Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama: A Year Of Failing Dangerously

Obama called the recent terrorist attack in Detroit a “systematic failure.” That sounds like a pretty fair description of the entire Obama administration. Let’s look back on the year that was.

Obama came into power with no experience, no skills, no plan and no history of learning from his mistakes. So it should have come as no surprise that things started poorly and only got worse from there.

Indeed, right out of the gate, Obama ran into a little problem. . . appointment after appointment proved to be a disaster. Many didn’t pay their taxes, some were lobbyists (making a mockery of Obama’s no lobbyist policy). One of his czars quit after a few weeks because he didn’t know what the heck he was doing. Another turned out to be a Mao worshiper. One was a racist. And another came as close to being a pedophile as you can get without being caught naked with a kid.

Almost before his rear end hit the big chair, Obama signed into law a disastrous $780 billion “stimulus” plan that cost more jobs than it created. To cover his mistake, he sent out Slow Joe Biden to lie about the number of jobs his stimulus plan “created or saved.” Sadly for Obama, Joe no lie good and people caught on pretty quickly.

So he doubled down on stupid by handing truckloads of money to GM so that GM could remake itself into the exact same company it was before it got the money.

But Obama didn’t just help his union friends at GM, his banking buddies did pretty well too. As regional banks all over the country collapsed, the nation’s biggest banks (heavy contributors to the Democratic party) got hundreds of billions in cash and trillions in loan guarantees to beef up their balance sheets.

His administration then authorized hefty bonuses to AIG, only to feign outrage when the public heard about it. Learning nothing from his mistakes, Obama authorized huge salaries for the officers and directors of Fannie and Freddie Mac.

Fresh off that screw-up, Obama “acted stupidly” by accusing a Cambridge, Mass police officer of racism for arresting an as~hole who happened to be black. That one kind of put an end to this “post racial” delusion.

So did he learn from his mistakes? No. Instead, he took Air Farce One for a joyride and dive bombed New York City for fun.

Soon he turned to the meat of his agenda: (1) cap and trade (died in the Senate); (2) card check (died in the House); (3) banking “reform” (which seems to have vanished into Chris Dodd’s pocket); and (4) mortgage reform, which saved no one’s mortgage.

His ObamaCare plan went from bad to laughable, as the Democrats set about slaughtering each other. This turned a very liberal bill into the biggest special interest sop of all time. Drug monopolies were protected from competition. Doctors got bribed. AARP got bribed. The trial lawyers got an end to medical malpractice reform. The list goes on and on. But the coup de grĂ¢ce, tens of millions of people will be forced to buy insurance, with virtually no cost or price controls. Can’t beat that with a stick!

And when Obama had to give the “speech of his administration” to save it, all he managed to do was wipe out what was left of the plan’s support.

Do you remember Obama’s big achievement in Copenhagen? If you read our article on this, you would know that the “deal” wasn’t really a deal so much as a statement of wishful thinking. But there’s more. Apparently, the assembly was so put out by Obama’s magic deal that they refused to adopt the agreement. Instead, the document was “officially noted,” meaning that the agreement is officially nonbinding and any country that wants to ignore it can. This was underscored by Chinese lead negotiator Su Wei, who said this agreement is “not an agreed document, it was not formally endorsed or adopted.”

And, just in case you’re wondering, two non-bindings do not make a binding.

Now to his credit, not everything Obama did was a failure. He did act swiftly to order the military to take out those Somali pirates, that’s good. He even sent some ships to fight piracy. Of course, hijackings still reached an all time high in 2009, so maybe this wasn’t such a success either.

Obama’s talk-shop politics failed in Honduras, Iran, Russia, North Korea, China, and anywhere else it was tried. The Hondurans wrapped him around the Axle Rod. Not only did Team Obama not manage to get Zelaya returned to office, but Zelaya still hasn’t managed to leave the Brazilian Embassy because the Hondurans plan to arrest him once he does.

Iran ignored him and went on building their “peace bomb,” while North Korea playfully tossed missiles into the Pacific in spite of Obama’s harshest wishes. China refused to stop manipulating their currency or stop buying weapons or even tone down their suddenly very aggressive foreign policy. Obama sold out the Poles and the Czechs to the Russians in exchange for help on Iran, which never came.

The whole fighting terrorism thing didn’t go so well either. When a Muslim terrorist decided to shoot American soldiers at Fort Hood, Team Obama seemed incapable of identifying the bad guy. Rather that focusing on the Islamic Terrorist, Team Obama spent their time trying to keep us rednecks in flyover country from stringin’ us up an A-rab! Woo hoo!

His “speech of his administration” on Afghanistan won nobody over (3% tops) for his Afghanistan plan, unless you count the Taliban. They really liked it.

As he’s piddled, Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia all plunged further and further into chaos and the arms of Al Qaeda.

His response to the Detroit bombing again showed a lack of a steady hand. Not only did he wait three days to address the public, but he seems incapable of grasping that the terrorist acted in the name of Islam and was affiliated with some very bad people. Even worse, he sent his clowns to entertain us rather than assure us, like when Butch Napolitano assured us that “our system did not work,” right after assuring us that “the system worked.” I feel better already.

Remember that “speech of his administration” he gave in Cairo? “We bad, you good, let’s all come together coo coo ca choo.” That worked. ** rolls eyes ** Nothing but peace and happiness in the Middle East now.

Gitmo? Still open. . . though one suspect has been granted a field trip to New York for a trial.

We don’t even have word if Obama’s golf game has improved!

In fact, looking back over 2009, there is nothing that this man has done right. His administration truly has been a “systematic failure.” Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m glad his agenda lies in tatters. But it would have been nice to have an actual leader in office who did the little things. . . like stimulating the economy or stopping Iran from nuking us. But I guess we’re not getting that with this administration.

Oh well. Better luck next year.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Go West Young Voter!

A little good news from the electoral map. For at least three decades now, Americans have been moving away from the sclerotic old-line liberal states in the Northeast. They’ve been moving to the much more conservative South and West. In so doing, they are gradually shifting the political balance of power between conservative and liberal states. The 2010 Census will continue this trend, and that’s bad news for the Democrats.

Over Christmas, two different political data firms released remarkably similar estimates of how the 2010 census will affect the distribution of House seats (and electoral votes). These reports were based on 2009 Census data.

According to these firms, eight states will gain a total of eleven new House seats: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas (4 seats), Utah and Washington. Notice that these are states that tend to vote heavily Republican, with the exception of Washington.

At the same time, ten states will lose those eleven seats: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio (2 seats) and Pennsylvania. What do these states have in common? Other than Louisiana, they’re reliably Democratic. . . sorry Ohio, it’s true.

This could result in a shift in the House (and Presidential electoral votes) of nine votes for the Republicans, depending on how the redistricting is handled within each state. The Politico projects a seven vote swing.

Seven votes would have killed PelosiCare in the House.

More importantly, these changes are getting closer to breaking the parity between liberal and conservative states. If these changes continue, in a couple of decades, it may become virtually impossible for a liberal to be elected President or for a liberal party to control the House of Representatives (the Senate is different).

Indeed, this could become an electoral advantage similar to that enjoyed by the Labor Party in Britain, where the Conservatives need to win by almost double digits just to become the majority party. The same could one day become true in this country, with the Democrats on the short end of the stick.

Such a change would have a significant effect on the Democratic Party. They would need to adapt, by moving to the right, or forever face regional irrelevance. It would also mean that states like California, which spends itself into a drunken stupor and then begs the other forty-nine states for help, will need to change their ways. All of this would be great for the country.

But that is all down the road. These changes won’t take effect until 2012. And in 2012, it is unlikely that the Republicans will need an electoral advantage to win. Unless the Republicans choose a truly bad candidate (and I can think of a couple who are rather popular right now) they should be able to sweep aside Obama and his Democratic allies, whose entire agenda is opposed by around 60% of the public and close to 70% of non-Democrats.

In any event, the days of liberalism in the United States may be numbered. So let’s encourage this trend to continue. If you know anyone who is conservative, and they aren’t happy living in one of those decaying worker’s paradises in the North, tell them to go West. . .

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Unrepealable Bill. . .

The latest bit making the rounds of the blogosphere is that Harry Reid inserted language into the health care bill “that makes it impossible to repeal or amended the bill.” There is some truth to this, but it’s not what you think. Nor is such a thing even possible. In any event, Reid's language raises an interesting constitutional issue that may destroy this part of the bill. Let’s talk about what is really going on.
This Language Does Not Affect The Entire Bill
The first, most important thing to grasp is that the language in question does not affect the entire bill -- it relates only to a Board that will be established to recommend changes to Medicare to lower the growth of Medicare costs. Here’s how the Board works.

