Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Ineligible Appointing the Ineligible

Despite mounting concern over his own eligibility to assume the United States Presidency, former Senator Barack H. Obama (D-IL) is expected to nominate an ineligible person to be Secretary of State.

Obama, who has yet to provide legal proof of native birth, resigned from the Senate in November amid questions and lawsuits charging that he lacks the necessary qualifications to become President. Compounding his troubles was the Constitutional requirement that he could not hold both Executive and Legislative office at the same time.

But experts say that the same Constitutional Section (Article I, Section 6) requiring him to step down also precludes the appointment of a sitting Senator to a Cabinet post during the Senate term in which the post has had its pay increased. If as expected he nominates Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), she would be unable to serve.

However others say that the Constitution may not be binding on the Obama Administration.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

There are Four Kinds of Politicians

Ross Douthat has a chart.

  • Jackson - Realist tending toward isolationism
  • Jefferson - Idealist isolationist
  • Wilson - Idealist tending toward interventionism
  • Hamilton - Realist interventionist
I think President Bush came to office as a Jackson/Jeffersonian mix, but after 9/11 became solidly Wilsonian.

Barack Obama is all things to all people, and sold himself early as a Jeffersonian. But I think he's going to be whatever gets him the most votes.

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When in Doubt, Blame Bush

Prediction: even though the stock market lost over 20% of its value, from 9600 to 7600, in the 16 days following Barack Obama's election, what will be reported is the big run up it will make getting back to 9600. It will be the Obama Bull Market.

You watch.

But when anything bad happens, it will be blamed on President Bush.

After the idiocy of the bailout mania under Bush and Paulson, I'm not sure I'll even disagree.

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Why Can't the Government Do Something?

"Why can't the government do something about the American auto industry?"

They can do something about it.

"Why don't they fix it, then?"

They can't do that.

"But you said they could!"

No, I said they could do something about it. They can outlaw it, they can subsidize it some more, and they and even take it over. But none of those things would fix it.

"'Take it over'?"

Yes, they could easily buy a controlling interest in the car companies.

"Why don't they do that?"

There is nothing in our Constitution about that.

"Exactly my point! Why don't they just buy the auto makers?"

Our government doesn't do that kind of thing. And it wouldn't fix the problem. It would only make the government more interested in funding them further.

"But you said they could."

Republicans would never stand for it.

"But they were voted out of power."

Ah. Just so.

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Google Shrugs

World Net Daily reports on Google's alleged sandboxing of Atlas Shrugs for its groundbreaking coverage of the Obama birth certificate fakery:

On July 4, Geller featured a story about a board-certified forensic expert who declared Obama's online birth certificate a "forgery" and an "obvious fake." She attributes most of her problems with Google to that report.

"I think that it's the birth certificate story," Geller said. "All of the sudden, my numbers were down by 10,000."

She has also featured reports on Obama's support of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and cases of alleged campaign finance fraud involving his campaign. Geller believes Google is censoring her stories because it objects to their content.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs trots out the free speech canard. No one is stopping you from speaking, Ms. Geller. Google is not the government but a private company, though I find it increasing difficult to fault people for not seeing the difference.

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Bailout Mania

More banks are being bailed out, with the government becoming a bank holding company.

Where is that in the Constitution? Nowhere.

It's as criminal as it is ineffective.

Writing at Cato,

A Pew Research poll conducted more than a week ago found that 57 percent of Americans are terrified by Bailout Mania 2008. That was several days, and many billions of dollars, before Bloomberg reported that U.S. taxpayers are now on the hook for $7.7 trillion in bailout bucks — half of the nation’s entire GDP for the past year. At this point, not even Carl Sagan could get a handle on the numbers we’re talking about.

Ya think?

But I maintain that the economy grinding to a halt is on balance good. There will be pain, and real people will have difficult times. But that pain is unavoidable. Better for it to happen now, before the government spends trillions trying to fix it, than afterward when all those trillions will need also to be repaid.

What's that you say? It's already happening? Even so, even so.

We have become a nation with an economy driven by debt. That is unsustainable, as we are seeing. Our chickens, as they say, are coming home to roost, and there's nothing we can do to avoid it.

But we can make it worse. We can have the government buy shares in banks, buy up bad loans, dictate maximum interest rates, and take any other stopgap measure aimed at avoiding the short-term pain. All any of that will do at best is stave off the pain to a later date; it will not avoid it. At worst? I think we may be seeing it.

The way to avoid this kind of situation is to encourage saving, not spending, both for the government and for individuals and businesses.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

I started out to write about Pilgrims and Indians, Mayflowers and Compacts, and how we really ought to be thankful for their courage, their cooperation, and above all, for their faith. But I realized that's been done, and overdone, and deconstructed, and reconstructed already. I mean, we've had Captain John Smith and Pocahontas, and this very year, it seems every blogger and pundit has some kind of message today.

For instance, Ken Taylor does a fine work writing at The Minority Report.

And it occurs to me why there is so much blogging about this holiday: despite its origins as a government-approved religious observance, everybody likes Thanksgiving.

Even angry vegetarian Pagans can grit their strident, protesting teeth and get behind the idea of a feast at the end of a harvest. Usually in North America the summer grain crops are all but totally harvested by now, though this year cool, wet weather has delayed that in some areas.

But it would be very difficult to plan the start of the Christmas marketing season if we had to wait until the crops were actually brought in before we were to give thanks. Cynicism aside, Thanksgiving itself remains remarkably uncommercialized. Only the NFL, Macy's, and Ocean Spray have had any real success with it, though the people who make turkey friers are giving it a push.

The politically incorrect holiday is Christmas, with its parallel traditions of Christian Virgin Birth on the one hand and elvin, reindeerish images evoking the diversity-challenged Northern Europe of the Little Ice Age on the other.

On Thanksgiving, everyone seems to take a step back, reflect, and exhale a bit. We see siblings, or not, gorge on big, slow birds, or not, and watch the Detroit Lions lose a football game, or not. The Lions will lose, that is, but not everyone will force themselves to watch them do it.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Barack Obama, Christian Heretic or Unbeliever?

Hot Air:

Obama: There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they’re going to hell.

Falsani: You don’t believe that?

Obama: I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup.

Faith alone, Christ alone.

"Surely the Lord your God knows you will not die."

It's a hard thing, Mr. Obama. And yet, it's what Jesus said.

You may reject Jesus, but don't claim Him as something less than He is.

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Roger Simon: Logic-challenged

At Politico:

I do not understand why some people are opposed to a $25 billion government bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

The price is cheap. That $25 billion represents less than three months of the cost of the Iraq war.

I oppose the bailout because unlike national defense, propping up certain industries is not an area in which the government should involve itself.

By analogy, Mr. Simon suggests that because a couple buys a car with a payment of $300/month, neither partner should object to using a home equity line of credit to buy $900 worth of crack cocaine.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paulson Playing Whackamole With Economy

Michelle calls it "Borrow. Spend. Panic. Repeat."

There is no clear policy, and seemingly no rhyme nor reason to the decision over which institutions are bailed out, which ones are forced into sale, and which ones are left to their own resources.

In the absence of a clear policy, or even a murky policy, or even a vague pattern of behavior, people (meaning the banks) are putting their money in the proverbial sock drawer, holding on to it until such a time as conditions are more stable.

And that's a good thing. When borrowing individuals, families, companies, or governmental units realize themselves vulnerable to debt risk, the prudent thing for them is to pay down that debt, not to incur more. Similarly, when lenders realize that they are vulnerable to too much of the wrong kind of debt, the prudent thing is not to lend. The signs are that most people are working to limit the amount of debt they have.

It should be remembered that all of this Nanny State pain avoidance is being done with money we don't have.

And by bailing out companies in this erratic fashion, no one knows which companies are at risk and which ones are safe. The current practice merely prolongs the inevitable pain.

