Thursday, February 28, 2013

Caption This: Joe "Shotgun" Biden

You have got to love Joe Biden, the crazy Uncle of our Executive Branch. Since, President Obama appointed him the point guard in the Administration's War On the 2nd Amendment, Joe's been travelling around on his "listening" tour. But despite what you may think, Uncle Joe LOVES guns. He especially favors double-barrel shotguns for his wife Dr. "Calamity" Jill Biden:
"...if you wanna protect yourself get a double barrel shotgun, have the shells the .12 gauge shotgun and I promise you as I told my wife, we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded, I said: Jill, if there is ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here, walk out – put that double barrel shotgun and fire two blasts."

Okay, just where do the Secret Service guys and gals that we provide fit into this double-barrel fantasy scenario?

Anyway, you know what to do. Give it your best shot...yes, I meant to say that!


And for extra credit because we don't grade on a curve here at Commentarama!

What are you two up to, Sen. Schumer?

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le Non! We are not lazee!

Let’s thank the French for another classic example of stupidity. . . thanks Froggies. This example involves the death a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Amiens, France and it highlights the problems with leftist thinking. Observe.

Five years ago, Goodyear told the workers that the plant was not profitable and it asked the workers to agree to some layoffs so Goodyear could keep the plant open. The plant in question employees 1,173 workers. The workers, who are represented by communist-backed CGT union refused. Just like the bakers union which killed Hostess, they decided it was better that everyone lose their jobs than that some would lose their jobs. So everyone will now lose their jobs.

In an attempt to save the plant, the Froggie government sent a letter to Maurice Taylor (some people call him Moooreece...), the CEO of Titan Tires, an American firm, begging Mooooreece to buy the plant to keep it open. Mr. Taylor responded with a stinging rebuttal of the French model:
“The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that that’s the French way.

* * *

“Your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.”
This didn’t sit too well with the Froggie Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who counterattacked by claiming that Taylor should shut the heck up because his little company ain’t that and a bag of baguettes when compared to Michelin. He noted that Michelin was 20 times bigger and 35 times more profitable and he said he would “monitor Titan Tire imports with ‘redoubled zeal’ to make sure they complied with all regulatory standards.” Sounds like the mob, doesn’t it?

The union too chimed in calling him “ignorant,” a “lunatic,” an “extremist,” and not a person “suitable to hold the reins of a multinational” company. Yawn. They also claimed that while it is “logical that companies make money. . . at some point, they also must divide the wealth fairly.”

Let us consider this.

First, how stupid do you need to be to decide that you would rather all lose your jobs than have some lose their jobs? Pretty stupid if you ask me, especially as it was clear that Goodyear wasn’t bluffing... just like Hostess wasn’t bluffing. Enjoy the unemployment line Froggie bastards.

Second, the response by the union is typical of idiot leftists - turn disagreement into a mental issue: “He’s crazy!” But who is really the crazy one here? The guy who refuses to hand you his money so you can nap it away or the lazy froggies who killed their bronze goose and now are begging for another? Have a Twinkie and shut the f*ck up, le dumb*sses.

Or take this idea that it is “logical that companies make money. . . at some point, they also must divide the wealth fairly.” Why should someone pay you something you aren’t worth and haven’t earned? And why in the world should an American citizen feel any obligation to hand over his money so that lazy froggies can keep on chugging along in their lazy lifestyle? Under this logic, I wonder why the froggies aren’t paying me to write this? I could nap with the best of them if I was lazy like you people. Where’s my money?! Frankly, Amiens deserves whatever happens next if this is the attitude.

Third, how pathetic is the comeback by Le Minster de Froggie. Titan is a relatively new company (1993) which specializes in taking over failing plants and turning them around. It makes specialty tires for things like trucks and golf carts. It is an example of the continuing dynamism of the American business model. Michelin was founded in 1888. It is an example of a country living off the family assets. The fact that Michelin is only 20 times larger after a 100 year start is actually pretty sad. This claim also highlights the daft bureaucrats mindset. First, bigger is not better. Big is dinosaur-like. Big needs subsidies to stay alive. And if Michelin really was this great example of industrial might, then why don’t they take over the plant? Why is Le Minister de Froggie le begging an upstart American company to do what Michelin apparently can’t? Doesn’t this reek of an admission the French are spent?

Also, if profit is indeed evil, why is Michelin allowed to keep $1.8 billion of that? Do you know how many Froggies could nap on that?

And what about this threat to “monitor” Titan’s imports? Sounds like a protection racket to me. Maybe we should start demanding that France pay us to make sure nobody roughs up any Michelin shops over here? It would be a real shame is something happened to this fine company of yours, frog boy.

Fourth, the anger from this really highlights how true Mooooreece’s comments were. Indeed, typically, the more angry the response, the closer to the bone you’ve struck. For years now, the French have claimed that the Gaul-lick model is superior. Ho ho ho! They’ve claimed that it allows them live like lazy welfare cases while simultaneously turning out “superior products” and “thriving multinational companies”. . . can you smell the smug? The truth is that France is living on its past glories. The companies it points to as its champions were all formed pre-World War I, before France got neutered, and they only continue to exist through incestuous relations with the government which get them subsidies and other benefits. France (this is true in Britain too) is run by a clique, with most business and government leaders coming from a small group of elite schools. They keep their industries alive through the force of government.

Interestingly, the OECD claims that the productivity of French “workers” is only slightly lower than the US. But is it really? Dividing each country’s GDP by the number of people in the country finds that the average American is worth $49,896 to our economy. The average Froggie is worth $34,328. In other words, the average America is 1.45 times as productive as the average frog. Yes, you are worth one and a half frogs. . . and you’re nicer people too. But you say, it’s not fair to compare countries since most of France is unemployed, we should instead compare workers. Ok, whatever. No difference. If we only use workers, then the US worker is worth $101,453 and the Froggie worker is worth $76,290. This time, the US worker is worth 1.33 frogs. Yet, the OECD calls this “slightly below” the US productivity.

Storming Norman Schwarzkopf once quipped of the French absence from the Gulf War: “Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.” Apparently, they aren’t any better at business.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Guest Review: This Means War (2012)

A Film Review by Tennessee Jed

February is, among other things, the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, and it occurred to me that Romantic Comedies rarely get much mention around here. Often referred to as rom coms, date movies and chick flicks (though the latter two likely encompass a slightly larger category), the last one I can remember seeing was a vehicle for one of the current leading practitioners of the genre, Reese Witherspoon, as well as the up and coming young star Chris Pine.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Obama's Strange Stance On Immigration

I’ve been scratching my head about this whole “path to citizenship” debate on illegal immigration. Everything seems to be inside-out in terms of how this issue is being presented and I’ve been trying to figure out why. Consider this.

Point One: The Republicans have a serious problem with illegal immigration. Our side has been so openly angry and offensive on the issue that we’ve basically lost all but the most hard-core right-wing Hispanics in the country. We even lost the Cubans.

Point Two: One of the oldest rules of tactics is that when the other side is self-destructing, you let them. . . or you help them along. Obama has followed this perfectly until now. Indeed, he has largely stayed out of the immigration debate during his entire time in office except to poke conservatives with a stick. Conservatives have responded like Pavlov’s dogs and foamed at the mouth on command.

So far so good.

Point Three: Then came Rubio. Marco Rubio figured out the problem with this and he proposed a way to fix this problem. He’s proposing a GOP-created path to citizenship which would undermine the idea that the Republicans are a bunch of racists and would, in a single stroke, end the issue so that conservatives stop reopening the wound day after day. This could actually go a long way to repairing the damage done by conservatives.

Ok, now it gets tricky.

Point Four: The proper response by Obama should have been to claim Rubio’s bill and shove him aside so the Democrats could continue to claim the issue. Angry conservatives would then do the rest to reinforce the idea that Hispanics should always vote for the Democrats by tearing Rubio apart.

BUT that’s not how this is playing out. To the contrary, Obama has walked away from Rubio’s bill. He’s taken a few shots behind the scenes and offered vague imaginary counter-proposals, but by and large he’s abandoned the issue to Rubio. The MSM too has focused on Rubio’s bill as “the bill.” They have even run articles about how this is Rubio’s bill (and a Republican idea) and they criticized the bill for not being “tough enough.” This is very strange. Hispanic groups too have actually spoken about GOP “gains.” Because of these choices, this bill belongs to Rubio and the Republicans in the mind of the public. They are seen as the creators of the bill. They are seen as the people who need to make this happen. They are seen pushing this bill voluntarily and without Democratic support. That means they get the credit/blame, an opinion confirmed by the Hispanic groups talking about “gains.”

This is all very interesting.

