Date ►►► July 31, 2012
You Better, You Better, You Bet
Picked up on an interesting article at CNBC, detailing how Wall Street expects the election to turn out this November:
One analysis concludes that last week's sharp three-day market surge can only mean that Wall Street is banking on a victory from Republican Mitt Romney.
That's the logical interpretation one can draw from a rally amid conditions that otherwise would demand a selloff, Morgan Stanley chief U.S. equity strategist Adam S. Parker said in an analysis that asserts there is no other reason now to like stocks than a Romney win.
In other words, stocks are on the uptick even though the economic news is all bad -- so in Wall Street's view, an impeding Romney win is the only thing that will save the day! Hardly a ringing endorsement of our current president's tenure, is it?
Ironic, considering how Barack Obama was Wall Street's golden boy back in 2008 (though how a quasi-socialist wealth re-distributor with radical ties got the high-finance guys all giddy remains a mystery to me). It just goes to show you how the Wizards of Smart aren't nearly as smart as they all think.
Still, I hope they're right on this one. After all, it ain't just their money riding on the outcome.
Date ►►► July 27, 2012
Probably the thing that frosts me most about the culture war is how my childhood always gets caught in the crossfire. Not content to leave me with happy memories of Saturday morning cartoons watched through a glorious haze of sugary cereal, the wizards now in charge of those classic entertainment properties insist on loading them down with whatever PC piety happens to be en vogue at the moment.
A certain beloved puppet troupe, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, are the latest to join the fray:
The Muppets are ending their relationship with fast food restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A in a show of support for gay marriage.
"The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," the company said in a statement posted on their official Facebook page.
The Henson company, named after the creator of lovable characters like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, supplied their Creature Shop Muppet toys to Chick-Fil-A for children's meal packages but decided to sever ties after recent statements by the fast-food chain's Chief Executive Dan Cathy.
So what exactly did Cathy say that was so offensive?
We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit.… We are a family owned business, a family led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
So for expressing an opinion entirely consistent with his religious beliefs -- not to mention one held by a sizable chunk of people all over the world for several thousand years -- Cathy is a hate-monger whose company is unworthy of the Muppets? Looks like the "celebration" of "diversity" doesn't include diversity of views.
Now you can take what you want from what Cathy said, but nowhere in there did he even mention gay marriage -- Lisa Henson, who runs the Henson Company, was the one who decided to take that leap and make a stink about it. But even if you agree with her reasoning, I don't understand what gay issues have to do with Kermit and Miss Piggy. Granted, Kermit did once say he was down with porn, but it's still a little ways between there and here.
No, what we have on display here is more cheap preening by leftists trying to feel good about themselves. I mean, let's face it -- Christians, and by extension Christian-owned companies, are easy targets. It's not like they're going to retaliate in any harsh way, so it's a nice, safe method for liberals to make their bones with the establishment.
Problem is, Lisa Henson is full of it. Her company, even though it sold off Sesame Street back in 2001, still maintains a close working relationship with that production -- which includes versions in several Islamic nations, and which receives funding from organizations like the Saudi Arabia Traffic Police. All of that is well and good, educating kids across the world and so forth -- but places like Saudi Arabia ain't exactly known as gay-friendly. Applying the same standards she did to Chick-Fil-A, shouldn't Lisa Henson cease to do business with them?
Or is that too logically consistent?
Date ►►► July 26, 2012
Canadian UFO Sightings Nearing Record
Ufology Research reports that there were about three UFO sightings per day in Canada, with 986 sightings total last year. The record for UFO sightings was in 2008 when a surprising 1,004 sightings were reported.
The report entitled “The 2011 Canadian UFO Survey” states that “the lion’s share of cases being Nocturnal Lights,” however a number of them were said to be shaped like boomerangs, spheres, and mysterious light sources. [I wonder how many were surveillance-drone shaped? -- DaH]
I blame anthropogenic global climate change. And the previous administration.
The Next New Squirrel v 3.0
Our previous posts in the Next New Squirrel series are:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a "Republican" (see below), calls for a nationwide police strike until Americans disarm:
In a primetime exclusive interview, the head of the executive branch of New York City's government provided his solution for implementing stricter gun laws in America:
"I don't understand why the police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say we're going to go on strike," Bloomberg told the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host. "We're not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe."
To be fair, however, Bloomberg said the next day that he didn't literally mean it and his words were taken out of context. But he still wonders why they don't literally do what he didn't literally mean anyway.
Note the liberal-Fascist, ultimatum-style argument -- government by threat and extortion. But that should hardly surprise: Michael "Mr. Conviction" Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat and the eleventh richest person in the world, switched parties to run for mayor in 2001; the Democratic field was crowded with five strong candidates, and Bloomberg reckoned he had a better shot at nomination on the GOP line, which had only one candidate.
Jonah Goldberg knew whereof he spoke when he coined the term "liberal Fascism."
Meanwhile, back at National Urban League convention, President Barack H. "Big Stick" Obama responds to his leftist, Progressivist base:
Faced with a clamor in his party for stricter gun control in the wake of the Colorado movie-theater massacre, President Obama said Wednesday night he would "leave no stone unturned" in seeking new measures to reduce violence nationwide, including more restrictive background checks on gun purchases.
"A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals," Mr. Obama said at the annual National Urban League convention in New Orleans. "They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."
That second paragraph sounds a lot more like an "assault rifle" ban than "more restrictive background checks." But perhaps I'm just taking his words out of context.
The president blamed "politics and lobbying" for defeating gun-control measures when outcries arise after mass shootings in the U.S.
O for the good old days, when every sensational shooting produced a spontaneous, irrational, hysterical overreaction and more useless gun-control laws!
Bloomberg makes an interesting argument against armor-piercing rounds:
"Police officers want to go home to their families. And we're doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets," he detailed. "The only reason to have an armor-piercing bullet is to go through a bullet-resistant vest. The only people that wear bullet-resistant vests are our police officers."
...Quoth he, in response to the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in which the shooter wore body armor.
The drumbeat continues, and our Trillion Dollar Taxman appears to be gingerly but consistently wading his way into a gun-control presidential campaign. Every day that the debate du jour is gun control, or anything else other than the miserable economy, is a good day, as far as the permanent presidential campaign is concerned. He's headed for the deep end; keep watching the skies!
But it won't work. As I said before, voters will be outraged by a condescending campaign at war with guns, when our real problem is a federal government at war with prosperity.
Date ►►► July 25, 2012
Since we're on a roll with gun rights, I thought it might be illuminating to share the story of another Colorado shooting, this one from back in 2007. As quoted from the Cato Institute white paper Tough Targets: When Criminals Face Armed Resistance From Citizens:
Perhaps the most widely publicized shooting involving a concealed carry licensee in the last few years clearly prevented the murder of at least dozens of people. The criminal was a mentally ill young man who had already killed four people in the previous 12 hours. On December 10, 2007, Jeanne Assam used a gun in the lobby of New Life Church, in Colorado Springs. Matthew Murray was carrying “two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.” He had already killed two people in the parking lot and two others the previous night. He entered the lobby firing his rifle—but Assam, a former police officer, shot him, ending the killing spree. It does not take much imagination to understand the likely outcome if Assam had not been armed at the scene of this horrific crime.
Obviously this is an extreme case -- but it does at least address the question everybody forgets to ask when the gun-control nannies attack the Second Amendment in the wake of a mass shooting: How many deaths are prevented each year by armed citizens?
According to the Cato report, conservative estimates place the number of crimes prevented at somewhere north of a million per year. If you assumed that even one thousand of those crimes -- a mere 0.1% -- would have resulted in the death of the victim, then it's plainly obvious that the number of lives saved by armed citizens far outweighs the number killed by crazed nutjobs wielding guns.
You need look no further than Chicago for proof. Even though it has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, that city is more dangerous than Kabul, Afghanistan in terms of its murder rate -- most of which are committed with guns. It's the usual story: Liberals get to feel good about themselves because they "did something" about gun violence, even though they really only made things worse. Gangbangers get the firepower, normal people get to cower in fear. That's the Chicago way.
