Monday, November 30, 2009

"Major Nidal Hasan had an enabler; All those red flags but no one did anything. Political correctness took the lives of 14 people."

by Mark Steyn on Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nidal Hasan was the perpetrator, but political correctness was his enabler, every step of the way. In the days that followed, the near parodically absurd revelations piled up like an overripe satire, but a two-panel cartoon at the Toronto blogger Scaramouche’s website provided the pithiest distillation:
“This is your brain. This is your brain on political correctness”—a small and shrivelled thing.

Major Hasan couldn’t have been more straightforward about who and what he was. An army psychiatrist, he put “SoA”—i.e., “Soldier of Allah”—on his business card. At the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, he was reprimanded for trying to persuade patients to convert to Islam and fellow pupils objected to his constant “anti-American propaganda,” but, as the Associated Press reported, “a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.”

This is your brain on political correctness.

As the writer Barry Rubin pointed out, Major Hasan was the first mass murderer in U.S. history to give a PowerPoint presentation outlining the rationale for the crime he was about to commit. And he gave the presentation to a roomful of fellow army psychiatrists and doctors. Some of whom glanced queasily at their colleagues, but none of whom actually spoke up. And, when the question of whether then-Captain Hasan was, in fact, “psychotic,” the policy committee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center worried “how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents.”...

The whole column is a must-read:
"Voter Anger Is Building Over Deficits: The generic poll shows a 16-point swing to the GOP over last year" By KARL ROVE

After engineering an unprecedented spending surge for nearly a year, President Barack Obama now wants to signal that he takes deficits seriously. So this week the White House announced that it is considering creating a commission to figure how to fix the budget mess.


Well, almost. What seems to concern the president is not the problem runaway spending poses for taxpayers and the economy. Rather, what bothers him is the political problem it poses for Democrats.

Last year, Mr. Obama made fiscal restraint a constant theme of his presidential campaign. "Washington will have to tighten its belt and put off spending," he said back then, while pledging to "go through the federal budget, line by line, ending programs that we don't need." Voters found this fiscal conservatism reassuring.

However, since taking office Mr. Obama pushed through a $787 billion stimulus, a $33 billion expansion of the child health program known as S-chip, a $410 billion omnibus appropriations spending bill, and an $80 billion car company bailout. He also pushed a $821 billion cap-and-trade bill through the House and is now urging Congress to pass a nearly $1 trillion health-care bill.

An honest appraisal of the nation's finances would recommend dropping both of these last two priorities. But the administration has long planned to run up the federal credit card. In February, Mr. Obama's budget plan for the next decade projected that revenues would equal about 18% of GDP while spending would jump to 24% of GDP, up from its post World War II average of 21%. Annual deficits of about 6% of GDP were projected for years to come. ...

Read the rest:

Price tag more like $6+ trillion for O-care

"ObamaCare’s Cost Could Top $6 Trillion"
Posted by Michael F. Cannon

Congressional Democrats are using several budget gimmicks to disguise the cost of their health care overhaul, claiming the House and Senate bills would cost only (!) about $1 trillion over 10 years. Now that critics have begun to correct for those budget gimmicks, supporters of ObamaCare are firing back.

One gimmick makes the new entitlement spending appear smaller by not opening the spigot until late in the official 10-year budget window (2010–2019). Correcting for that gimmick in the Senate version, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) estimates, “When all this new spending occurs” — i.e., from 2014 through 2023 — “this bill will cost $2.5 trillion over that ten-year period.”

Another gimmick pushes much of the legislation’s costs off the federal budget and onto the private sector by requiring individuals and employers to purchase health insurance. When the bills force somebody to pay $10,000 to the government, the Congressional Budget Office treats that as a tax. When the government then hands that $10,000 to private insurers, the CBO counts that as government spending. But when the bills achieve the exact same outcome by forcing somebody to pay $10,000 directly to a private insurance company, it appears nowhere in the official CBO cost estimates — neither as federal revenues nor federal spending. That’s a sharp departure from how the CBO treated similar mandates in the Clinton health plan. And it hides maybe 60 percent of the legislation’s total costs. When I correct for that gimmick, it brings total costs to roughly $2.5 trillion (i.e., $1 trillion/0.4).

Here’s where things get really ugly. TPMDC’s Brian Beutler calls “the” $2.5-trillion cost estimate a “doozy” of a “hysterical Republican whopper.” Not only is he incorrect, he doesn’t seem to realize that Gregg and I are correcting for different budget gimmicks; it’s just a coincidence that we happened to reach the same number.

When we correct for both gimmicks, counting both on- and off-budget costs over the first 10 years of implementation, the total cost of ObamaCare reaches — I’m so sorry about this — $6.25 trillion. That’s not a precise estimate. It’s just far closer to the truth than President Obama and congressional Democrats want the debate to be.

