Tuesday, December 31

Expedition to confirm global warming gets stuck in Antarctic ice--and it's summer down there!

Did you hear about a Russian research vessel that got stuck in the ice off Antarctica several days ago?  The Lying Media tells us it was on a "research expedition" when it got stuck.

Normal journalistic practice might have included some mention of what *kind* of research the ship was doing on this "research mission," but for some reason no one in the MSM seemed to think this was worth mentioning.

In fact, most stories implied it was really just a bunch of tourists: Reuters says the vessel was "on a private expedition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey."  The Associated Press agrees, saying the voyage "had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's century-old voyage to Antarctica."

The BBC--which by an amazing coincidence actually has a reporter aboard the ship--gets a tiny bit closer to the real reason, saying "the scientists have continued their experiments, measuring temperature and salinity through cracks in the surrounding ice."

What's that?  "Measuring temperature"?  Hmm....

A site called "Expeditions Online" reveals that this wasn't just a bunch of tourists but was indeed a long-planned expedition named "Spirit of Mawson."  In fact, the expedition has its own website.  (Pretty sure "journalists" could have found this if they'd tried.)  And here's what that site says:
Antarctica and the Southern Ocean remain a unique place to monitor the health of our planet. The Australasian Antarctic Expedition will meld science and adventure, repeating century old measurements to discover and communicate the changes taking place in this remote and pristine environment.
Hmm..."measurements to discover and communicate changes," you say?  Wow, what a great headline that would have made, eh?  "Voyage seeking to confirm global warming gets stuck in sea ice."

Ah, well, now it's all clear:  Can't have that--can't print or broadcast anything that ridicules The Narrative.

[Update:  "Can't have that"--poking fun at the warmenists because a bunch of global warming climate change pushers got caught in summer ice in Antarctica--is right:  Out of 41 storied broadcast on network and cable news, only one mentioned the reason for the expedition, and the bent of the scientific crew.  The others referred to the humans aboard simply as "passengers" or tourists.  Almost a total media blackout of the facts.  Typical.]

One more item from the expedition's website:  The expedition's organizer and leader is a professor (Chris Turney), who has “set up a carbon refining company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.”

So if the voyage had found any evidence whatsoever that could be interpreted as showing global warming, the expedition's organizer and leader would have been positioned to reap a significant financial benefit.

Gosh, wonder what the odds are that the expedition's findings would have been...you know, objective?

Wait, I'm sorry:  I can't imagine any "scientist" distorting research to win money--whether corporate or shaking the research-grant money tree.  Unthinkable!

(H/T:  Watts Up With That, an excellent source of *real* info on climate.) 

Monday, December 30

Yet more pro-Obamacare propaganda from NBC

Propaganda is a form of communication designed to influence the attitude of the listener, reader or viewer regarding some cause or position.  It's usually used to describe government-operated programs, with the message(s) repeated over and over, often in several different media.

Propaganda is sometimes hard to detect--especially when it's delivered by outlets that the citizen doesn't recognize as conduits for a campaign.

Case in point is an article dated Dec. 27th in a section of the NBC News website titled "health."  It's loaded with descriptors that lead the reader to think about things in a certain way.

For example, here's the lede 'graf:
It was the gift that kept on giving: The disastrous roll-out of the health-insurance exchanges provided daily fodder for Republican opponents of Obamacare. And the dire state of U.S. health care, coupled with a headlong rush by people to get health insurance, gave Democrats ample opportunity to say “we told you so.”
From the early mention of the "disastrous roll-out" of...something health-related at first it appears as though it will be neutral.  But note that the "roll-out" they actually mention is not "Obamacare," nor of the one and only healthcare.gov website, but rather of "the health-insurance exchanges."  With a barely-noticeable phrasing the problem isn't the federal government's website, nor a horribly flawed concept, but...exchanges, plural.

Ah, guess the author is referring to those various exchanges operated by the *states*??

And the very next line:  "And the dire state of U.S. health care..."  Excuse me?  The U.S. had a great health-care system.  Problem was that people without enough money to buy health insurance typically ended up going to hospital emergency rooms when they needed health care.  And apparently they frequently didn't bother paying, since they knew they couldn't be denied treatment if they showed up again.

There's no question that using ERs for routine health care was a very expensive way of providing that, but this hardly amounts to an indictment of the overall health care system, which was generally splendid.

That's why Canadians who were put on long waiting lists for government-provided medical treatment in Canada often traveled to the U.S. and paid cash for immediate treatment.  Ever heard anyone say "The docs say I need an MRI right away, so I think I'll pop up to Montreal..."?

But the author slips this indictment ("the dire state of U.S. health care") in in the very first 'graf, and does it so smoothly that almost no one even notices.  Yet the message definitely gets across, if only subliminally.

Very next 'graf:
So once it’s January 2014 and people can start having their new insurance and all the deadlines have passed...
Note the phrase "can start having..."  Not "forced to buy," or "mandatory," or "controversial," or "mostly more expensive, higher-deductible" but simply..."can have."

"You get a special present!  Lucky you!"

This choice of phrasing is no accident:  Did you get the impression you were paying higher premiums--and higher deductibles--than with your old, pre-Obamacare insurance?  Did you hear your doc got booted off the new insurance company's network, leaving you to find a new one?  Well forget all that, citizen, because thanks to the beneficence of the Democrats and Dear Leader you are lucky enough to get to start having health insurance.

Now I'll readily admit that the old practice of new insurance not paying for an old condition until you'd been on it a year sometimes caused hardship, as did the practice of companies not wanting to insure people with pre-existing conditions.  But these hardships could have been remedied in a 10-page bill, without having the government force every policy to offer maternity care, or substance-abuse counseling.

But of course the entire point of the exercise was *not* to make insurance more affordable, but for government to extend its power.  Which has happened.  In spades.

Oh, and for those who may be concerned that their doctor of 20 or more years is no longer on the approved network, the NBC propagandist rushes to reassure you that
People will squeal, but studies show that the care is just as good for most people using a narrow network of doctors and hospitals as those who have more choice.
See?  You don't need to have "choice" of doctors and hospitals, because "studies show..."  Oh, you may be vexed at losing your doctor, but you need to get over it.  You should *want* to make a small sacrifice in order to enable non-wealthy American residents to get free health care.

Oh, and note that word "squeal."   That ain't an accident either.  It's definitely a pejorative term.  "Complain" would have been a neutral substitute, but the author chose to make a point.

There's a lot more to the article but you get the gist.  But let me note just one more:  At the end of the article the author quotes an "expert" from Brookings throwing out this zinger:
“I think many Democrats assume that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid as we know them are so entrenched in American life that they are untouchable. But Republicans have a plan to transform them.”
Didja get that?  In an article about Obamacare, the last bit of propaganda is that Republicans have a plan--carefully unstated, with no details given--to "transform" Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

If readers didn't hate Republicans before, the most certainly do now.  This is pure bullshit, but part and parcel of the propaganda piece.

And of course if you ever called 'em on it they'd get all wide-eyed and innocent.

"shopping for health insurance like shopping on Amazon"; "I'd never say anything that stupid."


Hey, cut the guy some slack:  When you tell as many lies as King Barack it's hard to remember what you said just six weeks earlier. 

Oh, and the vital loophole in his November statement was "I don't think I'm stupid enough to..."

Liberal double-standard number...I've lost count


Wish I could take credit for the pic-- found it at Weasel Zippers.

Sunday, December 29

Muslims kill another immunization team member in Pakistan

Very few children in Pakistan are immunized against any disease.  Polio, in particular, seems to be making a comeback there.  So naturally, western nations have donated money and vaccine to immunize Pakistani kids.

And in what must surely strike most rational people as a total outrage, Muslim fanatics in Pakistan have killed a number of members of the immunization teams--most recently just yesterday.  Cuz they claim it's all a huge plot by the West.  As a cover for spying.

But by all means, keep telling yourselves that the killers weren't Muslim.  Keep repeating the left/liberal talking-point that "all religions are equal."

Or if you're really clever, go with "There are crazy people all over the world, of every religion."  That's really hard to argue with--until you look at Iran, where it's state policy to stone adulterous women.  If you want to attribute that to crazies, it means the whole state is crazy--a charge I wouldn't dispute.

Note to western liberals: Stop trying to save them.  It just annoys them and gets innocent people killed.  Let them reap the harvest of their hate, barbarism and ignorance.

That is all.

Original NY Times story here.

How can we reduce unemployment? "Create more jobs?" Media doesn't seem to want to discuss that

Like almost all the large internet-based firms, AOL has always been a firm supporter of Democrats and Duh Won.  So it's no surprise that when they ran an article titled "Can anything help the long-term unemployed,"  the first mention of "creating more jobs" was in the very last paragraph of the piece.

