Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Most Interesting Man In The Administration

People want him hung for his every word, even the prepositions.
He can speak idiot, in gibberish.
His incompetence is expanding faster than the universe.
He lives vicariously through Neil Kinnock.
He once had a non-awkward moment, just to see how it feels.
He could dismember you with his motorcade or his policies.
He is a big f*cking deal.
He is the most interesting man in the administration.

“I don’t always get to drink at beer summits, but when I do, I prefer Kool-Aid.
Stay Thirsty my friends.” [+]

ObamaCare and the Courts

By now you’ve heard a parade of diverse (read: all far left) law school professors tell you that the lawsuits filed by the state attorneys general are “frivolous.” I guess it doesn’t take much to be a law professor these days. “Frivolous” is a legal term which basically means so obviously wrong that you’re wasting the court’s time. For a lawyer to call these suits “frivolous” is pure propaganda, and tells you more about the lawyer than the law. Let’s talk about the two major claims and what their chances of success might be.
Issue One: Individual Mandates.
The first major challenge involves the requirement that individuals obtain insurance under threat of being fined. This is, in fact, the key to making ObamaCare work (to the extent that it does). This is what allows the Democrats to claim this bill provides “universal coverage,” even though it actually “provides” no coverage, and they are relying on the fines expected to be paid by 24 million Americans to finance the bill.

ObamaCare defenders argue that this is just like requiring drivers to get car insurance. But that argument is laughable. First, the analogy is flawed, as you only need to get insurance if you intend to drive. ObamaCare, on the other hand, requires you to buy insurance no matter what. More importantly, the ObamaCare defenders are comparing apples to oranges. It is the states, not Congress, that impose the car insurance requirements. States, unlike Congress, have the power to do that because they have the power to regulate intrastate activities. Congress has no such power; it may only regulate interstate activities. The fact that states can do something that is clearly within their power cannot be used to show that Congress has that same power.

Congress’ power to regulate comes from its power to regulate interstate commerce. Congress has the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper” to regulate interstate commerce.

Using this, ObamaCare supporters point to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, Gonzales v. Raich, in which the court held 6-3, that the federal government could make it a federal crime for Californians to grow marijuana at home for their own personal, medical use. According to the court, regulating local behavior is necessary and proper when doing so is an “essential part of a larger regulation of economic activity, in which the regulatory scheme could be undercut unless the intrastate activity were regulated.”

But there are two problems with applying this to ObamaCare. First, while the drug trade clearly involves interstate commerce, and thus is subject to federal law, it is not at all clear that the same is true of "health care." Indeed, while parts of the health care industry are clearly engaged in interstate commerce, at its core, health care remains about patients and doctors, and that relationship does not touch upon interstate commerce. Thus, it's not clear that Raich can apply.

Secondly, even if the court finds such a connection, the situation in Raich still isn't comparable to ObamaCare. Indeed, in Raich it was obvious that allowing drug growers a safe harbor by claiming that they only sell locally, would all but wipe out Congressional efforts to stop the drug trade. But the same is not true with ObamaCare, where it’s not at all clear how one person not having insurance could in any way hurt other efforts to regulate health care?

So what the ObamaCare supporters argue is that the cumulative effects of the uninsured using emergency room facilities affect interstate commerce. But the Supreme Court rejected this very argument in U.S. v. Morrison, in 2000, where the court struck down part of the Violence Against Women Act. In U.S. v. Lopez, in 1995, the Supreme Court held that Congress could not make it a federal crime to possess a gun near a school zone, because possession of a gun near a school had nothing to do with interstate commerce. So when the Congress passed the VAWA, they specifically included findings that the cumulative effects of domestic violence are a burden on the economy and, thus, affect interstate commerce -- the same argument being advanced now. The Supreme Court rejected that argument in Morrison. There is no reason to believe the court will change its mind for ObamaCare.

Moreover, even if the court accepted this argument, ObamaCare still runs afoul of another issue that arises in constitutional law. The Supreme Court generally requires that laws be narrowly tailored to fit the harm they tend to address. In other words, if the use of the emergency room by the uninsured was the harm to be addressed, then the Supreme Court is unlikely to allow a solution that imposes broad-based requirements on all Americans, when the Congress could instead have found less invasive solutions.

Additionally, in each of the above cases, the court had serious heartburn about letting Congress regulate these activities. But ObamaCare goes even further than this: it regulates “inactivity.” I am not aware of any instance in which the court has ever allowed Congress to impose a penalty for failing to engage in interstate commerce.

So what does this mean? It’s hard to tell. Predicting how courts will decide issues, especially close issues like this one, is extremely difficult. There are dozens of side issues that could affect the outcome, and there are political considerations as well as legal considerations. Would the Supreme Court launch itself into something as far-reaching and contentious as this issue? Absolutely. Would it defer to Congress? That seems to be the default setting of the court these days, but not always.

Overall, I would say, the odds are even that this part will be overturned.
Issue Two: State Mandates.
The second major issue is the requirement that state governments expand Medicaid (the only actual extension of coverage in the bill). Most people assume Medicaid is a federal program, but that’s not entirely accurate. Medicaid is really a block grant, where the federal government gives money to the states provided that the states pass certain state laws. This is exactly like the highway bills you’ve probably heard about, where the feds agree to pay for the construction of new highways, if the state imposes a seat belt law. So in reality, the feds aren't imposing anything on the states, they are simply offering a bribe. But there is a catch.

In 1992, the Supreme Court held in New York v. United States, that the federal government can’t conscript states to act as its agents and it cannot “simply commandeer the State’s legislative processes.” What this came down to was that Congress could not cross the line from “encouragement to coercion.”

Thus, the anti-ObamaCare argument will be that Congress crossed that line from encouragement to coercion when it imposed these very high requirements (requiring states to spending billions of state tax dollars on expanding Medicaid eligibility and establishing these insurance exchanges) under threat of forcing the states to drop out of Medicaid if they refused.

I understand this argument, but I doubt the court will buy it. Unless the states can come up with evidence that they really could not drop Medicaid, i.e. that they truly had no choice, then it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will see ObamaCare as coercive.

Overall, I would say, the odds are about 10% that this part will be overturned.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Health Care PR Failing Already

As the Democrats continue their desperate attempts to convince themselves that they haven’t ended their careers by voting for ObamaCare, the evidence is becoming more pronounced that they are in serious trouble. Indeed, after a week of euphoria in the mainstream media, reality is starting to set in.
Gallup Poll Updated -- Bounce Denied
As you probably heard ad nauseam, Gallup had an overnight poll that showed the support for ObamaCare rising to 49% versus opposition of 40%. Article after article heralded this as the coming of a new age of support for ObamaCare and the salvation of the Democrats. But as I pointed out on Sunday, there were many reasons to doubt that result. Now we have even more direct proof. Buzzed by their success in proving that the public had come around, Gallup set out to cement its finding and usher in the Age of the Donkey. But guess what? Here’s what they found: 50% opposed, 47% in favor. That’s a little higher opposition than Gallup had been showing before the bounce. Thus, a week after passage, ObamaCare actually suffered a loss of support according to Gallup of around 4%.
Obama Don’t Bounce
Interestingly, yesterday, many of the cheerleaders in the punditocracy started coming around to the Commentarama view that maybe Obama didn’t get a bounce after all. The Politico did an interesting article on this where they talked to various pollsters who had predicted anywhere from a 5% to a 10% bounce for Obama in the polls, which they predicted would be just the momentum he needed to get the rest of his agenda through the demoralized Republicans in Congress.

Yet, with the exception of Obama’s own pollster, who wouldn’t provide numbers, everyone they surveyed was surprised to find the “bounce” to be between 2% to 3%, AND they were even more surprised to see that it already faded. Of course, if they’d read Commentarama, they would have known this already.

What makes this whole bounce issue even more interesting is that it outlines the real problem for Obama (and the Democrats). His 3% bounces represent increases in Democratic support from 85% to 90-92%, which then fade a couple days later. He is getting nothing out of Republicans or independents. Basically, they have stopped listening to him. That’s electoral doom. That’s also why his popularity rating has not only continued to fall, but he hasn’t even had the periodic upsurges that all other Presidents have enjoyed -- basically, the non-Democratic public has simply tuned him out.

Thus, any attempt to claim momentum out of this is little more than folly. Which makes statements by people like Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institute so laughable. He admits that he expected a bigger bounce, but he still claims this was “a unique victory” for Obama and that “now [people] are taking him very seriously.” Yeah, except that politics is about momentum, and momentum comes from public support, and the public hasn’t changed their minds. Sorry Stephen, wishing something to be true doesn’t make it so.
The False Social Security/Medicare Analogy
Finally, let’s address this “Social Security/Medicare became popular” argument the Democrats are pushing. They argue that both Social Security and Medicare were “controversial” when they were passed, but they became popular. Thus, ObamaCare will become popular as well. But this is simply a bad analogy:

First, while Social Security and Medicare were “controversial,” they also had wide bi-partisan support, both in Congress and among the public. That’s not true with ObamaCare.