Read the whole piece with links:

Collection of "Warmergate" posts: Tim Blair

Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 05:49am

• Digging around in the CRU emails exposes a French connection.

• Climate guy Vincent Gray: “Nothing about the revelations surprises me. I have maintained email correspondence with most of these scientists for many years, and I know several personally. I long ago realized that they were faking the whole exercise.”

• Over at the BBC: “The big news about Michael Mann is his investigations into ocean coral.”

• Formerly dismissed by leftists as “false”, Mark Steyn’s opinion is now held by none other than Tim Flannery. Steyn, by the way, coined the toasty term “Warmergate”.

• Just as it did before the 2004 and 2006 US elections, The Lancet offers some timely alarmism to aid the cause: “Slashing carbon dioxide emissions also could save millions of lives, mostly by reducing preventable deaths from heart and lung diseases, according to studies published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.”

• The Anchoress has views.

• “Ninety-five percent of the nails were in the coffin prior to this week. Now they are all in,” declares Oklahoma Senator and longtime warmy foe Jim Inhofe, of whom Kim Strassel writes: “This week he’s looking prescient.”

• James Lewis: “It’s just like the Nixon tapes, except that emails are a lot more accurate than John Dean’s memory.”

• Col. Douglas Mortimer: “You know, when you consider that ‘We’re Saving The Planet’ is the biggest power/money grabbing scam since ‘We’re Saving Your Souls,’ whoever leaked/released those e-mails and such is kind of like the modern scientific equivalent of Martin Luther. This person/persons may well have broken the backs of the Global Warming Priests who did everything in their power to make sure that the common man, and those who would oppose them, had no direct access to the Spoken Word of God.”

• AGW believer Megan McArdle: “This interview with the head of the UN’s climate experts is ridiculous. He responds to concerns about the peer review process being stacked by saying ... all the work was peer reviewed.”

• The bottom line on East Anglia’s decline hiders: “They’re just not prepared to tell the truth in public.”

Go to original for links:
VOTER ANGER IS BUILDING OVER DEFICITS: “The generic poll shows a 16-point swing to the GOP over last year.”

Plus this: “When Mr. Obama was sworn into office the federal deficit for this year stood at $422 billion. At the end of October, it stood at $1.42 trillion. The total national debt also soared to $7.5 trillion at the end of last month, up from $6.3 trillion shortly after Inauguration Day.”

Posted at 10:38 am by Glenn Reynolds (via Instapundit)

Noonan on the diminishing image of Obama

He Can't Take Another Bow An icon of a White House that is coming to seem amateurish.By PEGGY NOONAN

This week, two points in an emerging pointillist picture of a White House leaking support—not the support of voters, though polls there show steady decline, but in two core constituencies, Washington's Democratic-journalistic establishment, and what might still be called the foreign-policy establishment.

From journalist Elizabeth Drew, a veteran and often sympathetic chronicler of Democratic figures, a fiery denunciation of—and warning for—the White House. In a piece in Politico on the firing of White House counsel Greg Craig, Ms. Drew reports that while the president was in Asia last week, "a critical mass of influential people who once held big hopes for his presidency began to wonder whether they had misjudged the man." They once held "an unromantically high opinion of Obama," and were key to his rise, but now they are concluding that the president isn't "the person of integrity and even classiness they had thought."

She scored "the Chicago crowd," which she characterized as "a distressingly insular and small-minded West Wing team." The White House, Ms. Drew says, needs adult supervision—"an older, wiser head, someone with a bit more detachment."

As I read Ms. Drew's piece, I was reminded of something I began noticing a few months ago in bipartisan crowds. I would ask Democrats how they thought the president was doing. In the past they would extol, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, his virtues. Increasingly, they would preface their answer with, "Well, I was for Hillary." This in turn reminded me of a surprising thing I observe among loyal Democrats in informal settings and conversations: No one loves Barack Obama. Half the American people say they support him, and Democrats are still with him. But there were Bill Clinton supporters who really loved him. George W. Bush had people who loved him. A lot of people loved Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. But no one seems to love Mr. Obama now; they're not dazzled and head over heels. That's gone away. He himself seems a fairly chilly customer; perhaps in turn he inspires chilly support. But presidents need that rock—bottom 20% who, no matter what's happening—war, unemployment—adore their guy, have complete faith in him, and insist that you love him, too...

The whole article:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Examiner nails what future holds for Dems

Growing public backlash over Obamacare
Examiner Editorial
November 27, 2009
(Andrew Harnik/Examiner)

Two-dozen Democrats from Republican-leaning districts, who voted for the House version of President Obama's increasingly unpopular health care reform, are beginning to feel a growing public backlash. has already raised $123,105 that will be dedicated exclusively to defeating all 24, including Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., in 2010 if they don't reject the final conference committee version of the bill. They "voted to take away your healthcare and put it in the hands of federal bureaucrats," the Web site says. "Democrats made a choice ... next fall, voters will make a choice."