Paulson's borrow-and-loan game is killing the credit market in the short term, and by ballooning government debt it will destroy the economy in the long run.

And nowhere does this kind of power appear in the Constitution.

I would call for Henry Paulson to resign, effective immediately, but his clever boss appears to be even more clueless as to the danger his actions pose to the economy, and the republic itself.

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Hillary Clinton is Not Eligible To Be Secretary of State

And it's not even really a debatable point.

Article I, § 6.2 of the United States Constitution:

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
"Emoluments" is deadwhiteguyese for "pay". The point being to keep Congresscritters from creating cushy jobs in the bureaucracy and having themselves appointed thereto.

President Bush, in keeping with the cost of living increases lavished for no particular reason on government officials, raised the emoluments of the Secretary of State in January, 2008, which is during the current Senate term of Hillary Clinton.

The good and wise Professor Volokh (w/t) thinks that it would be enough to lower the pay for the secretarial job back to January, 2007 levels.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

What Year Is It

in your world?

According to Jonah Goldberg, the geniuses and mere honorees who think they are geniuses on the left are now changing their tune. Instead of calling for a new New Deal now that evidence is piling up that it made the Great Depression worse instead of better, they're saying we need another World War II.

There are at least two problems with that line of thinking.

First, World War II was caused by Hitler's ascent, which was caused by -- wait for it -- The Great Depression. If we're in an economic crisis of that magnitude, then a solution will present itself forthwith.

Or, if we listen to those who say that terrorist Islamicism is caused by economic conditions in the Middle East, perhaps a solution already has presented itself in the form of commercial jets colliding with New York skyscrapers.

Secondly, doesn't the left constantly complain about the amount of money spent on the war in Iraq? Or perhaps the problem is merely that they didn't get the money.

Just because a solution presented itself for the Great Depression, that doesn't mean it was the only possible solution, or that a solution would require government action. We had an economy before the Depression, and it's quite possible that we could have had an economy again without resorting to all-out war.

Simulating a war, as implied by a WWII without the fighting, implies that we don't have an enemy worth fighting right now.

Finally, the point I set out to make: the conditions now are not the same as in 1929, nor even 1941. We lack excess capacity of resources such as oil and steel. The resources we have are largely tied up productively, except where environmental laws keep them out of production. In particular, many of the "green" technologies the left hopes to create will require recycling items that currently have value, destroying that value (taking it out of the economy).

For example, if the government forces everyone to use electric vehicles, or if it becomes prohibitively expensive to operate or maintain them, that will mean that a lot of value on consumer balance sheets will simply disappear.

The economy is not as bad as the news says it is. We're in a healthy cycle of renewal, in which some people are finding that they lose money, or that their investments in 401Ks and houses aren't worth as much for a while. It's normal, and no government action is needed.

But the action we're going to get -- these huge bailouts and economic "stimulus" packages -- are going to deepen the crisis of confidence into a really bad time.

And now that Obama has been elected, there doesn't appear to be anything anyone can do about it.

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Bailout Bank Boycott

I intend not to do business with any of these people.

w/t BeyondBailouts

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Trillion is the New Billion

"A billion here, a billion there..."

See A Little Reality: $7.4 Trilion for a list of what 7.4 trillion can get you.

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Texas Prosecutor and Judge Seem Not To Be In Complete Harmony

The Texas judge assigned the corruption case against Vice President Dick Cheney signalled that he may wish to try the case before agreeing with District Attorney Juan Guerra on the Vice President's guilt. The judge's position follows State of Texas tradition that no one, not even those in power outside of the State's jurisdiction, should be presumed guilty before their case is argued.

The judge actually went so far as to entertain motions from the defense, a decision about which Guerra hinted a certain lack of enthusiasm. Guerra also appeared to dissent over being removed as prosecutor from the indictments in the case for which he is also a victim, even though Texas allows pro se legal represention:

And now all of a sudden, there is urgency. 18 months we kept this indictment, past my election. And I asked this court [to say if it would be] dismissed on a technicality. You already decided! You refused.

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Why Is It So Hot?

And why are we in this handbasket?

The government response to the credit crisis is going to destroy our economy. It may unravel the nation itself.

These companies should have been allowed to fail. It's not PC to say I don't care about the people involved losing their jobs, but I don't care about the people involved losing their jobs.

I've lost jobs before. Sometimes you find another, sometimes you declare personal bankruptcy, sometimes you start your own business. You never die from it, and you are always better for it.

We have lost the freedom to fail. Without failure, there is no success -- just a lifelong muddling. We're to be a civilization of muddlers.

But the direct consequences are to be just as bad. In order to fight the specter of deflation, the government is pumping money into the economy right off the printing press -- except without even the need to actually mint anything. They're pretending that they have the money.

Eventually, someone is going to demand that they show it. When that happens, they'll lose their credit rating, and the ability to borrow along with it.

Without the ability to borrow, the US Government goes bankrupt.

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Government is the Devil's Evil Twin

Over at Power and Control, Simon says:

The government IS the Devil. Not metaphorically. Really.

Everything you get from government will have a price much larger than the value of the object gained. Some times the price will not be extracted from you. Sometimes it will be from your children, your grand children, or ten generations hence. But the full price the government wants will be extracted at compound interest.

We are still paying the price for trying to be a free people while holding slaves. My great great grand parents lived on another continent when all that went on. And yet the price is being extracted from me.

I think I blogged a generalization of this a while back, but maybe I just thought of it and never did. Ah, found it, in that link.

Government creeps. Given power in one area, it will keep that power as leverage to extend its reach into another.

You cannot deficit spend without an eventual tax increase -- or the lack of an otherwise obvious decrease.

You cannot say that drunk driving (without actually harming anyone or breaking any traffic laws) is illegal without eventually losing the right to take any other risky action.

You cannot have Roe v Wade and not later get Kelo.

And you cannot grow a bureaucracy big enough to manage the health care system without surrendering your right to criticize the government. You watch.

At least the devil lets you enjoy the crap you sold your soul for. Government doesn't even give you that.

Government is not the Devil -- it's the Devil's evil twin.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bush Forces Congress to Fail, Teases Them About It

Having once again outmaneuvered Speaker-In-Law Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), President Bush then took Congress to task for having been outmaneuvered.

Daniel Ikenson gives the backstory on the failure of the automaker bailout, describing how the Democrats are split between the trade unionists and the greenies, led by Henry Waxman (D-CA):

First, Treasury secretary Henry Paulson claimed he was unauthorized to allocate any of the $700 billion to the automakers under the TARP law. Congress didn’t challenge that interpretation too vehemently, and set out to rewrite the law to specifically authorize $25 billion for Detroit. But the White House indicated it wouldn’t sign that legislation, but that it would go along with a bill to redirect the $25 billion already authorized under the energy bill for Detroit to “retool” its plants to produce higher-mileage vehicles. This seemed the more workable political solution, until the Waxman faction objected and mobilized. Prospects for a deal went south after that.
Now the President, in his weekly radio address, chides Pelosi and Reid for failing to bail out Detroit:
The funds in question were originally limited to helping the carmakers develop energy efficient vehicles. The plan Bush favored would have removed those restrictions and instead provided the money as a straight loan to the auto manufacturers.

“This proposal earned support from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, the leadership in Congress adjourned without even allowing this measure to come up for a vote,” Bush said.

Pelosi and Reid wanted to give part of the $700 billion Paulson bailout to the companies employing the United Auto Workers, a key Democrat constituency. President Bush had Paulson decline. The hapless legislators tried to rewrite the bailout, but the President let them know he'd veto it. But he'd be happy to let them take the environmental strings off money they'd already promised the car companies.

But the auto makers shot themselves in the foot by showing, with their decision to fly three individual private jets to Washington, that they weren't doing all they could to help themselves. With that publicity, there was no way Congress would give them a handout, even one they'd already promised. President Bush knows how to swing a wedge.

