driving unsociably will receive in return a torrent of obscenities, if not violence.

So who is to blame? The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.The social engineering industry unites to claim that the conventional template of family life is no longer valid. This has ultimately been sanctioned by Parliament, which refuses to accept, for instance, that children are more likely to prosper with two parents than with one, and that the dependency culture is a tragedy for those who receive something for nothing.

The judiciary colludes with social services and infinitely ingenious lawyers to assert the primacy of the rights of the criminal and aggressor over those of law-abiding citizens, especially if the offender is young.

The police, in recent years, have developed a reputation for ignoring yobbery and bullying, or even for taking the yobs’ side against complainants. The problem is that the law appears to be there to protect the rights of the criminal instead of the victim.

Police regularly arrest householders who have tried to protect themselves and their property from burglars or intruders. Thus it's hardly surprising that criminals have gotten the message that they have little to fear from the cops.

A century ago no child would have dared to use obscene language in class. Today it's commonplace. It symbolises their contempt for manners and decency, and is often a foretaste of delinquency. If a child lacks sufficient respect to address authority figures politely, and faces no penalty for failing to do so, then other forms of abuse — of property and person — come naturally.

So there we have it: a large, amoral sub-culture of young people who lack education because they have no will to learn, and skills which might make them employable. They are too idle to accept work waitressing or doing domestic labour, which is why almost all such jobs are filled by immigrants.

They have no code of values to dissuade them from behaving anti-socially or, indeed, criminally, and virtually no risk of being punished if they do so. They have no sense of responsibility, and look to no future beyond the next meal, sexual encounter or TV football game. They are an absolute deadweight upon society, because they contribute nothing yet cost the taxpayer billions.

Liberals consider them victims because society has supposedly failed to provide them with opportunities to develop their potential. Nonsense. Rather, they are victims of a perverted social ethos which pushes entitlement and denies the underclass the discipline — tough love — which alone might enable some of its members to escape from the swamp of dependency in which they live.

Unless and until those who run Britain introduce incentives for decency and impose penalties for thuggery, there will never be a shortage of young rioters and looters such as those of the past four nights.


Bizarre ideas about the U.K. riots

The U.K. riots are (were?) tremendously destructive. And the rioters--looters, really--were just out to steal whatever they could. But in the minds of some, it's really not their fault.

Here's a typical comment:
Of course the riots are terrible and need to be stopped but do people really believe that depriving poor people is going to solve the problem?
Ya know, I don't recall hearing a single government official or party leader saying "We can stop the riots if we just deprive the poor!" But when someone is allowed to get away with framing a question like this, it falsely implies that someone did.

The commenter is probably conflating the fact that the U.K. government has proposed hiking tuition at state-run universities, along with some very small cuts in some of the more egregiously lavish welfare perks. These changes sparked a lot of anger--as one would expect. But to say they "deprive the poor" is quite a stretch.

Of course, not a stretch for anyone who supports the idea of the Welfare State.

Did crazy welfare benefits play a role in the U.K. riots?

Like millions of us, Richard Fernandez has been watching the riots in the U.K. He notes that virtually all the riots have no connection to the original event, in which police fatally shot a gang member while trying to arrest him.

Fernandez lived in the Filippines during Marcos and survived violence from both left and right. It's given him a keen eye for spotting trouble before it arrives. Here's his take:

Left to themselves, the [offspring] of the Welfare State would fare poorly. Without skills, having torched their surroundings...they would pick their surroundings clean and then [starve to death].

But even the hardest-boiled conservatives are unlikely to let that happen--and so this [cohort of shiftless louts] will have to be rescued from natural selection to at least some extent. But to what extent?

The bounds of the problem are obvious. People must not be [totally] shielded from the consequences of their actions [but] neither must they be left to die. Between these extremes there might be some trajectory of “tough love” which [might reduce the numbers of those who refuse to work].

Just idly curious: Why should the state--more precisely, the dwindling number of working, taxpaying citizens--make more than a nominal effort to shield anyone from the consequences of their actions? After all, doesn't it seem that the whole idea of "being free" implies the ability to make your own decisions and then either reap the consequences whether they're fabulous or sad?

Second: Once the Welfare State has created an idle, dependent class, does anyone see any hope of reversing that process? A few decades ago some fraction of shiftless and often criminal louts could sometimes be moved to responsibility by fathering a child--and the realization that if they didn't start working, that child would almost certainly spend time hungry and cold. But now that the state has taken responsibility for all children, that no longer happens.

