Category ►►► Ubertweets
October 14, 2009
ObamaCare in a Nuthouse
Since I hope that a few more people think about this point than read my Twitter feed (I have seventeen follows*, ooh-rah!), here's my latest tweet:
ObamaCare: Mandates every health plan cover everything -- then taxes the hell out of all those "gold-plated" policies. Kill it at cloture.
I live in California, so this will be an intensely personal issue with me: The state and federal governments between them mandate that our health-care plans cover everything you can imagine; and there are other states even more demanding. I reckon that means that all of us "wealthy" people will be paying a hefty tax for the privilege of obeying the stupid legal mandates.
Thank you, mask man.
* My previous tweet was two months ago. Perhaps I would have more followers if I tweetied -- twitted -- tooted? -- a bit more frequently. Of course, if I actually tooted more often, it might not affect my readers, but I bet I'd have fewer face-to-face conversations!
September 25, 2009
Yes, Virginia, It Really Is a Tax
Yesterday, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV, 92%) interrogated one Thomas Barthold, chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation; Ensign wanted to know whether the Internal Revenue Service was responsible for enforcing the ObamaCare provision requiring individuals to pay a "penalty" of $1,900 if they fail to purchase an "approved" health-care plan.
Why is this important? Because if it falls to the IRS to enforce that rule, then both the requirement to purchase and the penalty if you don't are indeed "taxes." Failure to pay the $1,900 penalty gets you a fine of up to $25,000.
(I'm not sure which ObamaCare plan this refers to; the House plan is the only one where a completed bill was actually voted on -- it passed in the House, of course.)
Barthold confirmed that indeed, the IRS will enforce payment of the nineteen hundred smackeroos -- and if you fail to pay it, the IRS will prosecute... and you could even be sent to jail for failing to pay, just as if you failed to pay any other tax. From the first Political post linked above:
Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don't believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.
"We could be subjecting those very people who conscientiously, because they believe in the U.S. Constitution, we could be subjecting them to fines or the interpretation of a judge, all the way up to imprisonment," Ensign said. "That seems to me to be a problem."
I presume the IRS will also enforce the similar provision mandating businesses, including small businesses (even Mom & Pop stores), to offer "approved" health insurance to their employees; I don't know what the penalties are for failing to do so.
In a follow-up Politico post, Barthold confirmed to Ensign that indeed, the possible penalties included jail time:
Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it "Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold."
The Joint Committee on Taxation has both senators and representatives (which is why they call it a "joint" committee); it's chaired by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY, 100%) and vice-chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT, 80%); the committee comprises three each Democratic senators and representatives, and two each Republican senators and reps.
So the next time some chowderheaded clown -- or the president -- denies that the individual and employer mandates in ObamaCare are massive middle-class tax increases, shove this post in his face and make him read it!
Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
August 29, 2009
President Barack H. Obama and his Windy-City White House have admitted that their projected deficits were far too low, so they've upped the 10-year total to $9 trillion, more or less matching the CBO. But aren't they still playing fast and loose with their figures?
Obama swears that ObamaCare won't add even a dime to the deficit; thus he has not included any costs from that program in his projection. But wait -- nearly every non-White House source believes it will be very expensive, costing anywhere from $750 billion to $3 trillion.
Which means, I fear, that even the expanded Obamic deficit projection is significantly low -- and we're actually looking at adding nearly $11 trillion (taking the mean average of the projection boundaries), not a "mere" $9 trillion, to the national debt by 2020.
In addition to the problems with ObamaCare, the administration also estimates that they will save an additional $200 billion (per year?) on Medicare. According to AP:
Democrats also are calling for cuts in Medicare spending, using some of the savings to help uninsured workers. A House bill would result in a net reduction in Medicare of about $200 billion, though Obama has insisted the reductions would not cut benefits in the health program for the elderly.
Five'll get you eight that the administration is including this as "deficit reductions" in their budget estimates, since no "new government programs" have yet been enacted specifically to eat up that supposed reduction (the reductions are counted immediately; the spending won't be counted until it's actually spent).
In the event that this amazing Medicare savings (without cutting any benefits!) fails to eventuate, the deficit increases by another $200 billion -- if that alleged savings is allegedly a one-shot -- or by another $2 trillion, if it's supposedly a structural change. So the national debt rises by a total of more than $11 trillion (best case) to as much as $13 trillion (worst case).