Americans largely understand this, which is why gun-control legislation is almost always a loser politically. If Barack Obama wants to make this an issue, as appears his wont, I say we let him.
Dafydd adds: How could we stop him? <g>
Date ►►► July 24, 2012
Update to the Next New Squirrel?
The White House hinted on Tuesday that President Barack Obama may address the politically sensitive issue of gun control more broadly in the aftermath of the recent shootings in Colorado....
Obama traveled to Colorado on Sunday to comfort family members and victims of the shooting at an Aurora movie theater in which 12 people died and dozens were injured. In remarks after his visit the president hinted at the prospect of a new discussion about gun control measures.
"I hope that over the next several days, next several weeks, and next several months, we all reflect on how we can do something about some of the senseless violence that ends up marring this country," he said.
On Tuesday White House spokesman Jay Carney also said Obama could talk about the issue more broadly but he declined to offer details or a time frame.
"It's certainly possible the president could address ... these issues in the future but I don't have any scheduling updates for you," Carney told reporters on Air Force One.
I'm just saying...
The Next New Squirrel?
The title refers to the animated movie Up, wherein an intelligence-augmented dog who can talk (it's the collar) interrupts his speech, now and again, to stare wildly left or right and yelp out, "Squirrel!" It's the ideal image when thinking of Barack "Big Stick" Obama's campaign, which comprises nothing but a series of ludicrous attempted distractions from the big picture, our collapsing economy.
E.g. du jour: The Associated Press reported yesterday that:
The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.
Food-stamp mania has struck the country. More and more Americans are applying for disability payments from the government at the same time that Americans enjoy better health than ever. Unemployment is mired in the eights, with real unemployment about 15%-16% and no relief in sight. Small-business owners and entrepreneurs are still reeling from the president's speech denigrating and insulting them.
Atop this pile of bad news for Obamunism, three new polls today tell us that Americans are souring on the president and especially on his broader thesis, that government deserves most of the credit for jobs and economic growth... and that the "previous administration" must shoulder all the blame for their lack:
- One from the Hill finds that two-thirds of likely voters blame the (current) federal government for the weak economy, with a plurality saying it's mostly President Obama's fault.
- According to a Rasmussen poll, 72% believe that entrepreneurs who start a business "are primarily responsible for their success or failure. Only 13 percent disagree." 77% believe entrepreneurs work harder than employees. 57% believe that entrepreneurs and small businesses do more to create jobs and grow the economy than big businesses (16%) or state and local government (11%); only 7% think that the federal government creates the most jobs and wealth. And "61 percent believe that small businesses provide more valuable service to a community than big business or government at any level."
- Finally, this poll from USA Today/Gallup has a raft of noisome news for President B.O.: Mitt Romney has a "significant advantage" over Obama on "managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs;" Republicans and Republican leaners have a huge advantage in enthusiasm over Democrats and Democratic leaners; 61% of respondents say "the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses." And this is from a poll of adults, not likely voters or even registered voters; likely voters would be even more pro-Romney.
And what is the response of America's Trillion-Dollar Taxman to this incessant threnody of electoral woe?
President Barack Obama dashed to Colorado on Sunday to meet with families of those gunned down in a movie theater and to hear from state and local officials about the shooting that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured.
Many argue that the visit was a wonderful, heartfelt attempt to reach out and comfort those in dire need of it, who have lost loved ones including children, wives, husbands, and other beloveds. The elected officials of Aurora are convinced that the president's visit was a vital part of the grieving process:
"These families need that kind of contact by our elected leader," said the Aurora police chief, Dan Oates. "It will be very powerful and it will help them. As awful as what they've been through and what they're going through has been having the president here is very, very powerful, it means a great deal to them and all of Aurora," he told CBS'"Face the Nation."
"I think the president coming in is a wonderful gesture," said Aurora's mayor, Steve Hogan. "He's coming in, really, to have private conversations with the families. I think that's totally appropriate." Hogan told ABC's "This Week" that it "certainly means a lot to Aurora to know that the president cares."
But does it really? Does it truly comfort the grieving when the President of the United States shows up with full entourage, trailing a bus-sized complement of paparazzi, and turns grief into a very public spectacle with distinctly political overtones? Particularly when the grieving and the wounded know full well, as do we all, that at least one purpose of the presidential visit to Aurora is to buttress Obama's reelection bid.
I don't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that the absolute last thing I would want, were I in a situation I don't even want to think about, the very last thing, would be to abruptly discover myself to have become an integral part of a presidential campaign event... even if I liked the president in question. (With this president, such forced exploitation would be intolerable.)
On a silver platter
But I have the feeling that this burst of "compassion" is more than just a momentary bolt, a duck and fade, a quick trip to avoid, for another couple of days, grabbing the bear by the tail and looking the economic facts in the face. Rather, I think there is a distinct possibility that this shooting might transform and refocus the Obama campaign on the next new squirrel, a distraction that could possibly carry them all the way to November without Obama ever having to articulate a solution to our fiscal crisis.
The Permanent Progressivist Presidential Campaign might decide to base their entire campaign on a nationwide series of repressive gun-control laws. He could, for example, make a point of signing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (assuming it get finalized in time), then making great theater of saying he'll present it to the Senate for approval after the election (because he doesn't want to "politicize" such an urgent and vital issue).
This will allow him to ride the gun-control hobby horse, clinging to the pommel until the bell rings on November 6th, without ever having to show any results for all that sound and fury.
Again I caution, this is sheer speculation, a "might," not a "will;" I have no hard evidence of this, since it hasn't happened yet. Consider this merely a musing with a heads-up.
But there are portents; Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA, 90%) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY, 80%) have already waved the obligatory bloody shirt, demanding we cast aside our essential liberty and do something about those awful guns. That supplies the framework on which Obama can hang his new campaign theme.
It's easy enough to coax other anti-gun extremists, never shy about publicizing their cause, to redirect, repeat, and retweet the clarion call. Just look how easy it was, as Korso points out below, for ABC chief investigative reporter Brian Ross tried to falsely blame Tea Partiers for the Aurora shootings with breathtaking alacrity. How many Americans heard (and believed) the accusation but not the retraction? A concerted anti-gun campaign could drum up hundreds of voices, from shrill to solemn, from measured moderation to maximum madness, to try to pull off the greatest presidential-election misdirection of all time.
With so many "reputable" sources blaming this shooting on the guns wielded by that ghoul, can the White House itself lag far behind? How long until some genius in the Permanent Campaign realizes the opportunity that has just been handed to them, the ultimate distraction from that which they cannot discuss?
The indecency of inappropriate silence
A quick, self serving, justification detour...
We are continually lectured that we should not "politicize" tragedy, generally by liberal "instructors" doing precisely that. Republicans and conservatives rightly see themselves as much better mannered than Democrats and liberals; but the latter exploit that Republican reserve and dance, booted and spurred, upon our politesse. And despite the effrontery, they make great inroads in the meme wars by doing exactly what they demand the rest of us to abjure.
Consider the case of Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush did more to mitigate damage and prepare for the disaster, even before that catastrophic storm, than any president in history. In the immediate aftermath, the Left warned the president, in stentorian and censorious voice, not to politicize the devastation -- then instantly fell to attacking Bush for his "incompetence," "disconnect," and "indifference."
The president, in an excess of good manners and basic decency, refused to fight back; and the Left had the airwaves all to themselves for many days. The result was that the false stench of presidential failure was firmly established, despite reams of evidence that the response to Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the best example of federal disaster response. Today, even most conservatives have been brainwashed into seeing Katrina as the nadir of Bush's presidency. Worse, it colored Americans' perception of his entire tenure, and perhaps helped saddle us with the current Occupier in Chief.
We must not enable yet another one-sided war in the name of seemliness, when those who would destroy America from within -- for example, by obliterating our cherished right to keep and bear arms -- are about as unseemly as it's possible to imagine. If I offend, I won't apologize; the loss of traditional American virtues is too dire to be held hostage to inappropriate silence.
Now back to the main road...
The tee shot
Let us be clear what I suggest and what I do not. First, there is no chance in Hades that the Arms Trade Treay could garner 67 votes in the Senate; there are already 57 senators who have come out against it, at least as envisioned by the anti-gun crowd.
