Friday, September 24, 2010

Bush Tax-Cut Extensions? Democrats Don't Care

This link to the relevant article in The Hill via Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit:
PUNT! Democrats put off votes to extend Bush tax cuts until after midterm election. Of course, the uncertainty this creates will probably hurt job growth in the intervening months.
HazZzmat addendum: Try to imagine how little they care.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The GOP Pledge: The Journolista Line

This just in, hot from the virtual pen of Chief Journolista Ezra Klein:
"America is more than a country," begins the GOP's 'Pledge to America.' America, it turns out, is an "idea," an "inspiration," and a "belief." And the GOP wants to govern it.
Their policy agenda is detailed and specific -- a decision they will almost certainly come to regret.
Like NJ Governor Chris Christie regrets details and specifics, maybe?

Think about it. Details and specifics. Yep, you've gotta regret that stuff if you're a Democrat politician in 2010. It's just the kind of thing that might get you send to the back of America's lengthening unemployment line come the first Tuesday in November, eh Ezra? Better to launch fusillades of BS at the cretins in flyover country while spending their tax money on your pals' re-election efforts. These clowns simply can't handle the truth, can they?

But that's not the funniest part of this breathtakingly dishonest anti-Republican screed. As they used to say in the old Batman TV serials, "the worst is yet to come!":
Because when you get past the adjectives and soaring language, the talk of inalienable rights and constitutional guarantees, you're left with a set of hard promises that will increase the deficit by trillions of dollars, take health-care insurance away from tens of millions of people, create a level of policy uncertainty businesses have never previously known, and suck demand out of an economy that's already got too little of it. 
You have to read the above graf at least twice to truly savor the irony. Didn't the current administration  already "increase the deficit by trillions of dollars;" "take health-care insurance away from tens of millions of people" whose employers will drop them from the rolls courtesy of Obamacare fines, taxes, and punishments; "create a level of policy uncertainty businesses have never previously known" by sowing fear and uncertainty in corporate boardrooms and stock markets alike; and in so doing, "suck demand out of an economy that's already got too little of it"? Why the hell has the stock market been trapped in the Phantom Zone for the past year?

Clearly Klein assumes complete and utter brainlessness on the part of his dwindling Washington Post readership. (Another link here.) Either that, or he's entirely lost touch with reality. Or both.

David Axelrod: Hippie Puncher

Hippie puncher? New one on me. Like XOMG! President Obama's odious PR flak, David Axelrod, apparently tried to enlist the aid of the left-wing blogosphere to counter the increasingly effective smaller-government message of the Tea Partiers. This, of course, after odious faux presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs recently trashed them, much to their obvious consternation.

The response to Axelrod's plea? Right back at ya, dude:
Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal blogosphere's anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism of the left, accusing the administration of "hippie punching."

"We're the girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day," the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.
Fishing about for a real definition of "hippie punching," I found a fairly complex but good one here, loaded with useful context.

I wonder...does this usage derive from the earlier term "bitch slapping?"

Government Motors (GM) Resumes Political Kickbacks to Dems

Here's a real outrage. General Motors--known these days to cynics as "Government Motors," given that unwilling taxpayers now own the majority of this bankrupt company--has resumed the time-honored corporate practice of paying bribes political kickbacks making campaign contributions to politicians whose favors it wishes to curry.

Although this is not outlawed in a strictly legal sense, it's a profoundly asinine, politically tone-deaf  action by GM's management, particularly when you look at who's supposed to be getting the dough:
The beneficiaries include Midwestern lawmakers, mostly Democrats, who have traditionally supported the industry's legislative agenda on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.).
Yep, all the people that helped the Obama administration illegally screw GM's bondholders and reward its rapacious unions while "saving" this bankrupt corporate relic, all courtesy of money coming from you and me. As if we had it to give in the first place. 

Oh, yeah, Josh Mitchell's WSJ Online piece does mention that a few bucks were tossed in the direction of Republican House Whip Eric Cantor. Big deal. Cantor should take a stand and give it back. The Dems never will.

We'll perhaps never know who initiated this generous donation out of taxpayer pockets. GM's endless parade of loser-executives has rarely been cited for its intelligence, political sensitivity, or business acumen. It's my guess that beleaguered Democrats--particularly those like Dingell, who could be in real trouble in Michigan this fall--sorta kinda made this $$ suggestion themselves, maybe via two or three levels of subordinates on either side. A little like Nancy Pelosi "suggested" that DC Representative-for-Life Eleanor Norton, hit up ask her old donors to help out the Party itself since Norton doesn't really need the dough. (Audio and story here.)

It still galls me when I recollect, years after the fact, how Ohio's then-Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH!) sternly lectured Ronald Reagan's Attorney General Ed Meese how he must avoid "even the appearance" of impropriety.** When it comes to the appearance of impropriety or actual impropriety itself, however, Democrats apparently don't give a rat's derrière. Advice from a Democrat is always for everyone else. The condescension of these people is infuriating.

Meanwhile, except for this piece in the Journal and my comments in this blog, I imagine that the MSM Journolistas ignore this "impropriety" entirely and remain fixated instead on Christine O'Donnel's youthful flirtations with witchcraft. (Maybe they should throw out their own kids' Harry Potter books while they're at it. Who knows what might come up in, say, the 2030 election campaign.)

