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Tax Increases and the Dishonesty of Democrats

October 9, 2010

In the 1960’s, the great Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps theorized a “natural” rate 0f unemployment.  Now, it appears, Democrats are proposing that President Clinton discovered a natural rate of taxation.  That’s a best-case-scenario.

Democrats have demagogued the “Bush” tax cuts mostly on the basis that Clinton “created” a surplus.  This argument assumes that 1) Clinton was the person responsible for “creating” the surplus, and 2) Government surpluses are a good thing.  It also assumes, most importantly, that somehow his rates of taxation are ultimately more just and fair.

Ultimately pretending (for now) as though the Clinton administration discovered some heretofore unknown “natural” rate of taxation, Democrats pretend that the Bush tax cut favor “the rich”, that they are burdensome to the “middle class”, and that they ultimate undermine economic prosperity.

Forget, for a moment, that the Great Architect of the Universe only asks a paltry ten percent of our income.  How can Democrats act as though an increase in tax rates is not, in fact, a tax hike?  I might not be a linguist, but if tax rates increase tomorrow or a couple of months from now from their current rates, is that not a “hike”?  That’s like saying that a climb from Denver to Pike’s Peak isn’t an increase if you scaled that peak when Bill Clinton was president.  What a joke.

But Democrats seem undeterred.  Their taxation policies flow from their obvious belief that there is a point at which people are comfortable enough in life and that from that point on, the state is entitled to take whatever they want.  This is partly at the center of Democrat bleating about the Koch brothers.  Nevermind the outrageous funding of Democratic activism by George Soros, who gave infinitely more money to MoveOn.org.  That’s different!  Why, he advocates tax raises which will affect him, therefore it’s okay!  The manifest difference between the Koch brothers and Soros isn’t a denial of self-interest; it’s arrogance.  Soros doesn’t agitate for tax increases because he’s a martyr; he does so to demonstrate his power and wealth.  He’s obviously telling the world that no matter how much money we seize from him in taxes, he’ll still bet on money, fly private jets, and influence elections.  He’ll still be plenty comfy because he reckons he makes more money than God.  The Koches, on the other hand, believe their money is theirs.  How insidious!

Bush and a Republican congress cut taxes across the board.  They seemed to favor the “rich” because the rich make more and therefore pay more.  Awful, isn’t it?  What is simple math to most is turned into a talking point by Democrats.  And yet, they worry that their impending electoral problems are all about “branding”.

Republicans didn’t make the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent at the time because it was much easier to pass with a deadline but also because they assumed the assuming prosperity would make them permanent.  Bush didn’t cause the economic collapse; mostly Dem policies on home loans and regulation did.

Democrats bemoan the Bush tax cuts as nepotism, corporate greed, and worse, without stopping to check themselves.  Maybe it’s time they stopped pretending letting the Bush cuts expire wasn’t a “hike”, and started trying to convince people why God Almighty only insists on ten percent of their income but they think that their rates are much more “fair”.

After Obama’s Iraq War Speech, New York Times Disgraces Itself Again

September 2, 2010

You have to at least give President Obama some credit; while stopping short of admitting error and giving credit for the success of the surge to George W. Bush, at least he mustered the class to essentially cede that Bush wasn’t intentionally treasonous.  Hell, he even managed not to bash him!

While the president displayed a modicum of propriety and class, the Treason Times simply can’t let go of rabid Bush hatred and several ancient memes that all but the most hardened of leftists long ago abandoned.

The speech also made us reflect on how little Mr. Bush accomplished by needlessly invading Iraq in March 2003 — and then ludicrously declaring victory two months later.

Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction proved to be Bush administration propaganda. The war has not created a new era of democracy in the Middle East — or in Iraq for that matter. There are stirrings of democratic politics in Iraq that give us hope. But there is no government six months after national elections.

In many ways, the war made Americans less safe, creating a new organization of terrorists and diverting the nation’s military resources and political will from Afghanistan. Deprived of its main adversary, a strong Iraq, Iran was left freer to pursue its nuclear program, to direct and finance extremist groups and to meddle in Iraq.

Mr. Obama graciously said it was time to put disagreements over Iraq behind us, but it is important not to forget how much damage Mr. Bush caused by misleading Americans about exotic weapons, about American troops being greeted with open arms, about creating a model democracy in Baghdad.

The Gray Lady is an embarrassment.  Anybody who has even the most meager understanding of military terms and culture understands that the “Mission Accomplished” banner moment underscored the end to the conventional war against the Iraqi Army, the Republican Guard, and the successful effort to depose Hussein and his corrupt government.  The “Mission” spoken of on the banner was, indeed, accomplished.  What commenced thereafter was the beginning of a completely different mission: counterinsurgency operations. 

The fact of the matter is–contrary to the constant bloviating from hard-core leftists and leftist rags like the Times–that the vast majority of Iraqis welcomed the troops with “open arms” at the end of the 2003 invasion.  Unless the Times is positing their belief that the whole of the Iraqi populace was engaged in insurgent operations, I don’t think the mere presence of an insurgency means we weren’t welcomed with “open arms”.  Any troop who has been on the ground there will tell you that the majority of Iraqi citizens that are encountered on a day-to-day basis appreciates our presence there; certainly they are glad to be rid of Hussein.  Ah, but if only we’d left Iraq alone, Saddam probably wouldn’t have gotten around to raping every little girl in front of their fathers.  Who know?–he might have let plenty of dissidents keep their tongues.  Quite a philanthropist, that Hussein character. 