Indeed, until now, the two ways the immigration debate seemed destined to play out was either (1) an amnesty gets passed over the GOP’s angry objections and Hispanics get permanently alienated (just like blacks were permanently alienated after GOP opposition to the Civil Rights Act) with no chance for the GOP to ever mend fences, or (2) the GOP continues to stand in the way of amnesty, alienating Hispanics until the issue finally gets resolved one way or another. But the Rubio effort, and the response by the left, has actually created an entirely new scenario, one in which the GOP gets full credit with Hispanics and essentially redeems itself. That could be a massive victory for the GOP and it’s not something I would have seen as possible until now.

But I’m left scratching my head as to why this is happening. Why would the Democrats play it this way? They are normally smarter than this. Then it hit me.

As I’ve said before, the Democrats are a collection of single issue groups held together by their common desire to get their stuff. But this type of structure is unstable because once a group gets what they want, they have no reason to stick around because they have no inherent loyalty to the rest of the party and there is no ideology for them to latch onto. Thus, the party cannot grant the groups what they want or the collective will collapse as a party.

This puts the Democrats in a bind. They love the immigration issue because it gives them a chance to frame the Republicans as racist and because it lets them use the promise of amnesty to win Hispanics by a 70% margin. But if they actually grant amnesty, then Hispanics have no reason to stick around anymore and they could fall back to the 20% margin they had in the 1980s and 1990s. That would mean a loss of about twice as many Hispanic votes as the Democrats would gain even if every single illegal alien started voting Democratic out of gratitude. That’s not good for the Democrats.

What this means is that the Democrats don’t actually want this thing to pass. BUT, they also can’t be seen to be opposing it or sabotaging it, because that would alienate Hispanic groups who would happily switch sides if the GOP embraced them. This creates a real dilemma for the Democrats: how do you stop something you can’t actively oppose?

I think the answer can be found in Obama’s behavior. By not embracing the bill and by promising an alternate bill which will never arrive, he keeps the Democrats from needing to support this bill for the moment. That gives them time to let conservatives destroy Rubio and his bill. To encourage them, Obama and the MSM have begun this campaign of attacking the Rubio bill for not being tough enough. The hope is that conservatives rise up and destroy Rubio. Then Obama can claim that if the Republicans won’t even pass Rubio’s bill, then there’s no hope for his bill either... “too bad, so sad, keep voting for us and maybe someday you’ll get what you want, senor.” This explains the articles about the bill being too free with citizenship, why Obama seems to be bidding to the right of Rubio on the issue, and why the Democrats seem to be dragging their feet suddenly: they’re baiting conservatives to do their dirty work for them. Indeed, I suspect that right now, the White House is thinking: “Crap! They might get this done and then we’ll lose our issue! Where the hell are those whiny conservatives when you need them!”

These are interesting times indeed.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Of Liberals And Redskins

One of the sites I follow is a football site. It’s unfortunate that this site has such good information because I really despise the guy who runs it. He’s paranoid. He’s a rumor monger who is prone to fantasy. He’s a lousy human being. And he’s liberal. His latest blast of liberalism involves the Washington Redskins and is worth discussing.

The guy’s name is Mike Florio and he’s a barely competent (I’m begin generous here) West Virginia lawyer who converted connections to NFL agents into a rumor site that NBC eventually bought. The guy is a real piece of work. Basically, he spends his days trying to spin everything he can into paranoid fantasies and worst case conspiracies. He’s also barely literate, which is why it’s good he’s got assistants because they’re the only ones worth reading.

Like many other liberal sports “writers” he’s also a race baiter extraordinaire. To give you an example, he “wrote” a book about a talented black quarterback and an average white quarterback who get sent back in time and discover just how racist football was in the past – writing books on racism in sports is apparently the easiest way to become a “journalist” in the sports world and you’ll find that most of them have written such a book. Moreover, every year, once the NFL season ends, Florio dives into the issue of how many black coaches there are in the league – he uses the word “minority” but he only counts blacks... Asians, pacific-islanders, women, Hispanics, Muslims need not apply. And no matter how many black coaches he finds, he always finds the number to be shockingly lacking. He’ll then typically pimp for some black coach who didn’t get enough interviews in Florio’s mind. This year, it was Lovie Smith who was fired as the Bears coach after not winning a playoff game in 7 seasons... gee, who wouldn't want to hire him?

Anyway, this year, he came up with a new way to race bait. See, it turns out that the name “Washington Redskins” is offensive to some people. Hence, the dictates of political correctness tell Florio that something must be done to eliminate this evil.

Now, before we go further, let me say this. First, I don’t doubt that the name is offensive to some people, though I know it was never meant to be offensive. . . team names are always meant to honor something. Secondly, I firmly believe those people have the right to be offended and to demand that the Redskins change their name. Third, I firmly believe that the Redskins have the right to use the name even if people are offended. Fourth, I honestly don’t care. This is the great thing about America. Everyone has a right to be upset about whatever they want, and the rest of us have the right to ignore them. If you can get enough people on your side that a business or sports team thinks it’s smart to change, then more power to you. . . just don’t use the government. Indeed, this is exactly what freedom is about: the right to insult, the right to be insulted, the right to not care, and the right to bear the consequences of your words and deeds.

Now, back to Florio. Florio is a typical liberal and this issue really highlights what is wrong with liberal thinking.

First, like all liberals, Florio pretends he’s nonpartisan even though he’s a heavy partisan hack. He’s like another idiot sports writer (and friend of Florio) Peter King, who claims to be nonpartisan and then goes on anti-gun rants, pro-Al Gore rants, pro-union rants, etc. So realize that he starts by lying about his biases.

Secondly, like liberals who seek to “raise awareness” and that garbage, Florio doesn’t actually take a stance himself. Nope. He doesn’t decide not to use the name or to stop showing the team logo. No, sir. He’s not a man of principle until he can get someone to force everyone else to stand on principle with him. It’s like a vegetarian who eats meat until everyone else is forced to give up meat as well. So much for principles.

Third, like all liberals who love to use other people to achieve their ends (see e.g. taxing the rich so liberals can spend their money and feel smug about helping people), Florio doesn’t even undertake this crusade himself. No, sir. Florio tries to force Washington Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III to do it. Indeed, that’s what got this issue noticed. Rather than saying “the Redskins should change,” Florio takes the position that RGIII need to be advocating for the change.

How nice is that to dump this on a kid who is new to the NFL and tell him that he better be out there running your crusade for you? Indeed, what a typical liberal ass to (1) try to hijack someone else’s popularity for his own cause, and to (2) dump his own responsibilities onto another person – responsibilities Florio himself won’t even partake in until RGIII changes the world so everyone needs to do as Florio wants

Moreover, did you notice that Florio simply assumes RGIII must agree with him? Indeed, it never occurs to Florio that anyone could disagree except for the Redskins’ owner who must be a racist. Let me suggest that there is actual racism in Florio picking RGIII. RGIII is black and it very much strikes me that Florio assumes that blacks must have solidarity with this issue because political correctness and identity politics assumes groupthink among minorities. In other words, because RGIII is black, Florio assumes he must be a fellow traveler.

Fourth, when Florio started drawing heat for this, he started phrasing his articles in the third person to suggest that this wasn’t an issue he had made up, but was instead an issued which everyone was already talking about. For example, if he asked person X about this in an interview, he wouldn’t say that he asked person X, he would instead describe it as if “people” were talking about this including person X. This is the same garbage leftists have been doing for a century – pretending that groups of people are clamoring for something they aren’t.

Fifth, the Washington Redskins responded by pointing out that a great many high school teams across the country use the same name and logo and that none of them have ever had a problem with it. Florio pounced on this by claiming it doesn’t matter how many people find the name non-offensive since that defense is “the equivalent of saying, ‘Well, some of my best friends are Redskins.’” See what he did there? He’s implying that if you agree with the Redskins, then you’re a racist. Further, think about this point. Florio claims that it doesn’t matter how many others aren’t bothered, so long as someone is bothered. If we take this at face value, then it’s a ludicrous position to take. All anyone needs to do is claim offense then everyone else would need to adjust. Essentially, Florio is advocating a world where we can all hold each other hostage by calling ourselves victims. This, of course, is exactly what political correctness is all about. It’s about letting tiny minority groups terrorize and demand concessions from whomever they want. It’s about letting the hypersensitive control the language and the culture.

Moreover, let me assure you that Florio’s position is disingenuous. In his world, he’s the arbiter of what is offensive and what isn’t, a right he denies the rest of us. If I contacted him tomorrow and I said that I found the name Florio offensive because it reminds me of hillbilly rapists, I can assure you he would not say, “well, Price is offended and it doesn’t matter how many people aren’t, the name needs to change.” No, he would say, “I’m not offended and I don’t believe other people will see the offense either, so I’m not changing.” But Mike, that’s like saying, “some of my best friends are Florios.” Assh*le.