Secondly, Social Security and Medicare did not discriminate, everyone in the country would be eligible. ObamaCare will only benefit a handful of poor people and some ultra-rich multinational companies. Everyone else now works for them. ObamaCare simply has no broad-based benefit that will accrue to the public.

Third, when Social Security and Medicare went into effect, it was obvious how they would benefit people, and they understood that the benefits to them would exceed the costs. ObamaCare’s benefits are hidden and won’t kick in for a very long time, while the punishments kick in now. Add in the over promises that won’t be delivered upon and you have a recipe for an angry public.

Fourth, Social Security and Medicare were essentially just tax increases which were used to make entitlement payments. They were not disruptive to society. ObamaCare will send shockwaves through 16% of our economy and will disrupt the relationship people have with their doctors and with their employers. It would have been smarter to just tax people and hand out private insurance to poor people.

Finally, the relationship between the Democratic Party and the public has changed since Social Security and Medicare passed. At that time, the Democratic Party was a national party with broad based support. Today, it’s a minority party cobbled together by small interest groups, who rely on low public turn out to stay in power. Thus, there is no broad based core of public support to sway the rest of us.

So don't buy into this argument.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why The Democrats Are Doomed

Over the past few days, the media has been struggling to tell you that everyone around you really loves ObamaCare, that it really will make things better if we just click our heels together and wish it so, and that the Democrats really won by passing the bill. But you know better. You know that the Democrats are in serious trouble. Here’s a little proof.
1. For Whom The Poll Tolls.
Immediately after passage, pollster Gallup ran out and conducted an overnight poll which showed slightly more supporters than opponents of ObamaCare. A deluge of articles followed arguing that the public had changed its mind, now that the Democrats had shown that they could actually pass this. But there are three problems with this.

First, overnight polls are unreliable. They catch idiosyncratic segments of the population. Moreover, they overestimate support because people are more likely to be reacting to the overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the plan by the media that day. You may recall the media spewing forth saturation coverage of Pelosi’s “great achievement.”

Secondly, they are comparing Gallup’s overnight poll to other companies’ polls, not Gallup’s prior polls. Gallup showed support and opposition in a statistical dead heat before the magic poll. This was about 9-10% more favorable than other reliable polls, like Rasmussen, found. Thus, comparing Gallup’s magic poll to these other polls produces an apparent 12% surge. Yippee! But that’s not statistically proper, as this is the proverbial comparing of apples to oranges. If you look only at Gallup’s polls, you only get a 3% “surge,” which is equal to all of Obama’s prior bounces. (This represents Democratic support going from 85% to 90%.)

Third, even if you assume Gallup is correct, Gallup still doesn’t show 50% support for ObamaCare. That’s not an endorsement.

Moreover, check out the following chart which shows an amalgamation of polls, with the data points marked. You’ll see that opposition has been growing over time:

This is very bad news for the Democrats because this means that the more people learned, the less they liked. Thus, the chances of improving support by “educating” the public are slim and none.
2. The Death of A Thousand Job and Benefit Cuts.
Making it even hard to “educate” the public, the Democrats worst nightmares are starting already. The Democrats’ biggest fear has been that companies would start dumping employees and killing their benefits plans. Remember, the one thing that kept the public from blowing up the Congress was the promise that you could keep the plan you have and the doctor you like.

So what happened this week? Several companies immediately announced the consequences that their workers would bear as a result of this bill. Apparently, unreported in the media, insurers are already notifying companies that they will be raising rates. In response, AT&T announced that it would be cutting employee benefits plans. Equipment maker Medtronic announced that it would be laying off 1,000 workers because new taxes imposed on its products had cut expected demand. Others have begun making similar announcements.

A series of companies from Caterpillar to John Deere to Valero Energy to 3M to AK Steel, have all announced expenses in the range of $100 million each (this is actually the end of a deduction), which will likely result in them cutting off prescription benefits to their retirees. (AT&T’s charge is one billion dollars.) I note the irony that many of these, Caterpillar in particular, have been heavy supporters of Obama and ObamaCare, and most are unionized.

Young women everywhere (Obama’s biggest supporters outside of blacks) are about to discover the tax on tanning and certain beauty aids. So are vitamin freaks and anyone who wants over the counter medications, like aspirin or allergy medication or even certain baby foods. Some restaurants have announced surcharges to cover their waitstaff’s new benefits. These are real world effects that will be felt by everyone in the country. And since these are repeat purchases, it is unlikely that this affront will be forgotten by November.
3. You Are Wrong Morton Kondracke.
Mort wrote an article trying to explain why the Democrats gained from passing the bill. He claims the Democratic base is now much more excited than it was before. Of course, there is no evidence of this (see 3% bounce above). But what’s more interesting, Mort also dissects the opposition numbers. According to Mort 13% of the opposition comes from people who claim the law isn’t liberal enough. He thus adds those to the support category and concludes that a large majority of the public really likes this bill. Aside from the statistical error of what he’s done, he’s missing the fact that this directly contradicts his assertion about the Democratic base. That 13% are the activists. If they oppose the bill, then there is no way they will suddenly become excited by its passage.
4. Whitey Strikes Back.
What caused the 1994 Republican sweep more than anything, was white males fleeing the Democratic Party. Indeed, their support among white men fell to 38%. The Democrats’ subsequent stupid attacks on white males as “angry white men,” kept the ceiling at 38%. Obama made some headway against this, pulling in the support of 41% of white males. This is likely what pushed him over the top. But white males have left again. Even worse, white male support for Democrats is down to 35%, a number even lower than 1994. White women offer 46% support, which is about 2% less than they gave in 1994. These numbers mean disaster of greater than 1994 proportions for the Democrats.
5. Congressional Disapproval Is Unprecedented.
Finally, there is one more interesting point. The media loves to point out that all Congresses are hated. I generally ignore these polls because they are meaningless. They are too generic and it’s too easy to say you don’t like the institution while continuing to vote for your representative. But here is something interesting.

The following chart shows the public’s support for Congress from 1990-2007. Notice that it only dipped below 20% twice, during both of the two bubble-burst recessions. Other than that, it actually climbed as high as 60% before the Democrats started to return in numbers in 2004.

Now look at the following chart, which shows Congressional approval from 2008 to the present. Notice that the high point was 30% and most of the time was spent below 20%. It currently sits around 15%.

So while the media tries to pass this off as “everyone always hates Congress,” the level of hate is truly unprecedented, as is the duration of this level of disapproval.

And that is why the Democrats are doomed.

**Update: Gallup has reported that Obama's popularity has hit a new low according to their polls -- 46% v. 46%. That's hardly the stuff of a bounce.

[+]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Associated Press Joins The Democratic Party

If you regularly check out the news, you can’t help but notice that the Associated Press is in the tank for the Democratic Party. It’s been obvious for a while. But in the past couple days, it’s gotten so bad that their writers should be required to wear cheerleader uniforms with little donkeys on them. Check this out. . .

One of the first signs that the AP had moved to direct cheerleading was its gushing about ObamaCare. Remember, they claim to be a fact reporting organization, not an opinion generating organization. Yet, many of their articles have repeated the following: “after century long fight, US finally enacts health care,” even though nothing about this statement is true. Universal health care was not mentioned in political circles until the 1930s. So we’re nowhere near a century yet. Secondly, almost every single Congress between 1930 and today has passed some form of “comprehensive health care reform.” Apparently, the AP thinks all those laws created themselves. And just as importantly, ObamaCare is not universal. ObamaCare simply imposes the requirement that you get health insurance, it doesn’t actually cover anyone. Indeed, they expect that 22 million Americans will remain without insurance.

To reinforce this false narrative, every AP article apparently is required to maximize the use of the word “historic.” Some use it so much that their sentences begin to look a little like this: “Hitler’s historic victory is truly historic said the historic chancellor as he made history, and the AP supports his historic efforts.” Wait, I thought "historic" meant "good"? Hmmm.

To go along with the false sense of history, the left needs heroes. In that regard, the AP has produced a half dozen articles calling Pelosi the greatest speaker in 100 years. One article even said, whether you agree with her policies or not, you must acknowledge this fact. In truth, I don’t need to acknowledge that “fact” because I’m not stupid. Pelosi had super majorities in both Houses and the Presidency to support her, yet it took her more than a year to come up with a horribly flawed bill that neither side likes and which will be repealed after the public wipes out her party in November. Greatest speaker? Yeah, sure.

