Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Not-So-Affordable, Not-So Choicy Health Care Act

In an Investors Business Daily editorial, Phyllis Schlafly recounts some of the horrific provisions in the Orwellian-named Affordable Health Choices Act:
The bill provides for "culturally and linguistically appropriate communication and health services" and "shall give priority to applicants that have developed partnerships with community organizations or with agencies with experience in language access." This opens up plenty of funding for health and translation services for illegal aliens (Pages 405 and 407).

• Employers will be subjected to a play-or-pay mandate. Those who do not provide health insurance to their employees must give the government a "contribution" equal to 8% of average wages paid (Page 149).

• Seniors must submit to "advance care planning consultation" (aka end-of-life discussions) every five years, or more often if there is "a significant change in the health condition of the individual, including diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease, a life-threatening or terminal diagnosis or life-threatening injury" (Pages 425 and 429). Will these consultants advise seniors to hurry up and die because they are costing too much money?

• Government bureaucrats will conduct "Comparative Effectiveness Research" to decide the effectiveness of treatments and drugs. That is the exotic label for rationing and, as House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., admitted, drugs and treatments that are "found to be less effective and more expensive will no longer be prescribed" (Pages 502 and 520).
In the over 1,000 page bill there are many more. Fortunately, it now appears this thing is going down as surely as Obama's ratings. No doubt the Fascists will be back again before long with another version. Stay tuned...

Bernanke Grilled At Townhall in Kansas

Bernanke spent an hour or more (shown as part of the Lehrer NewsHour on PBS) the other day being grilled at a townhall meeting by ordinary men and women, many of whom were small business owners.

RealClearPolitics has posted a PBS link to the transcript. I watched the show and the transcript will make for interesting reading.
"The nonpartisan organization Kansas City Consensus helped us identify and select them. Those who will ask questions are sitting there in the center section directly in front of Chairman Bernanke and me. They have been pre-interviewed by NewsHour staff members about what they have on their mind to ask the chairman.
During the entire period the "deer in the headlights" look never left his face. He was made visibly uncomfortable particularly by a plastics distributor who asked a pressing question about why businesses like AIG, et al got bailed out, i.e. why they are "too big to fail" but his business can go under.

The Fed Chairman's answer was the usual "We had no choice. If we hadn't the entire system would have failed." etc. His recommendation, after whining about "not having the tools to prevent Lehman from going under" was to suggest "we need more laws, a structure that allows us to blah, blah, blah."

It's always a little shocking to see a man who has taught at Princeton be so stupid. What remains a mystery is why men of intelligence like Bernanke absorb and accept the blatant nonsense that a healthy-minded college freshman could poke big holes through without effort.

At some point, such men choose simply to break with reality and accept the dogma they're taught. But why they do will probably remain unknown for some time to come. In the meantime, men such as this have their hands on the coercive levers of the financial sector at the heart of the economy. "Worrisome" doesn't quite capture it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time to Close Down Congress

According to CNSNews:
During his speech at a National Press Club luncheon, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), questioned the point of lawmakers reading the health care bill.

“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
Mark Steyn commented: "As for optimum bill size, the 1773 Tea Act, which provoked the Boston Tea Party, was 2,263 words. That sounds about right."

I'd like to agree, but I can't. It's time to finally conclude the situation is hopeless.

This is a clear sign that Congress needs to be shut down, indefinitely. No new bills. No new actions on anything, for any purpose other than to declare war if the country is attacked. It's past time to reduce the Leviathan. It's time to end it.

[Hat Tip: Mark Steyn, NRO.]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Paul Hsieh on ObamaCare

I've read many good articles on the Feds' attempts to establish Fascist medicine*. This is the first one I've read that's perfect.

From Dr. Paul Hsieh of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine), published at Pajamas Media:

The Federal Health Care Muggers
The Congressional Budget Office projects that the proposed House of Representatives plan could cost over $1 trillion dollars, rather than saving money. A similar plan in place in Massachusetts since 2006 has led to skyrocketing costs, long waits for care, and higher taxes, without actually providing “universal” coverage.

But in addition to this economic flaw, there’s also a more fundamental danger to the congressional plan. This plan would violate individual rights on a massive scale by imposing new mandates on individuals, businesses, and insurers, forcing Americans to cede control over their health care to the government.
At least a simple mugger offers you the choice of “your money or your life.” The new health care muggers in Washington will deprive you of both.

To read the rest, go here.

*(It doesn't actually qualify as socialized medicine, strictly speaking, because health care providers remain nominally private, while being completely controlled. But there are many socialistic elements, as there are in any government control of the field. Particularly, in this case, the so-called "public option.")

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ed Cline on the Tea Party Movement, Then and Now

Following is a speech to be given by Ed Cline, author of Sparrowhawk and a regular contributor to Rule of Reason. Well worth a read or four.

This is an expanded version of my original New Tea Parties post of July 13, and is the text of an address I will give at the Richmond, Virginia, Liberty 101 Tea Party on July 25.

Ladies, gentlemen, Americans: I am here today to shed some light on parallels between the original Tea Party and ours -- and where the parallels stop.