They're not the only ones. Twenty-nine other House Democrats who voted for the bill come from districts that John McCain carried, making them particularly vulnerable to an angry electorate that never bought into the "hope and change" hype in the first place.

Democratic senators who are up for re-election next year in nine states face the same dilemma. As support erodes for Obamacare's massive tax increases and deep Medicare cuts, they must also consider the personal political cost. Only 38 percent of the public supports their health care plan, the lowest level of public support in more than two years. As more details of the 2,074-page behemoth -- which most members of Congress concede they have not read -- continue to trickle out, the more the poll numbers drop.

It's not hard to figure out why. Obamacare was supposed to lower costs, extend coverage and improve Americans' health care options. It does none of those things.

Despite accounting gimmicks, Obamacare will cost $4.9 trillion over the next 20 years. This enormous sum will suck the wind out of an already struggling economy. The plan includes higher premiums for younger workers, fines for those who refuse to purchase coverage, lower Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals, and job-killing taxes on employers.

Obamacare will also force an estimated five million workers to lose their employer-provided coverage.

Federal taxpayers will be forced to pay for elective abortions even though only 13 percent favor such coverage.

As far as improving health care options is concerned, the administration wants to cut down on mammograms and slash Medicare Advantage for seniors to save money. After all this spending and upheaval, 24 million Americans will remain uninsured in 2019. Every Democrat who ignores the public will and votes for this higher-cost, lower-care monstrosity will be held accountable. Voters back home won't let them forget it.

Climategate: It’s the Totalitarianism, Stupid

Climategate: It’s the Totalitarianism, Stupid
Ultimately, the climate frauds were seeking power over our economies, our liberties, and our countries. (See full PJM/PJTV coverage of Climategate here.)

November 27, 2009 - by James Lewis

Most conspiracy theories are nonsense. But not all, it’s sad to say. A political machine is a successful conspiracy against the public, after all, and we’ve had machine politics in America since the 19th century. Chicago is run by a Democratic machine. Illinois is a machine state.

Those are successful and profitable conspiracies, at least for the insiders. They are dreadful for average citizens, because in a kleptocracy it is corruption that rules the streets. That is why the inner city schools in Chicago still fail their children; it is why drug gangs kill teenagers on the South Side; it is why kids have kids, and just pass on the social pathology; it is why Chicagoans who can afford it move out of the blasted neighborhoods, leaving them to gangsters and their victims; and it is why Governor Blagojevich openly demanded his share of the loot before appointing a U.S. senator to follow Obama.

It is no comfort to know that Barack Obama rose to power in the hustler world of Chicago politics and that Mayor Daley, Michelle Obama, and Valerie Jarrett, all faithful creatures of the machine, decided on all the appointments in this administration.

So what about the Climategate fiasco, the Watergate scandal of our age and time? Well, the global warming fraud is simply machine politics on the international level. Mark Steyn has coined the word “tranzi” for the transnational left that runs the UN, the European Union, most European capitals, and both left coasts of the United States. Tranzis are the political machine of our time.

The good news is that “anthropogenic global warming” — the most costly and widespread scientific fraud in history — just crumbled to fairy dust. We have emails from some of the biggest malefactors to prove it. ...

It’s just like the Nixon tapes, except that emails are a lot more accurate than John Dean’s memory.

A successful political machine has to have monopoly control over the media, and it must be able to corrupt or coerce all the centers of power — the cops, the courts, the drug mafias, the businesses, the rackets. That’s how the global warming conspiracy operated.

Robert Tracinski has been doggedly pursuing this story, and he points out that the liberal media were in cahoots with the machine:...

Global warming was a fraud, and it has now been exposed.

That little fraud would have cost the taxpayers of the world trillions of dollars, not to mention wrecking their economies with carbon taxes and penalties.

But that’s not even the worst of it. The most important take home lesson is that global frauding was the clear and conscious work of a political machine aiming to steal your money, your liberties, and your country. It was a massive, worldwide attempt at a coup d’etat, and the victims were going to include all the free and prosperous peoples of the world. Hitler had his Reichstag fire. Today’s transnational left had its global warming fraud. The political goal was exactly the same: maximum power through maximum fear.

Melanie Phillips, writing in the Spectator, has it exactly right in a column called “Green Totalitarianism”:...

James Lewis is a scientist by trade, and carps as a hobby about the passing parade of human fraud and folly.

Read the whole article with other attributions:

Stossel on being lied to by our employees

"We Pay Them to Lie to Us" By John Stossel

When you knowingly pay someone to lie to you, we call the deceiver an illusionist or a magician. When you unwittingly pay someone to do the same thing, I call him a politician.

