Date ►►► June 29, 2012
An Equal and Opposite Distraction
Yesterday, the Democrats threw themselves a pretty good party. There were the usual suspects dancing with lampshades on their heads (the DNC's Patrick Gaspard: "It's consitutional. Bitches.") and streaking through the front yard (Obama himself: "Still a BFD."); but in the cold light of day, it appears as though a bit of a hangover has set in. Quoth Bill Nelson, the erstwhile Senator from my home state of Florida:
A lot of us feel the health-care law wasn’t perfect. But it was needed. Our system was broken and we had to do something. Insurance companies were refusing to cover people or dropping those who got sick. So, we passed legislation to prevent insurers from running roughshod over people. And today, the Supreme Court upheld most of these reforms. Now, I think it’s time we finish the job of fixing our economy and creating more jobs.
Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
I've actually heard a few Dems using that same talking point, about how we needed to "do something" about health care, as if this in and of itself is a noble act. Lost in translation is whether or not ObamaCare is the right thing to do, a question that Nelson never answers.
It's not surprising, though. Nelson is in a tight re-election race; and while he has to justify his original vote in favor of ObamaCare, he also has to face a lot of voters who are outraged over yesterday's Supreme Court ruling. Simply put, he wants to get on both sides of the issue.
I imagine you'll see a lot of Dems parroting this same talking point in the coming months. Personally, I'm thrilled. Charlie Crist tried it in 2010, and now he's doing late-night TV ads for an ambulance-chasing law firm.
If enough voters catch on, perhaps we can consign the rest of the Dem Senate majority to a similar fate.
Date ►►► June 28, 2012
Attack of the Robes - Updated, see bottom
Sigh. If only this set of Supremes had taken a cue from their Motown counterparts: "Set me free, why don't you, babe? Get out my life, why don't you babe?"
That's certainly the message the majority of the American public sent to Congress in 2010, when Republicans made historic gains and Democrats scratched their heads wondering how they could tailor their message to make Joe Sixpack understand that the dog turd of health care "reform" they had passed was really a chocolate truffle.
Alas, the Supreme Court -- Justice Roberts in particular -- seems to have missed the memo, if the legal calisthenics they just went through to uphold ObamaCare are any indication.
So a mandate to buy health insurance that isn't permitted under the Constitution's Commerce Clause is permitted under the tax code? That's a distinction without a difference -- or, as we say out here in the real world, bullcrap.
This should be an object lesson to any politician out there who lets bad legislation skate with the thought that the Supreme Court will straighten the mess out later. It didn't work with George W. Bush and campaign finance reform, and it didn't work this time with ObamaCare.
This should also be a lesson to everyone else who waited with bated breath for the court to make the right decision: never, ever count on the people in black robes to save the day. When you get right down to it, the Supreme Court just isn't that into you.
So what's left for us to do? Being a happy warrior, I don't believe that all is lost. However, we're gonna have to go all street on the Dems this fall if we want to kick enough of them out of Washington to repeal this beast of the realm known as ObamaCare. Mitt Romney, especially, will have to pound on the mandate really being a tax -- and making damned sure that people know that it's a regressive tax, one that will hit young voters and lower-income folks (in other words, Obama's base) the hardest.
Stay on target, everyone. Stay on target.
Dafydd adds: John Eastman, who holds the Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Law and is the former Dean at Chapman University School of Law, made a very interesting point on Huge Hewgitt today. The Chief Justice held that the ObamaCare mandate was constitutional because it really is just a tax, that is, a bill to raise revenue.
Now article 1, § 7, ¶ 1 of the United States Constitution reads:
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Given that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 originated in the Senate, not the House, doesn't that mean that the individual mandate -- which Roberts held was a tax to raise revenue -- is still unconstitutional?
Should we have another round of courtyardery?
UPDATE 29 June: Commenter Baggi suggests that, while the bill appeared to have originated in the Senate, that body actually hijacked, removed, and replaced a House bill with the entire 2,700 pages of ObamaCare; if true, then technically the bill originated in the House of Representatives, as required.
This is not an issue into which I will delve deeply; the real problem is that Roberts engaged in what I have long called the fallacy of tendentious redefinition, taking something that is clearly a penalty (labeled as such throughout the act) and bizarrely redubbing it a tax, for no purpose other than to find a way to uphold the act by any means necessary.
