12/29/2009

Christmas Day Weakness


Once again President Obama has project weakness to our enemies in the aftermath of the terrorist attack against Northwest Flight 253. First, on national television, his hapless Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, claimed that the airline security system / anti-terror program worked. This was clearly false on its face. If not for a failure in the system of catastrophic proportion, how else could an Islamist like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was known to US Intelligence because his own father ratted him out, be allowed to board a flight to the United States with a valid US visa. Napolitano is the same genius who coined the phrase “man made disasters” and expected us to use that in lieu of “terrorist attack” (to me, a man made disaster is something like the bridge collapse in Minnesota several years ago). She was also the one who illuminated us as to the dangers of US soldiers returning from war, they might become right wing militia members. Does this woman install confidence in anyone? If so, I haven't met him. The President should immediately fire Secretary Napolitano for incompetence.

Next, and not surprisingly, Mr. Abdulmutallab was arrested by the FBI and read his Miranda warnings. The Obama Administration has decided to treat this unlawful enemy combatant as a common criminal. He now has all of the same rights that Martha Stewart had upon her arrest. Evidently, those in change of our national security believe that the perpetrator of his incident has no valuable intelligence which could help prevent future attacks. For if they did, he would be remanded to the custody of the US Military or the CIA for interrogation. He would not be given the opportunity to lawyer up like an insider trader. Remember, it was a law enforcement approach to terrorism that allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen.

Then, in the President’s first public remarks on the attack, he referred to Mr. Abdulmutallab as an “isolated extremist”. The facts belie this. Two former Guantanamo Bay detainees were involved in the Christmas Day plot. Also, ABC News has reported that Mr. Abdulmutallab spent months in Yemen receiving explosive and terrorist training with other members of al-Qaida in Arabia. He was also in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the same al-Qaida leader who was in contact with Maj. Nidal Hasan. And, al-Qaida itself has issued numerous statements since Christmas Day that more attacks are forthcoming. How is it possible that the Commander-in-Chief believes that al-Qaida is made up of just a few “isolated extremist”? Logic and common sense tell us otherwise. Those on the left often tell us that there are just too many terrorists to kill and that we have to win their hearts and minds. If there were just a few isolated extremists, why couldn't we just kill or arrest them all? Why worry about winning the hearts and minds of just those few?

In addition, the President never once mentioned the fact that Abdulmutallab is a radical Muslim. In fact, Mr. Obama only mentioned Islam once during his speech and that was when he referred to Iran by its full name, “The Islamic Republic of Iran”. For some reason, President Obama wants us all to believe that Islam plays no part in the actions of those who perpetrate terrorist attacks in the name of Allah. He does not understand the nature of the threat that these people pose to Western Civilization and, as such, he is unprepared to protect the American people from them.

Based upon the actions (or inactions) of the President of the United States, our enemies now perceive America as weak. This emboldens them and terrorist acts will become more frequent and more deadly. Had the President responded boldly to this attack, he could have shown the Islamist that he means business. Instead, we are told not to use blankets or go to the bathroom during the last hour of an international flight. (Why can’t a terrorist blow up the plane with two hours left in the flight?)

When President Obama declared that there is no War on Terror, the Islamic extremists who wish to kill Americans and Jews failed to receive the memo. They continue to do everything they can to perpetrate as many attacks as possible in an effort to achieve their objectives – restoration of the caliphate and death to the infidels. And, while they are doing that, we have a President who refuses to take the enemy at their word. Unfortunately, next time, the results could be far worse than third degree burns on the genitals of an Islamist extremist.

12/28/2009

A Short Defense of Napolitano

After the near bombing over Detroit, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano claimed the anti-terror system is working, then reworked her statement to mean the system to alert other airports and airlines worked, not the part that keeps known bad guys with explosives off planes in the first place.

Her first statement was slightly off-the-cuff, a mistake any of us in a high pressure position are prone to make. No harm, no foul. For those of us who criticize the Obama Administration for being relentlessly programmed, let's not hyperventilate when it's not so programmed.

Let's also acknowledge that a system that lets through one or two bad guys every once in a great while is inevitable. A few tuna are going to escape the tuna net. Likewise, a few dolphins are going to get caught in the tuna net. Which means the next time a very innocent person who looks like, is named like, or has a background like someone who shouldn't be on a plane isn't let on a plane, let's extend the same deference to those officials overseeing that process.

Now, for my Democratic friends reading this, nodding their heads and saying "That Daily Pander is such a reasonable guy" I ask: Are you willing to commit yourself here and now to this same view when the exact same thing happens under a Republican watch?

12/22/2009

"Have You No Shame?" Actually, no, I don't.

Congrats to the these attorneys general for taking their constitutional roles seriously. Of course they are politically motivated, but an order of magnitude less than the Dems who are bribing their way to passing a health care bill that doubles down on everything wrong with health insurance and, with straight faces, congratulate themselves in the process.

And of course, check out the quote towards the end of the story from Rep. Clyburn who thinks the problem with political bribes isn't that they're too big, but that they're too small.

12/16/2009

Tax That Man Behind The Tree

Any chance this is going to blow up in Obama's face?

11/30/2009

Two Random, Unrelated Thoughts

1.
The headline, "CBO: Health bill would reduce premiums on average" for the following AP story should really read:
CBO: Premiums on average in health bill will be paid for by someone else.
Subsidies don't lower costs, they shift who pays them.

2.
Thomas Friedman wrote this in an opinion piece today (emphasis mine):
Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — the Taliban and the Baathists — and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every Abu Ghraib, our soldiers and diplomats perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Arabs and Muslims a better chance to succeed with modernity and to elect their own leaders.
Wouldn't it have been enormously helpful if editorialists had included that nuanced caveat while relentlessly repeating the Abu Ghraib/torture narrative?

11/29/2009

An Actual Inconvenient Truth


Scientific progress depends upon accurate, complete and reliable data. Unfortunately, none of this seems to be the case when it relates to “climate change”, formerly know as “global warming”. In emails that were uncovered from the Climate Research Unit (the “CRU”, which should not be confused with the fictional “CTU” of 24 fame – except as we here at RSP have long thought, both are really engaged in fiction.) at the University of East Anglia in England, some of the world’s so-called leading experts on climate change (I say “so-called” because how can you be an expert in something that doesn’t exist) are, and have been, engaged in a conspiracy to destroy and hide data that did not support their global warming claims.

Professor Phil Jones, the head of CRU, and professor Michael E. Mann of Pennsylvania State University, another so-called expert on global warming, were caught in an email exchange wanting to engage in the “trick of adding in real temps to each series to hide the decline in temperature.” There is no explanation that can justify this exchange. These so-called scientists are engaged in efforts by to falsify data. No reasonable person should believe any explanations provided by these two, considering their fraudulent research.

It is also comical that the New York Times, while reporting on this incident, has refused to re-publish the emails by claiming that they were not meant for public consumption. I wonder if the Gray Lady will take the same position the next time someone presents it with classified CIA documents. I’d guess not.

Unfortunately for Professors Jones and Mann, this is not their only act of malfeasance. In another email exchange, Prof. Jones to Prof. Mann, “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send it to anyone.” He goes on to say, “We have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.” Prof. Jones then urged Prof. Mann to join him in deleting email exchanges about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s controversial assessment report.