First, some background. On December 16, 1773, Bostonians and other locals roughly dressed as Mohawk Indians, boarded three American merchant vessels in the harbor, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver recently arrived from Britain with 342 chests of tea, and tossed the chests into the harbor. The tea nominally belonged to colonial American consignees, by appointment by the British East India Company (two of them sons of the royal governor, Thomas Hutchinson). The Tea Act of 1773 replaced the repealed Townshend Act duties on other commodities, and gave the East India Company a legal monopoly to hire other merchantmen to take the tea to North America.

The three-pence per pound tax remained on the tea. This tea would have been cheaper than the Dutch tea being smuggled into the colonies, even with the tax, which the colonial American consignees were obliged to pay. Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty put pressure on the consignees to not pay the tax and order the tea back to Britain. Governor Hutchinson, however, persuaded the consignees to stand firm. (His salary was derived from import duties and other taxes.) The customs officer refused to allow the vessels to leave the harbor without paying the duty.

The impasse had to be resolved, one way or another. The Crown or the patriots would need to give in. The Crown’s position was the status quo, and inaction. So the Americans took action, the only action open to them if they were to remain loyal to their convictions: they destroyed the tea as a demonstration that they would not pay the tax or submit to arbitrary Crown authority.

Lord North, prime minister, after receiving news of the Boston Tea Party and the actions of Americans in New York and Philadelphia, was faced with a dilemma linked to that authority: Use it, or lose it. He chose to use it, against the advice of some of his subministers, but in timid concordance with the outrage expressed in Parliament. He endorsed the Coercive Acts; that is, he agreed that reason must be answered with force. Of what use was power, if it were not exercised?

Why did the Americans decide to trespass on the three vessels and destroy their tea cargos when not only would they not have to pay the tax, but have cheaper tea, even when its retail price would have reflected a small percentage of the tax? Was it a matter, as some historians claim, of the legal, taxed tea underselling the illegal, smuggled tea? Did the patriots act on emotion, or on principle? Did they know, as apparently Lord North did not, that such an action would set in motion a course of events that would lead to war and independence?

Because the consignees were American, and because none of the colonies was represented in Parliament, it was a matter of taxation without representation. However, it was more than a matter of political principle. It was the application of a moral principle. If the colonists sanctioned the tea tax by paying it, it would be an acknowledgement that the Crown had a right to tax them on any commodity or service. The tea was merely a symbol. It could just as well have been any other commodity formerly covered by the repealed Townshend duties: glass, nails, or paint. The colonists did not grant that sanction over their lives. If they recognized the Crown’s authority to tax them, as the wisest among the colonists pointed out, that authority could just as well in time be extended over every particular of their lives.

Here the parallels end.

The original Tea Party was a revolt against the power of government to regulate one’s life and dictate how it would be conducted and at what price. It was an affirmation by the colonists that they owned their own lives, and retained the right to delegate necessary political power to their elected representatives. It was an affirmation of the moral principle that no government had a right to dispose of or expropriate one’s property, and, by implication, one’s life. All political principles -- good or bad, pro-freedom, or socialist, or fascist -- are grounded on specific moral principles.

Too many Americans today have forgotten that, or never learned it. They want a government that regulates their lives and ensures their well-being by enslaving others. They believe you have a duty to allow yourself to be enslaved for their sakes. They believe the government has a right or a duty to enslave you and everyone else for their sakes.

Another difference between the original Tea Party and the Tea Parties of 2009 is that while the Americans who took part in the original Tea Party disguised themselves as Indians to prevent identification by the authorities, we, the new Sons of Liberty, do not disguise ourselves to protect our identities. We dare any authority to take action against us for exercising our First Amendment right to free speech, which includes criticizing our government and accusing it of behaving like George III and Parliament.

There are Americans, in and out of political office, who would rather we shut up, or they will silence us. Democrats are reaching into their magic bag of dirty tricks to shut up or sideline our Tea Parties. They do this with the cooperation of most of the mainstream news media. Well, as one national Tea Party organizer noted: The Internet is the new mainstream news media.

The Crown’s response to the Boston Tea Party was to legislate the Coercive or Intolerable Acts as punishment. Today, the current administration, in partnership with Congress, has passed, and continues to pass, a Medusa’s head of acts vastly more extortionate and repressive than the original Coercive Acts. The Tea Parties have been a proper response to them. But remember that this orgy of legislation is only being piled on top of coercive acts passed by Congress over the last one hundred years.

It is time for Americans to understand that it is not merely a political fight they have on their hands, but a moral one. They must reject the moral code, altruism, that asks them to live for the sake of other men -- what else could TARP, or the takeover of General Motors, or of the tobacco industry, or of the energy industry, of the insurance industry, or of the health care business mean, but for you to sacrifice your right to your life and your money and property for the sake of others. Americans must proudly, loudly proclaim the selfish virtue of individual rights, which has been the source of all the wealth and prosperity that we enjoy but which Obama and Congress seek to destroy through socialist redistribution.

Americans must understand that what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence applies no less today than it did in July of 1776. To paraphrase his eternal words: When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object -- which today is complete control of the economy and our lives -- evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is our right to throw off such government -- or to vote its agents out of office, or to raise such a magnitude of protest that they dare not act lest they set in motion a similar train of events.

To further paraphrase Jefferson’s words: A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the president of a free people. Our princely president has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit for the office. And he is only the most recent in a long line of presidents who have demonstrated that unfitness.