At least there's one good from the U.K. riots: They've made it possible for Americans to discuss the problems created by Leftist policies--i.e. the welfare state. Before a few days ago anyone who predicted this sort of thing was dismissed as a "wingnut" or right-wing raaacist. So even if we do nothing to avoid the same riots here, at least we now have a chance to discuss the problems that have already laid the groundwork for them.

Because sadly, we will do nothing to change course. Having created a cohort completely dependent on government checks, the Left will never admit that this was a bad idea, but will blame corporate jets or "subsidies" to oil companies, or "the rich" when the inevitable riots materialize.

Being a progressive means not only never having to apologize, but never even having to admit that your policies were fatally flawed. It will always be someone else's fault.

George W. Booosh!

Wednesday, August 10

Have we lost America?

Someone at another blog noted that we began to lose America when the politicians said the equivalent of "We know what we're doing. Here's your government check."

The guy lamented that the big-government welfare state has become so deeply entrenched that the chances of recovering are down to 50/50. But then he added a great rallying line:
"I want to save America, not just stretch out the decline!"
Damn, that's good.

Now, how do we do that?

For starters, he noted that the low-information voters--who comprise at least half the electorate--don't know jack about Keynesian theories, let alone the rebuttals to those theories. Macroeconomics? You'd have better luck trying to teach your dog calculus.

Short answer: No one has yet found a way to get low-information voters to see the inexorable result of demanding "freebies" from taxpayers. Their sphere of interest ends at their hand. Any proposal that doesn't contain the magic word "free" will be either ignored or angrily condemned--often with the term "raaacist", even though whites benefit from the same programs.

Thus the battle is for the independent or swing voters. At the moment that group seems to be less impressed with Dem/liberal/"progressive" policies than in years past.

Hopefully that distaste will last through November of 2012.

Tuesday, August 9

If you subsidize something, you get ___ of it.

At Ace of Spades they've been discussing the deficit, and how we might reduce government spending. One commenter wrote,

For most of human history (before 1960) people were motivated to work hard and make smart fiscal and personal choices--because if you didn't, you died.

If you spent all your money on clothes, you starved to death--because back then the government didn't hand out food stamps (which are actually credit cards now).

If you didn't save for retirement, then when you quit working you lived in the streets or with your family if they would have you.

Now that government has ensured that people pay absolutely no price for making bad decisions, how can we be surprised when people keep making them?

What happens in America today if someone spends all their income on drugs? Well you can get a Section-8 voucher for free housing, food stamps to feed yourself, and almost every city offers money to the poor in some fashion or another. If you're 65 you can get on Medicare--regardless of whether you paid anything into it--and if you're under 65 and poor you can get Medicaid and have taxpayers pay for your medical care.

I think it's time we revert to a society in which people pay for their mistakes. I suspect we'll find they make a lot fewer of them.

I have no problem with taxpayers helping people who are mentally and physically disabled, but a society where 50% of citizens are supported by the state isn't viable.

Well said.

To cut spending, GOP will have to be the "mean parent"

Ace, proprietor at Ace of Spades, notes that that the Dems aren't willing to offer their own budget. That's a brilliant more on their part, because it means that if there is to be any reduction in spending it will have to come from the Republicans.

That puts the GOP in the tough position of having to be the mean parent who enforces a painful correction on a rebellious kid. Fully half the electorate will think, "Why should I vote for those pricks that want to cut my 'freebies' when I can vote for a Democrat who's promised to keep 'em coming and then some?"

He concludes,
The GOP is offering tough medicine--medicine [that's] not polling well, but also not catastrophically. The GOP is offering its agenda, [which] is full of tough, unpopular stuff.
Bingo. But he thinks the public may be savvy enough to see the truth:
At some point the Democrats will be offer their actual agenda -- and we'll see how that fares when the public understands what they mean by a 'balanced approach.'
Savvy, well-informed electorate, eh? Much as I would love to believe this, unfortunately I don't. It seems far more likely that the 50% of the public that don't pay one cent of federal income taxes will be absolutely delighted by a plan that increases spending and raises taxes--and whether on "the rich" or on everyone above $30K a year won't matter to them one bit.

Add the five percent of rich, tax-paying but guilty liberals and there's a Dem majority.