In other emails, Prof. Jones complains that he has been told by a UK government official that due to the Freedom of Information Act, he should not be deleting emails. Mr. Jones concocts a rationalization for his continued actions of deleting data and emails unfavorable to his position on climate change and his repeated failure to comply with lawful requests by saying that since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an international organization, it is above any national Freedom of Information Act. So much for Her Majesty’s sovereign government. I wonder if the Crown Prosecutors, even under this sympathetic Labour government, would buy that argument.

Throughout the emails, proponents of global warming refer to data that has been hidden or destroyed. Unfortunately, only the emails from Prof. Jones’ university have been made public. And, of course, we only know part of the picture since the good professor has deleted data and emails that did not support his position of global warming. As Donald Rumsfeld might say, apparently, we may never know what we don’t know.

It is time that the other institutions involved in this controversy release data and emails that are relevant to the situation. Penn State University must immediately conduct an investigation to determine the extent of its faculty’s involvement in this cover-up.

In light of the fact that global warming has to a large extent been debunked by this conspiracy, it is unfortunately that President Obama has decided to go to Copenhagen for the United Nation’s next conference on this topic. Instead, the President should call for an investigation of all of the data regarding global warming. In the end, such action may save the economies of the free world.

11/24/2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday I go into the belly of the beast: Thanksgiving dinner with my flaming lefty family. I do not intend to bring up ObamaCare or Obama generally but, if challenged, here are my responses:
  • BHO is neither a socialist or the devil incarnate. He is, however, a standard issue left wing partisan ideologue with a gift for convincing a tiny but sufficient slice of the electorate that he's not.
  • ObamaCare will subsidize the illusion that health insurance (vs. health care) is cheaper for a few politically important constituencies. Those of us in the real world know subsidies don't change actual cost, they just change who pays. Accordingly, Washington's love affair with something-for-nothingism ensures that the underlying cost drivers remain unaddressed, now and forever. If it's true that Republicans are determined to stop anything called HCR, then it's also true that Democrats are determined to pass anything they can remotely call HCR. Neither party has any interest in actually stopping the distortions caused by our employer based model, which is the source of the rescission problem and the pre-existing condition problem. Dems. are too indebted to Big Labor to tackle it and Reps. know they'll be scorched if they do (not that they otherwise have a coherent policy approach). Obama scorched McCain for it during the election and he'll do it again if necessary. Our current system deploys price rationing, the system Obalosi envisions uses political rationing. The former can be fixed, the latter only gets worse over time.
Have a great Thanksgiving. If you eat too much, Thursday or any other day, you're raising my health insurance premiums.

11/13/2009

Can't Wait For This Answer

How will Khalid "Shake Shake Shake" Mohammed answer this question, put to all criminal defendants who enjoy the presumption of innocence and the freedom from self-incrimination:

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

11/12/2009

The Post-Freedom Presidency


As I transported my daughter aboard a gas guzzling sedan to middle school Wednesday morning, even one the of the local FM rock stations was getting in on the Veterans’ Day spirit. We sang along to the Lee Greenwood classic, “Proud to be an American”.

The central lyric is so familiar it just rolls off the tongue: “And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.”

As we coasted through suburbia on a sun-washed autumn morning that line hit me like a brick wall. At least I know I’m free? Do I? Am I?

In the age of Obama, we were promised the post-racial Presidency. Looks like we were handed the post-Constitutional, post-Declaration of Independence Presidency. For now, we’re still essentially “free” but the scope of that freedom no longer feels like it has infinite boundaries.

It begins with speech. With words. With meaning. And with manipulation of meaning in the name of political correctness and the crushing Socialist agenda sweeping across Washington, D.C.

Consider the following list I drew up in just a matter of minutes. It could be much lengthier for sure, but I fear it demonstrates where we are in the post-Lee Greenwood era.

Not Islamic radicalism … religious diversity.

Not terrorism … alleged shooting incident (Ft. Hood).

Not free-market capitalism … unregulated wealth building.

Not death counseling … an affordable health care option.

Not politically correct … tolerant and fair-minded.

Not Socialist … transformational.

Not a War on Terror … routine law enforcement.

Not freedom of speech … hate-crime speech.

Not productivity … greed.

Not Communism … redistributive justice.

Not Tea Party patriotism … angry white people.

Not Commander in Chief … Campaigner in Chief Barack Hussein Obama.

As Veterans’ Day 2009 slips into history, I am proud to be an American because our brave men and women who wear the uniform make me proud. And because civilians who rise up in the face of violent Jihadist insanity make me proud. I’m thinking about the NYFD and NYPD on 9/11, and about the brave Ft. Hood police officer, Kim Munley, who last week gunned down the terrorist Nidal Hasan.

I’m proud, but I no longer know I’m free. In 2009, my fellow Americans and I are left to pray that we are.

11/09/2009

Political Correctness and the Military


We now know that political correctness has killed Americans. The 13 deaths at Ft. Hood last week were a result of political correctness in the United States military turning a blind eye to Islamist extremism. As ABC New has reported, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was in contact with Al-Queda members in Yemen and that this was known to US Intelligence. US Intelligence then notified Army counter-intelligence, who, apparently, decided to do nothing with the information. Also, Maj. Hasan's superiors at Walter Reed Army Hospital knew that Hasan was engaging in anti-American propaganda with his patients (the worst kind of malpractice that a psychiatrist can commit). Political correctness on the part of the Army was as much to blame for the 13 deaths as underlying Islamist behavior itself.

While most rational people knew that Maj. Hasan’s actions were a terrorist attack, the President and his chain of command were apparently in denial about the motives for the attack. Despite Maj. Hasan’s calls of “Allahu akbar!”, the American people were being told by President Obama not to jump to conclusions. The elite media in this country was saying that just because Maj. Hasan has a Muslim name, the “right wing” was going to get all riled up (see the comments of Newsweek editor Evan Thomas).

Not only did the Army allow the Major’s terrorist connections and anti-American postings on Islamic websites to go unchallenged, we have the political leadership and the news media continuing to engage in the same political correctness that led to the massacre in the first place. Someone should remind President Obama of the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” The only problem is that lives are at stake so we cannot afford to be fooled again. The military in this country does not abide by the same stand of free speech that governs the rest of our society. Therefore, at the first instance of Islamic radical behavior, the military must take action to ensure that any such serviceman is removed from the military. Lives depend upon this.

Last Thursday’s actions were the worst act of Islamist terror on US soil since the attacks of 9/11. When an extremist plans and executes a plot to kill our soldiers to protest our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is an act of terror, regardless of whether the perpetrator acted alone. But, has the President or his military commanders called Maj. Hasan’s actions that? Not as of this posting, almost 5 days after the incident.

A strange juxtaposition occurred within hours of Maj. Hasan’s rampage. On one hand, there is the President of the United States in the Rose Garden telling the American people not to jump to conclusions. On the other hand, you have the FBI Director, Robert Muller, telling the American people that this was not a terrorist plot. Considering the timing of Mr. Muller’s statement and that an investigation had just begun, wasn’t he jumping to a conclusion in direct contradiction to the President’s statements? It seems so to me. The consequence of the nations top investigator jumping to a conclusion without investigation should be his immediate dismissal. Unfortunately, however, Director Muller will keep his just because he was just toeing the party line - more political correctness.

If President Obama is really as smart as his supporters claimed during the campaign, he should be able to learn from his mistakes. Being the Commander-in-Chief of a military that is beholden to political correctness resulted in the deaths of 13 American soldiers in their home base. Political correctness, therefore, is a mistake in the American military. The President should immediately put a stop to it and make sure that this type of thing never happens again. If the doesn’t the next terrorists attack against our soldiers could be even worse.