But that's irrelevant to the Progressivist point. Obama need not actually enact gun control or confiscation; he need only change the subject (again) away from the economy to something else, anything else.
Many Americans would be "up in arms" about such a bait and switch. But with the stakes so high -- four more years of Obamunism to finish transforming our nation -- the Obama campaign might well calculate that the ill-will generated by going after guns is the lesser of two evils.
Look at the size of the hole they've already dug on jilted jobs, guttering growth, risible regulations, and just plain mean-spirited mudslinging at "the rich," which today appears to mean everybody not ensconced beneath the liberally defined and infinitely movable "poverty" line.
Obama cannot fix or even staunch the bleeding of our economy, because that would require the Big Stick to embrace Capitalism and the free market, anathema to Progressivists. But his other option is a simplistic, "black and white" battle cry: "Cling" to evil, talismanic guns, and you'll have a bunch of dead innocents in movie theaters.
And every minute spent discussing something other than the economy is a minute precious and helpful to Barack Obama.
But in the end, I believe this (speculative) distraction would explode in the president's face like a trick cigar, as have all the other sleights he has tried. Obama's biggest and most intractable problem is that he fundamentally does not understand what it means to be American, proudly American, uniquely American. I don't care where the man was born, he is not one of us.
If the president gives in to his baser instincts and his clueless advisors, or the other way 'round; if he pulls the trigger on running a "gun-control campaign;" he will discover that the roots of American independence stretch much deeper than he could possible imagine. Even many liberals would be outraged by a campaign at war with guns, when our problem is a government at war with prosperity.
So if that's the direction the permanent campaign has chosen, bring it on. I have no proof that gun control is their Plan B, and I'm certainly not making such a prediction; there are so many other distractions to choose from! But an anti-firearms campaign knits together so many threads that Progressivists love that I cannot imagine they haven't at least kicked the gong around.
Date ►►► July 22, 2012
The Dark Knight Rises, the Media Fall
So almost immediately in the aftermath of the movie theater shootings in Colorado. ABC chief investigative reporter Brian Ross suggested a link between the alleged gunman James Holmes and the Tea Party Movement. Of course, it didn't take long to figure out that the "Jim Holmes" Ross found on a Tea Party website wasn't the same guy who shot up the theater -- but by then the meme had already been established, and the talking heads of the MSM were in full lip flapping mode: It's the gun culture! It's Rush Limbaugh's fault!
If none of this sounds familiar, it should. Much the same thing happened in the hours after the Gabby Giffords shootings last year -- and it was as boneheaded then as it is now.
The Baltimore Sun has a pretty decent takedown of this ugly episode, but it misses the larger point of how a so-called professional news organization like ABC could get suckered into making such a rookie mistake. That's because what Ross did wasn't a mistake -- it was a deliberate act, and one which had very little to do with being the first to get a big scoop.
The truth is that the MSM have been trying to nail the Tea Party from the very beginning, branding it as violent and racist even though they have no evidence to back up either claim. Compare that to the kid-gloves treatment given to the Occupy movement, which has been rife with actual violence and racism, and you'll notice the pattern. The left, it seems, can't get bad publicity even when it tries.
Which brings us back to Brian Ross and ABC news. They made an assumption about the Colorado shooter and then hoped that the facts would eventually bear them out. They reported it the way they did because they wanted it to be true. And when it turned out to be false? Meh, no big deal. Maybe we'll get them next time.
That's the kind of thing that should get a reporter fired.
Alas, that's not how the modern newsroom works. And the MSM wonder why nobody believes them anymore.
Date ►►► July 19, 2012
Lancing a Boyle
In yet the latest example of Western self-flagellation, it seems that cinema auteur Danny Boyle -- the man who has a strange fascination with dipping his actors in excrement, as he so graphically showed us in his films Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting -- wants to toss his native Great Britain down the loo as well, on no less of a stage than the London Olympics:
The July 27 ceremony, conceived by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, will pay careful attention to Britain’s shame, with tableaux devoted to the denial of voting rights to women, Industrial Revolution pollution, the Great Depression and exploitation of the workers.
Instead of celebrating Nelson and Wellington, the show will feature scary soldiers “erupting” out of the ground like lava. A centerpiece will be a reenactment of a 200-mile 1936 workers’ march from the North to London to protest living conditions.
Yeah, that's pretty much the stuff that comes to my mind when I think of jolly old England. Perhaps Boyle and former London mayor "Red" Ken Livingstone can join forces to promote tourism after the games are over.
I wish I could say that this is shocking, but it isn't. Leftists have shown a boundless hatred for Western values, both here in America and across the pond. It's like the "warts and all" approach to teaching history so de rigueur in American schools: Somehow they find time for the warts but none of the all.
You figure that a native of the nation that gave the world the Magna Carta, the first declaration of principles in history that proclaimed what the king cannot do to his subjects, would find at least one other thing to focus on in his Olympic extravaganza. Perhaps the British Navy's interdiction against the slave trade? Or her steadfast resistance to fascism? Or would that all be too ethnocentric?
I tell ya, people who don't have a love and respect for their own culture are doomed to lose it. More than that, they deserve to lose it. What's scary is the idea of what might be left after the West tumbles off the cliff of its own self-loathing. Considering that we've been the sole source of light in a darkening world, the reckoning will be a harsh one indeed.
Date ►►► July 17, 2012
Behind the Mask
If you were a kid in the 70s, you might remember the album cover for Kiss Unmasked, when the glam rockers pull off all their makeup only to reveal (gasp!) that they look exactly the same underneath! Ah, those were good times.
I was reminded about that the other day when I heard that speech Barack Obama gave in Roanoke, Virginia -- you know the one in which he lectured business people about how they really aren't that special?
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Oh, Lord. Where to begin?
Well, first off I will concede that most of the outrage has been whipped up by taking a piece of the quote, monumentally stupid as it is, out of context. Specifically, the "you didn't build that" part wasn't referring to business owners not actually creating their own companies; he was talking about the roads and bridges in the preceding sentence. For a guy who fancies himself Orator in Chief, he sure went out of his way to step in a rather obvious pile of rhetorical poo.
Obama does, however, let his own mask slip a little in the process-- revealing himself as the collectivist he's always been, something that anyone who's bothered to look even a little bit has known for a long time. And, like the dude at the end of that Kiss cartoon, I still say he stinks.
For who ponied up the cash for those roads, Barack? The private sector, of course. And who was it who actually built the roads, Barack? Why, private companies! The only thing government did was act as a transfer agent--kind of like a money launderer, only greasing some of the union skids along the way.
The point is, without the private sector government has nothing. Obama, meanwhile, thinks it's exactly the opposite. Such is the difference between his vision for America and Mitt Romney's.
Date ►►► July 16, 2012
Bonjour les Enfants
Is this to be the Trillion Dollar Taxman's new campaign theme? It's tres apropos, since Barack "Big Stick" Obama has always operated under a Hollywood haze of teen logic:
This summer's much-anticiapted Hollywood blockbuster, "The Dark Knight Rises," is getting an unusual boost from Democrats and other foes of Mitt Romney who are eager to tie the Gotham crushing villain to the GOP presidential candidate. Their angle: the mask-wearing, "Venom" gas breathing bad guy has a name that sounds just like Romney's former investment firm that President Obama has been blasting as a jobs killer.
"Bane" is the terrorist in the new movie who drives the caped crusader out of semi-retirement in the final Batman movie. Democrats, who believe they have Romney on the ropes over the president's assault on his leadership at Bain Capital, said the comparisons are too rich to ignore.
I say again,
I suppose this might be a very persuasive argument, if the voting population was entirely composed of adolescent boys and aging, spherical anime fans. Bonjour, les enfants!
The self-dubbed, self-deluded, most intelligent president of all time, the One, the lightbringer, whose advent will cause the Earth to cool and the oceans to subside (any minute now), appears to be pinning all his hopes upon a series of sound bites, one-liners, lies, and now -- on the freak similarity of names between a successful, job-boosting, private-equity firm and a comic-book villain from the DCverse.