The Board will not come into existence until 2014. Thereafter, each year that the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services determines that the growth rate in the cost of Medicare services exceeds the expected growth rate, the Board shall put together a list of recommendations to cut total Medicare spending to the targeted growth rate or slightly lower.

BUT, the proposal cannot include (1) recommendations to ration health care, (2) recommendations to raise revenues or Medicare premiums, (3) recommendations to increase cost sharing, i.e. deductibles or co-pays, or (4) recommendations to change eligibility requirements. (Basically, they will have to recommend cuts to reimbursement rates to doctors.)

Each recommendation must include an explanation of the proposal and the reasons for its inclusion and an actuarial opinion by the Chief Actuary that the proposal meets the requirements of this legislation. Interestingly, each proposal must also include “a legislative proposal that implements the recommendations.” (more on this later)

The proposal must then be presented to the Congress. This is where the language in question comes in. Starting around page 1017 of the bill, the bill describes how the Senate and House must handle these proposals. This includes the rather controversially provision that prevents House or Senate members from offering any amendment to the Board’s proposals (or to this part of the bill), unless 3/5th of the Senate votes to waive this requirement.

That sounds bad. But hold on.
This Is Not Unprecedented
This is basically the format used in the 1980s with the base closing commission. When it became apparent that it was impossible to handle base closings with any rationality because every Congressman from every district with a military base would fight to the death and cut any dirty deal they could to keep their base open, the parties agreed to create an independent base closing commission. That commission was charged with coming up with a list of bases to close, based on various non-political factors. The list was then forwarded to Congress for an up or down vote. No one could amend the list. By refusing to allow amendments by individual House members or Senators, Congress managed to close unneeded bases without being stopped by the normal political process. On the surface, this is the same thing.

Further, in 2006, Sen. John Kyl (R- Az) identified at least twenty-six rule-making statutes that limit the ability of Senators to amend legislation. One, the Budget Act, has been in force for more than thirty years.

Thus, this is nothing new. But this is no reason to fret.
This Can’t Actually Bind Future Congresses
Despite the language preventing future Congresses from changing this legislation or these proposals without a supermajority, that language can’t actually control what a future Congress does. One Congress cannot bind a future Congress.

Article I, section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution states that “[e]ach house may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” In 1892, the Supreme Court took a look at this clause in United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1 (1892). In that case, the Supreme Court held that this clause grants each Congress the powers to amend their rules whenever a simple majority of the quorum are present. And this power is continuing, meaning it can be exercised at any time by any Congress: “[The] power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by [either] house.”

Therefore, one Congress cannot bind a future Congress. Indeed, one Congress cannot even bind itself -- each Congress has the power to change it rules by simple majority vote at any time.

Thus, while Reid’s language looks authoritative, future Congresses can ignore it. . . it will only have effect until a majority of either house of Congress decides to change it.

Consequently, this is not the big deal people are making it out to be.

But there is something else in this language that troubles me.
The Board’s Proposals Can Be Enacted Without Congress?
Throughout this section, Reid allows the Secretary to implement the Board’s proposals even without Congressional approval. This is a troubling issue because this represents an abdication of Congress’s legislative powers to the Executive.

Under the Constitution, the power to enact legislation lies entirely with the Congress. It may not grant this power to the Executive. In the past, this was strictly enforced and the Supreme Court would strike down anything that gave the Executive the power to make law, rather than calling upon the Executive to enforce the law. In particular, this appeared in cases where laws were struck down for being “too vague.” If a law did not clearly define what the Executive was supposed to do, the Supreme Court would strike it down.

But this has been eroded to the point of disappearing. Indeed, the most infamous moment probably came with the Americans With Disabilities Act, where the Congress actually refused to include a meaningful definition of “disability,” instead leaving it up to the Executive and the courts to determine.

Yet, Reid's law may revive this prohibition. Think back to the language I mentioned above. The Board not only recommends changes, but Reid is requiring the Board to include “a legislative proposal that implements the recommendations.” This is fairly strong evidence that the Board’s recommendations do not involve merely filling in the gaps of clear legislation, but instead involve creating law. Indeed, if the Board weren’t creating law, there would be no reason to allow the Congress to weigh in on these proposals -- in fact, it would violate the separation of powers to let the Congress approve an agency action.

Thus, if I were to challenge this statute in court, I would argue that this abdicates the legislative function because it allows the Executive to take actions that the law itself recognizes as needing the approval of Congress, i.e. law making.

Will a court accept this? They should. The legal theory is entirely sound. And if they do, then Reid’s control-freak behavior will have resulted in this entire section of ObamaCare being wiped out by the courts.

Nice work Harry.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Updated: Give Me A Break. . .

I hate writing this kind of article, especially just before Christmas. But I find myself frustrated. This morning I visited one of those bigger "conservative" blogs and I was shocked at the utter petulance and ignorance being displayed. Conservatives like to think of themselves as rational, but these people are giving HuffPo a run for their money when it comes to whining, spite and know-nothing-ism. Today's topics of choice: the evil Mitch McConnell has agreed to let the Democrats vote early on the health care bill! Off with his head!!!

I kid you not, this supposedly respectable conservative site was jam-packed with hundreds of losers whining in full on hate mode about the "sell out" by the evil Republicans. "Sell out"? That's right. Apparently, McConnell is going to let the Democrats vote early! Off with his head!! There were calls for McConnell to resign. There were the usual unsupported allegations of dirty deals and the paranoid claims that somehow the Republicans did this to satisfy their own secret agenda -- an agenda that we just know involves something unAmerican. And there was just a lot of whining about the Republicans.

For the record, voting today, tomorrow or Sunday won't change by a minute the moment when the conference committee begins its work. Nor will it change by a second the moment this bill either hits or doesn't hit Obama's desk. Nor will it change the outcome of the vote -- unless you are stupid enough to believe (as many were at this site) that some Democrat, each of whom has gone all in on this bill, will suddenly have a change of heart and sacrifice everything to be on the side of reason. Not going to happen. Nothing changes by moving this vote except that these Senators get home a few hours earlier. Big whoop.

Yet. that's enough to set these people off. They need to gain some perspective. They remind me of divorce clients who come through the door and aren't concerned in the least with working out a good deal or making sure their kids are taken care of. . . all they want is to make their soon-to-be-ex spouse suffer. It's childish, it's stupid, it's spiteful, and it's not the kind of behavior in which conservatives engage.

So you want to tear apart the Republican leadership because they didn't make the Democrats miss Christmas Eve, huh? Wow, that's grown up. It's also stupid to attack a rather effective Republican leadership over something so totally minor. Or did you forget that this is the same leadership that used every available avenue to expose this bill and its flaws to the American people, driving down its popularity to unprecedented lows for a major piece of legislation.

This is the same leadership that kept every single Republican together on this issue, thereby allowing the moderate Senate Democrats to gut large parts of this bill. Do you not realize there would still be a public option or the Medicare expansion if the Republicans had not held together? Do you not realize that the abortion language that may still kill this bill in the House exists only because Republicans helped to insert it? Do you not realize that a single Republican vote would have allowed the media to call this bipartisan? Yet, you're upset because a few Democrats will get home a couple hours early? Grow up.

I actually heard some idiots on talk radio the other day blaming the Republicans for not stopping the health care bill entirely. They were "just sure" the Republicans didn't stop the bill "because they wanted it too." Seek professional help.

It is time that conservatives start thinking instead of knee-jerking. Too many are flying into a rage at the slightest hint of something they don't like. They are not picking their battles. They aren't discerning friend or foe. And most are not even bothering to understand if they are right or wrong about what they're whining about -- like this issue about the "unrepealable health care bill" which I'll debunk after Christmas.

And frankly, if you're whining about something this minor -- something which will not change anything, then I and all other reasonable people can only conclude that you are a whiner who doesn't like anything, and I, frankly, can no longer take anything you complain about seriously.

There is much to be concerned about in Washington today. But if you fly off the handle and attack your own side for every minor infraction, real or imagined, you will guarantee a Democratic victory in 2010. . . and you will be responsible for the damage done to this country.


I don't normally post what other blog say, but Hot Air hit this issue squarely, and points out there could be a strategy reason for this -- media coverage of the bill:

So he held out for a Christmas Eve vote anyway, even though it’s not a vote on the final final bill and it’ll be a pure formality if they get 60 tomorrow for cloture. What’s the problem? They’ve all got kids and grandkids they want to see on Christmas, as do their staffers. Why work late if you don’t have to and doing so would accomplish nothing? Pure spite is a poor political strategy, especially when the basic symbolic point — forcing the Dems to wait until the last possible day to pass this travesty — is preserved.