10/29/2009

It's Time to Decide


Following an interview British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, last week, the New York Times, of all papers, displayed a headline reading “Britain Resolves, US Wavers”. For Americans to look to a European country for determination, then things in Washington must becoming unhinged.

Earlier this summer, President Obama called Afghanistan a war of necessity. Since then, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal (the general personally selected by the President to take charge of this war), has requested at least 40,000 additional troops was needed for a surge in order for the NATO mission in that country to succeed. Of course, as the commander-in-chief, Mr. Obama is not bound by the recommendations of his generals. However, he is duty bound to make a decision.

When Gen. McChrystal made the recommendation two months ago, he stated that the United States on had about twelve months to stabilize the situation in country and then win the war. Two of those twelve short months have now passed and the President of the United States has yet to make a decision. While President Obama has said to our soldiers, “I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way”, there is a difference between deliberation and, as Vice President Cheney has said, dithering.

The President’s indecision is another sign of his weakness. All the while we are waiting for a decision, the Taliban continues to terrorize Afghanistan and its people. On Wednesday, for example, a Taliban cell breached the United Nations compound in Kabul, while dressed as Afghan police officers, and killed six of the UN staff. The Taliban, like Al-Qaeda, don’t carry out attacks at random. They pick their targets with the intent of controlling events.

As Senator John McCain has said, “The President of the United States needs to make this decision and soon. Our allies are nervous and our military leadership is becoming frustrated.” And, as Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary has indicated, our closest ally, the United Kingdom, is ready to take action and participate in a surge. I’m sure that our English friends just don’t want to be hung out to dry by the inaction of the Obama Administration.

Also, the morale of our soldiers and Marines is always an important factor in any military campaign. Indecision from the top does not help morale. The troops need to know that they have the support of the commander-in-chief. The lack of a defined military strategy from the White House doesn’t shout out support for our men and women in uniform.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 63% of American voters do not believe that Mr. Obama has a clear plan for Afghanistan. The President’s continued indecision does nothing to dissuade this notion. This is very unfortunate because, as I said previously, President Obama, at least at one point, believed that this was a war of necessity.

As the surge in Iraq has shown, decisive action can make a substantial positive difference. This is in spite of the violence this week, which is still relatively rare when compared to pre-surge levels. Just like what is currently happening in Afghanistan, the dithering prior to the surge shows what can happen without decisive action.

For the sake of success in a war of necessity, the President should follow the recommendation of his hand picked commander. Gen. McChrystal - supported by the hero of the Iraq war, General David Petraeus – knows the prescription for victory in Afghanistan. It’s now up to Mr. Obama to let them win it.

What We All Want to Say

Read this letter from Gov. Schwarzenegger to the California Assembly. Then look at the first letter of each line in the second and third paragraphs.

Could that be the Gov's real message?

GoodFellas Motors

There's a great scene in GoodFellas when a bar owner asks local mob boss Paulie Cicero to be his partner, if only to protect the bar from Paulie's goons. Paulie claims to know nothing about the bar business, but what the hell, it might be fun. So, Paulie takes a piece of the bar and, um, we know what happens next.

Paulie's crew guts it from the inside.

They steal inventory, they use the place as a front, they force the original owner to borrow money against the bar, which they also steal. And when there's no money or product left to steal, Paulie's boys torch the place to collect the insurance. And no one can stop them because they're the mob and they make the rules.

Courtesy of the WSJ's intrepid reporters, what RSP and many others predicted has now been documented. Congress is feasting on GM because it can. Welcome to the new GM, better known as GoodFellas Motors.

Before Anonymous has a hissy fit, I know the analogy isn't perfect. Congress isn't doing anything illegal, there are no threats of violence, they're not literally going to burn GM down for the insurance, but the theory is similar enough. Congress makes the rules, Congress put up the money, so individual members demand GM serve the needs of their individual constituents. GM is now merely a conduit, through which public money flows to this or that politically powerful stakeholder. Of course, the MoC will pretend there was no undue pressure, that the sought after outcome was only the result of "a constructive dialogue" with the company. Just like the mob, you don't have "a constructive dialogue" with a Senator. You do what you're "asked" to do or the next call is from the IRS, or oversight committee counsel or the Paymaster Czar's office.

Normally businesses only succeed when they serve customers. Those days are long gone at GoodFellas Motors.

10/23/2009

The Dim Reaper


Liberal Florida Congressman Alan Grayson is an ideological terrorist. He is now using the deceased as pawns in his quest to impose government monopolized health care reform on our citizens.

His pathetic web initiative, Names of the Dead, exploits people who have died. He claims they are deceased because we -- the collective "we" -- did not pay for their health care. What a load of unsubstantiated crap. Where were the family members of these people? Friends? Fellow churchgoers? Did we all let them down? Or were they neglected by their own? Grayson's site can not back up its claims. It is a joke.

Acclaimed columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin agrees. She writes that Names of the Dead is based on a flawed, out of date study by single payer health care advocates that concludes around 44,000 people die every year solely due to lack of access to care.

"(The study) attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period," Malkin writes. "At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America's callous health care system had insurance or not."

I pledge to launch a new site in 2010, Names of the Politically Brain Dead. Grayson will be its poster boy. But he will be among a sea of discredited names.

This disgusting excuse for a public servant needs to be returned to the rock from under which he crawled, and the people who voted for him should be institutionalized. That would be true health care "reform". Put the mentally deranged away for good. Start with Pelosi, Reid and "Swamp Thing" (Grayson). And their supporters.

10/21/2009

Enemies List




It now appears that the White House is not only maintaining an enemies list, but is also acting to punish those who appear on it. This is not something that we have seen since the Nixon Administration. I’m sure our friends on the left find this distasteful for two reasons. First, a Nixonian political strategy cannot possibly be consistent with liberal principals. Second, as someone who ran on a platform of bringing the country together (the “purple states” strategy), maintaining an enemies list by President Obama is hardly the foundation of national unification.

The Obama Administration is systematically working to marginalize not only the Republican Party, but any other organization that opposes its left wing agenda. Top White House officials; including the chief of staff, the senior political advisor and the communications director, have been sent out to undermine anyone and anything that opposes the President’s initiatives.

Let’s take a look at some whom the President and his minions have set out to destroy:

1. Rush Limbaugh – in the opening days of the Obama Presidency, White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said that Rush was the leader of the Republican Party. White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, actually spent time at the White House press room podium mocking Rush. Evidently, Mr. Gibbs didn’t feel that there is anything more news worthy than Rush Limbaugh is a conservative to speak of.

2. Humana Insurance Company – When Humana sent a mailing to its policy holders that health care reform would increase the cost of health insurance to them, the White House went crazy and issued a cease and desists order against the company. It didn’t matter to the White House that the Humana may be right or that it had a right to say these things.

3. The health insurance industry in general – When the health insurance industry issued its report that the current congressional health care reform proposals would not control costs and would, in fact, result in increased costs, the White House first said that it felt blindsided and then went on to make an ad hominem attack against the industry without giving any data or evidence as to why the report was incorrect. The White House’s reaction presupposes that they are entitled to advanced copies of any materials that are critical of their policies. Also, we have seen Congressional Democrats threatening to remove the industry's anti-trust exemption.