Anyway, I expect this campaign will continue to go nowhere, but I thought it was worth pointing out this turd’s thinking because we see it over and over across the liberal spectrum. Liberals really are vile people who lie, distort, mislead and try to use others for their own purposes, all in the name of forcing others to “do the right thing,” a thing they don’t feel obligated to do themselves. Don’t ever believe it.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Guns For Sale...Except in NY

In response to the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT, the New State Legislature passed the NY SAFE Act which will go into full effect beginning March 15, 2013. Now it's not as if the gun laws in New York have been too lenient. Even before this new act, NY had some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. And as most legislation that is passed with all the sound and fury and all due speed that only elected officials can bring us, it is, shall we say, flawed.

Right off the bat, oops, our stalwart Legislators failed to add any exemptions for law enforcement. However, Governor Cuomo, looking all Presidential-y and in command-y, admits this flaw and will do something about that directly in the near future sometime.

And I quote (okay, not really, but I bet this is what his “internal dialogue” sounded like):

“Really, we all know that we didn’t mean that the police couldn’t…oh, well, you understand, don’t you? Look, I’m running for President and I had to use this to show how good I am at being in command! I had to get this shoved through our state Legislature to show President Obama up ‘cause HE can’t get it shoved through Congress. Well, and just as a little cherry on top, it should prove what good Democrats we are in New York [which might just help get those extra Hurricane Sandy dollars. So what if I only read the first few provisions! We got it mostly right, right? It coulda’ happened to anyone?”

And “Scene”…

Anyhow, the following are the new provisions of SAFE Act [from Wikipedia] and a Q&A from the Governor's own website:

- Bans possession of any high-capacity magazines regardless of when they were made or sold. The maximum capacity for a detachable magazine is reduced from ten rounds to seven. Magazines owned before passage of the SAFE Act able to hold seven to ten rounds can be possessed, but cannot be loaded with more than seven rounds. .22 caliber tubular magazines are exempt from this limit. Previously legal "pre-1994-ban" magazines with a capacity of 30 rounds are not exempt, and must be sold within one year to an out-of-state resident or turned into local authorities. The magazine limit takes effect April 15, 2013.[8]

- Ammunition dealers are required to do background checks, similar to those for gun buyers. Dealers are required to report all sales, including amounts, to the state. Internet sales of ammunition are allowed, but the ammunition will have to be shipped to a licensed dealer in New York state for pickup. Ammunition background checks will begin January 15, 2014.[9]

- Requires creation of a registry of assault weapons. Those New Yorkers who already own such weapons would be required to register their guns with the state.

- Requires any therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat of harming others to report the threat to a mental health director, who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.

- Stolen guns are required be reported within 24 hours. Failure to report can result in a misdemeanor.

- Reduces definition of "assault weapon" from two identified features to one. The sale and/or transfer of newly defined assault weapons is banned within the state, although sales out of state are permitted. Possession of the newly-defined assault weapons is allowed only if they were possessed at the time that the law was passed, and must be registered with the state within one year.

- Requires background checks for all gun sales, including by private sellers - except for sales to members of the seller's immediate family. Private sale background checks will begin March 15, 2013.[9]

- Guns must be "safely stored" from any household member who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed, or is currently under an order of protection.[9] Unsafe storage of assault weapons is a misdemeanor.

- Bans the Internet sale of assault weapons.

- Increases sentences for gun crimes, including upgrading the offense for taking a gun on school property from a misdemeanor to a felony.[10]

- Increases penalties for shooting first responders (Webster provision) to life in prison without parole.

- Limits the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. However, existing permit holders have to opt into this provision by filing a form within 120 days of the law's enactment.[citation needed] There also may exist issues with respect to "registered" owners in the new regulations vs "permit" holders under previous law.

- Requires pistol permit holders or owners of registered assault weapons to have them renewed at least every five years.

- Allows law enforcement officials to pre-emptively seize a person's firearms without a warrant if they have probable cause the person may be mentally unstable or intends to use the weapons to commit a crime.

Okay, so do you remember in the first paragraph where I said that oops, they forgot to exclude law enforcement? Well, there are now a whole slew of gun manufacturers who supply all those law enforcement agencies and officers in New York especially and they noticed. And they are taking these provisions very seriously. At least 30 suppliers have stated that they will no longer be supplying weapons and ammunition to any local, county, state, or federal law enforcement agencies in New York as per the provisions mandated by the SAFE Act. Some openly admit that is their response to the attack on the 2nd Amendment and some admit only to wanted to follow the laws of the state of New York. A rather bold move either way, but then none of these companies are hurting for business as per some of the disclaimers on their websites apologizing (or boasting) for delays because of record sales.

There is a third aspect to this which makes it even more interesting for our Governor. One of the oldest gun manufacturing companies in the country is Remington Arms Company founded in 1816 in Ilion, New York. Remington has been in continual operation for nearly 200 years and is one of the major employers in Illion and the surrounding area in Upstate New York. Well, Governor Cuomo is having to scramble to keep them from taking one of their many recent relocation offers from savvy Governors in those gun-ownership friendly states like Texas. So far they haven’t taken the bait, but the less business friendly New York state continues to be, the more seriously these offers will taken.

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It's Time To Embrace Gay Marriage

I figured I would start this week by upsetting some of you. You can thank me later. :) There was some talk last week about the issue of gay marriage and what conservatives should do about it. I’ve given this issue a lot of thought and I think it’s time for conservatives to drop their obsession with gays and embrace the idea. Yeah, I know, you don’t like it, but you’re wrong. Here’s why.

The Cost v. Benefit Reason: Let’s start with the only reason that really matters in politics: the costs of opposing gay marriage far outweigh the benefits. The costs of opposing gay marriage are actually quite extreme:
● Gays make up 3% of the population (about the same as Jews or Muslims) and they vote in much higher numbers than other members of the public. They also tend to work in “power” industries, like Hollywood, government and law. That makes them influential. They also contribute a lot of money to politicians. Those factors mean they punch way above their weight in politics.

Unfortunately, when they do vote, they vote nearly 100% in favor of the Democrats. This wasn’t always true however, and there’s no reason for it to be this way except that religious conservatives have shown real hatred for gays, which keeps gays out of the party. In fact, they’ve show such visceral pettiness that they won’t even let a gay conservative group have a booth at CPAC. That’s indefensible.

The Democrats have exploited this rather skillfully to politicize gays and turn them into an interest group through the issue of gay marriage. But this only works until the gays get what they want and as long as conservatives keep treating gays like lepers.

If the GOP endorsed gay marriage and stopped being nasty about gays, there would be no reason for gays to remain loyal to the Democrats. In effect, they would be de-politicized and there would be no reason for them to remain a Democratic block. That would mean the Democrats could lose a huge fundraising resource, a large chunk of supporters with influence and power, and a ton of votes. Indeed, if gays swung to 50/50 instead of 100/0, as is quite possible as they start voting on economic and other issues rather than “gay” issues, you would be talking about a 3% swing (-1.5% and +1.5%) in the electorate which would win the GOP a lot of Senate and House seats.

● But gays aren’t the only people turned off by conservatives on this issue. Conservatives have a horrible reputation among women and the young, and the conservative obsession with gays is the reason for this. Most of the women I’ve met have gay friends. Most of the young people I know don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay. Polls repeatedly confirm this.

Continuing to fight against this issue only reinforces the ideas that conservatives are intolerant jerks, who are completely obsessed with other people’s sex lives. Moreover, this isn’t just a “little” issue like funding/defunding some obscure program which most people can ignore, this is a HUGE issue made all the bigger by all those angry conservatives. . . who. . . can’t. . . stop. . . screaming. . . about. . . their. . . obsession. Conservatives have made this into a true hot button issue that is capable of swinging people from one party to another, and we’re on the wrong side.
So the cost of continuing to oppose gay marriage is the continuation of the 70% margins among women, single people and the young, and the continued politicization of gays in favor of the Democrats. At the same time, the benefits of opposing gay marriage are minimal at best:
● Poll after poll, shows the public now favors gay marriage by ever growing margins. When you factor out old people, the public overwhelmingly favors gay marriage. The issue is inevitable. . . you can’t win. Thus, the only benefit gained is to delay the inevitable for maybe a decade or two. Is a few years of delay worth getting destroyed as a political force and getting another Obamacare? In other words, is it worth letting America be destroyed just to slow up gay marriage for a few years?

● The only real “benefit” to opposing gay marriage is that it keeps the Religious Right on the conservative side. Let’s assume that’s a good thing. Still, so what? The Religious Right isn’t going anywhere. The worst they will do is not turn out, and if they don’t, so what? The Religious Right is concentrated in the theocratic states in the South, which the Democrats won’t win anyway. So we win Alabama by 8% instead of 18%, big whoop. In exchange for this, conservatives could instantly become competitive in a dozen other states.

Indeed, everything I’ve seen suggest that the Religious Right is about 6% of the electorate nationwide with the vast majority of them in the South. In the states we are losing they tend to be around 1-2% of voters, if that. If the GOP picks up 1/3 of gays it would offset that loss entirely, and that’s before you even factor in women and young people. The math is obvious.
There Are No Legitimate Arguments Against It: Putting aside the cynical math, the next question is why should we oppose this at all? This is something I’ve given a ton of thought to and I’ve reached the conclusion that I can’t find a valid reason for opposing gay marriage. Consider the arguments normally made:
● Conservatives predicted gay marriage would somehow destroy society, and it didn’t. Gay marriage is the law in a dozen states and those states have not seen a single spike in anything bad.