Actually, the early vote will achieve something the late vote couldn’t: A full day of media devoted to a bill the public hates and which both left and right agree is garbage. Good luck getting people to watch the news after dark on Christmas Eve; now, thanks to the new arrangement, they’ll have almost 12 extra hours to stew about it before the holiday draws them away. McConnell knows what he’s doing here.

It continues:

But back to the problem at hand: Reid wanted to leave town earlier than 7 p.m. So McConnell offered him a deal. The Senate comes back into session on January 20, just a few days before the State of the Union address. McConnell offered to hold the health care vote a few hours earlier on Christmas Eve if Reid would agree to take up the debt limit issue on January 20, and would further agree to hold a specific roll-call vote that day on raising the debt ceiling, and would further agree to consider, and vote on, five Republican amendments related to out-of-control federal spending.

In the debt debate — the one Democrats didn’t want to have — GOP senators are expected to offer amendments to end the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, as well as amendments on a budget-cutting package, on a deficit-control commission and other spending-related items.

“So days before the president’s State of the Union, where he has said he is going to talk about getting the deficit under control, we are going to force a vote on raising the government’s credit card limit because we are maxed out,” says the Senate aide. “We’re going to force them to vote on ending TARP, deficit control — things they don’t want to do. And it’ll be on the first day back, when everybody’s paying attention.”

“They want to get the hell out of here,” the aide says of Democrats. “They traded away a vote on the debt limit to get out of town a few hours earlier. It’s a bad deal for them.”

There’s no doubt Republicans wanted to get out of Washington, too. But according to the source, leaving early was not a big concern at the Senate GOP policy lunch yesterday. Republicans were prepared to stay until Christmas Eve night; it was Democrats who wanted to leave.

So did McConnell surrender? It doesn’t seem so. It was Reid who wanted to leave more than McConnell, and it was Reid who gave up something in order to get an earlier vote. McConnell didn’t have much bargaining power — no leader with just 40 votes would — but he used it to get as much as he could.

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A Christmas Message From The Elves. . .

By the Boiler Room Elves

Yes, we know what you are thinking. An article from the Boiler Room Elves? Two days before Christmas?! Shouldn't we be toiling away in some northern toy factory? Clearly, you need a lesson in Elf history.

Many, many years ago, our ancestors found what appeared to be paradise. It was a happy place, with a jolly, charismatic leader who promised ho-ho-hope and change. He promised green pointy shoes to each according to his needs and he foreswore profit. He made big promises, like a four week work-year with full benefits, and government housing for all. The Elves were enticed by his idealistic philosophy, and they followed him with great expectations.

But it wasn’t long before some of the Elves began to feel slightly oppressed. While this leader was indeed jolly, he also kept lists of people’s behavior and spied on them as they slept. Were the free healthcare and free housing projects worth swearing to his "nice, not naughty" code of conduct?

And spying wasn’t all. To control healthcare costs, he forbade us from eating sweets, and he banned smoking -- though he is himself a secret smoker.

It was the Bakers' Guild that broke first. Elves without cookies are like Dwarves without lasagna. They could no longer take the rules, and they refused to pay the fines. So they left the village and they headed south to the Keebler Forests.

Others soon followed. They wanted freedom. They didn’t want their leader telling them what they could or could not do. They wanted the freedom to make their world as they saw fit. Some had visions of innovations they wanted to try. Others just wanted to be left alone. There is more to being an Elf than living in comfort and being taken care of.

Thus came The Great Schism that forever split Elfkind into separate wings, those that wanted comfort but cared not for freedom, and those that wanted freedom to find their own comfort. And on that day, Elfrich August von Hayek nailed a copy of The Sleighride to Serfdom on the door of the toy factory. Our eyes had been opened.

Modern times find the Elves spread all over the globe, and, indeed, further.

The Santa Elves who stayed behind live happily in their workers “paradise,” unaware that the net income from giving away toys for free year after year hasn't quite kept up with the expenses, and now, sadly, their way of life is quietly crumbling. Christmas toy demand is up, and the Elves are asked to work ever longer, which of course they are unaccustomed to doing. Their healthcare system, too... well candy canes and egg nog take their toll and let's not talk about life expectancy up there. (They cut a lot of corners.)

In the South, the Elves are happier. The Baker’s Guild incorporated and they make a mint selling dozens of types of cookies all year long. One of their own recently became Treasury Secretary.

We Boiler Room Elves chose a different path. Ours is not the way of butter and sugar, but of machinery and innovation. Life is not perfect, but it has been fair. Competition from cheap boiler rooms in Asia has cost many an Elf their job. But we are resilient and we will make better boilers, more efficient boilers. And those that lost their jobs have found work in other fields or created other fields. Did know that every time you run an internet search, it’s an Elf that compiles the results!

Sadly, many younger Elves who never experienced life behind the Toy Curtain revere what they see as a more sophisticated system up north. If Santa’s Elves can live so carefree with no worries, why can’t the rest of us, they ask from a safe, ignorant distance. But they are young and foolish. They will learn soon enough that promises that sound too good to be true are never true and “free lunches” come at too high a cost.

In any case, though, Christmas time for the Boiler Room Elves is much like for any of you. Cards to write, egg nog to drink, government take-overs to protest, and Merry Christmas wishes to send to everyone we know - online and IRL. So Merry Christmas everyone! Jingle a shoe-bell for us.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mad-Lib Obama Style

We probably shouldn’t admit this, but someone in the White House sent us an audio recording of our young President going about his daily routine. We thought we’d share the transcript with you.

[Obama’s Voice]

Where did I put that troop plan? There it is. . . no, that’s not it. Oh here it is. . . no this isn’t it either. Must have left it in Copenhagen.

Hey, what’s this? A ‘Mad-Lib.’ I remember these from my youth. We used to do these in the madrassas between prayers. I wonder how this got here? Oh well, never turn down a lucky find, or a Nobel Prize! *chuckles*

Let’s see, how does this work again? ‘Read the clues and insert words, then flip the page and read the finished product.’ Great, I. . . uh, I’m great at reading.

Ok, the first one. Name someone with whom you disagree? Those. . . who. . . oppose. . . Wait! *scratching noise* I’ve got a better one: Pe. . .losi.

Name something people cherish? Healthcare. That seems important to people.

A body part. Heh heh. . . a butt.

Another body part. Brain.

Let’s see, something you say when you’re upset. Screw you.

Oh man there are a lot of these. Heart, brain, sewage, flatulence. If I’d known it took this much work, I wouldn’t have started. Something long? Let’s keep to the theme -- stool sample. No, better just put ‘stool’. . . just in case this ends up in the Presidential archives like that damn coloring book. Ok, just a few more. Drunk, socks, gunk.

Enough. Time to read. Ok. . . Man, that’s hard to read. It might be easier to read on the old teleprompter.

*clicking noise*

That’s better. Let’s see. . .
All the Whos down in Whoville liked Healthcare a lot,
But the Pelosi, who lived just west of Whoville, did not.
*chuckles* Isn’t that the truth?!
The Pelosi hated healthcare, all without reason.
Oh, please don’t ask why, there’s no reason you would believe in.
It could be, perhaps, that her shoes were too tight.
Or maybe her butt wasn’t screwed on just right.
But I think that the best reason of all
May have been that her brain was two sizes too small.
*chuckles* Really nailed her!

Think I’ll skip ahead. . . took away health care. . . taxed the Whos. . . yada yada yada. Here we go.
They're finding out now that no Healthcare is coming.
They're just waking up, I know just what they'll do.
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
Then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, "Screw you!"
This is amazing. It’s like this book can tell the future! I should get Rahm to read this when he gets back from having his rear end waxed.
You're a monster, Ms. Pelosi.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of sewage.
You've got flatulence in your soul.
Ms. Pelosi. I wouldn't touch you, with a...thirty-nine-and-a-half foot stool.
*chuckles* All that college stuff finally pays off!
You're a foul one, Ms. Pelosi.
You're a nasty, wasty drunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks.
Your soul is full of gunk.
And she’s got a lot of junk in the trunk, magic book!

[Outside voices]

Oh shoot, someone’s coming, better look busy. Ah, yeah, I think 30,000 more troops should be good. That’ll show those Romanians who’s boss. Who says I can't make a decision?!

That’s where the tape cut out. We don’t quite know what to make of it yet, but if we reach any conclusions (or if we invade Romania), we’ll let you know.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

The Day The Democratic Party Died

Hear that silence? That’s the sound of the last missed-opportunity the Democratic “moderates” are going to get to fix their rotten party. For years now, the leftists in the media have been obsessed with the Republican fringe. They do article after article about how the Republican party is dominated by its fringes and how that makes it unpalatable to the American public. Yet, they ignore the Democrats, the real party dominated by its fringes. The current health care debate is giving “moderate” Democrats one last chance to retake their party. Sadly, they aren’t up to the task.