4. PriceWaterhouse Coopers – They were the authors of the insurance industry’s report. This firm is one of the oldest and most widely respected accounting and consulting firms in the world. However, if you are critical of President Obama, your conclusion are not worth the paper they are printed on, even if the President can’t provide evidence to rebut the criticism.

5. Fox News – Over the past two weeks, top Obama advisers, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrad and Anita Dunn have all claimed that Fox News is not a legitimate news organization and have tried to isolate Fox New from the rest of the so called mainstream media by admonishing other news organizations not to follow up on stories that are originated by Fox. Of the other networks, only ABC White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, has questioned this strategy. After being confronted by Mr. Tapper, Robert Gibbs’ final response was to give the great intellectually honest answer of, “That’s our opinion”. In any event, everyone should take the statements of Anita Dunn with a healthy dose of skepticism considering her admiration for Moa Tse-Tung, one of the greatest mass murders of the 20th century.

6. The US Chamber of Commerce – Since the Chamber of Commerce opposes health care reform and cap and trade, the White House had made the declaration that it no longer represents business in America. The administration has made Valarie Jarrett available to discuss the Chamber and has said that since several companies have dropped their membership, the Chamber is no longer a legitimate organization. That’s a huge leap, don’t you think.

I’m sure as time goes on, this list will get longer. It is perfectly acceptable for any administration to debate and counter its opponents. It is an entirely different thing for an administration to use the prestige and power of the White House to de-legitimize its opponents.

If President Obama receives any benefit from this (which does not seem likely since his approval rating continues to fall), it will only be short term. Sooner or later this type of politics of personal destruction will make the President of the United States look small, petty and thin skinned. And, once that happens, a President who campaigned on hope and change will look an awful lot like any other Chicago politician. And, I can tell you from living in Chicago, that’s not a pretty sight.

10/16/2009

No Kidding

This is exactly what I said, admittedly with dripping sarcasm, yesterday. Dickerson is right, health care "reform" will cost much more than advertised and hard choices will not get made. Ignore any and all claims that current legislative proposals to reduce spending in the future are binding. Congress can't be bound and the COLA farce is real-time proof.

10/15/2009

The Daily Decoder

From this morning's WaPo, (euphemisms in red, actual meaning helpfully provided in blue)
Happy Thursday! Federal employees ineligible to receive Social Security benefits would still get a one-time $250 payment next year if President Obama gets his way.

The president wants Congress to make the one-time payments (first of several) to roughly 57 million people (more than 57 million people), including roughly 1 million public sector employees (more than 1 million) ineligible for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or veterans benefits.

“This additional assistance (vote buying) will be especially important in the coming months (as we approach mid-term elections), as countless seniors and others have seen their retirement accounts and home values decline (go lower while I'm in the Big Chair) as a result of this economic crisis (bad personal financial decisions)," Obama said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“This payment would come as a welcome relief to federal retirees and survivors at a time when most will shoulder a 12 to 15 percent health insurance premium increase in a year they will receive no cost of living adjustment (this cohort's excess demand for susidized healthcare pushes up prices),” Margaret L. Baptiste, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association said in a statement. “We commend the president for supporting a payment (giving someone else's money) to older Americans (people who vote in electorally important states) that will help them make ends meet (will be followed by additional demands) and for including government retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security.”

Obama endorsed the idea (likes the politics), expected to cost at least (more than)$13 billion, "as the administration gropes for ways to sustain an apparent economic rebound without the kind of massive spending package that critics could label a second stimulus act (pretend he's not digging a staggering long-term hole)," colleagues Amy Goldstein and Neil Irwin report.

"In recent weeks, the White House has examined (polled) a wide range of proposals to funnel money to constituencies seen as suffering (give free stuff to people we like because we can). Administration officials have also been supportive of extending unemployment insurance benefits that were to expire (will never expire) at the end of the year and are contemplating (have decided) an extension of an $8,000 tax credit (prop up home prices at least through the mid-terms) for first-time home buyers (don't forget young voters, too!) due to expire Nov. 30."
I hope that clears things up a bit.

10/14/2009

Robert Reich Makes Sense

Honesty is such a lonely word.

10/11/2009

Obama's Failure on Iran


Unfortunately, it is becoming increasing clear that that none of the steps that the Western allies are taking is likely to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Recently, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton called the prospects for diplomacy “very doubtful”. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said that military action will do nothing more than delay the Iranians. And, last week, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told the Washington Post that the strategy of backing the Iranian opposition would take too long and might produce a government with the same nuclear ambitions.

Russia and China will not agree to a sanctions regime that will have any material adverse impact on the Mullahs currently running Iran. There is no hint that either Russia or China will honor a gasoline embargo, stop arms sales or end investments inside of Iran. The selling out of our Polish and Czech allies to Russia regarding our “change of heart” with respect to missile defense with bring us no benefit.

Authoritarian regimes will often allow the suffering of their people for what the rules believe is the greater good. That was the case during Saddam Hussein’s reign in Iraq. The Iranian mullahs, I am sure, will behave in the same way.

Following the talks in Geneva between the Western allies and Iran, the Iranian’s again agreed to international inspections of some of its nuclear facilities and to expatriate some of uranium that it has already enriched (However, the Associated Press has reported that a member of the Iranian delegation to the Geneva conference claims that Iran had not agreed to expatriate uranium. It is, after all, hard to believe that a regime run dictators would immediately contradict an agreement with its perceived enemies.) However, what has been lost is that the Iranians continue on with their uranium enrichment. Despite continuous international calls for them to cease this operation, the uranium enrichment continues and there is no reason to believe that it will stop.

As the “international community” talks about the details of the agreed to inspections and the uranium shipments, the clock continues to tick. Mullahs with operational nuclear weapons becomes ever closer to reality. And, these agreements give Russia and China further excuses for opposing strong action to stop the nuclear program. Had Iran been defiant, it would have been harder, but not hard enough, for these two permanent members of the Security Council to oppose new sanctions or military intervention.

President Obama has said that his administration will pursue diplomacy until the end of the year (remember, the clock continues to tick) and then , if Iran has not relinquished its nuclear ambitions, it will seek sanctions. Well, what happens is it’s New Year’s Eve and the centrifuges are still spinning and the President of the United States then requests “strong” sanctions from the UN Security Counsel. The Chinese and the Russians then veto these “strong” sanctions. The answer to the question is that the entire policy of the Obama Administration is finally revealed to be the charade that it is. In the meantime, more uranium is enriched and more ballistic missiles are made.

It has been said that the President feels that nuclear weapons in the hands of the Mullahs is a foregone conclusion and, once that is the case, he will implement a plan of containment, just like we did with the Soviets during the Cold War. What Mr. Obama fails to realize is that containment worked against the Communists because they, much like us, had a desire to live. Remember, the ruling class in the Communist countries lived very will and they had no interest in dying for the cause.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Islamists that rule Iran. They are religious zealots who are actively waiting for the coming of the Twelfth Imam. They do not value the lives of their own countrymen, let alone the lives of the infidel. When you have an enemy that does not value life, they have nothing to lose by not remaining contained.

Mr. Obama should learn one of the key lessons of the 20th century – that you should take dictators at their word. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that he wants to blow Israel off the map, he should be believed. There is nothing in his background that should make President Obama think that he doesn’t mean it. Mr. Obama should recognize the true urgency of the situation and take whatever steps are necessary to end the Iranian nuclear program once and for all.