Time and time and time again the “Bush lied us into war” meme has been torn to tatters.  But credit the editorial staff of the Times for their pluck and “can-do” attitudes.  Years after it was discovered that faulty intelligence–much of it from the British government and much of it Clinton era–and not “Bush lying” helped spur the Iraq invasion, the Times is sticking by their story.  They are like petulant children engaged in the most protracted and damaging temper tantrum of all-time.  This is the same rag that publishes the semi-literate rantings of clowns like Frank Rich and Paul Krugman, who must have slept through the Times treasonous eight-year long campaign of lies against George W. Bush; these people consistently claim that the era of Hopenchange is one of unprecedented partisan obstructionism and extremism.

Particularly piquant is the repeated suggestion that the war in Iraq has made America “less safe”.  Is the Times suggesting that somehow fighting extremists half a world away is less preferable than fighting them here?  Are they suggesting that the war in Iraq prompted otherwise peace-loving people living in caves in Waziristan to surrender their pacifist lifestyles to fight the evil American aggressors in Iraq?  It would be truly helpful if any leftist, anywhere, could explain the absurdity of the entire “the Iraq War has made America less safe” canard.  Iran would have pursued its nuclear ambitions with or without Saddam Hussein there to essentially not do anything; after all, Iran and Iraq hadn’t gotten froggy with each other in many years.  Are leftist trying to pretend Hussein would have gone to war with Iran himself to keep them from acquiring nuclear weapons?  This is pure fantasy parading as analysis.

But what really chafes is the implication that America, or American troops, or even George W. Bush, are responsible for “100,000 Iraqis dead”, as though the vast majority of them weren’t killed by, or as a result of, insurgents.  Apparently, American troops just showed up and started randomly shooting folks. 

But hey, look on the bright side!  Now the Times can focus on trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Afghanistan.

In Which Steve Benen is Hoist With His Own Petard

August 31, 2010

Steve Benen, writing for the Washington Monthly, has a fairly storied history of hating Glenn Beck.  There are times when Mr. Benen’s writing is somewhat stimulating and provocative; what he wrote regarding the “Restoring Honor” rally is an exercise in pure intellectual laziness and dishonesty.

Mr. Benen, though intelligent, is apparently at a loss to discern any sort of ’cause’ motivating the Tea Parties.  Why he chose to air his grievances with the Tea Parties when the rally in question had no ostensible political objective is a question for the ages.  Bearing in mind that what he really takes issue with are the Tea Parties, he purports to offer up ‘statements’ from tea partiers, only to offer up snide and often wholly irrelevant answers to those questions.  A quick sampling:

This is about “freedom.”

Well, I’m certainly pro-freedom, and as far as I can tell, the anti-freedom crowd struggles to win votes on Election Day. But can they be a little more specific? How about the freedom for same-sex couples to get married? No, we’re told, not that kind of freedom.

This is about a fight for American “liberties.”

That sounds great, too. Who’s against American “liberties”? But I’m still looking for some details. Might this include law-abiding American Muslims exercising their liberties and converting a closed-down clothing store into a community center? No, we’re told, not those kinds of liberties.

This is about giving Americans who work hard and play by the rules more opportunities.

I’m all for that, too. But would these opportunities include the chance for hard-working Americans to bring their kids to the doctor if they get sick, even if the family can’t afford insurance? No, we’re told, not those kinds of opportunities.

My–how pithy and glib!  Only a journalist with the highest degree of discipline and training could ever string together such brilliant ripostes. 

It would be easy to dismiss every leftist political rally or movement as without cause, if I were wont to be intellectually lazy and rather dishonest.  How pissed would Mr. Benen be if his technique were applied to anti-Iraq War rallies?  What of the Obama campaign and its accompanying political rallies?  What animates leftist movements?  What were there specific grievances during the Bush years?  What of the ObamaCare debate?

Health care is a basic human right.  This is about rights!

Well, I’m certainly for human rights.  Who doesn’t support human rights?  I’m still waiting for some details.  What of the basic right of patients, doctors, and insurers to make informed decisions on the free market absent onerous government regulation?  What of the basic human right of babies not to have their brains sucked out by an abortionist?  No, we’re told, not those rights.

The gay rights movement is about freedom!

Well, I’m all about freedom.  What about the right of a free people to make decisions that preserve the civil society?  What about the freedom of a people to choose that marriage, by virtue of its very nature, implies exclusivity?  No, we’re told, not that freedom.

This is all about tolerance.  We must not brook any discussions on propriety, lest we be viewed as intolerant!

I’m all for tolerance, too.  What about the ability to tolerate the point of view that although the Park 51 group has a legal right to build on land they own (no conservative disputes this essential point, which seems to elude liberals), they also have a moral obligation to understand tolerance goes both ways?  No, we’re told, that’s not tolerance.

This is about leveling the playing field and giving people a hand up.

I’m all for a level playing field and ensuring the greatest opportunity possible for all people.  Would that include the ability of people who just happen to have succeeded in life to keep their hard-earned money to pass on to their children?  Would this include not allowing rules that are punitive to, say, white people, to exist in academia and elsewhere?  No, we’re told, that’s not a level playing field.