You may recall my open letter to the Democrats from a week or so ago. In it, I pointed out that they had become a rotten party. They are a party of spite, of anger, of tribalism. They seek to destroy rather than help. They demonize and they hate. That is their activist base; that is their leadership.

But the moderates have always claimed that they are not the same as their leaders. They call themselves “moderates” or “blue dogs” and they make a lot of noise about being something other than what their party has become. But it’s all an illusion. . . or a delusion. No matter what they want to think of themselves, these same “moderates” support leaders who push a hate-filled, destructive agenda on an unwilling population, and they will vote for any hard-left proposal for which they are told to vote. They are at best “useful idiots” or “fellow travelers,” at worst co-conspirators.

So why talk about this now? Because the current environment gives these moderates possibly the last chance they will ever have to rescue their party and bring it back from the brink.

The American public is furious. They oppose every single thing the Democrats are trying to do in overwhelming numbers. In survey after survey, close to 60% of the population opposes (often strongly or angrily) what the Democrats are doing. The public is intent on throwing them out, possibly for a generation.

This is the exact environment these self-described moderates need to reshape the Democratic Party. They need to redefine their principles and then take a stand on those principles. They need to announce to the world, their intent to change their party and their determination to work with the Republicans to frustrate the fringe agenda being foisted upon us.

They need to say something like this:
“We can no longer support the direction the party is taking. It is time that we stop treating the public as an enemy and start listening to the American people. We must put behind us the era of identity politics and race baiting, the era of class warfare, the destructive politics of spite and envy. There can be no room in our party for such beliefs or for those who would be believe them. Liberalism is about helping those who need it, not hurting those we think have too much.”

“We will no longer support irresponsible uncontrolled spending, or spending on pet projects and special interests. We are here to represent the American people, not just some of them. We cannot support a health care bill that does nothing to cut costs or improve the quality of care, that is financed on the backs of retired people, or that relies on fraudulent accounting. We can no longer support midnight votes on secret bills. We must rethink the way our government works.”

“It is time to chart an old course for the Democratic Party, to make it again into the party that Jefferson built, that Roosevelt built, that JFK built. We must stop being a party that listens to Karl Marx and acts like it’s run by Groucho Marx.”
Then they need to follow this up by denying leadership votes to Pelosi et al. They should work with the Republicans to form, basically, a coalition government -- one that tracks mainly center with some liberalism mixed in.

But they won’t because they are afraid of their fringe. Though nothing could be further from the truth, they’ve bought into the idea that they can’t win re-election unless they pander to their fringe. So they cower and they collaborate.

I say “bought into” because the idea that fringes have power is false. The only power the left-fringe has is in refusing to support a candidate. They could run a primary challenge, but that rarely works. . . especially against a popular politician. And in most states and the overwhelming majority of districts, the leftist fringe is too small to matter.

Take Nelson, for example. Nebraska is a largely non-partisan, relatively conservative state. Nelson is(was) a popular politician -- he was known primarily as a governor who cut taxes. So does anyone really believe that he could be unseated in a primary challenge by some wild-eyed, socialist mouth-breather? Not likely. And do you really think he will be better off having voted for this health care seizure and betraying the people of Nebraska than he would have been had he stood up to this loony plan?

If I were to run against Nelson, I would start now (hint hint) and I would put out ads explaining what Nelson has done in the Nelson/Pelosi Health Care Seizure Act. And when 2012 ran around, there would be thousands of signs all over Nebraska asking:
• “Has Pelosi/Nelson improved your health care?”
• “Did you get coverage?”
• “Is your health insurance cheaper?”
• “Did Ben Nelson forget to mention the fines?”
• “Did you get what you’re paying for?”
But the moderates aren’t serious. Rather than band together and rise up, they remain silent. . . or whisper “can I get something to bribe my constituents?” Or they lie. In fact, it’s become a virtual truth holocaust whenever they discuss their agenda. One of my Colorado Senators (they may be the same guy as far as I can tell) has an ad running right now that is nearly 100% false -- the only part that appears to be true is the bastard’s acknowledgement that he’s a United States Senator.

And Nelson? In a most telling moment, “conservative” Democrat Nelson said this regarding the angry response of the people of his state:
“This is all orchestrated. It’s so thinly disguised. . . it’s almost laughable.”
Laughable? The anger of the American people is laughable?

It’s time to face reality. The Democratic Party is dead. And in its place now stands a hard-core, hate-filled socialist, apartheid party. There are no moderates in that party, and those that claim to be moderate are lying.

For those of you who still cling to the idea of a Democratic Party but aren’t ardent socialists or outraged members of some interest group, it’s time to move on.

So why does this matter to me? Shouldn’t I be happy that these daffy fools are about to commit political suicide? Well, yes. But politics works best when you have two vibrant parties competing for ideas. Right now we don’t have that. In place of the second party, we have this collection of lunatics and hate-mongers calling themselves Democrats.

Jefferson is spinning in his grave.

[+]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Copenhagen: Let’s Make A (Fake) Deal

Liberals are stupid. And I mean that sincerely. They seem incapable of differentiating between real promises and fake promises, between real deals and mere symbolism or photo ops. They hear “we will agree to agree” as “we have an agreement,” and they wonder why nothing changes thereafter. They’re suckers for fake accords. And nothing is faker than Obama’s Copenhagen deal.

As one might expect, the liberal self-delusion machine is running in high gear trying to sell liberals on the idea that Obama didn’t sell them out again. But he did. I’ve got the receipt to prove it.

“OBAMA SAVES COPENHAGEN, WORLD!” screamed the soothing headlines. Don’t worry my liberal friends, you backed the right messiah. Don’t look behind the curtain, just bask in his glory.

But what did he really agree to? The agreement in question was all of two and a half pages. Here is what is “requires”:
• Signatories will cooperate in reducing emissions “with a view” to keeping temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees F about preindustrial levels.
TRANSLATION FOR LIBERALS: Signatories agree that it would be nice if temperatures stayed low. We might even think about doing something to make that happen.
• Developing nations will report the progress of their voluntary actions every two years.
TRANSLATION FOR LIBERALS: We agreed to nothing, but we’ll act like we’re keeping track of our progress.
• Those reports will be subject to “international consultations and analysis”.
TRANSLATION FOR LIBERALS: You can watch us do nothing.
• Rich nations will finance a $10 billion-a-year, three-year program to fund clean energy projects in poor countries, with a goal of creating a $100 billion-a-year fund by 2020.
TRANSLATION FOR LIBERALS: Maybe someone in the future will spend money to help poor countries, but don’t count on it. In the meantime, look for existing aid to be redesignated as “environmental aid.”
The key word, for our liberal friends, is the word “voluntary.” I know this is not a word with which you are familiar. But if you look it up in the dictionary you will find that it means taking actions without being forced to or required to take those actions. That’s right, without the government telling you that you have to do it. Yes. Seriously. People do things without being told. Yes, it happens all the time. Look it up.

So what we have here is a deal that requires nothing, but includes some promises to consider doing some stuff, maybe. That's worthless. And if you want proof, my liberal friends, there’s a simple test: ask yourself, are we required to do anything more after the agreement than we were required to do before the agreement? Answer: Nope.

What? Do you need a crayon sketch to figure this out?

Apparently so.

Despite the obvious, David Doniger, the director of gullibility at the leftist Natural Resource Defense Council, hailed this as “a very substantial breakthrough . . . we’re going to have a real effort that involves all the countries. . . making cuts in that pollution.” Oh goodie! And next week we’ll all lose ten pounds.

Tony Kreindler, a spokes-sucker for the leftist Environmental Defense Fund, gushed, “There was no room for failure, and Obama came through and was able to get an agreement. The process is a difficult one, but the president took a risk, was bold and walked away with an agreement.” Can’t you just feel the awe. . . the lust? (Try reading it again and adding a little hard breathing and you’ll see what I mean.) I’ll tell you what Tony, if you send us a bunch of money, we promise to one day consider saying something nice about your pathetic organization. That’s a solid promise in your book, right? Come on Tony, you know you want to. . . it’ll make the polar bears happy.

The New York Times and CNN jumped on board, defending their messiah by calling this agreement “meaningful.”

But not everyone is as stupid. One climate change group broke the code pretty quickly:
“We’ve got a league of carbon foxes to share guard duty over the henhouse. I think the most depressing part is that it will probably play well politically in the US. Progressives worked their heart out for a guy who has gutted one of the most progressive ideas of the last century.
Who doesn’t love irony? And this group was not alone. Here is a smattering of typical responses:
• Mexico’s President Calderon: “I know this accord is far from what we expected and what the world needs.”