There is another reason why the parallels divide between the original Tea Party and our own. The Founders did not pretend to have all the answers. They performed an astounding feat of political thought and action based on the received wisdom of the time. They left for future generations the task of correcting their admitted errors and doubts.

We, however, know what those errors and doubts were, and the solution to them. As every statist or totalitarian regime that ever existed was based on Plato’s view that men were just atoms in a collectivist state and who owed their existence to others, a fully consistent philosophy of reason exists that sanctions individual rights and man‘s existence for his own sake. That philosophy is Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. The Founders did not have the benefit of her advice. We have.

Let us not treat this day, or any future Tea Party or any other kind of protest, as just another tea party. Let us solemnly regard it as a chance and a first step to finish the American Revolution, to protest the omnivorous and indiscriminate appetite of federal power to consume everything in its path, to assert the right to our lives and property and futures, to work on a course of action that will ultimately correct the errors present in the Constitution and repeal its freedom-destroying amendments. Americans must think and act to finish the American Revolution -- before Obama and Congress finish this country, as they are determined to do.

Thank you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Federal Health Care Costs, Spiritual and Material

Freedom always remains the highest social value; without it, all others are destroyed. Still, when attempting to persuade others, it's often helpful to state the costs - dollar and regulative - of current and proposed Federal insanity. Michelle Malkin outlines some here.
The administrative costs and spillover spending effects will be astronomical. Look at existing federal programs. In 1966, the Office of Management and Budget put the total taxpayer costs for Medicare at $64 million. In 2011, Medicare costs are expected to balloon to nearly $500 billion. Medicaid cost $770 million in 1966. By 2011, that program will cost taxpayers an estimated $264 billion. The Virginia-based Council for Affordable Health Insurance estimated that the administrative expenses of both programs last decade were 66% higher than those of private sector health insurance companies.

And we ain’t seen nothing yet. House Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee sifted through their opponents’ 1,018-page health care bill and released a dizzying flow chart detailing the Byzantine bureaucracy Obamacare would create. Washington would become the home of at least 31 new federal programs, agencies, and commissions to oversee the government-run health insurance regime.

Because 32 “czars” isn’t enough, the Democrat plan would add another overlord to the Obama administration. The new “Health Choices Commissioner” would helm the new “Health Choices Administration” (Section 141 of the bill) – separate from the already existing Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration), the Veterans Health Administration, and the Indian Health Service.

Because the government has done such a boffo job managing the near-bankrupt Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, the Democrats have proposed creating a “Public Health Investment Fund” and a “Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund.” The latter would create a “transparent and functional marketplace for individuals and small employers to comparison shop among private and public insurers.”...
And, shades of Anthem...! (the Ayn Rand novel):
To coordinate all the new bureaucrats, Obamacare would create a new “Health Care Program Integrity Coordinating Council” to “to coordinate strategic planning among federal agencies involved in health care integrity and oversight.”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Physicist Richard Feynmann Explains How Trains Move

No, not by being driven by the engine. Here, the title refers to how they manage to stay on the tracks. The answer will probably surprise you. (I studied physics for several years and it did me!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ten Oldest Still-Inhabited Cities

The author acknowledges (in the comments) missing one or two, particularly Cadiz. But this is a stunning list. Still, I can never get over the somewhat pessimistic feeling that in 10,000 years humans should have made a lot more progress. Nonetheless, these cities - and the history provided by the post - are amazing.

[Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg, NRO.]

Out of the Mouths of 'Babes'

I always thought Victoria Jackson, once of Saturday Night Live, was pretty cute. I knew the bimbo act was just that (Judy Holliday taught me that lesson early on), but I never knew she was wise. Here's some evidence from her Big Hollywood article:
Sonia and I started talking about the 48 pages of “Hate Speech” I received on The Huffington Post after my last Big Hollywood article. Sonia said, “When people can’t defend their position on an issue, they attack you personally.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I would love someone to talk me into being a liberal. But they can’t give me one good reason. Take socialized medicine for instance, the ‘Health Care Reform’ that the President is trying to shove through the Senate as quickly as possible. They can’t give me one good reason I should want it. I mean, they say it will be cheaper, but that’s not true, because our taxes will go up to pay for it.”

Sonia told me that when she lived in Communist Russia, her friend had appendicitis and was sent to the hospital. She told Sonia that cockroaches crawled over her chest at night. Sonia then went on to explain that with socialized medicine, desperate patients resort to an “underground” system. Deals are made “under the table.” Deals involving your life! She compared it to the police force there.

She said that when you are pulled over for speeding, the police expect you to slip them a folded up bill under your driver’s license. Sonia said, “Did you hear the story about the professor and the classroom? It explains communism so well. The professor told the class that after every test, all the students’ grades would be averaged and all would receive the same grade. So, after the first test, the A students who studied all night and the F students who partied all night, all received a C. As the semester went on, the A students quit studying, and all received an F.”

With no competition, humans reach the lowest common denominator. If capitalism dies, and there is no competition for patients let’s say, doctors will all study and work as little and as poorly as possible…as will hospital maintenance workers. Thus, the cockroaches.
Oh, the insouciance of that last line. Not just cute and wise, but a good writer, too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mark Steyn Tells It Like It Is, Viro-Wise

Mr. Steyn gives the sincere viros, all of whom are borderline psychotics, what for.
"I don't think a lot of electricity is a good thing," said Gar Smith of San Francisco's Earth Island Institute a few years back. "I have seen villages in Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity," he continued, regretting that African peasants "who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-pedal-powered sewing machines" are now slumped in front of "Desperate Housewives" reruns all day long.