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Keeping the Tigers Away

Man: Hey, little fella, why are you banging those sticks together?
Boy: To keep the tigers away.
Man: There are no tigers around here!
Boy: Works, don't it.

Writing at Cato, Jim Harper notes that the airport security behavioral profiling program is a failure on multiple levels:

According to this story in USA Today, interviewing or patting down 160,000 people with (unreported) indicia of suspicion at airports has resulted in 1,266 arrests. It has failed to find wrongdoing 99.3% of the time. Occassionally, investigations based on behavioral profiling have turned up such things as drug possession and the use of fake identification.

Behavioral profiling has never turned up someone planning harm to aviation security. It has never turned up a person with weapons, guns, bombs, or any other implement that would cause a flight to be delayed, much less brought down.

A 0.7% success rate in finding crime is not relevant. Behavioral profiling has a 0% success rate in finding threats to aviation. Behavioral profiling does not have a proximate relationship to securing against harm coming to commercial aviation.

Works, don't it.

Behavioral profiling, as used by the the Department of Homeland Security, violates the principles of good criminal profiling: DHS is not validating a suspect against a list of known qualifiers in a particular case; they are searching with a broad net, and advertising that they're doing so. It's an improper use of profiling.

The purpose is not to find anyone; the purpose is to keep the bad guys from trying to fly.

Works, don't it.

It may work, but at a tremendous cost. We passengers lose our liberty and personal dignity, while the bad guys are forced merely to choose another vector of attack. And the point of the joke about keeping the tigers away is of course that we don't know if the terrorists would ever again plan to use the air system to carry out an attack.

What DHS has done is to assert governmental authority to inspect our persons, papers, and effects without probable cause, while ensuring that fewer people can effectively use the airways for legitimate purposes.

Works, don't it.

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Hilllary Abandons Senate for Secretarial Position

Hillary Rodham Clinton, former star in the Democratic Party, is leaving the Senate after what some say is little accomplished except a failed attempt to capture her Party's nomination for President. Clinton will accept a job as Secretary in the administration of the very candidate that Party bosses selected over her.

The move gives Ms. Rodham Clinton a chance to gain executive experience. Previously, political opponents pointed to her lack of executive experience.

Saddled with campaign debt, Clinton is leaving the Congress to join the Executive Branch. Clinton accepted millions in loans from her New York-based charitable foundation to finance her White House bid. While foreign citizens are forbidden to make campaign donations to Presidential candidates, donations to her charitable foundation can come from anywhere.

Clinton won't be forced to work on a day-to-day basis in the White House, which she occupied in her youth with her husband Bill Clinton, but in the State Department. As an older woman, she no longer has children at home, and so is free to travel.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

We Already Subsidize The Auto Industry

By subsidizing roads, bridges, and streets, we subsidize the auto industry.

I'll ignore the cost of defending oil shipping lanes, wars in the Middle East, ethanol subsidies, and other things that are arguably not subsidies for automobiles, but for general energy production. Ethanol is subsidized for the farm vote, not for Detroit.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, States spent over $100 Billion in 2006 on transportation. almost all of which was on roads. A third of that came from the Federal government.

A hundred billion dollars, ach and every year.

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Big Three Bailout Options

Mary Katherine Ham follows the usual logic of the false dilemma as she writes:

For the auto industry to completely collapse would be a disaster in this kind of environment, not just for individual families but the repercussions across the economy would be dire. So it's my belief that we need to provide assistance to the auto industry. But I think that it can't be a blank check.
Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection allows a company to continue its operations under some framework approved or managed by a court. It should be distinguished from Chapter 7, which forces a company to dissolve (or in Ham's phrasing, to completely collapse). Chapter 11 forces a business to admit the failure of its business model, restructuring it to become a going concern.

In particular, GM needs to renegotiate its labor contracts.

It would be very helpful if GM could decide what kind of cars to make, as well. But that won't happen, since it can't renegotiate the CAFE standards with Congress.

I've predicted that if GM were to get bailout money, there would be nothing stopping them from entering bankruptcy protection anyway. That's right, Madam Speaker-In-Law, they could take the money you want to give to your union thug pals and declare a fat dividend followed by bankruptcy. In fact, the board would be fiduciarily remiss not to do so.

But in the NY Times, Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser has another suggestion.
There is a middle path between bailout billions and car company catastrophe: the possibility of limited government aid after automobile companies have entered Chapter 11.
I don't think he's right. There is no need for a bailout, and if one comes it will worsen the losses.

But if we have to accept one, it would sure be nice if GM could admit the failure of its business model before getting it.

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Unions Throw People Out of Work and Keep Them There

The UAW has succeeded in limiting how many people the automotive industry has been able to hire, by forcing it to pay too much to those it does.

And now, the threat is that because of its outrageous labor costs, GM may go out of business. If it does, all of those union jobs will go away.

So, the title.

The minimum wage works the same way. The more money a business has to pay per worker, the fewer workers it can hire. Those it can't hire will just have to keep looking. If the business can't cut wages in response to tough times, its employees will have those nice minimum wage jobs right up until the moment they don't.

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When I grow up, I want to be Iowahawk

Because of gems like this ad for Congressional Motors car of 2012:

Even with increased performance we didn't skimp on safety. With 11-point passenger racing harnesses, 15-way airbags, and mandatory hockey helmet, you'll have the security knowing that you could survive a 45 MPH collision even if the GTxi SS/Rt were capable of that kind of illegal speed.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008


What you get when government takes ownership in companies to "save" them.

w/t FrankJ

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Sent to EPA

Via StopEPA:

EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases via the Clean Air Act is unneeded. The Earth is not warming, and if it were warming, THAT WOULD BE A GOOD THING.

Climate scientists have predicted continued warming with an increase in atmospheric CO2, methane, and water vapor, but this has not happened. There is something wrong, therefore, with the reasoning that led to the conclusion that it would happen.

What is wrong with the reasoning is one of two things, and possibly both: 1) that the Earth's climate is an intensely complicated mechanism, with built-in mechanisms that keep it stable and 2) the greenhouse gas effect is a lot smaller than previously thought.

More study is needed to determine what is in fact happening to the Earth's climate. Even if it turns out that the Earth is warming but that carbon dioxide is not at fault, having jumped on CO2 as the culprit we will not be able to respond to the true cause when it is discovered.

Throughout human history, we have struggled in cold climates and thrived in warm ones. Today there are vast areas of the world shut off from agriculture by the cold.

Climate activists have used scare tactics about sudden harm such as floods and violent weather to arouse the public in furtherance of their agenda. EPA may choose to ally with these activists to safeguard and expand its institutional power base, but this course would be costly and destructive to the rest of American society.

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Bring On the Show Trials

TPM is reporting that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is set to replace John Dingell (D-MI) as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Waxman's main contribution in Congress is the production of public hearings at which he excoriates people for some alleged mistake they've made. And what kind of show trials should we expect? The Hill says:

Waxman is considered more liberal on issues like climate change, energy and business regulation, and potentially more aggressive on healthcare. Dingell, the longest-serving House lawmaker, is close to the auto industry and autoworkers.

This means we can't even watch C-SPAN for the next two years without seeing his finger-sized nostrils.

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Health Care Is Not A Right

If health care is a right, then anyone who knows you lack perfect health is obligated, on some level, to provide you with care.

Bad personal hygiene, grooming, and sexual repression are all negative health factors.

So if you need a haircut, manicure, or sex, any person who is skilled in the work of caring for you in that area is obligated to provide you with service.

"But", you say, "it's our right to health care, not that stuff you mentioned."

OK, so you know a doctor, and he knows you are sick. If health care is a right, he is obligated to provide it, for free. He is your health care slave.

"But no", you say, "he deserves to be paid".

How much? Minimum wage?

"Well, clearly, at least minimum wage."