10/10/2009

Brilliant

Brilliant, just brilliant essay by Krauthammer.

He nails what serious conservative criticism should have been when Obama campaigned clearly (clearly, that is, to anyone who dared think beyond soundbites) that he intends to mute our influence abroad to finance hugely expansive social democratic ambitions at home.

10/09/2009

A Very Exclusive Club


Congratulations to President Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. While it was unexpected, it certainly is not surprising. The European elite is certainly known for fawning all over him. This is just further evidence of that. Certainly, only 9 months into his presidency, his list of achievements is not very long, unless you including the abrogation of US national security (which I'm sure is a huge plus in the deliberations of the Nobel Committee).

Now this President of the United States has joined a very exclusive club that includes among its members Le Duc Tho and Yasser Arafat. I certainly would like my name mentioned in the same sentence as those two. I wonder how manner innocent people were killed by the two of them. This is just further proof that among the “international chattering class”, including the American left, the definition of peace is the absence of war, not the absence of the need for war. Obviously, their definition of peace also does not depend upon such outdated notions as national security.

We here at RSP have long held the Nobel Committee in contempt. Their actions today do nothing to dissuade us of this feeling. It is just another corrupt international enterprise that has America in its cross hairs.

10/08/2009

Now That's the Chicago Way

The City of Chicago, fresh off its Olympic loss to Rio, has decided to lose its mind altogether courtesty of the City Council, which is considering (and my brain hurts just thinking about this) an ordinance requiring hotels operating in Chicago to inform guests if there's a strike.

Are the police going to arrest the GM of a non-compliant, or insufficiently compliant hotel? How much are hotels going to waste trying to comply? How much is the city going to waste verifying compliance? I could go on and on questioning and complaining, but I think you get the point.

BTW, love this quote from hotel worker Ellen Maloney "There's not a scab that can cover or do the same job a professional can." Speaking as a former scab, I can say from personal experience and with great conviction there are many, many scabs who can perform at a materially higher level than the "professionals" (which of course is a euphemism for "union member").

I also love Alderman Munoz's describing the ordinance, which Mayor Daley has previously opposed and the city law department believes is legally dubious, as a "consumer protection." Just like "family friendly," it's another unassailable, politically potent but braindead phrase that means whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

Really, are the big red shirts unclear?

10/02/2009

A Good Day All Around

Rio gets Olympics.

Kanye West/Lady Gaga tour cancelled.

Fix The Bridge

Shortly after Sen. Ted Kennedy died, it was disclosed that the Commonwealth's new senior Senator, John Kerry, requested a $20 million earmark to fund the Edward Kennedy Institute on the University of Massachusetts campus. Without debating the request's propriety, or that of earmarks generally, I propose a far more fitting tribute, one that both honors an event which Sen. Kennedy himself said "haunts me every night" and, strictly coincidentally, also honors a dead young woman in this season of powerful men not giving a flying f**k how they treat innocent girls.

Rebuild Dyke Bridge so no one can ever, drunk or not, careen off the side into 15 feet of water. Rename it the Mary Jo Kopechne Memorial Bridge.

10/01/2009

The UN Address



President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly continues to provide us with insight as to his view of the world and America’s position in that world. Unfortunately, this view of the world does not appreciate the greatness of the United States or its proper place in the history of mankind.

Mr. Obama said that “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.” If you take the President at his world, this means that America and the values of her people are no better than such nations as Saudi Ruled Arabia (which subjugates women to the point where they cannot drive or be out in public unaccompanied by a male member of their family) or Somalia (where gangs controlled by warlords rule the population with fear and summary executions).

This is not the first time that President Obama fails to understand the concept of American Exceptionalism. During his first trip to Europe, when asked if he believed in American Exceptionalism, Mr. Obama said he did, just like an Englishman believed in the exceptionalism of the United Kingdom. What a far cry from President Reagan’s belief of American as the last, best hope of mankind on earth.

The President then continued by saying that “The traditional divisions between nations of the South and the North make no sense in an interconnected world; nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of the long-gone Cold War.” Of course, the United Nations is an odd venue to make this statement considering that it, in and of itself, has deep roots in the Cold War. Also, I’m sure that our European allies were thrilled to hear that NATO, as an alignment of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War, makes no sense. I wonder how that statement played in Taipei, considering our treaty obligations to the Republic of China are an alignment of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War. Maybe we should rethink our alliances with South Korea and Japan – both of which are alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of the Cold War.

Evidently, Mr. Obama fails to realize that our alliances during the Cold War were not simply for convenience. Rather, they were, for the most part, alliances of free nations made to oppose an ideology who’s basic premise was worldwide revolution in order to enslave people for the benefit of the state.

President Obama also made the statement that “…the interests of nations and people are shared.” This may or may not be true. Clearly, the mullahs running Iran believe that possessing nuclear weapons is in their interests. However, the Israelis do not believe, and rightfully so, that having nuclear armed mullahs is in their interests. Also, Poland and the Czech Republic believed that a ballistic missile shield was in their best interest. The Russians felt differently so the Obama Administration appeased the Russians and cancelled the missile shield. How exactly do you reconcile the fact that the interests of these four nations are shared?

Evidently, the President of the United States does not understand the first rule of international relations – sovereign nations act in their own self interests. Every American should find it troubling that the person constitutionally in charge of our foreign policy is so naive as not to understand this basic principal.

Meanwhile, as President Obama continues his worldwide apology tour, the Iranians continue to work on their nuclear bomb. At the same time that the President talks about reaching out to the “moderate” Taliban, he won’t commit more troops to Afghanistan so that we can win that war. Mr. Obama pulls the rug out from under our NATO allies on missile defense while the Russians oppose sanctions against Iran. For all of his talk about a new way of dealing with other nations, President Obama has nothing to show for it. Remember, he couldn’t even get our closest ally, the United Kingdom, to keep the murderer of over 300 Americans incarcerated. Hopefully, Mr. Obama will realize that talk is cheap, before it’s too late.

9/29/2009

Citius. Altius. Obamus?


As dignitaries and the less dignified descended on Copenhagen for Friday's gut wrenching 2016 Olympics vote, word spread like wildfire this morning across the ancient Danish capital.

The Red Coats are coming! The Red Coats are coming! It is official: the red state loathing, ideologically red-leaning Socialists/Marxists from America's occupied White House, POTUS Barack Hussein Obama and the First Leftist Michelle Hussein Obama, are joining Chicago's delegation for the pivotal final pitch in Denmark. And, of course, the Presidential Teleprompter will have a seat on Air Force One, and a cozy blanket..

Remember the 2008 Presidential campaign, when the First Leftist rarely had been proud of her country? That was then. This is a new campaign season and Michelle Hussein is really, really proud of her hometown of Chicago, a candidate to host the 2016 Olympic Games. What's not to love about the Windy City? In the Obamas' Chicago you can reside in a $1 million-plus South Side home underwritten by a convicted influence peddler and money launderer. You can attend a church for 20 years that is built on a firm foundation of Black Nationalism (anti-white racism) without explanation, and still become a President of the U.S. who accuses all dissenters of being ... tell 'em, Barry ... RACISTS!

Meanwhile, back in Copenhagen -- the Salty Old Queen of the Sea long before anyone had heard of Barney Frank -- the breathless countdown is on.