Am I missing something here, or has the president gone bananas?
"It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood," said Democratic advisor and former Clinton aide Christopher Lehane. "Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society," he added.
It would be comical, if it wasn't so villainous. All one can do is look at the denizens of D.C. and marvel.
But thank goodness that some Democrats, here and there, have a little more bottom, gravitas, than to turn to a comic book (yes, yes, "graphic novel") and its attendant movie in a plaintive and desperate attempt to put Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the rear-view mirror... something the Obama campaign has utterly failed to do after years of campaigning and hundreds of millions of dollars pounded down the rathole. Still, some Democrats, at least, cling to the innate dignity of the office and democratic election and confine their campaign themes to serious, weighty issues:
Democratic strategist Karl Frisch suggests a Romney comparison instead to Mr. Burns, the devilish nuclear power plant owner on the Simpsons. "The similarities are endless."
All right, I know when I'm licked. I guess the Obama nation is like Solla Sollew, where we never have troubles -- at least very few. Since we have evidently solved the troubles from our sour economy, our mind-numbing deficit, our collapsing foreign policy, the looming government takeover of all medical care, crony
Capitalism Fascism, our pending surrender withdrawal from two wars we had already won, Climategate, Solyndragate, Holdergate, Amnestygate, and our regulatory regurgitation, we might as well wallow in ComiCon-induced cognitive craziness on the campaign cul-de-sac.
But if we're leading with animated American icons, then I suggest a more apt comparison: Barack H. Obama as -- you're way ahead of me! -- Wile E. Coyote, the hapless half-smart slowfoot who is constantly losing the race to much smarter, speedier, and invariably more cheerful Roadrunner. (Whose first appearance was in a 1949 Warner Bros. cartoon titled "Fast and Furry-ous." You can't make this stuff up!)
Quick, somebody break open that box from Acme Mendacity and Demagoguery! Something in there is sure to turn the tide...
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► July 15, 2012
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Lootery:
a Followup to Korso's Joss the Political Slayer
Bouncing off Korso's previous post, I believe he has run head-on into the vile phenomenon of coöption, where the Left jacks up a perfectly good term, such as libertarianism, and runs a brand new (and completely opposing) definition underneath.
It's a funny thing about "libertarians." Actual libertarianism is the closest approach I make to a recognized political ideology; it is based upon the philosophy of individual liberty coupled with specific accountability for one's own actions; "your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." Libertarianism contemplates a minimalist State ("minarchy") that protects only natural rights, adjudicates disputes, organizes those few operations that must be handled collectively but are too big to be handled by voluntary association (i.e., national defense, building vital infrastructure that nearly all souls require, and enforcing free trade among the several states); otherwise, it gets out of the dang way, and lets individualism, Capitalism, and minding one's own business work its magic. (Those who reject even a minarchy are more properly called anarchists than libertarians.)
There is of course vigorous argument over what cannot be handled by voluntary association but requires collectivism instead, how specific disputes should be decided, and indeed, what constitutes "natural rights" in the first place. True libertarians are hotly divided on the subject of abortion, for example, which hinges on the question of when a developing zygote/embryo/foetus becomes a "person." But a true libertarian at the least recognizes the axioms of liberty and the rules of inference of logical argument: All libertarians should acknowledge not only their own liberty but everybody else's, including the liberty of their bitter enemies; and all libertarians should argue from consistent premises and arrive at valid (and recognizably liberty-based) conclusions.
Real libertarians are Capitalists, individualists (and familialists), self-reliant, with a strong sense of voluntary association to stave off State collectivism: If you can organize your armed neighbors to help you run off the muggers in your neighborhood, you don't need to call the police to handle the problem.
Yet these days, I can barely recognize most folks who call themselves libertarians. A staggering percentage of so-called libertarians are in fact leftist shills who occasionally deviate from the party line... but only when rules of political correctness conflict with their somatic, sybaritic self-pleasure.
Long ago (pre-Big Lizards), I coined the term "libertinarians" to describe these false-flag phonies: They support high taxes (!) to pay for free dope, limitless welfare (!!) so they needn't work, and an ever-expanding government whose function is to prohibit whatever they dislike and mandate free availability of whatever goods or services they enjoy. And libertinarians invariably vote Democratic -- demanding all the while that the jackbooted fascists in the GOP be silenced by the government.
Hugh Hefner and Bill Maher are disgustingly perfect examples, festooning themselves with hedonistic "political incorrectness," while simultaneously drinking the socialist Flavor-Aid about everything that matters beyond their own creature comforts. They are emblematic of (rough guess) two-thirds of those who label themselves libertarian. Sadly, it appears that Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, joins them.
They've never read a single book of libertarian theory, have never heard of Mises, Hayek, or Friedman, and do not believe in extending their own license to their neighbors (unless their neighbors are their sychophantic toadies). Libertinarians are perpetual posturing adolescents, pretending to an independence that includes the "freedom" to run riot, but in reality clinging to the teen-fantasy of an over-indulgent Mommy-State that will indemnify them from the natural consequences of their libertine excess.
Libertinarians despise voluntary associations -- churches and synogogues, service organizations, neighborhood watches, free and voluntary coöps, private charity, commercial insurance companies, and business councils; but they adore all involuntary collectives -- forced unionization, government-run medical care, welfare, GSEs, State-enforced monopolies -- so long as they themselves aren't compelled to join or contribute. (Libertinarians do, however, demand that they receive all benefits of such forced collectivism anyway. They clearly have never perused the Little Red Hen.)
They march in liberal lockstep, only breaking ideological ranks when discussion turns to drowning their individual identity in drug-induced mob manias, cold-heartedly exploiting vulnerable females (libertinarians are almost exclusively male), and of course, keeping their own money -- while looting yours.
On those "rights," they are adamant; but only for themselves. The rest of us, whatever we may call ourselves, may go hang.
Joss the Political Slayer
As good a writer as he is, apparently the concept of irony is completely lost on Joss Whedon. Consider his remarks at San Diego's Comic-Con:
Toward the end of the session, one woman noted the anti-corporate themes in many of his movies and asked him to give his economic philosophy in 30 seconds or less.
"We are watching capitalism destroy itself right now,” he told the audience.
He added that America is “turning into Tsarist Russia” and that “we’re creating a country of serfs.”
Whedon was raised on the Upper Westside neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1970s, an area associated with left-leaning intellectuals. He said he was raised by people who thought socialism was a ''beautiful concept."
Sigh. A beautiful concept that has led to the deaths of over 100 million people and counting. Aside from the astounding historical ignorance contained in that statement (Tsarist Russia was a monarchy, and whatever you think of Barack Obama, he was still democratically elected), you really have to marvel at a man who has grown fabulously wealthy because of the capitalist system raging against the machine as if he weren't part of it himself.
Whedon went on to say:
We have people trying to create structures and preserve the structures that will help the middle and working class, and people calling them socialists. It’s not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal […] it’s some people with some sense of dignity and people who have gone off the reservation.
What we have here is a fundamental failure to understand economics. If by "structures" Whedon means the ability to go out and earn a decent living, how does he expect crushing regulations, confiscatory taxes and the heavy hand of government (all aspects of socialism) will accomplish that objective?
If, on the other hand, he really means "welfare," then his observation about American becoming a nation of serfs really is true -- except that he's the one advocating our arrival there. Does Whedon ever stop to consider that the surest way to slavery is to make everyone dependent on government largesse? Apparently not.
It's also obvious that he's never made the connection between big government and the corporatism that enrages him so. Did it ever occur to him that big business wouldn't need to peddle influence nearly as much under a smaller government that didn't saddle them with so many regulations? Or that maybe Washington wants it that way, so as to keep the corporate campaign money flowing?
All of this is really surprising to me, given some of the anti-authoritarian themes that have appeared in Whedon's work (Firefly was one of the most libertarian shows I've ever seen). I just hope that living in the Hollywood bubble doesn't corrupt the quality of his writing in the future. I'd hate to see that happen to one of my favorite genre guys.
