Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrims

I love the holiday season because it's a good time to focus on the things we tend to forget about during the rest of the year. This is a great time to think about our friends, our families, and everyone we hold dear. It's time to think about this great country in which we live and all who help keep it that way. It's time to think of those who invent, who create, and those who provide. It's time to think of those who protect us, those who enrich our lives and those who enlighten us. It's time to be thankful just to be alive and to experience the beauty that is the universe in all its splendor, from the fantastic colors in the trees this time of year to the stars above. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Thanks for being part of our community! :D
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Toon-arama Thanksgiving Special: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

by tryanmax

“We've got another holiday to worry about. It seems Thanksgiving Day is upon us.”

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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The Economist to Obama: Stop Failing!

The Economist is an echo of its former glory. Sadly, these days, The Economist couldn’t pass Econ 101. It’s become a mistake-prone, nonsense-spewing, leftist propaganda sheet that acts like it’s unbiased and erudite. But their despair that Obama is failing is just too much high quality schadenfreude to pass up. And their prescriptions for saving Obama are laughable.

The article in question outlines how things have gone so horrible wrong for Obama and how he can fix it. Most of it is stupid, but there are some gems. The article starts by pointing out that the real power of the presidency is the bully pulpit: “When a president speaks, the world listens.” That is why credibility matters. Without that power, the president’s “power to shape events withers.” But poor Mr. Obama’s credibility has been shaken: “at home, the chaos of his health reform has made it harder for him to get anything else done. Abroad, he is seen as weak and disengaged, to the frustration of America’s allies.”

Interesting start. Let me point out a few things though. The president has tons of power in the issuance of regulations and executive orders. He has absolute power to shape foreign policy. And he can lob missiles into your living room. So while the bully pulpit is an important power, make no mistake that Obama’s loss of power is much greater than the bully pulpit. His regulatory regime has been crushed by the courts and by his conscious decision to do his donors’ bidding. His foreign policy failed because foreign leaders didn't worship him, so he quit. He lacks military credibility because he overused it and the military is exhausted.

Having cleared that up, let us continue...

THE REPUBLICANS ARE REALLY TO BLAME! Sorry, but we had to get that out of the way. Like all good liberals, The Economist starts by telling us that the economy and foreign policy problems are Bush’s fault, and Obama’s failure to get his agenda passed is the result of the Republicans... who apparently magically brainwashed the Democrats between 2008 and 2010, magically made his regulators lazy, and magically got world leaders to resist Obama’s charm. WAHHHH!

Anyway, after dutifully smearing the Republicans, The Economist lets their disappointment flow: “Under Mr. Obama, America seems rudderless and its power is being squandered.” That will happen when your leader spends his time on the golf course. “The debacle of Obamacare has gravely weakened the president.” Oh, Obamacare! Cruel world!

When Obamacare began, “Obama seemed blithely unaware that anything was amiss”... like a virgin going skinny-dipping in a horror film. Obama said it would be “real simple” and said it would “work the same way you shop for a TV on Amazon.” But...
“Alas, it did not. Millions tried to log on, few succeeded. The website was never properly tested, it transpires. Although this was Mr Obama’s most important domestic reform, no one was really in charge. Crucial specifications were changed at the last moment. Contractors warned that the website was not ready, but the message never reached the Oval Office. Big government IT projects often go awry, but rarely as spectacularly as this.”
Oh, that just makes me warm all over. Of course, that’s total crap, but I still like the anguish. In reality, Obama was told about these problems, but he decided to go ahead anyway. And when it exploded, as he had been told would happen, he blamed the contractors. So while I love the fact The Economist wants to act like this was just a mistake, it was really arrogance. And you know what? The Economist knows this. Check out the conclusion to this section of lament: “A man with little interest in details and a disdain for business, Mr Obama tried to impose a gigantic change on the whole country all at once and far too casually.” Yeah, that’s a nice way of saying Obama is too lazy to do his job.

Then they ominously warn: “The longer it takes to fix the website, the greater the chance that Obamacare will fail.” Heavens no! “To make matters worse, this sorry saga has caused American voters to doubt Mr Obama’s honesty.” Say it ain’t so! You mean his getting caught in obvious lies is causing people to think he lied? How can that be?
“Time after time, when selling his reform, he told voters that if they liked their health insurance, they could ‘keep that insurance. Period. End of story.’ Policy wonks knew this was untrue... But ordinary Americans took their president at his word.”
Ok, hold the phone. I don’t recall The Economist calling Obama out on that lie at the time. In fact, I seem to recall them attacking the Republicans for pointing out that this was a lie. Interesting. So The Economist knew this was a lie, but chose to attack the people who pointed out this was a lie. Gee, that’s called propaganda. What are you lying about now Economist?

Anyway, the proles are apparently “furious” that their old policies are being cancelled. As an aside, they call Obama’s fix “a sham” and they warn him “to stop making empty promises.” Good luck with that.

Beyond Obamacare, his foreign relations are “cool,” and not in a good way:
“The leaders of allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia scorn him. Europeans grumble that they are ignored when they want to be heard and spied on when they want to be left alone. Latin Americans feel neglected. Mr Obama’s ‘pivot’ to Asia has made China feel threatened, without reassuring other Asians that America will be there in a crisis. Many doubt Mr Obama’s word—remember his ‘red line’ over the use of chemical weapons in Syria?—and lament his inability to get things done.”
And here I thought he was a genius who could woo the world with the color of his skin, er, the content of his rhetoric. You can practically hear the tears of frustration running down red angry faces at The Economist... “ve ver deceived.”

So how can Obama turn this around? Get this:
● Stop making empty promises. Can’t, that’s the foundation of his policy.

● Start paying attention to details. Can’t, him no smart enough.

● Get rid of the aides who filter out bad news. Snort. Sure. Obama vas deceived!

● Start schmoozing the Republicans. Sure, and no doubt they’ll ignore five years of hostility.

● Get the Obamacare website fixed! Ha ha. That’s rich. That’s going to take years. And even then, you have all the other problems awaiting. Obamacare is like herpes, it can’t be cured. Your best bet is to stay away from it.

● Get a budget deal with the Republicans agreeing to tax hikes! Ah, delusion.

● Do somethingsomething with the military, like when you killed Osama bin Laden with your bare hands. Apparently, the military is a popularity enhancer machine for liberal presidents.

● A free trade agreement in the Pacific. Sure, except he’s a Democrat and they are protectionist.

● Pay some attention to Latin America. Right, because they can’t tell the difference between a photoshoot and substantive interest.
So basically, Obama needs to become something he’s not, he needs to slap down the Democrats on many of their issues, and he needs to hope that everyone else is stupid. Interesting plan. Why can’t I shake the feeling the The Economist is just saying: “stop failing!”
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Indifference, Belligerence and Brilliance

As we prepare for a Turkey-Day shortened week, a bit of foreign policy news has struck. //chirping Hello? Is this thing on? Hello? Come on people, go with me. There’s a moment of brilliance at the end of this article.

Ayatollah Rockenrolledya: Obama came up with an agreement that on the surface sounds like it will work in Iran. The goal is to negotiate a long term treaty stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons. This current deal would last six months, which would give everyone time to negotiate the longer deal. Under this deal, Iran will give up the following:
● Iran will halt (for six months) the installation of new centrifuges which are used to enrich uranium.

● Supposedly, this agreement caps and limits the amount and type of uranium Iran is allowed to enrich.

● Iran will stop working on some key components of their heavy-water reactor, which they need to produce plutonium.

● Iran will allow nuclear inspectors into Iran.
In return, we have agreed as follows:
● We will let them access about $7 billion in frozen assets.

● We will exempt them from Obamacare.
As I said, on the surface, this sounds like a good deal. They stop doing bad things, we get to inspect them and watch them on a daily basis, and the price was letting them have some of their toys back. Sounds good... if it works out that way.

Here’s the thing though. First, I can’t see Iran agreeing to this because we’re not giving anything up and we’re certainly not giving them what they want. So I suspect there's more to this and we should wait to hear the full price. Also, the Iranians are talented liars and they’ve played this game before of seeming to agree and then not agreeing. Nothing they’ve agreed to at this point really slows them except for a couple months tops. So I see this as nothing more than an agreement to keep talking. Still, if it works, I will happily give Obama credit for solving one of the world’s lasting problems... if it works.

