Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Healthcare is next

Steve Forbes on the coming fight over socialized medicine:

Let's clear up some of the myths. Both Medicare and Medi-caid are heavily subsidized by privately insured patients, to the tune of $90 billion a year. Federal reimbursement in these two programs is far below cost, which is why an increasing number of doctors are refusing to treat or are substantially cutting back on the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients they see.

Medicare and Medicaid are rife with fraud. Unlike private insurers, the government refuses to spend real resources on routing out the wrongdoing: overbilling, overtesting and charging for visits not made or tests not given.

The health care industry is 17% of our economy, and we are about to turn it over to the government. The results will be a substantial decline in quality of care, long waits for treatment of chronic or terminal illnesses (if you get treated at all), and a decline in innovation. The Forbes editorial brings up the excellent point that in our current medicaid system, treatment for medicaid patients is often subsidized by patients with private insurance. Medicare/medicaid does not pay market value for treatment, and usually makes these payments late. The result is that health care providers are forced to charge more overall for services -- meaning people with private insurance cover not only their own treatment, but the gap between medicaid and reality.

Another facet of reality that gets ignored when liberals start talking about socialized medicine is that European socialized health systems are in fact subsidized by the US taxpayer through our military involvement abroad. The US heavily subsidizes European defense. Most EU countries have little or no capability to defend themselves and they rely on the US military to do it for them. Yugoslavia in the 90's is the prime example of Europe's military impotence. Instead of spending money on their military, they dump vast sums into various welfare programs.

Forbes does a good job of outlining a free market solution, that not only would provide more people with care, but would improve the overall quality of care for everyone:

--Allow mandate-free insurance policies. True catastrophic health insurance--not the current dollar-for-dollar coverage--is very affordable.
--Permit people to buy health insurance across state lines. Removing such barriers would sharply increase competition.
--Make it easier for small businesses to buy insurance in a pool, whether through trade associations or other kinds of affiliations.
--Equalize the tax treatment of premiums. Companies get a tax deduction for health insurance premiums, as do the self-employed. Why not give that break to employees who choose to buy their own individual policies? They would get a deduction or a refundable tax credit (meaning if they don't have a tax liability they'd get an actual check from Uncle Sam). Many small businesses offer no insurance, or those that do may offer policies some workers find unsatisfactory. These folks should have the ability to easily get their own alternatives.
--Raise limits on contributions to HSAs and on permissible deductibles.

Ultimately we have to foster a culture of responsibility when it comes to health. The effects of a great many health issues - obesity, type II diabetes, heart conditions - can be substantially mitigated, if not eliminated through diet, exercise, and healthy life style choices. Without a sense of personal responsibility towards our health, otherwise avoidable health problems could quickly overwhelm any health care system.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

States' rights, WOOT!

On Tea Party day here in Texas, Governor Rick Perry caused quite a stir. Drudgereport and HotAir reported that he had suggested Texas might succeed. The quote they are referring to:

There's a lot of different scenarios. We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot.

Normally, I think HotAir's analysis are pretty spot on, but in this case, I think AP is hyperventilating. Secession talk is pretty typical around here, and it is all really tongue-in-cheek. The annual, and largest, biker rally in Austin is called the "Republic of Texas Rally." Texans are famously loyal to and proud of their state; any wise political is going to heed that sentiment. If it sounds "awful" to out of state ears, then they can go suck an egg for all I care. Personally, I am glad to see someone from our state standing up to D.C. That is his duty as governor. If fending off a challenge from Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the next gubernatorial election is his motivation; it works for me.

There was definitely a strong emphasis on states' rights. "Texans know how to run Texas" as Gov. Perry said. If critics want to interpret that as secession ism, then let 'em. What are they going to do? Have the UN send a strongly worded letter?

Here is the video of his Austin speech:

Tea Party! Yay.

I went to my local tea party; it was a blast. IT looks like nation wide they were a smashing success, though CNN, CNBC and others would like to discount them.

So far Michelle Malkin is the best source with regular updates:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fox News in Decline

The ratings may be up, but the quality of the content seems to be on the way down.

From Victor Davis Hanson:

Footnote. The once insightful Fox News is rapidly devolving into a sort of entertainment circus. That is a tragedy, since the network for years has done wonders in offering an antithesis to the supposedly non-biased biased network news. Each news show now interviews hosts from the other Fox news hours (To save money? Free publicity?). Hawking books (written in short, breezy style, without much analysis) is done on the air rather than as commercials. Anchors show old clips of themselves and invite in analysts to praise their on-air interviews (are they going to be invited back if critical?).

The hosts now constantly blare out their own ratings. Murder and rapine often headline the news in the manner of the local 6PM affiliates. Quiz shows are part of the news; female analysts are almost always either young or blond or usually both, rather than simply insightful. The sober and judicious Brit Hume’s presence is missed. Take away a few top-notch correspondents, and Charles Krauthammer’s sagacity and depth of thinking, and there is increasingly not a lot there. (but I like Neil Cavuto’s business hour and Dennis Miller’s op-eds) All in all, an unfortunate development, since there is no disinterested counterpart to a 60 Minutes or NBC News, and for years Fox offered an invaluable alternative in airing real news deliberately ignored by the mainstream networks.

What is a news junkie to do?

New format

What do you think? Yeah, I am still tweaking the colors a bit. Is it easier to read?

What the heck is Corporatism?

Arguing over whether the "change" we are now experiencing is socialism or corporatism feels like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic, but, then again, what else are you going to do while waiting for a spot to free up on the lifeboats? So here is a thought provoking column from today's RCM on the subject:

Obama and the Reawakening of CorporatismBy Steven Malanga

But we are entering quite a different age right now, one in which the President of the United States and his hand-selected industrial overseers fire the chief executive of General Motors and chart the company’s next moves in order to preserve it. Conservative critics of the president have said that the government’s GM strategy is one of many examples of an America drifting toward socialism. But President Obama is not a socialist. If his agenda harks back to anything, it is to corporatism, the notion that elite groups of individuals molded together into committees or public-private boards can guide society and coordinate the economy from the top town and manage change by evolution, not revolution.

In a rapid, real time illustration of how badly this social/corporate/whateverism is going to crash and burn, GM (henceforth known as Government Motors) teamed up with Segway to produce the first government concept car. HotAir dubs it the Depressionmobile.

A 200cc 1970's Vespa gets around 80mpg and a top speed in the neighborhood of 60mph. It is 40 year old technology that would kick this things ass. Talk about a giant leap backwards.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Foie Gras Update

Why Won't Geithner Take TARP Repayments?By Investor's Business Daily

Bailouts: Didn't Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner say that it was not the administration's intent to control private companies? Then why is it reportedly reluctant to accept TARP repayments from some banks?

The Ayn Rand Factor

I can't get enough of this topic. Here is an insightful column:

Atlas Shrugged Sales Overturn Policy Calculations
By Robert Tracinski

But the sales figures for Ayn Rand's magnum opus tell us an opposite story. In the midst of this crisis, hundreds of thousands of people are turning to a book that glorifies capitalism.

Meanwhile, where are all of the socialist books on the bestseller lists?