UPDATE: Well, Don Surber actually noted this news item as well, and has a particularly pithy comment:
Paying off politicians is cheaper than paying back taxpayers.
**Metzenbaum postscript for those who care: Having made a fortune from investing in parking lots, multimillionare Metzenbaum was ensnared in a Washington DC parking lot scandal just a couple of weeks after he delivered his stern, sanctimonious lecture to Meese. Metzenbaum passed away a couple of years ago in Florida where he'd retired after leaving the Senate. This may not seem like a big deal but it is. Ohio has the most ridiculously low inheritance tax threshhold in the United States. Leaving an estate of just $383,000 (or thereabouts) puts your estate in probate court in the Buckeye State. Like the despicable John Kerry, who docks his yacht in Rhode Island to avoid Massachusetts taxes, Metzenbaum made sure that, as a resident of Florida, his own estate escaped Ohio's confiscatory inheritance tax system, even as his former constituents continue to pay, pay, pay.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Market Flat, Budgets Flat, Dollar Stores Gain

Since I recouped my losses in the stock market last year--and then some--I've been remiss on providing updates on my investing adventures. Part of that is due to the fact that there haven't been many of them this year. I'm essentially flat.

The machines have taken over the market as exchanges and brokerage firms have become addicted to the phenomenon known as HFT, or "high-frequency trading," essentially (in my opinion and that of others) a scam whereby batteries of computers buy and sell tens of thousands of shares in nanoseconds to scalp a tenth of a penny on a large scale or, in some cases, to put large, traditional investors at a price disadvantage. This nonsense should be declared illegal, as it's completely distorted the market and driven nearly all retail investors (except me, apparently) from the market. With big upswings canceled almost immediately by big downswings, my portfolio, and many others, are essentially flat this year which isn't part of the game.

The only redeeming grace of this market is the mostly-ignored (until now) huge dividends being paid by high yielding junk bond, real estate, and energy ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and MLPs (master limited partnerships), all of which must pay out roughly 90+% of their profits as dividends to their investors. To make things even better, these dividends, to varying degrees in varying situations, can be tax-advantaged as well, a big plus in the era of Obamanomics where income redistribution appears still to be the rule.

Another fitfully lucrative investment has been the dollar stores, specifically Family Dollar (ticker FDO, now offering coupons online), Dollar Tree (DLTR), and Dollar General (DG, more online coupons). (California also has "99 Cents Only Stores" [NDN] which proudly proclaim that they're "the right more than ever!") I've been in and out of the first three as the occasion warrants, and they've generally been eating the lunch of larger big box retailers by offering decent quality goods at the price points most newly frugal Americans eagerly seek out.

Their secret is simple: they cater to battered American consumers by finding ways of packaging a large variety of useful goods in or around the $1 price point. Needless to say, sometimes, if you compare weight and unit cost with more normal sized packages, say, at Wal-Mart, the larger retailer may very well win on unit cost. But many consumers are so strapped these days, they only want to buy exactly what they need. Big bulk buys (as at Costco) will wipe out their meager monthly budgets.

It's a sign of our times and a fascinating story about how the once lowly-regarded (by the faux-wealthy) dollar stores are making a big difference in the lives of millions of cash-strapped Americans. Happily, the efforts of the dollar stores to help make budgets stretch are also putting $$ in the pockets of their investors as well, another aid in repairing those damaged portfolios that will be our only hope when Social Security ultimately fails.

For more about the dollar stores, read this interesting piece posted to CNBC online and originating from, mirabile dictu, the New York Times, which took the care to drop Tea Party bashing for a moment to report on some real news about real people and real companies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ding Dong the Well is Dead...

Well, at least that's what AP says, re: the now notorious BP gulf oil well blowout:
The well is dead. Finally.

A permanent cement plug sealed BP's well nearly 2.5 miles below the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico, five agonizing months after an explosion sank a drilling rig and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Watch how quickly the Obama Administration and/or the MSM will leap to take credit for this feat. Alternative tactic: Not mentioning anything at all, hoping to put this damaging issue to bed--most notably the complete failure of this administration to do anything other than yell at BP and blame Bush while throwing an estimated 50,000 taxpaying oil rig workers out of work.

Obama's Increasing Irrelevance to Anything

Opining on advice to the tone-deaf Obama administration to go-postal-Alinsky on Sarah Palin, the better to distract the electorate from the coming Republican tsunami, Doc Zero of "Hot Air" fires off a stunning spot-on barrage of telling rhetorical questions:
Let me put this bluntly: virtually no one in America gives a damn what Barack Obama says about anything at this point.  What could be more predictable, and less interesting, than Obama’s opinion on any given subject?  Who wants to contemplate the economic wisdom of a guy who looted the Treasury for a trillion dollars, with less benefit than we could have achieved by stuffing hundred dollar bills into random cereal boxes?  Who’s excited to hear about the next plan to convert taxpayer dollars into Democrat campaign funds?  Who’s hungry for another hour of tedious excuses about permanently broken markets and the titanic dead hand of George W. Bush?  Who wants a lecture on ethical business practices from the titular head of the party that gave us Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters?  What use is another hollow foreign-policy speech from a man who sees no global adversary to rival the menace of Arizona?  Even Obama’s supporters don’t hear anything he says any more.
Italics mine.

Any questions?

Global Warming = Climate Change = Global Climate Disruption

Like ACORN and Journolist, the "global warming" collective of hoaxsters, including Liar-in-Chief and private jet-lover Al Gore, were caught red-handed in their deceit which nearly cost all of us a great deal of freedom, not to mention money. But, like ACORN and Journolist, the warmists are a resilient lot of shape-shifters. After being exposed as frauds and liars, warmists first changed their terminology, referring to their favorite faux phenomenon as "climate change" to deflect the, er, heat from their Big Lie. That didn't work. So now:
The White House wants the public to start using the term "global climate disruption" in place of "global warming" -- fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is. 
No mention of the earlier attempt at "climate change." Nothing to see here folks. Let's move along.