• European something-or-other-irrelevant Jose Manuel Barroso said, “this particular text falls far short of our expectations.” One European diplomat was a little blunter, calling this “a shitty, shitty deal.”

• The African delegation complained that this deal “condemns their continent to a century of devastating temperature rises.”

• Hugo Chaves said that he could still smell sulfur when Obama spoke. Yeah, I get that too when Obama speaks. Chavez then complained that Obama got the Nobel Prize for War and whined about capitalism. . . not keeping his socialist paradise afloat.
The Independent UK described the “‘deal’ as beyond bad” and noted that the requirements were so minimal that the Europeans would actually need to work hard not to meet them:
It's not just that we didn't get to where we needed to be, we've actually ceded huge amounts of ground. There is nothing in this deal – nothing – that would persuade an energy utility that the era of dirty coal is over. And the implications for humanity of that simple fact are profound.

I know we Greens are partial to hyperbole. We use language as a bludgeon to direct attention to the crisis we are facing, and you will hear much more of it in the coming days and weeks. But, really, it is no exaggeration to describe the outcome of Copenhagen as a historic failure that will live in infamy.

What [we] witnessed was nothing less than the very worst instincts of our species articulated by the most powerful men who ever lived.
By the way, the cost of carbon permits in Europe (where they are sold like derivatives) crashed after the deal.

But the American left is oblivious. Fake agreements! To paraphrase Bob Hoskins from Roger Rabbit, “liberals. . . get’s ‘em every time.”

[+]

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ObamaCare: All Bets Are Off. . .

By now you’ve all heard that Sen. Ben Nelson did what we all thought he would, he gave up his principles in exchange for a few favors for his constituents. . . the nation’s insurers. This means the rump-Baucus bill will pass the Senate. What does this mean? What happens next? Read on. . .

1. You’ve been tricked by your Senators.

The first thing to realize (and I hope the lousy people of Nebraska and Louisiana and the Democratic parts of Florida are listening) is that the Baucus bill and all of your ill-gotten gains and privileges are now likely worthless. Your Senators have played you for suckers.

How can I say this? Because there are at least 51 Senators who will vote for the final product even if it includes a nuclear strike on your home state. That means the Senate is now irrelevant. . . it will pass whatever comes out of the conference committee, no matter how much your Senator whines that it’s not fair.

The future of your special favors now rests in the hands of the liberal Democrats in the House. That means a likely return of the public option -- and Joe Lieberman can do nothing about it. That also means they can strip out the benefits for which Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Bill Nelson all sold their souls. That means they can ram through funding for abortion, coverage for illegal aliens, and taxes on you and yours. . . and there’s not a damn thing your Senator can do about it.

But they knew that. So when your Senate creature comes back to its home state on bended knee and it tells you through crocodile-tear-stained eyes that it thought it had a deal in place to protect you. . . don’t believe it. It’s lying.

2. What happens next?

What happens next is the bill goes to the conference committee made up of a group of Senators and a group of Representatives appointed by each chamber. They will argue over the final shape of the bill. They usually cannot add anything not already included in either the House or the Senate version (though this can be waived), but that’s not really relevant in this instance as the two bills together already cover everything the liberals in either chamber want.

In other words, even though the Senate stripped out the public option, the House included one. . . thus, the conference committee can put it back into the final bill, and Joe Lieberman can whine about being misled by Harry Reid.

3. Will the final bill pass?

Probably, but we’ll have to wait and see what format the bill ultimately takes. As I said above, don’t expect the Senate to do anything at this point except become a rubber stamp for the House. But the House hasn’t solved its own problems yet. The abortion people are furious on either side and finding a compromise that reconciles their polar opposite positions will be difficult. The immigrant groups are furious about the exclusion of illegal aliens. There is still anger, in both directions, about the inclusion/exclusion of the public option.

And the real winners right now are the insurance companies, which will upset House liberals to no end. Indeed, right now, insurers not only gained freedom from state regulation through this OPM plan, but 30 million more people will be forced to buy their products. Thank you Santa . . . or is it Satan?

In any event, this will be difficult to pass through the House. The House voted 220-215 to pass the bill originally. A loss of three additional votes would kill the bill. With Democrats talking openly about being willing to lose 20-40 seats to get this done, one has to wonder if more “moderate” Democrats won’t decide that their futures lie in opposing this bill? We’ll have to wait and see. . . just how suicidal are these Democrats?

4. What should the Republicans do now?

The Republicans have actually fought an extremely good fight on this. They deserve a ton of credit -- and let me add, the blame for not stopping this lies with the voters who thought they could trust the Democrats with a super-majority.

But now the game is changing. Any Republican who wants to lead the party in the future better start working language into their appearances about repealing this monster. That should become the leading issue in 2010 and 2012.
"Save HealthCare, Repeal PelosiCare"

[+]

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can Kool Aid Quench Hate?

As you know, the left is a tad put out by the health care debate. They’re so upset that the health care bill making its way through the Senate does not PUNISH insurance companies and drug makers that they’ve started throwing the greatest hissy-fit since. . . well, since, the last one. And in language getting increasingly more reminiscent of Wiemar days, the left has turned to fratricide and paranoid theories about being stabbed in the back by the dirty insurance companies and their secret agents in the White House and Senate. So how does Obama respond to this unruly mob of paranoid psychotics? Not very well.

Obama seems to have missed the fact that his minions have escaped their cages and are running around foaming at the mouth, looking for traitors in their midsts. He doesn’t seem to get that the left not only looks to destroy current allies (like Lieberman and Nelson) politically, but also personally. He doesn’t seem to get that the leftist blogosphere is starting to spin conspiracy theories in which their Messiah turns out not only to be a false prophet, but an agent of Satan Mutual Insurance.

That’s right, Obama’s not just a liar, he’s a betrayer, an agent of evil. . . capitalist stooge! He didn’t PUNISH the evil insurance/drug companies, he works for them. . . he was created by them. . . he is evil! Oh my.

But Obama missed all of this because he’s tone deaf.

The left wanted to hear this:
POTUS approaches TOTUS. . . My fellow Americans. Health care is the most important right we have. It is more important than any other right within the Constitution. We have tried to pass health care, but we have been betrayed by powerful interests of rich bankers, health care insurance providers and drug makers. This must stop. I have ordered the seizure of the assets of those who would oppose us and I have ordered the Senate to bar the doors until they produce a health care bill that guarantees free health care for everyone, except the rich, and which is premised on the only system that makes sense, with the government being the sole provider of health care. As of this moment, all doctors should consider themselves employees of the federal government.
But, instead, he gave them this: The Senate bill “fits all the criteria that I laid out.” Yeah, and Nancy Pelosi is Mary Poppins. Obama continued:
“It is deficit-neutral. It bends the cost curve. It covers 30 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, and it has extraordinary insurance reforms in there to make sure that we’re preventing abuse.”
What a crock. Not only is none of this true in any real sense of being truthful, but it’s not even true in the leftist sense of meeting their expectations (a greater form of truth in their minds).

Consider these real world untruths:

1. Deficit neutral? Yeah, if you don’t count huge chunks of the cost ($250 billion to doctors) that were excluded from the deficit calculation. . . if you use phony assumptions about cuts that will never happen ($460 billion in Medicare cuts and $25 billion in magical savings). . . if you assume that people will happily pay large amounts of income taxes rather than switching to lower taxed plans or that tens of millions of Americans would rather pay fines than get insurance. Not to mention that the spending is back-loaded and the taxes are front-loaded, which means that the bill will cost more than double the expected amount when you look at the second ten years.

Indeed, take a look at the following chart which shows how the spending increases slowly year after year. This is the only way to keep the cost under a trillion dollars for the first ten years. The second ten years (assuming the cost doesn’t shoot up like all other government programs in history have) will be around $180 billion a year -- that $1.8 trillion in 10 year speak, not the $800 billion advertised.

2. Bends the cost curve? Yeah, upwards. Let’s see, they’re adding 30 million people (I supposed the other 16 million will vanished) to the system without increasing the number of providers, and they’re adding billions in taxes to equipment and drugs and providers. Even Howard Dean, a noted liar, has admitted, this bill does absolutely nothing to reduce costs except promising to convene committees to look into the cost issue.

3. Extraordinary insurance reforms? Name one a~hole. And again, let’s cite Howard Dean on this: “This isn’t health care reform, this isn’t even insurance reform.”