They’ve also called her "the most powerful woman in 100 years," because the left loves 100 year histories and five year plans. I wonder who this powerful woman was 100 years ago? In any event, Pelosi is little more than a glorified baby-sitter, and this declaration of greatness will come as a shock to women like Margaret Thatcher, Gold Meir, Indira Gandhi, or any other female head of state who’s held actual power.

They’re revising Obama’s history already too. When AP writers are at home alone at night, they touch themselves in certain places as they think about Obama’s oratory. But his recent efforts have left them a bit flaccid. So now they’re re-writing history to suit their needs. For example, there was an article yesterday on how Obama achieved this miracle, which read like the worst sentimentalistic sports movie of all time, right down to the “win one for the Gipper” speech.

And to throw in a little more sentimentalism, the AP tells us that what kept Obama going was the 10 letters a day Obama got from real Americans (no doubt, crippled orphans. . . "please sir, may I have health care?"). . . no mention of the 100,000 calls a day opposed.

Do you remember that health pow-wow where Paul Ryan exposed our moronic President as a Biden-grade fool? You know the one. . . it caused Obama’s popularity to fall two more points and shaved five points off the public’s support for ObamaCare. Well, according to the AP, that was the turning point that “won the public over.” The AP also tells us that we were impressed with the openness with which the Democrats were willing to proceed. Yep, anything you heard about backroom deals and closed door meetings apparently didn’t happen.

But playing this bill up too much would be a mistake, because the AP knows deep down that ObamaCare is a doomed clusterfudge of epic proportions. So they are cautioning us that the bill isn’t perfect. It now turns out that the bill will leave 22 million Americans without coverage, not the 7 million claimed by the same AP author as recently as the day before the vote. I guess he went home and did some math? Also, some very, very, very, very few people (48% of the population) might find their rates going up. Oh, and there might not be enough doctors. And it's all the uber-powerful Republicans' fault...

Oh, do you remember Lawhawk telling you about two Democrats -- Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa -- who sold their votes to Pelosi? Apparently, Lawhawk was wrong. Indeed, the AP just happened to put out an article yesterday assuring us that while these two will indeed lose in November, it’s because voters are angry about a drought. . . nothing about health care to see here. Move along.

The AP then turns on the full court press with a series of “fact” checking articles in which they go out of their way to confirm the Democratic arguments as "facts", despite the fact the bill says the opposite.

The AP has also been busy demonizing its opponents. . . oops, the bill’s opponents. Did you know that Republican “talking points” are “myths” and that the hatemongers who oppose the bill won’t stop using “overheated rhetoric” even though the bill has been passed? The bastards. Oh, and did you know that the "individual mandates were a Republican idea"? What's next? Cannibalism and syphilis?

Moreover, the poor GOP apparently is facing a real split over the danger of opposing such a popular program. Of course, the only “GOP” person they can find who opposes repealing this monster is surrender-monkey David Frum, who I believe was once caught sniffing Nancy Pelosi. . . wait, that was Rham Emanuel. Frum v. the GOP = split. Hmm?

Of course, there have been a plethora of articles all quoting a diverse assortment of far left law school professors who claim that the evil Republican State attorneys general who have sued to stop this monster are “grandstanding” and that their cases are “frivolous.” I’ll take these ridiculous assertions apart next week. Apparently, it doesn’t take much in the way of legal knowledge to be a law professor these days.

But why stop with the hopelessly torn GOP establishment? Did you know that Republican voters are nuts? According to a new poll by the “unbiased” (read: “Democratic operative”) pollster Harris, most Republicans think Obama is a Muslim and a good 20% think he’s the anti-Christ. As if Satan would have anything to do with this effete loser.

Moreover, those horrid teabaggers are just like the hopelessly torn, obstructionist Republicans, according to more obscure Democratic polls. And what happens when such bad people are allowed to exist? Well, unverified death threats to the children of Democratic Representatives. . . who must not love their kids because they aren’t taking any precautions? The horror. And it's the Republicans using code words that are stirring this up. And let’s not forget how some teabaggers used the words “nigger” and “faggot” and made saints cry, which is almost as bad as killing children. The AP certainly hasn’t forgotten this, as it keeps putting out more and more stories on the matter. Of course, they have yet to talk to anyone other than the Democrats who made the allegations, but do you expect any better from such a slipshod, biased organization as the AP?

So the next time you see a by-line by the “AP,” read it for a laugh, but don’t expect to get anything more than Democratic talking points. Pathetic.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Obama’s Midas Touch

Like history, Greek tragedy repeats itself. You’ve heard the expression that someone has “the Midas touch.” That’s supposed to be a good thing, right? But in Greek Mythology, Midas is a tragic figure. When the god Dionysus offered Midas one wish, Midas asked that whatever he touched should turn to gold. This sounded great, until his food and drink started turning to gold. Later, in a version penned by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Midas even turns his own daughter to gold. Thus, the Midas touch is a cautionary tale of one who destroys all he touches. Obama has the Midas touch. Let’s look at some of his victims.

ACORN. The most obvious victim of Obama’s Midas touch has been ACORN, which announced yesterday that it will finally be shutting down. Before its involvement with Obama, ACORN could draw on 400,000 members for left wing causes. It was arguably the most successful organization at funneling federal funds to Democratic voters, getting away with voter fraud, and generally raping taxpayers. But after a one night stand with Obama, conservative activists infiltrated and Troy fell.

Manuel Zelaya. Manuel Zelaya placed himself into Obama’s hands and soon found himself playing the part of blind King Phineas, who lost his kingdom and was prevented from eating by Harpies sent by the god Helios. In this case, Zelaya found himself trapped in the Brazilian embassy, eating hot dogs, after losing his kingdom, as the Honduran Army harassed him. But unlike Jason, who saved Phineus from his fate, Obama left Zelaya to his.

Rahm Emanuel. Democratic Party high-flier Rahm Emanuel was a take-no prisoners up and comer in the Democratic Party. When Obama called upon Emanuel, Rahm saw his chance to add more feathers to his wings. So he guided Obama through the Labyrinth of Washington power. But like Icarus, Rahm was overcome by giddiness and flew too close to the sun, which made him a target for the frustration of other Democrats with Obama’s dithering. Now Rahm plummets to the earth, a burned, waxy mess. Look for Emanuel to quietly disappear from office after November.

Hillary Clinton. With a cold stare that could turn a man to stone, Hillary Clinton came within an eyelash of becoming the first female president. She was that important. But, for reasons unknown, Hillary accepted Obama’s offer and banished herself to the lonely island known as the State Department, where she became a sad, despised creature with bad hair. Now Obama sends challenger after challenger to usurp her authority and take Medusa’s power.

The Democratic Party. Who else has Obama left in his wake? How about the entire Democratic Party. They fell for his siren song and followed his lead as he plotted a course right between the Scylla and Charybdis of party politics: enraging his opponents and demoralizing his supporters. By vastly over-promising and pathetically under delivering, he has guaranteed that the party’s days are numbered. November will be the last hurrah of the Democratic Party as it smashes against the rocks of discontent to which Obama has steered it.

So there you have it, Greek tragedy brought to life by this very administration. Did I miss anyone?

Oh, and if you're wondering why there is no Joe Biden, the only parallel I could find was Moronicus, and he was a fool before he ever met the king.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ObamaCare: What You Can Do Now. . .

There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to fight back. And from what I’m hearing many of you feel pretty frustrated because you think there is nothing you can do now that the Democrats have passed half of ObamaCare. Not so fast amigos. Commentarama has the answers.

There are four groups of things you can be doing right now.
1. Support the Good Guys
The most important thing to do right now is to support the good guys. These are the people who are fighting for you and with you. Here’s how:
A. Support Your Representatives
Political representatives need the support of the public to keep them motivated and to firm up their resolve. They also judge the intensity of an issue by the number of calls and letters they get. Writing and calling keeps this a front burner issue.

Thus, write or call your Republican representatives every other week. Tell them you support them and encourage them to keep fighting. Remind them that you want them to push for a repeal of this atrocity and tell them to make it into a campaign issue.