This is what I expect from Justice Elena Kagen or Sonia Sotomayor -- not Chief Justice John Roberts. I'm beginning to squirm, wondering if this really is, at core, the early stages of Roberts "growing in office."
The Trillion-Dollar Taxman
As I understand the ObamaCare decision, Chief Justice John Roberts found that the individual mandate cannot be constitutionally justified under the Commerce Clause; that clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, § 8, ¶ 3) cannot be used to force Americans to buy government-specified products.
However, the so-called penalty for not buying medical insurance can, in theory, be "reasonably" considered a federal tax... thus, not the mandate per se, but the punitive imposition of taxes for failing to comply with it, can be justified under Congress' general taxing authority.
In other words, when Congress passed the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, what Democrats actually enacted was a trillion-dollar tax hike on the American people... coupled with a vast array of regulations, controlling every aspect of health insurance, that is odious, outrageous, and offensive to liberty.
If the Romney campaign, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) do not immediately cut commercials dubbing this president the "Trillion-Dollar Taxman," then they should resign in disgrace.
Note that the Obamunists also attempted, fortunately without success, to enact another, even more staggering tax increase -- the "carbon tax" that was the central part of Barack "Big Stick" Obama's Cap and Tax scheme -- which could have ended up far more costly even than the trillion-dollar ObamaCare tax itself.
And now they threaten to raise taxes even higher by smugly allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Yet despite this cascade of "revenue enhancements" that dwarf all previous tax attacks, Obama persists in hurling us into financial oblivion via his trillion-dollar-a-year deficit-spending addiction. The cataclysm we now face certainly validates what conservatives and libertarians have said for many decades: The motto of Big Government is and will always be, never enough!
There is no logically conceivable limit to taxation, no magic level that would cause Democrats to say, "All right, that's enough tax; from now on, we must reduce the deficit by cutting spending." Even a tax rate of 100% is insufficient for the insatiable government maw: Even in a state of pure socialism, where the government brazenly asserts that the entire GDP belongs to the Dear Leader, the acolytes of totalitarianism can still monetize debt by simply printing enough "fiat" money to pay it off in worthless paper... at the cost of Weimar-Republic style hyperinflation (at its peak, from January to November 1923, 2.7 billion percent).
In a very real sense then, Big Government can even "raise taxes" on those already paying everything they earn to the feds: Whatever allowance the government gives to the people for basic necessities, that money itself plummets in real value until the paper itself is far more valuable than the currency printed on it. (If only currency were edible!)
Frighteningly, that appears to be the path that Democrats are, if not eager, then at least prepared to follow. Call it the Grecian burn; but who's left to bail us out?
Jettisoning the last vestige of Democrat rule has become a matter of national survival; the Left has made it an existential imperative, a holy crusade. If November's vote does not reflect that paradigm change, if it's another "business as usual" election, then we may be doomed as a people, at least for generations. And it may ultimately turn out that the skeptics in 1776 were right: As soon as the people discover they can vote themselves largess, then Democracy may encode its own final collapse.
Throw the bums out; we have no other option.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Back in 1960, when John F. Kennedy ran for president against Richard Nixon, legend has it that JFK summed up his opponent thusly: "No class." Of course, this came from the guy who played pass-the-intern with his buddies around the White House swimming pool -- but even if the fantasy of Camelot didn’t quite square with the truth, you had to hand it to the president’s handlers for getting the right kind of image out. That kind of branding would give Apple a run for its money.
Ah, for the days of yore. Nowadays, Barry-O’s people can’t even handle a simple Gay Pride Day at the White House without causing a national flap -- or flip, as the case turned out to be. No doubt you’ve gotten wind of the Bird Seen Round The World, a tawdry but amusing episode in which LGBT activists from Philly (great cheese steaks, questionable neighborhood) started feeling their druthers and decided to show a portrait of Ronald Reagan how they really felt about the Gipper’s tenure as president. Then, to make absolutely certain that they weren’t misunderstood, a few of them took to Facebook to post pictures of the event--along with some commentary the likes of which you might find on the bathroom walls of your better truckstops.
Is it just me, or has it been nothing but downhill for Facebook ever since the IPO?