Now consider these leftist-untruths. This bill does nothing to take “unfair” profits from insurers or drug makers. It does not hurt the rich in any meaningful way, nor are they made to pay for everyone else’s health care. It does not seize assets, involve nationalization, or ban private insurance. It doesn’t do anything. Boo hoo.

But will our sliver-tongued devil of a POTUS et. TOTUS be able to calm his followers and keep them from revolting? Apparently not.

After the election, Obama converted his massive e-mail list of 13 million “supporters” into an organization called “Organizing for America.” From time to time, he’s sent out e-mails asking this group to call Congress or volunteer. On Wednesday, Obama sent out another one of these e-mails asking people to call Congress or volunteer for phonebanks. This resulted in only 150,000 calls. Compare that to the more than one million calls they were able to generate in prior efforts.

More interestingly, the e-mail actually resulted in a backlash. Many responded with angry messages and others demanded to be removed from the list. Some sent out listserv e-mails urging activists to “just say no” to the phonebank effort. Here are some quotes collected by The Politico from various leftists:
• “Organizing for America will get a rude awakening when they try to round up canvassers and phone bankers.”

• “I will call my senators, but I will be asking them to vote against the bill without the public option or Medicare buy-in.”

• Obama “is taking for granted that the volunteers who worked so hard for him were going to buy in to whatever strategy he chose to pass his major legislative initiative.”

• “Why should I devote my valuable time (Editor’s note: **chuckles**) to volunteer for a bill that has no teeth left in it? We've sold our souls to four Senators instead of sitting down and convincing them that a public option or at the very least medicare is included in the bill.”

• “Say NO if (OFA staffers) ask you to participate” in the phone banking. “If this bill passes, it will be because Joe Lieberman threw a hissy fit and was allowed to control what went into the bill. That means that in the end, he had more power with President Obama and Senator Reid than we do. If he is rewarded, this tactic will be used over and over again to kill the progressive agenda.”

• Do not donate to the DNC or the Party’s congressional campaign committees.
Team Obama insists everything is ok. But Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, disagrees:
“We heard story after story from current Organizing for America volunteers about how they were getting disillusioned with Obama because he wasn’t fighting for the public option. Obama’s e-mail list may soon become a hollow shell if he does not fight Joe Lieberman and insist that there be a public option.”
Sounds like the Kool Aid needs more sugar.

[+]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Number of Things. . .

Numbers are magical things. They can tell us much. . . or little. Let’s look at a few numbers that told us much this week.

44. . . As in 44%, which is the new low that Obama’s approval rating hit this week according to Rasmussen. Even more interesting, however, is the number 42, as in the 42% of Americans who strongly disapprove of Obama. Think about that. Obama’s total approval ratings, both those who strongly approve of him and those who kind of, sort of, guess they like him is only 2% above the number of people who strongly disapprove of him. Not good. For the record, his total disapproval is 55%. Oh, and among independents, only 36% offer their approval.

9. . . As in how many times higher the murder rate is in Brazil than in the worst US city. And that’s not the worst of it. In Brazil, 1 in 23 people “arrested” is killed by the police in the process. In the evil, old US of A, that number is 1 in 37,000. Yet the left complains about "abusive" American police.

1. . . The loneliest number that you’ll ever know. 2, not so much.

135. . . The number of developing countries at the 192-nation Copenhagen summit who staged a brief boycott because they are very upset that they will be expected to pay for their own efforts to fight global warming. They want rich countries to pay for their efforts.

40,584. . . The number of tons of carbon emitted by the delegates to Copenhagen in making their journey. This is the same amount Morocco emitted in 2006.

18. . . A proposal in England would make it a legal right to see your doctor within 18 weeks. Still prefer the English system to the American system?

19. . . The percentage of federal employees who make more than $100,000 a year.

71,000. . . The average salary at Club Fed. This compares to $40,331 in the private sector.

3,042,200,000. . . The number of dollars 276,300 Federal employees owe in back taxes.

1,900,000,000,000. . . The amount the Democrats want to add to the nation’s debt to pay for their insane spending, and a 2% raise for Federal employees.

4. . . The number of letters in the word “jobs”. Somebody tell Joe.

14,000. . . The pay raise Sen. Max Baucus gave one of his staffers after they started dating, and before he recommended her for the position of US Attorney in Montana.

[+]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fear and Loathing In D.C.

If there is one thing the Democrats are good at, it’s political theater. Watching them act is like melodrama of the highest order. . . or a low quality soap opera. Of all their recent fooling around, nothing approaches the drama they are generating with health care reform. Fear, hate and revenge fill the air of the Senate. . .

News Item: Dorgan Terrifies Democrats
After fourteen days of debate, the Senate has managed to vote on only eight amendments. Why has the process ground to a halt you ask? Because of little-known Senator Byron Dorgan, who, having fallen for an e-mail scam about a Mexican pharmacy, has introduced an amendment to allow the government to import prescription drugs from other countries.

This has frozen the Democrats with terror. Imagine Dorgan pulling this amendment from his briefcase as the other Democrats huddle together in a distant corner, afraid of the radioactive document. And why is it radioactive? Because this document puts them in a bind. Their idiot followers demand that they PUNISH the drug industry. But the drug industry has been bought off by the White House in a quasi-secret deal to support this reform. Passing this amendment would turn the pharma industry (and their powerful lobby) against them. Thus, they are frozen, unsure what to do.

News Item: Nelson II Terrifies Self
Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Nelson turns the Democratic position that $460 billion in Medicare cuts won’t hurt Medicare into farce. He’s decided that his political survival requires him to offer an amendment to the bill that will exempt three Democratic counties in South Florida with large retirement populations from Medicare cuts. So why would this bill hurt the oldsters in Palm Beach, Dade and Broward counties. . . but no one else in the country?

News Item: Howard Dean Suggests Billocide
A frustrated Howard Dean has told every camera he can find that this bill should be killed. “The Senate version is not worth passing,” growled an angry Howard Dean, a possible gun owner. “The insurance companies got to write this bill the way they wanted to. This isn’t health care reform, this isn’t even insurance reform.” He then noted, in a bizarre moment of honesty, that the bill “does nothing to reduce costs.” And he angrily poked fun at the idea that the bill would cover people with pre-existing conditions: “You can’t afford it, even if you are allowed to buy it.” I wonder if any of ObamaCare's utopian supporters heard those comments?

News Item: Nelson I Rediscovers Principles
Now that it appears the bill cannot pass, Sen. Ben Nelson has rediscovered his principles and states that he won’t support this bill unless the Stupak-like abortion language is inserted.

Meanwhile, the abortion lobby is gearing up to hunt Stupak.

News Item: Democrats Get Their Hate On For Lieberman
But the real hate this week has been aimed at Sen. Joe Lieberman. First, there were hints that Joe might lose his chairmanship. Then the Democrats went a little (lot) crazy. Screamed the shrill Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:
“And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him. At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.
And loony Klein is not alone. Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, makes the same claim:
“He seems to view the prospect of sticking it to the liberals who supported his Democratic opponent in 2006 as a goal potentially worth sacrificing the lives of tens of thousands of Americans to fulfill.”
Chait then gets his anti-Semitism on to explain Lieberman’s actions:
“[T]here's little evidence that he's a sharp or clear thinker, and certainly no evidence that he knows or cares about the details of health care reform. . . I suspect that Lieberman is the beneficiary, or possibly the victim, of a cultural stereotype that Jews are smart and good with numbers. Trust me, it's not true.”
He finishes by accusing Lieberman of simply being anti-liberal:
“If the liberals like it, then he figures it's big government and he should oppose it. I think it's basically that simple.”
Hate-filled, leftist Huffington Post blogger (or is that redundant) Jane Hamsher has gotten out her long knives for Lieberman’s wife. She accuses Hadassah Lieberman of being a shill for the insurance industry (hmmm, didn’t Howard Dean mention insurance companies above?). Hamsher, thus, wants Mrs. Lieberman fired from being a spokesman for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which fights breast cancer. She also accuses Hadassah of “being instrumental” in killing HillaryCare.

No word yet on whether Hamsher is looking to injure Lieberman’s kids, but I haven’t read all of her diatribes.

But these are just bloggers and/or Howard Dean -- they don’t count. No real politician would act this way, right? Actually, they would. Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut is calling for Connecticut to recall Lieberman, even though Connecticut has no law to do this and even though the United States Constitution does not allow states to do this.
“No individual should hold health care hostage, including Joe Lieberman, and I’ll say it flat out, I think he out to be recalled.”
Added Connecticut Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy, “People are fed up in Connecticut, and it’s maddening to those of us who feel we have a pretty clear sense of where people in Connecticut are.”