For the next few days, the Olympic ideal is cast aside for politics, campaigning and silent smearing of opponents. Copenhagen is regarded as Europe's cleanest metropolis, but after Friday it will be littered by the broken dreams of supporters of the three candidate cities deemed unworthy to become stewards of the International Olympic Committee's most precious asset, the Games. It might even be littered by alcohol soaked human beings staggering into the night, distraught in the aftermath of Friday's balloting among the roughly 100 IOC voters. From the final four -- Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janiero and Tokyo -- only one is chosen.

Writes one Olympic blogger waiting for Obama's arrival: "The anticipation simply gets to build with delicious intensity all this week."

Since approximately five minutes after the voters of the United States selected an unproven, unknown junior Senator from Illinois to become their President, speculation has run rampant as to whether B. Hussein would become the first American President to help with an Olympic pitch. Obama refused to commit until Monday. He has been too busy trampling on the Constitution, hiring radical policy czars and violating the law.

Wonder if he'll manage to muster the support of French IOC voters in Copenhagen after failing to turn France's Nicolas Sarkozy into a hope-n-changer last week at the United Nations? Sarkozy, the French President, was disturbed by Obama's empty rhetoric, the very same rhetoric that turns so-called journalists from CBS and NBC into puddles of mush.

"We live in a real world not a virtual world," he told the 15-member Security Council. "And the real world expects us to take decisions. President Obama dreams of a world without weapons ... but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite."

Wonder if Obama will narrate as IOC voters are shown images of Derrion Albert, 18, a Chicago high school honors student beaten to death last week -- as a bystander videotaped it -- by three teenagers using two-by-fours as their weapon of choice.

Wonder if Obama will assure IOC voters that best-in-class health care awaits them when they visit Chicago, even as he uses every resource at his disposal to destroy the world's greatest medical system? Wonder if he'll mention that 56% percent of voters in the latest Rasmussen poll oppose his scheme to radically dismantle America's revered private health care infrastructure?

Wonder of he'll reference the sudden indifference of the U.S. toward escalating violence and Taliban-led terrorist insurgence across Afghanistan?

Byron York on Fox News Special Report observed: "(Obama) has spent more time with David Letterman than talking with (head of U.S. Afghan forces) General McChrystal."

And, finally, who can help but wonder if Barack Hussein Obama will attend the 2016 Games should they be hosted by Chicago? By then, he will have been a private citizen for more than three years.

9/25/2009

What If "Getting Things Done" Makes Things Worse?

Politicians love to use the phrase "getting things done" as though activity is proof of progress. What if thing that got done was stupid or made the original problem worse? The war in Iraq was "getting things done" but if you're a liberal Democrat, from your perspective, it's highly likely you believe it was a horrible idea badly executed. The stimulus package "got done" but it didn't help and only added to a deficit Congress has no intention of taking seriously. We can agree or disagree on a policy's merits, but the mere act of accomplishing it is no selling point.

So now we hear about the importance of getting health care reform "done." Emphasis on peripheral issues like abortion and death panels is crowding out serious contributions by conservatives and leading us to a health care regime that doesn't attack the root causes of the cost, access and portability problems. Ending the employer tax exclusion, allowing interstate competition, ending Medicare's fee-for-service model and opening access to the FEHBP would be real change, not the fake, arguably deceptive, version about to be shoved down our throats in the name of "getting things done." This is just what RSP has been saying, in various forms, about the problems with ObamaCare's "fixes."

9/24/2009

Oops....

Obama ally Gov. Deval Patrick may have gotten a bit more than he bargained for when he brought to bear the full weight of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts upon Hyatt for firing 100 housekeepers. See, Hyatt is mostly owned by Chicago's Pritzker family, and Penny Pritzker chaired Obama's campaign finance committee. Unknown is whether the hotels in question are company owned, franchises or a blend.

If I'm Rahm Emanuel, I'm thinking that when Obama and Patrick were on the phone discussing how to change the rules after the game has started, Patrick could have done Obama a favor and brought this up.

Oh well, Robert Byrd is pretty sick. Maybe they'll get another chance at this.

9/23/2009

Obama Dines at Denny's

Been pretty busy this week, hence the lack of original posts, though the video below (pardon the salty language) should be seen by the White House, for its humor is, sadly, not off the mark.


9/22/2009

The Rock Star and a Hard Place


I heard a Chicago television reporter this week refer to U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama as an “international rock star”. This was not overheard at a Starbuck’s. She said it live, on the air.

Her gushing characterization came during a segment explaining why leaders of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games are hanging on a thread of hope. They are said to be hoping Obama, for whom Chicago is an adopted hometown, will travel to Copenhagen ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s decisive 2016 vote on Oct. 2. So far, he hasn’t decided what to do. The IOC must choose between four cities — Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janiero and Tokyo — then sit back and pray they’ve done the right thing seven years from now.

Chicago’s campaign team and, by extension, the public continue to view Obama as an earthly God who can enter a room and change the course of history by reading scripted words. Essentially, they are employing the logic of a crack cocaine addict. Just one more fix, man, and we can make the world right. If Obama shows up in Denmark, it’s game, set, match for Mayor Richard Daley’s All-Star Team. Never mind that Chicago’s bid is technically sound — in some areas superior — and is led by a widely regarded business icon, Patrick Ryan, and a famous mayor (Daley).

This Obama obsession prevails even though the former junior Senator from Illinois has not managed to end Washington gridlock or turn a massive U.S. economic tanker clear of jagged shores. He keeps reading the scripted words and rolling out his transformational agendas but the only tangible result is that more than 50% of the nation disapproves of his job performance.

The accidental President (by virtue of being an accidental Illinois Senator) is emerging, not as a Great Messiah, but as the reckless force behind an economic tsunami that threatens the influence and reputation of the United States. That’s why I am dumbfounded by those who insist Obama is Chicago’s trump card in its pursuit of the 2016 Games.

To believe he can be a game changer just by showing up is to demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the IOC’s membership, and there has been precious little reporting by Chicago mainstream media that answers the question, “Who are these guys?”

The membership of the IOC is more than 54 percent European, along with roughly 22 percent North and Latin Americans (including just two U.S. members) and 19 percent Asians.

The people who decide where the Olympic Games go are a conflicted lot, to say the least. Many are U.S.-educated professionals who returned to Socialist, even Communist, homelands, using their intellect, family names and political savvy to secure lives of wealth and influence. The most powerful patriarch within the global Olympic movement is Spain’s Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC Honorary President for Life. He once was an operative in the brutal monarchy of Gen. Francisco Franco (and son Juan Jr. is now an IOC member/voter). The current President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, is a surgeon from Belgium, a heavily unionized nation under a constitutional monarchy.

Additionally, more than a few IOC voters from Africa, Asia and Latin America have risen through the ranks of deeply rooted, tyrannical/dictatorial political systems, enriching themselves in societies where the world’s material and monetary spoils are not accessible to the masses, and where sports administrators wield great power.

Loyalties among IOC members are wildly fractured, which often causes balloting for Olympic host cities to be skewed by block voting and side deals having nothing to do with the merits of the candidates, or their elected political celebrities. If you don’t believe it, research the circumstances under which Lillehammer (Norway) won host city rights to the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, or Sochi (Russia) the 2014 Winter Games.

While the American Entitlement Class remains drunk on Obama Kool-Aid, cheering as Newsweek declares we’re “all Socialists now”, do not be too sure that IOC members will be enamored of a United States flirting with hope and transformational change.