The joy of tax
Economist John Mauldin, in his weekly e-letter, notes the following point about some of President Obama's assumptions underlying the recent budget estimate:
Instead of fiscal discipline, we are hearing increased demands for more spending. Please note that the very rosy future deficit assumptions assume the end of the Bush tax cuts at the close of 2010. But raising taxes back to the level of 2000 does not make the projected future budget deficits go away.
I mean, seriously, does anyone think Pelosi or Reid are going to lead us to fiscal constraint? Obama talks a good game, but he has not offered a serious deficit-reduction proposal, other than further tax increases. And by serious, I mean we need cuts on the order of several hundred billion dollars.
Liberal squawking notwithstanding, most of the Bush tax cuts went to middle-income taxpayers. Obama has sworn that he won't raise the taxes of anyone making less than $250,000 a year... which means he wouldn't be able to cut the Bush tax cut much at all. And even if the president proposed breaking his word on this issue ("read my lips..."), it's very unlikely that wavering members of the House and especially Senate would go along with it, since the congressional debate would have to be flooding the airwaves in 2010, swamping almost every other issue in the November elections.
So that's one assumption that appears to be busted from the git-go; who's going to vote for massive tax increases right before an election? Let's assume no significant tax increase on the middle income, including allowing the Bush cuts to die "quietly" (yeah, right -- quietly!)
So how much is the net hit on the deficit projection due to the unlikelihood of repealing the Bush tax cuts?
Mind, we're not talking about an actual deficit (if any) was created by the tax cuts; that's a whole different argument. I'm asking how much the Obama administration estimated the Bush tax cuts were costing per year, and how much of that amount they expected to recover from killing them. In other words, how much deficit reduction did they include in their calculations that they're not actually getting?
The leftist Economic Policy Institute is just the sort of econ think tank that Barack Obama would find trustworthy; it was founded by various liberal economists (including Bill Clinton's future Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich) in 1986, and it consistently presents the view from the Left. Their 2005/2006 position paper on tax cuts estimates the deficit impact thus:
In the recently completed fiscal year 2005, the combined effect of the tax cuts passed since 2001 was $225 billion without interest. When the interest costs from greater debt is included, the tax cuts raised the deficit by $260 billion, a sum that would wipe out most of last year’s unsustainable $317 billion deficit.
I wonder if they consider Obama's trillion-dollar deficits, marching into eternity, "sustainable"...
I think it reasonable to assume that the current administration accepts the estimate that the Bush tax cuts increased the deficit by at least $260 billion per year; how much do they expect to "recover" by killing the tax cuts? It would be hard for me to believe, given the urgency of the budget-deficit problem, that Obama would have low-balled the savings. I think it's not unreasonable that he would have "estimated" savings of about $200 billion per year, or 78% of what he (and liberal economists) imagine the cuts are costing the economy.
So bursting that soap-and-change bubble, adds another $2 trillion over ten years to the national debt, bringing the adjusted total increase up to $13 to $15 trillion.
Finally, Mauldin quotes from economist Richard Russell:
“The US national debt is now over $11 trillion dollars. The interest on our national debt is now $340 billion. This is about at 3.04% rate of interest. In ten years the Obama administration admits that they will add $9 trillion to the national debt. That would take it to $20 trillion. Let's say that by some miracle the interest on the national debt in 10 years will still be 3.09%. That would mean that the interest on the national debt would be $618 billion a year or over one billion a day [sic; more like $1.7 billion per day -- DaH]. No nation can hold up in the face of those kinds of expenses. Either the dollar would collapse or interest rates would go through the roof.”
But Russell is assuming only nine trillion dollars added to the debt; splitting the difference, what if it's really $14 trillion, going from $11 trillion today to $25 trillion by 2020?
Under Russell's formula, an increase from $11 trillion to $20 trillion (182%) yields an increase in budgetary "debt maintenance" from $340 billion up to $618 billion, or 182%; so the equation is roughly linear.