This is about people willing to sacrifice some of their hard-earned money so that we can all enjoy a greater quality of life.  We all have to do our part! 

Wow, that’s wonderful!  Would these “sacrifices” include liberals limiting the amount of unemployment insurance a person can get to 90’s era standards of sustainability?  Would these sacrifices include Democrats sacrificing the possibility of a built-in voting block by denouncing amnesty once and forever to illegals who won’t sacrifice and stand in line?  No, we’re told; not those sacrifices.

This is about speaking truth to power!

What a wonderful thought!  Would that include disclosing the amount and source of funding for global warming research grants?  Would this include not putting political enemies through procedural paces to see if you can trip them up?  Would this include calling despots what they are, admitting the success of the Iraq War, or the effectiveness of the Bush tax cuts?  No, we’re told, not those truths.

See how easy that is?  If Mr. Benen wishes to be taken seriously every time out, maybe he ought to treat the opposition with a little more respect.  The Mosque debate, health care reform, tax reform, immigration reform, and a whole slew of issues are serious and complex; while I believe that conservatism offers the best answers to these problems, I at least attempt not to treat every liberal and every liberal argument as though they are stupid and petty, nor do I sink to intellectual dishonesty (global warming is far from settled science, for instance; Mr. Benen could at least cede this point).  But hey! –I suppose perhaps Mr. Benen’s point is that unless a movement has at its core the goal of advancing liberalism, it has no cause.  What a shame.

In Memory: Misty Ann Iles

August 11, 2010

Anyone who used to be a regular visitor to my blog probably realized that there was a sharp drop-off in posts starting roughly last October. 

In October, my wife, Misty, was diagnosed as having breast cancer.  Unfortunately, it was inflamatory; the most invasive type that one may suffer from.  She appeared to be doing well after a few months of chemotherapy, but the cancer had spread to her brain.  She underwent a couple of months of radiation therapy in addition to chemo treatment, but in April we were informed that her condition was terminal.

Misty continued to fight courageously for the next couple of month and seemed to be improving; however, after a brief trip to Wisconsin in June, she took a turn for the worse.  After a week or so of hospitalization and a week of hospice care, my wife, my best friend, my lover, my parter, finally passed on July 10, 2010.  She was 30 years old.

I don’t write this to attempt to garner any sympathy.  I know my writing style is at times abrassive and bombastic.  I write this because I love my baby.  I miss her deeply, and will continue to do so until God calls me home–whenever that may be.  In the meantime, I will make the best life for our three young children as possible. 

Over the past few months I have had little real interest in politics and current events.  This isn’t  because I don’t care what happens in the world, but rather because I was solely focused on the events of my own life.  Short of President Obama cutting my pay or outlawing my blue jeans, I wasn’t going to interrupt the flow of my own existence to blog.

I plan to begin blogging anew, starting basically immediately.  I love my country; I love my countrymen, be they Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Socialists, Libertarians, or anything else.  I love to write, and I love politics.  Most of all, I love my family and my dearly departed wife, Misty Ann Iles.  She wasn’t into politics nearly as much as I am, but she will kick my arse when I see her again if I don’t try to do the things that I love.

So here goes:  I love you all and I love you, Misty.  God rest your soul ’til we meet again.

Michael David Iles

ObamaCare and the Death of Constitutionally Limited Government and Federalism

April 3, 2010

Several state Attorneys General are proceeding with legal action against the recently passed health care “reform” bill, most notably on the grounds that the individual mandate is a gross violation of the expressed powers of Congress and a usurpation of state’s rights granted them under the Tenth Amendment.

SCOTUS long ago bastardized the Commerce Clause’s text in an effort to place a wide swath of economic activity under the purview of Congress.  Most notably in Wickard v. Filburn SCOTUS ruled that a private farmer, growing wheat on his private farm, for his privately owned livestock, entirely for his own private consumption, was in violation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act and that Congress was within its right to order the destruction of the excess crop and payment of a fine by Mr. Filburn because the activity “affected” interstate commerce.  The reasoning was: Mr. Filburn would have purchased the excess wheat on an interstate market.

Notwithstanding the gross overreach of both Congress and SCOTUS, does anyone see a pattern forming?  Congress discerns a “problem”, an “injustice”, or “shortcoming” in normal market fluctuations and economic cycles, deems itself the only body capable of ameliorating said crisis, and when it invariably exacerbates mild crises or creates real problems, they point their fingers at the market and claim that further intervention is necessary.  But I digress.

ObamaCare ostensibly makes the same sort of argument for the individual mandate and penalties that the SCOTUS affirmed in Filburn.  The power of the legislature under the Commerce Clause has already been stretched well beyond the Framer’s intent. 

I predicted this months ago.  Under the auspices of “health care reform”, there is no facet of human activity that won’t be deemed to fall within the scope of regulation and coercion.  Arguably, the Court already damned us with Filburn.  If, taken on the aggregate, economic decisions that merely have bearing on “interstate commerce” are able to be regulated by the federal government, the same can be said of an individual’s decision to abstain from participation in a given market.  In the case of ObamaCare, the government is using a distant and dicey proposition: if you get in to an accident, or get sick and can’t pay out-of-pocket, other people pay your costs–often across state lines.  (When it comes to liberalism, if ‘if’ were a spliff, we’d all be stoned.)  What if I don’t get into an accident or get sick?  What if I just inexplicably drop dead when I’m old and gray–does my family get my money back?  See, this question used to make sense through the novel prism of the “free market”.  Insurance was predicated on risk and community pooling.  Now, it’s based on Congressional fiat.