Date ►►► July 13, 2012
Finally! Barack Obama, after much soul searching, has figured out where his presidency has gone wrong:
When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well, the mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.
Man, I sure am glad we got that cleared up! And here I was thinking that Obama's blues had something to do with 30 straight months of 8% plus unemployment, anemic economic growth, and festooning us with a socialized health care system that nobody wants. Guess I need to read the New York Times more.
If you still had any lingering doubts that Barack Obama is a narcissist bordering on megalomania, this pretty much clinches it. After three and a half years of single-handedly doing everything in his power to hobble the economy with taxes, regulations and spending, he actually thinks that he can bring it all back -- with the sheer force of his words!
Ah, Barack. Didn't your Hollywood buddies tell you never to believe your own publicity? That bit about healing the nation's sins and turning back the oceans -- that was only campaign shtick, wasn't it?
God, I hope so. If not, we're in even bigger trouble than I thought. The kind of self-delusion on display here puts The Matrix to shame, except that we don't get the option of swallowing the blue pill.
In a way, though, Obama is selling himself short. As far as stories go, he's told some doozies. Between his composite girlfriends, the step-grandfather who didn't quite die with his boots on, and his puffed-up author bio, he's outdone Tolkien in terms of literary license.
And that doesn't even include his political career. Is the ObamaCare mandate a tax? It is -- except when it isn't. Talk about your twist ending! The only thing that would make it better would be if Obama really turned out to be Keyser Soze.
See, Barack -- the problem isn't so much your stories, but the willing suspension of disbelief required for the public to buy into them. Solyndra, Fast and Furious, the promise of stimulus -- all that stuff has just gotten too heavy for us to lift.
Perhaps a dash of truth might lighten the load a bit?
He Stoops to Hunker
President Barack "Big Stick" Obama, America's Trillion-Dollar Taxman, is out of gas and running on vapors... in this case, the "vapors" induced in the press at the evidently terrifying thought that we might soon have a businessman lording over la Casa Blanca. Heaven forfend! All the president's men can do is hunker down and hope that something happens, or that something "sticks," to reverse the downward dynamic of the election.
In a desperate ave Diabolus, President B.O. attempts to turn Mitt Romney's most attractive qualification, his extraordinarily successful management of Bain Capital, into a disqualifation for public office. At the moment, the president's campaign labors to label the Republican candidate as -- wait for it -- a federal felon.
As Paul [Mirengoff] noted twice today, the Obama campaign has reached a new low by resuscitating its Bain-Capital-related smears of Mitt Romney. Picking up on a recycled story in the Boston Globe, the Obama campaign suggested in a call with reporters that Romney may be a felon; either that, or he is misleading the American people. [Emphasis added. -- DaH]
The Democrats’ smear is based largely on ignorance of securities law. In her phone call today, Obama staffer Stephanie Cutter cited SEC filings which listed Romney as a “controlling person” after 1999. If Romney was controlling Bain Capital, Cutter argued, then obviously he was responsible for Bain Capital’s investments after 1999 and has been lying about his relationship with the company. But being a “controlling person” doesn’t mean that you are running the company....
As the owner of Bain Capital from 1999 to 2002, Romney naturally was listed as a controlling person in Bain’s SEC filings. That has nothing to do with whether he played any operational role in the firm’s investments, which, by all accounts, he didn’t.
The "felony" part comes into play because Romney signed various Securities and Exchange Commission documents over the years between February, 1999, when he departed from Bain Capital in haste to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics, to 2002, when the legal nonsense surrounding Romney's departure finally was resolved; since those statements are signed under oath, if Romney lied on them, that could be considered felonious behavior under some circumstances (and of course, it would be a federal rap, because the SEC is a federal agency).
But there isn't an echo of a ghost of a molecule of evidence that (a) Mitt Romney actually actively managed Bain or made investment decisions after he left in 1999, nor that (b) he lied about anything. In fact, it doesn't even make sense: Since Romney was a private person during those years, still intending to return to Bain (which he never did), he would have had no reason to lie anyway.
The One had no "Magic 8-Ball" to predict that a decade later, it would make a scintilla of difference whether he ceased managing his firm as soon as he headed out to the Great Salt Lake or a triplet of years later. What could he possibly gain in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 from fibbing about this? He wasn't even elected governor of Massachusetts until November, 2002.
But there is a darker, more repugnant possibility here that appalls me, but which I am compelled to consider (which also appalls me). My inability to dismiss it from my musings sprouts from Obama's own pre-presidential electoral history; in particular, the fact that Obama won several contests by concocting ways to force his opponents off the ballot entirely.
And what better way, they may believe, to force Romney off the ballot, or at least cripple him so badly that Obama's reelection becomes a foregone conclusion, to persuade the American voters that they were on the verge of electing a "federal felon" to the presidency?
How far would the Obama campaign go in trying to emasculate the GOP nominee? Would they, for example, open a Justice-Department "investigation" of Romney's Bain-Capital statements? Repeatedly subpoena and interrogate Romney campaign officials -- "What did the governor know, and when did he know it, Mr. Rhoades?" -- to disrupt the campaign, douse it with the malodor of criminality, and incidentally wring details of every last campaign strategy out of them?
Would they dare go so far as to call a grand jury and indict the Republican nominee?
I think I would let out a whoop and do the Snoopy happy-dance if they did. Alas, while I think Obama and his campaign cronies are fools, I cannot bring myself to believe they're utter fools. And they would have to be, to think that arresting or indicting their opponent, like some African or South American banana republic, would have any effect other than to appall the electorate, enrage voters (even many Democrats), and finally cause them to rise up in a true popular front against the Big Stick.
Still, I find the possibility amusing; certainly no other president of my lifetime would have either the chutzpah or hubris to imagine he could get away with it... but I'm not 100% certain that the current occupier of 1600 Penn. Ave. doesn't: He has demonstrated an arrogance and narcissism never before seen at such exalted levels.
Call it the Case of the Injudicious Indictment, where Mitt Romney would play Perry Mason to Obama's bumbling Burger. It's not likely enough for me to call it a prediction, but it's worth keeping your eye to the ground for a heads up.
Date ►►► July 12, 2012
Erskine Bowles Over Obamunism
I was struck by this statement from liberal Democrat Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton's chief of staff during an nterview on CNBC -- along with frequent Econ-101 crony (and former Republican senator from Wyoming) Alan Simpson, with Warren Buffett sitting in to kibbitz. The topic was the looming "fiscal cliff" at the end of this year; as the year dies, so too will the Bush across-the-board tax cuts... and at the same time, those horrid, mindless, automatic spending cuts will kick in. The combined effect can devastate the American economy:
The combination of the two occurring at the same time, known as "the fiscal cliff," could siphon $500 billion out of the economy next year alone and $7 trillion over a decade, according to some estimates.
Congress must act to adjust the timing or scope of the fiscal adjustments, but likely won't deal with tax and spending issues in an election year, says Bowles, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming.
"If I had to tell you the probability, I'd say the chances are we are going over the fiscal cliff. I hate to say it, but I think that's probably right," Bowles tells CNBC. [Emphasis added. -- DaH]
But here is the thought provoker that seized my attention:
Calling deficits "a cancer" Bowles says the country must work to improve its fiscal health.
"If you take last year 100 percent of the revenue that came into the country, every nickel, every single dollar that came into the country last year was spent on our mandatory spending and interest on the debt," Bowles says.
"Mandatory spending is principally the entitlement programs -- Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. What that means is every single dollar that we spent last year on these two wars, national defense, homeland security, education, infrastructure, high value-added research, every single dollar was borrowed and half of it was borrowed from foreign countries," Bowles adds. [Emphasis added]
"That is crazy. It's a formula for failure in any organization."
Sometimes one looks and wonders; other times, one simply looks.
Bowles and Simpson say that we must cut at least $3 trillion in federal spending over the next ten years, which can only be done by tackling so-called "entitlement" spending head on, since that's where most of the money's spent; coupled with a trillion dollars in increased revenue, which of course requires a dramatic increase in the American gross domestic product -- since you can't squeeze blood out of a sow's ear.