Anyway, all of this would have been bad enough, what with all of us right-wing fuddy duddies caterwauling on Fox News about the total loss of decorum at the White House; but to top it all off, even the guests were riffing on the dreariness of the affair. Sayeth Philidelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal:
We come up to the main foyer, and what do they play? Barbra Streisand. 'The Way We Were.' And I thought, Are they going to play nothing but Barbra, Bette and Lady Gaga? I was waiting for ‘Over the Rainbow.’ I mean, this is the Marine band!
One could only image the chaos if the Marines had struck up a chorus of Gloria Gaynor.
Once the dust settled, a White House spokesman popped off a rather limp rejoinder to its boys and girls gone wild, but by then the damage had been done. Much like the biker gang did to Wyatt’s house near the end of Weird Science, the Gay Pride crowd took a sledgehammer to Barack Obama’s already teetering reputation and then left.
This still, however, begs the question as to why the revelers felt the freedom to cut loose like they did at the home of the President of the United States. Perhaps it was just a kindship they felt with the administration -- but I also can’t help but think maybe they were simply following Obama’s example.
In spite of all the ink spilled on the president’s worldiness and sophsitication, he sure hasn’t shown a lot of it over the last three and a half years. We are, after all, talking about the same man who gave the Queen of England an iPod, slipped the Dalai Lama out the back door, and attempted to hijack wedding registries all over the country.
Suddenly Nixon doesn’t look so déclassé, does he?
Date ►►► June 26, 2012
Throw the Jew Down the Well!
The District Court of Cologne, Germany, has just outlawed circumcision:
Parents having their sons circumcised can be brought before a judge for causing bodily injury, even if they did so for religious reasons, a regional court in Germany has ruled....
Following the judgment by the District Court of Cologne, neither the rights of parents nor the constitutional freedom of religion can justify interventions such as circumcision, according to Financial Times Deutschland, which first reported the story....
University of Passau jurist Holm Putzke told the FTD the decision could have far-reaching ramifications.
“As opposed to many politicians, the court was not deterred by fears of being criticized for anti-Semitism or hostility toward religion,” he said. “This decision could not only influence future jurisdiction, it could also lead the relevant religions to change their attitude with respect to the fundamental nature of children’s rights.” [Emphasis added. -- DaH]
One would think that Deutschland, of all countries, would think a second or third time before banning a central tenet of Judaism (and Islam) that long, long predates the existance of the nation of "Germany."
What comes next? Will Germany also ban the kosher laws as an unconscionable intervention into the fundamental nature of children's prandial and gustatory rights? I mean, what kind of parent could deny his offspring the joys of a nice ham-and-cheese sandwich, wrapped in a napkin composed of mixed linen and wool?
Some might see this as a preview of things to come, once we join all of the international agreements that trans-national "citizens of the world" -- such as a certain Big Stick -- have desperately foisted upon the formerly exceptional American people.
But maybe it's just I!
Date ►►► June 24, 2012
The Times, They Ain't a-Changing: Why the N.Y. Times Is No Longer a Real Newspaper
At some point in the distant past, I'm sure the New York Times must have rightly been considered a real newspaper, if not a great one. It still brags of being "America's newspaper of record," serving up "all the news that's fit to print," according to their pompous and self-delusional motto.
But the rag long ago ceased even to pretend to objectivity or journalistic integrity; over the decades, it twisted itself into nought but a mouthpiece megaphone for millionaire liberals, retweeting any cockamamie policy pronunciamento issuing from the current leaders of the Democratic Party. (Which, for many years now, has generally been the most ideologically radical-Left branch of that party.)
The Times has become Garrett Morris on the old Saturday Night Live, cupping his hands and bellowing -- for the supposed benefit of hearing-impaired viewers -- "OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT...!"
But what could have happened to bring that East-Coast bundle of pulp paper and squid ink to such a sorry state? Here, Exhibit A: The Times' fawning, hagiographic "report" on the ascension of Islamist Mohamed Morsi, long the number-two policy maker in the Muslim Brotherhood, to the presidency of Egypt. The article spans three screens of webness -- yet never once gets around to analyzing what the Brotherhood is and what sort of government it demands.
Readers know they're in trouble from the very first words of this piece of -- of journalistic malpractice:
Egypt’s military rulers on Sunday officially recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, handing the Islamists both a symbolic triumph and a potent weapon in their struggle for power against the country’s senior generals.
Mr. Morsi, 60, an American-trained engineer and a former Egyptian lawmaker, is the first Islamist elected as head of an Arab state. But 16 months after the military took over at the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Morsi’s victory is an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy.