That makes it easy to calculate with the new figures: An increase of the debt from $11 trillion today to $25 trillion -- 227% -- should result in a corresponding increase in debt maintenance from $340 billion per year to $773 billion. But wait, there's worse! A perception of increased financial risk for the United States could force us to raise the interest rates for U.S. Treasury securities, which would of course dramatically raise the interest payments on the national debt. That $773 billion could easily rise to a trillion dollars or more... just to pay the interest on the debt.
It could easily become the largest component of the entire budget, en route to gobbling up the whole thing, lock, stock, and kaboodle.
Like a spiderweb, the pieces all fall into place
Such a huge chunk of the budget going to pay mere interest on the debt will have a devastating effect on our economy (Mauldin sarcastically suggests we borrow money to pay the interest on the money we borrow). But the frustrating thing is that economists cannot agree whether such a collapse would produce massive inflation, as in a typical recession -- or massive deflation, as we had in the Great Depression. Alas, the strategies individuals should follow are completely different for each of these options: You don't want to be holding gold during deflation, for example; you want to be holding cash.
The only thing that might lessen the march towards economic collapse would be to drastically reduce spending; that means not only not enacting the rest of Obama's grandiose and delusional agenda, but actually rolling back the budget by an additional $300 to $400 billion from where it was in 2008. Such fiscal discipline would also have the serendipitous effect of keeping Treasury securities at lower interest rates, as default would be less likely in a scenario of economic responsibility.
Some kind of stimulus would almost certainly still be needed to stave off a double-dip recession; but we could do an awful lot to mitigate the damage caused by such spending by spending it more wisely. That is, Barack Obama's syllogism is simply false: It really does matter to the economy what you stimulate.
Instead of shoveling money to pet projects of liberals, if our "stimulus" included things that actually create wealth directly or indirectly, rather than just spreading the existing wealth around -- we would encourage our economy to grow. Instead of focusing on dividing the pie, focus on baking a bigger one.
What kind of stimulus am I talking about?
- Repair and upgrade of infrastructure, including water distrubution, road building, the electricity grid, and hardening our electronics against the electromagnetic pluse (EMP) effect;
- Building a bunch of new nuclear power plants;
- Dramatically upgrading and improving our border security;
- Offering low-cost loans to recent or even start-up small businesses;
- Fully privatize Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (paying the transition costs), and so forth.
And that is the only long-term solution to such fiscal problems: growth, growth, growth. Knowledge is being created all the time; wealth is the application of knowledge and human industry to natural resources; thus an increase in knowledge should normally trigger an increase of real wealth. As knowledge always increases, in this day of survivable recording media (the Dark Ages could not happen again), the normal state should be a continuing rise in real weath over time.
The theory is sound; it's only its application that has been wanting in recent years.
Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
August 26, 2009
Ted Kennedy - Ripped
Please pardon my irreverance (blasphemy?), but I wonder how many days will pass before Chris Dodd says, "If the Republicans had allowed us to pass a public option in the Senate, Ted Kennedy would be alive today!"
Other than this stray thought, I must confess to feeling a great and terrible sense of ennui at the man's passing.
August 23, 2009
Health Care: When "the Worst" Is Enemy of "Bad Enough"
Let's see if we can follow the logic here. According to AP
One of the most widely accepted arguments against a government medical plan for the middle class is that it would quash competition -- just what private insurers seem to be doing themselves in many parts of the U.S.
Several studies show that in lots of places, one or two companies dominate the market. Critics say monopolistic conditions drive up premiums paid by employers and individuals.
For Democrats, the answer is a public plan that would compete with private insurers.
Translation for those unschooled in libspeak:
- Competition is good for health care.
- Some insurance companies are so big, they're almost like governments.
- They can dominate small insurance markets.
- Ergo, we should introduce an actual government "competitor" to undercut those big insurers.
- That way, we can drive them out of business... which will create much more competition in the insurance market!
Okay. I'm not sure how that scenario is supposed to unfold, but it must be something like this: When the government "option" drives Blue Cross, Aetna, and Wellpoint out of business, then smaller insurers can gobble up that suddenly available market share -- because naturally, the underpricing tactics of Obama Insurance Inc. that drove the big insurers into insolvency and bankruptcy would never, ever do the same to smaller, poorly funded insurers.
Do I have the argument straight?
Proponents of a government plan say it could restore a competitive balance and lead to lower costs. For one thing, it wouldn't have to turn a profit.