Suppose he wants more, say, to care for your annoying case of tuberculosis than for my pleasant tinnitis.

"Why should he get more?", you ask.

Well, I suppose if health care is a right, he should be required to charge all patients the same.

So if he wants more than minimum wage, what are his options?

"He can petition the government for more money."

And if he finds he can make more delivering pizzas, should he do that?

"Well, I suppose he could do that."

But health care is your right, which he would be violating.

"Yes, he must be a doctor, and not a pizza man."

Suppose he wishes to sleep. You said he should get minimum wage, so should he also not have an 8-hour day, or 40-hour week?

"Yes, clearly."

What if a patient becomes ill and our doctor has worked his 8 hours. Should he treat the patient?

"Of course. The patient has rights."

What if he's worked 80 hours in a week already. Should he go home to bed?

"Not if there are patients to serve."

In that case, I think we must repeal the 13th Amendment.

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The $700 Billion Paulson Scam

The $700 Billion Henry Paulson claimed he needed to rescue the financial sector wasn't necessary. As proof, I point out that it hasn't been used.

This governmental manhandling of the economy is going to lead to nowhere good.

I agree with Maggie Gallagher: No More Bailouts.

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Teachers Union Stifles Obama Critics

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten told that no one should criticize the decision of President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to send their children to private school.

According to

Democratic Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack echoed Weingarten’s comments at the conference, telling that “it’s a very personal decision” that the president-elect and his wife need to make and the issue “should not be subject to criticism or comment.”

Weingarten said that since Obama loved his children, his choice was beyond criticism: "He loves those two children, and he’s going to make sure that they are properly educated."

Parents who send their children to the public schools in Washington, DC, do not love their children enough to see them educated properly.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Murtha Attorney: Congressman Above The Law

Legal counsel for aged Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) claimed in open court that his client is immune from laws which limit ordinary citizens.

Murtha is being sued for saying that Marines involved in an incident at Haditha, Iraq, were "murderers" guilty of "war crimes".

From the via Malkin:

Assistant U.S Attorney Darrell Valdez, who represents Murtha, argued that a member of Congress is “absolutely immune” from a defamation suit because there’s no circumstance in which speaking to the media is not within the scope of a lawmaker’s employment.

That is, a lawyer representing the United States Government asserted that his client is above the law.

It's not clear from the claims if the Congressman claims immunity for all defamation, or only that against members of the Armed Services in time of war. In particular, the question of whether members of Congress are free to say that government lawyers are guilty of malpractice will have to go unanswered.

Clearly, according to the United States Government lawyer, Murtha would be free to allege that the lawyer in question were guilty of murder and crimes against humanity, but alleging malpractice and incompetence may be a line even a Congressman must not cross.

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The Irrepressible Iowahawk Snipes at Bailouts and the Bailing Bailers Who Bail Them


It is hot here in camp today but we cant swim because of the latreen blowed up from a big masterious fierworks exsplosion and contamonated the lake. That is why the camp is sending you a bill for $106.57 even it was not my fault.

Read, as they say, the whole thing. But don't drink anything first, or you'll need another keyboard.

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Dean: Former Senator Obama Now Controls Senate

Democratic Party boss Howard Dean has voiced his approval that disgraced former Presidential candidate Barack Obama, despite resigning amid a Justice Department probe earlier this month, is still behind the scenes assigning leadership roles.

Obama, elected to head of the Executive Branch despite allegations of fraud and intimidation, chose former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to head the coveted Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Howard Dean told TPM Election Central that handling Joe Lieberman Senate Dems caved to pressure from Obama, and have come to accept the new role for the Legislature in the coming Obama regime. "He called the shots, and that's fine," Dean is reported to have said.

Insiders speculated that had Obama failed to select Lieberman, the Independent Senator would have blocked his plans to make fundamental changes he intends once installed in office. The Lieberman selection also gives Obama some wiggle room with Jewish voters nervous about his support of Arab plans to partition Jerusalem.

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Adult Stem Cells Save People; Embryonic Stem Cells, Not So Much

Spanish and British doctors have successfully grown a trachea from a woman's own adult stem cells and replaced her own damaged trachea with it. The team reported their results from the June operation in the Medical Journal Lancet. From the article, emphasis added:

The graft immediately provided the recipient with a functional airway, improved her quality of life, and had a normal appearance and mechanical properties at 4 months. The patient had no anti-donor antibodies and was not on immunosuppressive drugs.
A trachea is not a heart, but the fundamental change in the way twenty-first century medicine will approach first organ failure and then age-related ailments cannot be overstressed.

From The Minority Report and The Independent:
University of Bristol Professor Martin Birchall, who worked with the Spanish team, said, "This is just the beginning. I think it will completely transform the way we think about surgery. In 20 years' time the commonest surgical operations will be regenerative procedures to replace organs and tissues damaged by disease with autologous tissues and organs from the laboratory. We are on the verge of a new age in surgical care."

No children were maimed, harmed, or grown in the lab to be harvested like cattle for the production of this trachea.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Little Reality: Joementum

A Little Reality: Joementum

I have to pause to say that as bad as Chuck Hagel and John McCain are at being Republicans, Joe Lieberman is worse at being a Democrat.

Despite that brief moment of sincere empathy for liberals who find themselves grudgingly accepting Joe back into the fold after yet another dalliance with a ram from another flock, I smirk with glee that the Democratic Senate leadership has exercised such a stern rebuke.

What rebuke? See Moe Lane.

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Has Bill Ayers Grant Money Dried Up?

Looking at the list of grants received by Bill Ayers in his published Curriclum Vitae, it looks like Ayers' funding took a steep drop on or about September 11, 2001.

Go figure.

Or maybe he just quit writing grants, retired, or quit bragging about it in his vitae.

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Socialist Democrats Feud With Marxist Democrats Over Power

News outlets are reporting a vicious fight in the wake of Democrats seizing power over Republicans in the recent US elections. The socialist wing of the party, led by the aging Steny Hoyer (D-MD), vows to defeat the marxist faction led by former homosexual pimp Barney Frank (D-MA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in order to keep the radicals from destroying the nation too quickly.

Hoyer, remaining alert at the twilight of his career, still boasted of his hold on the majority of newly elected Congressmen. Voters are more interested in implementing the ideas of Karl Marx in a practical way than in finding enlightenment through ideological purity, Hoyer noted. "The 33 new Members of Congress coming to Washington to swell our side of the aisle are pragmatic, not dogmatic."

It is not yet clear if Hoyer retains the ability or the will to stand up to Pelosi and powerful incoming Executive branch official Barack Obama (D-IL). During the campaign, Pelosi and Hoyer squabbled over the role superdelegates should play in selecting the Democrat nominee for Obama's position. The Hoyer camp eventually won out. As Hoyer urged, the superdelegates disregarded the popular vote to select Obama over defeated socialist wing candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Speaker Pelosi argued during the campaign that after being vital to his selection for office, she and her marxists would be more bipartisan and ally with the more conservative socialist wing in support of Obama.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama Thanks McCain After Electoral Rout

Controversy continues to dog President-elect Barack Obama following a meeting with yet another vanquished and discredited political foe. Concerns that Obama will use a new Civilian Security Force to solidify and expand his regime continue grow, though fear of publicly criticizing the embattled Chicago politician is as strong as ever.

According the the Associated Press, Obama and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today plotted "to fix up the country", as Obama offered "thanks to Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered" during the campaign and even before it began.

While some may point to McCain's opposition to Obama during campaign debates and McCain's reluctance to endorse publicly the former Illinois Senator, few challenge the ready ease with which Obama swept aside the maverick Republican moderate. The victory over the representative of the centrist wing of the GOP was so complete that after his election Obama met with McCain even before a promised meeting with community group ACORN.

After the meeting, McCain appeared to endorse and expanded role for government intervention in the economy, which during the campaign he had given token opposition. "We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy, and protecting our nation's security."