As an aside, neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia are doing the happy dance about this.

That’s it for the good news.

Afghanistan Sticking with 4th Century countries, Obama is trying to push a deal on Afghanistan in which 9,000 US troops would stay in the country to help fight off the Taliban for at least another decade. The Afghans have pushed off the vote on this horrible idea until next year because they are having problems getting their enrollment website working, but they’ll take it. Ug.
● So we’re going to continue to risk US lives to protect a cesspool of sub-humanity with no real end game.

● Leaving a rump force only makes things a lot more dangerous for the troops who stay.

● So much for the trillion dollars in budget savings Obama was counting heavily on.
We’ve already been in Afghanistan (2001-present) more than twice as long as World War II took from start to finish (1939-1945), and adding ten more years means we will be there almost 4 times longer than World War II took. Does this strike anyone as wrong?

Su casa es mi casa: Ug. China is setting up an “air defense identification zone” over some islands that Japan controls. That’s a bit like putting your mailbox in front of the neighbor’s driveway. Japan apparently has put together a plan to shoot down any drones China sends into the area, whereas China has warned that shooting down its drones would constitute “an act of war.” This could get ugly.

Hot In The City: Public masturbation is on the rise (pardon the pun) in Vancouver. You would think this wouldn’t be a problem in Canada in the Winter, but apparently it is. Sounds like another horrible side-effect of global warming.

The Noble Mailbox: Finally, I leave you with this thought. Have you ever thought about how incredible the mailbox is? It’s just a box, on a poll, with a door in the front and sometimes one in the back, and a little flag to alert the mailman that something is waiting inside. It’s so simple we don’t even notice it. Yet, it connects you to the world.

In this day and age of bells and whistles and operating systems and things that are obsolete by the time you buy them, think about the mailbox. It’s design cannot be improved. It is perfection, and it is elegant in its simplicity, and that is something truly special.

There is little in life that we can look at and say that we’ve found perfection, but the mailbox is one of those things. The next time you go get your mail, think about how amazing this little box is and what it says about us humans.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

50th Anniversary: Doctor Who (1963-2013)

Doctor Who is perhaps the greatest science fiction show of all time. It’s also so amazingly unique that nothing has even come close to copying it. And on Saturday, it turns 50 years old. Who would have guessed?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Camelot, And Its Fanatics

Today is, as you know (probably), the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. I figured it behooved me to write something for the occasion, because, you know. It's sort of important.

Problem is, I started to type this post and....of course, I couldn't think of a single substantive thing to say. Because hey, I didn't experience it; I wasn't born for another quarter-century. I can't relate to it on an intimate level. Besides, Bev already said most of the relevant stuff along those lines. I know it's a big deal for my parents' generation, because they all usually talk about it every year at this time. And I can understand why, to an extent. After all, I did experience 9/11, a similar traumatic experience after which the world was never quite the same again, so the mental break it represents makes sense. A CBS commentator made the interesting point that 11/22/63 was when the Baby Boomers' parents went from being the youthful, optimistic "Greatest Generation" of the post-war era to the middle-aged, stodgy "squares" of the late '60s and '70s. Could be.

And of course, JFK himself has a lot to do with the traumatic nature of the event. He projected youthful vigor, he was a war hero, and though he may have been more of an intellectual lightweight than anyone would admit at the time, he was of course a brainiac compared to two or three of his successors. There's a charisma there that you can't deny. Just look at the many conservatives who have tried to claim ever since that Kennedy was really one of them. (They're wrong about that, I believe--although certain of his positions would be very unsettling to the leftists of today.) But, look: There's no reason to think Kennedy wouldn't have faced the same problems as LBJ, what with Vietnam (which he did a lot to get us into), domestic upheaval over civil rights (which he was ambivalent about for a very long time), and so on. Maybe he would have handled those problems better than Johnson did; but the truth is, JFK had the good fortune--assuming you define getting sniped in the head as "good fortune"--to die before he really had to tangle with them, allowing his memory to be sanctified by American liberals.

So I don't believe there was ever a "What should we learn?" from the assassination. And if there was, presumably it would have been discovered in the past fifty years. There wasn't a bright, shining path that was suddenly taken away from America, however much some people want to believe there was. Which, of course, is why the conspiracy theories flourish around Kennedy: No one wants to believe that so much youth and promise could be snuffed out by one lone gunman who's a bit off his rocker. It had to be a conspiracy.

And, naturally, also the result of a "climate of hate," as they called Dallas afterwards. Because, after all, Dallas is in the South, and the South opposed civil rights, which Kennedy was making a few moves towards; ergo, Kennedy was killed by hateful racists. The NYT headline the next day read "Kennedy a Victim of Violent Streak He Sought to Curb in Nation." The same paper, in a recent retrospective, continued to label Dallas "The City With a Death Wish in Its Eye," which had utterly failed to come to terms with the atrocity that had happened within its bounds. None too surprising for the New York Times, because they're liberals, and that's what liberals do. But it was also bound to happen, because when you deify a leader as much as Kennedy has been, there's almost always an accompanying demonization of someone else. Which is never good, because using the "hatred card" (a term I just made up) to exploit a tragedy is just as bad as hatred itself.

So....yeah. I guess if there is a lesson from the JFK assassination, it's to embrace the occasional randomness of the universe, and not to see every tragic event, such as the death of a world leader, as the result of large-scale malevolence. Sometimes bad things just happen, like a nut with a rifle deciding one day he's going to put a hole in your head, and that fact of life can't be changed. Best to just accept it.

Kind of bleak, I know. So, er....heard any good jokes lately?
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

JFK Assassination From The Perspective of a Dallasite

In the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the Assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, let me set the record straight. Okay, for the record, I had nothing to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Yes, I was in Dallas, but I was 4 years old and probably taking a nap. There I said it. it wasn't me. I know you may think that it goes without saying, but growing up in the specter of the assassination and guilt that has been foisted on Dallas that has followed these 50 years, you may be able to understand the guilt I may or may not carry. But really, I wasn't involved. With that out of the way, I also have no direct memories of the assassination either [naptime, remember?].

All that out of the way, I can admit now that I have spent many years wondering why Dallas has been held responsible rather than one lone Marxist assassin named Lee Harvey Oswald. Other cities have hosted assassins:

Washington D.C:

President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865 (died April 15, 1865).
President James A. Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau on July 2, 1881 (died September 19, 1881).

and Buffalo, New York:

William McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz on September 4, 1901 (died September 14, 1901) in Buffalo, New York.

Yet, neither of these cities has been held responsible. But then, the shooting in Dallas was different and I finally understand why. In each of the other shootings, it was obvious who did the shooting. Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley were all shot at close range and their assassins were caught almost in the act. Boothe was killed, but he was clearly the assassin having shot Lincoln in full view of an audience of a theatre audience at Ford's Theatre during a performance of "Our American Cousin". Guiteau and Czologz were tried and were brought to justice in a court of law, and both were executed. Cases closed.

Lee Harvey Oswald, on the other hand, shot Kennedy from a longer range with rifle from a window overlooking Dealey Plaza. He was arrested later in the day, but was killed by Jack Ruby before any investigation could be completed. Another unique aspect is the Zapruder film. Kennedy's assassination was the first caught on film. It isn't a stretch for me to believe that one lone, crazy gunman with a grudge could do this. There have been many unsuccessful attempts on other President throughout our history by lone gunmen (or women) yet the conspiracies persist with this one. But what do you think?

Here are some fun facts: My mother worked at Parkland Hospital and was at the hospital on the day Kennedy was brought in. She was the head therapeutic dietitian and was put in charge of Gov. Connally who was also shot by Oswald. She was almost fired because she fed the Governor chili. When he was able to eat, she went to his room to ask what he would like for lunch. Mrs. Connally asked what was on the menu and she told her that they were serving Texas chili. Mrs. Connally said then that would be just fine for the Governor. Later in the day, my mother's boss, Mrs. Lively, called my mother into her office and was furious that my mother gave the Governor chili! My mother, no shrinking violet, shot back (no pun intended) that it was what he wanted! Well, she wasn't fired...