And speaking of massive entitlement reform and economic growth, wasn't there some feller named Ryan who had some pertinent ideas for both requirements?
Common in the Korso household is a certain uneasiness about the November election. Yes, we're a family of poll watchers and news junkies -- and, quite frankly, when you immerse yourself in that stuff day after day, you're bound to occasionally fall prey to the "Obama is inevitable" meme peddled by Democrats and their minions in the media.
There are, however, some reasons to think otherwise -- like Mitt Romney's speech to the NAACP convention yesterday. The media, of course, are all about telling you how much he got booed, and now all the talking heads are going on about how Romney "insulted" his audience with platitudes about work and family. But all of this prattling kind of misses the larger point of how gutsy it was for Romney to speak to a group of people fervently dedicated to re-electing his opponent.
Think of Barack Obama addressing a meeting of the Federalist Society or the NRA, and you get the idea. No way in hell would the fundraiser-in-chief venture that deep into unfriendly territory -- but there Romney was, making his pitch without getting the least bit rattled, laying it on the line instead of just telling the audience what they wanted to hear.
That's not the mark of a squishy candidate. That isn't to say that Mitt Romney is cast in the same mold as Reagan -- Lord knows, the Gipper was one of a kind -- but for anybody who thought that Romney would go soft in the general election against Obama, this is a reason to take heart. The man we saw out there yesterday was a fighter.
And maybe -- just maybe -- he gave a few people in that crowd something to think about.
Date ►►► July 10, 2012
State of Denial
There's a great scene in Michael Crichton's book State of Fear in which an actor named Ted Bradley (a thinly-veiled version of Martin Sheen), is captured by a tribe of natives on a tropical island. The poster child for modern eco-consciousness, Bradley views the island as a paradise and its denizens as noble primitives, living in harmony with nature just as Gaia intended -- right up to the moment they cook him up for dinner.
Kind of reminds me of Rahm Emanuel.
You might have heard that the murder rate has soared even higher in Chicago since Barack Obama's former chief of staff moved into the mayor's office. No surprise there. Chicago is a rough town, and in spite of his tough-guy persona Emanuel is, after all, a Democrat -- and they aren't exactly known for being tough on crime. Even with that in mind, though, hizzoner's response to the crime wave simply boggles the mind:
We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them.
And it is about values. As I said then [when a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed last month], who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them.
Yeah. Ted Bradley thought the same thing about the cannibals, and look where that got him.
The article goes on to say that Emanuel's plan for dealing with the situation involves tearing down the gangbanger hangouts and closing up their favorite liquor stores. While he's at it, maybe he can send out some community organizers to remind the thugs that they shouldn't stay out so late on school nights either.
Suddenly, Emanuel seems a lot less "Rahmbo" and a lot more Steve Urkel. Perhaps he should take a page from the Rudy Giuliani playbook, and instead of appealing to the better natures of murderers and rapists he could try busting some heads. Like Chicago, New York City had a huge problem with violent crime before Giuliani turned things around with effective policing -- which included the actual targeting of criminals, and not just the places they liked to go.
Or is that concept just too Republican?
Pride Goeth Awayeth, Before Obamunism
What price pride?
Too much, evidently, for the Obamunists; pride gets in the way of the utopia of universal welfare, as does innovation, paying your own way, and self-reliance:
The USDA has adopted a range of strategies and programs designed to bring more people to SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- it's a snap! -- DaH], including taking on “pride.” A 2011 Hunger Champions Award document reveals that local assistance offices have been rewarded for "counteracting" pride and pushing more people to sign up for benefits.
The Ashe County Department of Social Services in Jefferson, N.C., for example, received a "Gold" award for confronting "mountain pride" and increasing food stamp participation by 10 percent.
Thank goodness we're finally dumping that wretched individualism into the dustbin of history, and encouraging a new American culture of parasitism, rent-seeking, and looting! Besides, food stamps, welfare, poverty subsidies, theft, corruption, bath salts, and begging in the streets are all proven methods of stimulating the economy (via the argument by endless and angry assertion):
The USDA also claims increasing food stamp participation is an economic stimulus.
"Outreach and education are powerful tools in overcoming barriers to SNAP participation. Even a small increase in SNAP participation can have a substantial impact," USDA continues. "If the national participation rate rose 5 percentage points, 1.9 million more low-income people would have an additional $1.3 billion in benefits per year to use to purchase healthy food and $2.5 billion total in new economic activity would be generated nationwide."
That being so, shouldn't we forgo future Obamic "stimulus packages," and instead simply send books of food stamps to every American, living and dead? Surely that would be the most simulating stimulus ever!
Here's more acolytic public-assistance enthusiasm from President Foodstamp's kitchen cabinet:
While spending on the food stamp program has increased 100 percent under President Barack Obama, the government continues to push more Americans to enroll in the welfare program.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has embraced entire promotional campaigns designed to encourage eligible Americans to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
A pamphlet currently posted at the USDA website encourages local SNAP offices to throw parties as one way to get potentially eligible seniors to enroll in the program.
“Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle,” the agency advises. “Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a ‘true/false’ quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.”
If Barack "Trillion-Dollar Taxman" Obama is reelected, get ready for Abortion Adventure Cruises, "Things Go Bitter With Koch"® Klambakes, and government-sponsored Race Hate Play Dates.
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask rather what you can do for Obamunism. And party-on, dude!
Date ►►► July 8, 2012
Conservatism 101: The Principle of the Thing
Most of the time, when regular folks debate politics, the difference between conservatism and liberalism is actually quite simple: it's the difference between the head and the heart. It's the reason why conservatives tend to view the world through the prism of the way things are, whilst liberals approach things from the standpoint of how they want them to be.
The result, of course, is predictable. Conservatives often come off as cold and unfeeling bean counters, content to leave everybody to the vagaries of the market. The best laid liberal plans, meanwhile, always seem to blow up in their faces because they never take into account basic human nature -- which is, not to put too fine a point on it, often oriented toward doing as little as possible in order to get by.
This leads to a rather maddening conundrum. Conservative policies, even though they're more effective, involve taking a more hands-off approach to government -- cutting taxes, reducing regulation, dumping ineffective programs -- which makes them a lot less tangible. That makes for a tougher sell, especially in times of crisis when liberal cries to "do something" are at fever pitch. How do you explain to people that sometimes, doing less is a far better option?
That's why conservatives are always on the defensive. Not only do we have to work a lot harder to get our message out, we also have to rely on principle a lot more. Like Prince getting bogged down in too many side projects, we end up debating so many fine points about why conservatism is the moral choice that we lose the larger ideological battle.
When liberals, for instance, want to stop corporate money from influencing elections, they paint corporations as evil entities out to squash the little guy with their big money and issue ads. Conservatives, meanwhile, have to defend those corporations -- whether they're sympathetic or not -- because they have rights under the First Amendment like anybody else. Inevitably, the headline reads something like, "GOP Backs Acme Corp Over Wile E. Coyote's Citizen Initiative."
See the pattern? Liberals don't care about the law, unless it works to their advantage. Conservatives don't have that option, even when the law works against us.
Nowhere is this split more pronounced than in the tax debate. Even now, Barack Obama is out there trying to convince the public that "the rich" need to shovel even more money into the government maw. Again, the conservative response relies mostly on principle -- the top 25% of wage earners already pay 86% of all federal income tax, nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax at all, blah blah blah -- but even though all these things are true, in the end the argument causes a lot of voters to tune out like they're watching and old episode of Joanie Loves Chachi on Nick at Nite.
So what do we do about it?
As much as I hate to say it, some more hard selling is in order. To wit, what should you do if a liberal comes up to you and says, "We wouldn't have such a big deficit if we didn't have the Bush tax cuts for the rich?" A lot of conservatives would be inclined to hand the person a copy of The Road to Serfdom and debate the finer points of civilizational decline and its relationship to the debt to GDP ratio. Might I suggest a different course?
Try this one on for size: You could confiscate every penny earned by "the rich" in a given year and it wouldn't even generate enough revenue to cover last year's federal budget deficit. Never mind the actual budget--we're just talking about the deficit.