All right, let's think this one through. You own a grocery store, and you have one major competitor: You sell 20% fat hamburger for $2 a pound, and your competitor sells it for about the same. It costs you $1.85 a pound, taking everything into account (the wholesale beef price, labor, your facilities lease, your maintenance and utilities cost, and of course that big, hefty tax burden). Thus, you make a profit of 15¢ per $2 of gross hamburger revenue, or 7.5%.
Suddenly, Bill Gates decides to open a grocery store right across the street from you. Because he's Bill Freaking Gates and is worth $56 billion, and because he decides prices are too high, he starts selling his 20% fat hamburger for $1.00 a pound.
Bill Gates has the same costs as you; but he can afford to operate at a huge loss for year after year -- because he has all the money in the world.
Your choices are:
- Take the loss (85¢ per dollar of gross hamburger revenue, or a loss of 85%) -- multiplied by all the other products that Gatesmart is likewise selling at a staggering loss... and go broke in a few months;
- Refuse to be sucked into that game... and see all your customers flow very quickly to Gatesmart, forcing you to go broke in a few months;
- Fire most of your staff, stop paying your lease, and turn off all the power to the refrigerated bins, letting all or your meat rot... forcing the local Health Department to shut you down;
- Offer to sell your store to Gatesmart and just get out of the grocery business altogether.
Yes, I can certainly see why that would foster competition... among all the different divisions of Gatesmart. That is, shifting back from our analogy to the real proposal, intense competition among all the different branches of government, to see which can drive more private insurers out of business entirely, leaving only that dad-blamed government plan.
It's a scenario that gives pause even to traditional adversaries of the insurance companies.
"The fear and concern is that the public plan could become the market-dominant plan," said Dr. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association. "When you've got the federal government involved, it can infuse money into a plan to keep it solvent even if the premiums are lower than its actual costs."
Gee... you think?
Here is the real problem with libthink:
[Sen. Olympia] Snowe [RINO-ME, 12% -- !!], among the few Republican senators still trying to come up with a bipartisan compromise, wants to hold back on creating a public plan for now and give insurers one last chance to show if they can keep costs in check.
That's doesn't go far enough for liberals, who are loath to give the insurance industry tens of millions of new customers supported by taxpayer subsidies.
"It would give the industry a windfall without any countervailing force to require them to lower their costs," said Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager for the advocacy group Health Care for America Now. "The insurance companies could continue to jack up premiums while getting a whole new market."
(Note the tacit admission that insuring the uninsured requires "taxpayer subsidies;" in other words, it's not economically viable.)
Liberals utterly reject the fundamental theorem of Capitalism: If all insurance companies are charging premiums out of line with costs, some insurers will lower their premiums to steal away market share, since they can do so and still make a profit. The other insurers will have to lower their own premiums to avoid losing market share -- and the cycle repeats until premiums are as low as they can go while still yielding a barely adequate profit to the insurers (just enough to allow the insurance companies to stay solvent).
Rather, liberals believe the insurance companies will form a cartel, exercise superhuman discipline, and maintain an artificially inflated schedul of premiums. After all, you see how well that has worked out for OPEC; nobody ever cheats!
How about this for a plan to increase competition?
- Competition is good for health care.
- Some insurance companies are so big, they're almost like governments.
- They can dominate small insurance markets.
- Ergo, we should find all the barriers to true competition in the market -- and eliminate them, one by one, until there are no impediments left to a true, free market in health insurance.
- This will allow smaller competitors to compete more effectively with Big Health, offering smaller, cheaper plans for middle-income folks -- or alternatively, gilt-edged super-expensive plans for rich people... just like the automobile industry, the boat industry, and the housing market.
I realize this isn't as sexy as creating a whole new government entitlement program and spending three or four trillion dollars of somebody else's money... but at least my plan as the virtue of simplicity!
I don't know how this argument could be made any simpler to persuade the simpletons in Congress. Anybody else have an even more elementary formulation?
August 20, 2009
Prophet in Chief
From the New York Post:
Repeatedly invoking the Bible, President Obama yesterday told religious leaders that health-care critics are "bearing false witness" against his plan.