A few years later, my mother was also assigned to Jack Ruby when he was in Parkland suffering from advanced lung cancer. My mother was so paranoid that someone would try to poison Ruby that she decided that she ordered that only one of her trusted cooks or she would personally make his meals. But, on January 3, 1967 she was late for work. She was driving to the hospital with the radio on when a breaking report came on that Jack Ruby has died. In a panic, she got off the highway and went to the first payphone she could find and called in. She just needed to make sure that Ruby had died BEFORE he had breakfast! He had...phew.

Truth in better than fiction, right?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why People Prefer New Films

A good question came up Sunday asking why audiences prefer new films to older films. For the vast majority of people, if a film isn't truly fresh, then they aren't interested, even if they haven't seen the older movie. Why are people like this? Let's discuss some possible answers.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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The Ethanol Dilemma

My my my, things can change quickly. For years, conservatives pointed out that ethanol is horrible idea. Liberals, as they always do, dismissed conservative complaints because they “knew” better. Now everything we’ve said has come to pass and liberals are fretting about all the problems “no one could possibly have foreseen.” Things are so bad that many liberals (the rational ones) now want to kill the ethanol program... only, their Dear Leader doesn’t.

Here are the conservative complaints about ethanol:
(1) It’s not actually green as it only seems green if you don’t count the fuel it took to produce the ethanol.

(2) Consumers don’t want it or it would already exist without government pressure. And subsidizing it will crowd out better alternatives.

(3) Using corn for fuel will cause massive inflation in food prices.
“Pshaw!” said liberals. Then reality struck. Now they see these problems too. In fact, there have been a number of studies liberals take on faith which show that corn-based ethanol is not a good biofuel at all. It takes so much energy to produce, so it's worse than using oil and actually causes global warming cooling climate change. Even worse, the subsidies have caused farmers to destroy million of acres of pristine land to plant corn. That has resulted in wetlands and “protected” land being plowed under, as well as the release of carbons from those lands. It has resulted in massive amounts of fertilizer being used, which has polluted rivers and made the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico much worse. It has caused food prices to spike all over the world.

Because of this, articles are appearing from the left demanding that Obama end the ethanol mandate to stop any further damage being done. The AP just did an investigation (LINK) of this, which it called “the secret, dirty cost of Obama’s green power push.” Check out how this article starts:
“The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America's push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply. Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.”
Yep, that's not a happy article. Unfortunately for liberals, Team Obama is in no mood to comply. Why? Well, for one thing, they get a ton of money from industry groups who want this to continue. The entire ethanol industrial complex is big into lobbying. At the same time, Obama doesn’t admit mistakes. And in this case, they fear that if they admit a mistake, then that (1) will create a groundswell against “clean energy” generally and (2) will scare away companies that are investing in biofuels that might actually work. This is what happens when you build a house of cards.

Then came Friday.

On Friday, the EPA issued new regulations cutting back on the amount of ethanol it requires oil companies to use. Has Obama finally seen the light? Hardly. The EPA really had no choice. The way the regulations are written, Congress required a certain number of gallons of ethanol be used. But with Americans using significantly less gasoline than expected in recent years, the EPA mandate was about to hit something called “the blend wall,” where the EPA was requiring the oil companies to use more ethanol than was physically possible given the amount of fuel drivers are using. In other words, the EPA had no choice but to cut back the mandate or everything would have pretty much stopped in the nation’s fuel supply.

Naturally, ethanol groups are very upset that the government didn't ignore reality. Apparently, government money makes you stupid. More interestingly, liberals are knee jerking this all over the place and it points out how hopelessly muddled and clueless their “ideology” has become:

First, you have liberals who are screaming that this will hurt the biofuel industry. They worry this will “chill” companies who are developing better fuels. Yeah, right. How does it help to implode the fuel system of the country in the name of the ethanol fantasy? This is what happens when reality bursts your bubble... reality wins and you retreat or die.

Secondly, they are labeling this a victory for oil companies, which is unacceptable in liberal circles. But you can’t criticize Obama either. So his siding with oil companies is creating a lot of contortion-related head trauma on the left. It also raises this problem: if eliminating ethanol is the environmentally friendly thing to do, but it helps oil companies, how can they do it? They can’t. That’s the problem with ideologues... they get stuck in loops.

Third, they are choosing to hate on oil companies at the expense of helping food companies who are making it harder for the poor to buy food the world over. Nice. “Sorry you poor bastards, but we have an enemy we don't want to see make any more profit than they already do... we're doing it for you.”

Fourth, in their efforts to not let oil companies win, they have sided with the likes of Monsanto and ADM, which is another liberal no-no.

What an interesting illogic problem. Anything they do will help someone they hate and the right choice is to abandon something they believe on principle even though they now know it not only doesn’t work but actively does harm to their favorite causes. Twisted. And in the middle is their un-criticize-able leader profiting from each side. Twisted indeed.

Ah, liberalism.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eureka!

Well, it’s a start. I have been saying for many moons now that the Republicans desperately need an agenda that can reach people. In fact, I’ve written one out and I’m slowly discussing the book here. Imagine my surprise to read an article this last weekend in which various high profile Republicans agreed... if only they knew what they were doing!

Last week, apparently, a group of House Republicans were summoned to the offices of Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He handed them a blank piece of paper labeled “Agenda 2014.” The point to this was to tell them that after their recent disasters, they need a new plan to win over the voters they haven’t been winning. Essentially, they want to create an agenda to fix the harm they’ve done to the reputation of the party by:
● Shutting down the government, which drove their poll ratings to record lows (around 9%).

● Obsessively pushing debt reduction, which they’ve realized the public doesn’t see as affecting them personally.

● Futile and meaningless attempts to repeal Obamacare.

● Earning a reputation as being a party whose sole concern is opposing Obama.
Great. When you have a problem, the first step is admitting the problem and I’m happy to see that they now realize that the talk radio plan has driven them to the verge of extinction. That makes this a good start intellectually.

Even better, their goal apparently is to create an agenda to target “the real economic issues facing middle-class Americans.” Woo hoo. Fricken excellent. It’s the middle class who decide elections and appealing to them instead of the ideologues will be key to long terms success.

Better yet, they are starting with the premise of trying to solve problems rather than shoehorn in the same old garbage the electorate has rejected time and again. So what are they considering? Here’s what is known so far:
Energy Prices: Rather than focusing on more drilling, which the public hasn’t responded to in the last half dozen elections, they are focusing on how home energy prices have outpaced the rise in take home pay. Great focus. Let’s hope they come up with something worthwhile.

The Lack of Jobs: This is absolutely key. Jobs are the currency of elections and we haven’t had a jobs plan since Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, their plan seems to be encouraging private sector companies to provide job training. That’s crap, but this is an early phase, so we’ll see.

Education Reform: Cantor apparently wants charter schools. That’s a good start, though it’s entirely inadequate. Still, I’m glad they are finally focusing on education. This is a key point.

Poverty: They want to look at ways to reduce poverty. Good. Trying to help everyone in the country is the way to go about it, rather than just trying to help specific targets. Hopefully, they will tie this into jobs and education.

Cost of College: This one is key. Unfortunately, what I’ve heard is weak. They want to reduce college cost by getting more schools accredited and encouraging students to enter higher paying professions. Those ideas suck, but at least they are talking about the issue rather than grousing that people shouldn’t go to college.
At this point, this agenda remains worthless. It’s also clear to me that a big chunk of the party won’t like it because (1) they don’t want the party to grow, they want it to shrink to just the pure and (2) they don’t think the party should do anything but fight Obama. Nevertheless, I feel quite positive about this. I feel positive about this because it shows that the GOP hierarchy is finally getting smarter. They realize that they need to reach the middle class and that the only way to do that is to address the things that worry them. That’s a HUGE change for the GOP.

The next step will be them actually being able to spot the relevant issues and come up with worthwhile solutions. They aren't there yet, but at this point, it makes me happy that they have even gotten this far. Keep going, folks!
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Obama Fails By Not Hurting People Enough!

Things aren’t going well for Obama. His plan to “fix” his latest crisis isn’t playing too well anywhere in the country, least of all the editorial pages, where they are getting quite nasty about our Kenyan Overlord and his plan. It’s also interesting how carefully they avoid recognizing the people they are hurting.