Finally Ace notes that Obama, Reid and Pelosi have implied that closing tax loopholes on corporate jets, and taxing the wealthiest one percent will solve the nation's deficit problems. He correctly notes that this is pure horseshit. Problem is, you need to be numerate, literate and well informed to reach that conclusion.

Fully 52% of the electorate fails one or more of those tests.

Tax the rich! Wait, didn't congress try that in 1990?

Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He noticed that Obama's idea of raising taxes just on the rich was tried before in the U.S.

Well then, how'd that work out? Below is an edited version of Williams' findings:
Barack Obama has called for a luxury tax on corporate jets as a means of raising revenue. He figured this should be a slam-dunk because his base envies the rich.

Back in 1990 Congress tried imposing a 10 percent luxury tax on yachts, private airplanes and expensive cars and costly jewelry purchased in the United States. Sen. Ted Kennedy and senate majority leader George Mitchell crowed publicly about how the rich would finally be paying their fair share of taxes. What actually happened was quite different.

Within eight months after the law took effect, Viking Yachts--the largest U.S. yacht maker--laid off 1,140 of its 1,400 employees and closed one of its two manufacturing plants. Before it was over Viking Yachts was down to 68 employees.

In the first year, one-third of U.S. yacht-building companies stopped production, and the industry lost 7,600 jobs. By the time the tax was repealed, 25,000 workers had lost their jobs building yachts, and 75,000 more jobs were lost in companies that supplied yacht parts and material. Ocean Yachts trimmed its workforce from 350 to 50. Egg Harbor Yachts went from 200 employees to five and later filed for bankruptcy.

The U.S., which had been a net exporter of yachts, became a net importer as U.S. builders closed their doors. Companies in Europe, Taiwan and the Bahamas immediately saw their sales rise--which added zero to U.S. tax revenue.

Congress had gleefully predicted the luxury tax on boats, aircraft, expensive cars and jewelry would raise $31 million a year in revenue. Instead it destroyed thousands of jobs in the aircraft and yacht-building industries, costing the government millions in unemployment benefits and lost income tax revenues.

The Joint Economic Committee concluded that the value of jobs lost in just the first six months of the luxury tax was $160 million.

Finally, after three years, congress repealed the tax.

Why did dreams of greater revenue not materialize? Kennedy, Mitchell and their congressional colleagues simply assumed that the rich would buy the same things after the tax was enacted as they did before. Like most politicians then and now, they believed that people don't respond to price changes.

People always respond to price changes. The only debatable issue is how much and over what period.

Now Obama wants to repeat this disastrous experiment. Is it likely that in the two decades since 1990, American nature has changed? If Congress imposes a luxury tax on corporate jets and other luxury items, will Americans behave differently this time? In other words, are federal tax revenues likely to rise if Obama's tax proposal is enacted?

I don't believe Obama is dumb enough to believe that a tax on corporate jets would be a revenue generator. Instead, I believe his goal is to inspire envy and resentment against wealthy Americans as a tool in pursuit of his higher-tax agenda.

The way this Williams guy criticized Obama's proposal, he must be a raaacist.

Oh, wait: Walter Williams is black. And a very keen student of both economics and history.

Liberals, unions, Move-on push new stimulus program

From pro-Democrat site "The Hill":
Liberals outline stimulus agenda in 'Contract for the American Dream'

Liberal organizations and unions are frustrated that President Obama has not aggressively pushed a new jobs stimulus agenda, and are offering a consolidated fall agenda for Democrats to [push] as an alternative to austerity.
Now, would that be the "austerity" of a failed $800 Billion "stimulus" bill, that produced jobs at the bargain price of barely $200,000 per job?

Or would that be the "austerity" of raising the debt ceiling by $2.4 Trillion, at a time when every country in the world is saying "You're borrowing too damn much as it is"?

Would that be, perhaps, the "austerity" of hosting dozens of White House dinner parties featuring $100-per-pound Wagyu steak, while most people were struggling to make their mortgage payments?

Or would that be the "austerity" of taking the enormous Boeing 747--Air Force One--for the 150-mile hop from Andrews AFB down to a conference at Williamsburg, Virginia?

Or the "austerity" of "only" playing 79 rounds of golf this year?

Damn, those Obamas have so much of that "austerity" going on. If only they'd just loosen up and spend some of that sweet taxpayer money for a change, the economy would probably...hell, I can't write that with a straight face.

Van Jones demands Jobs!