Thus, while Obama has launched the de facto nationalization of two whole industries—finance and automobiles—his administration remains oblivious to the depth and strength of public resistance to socialism in America.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Foie Gras de Banker

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Wow, Obama firing GM CEO, Rick Wagoner, made headlines last week, but he was also busy intimidating financial executives. Less then a week after AIG exec's publicly endured death threats and ACORN mobs being bussed to their houses, Obama is threatening bank exec's with pitchforks. Nice, so much for rule of law. Realising they had made a Faustian deal, some of them even tried to give the TARP money back, and Obama refused it. Politico has behind the scenes details of the meeting:

Inside Obama's bank CEOs meeting

Dimon also insisted that he’d like to give the government’s TARP money back as soon as practical, and asked the president to “streamline” that process. But Obama didn’t like that idea — arguing that the system still needs government capital.

The president offered an analogy: “This is like a patient who’s on antibiotics,” he said. “Maybe the patient starts feeling better after a couple of days, but you don’t stop taking the medicine until you’ve finished the bottle.” Returning the money too early, the president argued could send a bad signal.

A bad signal for whom, Mr President? Might taxpayers be a little annoyed if they found out that TARP money was being crammed down the throats of banks that didn't want it? Let me offer an analogy:

Several CEOs disagreed, arguing instead that returning TARP money was their patriotic duty, that they didn’t need it anymore, and that publicity surrounding the return would send a positive signal of confidence to the markets.

Sorry guys. He's gotcha where he wants ya.

$3.6T shopping spree!

The House and Senate approved largely identical versions of the President’s $3.6 trillion budget with hardly any cuts -- except in defense. The good news is they dropped the idea of taxing charitable giving and refused another $250B in bailout money.

Congress Approves Obama's $3.6 Trillion Budget

There was speculation last week that the Dem’s would have to choose between socialized medicine or cap-and-trade, but that no longer appears to be the case. A draft version of the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” is working it’s way through House committees.

House Democrats release draft energy, climate bill

The bill by Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts would establish a cap-and-trade program curbing U.S. emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, with a midcentury target of 83 percent reductions of the heat-trapping gases. It also creates a nationwide renewable electricity standard that reaches 25 percent by 2025, new energy efficiency programs and limits on the carbon content of motor fuels, and requires greenhouse gas standards for new heavy duty vehicles and engines.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mathmatical modeling and global warming

Anyone who has worked with mathematical modeling knows it can be a great tool, but it has to be supported with hard data. That is the huge problem with global warming theories and why they amount to little more than superstitions. They rely solely on models, yet the models fail to produce predictions that support their accuracy.

American Thinker has a great essay with more details:

It's the Climate Warming Models, Stupid!
By Gregory Young

In addition to the difficulties mentioned above, is the late arriving Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming (AGW) prejudice that has set the evolution of climate modeling back a few decades. Previously known and accepted climate components have been summarily stripped from the equation -- such as the dominant factors involving the Sun and the importance of water vapor in the atmosphere as the dominant greenhouse gas. This is because in the cause to acquire lucrative AGW-biased government grants, many scientists have opted to blatantly skew their climate models to amplify AGW-favoring evidence and amplify anthropogenic CO2 importance. In this manner, they then qualify to receive funding and ensure publication.

Describing the compounded inaccuracies of these Johnny-come-lately modelers who would rather be funded than scientifically astute, Dr. Tim Ball, a former climate scientist at the University of Winnipeg sardonically clarifies: "The analogy that I use is that my car is not running that well, so I'm going to ignore the engine (which is the sun) and I'm going to ignore the transmission (which is the water vapor) and I'm going to look at one nut on the right rear wheel (which is the Human produced CO2) ... the science is that bad!"

Then they came for middle management,

But I said nothing because I don't work in the financial industry.

Officials seek new power over financial companies

WASHINGTON – Pointing with dismay to the AIG debacle, the nation's top economic officials argued Tuesday for unprecedented powers to regulate and even take over financial goliaths whose collapse could imperil the entire economy. President Barack Obama agreed and said he hoped "it doesn't take too long to
convince Congress."

Yes, let's hurry up. Afterall, we wouldn't want there to be any time to debate all this. It might dawn on someone that it is unconstitutional.

Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
By Byron YorkChief Political Correspondent 3/31/09 (Hat tip HotAir)

It was nearly two weeks ago that the House of Representatives, acting in a near-frenzy after the disclosure of bonuses paid to executives of AIG, passed a bill that would impose a 90 percent retroactive tax on those bonuses. Despite the overwhelming 328-93 vote, support for the measure began to collapse almost immediately. Within days, the Obama White House backed away from it, as did the Senate Democratic leadership. The bill stalled, and the populist storm that spawned it seemed to pass.

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees -- not just top executives -- of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

Lordy, just when I think it is safe to take off, the tinfoil hat, stories like this start spilling out of the internet. How long did it take them to go from CEOs to regular Joes? One week, at the most, how long will it take to make the leap from companies recieving bailouts to any company they feel like? I thought I was wading a bit far into the deep end of the pool when I posted this about manufactured crisis, but it is hard to think of a more perfect example of:

1. manufacturing a crisis
2. expanding government to deal with the fake crisis.

First, they bail out AIG. Geithner knows all about the bonuses, but he doesn't touch them. Next, people become outraged that exec's got bonuses. Obama anounces "we won't reward failure," and now we get all this legislation about limiting bonuses and salaries. If you just let failing companies fail, you don't need to federal legislation to regulate their paychecks, but that's not the idea.

They keep using the same play over and over again. This is exactly the same thing that is going on with global warming. They announce that the world is going to end, and the only way to save it is if they tax you within an inch of your livelyhood.

I am going to need more tinfoil.

More collectivism

Obama, the nation's CEO

An Obama administration official said the president’s hard-nosed approach will continue. “We’re not going to reward failure,” the official said. “We’re in an economic crisis, which takes shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. The only way that we will recover is if everybody puts a little skin in the game.” (Emphasis added)

Ummm ... excuse me if I am skeptical that we have a shared responsibility to bail out GM. Hard nosed approach, hmmmm, counting down until hardnosed approaches involve camps, out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by barbed wire, 10...9...8. I hear there are some empty cells down at Gitmo. We all know who the REAL terrorists are.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Diagnosis ODS?

Obama Derangement Syndrome
By David Monday, March 30, 2009

I have been watching an interesting phenomenon on the Right, which is beginning to cause me concern. I am referring to the over-the-top hysteria in response to the first months in office of our new president, which distinctly reminds me of the “Bush Is Hitler” crowd on the Left.

Speaking of this crowd, have you seen any “I am so sorry” postings from that quarter as Obama continues and even escalates the former president's war policy in Afghanistan and attempts to consolidate his military occupation of Iraq?

Conservatives, please. Let's not duplicate the manias of the Left as we figure out how to deal with Mr. Obama. He is not exactly the anti-Christ, although a disturbing number of people on the Right are convinced he is.

I have recently received commentaries that claim that "Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history" and "never has a politician in this land had such a quasi-religious impact on so many people" and "Obama is a narcissist," which leads the author to then compare Obama to David Koresh, Charles Manson, Stalin and Saddam Hussein. Excuse me while I blow my nose.

Weeeellll, excuse me while I pick my nose -- guess which finger I am using. His speeches ARE unlike any political speech we have ever heard; they send tingles up the collective leg of the left. The difference between Bush derangement syndrome and Obama derangement syndrome will be determined by history. In the meantime there will be some elections, too. At the moment, Obama & Co. are busy socializing our financial and auto industries and erroding the value of the dollar. Down the road, if we are dealing with an energy crisis, rampant inflation, and looking the other way while Iran churns out nukes, that commentary won't look quite so deranged, will it?