President Obama insists that health care "reform" not "add a dime" to the budget deficit, which daily grows to ever more frightening levels. So the House-passed bill and the one the Senate now deliberates both claim to cost less than $900 billion. Somehow "$900 billion over 10 years" has been decreed to be a magical figure that will not increase the deficit.

It's amazing how precise government gets when estimating the cost of 10 years of subsidized medical care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill was scored not at $850 billion, but $849 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her bill would cost $871 billion.

How do they do that?

The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.

I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he'll saw a woman in half. That's entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he'll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving health care and reducing its cost, it's not entertaining. It's incredible.

The politicians have a hat full of tricks to make their schemes look cheaper than they are. The new revenues will pour in during Year One, but health care spending won't begin until Year Three or Four. To this the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner asks, "Wouldn't it be great if you could count a whole month's income, but only two weeks' expenditures in your household budget?"

To be deficit-reducers, the health care bills depend on a $200 billion cut in Medicare. Current law requires cuts in payments to doctors, but let's get real: Those cuts will never happen...

Read the rest:

Scientist wieghs in on Climategate

(Via Instapundit--links to oritinal sources):

FRANK TIPLER: Climategate: The Skeptical Scientist’s View. “What keeps scientists honest is knowing our colleagues are looking over our shoulders. A theory with hidden data is never to be believed. . . . The now non-secret data prove what many of us had only strongly suspected — that most of the evidence of global warming was simply made up. That is, not only are the global warming computer models unreliable, the experimental data upon which these models are built are also unreliable.” Plus, more from Richard Fernandez.

Posted at 1:07 pm by Glenn Reynolds

Also this from Frank Tippler: "Two factors have enabled this particular conspiracy to survive for so long.

"First, the actual data for surface temperatures have been available only through a small number of organizations. Every experienced scientist has had occasion to doubt a colleague’s reported experimental result. No problem: The skeptical scientist merely has to try to replicate his colleague’s result, and a failure means that the claim is false. But how does one replicate the claim that the average temperature of the Earth — an average computed from taking the data at thousands of temperature stations all across the globe — was one degree Fahrenheit lower in 1900 that it was in 2000? It is impossible to visit all the stations today, to say nothing of the stations of 1900. Replication is impossible..."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Here's how science turns into BS over AGW

Just click and read it:

Obama sighs, time flies, soldiers/Marines die

"Is Obama's dithering similar to that of Civil War general George B. McClellan?"
By: J.P. Freire (Washington Examiner):

On the Charlie Rose Show, presidential biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin said President Obama mustn't be rushed to make a decision. After all, she noted, Lincoln waited until the right time to make the Emancipation Proclamation. I'm curious how a Pulitzer-Prize winning historian who has written a fantastic book on Lincoln's political genius would make such a poor analogy -- not merely because of the incongruity of the conflicts, but because it's a tragic example of dithering that cost lives....

So let's be clear: General McChrystal told the president that the war could be lost in a year, and three months of that year have been given to the enemy to regroup and prepare. War, as it happens, is a zero-sum game in which waiting does, in fact, cost lives. This isn't a mere political football. If you have a general who is competent, as McChrystal is, give him what he says he needs to win.

Read the rest:

The whole article on outrageous SEAL case

"Clubbing SEALs" from NY POST:

Punch a terrorist -- head for the brig.

Welcome to America's thoroughly modern military.

The notion beggars the imagination, but three Navy SEALs who helped capture one of the most notorious terrorists in Iraq now face courts-martial -- because the terrorist acquired a bloody lip after the takedown.

Ahmed Hashim Abed organized the brutal 2004 attack on four US civilian contractors working as security guards in Fallujah. After murdering the guards, terrorists dragged their bodies through the city, burning and hanging two of them over the Euphrates Bridge.

Nidal Malik Hasan
Fast forward to this past summer: Navy Petty Officers Matthew McCabe, Jonathan Keefe and Julio Huertas were part of a SEAL team that captured Abed.

Abed complained that he was punched on Sept. 1 during his initial detention. A fat, bloody lip was offered up as proof.

Imagine that.

Now McCabe is charged with assault, dereliction of duty and making a false statement; Keefe is charged with dereliction of duty and making a false statement; Huertas has the same charges as Keefe, plus one of impeding an investigation.

It's not hard to figure out what happened here: One SEAL slugged Abed -- no doubt for good reason -- and the other two wouldn't rat out their buddy to investigators who would've been better employed slugging Abed themselves.

And so the SEALs will be arraigned on Dec. 7 -- another reason for the date to live in infamy.

Ironically, if the three had treated Abed like Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq has routinely treated American soldiers it captures, his bloody, mutilated corpse would've turned up floating in a river.

(For the record, the number of US combat troops captured in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been recovered alive is approximately zero.)

What is especially ironic, to say nothing of infuriating, about the SEALs' inquisition is that it underscores the utter lack of curiosity exhibited by the Pentagon in the matter of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army shrink and Islamist.