● Conservatives predicted gay marriage would destroy marriage, somehow. It hasn’t. There has been no rash of heterosexuals abandoning marriage. Not to mention, it’s pretty stupid to argue that marriage is so weak as an institution that it can’t withstand a few people getting married that you might not like.

● Conservatives argued there would be a benefits rush. That again hasn’t happened. Nor does this argument make sense unless you think we somehow factored in gays when we set up the math supporting those programs. Plus, the conservative embrace of civil unions demonstrates how disingenuous this argument was.

● Blah blah blah... the children. Show me some proof. After forty years of study, you would think there would be some proof supporting this argument. The lack of evidence is deafening.

● Liberals want it! (hat tip to HotAir) This argument is too stupid to bother refuting.

● The slippery slope. . . “but what about polygamy?” A slippery slope argument is the best giveaway that you have no valid basis for opposing something. When you find yourself arguing that this could lead to something bad, you are admitting that the thing you are opposing is itself not bad because you need to attack it using something else as a proxy.
The truth is that conservatives simply don’t like gays and these arguments are nothing more than a pretext. The only argument that is left is “gays are immoral,” but I find that entirely unpersuasive because I don’t accept the idea that the government should be telling consenting adults what they may or may not do based on the opinions of other people about how everyone should live their lives. Conservatives recognize this principle when it comes to liberal busybody-ism, why not in this instance? If you can’t find a third-party harm, there’s no reason the government should get involved.

But finally, here’s the biggest thing that changed my mind on gay marriage: I realized it doesn’t hurt me and I have no right to tell someone else how to live their lives. Try as I might, I just can’t think of any way that allowing gays to marry makes my life any less happy, less profitable, or less worthwhile. And for those of you who are so certain that the government needs to stop these people, ask yourself why this matters so much to you.

Thoughts?
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Open Thread -- Secret Message

Ok, this may sound strange, but sometimes Commentarama gets messages from the future. Yeah, I know, just work with me on this.... haven’t you seen Prince of Darkness? Anyway, we got one the other day in some sort of code we can’t quite figure out. Here’s the message. What does this mean?


While we're at it, any thoughts on messages we should send the future... or the past?

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Toon-arama: Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

Usually, tryanmax does the Toon-arama articles around here, but this one needed to be done. . . grrr. If you’re like me, and I know I am, then you enjoy a good Superhero cartoon now and then. Justice League: The New Frontier is NOT such a cartoon. To the contrary, it’s vile leftist crap flung from the bowels of a fetid monkey. Do not see this film. Do not let your kids see this film.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Co-Ed Rape=Not "Rape-Rape"

We've talked occasionally about not letting liberals off the hook so easily when they shoot their mouths off. Well, the mouth shooting-off was in rare form this week, thanks to a couple of blowhards. Meet Todd Akin's leftist counterparts.

This week, no doubt in reaction to recent furor over guns, the Colorado State House passed a bill that would ban concealed-carry on all state college campuses. (This is also proof that the state needs to go ahead and conduct a purge of all California-born residents, but I digress.) There were all the usual reasons cited: guns in the hands of intoxicated youths are bad, concealed-carry makes random shootings more likely, blah blah blah. I want to point out, though, that for once, Republicans did something smart; rather than talk vaguely about liberty and such, they made the issue specific, arguing that gun control takes away the ability of people to defend themselves--not least threatened young women. A gun-rights advocate said of concealed-carry:
"The types of people who go through the process to obtain a concealed carry permit are exactly the people who any mother or father would want to be able to defend themselves on campus. A woman shouldn't have to wait until it's too late to find out if she's actually going to be raped or not. We should allow competent, trained women the ability to defend themselves."
This is really very smart messaging. It puts the matter in concrete terms--people might be divided on gun rights, but nobody wants to stop a woman from defending herself. Also, this could serve as a bridge to certain demographics which typically do not vote Republican: Young, single, professional women in this case. But it could easily work in creating a dialogue with other groups. I've even heard many openly gay people support wide-ranging gun rights, if only to protect themselves from potential "hate crimes." And then there's the fact that such an argument forces Democrats to try and explain how this doesn't leave women vulnerable, with a high chance that they'll end up saying something really stupid. Which they did.

Witness one Democratic state rep, Joe Salazar, who in the course of debate on the bill defended the legislation by saying that although women might feel like they could get raped, there's no way of knowing for sure. "It's why we have call boxes, it's why we have safe zones, it's why we have whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at. And...[if you feel like you're being threatened when you actually aren't] you pop out that gun and you pop...pop around at somebody."

First of all, "pop around at somebody"? I'm pretty sure, based on that alone, that Mr. Salazar has never handled a gun in his life. Secondly, safe zones? Really? I've spent most of the past seven years on college campuses, and I couldn't point out a safe zone to you if I tried. But I guess they have magical properties that prevent thugs from getting anyone inside them. Maybe that's why I don't know of any. They're invisible to young men, or something.

But I haven't even reached the piece de resistance yet. I don't watch Fox's The Five often; apart from Gutfeld, most of the people on there are just too shallow. But the show does reveal a lot about liberals and conservatives through their gut reactions to news pieces. For proof of this, look no further than the panel's representative from the Left, Bob Beckel, who on Tuesday, as this issue from Colorado was being discussed, defended the Dems by arguing that campus rape was not a good reason for concealed-carry, because turns out, it doesn't actually exist. Really. His words were "When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?" and he then went on to suggest that date rape didn't count. Well, then! I mean, even Akin didn't suggest that rape wasn't a thing.

Look, Beckel is, as I said, a blowhard, and one could make the excuse that he was speaking off the cuff and the words came out wrong. But that doesn't change the fact that however frequent liberals believe campus rape to be, they would rather put this nanny-state project above the welfare of young women. If you think that's too harsh, consider the University of Colorado's guidelines, presumably written out after calm deliberation, about what women should do in a threatening situation. Among the winners: "If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense." "Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating." "Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone." So there you go, ladies....you can't use lethal force to defend your body, but you can humiliate yourselves to your heart's content. I know I shouldn't speak for women or whatever, but if I had two X chromosomes and were placed in that position, I think I'd rather say "Stop or I'll shoot!" than "Wait, I'm on my period!" But that could just be me being misogynistic.

Anyway, this whole episode, despite the possible signing into law of this terrible bill, is good for our side. Not only did it provide an effective counter to Republican missteps concerning women's rights (or at least it would have if the media had given it equal coverage), it shows how the Left can't even provide a coherent platform. They claim to support empowering women, but when a dear cause like gun control comes up, that goes right out the window. We need more episodes like this.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Detroit, City On The Move

So you think you have problems, huh? Just be thankful you don’t live in Detroit. Imagine this. You live in a dirty city known primarily for being the armpit of the Earth. The locals burn the city to the ground every Devil’s Night and every time one of their sports teams win some tournament. The city and workforce are heavily unionized and bureaucratic. . . a veritable liberal utopia, so they don’t really want to do anything to fix their problem and they’re too lazy to try. Naturally, they’re all Democrats.

The city has bled more than a million residents since its heyday, falling from 1.9 million people to 700,000 today due to white flight. It’s $14 BILLION dollars in debt (about $23,000 per resident) and has a $900 million per year deficit. Its unemployment rate is 16%. Its top eight employers are governments, hospitals, or universities.

Between 2006 and 2010, Detroit was the most dangerous city in America. The city is awash in crime, having the sixth highest violent crime in the US today. 2/3 of all murders in Michigan happen in Detroit. The violent crime rate is double the national average. The property crime rate is triple the national average. Even their ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was a mini-crime wave unto himself. He’s currently doing five years and is on trial again for 38 felony racketeering charges involving some of Detroit’s most prominent officials.

Let’s face it, Robocop turned out to be an eerie look into the future.

And don’t forget, it’s friggin cold.

Things have gotten so bad that the city is trying to tear down parts of the city which have been all but abandoned so they don’t need to provide services to those areas anymore. They also tried to solve their problem by creating three casinos, the usual last refuge of the inept. . . “hey, let’s drain money from people who are even dumber than we are!”

Unsurprisingly, none of this is working.

Detroit is the paradigm of what happens when liberals get to run a place for generations. Liberalism strips people of what they call “the ownership society.” It teaches dependence and reliance. It teaches selfishness and creates an attitude that if nobody else cares, then why should I? It allows crime and corruption to run rampant because it never holds people to account. It destroys the worth ethic, the human need for self-improvement, and it offers destructive solutions (like casinos or more of the same with even more money) as placebos. Liberalism is soul destroying. You are better off being hit by a comet than a Democratic administration.

People really should study Detroit and teach the lessons of its failure.