Remind them that they should point out to the public: (1) every premium hike by a health care provider; (2) every increase in the price of medical equipment or supplies; (4) every tax hike; (5) every promised benefit that has never come; (6) every doctor who leaves the profession; (7) every doctor or hospital who refuses to take new Medicare/Medicaid patients; (8) every lost job; (9) every employer who cuts their coverage; and (10) the number of people who remain without coverage in the country despite this supposedly universal-coverage bill. And they should attribute every one of these to ObamaCare.
B. Participate
Participate in local rallies. Join the Republican Party and participate in its caucuses.
C. Tell The World
Write letters to the editors of your favorite magazines and newspapers. Leave comments on blogs, left, right and center. Do this to keep this issue alive. The media will respond to issues that it believes the public wants to hear. The longer we keep this thing alive in the media, the greater the damage to the Democrats.
D. Donate
Donate money and time to Republican candidates. I say candidates for two reasons. First, this lets you reward the good ones and avoid helping the bad. Secondly, most groups who solicit funds are not what they seem. I’ve seen these groups in action and most of them are little more than fund raising organizations that will use your money to pay their salaries and to keep their fund raising operation going so that they can raise more funds. You are wasting your money by giving to those groups. Send your money directly to candidates. (This also increases the likelihood that they will read your letters.)
2. Demoralize the Democrats
A. Keep Up The Heat
The Democrats are scared to death that the public will not forget and forgive this bill. Keep the pressure up. Write or call your Democratic representatives (or neighboring ones) every week. Tell them how angry you are at them for supporting this bill. Let them know that you are now giving money to anyone who will oppose them and that your new goal is to see to it that they lose their seat. Sending copies of canceled checks made out to their opponents is a great tactic that will get noticed.

Show up at their town hall meetings and rallies. Ask them to explain their vote over and over. Don’t let the issue die. Protest every time they try to have an event in your district -- even once will make an impression (especially a month from now, by which time they hope this issue has blown over). Remind them constantly of their mistake and never give them a moment’s peace.
B. Boycott the Fellow Travelers
Boycott any business or group that supported ObamaCare. Drop your membership, and tell them why.
C. Don’t Give Liberals A Free Pass
For too long, conservatives have lived with the mantra that they didn’t want to offend liberals by speaking their minds. Liberals, on the other hand, have no such qualms. So you put up with them and you never fire back. Stop that now. It’s time to speak your mind. Ridicule this bill. Point out how it doesn’t do what they think it does. Let them know that you are now actively supporting anyone who will repeal it, and that you will, for the rest of your life, support anyone who is working to fight liberalism in any form. They are not used to opposition. Bring it.
3. Stop the Defeatists
There are many self-described conservatives who are wallowing in defeatism. Don’t let them get away with infecting others. If they post that the Republicans can’t do it, counter them. If they whine that we’ve lost, call them on it. Do not let these people go unchallenged.
4. Civil Disobedience
Lastly, if the bill is not repealed, then it will be time to step up to civil disobedience.

The best way to kill a government program is to bankrupt it. In this regard, there are two things you could do. First, you could abuse the heck out of any benefits that are made available to you. Take every benefit that is offered to you and use it liberally. See your doctor for every single sniffle. Demand brand name products and all the tests. You have that right, take it. And in the process, you will help bankrupt this program.

Secondly, don’t pay the fine. The Democrats have balanced this bill on the assumption that millions of people would rather pay the fines than get the coverage. Without those fines, the program goes broke. So buy insurance. It’s as simple as that. And maybe in the future we’ll talk about whether you can be made to pay the fine should you choose not to buy the insurance.

Finally, if you are a doctor, then stop taking Medicare/Medicaid patients. You are supporting the government on the backs of your other patients. Demand full payment from the government or stop taking government-sponsored patients. Basically, go on strike. Similarly, if a Democratic representative happens to be one of your patients, send them packing. . . "Congressman, heal thyself!"

There you go, practical steps that each of you can start taking immediately to help fix our country. Try some of these on for size. You really can make a difference.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

There Will Be No Gays In The Future

Oh boy, look at that title. People are going to go ape sh~t. Add in that this post touches upon abortion and maybe it’s time to head for the old bunker? No. It’s cold down there, and the television reception stinks. Let’s just plow ahead. When we started this blog ten months ago, one of the first articles I posted dealt with the reasons I felt that gays should be very cautious about joining hands with pro-abortion groups. In light of some recent statistical evidence out of China and India, it’s time to revisit that discussion.

At the start, let me say that I’m not talking today about the morality of abortion or homosexuality. So let’s leave those issues for other days. What I am talking about here is the intersection between political decisions today and the world of tomorrow. All I want to do is ask the question of whether or not there will be gays in the future.
Gendercide: The Parental War On Girls
In nature, there are around 105 males born for every 100 females. These numbers have been constant all over the world for many decades. Indeed, these numbers are so constant that scientists are now sure that this is nature’s way to ensure a 1 to 1 ratio at the time of puberty because males are more likely to die than females before reaching puberty.

But China and India are turning nature on its head. In China and India, there is a distinct preference for males. This has led to what has been called “Gendercide” in both countries. Girls in China and India are often considered too expensive to keep. They require a dowry to marry off and they are perceived as “leaving” the family to marry, whereas sons stick around to take care of the parents as they age. Thus, for a long time now, baby girls have often been murdered at birth or left to die (not coincidentally, this resulted in an abnormally high suicide rate among young mothers).

Until recently, however, the effects of this were not very pronounced on the population numbers. Indeed, as late as the 1980s, the sex numbers were only slightly skewed above the 105 to 100 ratio. But in the past decade or so, the effects have become shockingly obvious as the numbers have spiked. In China, the ratio of males to females in the younger generations now averages 124 to 100! In some provinces, this number is as high as 130.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of this problem, the China ratio will translate into 40 million surplus males (or missing females) of marrying age in 2020. That is equal to the total number of expected males of marrying age in Germany, France and Britain combined in 2020. That is also the same number of marrying age males expected to live in the United States in 2020. That’s really bad news for China, as single males mean crime and upheaval. And it could be even worse for China’s neighbors, as war is a great way to thin the male population and bride-napping is becoming big business in some parts of the world.

And before you blame China’s one child policy, that does not appear to be the problem. Indeed, India has a similar ratio, but no similar policy. South Korea hit 117 to 100. The Philippines hit 109. Even somewhat western countries like Serbia (108), Macedonia (108), Armenia (117), Azerbaijan (117), and Georgia (111) have reached unnatural levels. And lest you think this couldn’t happen here, there is evidence of similar ratios starting to appear in Asian-American communities.

So what has caused this sudden surge? Ultrasound equipment. The introduction of ultrasound has coincided with the spike in sex-selection based abortions. Indeed, this is borne out even within these countries, where abortions are much more prevalent where ultrasound machines are introduced. India has tried to combat this by making it illegal to abort a child to choose the sex of the child. But women have gotten around this by getting ultrasounds from one doctor and then having another abort the girls.

What all of this tells us is that people find early term abortion much more palatable than infanticide. We can conclude this because the preference for males has not changed in these countries, yet the number of abortions spiked with the introduction of ultrasound gear. That means that parents are much more willing to abort a fetus than they are to kill a child after it is born. Moreover, the massive numbers indicate that a shockingly large number of parents are willing to make this decision, perhaps as many as a third.
Gendercide Round II: The Coming Parental War On Gays
So what does this have to do with gays? Everything.

First, I accept the idea that homosexuality is genetic. I don’t accept this because gays claim to feel born that way. Indeed, our own justifications mean nothing when it comes to explaining human nature, because humans are inherently self-delusion and are extremely good at justifying their own behavior to themselves. What convinces me is the ever-more-proven fact that most of our impulses, especially when it comes to sex, are genetic in nature.

In fact, over the past few years, scientists have discovered that despite our culture’s obsession with skinniness, men and women do not prefer skinny partners. They prefer partners who have the “appropriate” proportion between hips and waist -- no matter what the size of the body. These results transcend culture, race and age, and, apparently, we don’t even consciously realize that we are using this as a search criteria. Similarly, a link has been found between race preferences and body fat percentage when people engage in interracial dating. Other recent studies have shown that all humans, again regardless of culture, find near-symmetry beautiful in humans (but not perfect symmetry, which we find disturbing). They have even found now that the biggest indicator of what will attract mates is smell, which may clue us in regarding the “genetic distance” and health of a potential partner. Interesting.

What all of this tells me is that our sexual impulses are hardwired by our genetic code, and that we are not even consciously aware of why we act the way we do. Thus, I have no reason to think that homosexuality isn’t anything more than a genetic variation.

Now here’s the catch. If this is true, then we will soon find the “gay gene.” If the gene can be repaired, then I have little doubt that parents will have it fixed before the child is born. Why? Because as genetics takes greater leaps into remaking the human being, we are already seeing parents opt for a variety of preferences. If it becomes common to remake children to be stronger or smarter or change their eye color, it will certainly become common to remove genetic defects that lead to diseases or other negative hereditary conditions -- like baldness or stuttering, for example. Under such circumstances, it is simply inconceivable that parents would leave in place a gay gene that gives the child impulses that run counter to what 97% of the general population possess.

In other words, even leaving morality out of this, it is inconceivable that parents would leave in place genes in their children that limit their chances of finding a happy mate to less than 3% of the population (a percentage that will shrink continually as other parents make similar choices).