Hasan was allowed to remain in contact with troops despite a distressingly long record of incendiary public rhetoric -- and copious e-mail traffic with an associate of Osama bin Laden.

The FBI and Army were on to him, but lacked the courage to confront him.

The result: 13 Americans dead, and 29 wounded, at Fort Hood.

The truth, of course, is that falling afoul of the diversity police is a quick way to end an otherwise promising career -- and the Pentagon and FBI know it.

SEALs, on the other hand, are fair game. What a scandal.

Meanwhile, we wonder.

What happens the next time America needs SEALs -- and there aren't any?

Or, at least, there aren't any who meet traditional SEAL standards -- the warriors having been chased away by the pettifoggers.


Don't bet money on it.

Read more:

Only gov't could pass this B.S. as if believable

"The fuzzy math and goofy logic of government-goosed employment"

Jacob Sullum (at
November 25, 2009

According to a report from a shoe store in Campbellsville, Kentucky, the Army Corps of Engineers “created or saved” nine jobs when it used money allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to buy nine pairs of work boots. The Wall Street Journal reports that the store’s owner, frustrated by the government’s confusing online forms, enlisted the help of his 42-year-old daughter, who figured nine—the number of people who would use the boots on the job—made as much sense as any other answer.

The economic kick supposedly delivered by those work boots is emblematic of the errors and exaggerations that pervade the job numbers proudly cited by the Obama administration as evidence that the Recovery Act is working. The highly labor-intensive boots also illustrate the goofy logic of government-goosed employment, which aims to maximize jobs and therefore prizes inefficiency.

Last month the Obama administration bragged that $160 billion in spending authorized by the $787 billion Recovery Act had “created or saved 640,329 direct jobs” as of September 30. Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that 58,386 of these jobs were tied to projects that had not received or spent any money yet. Whoops.

Meanwhile, newspapers across the country have been digging up one example after another of erroneous job numbers, including premature reporting, double counting, stray zeros, raises counted as new jobs, jobs created in congressional districts that do not exist, phantom jobs attributed to housing assistance for low-income renters, and minor purchases that, like the Army Corps’ boot order, are implausibly credited with creating several jobs each. David Freddoso and Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner are keeping track of these reports, and as of this writing they count 90,489 jobs “not really created or saved.”

The biggest source of uncertainty about these numbers is the very notion of a job “saved.” While “recipients are expected to report accurately on their use of funds,” the GAO notes, “what they are less able to say is what they would have done without the benefit of the program.”

Since the Obama administration mixes the mushy jobs “saved” in with the firmer jobs “created,” it’s hard to tell which is which. But two-thirds of the jobs are attributed to Education Department spending, and these are overwhelmingly public school positions that allegedly would have been lost to layoffs without federal aid.

The New York Times reports that “some school districts said that they might not have actually laid off teachers without the stimulus money.” The Times is too polite to add that the rest—the ones that claim they’re sure these jobs would have been cut but for the federal money—are lying. In the face of uncertainty, recipients of federal money aimed at boosting employment have a powerful incentive to err on the side of reporting more jobs rather than fewer.

Even if recipients are honest, diligent, and psychic, the jobs they report are not, strictly speaking, jobs. Instead they are “full-time equivalents”: the number of hours in a quarter for which employees are paid with Recovery Act money, divided by a full three months of work. This calculation invites recipients to inflate their numbers by counting all hours on stimulus-funded projects, instead of just the hours worked by people who otherwise would have been unemployed.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Raw post on SEIU thugs vs. Navy Seals...

JOHN HINDERAKER WONDERS why SEIU thugs enjoy more freedom of action than Navy SEALS. Because the SEIU thugs are advancing the goals of people in power?

Posted at 11:51 pm by Glenn Reynolds

Brilliant You Tube on the "climate-gate" hoax

If you think Obama is falling short, read this...

"Candid Camera Moments" [Victor Davis Hanson via NRO] :

There are a number of isolated incidents that, in the great scheme of things, should be seen as rather trivial. But they are gaining symbolic importance, which is working against President Obama.

While the president is sermonizing on global warming in connection with his Asian tour and the visit of India's head of state, we get the release of hacked emails from the British climate research center that seem to make a mockery of the entire climate-change debate — reducing it to the nasty level of academic infighting, fraud, and con games that we have become accustomed to in the postmodern Western university. At a time when the president is asserting the need for radical changes in our lives, the "science" that he once insisted would be the cornerstone of his new administration, appears shaky at best, and at worst a sort of 19th-century phrenology.

Bowing should not matter either. Obama did not bow to the Queen of England, but rather sent her I-pod photos of himself; yet he did kowtow to a Saudi royal, a Japanese emperor, and now a Chinese head of state. Like it or not, the image conveyed is that an American president defers to non-Western royalty and grandees in a way that is supposed to suggest, in symbolic fashion, that America is just one of many countries, without much exceptional about it and without much of an affinity for the West.