One assumes Gar Smith is sincere in his fetishization of bucolic African poverty, with its vibrantly rampant disease and charmingly unspoilt life expectancy in the mid-forties. But when an hereditary prince starts attacking capitalism and pining for the days when a benign sovereign knew what was best for the masses he gives the real game away.

Capitalism is liberating: You're born a peasant but you don't have to die one. You can work hard and get a nice place in the suburbs. If you were a 19th century Russian peasant, and you got to Ellis Island, you'd be living in a tenement on the Lower East Side, but your kids would get an education and move uptown, and your grandkids would be doctors and accountants in Westchester County. And your great-grandchild would be a Harvard-educated environmental activist demanding an end to all this electricity and indoor toilets.


Beginning with FDR, wily statists justified the massive expansion of federal power under ever more elastic definitions of the Constitution's commerce clause. For Obama-era control freaks, the environment and health care are the commerce clause supersized. They establish the pretext for the regulation of everything: If the government is obligated to cure you of illness, it has an interest in preventing you getting ill in the first place — by regulating what you eat, how you live, the choices you make from the moment you get up in the morning.

Likewise, if everything you do impacts "the environment," then the environment is an all-purpose umbrella for regulating everything you do. It's the most convenient and romantic justification for what the title of Paul Rahe's new book rightly identifies as "Soft Despotism."
Ya gotta love the modern Luddites and their political pals, no?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why the GOP Sucks, And What to Do About It

I'm not one to embrace conspiracy theories. They invariably ignore relevant facts or fail to explain the very thing they were designed for. That is, in fact, the defining difference between a conspiracy theory and a view that makes clear something heretofore hidden.

But I also know that it is never sufficient just to state a broad principle and call it a day, not if your goal is to understand particular events at a place and time. You can't calculate the path of a tennis ball tossed on the moon just by citing Newton's 2nd Law. You have to grind through the details.

What am I talking about here, with all this abstract verbiage? In this case, why the GOP is such a lousy organization, why its members so often disappoint.

Steve Lonegan explains in detail, using the example of the GOP establishment in New Jersey. Circling back to principles, though, the discussion could be usefully applied just about anywhere in the country, and especially to the Federal Government.
To understand how we got here, we need to look at who controls the levers of power within the GOP establishment in New Jersey. For the most part, it's not the elected officials. In New Jersey, most elected officials are part-timers. You must look behind the Republican "leader" - to the permanent bureaucracy who runs our legislative caucuses.

The players in this bureaucracy slide through a revolving door that takes them from legislative staffer, to lobbyist, to holder of government contracts or appointments, and then back in time to secure a fat taxpayer-funded pension. These are the hollow men who are there when a freshmen legislator arrives in Trenton - and remain twenty years after he's gone.

Only our party - the Republican Party - can bring change to Trenton. The Democrats cannot bring the fiscal responsibility New Jersey needs. They are captive of their own base vote - of public employee unions and those dependent on government. They dare not risk their contract with these constituencies.

Republicans have a base vote who wants fiscal change. It is the hollow men who reject it, and they do so for the simple reason that it is in their financial interests to maintain the status quo. At the back of every seemingly inexplicable betrayal by a GOP "leader" sits a close personal advisor with his own personal reasons. And in a state GOP without principles - that fails to adopt its own party platform - this kind of venal corruption is rampant. [emphasis added]
Now for the what to do about it part.

It's not enough to replace the corrupt men with good ones. That would help, but it's like replacing a deceased Pope. One goes, you get another one pretty much like him. No, you have to change the system, and that's a very hard thing to do.

Specifically what about the system? That's much too broad a question to answer here, but we can make a start.

Individuals respond to incentives. Those that don't have their moral principles too firmly stuck to them, which is just about anyone interested in working in politics in the first place, will find it hard to resist certain 'selfish' advantages. The usual suspects are easy to name here: ill-gotten gains, power, the feeling of being in the crowd that controls, the near-insane 'value' of "wanting to make a difference" by coercing others, and so forth. Nothing out of the ordinary where politics is concerned.

So, the key is to change the incentives. Remove the power of politicians to offer the various 'bribes' that are attractive to those behind the scenes (and the bribes to the general public they use and manipulate to retain the power they devolve to those shadow figures) and you'll have solved the problem.

How to do that is, of course, a whole 'nother discussion. Here again, we can only make the barest of beginnings.

Make all earmarks illegal. Get the Feds out of the construction business, and the health care business, and the environmental protection business, and the education business, etc. etc. Don't, for example, let the politicians act as if it's appropriate for them to decide which form of energy is "best for the country." Ditto health care, and all the rest.

Stop approaching the Federal Government as if it was a hotel owner and the citizens mere guests being offered various spa services for which they are required to pay. (Never mind about all the services some are required to subsidize for others...) In short, roll back the Leviathan to those responsibilities listed in the Constitution (and fix the Commerce Clause by amendment).

A tall order, to be sure. It will require a revolution, whether only intellectual or physical also it's too early to tell. If the former can be pushed hard enough the next 20 years the latter won't be necessary in 40. But, as Adams wrote to Jefferson:
What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 - 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington. * Letter to Thomas Jefferson (1815-08-24)
Long live the Second Revolution.