More importantly, even if no fix is ever found for the gay gene, just being able to locate it will be enough to start the cascade of abortions that will eliminate homosexuality. Indeed, if parents think nothing of eliminating baby girls because they want to control the sex of the child, there is no reason to think that they would be any more troubled in eliminating children with the gay gene, especially if devices like ultrasound allow for the clearly more palatable choice of early term abortion.

Thus, it is likely that parents will start to eliminate homosexuality from our species through these practices, and I suspect that there will be no significant amount of homosexuality within a few generations.

Can this be stopped? Probably not. If you make abortion a right, then you can’t really say “except where we don’t like your reasoning.” Indeed, as I noted in my first article on this, Sweden has now ruled that if abortion is to be a right, then the state cannot prohibit sex selection as a motive. And even if you did prohibit abortion based on the presence of the gay gene, how do you keep parents from doctor shopping as they do in India?

Should this be stopped? I guess that’s up to you. But if you’re gay, then you might want to reconsider who your political friends are. Maybe helping to make abortion a right is not a great idea. In fact, as China and India are demonstrating now, maybe letting people select the “options” their kids will have is not a great idea for anyone?

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Praise of the Republicans

Wandering through the blogosphere this weekend, I’m amazed at the number of so-called conservatives who were busy taking shots at the Republicans over health care. In rants as ignorant as Glenn Beck’s they claim not to see what the Republicans have done and they whine that the Republicans and the Democrats are the same. Boo hoo. Idiots. Enough of you whiners. For the rest of you, let’s talk about what the Republicans have been doing, because it’s been impressive.

The Republican strategy has several parts and each have been executed perfectly.

1. Unity. The Republicans’ most impressive achievement has been maintaining unity in the face of intense pressure. And make no mistake, unity has been achieved. Even Joseph Cao (R-La), the sole Republican YES the first time through, will vote NO this time, just as RINOs Snowe and Collins did. Said Eric Cantor (R-Va): “The American people don't want this to pass. The Republicans don't want this to pass. There will be no Republican votes for this bill.”

Complete party unity is rare, and it is this unity that has put the Democrats’ rear ends in the ringer, because they cannot hide behind the “bipartisan bill canard.” They own this bill and its consequences. This also makes repeal easier as this bill is now seen as purely partisan, rather than for the benefit of the public.

2. Exposure. This bill is hanging around the necks of Democrats like a lead Albatross. And make no mistake, it’s not the blogosphere that made this happen, it was a concerted Republican strategy of constant attacks.
A. Defeating Obama’s Health Care Trap. Obama created the health care summit with the idea of trapping Republicans. He planned to expose them as the “party of no,” bereft of ideas, and thereby regain the public’s support on health care. But the Republicans, particularly Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), exposed Obama as a fool, who didn’t know the contents of his own bill and couldn’t explain how to sell Dan Rather watermelons. This denied Obama the momentum he needed and brought us to the present situation where the Democrats are terrified to vote on this beast.

B. Exposing The Crooked Deals. The Republicans pounced on, exposed, and exploited every one of the crooked deal the Democrats made to buy votes:
• The Louisiana Purchase
• Excluding union plans and raising the limits on the Cadillac tax in union-friendly states.
• The Cornhusker Compromise
• Medicare Money for certain districts in Florida
• A hospital for Chris Dodd
• Water in California
• And most recently, the special treatment for Kaiser Permanente, the biggest provider in Nancy Pelosi’s district.
And don’t believe for a minute that these issues had any traction if the Republicans hadn’t been pushing them. It was Republican staffers who found these deals, Republican Congressmen who exposed them, and Republican politicians who went on the offensive -- everyone from Republican Governors who disclaimed these payouts, to state Republican Attorneys General who threatened to sue over them, to every Republican Congressman who could find a microphone.

Indeed, when the fix doesn’t happen, it will be Republican Attorneys General who lead the legal charge against these special treatments and who blast huge holes in the bill’s provision on 10th Amendment grounds.

C. Slaughtering The Slaughter Rule. Just as the cover-up from Watergate was worse than the act itself, the Democrats’ attempts to hide their votes have proven to be far worse than the vote itself. And it was the Republicans who’ve beaten this drum.

The Republicans took on the “deem and pass” provision and instantly named it the Slaughter Rule. Then they blasted the Democrats all over the country for trying such a sneaky, responsibility-avoiding technique. Add in that, at the same time, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh) went on the air and blasted the Democrats for their cowardice in being unwilling to put their votes on the line. He not only slammed the Slaughter Rule, he opposed Pelosi’s plan for a voice vote, demanding that Pelosi force her members to go to the floor before “God, their countrymen and their constituents” to unveil their votes.

When the Republican States Attorneys General announced they would challenge the Slaughter Rule on a constitutional basis, the Democrats finally abandoned it, but not before doing incredible harm to themselves. . . including voting to clear the path for the rule. When they announced they would challenge the Cornhusker Compromise, panicked Democrats tried to remove it from the bill, but couldn’t.

At the same time, the Republicans even opened their closed-door caucus meetings to the public just to contrast their open and honest position with the closed-door dealing the Democrats are doing.

The blowback from all of this has been intense. Most Americans don’t buy the “it’s socialist” argument, but they do understand evasion and cowardice when they see it. And it was the constant drumbeat from elected Republicans that exposed this.
3. Undercutting the Democrats’ Confidence. The biggest problem for House Democrats has been fear that the Senate would not be able to pass the “fix” portion of the bill. To calm them, their leadership has been putting out a series of puffery statements about the process these bills will undertake. Specifically, they describe the process by saying that after the Senate bill is passed, the House will pass the “fix” bill, which will then be fast-tracked in the Senate, where Reid promises to have the 51 votes needed. The end.

But the Republicans have cleverly tossed a thousand wrenches into this. The Republicans in the Senate have been busy preparing challenges to every single page of the reconciliation bill, in the hopes of turning the bill into Swiss cheese. They have also been busy preparing thousands of amendments with the idea of delaying any vote until right before the election, to keep this wound fresh in the public’s mind. Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn has taken the lead on this. At the same time, normally collegial Senators like Orin Hatch (R-Utah) have been tossing the Democratic leadership's lies back in the faces of their wavering members: “If those people think they’re only going to vote on this once, they’re nuts.”

The effects of this on Democratic psyches cannot be overstated.

4. Abortion Brilliance. When the Republicans in the House backed the Stupak amendment, many bloggers whined that it was a sell out by the Republicans to support any portion of the bill. Why couldn’t these weak Republicans be as strong willed as these iron blogger, they insisted from their anonymous safety. Some of us, however, pointed out that it was a brilliant move to keep the abortion issue alive. This has now proven to be correct, as that issue has torn the Democrats apart. And even though it appears they've solved the issue for now, the price they paid among their supporters is heavy.

5. Taking It To November. In addition to the above, the Republicans have undertaken an aggressive campaign against the Democrats who have decided to vote for this atrocity. Every Republican who could find a microphone has blasted the Democrats on these issues and said, as Minority Leader Boehner said this morning, that this vote will haunt the Democrats in November and that the Democratic leadership is “sacrificing a big number of their members.” Warns Boehner: “I don’t think any American is going to forget this vote anytime soon.”

Or as Mike Pence (R-Ind) says: “I don’t know, quite frankly, whether victory will come on the third Sunday in March or on the first Tuesday in November, but victory will come.”

The Republicans have also begun running ads in the districts of every Democrat who switches from a NO to a YES, attacking their decision. In one entertaining moment, they even released a press release when Ohio Democrat John Boccieri announced his switch, that read: “Ohio Dem Uses Press Conference to Announce End of Stint in Congress.”

Coburn and Hatch have also promised to filibuster any pork promised to the Democrats to get their votes, and they have sworn to hold up the appointments of any Democrats who lose their seats in the coming backlash.

Again, do not underestimate the psychological effect of this.

6. Grinding Everything to A Halt. Since the Republicans can’t stop the health care bill, they have taken out other targets in retaliation. Indeed, Schumer and Dodd, and others, have all complained that the health care bill has killed their efforts to reach agreements on an immigration bill and financial regulation, as well as everything else.

7. The Big “R” Word. Finally, this morning, John Boehner trotted out the “Repeal” word. While the blogosphere has been whining for this for weeks, Boehner was smarter. By waiting to raise this word until today, he not only avoided giving the Democrats a reason to circle the wagons, but he prevented any sense from arising that the passage of this bill was inevitable, which has kept the heat on wavering Democrats. Now is the perfect time to use the big R word:
“If this bill passes, we will have an effort to repeal the bill, and we'll do it the same way that we approached health care on a step by step basis. I'd have a bill on the floor the first thing out, to eliminate the Medicare cuts, eliminate the tax increases, eliminate the mandate that every American has to buy health insurance and the employer mandate that's going to cover jobs.”
Great work Republicans.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why ObamaCare Will Be Good For You!!