So out of curiosity, what would you do to turn Detroit around?


** If you haven't seen this, check these stunning photos Koshcat found of the way Detroit has deteriorated: LINK. It's like something out of an apocalypse film. **
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Makes A Good James Bond Film

Because my life isn’t busy enough, tomorrow, we’re opening a new day at the site. . . Thursdays. And we’re going to use Thursdays to honor James Bond turning 50 this year. We’ll do Questionable Bonds, a little analysis here and there, and I’m going to rank the films from worst to best. And trust me, there were some worsts. Anyway, let’s kick things off with a discussion of what makes the Bond films work. James Bond films have three vital elements: James Bond, the Bond Girls, and the villain, and each needs to come together for the film to succeed.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Handling A Scandal

Who knew it was wrong to visit underage hookers in the Dominican Republic while lying about who paid for the trip to get you there? Oh, and did I mention that the person in question is a US Senator? Did you know the donor who paid $58,000 to make these trips happen via private jet is under criminal investigation for Medicare fraud? The Democratic Senator in question is New Jersey's Robert “Come here little girl” Menendez. The reason you haven’t heard much about this is what I want to talk about because this highlights several lessons the Republicans must learn.

Media “Silence”: This scandal has been a virtual paradigm of how the MSM helps Democrats. Under normal circumstances, when someone is accused of a sex crime, the media can’t get enough. . . because they’re perverts and they love that stuff. Add in a political angle and you’re guaranteed to have “journalists” camping out before homes and chasing down limousines to get you pictures of the perv all the while using the word “alleged” to avoid legal problems. This time, however, there is near total silence.

Why? To put it simply, because the MSM would rather protect a kiddie-phile than be forced to unseat someone of their ideological liking.

But the MSM couldn’t get away with total silence, so what they’ve done is a rather fascinating bit of advocacy. First, the leftist New York Times ran an article saying that Menendez should lose his committee chairmanship in the Senate until this thing blows over. Notice that they didn’t call on him to resign, nor did they demand a witch burning, as they would have done had Menendez been anything other than a sitting Democratic powerbroker. The purpose of this article was two fold. First, it saved the reputation of the NYT in the event Menendez finally goes down because they can claim they were calling for his head from the beginning. . . even though they didn’t. At the same time, the article actually buys the Democrats time by suggesting that a pointless slap on the wrist is the appropriate punishment and it basically advocates referring this issue to committee. . . where all investigations go to be forgotten. In effect, they are telling the public to be placated if Menendez simply maintains a low profile until the thing blows over. But they are keeping their options open to claim they were after him should things turn ugly.

Meanwhile, fellow travelers like The Washington Post are running articles quoting unnamed sources who assure us that there is no truth to these allegations, that the allegations are politically motivated (even if true), and that there is nothing to see here. This is a classic whitewash.

Harry Scumbag Reid: Harry Reid has handled this perfectly too. First, he has refused to say anything other than to repeat the mantra that this is under investigation and we need to learn the facts first. This does two things. First, it makes him sound like he is taking this serious at the same time he’s telling people that this is not a big deal. Yet, it also leaves the door open for him to jettison Menendez should things go wrong for Menendez. Moreover, by refusing to say anything more, he shifts the focus to the investigation itself, and with the investigators not talking, the story basically dies. . . as there are no journalists doing their own digging.

At the same time, you may notice that not another single Democrats has uttered a word about this. This is a lesson the Republicans really need to learn. Every lawyer knows this. . . when your client is in trouble, you shut up, you tell them to shut up, and you tell their friends to shut up. Why in the world Republicans always think they need to opine on any scandal against one of their own is beyond me, but it’s stupid. Seriously, if you can’t say anything good, then stay away from the microphone until it’s time to put a knife in the guy.

Republican Silence: There are many lessons here for conservatives. First, follow Reid’s example when one of your own gets into trouble. Don’t volunteer to try the guy in the media. Don’t offer juicy quotes of support or condemnation. . . send it to committee unless you’re sure how it will turn out, and then act decisively with a total defense or a total condemnation.

Secondly, the MSM will never do their job when a Democrat is at risk, so it’s time for conservatives to develop their own journalists. The Democrats couldn’t hide this if there were a dozen real conservative journalists digging into this story and writing story after story about it. That would force them to respond, which will smoke out the Harry Reids and the Menendezes and force their hands before they are ready. Right now, there is no one doing this. . . conservatives just spin AP stories, they don’t investigate.

Third, where are the people screaming from the sidelines? This is perhaps the biggest lesson. If Menendez had been a Republican, every Democrat on Capitol Hill would have attacked this as illegal, disgusting and a breach of Congressional ethics. They would be filing complaints, demanding censure and demanding ouster. Every head of every interest group would be doing the same. Feminists would be screaming about the abuse of women. Child-advocates would be talking about the abuse of children. Immigrant groups would be talking about the abuse of foreigners. Child-sex people (con) would be out there screaming that Menendez is worse than Hitler. Child-sex people (pro) would be calling him a hypocrite. And it wouldn’t matter to these people if this was true or not, they would be screaming away. And if it turned out he wasn’t guilty, so what. . . they move on to the next target with no sense of shame.

So where are the conservative groups? No one on our side is screaming about him, disrupting his office or his press conferences, writing editorials, putting up billboards, whatever. Nada.

I think this is the result of several factors that need to change:
● Conservatives need to learn that politics is bloodsport and they need to learn to attack everything. You can’t kill an idea, but you can kill the messenger, so start aiming for the people. There are no points given for manners or nobility. Honor is for chumps.

● Despite the fact conservatives whine about the MSM, they bizarrely turn to the MSM at moments like this and trust that the MSM will “do it’s job.” This is sheer stupidity. Stop relying on institutions that oppose you. Conservatives need to become journalists and generate their own stories.

● The real issue, however, goes back to conservatives no longer caring about people. Conservatives are happy to talk about budgets and theory, but the moment they need to actually talk about a human being (and especially specific human beings) they clam up. For reasons I do not understand, conservatives just don’t like talking about things that make the blood boil or which are likely to upset people on a personal/emotional level. They dismiss this as a sideshow or as Jerry Springer. The truth is that these are the issues from which public perception is made. To give Menendez a pass is to help the Democrats maintain their image as non-corrupt and decent. It’s time conservatives start realizing that the public, like soylent green, is made from people, not robots, not computers, not economics or theologians. . . people. Reagan campaign guru Lee Atwater once said that he read the National Enquirer ever day because that helped him keep a pulse on what people are thinking. Conservatives need to put down the textbooks and start looking at what really matters to people.
Thoughts?
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Obama(doesn’t)care

You may have noticed, now that the federal government is lurching forward with Obamacare, that a great many numbers are coming out which show just what for a nightmare this program will become. See what you make of this.

● First, I told you a couple weeks back that it turns out that Obamacare lets insurers blast old people with three times (300%) the premiums of young people. It also lets insurers add a 50% surcharge on smokers. Thus, a 60-year-old smoker who earns $35,000 a year could well be hit with premiums in the range of $8,411, with we taxpayers paying another $7,000 to the insurer as a subsidy.

● Then came this little tidbit. A couple weeks ago, the IRS put out guidance which estimated that the cheapest Obamacare plan you will need to buy. . . the stripped down Ford Escort of plans without any bells and whistles will cost a family of four at least $20,000 a year. Hope Taco Bell gives you a raise.

● Now there’s news about the uninsurables which should trouble people. One of the biggest promises used to sell Obamacare was that the law would make it illegal for insurers to turn away people with pre-existing conditions. That provision goes into effect next year. In the meantime, a stop-gap measure was passed. It is this stop-gap that has proven interesting.

To help the uninsurables until they are declared insurable, Congress set up a program whereby anyone with a pre-existing condition which prevents coverage, and who has been uninsured for at least six months, could get Uncle Sam to pick up their bills. A total of 135,000 people got into this program.... before they closed it to the public. That’s right. The program is now closed because Team Obama has determined that they can’t afford to let any more people in. This is because they’ve blown through half of the $5 billion they were given to run the program and they need the rest to get through the rest of this year.

So let’s think about this. 135,000 people cost $2.5 billion to cover for one year. That works out to about $18,500 per person. This turned out to be much more expensive than expected when the program was created. . . as you would expect. What does this tell us about the future? Well, let’s start with how many of these people there are in the general population. According to The Washington Post, there are between 9 million and 25 million such people. In technical parlance, this wide of a spread is called “pulledthenumberfromyourasstimating,” but let’s go with it. Using this number, we see that the Democratic plan to help these people ultimately was available to only 0.5% to 1.5% of the people who needed it before it ran out of money. That sounds like a Democratic plan, doesn’t it?

Moreover, if we project these costs forward, then covering the cost of these 9 / 25 million uninsurables lurking among us like tax-lepers or human tax-sink-holes will cost taxpayers somewhere between $167 billion to $463 billion per year. To put this into perspective, all of Medicare spends only $482 billion a year.