[Hat Tip: the superb Veronique de Rugy at NRO.]

Monday, July 13, 2009

What Will the Future Bring?

Robert Samuelson has a fine article on Real Clear Politics outlining some projected economic effects of existing policies:
The easiest way to measure the size of government is to compare the federal budget to the overall economy, or gross domestic product (GDP). The CBO's estimates are daunting.

For the past half-century, federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of GDP, federal taxes about 18 percent of GDP, and the budget deficit 2 percent of GDP. The CBO's projection for 2020 -- which assumes the economy has returned to "full employment" -- puts spending at 26 percent of GDP, taxes at a bit less than 19 percent of GDP, and a deficit above 7 percent of GDP. Future spending and deficit figures continue to grow.

What this means is that balancing the budget in 2020 would require a tax increase of almost 50 percent from the last half-century's average.
Scary stuff. The future is always open to change before it occurs, of course, but not unless course corrections are made. The current navigators are surely steering toward the shoals, though, while proclaiming that everything is working as intended. Well, in a way not intended by the author of that assertion, that might well be true.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peggy Noonan Smack Down

In a somewhat rambling guest post on HotAir, someone with the moniker Doctor Zero makes a few good points about a recent highly ridiculous Peggy Noonan WSJ column:
Noonan is symptomatic of a defeated, collaborative wing of the GOP that wants nothing more than to be thought well of by the Left, which they believe has decisively won the political and cultural battles of the twentieth century. Their idea of a “conservative” is someone who can eke out a small discount on the price tag of mammoth liberal programs. Their goal in 2012 is to find a bland, pleasant, “moderate” Republican, who can win the approval of the media mullahs as a “serious candidate,” then lose gracefully and give America’s First Black President his second term.

The idea of serious conservative reform terrifies them: radical overhaul of the tax system, dramatic reduction in the size of government, a system that compels Congress to live like humble servants of the people instead of Renaissance royalty…

Who will throw those wonderful cocktail parties in Washington, if the conservatives burn half the city down? Who will tell Peggy bedtime stories of dashing social engineers with titanic government schemes? Where will she find hip, exciting statists she can celebrate with schoolgirl treacle, like this nonsense from her 2008 endorsement of Obama: “Something new is happening in America. It is the imminent arrival of a new liberal moment. History happens, it makes its turns, you hold on for dear life. Life moves.” She was on to something with that last bit. Obama has made a lot of American businesses think about moving.
In her conclusion, Noonan writes, “And so the Republican Party should get serious, as serious as the age, because that is what a grown-up, responsible party—a party that deserves to lead—would do.” This is frothy, delusional milk, sprayed on top of a long, boring latte of condescension. Nothing could be less serious than fawning over a hollow President, who wastes his citizens’ time with absurd fantasies about multi-trillion-dollar health care takeovers, piled on top of an already astronomical national debt.

The latest polls suggest the public is becoming impatient with the infantile antics of the party Noonan thought should control both houses of Congress, and the presidency. If Peggy wants to see what an unserious, immature party looks like, she should watch video of Nancy Pelosi stammering about how the CIA lied to her, or leaf through the avalanche of scandals engulfing nearly every major Democrat. She could complete her education by dropping by to watch Al Franken squatting in his brand-new Senate seat.
At a time when radical opposition to statism is an absolute necessity if the American system is to survive the next 40 years, "moderation" is the last thing we need. It is for this reason that people like Colin Powell, David Frum, and their ilk are at least as traitorous as the so-called liberals they so-called dispute.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mellencamp on Free Speech, Wrong In Every Way

John Cougar Mellencamp, singer and political idiot, has this to say about free speech:
I don’t think people fought and gave their lives so that some guy can sit in his bedroom and be mean. I don’t think that’s what freedom of speech is,” he continued. “Freedom of speech is really about assembly — for us to collectively have an idea. We want to get our point of view out so we can assemble and I can appoint you to be the spokesman.

That’s freedom of speech — to be able to collectively speak for a sector of people. But somehow it’s turned into ‘I can be an asshole whenever I feel like, say whatever I like, be disrespectful to people and not be courteous.’ It’s not good for our society. Not being courteous is not really freedom of speech.
Wrong. Wrong historically, wrong Constitutionally and, worst of all, wrong morally. If this meme were to become popular, free speech would become a thing of the past. That we're well down that road already, with PC codes in many major universities and even many conservatives claiming that, above all, we should be 'nice', should concern any freedom loving person. Freedom isn't always attractive. But it's always good, the highest social good possible, in fact.

What If Palin Were President?

David Harsanyi speculates on the question: What if Palin Were President?
Really, where would we be if a bumpkin like Palin were president? With her brainpower, we probably would be stuck with a Cabinet full of tax cheats, retreads and moralizing social engineers.

If Palin were president, chances are we'd have a gaffe-generating motormouth for a vice president. That's the kind of decision-making one expects from Miss Congeniality.

The job of building generational debt is not for the unsophisticated. Enriching political donors with taxpayer dollars takes intellectual prowess, not the skills of a moose-hunting point guard.

The talent to print money we don't have to pay for programs we can't afford is the work of a finely tuned imagination, soaring gravitas and endless policy know-how.

Palin is so clueless she probably would have rushed through some colossal stimulus plan that ended up stimulating nothing.