What about my decision not to buy a car?  Surely that affects interstate commerce.  I’m denying a car manufacturer money that would have gone toward their product, which involves commerce between the states.  Can I be compelled to buy a car?  More to the point, my dietary decisions “affect” my health and therefore my health care and insurance requirements.  Can I be compelled to purchase health food, dietary supplements, or be denied certain foods based upon my health?

And then there’s the matter of ObamaCare’s usurpation of state’s rights.  Under this legislation, states effectively become appendages of the federal government.  They are burdened with onerous Medicaid requirements that essentially make state government workers into federal government employees. 

If the Commerce Clause can be used to compel the purchase of a private product as a condition of legal residence, and if the Tenth Amendment is nothing more than a symbolic nod toward the states–yeah, yeah, we know you’re supposed to be “sovereign”–then there are no such things as Constitutionally limited government or federalism.  The legal issues raised by Attorneys General all over the place aren’t cynical and desperate political posturing–they’re valid objections to poorly reasoned argumentation from the left and tyrannical overreach on the part of the Congress.  Even given the liberal wing of the Court’s slavish devotion to stare decisis, I’m confident ObamaCare will be found unconstitutional.  It’s either that, or the Constitution holds no real meaning anymore.

More Narrative-Crushing Goodness: “A Trip Down Memory Lane” Reminds Us of Not-So-Congenial Democrat Protesters

March 31, 2010

From Evan Maloney comes another reminder of what life was like back in the halcyon days when protest was patriotic:

This refresher course in liberal perfidy is timely, considering that the fascistic war to criminalize conservative ideas continues with two eerily similar columns written by Charles Blow and Frank Rich (via Newsbusters):

The New York Times really needs to abandon all pretense and start selling itself as a slightly more sophisticated version of Mother Jones.

Crushing the Narrative: Liberals, Conservatives, and “Incitement”

March 28, 2010

Since reports have surfaced that two Democratic members of Congress have had bricks thrown through their windows or some such other incidences of vandalism, liberals have fully reverted to script.  They’ve occupied themselves over the past week with the peculiar narrative that Republicans are sore losers who have incited tea party nutjobs to violence. 

But wait!–there’s more!  On Friday, the DNC sent a memo to RNC headquarters urging a joint declaration calling for an end to “incivility”, whatever the hell that means.  Republicans, knowing that Democrats would promptly use this declaration to bash them over the heads every time they nervously begged to disagree with Congressional Democrats, politely declined.

Two incidences of vandalism, a handful of phone calls to Democrats not precisely wishing them well–which is far different from making a threat to cause bodily harm to a person–and  suddenly, womanly liberals want to pull out the hand fans and fainting couches. 

That Eric Cantor’s office suffered (inadvertently, it may be) vandalism is indicative of nothing.  Nothing to see here, folks!  Nor, apparently, do the past nine or so years of American history.  Briefly, from the Free Republic, is a list of incidents that apparently bear no relationship to progressives in general, and were absolutely not incited by Congressional Democrats and liberal punditry who routinely accused a sitting president of having lied the nation in to war (he didn’t), having shredded the Constitution, having ruthlessly stamped out dissent, and finally, of having used the Cobra Command weather generator to cause a hurricane and destroy levees in New Orleans:

September 2, 2004: Gun Shot Fired Into Huntington, WV, Republican Headquarters.

September 3, 2004: Windows Broken, Anti-Bush Messages Scrawled At Gallatin County, MT, Republican Headquarters.

September 2004: John Kerry supporters and other libs/dems take to the streets of NYC destroying property, beating a NYC detective into a state of unconsciousness and harassing/threatening attendees during the 2004 GOP convention in NYC

September 6, 2004: Huntington, WV, Republican Headquarters Egged.

September 13, 2004: Swastika Drawn On Duluth, MN, Resident’s Lawn, Signs Also Defaced With Words “Nazi” And “Liar.”

September 16, 2004: Community College Professor In Florida Punched Republican County Chairman In Face.

September 22, 2004: West Elmira, NY, Resident Found Swastika Drawn On Bush Campaign Sign In His Yard.

September 23, 2004: Office Ransacked During Break-In At Vilas County, WI, Republican Headquarters, Obscene Words And Graphic Pictures Sprayed On Campaign Signs.

September 26, 2004: Windows Smashed And Signs Stolen At Oxford, MS, Bush-Cheney ‘04 Headquarters.

October 1, 2004: Laptops Of Executive And Field Director Stolen From Bush-Cheney ‘04 Headquarters In Seattle, WA.

October 1, 2004: Swastika Burned Into Front Yard Of Bush-Cheney ‘04 Supporter In Madison, WI.

October 2, 2004: Collinsville, OH, Resident Chains Down Bush-Cheney ‘04 Signs After Several Signs Stolen And One Was Replaced With Kerry Sign.