If multilateralism was the objective, it came out instead as obsequious deference. Whereas Bush's backrubs and Carter's frontal kisses were reflective of American casualness and too much informality, the bowing seems for some reason a far more bothersome gaffe. And as with Obama's apologies, what we thought was a one-time slip turns out to be a systematic pattern that reflects an apparent worldview.

Then there were the ACORN videos. These 60 Minutes–like gotcha clips should not have been that much of a big deal either — except that two aspects of the ACORN story resonated deeply. (1) Community organizing seems like a cynical, sordid business. (2) At a time when the country is broke and big taxes are on the horizon, criminally-minded organizations for some reason have no problem garnering millions in federal dollars.

Again, in all these incidents, there is a certain roughness and crassness that infuriates the public — e-mails nearly rejoicing over the death of a climate-change-skeptic, an obsequious president bowing before autocrats like the Chinese and Saudis, and community organizers gleefully offering advice on child prostitution.

Obama's numbers are sinking, of course, because campaign rhetoric is always easier that real governance, and his liberal agenda of nationalization, the federalization of health care, cap-and-trade, higher taxes, and mega-deficits consistently meets with hostility in public-opinion surveys.

So far, the affability of the president has offset the unpopularity of his agenda and kept his positive ratings between 45 percent and 55 percent in various polls. But when the public gets a whiff of the nasty fraudulence of the global-warming cadre, the Chicago-style villainy of ACORN, and reset-button diplomacy reduced to photogenic groveling, it hurts the president where he needs to be the strongest — if he is to push America hard to the left, where it doesn't seem to wish to go.

11/25 07:30 AMShare

Must read on the jump to conclude rightwing...

...violence (by many who probably had zero outrage over black conservative Ken Gladney getting beat up and called the n-word by union thugs--go to original for actual breaks):

November 24, 2009

Matt Welch eagerly awaits mea culpas (ha!) from those who blamed the suicide of Bill Sparkman on Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Robert Taft, and Father Coughlin. A few blogs to watch in the coming days:

If conservative politicians and opinion leaders keep stoking fears about the government using census data to steal from or perhaps even round up law-abiding citizens, I am concerned that mentally unstable individuals will commit further acts of violence against census-takers next year. Republicans should condemn the hatemongers and make clear that the census is not only permitted, but required under the Constitution.


"No Suicide: That's the one thing we know for certain now in the case of the Kentucky lynching….But the most worrying possibility - that this is Southern populist terrorism, whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts - remains real. We'll see.”

Andrew Sullivan

The gruesome lynching of this Census worker seems to bear a disturbing similarity to some of the worst hate crimes committed across this country. Regardless of what the motive for the killing may have been, why would a murderer(s) take such pains to so blatantly convey anger, fear, and vitriol towards a Census employee? Perhaps because some on the right have created an impression that Census employees are terrifying.

Earlier this summer, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) waged a high-profile, wildly-dishonest campaign against the Census.


Others, namely the type to kill a Census worker and string up his body as message to the government, may call it a retraining camp run by the "Feds."

This is the kind of violent event that emerges from a culture of paranoia and unsubstantiated attacks.

Huffington Post

From this profile of the cancer survivor and volunteer, it appears suicide is unlikely. We'll find out. But at some point, unhinged hostility to the federal government, whipped up by the Becks, can become violence. That's what Pelosi was worried about.

Andrew Sullivan

Send the body to Glenn Beck…Is it possible that the time has come for the FCC to consider exactly what constitutes screaming fire over the publicly owned airwaves? And what if Mr. Sparkman’s murderer(s) is never found? How many other lunatics will be emboldened to make their own anti-government statement as the voices of Beck, Limbaugh and Dobbs echo in their ears?

Nobody ever intended our public airwaves to be turned over to irresponsible voices. Maybe the time has come for the FCC to worry a bit less about wardrobe malfunctions and a whole lot more about those who would use our airwaves to make a name for themselves at the expense of the public they are suppose to serve–particularly when the expense comes in the form of blood.


Back in September, The Washington Post reported that in Kentucky "Residents of impoverished Clay County say most people harbor no resentment for agents of the federal government, and they're baffled by Sparkman's apparent killing." What a bunch of hillbilly rubes! A week after the suicide, from his apartment in Washington, DC, Atlantic blogger and forensic investigator Andrew Sullivan had the case almost cracked, writing that "Suicide does not seem to me plausible, but motives for the murder are still under investigation."

Private sector exp'c average for Presidents...