The dirty little secret among IOC voters is that the privately financed, Capitalism fueled 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games saved the Olympic movement from financial collapse. Does anyone think IOC members voted to put the 1996 Games in Atlanta because they were turned on by the Coca-Cola museum, CNN Center or obsolete Fulton County Stadium? The Games were here in 1996 for the same reason they were in Salt Lake City in 2002. Free market capitalism and multinational U.S. corporations with deep pockets (not to mention General Electric’s National Broadcasting Company and the hundreds of million of dollars it has paid for U.S. broadcast rights) work wonders on the IOC’s bottom line. Plus, when the Games are here, IOC members have an excuse to squeeze in a visit to the Mayo Clinic, or Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, or Cedars Sinai Medical Center, or any number of other beacons of America’s envied private health care system.

So, then, can anyone truly articulate the upside to a live Barack Obama pitch in Copenhagen? By 2016, this nation might well be a severely diminished Obamerica. Will it still be the go-to venue for the Olympic Games? Will these United States that IOC members rely on to prop up their increasingly irrelevant global sports event still be an economic superpower with world-class military and security personnel to protect the athletes and visiting dignitaries?

If Chicago really believes it needs an international rock star to prevail in next month’s voting maybe it should think about finding one that has memorized the words and sings from the heart.

An End to Missile Defense



It is no surprise that President Obama has pulled the plug on the proposed European defense shield. After all, in February, Mr. Obama sent Russian President Dmitry Medvedev a letter offering a quid pro quo – abandonment of the missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for Russian help with the Iranian nuclear program.

Of course, the President has couched this cancellation in terms of providing for a better alternative – a new theater and sea-based missile defense system for Europe that will supposedly provide a shield against short and intermediate range missiles. The exact quote is that this new system “…will provide stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s allies.”

However, this is at odds with a study released this past February by the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO really seems to be a thorn in the side of this administration. First it rains on the Obamacare parade, now it’s raining on this administration’s choice of a missile defense umbrella (pun intended).

The CBO’s February report concluded that the Bush Administration’s planned deployment of the fixed site system in Poland and the Czech Republic is the best in a series of realistic alternatives for protecting American troops, the U.S. homeland and our allies. This report concluded that the plans that the Obama Administration is now proposing would not, in fact, result in an earlier and more cost effective missile defense system. The Mobile ground-based defense system based in Turkey and Germany would provide comparable protection at a comparable cost, but two years later than the Polish/Czech system. The sea-based missile defense system would be operational at a considerably greater cost than the Polish/Czech system.

Besides the cost involved, the President’s claim that the nature of the Iranian threat is more geared toward short and mid-range missiles does not ring true. Concurrently with its nuclear weapons program, Iran has been working on a long range intercontinental ballistic missile program. This is evidenced by Iran’s launch of satellites into space. The technology required to do this is very similar to that needed to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear payload.

Despite the head in the sand approach of our European allies, the Russians and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United States much be vigilant to the danger posed by Iran and its nuclear weapons program (including it rush to develop operational ICBM technology). Since it appears that President Obama will not take military action against the Iranian nuclear program and is also trying to prevent Israel from taking its own military action, the only hope for the security of the United States, our troops and our allies is the deployment of an effective missile defense program. The timing of the deployment of such a system is critical. It must be done prior to Iran’s nuclear program becoming operational. If not, we will find that we are at the mercy of a nuclear armed rogue Islamist regime.

Technical experts concluded that the requirements for an effective American missile defense shield required the deployment of anti-missile systems at three sites, in Alaska and California to protect against a North Korean launch of an ICBM and in Poland/Czech Republic to protect against an Iranian launch of an ICBM. The systems in Alaska and California are up and running (although they have been scaled back by the Obama Administration). The Poland/Czech Republic sites must also be deployed in order to effectively protect us and our allies.

The sad reality is that my analysis does not even take into account the political consequences of hanging our Polish and Czech allies out to dry. At great political risk to themselves, the leaders of those two nations agreed to host our missile defense sites in exchange for the protection that it would offer. Now, President Obama has disregarded the bold stand of these two government in the hopes that Russia, the same Russia that conquered these nations just over 60 yeas ago, will help us negotiate an end to the Iranian nuclear program. If the President really believes that the Russians will assist us with this, he is even more naive than even I had believed. Unfortunately, it appears that the Russians have already reached the conclusion that a nuclear armed Iran is in their national security interests. Because, if it were not, they would have joined us in attempting to do something about it long ago.

This reversal of American defense policy is yet another sign of weakness by the administration. We are not only preventing the deployment of a major piece of American technological innovation that will help keep us same, it also shows that we have no regard for the wishes and interests of our allies. I wonder if our friends in Eastern Europe will oblige us the next time we ask them to take a stand in defending the free world.

9/21/2009

Instapander

You just know this is coming one day:


9/17/2009

Cringeworthy

A clip from one of our nation's preeminent authorities on racism.


Security, Liberty and Google

Go ahead dear reader, search the internets for the phrase "security liberty false choice." You'll find links-a-plenty to speeches, essays and editorials ad nauseum telling us, during the GWB years, that the trade off between the two is a false construct, shoved down our throats only by a fear-mongering neo-conservative cabal. We shouldn't have to choose says Holder, Obama, Daily Kos, the ABA and any of the other applicable 120,000 hits Google so courteously provides.

Now that the right (and, to be frank, some of it seriously loony*) is pounding on the door, pitchforks and torches in hand, check out Speaker Pelosi's view on a choice no great nation should ever have to make, or so we thought:
"I think we all have to take action and responsibility for our words — we are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we, um, have to carefully balance," said Pelosi."
The (thrown) shoe is now on the other foot.


*direct comparisons of POTUS, D or R, to Hitler are de facto loony

9/16/2009

Very Stupid People Use Internets to Prove Stupidity

Jessica Simpson offers a reward for her dog, snatched by a coyote (Um, Jess, the pooch is dead and coyotes can't read).

Jimmy Carter thinks presidents of Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic are racists.

9/15/2009

We Have Forgotten the Horror


Eight years ago this week, we were attacked by fanatical Muslims. Three thousand of our fellow countrymen died in the single most deadly attack against our homeland since the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that otherwise beautiful September day in 2001, we the people vowed that we would never forget. Unfortunately, as time has gone on and the systems put in place by the Bush Administration have been successful in preventing another attack, it seems that we the people have forgotten the horror and the lessons of that fateful day.

Americans have become weary of war. That is understandable, however, the consequences of failure in either Iraq or Afghanistan will be deadly to us. Should either nation fall to Islamic extremists, just like Afghanistan prior to 9/11, there will exist a base for Al Qaeda and its allies to train and practice their craft (which is the killing of the infidel, you and me). Also, as Osama Bin Laden said himself, the so called Arab street likes to bet on the strong horse. American failure in either of these conflicts would signal to the world that the US is not the strong horse, but rather, that the Islamists are the strong horse.

Instead of raising in opposition of the oppression of women in Muslim countries, the President of the United States talks publicly about the discrimination against those women who wear the hijab in the United States, as if it is a large scale problem. This should not come as a surprise since President Obama felt it was necessary to bow to the King of Saudi ruled Arabia. We also continue to allow large scale immigration from countries that teach, train and harbor terrorists. These are just several examples of the appeasement of Islamists by the leadership of our country.