I would love to be cured so I can sit back, chillax, sip my kool-aid, and enjoy the global socialist utopia with the rest of the happy global citizens of UN hemispheric district #6. Just for the record, I don't think Obama is Hitler, Stalin, or the anti-Christ; that is all giving him WAY to much credit. I also don't think he is Ronald F. Lincoln, as he has been marketing himself. I think he is the love child of Jimmy Carter and Hugo Chavez. Ewwww. Bad mental image just then.

Green! Like red but with a hipster cool vibe

Green! It's the new red. Yeah, I know, someone already made a bumper sticker. I said it first though, dammit! I have also been saying this:

EDITORIAL: Protect us from the EPA
There are lots of good arguments here. One good one:

Having no cars, no air conditioning, or no electricity would presumably be much worse than anything people claim results from global warming.

Uhhg. But then there is this:

COP15, Copenhagen -- United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this year will be the moment in history when humanity can rise to the challenge and decisively deal with the issue. It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that greenhouse gas emissions must be radically reduced to prevent climate change from sliding into climate chaos.

Only the UN can save the world! Kyoto, Copenhagen, the IPCC -- this is all leading one place. The goal is to establish a precedent in which the UN has the authority to levy taxes. I don't recall voting for anyone in the UN. Why do Russia, China, France, etc. get to say what taxes we pay here in the United States? Sheesh. Talk about ye old taxation without representation.

They came first for the CEOs

Populist Democracy Declares War On CEOs

Belligerent unions are making it a practice to take CEOs hostage in France as police stand idly by. Tour bus operators are taking gawking populists past the homes of executives in Connecticut so they can hoot and take pictures. When and how this behavior progresses from hurling invective to lobbing bricks, as has already happened in England, depends on whether our civic leaders insist on throwing gasoline on the fire. What will it take, a Corporate Crystalnacht, to wake them up to the danger they’re fomenting?

But I didn't speak up because I am not a CEO...

Lhasa in the spring

Tibet reopens to foreign tourists

The Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Tibet's head of tourism as saying the region was now "harmonious and safe". But there is still a heavy Chinese military presence in the area, and foreign journalists and human rights groups cannot operate freely.

Northern India, Nepal, and Tibet are near the top of my dream vacation list. Someday, I will have vacation time and money... at the same time. Yeah, dream on bitsyblogger.

Deep doo doo

How deep in the doo? Two depressing links on the growing debt:

Obama’s Doubling of National Debt in Pictures

  • President Bush expanded the federal budget by a historic $700 billion through 2008. President Obama would add another $1 trillion.
  • President Bush began a string of expensive finan­cial bailouts. President Obama is accelerating that course.

  • President Bush created a Medicare drug entitle­ment that will cost an estimated $800 billion in its first decade. President Obama has proposed a $634 billion down payment on a new govern­ment health care fund.

  • President Bush increased federal education spending 58 percent faster than inflation. Presi­dent Obama would double it.

  • President Bush became the first President to spend 3 percent of GDP on federal antipoverty programs. President Obama has already in­creased this spending by 20 percent.

I was never a fan of "compassionate conservatism." There was nothing conservative, nor particullarly compassionate, about it, but Obama's budget radically amplifies the problem.

Obama's Fuzzy Math
A trillion here, a trillion there . . .
by Stephen Moore

Here are the unhappy totals: the debt is $6 trillion higher from 2010 to 2019 than Obama's forecast. In no single year over the next decade, even when counting the Social Security trust fund surpluses, does the budget deficit fall below $800 billion. The interest on the national debt rises to $850 billion a year by the middle of the next decade, which will be the largest single expenditure item in the budget--eight times more than we now spend on education and four times more than we spend on homeland security. Federal spending remains well over 25 percent of GDP and in some years creeps closer to 28 percent of GDP under the Obama budget, which ironically enough is entitled "A New Era of Responsibility."

Friday, March 27, 2009

I have a plan...

A little friday comedy relief:

Bitsyblog has the 5th stone! Bwaaa ahahahah ha ahah.

Hattip: HotAir

Collectivism = epic fail

At the heart of the problem of the entire Obama administration is collectivism. Collectivism has been tried before, and it always fails in a spectacular manner. From Real Clear Markets, here is a good piece highlighting Tim Geithner and the failure of collectivism as a means for structuring our economy:

Once Again, Tim Geithner Gets It Exactly Wrong

Geithner began by blaming Americans in total for the nation's economic difficulties. He wrote in the Wall Street Journal that, “as a nation we borrowed too much and let our financial system take on too much risk.” No, some Americans borrowed too much, and some banks acted in risky ways that were inimical to their health.

Update: Here is another one from RCM that is worth a read:

Beware the Encroaching D.C. Leviathan

Breathtaking. Coupled with the vast expansion of government spending over the next 10 years, this is socialism, pure and simple.

Yes, we know it's unfashionable to use the "S" word. But we're willing to be unhip in the service of the truth.

It's a frightening thing to see a once mighty, and free, capitalist economy placed under the heel of an incompetent government. But that's precisely what's happening now.

Executive pay, the focus of much public fury right now, is only the start. Your pay will be next, rest assured. So hold on to your wallets, sure, but also hold on even tighter to something even more precious that now seems at risk: your freedom.

It does a good job summing up all of the government encroachments on you liberty -- in the last week.

The question that most weighs on me, though, is where does it end?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The EPA, cap-and-trade, and you

Global warming isn’t about the weather. It never has been. It is about political influence and tax revenue. In his second prime time press conference, President Obama remarked:
I’ve said that we’ve got to have a serious energy policy that frees ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy.
Like any good lawyer, Obama knows how to perform verbal sleight of hand that will make your head spin. He has seized the language of capitalism and twisted it to fit policies that are decidedly anti-capitalist and diametrically opposed to our country’s notion of liberty. Profitable clean energy? Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Of course, there are two ways to make ‘clean’ energy profitable. You can attempt to make the technologies cheap, abundant, and efficient enough to compete with current technology, or you can use regulation to artificially inflate the price of current technologies to the point at which the ‘green’ energy does indeed become profitable.

The Obama administration has two tools – regulatory machetes – with which to hack at the currently ‘unclean’ American energy infrastructure to pieces and make green energy profitable. Keep in mind, this isn’t profitable in the fun, prosperity generating sense of the word; this is ‘profit’ in the Obama sense of the word. As in: we all have to bend over, grab our ankles, and prepare to ‘profit’ for the greater global good. These twin machetes of massive regulation that president Obama will wield to defeat that evil nemesis, global warming, or as all the cool kids now call it - anthropological global climate change, are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and cap-and-trade legislation.

A pdf document containing PowerPoint slides leaked to the public drops some hints about the EPA’s agenda. By mid-April, the EPA is expected to issue an endangerment finding labeling carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. Specifically, the EPA findings will declare that CO2 is harmful to your health, citing dangers of global warming such as droughts, floods, really big storms, and icky bugs – which apparently only came along once mankind began to enjoy the benefits of electricity. Things that produce CO2 include: you, your kids, cars, cows, factories, and plasma TV’s. Apparently unaware that they long ago passed the threshold of self-parody, the document also introduces us to the fabulously commie-tastic concept of “environmental justice.” Apparently, evil rich Americans now cause droughts, floods, storms, and bugs, along with all the other woes ever to affect the world.