You'd think that if unemployment was a problem, "creating more jobs" would be the top suggestion, and that the major media outlets would be churning out dozens of articles on how to encourage job creation.  Oh, the media do mention job creation from time to time, but the main focus seems to be on how many jobs the government has created.  Cuz, see, government jobs are *good* jobs, while the media seems to regard jobs in the private sector (other than management) as simply ways to ruthlessly exploit underpaid workers.

Yeah, seriously.

I really do feel for people who were fired from a job where they were productive and worked hard.  Certainly being fired because of downsizing, acquisition or business contraction was something they couldn't control.  But I find it interesting that instead of pushing the only viable long-term solution--creating more jobs--"journalists" have avoided that like the plague.

And I think I've figured out why:  Because looking at how to create jobs would require finding answers to questions like "Who creates jobs?  Why do they do that?  What would make people or companies want to hire more employees?" 

Once answers to those questions were found, presumably rational politicians would advocate conditions that would favor job creation.

The problem, I think, is that virtually every policy advocated by Democrats/liberals/"progressives" tends to *suppress* private-sector job creation.  I don't know whether this is intentional or accidental, but either way I don't think the media wants to discuss it.

Saturday, December 28

What can be done in three and a half years?

From a commenter at another blog
For the U.S., World War 2 started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Two and a half years later came the allied invasion of Europe ("D-Day").  In April 1945--three and a half years after the Japanese attack brought America into the war--Germany surrendered.  Four months later, on September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered.  For America the war lasted three years and nine months.

During that three years and nine months the U.S. built
  • 22 aircraft carriers
  • 8 battleships
  • 48 cruisers
  • 349 destroyers 
  • 420 destroyer escorts 
  • 203 submarines 
  • 34 million tons of merchant ships
  • 100,000 fighter aircraft
  • 98,000 bombers
  • 24,000 transport aircraft
  • 58,000 training aircraft 
  • 93,000 tanks
  • 257,000 artillery pieces 
  • 105,000 mortars and
  • 2,500,000 military trucks.  
  • We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services
  • invaded Africa 
  • invaded Sicily
  • invaded Italy
  • defeated Hitler's formidable U-boat fleet in the battle for the Atlantic
  • invaded German-occupied Europe (D-Day)
  • invaded scores of Japanese-held islands in the Pacific
  • developed the atomic bomb and forced the Japanese surrender.

In almost the same amount of time (three years and six months)--with no one shooting at them--the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.

Obama and the Dems got to test the effects of Obamacare--with "Cash for Clunkers"

Conservatives have been enjoying the entertainment that is the ghastly roll-out of Obamacare, with its utterly unconstitutional changes to the law's provisions, by imperial decree.  And suddenly it occurred to me:  this isn't the first time the Democrats rushed a catchy but astonishingly dumb proposal into law.  The only requirements were that it sound good, give away taxpayer funds to participants, and pay lip-service to the goal of "reducing income inequality."  

The press called the program Cash for Clunkers, and it offered "vouchers"--i.e. government money--for $2500 to $4500 for people willing to scrap a perfectly fine older car and buy a new one that got better gas mileage.

As far as can be determined, the idea started in July of 2008 with an op-ed in the NY Times by economist Alan Blinder.  Blinder argued that the program would "help the environment, stimulate the economy, and reduce income inequality."  [quote from Wiki]

Left-wing outfits absolutely loved the idea.  In November of 2008 the Center for American Progress distributed a letter to congresswhores describing these three fabulous benefits of a cash-for-clunkers program.  Democrats and a few Rino's jumped in, and on June 16th, 2009 it was approved by congress and rushed to Obama's desk, by rolling it into a "supplemental war-funding bill"--universally considered to be a "must-pass" bill.  Most Repubs opposed it, but of course they didn't have a majority, and a week later Obama signed it into law.

If the very short time between concept and signing into law, or the support of so many left-wing outfits like the Center for American "Progress," ring any alarm bells for you, congratulations.  There was little critical evaluation of the idea, and the main debate was over relatively trivial details: should the traded-in car have to get less than 17 mpg or 18? 

If the lack of time to evaluate isn't alarming enough, consider that the program was to start giving its first "rebates" just eight days after Obama signed it into law. 

Again, there simply wasn't enough time to think the thing through--not that doing so would have made a bit of difference in the outcome.

This was one of those many bills that the Democrats were determined to pass so they could be seen as helping their king "fundamentally transform" this country.   It said all the right words--environment, economic stimulus and reducing income inequality--so no Democrat was ever asked to explain how it was supposed to actually accomplish any of that.

But no matter.  Cuz, if you're a Democrat all that matters is that you have good intentions.

Congress initially appropriated a cool Billion dollars for this lemon.  That ran out in a month, so they added another two billion.  In all the program lasted four months and resulted in  690,114 "dealer transactions."

So the program resulted in 690,000 sales, at an average cost of $4,169 per sale.  (Interestingly, a study at the University of Delaware later managed to conclude that the actual "net cost" of the program was under half that figure.  One would be interested to know...nah, never mind.)

But aside from the huge cost--and 690,000 presumably lucky buyers--did the program do anything good?  Not surprisingly, analysts found that car sales were depressed in the four months after the program's end, and total car sales for the 12 months starting just before the program began were almost unchanged from the same period a year earlier--suggesting that the program simply shifted sales that would have happened anyway to a slightly earlier date.

As for the environment:  No one disputes that the cars purchased got better gas mileage than the ones traded in (24.9 mpg vs. 15.8), but it takes a very large amount of energy to make a car, and one group claimed the energy needed would offset the reduced gasoline use almost completely.

An even sadder thing was that to prevent trade-in cars from getting back on the road with a new owner, the regulations implementing the law required that the engines of the trade-ins be "rendered inoperable"--i.e. destroyed.  See, if they didn't do this, the environmental groups would be pissed, since the bill wouldn't actually be taking a "gas-guzzler" off the road.  And the enviros were *big* supporters of Democrats and Duh Won.

The engines were destroyed by pouring essentially sand in them and running them until they seized up.

Unless you've worked with engines and cars you might not understand the outrageous waste--the insanity--of this demand.  Imagine that Leftists decided the U.S. had too many people, and managed to pass a law demanding that any of your kids who couldn't run a six-minute mile had to be euthanized and you'll get the idea.

Economists also noted that by removing 690,000 used cars from the marketplace, prices for all used cars nosed upward after the program.  So the program ended up costing low-income car buyers money!

In summary:  A feel-good law was rushed through congress, rammed into law with little debate, cost taxpayers $3 billion, didn't do anything for total car sales, and ended up raising the price of used cars.

And with that marvelous practice run under their belts, Obama and the Dems took up nationalized health insurance.

===
Postscript: 
Hey, that "Cash for Clunkers" thing was so amazingly clever!  Why don't we Dems try it again?  But we've already done cars, so let's try...oh, say, houses.  A huge part of the economy depends on the housing market, which is sorta depressed, right?  So why not pass a law that demands that cities bulldoze, say, 10,000 old, inefficient homes in every big city?  Then we'll give the owners free money to build new, more energy-efficient ones!

Hey, it's win-win:  stimulates the hell out of the economy, better for the environment, and reduces the effects of income inequality!  Let's move on this!
This has actually been proposed by lots of goofy economists.  It was analyzed and discredited way back in 1850 by one Frederic Bastiat.  It's called the "broken-window fallacy," and it uses the same principle as the example above:  When someone accidentally breaks a shopkeeper's window, either the shop owner or the parent of the wayward kid pays to have it replaced.  Conventional thinking is that this gets money circulating.

Do this enough and you'd theoretically get a booming economy.  It follows that the way to get an economy booming is to hire lots of kids to throw rocks through windows!

Wait, you say something doesn't seem quite right about that?  You say that even though you can't dispute any of the recitation, something just seems 'off' about it?

Congratulations.  Bastiat agreed, and did a fine job of exposing the flaw in the "reasoning."  (Click on the link if you're curious.)

But geez, that was 163 years ago!  Nothing that was true then could possibly apply to a modern society like ours, right?  I mean, did the U.S. even exist back then?

Good point.  Certainly Paul Krugman believes that forcing companies to spend billions complying with new regulations is a great way to get an economy going.  And you've gotta believe Krugman cuz, you know, he writes for the NY Times.  And he got a Nobel prize.  Which I'm sure he deserved just as much as our dazzling king deserved his--which, you may recall, was a Peace prize.

Friday, December 27

The trajectory is scary

From "The Federalist" blog (edited):
From Iran to Syria to China, America's foreign policy position has collapsed with shocking rapidity.  Simply put, our foreign policy is incoherent.

Unrest will certainly increase in a weakening global economy, but a different crisis may prove more troublesome in the long term: a crisis of legitimacy within Western democracy, one that has gripped the American system in the wake of the mismanagement of elections, disasters, wars, financial crises, stimulus packages, bailouts, and now health care overhauls.