So you know, “the fix” is Obama’s response to the problem that 50 million Americans are going to lose their insurance when Obama claimed they could keep it... he claimed that 29 times, though he now denies he said it. His proposed fix is to let insurers keep selling “substandard” plans for one more year. Essentially, the goal is to put this issue off until after the 2014 elections.

That said, however, there are three problems with this. First, it’s highly unlikely that insurers will actually offer those policies even if allowed, and many states (especially liberal ones) won’t allow it. Secondly, the election is in November 2014. When exactly do you think the cancellation notices will go out with a one year fix? That’s right, end of summer 2014... right before the election. I guess no one in the White House owns a calendar. Third, the plans in question will absorb away healthy people, which will cause Obamacare rates to spike.

The newspapers seem to get this and they are very upset with our Overlord. Observe:
● The New York Times said Obama’s proposed fix was better than the “destructive” Republican plan whatever that was (the Times doesn't seem to know), but Obama’s proposed fix “raises troubling questions.” Ya think? What questions are those? Well, the paper says that raises questions of “incompetence” on the part of the administration and it damages Obama’s credibility. But it then says that those questions “cannot be answered easily.”

Ha. Wrong.

(1) Did Obama knowingly lie to 50 million people? Yes.

(2) Why did no one at The Times question these obvious lies even as the Republicans pointed them out? Because you’re partisan hacks.

(3) Is it clear that Obama intended to strip 50 million people of insurance to help 7.3 million people this year? Yep.

Simple. But of course, that would require integrity... something The Times lacks.

The Times then says this, which is rather interesting:
“If a relatively small population of people get extensions, as some experts think likely, the effect on premiums in the overall health insurance market may be minimal. Even so, this disturbing reversal is caused by the incompetence of the administration in ushering in reforms that millions have been waiting for.”
Ok, let’s use our brains. (1) If 50 million people is a “relatively small population,” then why are we worrying about the 40 million uninsured? (2) If the effect on premiums is “minimal,” then why object to this fix at all? Spite? (3) If millions are waiting for Obama to usher in these reforms, then why did The Times applaud when Obama granted extensions to unions, big business, and even some small businesses? Why exclude Congress? Selective application of arguments is evidence of advocacy.

The Washington Post actually thinks people losing their insurance is a good thing (as does Nancy Pelosi), though they didn’t have the integrity to say so. Instead, they question Obama’s integrity for not saying so... the hypocrites said:
“Unfortunately, it was his promise that was wrong, not the design of the law. At best, his proposed fix will have little impact except to let him shift the blame; at worst, it will undermine reform.”
So the real problem is that Obama doesn’t have the courage not to lie. Hey, I agree with the Post for once! Wow! I never thought this day would come!

The Wall Street Journal called this a “nonfix,” designed to avoid needing to work on a genuine fix. The Journal then summed up modern liberalism pretty well:
“They are trying to impose on Americans insurance they don’t want, at prices they don’t want to pay, while limiting their choices of doctors and hospitals. This is the reality of modern liberal government.”
Yep. And they spy on everyone, they bomb Arab countries, and they hand out money to Wall Street like it was candy.

USA Today called this a “punt” and titled their editorial, “Obama prescribes ugly fix for Obamacare.” Like The Post, USAToday notes that the problem with the fix is that it lets the healthy people escape from Obamacare, which means they won’t be subsidizing the people Obamacare was designed to help. It seems lost on them that this means they are choosing to hurt a lot of people to help a few others. They also note that Obama’s fix won’t work because states might not go along with it (especially liberal states... which will bring more bad PR to the Democrats) and because insurers aren’t going to play this game in any event.
It’s amazing how talented liberals are at ignoring the people they will hurt just so they can claim they helped someone. That’s usually called being sociopathic... or is it psychopathic?

Anyway, this weekend, Obama met with a group of CEOs from Big Insurance. They were working on a plan to save their dirty deal, known as Obamacare. Now ask yourself how the media would have responded if Bush had huddled with a group of CEOs to find a way to save some government handout to those same CEOs.

Oh wait, we already know. For years, the MSM was obsessed with how many oil industry executives the White House met and what they talked about. This was portrayed time and again as Bush dealing with cronies to rape the American people... a veritable outrage! It’s funny how those same MSM types can report an even more egregious situation with Obama, with a known plan to force consumers to buy their over-priced insurance and lavish government subsidies to cover the costs, and not a single “journalist” seems capable of noticing the problem.
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Open Thread

You ain't from around here. No, seriously, if this new theory is right, then you really aren't from around here.

According to Ellis Silver, an ecologist, humans are not indigenous to Earth. He claims the fact we have bad backs means we were designed on a lower-gravity planet, the fact we get sunburned means we came from a darker planet, and the fact humans have difficulty giving birth because babies have such large heads when no other species on the planet has the same problem means we ain't like everything else on the planet. Hence, we came from somewhere else.

Now, I would believe this theory 100% if it were not for the fact that he continues and claims that we were created when aliens, "perhaps from Alpha Centauri," crossbred with Neanderthals. Yeah, he loses me there. Look, first of all, everyone knows that nobody actually lives on Alpha Centauri... it's like Vegas, you just visit. Secondly, this is the same garbage the other alien conspiracy theorists spew. Apparently, aliens came to Earth, found our ancestors to be hot to trot, and did the nasty with them, resulting in us. Huh? I don't know about you but I've never once gone to the zoo and said, "You know, they are kind of cuddly, less breed with them" and I can't see any aliens deciding to bump uglies with the animals they found on Earth. Seriously, have you ever seen a Neanderthal? They aren't exactly swimsuit models.
I think somebody's really reaching with this new theory. Sadly, if we let this kind of idiocy stand, then we'll get more idiocy and the next thing you know, someone's going to claim you can tax your way to prosperity... or make Obamacare work.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Film Friday: The Master (2012)

I’m going to save you two hours of your life: don’t see this film. This isn’t a film, it’s an exercise in acting. It’s a meandering biography of an unlikable fictional character and it tries to explain its own indulgences as being an examination of post traumatic stress syndrome. It’s critic bait.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Wake Up and Smell the Eucalyptus

Every once in a while, it's helpful to take a look at how conservatism (or at least, "not liberalism") is faring outside the U.S. And as we've seen, Europe is having to seriously rethink its whole welfare state thing. And happily, some of the people who speak English (kind of) are reaching similar conclusions.

I speak in this case of Australia, which seems to have begun the rightward shift the mother country apparently still can't manage. Australia's political history has been a rough one for conservatives. There's a strong Labor Party, which means lots of big-government boondoggles--it's more than flirted with socialized medicine and other schemes. And a few years back, Canberra enacted a stringent nationwide gun-control measure, whose "success" has been mixed at best.

But things are changing in the land down under. In national elections this September, the Liberal Party (which is actually fairly right-leaning, because they're funky in their terminology like that) gave Labor the boot, with party leader Tony Abbott taking over as prime minister. A pro-life Catholic, Oxford-educated, with a long history in business and government, Abbott campaigned on a platform of reducing bloated bureaucracy and putting fiscal responsibility ahead of vague international commitments to "go green." Perhaps to the surprise of the political elite, both in the capital and abroad, the new executive proceeded to do just that, boosted by popular dissatisfaction with high taxes (including a hefty carbon tax) and the resulting sluggish economy. Within a few weeks of taking office, Abbott dissolved the so-called Climate Commission and put in motion plans to end funding of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Mind you, the government hasn't flatly turned away from environmentalism. There's still a Department of the Environment which handles such issues, and the CEFC still exists. What Abbott did was to a) streamline the central government, just as he said he would, and b) send the message that renewable energy isn't bad, but it needs to stand on its own two feet. Market-oriented, delivering on his promises, making all the bureaucrats and activists mad....must be nice.

But this past week, the government went even further in the environmental field. With a UN conference on global warming global cooling climate change about to begin, the Australians announced that, while they would honor their previous commitments, whatever new taxation or regulatory proposals came out of the meeting, they would not be taking part. Even more encouraging was the language in which the rejection was issued. The cabinet ministers explicitly stated they would not involve themselves in any kind of "socialism masquerading as environmentalism."

That's kind of a big deal. If the government had simply said it couldn't comply at this time, however much it might agree with the principles, that wouldn't be very attention-getting. But to use the sort of language that gets people over here condemned as Tea Party bomb-throwers says a lot. There's being conservative in your talk and being conservative in your actions, and while the latter is what counts, the former is very reassuring in its own way.