McCain gave no indication whether he would change to the Democratic Party or remain a Republican.

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Prediction: GM, Ford, Chrysler Get Bailout, Then Go Bankrupt As Well

Do I really need to explain why?

  • The former Big Three are hemorrhaging cash, which an infusion will not stop.
  • They'll have a larger debt load.
  • Strings attached to the bailout will include limits on executive compensation and, possibly, government mandates to produce smaller, more efficient cars.

Since the Big Three lose money making smaller, more efficient cars, making more of them in itself won't help profitability. Since a big problem with the automakers has been poor management, limits on executive compensation will only cause the best managers to leave for more pastures which are perhaps less green, but more golden.

Only bankruptcy followed by fundamental changes in the labor environment can help American automotive manufacturing.

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In Which Jeff Echoes Loren Heal

I asked this:

OK, so now you've got the power.

Now will you tell us that "white folks' greed runs a world in need"?
In his post "Racism = prejudice + power", JeffG at Protein Wisdom says:

A dubious and self-serving equation long espoused by those scholars reared on identity politics, postcolonialist theory, and the Balkanizing structural imperatives of multiculturalism — given perhaps its most popular airing by Spike Lee, who, rumor has it, once got into a fight with a swirly cone, accusing the vanilla of suffering from jungle fever while berating the chocolate for it’s desire to “assimilate.”

David Thompson explores the trajectory of such thinking, leaving me free to ask the following loaded question: Now that the President-elect of the US is a black man, what does that do to this whole idea of power as a necessary component of racism?

Not a thing, Jeff. The talking point will be: "It took 400 years to elect The One; 4 years won't fix the damage done." Poet, me.

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Durbin Demands Blagojevich Not Put Another African-American In Senate

Perhaps seeking the role of outgoing Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL) demanded that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich not choose an African-American to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated when Barack Obama resigned amid a storm of controversy over corruption and other issues.

Still appealing to the right wing of his party after having recently won reelection on a "Drill here, drill now" platform, Durbin refused to endorse any of the candidates put forward so far, all African-Americans.

Durbin, who is White and has ties to rural downstate Illinois, cited race as a major concern. The senior Illinois Senator said if the decision were his, "I would look for the most talented person who could serve this state and who would be likely to run for reelection in 2010."

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Ayers: Terrorism Doesn't Exist

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn continue to say that it's not terrorism unless you are the U.S. Government.

Part of me really hopes Ayers stays in the news for four years. He's a walking, partially sentient trooth machine. Here he describes the Obama victory celebration in Chicago's Grant Park:

But they were also celebrating—there was—you could kind of cut the relief in people’s feelings with a knife. I mean, it was the sense that we were going to leave behind the era of 9/11 and the era of fear and war without end and repression and constitutional shredding and scapegoating of gay and lesbian people, on and on. And there we were, millions, in the park, representing everybody, hugging, dancing, carrying on right in the spot, forty years ago, where many of us were beaten and dragged to jail.
We're going to leave behind the era of 9/11 because we voted it away.

"Scapegoating" of gay and lesbian people? When have gays and lesbians been blamed for anything, falsely or not?

Al Qaeda gets a vote, too. And they really don't like gays and lesbians, pal.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obama: Let the Terrorists Win One For a Change

Apparently the only way that Barack Obama can figure out to keep Palestinian terrorists from launching bombs on Israel is to give it to them.

Advised by every realist foreign policy adviser who has been on Meet the Press in the last 50 years to let the Palestinians have East Jerusalem, Obama has drawn on his vast experience as an executive to give it away while the giving's good.

Why does anyone think this is a good plan? Because it was drawn up by the King of Saudi Arbia? He's not in control of Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbullah ... is he? If he's in control of Al Qaeda Hamas, and Hezbullah, then we have no business talking to him until he's in Gitmo. If he's not in total control of Al Qaeda Hamas, and Hezbullah, then he can't be sure that the terrorists won't use East Jerusalem as a close-in base from which to attack Israel.

The radical Islamists have sworn to the destruction of Israel. This looks like it brings them a step closer, and all they have to do is stop shooting rockets long enough to move the launchers to the Palestinian side of Jerusalem.

w/t the amazing Gateway Pundit.

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Without Obama, G20 Talks Produce Results

According The Hill:

White House officials said President Bush and other leaders had achieved five key objectives, stating they reached a common understanding of the root causes of the crisis; reviewed actions to be taken to strengthen growth; agreed on principles for financial market reform; drafted an action plan; and reaffirmed their commitment to free market principles.

With Barack Obama absent, experienced statesmen were able to agree on the root causes of the crisis, concluding with everyone else who doesn't drink the liberal happy sauce that Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and Barack Obama were exclusively at fault.

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Fearing Bias, Obama to Bypass Old Media

Plans Weekly Webcast Instructions To The Faithful

President-elect Barack Obama has announced that he will avoid answering questions from the hostile body of reporters in the White House Press Corps, and will instead record message to be retrieved by his followers. While the consequences to a member of the movement for failing to view a weekly update are unclear, members ought not risk being discovered.

"President-elect Obama will continue to record and make available the Democratic radio address on video when he is in the White House," a transition team member told Variety. "No President-elect has ever turned the radio address into a multimedia opportunity before. This is just one of many ways that President-elect Obama will communicate directly with the American people and make the White House and the political process more transparent."
While the political process is being made more and more transparent, less and less of an opposing viewpoint or clarifying questions from reporters will be required.

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Obama Forced to Resign From Senate Amid Lawsuits

Despite all of the fanfare surrounding his election as President, Barack Obama (D-IL) has announced he will step down from his U.S. Senate seat effective today. The embattled politician, who has never been convicted of any criminal activity, claims that his resignation was due to conflicts with his duties as President, a job he will not start for months.

Constitutionally forbidden from holding both offices at once and under a cloud of lawsuits and corruption allegations, Obama has left the task of choosing his replacement to the nation's least popular governor, Rod Blagojevich (D-Chicago), who is also the target of a federal corruption investigation.

Lawsuits challenging Barack Obama's eligibility to become President have popped up all across the country.

At issue is whether Obama was born in the United States. Naturalized citizens are not elibible for the Presidency.

And it's not just former Pennsylvania Attorney General Philip J. Berg filing suit. Plaintiffs ranging from ordinary citizens to former Obama opponent Alan Keyes have sued seeking release of basic documentation such as the former Senator's birth certificate.

Many legal experts believe the seriousness of these charges warrants a hearing by the Supreme Court, so that all Americans can be confident that our President is actually eligible to hold the office for which he was chosen.

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Diversity Police Plan Raid on Obama Transition

Over at the Politico, Lisa Lerer frets that men will be disproportionally represented in the Obama administration.

Early indications that men might dominate the hierarchy of Obama administration have women’s groups worried, even as a growing chorus of advisers reportedly pushes Hillary Rodham Clinton for secretary of state.

There’s definitely been a reaction to the few groups that have been named so far,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. “I agree with those who are concerned that it would have been nice to see more women.”

I'm at a loss to parse the bolded sentence.

I'm also at a loss to explain why an ad entitled "Secret Diet Revealed" appeared below NOW president Kim Gandy's picture accompanying the story. Surely this was coincidental, and not an editorial decision by Politico staffers.

But it is no mystery why NOW president Kim Gandy should be worried and concerned by the alarming lack of diversity in the first few picks of the Obama Administration. It might signal the troubling condition that the former Senator, who was recently forced to resign, is choosing his leadership team based on some unwritten code of alleged merit, rather than adhering to a sample that would be representative of the wider population.