The fire-and-brimstone president declared holy war in a telephone call with thousands of religious leaders around the country as he sought to breathe life into his plan for a system overhaul....
He said the reforms aim to carry out one of God's commandments.
"I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper," Obama said....
Pastors, rabbis and preachers from every part of the country joined the call and prayed for health reform and told woeful stories about parishioners without adequate health care.
Say, whatever happened to the good old days, when atheists and assorted secularists would rail against any invocation of God or religion by the president as violating the "wall of separation between church and state?" Oh, wait, I forgot: The 44th president is the One We Have Been Waiting For; he is the Obamacle. Barack H. Obama is America's twelfth (hidden) imam.
While the brand new faith in an earthly messiah is intriguing, I still say -- "Give me that old time religion!"
(I wonder if Jesus is personally advising his prophet to use the nuclear option to pass ObamaCare?)
August 19, 2009
Sauce for the Ox
Evidently, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA, 100%) is incensed by constituents who dare accuse President Barack H. Obama of pushing Nazi-like policies -- or who portray Obama himself with a little Hitler mustache:
Rep. Barney Frank lashed out at protester who held a poster depicting President Barack Obama with a Hitler-style mustache during a heated town hall meeting on federal health care reform.
"On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Frank asked the woman, who had stepped up to the podium at a southeastern Massachusetts senior center to ask why Frank supports what she called a Nazi policy.
"Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it," Frank replied.
He continued by saying her ability to deface an image of the president and express her views "is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated."
I agree with Frank that the Obamacle is not a Nazi; he is a liberal fascist, to use Jonah Goldberg's term.
But I wish somebody would remind me of all those times when Rep. Frank -- no hypocrite he -- must surely have lashed out at the tens of thousands of protesters, many from Frank's own district, who incessantly referred to former President George W. Bush as "Bushitler," called the Bush administration Nazi-like... and portrayed Bush with (yes) a little Hitler mustache, during the final five years of Bush's administration. Because I must confess, my memory fails to disgorge even a single such instance.
It's... almost as if Barney Frank has, to invent a brand-new phrase, some sort of "double standard" for protest behavior, depending on which goose is being gored. You think?
August 12, 2009
Pithing on Marriage
Anent same-sex marriage: Marriage is fundamentally a union of opposites. If gays don't want that, fine; it's a free country -- but don't demand that the rest of us call it "marriage."
That's like having a big slice of tiramisu and a Mai Tai, and calling that "dinner." It's not a liberty issue... it's a punchline.
June 24, 2009
Just Out of Idle Hot-Dogish Curiosity...
The administration of President Barack H. Obama has already sent out numerous invitations to various Iranian "diplomats" -- would that include top officials of the Qods Force who have entered this country under a false flag? -- invitations that appear to have been completely ignored by their recipients.
Pondering this turn of events, I have to ask: What kind of hot dogs were the Obamas planning to serve? Would they be all-beef dogs? Or would they be ordinary weenies, which include among their ingredients a large component of pork?
Let's suppose the staff of the One was sufficiently on the ball to specify all-beef. Then my next question is which brand... Hebrew National?
There may be other reasons for the pocket-veto by Iranian agents than simple anti-American animosity.
June 3, 2009
Hope for a Change of Name
I don't think General Motors should keep its name, now that it has been gobbled up by Barack H. Obama. In the first place, the brand is tarnished. Second, everybody is going to start calling it "Government Motors" (same initials and all), and the mockery would be too rich.
Third, I really think, in due deference to history, that the car company should pay homage to the greatest era of Socialism in all of human history, as well as to the work of fiction that most aptly describes the glorious future that awaits an automobile company run by the federal government and the United Auto Workers union.
Therefore, I would like to suggest that GM change its name to the Twentieth Century Motor Car Company, à la the wonderful (and lengthy) section of Ayn Rand's seminal work Atlas Shrugged. In the subplot, the young (liberal, childish) heirs of the company decide to turn it into a model of Socialism, Marxism, and altruism; they essentially give over control of the company to the workers, allowing them to set their own salaries, vacation time, work schedules, and so forth.
With predictable results.
I'm sure the new name will fit General Motors like O.J.'s glove; GM's future corporate arc is the perfect real-life analog to the events of the novel.