The genius behind the latest revision of this unbelievable chunk of zombie science is none other than
White House science adviser John Holdren [who] urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a "dangerous misnomer" for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature. 
Sure it is. Serial lying is always more complicated than the simple initial lie. Holdren, by the way, is a notable radical Idiotarian whose ideas for "saving the planet" also include mass abortion and mass sterilization of women (helps balance the eco-system better) as well as sterilization of "undesirables," presumably Republican women. So much for the "right to choose," eh, John.

How much have we increased the deficit by paying this pompous and dangerous jackass?

Journolist and ACORN: Morphing to Survive

Voter-fraud organization ACORN allegedly began to fold earlier this year. Chapter by chapter, state and local affiliates folded, scalded by reports from Breitbart, et. al., detailing their relentless stuff-the-ballot box maneuvers on behalf of socialists Democrats at the local, state, and national level. Politico's Ben Smith, now outed as a once and future member of Journolist, "reported" this back in March, at the same time lamely claiming ACORN was actually only a loosely affiliated group of grass-roots affiliates anyway.**

Long time political junkies, however, know how this kind of "disbanding" works. The designated entity, ACORN in this case, uses fellow-traveling Journolistas like Smith to plant stories of its demise. Meanwhile, the master organization and its affiliates go underground and re-group under a myriad of names making it far more difficult to track the central thrust of this now freeform hydra's activities.

The CPUSA, or what's left of it today, continually employed tactics like these since its Popular Front era in the 1930s. Don't doubt that the new "ACORN" will be active this fall and even moreso in 2012. Their ongoing dedication to the destruction of our democratic way of life will not be diminished.

Likewise Journolist itself--or however it is currently reconstituted. Even know, its reduced number of official denizens are plotting to put out phony-baloney story lines based on the Alinsky Rules for Radicals playbook, probably by using the familiar tactic of targeting and smearing specific Tea Party-supported candidates the better to promote their Democrat opponents--usually the incumbents. As in this observation by The Atlantic's Mark Ambinder:
The media is going to help the Democratic Party’s national messaging, which is that the GOP is a party full of Christine O’Donnells, a party that wants to take away your Social Security and your right to masturbate. Well, maybe not that last part, but then again, the implicit message of the party is that the GOP is about to elect a slate of hard social rightists to Congress.
Democrats haven't had a new idea since the McGovern wing took them over in 1972. The only way they can survive is to smear and slander their opponents, the better to distract voters from their own unbroken record of failure, disgrace, and fiscal mismanagement.

In short, the new ACORN and the new Journolist, whatever they're now calling themselves, are still up to their dirty tricks. We'll try to track down the still very active pieces in the months ahead. Meanwhile, don't believe a word of their phony narrative as it predictably unfolds.

**Note: For the entire list of Journolist faux journalists, check out our previous link.

Blue to Red: State Migration Trends a Mixed Blessing

Here's an interesting clip from Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit:
PEOPLE TEND TO TRAVEL IN THE DIRECTION OF GREATER FREEDOM: State Migration Trends, 1993-2008: From Blue States to Red States.
The link takes you to University of Cincinnati College of Law professor Paul L. Caron's "TaxProf Blog" which offers a pair of charts that list states with net out-migration vs. net in-migration from 1993-2008. Regarding the states with net out-migration, Caron observes that:
Nine of the ten states voted for President Obama in 2008 (the tenth state -- Louisiana -- suffered massive migration from Hurricane Katrina).
The ten states with top in migration?
Five of the ten states voted for John McCain in 2008; nine of the ten states voted for President Bush in 2004.
Without the help of useful stats like these, I've been observing for at least a decade that population has indeed consistently drained from Blue states to Red ones. It's good to finally have some statistical backup. But I've also been pointing out a chilling sub-trend that neither of these bloggers nor, apparently, anyone else noticed.

Fleeing Blue-staters bring with them a fatal flaw. They do not change their voting habits. They make no connection between cause and effect. They fail to recognize their own complicity in electing left-wing Democrats who never fail to bring cities, counties, and states to their knees with high taxes and union favoritism. Thus, one by one, Red states that experience heavy Blue state in-migration start tilting Democrat and Socialist.

Take one state on the list, the usually reliably conservative state of New Hampshire. ("Live Free or Die.") Throughout the '80s and '90s, New Hampshire experienced in-migration from that wildly Blue Kennedy fiefdom known as "Taxachusetts." And wouldn't ya know--while it's not yet true Blue, New Hampshire is now a vastly dicier political environment for Republicans. It's no longer reliably Red. Escaping Massachusetts denizens still reflexively pull that D lever, apparently oblivious to why it was that they fled their home state to begin with. A reliably Blue New Hampshire is only a matter of time.

Likewise, states like North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado. All once solid Red, they're a lot tricker these days. Out-migrants from New York and New Jersey have transferred their reflexively Blue voting habits to the once solid South. NC and FL must increasingly be regarded as solid Purple. The tendency is not good, as evidenced by the Democrats' political chicanery in Florida in the Y2K election. Gore's selective vote-counting trick could only have been enabled by a cadre of veteran Blue-state machine Democrats who'd transferred their votes and their tactics to the Sunshine State.

Meanwhile, Colorado, once a very reliable part of the solid-Red West, has also fallen into the Purple ranks. The cause here is a bit murkier, but I suspect it's mostly ex-Californians who are the mischief-makers as they scramble for the exits of the near-bankrupt mess they created over the last 20-30 years.