October 3, 2004: Burglary At Thousand Oaks, CA, Victory 2004 Headquarters Where Bush-Cheney ‘04 Banner Was Stolen From Outside Premises.

October 5, 2004: Gun Shots Fired Into Knoxville, TN, Bush-Cheney ‘04 Office, Shattering Office’s Glass Front Doors.

October 5, 2004: AFL-CIO ACTIVISTS RANSACK BUSH HEADQUARTERS IN ORLANDO, The Orlando Sentinel . . . part of 20 coordinated union attacks across U.S.

October 8, 2004: Two Men Were Caught On A Hidden Camera Tearing Down And Urinating On Bush-Cheney ‘04 Sign In Akron, OH.

October 9, 2004: Oxnard, CA, Supporter Placing Bush-Cheney ‘04 In Yards Verbally Abused, Knocked Down And Had Signs Stolen.

October 9, 2004: Bush-Cheney Signs Near Vail, CO, Cut In Half And Burned In “Ransacking.”

October 10, 2004: Office Windows Broken And Field Director’s Laptop Bag and Purse Stolen In Burglary At Canton, OH, Victory Office.

October 11, 2004: Windows Broken, Petty Cash Stolen And Computers Tampered With In Burglary At Spokane, WA, Victory 2004 Headquarters.

October 13, 2004: Walls And Windows Of York, PA, Victory 2004 Headquarters Vandalized With Pro-Kerry Spray-Paint And Signs Outside Destroyed.

October 13, 2004: Window Smashed At Laconia, NH, Victory 2004 Headquarters.

October 13, 2004: Kerry Supporter Caught Stealing Bush Sign In Cape Girardeau, MO, Pulled Knife On Sign’s Owner And Was Arrested.

October 15, 2004: Someone Destroyed Large Plywood Bush-Cheney ‘04 Sign, Then Tried To Smash Debris Though Glass Door Of Santa Fe, NM, Republican Party Headquarters.

October 15, 2004: Someone Lined Window Sill With Bullet Casings At Littleton, NH, Republican Headquarters.

October 16, 2004: Unknown Suspects Vandalized Large Bush-Cheney Campaign Sign In Hollister, CA, With Obscenities.

October 17, 2004: Stickers Placed Over Windows Of Gettysburg, PA, Victory 2004 Headquarters.

October 18, 2004: Eggs Thrown At Keene, NH, Victory 2004 Headquarters.

October 18, 2004: 21 Protesters Arrested At Bush-Cheney ‘04 Campaign Headquarters In Arlington, VA.

October 20, 2004: Rocks Thrown Through Windows At Multnomah County, OR, Republican Party Headquarters.

October 21, 2004: Bomb Threat Made Against Lake Havasu, AZ, Republican Party Headquarters.

October 21, 2004: Windows Smashed At Multnomah County Republican Party Headquarters In Portland, OR.

October 22, 2004: Break-In Discovered At Cincinnati, OH, Victory 2004 Headquarters.

October 22, 2004: Break-In Discovered At Flagstaff, AZ, Victory 2004 Headquarters. Perpetrators gained entry by throwing a cinder block through a plate glass window.

October 22, 2004: Chunk Of Concrete Tossed Through Glass Door Of Republican Headquarters In Santa Cruz, CA.

October 23, 2004: Two Kerry Supporters Arrested After Stealing Pro-Bush Signs From Activist And Pushing Police Officer At Edwards Rally In St. Petersburg, FL.

November, 2004: Editors say Yale Free Press stolen Yale Daily News

November 2004, Election Day: 30 vans intended for getting out the vote in Milwaukee in 2004 had their tires slashed . . .Of the four men who were arrested, one is the son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and one is the son of former acting Milwaukee Mayor Marvin Pratt.

Note that this is from the year 2004 alone.  From their lofty perches on their fainting couches liberal scribblers have penned ignorant missives that all but accuse Congressional Republicans of whipping flash-mobs into a murderous frenzy, apparently with caustic phrases like, “hell, no!”, “kill the bill!”, and “we disagree”. 

Now that you’ve hopefully taken a moment to pry yourself off the floor and regain your composure after reading this shocking news, forgive me if you can hear peels of laughter through the interwebs.  I’m laughing at liberals that hard.

To be sure, these isolated acts of vandalism and any credible threats are completely unacceptable, intolerable, and should be investigated.  Any perpetrators should be brought to justice and made to provide restitution, if applicable.  But where does an insanely idiotic rant like this find any basis in reality?

But back to the main theme. What has been really striking has been the eliminationist rhetoric of the G.O.P., coming not from some radical fringe but from the party’s leaders. John Boehner, the House minority leader, declared that the passage of health reform was “Armageddon.” The Republican National Committee put out a fund-raising appeal that included a picture of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, surrounded by flames, while the committee’s chairman declared that it was time to put Ms. Pelosi on “the firing line.” And Sarah Palin put out a map literally putting Democratic lawmakers in the cross hairs of a rifle sight.