As a clever political move, for the time being, the EPA will focus mainly on measurement and reporting of CO2 emissions and leave actual regulatory actions for a later date. However, this finding leaves any new activity which will result in increased output of CO2 vulnerable to lawsuits. Of course, they won’t be making any rules just yet; they are only monitoring it. Conveniently, the monitoring and regulatory powers of the Clean Air Act are strictly the prerogative of the executive branch.

Don’t worry, though, Obama assures us all that he prefers a legislative solution in the form of cap-and-trade. Of course he does! He expects to tax CO2 to generate revenue. What better way to infinitely expand the government than to tax you every time you exhale? Obama explained in that press conference:

I think cap-and-trade is the best way, from my perspective, to achieve some of those gains, because what it does is it starts pricing the pollution that’s being sent into the atmosphere.

The way it’s structured, it has to take into account regional differences. It has to protect consumers from huge spikes in electricity prices. So there are a -- a lot of technical issues that are going to have to be sorted through.

Cap-and-trade will amount to an enormous hidden tax on the middle class. CO2 production is implicit in nearly every facet of productivity; for the average citizen, the effects of hyper aggressive regulation will manifest themselves as an across the board increase in cost of products manufactured in the United States, pain at the gas pump, and noticeably higher electricity bills. They will avoid “huge spikes in electricity prices” so as to boil the frog slowly, but you need not worry about all that. It’s technical.

Cap-and-trade systems aim to limit CO2 through an indirect method that is not actually a tax, but the costs are ultimately passed on to ordinary citizens who dutifully pay their utility bills. Typical cap-and-trade schemes arbitrarily select a ‘cap’ on tons of CO2 emitted. Based on this arbitrary cap, the governing body then sells permits to emit CO2 to anyone unfortunate enough to be roped in to the regulations. Any business ensnared in the regulations must own permits for the amount of CO2 they are emitting. If they don’t have the proper permits, they are subject to steep fines and penalties. Should they procure excess permits, they can then sell them, hence the ‘trade’ aspect of the system. In this way, Obama and cohorts can say, “see, we’re using free markets!” However, what they are really doing is distorting free markets for their own financial and political gain.

The stratospheric costs of cap-and-trade legislation may make it a tough sell, even with Democratic domination of Congress. Originally, the White House estimated that the cost of cap-and-trade legislation would come out to around $646 billion, but recently, Jason Furman, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, revealed that the actual cost to businesses and consumers would more realistically be between $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion between 2019 and 2019. Other estimates suggest that cap and trade policies will raise US electricity prices by 15 to 30%. Imagine your electric bill and the cost of everything that involves electricity going up 15 to 30%. Any paltry rebate checks the Obama administration will dangle in front of the public won’t even begin to cover the costs.

Of course, if cap-and-trade legislation doesn’t work out, we can always fall back on those EPA regulations – and round and round we go. It can be useful to examine how the specter of global warming has been raised elsewhere to generate revenue, increase political power, and boldly govern what no government has tried to govern before. Carbon rationing won’t stop at the industrial level. Remember, it isn’t just factories, power plants, and cars that produce CO2. Humans exhale CO2 with every breath. Unless we emphatically reject this stealth taxation here and now, it will eventually be applied at every level of society, right down to the individual.

In Australia, one creative environmentalist used global warming to re-open the debate in the west on population control. Using the same logic as the cap-and-trade legislation, that CO2 is a pollutant and that the polluter pays, an obstetrician wrote in a letter to the editor in the Australian Journal of Medicine:

Far from showering financial booty on new mothers and thereby rewarding greenhouse-unfriendly behaviour, a “Baby Levy” in the form of a carbon tax should apply, in line with the “polluter pays” principle. Every family choosing to have more than a defined number of children (Sustainable Population Australia suggests a maximum of two) should be charged a carbon tax that would fund the planting of enough trees to offset the carbon cost generated by a new human being.

Yep, we new moms are living large on that financial booty. You see, not adopting awesome reproductive policies like China, would be arrogant. Specifically, Dr. Barry Walters’ plan called for parents to be taxed $5000 for each child after the second and up to $800 per year there after. Couples opting for sterilization and birth control would be eligible for carbon credits.

In 2008, the UK scrapped plans for a controversial ‘carbon card’ scheme. The idea would take carbon rationing down to the individual level. Under the plan, every UK citizen would be given a carbon allowance tracked by the same technology that makes credit cards possible. Ultimately, proponents gave up, for now, because the idea would probably be unpopular. To paraphrase my inner third grader: like duh.

Just in case you think that the brave new personal carbon rationing schemes can never be brought to the United States, think again. Obama’s climate czarina, Carol Browner, is, purely by coincidence, a former member of Socialist International and former leader of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society. The mission of the Commission just happens to be “global governance” and combating global warming. In an interview to US News in early March, she gushed enthusiasm over smart grid technology:

Eventually, we can get to a system where an electric company will be able to hold back some of the power so that maybe your air conditioner won't operate at its peak, you'll still be able to cool your house, but that'll be a savings to the consumer.

I am not sure I understand how making your air conditioner less efficient will be a savings to the consumer. Maybe it is kind of like how record breaking deficit spending is actually an investment. However, it is clear that Obama really has it in for your evil air conditioner; remember this gem from the campaign:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,"

Clearly, neither of these two has ever been seven months pregnant in Texas in August, or they might understand why one might reasonably want to keep their house at 72 degrees.

True, smart grid technology could represent a much needed upgrade in our electric infrastructure and provide a valuable tool for energy independence; however, given the Obama administration’s combination of zeal for regulating CO2 and hostility towards expanding reliable sources of energy – like natural gas, coal, and nuclear – smart grid technology under his administration is likely to become a rationing device when electricity production fails to keep pace with demand.

The damaging effects of cap-and-trade to our already weakened economy are so obvious that even democrats in Congress are beginning to balk at the idea. Ominously, that won’t slow the power grab down much; Obama can then fall back on the EPA and regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act. Unfortunately, reckless expansion of government under the guise of combating global warming is a bipartisan affliction. During the last presidential campaign, John McCain supported measures to curb global warming.

Stewardship of our natural resources and energy independence are worthwhile goals that will lead to a stronger economy and country. However, rationing CO2 emissions fits neither of those goals and will set us on a destructive path towards a weaker economy, and worse, these policies directly threaten our individual liberties. Our founding fathers warned about the perils of surrendering liberty for security, but that is exactly what we are being led to do. Submitting ourselves and our country to these regulations is tantamount to surrendering liberty for security – security from a threat whose existence has not even been proven.

It's not just you

Michelle Malkin has a great (and scary) column this week:

To GIVE and to SERVE: The $6 billion National Service boondoggle

by Michelle Malkin Creators SyndicateCopyright 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but I find federal legislation titled “The GIVE Act” and “The SERVE Act” downright creepy. Even more troubling: The $6 billion price tag on these bipartisan bills to expand government-funded national service efforts. Volunteerism is a wonderful thing, which is why millions of Americans do it every day without a cent of taxpayer money. But the volunteerism packages on the Hill are less about promoting effective charity than about creating make-work, permanent bureaucracies, and left-wing slush funds.