Why an "ambiguous" milestone? Is the Times going to tell us that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood support and abet terrorist bombings in order to bring about a radical-Islamist theocracy, as in Iran? That it calls for a Sharia-based theocracy to rule Egypt? That is has threatened to renege on the Camp David Accords, which ended (everyone thought) the multidecadal war between Egypt and Israel? No; the Times has in mind a very different impediment to true democracy:
After a week of doubts, delays and fears of a coup since a public ballot count showed Mr. Morsi ahead, the generals have showed a measure of respect for some core elements of electoral democracy -- they have accepted a political opponent over their ally, former Gen. Ahmed Shafik, after a vote that international monitors said was credible.
Boiled down, the editors and writers at the Times were terrified that those rightwing generals would snuff out the flame of freedom being unleashed by the radical Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood. But the military failed to attempt the expected coup d'état... what a relief! Now we'll have heaven on Earth in the Middle East!
This paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the article, casting Mohamed Morsi in the role of William Wallace from Mel Gibson's Braveheart, revolting against a brutal military dictatorship, yet demanding only freedom, civil liberties, and the impartial rule of law. The generals who have ruled Egypt since former president and dictator Hosni Mubarik was ousted are the bad guys, you see -- which of course they are. But, reasons the Times (though I use "reasoned" advisedly), if the generals are bad guys, then surely their enemies, the Muslim Brothers, must be the good guys! Why, they can't both be bad guys; that wouldn't make sense.
That is, it wouldn't make sense to an adolescent mind simmered in the witches brew of pop-culture dualism, which fairly describes the typical New-York liberal: Bad guys are opposed by good guys; it follows that the enemy of my enemy must be my brother... or in this case, my Muslim Brother.
Throughout the piece, Morsi and the top ranks of the Jamʿiyyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (a.k.a., the Muslim Brotherhood), including Morsi's mentor, Khairat el-Shater, are invariably referred to as leaders, democratically elected, discriminated against, yearning only for the freedom to practice their own religion; while those who oppose the Ikhwan, theocracy, radical Islamism, honor killings, and the like receive instead epithets such as rulers, dictators, and strongmen. The Ikhwan are portrayed like unto the patriotic, colonial American Congress, struggling against the wicked and arbitrary dictatorship of King George III; this election is the Nile equivalent of the American Revolutionary War; and Morsi is George Washington.
The reality is more ambiguous and shady and far less black and white.
Flushed down the memory hole is the inconvenient truth that the Ikhwan was founded in 1928 as a fascist militant organization fighting against British rule of Egypt; since then, it has frequently denounced in words, yet equally frequently embraced in deeds, terrorism, authoritarianism, perpetual and unnecessary war, endless assassinations, extortion, bribery, and brutal, Quran-based totalitarianism. It has also spawned many murderous terrorist offshoots (spiritually, politically, or both), including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and al-Qaeda. Bin Laden complained that the Ikhwan's principles were sound, but they weren't ruthless enough in execution.
Typically, angry and aggrieved Moslems join the Ikhwan, become thoroughly radicalized and Islamisized, then become impatient and found their own, more violent organizations; Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's former Number Two and now likely the spiritual leader (and still at large), exemplifies this pattern.
The Wikipedia article on the MB is somewhat tepid, attempting to be non-judgmental; but even so, it cannot help but note a few facts that seem to have flown below the New York Times' radar:
The Brotherhood's credo was and is, "God is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations." The Brotherhood's English language website describes the "principles of the Muslim Brotherhood" as including firstly the introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as "the basis controlling the affairs of state and society;" and secondly work to unify "Islamic countries and states, mainly among the Arab states, and liberating them from foreign imperialism".
Note that by "foreign imperialism," they do not merely mean occupation by other nations; they apply the same label to anyone, even a native, who is insufficiently radical in his Islamism, or who has too great a committment to true democracy, to individual liberty, to Capitalism, or to religious freedom. If the Ikhwan ever gets enough votes to fully control Egypt, look for that election to be the last they ever see, or at least the last free and fair election. Once the Muslim Brotherhood scales the heights, they'll pull the ladder up behind them.
They also fundamentally reject freedom of the press; the Ikhwan believe that the only rightly-guided purpose of the press is to indoctrinate all in the ways of the Quran and how to implement them in sharia law... a point the Times might consider and reconsider as it cheers on the Brotherhood's mounting success.