And that would be a stunning defeat for group-based symbolism, a worrisome development for a movement built on the triumph of image over substance.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Typical Bush Derangement Syndrome at Salon

Somehow managing to type wearing a helmet and drool bucket, David Sarota writes:

It wouldn't be the George W. Bush we all know if our shamed president didn't spend his remaining White House days in a final fit of polarization.
Wha? Talk about paranoia! Mr. Bush wants the Columbia Free Trade deal to go through, and knows that it's union opposition which makes Obama also oppose it. And why are the Democrats so in favor of an auto maker bailout? The unions want it, to keep their fat, blood-sucking lifestyle going.

But Sarota harkens back to NAFTA, managing to blame Bush41 for forcing it on Bill Clinton, which in Sirota's alternate reality caused the unions to skip voting in 1994. Those things must all be Known Facts on the Left, but having lived through that era I could have sworn I heard the centrist Bill Clinton championing NAFTA. And the 1994 elections were all about conservatives rallying behind conservatism as expressed by Newt Gingrich.

In Sarota's fantasies, George Bush is some kind of Machiavellian mastermind, rolling the dice with the world's economy in order to depress voter turnout in 2010:
Therefore, if Bush successfully uses the economic emergency to hustle a faction of Wall Street Democrats into supporting the deal, he will have potentially engineered 1994 redux: Democratic infighting, a demoralized progressive base, and these newly elected fair-trade Democrats humiliated — and thus electorally endangered — by their own party's standard bearers.

Dude. No one will vote, or not vote, two years from now based on whether there is a free trade agreement with Columbia. Lots of union members may not have jobs without one, but what do they care? They have the One.

Update: I think I like Kim Strassel's take better.
If there was a moment that highlights to what extent the Democratic Party has become captive to its special interests, this might be it. Mrs. Pelosi and Harry Reid have spent this week demanding that Washington stave off a car-maker collapse. What makes this a little weird is that Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are Washington. If they so desperately want a Detroit bailout they could always, you know, pass one.

w/t Yid With Lid

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The Tyranny of Small, Featureless Men.

I'm not ready to annoint Michael Steele as head of the RNC, any more than I am ready to endorse Sarah Palin for President in 2012.

This, however, is a portrait of the Republican Party, and to say that it falls short of greatness is something of an understatement:

As to the new chair, don’t pay any attention to people who aren’t on the RNC,” he told me. “This is not a good thing, but the current RNC believes only one of their own should be chair. Maybe a dozen have a clue politically — and that’s being very kind. None (as chairman) could be an ideas leader or command the substantive respect of Republican senators or representatives.”

If Michael Steele isn't a member of the RNC by Tuesday, you're all a bunch of idiots.

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Monty Python Accused of Parroting Earlier Work

Much earlier. But the 1600-year-old Philogelos: The Laugh Addict contains just the one-liner,

A man complains that a slave he was sold had died.
"When he was with me, he never did any such thing!"
not a fully developed sketch.

Other timeless gags from Philogelos, which surely ought to be online somewhere, but doesn't seem to be:

  • Talkative barber to customer: “How shall I cut your hair?”
    Customer: “In silence.”

  • An academic was on a sea voyage when a big storm blew up, causing his slaves to weep in terror. "Don’t cry," he consoled them, "I have freed you all in my will."

  • Someone needled a well-known wit: "I had your wife, without paying a penny".
    He replied: "It's my duty as a husband to couple with such a monstrosity. What made you do it?"

  • An Abderite sees a eunuch talking with a woman and asks him if she's his wife. The guy responds that a eunuch is unable to have a wife.
    "Ah, so she's your daughter? "

  • A misogynist is attending to the burial of his wife, who has just died, when someone asks: "Who is it who rests in peace here?".
    He answers: "Me, now that I'm rid of her!"

  • A young man says to his randy partner, 'Wife, what shall we do, eat or make love?'
    'Whichever you like,' she replies.
    'There's no bread.'
w/t: Slashdot

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Just Because You Say It, Mr. Ayers, Doesn't Make It So.

In an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, William Ayers says:

“Let’s remember that what you call a violent past, that was at a time when thousands of people were being murdered by our government every month,” he argued. “And those of us who fought to end that war were actually on the right side.”

Ayers denied that the bombings carried out by the group amounted to terrorism.

“We tried to end that war. And in trying to end it, we did cross lines of propriety, of legality, maybe even of common sense. But we never committed terror,” he stated.

Ayers claimed that the actions taken by his group were not terrorism because they did not “target people.”

Terrorism is violence against civilian targets to effect political change. That distinguishes it from free speech (non-violent acts such as sit-ins and marches against civilian targets), war crimes (acts by military personnel against civilians, or vice versa), and mere criminal behavior (the same act minus the call for political change).

Whether the action was intended to target people, or merely ended up killing policemen by accident, is irrelevant. Targeting civilian private property to make a political point is terrorism.

Ayers is a self-righteous liar.

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Would Jesus Want Rape Legalized?

Over at Classical Values, Simon asks:

A Question For Christian Social Conservatives

Did Jesus promote government solutions to moral problems?

The answer I gave there doesn't stress enough the obvious point that He did promote the Commandments, and not just the Big Ten. He just wanted us not to lean on the Law for approval.

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Coming Out of Short-Lived Depression

Me, that is, not the economy.

I still feel a twinge of denial that the elections really went as badly for the cause of freedom as they did, and that the Nanny State did so well. But there it is, and I must recognize it.

I take comfort only in the suspicions that my countrymen were deceived by a charlatan and a willing media, caught up in the symbolism of it all.

And now there is a great work ahead of me, ahead of us. There are many huge battles to fight.

We must convince the American public that the ideals of liberty, national sovereignty, and freedom of thought are worth more than life itself.

We must convince the American public that it's as wrong to vote oneself money from the Treasury as it is to steal from a neighbor.

We must convince the public that prosperity comes from capitalism, not from the Nanny.

We must convince the American public that we must be one people, with one language and primary loyalty only to each other, not to foreign lands.

We must dismantle the government-run education system. It is far too dangerous to liberty to have the government tempted to indoctrinate, which we have seen it do with increasing abandon.

All of these are hard, because of our own self-doubt and the easy smear to which each one of those points subjects us.

Is not life paramount, and isn't it convenient to risk the life of another?

Have you never accepted money from the Government -- even a tax credit? Don't you care about the poor children?

Do we really expect immigrants to know our language, when that has never been our way? In the past, immigrants abandoned their old land. Now they are a short journey away. It makes things difficult.

And the entrenchment of the public education system is so thorough, its stamp placed so firmly on the fabric of American society, that I don't hold much hope for its dissolution.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

They Are Not The Public's Airwaves

With all of this talk of the Censorship Doctrine (from which the Democrats may be backing away), it seems like no one can talk about the topic without using the phrase "public airwaves".

Maybe it's a fine point, and I'm just picky. But while the public "owns" the air, the public doesn't own everything transmitted over that air.

You can put up a sign in your yard, and unless you obscure someone else's view or something, you don't have to present an opposing view. And yet, you are transmitting, in a very real sense, the images over the exact same air as a radio show uses. It's just that we can see light with our eyes, but radio waves are of too long a wavelength for us to detect with the naked eye.

What the public owns is spectrum. The set of frequencies allowable to radio broadcast is controlled by the FCC, so that radio stations close together don't broadcast on the same frequency, and so bureaucrats have something to do.

But the actual radio waves being propagated are not the property of the government nor the public, but of the broadcaster. You could say they are no longer even the broadcaster's property in any real sense, either, but they certainly don't belong to you and me.

So while I get the idea that idioms don't have to make sense, this is a case where the idiom has the potential to deceive.

Just saying.

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The GOP governors spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.

The GOP governors spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.

Tremendous catch, Treacher.

Let's parse this carefully.

The GOP governors
Which governors (plural)? And would the treatment have been different for Democrats?

The GOP governors spoke to CNN
Why were governors of States speaking to CNN about one of their colleagues? The condition of the Republican party boggles the mind.