Yeah, my government finds new ways to creep me out just about every day now. Follow the link to her site and read the whole column.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More on Mexico

Here is a NYT Op-Ed on the Mexican drug war with perspective from Mexico City.

The Mexican Evolution

While we bear responsibility for our problems, the caricature of Mexico being propagated in the United States only increases the despair on both sides of the Rio Grande. It is also profoundly hypocritical. America is the world’s largest market for illegal narcotics. The United States is the source for the majority of the guns used in Mexico’s drug cartel war, according to law enforcement officials on both sides of the border.

In addition to the highlighted excerpt, the piece raises several good points concerning the on-going turmoil south of the border. Certainly, the drug gangs are responsible for some terribly brutal murders, but the coverage, as usual, has seemed a little hyperbolic. Much like the war in Iraq, it is impossbile to tell if the drug war is being won or lost from the coverage. The news media focuses on the grotesque and sensational, rarely providing much useful perspective. The upsurge in violence has been due in a large part to the fact that the government forces have successfully put pressure on the drug gangs, rather than just pretending they don't exist.

Update: I don't mean in any way to trivialize the violence. It is terrible; however, I think the assesment of Mexico as a 'failed state' is over the top. This is a serious challenge, but I think the Mexican people will rise to the occaision.

Update 2: Uhhg. I should have seen this coming:
Clinton: US shares blame for Mexican drug wars
Is Clinton suggesting we should have built a wall? How else does she suggest we could have averted 'blame' for the drug war?

'Organizing for America' my ass

Man oh man oh man. Puuuhleeaze knock on my door. How I would love to give one of these tools a piece of my mind.

Congress isn't feeling much heat from Obama's 'army'

The president's lieutenants tried to open a new front in the "Obama revolution," the grassroots mobilization that propelled the once little-known Illinois senator to the White House last year. David Plouffe, who ran Obama's campaign, now runs "Organizing for America" out of the Democratic National Committee. It uses the same Web-based tactics that won the presidency to mobilize public opinion behind Obama's initiatives in a bid to redefine "business as usual" in Washington.

"The budget that passes Congress has the potential to take our country in a truly new direction — the kind of change we all worked so hard for," Plouffe said in an e-mail alert to Obama followers last week. He asked them to rally people in their hometowns behind Obama's budget.

Over the weekend, Obama supporters knocked on an estimated 1 million doors in all 50 states. Canvassers asked people to sign a two-point pledge saying that they support Obama's "bold approach for renewing America's economy," and that they'll ask family, friends and neighbors to back it.

Hmmmm. Anyone remember this:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Commie Watch

Commie of the week: Carol Browner

Ms. Browner is Barack Obama’s “global warming czarina.” She is also a full blown socialist. From the Washington Times:

Obama climate czar has socialist ties
Group sees 'global governance' as solution

Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

By Thursday, Mrs. Browner's name and biography had been removed from Socialist International's Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group's congress in Greece was still available.

Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world's social democratic political parties such as Britain's Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies.

No socialist agenda is complete without a plan to control the minute details of your life. Big brother’s (sister?) latest innovation: smart grid technology. Hooray! From US News:

Carol Browner on Climate Change: "The Science Has Just Become Incredibly Clear"

Were there elements in the administration's "green" agenda and in the stimulus package that Obama has been particularly insistent on?
Yes, the smart grid. If we're going to double renewables—it's taken us 35 years to get as many renewables as we have today—if we're going to double that in the near term, part of what we have to be thinking about is how we're going to move those renewables to where the people are, and a smart grid is a piece of that.

What is the genesis of President Obama's thinking on this?
He talked about it during the campaign, and I think what we've been able to do in the stimulus is really fill that out. So, as I said, it's bigger, better, smarter. Bigger means we need the new high-voltage lines for renewables. Better means we need to take our existing lines and upgrade them. And then, smarter: We need to make sure that we're really moving electricity in the smartest way and using the most cost-effective electricity at the right time of day. Eventually, we can get to a system where an electric company will be able to hold back some of the power so that maybe your air conditioner won't operate at its peak, you'll still be able to cool your house, but that'll be a savings to the consumer. [emphasis added -bb] And so [we will be] giving people and companies a role in the management of how we use electricity.

Right, they are going to save the planet by rationing electricity to your home. Awesome. I bet the Oval Office will be a crisp 72 degrees.

Get well soon, Lance!

Armstrong hospitalised after fall

A spokesman for Armstrong's Astana team said he appeared to have hurt his collarbone or shoulder. The 37-year-old American was being treated in hospital in Palencia and has withdrawn from the five-day race.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Party like it's 1773!

The Tea Party movement is growing. The big shuh-bang is April 15th in your hometown!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama on business: free markets and magic buttons!

Business Roundtable Q&A

At the Business Roundtable luncheon, 3/12/2009; Obama gave an address and answered some questions. During the Q&A he explained his overarching economic policy:

Uhhh… I am a strong believer in the ability of the free market to generate wealth and prosperity that’s shared [karate chop motion] across the board [karate chop again].

Got that you greedy capitalists? You can create as much wealth and prosperity as you want as long as you share it. Hee-yah! Karate chop!

He goes on to explain the world financial system:

Uhhh…so government has to intervene in a crisis but the goals should always be to right that shift. And… let private enterprise do its magic… uhhh…there are a series of fairly complex issues around regulation in the financial markets which we believe…uhhh…is necessary. I think we’ve got ummmm…ehh…and I assume that many of the people here agree that we’ve got to update…uhhh…the regulatory framework that was created in the 30’s for global markets where trillions of dollars are spinning around the globe with the press of a button.[spinning motion with hands… wheeeee]

What is this amazing button of which he speaks that sends the trillions spinning around the globe? We keep it in the oval office …Ooops… Hillary already gave that button to the Russians.

VIDEO: Wrong red button

She handed him a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift—a red plastic button on a black base with a Russian word “peregruzka” printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton said as reporters, allowed in to observe the first few minutes of the meeting, watched.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said, to Clinton’s clear surprise. Instead of "reset," he said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

This what I think they did with all the stimulus money – they stuffed it in a satellite. Get it? It’s like THE button, only, instead of dropping nuclear bombs on the Russians, it will drop trillions of dollars on their heads… from space. Or something.

We are so screwed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This will brighten your day

The Tea Party protest movement is growing. Instapundit reports that a protest in Cincinnati drew 4,000-6,000 people. Follow the link, some of the protest signs are hilarious. My favorite:

You can't cure stupid, but you can vote it out.

Honorable mention:

Party like it's 1773

And of course:

Who is John Galt?

There is one near you on April 15th!

The Allegorical Atlas Shrugged

The Allegorical Atlas Shrugged

As more and more Americans take to the streets to protest the punitive taxation, reckless spending, and forced wealth redistribution that Congress and the White House seem determined to cram down their throats, the question, “who is John Galt?” keeps popping up in public discourse. According to the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights sales of her opus magnum, Atlas Shrugged, have almost tripled since the 2008 election. On the grass roots level, conservative and libertarian bloggers are talking about “Going Galt.” Bumper stickers and T-shirts touting Rand’s enigmatic capitalist hero have been spotted. At the Tea Party protests around the country, Galt’s name is on protesters’ lips and on their signs. For fans of the 1957 novel, John Galt’s charisma is obvious; it feels like we are now living in some lost chapter of Atlas Shrugged.