And of course, the Ikhwan also believes in dissembling about its real beliefs, like Yasser Arafat, the Brotherhood uses the hoary, old, but repeatedly effective PLO trick of disseminating an English-language version of its charter -- full of paeons to Western freedoms -- while keeping the true, Arabic-language version hidden away from Western eyes, and stuffed chock-a-block with repression, violence, hatred, racism, terrorism, and absolute intolerance.
Speaking of which, here is Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Dr. Mohamed El-Sayed Habib, First Deputy of the Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, interviewed on Ikhwanweb, the official website of the Ikhwan; he enunciates the party line in the FAQ:
We believe that the political reform is the true and natural gateway for all other kinds of reform. We have announced our acceptance of democracy that acknowledges political pluralism, the peaceful rotation of power and the fact that the nation is the source of all powers. As we see it, political reform includes the termination of the state of emergency, restoring public freedoms, including the right to establish political parties, whatever their tendencies may be, and the freedom of the press, freedom of criticism and thought, freedom of peaceful demonstrations, freedom of assembly, etc.
How freedom-minded of them! But Habib continues in the same question:
It also includes the dismantling of all exceptional courts and the annulment of all exceptional laws, establishing the independence of the judiciary, enabling the judiciary to fully and truly supervise general elections so as to ensure that they authentically express people’s will, removing all obstacles that restrict the functioning of civil society organizations, etc.
Somehow that lofty pronouncement seems to be in a bit of tension with the Ikhwan's stated goal of enshrining Sharia law as "the basis controlling the affairs of state and society." That is to say, turning Egypt into a totalitarian theocracy run of, by, and for militant radical Islamists -- where everybody else is relegated to the second-class status of dhimmi; where women can be slain out of hand by their fathers or husbands for any insult to the family honor, real or imagined; where the charge of takfir (un-Moslem), true or false, opens the accused to penalties ranging from looting his assets to torture to slavery to summary execution by stoning; where infidels are without rights in their own lands -- and where "infidel" can mean little more than supporting a different sect of radical Islamism than the leaders support; and where one and only one religion is given dominion over the people -- certainly appears to be a prime example of "exceptional laws," and Sharia courts are hardly a bastion of an independent judiciary.
Yet the Times has discover none of this; or else, having discovered it, has quickly disowned it, blotted it out, as conflicting with the pre-cooked narrative, "the way things ought to be." They stubbornly persist in seeing the world through a prism of good liberals, such as Mohamed Morsi, Khairat el-Shater, and Dr. Habib, engaged in eternal struggle against wicked tyrants, bandits, fraudsters, "patriots," and religious fanatics -- such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI, 80%), the Koch brothers, and Soon-to-Be-President Mitt Romney.
It is for that utter blindness to any fact that fails to fit -- hence is not "fit to print" -- that thinking people on both Left and Right have abandoned the pinched and drained paper of Pinch Sulzberger. They are now demanding, typically from online news sources, something, anything, with more depth and breadth, sophisticated news analysis, and a relatively unbiased outlook than has been found in the Times for donkeys' years.
Something like, say, Highlights, or the Weekly Reader.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► June 21, 2012
Our Pinocchio President
Yes, yes, Barack "Big Stick" Obama's latest futile attack ad, slamming Mitt Romney's tenure as Massachusetts governor and his time as CEO of Bain Capital, is nothing but a pack of lies, danged lies, and hysterics. But don't take my word for it: The fact-checker at the Washington Post gives it the coveted rating of "four Pinocchios." That's the worst level of "misleading, unfair and untrue" statements (WaPo's words) they give.
The Post defines the four possible ratings thus:
Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods.
Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.
Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.
All I'll say about this particular attack ad is -- does Big Stick want a 42 oz King sized Mello Yello with that?
If you want the details, go read the article; but there are bigger fish to drink here: This president is without any question the biggest big fat liar, traducer, and corrupter of our nation's youth ever to sit behind the desk in the Ovum Office. And that's up against some outstanding presidential competition, from "Vote Haggler" Quincy Adams, to "Teapot" Harding ("I know nussinkg, nussinkg!"), to "Deadvote" Johnson, to "All In the Family" Kennedy, to "Sinister" Nixon, to "Is-Is" Clinton.