Given the cluelessness of those who are fleeing, how long will it take before dynamic states like Florida, Texas, etc., are also brought to their knees as new True Blue voters slowly strangle what attracted them in the first place? When will they ever learn?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Molly Norris Does Salman Rushdie; or, Among the Disappeared

As you may recall, a number of months back we all experienced a pair of rolling brouhahas with regard to "offending" the Islamofascists. And both were related. The first was the flap that developed when the Comedy Channel censored South Park's attempt to show an image of the prophet on one of their over-the-top satirical episodes, fearing reprisals. The second--a response to the first--was the call of Seattle-area cartoonist Molly Norris to hold a "Draw Mohammed" day (that's the way she spelled it) to show these latter-day Nazis we gave not a hoot about their dictates--in our own country at least.

The result of the South Park flap was pretty instantaneous. Comedy Channel refused to rescind the censorship. And not long after an (apparently) lone Islamofascist wing-nut attempted to plant a crude anti-personnel bomb on Times Square not far from a Comedy Channel-affiliated facility. Guess that shows you that self-censorship really works, eh?

Meanwhile, as we noted (disapprovingly) in this blog, Norris instantly backed off her call for drawing Mohammed--after going out of her way to get her 15 minutes of fame--realizing she may have carved out more dangerous publicity for herself than she'd anticipated. We now learn that Molly is now among the "disappeared," apparently entering something like the FBI's witness protection program, à la Salman Rushdie in the UK. She no longer exists, according to James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal:
"There is no more Molly," reports Seattle Weekly. Molly Norris, formerly a cartoonist for the alternative paper, has gone into hiding. At the suggestion of the FBI, "she is, as they put it, 'going ghost': moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity."
Why? Because, as the New York Times reports, imam Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Islamic supremacist who is himself in hiding in Yemen, issued a fatwa in July declaring that Norris "should be taken as a prime target of assassination" because of a cartoon she drew two months earlier titled "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day."
Well, isn't that special? Exercise your constitutional right to free speech right here in the U.S. and, voilá, you're disappeared to save you from execution murder by peace-loving Islamofascists. Did I say peace-loving? Taranto points out the following:
In October 2001, by the way, the New York Times described al-Awlaki, who then ran a mosque in Virginia, as someone who "is held up as a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West." How's that working out?
He continues to connect the dots:
Here's another question: Where is President Obama? Last month, speaking to a mostly Muslim audience at the White House, the president strongly defended the right of another imam held up as a moderate to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero. The next day, and again at a press conference last week, Obama said he was merely standing up for the First Amendment. As far as we recall, it's the only time Barack Obama has ever stood up for anybody's First Amendment rights.
Don't hold your breath, Jim. As people have begun to figure out, academic theorist Obama at least vaguely ascribes to neo-post-colonialism (or whatever its current nomenclature is) that blames the US--which is, of course, merely an extension of Old Colonial Europe--as deserving whatever it gets from the third world as punishment for its alleged past sins. (Who elected this dude?)

In any event, don't hold your breath for a Presidential intervention. As a result,
Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?
Ironically, Norris tried to make amends for her "blasphemy" within Seattle's Muslim community. But hey, who cares, figure the Islamofascists. Let's kill her anyway. She's only another infidel. One commentator to this sub-story, posting to an apparently moderate Muslim-oriented blog, has it about right:
She should have stuck to her original position because it doesn't matter at all that she backtracked and tried to make peace. They still want to kill her. That's one of the difficulties with islam - they're going to chop your head off anyway, so why bother trying to make nice??
A surprising number of commentators at various sites actually blame Norris for the "provocation," claiming that just because she has the right to free speech doesn't mean that she can abuse it. Excuse me? Employing this logic, could we all agree that just because some provocateurs "have the right" to build a gigantic mosque within a stone's throw of Ground Zero in New York city that doesn't mean that they can abuse New Yorkers by actually building it?

These clowns are all fascists hiding behind the mask of religion. Their apologists are not much better and are in fact probably worse, since they're what shrinkologists call "enablers." We need to return the favor, protect our citizens starting NOW, and start issuing fatwahs against these murderers themselves. We have the right to do so, too, under a little known provision of our Constitution. (NB: Ron Paul, not usually one of our favorite people, seems to have figured this one out.)

Please refer to our earlier post on the danger to our Arizona citizens posed by the dominance of Mexican drug cartel activity along a major interstate--one the current adminstration addresses by posting signs warning families to be on the lookout. Whose country is this anyway?

(Postscript: Speaking of the aforementioned Rushdie. In spite of his well-known travails re: the Islamofascists' fatwah-death threat, this clueless socialist has yet to learn. He's vocally supporting the building of the Ground Zero mosque. I could go on about this kind of "intellectual class" lunacy at length, but you already know the rant.)

"Religion of Peace" Tries to Off Pope in London

Headline from the UK's Mail Online:

Police swoop in Pope terror alert: Six held
amid fears of atrocity in heart of London

Apparently, these enterprising Islamofascist dudes (not all of them from the Middle East, BTW) were posing as streetcleaners. Clever, that.

Follow the link to read the rest. Hat tip to Drudge for the original link.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Obamacare's Death Panels: Politico Can't Handle the Truth

Politico hack reporter David Catanese penned a pretty slick attack piece on newly-anointed Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell in today's online edition. The story looks pretty straightforward on its face. That's only because the digs and lies are so effectively concealed, however. First, let's look at Catanese's early, one-sided eye-poke:
O'Donnell, who defeated Castle by a 6-point margin despite sustained attacks on her misstatements and financial troubles – past and present — repeatedly chided "the ruling class" and championed "a rowdy revolution of reason."
Italics mine. We're not going to quibble with the fact that O'Donnell has had her share of issues in life and on the campaign stump. Problem is twofold: A. She's a neophyte candidate, vying, until her primary victory this Tuesday past, to represent a party that's always held up to far greater scrutiny by the lamestream media than the Democrats; and B. Her opponent had a number of issues, too, mainly dealing with integrity and truthfulness when it came to representing his votes in Congress. The latter are not mentioned here, however. Only O'Donnell's issues.