Americans are losing faith in the American Dream for themselves and for their children.
The U.S. is in trouble, largely because our politicians are too wedded to social giveaways.  The problem is that they're taking money away from defense to keep domestic giveaways flowing--and two adversaries are well aware of that:  Both China and Iran know we're on a downward, weakening course.  All they have to do is wait, and in a decade or so the once-mighty U.S. won't have enough military power to start a conversation.

But the poor in the U.S. will have free cell phones, and that's worth quite a bit.

Thursday, December 26

"Laws of supply and demand? Sorry, they don't apply to *real* government laws."

I would love to have two hours to ask a community organizer, professional politician, bureaucrat or most life-long academics to tell me everything they know about the *basic* laws of economics.  Not the esoterica but the really basic stuff, like explaining how a supply-demand curve works.

My bet is almost none of 'em knows jack about it.

I say this because virtually all demands or programs or laws or decrees from any of the above seem to be utterly devoid of any such understanding.

Case in point:  Regardless of what one thinks was the real goal of Obamacare, we can agree that a big *stated* goal was to give more people more health care.  In economic parlance this is "shifting the demand curve."  If you know which direction this would shift it, and what effect classical economics says that would have on the equilibrium price for any given procedure, you're far better educated than most.

Short answer:  If demand increases without an offsetting expansion of supply, either prices will rise or you end up with a shortage, as people want more of the good or service than is available at the current price.

Of course there are several well-known, clever ways to reduce prices.  One of these is to reduce the cost of providing a good or service--one component of which is the cost of complying with government regulations.  Another is to increase supply, by making useful medical devices less costly. 

You don't do that by putting a new tax on medical devices.

In any case, it's been pretty well determined--for over a century, with no countervailing evidence--that if the demand for a good or service increases, without increasing supply, either the price will increase or you'll get a shortage.

I'm curious as to what prompted all these oh-so-brilliant experts to think that Obamacare would somehow be able to ignore the laws of supply and demand.

Oh, that's right:  Our "elites" believe that by sheer brilliance of their rhetoric, or by the fact that they have degrees from top Ivy-league universities, that they therefore know what is best for us and don't have to bother with the laws of economics.  Besides, they'll claim that the laws of supply and demand don't apply to...whatever it is they want to do at that moment.

If you could ever insist that they explain this...interesting...assertion, this special exemption--they'd likely claim that the laws of S&D don't apply to government programs, or similar breezy bullshit.  But the folks who actually study economics say they do.

And of course you couldn't ever get them to answer actual critical questions about their claim of a 'special exemption,' because they never expose themselves to a forum in which they can't control the dialog. 

And I suspect that on some level they have to know they're making a false claim.  But hey, it's for a good cause.  And what difference does it really make if the cost of medical care goes up, down or sideways?  Cuz the government will pay the cost of their health insurance, and for the people who literally can't afford it.

You middle-class worker bees?  Why should the elites care if you now have to cut out little Sally's piano lessons to pay for your health insurance?  Geez, ya bitter clingers, get back to work!  We gotta get those tax payments rolling in so we can pay for all that "free" medical care!

No, sorry, I don't have time to answer any more questions.  There's a meeting of the president's advisory commission on income redistribution.


Wednesday, December 25

Hawaii Dept. of Education refuses to provide sex-ed curriculum content to legislature !

Seems the public schools in Hawaii have a sex education program for kids as young as 11 years old.  Okay, nothing terribly unusual there.

Then two state legislators asked the state's department of education to provide them with the curriculum.

The state's Department of Education refused.

My first reaction was "That's gotta be either a misprint or a misunderstanding."  Under what theory could a state-funded agency that used taxpayer funds to develop a curriculum for mandatory instruction refuse to disclose the contents to any member of the public--much less a state legislator?

But there it was.

Seems a few dozen state employees need to learn who pays their salaries.  As in, fire them, immediately.  No negotiating, no terms, no deals.  Fire them.  If you tolerate this kind of refusal by public employees to be held accountable to the public then there will BE no more accountability from bureaucrats.  Lord knows there's little enough as it is.

And just so we're clear, the problem I have with this has nothing to do with the fact that the subject being taught is sex education.  I'd be just as concerned if it was civics or history.

True story:  My dad served a brief period in our state senate.  At that time there were a number of professors at the state's universities who only taught one or two classes a week.  The legislature didn't feel the people were getting much for the salaries taxpayers were paying, and instructed the presidents of the universities that henceforth no one could draw a professor's salary unless they taught at least four class periods a week.

As you can guess, the professors drew themselves up and proceeded to lecture the lawmakers--for the most part rural folk with modest educations--about "academic freedom."  According to the professors the legislators had no right at all to set terms like how many hours a state professor must teach, and the professors would do whatever they wanted.

The lawmakers--normally consumed by partisan fighting--raised a few eyebrows and proceeded to draft and introduce a bill cutting the funds appropriated to the universities by 25% or so.

This being flyover country, that solved the problem immediately:  the PhDs knew they had a sweet deal and had no desire to take a pay cut or try to find work elsewhere. It was a classic demonstration that the ultimate power to set policy should rest with the people who are paying for the operation.

Of course that was back before liberal judges decided they were the ones who should set policy, not legislatures.  Years ago that would be solved by just a couple of judicial impeachments.  Unfortunately there's no such resolve today.

Latest on global warming...wait, "climate change"

For those of you who have some interest in the on-going debate on global warming climate change...Wait, what am I saying?  The elites--in government and the media--don't allow any debate at all on global warming climate change.

Because according to them it's "settled science."  And "settled science," like settled law, cannot thereafter be revisited.  Ever. Sorta like when the experts in Roman times took it as settled science that the world was flat.

You know...that kind of settled science.

In any case, I just ran across a study in which carbon dating of sea-floor sediments showed that the ocean surface east of the Bahamas today is warmer by ONE degree Celsius than it was 400 years ago!  (At the link, scroll down to "North Atlantic.")

So there ya go:  One more piece of solid evidence that global warming is real.  Settled. science.

(To my liberal readers:  The above line was *sarcasm.*)

Wait:  400 years ago was during a period called the "Little Ice Age," when temperatures in the northern hemisphere were--can you guess?--a LOT colder than today.

Dude, if the Sargasso Sea is only one degree warmer today than it was during the Little Ice Age, doesn't that change the entire perspective on global warming climate change?  I mean, the LIA was a period of miserable cold, so being a whole one degree warmer shouldn't be alarming to anyone.

At least not to anyone rational and not trying to shake the grant-money tree.

Another piece of data from the same study is equally revealing--and is a powerful argument against "Anthropogenic Global Warming" (AGW):  They found that the same sea was one degree *warmer* a thousand years ago than it is today.

Wait, how could it have been warmer a thousand years ago?  Cuz I thought the whole AGW theory was that global warming climate change was caused mainly by humans putting vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the air by burning icky fossil fuels.  Was there a secret group a thousand years ago that burned vast amounts of coal or similar and we just never knew?

Uh, no.

BTW, the study noted above was published in 1996.  I've been looking for the carefully-footnoted scientific rebuttal--the warmenists have had 17 years to discredit the study--but so far nothing.  Hmmm...guess the great gurus of global warming were too busy going to conventions in Geneva to bother with such trivia.

Then last January another study was published refuting global warming climate change, this one of tree-line elevations in Scandinavia. 

If you've been around mountains higher than 10,000 feet or so you've seen for yourself that there's a nice sharp line on the mountains, above which trees simply don't grow.  That's because it's too cold above that line.  So measuring the elevation of the timberline in historic times is a very accurate way to compare ancient temperatures with today's.

The researchers found that in Roman times the timberline in the area they studied was almost 2000 feet higher than today.  That would mean the local temperatures 20 centuries ago were--are you sitting down?-- warmer than today.  By a couple of degrees, which the experts say is quite a bit.

But that's probably because the Romans were doin' all that metal smelting, burnin' stuff to make swords and spears and other nasty metal things, so they were probably dumping, oh, gazillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and...

Uh, no.

One more time for the stubborn:  We used to think the sun's output hardly changed at all, but now there's ample evidence that the sun's activity changes far more than we previously thought.  So IF the globe has warmed overall in the last century--and that's not at all certain due to the deliberate altering of temperature data by researchers pushing the theory that humans are causing global warming--it's probably *not* due to CO2 but to changes in solar activity. 

Oh, and for those who are curious as to how far the AGW pushers will lie and cheat to win:  A division of the UK government had the only copy of the most extensive archive of modern (i.e. measured) temperatures on the planet.  Skeptics suspected the record custodians were lying when they claimed this record supported the AGW theory, and sued under the UK version of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the records.  After all, the temperature records were purchased with taxpayer funds and were clearly not the property of the folks who controlled them.