In this country, we continue to allow the House of Saud to fund madrassahs and mosques that teach hatred of Jews and Christians as part of their curriculum. This is just part of the Wahhabi teachings and beliefs. Of course, in Saudi ruled Arabia, it is illegal to practice any religion other than Islam. So much for reciprocation of our so called tolerance.

The Western World also seems content to allow the largest sponsor of Islamic terror in the world, Iran, to develop nuclear weapons. Despite reports that we may only be months away from the Iranian nuclear program reaching a successful conclusion, we and our allies in Europe want to talk to an insane President who has called for the forceful elimination of one of our best allies, Israel. Instead of talking, it is time to get tough and tell the Iranians that their nuclear ambitions will never be met and that for the sake of the security of the entire world, we will stop them by an means possible, if need be. This would also signal to Iran’s terrorist clients that we are serious and will do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our interests.

It is important for every American to remember the horror of September 11, 2001 and to remind our leaders that we must remain eternally vigilant as to the threat of Islamic terrorism. We must continue to engage in the War on Terror that was brought upon us by those who want to kill or convert us to Islam. If we don’t remember to take them at their word, the consequences will be deadly.

9/14/2009

Right Wing Racist Hate

Here are critiques of ObamaCare from three racist, fear-mongering right wingers dedicated to perpetuating the status quo in their own greedy self interest.

Jeffrey Flier, Harvard Medical School

Toby Cosgrove, MD, CEO, Cleveland Clinic

Mayo Clinic

Also, here's a response to Krugman's NYT Magazine article I posted last week. The author would take umbrage at my use of the word "thoughtful."

9/11/2009

A Non-defense of Rep. Wilson

Joe Wilson's "you lie" has set off a debate about incivility in our politics and whether the GOP is just a bunch of loons. My opinion is the crazier stuff coming out of GOP-land is crowding out credible free market views and tarnishes the conservative brand as unserious.

On Politico's Arena today the question "Does the GOP have a civility problem?" is posed. The answers are worth reading. Some of the answers drift into the yelling and disruptions shown during August's town halls. One contributor writes:
Fifty years ago, you wouldn't see middle class citizens screaming at U.S. Senators. Now all you have to do is call a town hall meeting. The underlying belief that government is there to do good most of the time has been gone for over 40 years, and so people who occupy once respected offices are treated with all the deference given to the register jockey at the 7/11.
The Arena's question is framed as incivility as a uniquely GOP problem, though many respondents, including Dems and liberals, recognize their own side's complicity. I don't know why "we" lack confidence in, and respect for, elected officials, but here's why I do:
  1. They insert themselves into issues that are none of their business.
  2. They engage in baseless character assassination.
  3. They change the rules ex post to preserve power
  4. The act like their s**t doesn't stink
  5. They concern themselves with irrelevance.
  6. Some are indescribably corrupt.
  7. They act like there's nothing wrong with using their power to protect their power.
  8. They bathe themselves in double standards.
I'd ask The Arena for a follow up: have elected officials discuss what they're doing that's sowing incivility and disrespect.

9/10/2009

Public Option

Conservatives make the argument, inartfully, that the public option is a Trojan Horse intended to usher in a full, single payer health care model. PBO says it isn't. RSP believes it is utterly inconceivable the public option won't one day, soon at that, be molded into a single payer model by a future Congress irrespective of what PBO says today. Read this by a contributor to Politico (you'll have to scroll down to find "What Leveling the Playing Field Really Means"). He lays out six advantages Congress could legally confer upon a public option.

If you believe Congress won't over time extend those advantages to the public option, you are deluding yourself. Democrats in Congress have an ideological hatred for private insurance and Republicans refuse to argue forcefully in favor of competition. They let themselves get painted with the "pro-insurance company" brush. Genuine free-marketers favor competition, not competitors.

There are legitimate market failures within health insurance government can address but competition isn't one. There could be more competition tomorrow if Democrats wanted, but they don't. They want to demonize insurance companies, which is politically useful for them but doesn't attack the real cost driver: DEMAND!!!!! As I've written before, we are a rich, advanced, aging, lazy society which is the perfect blend for relentless demand for the latest and greatest. The immediate realizable savings from tinkering with HI profits is not a huge amount of money (profits are about 3% post tax for large insurers) but is part of an ideological war. Put pressure on profits while introducing an inevitably subsidized competitor and sooner or later private insurance will collapse.

The pre-existing conditions exclusion and rescission exist not because HI executives are dicks, but because fraud and adverse selection undermine the very concept of insurance (HI executives probably are dicks, but exclusion and rescission are not good evidence). If carriers are committing fraudulent rescission, then prosecute and fine them vigorously. As a country we've lost our collective minds about health insurance. Insurance is intended to cover the random financial catastrophe. It cannot pay everyone's bill for everything, whether the plan is for profit or not-for-profit.

PBO has stated repeatedly he wants to do away with annual or lifetime benefit caps. No insurance scheme can possibly price in unlimited liability. Here's a little tidbit for you: I have a private, family policy from a for-profit carrier with a $5M lifetime benefit. The policies of a non-profit co-op, GroupHealth, (a West Coast insurer and provider) have lifetime benefit caps of $2M.

Guess profit isn't so bad.

9/08/2009

Profit in Health Care


President Obama claims that he wants to see choice, competition and cost reductions in any health care reform bill. Of course, choice and competition lead to reductions in cost. If the free market were allowed to work in the health care sector, we would achieve all three of the President’s stated goals.

In the free market, a business will learn that its prices are too high when it sees a loss of customers to lower cost competitors. This holds business accountable without the intervention of the government. Unfortunately, under the system we have today, choice and competition are not allowed so the free market cannot work.

Americans are not allowed to purchase health insurance across state lines (A friend of mine lives in Wisconsin, but works in Illinois so all of his heath care providers are in Chicago. However, he must buy a Wisconsin health insurance policy even though all of the providers who receive the payments on his behalf are in Illinois.) Also, state governments mandate certain coverages in insurance policies sold within their borders. Recently in our office, we purchased insurance for myself and one my employees. We were the only two covered. I am having no more children and my employee was not of child bearing age. We, therefore, had no need for maternity coverage, but we still were forced to buy it. So much for our choice.

President Obama’s plan does nothing to increase either choice or competition and, therefore, does nothing to reduce costs. Competition is not having numerous companies offering the same thing at the same price. What consumers want only emerges through the free market process. It doesn’t emerge through government intervention and mandates. Politicians and bureaucrats cannot predict what consumers want, much less need.

Under the current health care proposals, government officials would define the available health insurance plans. As such, competition would be forbidden. Consumers who what to buy a high deductible policy would be unable to do so. Those who don’t want maternity coverage or fertility coverage would be out of luck.

On top of that, the so called public option would mean the end of private health insurance coverage. The government would be acting as a supplier and the referee. Since only the government has the power to print money, it would easily undercut private insurance carries to the point where none could enter the market. The cost public option would be underwritten by the government’s power to tax and print money.

Mr. Obama claims that the virtue of the public option is that there is no profit motive. Of course that is true by definition with any government plan. However, what the President fails to understand is that profit is what enables competitors to figure out what consumers want. If there is no profit, how will government bureaucrats allocate resources? How will they determine what consumers want? How will they produce a service without wasting resources? The President needs to learn that profit is the key to competition. Unfortunately, having never worked in the private sector, it is unlikely that he will learn the value of running a profitable enterprises. Without it, all that we are left with is the decaying system of our friendly neighbors to the north.