Thursday, April 28, 2011

2012 Race Baiting Season Begins Early

Black voters apparently are incapable of making up their minds on issues, or so it would seem based on the efforts of the race baiting industry. Every election, they scurry around finding evidence of racism lurking in the hidden meanings of everything, and then they trumpet their “findings” to trick blacks into voting for liberals, i.e. the only people capable of slowing the tide of a return to slavery. Yesterday, apparently, was the start of the race baiting season for the 2012 election.

With Obama tossing his newly faked birth certificate on the table as he ran to Oprah for cover from poll numbers that would make Charlie Manson cringe, black PBS host Tavis Smiley took it upon himself to declare to MSNBC:
"I said over a year ago that this was going to be, this presidential race, Lawrence, was going to be the ugliest, the nastiest, the most divisive, and the most racist in the history of this Republic."
Sounds like Tavis has big plans doesn’t it? Oh, wait, he was talking about us. Of course, he has ZERO evidence to support anything he said, but that’s not unusual for a liberal journalist.

At the same time, in another studio, Whoopie Goldberg was declaring her intent “to play the race card.” Apparently Whoopie, who never misses an opportunity to claim something is racist, has decided that she is sick and tired of restraining herself because, you know, everything is so racist:
"It is very difficult, on a daily basis, to see this stuff and not say, 'you know, this is what it is.'"
At least she wasn't talking about the difference between "rape" and "rape rape" this time.

Meanwhile, a hoard of professional racists were running around trying to claim that the Obama birth certificate issue is pure racism. "There is a real deep-seated and vicious racism at work here in terms of trying to de-legitimate the president," whined Peniel Joseph, about the birth certificate issue. "This is more than just a conspiracy. I think this is fundamentally connected to white supremacism in this country."

Now think about how idiotic this statement is. How did Obama get into office if the country is a group of white supremacists? And how did his lack of a birth certificate help? Is Penile really suggesting that we only voted for Obama because we didn't know he was black because we never got to see his birth certificate? Sorry Penile, but that’s limp reasoning. . . and "de-legitimate" isn't a word.

Oh, you think I’m mischaracterizing Penile’s “reasoning”? Ok, explain this. After binge drinking and knifing his girlfriend, The Guardian’s own Michael Tomasky opined that, according to we whiteys, “[the birther conspiracy has] to be the only explanation for how this black man got to the White House.” See, I told you these idiots actually think that we wouldn’t have voted for Obama if we had seen the birth certificate because then we would have known he was black. Retarded.

And Mikey continues: “And if you think race isn't what this is about at its core, ask yourself if there would even be a birther conspiracy if Barack Obama were white and named Bart Oberstar. If you think there would be, you are delusional.”

Wrong. There was a furor over John McCain’s eligibility since he was apparently born on a military base in some third world dump. Last time I checked, McCain’s pretty white. And frankly, “Oberstar” sounds Jewish. And if we elected a Jewish President, you can be pretty sure there would be a MASSIVE conspiracy, as the whole race industry and most on the left would be out there wondering if the President wasn’t secretly born in Israel or made in a lab at Zionist Worldwide Conspiracy, Inc. Kahlid Muhammad and Helen Thomas would need to console each other with Palestinian wine. . . and sex.

Any ways, let’s continue. Leonard Pitts a columnist for the Miami Herald said: “So it is time to call this birther nonsense what it is -- not just claptrap, but profoundly racist claptrap.” So liberals/blacks were being racist when they questioned John McCain’s birth-qualifications! I thought so. And not just racists, but clap-trap racists! They’re the worst. But at least they're profound.

Jesse Jackass is accusing Trump of using the birth issue as a “code word”:
"Any discussion of [Obama's] birthplace is a code word. It calls upon ancient racial fears. . . [Trump] is now tapping into code-word fears that go far beyond a rational discourse."
Obama’s birth certificate calls upon “ancient racial fears”? How old is Obama? Was he around when Sauron made rings for dwarves and men and elves? Me thinks someone has been smoking too much crack. . . yeah, I said it. . . sue me Jesse. And the rest of that sounds like Jesse’s about to tell us how the CIA talks to him through his teeth.

In any event, Jesse is wrong. I looked up “Obama birth certificate” in my KKK handbook and it says quite clearly “foozle-fanoodle.” And all we white supremacists know what foozle-fanoodle means. . . and it has nothing to do with race. Am I right? Can I get a "heil yeah!"

Of course, there were also a whole host of studies and editorials issued all on the same day that said nebulous unattributed things like: “many in the media have speculated that current criticisms of Obama are a result of his race, rather than his agenda.” Unnamed, unsourced leftists and race-baiters are claiming this! Wow, that’s damning. Of course, two can play that game. In fact, I heard that "many in the media have speculated that Obama was born on Pluto to a Dachshund named Shelby." My theory makes more sense because I don't have to explain how the supposedly racist public accidentally voted for him in the first place.

This is all silly, but it’s only going to get worse. The race industry feels neglected over the past few years and they’re lashing out everywhere (you should see them attack even the slightest criticism of NFL draft pick and future bust Cam Newton as racist). They want to protect their investment in Obama and regain the power they once had to make people cower by screaming wolf. . . er, racism. Sadly for them, I'm pretty sure no one cares anymore what a group of black race hustlers has to say.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Conservatives Split On Taxes

There is a philosophical split right now between two groups of conservatives. On the one side are those looking to cut the power and scope of government. This group is led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok), one of the most fiscally responsible conservatives in the Senate. The second group opposes tax increases. This group is led by Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform. Normally, I like and respect both men, but Norquist has gone off the deep end this time.

This issue in question is tax breaks for ethanol. And how this issue arises is that Coburn is looking for ways to cut the budget deficit. One of his proposals involves eliminating the $6 billion a year tax break given to ethanol producers. Eliminating this makes sense in a lot of ways. For one thing, it would add $6 billion a year in revenues should they continue making ethanol. Secondly, if it does stop or slow the production of ethanol, that would be good for the environment, good for food prices, and good for our energy policy as corn-based ethanol takes as much energy to produce as it creates when it’s used. Republicans (and some right-thinking Democrats) have been trying to scrap this for years.

So who could object? Grover Norquist. Why? Because he sees this as a tax increase. Norquist is arguing that this would result in a $6 billion a year tax increase on ethanol producers and therefore would break Republican pledges not to raise taxes.

This is wrong on several levels. First, Norquist is wrong to defend specialize deductions within the tax code. These deductions are most often sops to interest groups and are corrosive to democracy, just as the left’s attempt to create a progressive tax code is corrosive. All citizens should be treated equally. If they aren’t, then the government begins to lose its legitimacy.

Moreover, even if this wasn’t purely a sop, this is an attempt at social engineering by the government. The government should not be in the business of picking one form of energy over another. By doing so, it distorts the private market, which misallocates resources and hinders the natural scientific and economic development of our economy. In other words, so long as ethanol is made artificially cheap compared to other forms of energy, people will invest less in the production of better forms of energy. Also, these tax breaks have been sufficient to result in food being diverted from consumers to producers of ethanol, which has artificially increased the costs of food.

Further, if Norquist’s real goal is to decrease taxes, then allowing these carve-outs to special interests to continue will only further entrench the opposition to correcting the tax code or replacing the tax code. Even now, when we talk about flattening the code or replacing it, a chorus of voices rises up demanding that their own carve-outs continue. That’s how the government makes its citizens dependent upon it.

Also, in this instance, Norquist’s stance runs counter to the conservative interests of smaller, fairer government. Sometimes you need to accept things like the elimination of these deductions or spending cuts in favored programs to get an overall better structure for the country. If we don’t accept this, then we will never be able to cut any corporate welfare, any distorting deductions, or even raise taxes on those who don’t currently pay tax (which should be a conservative goal -- everyone needs to pay if we are to kill the idea that the government can give something for nothing).

Finally, in this instance, Norquist is making matters worse by making deceitful ad hominem attacks on Coburn: "Coburn said on national TV today that he lied his way into office and will vote to raise taxes if he damn well feels like it. . ." This is never appropriate for conservatives.

It’s time to think strategically and not lose the war through tactical intransigence.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leftists Sink To Vile New Lows. . . Again

Every time I turn around, the left sinks to new lows, especially when it comes to their Palin Derangement Syndrome, which is much viler than their Bush Derangement Syndrome, which is much viler than their Reagan Derangement Syndrome. Their latest spewage involves attacks on Sarah Palin’s down syndrome child Trig. And low doesn’t really describe it. . . subhuman is more accurate. So pardon my anger.