I think idiot Krugman has confused “incitement” with “mild hyperbole of an opinon shared by more than half the country”.  Again, I apologize for this hideous imagery.  Pelosi surrounded by flames?  What of Bush decked out in full Nazi garb?  Does Mr. Krugman have anything in his vile file on that?  What of Alan Grayson’s declaration that GOPers just want people to “die quickly”?  What does his crystal ball say about that?  Anything?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Maureen Dowd, Charles Blow, Paul Krugman, Dana Milbank, Tim Kaine… they are all the same: spineless cowards who couldn’t have cared less when actual violence was perpetrated on the basis of slanderous lies and irresponsible insinuation propagated by themselves and the DNC purely for political gain.  If the RNC is “inciting” mob violence, I’d like a more concrete example than a poster with crosshairs that clearly advocates taking someone out politically, through the process of elections. 

It’s telling that the week after a supposedly “historic” health care “victory”, liberals are wholly occupied with smearing a whole segment of the population commonly known as “the majority”, rather than talking up the wildly outstanding merits of the newly passed legislation they claim to love so much, to wit: there are no merits.  They are well aware that ObamaCare is an unmitigated disaster, so they’re left with one option: distract the voters in order to drum up sympathy and make the opposition look unreasonable.  The closer we come to November, to repealing and replacing ObamaCare, the more we are going to hear that every act of violence that occurs within 1,000 square miles of a liberal is another act perpetrated by right-wing nutjobs incited by irresponsibility of Republicans audacious enough to say “no”.

UPDATE: Dan Collins at POWIP.com has a great rundown on the current meme.  Check it out!

Yes, It Would Appear We Are Starting to Find Proof That the Sky is Falling

March 28, 2010

Give Rush Limbaugh credit once again: He predicted with near pinpoint accuracy that the president would take to the airwaves shortly after signing “health” “care” “reform” into law to laugh at chicken little Republicans’ “fearmongering”, specifically by declaring that no great disaster had befallen the country after he signed the bill:

There’s been plenty of fear-mongering, plenty of overheated rhetoric. You turn on the news, you’ll see the same folks are still shouting about there’s going to be an end of the world because this bill passed. (Laughter.) I’m not exaggerating. Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill “Armageddon.” (Laughter.) Armageddon. “End of freedom as we know it.”So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there any — (laughter) — asteroids falling or — (applause) — some cracks opening up in the Earth. (Laughter.) It turned out it was a nice day. (Laughter.) Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.

Endzone dances like this one are the norm with Democrats and progressive pundits after the health care reform “victory”.  Every one of them is as disingenuous as the president’s declaration.

The president’s observation on birds chirping and people retaining their doctors was a mild variation on his deep and abiding love with reductio ad absurdum argumentation, otherwise known as the “strawman”.  For the record, I defy a liberal–or anyone for that matter–to show me where, exactly, conservatives claimed asteroids would fall from the sky or that people would lose their doctors the day or two after the passage of President Obama’s health-care bill. 

But lo!–what we do have now is a remarkable revelation from private industry that ObamaCare’s provisions will cost them billions of dollars to comply with.  This, because of a bill that Democrats promised would bend the cost curve downward:

Yesterday AT&T announced that it will be forced to make a $1 billion writedown due solely to the health bill, in what has become a wave of such corporate losses.This wholesale destruction of wealth and capital came with more than ample warning. Turning over every couch cushion to make their new entitlement look affordable under Beltway accounting rules, Democrats decided to raise taxes on companies that do the public service of offering prescription drug benefits to their retirees instead of dumping them into Medicare. We and others warned this would lead to AT&T-like results, but like so many other ObamaCare objections Democrats waved them off as self-serving or “political.”

One would be tempted to think that progressives would take another look at their legislation to determine its potential shortcoming, but one would be dead wrong.  Instead, the messenger must be attacked:

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took to the White House blog to write that while ObamaCare is great for business, “In the last few days, though, we have seen a couple of companies imply that reform will raise costs for them.” In a Thursday interview on CNBC, Mr. Locke said “for them to come out, I think is premature and irresponsible.”Meanwhile, Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

The willingness of private industry to conform to sound practices of planning and accounting appears to threaten the administration’s belated efforts to sell their rosy sunshine and rainbows outlook for their boondoggle efforts.  See, this is why normally you win a debate and then pass legislation–not the other way around. 

If the dark forecasts of private industry weren’t enough to cause concern within the administration, you’d think that the panicked efforts of state governments to deal with ObamaCare would be sufficient to bring about some introspection.  Again, you’d be wrong.

The president’s remarks were meant to condition people to think of the legislation as innocuous because progressives need to convince people that a bill that won’t take full effect until 2014 isn’t harming them throughout two upcoming election cycles.  The American people are supposed to look around them for the next several months and couple of years and conclude that ObamaCare isn’t so bad.  When the legislation gains full force in 2014 and the administration full knows that the health care system will really begin to sag under the weight of a poorly designed bill, people need to be hooked on the supposed benefits of the program.  But what we’re already beginning to see are negative consequences of the legislation.  Caterpillar, John Deere, and AT&T have apparently decided to absorb the increases in costs for prescription drug benefits and the like; what happens when private industry begins to find it more convenient and more cost effective to dump their employees into these ghastly exchanges? 

As is necessary with any entitlement program, progressives rely on a confusing web of events, complex relationships, and most importantly a delay between passage and full implementation, to make it more difficult to definitively tie their programs to the disastrous consequences that inexorably follow.  People are meant to get hooked on the bill’s more popular provisions, like coverage for preexisting conditions and a new federal mandate that insurers allow “children” to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until age 26, long before the reform’s onerous taxation and ponzi-scheme payment mechanisms are truly felt.  Where Democrats really jumped the shark on ObamaCare is that the bill is (thankfully) so poorly conceived that the negative effects are being felt almost immediately.