Now ask yourself why Obama didn’t fight to get more funding? Why was he happy to take the $5 billion and then look the other way as the program died? The answer is simple. With the $5 billion, he was able to claim that he did something to help these people... even if it only helped 0.5% of them. But covering them all would be a PR nightmare. Indeed, these people cost too much for the Federal government to pay for them. So Obama’s plan is to “hide” them within private insurance carriers.

Think of it this way. If Obama taxed you $400 billion to cover these people, you would freak out. You might even revolt. But if he instead forces private insurance to cover these people, then insurance rates raise by $400 billion and he can point his finger at evil insurance “price gougers” without anyone ever realizing that he’s basically using the insurers to impose a tax he didn’t want the federal government to carry on its books.

Now consider this. In 2010, about $2 trillion was spent on healthcare in the US. Extrapolating these people, if there are 25 million of them, then this 8% of the population accounts for 25% of the total healthcare spending in the US. It strikes me that the answer to this issue is not to jam these people into the system and let everyone else pay for them... as Obama is doing. No, the answer is to find a better (read: cheaper) way to get these people cared for.

If ever there was a moment where government should involve itself in the healthcare industry directly, it should be to make sure that these people are taken care of without breaking the rest of the system. Yet, here is the government essentially punting on these people and just forcing private industry to pick up the tab. This really highlights just how bad Obama and the Democrats are at problem-solving. Wouldn’t it be better to set up an alternative system, perhaps through medical schools, to treat these people? Or to set up special clinics for these people that reduce the costs of long-term care? Perhaps using a little purchasing power to get the ultra-high cost drugs they need at cost or cheaper? The least effective means to cover these people seems to be just dumping them into private insurers and saying, “you cover them or else.”

What this tells me is that the Democrats suck at problem solving. Even when it comes to using the power of government, they have no idea what they are doing. They are a bull in a china shop. Let’s face it, Democrats suck.

Thoughts?
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Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day Caption Contest

For those of you who remember what a good president is like, Happy President's Day! For the rest of you, give us a caption for the following image. Winner gets a prize, but the taxes will make it worthless so don't hold your breath that anything will appear in your mailbox...

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Open Thread -- Vox Populi


Ok, let's do this a little differently. Share your thoughts about the minimum wage. Pro/con? Good politics? Bad economics? Just give me the damn burger?
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Film Friday: Speed Racer (2008)

You may, or may not, have heard of a little bomb called Speed Racer. Directed by the Wachowski “brothers,” this film is a live version of the 1960’s Japanese cartoon of the same name. This film lost $27 million of its $120 million investment and it was widely panned by critics. But I’m gonna tell you, I like this film. What the critics hated about the film is that they couldn’t relate to it. Why couldn’t they relate to it? Because it’s an un-cynical film aimed at young boys.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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The Green Movement: Anti-Everything

It's no secret around these parts that the environmental movement has beclowned itself over and over again, especially the really fringe elements. But they're even more nuts than you'd think, as we'll see below. I also have to come clean about something. Sorry.

So there are a lot of people in the world. And most environmentalists say that's a bad thing. But lots of people are also pet owners, which means at least some animals--cats, dogs, boa constrictors, etc.--ought to avoid extinction and the consequences of us raping Mother Earth pretty easily (as should all those houseplants). And that's a good thing. Right? Well, not so much, it seems.

At least, that's what New Zealand economist Gareth Morgan believes. In an interview last month, Morgan said that cats, in their way, are just as damaging to the environment as evil Homo sapiens. See, felines, if you weren't already aware of this, have a tendency to attack and kill birds (and then proudly leave the mangled remains on your doorstep). In New Zealand, a land with some very diverse native wildlife, this has supposedly led to the endangerment or extinction of numerous bird species. Probably there was a lot more at work than that, but sure, we'll say cats' predatory instincts didn't help. And of course, everyone wants to protect the beautiful rare birds. Morgan has a fairly simple proposal on how to do this: Kill all cats.

Okay, to be fair, Morgan didn't say that exactly. That would be twisting his words around, which is wrong. He merely suggested that it would be a good idea if:

a) all cats in the country were tagged;
b) all cats found wandering off their owners' property be confiscated;
c) said confiscated cats be euthanized by the authorities unless their owners claim them, in which case they have to pay a fine;
d) the government subsidize all this euthanasia; and
e) owners thus deprived of their pets be "encouraged" not to get a replacement feline.

See, he's totally not saying "Kill all cats."

Now, I have a slight admission to make before I go any further. As it happens....I love cats. Always have. I mean, come on! They're just so adorable when they purr or stretch out on the couch and they're so fluffy and cute when they're little kittens and--okay, that's getting too mushy. Anyway, point is, no, I do not kill cats in my spare time, nor have I ever done so. Sorry to disillusion you guys. But like all cat lovers, you can imagine that I did not take the opinion of this "expert" very well. And frankly, I don't have to give a scientific reason why I didn't. This is one of those examples of irrational, emotionally-based decisions sometimes counting for a lot. Of course cats (and other domesticated animals, not to mention mice and rats) have upset many ecosystems into which they've been introduced, sometimes very destructively. That doesn't mean I'm going to value "restoring the natural balance" over my kittycat. I just don't care about it to that degree.

And look, here's the thing: It's not the case that when humans and their accompanying critters encounter a previously untouched land, they're seeing it in its "pristine" state. No such condition exists, or has ever existed. Nature, as more reflective environmentalists might realize, has always been in a state of flux. Every ecosystem, humans or no, cats or no, has been upset at some point in its past, and in some sense, every species is an invasive one. Even the permanent-looking California redwoods have only been a part of their current habitat for the past few thousand years, which as anyone will tell you is a mere blip from the whole biosphere's point of view. To say that cats running loose among the native bird population, however regrettable that might be in some ways, is the end of the world only shows that you don't fully understand that phrase.

But there's another way in which this exposes the strange and twisted logic of the green movement. As it has repeatedly demonstrated, the environmentalist Left is inherently anti-human in sentiment, and has been increasingly open about it. A former president of PETA made waves a few years ago by declaring, "When it comes to feelings, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. There is no rational basis for declaring that human beings have special rights." It doesn't require much effort to pick apart the import of this statement as far as we're concerned, but consider the logical outflow here. If humans and animals are implicitly equal and have the same right to live, and if humans don't have a right to live, at least not a right that trumps "protecting the environment," then it stands to reason that animals don't have a right to live, either. If any species is threatening the supposed balance of their ecosystem, then that species ought to be eliminated or at least cut down to size. And who will be doing the--ahem--reduction? Why, the self-appointed guardians of Mother Earth, of course. Just consider the past demands to shrink the number of cattle because of their methane production, or now this particular case. See how we've gone from saving Bambi to potentially killing Bambi? "Bleeding heart" liberals, my you-know-what.

Anyway, yeah I do like cats. So there's that.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Caption This: Help Needed

Now, I don't mean to scare you, but it's cold and about to snow. And what is better than a good scare to get the old blood pumpin'! So...


BOO!!



No, really, what could she be so surprised about? Please help! If we figure this out maybe we can help her!

And to all you wonderful Commentarama-ians

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Drones And Our Warlord In Chief

When Bush was in office, the left screamed that Bush’s use of drones was a “war crime.” When Obama took over, the left became strangely silent on this issue, as well as all the other issues that they considered “war crimes” when Bush did them. Let’s talk about Obama’s foreign policy generally and why there is good reason to be upset at Obama’s use of drones.

Let me start by pointing out the hypocrisy here. When Obama first ran for office, he ran on opposition to the invasion of Iraq. He also opposed Bush’s use of secret C.I.A. prisons and the warrantless surveillance of the Patriot Act. He attacked Bush for denying Guantanamo Bay detainees civil rights, and he promised to close the facility. He said he would ban “harsh interrogation techniques.” And many on the left, though I don’t recall Obama saying this specifically, really hated the use of drones and wanted it stopped. And he spoke of having a humbler foreign policy.

Well, Obama took over and lo and behold, he did none of this – except ban waterboarding. To the contrary, Obama became uber-Bush. His Justice Department tried to strip the Gitmo detainees of person status, in violation of the Constitution and international law. His Justice Department decided that military tribunals rather than civilian courts were just fine. And now, his Justice Department has not only decided that drones are cool, but they’re way cool and they should be used with reckless abandon.

The left has remained completely silent on these points, just as they cheered when he tried to bully Honduras (after saying we needed to stop interfering in Central America), just as they cheered when he sent troops to kill pirates, to fight rebels in Africa, to bomb terrorists in Somalia and Yemen, and to basically fight a Laos-type war in Pakistan, just as they pounded their chests when he bombed Libya, just as they are now screaming for him to bomb Syria. This is all the things the left hated about Bush, only on steroids. As an aside, they also used to fight things like land mines and the use of depleted uranium in shells... until Obama took over, now they’re cool.