Suddenly raising taxes sounds much like the band on the Titanic striking up a chorus of "Ain't We Got Fun."
The point isn't that conservatives shouldn't be debating principles. After all, there's plenty of room for that in the pages of National Review and The American Spectator. But when it comes to convincing Joe Voter of the absolute necessity of kicking Barack Obama to the curb in November, a little less principle and a lot more Armageddon might be just the ticket.
Date ►►► July 5, 2012
It's probably too good to be true. Comes now the Don Himself, opining on the recent spate of interviews given by one Anthony Weiner, the first man to be driven out of Congress for hyperextending himself:
Degenerate former Congressman Anthony Weiner is trying to make a comeback. He is a sick and perverted man that New York does not want or need.
Apprently Trump isn't too hapy with Weiner making the rounds, as it were, praising the Supreme Court's decision to keep ObamaCare around for a little bit longer. I guess Weiner didn't get the note from F. Scott Fitzgerald about there being no second acts in American life.
So far, though, the man who gave a whole new meaning to the term "Twitter Handle" is denying he's trying to make a comeback. Still, you gotta figure that Big Tony took one look at how Eliot Spitzer landed that sweet (albeit brief) CNN gig and thought to himself, Hey, I can do that!
Me, I'd be pleased as punch. Politics can be so stuffy, and let's face it -- Weiner livens things up, perhaps more than even he realizes. Besides, with defenders like that, bringing ObamaCare down will be that much easier.
So whatdya say we all chip in and get him a new Blackberry? The kind with the 4x zoom. I'm sure it'll come in handy.
UPDATE: Uh-oh. Be careful what you wish for!
Date ►►► July 4, 2012
There's Nothing Sweeter
As I now sip my beer and grill some tasty meats, I take time to thank the good Lord that I am free and independent, as our Founding Fathers declared over two centuries ago.
Happy Birthday, America -- and may all of us count the blessings of liberty so many have sacrificed so much to secure for us.
In Congress, July 4th...
Date ►►► July 3, 2012
The Lizards Present Korso!
As you have no doubt noticed -- and if you haven't, you aren't in the habit of reading bylines, you bestial excuses for civilized human beings -- we have added a second blogger on Big Lizards. (Or rather, a fourth blogger, though the other two are less concrete and more ethereal and mercurial, not to say theoretical and conjectural.)
He goes by the obviously feigned name of Korso, and here (he insists) is his curriculum vitae, which he concocted himself -- thus certain to be energetically inflated and heavily edited; the warts and felonies skillfully airbrushed out, while superlative manifestations are projected with an incisive eye towards misdirection; full of vague and sly insinuation yoked to overt confabulation; and not to completely exclude the compounding of a fistful of outright hoaxes, flimflam, rodomontade, baroque filligree and fooferaw, lovingly applied mendacity, byzantine babble, and hastily concealed sleight of lip. Take it all with a fistful of sodium chloride, if not sodium pentothal...
I better make this something that can't be used against me in a court of law, so here goes:
Like the other Big Lizards, Korso is a science-fiction writer of impeccable (though some would say ill) repute. His first novel Hammerjack was published by Bantam Spectra in 2004, followed a year later by the sequel Prodigal. Though they didn't win any awards, they brought joy to dozens of readers worldwide, proving that "Big in Japan" truly is a relative concept.
In 2010, Korso published "Revenant," a novella included in the Star Trek anthology Seven Deadly Sins -- thus fulfilling a decades-long quest to put his own stamp on the Trek universe.
In between the occasional book, Korso works as an information systems geek and makes his home in the balmy state of Florida with his beautiful wife and two amazing kids.
...And if you believe all that, you're doubtless exactly the sort who reads and actually believes the byline!
Nota Bene: As with the primary Lizard, this new Lizard is also not a pseudonym of Peter David.
Date ►►► July 2, 2012
Don't They Ever Run Out Of Ink?
Fresh off the press at MSNBC comes a useful article for a change. Manufacturing contracted for the first time in three years, a sign that the companies that make the stuff we buy are anticipating tougher times ahead -- not quite the "private sector is doing fine" assurances that Barack Obama shared with us the other week.
More troubling, however, is how the markets reacted to the news. It's not that I'm wishing for a steep drop, because God knows my 401(k) has been on a roller coaster ride lately; but the assertion that the Fed is cushioning the blow with even more more easy money policies makes me very, very nervous.
The reason? Interest rates are already near zero--which means the only way the Fed can make things "easier" is to -- drum roll, please -- that's right, print more money!
Basically, the administration is continuing to feed the stock market a sugar high in the hopes of keeping the Dow elevated. While this makes things look better in the short term, the time is going to come when all that loose money is going to cause massive inflation. Some predictions have it happening as soon as next year.
Throw in ObamaCare, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts extension in January, and the reams of regulations imposed by Washington since Obama took office, and the picture doesn't look at all good. Hang on to your assets, folks.
Too Fast, Too Furious?
As Chief Justice John Roberts has been approaching Kardshian territory in terms of media overexposure (at this rate, he'll soon be inking a deal for his own line of men's fragrance and fashion accessories), I thought it might be nice to take a break and turn our attentions to everyone's favorite attorney general, Eric Holder -- the man who makes Janet Reno look like a model of cooperation and competence.
While there's not a heck of a lot new to add to the ongoing saga of the first AG to face a Congressional contempt charge (just one of many firsts for the Obama administration), I did want to throw my two cents in on something that Charles Krauthammer recently said about the investigation into Fast and Furious:
But the final effect could be one that could hurt Republicans, because as you have already heard from the talking points of Democrats in Congress, this will be characterized as another case of [Republican] overreaching, obstructionism, opposition, blind opposition to the administration, and distraction from real economic legislation or activities. And that is the line that the Democrats will take. It could, in fact, hurt the Republicans among some of the electorate.
Ordinarily I would say the Krauthammer is correct, because nothing glazes over the eyes of Your Average Voter more quickly than another Congressional investigation. The Dems took this practice to the heights of absurdity during George W. Bush's eight years in office, so the last thing people want is more of the same.
There is, however, a crucial difference this time around. With Bush, the squabbles were over fired attorneys and Valerie Plame, arcane things that nobody outside of the Washington media complex gave a piff about. Fast and Furious, on the other hand, resulted in the death of Brian Terry, an American law enforcement agent, and untold hundreds of Mexican citizens.
Terry's family is waiting for answers. More than that, they deserve answers, fallout be damned. Some things transcend politics. I think Darrell Issa knows that too, which is why he's following the trail wherever it leads.
That said, there's also no reason for Mitt Romney to wander off message and insert himself into the proceedings -- which, to Romney's credit, he seems to understand so far. He just needs to keep hammering Obama on the economy, and let Issa take care of Holder. In the end, justice will be done; and with any luck, we can boot this administration to the curb at the same time.
Conservatism 101: Big vs. Big
My father and law were having a discussion the other day over some pretty good scotch, which naturally led to the subject of politics and the private sector. It seems that whenever lefttist politicians are seeking to "do something" about whatever the scare du jour happens to be, they inevitably invoke some corporate boogeyman to create an us-versus-them dynamic perfect for whipping up outrage and hysteria.
It doesn't really matter what the industry is -- Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance -- any one of them will make a suitable scapegoat. After all, all these greeeedy corporations want to do is rip off Joe Citizen and bank their obscene profits at the expense of The PeopleTM. The implicit message is that Big Government is looking out for you, while Big Business only wants to screw you.
History, however, tells a different story.
To wit: How many people has Big Business killed over the centuries? Sure, you've got your various and sundry accidents and fits of sheer incompetence that have caused deaths (anybody remember the Ford Pinto?) -- but I'm talking about incidents when a company has actually gone out and killed somebody on purpose. Outside of a John Le Carre novel, I'd be hard pressed to think of many.
Now ask yourself how many people governments have killed. Communism alone is estimated to be responsible for over 100 million deaths. Throw in the crimes of the Nazi regime, just to name one other, and the numbers go even higher.