For many weeks now, the left has been promoting a hateful little conspiracy in which they claim that Trig is not actually Palin’s son. Everything from leftist professors to anonymous web-posting idiots are claiming that Trig is actually the son of Bristol Palin, not Sarah Palin. Why would the Palins try to hide this? Because, claim these sickos, it would have embarrassed them to have an unmarried, pregnant daughter during the 2008 campaign. . . which you may recall is actually what happened.

Of course, this is insane and the left knows this. There are copious amounts of photos from the time showing that Palin was pregnant and that Bristol was not. There are also medical records. But that doesn’t stop these sickos because they get off on bullying Palin’s kids, see e.g. Kathy Griffith, as they do with all of their opponents kids. And this is how leftists give themselves delusions of adequacy, by attacking children.

And if you doubt me, pay attention to this story.

Two days ago, jack stuef of Wonkette, a leftist political “satire” site, put up a posting called “Children’s Treasury of Trig Crap” to mark Palin’s youngest son’s birthday. Beyond the incoherent headline, jack included in this post a series of vile attacks on Palin as well as attacks on Trig. For example, jack included “jokes” about Trig like the following:
“What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.”
Funny stuff jack. Your hero Hitler would have been proud. jack then added “jokes” about child rape, incest and fetal alcohol syndrome. For example, jack said:
Today is the day we come together to celebrate the snowbilly grifter’s magical journey from Texas to Alaska to deliver to the America the great gentleman scholar Trig Palin. Is Palin his true mother? Or was Bristol? (And why is it that nobody questions who the father is? Because, either way, Todd definitely did it.)
So jack thinks it’s funny to ridicule down syndrome Trig as a “gentleman scholar” and to imply that Todd Palin has sex with his own daughter. Nice jack, your jackal mother must be very proud. By the way, you better hope there is no such thing as karma jack.

Of course, Wonkette’s readers thought this was funny, at least until conservatives noticed. Suddenly the spotlight got awfully bright as the rest of America didn’t find jack’s bullying of Trig all that funny. Indeed, as this story spread, sponsors started running away from Wonkette. Papa John’s Pizza, Huggies, Nordstrom, and Holland America Line have announced they would no longer advertise on the site. Vanguard Group is trying to have it both ways by trying to continue advertising at the site, but just not on the hateful posts. . . you might want to give them a call.

Eventually, Wonkette had to respond, and this is where it gets even more sick. Did Wonkette distance itself from jack? No. Instead, Wonkette editor ken layne tried to justify this disgusting attack with the following:
I have four kids myself and I wouldn't want them mocked on the Internet by a bunch of cretins on the Internet. And that's just one reason why I wouldn't parade my children around in the media. What kind of mother does that? . . . Anything involving Palin, I want to make it extra clear that *Palin* is the problem with America. Not her kids. Not her little kid, anyway. The older ones seem to be on their own path and you can't really blame Sarah for it, although she certainly encourages the sleaziest possible behavior from her grown children, which is hardly a very "family values" thing to do.
Right, so Palin entrapped jack by “parading” Trig around the media?! Give me a break. Everybody knows Palin did no such thing -- though Obama has done this repeatedly with his own kids. And even if she did, ken and jack should have known better than to attack Trig. Notice, by the way, that ken can’t bring himself to admit that his own hateful writer is actually in the wrong for any part of this. Moreover, notice that ken also can't stop himself from taking shots at Bristol Palin and Sarah Palin in the process. This is evidence of mental illness and ken and jack should stop stroking each other and seek help.

And that wasn’t all ken wrote. Indeed, when another website called ken out on this (“Jack Stuef’s column 'honoring' Trig Palin’s birthday is about the most irredeemably vile, unfunny thing I’ve ever seen. . . If there is any expression of disgust that I have failed to convey, consider this my signature on it.”) and wanted to get his response before posting a scathing attack on this, ken responded by first saying the real problem was “Palin fans” who aren’t smart enough to get the satire. Funny, I’m no fan of Palin but I don’t get the satire either. He then tries to defend the column by saying:
“we should always — it is a *moral duty* — show how reprehensible it is to be using *any baby* and especially a special needs baby as a political prop. That is gross, and sane people know it’s gross.”
That’s right ken, what you and jack have done in using Trig is “reprehensible.” It is “gross” and “sane people” don’t do this. So why did you do it? And why do you keep doubling down on subhuman with every fresh sentence? ken continues:
“And with two kids of my own and another on the way, I am obviously a great fan of children, especially mine. And I respect the rights of children to not be mocked on the internet just because their mom is a cow-demon. It’s not the kid’s fault. Who gets to pick their parents? I sure didn’t.”
So it’s not ok to mock kids on the internet? But it is ok to call their mother a “cow-demon” -- a term that should probably get ken fired for misogyny. And since ken still refuses to apologize for jack’s vile attacks on Palin’s son Trig or ken’s own attacks on the other Palin kids, what are we to make of this statement? Is it just hypocrisy or something worse? And let me point out that ken just made his own kids props in the defense of his own hate. ken, you are a sick f#$%.

ken then finishes by claiming that the outrage is “feigned,” before launching into yet another slander of Sarah Palin and her “poor white people” fans. That’s a nice touch ken, finishing on a racist note.

Finally, Wonkette deleted jack’s name and deleted the comments, but left the article.

What we’ve learned here is that the left has become a diseased carcass. They are riddled with hate, racism, and misogyny, and they get off on savaging disabled infants. This is what has become of an entire ideology, an ideology of greed, envy and hate. They have become so blinded by their hate that they no longer have any boundaries. They will attack other people's children, exploit their own, and pass the vilest, most delusional lies all to make themselves feel adequate and smug.

They are subhuman.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And Yet, I'm Alive. . .

Thank God I’m alive. I had no idea what for a dangerous life I’ve lived until busybodies started telling me. How could the adults in my life have been so careless. . . I should sue someone.

What am I talking about? Well, let me go down the list. I owned a car without seat belts. Yep, a 1961 Ford Falcon. Sure, it took 20 minutes to get to 60 mph, but its dashboard was pure steel baby. Want more? I never had a helmet for my bike. I even had three serious falls, two on my head. I’m still not sure how I lived through that. More? Ok, I played dodgeball, wiffleball, kickball and red rover. I even had flammable pajamas and toys I could fit into my mouth all the way through high school! No, I’m not some sort of daredevil, I’m just an innocent victim. Sniff sniff.

Ok, enough of this crap. I am truly sick of the modern thinking that kids need to be bubble wrapped. Seriously, W.... T.... F....?!

When I was kid, we still enjoyed a good deal of freedom vis-à-vis the world. But not today. Helmet laws make parents criminals if they don’t strap their kids in before putting them to bed. Dodgeball was yanked from schools years ago after it was designated a crime against humanity after some assh~le decided someone could get hurt by that huge soft, rubber ball floating through the air with all the force a flabby nine year old can muster. . . clearly, this was not a physics major.

Recently, New York State “Health Department” losers tried to ban wiffleball, kickball and red rover. Why? Because they’re “dangerous.” Seriously? Have you ever seen a mobster use a red rover technique to do anyone in? "Hey, red rover, send Jimmy the Weasel over." And do you know how hard it is to hurt someone with a wifflebat? Trust me, you can beat for hours without breaking the skin! Stick with aluminum bats, they're easier and nothing satisfies quite like that great ringing sound.

This is ridiculous. When I was a kid, people understood that slamming into things and falling from moving vehicles was all part of life. Sure, you could get hurt. But serious injuries were incredibly rare, and were well worth the risk of enjoying your childhood. To sort of quote Evel Kneival: “Bones heal, chicks dig scars, pain is temporary and the character you build in childhood is forever.”

These days, it seems that any time you engage in any activity that involves motion or touching, some whiny, failed parent is out there screaming how their kid is too delicate to endure the horror that they might end up with a skinned knee or hurt feelings. Pathetic. How can kids possibly grow up to handle anything if “parents” try to put them into bubble wrap to keep away the insidious forces of gravity, friction and childhood?

And if you are one of these people who is growing one of these delicate creatures, note I did not say “raising,” all you are producing is an effete victim-in-waiting. Congratulations. You have failed as a parent.

What's even worse, did you hear about the 10 year old kid who was arrested because he found a broken BB gun on school grounds and dared to play with it? Yep. Arrested, taken away in cuffs, spent 2 days locked up, appeared in court shackled, and was charged with a felony. Now school officials are trying to expel him. . . at least it wasn't a dodgeball, these dipsh~ts probably would have tried to hang him. The principal, the arresting officer, and the prosecutor seriously should all lose their jobs or worse.

Maybe we need a gulag for idiots?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Capitalism Is Rising, Not Falling

Is belief in capitalism on the wane? Many on the left wish this were the case and they point to a new poll to support their fantasy, but they’re wrong. . . as usual. If anything, capitalism is expanding by leaps and bounds.