Now get this, this is rich. When the Justice Department issued their memo on drones the other day, the left finally decided they need to say something. Said some ACLU hack:
“That memo coming out, I think, was a wake-up call. These last few days, it was like being back in the Bush days. It’s causing a lot of cognitive dissonance for a lot of people. It’s not the President Obama they thought they knew.”
Cognitive dissonance my smoking rear end... try willful collaboration. You’d have to be willfully blind to somehow fail to see what Obama has been doing for four years and to only now understand that Obama=Bush.

Anyway, here’s the deal with drones.

First, the problem I’ve had with the left on this issue is that there is no logic to their reasoning. Leftists have opposed drones on principle, and the reason seems to be that they don’t like the idea of the American military killing someone without those people getting a chance to kill American soldiers. This is what they are saying when they whine about wars being fought by “remote control.” This is bull. There is no logic to this whatsoever, nor is there any morality to this. The idea that it’s only acceptable to kill someone if you endanger yourself in the process is, frankly, retarded thinking. And I think it comes from their anti-American sentiment in that they don’t want the American military to be able to fight without suffering casualties. This is as stupid as arguing that soldiers shouldn’t be allowed to use guns because it’s too easy to kill someone with a gun before they have a chance to try to knife you, and it’s immoral to argue that if we are going to go to war, then we need to take proportional causalities.

Over time, they’ve added a new strain to the anti-drone argument. This one holds that the problem with drones is that they are “indiscriminate.” This is, of course, nonsense. The US is not flying drones that are out there picking their own targets and fighting a war without human input. That’s the science fiction view, not the reality. And it doesn’t take a human pilot to be able to identify the targets that will be hit. So again, this is stupid.

Then they came up with the idea that drone strikes are evil because they are depriving terrorists of their constitutional rights. Only, they have no such rights. So the left hunted around until they found some dead terrorist with American citizenship and they claimed, “see, Bush is killing Americans with drones without due process.” The counter to this is, of course, that when you engage in armed combat against America, you really have no rights. Sadly for the left, however, before this issue caught on, Obama took over and they had to shut up for fear of hurting the image of their Warrior in Chief. So the issue went away.

BUT... now we come to what Obama is doing, and this is where the problem arises. Not only has Obama’s Justice Department decided that killing Americans is fine, but they went further. They decided that something called “signature strikes” are fine. Signature strikes are the racial profiling of the terrorism world. Basically, the CIA is allowed to blow you up if you engage in conduct that appears to be terrorism related even if it doesn’t have a clue who you are. In other words, Obama is letting the CIA blow people up because they are doing things that fit the profile of terrorist without any idea of who these people are or what they are doing. That actually is a violation of international law which doesn’t let you target non-combatants.

So the question now is, will the left stand by their supposed principles (fat chance) or will they continue their deafening silence to support Obama? To give you a sense, feminists haven’t said word one about the massive gender-based pay disparities in the White House, gays stayed silent for four years about Obama’s lack of support for gay marriage, environmentalists still won’t admit that Obama sold them out in Copenhagen, etc. etc.

I think conservatives need to turn up the heat here. Rand Paul is doing this and I’d like to see others do it too. Obama gets away with talking self-righteously but acting the opposite. It’s time to put an end to that. Make him choose... expose his left flank. Don’t think that by remaining silent, you will leave the door open for the next Republican president to do the same... the left doesn’t work that way.

Finally, there’s an interesting point someone made the other day which is worth tossing into the discussion. The thinking is that the reason Obama is using massive numbers of drone attacks is purely political: he wants to avoid capturing terrorists because he doesn’t want to deal with the headaches created by his rhetoric. Basically, he doesn’t know what to do with them, where to put them, or how to keep them without trying them, because his rhetoric wiped out all the options. Nor does he want to deal with the possibility of being in charge when a terrorist attack happens and people find out it could have been prevented if his administration had actually questioned the people they caught. Thus, he thinks it’s safer to kill them all. Interesting. Maybe they should have waited on that Nobel Peace Prize?

Thoughts?
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guest Review: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

By ScottDS

I watch Live Free or Die Hard and I can't help but feel disappointed afterwards. It’s an action film that just happens to have Die Hard in the title. It’s better than it has a right to be but it doesn’t make for a satisfying experience. The goodwill garnered from the first three films can only help so much.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Is the Tea Party Dead? Hardly...

You may think that, like the Occupy movement, the Tea Party movement has dissolved and blown away. But despite what David Brooks might think or wish, we are alive and well. What Mr. Brooks and so many others who keep ringing the death knell do not see or understand, we have gone “local”.

I do not know how many people on Commentarama Isle who have participated directly in the movement. I am sure many of us have attended at least one rally and some meetings with local groups. I was an original member of TeaParty365.org, the first group to form in New York City in 2009. David Webb, a local radio talk show host and some others staged our first rally in February 28, 2009 in City Hall Park in lower Manhattan with about 300 participants. Sparked by TARP and newly elected Barack Obama's pending $700 billion "stimulus" package and auto bailouts, our burgeoning message was simple - WE, THE TAXPAYING CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY, THINK GOVERNMENT SPENDING IS OUT OF CONTROL AND WE WANT IT TO STOP. There were no other issues more important or urgent. It has been reported that on that day over 750 separate rallies were held around the country.

This was followed quickly by Tax Day Tea Party rallies, July 4th rallies, and an astounding 9/12 Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C. where upwards of over a million people from around the country showed up to voice their frustration and disgust at a government that we felt was spirally out of control.

After the great success at the 2010 mid-term elections (for which the RNC should be considerably more grateful), the Tea Party appeared to fade away. The left-wing pundits and perhaps the RNC began to breathe a sigh of relief that we appeared to lose interest. But these great knowers of all things political, failed to recognize that the only thing that had changed was that we were no longer interested in staging big rallies. Oh, they were great fun, but they did not really advance anything and only fueled the MSM and certain Congressional leadership to mock us mercilessly (and shamelessly). They did not understand that we realized what would advance our cause was...well, you know the saying "All politics is local"? Yeah, we went local. So, gone are the heady days of staging national rallies with funny signs and tri-corn hats. We are now working on the state, county, and local community level in a bottom-up overhaul of the Republican Party to try and move it back to its conservative roots and frankly, to save it from itself.

It has not been without trouble. Unlike other movements, we prided ourselves that we were “leaderless”. Because of that, the movement became quickly co-opted by national figures like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Dick Armey and many local and state politicians all claiming to be the leaders and voices of Tea Party. The problem is that no one consulted the boots on the ground.

In a certain respect, the original two million* who showed up in Washington on September 12, 2009 were naive. We did not WANT leaders and/or leader-politicians, but sadly, no movement can last indefinitely without leadership. On the national level, the Tea Party and affiliated groups – FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, the “Bigs” at Breitbart.com and others - have become mired in infighting, jockeying for national control and time on the national pundit shows. This is to be expected because this is what happens when two or more people aligned in a cause.

As I predicted after the 2010 midterm elections in which we aligned ourselves with the less hostile Republican Party, the Tea Party turned its sites toward (or against) the leadership in the Republican Party and began holding them to their promises. There is now a war brewing with the “establishment” Republicans and the Tea Party. If we are honest with ourselves, Rove has a point. We have helped nominate some real wack-a-doodles as candidates. But in the Tea Party’s defense, we have gotten no help from the RNC. For their part, they have refused to help fund campaigns or throw their considerable financial weight and any media savvy campaign organizer to help guide or groom our candidates. Support that they owe to our "boots on the ground" campaigners made available to them.

So where is the Tea Party heading? We will continue to work locally and let the national guys duke it out among themselves. At a recent meeting of my local group , Gotham Tea Party, we had a speaker from redstate.com Peter List who blogs under the name “unionlaborreport” – who admonished us to communicate and coordinate with other local groups rather than depend on any national groups. Very good advice. But despite all of the calls of our demise, rest assured that we are alive, and well, and meeting in some local pub plotting our next move.

*Well, 500 to 2,000,000 depending on the news source.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Handicapping The State Of The Union

So Obama’s “big” State of the Union is tonight. I’m not watching it because I’d rather have my fingernails ripped out. I suspect many of you won’t bother either. The truth is that nothing he says will matter because no real legislation is going to get out of the Congress and the things his supporters want aren’t things he can deliver through regulations. Still, that doesn’t stop the left from dreaming.

There have been a bunch of articles lately outlining all the things leftists want Obama to deliver, and they think the SOTU will be the speech that starts the ball rolling. Here’s your scorecard of what the left thinks is coming:

Gays. Gays want Obama to force everyone to grant benefits to gay partners. However, this would require significant new legislation. The best Obama can do is extend benefits to federal employees, which he hasn’t done yet. He may do that. Also, the Pentagon is about to extend benefits to the partners of gay soldiers.