The more subtle implication here, too, is that the Republican primary voters must be really stupid if they didn't notice or care how flawed their preferred candidate is and was.

Catanese's own breezy but very flawed observation constitutes the typical reportorial "sin of omission." By detailing one candidate's shortcomings while allowing those of the opponent(s) to go unmentioned, the implication is clear that the "flawed" candidate (O'Donnell) is demonstrably inferior to the once favored candidate (the defeated RINO, Mike Castle). But there is no proof of this in Catanese's piece. And no mention of Castle. Since the reporter is an assumed "authority," we have to accept what he writes as the literal truth.

This slick maneuver is a standard implement in the leftist-journalist toolkit. The usual result of such sly sins of omission: a smear that deposits no DNA, a stealth attack that leaves a negative impression of the candidate/victim while permitting the faux-reporter an escape hatch of plausible deniability. ("That's not what I wrote! That's your imagination!") Cute. But easy to catch, and they do it all the time. Except that people like me are onto this now.

The other sleight-of-hand Catanese pulls is the casual lie that's reported as fact. And here it is, a bit lower in the article:
...the former television commentator [O'Donnell] lamented Washington bureaucrats who have "weaseled" their way into personal decisions that should be left up to individuals, using a line of attack first delivered by Sarah Palin.
"They even want unelected panels of bureaucrats to decide who gets what life-saving medical care and who is just too old, or it's too expensive to be worth saving," she said, a nod to the fictional "death panels" that Palin first used to attack the health care bill.
Ahem. "Fictional 'death panels'"? (My bolding.) The word "fictional" here is an editorialization, something I thought they taught was a no-no in Journalism 101. (Apparently, the rule is suspended when the editorialization is aimed at a Conservative.) By not qualifying his use of the term "fictional" as his personal opinion, Catanese is essentially opining that O'Donnell's statement is full of merde, i.e., "everybody knows" (everyone in the ruling class, that is) that Obamacare couldn't possibly support "death panels." Problem is, Catanese is also lying but wording his opinion in such a way that it appears to be an accepted fact.

But if this is the case, Dave (which it is), how to you deal with the confirmation of said death panels by one of your fellow travelers, faux "economist" and Marxist apologist Paul Krugman? According to Wesley J. Smith in First Things, Krugman, freely acknowledges that government panels will be rationing certain kinds of healthcare, including life and death medications and procedures for older Americans:
...In answering a flip, but it turns out quite good, question about “death panels,” Paul Krugman claims accurately that the cost/benefit board established over private medicine by Obamacare will be able to impose “more or less binding judgments” refusing care, and moreover, that these refusals will save “a lot of money” in the context of treating the elderly (and others, such as people with disabilities and terminal illnesses).  He says that the panel will prevent treatment that isn’t “medically” useful. But private insurance companies already do that. So do Medicare and Medicaid.

No, the money won’t be taken out of the hide of patients who want physiologically useless treatment, it will come at the lethal cost to patients whose treatment will be refused because it could work, based on the invidious judgment that the patient’s life is not worth the money to support.  In short, Krugman has admitted that contrary to the many mendacious denials by Obamacare supporters, the new regime will impose rationing–just as in the UK with NICE, which is why I bring it up all the time.

This is akin to imposing a duty to die because when we reach a certain point in life, we will not be able to obtain treatment we want that could keep us going. Indeed, for me, this centralized federal control over what will and will not be provided in medicine–and to whom–is the biggest reason (among so many) why Obamacare is wrong.  Repeal. Reform. Replace.  First target–putative death panels.
There you have it, straight from the sainted Nobel Prize winner's mouth. Death panels DO exist in Obamacare as currently constituted. Now, you can call them something else, of course, thus claiming, via a tenuous stretch, that since they're generally not called "death panels" by the left-wing cognoscenti, they are, therefore, not death panels. My way or the highway. I get to craft the terms. You don't.

This kind of verbal hocus-pocus is used all the time by pro-abortion fans, for example, who prefer to be recognized as "pro-choice" even though they are indeed "pro-abortion" first and foremost. Another fine example: Bill Clinton, early in his first term, brilliantly re-crafted governmental spending terminology by referring to tax increases and tax expenditures as "investments." Hey, you can oppose a tax, but who could possibly oppose a governmental "investment" in our future? After all, we're capitalists and that's just good business, right? But you know the old adage, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..." (BTW, the last 3-4 years have shown us what kind of return we're going to get on our current government Recovery Summer "investments." But we digress.)

It looks like Obamacare's death panels aren't "fictional" after all. Imagine that.

Catanese's outright lie--a crass editorialization if there ever was one--is a sneaky, snarky way to slime both Palin (by now, an accepted ritual) and O'Donnell. It also leads an uncritical or casual reader to simply accept Catenese's bald-faced lie as fact, which it is not. Catanese and his editors apparently prefer that you overlook this little fib and accept their own "fiction" as fact.

If anyone wonders at this late stage of Campaign 2010 why the Tea Partiers and countless others, including wavering Democrats, are completely fed up with the elite professors, journalists, and "politicos" who inhabit the current ruling class, they have only to parse tricky, negative advertorials like Catanese's sly attack on O'Donnell that masquerades as a legitimate news story.

But this is not 2008. It's 2010. People are simply sick of being lied to, 24/7, by clowns who think their slick yet oddly amateurish fictions will always go unnoticed and unmasked.