The fact of the matter is that ObamaCare can be successfully repealed, partly because of the forgoing failure to consider unintended consequences to private industry:

Its major provisions do not take effect for four years, yet in the interim it is likely to begin wreaking havoc with the health care sector—raising insurance premiums, health care costs, and public anxieties. If those major provisions do take effect, moreover, the true costs of the program will soon become clear, and its unsustainable structure will grow painfully obvious. So, to protect it from an angry public and from Republicans armed with alternatives, the new law must be made to seem thoroughly established and utterly irrevocable—a fact on the ground that must be lived with; tweaked, if necessary, at the edges, but at its core politically untouchable. But it is no such thing. Obamacare starts life strikingly unpopular and looks likely to grow more so as we get to know it in the coming months and years. The entire House of Representatives, two-thirds of the Senate, and the president will be up for election before the law’s most significant provisions become fully active. The American public is concerned about spending, deficits, debt, taxes, and overactive government to an extent seldom seen in American history. The excesses of the plan seem likely to make the case for alternative gradual and incremental reforms only stronger. 

And the repeal of Obamacare is essential to any meaningful effort to bring down health care costs, provide greater stability and security of coverage to more Americans, and address our entitlement crisis. Both the program’s original design and its contorted final form make repairs at the edges unworkable. The only solution is to repeal it and pursue genuine health care reform in its stead.

Maybe a string of announcements like AT&T’s will ensure that the president dispenses with his glibness and starts considering the reckoning that surely awaits his party in November–so long as we continue to make our case.

For Once, Paul Krugman Is Right: Conservatives and Progressives ARE in Different Intellectual and Moral Universes

March 7, 2010

The New York Times’ resident ‘economist’ and erstwhile Enron advisor Paul Krugman has completely gone off his meds of late.  In the Friday edition of the Times, Krugman imagines that Senator Jim Bunning and the rest of the GOP inhabit a completely different moral and intellectual universe than the Democrats do.  For once, he’s right.

A number of columns in various publications over the last year have addressed the widening chasm between the right and the left, Washington’s gridlock, and the “ungovernability” of America, so Krugman’s observation isn’t perfectly original.  But it is the clearest elucidation of the line of thought that Washington politics is fast turning into trenched warfare.

Krugman’s view of the Bunning “blockade”:

Today, Democrats and Republicans live in different universes, both intellectually and morally.Take the question of helping the unemployed in the middle of a deep slump. What Democrats believe is what textbook economics says: that when the economy is deeply depressed, extending unemployment benefits not only helps those in need, it also reduces unemployment. That’s because the economy’s problem right now is lack of sufficient demand, and cash-strapped unemployed workers are likely to spend their benefits. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says that aid to the unemployed is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, as measured by jobs created per dollar of outlay.

But that’s not how Republicans see it. Here’s what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning’s position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Sen. Kyle’s point of view, according to Krugman, is “bizarre”–even though he himself advocated such a point of view in a text book he authored conveniently titled, “Macroeconomics”.  So maybe we’re dealing an evil Krugman here, while in another universe, a good Krugman had this to say about the job creation potential of unemployment benefits:

Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries

Only progressives insist upon divining the moral intentions of their opponents at every discernible opportunity, often to the utter neglect of reasoned debate.  But since we’re defining intellectual and moral universes, let’s do so accurately.

Progressives like Krugman live in an intellectual universe in which it’s okay to obstruct every initiative a conservative (or, more appropriately, moderate Republican) pursues for eight long years, even when those initiatives are often amenable to progressives (as in the case of No Child Left Behind, for instance)–but now, when conservatives are genuinely opposed to a progressive agenda on principled grounds, it’s  suddenly the insidious influence of rank partisanship.  Progressives inhabit a moral universe where the old adage “give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime” suddenly becomes “promise to give a man a fish tomorrow, he’ll stuff the ballot box for you today; suggest teaching him to fish, and you’re a heartless rich bastard”. 

Both sides are increasingly aware that their core principles are wholly anathema to one another, and it is that realization that is being reflected by the behavior of our politicians in Washington.  One side believes that human beings are accountable, capable, and free, while the other thinks appears to believe that election victories are free license to abandon the Constitution in pursuit of nanny state utopia, where men are infantilized and debased; hence, one side ruthlessly seeks to insert a complex web of intrusive government regulation, laws, and bureaucracies into the most mundane aspects of the citizen’s lives.  What chafes so much about Krugman’s ode to the moral superiority of elected Democrats is the complete lack of a moral baseline.  I’m perfectly willing, for the record, to state unequivocally that the vast majority of progressives assume their intentions to be benevolent in nature.  They are well-intentioned, if horribly misguided and ill-informed.  Only conservatives are needlessly and cruelly derided as clubbers of baby seals and eaters of the homeless.  The conservative believes in the morality of property rights, without which the civil society would be thrust into both legal and moral chaos, soon to be destroyed; on the other hand, progressives find property rights to be completely malleable, negotiable, and to be frank, somewhat superfluous.