Angry Chicks. Feminists want an “equal pay” bill which would allow the federal government to establish wages throughout the economy by declaring jobs to be “comparable” and then forcing employers to pay the same to those professions. However, that would require a constitutional change, so forget it. The Democrats keep dangling legislation to do this on a smaller scale, but that won’t pass either. The fallback demand now is to extend the Family Medical Leave Act to small business. Again, that requires legislation, so forget it.

Environmentalists Environmentalists are praying that Obama revive the cult of global warming. They are particularly furious that he’s been focusing on energy production to please the proles, when he should be promising to shut down the economy. They are hoping Obama will use the EPA to issue regulations shutting down the US economy. I suspect Obama will do some of this. . . at least, to the extent it helps Obama donor G.E.

Hispanics. Hispanic groups are hoping Obama demands immediate, unconditional citizenship for all illegals. This one will be interesting. If Obama wants to grant them citizenship, then he could embrace the Rubio bill and get it done – though there will be some conditions. But Obama also is a grandstanding jerk, and he’s likely to throw a huge wrench into this debate by laying down impossible demands and conditions and attacking Rubio.

Gun nuts. Obama’s left flank has gone insane over gun control, even as the public’s interest in the issue has faded and as the NRA has been declared the winner by liberal media groups. Indeed, I had to laugh at an rather defeatist article the other day which noted that the DEMOCRATS in the Senate would kill any real reform. Ha ha. I would look for Obama to grandstand on this issue now because it’s safe for him to do since no bill will ever reach his desk.

As an interesting aside, California Democrats are already way over-playing their hand on this issue. California and New York have entered into a competition to have the strongest anti-gun laws. California Democrats are trying to up New York by proposing to ban all guns that can hold more than one bullet at a time and forcing people to pass background checks to buy ammo. Sadly for them, with there being no GOP in California, they may need to act on their words. That could be the kind of overreach that finally revives the GOP in California... assuming they give up on the immigration issue.

Others. Interestingly, I haven’t heard much from unions. I’m not sure why. Perhaps they are satiated from their prior plundering. . . or they were just too lazy to put their demands together. Peaceniks seem pretty silent too now that Obama has become the Drone Warrior in Chief. And for some reason, blacks seem to be pretty quiet suddenly -- which is actually rather interesting given the massive levels of unemployment in the black community.

All in all, there are several things to consider when handicapping what Obama will say tonight:
1) He wants a legacy and he seems to have decided his legacy will be based on talking really far left. BUT...

2) He needs to be careful not to give his supporters what they want. If they get what they want, then they’ll go away and stop supporting him. Thus, he can only give them token changes.

3) His administration seems very worried about jobs because he doesn’t want to be known as the guy who presided over eight years of recession. So he absolute will not want anything that could slow the economy, i.e. nothing liberal.
The best way to satisfy these goals would be for Obama to give an angry leftist speech which lays out a laundry list of BIG demands that have no chance of getting passed because they require Congress to act. That way, his supporters will feel placated, but there’s no real risk of anything happening that could hurt the economy or satiate his supporters so they go home. That’s my guess. And I think his supporters will lap it up like idiots who don’t realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods.

Thoughts?
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Free Again...

I'm making Without A Hitch free again on Kindle for the next two days. So go download it if you haven't already and please leave a review.
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Too Inside Baseball

I respect Michael Barone. He’s knowledgeable and he’s insightful. I have, however, lost a good deal of faith in his insight lately. It’s not so much that he got the election results so wrong, it’s that I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s really grasped yet why we lost. His article the other day about Eric Cantor highlights the problem. In fact, it highlights the problem with the entire beltway pundit-ocracy.

I’ve made no secret of the things I’ve learned and the things I’ve come to realize about the defects with our side right now. We offer nothing that anyone except a few purists could care about. We offer nothing to assure people that they will have jobs in the future, much less better jobs. We offer nothing to protect homeowners, to make investments less of a rigged game, to help people send their kids to school, to ensure people’s retirement, to ensure people’s health or safety, or to protection people’s privacy or civil rights. And the public knows this. They see that we don’t offer any of these things.

You would think that someone whose job it is to analyze our political system, our parties, and our electorate would recognize this huge glaring defect staring us in the face. Yet, our pundits don’t. Everywhere I look, our pundits are jerking themselves off over Benghazi or whatever tactical advantage they think the Republicans have over “sequestration”. . . a term not one in 100 Americans has even heard. They still think there’s an “advantage” to be gained by forcing the Democrats to pass a budget. . . an issue the public again doesn’t care about in the least. Or they think Reid’s fake attack on senate procedures matters to people. Whatever.

The problem here is that every one of these people is too “inside baseball.” They live in a private club and they don’t realize that the public doesn’t care about their club. Think of it this way. Every year industries like the marketing industry and Hollywood hand out all kinds of technical achievement awards for things that excite all the experts but which the public never notices. It’s the same thing here. The public does not care about process or about achievement or about gamesmanship. . . they only care about the big picture and results. Our pundits don’t seem to get that anymore because they’ve been in the club so long they mistake the club for America. It’s not.

That brings me to Michael Barone and, by extension, Eric Cantor.

On Thursday, Cantor gave a big speech that was supposed to lay out the new and improved vision for the Republican party. This was supposed to be the unveiling of the new consumer-friendly strategy. . . the grand opening of the NEW GOP to win the people back.

That sound of crickets you hear is coming from the public.

The sound of gushing you hear is coming from the insiders.

That’s the problem.

Michael Barone wrote about the speech in rather glowing terms. First, he wastes the first half of his article by talking about the fiscal cliff being an “insider’s game” but then wrongly arguing that the sequestration issue will be different. See, this time the Republicans have the upper hand because they can stomach the cuts and Obama can’t.

Oy. That’s just wrong. That again mistakes the inside baseball stuff for the public. First, the fiscal cliff was only an insider’s game to the extent of the potential Republican victory. In other words, what the Republicans were trying could at best score points with people who are part of the club -- the public couldn’t care less. BUT, the risk of playing that game was that the Republicans would be seen by the public as harming the country to score political points. Those are stupid odds to accept... heads you win a token victory, tales you lose big. Secondly, sequestration IS the fiscal cliff all over again, and Barone should see this. The best the Republicans can achieve if somehow everything goes right is some meaningless insider-victory. Nothing they can achieve will mean anything to the public. Yet, the cost will be that the public will see the Republicans as irresponsible obstructionists who want to stop military pay, let doctors go unpaid and kill old people. Barone would see this if he wasn’t so tightly wrapped up in this insider bubble.

Barone then finally addresses Cantor’s speech and he gushes (as least for Barone) over the speech because this introduces the Republican’s “outsider game,” i.e. their plan to talk to the unwashed public. What made him so happy?
(1) First, Cantor spoke “not of educational block grants, but of having federal education [dollars] ‘follow children’ to schools their parents choose.” Then he noted that Cantor talked about some specific members of the prole class who this would help.

(2) He brought a 12-year old girl who needed treatment for cancer “to illustrate Republican support for funding basic medical research.”

(3) He then brought some Chinese grad student who is here on a visa and he endorsed the Dream Act and “citizenship for illegal immigrants brought here as children.”
Barone then smiles and tells us that he’s not sure how effective this will be, but he’s glad the Republicans are trying.

Shoot me now.

Dragging kids to speeches is cute, but the public wants solutions. . . not photo-ops. So praising the photo-op is more insider garbage. The education idea is a decent one, but it only addresses a tiny portion of the debate. It ignores colleges entirely, how parents would know which schools are good, reforming schools that are ok but not great, etc. This is just the same old voucher pitch that has won a little, but hasn’t really set the world on fire.

The cancer research thing is ridiculous. For one thing, funding cancer research is not something the public is screaming for. You don’t see that anywhere on the public’s list of concerns. They are much more concerned with health care generally. Moreover, when issues of research do come up, the Republicans are usually the ones screaming that “God don’t like that” and wanting it stopped. Dragging a cancer patient from her bed isn’t going to change the public’s perception. . . only a change in policy will change that.

Third, his immigration stance is absolutely the worst of all worlds. His solution will anger Hispanics because it keeps open the door to deport them, i.e. “it changes nothing.” But it will also anger conservatives because it will stop us from deporting some of them, i.e. “it’s a total surrender.” The only thing his position is guaranteed to do is to anger everyone and to keep this debate alive and angry for another several decades.

Finally, let me point out the big problem once again. This was supposed to be a speech to the American people to get them to see value in our brand again, but what is being offered here? Jack squat. As usual, there is nothing here to assure people about their jobs, their homes, their assets, their pensions, their health, their retirements or their rights. There is a little on education if you fall into the small group who could use vouchers, there’s a nice photo-op if you get turned on by images of cancer patients, and there’s a promise that we won’t deport the kids of illegal immigrants. That’s it.

The fact that Barone doesn’t see this flaw is troubling. He’s one of our more insightful analysts, and if he can’t see this GLARING problem, then clearly it’s time for a change. It’s time we imposed term limits on pundits because these guys are so lost inside baseball that they don’t even know why fans watch the game anymore.
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