...going back 100 years: about 40-50%. The most brilliant man ever to assume the position has appointed a grand total--to deal with the most serious private sector meltdown possibly since the Great Depression--about 8% of his cabinet that have any, any, ANY private sector experience. Well, why on earth wouldn't academics, lawyers, advocates etc be able to propose policies informed by a hands-on, this is the way you make jobs, make payroll, balance a budget, record and background. YOU MUST SEE THE CHART:

Help Wanted, No Private Sector Experience Required
By Nick Schulz

November 25, 2009, 8:19 am A friend sends along the following chart from a J.P. Morgan research report. It examines the prior private sector experience of the cabinet officials since 1900 that one might expect a president to turn to in seeking advice about helping the economy. It includes secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development, and excludes Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security—432 cabinet members in all.

When one considers that public sector employment has ranged since the 1950s at between 15 percent and 19 percent of the population, the makeup of the current cabinet—over 90 percent of its prior experience was in the public sector—is remarkable.

Believable numbers...unbelievable results...

...for Democrats. Link to original for proper breaks:

"Wow: Among independents, GOP leads by 24 points on the generic ballot"
posted at 8:44 pm on November 24, 2009 by Allahpundit (via Hot Air)

It’s Rasmussen too, so remember, this is among likely voters.

"Republican candidates have extended their lead over Democrats to seven points, their biggest lead since early September, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent…
Voters not affiliated with either party continue to heavily favor Republicans, 44% to 20%."

The big lead in early September was almost certainly a reaction to the August town halls about ObamaCare. Not sure whether these current numbers are a similar backlash to Pelosi and Reid pushing their health-care bills in Congress or disaffection over Afghanistan, but let’s flag ‘em now as a benchmark. For what it’s worth, the new Gallup shows public opinion on O-Care split at a robust 35/42 (indies at 37/53), with 49 percent inclined to urge their congressman to vote against it.
Meanwhile, also via Ace, Gallup finds that since January The One’s approval rating is up one point among blacks, down five points among Hispanics, down seven points among other nonwhites, and down … 22 points among whites. Racists:

"One reason Obama may have maintained support among blacks is their overwhelming affiliation with the Democratic Party. This is not a sufficient explanation, though, because Obama’s approval rating has dropped among Democrats even as it has held steady among blacks.
In fact, it appears as though Obama’s relatively small loss in support among Democrats has come exclusively from white Democrats. In late January/early February, Obama averaged 87% approval among white Democrats and 90% approval among nonwhite Democrats. Now, his approval rating among white Democrats is 76%, down 11 points, but is essentially the same (if not a little higher) at 92% among nonwhite Democrats."

They say health bill not anti-2nd amend't...

and there's no reason to think they'll ever go back on that, is there?

Health bill and gun ownership (via Volokh)
David Kopel • November 24, 2009 12:16 pm

Today’s Washington Examiner has an article about the concerns that Gun Owners of America has raised about the health care bill which is currently on the Senate floor. I am quoted therein, and I think that GOA has a good point. The Examiner article concludes with a contrary quote:

“It is very clear they are misreading the bill,” said Igor Volsky, a health care researcher for the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “All this bill does is define what a wellness program is. It is a broad definition, but it is not broad enough to net gun ownership.”

Let’s look at the bill. The rules for a “Wellness Program” begin on page 87. In brief, if you participate in a Wellness Program, you can get a health insurance premium discount of up to 30%. Stated another way, if you don’t participate in a Wellness Program, you will pay a substantial insurance rate penalty for not doing so. The definition of a “Wellness Program” begins in paragraph (B) on page 88:

“(B) The wellness program shall be reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease. A program complies with the preceding sentence if the program has a reasonable chance of improving the health of, or preventing disease in, participating individuals and it is not overly burdensome, is not a subterfuge for discriminating based on a health status factor, and is not highly suspect in the method chosen to promote health or prevent disease.”

Pages 29–30 mention some of items that “Wellness and Prevention Programs” “may include.” The phrasing does not appear to exclude other items. In any case, the item for “Healthy lifestyle support” is broad enough to include almost anything.This definition is extremely broad, and the assertion that it is not broad enough to encompass gun ownership appears to be incorrect. There is a very large body of “public health” scholarship which claims to show that gun ownership is a very large health risk to the family that has a gun in the home. I believe that much of this scholarship is of poor quality, and some of it is mere junk science. However, the existence of dozens of articles in public health and medical journals would almost certainly be enough for an anti-gun definition of “Wellness Program” by the Dept. of Health and Human Services to pass the deferential Chevron standard of review.

A regulation which said that a Wellness Program may (or “shall”) include a discount for not owning a gun (or not owning a handgun, or not owning a so-called “assault weapon”, or for not owning more than a certain number of guns) might be argued to be “overly burdensome.” But there’s no guarantee that a reviewing court would consider a mere discount for people who don’t own guns to be “overly” burdensome on gun owners.