Earth to Politico: those days are so over.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tea Party Wisdom from King Gustav III

A few hours ago, I filed my review of the Washington National Opera's (WNO's) opening night performance of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) in the online "Entertain Us" section where much of my reviewing lives these days. The opera was a mixed bag (good singing, awful sets). But my political interest was piqued by the fact that WNO chose to go back to the original character names and geographical settings he'd tried to establish back in the mid-19th century. **

Checking out Gustav's complex and colorful personal and political history via a decent Wikipedia entry, I duly noted an excerpt from a speech he made to his politically corrupt and fractious parliament members of the time. While keeping in mind that Gustav appears to have been far from perfection himself, the excerpt below sound like it could have been written just yesterday--and in Washington, DC. In it, Gustav chastised the sheer crookedness of both major political factions who, in his words:
...have given birth to hatred, hatred to revenge, revenge to persecution, persecution to new revolutions which finally has passed into a period of disease, which has wounded and degraded the whole nation. The ambition and lust for glory in a few people has damaged the realm, and blood has been shed by both parties, and the result of this has been the suffering of the people. To establish their own power base, has been the rulers’ sole goal, often at the cost of other citizens, and always at the cost of the nation. In times when the law was clear, the law has been distorted, and when this was not possible, it was broken. Nothing has been sacred to a populace bent on hatred and revenge, and the lunacy has finally reached as far, so as one has assumed members of parliament to be above the law, them not having any other guidance than their own conscience. By this Freedom, the most noble of human rights, has been transformed by an unbearable aristocratic despotism in the hands of the ruling party, which in its self has been subdued by a few...
Emphasis mine. Is this the essence of what's got Tea Partiers upset today? I think so. We, too, now have a "ruling class" who've bankrupted the country over the past 50 years or so in search of personal gain and raw personal power. The result? As Gustav said, it's the "suffering of the people." Let's remember this when going to the polls in November. It's time to throw the Democrats out of both houses in 2010 and start over with a fresh batch of Republicans.

And frankly, if the Republicans then revert to the same crap, it will be time to throw them out in 2012. If eventually wiping the slate clean is what it's going to take, than that's what the voters of this country are going to have to do.

It's amazing what you can get out of one little opera.

  ** For history buffs, here's a very condensed, oversimplified "rest of the story" about the opera itself. 

Originally given a working title of Gustavus III, the opera was a fictionalized account of the colorful life and ultimate assassination of Sweden's King Gustav III, generally regarded by Swedes, we are told, as a benevolent monarch who had endless troubles with corrupt, greedy factions in the Swedish parliament and governmental structure at the time. 

But this historical material presented a sticky problem for Verdi. He developed his opera not long after Europe's ultimately unsuccessful but extremely dangerous (to royalty) 1848 multi-headed revolution. Worse, the composer himself was known as a bit of a revolutionary and an Italian nationalist as well--at a time when modern Italy simply didn't exist. Keeping their own best interests in mind, Italian city-state censors and the Church simply weren't about to allow something like the story of Gustav's regicide to appear onstage. It might give "the people" the wrong idea. (Old joke: "The people are revolting, Sire.") 

After a protracted wrangle, Verdi, under pressure from all sides, kept his characters and score largely intact. But he transformed Gustav III into the "Governor" of colonial Massachusetts, providing all his characters new Italian names, which makes the whole thing even sillier, at least to our eyes. (Gustav became "Governor" Riccardo for example.)

In any event, that's the way life was for an artist like Verdi back in 19th century Europe. In the end, you do what you have to do. Meanwhile, Verdi's opera, like much of his huge output, remained popular anyway in spite of the silly name changes and incongruous (and phony) setting. WNO, as are many opera houses these days, has chosen to revert back to Verdi's original pre-censored story and intentions. Placing this show back in the Swedish court just felt more comfortable Saturday evening. I'm certain that the ghost of Verdi will sleep better tonight because of it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Undeclared War in Arizona

I've long feared the problems we've been experiencing on our long border with Mexico even as the press and the administration pretty much ignore them, aside from hassling American citizens for their lack of "tolerance." Now I get the following news in an aside from a guest post to Decision Point, an excellent financial service. Advisor/newsletter writer (and California resident) Gene Inger observes: obnoxious warning signs the BLM [Bureau of Land Management] has posted in Arizona warning U.S. citizens about traveling on AZ/CA Interstate 8, because of the surge in criminal and alien activity. Has anyone considered warning the criminals or the illegal aliens of what can happen, instead of coddling the transgressors and thus warning normal families that they are at risk if they drive from Phoenix to Disneyland with their kids this holiday weekend? Instead of the National Guard, Washington has sent signs to warn Americans about interfering with smugglers and cartels; versus a warning to all drug and human traffickers about what we’ll do to them in our territory. Talk about getting things backwards; shame on Washington for this type response in the wake of multiple state governors asking DC for help in enforcing existing laws. One might be a bit tempted to call this a tempest in a teapot that vanishes after Elections; except it is actually occurring, and there is a big difference between compassion for the truly poor illegal migrant versus the terrorist or criminal trafficker violating our borders. The inability of government to differentiate between these with regard to policy is odd....
Odd indeed. Italics mine.

Mexican drug traffickers and people smugglers have brought Mexico to the point of anarchy with their murderous, essentially unanswered terrorist activities. It's been spilling over our borders for a long time, even as Democrats have essentially encouraged the human smuggling activity as a way of attracting new voters, used to a lifetime of socialism, who will keep Democrats in the majority presumably forever. This greedy, disgusting, and illegal political myopia ignores what's going to happen not if, but when, Mexico's drug anarchy establishes itself in a more permanent and far more deadly fashion--something that's clearly already begun and is picking up velocity by the day.