But Barack Obama blows 'em all away with the sheer banality and senselessness of his crimes against honesty, and by the casual, offhand way he commits them. It's as if he truly never knows, from one falsity or villainy to the next, whether he is lying, embellishing, compositing, extorting, bribing, kow-towing, cowering, hallucinating, gibbering, sleeptalking, or -- on occasion as rare as a hygienic Occupier -- accidentally blurting out the truth, but at the worst possible moment.
He is a veritable treasure-trove of treachery, the pontiff of perfidy and prevarication. A man who, I suspect, believes that reality is literally created and recreated with every new claim. To ask Big Stick whether he told the real truth is like asking a dreamer whether he dreamt a real dream. Truth is, by Obamunist definition, whatever Obama most recently said.
It's a sobering thought, that the President of the United States perceives the world through the brain of a solipsist, or even, gold help us, a schizophrenic: Reality is infinitely malleable; as Robert Anton Wilson put it, "reality is what you can get away with."
...Which increasingly, for Barack H. Obama, is less and less that it used to be.
Or to quote that wonderful gospel song, God's Gonna Cut You Down:
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Date ►►► June 15, 2012
When Metaphors Attack!
Tuesday: Barack "Big Stick" Obama explains, with one of the most labored metaphorical analogies in political history, why the deficit really is all Bush's fault:
When Mitt Romney and other Republicans carp about the dismal economy without mentioning that Mr. Obama inherited a $1 trillion deficit from his Republican predecessor [well, not really. -- DaH], "it’s like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, martini, all that stuff," Mr. Obama said, winding up to his punch line as his audience tittered. "And then, just as you’re sitting down, they leave, and accuse you of running up the tab!"
"That’s what they do!" the president said, as the Democratic Party faithful crammed into the ballroom applauded, hooted and hollered. [Or could one say, brayed like donkeys? -- DaH] "I am not making this up!"
No, he's not; that's the Obamic speechwriter's job. And it's a cute analogy, if not remotely close to reality. But lo! The v-e-r-y n-e-x-t d-a-y...
Wednesday: "Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you..."
Celebrating Father’s Day early, the president had lunch with two service members and two local barbers at Kenny’s BBQ on Capitol Hill.
As the group chatted about fatherhood, the president enjoyed a steaming plate of pork ribs with hot sauce, collard greens, red beans and rice and cornbread.
The bill for the president and his four guests was $55.58, but was left unpaid at the point of sale, according to pool reports.
Might one say he left, sticking his
hosts guests with the bill? I am not making this up.
So the Big Stick throws another boomerang. But don't worry; the White House did eventually, and however reluctantly, pay the bill, probably after mulling how chintzy it would look if they simply stiffed the helmet-heads and head cutters. Nevertheless, Obama still hasn't managed to stop running up his own "steak dinner" deficit tab -- martinis and all.
No word on when the president plans to apologize to George W. Bush for the stupid "stuck-Obama-with-the-bill" mal-analogy; but another perfect example of just what it means to be "snakebit."
Date ►►► June 13, 2012
Just to remind everybody -- because I like to live dangerously by making preposterous, outlandish predictions that nevertheless come true about 75% of the time -- I have predicted that the presidential election on Tuesday, November 6th (for Republicans, that is; Democrats must cast their votes on Wednesday, November 7th)... that the presidential election will not be "razor close" or even just close, as nearly every "pundant" and his signifying' monkey is predicting. Rather, I stand here with my teeth in my mouth and boldly prognosticate, prophecy, foretell that -- Mitt Romney will win in a blowout.
Note that I do not predict a "landslide" in the electoral vote à la Nixon in 1972 (49 states), Reagan in 1984 (49 states), or even the 40 states won by Bush-41 in 1988; there are a lot of states anymore that are so enchained to the sinister side that they'd vote for the Democratic nominee even if he were an eldritch, transgendered, felonious penguin. But I do predict that Romney's popular-vote majority will be 53% or greater, thus exceeding Barack "Big Stick" Obama's 2008 majority of 52.9%... and that Romney's electoral-college total will reflect that, exceeding Obama's 365 electoral votes as well.
It's a dreadful mistake for people to look at the polls today, showing a neck and neck race (in June!), and make a straight-line prediction based on those numbers; you know it's a load of codswallop when the luminary prefaces his prediction with "if the election were held today." But of course, as always, it will be held on the Tuesday between November 2 and 8, more than four and a half months from today.