This specific poll in question was conducted by GlobeScan and it asked respondents if they agree that capitalism is a superior economic system to the others available. The headline number trumpeted by the left is that support for capitalism is down in the US from 80% in 2002 to 59% in 2010. And the average across 25 countries polled was only 54%. Clearly the end is nigh, right? Well, no.

For starters, let me point out that getting 60% of the public to agree to anything is itself quite an accomplishment. Indeed, if Obama was re-elected by 60% to 40%, that would be an epic landslide. The human race just isn’t built for more “agreement” than that. In fact, the few times you will ever see anything exceed around 60% in polling can usually be explained by a defective methodology or temporary enthusiasm, like how everyone rallies around a war once it begins. So getting 60% of the American public to say they support capitalism is an excellent number. It also tracks with the American left being around 40% of the population -- leftists, by the way, claim to hate capitalism, but they love what it delivers, particularly cheap consumer goods, excellent services, and wealth. . . they just don’t like others having these things.

Moreover, after the financial crisis, you would think capitalism would be at its lowest point in terms of public support. The Democrats and their media allies have been pushing the idea for two years now that the financial collapse was the result of “unregulated” capitalism. Thus, they have systematically blamed “capitalism” for the massive unemployment that followed, the wiping out of ten years worth of stock market gains, the collapse of various governments, and the near-bankruptcy of several countries. Those are pretty serious consequences and if capitalism truly was to blame, then you would think that well-fewer than 60% of Americans would still support it. But that’s not the case. So apparently, despite the best efforts the MSM can come up with to slander capitalism, 59% of Americans continue to believe in it. That’s very encouraging. In fact, that’s probably the real story here.

The other real story here is the growth of the popularity of capitalism in other countries. In China, a supposedly communist country, and Brazil, another country with a leftist government, 68% consider capitalism the superior system. In India, a country done wrong by the British and which flirts with socialism and even communism in some of its states, 58% prefer capitalism. Even in Germany, which invented socialism and is the center of the soft-socialist world today, 69% prefer capitalism. These are not numbers one would expect. The fact the people of these countries prefer capitalism so overwhelmingly tells us something about the draw of capitalism and the inherent sense it makes.

But not everyone goes along for this ride. In Turkey, only 27% think capitalism is superior to other systems. Of course, Turkey is shifting from a secular-socialist government to an Islamic government. France also has problems with capitalism, with only 36% preferring capitalism. But then, France is France. Not coincidentally, both of those countries are in decline.

Contrary to the leftist spin on this poll, the real story here is that capitalism is alive and well despite the media assault following the financial crisis, and that it seems to have a bottom level of support around 60% in the US. Just as interestingly, capitalism seems to be spreading around the world and is taking hold in all of the young, dynamic economies on the planet. This is great news for the future, even if it means stiffer competition for our own companies.

I take it, you’re all fans of capitalism?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Time To Exploit The Debt Ceiling

Sometime between May and June, our government will breach the federal debt ceiling. We have three choices: raise the debt ceiling, cut spending, or default. The third choice would be a disaster, but I’m thinking that it might be the right time to oppose raising the debt ceiling. Jim DeMint thinks so. Interestingly, the same Democrats who voted against raising the debt ceiling before are now attacking Republicans for toying with the same idea.

Let’s start by explaining why we can’t default. If the US doesn't cut spending or raise the debt ceiling, it will literally (legally) run out of money. That means entitlements won’t be paid, government workers will be sent home (not just the essential ones), government contracts will stop, and repayment on the debt will stop. The biggest of these consequences might be the defaulting on the repayment of our debt. This would tank our credit rating and raise interest rates. Right now we pay approximately $160 billion per year on interest to service the national debt. Much of that has been at incredibly low rates obtained during the financial crisis of 2008. If we default, we could expect our interest rates to double pretty easily. That would mean spending almost as much on payment of interest as we currently spend on Medicare. Moreover, the higher interest rates would hit home mortgages, consumer loans, credit card rates, and crush the stock market. So default would begin a horrible economic spiral that would lead to an economic depression.

This means we must not default. It also means that anyone playing with a possible default better be sure they are right, because the consequences could be very severe and could be fairly easy to explain to every American, as they would be personally hit by this.

But default won’t happen until at least June or more likely July. So at this point, as far as the public is concerned, default is just theoretical. Thus, now is actually the perfect time to use the threat of default to extract goodies from the Democrats. Why? Because it’s too early for the public to get too upset about the idea of the interest on their ARM or their credit cards doubling. But at the same time, anyone worried about the consequences of not raising the debt limit (i.e. Obama and Senate Democrats seeking re-election) will be getting increasingly nervous.

Thus, now would be the time for Tea Party Republicans to make serious demands in exchange for agreeing to raise the debt limit. I say Tea Party Republicans rather than the party leadership because (1) it will be harder for the Democrats to attack Republicans generally if this was seen as just a subset of Republicans, (2) the Democrats think these people are crazy and thus are much more likely to believe this threat than they would if it came from Boehner, (3) Jim DeMint doesn’t have to reveal how much support he has, which will prevent the Democrats from judging how credible the threat is, and (4) this allows Boehner to play the mediator, which is an ideal position for an advocate -- it's essentially the good cop/bad cop routine.

I would also suggest that the demand be substantial and consequential, and it should not be anything that can be characterized as being done in the name of a small group of people like “the rich” or “corporations.” Thus, I would say, don’t ask for a few more billion dollars or tax cuts, but ask for a reformation of Medicare along the lines of that proposed by Paul Ryan, i.e. a de facto privatization. Or demand statutory spending caps fixing the maximum percentage of GNP that can be spent by the federal government.

Finally, start running ads right now pointing out the hypocrisy of the Democrats on this issue. President Obama, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Harry Reid each voted against raising the debt ceiling when Bush was President. They are claiming their prior votes were mistakes. But others aren’t being as "genuine." Sen. “Air” Claire McCaskill claims it would be “profoundly irresponsible” for the Republicans to vote against raising the debt ceiling, without ever mentioning that she did the same thing when Bush was President. To hide the contradictions in their own votes against it under Bush and for it under Obama, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are trying to blame Bush for each of their votes -- then and now. Nancy Pelosi and Caucus Chairman John Larson are simply refusing to comment on their flip flops. And Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn actually said that his vote against raising the debt ceiling (something the Democrats now describe as “profoundly irresponsible”) was just a “protest” of Bush’s tax cuts, i.e. he did something profoundly irresponsible just to register his anger at Bush?

The point here is simple. It will be very hard for the Democrats to defend this issue. Either they were horrifically irresponsible under Bush or they are playing politics now. Either makes for great ads and should help defuse any idea that the Republicans are about to destroy the country. So long as Obama is simultaneously afraid that not getting the ceiling raised will destroy the country (and it would), the Republicans should be able to extract something significant for the public.

Fortunately, this may be in the cards. Even Eric Cantor has said: “Let me give notice to the White House that blindly raising the debt limit without implementing real reforms is irresponsible and will simply burden our children with more debt. We Republicans are not going to go along with it.”

Ok. . . go for it.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Winning The Public Relations Wars

The biggest problem Republicans (and conservatives) have is getting their message across. For as long as I can remember, Republicans have been poor at explaining what they believe, why their beliefs work, and defending themselves against the Democrats. They’ve been particularly bad at the media wars. How do we fix this?

1. Learn To Advocate: It amazes me that a group of people whose careers are based on communicating are so poor at communication. I suspect this is the result of two problems coming together. First, most Republicans don’t know or understand their own beliefs. They are faking it on an issue by issue basis. Thus, they don’t know how to explain what they "believe." Secondly, they don’t grasp the nature of politics. Republicans seem to think politics is about policy, when politics really is about sales. It doesn’t matter how great your ideas are if you can’t sell them.

To solve the first problem, Republicans need to learn what they believe. The key to explaining something is understanding it. It is clear to me that too many Republicans, e.g. John McCain, don’t understand why free markets work, why tax increases hurt jobs and productivity, why rule of law trumps “fairness,” etc. How can people like that be expected to explain or defend those beliefs? This means establishing schools to explain conservatism to Republicans and requiring attendance.

Secondly, the Republicans need to realize that the public has the attention span of a bumbersticker. The public does not read political blogs, does not study economics, and does not want to hear some dude in a suit droning on. The Republicans need to learn to turn their beliefs into meaningful slogans. They need to learn to use hyperbole. They need to learn the value of useful analogy, i.e. analogy based on things everyone already understands. And they need to learn the importance of imagery: visceral feeling will trump logic every time in politics.