Since the bureaucrats who had the records were scientists and interested in discovering the truth, they promptly gave a copy of the records... Just kidding: they told the group seeking a copy of the unique temperature records to fuck off.  Fortunately the British courts found in favor of the group that filed the lawsuit, and ordered the guys who had the temperature records to provide a copy.

But about a week before the deadline the court set for the defendants to provide plaintiffs with the temperature data, something...unlikely happened:  the British bureaucrats who had the unique data claimed that their only copy had somehow accidentally been destroyed.

Yep.  They claimed no one had thought to make backup copies of these absolutely unique, irreplaceable records.

That's literally what they claimed.

One is astonished at such brazen lying to a court.  But hell, they're doing it for a great cause, so everyone gave 'em a pass.

It's a good rule of thumb that any scientists who refuse to make their data public, and to debate their pet scientific theory in public, are trying to hide evidence that they've been conning you.

VA hospital won't allow donated Christmas cards to be given to vets if they say "Christmas"

Merry Christmas to all. 

It's sad that wishing someone a Merry Christmas has become controversial or unacceptable to some government agencies, but such is life today.

Oh, did you think I was exaggerating?  Consider this story:  Fourth-graders at a private school in Dallas made Christmas cards to give to hospitalized veterans at the Dallas VA hospital.

When the teacher called the hospital to make final arrangements, the government employees told her "That's great. The only thing is, we can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references, because of all the red tape.'"

Lest you think this isn't really the policy but just a nutty decision by a bad apple, the employee quoted the written VA policy on this subject:
In order to be respectful of our veterans' religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients.
Donated cards.  Planned to be given to veterans who want to receive one.  No compulsion.  And yet as a nation we have now come to the point where this isn't allowed if the cards have any reference to God or Christ or Christmas.

Some reporter should ask King Barack if he agrees with this policy, and if not, if he'd be willing to issue an executive order changing it.  Of course that won't happen, because the king's wishes must be honored by all loyal subjects.

In any case, Merry Christmas to all veterans everywhere--especially those in VA hospitals who are zealously protected from such wishes by government bureaucrats.

Tuesday, December 24

Is the Constitution the supreme law of this land, or not?

Constitution of the United States: Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
How...quaint.

Because between what seems to have been the extortion of chief justice John Roberts--as evidenced by the wholly tortured "reasoning" in his opinion upholding Obamacare--and Obama's endless quest to patch his signature legislation into a vague semblance of functionality, we find ourselves with what appears to be a violation of the Constitution:

Recall that the Supreme Court declared that the "mandate"--the terms of the ACA that forced citizens to buy health insurance after the government forced companies to cancel perfectly good insurance--was a tax.

Now, in deciding to allow some citizens to escape this tax, if they are connected in certain ways, Obama has made the tax apply non-uniformly.

This is clearly barred by the Constitution, Article 1 Section 8, quoted above.

Either the Constitution is the supreme law of this nation or it is not.

Surely to God there must be at least one citizen of this lawless nation who has the legal standing to sue Barack Obama with the relief of declaring this heavily-decree-changed law unconstitutional.

Oh, and one more small aside:  You know all those changes King Barack has made to the duly-passed "settled law of the land" (14, at last count)?  Not one was made by executive order--which is at least a registered process with a paper trail and signatures.  All the others were simply made by...decree and press release.  Well, that's probably equivalent to passing a law--at least for Democratic presidents with veto-proof, impeachment-proof majorities.

Better and better, eh?

You just don't understand Obama's accomplishments the way his base does

Hard-working taxpayers simply don't understand how the folks in Obama's and the Democrats' base view his accomplishments.  Here's how the people in the Democrats' base see things:

1. The level of government debt is totally unimportant--it has no effect whatsoever.  Plus, if a higher debt results in a push for more taxes, that's a chance for more redistribution of wealth!  Well done, Obama!

2. None of our problems is Obama's fault.  Instead the problem is capitalism, which is supported by Republicans.  As they've never stopped telling you, it's all Bush's fault.  The solution is to pass more rules and regulations that will eventually kill all private companies (unless they support Democrats and "social justice").

3. More regulation is good.  People should have freedom, but not companies.  Well done, Obama!

4. Obamacare is simply a necessary step to get us to a so-called Single-Payer system for health care (which is a Human Right).  Thus it doesn't matter if the website doesn't work, or if the mandate dates have to be changed, since this is all window-dressing anyway.  Well done, Obama!

5. Incomes in America are unequal because whites are racist and conspiring to oppress people of color.  Obama has exposed this systematic racism and oppression, and given hope to the oppressed minorities of America.  Well done, Obama!

6. American global dominance is bad. Obama has worked tirelessly to remove the oppressive jackboot of American arrogance from the throat of the poor countries of the world. What moral right does the US have to limit nuclear arms when we have them?  So there's nothing wrong with Obama lifting economic sanctions on Iran.  In fact we should give them our nuclear technology.  Well done, Obama!

7. One way to put an end to America oppressing other nations is to cut the size of our military.  In a peaceful world like ours, why do we even need a military anyway?  I mean, everyone knows the military budget accounts for a third of every dollar government spends.  [it's doesn't]  If we didn't have to fund that huge military just think how we could use that money!  (Hint: not by paying down the national debt, since the size of the debt doesn't have any effect.)

8.  Illegal immigration is no problem whatsoever.  It's simply unfair that people from other countries can't walk in and get full U.S. citizenship, and all the economic benefits to which citizens are entitled.  Conservatives claim this would push wages down but why should anyone think that's a problem if you're already are livin' with the EBT cards and free housing?

9.  Islam is the religion of peace.  If you've heard that Christians in Syria and Pakistan and Africa are being slaughtered, don't believe it.  It's all propaganda by racist wing-nuts trying to stir up trouble.  In fact, you should consider converting to Islam.  After all, look how popular it is!

One N.Y. writer is *shocked* to discover that Obama may actually be incompetent !

Peggy Noonan is what passes in D.C. and NY circles as a conservative.  She was also totally enamored of Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012.  Thus it's with great amusement that I re-print some gems from a column she wrote just a week ago:
Everyone is doing thoughtful year-end pieces on President Obama. Writers and reporters agree he’s had his worst year ever [and] there’s no particular reason to believe next year will be better.

In recent weeks I have begun to worry about the basic competency of the administration, its ability to perform the most fundamental duties of executive management.
I see, Peggy.  And just how long ago did you come to this great revelation?  Cuz, like, those of us not on the NY/DC party circuit figured that out, oh, five years ago.  But hey, better late than never, eh?
It all looks so lax, so loosey-goosey. In the place of the energy and focus that would go into the running of things, the administering and managing of them we have the preoccupation with spin, with how things look as opposed to how they are. The White House never misses an opportunity to shape the argument on TV. They do the talking part, but the doing?

They had 3½ years to make Obamacare work, to rejigger parts of the law that they finally judged wouldn’t work, to make buying the mandatory health insurance easy on their website.  But not only could they not do that--an astounding and historic management failure--they claim they were utterly surprised by their failure. They didn’t know it was coming! Or some knew and for some reason couldn’t do anything. 
Well we wouldn't have to be in the dark about the reason if "journalists" would do their job.  After all, we've had the second-ranking I.T. person at CMS stating to the House committee that she fully briefed Sebelius that the website was a disaster and wouldn't be ready on October 1st, and Sebelius saying she din' know nuffin'.  It shouldn't require much of a cross-examination to find out who's lying--and then why. 

But Peggy and the other supposed conservative elite are satisfied with "for some reason."

Peggy then spins a scenario supposedly intended to show incompetence by Barry's team.  But the bumbler in her scenario is...the military officer who carries the nuclear launch codes.  See how deftly that was done?  Peggy acts as if she's criticizing King Barack's incompetence, but the real villain is...a career military officer?  Wow, nice job, Pegs!

She concludes,
Most of the Obama people just don’t have a background in executing but in communicating. That’s where their talent is—it’s where their boss’s talent is.
Amen.  And they all believe that all one needs to do to be a huge success is to say the right words, with the right style.

And surely that will make everything work fine, eh?

Why are young people--the ones needed to fund a big chunk of Obamacare--not signing up in huge numbers? Oh...

The author of the blog "Vodkapundit" was looking at some of the questionable assumptions underlying the 2,000-page nightmare called Obamacare.  He was struck by how much the law's funding seemed to depend on healthy young people (but over 26, of course) buying new, more-costly health insurance.

He drily noted,
If they weren’t motivated to buy health insurance when it cost less, what in the world would motivate them to buy more expensive insurance covering a whole host of things most people will never need? 
Oh, dat's it:  If you don't buy new, gummint-approved insurance, ya gots ta pay a fine.

Or is it a tax?  Seems ta me the Supreme Court said it had to be a tax to overcome some Constitutional problem, but it's hard to remember.  Wait, how could it be a tax?  Cuz didn't Obozo *promise* he wouldn't raise taxes by "a single dime" except on "The Rich"? 