If Palin were president, no one doubts this nation would have continued the Bush-era policy of indefinite detention of enemy combatants and the CIA's program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights. Be thankful you have a president who makes you think this nation doesn't.
If it weren't so pathetically true, it would be funny. Oh, hell, it's funny anyway. Where else would the phrase "morgue humor" come from, after all?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Goldberg On Obama's "Pragmatism"

Jonah Goldberg reinforces his growing credentials as a younger Thomas Sowell. He writes and thinks clearly, but pulls no punches, always calling a silly spade a spade without lapsing into caricature or exaggeration.
Obama himself insists that he's guided by nothing other than a cool-headed pragmatism. Indeed, Obama has a grating habit of describing any position not his own as "ideological," as if his is the only sober, practical understanding of the problems we face. Just days before he was inaugurated, he gave a speech in Baltimore in which he proclaimed, "What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives -- from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry -- an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."

So ideologues -- i.e. millions of Americans who disagree with his policies on principle -- belong in a list along with bigots and dim bulbs. At home, this attitude has allowed him to dismiss opponents of socialized medicine and the government takeover of various industries as "ideologues," and critics of trillions in debt-fueled spending as small-minded cranks.
Hence, according to the Obama administration, it's foolishly ideological to resist the United Nation's accommodation of tyrants and fanatics, while it is "pragmatic" to placate human rights abusers. It is ideological to show disdain for Venezuela's would-be dictator Hugo Chavez; it is "pragmatic" to stamp as "democratic" his effort to overthrow term limits. It is ideological to sustain sanctions against Burma and Sudan; it's pragmatic to revisit them, even if it disheartens human rights activists across the ideological spectrum. American exceptionalism is ideological, while seeing America as just another nation is realistic.
What Goldberg doesn't point out is that this attack against "ideology" is just one more tool in the toolkit for Progressives - by nature subjectivists and statists - to disarm any thinking person and to insulate their views from criticism.

Unfortunately, their tactic is working too well, since most Americans do not recoil in horror - as they should - from the label "pragmatist." They do this because they view it as synonymous with "practical," and that because Progressive education in public schools for the past 100 years has totally muddied the issue, as Dewey intended. They need to learn that Pragmatism is the most impractical, and not coincidentally most immoral, philosophy around.

A Non-Military Option to Cripple Iran

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann discuss a potentially effective non-military move that could cripple Iran.
If you feel that stronger action may be required, you might want to consider the Sherman-Kirk Amendment, now passed by a House appropriations subcommittee with bipartisan support. The amendment, co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California and Republican Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois, would require a cutoff of export-import bank financing for any firm that exports gasoline to Iran or helps it to develop new refining capacity.

Iran, despite its vast oil supplies, has to import almost half of its gasoline. Its dependence on imported gasoline is its biggest vulnerability. Orde Kittre, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, calls it Iran's "Achilles' heel." The amendment is largely aimed at Reliance Industries Limited of India, which has gotten $900 million in loan guarantees from the Export-Import Bank – of which $500 million is to help expand Reliance's Jamnagar refinery, which refines almost a third of Iran's gasoline imports.

Apart from the obvious question of why the United States taxpayer is helping to finance the refinement of Iran's gasoline, the Sherman-Kirk Amendment offers the timid Obama administration the perfect way to show the anger and outrage it claims to feel at the suppression of democratic dissent in Iran. It might even be more effective than the denial of Fourth of July hot dogs.
Setting aside that, as a creation of Fascism, there should be no such thing as the Export-Import Bank, one might equally want to ask why Bush never did this.

[Note: "The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank's mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets."]

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Declaration of Independence, 1776

(The link is highly recommended for those with an interest in Revolutionary Era America, where visitors will find a wealth of source information.)

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

--Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin's Resignation Speech

The full text of Palin's resignation speech.
Hi Alaska, I appreciate speaking directly TO you, the people I serve, as your Governor.

People who know me know that besides faith and family, nothing's more important to me than our beloved Alaska. Serving her people is the greatest honor I could imagine.

I want Alaskans to grasp what can be in store for our state. We were purchased as a territory because a member of President Abe Lincoln's cabinet, William Seward, providentially saw in this great land, vast riches, beauty, strategic placement on the globe, and opportunity. He boldly looked "North to the Future". But he endured such ridicule and mocking for his vision for Alaska, remember the adversaries scoffed, calling this "Seward's Folly". Seward withstood such disdain as he chose the uncomfortable, unconventional, but RIGHT path to secure Alaska, so Alaska could help secure the United States.

Alaska’s mission – to contribute to America. We’re strategic IN the world as the air crossroads OF the world, as a gatekeeper of the continent. Bold visionaries knew this - Alaska would be part of America's great destiny.

Our destiny to be reached by responsibly developing our natural resources. This land, blessed with clean air, water, wildlife, minerals, AND oil and gas. It's energy! God gave us energy.

So to serve the state is a humbling responsibility, because I know in my soul that Alaska is of such import, for America’s security, in our very volatile world. And you know me by now, I promised even four years ago to show MY independence… no more conventional “politics as usual”.

And we are doing well! My administration's accomplishments speak for themselves. We work tirelessly for Alaskans.

We aggressively and responsibly develop our resources because they were created to be used to better our world... to HELP people... and we protect the environment and Alaskans (the resource owners) foremost with our policies.