Former Obama "green jobs czar" and sometime communist Van Jones is now working for Today at 2:37 pm Eastern time he sent the following email to everyone on Move-on's mailing list. Here's how it began:

Dear Friend,

Since the tea party took our economy hostage to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest among us, we’ve seen:

  • the first downgrade of U.S. credit in history;
  • the stock market drop 10%; and
  • Congress’ disapproval rating hit a historic peak.

So, if you’re sick and tired of Washington’s games, you’re not alone.But just getting angry isn’t going to solve anything. What we need are solutions and action. What we need are Jobs, not Cuts—just like Americans want.

Let me fill in the rest:
We need Jobs! We demand Jobs! Jobs, with a capital J! And where we gonna get all those Jobs we demand? By growing government, that's how. Because that's the only kind of Jobs that are worth having! Good, solid UNION jobs. Ones you can't be fired from if you gots more important things ta do some days and need ta be somewhere else.

You may have heard that Jobs are created by businesses bein' started or growing. That ain't true. Most of the things created by businesses are TAX BREAKS fo' da rich. They create a few jobs--but see that's a *small* J. That stands fo' those sorry-ass jobs where you actually gotta show up and work and all. That ain't the kind of Job I'm talkin' bout. You don't want those little-j jobs.

Now Brother Barack, he wants to extend your unemployment benefits and cut your taxes. Because he knows that when people got more money, they spend more and the economy grows, right?

But now business, that's a different story, right? Cause when you cut taxes on business, they don't spend it. They just keep it themselves. So we got to RAISE taxes on business. Cause it's jus not fair that some people be ownin' businesses an all. And we be all about fairness!
Okay, I denounce myself. But man, listening to an Obama buddy preachin' about needin' jobs, and knowing that the guy is all about taxin' the hell out of every business within reach--or even forcin' companies to shut down if they don't hire the right people, or make loans in the right areas--it's pretty funny stuff.

Just keep telling yourself that the biggest creator of jobs is the government, Van.

Reuters provides cover for Obama

Reuters has been shamelessly pro-Obama all along. Following is from a story titled "Obama says he inherited economic problems":
Obama noted that the United States had seen 17 months of consecutive private-sector job growth, rising corporate profits and stabilized credit markets under his watch.
I'm calling bullshit on this. Since March of this year, 900,000 fewer Americans are working full-time. Were none of those job losses in the private sector?

This story has all the earmarks of propaganda: It's virtually unsourced--the story says only that Obie was
"speaking at a Democratic fundraiser"--and paraphrases rather than giving an exact quote. Of course this could just be sloppy reporting.

Another indication that it's propaganda is in the last 'graf:
At a separate event...Obama [said] revenues needed to be raised, the tax code would have to be reformed, and modest adjustments to the Medicare healthcare program would have to be enacted.
Modest adjustments, huh? In this context that's political-speak for "cuts." But of course the Dems have constantly claimed it's the Republicans who are threatening to cut Medicare. This carefully constructed narrative would be damaged if Obama admitted that he wanted to cut that program.

Solution? Don't call it a cut; call it an "adjustment." So Dems get a win-win: Sophisticated investors listening to Obie knew he was calling for cuts, but if anyone were to ask a direct question later (as if Obozo would ever take questions except from his safe friends) they can say with a straight face "That's an outrageous tea-party slur! We never called for cuts to Medicare!"

Clever, huh.

All that's necessary is to ensure that the reporter and editor will play ball, instead of using the more usual (and shorter) "cuts." So how do Obie's handlers know they can trust a news agency to...oh, right.

Is the Welfare State financially viable today?

A columnist for the U.K. "Telegraph" writes,
The truly fundamental question that is at the heart of the disaster toward which we are [all] racing is being debated only in America: Is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society?
That's a great question, though it's still a bit wide of the mark. It should be,
Can any form of government support a socialist society (welfare state)?
Let me explain.

Marx's militant socialism offered a very attractive alternative to the then-prevailing capitalist/industrialist-vs.-workers model. At least it was attractive to workers, who Marx ostensibly regarded as the most important component of society.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, the crowned heads of Europe were scared witless that those heads could end up on pikes if the revolutionary flames came their way. To head off that prospect they adopted government programs that gave the benefits of socialism to everyone, without requiring a revolution.

Neat idea, huh.

The same thing happened in the U.S.