To solve the second problem, Republicans need to grasp that politics is not what they think it is. Too many Republicans think of politics as a high school debate, where each side gets equal turns at presenting carefully thought out arguments. That’s false. Politics is a verbal blood-sport. Politics has no rules. Republicans need to stop assuming good faith on the part of the Democrats and the media, and they need to learn to attack the people on the left as well as their ideas. If a journalist is a leftist, boycott them or call them on it. If they are married to a Democrat, call them on it. If they give money to leftist causes, call them on it. Republicans need to learn they can never relax or assume that the public will see through the other side’s attacks, and they need to start pointing out the other side's bias.

2. Get Ahead of the Curve: The Republicans almost always respond to events, they never lead the agenda. It’s time to start planning ahead. They need to come up with their goals for the next 2-5 years and then lay the groundwork by developing talking points, commissioning research that will be needed, and starting “a buzz” long before introducing the legislation. Not only will this let them set the terms of the debate, but it will let them decide what will be debated.

3. Fight The Digital Wars: It’s time for Republicans to grasp that everything is political these days and it’s important to fight on all fronts. Consider Roger Ebert. Ebert is a leftist hack, yet the Republicans would never think of countering his influence. Thus, he is free to slander movies like Atlas Shrugged for purely political reasons and to criticize Republican policies in the process without consequences. Republicans need to start flooding his comment streams with criticisms, pointing out each of his flaws and making fun of him, i.e. they need to learn the art of the digital shoutdown, even if that means paying people to cruise the net and engage in this kind of information warfare. Even more importantly, Republicans need to learn to label these people as leftists every time they are mentioned. They need do the same with every other leftist actor, journalist or company: label them, stop praising them, attack their views, and slap them at every opportunity. These people are the opposition and Republicans need to stop letting them spout their views unchallenged and without the public thinking they are unbiased or apolitical.

4. Media Wars: A couple weeks back, there was an interesting article about the state of conservative media. The article pointed out that even though a lot of money has been invested, conservatives have little to show for their efforts. I think the problem is (1) these efforts are too unfocused to be useful, (2) these groups do little to generate information, i.e. they only collect it, and (3) these groups are openly political and thus their releases are easy to dismiss.

A better model would be the creation of a “Memory Alpha” (for our Trek fans out there) of conservatism. This would be a single institution whose role would be to (1) act as a repository of conservative knowledge/information, and (2) coordinate groups who are generating conservative information.

In terms of collecting information, I’m talking about creating a massive database of quotes by Democrats (video and written), collecting evidence of their hypocrisies, arrest records, complete resumes, voting records, lists of contributors, comparisons of Democratic voting records against their contributors, connections to leftwing think tanks and other organizations, and what lobbyists they employ and/or are related/married to. I would also like to see candidates provide their opposition research on Democrats once elections are done. The idea is to keep them from hiding their true affiliations and to keep them from escaping their pasts.

The same information would be kept on journalists and talking heads who are married to Democrats or notable leftists or who belong to leftist political organizations so they can no longer hide their political affiliations and pretend to be “unbiased journalists.”

This institution also would be a place to put policy papers, talking points, studies, polls, etc., anything that explains, outlines or defends conservatism, or anything that debunks liberalism. In terms of research, this organization would commission research and polls, would act as a coordinating organization for legal foundations (sort of a conservative ACLU) where these groups could share briefs and coordinate their efforts, offer journalist and researcher training, etc. They should even do things like coordinate the creation of documentaries, like we were talking about the other day with an Is It Real debunking liberalism.

Finally, their role would be strictly limited to gathering and sourcing this information, not advocacy; exploiting it would be left to other organizations. That avoids the problems of groups like Media Research Center who release their own information and are seen as lacking credibility because they are clearly political. This Conservative Memory Alpha would be essentially a behind-the-scenes nonprofit, whose purpose would be to feed information to other sources, so they could do the fighting. This is a similar model used by the left, which allows them to present groups like Media Matters as "a nonprofit research organization."

This is what it would take for conservatives to start winning the information war. Thoughts?

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stop Attacking The Budget Deal

The moment the budget deal came out, large groups of conservatives started whining. Most were just poorly informed, but some are doing this intentionally because it gets them ratings or gets them noticed -- a recent crop has joined them because they don’t want to be on the wrong side of the crowds. So let me point out a few things:

1. Get Your Numbers Right: Let me state clearly a point that most of these pundit keep wanting to ignore -- this was not $38.5 billion in cuts, it was $78.5 billion in cuts. That means Boehner got 78.5% of the $100 billion sought, which is not bad given that he does not control the Senate or the White House.

2. 100% Is A Delusion: The idea that Boehner should have gotten everything is ridiculous. As someone who is accustomed to negotiating professionally, I can tell you that anyone who claims you can get everything you want in an adversarial negotiation has no idea what they are talking about. The amount you can get depends entirely on two factors: (1) how much the other side cares about a particular issue and (2) how desperate they are. The fact is, the Democrats weren’t desperate. Why? Because they are down and out and without momentum and without a way of regaining it. Their best chance is to introduce a wild card like a shutdown in the hopes of finding an issue that gives them respectability or hope the shutdown deprives the Republicans of momentum. Shutting down the government when the other side has nothing to lose is stupid because you can't win. Moreover, even if the Democrats did care, the closer you get to 100% the greater the resistance. By the time you get to 100%, the other side has nothing to lose by rejecting the deal and seeing how things play out.

3. Stop Ignoring The Riders: Look at the riders and you will see a tremendous amount of conservative influence won. Everything from forcing votes that will hang around Democratic necks to forcing Obama to keep Guantanamo Bay open to forcing the removal of the gray wolf from the endangered species list was included in this deal and represent clear conservative policy victories. So why do the pundits keep focusing only on the two big riders the Democrats never would have agreed to?

4. Stop The False Comparisons: This idea that more ($80 billion) was spent in two weeks than the cuts is a red herring. First, federal spending is not consistent week by week, thus you can easily find weeks where nothing gets spent. Does that mean the value of the budget deal depends on what week they sign it?

Secondly, this is false logic of the worst kind. A budget is a year-long endeavor and cuts are incremental. This criticism is like complaining that a dieter didn't stop eating until they’ve burned off all the calories they are trying to save throughout the year.

The complaint that the debt grew more than the cuts is similarly flawed. 88% of our budget is either defense spending or mandatory entitlement spending. Comparing the total spending cuts made to the remaining 12% against the debt caused by the 88% will naturally end up with the debt being greater because we haven’t touched entitlements yet. This is like complaining that someone who cuts their movie ticket budget in half hasn’t made any cuts because that amount is dwarfed by their spending on utilities.

5. Know What You’re Talking About: This idea that gimmicks were used seems to have sent people into hysterics, even though they had no idea what the gimmicks were. All budgets use “gimmicks.” That’s how you estimate anything that isn’t a precisely known amount, e.g. future tax revenues. Complaining about "gimmicks" without knowing what they are is irrational.

6. Stop Treating Spin As Fact: This idea that the cuts will only result in $300 million in savings is pure spin. It is a flat out distortion.

First, let me point out the irony that conservatives, who regularly attack CBO for blinding applying the assumptions it is given without ever asking if those assumptions are realistic, are suddenly accepting as true the spin placed on a CBO report.

Secondly, make no mistake, this is spin. If you look at the CBO report, it quite correctly notes that the 2011 budget will be reduced by $80 billion. The end. So how do we get to the $300 million figure? By making a false comparison. The $300 million number comes from comparing the actual spending after the budget deal against the amount spent in 2010. But that’s a false measure. When budgets are issued, they include automatic increases for each year. The 2010 budget was no different. Thus, had no budget deal taken place, the 2011 spending would have been $78.5 billion higher. To pretend that this somehow wouldn’t have happened and that therefore a comparison to the spending of 2010 is appropriate is factually wrong and entirely deceptive.

Further, this is where the supposed gimmick comes in. CBO is assuming that many of the spending cuts involve spending that isn’t likely to have happened based on the rate of spending so far during the year. In other words, based on what’s been spent so far, CBO thinks the agencies wouldn’t have needed this money anyway. Thus, the inclusion of these amounts as cuts in the budget deal is considered "a gimmick." But CBO knows this is false because agencies always spend their budgets. This is part of an ancient end-of-year ritual where agencies rush to spend everything they’ve been given so that their future budgets aren’t reduced. Also, large projects often get pushed off to the end of the year so the agency knows before it begins that there will be money available to complete the project in the following year. Thus, comparisons to the current rate of spending are a fraud.

7. Stop Aiding And Abetting The Democrats: Finally, this whole thing is really ticking me off. If people have a legitimate criticism then make it constructively. Don’t go throwing a temper tantrum and ignorantly attacking the Republicans. All these pundits are doing is helping the Democrats by making the Republicans seem fractured, disorganized and unsupported.