This is, of course, only one of a whole set of issues Abbott and his new government have to deal with. Bringing down taxation is a major point of debate, and the country is having a big debt-control debate of its own. And naturally, the Labor hacks are doing their best to block reform. So it remains to be seen how much progress Aussie conservatives will make. But the signs are good, especially with Abbott's leadership. Socially and fiscally conservative, highly educated, with a winning track record and a proven willingness to take on the Left--it's early, but it's promising thus far.

Which brings me to my last point. If all goes well, should we look into forging some birth records to show that he, too, was born in a Hawaii hospital?
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fun With Obamacare: Buy It Because...

It looks like the rollout of Obamacare is not going as well as expected despite the fact that the website(s) are really "glitchy" and there is no useful information available. Well, and those tens of millions of people who are losing their insurance...HEY, Obama apologized for that and is "looking into it". We won't mention the barely vetted "navigators". I mean really, how hard can it be to force 350,000,000 people to buy something that they don't really know what they are buying and how much they will be paying for it? I feel bad for Obama. He didn't know... he... did... not... know!

Obama needs our help. We can sell this monstrosity! Yes... We... Can! Let's sell Obamacare. It's the least we can do, right? We didn't want it and we fought against it. We warned them repeatedly of all the problems and pitfalls to come. They didn't want to listen and now they are in trouble...big trouble. I know what you are thinking. Why should we help? Well, we are human beings and they obviously don't know how to sell something that they can't really explain coherently and can't really define how much it will cost. But most importantly, maybe we can score one of those $100million navigator "grants"!

For inspiration, here is what they've come up with in Colorado [It's okay, no tax dollars were used in the making of these ads.] They could be more offensive, but I am not sure how. I'm guessing that there was way too much "going to Denver"ing going on while writing these ad, but that's okay. And the good news is that the Colorado exchange is one of the most "successful"! Now, I know what your thinking (again) - They are only selling "about a thousand plans a week" in private insurance policies, BUT they have signed up almost ten times that to Medicaid! Amazon.com better look out.

Okay... so here is what I want you to do. It is obvious what they need is really catchy slogan. And I know, if we put our collective Commentarama-brains together, we can come up with the perfect slogan that can turn this puppy around! Yes... We... Can! We... Are... Who... They... Have... Been... Waiting... For!!! So, do your best. But if you can't do your best, just show up... I promise there's a ribbon in it for everyone... really, I promise that if you like your ribbon, you can keep your ribbon... no one will take that ribbon away from you... period. All you have to do is fill in the blank... it's that simple... just fill in that blank.

Buy It Because ________________________!

{{{{Remember...there's a free ribbon at the end! Ribbon!}}}
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In Cars

You know what they don’t make anymore? Car movies. Does this say something bad about America? It might. It certainly says something bad about Hollywood.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Let's Change the Constitution!!

One of the things you hear constantly from the talk radio crowd is that they want to change the constitution. Forget it. That’s dead end stupidity. It can’t work and the moment you suggest changing the constitution, you lose the American public. Why? Because they don’t trust anyone monkeying with that document and they aren’t going to waste their time with people offering worthless and futile solutions. Let’s discuss the problems with advocating changes to the constitution.

Pointless: Right out of the gates, we have an insurmountable problem... this is a nonstarter. No matter how you slice it, any proposed amendment to the constitution must be approved by 3/4 of the states. That means 38 states. All it takes is 12 to stop it. There are 18 dark, dark blue states. There are 8 more rather blue states. That’s 26 blue states. There are 22 red states and two more up for grabs. See the problem? Nothing that isn’t agreed upon by both liberals and conservatives has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, and the public knows this. So they immediately tune out the people who advocate it because they aren’t going to waste their time with fantasy and they aren’t going to trust the solutions of anyone who can’t distinguish fantasy from reality.

As an aside, this is the reason opportunistic politicians love to advocate constitutional changes. It sounds extreme and “pure” and it lets then outbid all the honest politicians, but it’s not anything they actually need to worry about because it will never happen. That means they can pound their chests with impunity.

Non-solution: From the public’s perspective, changing the constitution achieves nothing meaningful. Unlike the people screaming to change the constitution, the public correctly understands that the constitution is just a generalized set of rules that only decide who gets to make decisions, it does not decide what those decision are. In other words, the constitution is just about procedure, not substance. So trying to change the direction of government through the constitution is as futile as trying to change the outcome of a particular future baseball game by amending the rules of baseball.

And while some will think this is still a worthy goal, the public doesn’t. This is the same problem with the conservative instinct to argue for changes to House voting rules (“they need to read the bills!” “a bill should be less than 10 pages long!” etc.). Big whoop. The things the public wants fixed are things like creating more jobs, lowering the cost of healthcare, protecting the public from bad people... tinkering with the procedures of the constitution does none of that. Tinkering with the constitution is inside baseball.

Moreover, contrary to what “constitutional lawyers” like Mark Levin will tell you, it is impossible to change the direction of the government through the constitution. Take what you probably think of as the easiest thing to impose: a balanced budget requirement. How exactly would you do that? Putting aside the fact that the Supreme Court will strike down such a restriction because one Congress cannot bind a future Congress, there is still no way to define revenues and spending which will actually control government spending.

For one thing, both spending and revenues are estimated and the government can dramatically massage the numbers just by changing the basis of their estimates. For another, if you just demand a balanced budget, then that does nothing to control spending, which is the real issue. And how do you keep the government from just moving spending off the books, like they have with social security? And even if you could sort all of that out, which you can’t, what would be the penalty if the government just blows off your rules?

These problems get even worse once you move to more complex issues. Want to rein in the government’s power to regulate? How are you planning to redefine “commerce” that doesn’t hopelessly cripple the government by giving people a roadmap for how to evade regulations but still reduces the scope of the word without giving the feds a way to evade your new restrictions? Here’s a hint: you can’t.

There are things you can do to make it harder or easier for the government to act, but let me assure you that none of these “constitutional lawyers” knows what those are. When they talk to you about changes, they are playing you for fools. They are selling you placebos that sound good, but have no meaning and can’t be implemented in any meaningful way. And the fact the public isn’t interested and that the blue states will never let you do it, and it should be clear this is futile.

Optics: The Loser Label: Finally, when people advocate constitutional change as a way to circumvent the democratic process, they will be seen as sore losers. Essentially, they can’t win the public so they are trying to change the rules to take the public out of it. That’s bad PR. And if you don’t believe this is what the public will think, then ask yourself what you thought whenever the Democrats tried to get courts to impose their ideas or when they change the voting rules to give themselves an advantage... that’s how the public will views this: as an attempt to use the constitution to push something you couldn’t get through the political process.

This is why the people advocating constitutional change are wrong. They are telling you they can change the world with changes that are ultimately impossible to get and meaningless if they could somehow be gotten. Meanwhile, not only won’t the public support you, they will actually see you as a fool who can't separate reality from fantasy and who wants to sneak their ideology into place against the public’s will.

Also, let’s kill this idea of a constitutional convention. A sizable group on our fringe have been advocating a constitutional convention because they incredibly believe that they would be chosen as the ones to rewrite the constitution they claim to love. Ha! Who do you think California will send? Mark Levin or Nancy Pelosi? What about Massachusetts? Sarah Palin or Barney Frank? If we convened a constitutional convention, all 26 blue states would send far-left liberals. A third of the 22 red states would send Tea Party crazies. A third would send Religious Right zealots. The remaining third would probably send a mix of Democrats and moderate Republicans. Guess what kind of constitution you’re going to get out of this? It’s going to be a Democratic wish list. It’s going to look like a repeat of the European constitution which was a million pages long and made clean air, union membership, public masturbation and clean socks a human right. And the only hope for America will be that enough red states refuse to sign onto the new one.

Yeah, that will be fun.

There are no shortcuts in life or in government. If you want conservatism to restore America to her glory, then you need to do it in the only way you can achieve anything in a democracy... win over the public and make belief in conservatism irresistible.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Stunningly Good Article

Speaking as a blogger, the news sucks these days. Seriously, if the world were a Scrabble game, I would toss all my letters back into the bag and start over. So lets string some news items together and pretend this was all one long, solid piece of analysis.