Authoritarian leftists are quick to bash anyone who dares question the Obama administration or their utopian ideals. With a fierce hatred normally reserved for Joe the Plumber or Sarah Palin, the commenters on the left swooped in to stomp on the meme and crush the Objectivists’ spirit of resistance.

Blogger TBogg writes at firedoglake:

Um. No.

Atlas Shrugged is twenty pounds of shit in a 1200 page book, which makes it less than desirable or "totable" as beach reading. Not that it doesn't have its uses at the beach if, say for example, you needed to weigh down a canvas duffel containing the lifeless body of a libertarian who brought up John Galt one time too many and you needed that bag to stay submerged few nautical miles south of the Coronado Islands...but let's not talk about wish fulfillment.

The natives are getting restless again and are making muttered threats about about [sic] going John Galt and we are left to wonder how we will ever get by when the world grinds to a halt because Doug Bandow, Will Wilkinson, and the Ole Perfesser call in to say they won't be coming into work because they're feeling kinda "Galtish". Who will fill our "here's an interesting post by [fill-in your own obscure think tank professional wanker]" void?

As the kids say: Oh noes!

Um. No. For one thing, paper tends to float then rapidly disintegrate in water so a large heavy book is probably not the optimal object for weighing down a body, but good try; it sounded funny. The veiled death threat against libertarians for daring to espouse a point of view different from his is a nice touch, too. It conveniently makes my point for me.

He then moves on to deride the “natives” and their talk about going John Galt. He provides a link to one such native, Glenn Reynolds, law professor, record producer, and blogger at Instapundit. Clearly, Tbogg didn’t bother to read Reynolds’ post or even look at the giant graphic at the top of the page, or he would have realized that he just demolished his own post. Reynolds’ post displays a graph of the Dow-Jones Industrial Average following the passage of the stimulus plan. Judging by the plunging trajectory, more than a few investors are “going Galt” with the intended results.

The Dow plummeted 1200 points in 16 days.

As the kids say: Oh noes!

At the Village Voice, Roy Edroso writes:

President Obama has proposed ending the Bush tax cuts in 2011, bringing the top rates from 33 percent to 36 percent and from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. The lower of these hikes would apply to individuals making over $200,000 and households making over $250,000.

This is not really news, as Obama has been talking about it since last summer. What is news is the remarkable reaction of some conservatives, who declare that they (or someone else) will "Go Galt" in retaliation for this return to pre-Bush tax rates.

Alright, he gets credit for attempting to use some logic rather than just pure venom to make his point; none the less, his argument falls flat. I don’t think many of the tea partiers are full on anarcho-capitalists, neither was Ayn Rand. They recognize that some government and taxation is legitimate. The protest is not so much over the amount but over the idea that the purpose of taxation is to forcefully redistribute wealth; it is taxation for revenue vs. putative taxation. Yeah the limit is 250K right now, but we have perched ourselves on the top of a slippery slope. Clearly, the message is that success will be penalized.

True, some commenters might get carried away and start talking about generators and bomb shelters or throw out some otherwise silly ideas. Also, I would agree that refraining from tipping is not a good way to go Galt. The waitress earns her tip. However, we are brainstorming via the internet; some silliness is to be expected and welcomed.

On the other hand, rather than addressing the underlying philosophical differences and explaining their affinity for collectivism and their aversion to personal responsibility, opponents of Rand’s philosophy resort to ad homonym attacks against her fans. They gleefully point out: You didn’t invent a static electricity motor! You’re not a captain of industry! You’re just a stay at home mom! You don’t make 250K! If us ‘Randroids’ were all so stupid, it should be a piece of cake to engage the philosophy. Instead they resort to brilliant arguments along the lines of ‘you suck, too.’ It is a curious phenomenon that Rand’s detractors so readily self identify as “parasites” and “moochers.” It says more about them then it does about Atlas Shrugged.

A satirical Facebook page with over 200 members, “Go Galt Go!” popped up, mocking the idea of civil disobedience on the part of capitalists. The description reads:

We proudly salute "Dr. Helen," Glenn Reynolds, and Michelle Malkin, for identifying the only possible response to Barack Obama's victory - 'going Galt.' By withdrawing their creative and intellectual achievements from the economy and stopping tipping waitstaff, the schmibertarian right can surely bring the parasites and Democrats to their knees. We look forward to these three thought leaders striking the obvious first blow, by refusing to blog for the ungrateful masses and withdrawing to a secret compound until the world capitulates to their demands! Only a universal wingnut blogging strike can bring the moochers to their senses. John Galt lives!

After spending 8 years hysterically screeching that Bush is Hitler, Cheney is the anti-Christ, wearing face paint and orange jump suits, staging die-ins, and marching around waving giant papier-mâché puppets, they make fun of Dr. Helen, Glenn Reynolds, and Michelle Malkin for discussing literature and tax policy? “Schmibertarian,” that is so clever; name calling is always a convincing argument. I know critical thinking is a dying art, but who are the real anti-intellectuals, here?

“Only a universal wingnut blogging strike can bring the moochers to their senses. John Galt lives!” Once again, the author didn’t read the whole book and thus completely misses the point. The strike envisioned by Rand did not include a strike on speaking your mind, quite to the contrary. Near the end of the novel, in a scene that would look a little like Rush Limbaugh highjacking every television and cable network during Obama’s State of the Union, John Galt highjacks every radio station in the country to interrupt Mr. Thompson’s speech and delivers his own oration; it spans 56 pages in my edition. The internet wasn’t around when Ms. Rand wrote Atlas, but if it had been, there is a good chance that, in addition to being an engineer, Galt would have also been a talk radio host and prolific wingnut blogger. “Going Galt” means more Limbaughs, Malkins, and Instapundits.

One powerful snippet from Galt’s speech jumps off the page at me, that aptly describes the situation our country is facing:

You did not care to compete in terms of intelligence—you are now competing in terms of brutality. You did not care to allow rewards to be won by successful production—you are now running a race in which rewards are won by successful plunder. You called it selfish and cruel that men should trade value for value—you have now established an unselfish society where they trade extortion for extortion.

Atlas Shrugged’s plot is not to be taken literally; it is an allegory. Rand isn’t really instructing us to build hidden cities in the mountains; certainly, that element of fantasy appeals to the spirit of rugged individualism that many Americans still carry in their hearts. However, for protesters and bloggers “Going Galt” is a metaphor meant to symbolize nonviolent protest in the face of creeping socialism. Galt saw that the government would seize his life’s work. Instead of acquiescing, and surrendering himself to this novel form of slavery, he set in motion a bold course of direct action. Atlas Shrugged artfully declares that socialism is slavery, and the remedy is peaceful resistance.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Don't they have anything better to do, part II

Obama courts socialites

The White House is "identifying tastemakers in order to help create grassroots interest in some of the programs they are working on," said Washington Life's Michael Clements, who attended the meeting. "They wanted to introduce themselves. It was certainly a departure from previous administrations."

"[Creating] grass roots interest", huh? Is that what the cool kids call 'partying' these days? Just what king of grass are we talking about here, anyway? Sheesh. The hypocrisy-o-meter is in the red. Of course, that might explain this bit of recent news:

Barack Obama 'too tired' to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown

Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president's surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.

Carbon Sinks

Scientists hope satellites will solve riddle of missing CO2

Even golf courses and suburban lawns serve as carbon sinks.