Here’s some of the things we’ve done:

We created a petroleum integrity office to oversee safe development. We held the line FOR Alaskans on Point Thomson – and finally for the first time in decades – they’re drilling for oil and gas.

We have AGIA, the gasline project – a massive bi-partisan victory (the vote was 58 to 1!) – also succeeding as intended - protecting Alaskans as our clean natural gas will flow to energize us, and America, through a competitive, pro-private sector project. This is the largest private sector energy project, ever. THIS is energy independence.

And ACES – another bipartisan effort – is working as intended and industry is publicly acknowledging its success. Our new oil and gas “clear and equitable formula” is so Alaskans will no longer be taken advantage of. ACES incentivizes NEW exploration and development and JOBS that were previously not going to happen with a monopolized North Slope oil basin.

We cleaned up previously accepted unethical actions; we ushered in bi-partisan Ethics Reform.

We also slowed the rate of government growth, we worked with the Legislature to save billions of dollars for the future, and I made no lobbyist friends with my hundreds of millions of dollars in budget vetoes... but living beyond our means today is irresponsible for tomorrow.

We took government out of the dairy business and put it back into private-sector hands – where it should be.

We provided unprecedented support for education initiatives, and with the right leadership, finally filled long-vacant public safety positions. We built a sub-Cabinet on Climate Change and took heat from Outside special interests for our biologically-sound wildlife management for abundance.

We broke ground on the new prison.

And we made common sense conservative choices to eliminate personal luxuries like the jet, the chef, the junkets... the entourage.

And the Lt. Governor and I said "no" to our pay raises. So much success in this first term – and with this success I am proud to take credit... for hiring the right people! Our goal was to achieve a gasline project, more fair oil and gas valuation, and ethics reform in four years. We did it in two. It’s because of the people… good public servants surrounding the Governor's office, with servants' hearts and astounding work ethic... THEY are Alaska's success!

We are doing well! I wish you'd hear MORE from the media of your state's progress and how we tackle Outside interests - daily - SPECIAL interests that would stymie our state. Even those debt-ridden stimulus dollars that would force the heavy hand of federal government into our communities with an “all-knowing attitude” – I have taken the slings and arrows with that unpopular move to veto because I know being right is better than being popular. Some of those dollars would harm Alaska and harm America – I resisted those dollars because of the obscene national debt we’re forcing our children to pay, because of today’s Big Government spending; it’s immoral and doesn’t even make economic sense!

Another accomplishment – our Law Department protected states’ rights – TWO huge U.S. Supreme Court reversals came down against that liberal Ninth Circuit, deciding in OUR state’s favor over the last two weeks. We’re protectors of our Constitution – federalists protect states’ rights as mandated in 10th amendment.

But you don’t hear much of the good stuff in the press anymore, do you?

Some say things changed for me on August 29th last year – the day John McCain tapped me to be his running-mate – I say others changed.

Let me speak to that for a minute.

Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations – such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters’ questions.

Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn't been cheap - the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” … Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other peoples’ money in their game.

It’s pretty insane – my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with THIS instead of progressing our state now. I know I promised no more “politics as usual,” but THIS isn’t what anyone had in mind for ALASKA.

If I have learned one thing: LIFE is about choices!

And one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down, or build up. I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and productivity. I choose NOT to tear down and waste precious time; but to build UP this state and our country, and her industrious, generous, patriotic, free people!

Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and “go with the flow”.

Nah, only dead fish "go with the flow".

No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time... to BUILD UP.

And there is such a need to BUILD up and FIGHT for our state and our country. I choose to FIGHT for it! And I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and LIFE... I'll work for and campaign for those PROUD to be American, and those who are INSPIRED by our ideals and won't deride them.

I WILL support others who seek to serve, in or out of office, for the RIGHT reasons, and I don't care what party they're in or no party at all. Inside Alaska – or Outside Alaska.

But I won’t do it from the Governor’s desk.

I've never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this - to make a difference... to HELP people. So I choose, for my State and my family, more "freedom" to progress, all the way around... so that Alaska may progress... I will not seek re-election as Governor.

And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! ? That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it.

It’s not what is best for Alaska.

I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and not so comfortable.

With this announcement that I am not seeking re-election… I’ve determined it’s best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell; and I am willing to do so, so that this administration – with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future – can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.

My choice is to take a stand and effect change – not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities – and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.

Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports… basketball. I use it because you’re na├»ve if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory.

I have given my reasons candidly and truthfully… and my last day won’t be for another few weeks so the transition will be very smooth. In fact, we will look to swear Sean in – in Fairbanks at the conclusion of our Governor’s picnics.

I do not want to disappoint anyone with my decision; all I can ask is that you TRUST me with this decision – but it’s no more “politics as usual”.

Some Alaskans don’t mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do. I cannot stand here as your Governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of Governor. And my children won’t allow it either. ? Some will question the timing. ? Let’s just say, this decision has been in the works for awhile…

In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life - my children (where the count was unanimous... well, in response to asking: "Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children's future from OUTSIDE the Governor's office?" It was four "yes's" and one "hell yeah!" The "hell yeah" sealed it - and someday I'll talk about the details of that... I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.) Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we ALL could learn so much from someone like Trig - I know he needs me, but I need him even more... what a child can offer to set priorities RIGHT – that time is precious... the world needs more "Trigs", not fewer.