(In regular English, that means the election's on the first Tuesday of November unless that falls on November 1th, in which case the election is on the 8th.)
During those four-plus months, snakebit Obama will slip and slip and slip backwards. He might occasionally spike upwards -- for example, he might get a little boost during the Democratic National Convention; but those spikes will be smaller than the Left (or media "election analysts") expect and less frequent than they seem to believe. In between these feeble and unsatisfying spurts of polling support, Mitt Romney will climb slowly, steadily.
By the time of the Republican National Convention (beginning August 27th), Romney will have been comfortably ahead in nearly every poll for several weeks. He will leap upward after that convention, probably ending about eight points ahead of Obama. Following the Democratic National Convention the next week (starting September 3th), Obama will catch up maybe two or three points, leaving Romney still 5-6 points ahead.
And there it will stick until just before the vote, say the end of October, when Romney will get one more spike in the polling on final approach. He may also outperform the polls in the actual vote.
As always, if I'm wrong, I'll own up and take my lumps. But if I turn out to be right, then I darned well expect every, single reader of this blog to send me a bottle of Sandeman 20-year tawny port. (Yes, I know it's about fifty bucks in a wine store, but it's cheaper at BevMo.)
Hey, it's the least you could do!
Date ►►► June 11, 2012
How's the Economy? Minder Your Own Business!
Anybody remember the "minders" in Saddam Hussein's Iraq? They were government officials always standing just out of camera range during press interviews with ordinary Iraqis, observing hawklike everything was said shown. Any anti-Hussein or pro-democracy sentiment that popped up, the minders would immediately stop the interview and order the news team not to broadcast, write about, or otherwise relay that information (and generally "disappear" the interviewee); if the journalists refused to comply -- or if they pretended to comply and later broadcast it anyway -- that news agency was banned from reporting within Iraq.
But the most shameful aspect of the Iraqi minders was... news agencies agreed to those conditions and didn't even alert viewers or readers; the producers and talking heads were so greedy for access, they passively accepted Iraqi government censorship -- turning ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, Reuters, AFP, and hundreds of other broadcasters and newspapers into de facto mouthpieces for the Butcher of Baghdad, for the privilege of visiting Iraq to prance and preen and strut their celebrity before the world.
(The fledgling Fox News, to its astonishing credit -- and one maor reason its credibility and viewership grew exponentially during the late 1990s -- refused to cooperate with this fraud; it smuggled raw footage out of Iraq that the minders had banned and even managed to conduct interviews without any minders at all. For their courage, they were the first American news agency banned from Iraq. Eventually, nearly all of them were, but not until all the rest had convicted themselves of poltroonery, ignominy, and infamy.)
Well... it appears that Marx was slightly wrong when he opined that history repeats itself twice, first as tragedy, then as farce. In this case, the Obama administration skipped the tragedy stop entirely and went directly to the end-of-the-line farce:
The Labor Department has backed off a plan to force news agencies to use government-issued computers and other equipment to report on jobless reports and other key economic data, following a GOP-led House hearing this week, according to several published reports. [Actually, they just moved the start date back; so far as I can see, they still plan to do it. -- DaH]
Agency officials have said they want reporters who analyze, then write about economic reports inside their so-called “lock up” room to use U.S. computers, software and Internet lines so the government can further protect against such potential security breaches as hacking.
But the plan also resulted in cries about potential free-speech violations and the government now having computer access to news agencies.
I think I understand: The administration simply wants to "mind" what every economic reporter at the Labor Department writes -- just to make sure no secret data is leaked, of course; and also to ensure that these reporters don't "hack"... what, the Bureau of Labor Statistics databases?
Heavens, what's all the fuss? All that Barack "Big Stick" Obama and ultraliberal, unionista Labor Secretary Hilda Solis want is the ability to review reporters' stories before they're transmitted to the news agencies and make tiny changes... just to correct the record, of course. And to prevent sabotage, false reporting, and defamation of the government at such a crucial moment in the fierce urgency of now.
What could possibly go wrong?
"This proposal threatens the First Amendment," Bloomberg News Executive Editor Dan Moss said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. "The government would literally open the reporters’ notebooks."
First Amendment, shmerst amendment; we all need to speak with one voice to avoid destructive partisanship. And destructive debate, contrarian contamination, and free-market folderol. If these reporters were patriotic Americans, why should they mind being restricted to using federal-government computers to write their stories? Why all the conspiracy mongering?