"Humans dump about 9 million tons of carbon daily into the atmosphere, but only half stays there,'' said David Crisp, principal investigator for NASA's Orbiting Carbon
Observatory. The rest is returned to Earth, but where much of it ends up is uncertain. About a quarter of the recycled CO2 is drawn into the ocean, and land vegetation absorbs another quarter.

"We don't know where the other half is going,''

Here is another half of the science we never hear about in the global warming debate. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms 'breath' Co2 in the chemical process which is the mirror image of combustion and animal respiration. Combustion in cars and power plants consumes O2 and hydrocarbons (fossil fuels) to produce heat, energy and CO2; likewise, animals breath O2 and burn hydrocarbons (sugars) to produce energy to power their bodies and exhale CO2.

Photosynthesis is the reverse reaction. During daylight hours, plants consume CO2 and absorb energy from sunlight to produce sugars and give off O2 as a waste product. The ecosystem has the built in capability to self regulate. "Well," say global warming enthusiasts, "the earth has never seen the kind of carbon output we humans produce." Wrong. This is narcissism wrapped in bacon; a volcano and other natural events can easily dwarf human output. The self regulatory capacity has existed since the dawn of life, long before us humans were even here.

Even if we concede that CO2 driven global warming is a danger (a claim which growing numbers of people are beginning to doubt) then why are the solutions always focused on "capping" CO2 output and hammering our industry and economy in the process? We might make more progress, and avoid crippling our economy, if we focused on enhancing our 'carbon sink' capacity.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Barack Obama faces 'revolution' if he imposes tough carbon targets, warns IPCC

The budgetary black hole

There goes another $410 billion that we will never get back. I think we now have a gov't spending program so dense it warps the fabric of space-time. The more you throw in, the more it sucks up. We need to start talking about this thing using scientific notation because 'billion' and 'trillion' don't really sum it up. $410 billion is $4.10 x 10^11.

Of course, that is just the stop-gap emergency budget. We haven't even gotten to Obama's real budget: $3.6 trillion, ($3.6 x 10^12). But you investors shouldn't worry:

Lawmakers Weigh Need for Second Stimulus to Spur Job Growth

But Mrs. Pelosi suggested she's not ruling out action on another measure if the economy remains weak. "We have to keep the door open," Rep. Pelosi said after a closed-door meeting with several private economists. The speaker stressed the goal of lawmakers is not just to spur job growth, but to shore consumer and business sentiment, as well.

Oh good, Nancy Pelosi is on it. My consumer and business sentiment feels shored, doesn't yours?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Obama 'not a socialist' Audio

Obama: I am ... uh ... not an ... uh ... socialist ... and uhhh ... you know ... it was all Bush's fault

Okay, I am paraphrasing. The actual quotes are less coherent. Obama gave an interview with the New York Times last week. Following the interview he was so concerned, he had to call the NYT back to emphasize that he is not a socialist.

At least, I think he is trying to emphasize that he is not a socialist. There are so many "ummms" and "uhhhhs" and empty space filler phrases like "I know", "I think", "it's important to note" and "it's ... uhhh .. important to ... uhhh ... emphasize ... uhhh .. that .. uhhh". He is President of the United States and he cannot even articulate his economic philosophy without being fed his lines.

Money quote, "I have more than enough to do ..uhh... without having to worry about the financial system". I guess they didn't have the teleprompter set up on Marine 1.

Violence spilling into US

The violence from Mexico's drug cartel war is spilling into the US. Phoenix, Atlanta, and Houston have all seen gang violence - shootings, kidnapping, and torture.

Mexican drug war spilling into US

Mexican cartels plague Atlanta

Mexican cartels infiltrate Houston

What we are seeing is a modern day triangle trade of drugs, guns, and illegal immigrants. The immigrants are most often the target of the vicious kidnapping/torture/ransom scenarios. However, innocent bystanders are in danger of being caught in the cross fire. Statements by the authorities that violence is mostly targeted at gang members and illegals doesn't sound too reassuring to me; in fact, it seems pretty lame. This shouldn't be happening in my backyard, period. How long do we have before the trickle becomes a flood?

Further down the rabbit hole

Manufacturing a crisis - the Cloward-Piven strategy

Make sure your tinfoil hat is securely in place as we take another tour through the world of Obama's shady connections and inspirations. A strategy complimentary to Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" known as the "Cloward-Piven" strategy:

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called "crisis strategy" or "Cloward-Piven Strategy," as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

Irony alert: looters, and not just in the literary sense.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Regulate, Bail Out, Nationalize

Is the energy industry in the cross hairs?

One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”

—Ayn Rand, 1975

Despite the tanking global economy and an aggressive, nuclear Iran on the horizon, the Obama administration still has time to fret about the weather, now verbosely referred to as ‘anthropological global climate change’ and is charging ahead on policies to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

By April, the EPA is expected to issue an endangerment finding labeling carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant subject to regulation under the 1990 Clean Air Act. It would set off the most extensive rule making avalanche is the history of our government, and it neatly sidesteps the legislative branch since regulatory powers under the Clean Air Act are the provision of the executive branch. In the future, these regulations could be extended to any other heat trapping gas. Additionally, the Obama administration plans to level punitive taxes and fees on energy producers in the Gulf of Mexico, ostensibly for the crime of conspiracy to commit global warming. Obama’s budget includes a $4 per acre fee on non-producing oil and gas leases in the gulf while simultaneously levying an excise tax on oil and natural gas produced in the Gulf.

Of course, Congress won’t be left out of the fun. In his address to the joint assembly in February, Obama urged them to aggressively pursue Cap and Trade legislation. Such legislation would force a cap on CO2 emissions and energy companies would essentially have to purchase permits from the government in order to do business. Timelines vary, but this legislation will be a reality by next December at the latest and is already part of the President’s budget.

CO2 production is implicit in nearly every facet of productivity; for the average citizen, the effects of hyper aggressive regulation will manifest themselves as an across the board increase in cost of products manufactured in the United States, pain at the gas pump, and noticeably higher electricity bills. For the energy industry – companies that produce electricity for homes and businesses and fuel for our transportation – these policies amount to a full fledged government assault. The aim is to cripple our capacity to use natural gas, oil, and coal for energy production under the banner of combating climate change. Obama’s plan purports to fill the gap with green energy, but at present, the capacity does not exist. In their current state, alternative energies simply cannot meet our energy needs. Research into environmentally friendly technology to achieve energy independence is a worthy bipartisan cause, but even under the best circumstances, new technological development will not keep pace with the avalanche of anti-energy legislation and regulatory actions bearing down on energy producers as soon as this year.

So with our reliable methods of energy production hamstrung by CO2 regulation, and the promised new technologies – and their accompanying infrastructure – years, maybe decades away, how do we power the motor of the world? President Obama devoted air time on the campaign trail to singling out and demonizing Exxon-Mobile. When his energy plan achieves its stated aims and has brought Exxon-Mobile and other energy producers to their knees, then what? Will we be told they are ‘too big to fail’? Currently, the conventional wisdom holds that the evil, greedy oil companies are recklessly profitable; would you, the tax payer, prefer to spend billions (trillions?) bailing them out? Should we soon expect a ‘Regeanesque’ speech from the Oval Office somberly informing us that our only hope for economic survival is to make another sacrifice for the greater good and nationalize our energy industry?