Several of you have asked, how exactly do the Democrats plan to sell this health care monster to the public? Well, believe it or not, they do have a plan. A little while ago, they started circulating the game plan. Here it is. At the end, I’ll tell you why it won’t work.

The Democrats will, of course, start by letting you know that. . .

The current system is broken. Greedy doctors and evil insurers have stood too long in the way of much needed reform. In fact, the current system was heading toward bankrupting our country, and it left millions of Americans to die without health care. Even those who had health care were just one job change away from losing their benefits or one rotten insurer away from being left hung out to dry.
Notice that the first sales point has nothing to do with the new bill, it’s just an attack on the existing system, and not even an honest one. The fact is that only around 2% of the American population cannot get insurance, for financial reasons or because they are uninsurable. Bankruptcy puts a floor under your debt burden. Few doctors are greedy, at least not as much as the people wanting to take what they have. And it’s the misguided Medicare program that is going broke, not the country as a whole. We could fix that without punishing everyone else. . . but where’s the fun in that?
Next the Democrats will tout the benefits of their monster: Access to affordable care for the poorest of Americans and for people with pre-existing conditions!
Of course, the poorest already get Medicaid, so this is false solution. Secondly, they fail to tell you that unless you’re poor, then you will be paying more for health insurance or you’ll be fined. As for pre-existing conditions, yes those people will be covered. . . by you. So rather than finding a real solution that problem, we’ll just hide it.
This bill closes the gap in the Medicare Part D Drug Benefit!
Yep, by bankrupting the rest of Medicare and killing Medicare Advantage. Think of it this way, this is like fixing that too tight shirt, the one with the buttons you can’t close, by ripping a huge whole in the back of the shirt. Problem solved. . . Democratic style.
This bill puts an end to Medicare fraud!
Hurray! Just like how we ended murder when we made it illegal. Of course, you might find yourself slightly inconvenienced as the boys at the FBI start calling you about your bills because they’re doing a random audit and they think you or your doctor just might be criminals. But that’s a small price to pay for the end of fraud.
This bill prohibits insurers from requiring prior authorizations, and establishes an effective appeals process for coverage denials and claims!
Oh yes, more for trial lawyers to do! How sweet it is.
This bill protects your choice of doctors.
Which is actually an odd claim to make, as this isn’t really a benefit so much as a “it could have been worse, hurray!” Of course, there is the other problem too, that by “protects” they mean wiping out something you have now, but soon won’t.
There can be no lifetime or annual limits on coverage, you can never be turned down, you’ll never grow old, and you can always eat oatmeal.
Ok, you got me here. I can’t possibly see how it’s going to hurt anyone that everyone can now get as much “health care” as they want. Speaking of which, where did I put that prescription for daily therapeutic massage? Oh, and little Michael wants another nose job. . . and a sex change. Fortunately, those things grow on trees now, taxpayer funded trees.
This bill extends coverage to children until they turn 26.
Ok, we’re hitting the bottom of the barrel here. But at least, this will be great if you have an unemployed 26 year old living with you. . . the American dream at its finest.
”Free” prevention benefits.
That’s right, it won’t cost you a penny toward your deductible. So if you believe in the free lunch, then you’re in luck . . . and you’re a fool.
And best of all, the government will be looking out for you.
Yep, with the efficiency of the post office, the heart of the IRS, the manners of the DMV, and the budgetary restraint and fairness of Congress. You’ll love it, or else.
So why do I think the public isn’t going to buy this? Hmmm. Well, I can’t really come up with a reason. Maybe Marjorie Margolies can help. She was a freshman Democrat who lost her House seat in 1994 after voting for Clinton’s budget. She recently confided to the world that she thought she was safe because she had reached a point where she could explain her vote “in a fairly coherent cogent manner” in about “four minutes.” Unfortunately, she adds, her opponents figured out how to explain her vote in a few seconds: “she raised your taxes.”

I wonder how many minutes it will take for Democrats to go through the arguments above? And how long it will take to say, “they raised your taxes, drove your doctor out of practice, made you a criminal, destroyed Medicare, and raised your health care bill.”

Hmmm. A genuine poser. . .

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Nangotiator

I’ve done a lot of negotiating in my time. From sentencing agreements to mediating all manner of civil cases to negotiating contracts for companies, some of whom you’ve heard of, I’ve done it all. I’ve had easy negotiations, hard negotiations, and impossible negotiations. I’ve been reasonable and unreasonable, and I’ve dealt with reasonable and unreasonable. I’ve even walked out of negotiations. And in all that time, certain universal truths about reaching deals have revealed themselves. Nancy Pelosi violates those truths seemingly on a daily basis. Nothing has shown this more than three things she’s done this week.
Caught Bluffing
One of the first rules you learn about negotiation is that a little bit of puffery is to be expected, but lying is a deal killer. What is the difference? Puffery is a suggestion that you might be holding a stronger hand than it may appear. It is intended to feel out the other side without tipping your hand. People know this and they don’t get offended by it. An example of puffery might be: “I’m confident we’ll have the votes.”

Lies are a different story entirely. Lies are assertions that are not true, like: “We have the votes right now.”

So why is the lie bad? Because negotiations are about reaching a comfort zone where neither side feels like they had to give up more than other side to reach the deal. When one side is lying, it becomes impossible to evaluate this with any certainty. Consequently, the other side will either walk away or start presenting take it or leave it deals at the far end of their own comfort zone. In other words, if I can’t trust what you are saying, then I will work out the deal I want and I’ll present it to you as a take it or leave it deal, because I will no longer concern myself with trying to address your concerns.

Pelosi lied last week when she claimed she had all the votes she needed to pass health care. It was obviously a lie and it was intended for two reasons. First, she wanted to scare the NO voters into thinking that the battle was over and that they were about to be on the losing side. Secondly, she wanted to scare wavering YES voters, by making them fear that switching to NO might make them responsible for killing the entire bill.

This might have worked, except that the lie was so obvious and by Sunday morning, she had been exposed. Now she looks weak and desperate and untrustworthy. There is no reason for a NO to reconsider and the wavering YES votes should get even more skittish as they move to the most comforting end of their comfort zone.
The Bad Bluff: Take It Or Leave
The next worst thing you can do in a negotiation is the bad bluff. When you tell the other side that you can’t go any lower/higher, you better be telling the truth. If they reject your offer and you come back with a lower offer, then the other side knows they have you, and they’re going to drive the price all the way to what they think is probably your truly lowest offer. Why? Because this will confirm to them that you don’t have a serious idea of what your side is worth, and they will treat all of your subsequent entreaties to the contrary as just negotiation ploys, at least until they come to the point that they think is your true minimum.

Pelosi spent Monday telling everyone that she was done dealing. There will be no more bribes, it is time for a vote, she claims. She’s bluffing, and this is a huge mistake. Since she doesn’t have the votes, she will need to go get some, and that means more bribes. But as soon as she bribes one more Congressional, and thereby proves that she is bluffing, all the others will demand their own deals. Moreover, since everyone already knows that she is lying, there is no reason not to hold out at the moment. Indeed, this even gives YES votes an incentive to shift to the NO camp just in the hopes of getting some goodies sent their way. Essentially, she’s put herself into a situation where she now needs everyone, which will cause the very people she needs to increase their demands.
Demonstrating A Lack of Good Faith
Finally, when you raise a concern in a negotiation and the other side responds with a fake solution, it doesn’t take long before you lose confidence that the other side is dealing in good faith. The natural response in that situation is to stop negotiating in good faith yourself. Basically, you stop working your way toward the middle ground and you stand pat with your last offer.

This is exactly what Bart Stupak has done. In an interview this weekend, Stupak stated flatly that he now believes that Pelosi never had any intention of addressing his concerns. Therefore, he considers the negotiations over and he won’t support the bill -- and keep in mind, he was a YES originally.

So what does Pelosi do now? She repeats this mistake with the entire NO camp by offering the Slaughter Rule. Many Democrats are concerned that voting for the health care bill will become a political death sentence. They’re right. (See the very correct cartoon on the right.) So Pelosi proposed a solution, the Slaughter Rule. The Slaughter Rule, for those who haven’t heard, would allow the Democrats to vote on a rule that would deem the health care bill passed rather than voting on the bill directly. Since no one would need to vote on the bill itself, Pelosi argues that this should resolve her members’ concerns. But anyone who thinks that voters won’t be able to see that voting for the rule and voting for the bill are the same thing is a fool. Thus, Pelosi has presented a bad faith solution in response to the legitimate concerns raised by the NO camp. Their response should be to stiffen their spines, just as Stupak has done.