The GOP governors spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.
Governors of States actively concealing their identities, like so many furtive little rodents scurrying about, wagging their tongues as their eyes dart this way and that. Eleven score and twelve years ago 13 States united together to bring forth upon this continent a great nation. The governors of these States now are reduced to the low act of currying favor with a network correspondent while effectively besmirching one of their own.
spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.
Finally, to CNN: if your work is not falsifiable, it is unfounded rumor, not journalism. Name names, or I say your story is indistinguishable from fiction.

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Would Someone Please Tell Michelle Catalano That She is an Idiot?

Writing at PJM, Michele Catalano struggles valiantly against her horrible straw-foe, the idea that community service is the same as slavery, or variously, Marxism.

Another name for slavery is "involuntary servitude". Is "compulsory service" the same thing?

"Involuntary" is clearly a synonym for "compulsory".

Do I need to explain the link between "service" and "servitude"? I think I do, because while the root word is the same, the meaning is different, and it has confused you.

"Service" in this context means two things: performing duties at the behest of the government and for the benefit of someone who (it is hoped) will be helped by those duties. A connotation of service is one of learning by humility the positive blessing of helping others.

But learning by humility implies that a person lowers himself to perform some action or to be receptive to a teaching moment. That is not possible, or at least is contraindicated, when an outside force such as the government is mandating the action. Context in this case is indeed king.

Compelling service is also making the same mistake as when we take the personal virtue of liberality and apply it to government. Liberality is seeing the best in others and giving to them regardless of their worthiness, in the hopes that our selflessness will improve them, or at least show our own goodness and lack of greed. When government does it, the virtue is lost, if only because giving requires the government first to take.

So even if we grant as totally positive the nature of the actual services to be performed, and ignore any possible negative consequences or side effects of this massive undertaking, being forced to give service to others is involuntary servitude, slavery by another name.

But here is some really sloppy thinking from Michelle Catalano:

It’s interesting how many right-leaning blogs are frowning upon the community service idea, though some are being thoughtful about it. Generally, people on the political right tend to belong to churches, and churches are big proponents of community service. So why the negativity? Many blogs are also equating Obama’s community service pitch with Rahm Emanuel’s:

When you choose to serve — whether it’s your nation, your community, or simply your neighborhood — you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That’s why it’s called the American dream.

This is not socialism. This is not Marxism. This is the mark of a country that knows it needs to rely on those who can to help those who can’t. It’s the mark of a country that knows it needs to depend on its citizens to make their communities flourish. It’s taking the “ask not what your country can do for you” attitude and transforming it into smaller clusters, where we ask what we can do for those we live with and around, instead of waiting for people to do for us. It’s how communities become stronger, how they grow, and how a strong, giving community makes for a strong, giving nation.

So because we want churches to do it, we should be okay when the government does it? That is exactly the problem! We want churches and individuals to do community service, on their own, without the government being involved. If the government starts funding community service, no one else will do it. And individuals, of their own sense of charity and liberality, are the best judges of who should get the help -- and who should not.

Repeating: we like community service. We don't like the government to fund it.

As for the equivalence of paid community service and Marxism, let's first establish one thing: under Marxist/socialist regimes, there is universal paid community service. Under some hypothetical minimalist, libertarian anti-Marxist government, there would be no paid community service.

Rahm Emanuel pitches community service as the way to ensure the American Dream, but it's a total non sequitur. The American Dream is the any of us can start with nothing and succeed by our own merits, without the government's help. We don't need the government.

Needing the government is what Marxists do.

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TPM Watch: Ed Kilgore

Tee hee:

It seems to me that conservatives today have almost completely internalized their own rhetoric about Obama's "radicalism," "socialism," "anti-Americanism," and so forth. If you have read or listened to movement conservative pundits recently, it's hard to avoid the impression that they truly think this temperate man pursuing Clinton-style centrist policies is determined to enact "socialized medicine," create vast new "welfare" programs, legalize infanticide, surrender to terrorists, and use the power of the state to censor or perhaps even jail his opponents.

Now where would we get that stuff? It's not like we invented Obama. He is who he is.

Saying we have had to convince ourselves of Obama's shortcomings is amusing, but the emphasized part above is a real hoot.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hyperinflation is Coming

All of these bailouts are going to have the effect of making our money worth a lot less.

The criminals looting the Treasury should be hung for treason.

Throw them all out. The Democrats, Republicans, and anyone who voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, voted to bail out Fannie and Freddie, or who give away money to any failing company.

Companies which fail should go bankrupt. Propping them up will only make the problem worse, as managers (both in the bailed out firms and in the rest who observe them) see that failure is rewarded.

The pathological avoidance of pain is going to ruin us, and in fact, may already have done so.

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Bailout Bait and Switch

Not going to purchase troubled assets.


No, they're buying stock in banks.

It was such an emergency. Had to be done right this minute, no time for discussion.

Not only did they not have to do it right that minute, they didn't have to do it at all.

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Someone Please Tell David Brooks He Is An Idiot

Writing to accelerate his newspaper's fall into negative net worth, David Brooks says:

The other camp, the Reformers, argue that the old G.O.P. priorities were fine for the 1970s but need to be modernized for new conditions. The reformers tend to believe that American voters will not support a party whose main idea is slashing government. The Reformers propose new policies to address inequality and middle-class economic anxiety. They tend to take global warming seriously. They tend to be intrigued by the way David Cameron has modernized the British Conservative Party.

I don't care if the majority will not support shrinking government. It's the right thing to do.

I don't take Global Warming seriously. I don't believe:
  • It is happening
  • It is Man's fault
If it were happening, I would not believe:
  • It would be bad
  • There would be any way to fix it
Addressing inequality? That's not the purpose or function of government. Punish people who hurt others, but don't try to make sure they're all equally successful.

Middle-class income anxiety? Call out demagogues like Obama for their class-envy tripe. There, anxiety fixed.

w/t FrankJ

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What's In It For ME?

I'm scared.

For a long time we've known that when the people learned they could vote themselves money from the Treasury, the end was nigh.

They have learned it.

Whether it's Barack Obama's "tax cuts for 95%", jobs Americans won't do, corporate bailouts, or the third rail of Social Security, the appeal is always to the personal interest of the voter.

Joe the Plumber was attacked on the basis that he'd be better off under Obama's tax plan -- and unsubtly, that Joe must be stupid not to know that or dishonest in failing to admit it.

Illegal immigration is pushed on us with the offer of inexpensive farm produce. The principle of knowing that our neighbors and townsfolk have the same loyalty to America that we have is never mentioned.

The financial market bailout, or at least the direct mortgage buyout part, was sold to us on the basis that even if we did everything right, our neighbor in foreclosure would harm our home values.

And Social Security, of course, is renowned for destroying the careers of those who try to do anything but increase the benefits of those receiving it.

The list goes on. We have become a nation of beggars, lazy bums who are happy to see any expansion of government, endure any loss of liberty, as long as it benefits us personally.

There's nothing in that for me.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Writing at PJM, John Avalon misses the reasons for John McCain's loss so thoroughly and well that were it not for his obvious sincerity one would suspect his failure to be intentional. It is clear that Mr. Avalon starts with a "centrist" position which he tries desperately to justify.

In order to truly revive itself, the GOP should be more like the real John McCain in the future, and less like the conservative cast of the past decade: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Tom Delay. And it certainly should not look to the likes of Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin to lead a restoration.

You do the math: America has a moderate majority — 50% of Americans are centrists, compared to 20% who are liberal and 30% who call themselves conservative. Independents are the largest and fastest growing segment of the electorate. Republicans need to appeal to the center and find common cause with independents in order to win. And that’s something they have increasingly failed to do over the past decade.

The unspoken premise here is that the Party should attempt to mold itself to the electorate, rather than standing for principles -- both in campaign and in office. Republicans lost the moderates because they only mouthed conservativism, and didn't act on it.