This is not to say that corporations are run by angels, because they're not. They are flawed institutions populated with flawed human beings -- but by and large, they exist to serve consumer needs and are responsive to the desires of their customers. Governments, on the other hand, too often exist to serve the needs of those who rule. It's why our Founding Fathers sought to limit the powers that government has, and made the liberty of the individual paramount.
So the next time some lefty tries to convince you that government can be trusted more than business, see if you can set him straight -- after you stop laughing, of course.
Date ►►► July 1, 2012
Kudos to CBS... and How Often Do You See that on Big Lizards? Updated, see bottom
In an startling and heartening burst of sanity, the CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent, Jan Crawford, pens a piece reporting that, as many suspected, Chief Justice John Roberts originally voted with conservative justices to strike down the individual mandate.
Then some time later, he changed his vote to align himself with the liberal justices... after he had suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous importuning, bullying, and lightly veiled threats from Left-leaning news readers, from congressional Democrats, and from la Casa Blanca itself:
Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.
Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy - believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law - led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold....
Over the next six weeks, as Roberts began to craft the decision striking down the mandate, the external pressure began to grow. Roberts almost certainly was aware of it....
There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the Court - and to Roberts' reputation - if the Court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the President himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld.
Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint.
It was around this time that it also became clear to the conservative justices that Roberts was, as one put it, "wobbly," the sources said.
The three conservatives (Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito) and the more libertarian Justice Anthony Kennedy, are evidently furious with Roberts for his betrayal of his first vote and throwing away the chance to put an emphatic exclamation point to the slap-back against the creeping cancer of the Commerce-Clause. So irate that the quartet utterly refused to join in any portion of Roberts' opinion, even the parts with which they (separately) concur:
The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said.
Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts' decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate.
This is an amazing (and developing) story. I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internets; I am certainly unable to pronounce on the accuracy or truthfulness of Crawford's analysis. But surprising congratulations are in order to her and to her employer, CBS News, for having the courage to grab the Big Stick by the tail and look the facts in the face.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Korso adds: If the CBS story is even remotely true, it's almost too terrifying to contemplate. Roberts' actions don't even comport with the standards established for jurors at a trial, who are explicity instructed not to allow any outside influences to taint their objectivity in weighing evidence. For the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to render a decision based on how it "looks" to the media establishment and a bunch of left-wing rabble rousers would be an utter betrayal of his oath to uphold the Consitution. You might as well have mob rule.
Afghan Meadows Massacre - a Nonupdate Update
Readers no doubt recall the mysterious case of the American soldier in Afghanistan -- now identified as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (one of the "nonupdate updates") -- who is alleged by various tribesmen in a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan to have strolled off base one day and gone on a murder spree, killing seventeen innocent civilians -- the charge now reduced to sixteen (the only other nonupdate update to this story) -- including nine children.
The posts on Big Lizards were:
- Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux? (March 11th, 2012)
- Addendum to Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux? (March 12th, 2012)
My conclusion was simply that so far, the only evidence we have of such a massacre comes from sources that are questionable at best -- and at worst, smack of "dawa," the Arabic word meaning to advance the cause of jihad by means other than actual force of arms. Among the most powerful weapons of dawa is "lawfare," using the laws of a nation that is not a radical Islamist state to further the cause of jihad... that is, suing and prosecuting a State into sharia. As the National Review's Andrew McCarthy puts it:
The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend sharia. Scholar Robert Spencer incisively refers to dawa practices as “stealth jihad,” the advancement of the sharia agenda through means other than violence and agents other than terrorists. These include extortion, cultivation of sympathizers in the media and the universities, exploitation of our legal system and tradition of religious liberty, infiltration of our political system, and fundraising. This is why Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the world’s most influential Islamic cleric, boldly promises that Islam will “conquer America” and “conquer Europe” through dawa. [Emphasis added. -- DaH]
The best recent example of lawfare was the bizarre case of the Flying Imams, a group of six radical-Islamist religious leaders. On November 20th, 2006, they deliberately exhibited very suspicious, provacative, and frightening behavior at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, both before and after boarding a plane to Phoenix.
Before the flight took off, the (nonflying) imams were removed from the airplane due to passenger complaints and crew observations. The imams later sued the airline, airport officials, and even passengers. The cowardly airline ultimately settled the case; action against the passengers was eventually dropped, but only after Congress passed a bill giving immunity to passengers who report suspicious behavior in airports on aboard a flight. Nevetheless, many security experts believe that the Flying Imams' act of "lawfare" created a chilling effect, making it more difficult for passengers or airliner crews to report similar incidents, because of the fear of being labeled a bigot and being sued into oblivion by well-funded Islamists.
Back to the present case. I do not know whether this particular alleged "massacre" in Afghanistan occurred; but whether it did or didn't, the pursuit of the story has been a prime instance of dawa. Its purpose, for the American news media as well as their likely Taliban-supporting elocutioners, is to debase and demoralize the American military in Afghanistan and elsewhere; to discourage continued U.S. resistance to Taliban rule; and -- I believe -- to give moral cover to Barack "Big Stick" Obama's purblind diplomatic disaster of inviting the Taliban to rejoin the Afghan government as a "partner in peace."
Here is how I concluded each post, starting with Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux?:
Maybe I'm jaded, but color me skeptical. It may well turn out to be every bit as horrific and shameful to America as the media gleefully report; accuracy is always a possibility, no matter how out of character that would be. But that's not how initial reports of similar incomprehensible, "American-caused" massacres have generally fared when exposed to the light of actual evidence dredged up by a thorough and complete investigation.
Let's sit tight and wait to see what the evidence actually shows before belly-flopping, yet again, upon the American military.
Addendum to Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux?:
The only thing that's missing -- so far! -- is a John Kerry or a John Murtha to spray the atrocity charges through government organs, amplifying and adding piquant inventions of his own; thus crystalizing the accusation as "historical fact," despite a complete lack of impartial investigation up to this point. So far, the Left hasn't picked it up, perhaps because it can't help but reflect badly on the One; thank goodness for small crumbs!
If the man actually committed the heinous acts the Afghans accuse him of, in the manner of the media narrative, then he should be hanged. (Note that the "narrative" includes the fact or factoid that he walked back to the base and "turned himself in," which would imply knowledge of guilt; so he can't get away with an insanity plea.) But do we really know whether this is true yet? If so, then how do we know, based on what?
This is why I have always maintained (usually the lone voice crying in the wilderness) that of the three classical pillars of philosophy -- metaphysics (what we know), ethics (what we do about what we know), and epistemology (how we know what we know) -- the most urgent, and most quickly forgotten, is the last.
It should be clear that Big Lizards has not prejudged the case in either direction; my point was that the mainstream media unquestionably has done exactly that. As I began the first piece:
An American staff sergeant has just been indicted, tried, convicted, and condemned for a horrific massacre in Afghanistan; the court was the mainstream media -- which also served as judge, jury, and sentencing panel. Such Obamic efficiency; such economy of deliberation!
And thereby hangs a tail.
But I had heard absolutely nothing more about this case in the three and a half months intervening. It dropped completely off the media radar. When commenter Baggi asked me if I'd seen an update, I actually had to do a Google news search to find anything at all.
All that I found was a minor piece from PMSNBC on June 1st, to the effect that one count of murder against SSGT Bales was dropped, while another count of assault was added. (For this momentous announcement, they needed an entire article.)
So the answer to my commenter's question is -- No, there are no real updates. We still don't know whether there is any evidence other that the claim made by Afghans and likely Taliban sympathizers; we still don't know what the defendant claims; we still don't know whether there was provocation; we still don't know whether there is even a serious investigation, beyond taking the word of Afghan tribesmen.
We do know the news media appear to have dropped the story in the meanwhile... unlike similar charges made during, as a certain Stick keeps saying, "the previous administration." I must conclude that a sense of urgency about such "atrocities" may be lacking, say for the past three-plus years. Evidently, the story is not yet ripe; the antique media believes it can wait until, say, November 7th or later to pick up the threads and examine the incident in detail. (By universal Democratic Party and media assent, that date has been dubbed "Cut-Loose Day.")
Meanwhile, nothing to see here, let's all just move on; we have dogs to annoy, jobs to outsource, and haircuts to administer.
So it goes.
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