Arizonans aren't hicks. They're scared,  disgusted, and angry at what's happening and are trying to take action to defend themselves since the Federal government will not. Rather than suing Arizona for attempting to do what our worthless and spineless PC government will not, viz., protect our borders from foreign predation, this administration needs to begin deploying the military in a substantial way in affected areas with strict orders to shoot to kill, no questions asked. If we don't start sending that message soon, Southwestern U.S. cities will be thoroughly infiltrated by Mexican drug cartels and eventually turn into besieged cities that start looking a lot like Beirut when we belatedly try to take our territory back.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Buckeye State Blog: Anatomy of a Lie

Left wing partisan Democrat site Buckeye State Blog--obviously situated in a major battleground state--shows you how the tactic of lie and innuendo functions. Here's a September 3 bulletin excoriating the alleged cruelty and mean-spiritedness of Ohio 13th District Republican House candidate Tom Ganley:
This one from the e-bag, a seniors group will be protesting in front of Tom Ganley's Toyota/Mercedes dealership on E. Market St. in Akron tomorrow at 11 AM. They are protesting Ganley's campaign promise to "cut the Dickens" out of Medicare, Social Security, and Veterans' benefits if elected.
Well, hold on there, Baba Looey. Here's a clip from that reports this just a trifle different. Regarding the protestors:
John Rogers, V.P. of an Akron Communication Workers of America (CWA) retirees chapter, says they aren't sure what Ganley stands for.

"He wants to cut, he wants to slash everything but he never said which entitlements and we're assuming of course as retirees, medicare, social security," explains Rogers, who adds seniors can't afford those cuts.
Hmm. Seems like it's a retired union flack who is "assuming" that Ganley wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. Nothing about Ganley SAYING this. Maybe Nick D is too lazy to fact-check his emails. Particularly when such lies agree with his left-wing narrative and therefore must be true.

But wait, there's more. From AkronNewsNow:
When asked if anyone from the group contacted the Ganley headquarters to explain what Ganley meant, Rogers said "yes." It was another member of the CWA, who is also with the Congresswoman Betty Sutton campaign.  
Betty Sutton is the incumbent Democrat Rep Ganley's opposing, wouldn't ya know.

Here's a reply from Ganley's office:
Meghan Snyder, Communications Director for Tom Ganley for Congress, says the entitlement system needs reform. 
"Tom Ganley's stance is to continue protecting the benefits of social security. There's deficits that we'll be running in the year 2015, those are the things that need to be fixed," Snyder explains.  
For those uninitiated in the ways of Washington, Medicare, BTW, was legislated into existence by Lyndon Johnson and his New Deal cronies in the 1960s under the auspices of the original Social Security Act which they claimed enabled such legislation to "finish the job" as it were. Ergo, if Ganley is on record for protecting Social Security, then he is, de facto, in favor of saving Medicare as well.

In point of fact, one way ObamaCare intends to pay for itself is by CUTTING or LIMITING Medicare options, particularly in the area of end-of-life care for older Americans. The very ones who are "protesting" in front of Ganley's business. I wonder why Betty and the CWA Union stewards never told Rogers and his pals about this?

The AkronNewsNow report explains it all in its final sentence:
Thursday's protest was authorized by the Betty Sutton for Congress campaign.
Game, set, and match, Nick D. Why don't you ask Betty why she voted to cut John Rogers' Medicare benefits? Better yet, why don't you ask John if he even knows about this? Even better, why don't you start learning about the truth over at Right Ohio? Join 2010's winning team.

Obama: My Life as a Dog

No kidding. Barack Obama looked up from the teleprompter today and delivered this impromptu idea to an undoubtedly pre-selected and adoring Milwaukee crowd:
Obama offered an aside that spoke to his diminished state and captured the mood of a president and party under assault.

“They talk about me like a dog,” Obama said with a chuckle of his political opponents. “That’s not in my prepared remarks but it’s true.”
Ya think? Looks to moi like a majority of voters this fall are getting the feeling that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the Democrats have treated them like dogs.

(Hat tip to Wizbang for the reference.)

Got a Job? Happy Labor Day, Govies!

The average dude in this country doesn't have much to crow about this Labor Day, 2010. More than likely, he (or she) is unemployed or underemployed and likely to stay that way for years. Not so the Governmental class. Unionized, tenured, and pampered with the greatest salaries, medical benefits, and most gold-plated pension plans on earth, they can afford to sneer disdainfully at their minions in flyover country when we dare call in to ask what happened to our unemployment checks. Or, God forbid, why we, who are allegedly the paymasters of state, Federal, and local government employees (govies) are sending them more and more money to enable them to live like relative gods while we live like peons. Amity Shlaes gets this irony perfectly:
This weekend we celebrate Labor Day in a country divided between two kinds of workers. The first is the private-sector worker, the vulnerable one who rides the business cycle without shock absorbers. The second worker, who works for the government, lives a cushioned existence in which terminations take years, pension amounts are often guaranteed, and recessions are only thunder in the distance. Yet worse than this division is the knowledge that the private-sector worker will pay for public-sector comfort with ever higher taxes.
Unfortunately, you can't read the rest of it because it's behind the WSJ firewall. But this clip, in and of itself, commemorates Labor Day 2010 well enough. Back in the day, no one ever begrudged the govies (or the teachers) their swell benefits packages, even then generally better than ours. Why? Because we (and they) felt it was good compensation for their relatively lousy salaries.

Today, they still have the gold-plated packages. But they now make, on average, considerably more than the Great Unwashed--they who have to pony up now for both the packages AND the CEO-level salaries. Time to get this fixed. Time for the Great Awakening to spread.

November will be here soon.