Way to go Nancy.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

What is Political Correctness?

“Political correctness” is a term that gets bandied about. Most of you probably have a really good idea of what the term means, but there appears to be some confusion in journalistic ranks. So as a service to our low-IQ and self-deluding friends in the media, let’s offer a quick tutorial.

“Political correctness” is a term first coined to describe the attempts by the American left to squelch open debate and free speech. The term stuck immediately and has been such a devastating dual description and criticism of leftist actions, that many of the left despise the term more than the speech political correctness is trying to squelch. Indeed, on most left-leaning boards, all you need to do is use the term and you will find yourself treated like a heretic at a 14th Century Cardinal’s cook out.

At one point, several leftists in the media tried to defuse the term by applying it to right wingers who supported policies that the leftist media hacks didn’t like, on the basis that they were just pandering to the voters. But that effort failed, because it ridiculously misunderstood how clearly the public knows political correctness when it sees it.

So what exactly does political correctness mean? Political correctness represents group think at its worst. It is the requirement that people accept as true, certain “facts” that are not true under the threat of significant sanction. In this case, that sanction tends to be a jihad like series of attacks on you by the leftward collective.

The idea behind political correctness dates back to 19th Century socialist movements, which believed that they could make the world a better place if only they could recreate man. Gone would be the man created by an accident of evolution or the design of God, and in his place would stand the new, modern socialist man. But that didn’t work out. It turns out that the whole self-awareness thing stands in the way of rebuilding man as a communal creature.

When the civil rights movement of the 1960s moved away from seeking equality and moral treatment into seeking a share of the spoils in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the age of identity politics was born. This began with blacks and then feminists. Soon other groups were sprouting up everywhere. Soon we had a veritable apartheid rainbow of genders and races and disabilities, all carefully self-segregating.

As these groups grew in influence in places like academia, they re-awoke to the idea of rebuilding man. If there was any morality, logic, or merit to their arguments, they could have succeeded by simple persuasion, but there wasn’t. So, instead, they took an approach right out of the dark warnings of Orwell’s 1984. This time, they decided to change the mind of man first. And the only way they could think to do that was to make people afraid to speak their minds. If people could not say an idea, then they could not have the idea. . . or so the thinking went.

It's a lot like that Twilight Zone episode where young Bill Mumy wishes people into the cornfield when he doesn’t like what they are saying or thinking, only the politically correct didn’t see young Bill as the bad guy, he’s what they aspired to be. Thus, they set about shutting down debate and demanding that people stop speaking truths that didn’t fit their agenda.

Let’s consider some examples. Blacks commit crimes in a much higher percentage than whites. That is an undeniable fact. There are many causes, almost all of which point the finger right back at the black community. But black groups have been some of the strongest purveyors of political correctness and blacks have been some of the new religion’s most ardent foot soldiers. And the first rule of political correctness is to combat any fact that makes your group look bad. Thus, they decided that these facts were not politically correct and that they should not be allowed to be spoken. So they set about attacking anyone who dared speak them.

Consequently, if you held a debate on the issue of crime today, and you tried to suggest either of these facts, you would risk being shouted down, risk having your black panelist stage a walk out, risk being called a racist, and risk having a jihad declared against you with an army of drones trying to get you fired and ostracized. Why do this? Because if you can’t address the real facts, all that is left to explain the problem is to either deny that such a problem exists or to attribute it to politically correct “facts” like white racism or economic circumstances. Not coincidentally, the solution to those “facts” seems to be legislation. . . and more goodies for the identity camp.

Feminists have done the same thing. They have create a twisted set of assumptions to which you must pledge fealty or you will be labeled a sexist. Chief among these new “facts” is that there are no differences between men and women, except for those that benefit women. Thus, for example, you cannot mention that women are not as physically strong as men or that pregnancy has been a huge issue for military readiness when the feminists question why women can’t be front line soldiers. You also cannot mention that the different choices women make affect their income potential when discussing the issue of pay equality. Indeed, to suggest that women shun the harder professions, like science and engineering, or that they tend to drop out of the work force for a period of years to raise children would be like declaring Christ a myth at a 12th Century Crusade planning meeting. It’s best just to pretend that you have no idea why women earn more college degrees, but don’t make as much money as men over their careers.

Again, the reason is obvious. If you factor out all the things that women and men do that generally lead to different career paths, then the only possible explanation left for why a woman and a man have disparate incomes must be sexism. And that requires legislation, which means more goodies for the identity camp.

And this goes well beyond panel discussions. If you say the wrong thing at work, or at school, or in print, prepare for the modern Inquisition. If you put an ad on television and an identity-group member looks bad in the ad, expect trouble. If you make a movie, you better not make identity-group members the bad guy, and you better not forget to over-include them in positive roles no matter how historically inaccurate. In fact, ironically, they expect you to overcompensate in the other direction. . . for the fact you're not allowed to mention. Thus, if the knock on a group is that they're lazy, then you better make them the hardest working characters on your show. If the stereotype is stupidity, better let them teach everyone else the vital lessons. And so on.

The idea behind the terror is to get you to self-censor. If you are afraid to speak the truth, then the truth may cease to exist. . . at least, that’s the hope.

If you’ve ever discussed this issue near one of these people, before they try to shout you down, you may have noticed that they will make the argument: “how is this different than simple manners.” And they will claim that people have always done what is now being “unfairly” called political correctness. But they are wrong.

First, manners are based on generations of experience about what creates problems in society and what doesn’t. Manners are basically the little things that we need to do to make society flow. These are learned behaviors that are based on observed facts. Political correctness, on the other hand, is not about making society better. It is about one group forcing itself on another. It is about accepting lies as true and ignoring the things we know. It is dogma of the worst kind.

Secondly, unlike manners, which are meant for general application, political correctness is applied unfairly. Political correctness applies only to a protected few. Whites can be fired for using the wrong word, but blacks can’t be fired for using the same word. Minorities are free to complain about anything they want with regard to majorities, but majorities aren’t. And so on. Moreover, politically correct rules aren’t about objective rules, they are about subjective interpretation. In other words, they rely on the “victim” to decide if they’ve been victimized. This isn’t about creating conduct for everyone to follow, this is about giving certain groups the power to attack those with whom they disagree. The last group of people to hold similar powers were the aristocracy under Louis XIV or Nazi party members under Hitler.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a bit of irony. Because political correctness is so subjective, it changes all the time as grievances are expanded and new victims discover their victimhood. Thus, what was politically correct a few years ago may not be so today. Sesame Streets on was one of the first attempts at politically correct brainwashing. But when they released the DVDs a year ago, they actually put a label on them that these were not appropriate for children.

Thus, to all the politically correct of the world, I say this. . .

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Republicans: It’s Not Hip To Be Square

Let’s continue our rebuilding the Republican Party series by answering a question asked by Scott. What can Republicans do to attract young, middle of the road, independent types. On the one hand, this a good question. On the other, this presents a bit of a false dilemma. Let’s explain why that’s the case first, then we’ll talk about how to make the party a little more hip.

Why The Youth Don’t Matter

The children are the future. . . yeah, but they don’t vote. It’s an undeniable fact that the youth don’t vote in nearly the numbers that older people do. Why does this matter? Because not all votes are created equal.

Politics is about getting enough votes to get your agenda into place. If a particular group isn’t large enough, like six-fingered soccer uncles, or they don’t vote in large enough numbers to help you, then there is no reason to risk losing other supporters just to attract that group. Because the youth don’t vote, there is little reason to pursue them. In other words, it would be unwise for Republicans to risk alienating their other constituents just to pick up additional youth voters.

But if we ignore them, won’t the youth turn into older liberal voters? No, not really. It is the nature of youth to be leftist, but it is the nature of aging to make them conservative. That’s why Francois Guizot once astutely said, “Not to be a [liberal] at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.” (A quote often misattributed to Winston Churchill.)

Here’s why this is true. Youth knows nothing of the real world and it lives in an affirming cocoon of friends, teachers and family. Moreover, it knows so little about the world and humanity, that it doesn’t even have a sense of how little it truly knows. That gives it a tremendous sense of certainty and idealism because it sounds so simple to solve the world’s problems when you don’t understand how complex they truly are. Idealism goes hand in hand with a sense of activity. . . a desire to change the world -- letting the world change itself is, in fact, anathema to idealism. Thus, youth is a sucker for utopian leftist thinking.