And let me point out a few facts about the pundits doing the attacking. First, most of these people rely on being loud and bombastic to get audiences. Outrage sells, whether it’s justified or not.

Secondly, the track record of these pundits is suspect at best. These are the same people who ran with every single anti-Republican rumor they heard over the last couple years. Many of these pundits are the same people who kept insisting the Republicans didn’t have the nerve to fight Obama/Pelosi even as they blocked most of the Democratic agenda in party-line votes and filibusters despite having NO power to block anything. These same pundits who now ignore the riders and the additional $40 billion in cuts and who have bought hook, line and sinker into the spin on the CBO report, are the same people who jumped on the Scott Brown for President bandwagon without having any clue what he stood for. They are the same people who jumped on the Christie bandwagon because of a youtube video, again without bothering to look into his RINO ways. These are the same people who jumped on Tea Party freshmen for a party that none of them attended, and a dozen other stupidities.

These arm-chair revolutionaries are Monday Morning Quarterbacks of the worst kind, because they are too lazy to do their research, they are front runners and bandwagoners, and because they know they are using false arguments and false logic to attack people they claim to support, all in an attempt to further their own careers.

It’s time we started asking them the hard questions, and tuning them out when they can’t answer.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"The (Stupid) People's Budget"

Obama loves channeling the past. He does a particularly good Nixon. Now other Democrats are getting into the act. In this case, a group of weirdoes known as the Congressional Progressive Caucus are channeling East Germany as they release “The People’s Budget.” This budget is a response to Ryan’s budget and the budget Obama is expected to release, and like all things “People’s” this one is a disaster.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is a collection of weirdoes who spend their time sniffing each other’s seats and feeling smug about their desires to enslave the human race. This group of pathetics includes male-prostitute enthusiast Barney Frank, crooks like Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel, and Sheila Jackson Leigh, socialist Bernie Sanders, misogynistic anti-Semite Pete Stark, extra-terrestrial anal-probing enthusiast Dennis Kucinich, Hitlerian-lunatic Nancy Pelosi, and 68 more assorted creeps and freaks.

These fools claim their budget would eliminate the deficit in 10 years, even as they waste massive amounts of money. Of course, their numbers are fake and their budget would destroy the economy, millions of jobs, and the country, but reality does not deter them.

First, they propose tax increases. . . lots of them. Their budget:
● Raises the social security tax to cover 90% of income, no matter how high.
● Raises the social security tax on employers.
● Creates three new tax brackets, with the highest at 47%.
● Raises the capital gains tax.
● Raises the estate tax.
● Raises corporate taxes.
● Creates a “financial speculation tax.”
● Imposes a “financial crisis responsibility” fee.
● Repeals the Bush tax cuts.
This is guaranteed to slash employment and investment to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Ah... nostalgia!

Of course, this alone won’t eliminate the deficit or destroy the country, so they also propose all-but eliminating the military. Indeed, the plan calls for “reducing strategic capabilities, conventional forces, procurement and research and development.” In other words, they want to stop military spending almost entirely. Thus, should we decide to defend ourselves in the future, it will be BOYB on hardware.

And what kind of progressive budget would be complete without wasting an obscene amount of money? In that regard, they are planning a $1.45 trillion splurge on "stimulus" (i.e. K-12 education, special education, broadband infrastructure, and housing). Of course, none of that is actual stimulus unless special ed kids are better at creating jobs than I realize. Also, let's not forget that you can't be a true progressive unless your plan includes enslaving the public. Hence, they also plan to turn the health care system into a government run single-payer plan, which will quickly devolve into a government-run non-payer, health indifference system. Krankheit macht frei! (Sickness brings freedom.)

Clearly, this budget is a joke. And what makes it all the more laughable are people like Jeffrey Sachs, a drooling idiot from Huffpo who licks his socks clean at night, who claims this is actually a “centrist budget.” Jeff. . . man. . . stay off the drugs.

In any event, we should remember this budget and remind people that this is what the Democratic Party has become, a collection of weirdoes who want to destroy the economy and the military. A vote for any Democrat is a vote for despair.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2012 Contender: Donald Trump

Continuing our march through the Republican contenders for 2012, today we stop at the clown tent. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Donald Trump, and you can keep him. Strangely, some people are seriously claiming that Trump just might be the true conservative we’ve all been looking for, which just goes to show that you can fool some of the people all of the time.
Who Trump Claims To Be. . .
Here’s who “the Donald” claims to be today:
● He’s an economic conservative.
● He’s pro-life.
● He opposes gun control.
● He wants to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
● He opposes foreign aid.
● He supports fair trade and wants to slap import tariffs on China to force them to rebalance their currency.
● He believes the US should leave Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ok, sounds somewhat conservative. But is any of this true or is he just telling people what they want to hear? For that, let’s look at his background.
Who Trump Really Is. . .
In 2001, Trump switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. While he was a Democrat, he considered running for President as a Republican in 2004 and running for governor of New York as a Republican in 2006. In 2009, he again became a Republican, but not before describing himself in 2007 thusly: “[I am] very much independent. . . I go for the person, not necessarily the party. I mean, I vote for Republicans and I vote for Democrats.” Ok, so let’s look at how his independence swings by looking at who he’s donated money to:
Harry Reid
Ted Kennedy
Charles Rangel
Charles Schumer
Rahm Emanuel
John Kerry
Tom Daschle
Joe Biden
That’s a rogues gallery of far leftism. He’s also praised Nancy Pelosi, penning her a congratulatory note after her election as speaker. Clearly, Trump is neither Republican nor loyal, as further evidenced by his statement today that he intends to run as an independent if he doesn't secure the nomination.
What Trump Really Believes. . .
Trump’s conservative views also appear to be new-found. For example:
● Trump claims to oppose ObamaCare, but in the 2000 election, when he jockeyed to run as a Reform Party candidate, he favored universal health care: “[I’m] conservative on most issues, but a liberal on this one.” Even during his CPAC speech he said he wanted to replace ObamaCare “with something that makes sense for people in business.” That’s Business-Roundtable speak for getting health care off corporate balance sheets and onto taxpayer backs. That puts TrumpCare to the left of ObamaCare.

● Trump claims to be pro-life, but admits he was pro-choice until recently. In December 1999, he said: “I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors.” His conversion is supposedly based on a friend telling him he was happier having had a child they originally intended to abort.

● In his 2000 book The America We Deserve, Trump proposes a "one-time" 14.25% tax on personal estates and trusts over $10 million. Things like this are never one-time, and Trump certainly has shown no restraint to only do bad things once, as evidenced by his history of serial bankruptcies discussed below.

● In The America We Deserve, Trump said he “generally oppose[s] gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

● In 2000, Trump campaigned to limit campaign contributions and ban soft money. This is an idea pushed by liberals to silence their opponents.
None of that is conservative. At best, it’s solid RINO.
His Business Credentials Also Send Up A Red Flag
Trump’s business career also sends up a huge red flag because he’s a serial abuser of the bankruptcy system.
● In 1991, Trump filed bankruptcy, costing bondholders hundreds of millions of dollars. He ended up losing 50% of the ownership of his casinos to the bondholders.

● In November 1992, Trump’s Trump Plaza Hotel was forced into bankruptcy. Trump lost 49% of his ownership in the hotel and he lost his role in the day-to-day operations of the hotel.

● In 1993, Trump was forced to give up Trump Shuttle because he could not afford to pay his $900 million in personal debt and $3.5 billion in business debt. He was also forced to give up his then-latest Manhattan real estate project. His name was kept on the building so the new owners could charge a premium for the condos.

● In 1995, Trump combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, which was unable to meet even the interest payments on its $3 billion debt. In 2004, Trump Hotels filed for bankruptcy. Trump lost his CEO position and half his ownership interest -- down to 27%. The company re-emerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.

● In 2008, Trump again failed to pay his debts and was sued by his creditors.

● In February 2009, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy, at which time Trump was forced to resign from the board.
There is nothing inherently un-conservative about filing bankruptcy. But Trump has shown a pattern of using the bankruptcy system as part of his business plan. This should call into question not only his business credentials as it shows a history of bad deal making and mismanagement, but also his respect for private property and how he is likely to respond to adversity, i.e. does he always look for the easy way out?
The Candidate
Finally, with all that said, I am enjoying Trump the candidate. Trump has been merciless in blasting Obama on all issues strange and ridiculous, e.g. the birther issue and the “Obama is a Muslim” issue. I like this because Trump has a big enough platform to make these attacks meaningful, and thereby force Obama to deal with them, but he also lacks credibility as a Republican representative and therefore we don’t get tarred by his buffoonery. But that comes with two huge caveats. First, this only remains true so long as Republicans don't lend him any credibility, or else we risk adopting the blame for his ridiculousness. Secondly, Trump is only entertaining as long as no Republicans actually consider supporting him. The clowns are funny, but no one would suggest letting them run the circus.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Analyzing The Shutdown Deal

Around midnight on Friday, the House and Senate approved a six-day “bridge” bill to avert a shutdown as they draft and approve an agreed-upon bipartisan bill to fund the government for six months, through the end of the fiscal year. The big questions now are who won, who lost, and what does it all mean?