Guess there are a lot more "rich" under-30's than we ever thought.  Wonder why we never realized that before?

Vodkapundit's observation seems so obvious that one imagines that surely someone realized it before the bill was rammed into law.  If the Democrats in congress hadn't been SO intent on ramming this thing through, they might have sat down with the folks from the other side and said, Do y'all see any fundamental assumptions we've made that look, oh, maybe a bit shaky?

Guess the Dems didn't wanna do that, eh?  After all, why negotiate when you can simply dictate?

Monday, December 23

"No successful attacks on the homeland since 9/11"?? --Susan Rice

Barack Obama, being such a brilliant guy, naturally hires (appoints) the absolutely best people to key positions in the administration.  Like...national security advisor Susan Rice.

This would be the same Susan Rice who appeared on 60 Minutes last night and said,
Lesley, it's been worth what we've done to protect the United States. And the fact that we have not had a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11 should not be diminished.
Wha...say again?  She's claiming there hasn't been a successful attack on U.S. soil since 9/11???

This is beyond incompetent.  It's moronic.  Does the Boston Marathon bombing ring any bells?  How about the Fort Hood massacre (which the Obamites have outrageously classified as "workplace violence" to avoid being tagged with negligence)?

I can understand that if this was some yahoo Democrat congresswhore from Goatmuzzle, New Jersey, the guy might be excused for not keeping apprised of successful attacks on the U.S.  But this scrunt is supposed a key "national security advisor."  How the hell can she forget about the two attacks just noted?

Oh, and in case you were thinking otherwise:  After this statement the interview immediately cut away to note that Rice was both the first African-American in this post and...a mother.

Yeah.  Wonder if interviewer Lesley Stahl let the "no successful attack" remark pass without comment.  But in any case the editors did.

Folks, this is who Obama has hand-picked to run national security.  Total incompetence.

Sunday, December 22

Obama administration quietly cuts 14% from Medicare home health care to pay for Obamacare; media says nothing

Hey, remember how Obama talked a lot about "bending the cost curve over" for medical care?  Well sure enough, they did!  They cut a few billion from funding for Medicare's "home health benefit" and used that money to help pay the huge and growing costs of ObamaCare.

The administration made this announcement as it usually does with things it wants to hide--late on a Friday, just before Thanksgiving--a time when there's the least amount of attention paid to news.  And sure enough, no one seemed to notice the quiet announcement for almost two weeks.  But on December 12th the Washington Examiner published the news in an article headlined “ObamaCare forcing 14 percent cut in Medicare’s home health program.”

One of the explicit provisions of the "Affordable" Care Act was that the administration got permission to cut "up to 14 percent" from Medicare's home health program.  This was not mandatory but was at Obama's discretion.  Well, they took that option--and didn't pussyfoot around with just a small part of it, but grabbed the whole allowable amount.  I mean hey, blame congress for giving 'em permission, right?

Hey, remember those Democratic party attack ads a few years ago--the ones that had a Republican pushing granny over a cliff in a wheelchair?  They got lots of free airtime as "news" stories--cuz, see, when Republicans cut benefits to the elderly it's front-page, hand-wringing, tragic news.

When Obama really *does* cut 14 percent from a Medicare program, no one in the mainstream media so much as bats an eye.

But there's no pro-Democrat bias in the media at all.  No no no.  It's all your imagination, citizen.

Immigration "reform" bill--amnesty--inches closer

In the holiday season very few Americans have time to keep up with politics. 

And of course, what does it matter what the president or congress does, since it's all for show anyway:  Obama will do whatever he wants regardless of what some meaningless words on a piece of paper say.

"Law"?  Well sure, that what it's called, but really it's just a "suggestion" or "policy recommendation," at least if you're a Democrat.

Constitution?  Whazzat?  Oh, you mean that paper thingy that was written over two centuries ago by a bunch of rich white guys?  How in the world could that possibly be relevant today?  Geez, you conservatives are SO dumb!

Okay, I guess that's enough teasing our Lib/Democrat/"progressive" TWANLOCs, for now anyway.

Where was I?  Ah yes: no time to keep up with politics.  So I'm sure you all recall that 68 corrupt idiots in that waste of oxygen called the U.S. senate passed a bill that most liberals are calling a "sweeping immigration reform bill."  And we needed it because, as we keep hearing from every Democrat, "our immigration system is broken..." 

Certainly it's "broken" in the same sense that you'd say your house would be "broken" if 50 people broke into it every day.

For those curious, the bill runs 1,200 pages.  And in case you've been stoned for the last five years we'll go way out on a limb and bet that no senator has bothered to read the whole thing, since there's no way to know what it means in any case, until the king starts instructing the director of Homeland "Security" on what regulations to actually write.  No matter what the actual words are, they're inconsequential when it comes to how the king will implement it.

Here's how CNN touted the bill:
By a vote of 68-32 the Senate gave final approval Thursday to a roughly 1,200-page bill that promises to overhaul immigration laws for the first time since 1986, creating a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents while ratcheting up security along the Mexican border.

Every Democrat voted in for the bill, along with 14 Republicans.  The bill is backed by the White House and has the potential to become the crowning legislative achievement of President Barack Obama's second term.
Ah, I see...just as Obamacare was the crowning achievement of his first term, eh?  Well I'm sure he'll be every bit as successful with this one.
Obama hailed the Senate vote as a critical step toward fixing what he called a broken immigration system.  He labeled the measure that now goes to the Republican-controlled House a compromise, adding that "we just need Congress to finish the job." 

Wow, "a compromise," eh?  Uh...your rubber-stamp Democrats passed it with virtually no GOP input, but you have the gall to label it "a compromise."  Well, can't say I'm a bit surprised.

Oh, one other tiny detail:  The senate passed this way back on June 27th.

You did know that, right?  Cuz, you know, a lot of Americans might think a blanket amnesty for every illegal alien and all their extended family was semi-kinda-sorta important.  Not American-Idol important, of course, or Kardashian-level, but...you know.

So 'fess up:  How many of you knew the senate had passed this?  Ah, almost no one.

Don't feel bad--you weren't supposed to know about it.  The coverage was designed to alert--and delight--Obama's and the Democrats' base, including illegal immigrants.  After all, the bill is a huge gift to illegals:  Not only would they get amnesty for sneaking into the U.S. illegally, they'd also get a big shortcut to full citizenship.  And if you think the Dems won't later push for every member of the extended families of the amnestied to be given a similar benefit, you haven't been paying attention.

Here's a typical Dem comment published by CNN:
Today is another historic day in the Senate," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. "This legislation will reunite families. It will bring millions of people out of the shadows and into our legal system. It will spur job growth and reduce our deficit. And it will make us safer. 
WOW!  How could anyone not support a bill that would do all that?

Of course Leahy is a notorious socialist and loyal Democrat, so...um...maybe we might wanna take a little closer look at his claims:  When the senator says the bill will "spur job growth," some reporter might wanna ask "job growth for whom?"  Where's the engine in this bill that will give businessmen an incentive to start new businesses or hire new employees?

And you say it will "reduce our deficit," senator?  Both state and federal governments already give billions of dollars in cash and benefits to illegals now, despite laws barring either.  So if 30 million become full citizens, what magic beanstalk will keep them from drawing the full range of benefits available to other citizens?  If that's what you mean, I'm not clear on how that will "reduce our deficit."  But I'm sure some reporter will ask you to clarify.

Hahahahahahahaha!  No reporter will ask you jack-shit, cuz they'd lose all their party invites.

Oh, and the third howler:  "It will make us safer."  It's well documented that illegal aliens commit a disproportionately high percentage of crimes in the U.S.  But somehow legalizing their status will magically cause them to stop committing crimes...why?  And of course there's the whole "you can now import your entire extended family" benefit.  Maybe that will do the trick.

Leahy is an idiot, who lives in a protected  D.C. community with superb security, so he doesn't really have to worry about "safer" or "ghastly risk."  Think that might slant his view of risk a bit?

Well...anyway...here's the new news:  The bill has been sent to the House.  Boehner says he won't bring it up for consideration, but Boehner's actions on the budget "deal" clearly show that he's in the pocket of Team Obama.  In fact Boehner's on record saying he thinks the biggest threat to the U.S. is...those revolutionary bomb-throwers in the Tea Party!  So I don't trust Boehner to do anything conservative.

And "The Hill" quotes Reid as saying Boehner will cave:
Senate majority leader Harry Reid believes speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will negotiate on comprehensive immigration reform next year, despite his declarations to the contrary.

The Democratic leader argued that Boehner has a new willingness to confront Tea Party groups and this, in turn, gives Reid confidence that he will not have to break up the Senate immigration bill to negotiate a series of piecemeal reforms with the House.