May 12, 2009
Racism Is the Most Natural Thing in the World
I don't mean that sarcastically at all: For most human beings, racism comes so naturally, they don't even know they're racists.
Of course, being "natural" is not a synonym for being good. It's "only natural" that a man will forcibly take any woman who arouses him. It's "only natural" that we steal whenever we're sure we won't get caught; these behaviors are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom... and thank God we do the unnatural thing in such cases!
Racism is simply tribalism, where the tribe is expanded to encompass everyone of the same color or gross physiognomy. Western civilization is powerfully anti-racist because it's anti-tribalist; it redefines the comfort-group to a set determined by culture, not by skin color or facial features. That is why Western Borg culture led the way towards the abolition of racial slavery -- and why many non-Western cultures, particularly in Moslemdom, still cannot understand what is wrong with that "peculiar institution."
(I use the term "Western Borg culture" because Western civilization is so powerful and attractive that it assimilates every culture it comes into contact with; resistance is futile.)
The song from South Pacific, "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught," has it exactly backwards: Racism is the default state; what must be carefully taught is individualism: Not the I-me-mine kind of narcissism found in infants and liberals, but the full-monty philosophy that other people are also individuals deserving of as much respect and liberty as we, unless by their own actions they forfeit that respect.
That philosophy is bizarre, unnatural, and incomprehensible to very young children and very primitive peoples. Fortunately, the economic version of individualism -- Capitalism -- is such a powerful wealth producer that (a) Western countries are rich enough to mandate liberty (subsistance societies haven't the luxury), and (b) the smell of money lures the primitive towards liberty, Capitalism, and individualism by another completely natural deadly sin: Envy.
Thus does God -- if He exists -- turn even human failings to His own purposes.
April 26, 2009
Word Inflation - UPDATED
Suppose we accept the Left's conclusion that pouring water on a terrorist's face, shoving him, poking his chest with your finger, making him stand at attention for a few hours, holding him in a cell that's moderately cold (i.e., not freezing or anywhere close to it), stripping him buck naked, or -- evidently worst of all -- forcibly washing and delousing him... that each of these things constitutes "torture." Then what?
All right; that's what the word torture means. In that case, what word do we use for gang raping women, stoning people to death, lopping off limbs, shoving a cattle-prod up a prisoner's anus, cutting off a captive's nose and ears, gouging out his eyes, and finally beheading him -- on video?
Just tell me what word I'm supposed to use for all that, if the word "torture" now means making him stay awake past his beddie-bye time. G'wan, I double-dog dare you.
This is my pet peeve, Argument by Tendentious Redefinition, in a nuthatch. It's structurally identical to those ultra-radical feminists who defined all heterosexual sex to be "rape"... then accused nearly every man of being a rapist. "Reagan was a rapist! Bush is a rapist! Cheney is a rapist!" Yep, every last one of them has had sex with a woman... so by the tendentious redefinition of "rape," each and every one of these men is a rapist!
So if playing "good cop, bad cop" with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed now constitutes "torture," then I guess every policeman who ever interrogated a suspect is a torturer or torture enabler. Voilà -- we are all Nazis on this bus. Lt. Tragg is now Reich Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels.
When we twist words into such tortuous knots, we diminsh our language; soon none of us will be able to communicate at all. We cannot exploit an opportunity, because exploit now means only to abuse. We cannot discriminate between right and wrong, because to discriminate means to prefer one race over another, and nothing else. We can no longer progress into the future because progressive now has only one meaning: Socialism à la 1916.
And now even Rick Moran and Fox News' Shepard Smith -- not to mention former GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ, 63%) -- have blindly accepted the Left's definition of "torture" as "any form of interrogation that induces a terrorist detainee to spill information he would rather keep to himself." Soon, the very fact that an interrogation was successful will be ipso facto proof that it constituted torture.
When a word comes to mean anything at all... then it really means nothing at all. Effectively, we no longer have a word for torture, real torture, like al-Qaeda carries out routinely. No such word, thus no such concept; no concept, no torture! By trivializing what should be profoundly evil, we allow evil to flourish unremarked, let alone unprevented, unrepented, and unrevenged.
The world has gone mad; and even the Republican-Party attendants have swallowed the magic mushrooms.