Nice. So if you don’t toe the party line, you need to be removed from office. And these same little totalitarians had the nerve to blast the Republicans for suggesting that candidates who did not agree to 8 of 10 positions would not get financial assistance. Hypocrisy, thy name is “Democratic Party.”

So why did Lieberman do it? According to Lieberman, he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the Medicare proposal by liberals who had been championing the public option:
“Congressman Weiner made a comment that Medicare buy-in is better than a public option, it’s the beginning of a road to single-payer. Jacob Hacker, who’s a Yale professor who is actually the man who created the public option, said, ‘This is a dream. This is better than a public option. This is a giant step.’”

Finally, we predicted a few weeks ago, that liberals would soon begin throwing around the word “betrayal.” Guess what word The Politico used to describe how liberals feel about Obama’s behavior:
“And as Democrats tried to salvage health reform Tuesday, some liberals could barely hide their sense of betrayal that the White House and congressional Democrats have been willing to cut deals and water down what they consider the ideal vision of reform.”
“Progressives feel betrayed, but are not surprised, by the Senate’s move to drop the Medicare buy-in and the public option. They blame Reid and Obama for not exercising their power to fight for the provisions.”
Equally interesting, check out the conspiracy theory thinking being promoted by our old friend Jane Hamsher:
“They were very good at making it look like they wanted a public option in the final bill without actually doing anything to make it happen. It’s hard to believe that the two most powerful people in the country — arguably the world — could not do more to achieve their desired objective than to hand the keys over to Joe Lieberman. They would not be where they are if they are that bad at negotiation.”
Wow, so Obama didn't fail, he never really tried?! How about a tin-foil hat to go with your brown shirt Jane! It’s all a plot! The bells!! The bells!!!

If anyone ever needed proof that leftists are petulant and unbalanced, here it is.


[+]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Audit The Fed? Pros and Cons. . .

There has been a lot of disinformation surrounding the Federal Reserve. In fact, spreading disinformation about the Fed has become a cottage industry. The left originally viewed the Fed as the tool of international bankers bent on enslaving the world. In the 1950s, the John Birchers decided that the Fed was the agent of international communists. Fed-hate continues to run wild today in various groups. The Fed, apparently, is the secret cabal of the Bilderberg Group, the Communist Party, Zionist Bankers, and perhaps even a few extra terrestrials. Let’s cut through the garbage.
What Is The Fed?
The Federal Reserve was created by an Act of Congress on December 23, 1913. The Federal Reserve System consists of twelve Federal Reserve Banks located throughout the United States. These banks are governed by a seven member Board of Governors. The members of that Board are appointed by the President and are confirmed by the Senate. They serve 14-year terms and are term-limited to one term, unless they are appointed to complete an unexpired term, in which event they can be re-appointed to a full term.

Contrary to the rumors, the identity of every member of the Board and every officer and director of every Federal Reserve Bank is known and available to the public. In fact, their names are available online, see. e.g. Officers and Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

This, by the way, is one of the first lies told by anti-Fed people, that "no one knows who is on the Fed." I say lies because even when these people are confronted with the facts, they continue to deny them and simply move to more gullible audiences. Indeed, I had an interesting run in with one at Big Hollywood a few months back. Despite my presentation to him of evidence that he could verify with his own eyes that contradicted every single thing he claimed, he simply insisted on repeating his false claims over and over -- eventually accusing me of being “an agent of the Fed.” This is fairly typical behavior from this group.
What The Fed Does: Monetary Policy
The Federal Reserve has numerous responsibilities, but two are relevant here. The first is to handle “monetary policy” for the United States government. Monetary policy involves adjusting the prime interest rate, buying or selling bonds, and setting reserve requirements at banks to control the amount of money available to the economy and the “velocity” of money within the economy -- velocity means how often money gets spent.

In this regard, the Fed has been statutorily charged with holding inflation in check while also encouraging economic growth. European central banks, by comparison, generally are charged only with fighting inflation -- often leading to anti-growth policies.

Many people are upset that the Fed handles this function, and they argue that the Fed should be abolished. In the 1970s, they complained that the Fed caused inflation. In the 1980s, they complained that the Fed artificially kept the economy in check by overly-restricting the amount of money available in the economy. Now they complain that the Fed has created bubbles by allowing too much easy money to circulate in the economy.

There is some truth to each of these assertions as the Fed is not perfect. But the idea that eliminating the Fed would improve the situation is simply not accurate. The Fed was established to act independently of the political process; they are supposed to make their decisions based on the best available economic thinking. If the Fed was eliminated, the duty to handle monetary policy would fall upon the Treasury.

Unlike the Fed, the Treasury is a political creature. Shifting monetary policy to the Treasury would mean that the President, who is subject to election every four years -- and who seeks campaign contributions from people who could benefit directly from such decisions, would be deciding whether or not interest rates should be raised or lowered and whether or not liquidity (i.e. more money) should be injected into the economy.

Moreover, the Congress, which gets elected every two years -- and which seeks money from the same interests, would likely attempt to force the President’s hand whenever they felt the economy needed a boost. That’s a recipe for economic chaos and corruption.

But the other side of that coin is that the President and Congress are more directly accountable to the voters than the independent Fed. That's the trade off.

Incidentally, one of the arguments made for abolishing the Fed is that inflation has been be “out of control” since the Fed came along. But this is a red herring. First, looking at inflation in a vacuum is misleading because it is the comparison of wages to inflation that matters, not inflation itself. In other words, it doesn’t matter if bread costs 100 times what it cost fifty years ago if your income rose 100 times as well. Moreover, an examination of foreign currency exchange rates (a better measure of the value of the dollar than an examination of inflation) shows that the dollar has nearly doubled in value against all major currencies (and gold) in the past 100 years. Thus, the assertion that the Fed’s actions have hurt the dollar is completely wrong.
What The Fed Does: Discount Lending
The Fed also provides temporary loans to banks that are suffering from liquidity problems, i.e. those that are temporarily short of money. This is what they are talking about when you hear about banks “using the Fed’s discount window.” These loans are made at low rates and in secret to protect the identity of the bank. The fear is that knowledge that a particular bank was short of cash would cause people to try to get their money out of the bank, causing a run on the bank and collapsing an institution that likely only needed a short term loan.
The Audit Issue
This leads us to the audit issue. The conspiracy theorist claim that “the Fed has never been audited.” This too is a lie. The Fed is audited each year by independent accounting firms. For example, here is a link to the 2005-2006 audit conducted by KPMG. This audit is fairly typical of the independent audits normally conducted of banks or large businesses.

Moreover, Congress already has the right to audit the Fed, with one caveat. In 1970, Congress passed a law allowing the General Accounting Office to audit the Fed and all of its functions with the exception of the two mentioned above: the Fed’s decision making process for monetary policy and the Fed’s discount lending practices.

The reason the Congress did not allow the GAO to audit the Fed’s monetary policy decision making process was the fear that allowing such audits would interfere with the Fed’s independence. The thinking was the Congress would use these audits to pressure the Fed.

And even though the GAO cannot currently audit that function, this does not mean the Fed is acting in secret. The Fed releases the meeting minutes for each meeting of the Board of Governors which explain broadly the Fed’s thinking on monetary policy. It also releases reports for each region of the country, called the Fed Beige Book, which outline the Fed’s observations regarding all aspects of the economy in each of the Federal Reserve Bank regions. Finally, the Fed Chairman testifies on Capitol Hill on an on-going basis.

The Congress did not allow the GAO to audit the Fed’s lending practices for fear that this would reveal the banks who needed the Fed’s assistance with liquidity, which could cause runs on those banks.

Now the Congress is looking to pass a bill that would allow it to audit these two functions. The cons are those just identified. The pros are that the Congress, as the maker of our laws, should be able to know the thought processes employed by the Fed to make sure that it is acting in a manner which is consistent with the law and that the Congress can continue to support.

With regard to monetary policy, there certainly is a legitimate fear of a loss of the Fed’s independence. Once Congress starts tinkering, the Congress is unlikely to stop tinkering. Soon the Fed’s independence could disappear and we could end up with Congress directing the Fed to do its bidding. But the possibility that Congress may overreach is a poor excuse for denying Congress the oversight that is its responsibility under the Constitution. Not to mention that Congress could just as easily overreach now.

So perhaps allowing an audit is an excellent idea. It’s only the next step that becomes problematic.

With regard to auditing the discount lending practices, the same arguments apply, as well as the concern about creating runs on banks. If the current bill protects the secrecy of those banks that seek the Fed’s help, then an audit of these practices also should be supported. But if it does not, then the risk to the system, with banks avoiding seeking help to prevent possible bank runs, might be too potentially damaging to the banking system to allow.