“I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate.  He’ll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer,” Reid said in an interview with The Hill.  “Some of his members are in very marginal districts where they need to do something on immigration.”
Of course since Reid is the top senate Democrat one can expect that his statements would be almost entirely propaganda.  But Boehner inspires no confidence.  None.

So my prediction:  I agree that he'll cave and take up the senate bill.  The House will pass a bill with carefully-worded language requiring lots of border security and limited amnesty.  They'll congratulate themselves on being tough.  But all their carefully-worded provisions won't be worth jack-shit when the thing goes to a "conference committee" whose members are hand-picked by Reid and Boehner.

The result will look almost exactly like the senate bill, with a couple of illusory provisions about increasing border security--which will include a provision allowing the president to waive all such provisions if he simply declares--excuse me: "certifies"--that water is wet or something equally easy.

What's funny is that no matter how many times we re-play this same bullshit kabuki dance, conservative people all over the country are lulled by the soothing reassurances.  Same ol' crap, and same result.

Oh, the bill will also have one other hidden benefit for Dems: It will guarantee that the Republicans will never again win the presidency.  Which, of course, is the great hidden jackpot for Democrats, and the main reason they're pushing this so hard.

Interesting times, eh?

NJ company giving GPS locators to churches to...ah, you won't believe it

I hadn't heard about this but given the state of America today I can't say I'm at all surprised: 

Every year, apparently, people steal figures of the baby Jesus from nativity scenes.

I guess this is more common in the northeast, although I would guess California would be a close second.

In any case, one enterprising security company in New Jersey has decided to try to help:  They're giving free GPS locators to religious institutions, and then monitoring the devices--again at no cost.

No word on whether they've had any hits yet.

Next expected event:  Some dickless pencil-neck in one of the gazillion government agencies in charge of equality of everything will sue to force the company to either stop doing this, or else to give locators to every outfit that bills itself as vaguely religious.  On the grounds of fairness.

And you think, By what tortured twisting of the Constitution does any level of government image it has the power o dictate to whom a company can give a gift?

Anyone wanna bet on how long it takes this to happen?

Hey, just three short years ago you never would have believed the Obama administration would ram a bill into law that would force companies to stop selling you health insurance that you liked, either, eh?

No problem, citizen.  Shut up and buy your new government-mandated insurance.

Oh, and elect more Democrats.

Does national debt matter?


If you want a quick lesson on how the fiscal policies of Democrats and RINOs are leading to disaster, here's a Wiki article (yes, I know) on federal debt. Scroll down to "Risks associated with debt," and watch as the authors casually note that
Debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP rose from 34.7% in 2000 to 40.3% in 2008 and 70.0% in 2012.
Most people look at that and think "Cool--the public was so flush with cash that it was able to invest a *whole* lot more in government debt."  But you need to know that by "the public," the authors mean U.S. borrowing from any entity other than another federal agency.  So rather than write "we owe China a shitpotload of money" they write "debt held by the public."  Much more soothing.

They then quickly spin a couple of "no-problem" scenarios based on totally ludicrous assumptions--like assuming that deficit reductions specified in the Budget Control Act of 2011 will occur as specified by that law.  But of course congress essentially erased those spending reductions three weeks ago--as everyone knew they would.

The positions and spin suggest that the authors are Democrats trying to reassure everyone that fast-climbing debt is no problem.  In fact they actually write
Economists debate the level of debt relative to GDP that signals a "red line" or dangerous level, or if any such level exists.
Didja see how neatly they did that, citizen?  They don't want to flatly claim that it doesn't matter if a nation has a debt two or three times larger than its GDP, because even the dim-witted would sense something was wrong there.  But by couching it as "Economists debate the level that signals danger..." and adding "...or if any such level exists," they've planted an idea.  According to these folks, debts don't matter.

But isn't it interesting how the media screamed that rising deficits (the things that cause debt to rise) were a ghastly, scary, life-threatening problem when G.W. Bush's administration had deficits a third as large as Obama's?

Gee, what in the world could account for the reversal of their position?

"Transgendered" now pushing to force Medicare to pay for sex-change surgery

As you may have vaguely heard, the cost of Medicare--which pays most of the cost of health care for people over 65 and younger people with disabilities--has been climbing exponentially over the last decade or so.  (If you're a lo-info voter, think "exploding".)

In fact, Medicare spending is projected to increase from $560 billion in 2010 to just over $1 trillion by 2022.  That is, it's forecast to almost double in just 12 years.  Medicare and Medicaid combined now account for a quarter of all government expenditures.

Given the fact that the federal government spends more than it takes in every single year, and that this has increased our national debt by 50 percent just in the last five years, wouldn't you think government would be looking at ways to reduce expenses?

Don't be ridiculous, citizen.  In fact, a recent proposal to the brilliant folks who run Medicare would force taxpayers to pay for...gender reassignment surgery?  For people over 65??

Yep.  And it gets better:  Last June the Center for Medicare & Medicaid notified the board that decides what Medicare will pay for that it would not file a response to the request from LGBT advocates to make taxpayers pay for such procedures.  This means only one side--the one demanding free sex-change surgery--will be heard by the board.

Wow, what a clever way to avoid controversy and possible bad press!

I sympathize with people who are "dysphoric," for whatever reason.  But to force *your* children into poverty to pay for gender reassignment surgery for 65-year-olds strikes me as a ridiculous use of scarce resources.  It makes as much sense as whining that one is dysphoric because one has always wanted to be five inches taller, and that "it's only fair" that taxpayers should pay a staggering amount to accomplish that.

Oh, and about that decision by the CMS not to respond to the demand that Medicare pay for gender-changing surgery: what do you think the odds are that this was NOT referred to the White House for instructions?

 

Saturday, December 21

Draft registration card that Selective Service says is Obama's is a *bad* forgery

As I understand it one of the characteristics of narcissistic sociopaths is that they take it as beyond question not just that they're smarter than everyone else, but so much smarter that they can get away with even a sloppy forgery or excuse.  They're convinced of this because because they view other people as dumb and gullible, while they see themselves as brilliant and charmed.

Exhibit 38 in the trial of Barack Hussein Obama is a Selective Service registration card--the humble Form 1. 

Given the fact that before the 2008 election Obama refused to produce a "long-form" birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, inquiring minds started combing other public records to see if there were any other anomalies in Hussein's history.  One area of inquiry was, had he registered for the draft--which all male U.S. citizens were required to do.

At least two interested citizens submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Selective Service--the Draft Board--asking for a copy of Obama's SS registration.  In response the SS released what it claims are copies of Obama's registration form.  The image below is one of those:


Keep in mind that this copy was furnished by the Selective Service.

After the release a couple of folks compared this image with some known-valid registration cards (of which there are millions floating around).  And would you believe, the one the Selective Service claims is Obama's has several oddities.

A month before the 2008 election--October of 2008--a retired federal agent (Stephen Coffman) made a FOIA request to the Selective Service for a copy of Obama’s SS registration card.  The SS sent him the document shown above, along with a printout of a "computer inquiry" screen.

Curiously, the latter showed an "access" date of Sept. 9, 2008, several weeks before Coffman made his FOIA request.  We'll get back to that later.

The computer printout shows a "transaction date" of Sept. 4, 1980--presumably the date Obama’s July 29, 1980 registration was entered into the SS system--and a "last action date" of Sept. 4, 1980, signifying nothing else had been received or entered since the original Sept. 4, 1980 registration form.

Five months later, on Feb. 9, 2009, a second citizen (Kenneth Allen) submitted the same FOIA request as Mr. Coffman.  On March 4 he received a response from the "associate director for public and intergovernmental affairs" for the SS--one Richard S. Flahavan--who wrote that a copy of Obama’s SS registration was enclosed along with "the resultant automated file screen."  Flahavan added, "Mr. Obama did indeed register with the Selective Service and was assigned Selective Service Number 61-1125539-1 on Sept. 4, 1980."

Both registration cards are identical, and have an identical 10-digit "document locator number" (DLN), 0897080632, printed or stamped across the top right hand corner of the card.  But the computer printout provided to Coffman shows an 11-digit DLN:  8089 708 0632.

The computer printouts provided to both Allen and Coffman are both dated Sept. 9, 2008, but despite having the same date they're not identical:  The most significant difference is that they have two different DLNs.  The one on the printout received by Allen is 0897 080 6320, which matches the DLN printed on "Obama's" SS registration form, but on the printout sent to Coffman the alleged DLN is 8089 708 0632.

The DLN on the first computer printout has an "8" added at the beginning, while the second has a zero added at the end.  And only one matches the number on the registration card.

Needless to say, if a real document is assigned a document locator number, that number shouldn't change.

On the other hand, if the document was a forgery--something created and inserted into the Selective Service's computer system in 2008--some 28 years after it was supposedly entered--it wouldn't be surprising to find anomalies like the two different document locator numbers.  For example, the forgers could have created their forgery based on a DLN numbering system in use now, only to belatedly discover that a different system was used back in 1980.