UPDATE April 26th: I probably should have made reference to our overseas contingency operation, designed to reduce man-caused disasters down to a (politically) manageable level...
If you no longer have the words to discuss the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis, designed to end militant Islamist terrorism, then those concepts no longer exist either: If you can't say it, you can't think it.
This is literally Orwellian -- Newspeak is upon us!
April 7, 2009
The Party of Conditional Compassion
Riddle me this...
Liberals have a mad desire to cram same-sex marriage -- let's just say gay marriage for the moment, since that's how they think of it -- down our throats. They demand it willy-nilly, generally by court order (Vermont notwithstanding) and regardless of the desires of the citizens of the state in question. They seem terribly urgent about it, as if it's the most important "civil rights" battle in America today (they mean civil liberties, not civil rights, but let that slide).
Yet very few gays would get married, were the option available, according to the polls I've seen -- and in the real-life states that have enacted it: Massachusetts, Connecticut, California briefly, and so forth.
But lo! There is a much more blatant and much less defensible example of anti-gay discrimination in American society: The federal policy barring openly gay men or women from serving in the United States military... at all, in any capacity.
It's virtually impossible to justify on grounds of military necessity, since it's been many decades since anyone seriously believed that homosexuals are weaker or less aggressive than heteros; and the claims that a policy of inclusion would damage morale are no more defensible than the same arguments made in the 40s against racially integrating the military (the argument is essentially that the morale of gay-haters would drop).
At a guess, I believe that at least a hundred times as many gays serve (more or less secretly) in the military as want to get married to members of the same gender, and an even larger number are veterans or would like to serve in the future. At a guess, if about five million legal American residents are homosexual (loosely defined -- say 2% of men and 1% of women), easily as many as a million could be directly adversely affected by the policy. (I cannot imagine that anywhere near ten thousand gays and lesbians seriously intend to get married.)
And Congress or the president could enact that change right this very minute; I don't think Republicans could possibly muster 41 votes to filibuster a bill to lift the restriction, even if they wanted to -- and assuming congressional action is even required; it's possible that all it would take is an Executive Order from the Commander in Chief.
The Left could do it in a snap, even against unified Republican opposition (which I doubt could be mustered anyway). So why don't they?
Well, I didn't plan to leave that hanging as a rhetorical question. As anybody who has read more of this blog than just the seven paragraphs above knows, I ask because I think I know the answer -- which is simply this...
Democrats and liberals couldn't care less about gays, lesbians, transsexuals, transvestites, or any other such subgroup. They only champion the gay (or blacktivist, or feminist) agenda when a particular policy serves the larger agenda of the hard Left: the destruction of traditional Western culture and its replacement by secular humanism.
Simply and brutally put, destroying traditional marriage advances that liberal agenda, so liberal Democrats pursue it with a passion; but allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not advance that vile agenda -- so liberal Democrats truly could not care less.
The only thing that might shake the Left from its apathy on gays in the military is if Democrats start to worry about the 2010 elections; they may decide that they can disguise their larger socialist agenda with the "beard" of civil liberties. They still don't care about gays -- they'll vote Democratic by 75% to 80% anyway; the campaign would be aimed at Independents, who may be won over by the question of fairness.
Of course, it's entirely possible that the GOP would not seriously resist lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military. In that case, pursuing the change wouldn't benefit the Left anyway; they couldn't point to Republicans and believably scream "homophobe!" So if the GOP is at least split on the issue, Democrats probably won't waste their time pursuing it, as there is no electoral payoff.
I realize I am sounding more and more cynical about the patriotism of the Left, but is it any wonder? All I read, day after day, tells me that they cannot stand America as we are; the only America they love is Sweden.
In any event, if you are gay, and if you're more interested in serving in the military than in marrying a person of your same gender, then please consider joining the GOP. At the least, you will find yourself among a group of people who honestly respect and applaud your service to the country, however much they may disagree with your positions on a few issues. I think a gay or lesbian soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine would have a much more pleasant time at a convention or fund-raiser headed by Romney or McCain or Palin than one headed by Reid, Pelosi, or Obama.
March 27, 2009
Separated at Birth - and Diverging Ever Since
Here is difference number (insert unreasonably large figure) between the private sector and government:
- During a recession, the private sector lowers prices, because the public is not obliged to buy its services.