Here are the terms of the deal:
1. The deal cuts $38.5 billion from the remaining six months of the 2011 budget. This joins $40 billion already cut.

2. The deal does not block funding for ObamaCare, BUT it does require the Senate to vote separately on blocking funding. It also requires (1) studies to examine the full impact of the law’s mandates, including the effect on the cost of premiums, (2) an audit of all waivers given to businesses and unions, and (3) a report on all contractors who have been hired to implement the law and the cost of those contracts to taxpayers.

3. The deal does not block funding for Planned Parenthood, BUT it does require the Senate to vote on this issue separately. It also bars the use of federal money for abortions in Washington, D.C.

4. The deal does not block funding for the EPA, NPR, or PBS.

5. The bill requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to undergo yearly audits from the private sector and the GAO.

6. The deal prevents Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay.

7. The deal reinstates the school voucher program in Washington, D.C., which Obama cut when he came to power.
1. The Cuts. Some on the right are upset about the level of cuts. Some are not. Michelle Bachmann says these cuts did not dig deeply enough. Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips said he will recruit a primary challenger to run against Boehner for “selling us out.” But Paul Ryan dismissed these claims, saying it was more important to focus on the 2012 budget: “this is the first bite of the apple. . . we want to get talking about trillions in savings.” John Thune echoed this, saying “this is just the opening act.” Newt Gingrich also called this “a good start.”

On the left, many are irate. Harry Reid himself called $32 billion in cuts “extreme” and “draconian” before he agreed to $38.5 billion. Chuck Schumer continues to echo those sentiments. Forty-four House “progressive” Democrats announced they will vote against the measure. A top Democratic strategist also complained that this deal destroyed the party’s credibility on the spending cut issue because its assumptions have shifted the debate from "whether to cut" to "how much to cut."

So who’s right? The Republicans are clear winners in this.

For starters, the numbers are bigger than the critics admit. The Tea Party candidates ran on the promise to get $100 billion in cuts out of this budget. Obama folded right away on $40 billion in spending increases he had originally sought in the 2011 budget. This deal adds another $38.5 billion on top of that, for a total reduction of $78.5 billion. That’s short of the $100 billion promised but is quite significant given that the Republicans only control one chamber.

Further, these cuts are in baseline discretionary numbers, which means they form the basis for future spending. That translates into hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic future cuts even if nothing else happens budget-wise because of the lower baselines.

Also, while many are upset that Boehner didn’t hold out for the full $100 billion, people need to realize that negotiations don’t work that way. The only way for Boehner to get 100% would be if the Democrats were desperate to avoid a shutdown. They weren't. And since the Democrats thought a shutdown would work in their favor, and the public was split on who to blame, this would have been a highly risky and unpredictable move. Taking an unpredictable move over $21.5 billion in cuts (just 0.7% of the budget) when the real issue will be the $6 trillion in cuts in Ryan's proposed 2012 budget would have been entirely foolish -- especially as Ryan's budget will supersede those cuts. In effect, the people who are claiming Boehner failed by not standing firm are suggesting that he should have gone to the mat over $0.70 on a hundred dollar dispute that will become irrelevant in six months when a new budget is passed.

That's not a smart fight to wage, especially since Boehner will need the shutdown weapon in the future and using it too often or too soon will only get him labeled as a serial shutdowner, which will diminish its effectiveness?

2. The Riders. The riders also became an issue that set off both left and right. The left in particular is incensed, with Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray calling the deal “ludicrous” and claiming that District residents had “been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.” Eleanor Holmes Norton said, “the administration and Senate Democrats . . . roll[ed] over and use[d] our right to self-govern as a bargaining chip. It appears that District residents and detainees at Guantanamo Bay were the only groups singled out in the bill.”

So who is right? Again, this was a clear victory for the right.

First, there was no way Republicans could get these items without shutting down the government. And it's not clear that would have worked with the Democrats having nothing to lose by causing chaos. Further, shutting down the government when the issue could be framed as an attempt to ban abortion or destroy the EPA would not have played well with a public that is overwhelming concerned with deficit issues.

More importantly, the Republicans turned this into a tremendous weapon for use against the Democrats in the upcoming election, which will prove to be much more important than any of these riders. A large chunk of Senate Democrats will be up for re-election in 2012, including numerous supposed moderates. The moderates, like Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson, maintain the illusion of their moderate-status by claiming to be pro-life and opposed to ObamaCare. So far, they've been able to get away with this because Harry Reid has assured them that he will never allow votes to defund ObamaCare or Planned Parenthood to make it to the Senate floor. This deal forces both of those votes. Now Manchin and Nelson and others will need to cast votes. If they vote against, then they are exposed to their voters. If they vote in favor, then these measures might pass. They are in a bind.

Also, the other riders will generate the kinds of data that will help the Republicans sell things like defunding ObamaCare because they will show the connection between influence peddling with Obama and the granting of waivers.

In the end, the most important victory here may be that these riders will help the Republicans capture the Senate seats they need to get total control over the budget process, which control will let them implement Ryan’s budget. This is much more important than trying to squeeze these few concession from the Democrats at the moment.

3. What’s Next?. The next battle will be raising the debt ceiling, which is likely to happen in May/June. Republican leadership aides are already saying they intend to use that to get more spending cuts and more reforms. After that comes Ryan’s 2012 budget, where the real war begins. That one probably won’t be over until after the 2012 elections. . . which will be the real fight and will make all of this nothing more than an opening round distraction.

Finally, as an interesting side note, Obama is now trying to claim credit for the cuts that he opposed from the get go. This is a pretty good indication that Obama’s internal polling tells him the Republicans are on the right side of this one. Sadly for him, the public won't credit him with this because he spent all of his time attacking the cuts and he seemed barely involved in the process. Moreover, the public has stopped giving him credit for good things. In fact, despite his efforts to claim credit for extending the Bush tax cuts, 60% of the public still think Obama plans to raise their taxes. It’s the same thing with the cuts, 58% of the public thinks Obama wants to increase spending. Good luck changing that mindset!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tax Time. . . Oh Joy

They shouldn't have called him Uncle Sam. They should have called him Uncle Chester, because then we could call him Chester the Molester, which is what our government does to its citizens every April 15th. I just finished my taxes and as usual, I'm debating joining some terrorist organization just to get even with dear old Uncle Sam. As I flip through the want ads in Jihad Monthly, I figured I'd ask a few poll questions.

Of course, feel free to explain your answers. . . or rant against the IRS. . . or treat this like an open thread. . . or rant against the IRS.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shutdown: Democrats = Cynical Exploiters

Nothing exposes politicians more than moments of crisis, especially crises they themselves create. All indications are the Democrats intend to shut down the government in the hopes of benefiting from exploiting the fallout. Why do I think that? Here are five reasons:

1. The Democrats Caused This: Let’s start with the obvious. The Democrats are 100% at fault for causing this shutdown crisis. They caused this with obscenely irresponsible spending. Then they made it worse by not passing a budget last year. Why didn’t they pass a budget? For one thing, with the election pending, they didn’t want the public knowing what they really planned to do. They wanted the public to believe they planned to cut taxes and cut spending and act responsibly, and they didn’t want written proof to the contrary in the form of a budget. Secondly, in the event they lost, they wanted to sabotage the incoming Republicans by dumping this problem in the Republicans’ laps. Hence, no budget.

2. Refusing to Act In Good Faith: Since they lost, the Democrats have made this worse by failing to propose any actual cuts during this entire debate. In fact, all they’ve done is attack every single cut the Republicans proposed.

3. Negotiating In Bad Faith: Now they’re trying to play politics with the shutdown. Indeed, to allow negotiations to continue, House Republicans plan Thursday to pass a one week stop gap spending measure. By approving this measure in the Senate, the Democrats could put off the shutdown and thereby allow both sides more time to negotiate. But the Democrats have called this a non-starter, and instead, Harry Reid and Obama have said the Republicans need to agree to their full year budget. . . take it or leave it. Thus, the Democrats are undermining the chance for continued negotiation.

Making this all the more egregious, the parties aren’t even that far off. The Democrats claim to be willing to accept up to $33 billion in cuts on this year’s budget, but they refuse to accept any conservative policy ideas, like defunding Planned Parenthood or placing limits on the EPA. John Boehner is demanding at least $40 billion in cuts and says the Democrats must accept some conservative ideas. Since the budget is $3 trillion dollars, it’s inconceivable for anyone to claim that negotiations are at an impasse over a $7 billion difference. Thus, the Democrats’ call to end negotiations shows bad faith on their part.