Friday, September 03, 2010

An October Surprise?

Jim Geraghty has an interesting NRO column in which he evokes the advice of his (perhaps fictional) political mentor who hides under the name of Obi Wan Kenobi (OWK). (Hat tip: Instapundit.) Obi warns that the Dems may upset the apparent November Republican juggernaut with not one but many "October surprises" meant to derail the Repubs' current momentum:
This fall they [the Democrats] will know no checks — October Surprises, maybe every day and all day. What this means, I don’t know — bombing Iran? Capturing Osama bin Laden or some other big name and announcing the news two days before the election? Get tough with Paris Hilton and send her to Guantanamo?
More to the point, however, OWK gets to the essence of today's Democrat:
One problem area is that Republicans don’t usually get the media dynamic. Look at the week of the Obamacare vote — while Republicans were focused on legislative maneuvers and talking amendments, the White House created the right media climate, one where wavering Democrats could feel comfortable by citing the support of the Catholic nuns and the hospital associations and the CBO in a nice little series of TV set-pieces....

...Just tell the people that the White House and Democrats will try and control the media dynamic and narrative. This is what they do. They don’t really know how to govern for the public good; if they could do that, they would be in better shape. What they do know to do is use media events to hold onto power, to go on television and blab.
OWK details just how much a part of the Democrats' attack-and-focus mechanism the media have become, and I think he has it down pretty well. But here's the money sentences--the one all voters should remember well this November:
Get the word out that this election is not just about Obama — he is just a symptom of what the Democratic party has been since 1972....There are no moderate Democrats in Congress, because when you vote for a supposed Blue Dog you are voting for the enablers — the ones who keep the House and Senate run by liberals.
As one of my old Merchant Marine pals once observed on another topic, "Truer words was never spoke."

Geraghty's whole piece is good. If you didn't already hit the link above, just click here.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

WaPo and Eco-terror: Where's the Reference to Al Gore?

Following up on last nite's post, re: the brief life and unhappy death of the Discovery Channel left wing eco-terrorist influenced, at least in part, by the Goracle's "global warming" hoax. Yesterday I'd wondered whether the AP reference to the influence of Gore that I discovered at would ever make it to the morning papers.

Now I have my answer: Nope.

At least not in the Washington Post. They have a detailed A-section front page story on yesterday afternoon's hostage standoff in Bethesda, Maryland (a suburb just north of Washington, DC). They mention James Lee's attraction to the eco-novels of Daniel Quinn, and even run a short feature-interview of Quinn, penned by their so-called "religion reporter" Michelle Boorstein. But apparently like most Posties, one of Boorstein's religious credos is "global warming." She never alludes to the Gore reference at all, nor does the paper's front page news story detailing yesterday's incident. I'm shocked. Shocked!

That's the way they maintain The Narrative, folks. In the Catholic Church, we'd call that a "sin of omission."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Bethesda Eco-terrorist Inspired by Gore

For those who just tuned in, a gunman smashed into the Bethesda, Maryland HQ of The Discovery Channel today, taking hostages en route. According to the website of Washington DC's all-news WTOP radio:
A man who railed against the Discovery Channel's environmental programming for years burst into the company's headquarters with at least one explosive device strapped to his body Wednesday and took three people hostage at gunpoint before police shot him to death, officials said. 
Must be another nutroots right wing freakazoid, right? WTOP's opening graf certainly implies that. 

In point of fact, however, according to fair and balanced Fox News, the gunman, James T. Lee, was a left-wing ecofreak:
...web postings show Lee was increasingly obsessed with civilization's "filth" and the problem of over-population, which he blamed on "parasitic human infants."

.... Lee had issued a list of demands in an online manifesto that criticized Discovery for what he saw as the channel's promotion of human birth and war coverage, and he called on the channel to devote programming to exposing evil deeds of man.
"Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is," the manifesto reads. "That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil! It is the moral obligation of everyone living otherwise what good are they??"
According to Hot Air, infantile lefty bloggers figured out a way to blame average citizens right wing fanatics for Lee's crazed attack on Discovery:
Think Progress blames Lee’s madness partly on rhetoric from … groups opposed to illegal immigration. Even liberal Adam Serwer of the American Prospect is embarrassed by their post.
Nice try, but au contraire, dudes. Tried a couple of years back for an earlier incident at Discovery, Lee himself pledged his allegiance to...gasp...The Goracle:
Lee said he began working to save the planet after being laid off from his job in San Diego.

He said he was inspired by "Ishmael," a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn, and by former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." 
Lee's demands and diatribes are perfectly in keeping with something I've warned about many times though few have taken me seriously. There are elements of the so-called ecology movement who want to stamp out the human race entirely, or at least starve it back to the stone age:
Simply consider what noted climatologists Al Gore and Melissa Etheridge are demanding that we do to combat their nutty conjectures about global warming. They want us to starve the productive sector of fossil fuel and allow the world's factories to grind to a halt. This means an end to material growth and a cataclysmic reduction in wealth.
BTW, several web posts, including Drudge, cite the Quinn-Gore reference, referring to an MSNBC video/text report. But that report appears to have been scrubbed of the Gore reference by the time I got to the post. Figures. Typical lefties, revising history on the fly. My reference above is taken from an AP report (surprise), courtesy of Breitbart. (Maybe by the time you catch it, this report, too, will have been scrubbed.)

BTW2: Let's see how the MSM tap-dances around this little violation of The Narrative.

UPDATE: Sleep easily tonight. The Maryland cops, er, eliminated the offending carbon unit himself late this afternoon, thus removing at least one pair of parasitic carbon footprints from the planet. Ultimately, no hostages were harmed, a happy ending for once.