- During a recession, government raises prices -- because the public is.
March 16, 2009
More Things That Make You Go "Hm," but Are Just a Little Longer Than 140 Characters...
Nothing personal; just business
Under the heading, Salvadoran ex-rebels win presidency for first time, we read the following:
[Mauricio Funes, who AP describes as "a moderate plucked from outside the ranks of the rebel-group-turned-political-party" FMLN], 49, rode a wave of discontent with two decades of Arena party rule that have brought economic growth but done little to redress social inequalities. Fuel and food prices have soared, while powerful gangs extort businesses and fight for drug-dealing turf, resulting in one of Latin America's highest homicides rates.
Funes promised to crack down on big businesses which he says exploit government complacency to evade taxes.
Yeah, that'll lower food prices, break up the gangs, end the drug scourge, and lower the homicide rate!
And then you'll be sorry!
AP warns of certain dangers arising from Israel's efforts to form a new government:
Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party has initialed a coalition agreement with an ultranationalist faction that brings its leader significantly closer to becoming foreign minister, a Likud party spokeswoman said Monday.
Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, has drawn accusations of racism for proposing that Israel's Arab citizens sign loyalty oaths or lose their citizenship. Although that plan is not likely to be implemented, his designation as foreign minister could harm Israel's international ties.
The European Union urged Netanyahu to craft a government that embraces the long-standing goal of an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel - signaling that the appointment of Lieberman as foreign minister would be seen in Europe as a setback to Middle East peace efforts.
"Let me say very clearly that the way the European Union will relate to an (Israeli) government that is not committed to a two-state solution will be very, very different," Javier Solana, the EU's foreign and security affairs chief, said Sunday.
"Different," how? The top-ten ways the EU can respond to a Netanyahu-Lieberman government:
- They'll go from blaming Israel for all the troubles on this planet to blaming them for the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus as well.
- All future international sporting events will be held exclusively in Malmo, Sweden.
- Continent-wide ban on those Sit 'n Sleep commercials with Larry and Irwin.
- The twelve little stars on the EU flag changed to tiny crescents.
- French-language remake of Hogan's Heroes, but with Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz as the good guys.
- New motto: Dreyfus was a fink!
- European Union outlaws Manischewitz wine, matzoh balls, and Halvah.
- All European flags that include the Israeli-linked colors of light blue and white altered to lite green (in honor of Islam, environmentalism, and lo-cal soft drinks) and yellow (if you know what I mean, and I think you do).
- L'Académie française formally rules that henceforth, the American president is to be referred to exclusively as "Hussein Hussein."
And the number one response to a Netanyahu-Lieberman Israeli government...
- Introducing incoming President of the European Commission Chas Freeman!
March 5, 2009
The Obamaconomy in Action
In President Barack H. Obama's ideal economy, the entire GDP of the United States flows to the treasury, thence is sent back into the economy (along a planned route, not haphazardly, as in Capitalism)... with the feds sucking the impurities out of the flow and retaining them for future use.
In other words, Barack Obama is basically an oil filter.
February 25, 2009
A Travis-ty of Comedy
I've been sort of vaguely fooling about with Twitter, posting occasionally (I think you can "follow" me by going here, unless I've mixed things up); and I've noticed a distinct problem: There are a number of random thoughts I have that are too small-ball for a full blogpost, but just a little too big to fit into Twitter's hard limit of 140 characters (including punctuation and spaces).
So I hereby inaugurate, if that's not a four-letter word since January 20th, a new category here for "Ubertweets," or Übertweets, if there were some way of fitting a U-umlaut into the category list. When I have two or three of them, I'll put them in a single post and have done with the madcap notations that clutter up my mental attic.
Here is the first pair...
Kow-tow to the mau-mau
Rubert Murdoch has apologized for the "Travis the Chimp" cartoon that ran in the New York Post some days ago; but he apologized without admitting any wrongdoing.
What the hell is he saying -- that he's "sorry" some of his readers are jackasses?
A Tale of Two Hysterias
I haven't seen anyone yet point out that Democrats reacted to that same chimp-toon almost exactly the same way (albeit with a little less intensity) that Moslems reacted to the "Mohammed" cartoons. And for exactly the same reason, sez I.
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