This means that it will be inherently difficult, if not impossible, for conservatives to make many in-roads with young voters, and the risk likely outweigh the rewards

But as people age, experience changes them. Youth soon learns that the world is not as black and white as it once seemed, that problems are more complex than it imagined, that people have different values, and that there are genuine disagreements. This slowly erodes the sense of certainty, and with it the messianic zeal to remake the world. Soon youth gets a job and learns the value of labor, and the value of property, and it starts to wonder why the government has the right to take its labor and give it to people who won’t help themselves, the very people it once saw as victims. Finally, youth builds a family. Suddenly, it learns the value of an ordered and safe society, and of the moral values it once disdained. But even more importantly, being responsible for others teaches youth to think in the long-term. Long term thinking leads to conservative principles and a conservative world view.

Each of these changes robs youth of its liberalism and pushes it down the road to conservatism. In other words, time and experience will make the young into conservatives (unless something interferes with this). Consequently, the whole “attract the youth” issue is a bit of a canard.

How To Get Hip: Clean Up The Image

That said, it is always worth trying to improve our image across the board. In this regard, the right (and the Republican Party in particular) has been its own worst enemy in recent years. Conservatism, in general, once stood for competent leadership, fiscal sanity, smaller government, a strong national defense, and support for civic organizations, i.e. organizations that glued society together, like churches and the Boy Scouts.

But conservatism became unbalanced, focusing almost to an exclusion on wedge social issues like abortions and gays. It became knee-jerk and intolerant. It became anti-culture, grumpy and nostalgic. Then it was beset by scandals as elected Republicans, unelected spokespeople and many who simply claimed to speak for conservatives immersed themselves in corrupt, criminal, immoral and unethical adventures. Finally, Bush blew a hole in the idea of competent leadership, of fiscal sanity, of smaller government and less interference. Now, some are trying to add an ugly strain of populism that has more to do with paranoia and 1930s leftism than anything seen before on the right.

So the first step in any conservative/Republican strategy needs to be to clean this up. Return to fiscal sanity. Support only competent leaders with a proven track record. Drop the corrupt, the crooked and the hypocritical. And most importantly, divorce the party from the interest groups.

Secondly, the party’s thinkers and pundits need to return to rational argument and abandon the knee-jerkism, the nasty simplistic bomb throwing, the paranoia, the professed hopelessness, and the self-righteousness that has become the hallmark of so many conservatives “thinkers.” Smug kills. And even more importantly, stop defining conservatism by claiming it stands against everything liberals want. No intellectual movement worth surviving can define itself as "not them." Start looking at the world as a conservative, not as an unliberal.

Those two steps alone would go a long way to cleaning up the party’s image across the board, including with the young. And, indeed, if we don't take these steps, little else will matter.

How To Get Hip: Targeting The Youth

With regard to specifically reaching the young, the Republican Party/conservatives need to first drop the sham marketing ideas like putting up a tent at CPAC for videogames. Young people see right through clich├ęd marketing gimmicks. What the party really needs to do is to change the attitude it projects.

First, stop sending out spokesmen who are (1) grumpy, (2) judgmental, (3) out of touch with the culture, (4) suffer from nostalgia, and (5) incapable of enunciating conservative ideas in ways that real people understand. Clever counts. That’s why people like Bugs Bunny, not Elmer Fudd.

Moreover, intentional or not, the right always seems to choose middle age/old white dudes as its spokesmen, except when its intentionally trying “outreach.” This plays into the caricature image of the party as the angry-white-male party, and it makes the outreach look like pandering. It’s time to make an effort to promote more competent women and minorities -- and I don’t mean affirmative action. They’re already out there. What I’m talking about is to stop automatically sending the old white dude to represent the movement at all events and to stop treating minorities like special occasion props.

And when you reach out to the youth of today, send young Republicans who actually have a foot in the culture. Stop sending the pale-white, home schooled kids in the suits and ties who quote Cicero like it’s cool, but have never seen a television and look intensely nervous sitting next to the minorities. You've seen these kids thrust into the light as "youth spokesmen" at conventions and on Fox News. They may be bright, but no one believes they represent youth.

Further, youth worships celebrity, as do many others. We do have celebrities, even if most aren’t in Hollywood. We should be recruiting athletes and country music singers en mass. The rest will follow.

Fifth, find a way to get involved with the youth. They are looking for something to do to let them make the world better. Offer it to them. Recreate community programs where kids help pick up litter, build homes for charity, clean up parks, participate in sports leagues. Sponsor music festivals and athletic camps -- which are a big thing now. Hip corporations do this, leftist groups do it, we should do it.

Sixth, kids love tech. Adopt it and use it. More importantly, learn to have fun with it, and stop whining when other conservatives have fun with it. If a conservative makes a rap song, let it be. . . don’t run out and condemn rap. If they poke a little fun at Obama, stop calling it undignified. Stop being uptight. And stop issuing Fatwa against everything in the culture you don’t like. Just accept that others do like it and change the channel. Why do a thousand conservatives need to whine about every stupid word that comes out of some actor's mouth? This only makes conservatives look hypersensitive. Have a little more faith that our beliefs can withstand the inane yammerings of Sean Penn without every conservative whipping out the cannons.

Finally, develop a sense of humor, and not one based just on taking cheap shots at the other side. That's the difference between the Onion, which mixes political and nonpolitical humor, and conservative imitation sites which do little more than sarcastic, angry anti-left humor. That's the difference between Bill Clinton, who seems like a fun guy to get a beer with, and Newt Gingrich who seems like a man who's never told a joke. Nobody likes uptight, grumpy, overly-critical as~holes, and we seem to be overstocked with them.

These are thing we can do to make the party more attractive to young independents without alienating the other people the party needs. Beyond this, it’s probably not worth trying much more.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Liberal Case Against Pelosi

So I’m cruising the net yesterday and what to my wandering mouse clicks should appear, but a rather entertaining bit of leftist fratricide. Over at, a fringe sleaze site, between articles comparing Glenn Beck to a Nazi, explaining that Bill Clinton was right to abuse FBI files, and shriekings that Disney “princess” movies “turn little girls into bedazzled pod people” was a fun little article called “The liberal case against Dennis Kucinich.” Let’s discuss, and let’s see if the same case can be made against San Fran Nan the Pelosi.

Now before you get all excited that you may get some real analysis here, let me warn you right up front that like all diatribes written by leftists, this isn’t really much of a test. It’s more of a “find some fact that supports a prejudice” than it is anything you could call an “argument,” but it’s fun nevertheless.

The Accused: Dennis “Barking Mad” Kucinich

Occupation: Hero of the Left, Congressional Mascot

The Question: Despite spending seven terms in Congress, what has Dennis Kucinich ever done for the cause of progressivism? Like seriously. . . and stuff.

The Normal Liberal Answer: He has such good intentions that he’s almost pure goodness and above reproach. He’s like finding an extra pound of tofu under your commune’s Prius. He’s a sunny day without princesses, where everyone has free health care and peace and happiness reigns and those who disagree with you are murdered in their sleep by angry mobs. :-)

This Liberal’s Answer: Nothing, that’s what he’s done.

The Proof: A quick search of the Congressional website reveals that since he’s been in Congress, from January 7, 1997 to the present, Kooky Kucinich has sponsored a total of 97 bills. Of those, only 4. . . yes, FOUR, made it out of committee and only 3 were enacted.

Conclusion: He’s an ineffective embarrassment to progressives and should be put to death. . . or someone should run against him, which ever comes first. No further proof or argument needed.

Wow! So that was the liberal case against Kucinich. Well, that got me thinking. . . a very non-liberal thing to do. What if we applied the same test to others?

What? Yes. Yes, I know that. I know that liberal arguments aren't meant for general purposes, that they should never be applied to people we like. . . just those we've already judged guilty. But dammit, I feel frisky. Let's do this thing!

I can think of no better target for this new test than that most progressive of progressives, the botox queen herself. Let’s see how she fares under the Kucinich Standard:

Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi sponsored 86 bills since 1987, making her much lazier than Kucinich (she’s running about four per year, while he’s running about nine per year). Of those, only 15 made it out of committee and only 6 made it into law -- about one every four years. That’s right, every four years one of Nan’s bills creeps into the legal books.

That’s way worse than Kucinich’s one every three years!

That’s also much, much worse than John McCain who got 33 bills enacted in the same time, or about 1.4 per year. Or Charlie Rangel who got 30 in the same time. Heck, Hillary Clinton got 11 bills enacted in seven years, that’s like 1.6 bills a year!

Thus, there can be only one verdict. . . Guilty, and ugly. No princess here. Off with her botoxic head!

Oh, and for those of you wondering about the princess-hate, apparently today’s “thinking” feminist is upset (1) that Hollywood thinks that “boy stories are for everyone, but girl stories ‘alienate half the potential audience’” -- ah yep, truth hurts, and (2) that you “females” allow yourselves to be “conned . . . into spending $3.7 billion on princess-branded crap last year.” For shame ladies, for shame. You should know that princess crap is not as good as nondenominational Miracle Grow.

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