My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who sacrifice themselves in war for OUR freedom and security… we can ALL learn from our selfless Troops… they’re bold, they don’t give up, they take a stand and know that LIFE is short so they choose to NOT waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than SELF... and to build up their families, their states, our country. These Troops and their important missions – those are truly the worthy causes in this world and should be the public priority with time and resources and NOT this local / superficial wasteful political bloodsport.

May we ALL learn from them!

*((Gotta put First Things First))*

First things first: as Governor, I love my job and I love Alaska. It hurts to make this choice but I am doing what’s best for Alaska. I’ve explained why… though I think of the saying on my parents’ refrigerator that says “Don’t explain: your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”

But I have given my reasons… no more “politics as usual” and I am taking my fight for what’s right – for Alaska – in a new direction.

Now, despite this, I don’t want any Alaskan dissuaded from entering politics after seeing this REAL “climate change” that began in August… no, we NEED hardworking, average Americans fighting for what’s right! And I will support you because we need YOU and YOU can effect change, and I can too on the outside.

We need those who will respect our Constitution where government’s supposed to serve from the BOTTOM UP, not move toward this TOP DOWN big government take-over… but rather, will be protectors of individual rights - who also have enough common sense to acknowledge when conditions have drastically changed and are willing to call an audible and pass the ball when it’s time so the team can win! And that is what I’m doing!

Remember Alaska… America is now, more than ever, looking North to the Future. It'll be good. So God bless you, and from me and my family - to ALL Alaska - you have my heart.

And we will be in the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will assume the role of Lieutenant Governor. And it is my promise to you that I will always be standing by, ready to assist. We have a good, positive agenda for Alaska.

In the words of General MacArthur said, “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

I have no idea what this means yet, in terms of her future, or American politics. But it will be interesting to find out.

EPA Buries Skeptic's Report

From Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal:
Around this time, Mr. Carlin and a colleague presented a 98-page analysis arguing the agency should take another look, as the science behind man-made global warming is inconclusive at best. The analysis noted that global temperatures were on a downward trend. It pointed out problems with climate models. It highlighted new research that contradicts apocalyptic scenarios. "We believe our concerns and reservations are sufficiently important to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA," the report read.

The response to Mr. Carlin was an email from his boss, Al McGartland, forbidding him from "any direct communication" with anyone outside of his office with regard to his analysis. When Mr. Carlin tried again to disseminate his analysis, Mr. McGartland decreed: "The administrator and the administration have decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. . . . I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office." (Emphasis added.)

Mr. McGartland blasted yet another email: "With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and subjects. I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no research etc, at least until we see what EPA is going to do with Climate." Ideology? Nope, not here. Just us science folk. Honest.
No comment needed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Romantic Painting - The Dahesh Museum

A gem case filled with diamonds, rubies, and pearls beyond price.

From the great little (relatively new) Dahesh Museum in New York. Highly recommended for anyone fond of the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, or of 19th century Academic art in general.

Here are some samples [Note: Because of the image technology, otherwise worthwhile, it's not possible to show the images directly with the usual img tag. Sorry.]

Breton - Study for The Snack, 1885

Bazzani - A Pompeian Interior, 1882 and,

Alma Tadema - Joseph, Overseer of Pharoah's Granaries, 1874

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others

The right joke is often better at bringing a point home than reams of analysis. Jonah Goldberg demonstrates that well in his recent column:
There’s an old joke about a fantastic three-legged pig and a farmer. It comes in many versions. In some tellings, the pig saves the farmer’s life. In another, it can talk. The punch line always comes after a visitor asks, “So how come he only has three legs?”

“Because,” the farmer explains, “you don’t want to eat a pig like that all at once.”
Then, for anyone who still doesn't get how this relates to the machinations of Bush, Obama, and Congress this past year (not to say the past 100 years), he explains:
“The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight,” Obama told Congress in February. And only by “investing” in policies formulated years before “toxic asset” became household words could America get out of the crisis.

As a result, we’re now stuck with some of the most absurdly counterproductive legislation imaginable. The national debt is growing faster than the GDP. According to the Congressional Budget Office, within ten years Uncle Sam’s publicly held debt will double to 82 percent of GDP. The CBO predicts that by 2038, our debt will be 200 percent of GDP. Debt siphons off growth for the simple reason that dollars go to paying it off rather than investing in something productive.

Meanwhile, thanks to ongoing trade deficits and relentless borrowing, America’s financial status is deteriorating rapidly. The Commerce Department reported Friday that the value of foreign assets owned by Americans is $19.89 trillion, while the value of American assets owned by foreigners is $23.36 trillion. In other words, we are a “net debtor” to the tune of $3.47 trillion. That represents a 62 percent increase over 2007. Foreigners, most significantly China, own nearly 50 percent of our government’s public debt.

So while the Obama administration frets over the largely phony idea that we are dangerously dependent on foreign oil (Canada sends us about as much oil as the entire Persian Gulf region, and Mexico not much less), we are increasingly threatened by dependence on foreign bondholders who could wreak havoc on the dollar and our interest rates far more easily than OPEC could cut off our oil.
The question for all statist parasites is perpetually whether and how much of the host they can consume without killing it. The question for us is when we're going to take the strong medicine necessary to to cure the disease.