4. Exploitation by Democrats: Moreover, the Democrats are exploiting this to raise funds. Indeed, they sent out a fund raising letter that warns “Tea Party Republicans are threatening to shut down the government on Friday unless we surrender to their outrageous demands. The world is watching our next move. Will we cave to the Tea Party’s disgraceful act of political extortion?” Of course, this is a double lie as little will actually shut down and the Democrats are the ones taking the extortionate all or nothing approach. That’s pretty solid proof of how they really see this issue, as just another political issue to be exploited.

5. Obama Flees The Scene: Obama has been playing up the rhetoric on the shutdown, which is never helpful. In fact, while he’s been all wee-wee’d up about how it’s time to act like adults and demanding a meeting to solve this issue, Obama left town. Yep. He spent Wednesday at political rallies in Philadelphia and New York, where he partied with Al Sharpton. How serious can he be if he can’t make himself available for a day or two to avert this shutdown? And why does his effort to solve this seem as effete and pathetic as his angry “tell me whose ass to kick” BP moment?

6. Exploitation by Obama: Finally, Obama is exploiting the shutdown to attack certain groups. Consider this list of some of the government functions that will remain open and funded despite the shutdown:
Agencies that dispense federal benefits, provide inpatient or outpatient medical care, ensure food safety, manage air traffic, protect the borders and coastlines, guard prisoners, conduct criminal investigations or law enforcement, oversee power distribution, oversee banks, deliver the mail, provide earthquake assistance to Japan, Justice Department groups that combat gun violence or drug crime, and medical research at NIH. Also, Social Security payments will go out and Medicare claims will be processed.
Yet, somehow, military pay will be delayed? Are you serious?!! Why single out the very people Obama has sent into harms way in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and everywhere else? Because they traditionally vote Republican, that’s why. That’s also why the Democrats try to sabotage military absentee ballots.

Obama has also let it be known that the government will slow the processing of tax returns and limit small business loans. Again, this is aimed at a Republican constituency, small business. Moreover, while Medicare claims will continue to be processed, i.e. people will still be allowed to get treatment, payments to doctors will be delayed. Again, doctors are a Republican constituency.
So I ask you: is Obama serious about solving this issue or is he playing vindictive cronyism with the shutdown? Are the Democrats serious about negotiating a resolution or are they exploiting this issue to cause chaos for the Republicans and raise money for themselves? Who is being an adult here and who is cynically putting the country at risk and abusing the very people who make this country work?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your 15 Minutes Are Up. . . Now Get Out

I guess we should hit this topic since everyone is still talking about it, loathe though I am to even mention it. Charlie Sheen is an almost perfect example of what is wrong with celebrity culture.

Let me start with a disclaimer. Unlike most Americans (disturbingly), I am not in love with celebrity. I don’t tune into a worn out sitcom just because some plastic chick who is famous for a sex tape or some disgraced politician who is famous for a different kind of sex tape will be on tonight. I don’t care. I don’t tune into Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab, or Pimp My Celebrity.

At one point, celebrity had to be earned. You had to invent something useful, create something beautiful, or achieve something monumental. Heck, half our Presidents weren't even celebrities because they didn’t do anything worth mentioning. But that changed and now celebrity requires no achievements -- in fact, it disdains achievement.

I lay the blame for this firmly at the feet of that most evil generation: the 60’s hippie/self-love.... er, free-love generation. That’s the generation that created Andy Warhol and his crew, who were famous for being famous. That’s the generation that made celebrities of specific hippies for no other reason than they were there. . . Wavy Gravy? Are you idiots serious? That’s the generation that glorified serial killers (see e.g. Charlie Manson and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood) and professors who liked drugs (Timothy Leary). They even gloried the failed presidency of JFK and tried to turn the whole family into American-princelings for no reason that I can possibly see. This is the generation that divorced achievement from celebrity.

And because of their egotism and narcissism, we are now cursed with the likes of Britney Spears, who is famous for gyrating to a song someone else wrote and then imploding on youtube; Lindsay Lohan who is famous for being drug-addicted white trash and her parents, who are famous for being white trash with a famous daughter; Paris Hilton, who is famous for a sex tape and making out with girls at ritzy parties; Perez Hilton who is famous for being an obnoxious homosexual; Bristol Palin who is famous because the left hates her mother obsessively and because she got herself knocked up; Snookie who is famous for having a bad tan; "The Situation" who is famous for being an obnoxious unaware-metrosexual; and the King of Them All. . . Charlie Sheen.

Sheen gained some fame for being an actor who looked like his father. But he became a celebrity when he started doing so many drugs that he lost touch with reality and began ranting like a lunatic. Sheen is the poster child for everything that’s wrong with celebrities. He’s stupid. He’s harmful to everyone around him, including his kids and multiple wives. He thinks he’s entitled to do whatever he wants. And not only is he allowed to get away with being an obnoxious turd, but people go out of their way to coddle him. Indeed, despite the fact he should be locked up and medicate somewhere. . . possibly lobotomized, Hollyweird is falling all over itself to exploit and enable his implosion.

Come on people, let this sad chapter in American culture end. Their fifteen minutes has run 50 years too long now. Stop paying attention to people who have nothing to offer other than being trainwrecks of human beings. The damage these people are doing to our culture is immense, and we need to stop making heroes out of them.

And if we're going to insist on making these idiots heroes, then I say we start a new program. . . a live action, not-faked version of Celebrity Death Match. Now that I would pay to see.

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Democratic Future: Cloudy With Continuing Doom

By 2008, the Republican Party all but killed itself with big spending, blatant influence pedaling and foreign-adventuring. Obama had a chance to drive a stake through the heart of this un-Republican Party, but he missed. Then, with amazing speed, the Democratic arrogance, missteps and total lunacies breathed life back into the Republicorpse. Now Obama and the Obamacrats are the ones staring at the inside of a coffin. Here are three reason why they aren’t getting out any time soon.
Obama’s Unrivalled Unpopularity
On Monday, Obama announced that he would run for a second term. Good luck. Incumbents tend to get a share of the vote roughly equal to their job approval ratings, especially when that approval rating remains consistent over time. Obama’s job approval rating has consistently hovered around 46% for about a year. This is signaling a huge disaster for Obama. And here’s why his popularity is so low:
● A full 68% think he’s too liberal (the kiss of death in America).
● Only 44% think he’s a good leader.
● Only 37% approve of his (mis)handling of national security.
● Only 34% approve of his (mis)handling of the economy.
● Only 29% think he’s ethical.
It’s going to be nearly impossible for Obama to rise again when people don’t like the way he handles foreign or domestic policy, when they think he’s a poor leader, when they think he’s too liberal and when they think he’s unethical. What can he possibly do to fix that?
Obama’s Policies Continue To Offend
What makes Obama’s unpopularity all the more solid is that it’s been earned through a series of bad policies and missteps that continue today and which will continue well into the future. Consider this:
● Obama’s big “achievement” is ObamaCare. The Democrats told themselves the public would warm to ObamaCare once they understood it. They haven’t: 58% want it repealed, only 39% want to keep it. Moreover, (1) 57% of voters know that ObamaCare will increase the deficit while only 17% stupidly expect it to reduce the deficit, (2) only 37% think ObamaCare is good for the country, and (3) 52% think it will make the quality of health care worse. So Obama’s biggest claim to fame is something that almost six in ten voters think is bad for the country, bad for medicine, and want repealed. I can’t image a worse claim to fame, except maybe being the guy who told Hitler “gee, you should try politics.”

● After decades of blasting Reagan for “deficit spending,” the Democrats showed what true deficit spending really means, as their binge turned our deficit into a genuine national security issue. The public is in open revolt over this, with 57% of Americans wanting deep cuts even if it means a government shutdown. Yet, 58% believe Obama will try to increase spending. And with the Democrats now pathologically opposing every proposed Republican cut, the public’s view will only harden.

● Yesterday, we talked about inflation. The stock market thinks it’s coming, as does Wal-Mart’s CEO, who fears the public will be quite upset by what is coming in this next year. The current inflation is the direct result of high fuel costs because we don’t exploit the resources we have and because we are burning corn to make ethanol.

So what do you do about that? Well, 55% of Americans want to see the US produce more domestic oil, only 24% oppose that. And 67% support offshore drilling. Another 55% favor drilling in ANWAR. But Obama opposes all of this and has banned offshore drilling along the East Coast and in the Gulf, he refuses to discuss ANWAR, he opposes clean coal, he’s given no support to natural gas, etc. In fact, all he’s done is favor fantasy solar energy and push for more ethanol. Stupid is as stupid does.