The point is that if Obozo had actually registered for the draft in 1980--which all male U.S. citizens were required by law to do--then not only should that card have just one DLN,  but all computer entries on that card should use the same DLN.  There is no convincing reason why any SS computer should have shown a second--and far different--number.

And note that while the two numbers contain the same 10-digit core, the differences between the two absolutely rule out typographical errors or mis-typed entries.

(As an aside: Before the internet, the chances of two different citizens being able to discover that the DLNs on two computer printouts each had received from the same government office didn't match would have been almost zero.)

But wait, there's more!

The second indication of forgery is even more damning:  it's the USPS date stamp in the lower right corner of the registration form.

The body of this type of stamp--called a Pica stamp--has 3 rectangular recesses in it where the month, day and year are inserted.  All three recesses are exactly the same width--as are the stamps--so the characters for month, day and year are always centered and locked upright.

Note that on the alleged Obama Selective Service form the month and day (JUL and 29) are perfectly centered.  But note two things about the year of the "Post Office" stamp shown on Obama's alleged registration:  First, it's offset far to the right--so much that it's obvious to the casual observer. 

And second, it's just two digits: "80"

As Dana Carvey's "church lady" character used to say, "Well isn't that special?"

And that would be because in all *real* USPS "Pica" stamps the year is...four digits.

You may need to read that again, more slowly:     Four. digits. for. the. year.
Like this:


And notice, please, how the month, day and year are all perfectly centered.

You're thinking "But...but...but if real Pica stamps use four digits for the year, how could a forger think a two-digit year would ever fool anybody?  Forgers would never be that stupid."

Ah, well, see, there's a real insight into the way they think:  Because they knew the forgery didn't have to be perfect, since they knew they could count on the Lying Media to do two things: both *not* ask any uncomfortable questions, and to deflect anyone who might start to question the obvious screwup--by using ridicule: "birthers!  Conspiracy-mongers!"  It's easy.

And in fact they did get away with that obvious forgery.  Because I'll bet you the drink of your choice that you never heard a single word about the "two-digit year" anomaly on Barack's purported Selective Service registration, compared with the four digits on an authentic USPS stamp until now. 

Am I right?

And you're like, "This cannot possibly be true--if only because it's such a terribly bad fake!"

And "If this is really a true copy of Obama's Selective Service card, surely our ("our"?) news media would have discovered it and told us, right?"  Well given that the entire media managed to ignore the fact that for 16 years Obama's book publisher published a biographical summary saying he was born in Kenya, and Obama never bothered to correct them, do ya think there might have been some deliberate covering going on.  And that exact same bio had been published every year for 16 years.

Still think the media would have exposed the draft registration forgery?  

And remember, this is the card authenticated and furnished by the Selective Service.

Eh, so it goes.

"But...but...but...go back!  If real Pica stamps really use four digits for the year, that would be pretty easy to prove.  In that case what in the world would make forgers use a two-digit year, since that would make the forgery so obvious?  That just doesn't make sense, so your theory must be wrong!"

Well ya see, Dorothy, once it started becoming apparent that Obozo was gonna beat Hilly for the nomination, his Democrat/liberal/"progressive" supporters started taking a closer look at his paper trail--and started tryin' ta patch a whole slew of screamin'-obvious holes in the guy's record before November of 2008.  The draft registration probably wasn't at the top of that list.

Now: 2008 was 28 years after the 1980 date they were trying to forge.  All stamps from that date would have long-since been thrown away.  And while anyone can buy current Pica date stamps in any big city, in 2008 it would have been virtually impossible to find a stamp kit with the year "1980."

So one of the bright, corrupt "progressives" who supported this guy came up with a fabulous, quick, easy fix:  Take an easily-obtained stamp for the then-current year (2008), cut off the "20," rotate the remaining digits 180 degrees and...voila!  "80" !

They must have busted a gut laughing at their own cleverness, and how this was gonna' fool the whole damn country--at least long enough that their boy would be crowned and impossible to remove.  Which of course is what it did.

Sure, using two digits for the year isn't how the USPS does it, but how many average voters know that--let alone would grasp the significance of a two-digit year on a purported USPS stamp?  After all, we've fooled em about his name changes and lack of a paper trail from college, and this isn't any harder.

Just one tiny problem:  After cutting the "2008" stamp in half, the remaining 2 digits were too narrow to fit the rectangular recess, so they wouldn't stay centered when the stamp was used.  Any decent engineer or tinkerer would have suggested cutting shims off another year stamp and putting one on each side, to center the "80."  But having bet that using just two digits would fool everyone, our forgers were probably even less concerned about whether the digits were centered, eh?  So they simply pushed the "80" over to the side of the recess to make it stay upright.

Oh, you say, "you can't be serious!  That's tinfoil-hat stuff!"

Okay, Dorothy, watch:


Note the matching width of recesses in the stamp body for the month, day and year parts of the stamp.  The year should be the same width--which would just handle four digits, eh? 

The black stamp is a copy of "Obama's" SS card, while the red stamp was made by cutting "2008" in half and rotating the last two digits.  Virtually identical.


"No!  I simply don't believe that!  My party--my president--our Dear Leader, the King!--would never try to deceive his people!  He's a Democrat, so one of the Good Guys!  Besides, a *lot* of people would have had to know, and everyone knows you can't keep a big conspiracy secret because...because...you just can't!"

Yeah, I hear ya.

Just keep in mind that no authentic "USPS" Pica stamp uses a two-digit year.  Not anywhere.  This isn't just a forgery, it's a bad forgery.  As in, not even close.

But with the help of the Lying Media, and Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, it worked.

In fact, with the help of a complicit Democrat-loving media, what should be an obvious forgery was good enough it not only got 'em through the 2008 election but also got 'em through the lying bastard's re-election four years later.

But wait, there's more!

The last indicator of forgery--for now, anyway--is the zip code shown on the "1980" registration: 96826.  That's a valid Hawaiian zip, and matches the street address today.  But according to a pair of researchers, the USPS changes zipcode boundaries a bit from time to time...and back in 1980 the street address shown on the SS card was in a different zip.

If that's true, not only must we believe Obama didn't know the zip code where he supposedly lived, but also by amazing coincidence the one he just happened to incorrectly guess--way back (haha) in "1980"--would turn out to be the real zip code a full decade or so later!  Wow, how lucky is that?

Okay, as the next president of the country famously said, "At this point, what difference could it possibly make" whether Obozo's draft registration card is a forgery?  After all, that wouldn't disqualify him from office since it's not a requirement listed in the Constitution to be president.  And we all know that the Supreme Court is reeeally big on honoring our wonderful Constitution, eh?

But if it's found to be a forgery--let alone such a bad one--it would sure anger 47 percent of the American electorate.  Because not only would it show how willing the Democrats were to use fraud to win the presidency, but it would also show that the media had to have been in on the fraud.

Interesting times, eh?

Where we find ourselves at the end of 2013

Liberals--with the invaluable help of the Lying Media--put an unqualified affirmative-action candidate with sealed records into the most important executive position in the world.  Perhaps eventually they'll realize the presidency is no place for on the job training.

In the meantime:
  1. In the past five years the national debt of this nation has grown seventy percent (70%)--from $10 Trillion to $17 Trillion--and far higher if you add future obligations to social security, medicare and medicaid;
  2. Unemployment is still much higher than the percentage that the media considered unacceptable when a white Republican was in the White House.
  3. The number of Americans in the workforce is lower than any time since 1978--despite a large increase in population since that year;
  4. Racial tensions are higher than I have ever seen.
  5. North Korea has tested an atom bomb. 
  6. Iran is getting close to having one--and when they do it's almost certain one of those will reportedly be mysteriously "stolen" shortly thereafter.
 
Democrats who have supported Obama have spent the past 5 years calling everyone who disagrees with them stupid, racist, sexist, etc. They have encouraged Obama to take money from taxpayers and  give it to the Dems' base. 

In short, they have poured acid into the machinery of society--machinery that didn't work perfectly to begin with. The social design margin has been eroded, possibly fatally.

But hey, what difference could it possibly make?  Hillary will fix things.

Yeah.

On governing a free people

Sometimes commenters have a lot of insight.  This one's from Belmont Club:
Governing a free people--under the strictures imposed by our Constitution--is hard.  It requires not just intelligence and real world skills but also competence...and a sense of humility--a willingness to admit that just because you thought of a solution doesn't mean it will work, let alone that it's anywhere near the best one. 

To a leader who lacks these traits--and thus is not competent to lead a free nation--it seems far easier to dispense with all that messy freedom stuff and just make everyone do as you say.  To an incompetent and narcissistic leader this is a very logical conclusion--indeed, it's the most logical one he can imagine.