Krugman therefore laments Bunning’s stubborn insistence that Democrats live up to their newly enacted pay-go laws as some sort of great moral travesty, while treating Republicans’ objections to the morally repugnant estate tax as some sort of money laundering scheme.  Quoth ‘economist’ Krugman:

How can the parties agree on policy when they have utterly different visions of how the economy works, when one party feels for the unemployed, while the other weeps over affluent victims of the “death tax”?

The real question is, why can’t progressives understand that attacks on the property rights of one is an attack on the rights of all?  Why can’t they understand that perhaps the most enduring and sacred thing any man or woman does in this life is accumulate wealth to pass on to their posterity?  Why don’t progressives weep and gnash their teeth at the thought of breaking their backs to pass on some security to the ones they love, only to have the government seize a sizable portion of the fruit of their labor?  Could it perchance be because of their reckless disregard for property rights, or following the Krugman model of thinking, is it just sheer laziness?

On the other hand, there’s unemployment.  Putting aside that the current situation was created in no small part by the government, what great moral crisis is created by a government that doesn’t spend us all in to bankruptcy protecting people from what used to be known as the normal vicissitudes of life?  To insist the government not make the problem worse, or at least waste money not solving the problem (as Krugman seemed to think was what happened at the time he wrote his textbook) is a far cry from wanting the unemployed to starve to death.  Could there be–gasp!–another solution than just reflexively throwing vast quantities of cash at the problem? 

While we wait for Krugman to answer, consider the possibility that conservatives have seen a century of incremental encroachment on the part of statists, and I think we finally got our answer from progressives on the question of drawing some line on the growth of government and entitlement spending when George W. Bush tried to suggest reforming Social Security: they shot us an “(expletive), no”.  So obviously, our principles aren’t compatible.  We see the same problems, generally speaking, but one side wants to empower individuals, time-honored institutions of voluntary associations, and lowest-level government to seek market based solutions to our problems.  The other side wants to hem the people in with an endlessly complex array of laws, regulations, and a culture that worships the power of litigation so that the government can lead us all to Paradise.  If property must be seized via onerous taxation, individuals diminished via decreased capacities to earn, spend, drive, produce, and create, and the Constitution must be shredded or simply ignored to create utopia, so what?

There is the chance that we could inhabit the same intellectual and moral universe again, provided that progressives like Krugman could be a little more honest about their intentions.  If we could get statists to admit that they think the government is capable of ameliorating every real or imagined crisis man faces–if only we would sacrifice our precious liberty and some of our free will–maybe we could have an honest debate.  Maybe then, there wouldn’t be a need for Bunning’s blockade.

Note to Frank Rich: If You Want to Play “Pin the Ideology on Joe Stack”, You Should Read and Think First. UPDATE: John at Power Line Blog Dismantles Rich Point-by-Point

March 1, 2010

Frank Rich (one of the Four Donkeys of the Apocalypse over at the Treason Times) has a column (if you can call it that) out today that is precisely what you have come to expect: an attempt to tie Joe Stack to Tea Parties in general, and elected Republicans specifically.

Frank takes great pains to state that the Tea Partiers are a dangerous, unaffiliated, armed group that the GOP has tried but failed to coop; at the same time, he wonders why some GOPers won’t denounce behavior that, by Rich’s own admission, comes from a group the GOP has nothing to do with. 

Rich apparently longs for the halcyon days when James Carville’s strategy of blaming congressional Republicans for Timothy McVeigh were at least marginally successful in undermining the GOP.  Only this time, sans any connection whatsoever to the right-wing. 

Since Rich obviously doesn’t read anything to the right of Pravda, I think it would be helpful if we could put the Joe Stack ideology run-up on the cosmic score board:

Hated IRS after decades-long personal battles: Push

Hated George W. Bush. “The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government.” Advantage: the Left

Hated drug and insurance companies.  “Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple”. Advantage: the Left

Hated capitalism, appreciated communism:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

So if my math is right, there are far more indicators that the man was a radical leftist than he was a Tea Partier.  Frank points to his supposed anti-government proclivities, without bothering to make the distinction that Tea Partiers want less government, period; Stack, like some of the more radical elements of the left, hated our present government for the fact that it was insufficiently redistributionist.  Now let me think: which side of the political spectrum favors intrusive government empowered to redistribute person property? 

Advantage: the Left.

My point isn’t that Stack was a leftist and therefore, we should expect Nancy Pelosi and company to grovel in front of the cameras apologizing for, and distancing themselves from, Joe Stack; my point is that Stack was a lone wolf wackadoodle who lost his mind and decided that violence was the only answer to his problems.  Unless there’s an association of people who have had a decades-long beef with the I.R.S., that meets regularly, shares the same difficulty in personally understanding tax-code, and holds a charter, I’m not sure why anyone on Capitol Hill needs to apologize for Stack’s atrocity.  But Rich and like-minded scribblers feel the need every time someone flies off the hinges to go around asking the GOP to grovel and beg forgiveness.

UPDATE: John at Power Line has an almost perfect point-for-point refutation of everything Rich says.  As usual, Rich is a disingenuous little weasel.  Money quote: “You really shouldn’t read the New York Times. It has lower editorial standards than any other newspaper in America, and if you read it enough, it could make you stupid. Like Frank Rich.”