Sidebar: My wife Sachi works for the federal government. Her work computer is directly connected to the Department of Defense server.
So long as Sachi's computer is physically connected to the base intranet, the IT department -- or anyone up the chain working through the IT department -- can turn her computer on or off, read any or all of the files, modify any or all files, create and delete files, install or uninstall any programs, and in fact, can simply take control of the computer and do anything IT wants. "Sachi's" computer is actually the federal government's computer, and it can monitor, alter, or take control whenever it chooses, without even telling her. (Many times she has come back from a business trip and found files, folders, and even entire applications removed or replaced -- and all her passwords deactivated, until she laboriously resets them. That's life in Big Government.)
I am quite certain that the computers in the Labor Department's "lock up" room -- the computers that Obama and Solis would require reporters to use to write and transmit their stories -- are connected to the DoL server in exactly the same way that Sachi's computer is connected to the DoD server.
What could possibly go wrong?
I suggest that Big Stick Obama had better tread softly while trampling out freedom of the press (but he won't): He has already lost much of Big Labor (the Keystone pipeline, throwing Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett under the Wisconsin bus); the enviro-mental cases (treating Rio-2012 like it was just a street party, failing to implement carbon-trading or ban fracking, talking up nuclear power); the Center-Left (national-security leaking, destruction of our energy resources, foolhardy foreign policy); the anti-American, pro-radical-Islamist Left (failing to close Guantanamo Bay, continuing to fight the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- however fecklessly -- and not giving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a civilian trial); and independents (ultra-partisanship, race war, telling fairy tales about the American economy while flushing trillions of dollars down the sewer).
If the president loses what used to be called the mainstream media, who will be left to claim that Obama can cool the Earth, heal the sick, and order the tides in and out?
Date ►►► June 10, 2012
Okay, So I Piously Observed the Day of Blogger Silence in Protest
of the Judicial Censorship of Aaron Walker by Judge Vaguely...
Or two days silence, actually; I think nearly three, to be vaguely exact.
Alas, since I generally go several days without blogging anymore, nobody even noticed.
Virtue had better be its own reward, because I sure don't see much profit to it in this vale of tears...!
Date ►►► June 7, 2012
Cheery News from Wisconsin...
I've been fretting about one of the four recall elections against Republican senators in the Cheesy State. I understand that as of the day before the election, Republicans very narrowly held the state senate, 17 to 16; thus if any one of the four senators undergoing recall proceedings lost his election, the senate would switch to Democratic control by the same margin.
In three of the races, the Republican incumbents won easily; but in the other race, District 21, the Democratic challenger, John Lehman, is ahead of GOP incumbent Van Wanggaard by 779 votes. I fretted that we -- that is, lovers of individual liberty and Capitalism, as opposed to the lovers of thuggish public-employee unions -- would win the big battle to save Gov. Scott Walker but lose the tiny skirmish over one state-senate race, stymying total victory. I pictured brutal gridlock, with the Left refusing to allow any bill or appropriation to move, no matter how urgent or bipartisan, unless Walker and the legislature agreed to undo everything Walker has done up until now.
So I was greatly heartened to read this piece in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
Easing the loss for Republicans is the fact that the Senate has already adjourned its regular business for the year and that a new set of legislative district maps approved by GOP lawmakers last year will give their party a strong chance of reclaiming the Senate in November's elections.
"It's a nice moral victory for the Democrats -- it gives them something to hang their hat on," said Joe Heim, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. "But I think the November election will very likely undo what happened on Tuesday."
Specifically, Lehman wouldn't have to face a GOP opponent until 2014, unless the GOP calls another recall election after the November general election... which seems extraordinarily unlikely to me, since Wisconsonians are already suffering from "recall fatigue." Either way, the next vote will be held under the newly redistricted map, which favors Republicans.
But control could shift back much sooner than 2014:
If [the District 21 election result] holds up, Tuesday's victory for Democrats could be undone in November.
Republicans have their sights on the seats held by Democratic Sens. Jim Holperin of Conover and Jessica King of Oshkosh. Holperin is retiring and King is new to the Senate, having won a recall race in August against then-Sen. Randy Hopper of Empire.
"It's not a big hit," Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) said. "We're going to have the majority back in November."
...So in a sense, it really was "total victory" after all.
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