But forcing a free people to do something--using the power of government to fine or imprison those who don't do as you demand--almost never has the desired effect.  Even in a poorly-uneducated, dependent populace some percentage will resist.  Reality intrudes every time you try to force people, no matter how much you scream and yell.

Conversely, some in our midst are physically able but lack the intelligence, real skills, drive, self reliance, pride, and honor to support themselves.  These people will vote for a candidate who will relieve them of the burden of fending for themselves.  To such people, submission to a tyrannical government is not a problem.  They are incompetent to be citizens, and are totally unconcerned about growing government power.

Our political class, regardless of nominal party, is also incompetent. Reality never intrudes on their luxurious lives.  The absolute worst penalty any of them ever pays is being voted out of office.  And the more they separate themselves from the realities of the lesser beings they rule, the more their so-called solutions--laws and new government programs--become unreal and counterproductive.

But reality can't be avoided forever--entropy never rests. 
Wow.

DHS helping bring kids of illegals INTO the U.S, flying them to their illegal-alien parents?!

Here's one of those stories about the Obama administration that you *never* would have believed possible five years ago.

Illegal aliens already in the U.S. are paying smugglers to sneak their young children across the Mexican border.  The kids are then picked up by our department of Homeland Security (??) and...flown by DHS--at taxpayer expense--to reunite with their illegal-alien parent in the U.S.!

Homeland Security officials told the court they won’t prosecute the illegal immigrant parents for their role in the smuggling.  The federal judge who heard the case said this appeared to be a department-wide policy.  He added that it's the fourth such case he's seen in the past month.

It's a perfect example of Alinski:  Use the goodness and compassion of Americans against them.  In this case the smugglers know the U.S. government can be counted on not to deport the smuggled kid but to do exactly what they've been doing:  Complete the smugglers' mission by flying the illegal kid to his illegal-alien parent.

Government officials say they are considering trying to deport the illegal parents--with their kids--but as the reporter wrote with tongue in cheek, "it was unclear whether that had been done."

Of course it is NOT unclear, since a) Obama's official policy is not to deport illegal aliens; and b) if they'd done that they would have announced it on every news program to show that they were *reeally* getting tough on illegal immigration.  They didn't.  For a good reason.

Hey, somebody stole my revolution!

Interesting AP story about conditions in Syria:
Shortly after the revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011, Imad al-Souri quit his computer job to help the revolutionaries. He uploaded video of protests and sneaked banned loudspeakers to demonstrators to amplify their calls for Assad’s downfall.

Not anymore.

The 28-year-old al-Souri recently fled Syria, fearing he would be killed or abducted by Islamic extremists who have taken over the war to oust Assad and are increasingly targeting those who don't share their fanatical religious views.  Dozens of Syrians have been abducted by radicals.

It’s a shocking turn for anti-Assad activists. At the start of the uprising they worked in secrecy because of Assad’s ruthless security services. Now their main fear is extremist Muslims.

The trend was highlighted by two reports issued Thursday.  The rights group Amnesty International said in a report that one of the most powerful militant groups, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is running secret prisons in territory it controls, carrying out torture and summary killings.

Children as young as eight are held along with adults in seven ISIL-run detention facilities, it said. Many detainees are held for challenging ISIL’s rule, or for committing purported “crimes against Islam,” such as smoking cigarettes.
One can't help but feel sorry for a guy who wanted to help his country overthrow a dictator--a guy who lived like a king and ruled by decree--only to see his revolution taken over by Muslim extremists who are arguably worse than Assad.

There's a lesson here:  Those who support revolutions by Muslim fanatics always find themselves worse off than before.  Radical Islam is a cancer.

Friday, December 20

The latest "fix" from Team Obama to work around the cancellation of policies that IT forced

An old rule of thumb in the U.S. has been "three strikes and you're out:"  If you can't get something right in roughly 3 swings, it's probably a sign that something's fundamentally wrong.

Of course "progressives" and socialists exempt themselves and their programs from this guideline.  For things they've decided to do they'll keep swinging til the media divert voters' attention to something else, or until a lousy program is staggering along just well enough that they can claim it as a total, stunning, brilliant victory.

Thus we've seen a series of "fixes" for Obamacare.  You may have heard that Obamacare  forced the cancellation of over 5 million individual health insurance policies.  This was done deliberately, to force the people who had those policies to buy more expensive, higher-deductible policies approved by the crapmeisters in Washington.  When it became clear to Team Obama that the bug-riddled website would leave a LOT of people without health insurance on January 1st, they held a press conference "urging" insurance companies to offer to keep the old, cancelled policies in force until some future date.

Gotta love that euphemism "urged."  In the current fascist environment, if you're a big company and the government "urges" you to do something, do ya think there might just be an iron fist hidden under that nice velvet glove?

In any case, potential voters continued to complain to their congresswhores.  Since all members of the House and a third of the senate must stand for re-election every two years, those members in contestable seats (about 30 altogether) were none too happy about the pressure.  Facing a possible revolt from the usually-compliant congress, Team Obama sprang into action with the latest "fix:"

They noted that their wonderful law contained a "hardship clause."  Thus all Team Obama needed to do to fix everything was to decree that anyone whose policy was cancelled should claim "hardship"!
December 19, 2013
Subject: Options Available for Consumers with Cancelled Policies

The Affordable Care Act provides many new consumer protections.  [Would that be "protections" like forcing men to buy maternity care?  Forcing teetotalers to buy coverage for substance-abuse counseling?  Those kinds of "protections"?]  In some instances, health insurance issuers in the individual and small group markets are cancelling policies that do not include the new protections for policy or plan years beginning in 2014. 
Note how the decree blames "health insurance issuers" for cancelling the policies--cleverly avoiding mentioning that the insurance companies were *forced* by the law itself to stop selling health-insurance policies that didn't include all the fabulous provisions listed above. Cuz, see, that would be way too close to admitting that their law had thrown everyone into this jeopardy.
Because some consumers [actually almost everyone] were finding other coverage options to be more expensive than their cancelled plans or policies, President Obama announced a transition period allowing for the renewal of cancelled plans and policies [thru] October 1, 2014, under certain circumstances. Some states have adopted the transitional policy, enabling health insurance issuers to renew their existing plans and policies. Some health insurance issuers are not renewing cancelled plans or policies.
"Announced" sounds so much nicer than "decreed," doesn't it?
To ensure that consumers whose policies are being cancelled are able to keep affordable health insurance coverage, we are reminding consumers in the individual market of the many options already available to them, and we are clarifying another option for consumers in the individual market.

Options for Consumers

If your individual market health insurance policy has been cancelled, a number of options are already available to you:

• You have the chance to buy any of your health insurance issuer’s individual market
policies available to you in 2014.  
• You may shop for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (the Marketplace). Depending on your income and other factors, you may be eligible to receive a premium tax credit that will help cover the cost of purchasing coverage through the Marketplace or cost-sharing reductions for Marketplace coverage. You may also be eligible for Medicaid.  
• You can also shop for policies outside the Marketplace. This is a good option if you do not qualify for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions [what the hell does this mean??] based on your income. If you do qualify for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions, you can only get such assistance if you enroll through the Marketplace.

If you have been notified that your individual market policy will not be renewed, you will be eligible for a hardship exemption and will be able to enroll in catastrophic coverage. If you believe that the plan options available in the Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy, you will be eligible for catastrophic coverage if it is available in your area.

In order to purchase this catastrophic coverage, you need to [much less fascist than "you must," eh?] complete a hardship exemption form, and indicate that your current health insurance policy is being cancelled and you consider other available policies unaffordable. You will then need to submit the following items to an issuer offering catastrophic coverage in your area: (1) the hardship exemption form; and (2) supporting documentation indicating that your previous policy was cancelled. For example, you can submit your cancellation letter or some other proof of cancellation.

If you are applying for catastrophic coverage from the same issuer that cancelled your previous policy, the issuer may be able to confirm that based on its internal records. You may then purchase catastrophic coverage from that issuer. Your issuer will send these items to CMS, and CMS will verify that you were eligible for this hardship exemption.  If you are not able to submit supporting documentation at the time you submit the exemption form, CMS will contact you to let you know your application is incomplete and cannot be processed until you submit supporting documentation of your previous policy’s cancellation. 
See, told ya that soothing bullshit "you need to" a paragraph earlier was actually a "you must."  If you analyze bureau-babble for awhile it's easy to spot when they're trying to disguise commands as "gosh, you could do this if you really wanted to, but really, we're not at all forcing you."

My wife gets exasperated when I mention this sort of thing.  "It's just words," she says.  "Why do you get so worked up because some bureaucrat chooses to phrase things badly?"

Because it's not "phrasing things badly."  The phrasing is very carefully chosen to mislead the distracted citizen (and doesn't that cover almost everyone?) into thinking the government hasn't just taken one more step toward totalitarianism.  By a thousand such small steps is freedom lost.