I know the Social Security folks made a big show of doing the math to compute the tax rate needed for the assumed benefits, but not sure if there were any efforts made to do the math in Europe back when nations were adopting the welfare state to head off revolution. Certainly Marx didn't want to bother with any math, since a) it was harder than writing rousing demonizations of capitalists; and b) it might have shown the whole venture to be financially unworkable.

And the governments that adopted socialism peacefully didn't bother because their leaders were simply doing whatever they thought was needed to keep their heads attached to their necks. So I'm not sure how much objective, rigorous math has been done on the financial viability of the welfare state that socialism claims is everyone's absolute right.

Moreover, any early analysis would have used a population growth rate much higher than we have today.

And that's the big wild-card: the shape of the population pyramid. Back when socialism was first introduced, the average family had five kids. Today the average family has less than two kids, and we're almost to zero growth.

Back when Marx was working his class-warfare evil, the welfare state would have had many more workers to carry the burden. But when a country nears ZPG, the ratio of workers to retirees falls dramatically, so to be financially solvent the system requires taxation levels that will almost certainly be unacceptable to workers.

Of course the demographers at the Social Security Administration have been saying for decades that SS is headed for insolvency for exactly this reason. I've just never heard anyone take the next logical step to prove that when a nation approaches zero population growth, the welfare state becomes non-viable regardless of the system of government.

Monday, August 8

Obama: "We must live within our means--except for this huge new program."

From Obama's weekly address, Saturday, August 6, 2011
(source: the White House website)

This week Congress reached an agreement that’s going to allow us to make some progress in reducing our nation’s budget deficit. Through this compromise, both parties are going to have to work together on a larger plan to get our nation’s finances in order. That’s important. We’ve got to make sure that Washington lives within its means, just like families do. In the long term, the health of our economy depends on it.

But in the short term... we ought to give more opportunities to all those construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing boom went bust. We could put them to work right now, by giving loans to companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports....
Lemme get this straight: You just got congress to raise the debt limit by $2.4 Trillion. In fact, you insisted on that huge number because you didn't want to get hammered by this issue before the elections. And your administration is running a current-year deficit of $1.4 Trillion. And you just said "We’ve got to make sure that Washington lives within its means, just like families do." And then you turn right around and propose a huge new federal program to put tens of thousands of idle homebuilders to work building roads and airports???

Was this a secret contest to see how many contradictions you could cram into a single minute or something?

Scenes we'd like to see

Quote from Obama's speech today (from the White House website):
The fact is, we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction.... [nor] to tell us that the gridlock in Washington over the last several months has not been constructive, to say the least. We knew...that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling -- a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip -- could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s. That threat [of a U.S. default]...has now roiled the markets and dampened consumer confidence and slowed the pace of recovery.
"Question, Mr. Resident. "


"Wasn't the debt-ceiling bill passed and signed a week ago?"

"I'm not sure. Being president is so hard, working from dawn until dusk to keep everything running smoothly...."

"Well, it was."

"Was that your question?"

"No, sir. My question is: Just now you said the debate over the debt ceiling -- 'where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip' -- had 'roiled the markets and dampened consumer confidence and slowed the pace of recovery.' How can the threat of default still be a factor in the 1100-point drop in the market--or either of the other two factors you mentioned--when congress raised the debt limit by $2.4 Trillion dollars a full week ago?"

Obama speaks; investors respond with a big raspberry

Obama made a speech today--his first to the public since the downgrade. Here are the highlights:
  • He quoted a major investor saying the U.S. should have a triple-A rating;
  • Said "markets continue to affirm our creditworthiness";
  • Called for tax hikes
  • Will present a plan "real soon" (kidding: "in the next couple of weeks") to lower the deficit;
  • Called for more government "stimulus" to create more jobs;
  • Called for yet another extension of unemployment benefits;
  • “No matter what some agency says, we will always be a AAA country”
  • Says “markets agree” we should have AAA rating.
When he began speaking, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 400 points. After his masterful, reassuring speech (the cadences that some idiot talking head named Matthews claimed gave him "tingles up his leg"), the market paused to weigh his words.

After carefully considering Obie's points, the Dow responded by dropping another 233 points in 90 minutes.

Back when I was flying we had a saying: You can defy the laws of aerodynamics...just not for very long. Barky combined a mellow voice and a great smile with crappy socialist nostrums and zero experience in running anything successfully, and for awhile the nation followed a lovely arc through the fiscal heavens.

Turned out to be a ballistic arc.