EPIC OPEC FAIL: The US has quickly become the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Ha ha. Saudi Arabia formerly had the crown, but now we have it. Next time King Dontcarehwathescalled Abdul comes to Washington, he’ll be bowing to Obama!

Obamacare In Motion: Obamacare’s failure just keeps getting uglier. New numbers being reported suggest that the states who actually got their websites to work have signed up. . . well, almost no one. According to a report from a consulting firm, the 12 states who are running their own healthcare portals (and actually have them up and running), have signed up a total of 49,100 people. That’s 3% of the 1.4 million people those states were expected to sign up.

Or is it? See, that 49,100 includes Medicaid signups in several of those states. Medicaid signups don’t count toward the solvency of Obamacare. So the numbers are even worse than that. And almost all of those signups are in California or New York, which is ominous for state market places in other states... not that anyone will miss them. People in North Dakota (30 people), the District of Columbia (5 people), North Carolina (1 person), Alaska (0 people), and Delaware (4 people) don’t seem to care.

At the same time, more than 15,000,000 people are expected to received policy cancellation notices in the next couple months. Ho ho ho! Merry Upyoursmas! Some speculate, however, that the real number could ultimately approach 50 million. Still, you’re talking about 305 people hurt for every one “helped.”

Oregon Ducks and Covers: Oregon led the Obamacare bandwagon. They promised to build a website that would skool the nation and signup a gazillion smelly hippies to their plan... man. Ironically, but not coincidentally, their website remains down and not a single hippy has been able to sign up yet... man. Personally, I think Oregon needs to be punished by being pushed into the sea. But if you want something less drastic, how about we sell the Commune State to China and let the Chinese show them how a real commune works?

Iran Intoproblems: Team Obama admitted this week that they’ve been talking to the Iranians since day one of his administration. Apparently, there was a deal most everyone was happy with in which Iran would stop enriching uranium in exchange for dropping some sanctions. But then the whole thing blew up (no pun intended) when France apparently demanded more concessions.

This is actually a difficult issue because the Iranians are crazier and less responsible than talk radio hosts. So you can’t really trust them. At the same time, there is no military solution unless we want to take over the whole country, which we don’t. Sanctions don’t really work... ask Cuba. So there’s really no good answer.

Even worse, there is a complex web of interests around this. The US just wants Iran to stop being a threat. Pakistan kind of likes Iran all tied up. Saudi Arabia wants them tied up too – Saudi Arabia is Iran’s mortal enemy in the region and is p*ssed that we’re talking to Iran. Israel is the rhetorical target of Iran and typically receives the brunt of Iran’s tantrums. They would like to see Iran bombed back into the pre-stone age. China sees Iran as an ally against the US. Europe’s goal is inactivity with dignity. The American public has no taste for war with Iran. Talk radio has no taste for anything but war with Iran... unless it happens. Good grief. This is unworkable.

Frankly, I’ve said this before, but the only solution is a sort of grand bargain with Iran. Offer Iran what it wants, which is respect, friendship and joint influence in the region, if they agree to stop all this stupidity. If they don’t, kill their leaders... tell them there will be consequences.

If A Moron Falls On Cable And No One’s Watching: Alec Baldwin is drawing about 150,000 people to his show on MSNBC. At least it’s more people than Obama got to sign up for Obamacare.

Droning On and On: According to the CIA, 87 nations now possess drones. This makes me wonder what’s wrong with the rest? Building a drone isn’t like building a stealth fighter. All you need is balsa wood and a lawnmower engine. In fact, I suspect if you look hard enough online, there’s probably a drones.com somewhere. Commentarama should buy a drone and then send mocking letters to the countries that don’t have one.

2016 Shuffle: Arg. 2016 is starting to take shape and I’m not at all thrilled with what I’m seeing. On the left, there seems to be a push to oust Hillary with Elizabeth “Fake Injun” Warren. Warren has a couple of good ideas, but is otherwise cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Seriously, she’s the deep end of the dipsh*t pool and she could well become the nominee.

On our side, there seems to be an establishment push to make Chris Christie the guy. Arg. Listen to me very closely if your name is Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan or Bobby Jindal... get your timid butts out there into the news and start driving this party. You need to win over the establishment right now and the public at large. If you don’t, you will be crushed by Christiasaurus Rex.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

With it being Veterans Day, it's a good day to thank everyone who has sacrificed to protect our country from the people who would harm it. But their sacrifice means nothing if we squander the freedom and safety we have been given. America is a unique experiment in human history, being a country created by the consent and through the agreement of the people. Because of this, we have created a free and fair and just society, and there are none others like it.  We are a beacon to the world, so let's make sure our fire burns brightly.
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Open Thread

I'm not sure if you all saw this or not, but I'm curious what people think. Below is a love letter written by a little boy to a little girl and her response to him.

In this letter, the boy informs the girl (Ashley) that he likes her "alot" and he asks if she will "please" be his girlfriend. Very polite kid... bet he wore a clean shirt the day he asked too. To facilitate her answer, he offers her three possible answers she can circle: YES, NO, MAYBE. With the MAYBE option, he has indeed covered all possibilities... very scientific. Future leader here!

Sadly, Ashley responds by circling NO and then writing this: "I'm sorry I alredy have a boyfriend Kyle ***** but when we break up your my next choice." [sic] She then adds in a P.S. "that will proboby be a month or two."

Here's the letter:

(You can read the story here: LINK)

I'm not sure what to make of this. On the one hand, I think this is really cute. There's something very innocent here about how casually, yet professionally both seem to be handling this issue. I've known business people who aren't capable of communicating this effectively and who aren't as "customer oriented" as these two. I also commend Ashley for her ability to forecast her change of status so accurately.

On the other hand, it's clear that Ashley doesn't quite get the idea of a real relationship. In fact, a cynic could read this and say that Ashley is headed down the very wrong path here. If she was 18, then uh yeah, I would agree with that. But assuming Ashley is around 10, then I suspect our cynics are wrong.

But what of poor Kyle, who will be getting the axe but doesn't know about it yet? The world knows. Poor kid.

Thoughts?

Also, if Kyle is Obama and Ashley is the Democratic Party, does it strike anyone that Hillary wrote this letter?
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Friday, November 8, 2013

Film Friday: Better Off Dead (1985)

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to talk about one of my favorite movies that takes place during the holidays: Better Off Dead. Written and directed by Savage Steve Holland and staring John Cusack, Better Off Dead is a teen comedy kind of like those put out by John Hughes... only very different. And to me, this is one of the funniest movies you will ever see.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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No Hypocrisy Left Behind

Okay, I figure some people might be getting tired of all the recent ObamaCare posts, which I get--on the other hand, it's such a day-to-day train wreck you almost don't want the coverage to end, you want to make another bowl of popcorn. Besides, there's a specific point I want to harp on here.

A lot of the fun we're having with this clusterf**k comes from the fact that the Democrats' earlier words can be so easily used against them. Case in point: "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan"--words I suspect Obama now deeply regrets ever uttering. (Can't be sure, though. He might be so dense he really believes he spoke the truth.) But I'm actually thinking of a different lie--or rather, a different manipulation.

As you know, the overwhelming majority of Americans had health insurance, of one form or another, long before Obama took office. I had it, my family had it, practically everyone I knew in my hick town had it, and so on. And as Andrew helpfully explained during the passing of 404Care, the people who didn't have it, in most cases didn't have it for very good reasons. All good reasons for a reality check, or at least for some perspective. After all, you shouldn't risk screwing over the 80 or 90 percent of people with health care, just for the 10 or 20 percent without it.

But no. Obama and his buddies pounded, from day one, on the fact that millions of people were without health insurance, and that this was a great injustice that must not be. From obamacarefacts.com: "About 15% of Americans are uninsured, which is a little less than 50 million men, women and children." (Of course, right below that, they mention that the mandate and the health care marketplace will only affect uninsured people, but still, let's assume they're right about the 15 percent thing.) Back in June 2009, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers included in a report the breathless soundbite "Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance," and a month after that, Obama himself doubled down by saying "This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance...," blah blah blah.

So, you get it. Despite making up 15% of the population or less, these uninsured Americans are such a huge problem there needed to be a major overhaul of the health care system, etc. We've heard all this before. So ACA was passed, its provisions have started kicking in, and, well...hell, handbasket, some assembly required.