There is another option to giving up: teaching. McCain lost because an uninformed electorate judges the President specifically and the party they perceive to be in power generally on the basis of the economy. When McCain A) suspended his campaign to B) back the bailout bill and C) failed to deliver on even that, his fate was sealed.

But ironically due to that loathsome bailout, there is going to be an insidious increase in the level of government intervention in the economy, so that the President will begin to have an actual part to play in it. This is legion of disasters waiting to happen.

But back to the issue at hand. Avalon lists many reasons for McCain's loss, ignoring the elephant in the room: Barack Obama's "historic" campaign. There, how's that for a code word.
McCain’s come-from-behind win in the primaries was not only proof of the strength of the center but a repudiation of Karl Rove’s play-to-the-base approach because he won the Republican nomination without the support of right-wing talk radio and evangelicals.
The base was split between Huckabee, Romney, and a ghost: they were waiting for a conservative. With either Huckabee or Romney out of the race, the remaining conservative would have trounced McCain.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama appealed explicitly to centrists and independents early on in this campaign. They ran against the polarizing establishment of their respective parties. Their differences on this ground can be fairly characterized as substance versus style, rhetoric versus record. But Obama’s appeals to the center were relentless, beginning with his introduction to the American people at the Democratic convention in 2004, which expressed the underlying insight, “There are no red states. There are no blue states. There are the United States of America.”
John McCain lost in the general election because, the method of doing so aside, Barack Obama had his base locked up, and could afford to play to the center. McCain did not have his base locked up, and was forced to swerve this way and that.

The Republican Party is at a crossroads. Should it abandon its modern history as the home of conservatism, both social and fiscal? Should it return to its roots in classical liberalism? Or should it renounce the excesses of its recent past and become the home of Reaganism again?

I just hope it becomes something, and not the nothing that John Avalon desires for it.

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No more bailouts.

Writing at Redstate, Francis Cianfrocca analyzes the proposed (or wheedled) bailout of GM, saying a bunch of smart things, including this:

If I were handling this for the US Treasury, I’d insist on a total wipeout of GM’s shareholders and management, force them to liquidate assets over perhaps a two-year period, and take a slug of preferred stock with a very large annual interest rate. Because you know there will be no possibility of making money on this bailout. The auto industry has too much of the wrong kind of production capacity, and it needs to disappear.

If I were in charge of handling this for the Treasury, I'd either say "We don't do this, or I walk."

The government has to stop meddling in the economy. People argue that something must be done to keep the economy moving, and I say: No! We've been spoiled by 20 years of good economies, except for hiccups, to the point where we think we've figured it out.

We can't outlaw pain. Attempts to try are leading us to a situation in which the government, soon to be led by a Marxist, controls the strategic direction of our biggest industries.

I have no doubt that GM failing would have a ripple effect on the rest of the economy. I also have no doubt that some of that effect would be seen as positive, especially by those at Ford and Chrysler.

Something has to be done all right. Something needs to be done to turn around this notion that our elections are about the economy. Something needs to be done to separate government and business. Something needs to be done to return us to the understanding of success as the result of repeated failure, that learning from mistakes doesn't happen unless we are forced to deal with the consequences of those mistakes.

GM has become too big to move quickly in response to changing market conditions. Their union membership, including retirees, is so large as to be its own voting bloc, exercising inertia of its own. Some say they have become too big to fail; I say they have become too big to succeed.

Pluck the cancer? That's the wrong metaphor. The proper one is to let the students succeed or fail based on their abilities, not slip them answers to the test so they don't fail.

Because in the end, none will study as hard or pay attention at lecture if they know that the teacher will bail them out in the end.

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Media: Twelve Steps On The Road To Healing

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our biases —that our politics had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Obama as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to Obama, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have Obama remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Obama as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Obamatrons, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Going to be Barry and the Pelosicrats

The Hill is reporting that Congressional Democrats are backing off leadership challenges. The Congress will be able to deliver Pelosi-Reid leadership we've come to expect.

God help the nation, but for bloggers it's going to be a target-rich environment.

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Jamie Gorelick: Legend

Like Talleyrand, Jamie Gorelick has had a long career at the center of almost every foul-up and abuse of government for the last decade. The mind reels over God's grace in placing the Fannie/Freddie meltdown in the same time frame as the Iraq war, lest her deft touch could have foiled the Petraeus Surge, too. Read the whole article at that link.

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Happy Birthday, Marine Corps.

You've come a long way since Tunn Tavern, but in a way you're still there.


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The Censorship Doctrine

Democrats have been making noises about reviving the pathologically misnamed Fairness Doctrine. It's a rule by which the FCC demands that anyone who broadcasts political content over the "public airwaves" must give equal time to an opposing viewpoint.

Barack Obama will be very likely to approve such a measure, even as he publicly opposes it.

As Burt Prelutsky points out at Townhall,

The American Issues Project, whose TV ad called for an examination of the Obama/Bill Ayers connection, led to the Obama machine’s demand that the Justice Department begin a criminal investigation of the AIP. The idea that the AIP should be investigated for running a legitimate TV ad, but ACORN should not be prosecuted for perpetuating voter fraud is the sort of thing that George Orwell would have dealt with if he’d lived long enough to write a sequel to “1984.”
I'm opposed to the Censorship Doctrine on several grounds. First, if it's called the "Fairness" Doctrine, it's got to be awful.

Secondly, the public may own the air, but not the waves. It's actually a question over who will broadcast on a specific frequency. There are lots and lots of frequencies in use now; the likelihood of one viewpoint taking over all of them is tiny, and growing smaller by the day.

Third, we don't, and shouldn't, restrict the political speech that can take place on public property, requiring that anyone with a parade permit pay also for an opposing view to be given. Only when the information can be forced on someone should government step in to be sure no one is deceived, or misinformed.

Because it's vital that no one suffer the slightest risk of having to think for themselves.

However, the nicest thing about all of this is how ineffective a tool the Censorship Doctrine would be in the Internet Age. That ship has sailed. It would mess up Rush Limbaugh's business model, but Rush would figure out a way around it. Perhaps some combination of webcasting and satellite radio would keep him in good cigars.

And in the end, I think all political talk on radio and television would go that route or die. It's a profound thing, this pull liberty exerts on the hearts of those who have felt it.

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ObamaCare Will Fail, Because It Is Supposed to Fail

First, an aside:

Health care costs have skyrocketed over the last several years because

  1. We have separated the doctor from the patient, inserting the insurance company between them
  2. Government spending on health care has injected large amounts of taxpayer money into the system
  3. Medical malpractice lawsuits have forced all doctors to obtain medical malpractice insurance, practice defensive medicine, and fail to delegate medical decisions to less-trained personnel
Why is medical insurance necessary? To amortize the medical expenses. Yet amortizing those expenses is necessary in part because of medical insurance: it costs only a few dollars in materials and 10 minutes of labor to set a broken bone. Yet because the doctor cannot risk doing it incorrectly, the patient (or his insurance company) may have to pay hundreds of dollars.

Back to ObamaCare.

Obama plans to create or expand government health insurance, covering everyone who doesn't have insurance now. While he says that if you like your current plan, you can keep it, what he doesn't say is that a factor in keeping costs low for those existing plans is the presence of uninsured people. Insurance companies have to compete for business both with other companies and with the zero-cost plan: not having insurance at all.

Insuring the uninsured will raise the rates for the insured.

Obama says he will prevent insurance companies from overcharging for malpractice insurance. That means, of course that some doctors will not be insured at all, or that dangerous doctors will get cheaper insurance than they otherwise could afford. In essence, the plan is to subsidize bad doctors.

All of this will have the effect of raising medical costs. When that happens, wait for the sirens to blare for the government either to nationalize the medical insurance industry, to siphon off its customers, or to finally step in and employ the doctors directly.

What am I saying? That would be socialism.

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