● One of the most telling statistics shows that under Obama, the public’s view of its own financial health has been in steady decline. When Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, 43% of Americans said their personal finances were good or excellent. By the time Obama won the White House, this fell to 38%. Between then and now, this number has steadily fallen until it hit a new low of 30% this month. That’s not a number that will get you re-elected.
It’s no wonder that 69% of voters remain angry at the federal government. Obama’s policies fly in the face of the public’s concerns, beliefs and desires, and unless he completely abandons them and reverses direction, his support will continue to fall. And forget about the public giving the Democrats another majority any time soon.
The Very Wrong Message
Finally, I’ve written before how conservative the public really is (check out this chart). This never translated into anything for the Republicans because they haven’t been conservative themselves. But with the advent of the Tea Party, the public’s conservatism is starting to assert itself.

Right now, 48% of likely voters say that their views are closer to the Tea Party than they are to average members of Congress (compared to 22% who chose Congress). Moreover, 49% think the Tea Party is good for America, only 26% disagree. What’s more, these numbers are rather misleading because the Democrats are so insanely opposed to the Tea Party. If you just look at Republicans (69%) and Independents (62%), you will find the Tea Party has well above 60% support. Compare that with the fact that only 32% identify themselves as Republicans. Clearly, the Tea Party has easily become the most popular "party" in America.

Given this, it’s ironic that the Democratic plan for winning back the public is to claim that the Republicans are being held hostage by the Tea Party! This is truly stupid as the Tea Party is more popular than the Republican Party. In fact, if the Democrats weren’t saying this, the Republicans should be. This is great public relations.


Thus, what we have here are numbers that tell us that (1) the public does not trust Obama in the job, (2) they don’t trust his policies to work, (3) they think he will only make matters worse, (4) they feel personally endangered by his policies, (5) Obama and the Obamacrats are playing politics with the public’s biggest concerns, and (6) their political strategy is to attack the Republicans for being exactly what the public wants. Good luck making that work!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Everything

It’s time for a rant. The government tells us there’s no inflation worth mentioning. The MSM, which couldn’t stop talking about gas prices under Bush, reports this mindlessly and somehow doesn't notice that massive inflation is everywhere. And companies are trying to hide the fact they've been shrinking their products. Grrrr.

The Consumer Price Index is a measure of what it costs urban consumers to buy a basket of goods and services. This is how the government tracks inflation. According to the government, the CPI is running at a rate of about 1.1% inflation if you exclude food and fuel. When you include food and fuel, this number increases to a 2.3% inflation rate. Gee, that's not so bad, except that it's not true.

I bought a new car during the financial crash in 2008. I couldn’t pass up the deal as Chrysler was having a fire sale and basically shoved the keys into my pocket in exchange for some lint. When I filled it up in the first week, it cost me a whopping $38.50. I wasn't pleased, but that's life. Since that time, Obama supposedly tamed inflation. Indeed, we’ve been warned about “deflation.” Yet, when I filled up my car this weekend, it cost me $54!! That’s an increase of $15.50 or 40.3% in three years. That works out to roughly a 12% inflation rate. . . not the 1.2% claimed by the CPI for food and fuel.

Maybe the problem is just gas, right? Hardly. T-shirts, tennis shoes, printer ink, printer paper. . . it’s all more expensive than it was even six months go, when it was already more expensive than the six months before that. The local newspaper shrank a couple inches on each side and lost about a third of its pages. . . and 100% of its relevance. One of the magazines I get suddenly looks like they're printing it on used paper and it too seems awfully thin. Electricity and water are both way up too. I went to McDonalds the other day and paid around 30% more than I paid two years ago. And while the "Dollar Menu" is still there, almost nothing on it was a dollar.

But where you really see inflation is in groceries. Or, should I say, where you really have inflation but you don’t see it is in groceries. Why don’t you see it? Because producers are hiding it. For example, I’ve made spaghetti for decades. So imagine my surprise when suddenly the proportions seemed wrong in my recipe. How could that be? Well, because even though the noodles cost the same as always, the amount of noodles in the package shrunk. Yep. A 16 oz. package of spaghetti noodles now suddenly contains only 12.5 oz. That translates into a 25% hidden price increase!! Yet, the box is identical and there was no announcement: "Now with less than ever before!" or "Contains 25% more air!"

Have you opened a box of Captain Crunch lately? You’ll have to reach 25% further down into the box before you find the sugar-coated sugar bombs. I hope you have long arms. Donuts are smaller too. . . dammit. And they’re way more expensive. And now they're getting chintzy on cream! What the heck?! Coke is more expensive too. What was a regular price for Coke became a sales price. . . became a rare sales price. . . disappeared into history. Despite Coke’s best efforts to mix up their package sizes to confuse the buyer, I’m pretty sure Coke is twice as expensive now as it was five years ago. Cadbury Eggs, a personal favorite, are up 33% in two years. Damn you Easter Bunny!

In each of these instances, the product shrunk but the package remained identical. In some instances, they even put new claims on the label to distract you from what they'd done, such as in the photo above where Scott claims their new smaller toilet paper is "Now Stronger!" It better be, it's got more work to do.

So why is no one mentioning this? Why does the media ignore this trend? And why is our government lying to us about inflation and getting away with it? Oh, that’s right, because there’s a free-spending Democrat in charge. I guess we'll have to wait until 2012 to hear how bad inflation really is. Grrrr.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ryan's Republican 2012 Budget Is Impressive

What the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over right now are additional cuts to the 2011 budget. Hence the shutdown threats. But the real action happens Tuesday morning, when Paul Ryan will release the Republican budget for 2012. This is going to be impressive. Not only does the budget look to cut more than $4 trillion over ten years, but it’s doing it the right way and it has the chance to permanently change the way Washington works.

Ryan, for those who don’t recall, is the guy who gave a great state of the union speech in ten minutes, whereas Obama blathered on for an hour and said nothing worth listening to. Ryan is the guy who destroyed Obama at the health care summit. Ryan is also the only Republican to issue a legitimate budget proposal before the election. All in all, Ryan is probably the smartest man in Washington. He is politically savvy, he’s policy savvy, he grasps economics and mathematics, and he’s got nerve. And now he’s got a budget.

From what we’ve heard in advance, here are some of the features of Ryan’s budget that should thrill us:
● Whereas Obama proposes freezing spending at its current insanely high levels, Ryan’s budget would return spending levels to 2008 (before the stimulus and the bailouts) and then would cut an additional $400 billion over 10 years. This results in more than $4 trillion in savings over ten years.

● Ryan is proposing a statutory cap on discretionary spending as a percentage of the economy! We don’t know the percentage yet, but Ryan said it would return the government to its “historic size.” This is infinitely better than a balanced budget amendment because this ties the government’s ability to spend to how well it makes the economy grow. If this comes to pass, the Democrats would actually be shooting themselves in the foot every time they raised taxes or imposed regulation.

● Ryan is proposing pro-growth tax changes including lowering tax rates to boost economic production. I’ve discussed this before as the best way to stimulate the economy.

● Ryan is proposing broadening the tax base so that more people pay taxes. This is a huge and important change Republicans need to make. I’ve discussed this before as well. This needs to be done to reduce the number of people who get a free ride out of the government and thus think nothing of raising taxes.

● The budget addresses the Medicare crisis by creating a “premium support system,” i.e. vouchers to get private insurance. This makes a world of sense since private insurance is providing care at about 1/3 the cost at which Medicare is providing care. This could result in HUGE savings. Moreover, Ryan is being politically savvy enough to keep everyone above 55 years of age in the current system (for now), which will head off the standard untrue charges that the Republicans are trying to toss seniors out of Medicare. He’s also talking about means testing seniors in terms of how much of the cost of the private insurance will be subsidized. These are excellent changes.

● Ryan plans to switch Medicaid to a block grant system, where the states would have the freedom to design their own plans. This isn’t CommentaramaCare, but still should lower costs by increasing freedom within the system to innovate.
Naturally, the Democrats are howling, but it's not even worth repeating what they're saying. It's the same old same old about "the rich." Yeah, whatever. If the Democrats ever return to good faith policy making, then perhaps we'll care what they think. Instead, let's focus on what Ryan is trying to achieve.

If Ryan gets this budget through, it really will change the way Washington works by essentially privatizing Medicare and statutorily limiting the growth of the budget! That's huge! It will also make tax increase less popular because more people will pay them and because the economic consequences could result in forced budget cuts. Between this and the attacks on AARP, the unions, and NPR, etc., the new Republicans really are showing that they intend to change the culture in Washington. There could be happy times ahead!

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