And if you've followed closely, among all the stories of sites crashing and enrollment taking longer than the Big Dig, you've started hearing about all the people who have gotten royally screwed by the reform plan itself. People who had quite affordable and quite functional health-care plans already, but now don't. Like these guys. Or these. Or these. Now, by their own admission, many of these people voted for Obama--some twice--so I for one am having a little bit of lowbrow "Serves you right, idiots!" glee from their misfortune. But I'm immature and vindictive and all that; surely the empathetic liberals who want to take care of everybody will be upset by this failure, right?

Okay, of course not. Apparently the people whose plans are getting canceled don't matter. Last week, when Jay Poindexter Carney was pressed about them, he complained that reporters were acting like these made up a majority of Americans, when it's really only "5 percent of the population." Well, in a country as big as ours, "5 percent" is still a lot of people. Some conservative pundits have had good fun with this; an NRO columnist pointed out that "5 percent of the population is 15 million people — or the collective population of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, and both the Dakotas."

15 million is, of course, less than 46/47/50 million; I'll give the White House that. And I don't expect Obama to up and cancel the whole reform plan. But for 15 million people? I would expect him to be holding round-the-clock powwows, have people working on the problems 24/7, or at least calling Sebelius and others on the carpet for their incompetence. Instead, we get his spokesman wondering why people are making mountains out of molehills, while TOTUS himself goes around thumping his chest about how awesome his achievement is.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. And given the overall incompetence we've seen from the White House, I'm not nearly as surprised as I might be. But you would think that if liberals really believed what they say they believe in, they would be truly bothered by all the people losing their health care and be trying to fix it. Apparently no double standard is too shameless, as long as it helps them stay in power.

To close, here's Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood singing about ObamaCare at the CMA Awards Wednesday night. Enjoy.
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Game Over, You Lose

Okay, they are right, we are wrong...game over. Okay, okay not all is lost. We can muddle through this mess, if we just stick together or ignore them.

But sometimes it just seems there's no point anymore to being a citizen and paying taxes. What is the reason I am say this? Did you know that the good people of DC passed a referendum to allow illegal aliens...excuse me, that's "undocumented immigrants" to obtain drivers' licenses. One of the more choice quotes from one of the activist groups (SEIU) who is hailing the new rules:

"It’s a shame that federal law presents an obstacle to allowing undocumented immigrants to have the same driver’s license as everyone else, but tens of thousands of D.C. residents now have the opportunity to lead more productive lives."

Yes, it is a shame that there are obstacles. Of course those "obstacles" could be avoided with, oh, I don't know, being here legally. Crazy, I know. Now, I don't mean to complain (oh who am I kidding, I DO mean to complain), but isn't this the place where we send all of our hard earned tax dollars, and where we crazy citizens send our duly-elected officials to represent us? Shouldn't it be the one place where citizens have a right to demand that illegal aliens...er, undocumented immigrants shouldn't have parity? I know, I'm crazy. I won't even comment on the "tens of thousands" number. Maybe we should ask our elected official to whom we send trillions of dollars, how many of these "undocumented immigrants" work for our Federal government? If the NSA and IRS can harass citizens without cause and get away with it, why can't they find "tens of thousands" of undocumented immigrants right under their noses?

Okay, I commented on the "tens of thousands" number. Sorry, I was smoking crack while in a drunken stupor. (Hey, that plays well in Toronto!)

It just makes my head ache and makes me cranky (or maybe that's the crack-fueled, drunken stupor hangover). Oh, well, let's discuss.

As always, feel free to change the subject. Hey, anyone have any good news? Hey, what about that Obamacare?
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Good v. Bad Character Development

Last weekend, I watched the remake of Evil Dead. It sucked. Actually it beyond-sucked. It uber-sucked. Basically, they took a quirky and strange cult classic, sucked out all the parts people liked, and then tried to turn the husk that was left into the world's goriest slasher flick. Pointless. Anyways, the intro of the film made me realize something about character development.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chris Christie... No.

By the time you read this, Chris Christie will have won re-election by a massive margin in New Jersey. No doubt there will also be a ton of articles this morning screaming that he shows the Republicans how they can prevail in the modern world. Ug. That is simply wrong.

Christie is what passes for self-described moderates in the Republican Party. What he really is, is the third Mexican in the Mexican standoff we spoke about the other day. He maintains his “moderate” image by repeatedly slandering every Republican in sight. He has attacked most national Republican figures and the party in the abstract. And every time he wants applause, he further denigrates conservatism, Republicanism and everything in between. Moreover, despite claiming to be different, he's actually just an empty suit. To my knowledge, he has introducing nothing by way of an agenda except signing whatever the Democrats send him -- he'll veto one now and then, but so does Jerry Brown in California. Even his bombastic youtube moments which made him a conservative star ever so briefly are just for show and don’t match his policies. Further, he routinely appoints Democrats to key executive and judicial positions. All told, I can’t think of a single way in which he’s made New Jersey more conservative.

This is not what we need. This is true RINOism -- Democrat-lite combined with disloyalty. I would call him John McCain in a fatsuit, except that McCain actually does advocate conservative ideas and has at times come up with an original agenda... plus, McCain has limits on how nasty he gets about his own party. (And no, this is not to excuse McCain.)

This is why Christie is the wrong direction.

As I keep saying, we need a new way. We need a new agenda, one that appeals to the American public. A lot of people wrongly hear that as “go moderate,” but that is not at all what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that we need to start offering the public solutions to their concerns on education, healthcare, retirement, jobs, protecting the environment, protecting consumers, protecting small business and protecting people from predators, be they criminals, terrorists, abusive business practices or abusive government invasion of privacy or destruction of fundamental rights. We need to think of ways to bring our conservative free market, traditional values solutions to those issues. Chris Christie is not offering any of that. All Christie offers is the same infighting that is already going on, he just represents a different Mexican.

A lot of you may be asked about Christie by other conservatives. When they ask you, don't just call him a RINO, tell them that the problem with Christie is that he claims to stand for moderate ideas, but he really stands for nothing... he has no agenda, and he maintains his support through disloyalty. We don't need that.
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Why Obamacare Is Really Failing

As I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now, things aren’t going well for Obamacare. Reality has set in and his media buddies are turning against him. Now they’ve even had to admit that the numbers aren’t going to be good. Ha ha. But do you know what the real problem is? Read on...

Senior Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer said on Sunday that the enrollment numbers for Obamacare “are not going to be what we want them to be.” This sounds a bit like Dr. Daystrom from the Star Trek episode “The Ultimate Computer” telling Kirk that the M1 through the M4 were “not entirely successful,” which was why he created the M5, which promptly went on a massive killing spree.

Anyway, WE knew the numbers were going to stink, it’s good that Team Obama finally realizes this. Interestingly though, Obama keeps trying to blame the website. In fact, Pfeiffer said that poor Obama is “frustrated” by the failure of healthcare.gov.incompetence and they swear they will get this sucker fixed by November so the public can revel in Obama’s glory. Ok, sure.

The thing is, I don’t think the website is the problem. Something is very wrong with Obamacare right now. If you look at the numbers, there should be 9 million uninsurables knocking on their e-door to sign up, but even their visitor numbers (and certainly the small numbers of people who tried to open accounts) suggest that didn’t happen. Why not?

Here’s what I’m thinking. The prices are simply too high. Thinking about the uninsurables, I see them in three groups. The first group are uninsurable because of some potential condition which doesn’t actually affect them yet. Those people have no reason to pay a ton to get insurance they won’t use... they can wait until they get sick. The second group have a condition that has bankrupted them. These people fall into one of two groups. The first group is probably already on Medicaid or disability and thus has no need for Obamacare. The second group is busy racking up the bills, but plans to file bankruptcy to get rid of them. They have no reason to sign up either because, to them, it’s just throwing good money after bad.

That leaves the third group: people who earn enough to cover their medical bills (and thus can’t file for bankruptcy or get Medicaid) but who can’t get insurance. This is the only group who would be interested in Obamacare and I frankly doubt there are many of them. Indeed, someone who is truly uninsurable is likely in the bankruptcy phase already. But let’s consider them for a moment.