Of course, maybe I shouldn’t be so worried. I suppose that won’t be so terrible. Nationalized energy has worked out fabulously in Venezuela. Hasn’t it?

Further Reading


Cap and Trade

Oil and Gas fees/treasury sec


Being president is hard, whaa

Via the guys at Hotair:

Barack Obama 'too tired' to give proper welcome to Gordon Brown

Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.

A small suggestion, if he wasn't so busy trying to hijack the economy and picking fights with radio show hosts, Obama might have time to attend to his actual job. Commentors at Hotair are speculating that the "sources close to the White House" means Colin Powell. I think that is at least plausible given the details in the Telegraph article.

Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president's surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.

Like Duh. Being prez is hard work.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Let's ask Hugo


Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday called upon US President Barack Obama to follow the path to socialism, which he termed as the "only" way out of the global recession. "Come with us, align yourself, come with us on the road to socialism. This is the only path. Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States," Chavez told a group of workers in the southern Venezuelan state of Bolivar.

Yes, socialism, because it's worked out so awesome for Venezuela. And Cuba. And Russia. And Germany. And Yugoslavia. And...

It depends?

Are We All Socialists Now?

A specter is stalking America - the specter of socialism.

The once-neglected S-word made a big comeback during the presidential campaign of 2008, and has now become a staple of American political discourse. While the right denounces Obama as a socialist, the cover of Newsweek magazine proclaims, "We are all socialists now." Is he? Are we? Depends on how you define "socialism," of course.

Bill Clinton would also like to add that it depends on what your definition of "is" is. Seriously though, if it looks like a poop, smells like a poop, and is stuck to the bottom of your shoe, who cares if it is a Soviet style poop, a Euro-poop, or some as-of-yet-unclassified poop?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Looters want more

New York Governor David Patterson attempts to reign in state spending with predictable results from the looters.

BUDGET BACKLASH: Thousands Rally At City Hall

Protestors insisted Thursday that there's a better way. They're asking for what they call "fair tax reform" -- raising state taxes for New Yorkers making $250,000 or more on top of the president's proposed hikes. "For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need," United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

...just pay a little more

...and a little more...

How much is enough? Today it's New York, when will it be your city?

It could be time

... to start digging that bomb shelter in the back yard and stocking up on canned goods and ammo. Does anyone else get the feeling that the country is unraveling before their eyes?

Bill Seeks to Let FDIC Borrow up to $500 Billion

Dow Falls 281.40, Now Down 25% for Year

Our brilliant president demonstrates his knowledge of the stack market:

Um ...Mr. President, do you use that Blackberry for anything other than playing brickbreaker? It isn't "bobbing up and down" it is plunging. If it is a tracking poll, then the verdict is in: epic fail.

Post-capitalism: and then what?

I wouldn't go so far as to say we are socialist yet, but I do think you can accurately say we are now a 'post-capitalist' nation. We are talking about nationalizing banks; with enough bailouts, we will have a de facto nationalized car industry. Nationalizing the health care industry is also on the agenda. What's next? With all the CO2 legislation getting rammed through Congress, I am guessing the energy industry (oil, natural gas, coal, electricity producers).

I leave you with the quote of the week:

One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”

—Ayn Rand, 1975

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Socialism working wonders

Yet another example of the wonders of socialism:

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation and food shortages

"If any industry wants to ride roughshod over the consumers, with a view to getting better dividends, we are going to act," said Carlos Osorio, the national superintendent of silos and storage. "For the government, access to food is a matter of national security."

Production quotas and prices have now been set for cooking oil, white rice, sugar, coffee, flour, margarine, pasta, cheeses and tomato sauce.

Damn those evil greedy rice farmers! Go get 'em Hugo!

Speaking of bombs

The Iranian bomb isn't the only one we have to worry about. How about this -- the inflation time bomb!

Bass Says ‘Cluster’ of Sovereign Defaults Is Possible

President Barack Obama is seeking Congressional approval for a $3.55 trillion budget for the fiscal year starting in October that would increase spending by 32 percent, resulting in a deficit of $1.17 trillion as he seeks to kick start the economy. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said costs to rescue U.S. banks may be more than the $700 billion already approved after losses and writedowns globally from the credit crisis exceeded $1.19 trillion.

The “rampant printing of currencies” won’t immediately lead to inflation as banks reduce borrowing and asset values decline, Bass, 39, wrote in the March 2 letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “The greater concern is the potential inflationary time bomb that grows as governments continue to borrow, print” and stimulate economies.

The U.S. will need to issue $2.35 trillion of new Treasuries this year, and Europe will have to issue even more government debt, Bass said.

This will come in handy:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hey, I like that song!

“Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips voted the Oklahoma state rock song.


Just great. Fabulous.

Obama's Iran Crisis
It's arriving faster than he thinks

money quote:

Iran now possesses 5,600 centrifuges in which it can enrich uranium -- a 34-fold increase from 2006 -- and plans to add 45,000 more over five years. That will give Tehran an ability to make atomic bombs on an industrial scale.

Iran isn't just trying to build a bomb or two; it is aiming for the entire production pipeline -- that explains the Iranian emphasis on centrifuges. They likely could have bought enough fissile on the black market for several bombs. However, their goal here isn't just to bully neighbors with a few bombs; it's to build manufacturing capability.

... but hey, how 'bout that wacky Rush Limbaugh?

Don't they have anything better to do?

Like, say, meet with foreign leaders (see previous post)?

Rush Job: Inside Dems' Limbaugh plan

Top Democrats believe they have struck political gold by depicting Rush Limbaugh as the new face of the Republican Party, a full-scale effort first hatched by some of the most familiar names in politics and now being guided in part from inside the White House.

Welcome to the perpetual campaign.


The guys at HotAir beat me to it:

Hope and Change: The Operation Rushbo Distraction

Obama cold shoulders UK PM

How to alienate allies:


Going Galt

Galt's Gulch* doesn't exist in real life - sadly - but many are brainstorming ways to create the same effect, basically going on strike, to avoid the oppressive tax regime that is looming on the horizon.

Here is an impassioned rant on the subject:

Going John Galt

Gas lines, unemployment, inflation, problems with terrorists… we have all thisand more to look forward to, right down to the guy in the Oval Office lecturing us that we can’t keep our homes at the temperature we like. At least Carter had the decency to put on a sweater and give the appearance of suffering right along with the rest of us. President Obama can’t even do that. These things are going to happen eventually anyway because the 40% cannot carry the rest of the country, nor should a moral society expect us to do so. My goal is to not extend the misery; to hasten the inevitable crash so we can recover quickly.

Also, Dr. Helen gets it:

Going John Galt

Perhaps the partisian politics we are dealing with now is really just a struggle between those of us who believe in productivity, personal responsibility, and keeping government interference to a minimum, and those who believe in the socialistic policies of taking from others, using the government as a watchdog,and rewarding those who overspend, underwork, or are just plain unproductive.

“Going Galt” doesn’t have to involve some kind of radical survivalist adventure. It can be anything that denies the government of a few hundred bucks of tax loot. Small actions add up. If enough individuals make a small decrease in the amount they hand over to the government, the resulting drop in gov't revenues will send a loud message to the White House.

(*The picture at the begining of this article is of the San Juan mountains, the inspiration for the setting of Galt's Gulch)