In the end, those are the choices. There are no conspiracies, no secrets, no Zionist bankers or evil plots by our alien-masters. It is just the difficult trade-off between a process that is independent of political tinkering, but not responsive to voters, versus a process that would likely be more damaging to the economy but more responsiveness to the people.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Weekly Bidenism

Did you know that our mentally-challenged Vice President is a keen observer of the human condition? That’s right. And while some may consider it racist to make nasty generalizations about people based on their race, Joe doesn’t. Get ready for. . . The Weekly Bidenism.

In October 2007, Joe was asked by the editorial board of the Washington Post why some schools in Iowa perform better than some schools in the District of Columbia. Joe had an answer. . . blacks:
"There's less than 1 percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with..."
Wow, did Joe just say that? Yes, yes he did. And if Joe was anything other than a Democrat, he would have been driven out of polite society and pilloried with a dozen political cartoons showing him in Robert Byrd’s KKK hood.

But Joe’s a liberal, so he can't be a racist, right? No, he couldn’t be. This must be an isolated incident, doesn’t it? Actually, no. On February 4, 2000, Joe said this about Obama to the New York Observer:
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."
“Clean”? Is Joe implying that blacks are dirty? And what’s this about being the “first” black politician who is “articulate and bright”? That sure sounds like racism. . . at least if a nonliberal said it. But Joe is a liberal, and it's just not fair to judge him on the basis of two very racists statements. So, I guess, as long as those are the only racist things Joe has said, then we. . . what? That’s not everything? Ok.

On June 28, 2007, Joe made the following comment during a primary debate in Washington, D.C.:
"I spent last summer going through the black sections of my town, holding rallies in parks, trying to get black men to understand it is not unmanly to wear a condom, getting women to understand they can say no, getting people in the position where testing matters. I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS."
Holy sh~t Joe! Black women don’t know they can say “no”? Black men don’t understand they can wear condoms? WTF Joe?! Are blacks ignorant children who need your noble tutelage? Do you see yourself as a one man Peace Corp traveling into a primitive culture? You sure as heck make it sound that way. Even by liberal-hypocritical standards where we ignore the racism of liberals, this cannot be ignored.

Wow. We have an honest-to-God bigot for a Vice President.

Oh, and just to show that Joe isn’t just bigoted against blacks, take a look at this comment that Joe gave to C-SPAN in June 2006 (and he wasn’t joking):
"You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."
So, my dear Democrats. . . where’s the outrage? We’re waiting.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Health Care Reform: No Deal??

This one’s interesting. Do you remember the big deal last week to get the Baucus bill through the Senate? Yeah, that one. . . with the liberals “giving up” the public option and the moderates agreeing to destroy Medicare sooner by letting people as young as 55 into Medicare? Well, apparently, that deal may not exist. Curious.

The first clue we had that there was no deal should have been the refusal of the Democrats to release the terms of the deal, while simultaneously crowing about "the deal" to any microphone they could find. And as the week went on, and no details of the deal emerged, people began to ask questions. That’s when the most fascinating thing happened, the admissions started coming out.

First came Sen. Bob Casey, who told the New York Times: “Any big agreement is progress, even if we do not know any of the details.” Read that again. How can there be an agreement with no details?

Maybe Casey is just out of the loop, being from a small, backwater state like Pennsylvania. Let’s listen to Dick Durbin, the Number 2 Democrat in the Senate respond to John McCain’s demand for information about the deal, i.e. the legislation, they’re supposed to be voting on. Surely he knows the details:
“I would say to the senator from Arizona that I’m in the dark almost as much as he is, and I’m in the leadership.”
*scratches head* Really? Hmm. How can this be?

McCain followed up on Durbin's admission with the following:
“Isn’t that a very unusual process? We are discussing one-sixth of the gross national product; the bill before us has been a product of almost a year of sausage-making. Yet here we are at a position on December 12, with a proposal that none of us, except, I understand, one person, the Majority Leader, knows what the final parameters are, much less informing the American people. I don't get it.”
And Durbin, of course, denied this, right? Actually, no. “I think the senator [from Arizona] is correct.” But Durbin did try to shift the blame to the CBO, arguing that the reason no one knew the details was that they awaited the big, bad, secretive CBO’s verdict: “We may find that something that was sent over there doesn’t work at all, doesn’t fly.”

You think? How about these two problems you face. First, the Democrats are counting on $25 billion in phantom savings from “competition created by the public option” to reduce the overall cost of the bill. No public option, no phantom savings. That means they now need to find an additional $25 billion to make their phony numbers appear to balance.

Secondly, nobody likes the plan to expand Medicare. Old people are freaked out that their health insurance is about to go away. Hospitals are freaked out that they cannot afford this (they lose nine cents on each dollar of health care they provide under Medicare already). Governors claim it’s breaking their budgets. Even those socialists at the Business Roundtable are backing off this turkey.

Various senators don’t like the plan either. Said Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida (not to be confused with Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska), this deal is a “non-starter.” That’s a strange thing to say for a man who just made an agreement.

And he’s not alone. Ten more Democrats wrote a letter this week complaining that this compromise would make it harder for seniors to get treatment under Medicare because “provider shortages in states with low reimbursement rates such as ours will make such a program ineffective, or even worsen the problems these states are experiencing.” These ten were: Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Russ Feingold (Wisc.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (MN), and Al Franken (SNL).

Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Olympia Snowe also criticized the proposal. Lieberman indicated that he was growing “increasingly concerned” with the proposal:
“I am increasingly troubled about the proposal. I am worried about what impact it will have on the Medicare program’s fiscal viability and also what effect it will have on the premiums paid by people benefiting from Medicare now.”
Nelson stated that this could be an intermediate step to a public option “which I do not like.” He further stated, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing does not become a viable option. I think it is going to be the lesser of the popular things, but I am keeping an open mind.”

Olympia Snowe was not as optimistic. “I have serious concerns. I just think that is the wrong direction to take.” She further stated that she could not see a way to even tweak the proposal to win her vote. “I can’t see it.”

Maybe there was no deal after all? It’s sure starting to sound that way.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Every Year Should Be An Election Year

Over the past few weeks, John McCain, the King of the RINOs, has been acting like an actual conservative Republican. Must be election time in Arizona! Indeed, just like a broken clock is right twice a day, RINO senators lean right every six years. So let us take his actions with a huge grain of salt, but let us also see what kind of senator Mr. McCain could be if he put his mind to it.

Over the past few months, McCain has:
• Opposed Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination despite years of trying to avoid battles on judicial nominations;

• He blasted the Democrats on climate change, even though he was formerly an early supporter of cap-and-trade (he opposed it this year);

• He’s attacked the administration repeatedly on Afghanistan;

• He’s denounced the Democrats’ health care plans and tried to strip out their attempt to fund it by robbing Medicare;

• He’s blasted AARP for their support of ObamaCare and their abandonment of the interests of the elderly in exchange for a promise of greater profits.
And has anyone noticed? Oh yeah. Said Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez:
“He’s definitely a far more partisan figure than he’s portrayed himself in the past. I don’t know whether he’s angry about his loss or whether he’s preparing himself for the next presidential run; the bottom line is what’s come across is a far greater partisan than I’ve noticed in the past.”
Boo hoo.

When McCain recorded robocalls for the National Republican Senatorial Committee blasting five Democrats who opposed his amendment to restore the $500 billion in cuts to Medicare (cuts the Democrats are using to pay for ObamaCare), his friends across the isle “were taken aback.”

Said Sen. Kent Conrad: “I don’t think it’s very collegial.” Oh noooooo! You can almost hear the tears.

Said recently exposed Sen. Ben Nelson that he found it “curious as to why someone would think that would be worth doing.” Oh, I don’t know, why would the opposition try to hold your rotten votes against you? Nope, can’t think of a reason.

They even filed an ethics complaint against McCain for this (a common Democratic tactic), which McCain dismissed as “entertaining.” Oh, I like that.

Actually, what you’re hearing is the Democrats' usual attempt to peer pressure McCain. . . “don’t you want to be seen as bipartisan?” It's worked so often in the past, but this time he's having none of it because there’s an election to win, and if you will recall Writer X’s piece on Arizona politics, you will recall that McCain faces a serious conservative challenger. We should not forget that, nor should we forget that during this past year, McCain has tried to RINOcerize the party with McCaindidates.

Still, it shows us that McCain could be a pretty darn good senator if every year were an election year.

So let me finish by saying this: John, I respect what you’re doing right now. I don’t believe this is permanent, so I can’t say that I respect or support you. But I will offer this carrot. I expect that you will win re-election, though I would prefer a change. But if you keep acting the way you are now after re-election, I will find it in my heart to toss a little respect your way.

Welcome to the side of light and right, even if only for tonight.

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