In effect, the only uninsurables who will care about Obamacare are people whose bills are high each year, but manageable. Those people will look at Obamacare and ask the following question: will the premiums plus the full amount of the deductible be less than or greater than what I pay each year. As we’re seeing, premiums for families are around $1,200 a month and the deductible is $12,700. So unless their bills are greater than $27,100 a year, they have no reason to sign up either. And $27,100 covers a LOT of medicine, even for someone with an “uninsurable condition.”

What this means is that for even the vast majority of the uninsurables, Obamacare is a bad deal. And if it’s a bad deal for them, then it must be a horrible deal for insurables... especially the young, healthy “who needs insurance?” types.

In effect, Obamacare has priced itself out of the market.

An even worse sign for Obamacare is that Obamacare is suddenly becoming very “uncool.” It’s being mocked by comedians and average people. The actors who endorsed it have gone into hiding. The Democrats are screaming about problems. All that is bad. Indeed, when “the establishment” is mocking something, it becomes nearly impossible to get the sheep faction of the population to adopt it... it goes against the human herd instinct.

But even worse, the MSM is starting to rip it to shreds in a particularly nasty way. Specifically, they are finding the victims of Obamacare and highlighting their plights, typically with mentions that these people “supported Obama” and mentions that “Obama lied” about his promise that they could keep their insurance. Then they cite some massive premium number and tell a horror story about what the cancellation of the person's insurance has done to them. And each of these people is saying they would rather pay the fine. In effect, this is a very unfair story because it takes worst case anecdotal evidence and uses it to project a trend onto the public as a whole. That's logical BS, but since the MSM always does this to the Republicans, it's good to see them do it to their own side for once.

In any event, this adds a nasty touch to the PR which gives people the sense that Obamacare is something that hurts people and isn’t helping anyone (especially as they can’t even find people who are being helped). The message this sends is: avoid this menace, it will only cause you problems.

This is how products fail, when products get an “uncool” reputation as too expensive and “not something you want.” And fixing the website isn’t going to save it. Once the public adopts a particular mindset about something, it doesn’t change. And if the public sees Obamacare as something hurtful they should avoid, then forget this ponzi scheme ever getting off the ground.
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Monday, November 4, 2013

Mexican Standoff In Virginia

Tuesday’s election in Virginia highlights the problem with the GOP at the moment. You have a generally conservative, but not fringe state, that is packed with people who want low taxes and small government generally, but are big into military spending. It is, in essence, Reagan Country. But things aren’t going well... not at all.

Consider this. The Democrats are running a guy, Terry McAuliffe, who is a scandal-plagued Washington-insider who ran Hillary Clinton’s crappy 2008 campaign and oversaw the Democratic Party from 2001 to 2005. He’s deep in dirty business deals and shouldn’t play well in Virginia at all. Moreover, Virginia has a great chance here to register a protest vote against Obamacare. Our most important national figures are all coming to help the Republican and the Republican Governor’s Association even spent $8 million to helpout. Yet, reliable polls have McAuliffe consistently 7% ahead.

Why? Well, therein lies the problem for the GOP. As the Virginia election shows, the current GOP coalition is untenable.

The first thing you need to understand is the nature of Virginia itself. Virginia is an old Democratic state which began to trend red under Reagan, but didn’t end up in the GOP column until the 1990s. Indeed, George Allen in 1993 became the first Republican to take over the governor’s mansion since Reconstruction. He did it with a GOP that consisted mainly of Reagan-conservatives (smaller government, lower taxes, lower regulation, strong military), defense contractors, and military, plus some leftover “country club” Republicans who really are genuine RINOs right down to being disloyal to the party.

In the 1990s, the population of Northern Virginia surged. These people are more moderate than the rest of the state, but are still generally conservative compared to anything north of the border. They are also a mix of rich, poor and middle class, black, white, Asian and Hispanic... lots of Hispanics. I would say in all honesty that these people are largely Reagan Democrats and should be easy for the GOP to win. And since they have come to dominate the state mathematically, that’s a good thing... or at least, it should have been.

See, there’s a problem. The GOP is no longer the party of Reagan. After the Republicans took over the Congress in 1994, the Religious Right took over the Virginia GOP. Their issues were (1) legalizing home schooling, (2) removing gay books from libraries, (3) banning abortion, and (4) banning pornography... issues that did not appeal to the public. Economics did not matter to them, they had no interest in tech companies (which line I-66), and they had no interest in the military or defense contractors who employ most of the state. The result was that they lost the growing suburbanite population of Northern Virginia... who now decide Virginia elections, and the rightward movement of Virginia stopped and began to reverse quickly.

This led to a schism between the Religious Right and the rest of the GOP, and what you had was that one group would not support the other. Take your pick on who is to blame, the truth is that it doesn’t matter.

Even worse, conservatism nationally started embracing the ideas of Pat Buchanan over Ronald Reagan: culture wars, xenophobia, anti-immigrant, anti-free trade, isolationist, all mixed in with a paranoid mentality. This is a guaranteed loser in a state that is growing richer, more high-tech, and more diverse.

Enter the Tea Party. The Tea Party started well, but quickly went whack-a-doodle and now consists of extreme quasi-libertarians who are awash in conspiracy theories and won’t support anyone who isn’t a clone of themselves. They are the insane love child of Pat Buchanan and Mark Levine, and as I’ve warned you all before, it is impossible for the GOP to placate these people.

Into all of this steps the GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli, the state Attorney General. In Virginia, being the Attorney General generally leads to being governor, but something has gone very wrong here. First, Cuccinelli is hard-core Religious Right. His issue is abortion. He has even had Rick Santorum campaign for him. The result has been the usual schism between Religious Right and non-Religious Right. This time, several non-Religious Right donors have wrongly refused to contribute. At the same time, Cuccinelli’s attempts to reduce the amount of time he talks about abortion has led to various Religious Right groups wrongly attacking him.

In the middle of all of this, the Tea Party people have abandoned him because of his Religious Right views and his lack of purity... an ironic result for the first AG to file suit against Obamacare. They have fled to the libertarian candidate, who is polling anywhere from 10% to 12%. To fix this, Cuccinelli has brought in Ron and Rand Paul, but that’s only upset the Religious Right more.

This is a circus. What you have here is this:
(1) You have an establishment that won’t support Religious Right or Tea Party candidates... call it the John McCain wing.

(2) You have Religious Right types who don’t turn out unless the candidate not only is Religious Right, but shows the required level of obsession to suit them.

(3) You have Tea Party types who won’t support a Religious Right candidate or an establishment candidate... they only do crazy... and I’m not even sure they’re actually registered to vote.

(4) And each group disavows their own guy when he fails so they can tell themselves that their ideas weren’t what was rejected.
This is untenable. This means it is impossible for the GOP to field a candidate who will win except under truly unusual circumstances because no matter what, two of these three groups will always oppose their own team.

Who is to blame? All three.

How do we fix this? My agenda. Seriously.

Here’s the thing. The entire fringe, Religious Right and Tea Party, is about 20% of the Republican Party (about 6% of the public). How they divide doesn’t matter, what matters is that without the rest of the GOP, they are nothing. To them, the GOP is a vehicle to relevance. Ditto on the RINOs who probably count only a few hundred people and who see the GOP as a lobbying tool primarily.

These tails are trying to wag the 80% dog. It’s time for the 80% to do the smart thing. They’ve been told they can’t win without the Religious Right and the Tea Party and the Establishment’s connections. But that’s false: the truth is they can’t win as long as they are relying on these people. When parties are as evenly matched as the Democrats and Republicans, you can’t win if a chunk of your “base” (a self-serving and inaccurate word) decides to stay home in each election. When that happens, there is only one logical alternative: grow the party in a direction that lets you replace the disloyal groups.

How do you grow the Republican Party? How about moving the party back to where it was when it was most popular: Reaganism. The GOP needs to reach out to the public and win them over. That means shifting to a new agenda that addresses the things the public wants and dropping the things that drive the public away. Follow Reagan’s agenda of free market solutions to real problems to improve America for everyone and embrace all of America. Will the fringe be upset? Sure, because they have nowhere else to go and because once the party does this, none of them will have the power to hold the party hostage anymore. That’s why the party needs to do this. 42% of the voting public no longer votes. That’s 92 million eligible voters to win over. Go win them back and stop relying on people who have created a Mexican standoff.

When your present path affords no opportunity of success, change directions.
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