Pages 29–30 of the Reid bill mention some of items that “Wellness and Prevention Programs” “may include.” The phrasing does not appear to exclude other items. In any case, the item for “Healthy lifestyle support” is broad enough to include almost anything.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Be grateful for those opposing gov't expansion

DP: If you have some down time today, and want something encouraging and inspiring, read this excellent article, and go to the links below to read how we can fight and win.

“Trying on every front to increase the role of government”

By Clark S. Judge, managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.:

It is a rule of thumb among conservatives, not just in Washington but around the country, that the United States does not deserve the government that the Democratic administration and congress are currently giving it...

Last Thursday Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was the featured speaker at the annual American Spectator dinner, held in the Capital Hilton, a few blocks from the White House.

Pence lived up to Tyrell’s billing as a man who should seek higher offices.

In a speech (see here: ) he displayed wit, insight, depth of purpose, and clarity about the stakes at play in Washington today.

In the course of his address, Pence noted that liberal Democratic Congressman Barney Frank had recently been candid about his party’s agenda. In late October on a MSNBC panel, Frank said. “[W]e are trying at every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area…”

No kidding.

Health overhaul and cap and trade grab the headlines now. But passing new, vastly expansive legislation is not the only big government game in town. Let’s go down the agendas coming from a sampling of regulatory agencies:

Securities and Exchange Commission:

The SEC is in the process of rewriting how issues can be brought before corporate annual meetings. As former head of communications for the New York Stock Exchange Richard Torrenzano and I argue in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, this will lead to a major politicization of American corporate governance, producing boards populated with members “who answer to constituents, not investors,” as things stand today, constituents of the Democratic Party.

For our article, see here:

Environmental Protection Agency:

The EPA has just set aside its normal timetables and rules of procedure to reexamine a major agricultural chemical. The molecule involved is used in corn, sugar and sorghum farming to control weeds. Variants are used on other crops including in the vineyards of California wine country. Discovered in the 1960s, the herbicide is among the most studied substance on earth and has been ruled safe multiple times by government agencies in the U.S. and overseas. Banning it would devastate agriculture in the Midwest, yet sophisticated D.C. observers believe that Michelle Obama’s organic garden points to where the administration and EPA want to push all of American agriculture.

Federal Communications Commission:

With the high speed Internet extending its reach into homes and cell phones thanks to competition among a once unimaginable variety of carriers – both so-called wire-line and wireless – the new chair of the Federal Communications Commission is pushing for price controls. The term for price controls in the Internet services business is “net neutrality”. The history of price controls in every sector in which they have ever been tried will tell the stultifying impact they will have on the development of telecommunications services in the U.S.

Consumer Products Safety Commission:

Readers here at know how the commission is well on its way to banning a wide range of products, devastating numerous companies, over an interpretation of law that defies common sense.

U.S. Treasury:

The Administration’s theory goes that the government can predict future economic crises. Treasury wants authority to take control of companies that pose a “systemic risk” to the capital markets. Yet market downturns regularly take the U.S. government by surprise. What should take no one by surprise is Congressman Frank’s desire to use them “at every front to increase the role of government.”

There are many more examples, but you get the idea.

Regarding the growth of government, particularly of spending but also of regulation, Congressman Pence last Thursday offered a different vision. As he told The American Spectator crowd, “[W]e see here tonight and at town hall meetings, tea party rallies across this country, and in the march on Washington in Washington, D.C., [the expression of national frustration] is not the orchestrated theater of liberal special interest groups. It's authentic and it's powerful and it's real and it's American. And the American people know this is not just about dollars and cents, it's about who we are as a nation.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hennessey nails the tax/fine inequity

"A penalty tax inequity in the Reid bill" By Keith Hennessey:

Under Leader Reid’s amendment, in the year 2019 about 16 million U.S. citizens would be uninsured and be forced to pay a penalty tax of almost $800 per year. About eight million illegal aliens would be uninsured and would owe no penalty tax. Both groups would get their health care through a combination of out-of-pocket spending and use of uncompensated care in emergency rooms and free health clinics.

This seems unfair.

Details follow for those who care. Warning: the details get weedy quickly. You might want to skip them. I am including them mostly for experts and reporters who may want to follow up on this. If you are a policy amateur but have been reading this blog for more than a week or two, feel free to dive in. You can handle the complexity.

Science and scientists devoted to agenda of agw

More on the growing reality of the exposed fraudulent-science behind global warming (worth your time if you really want to understand the thinking of supposed-scientists determined to advance a political agenda, the data be damned):

MORE ON THAT CLIMATE DATA-FUDGING SCANDAL: Global WarmingGate: What Does It Mean? Charlie Martin explains.

The hackers released about 172 megabytes of data, and we can be sure examining it closely will take some time. But after a few days, certain things are beginning to become clear.

* The data appears to be largely, perhaps entirely, authentic.
* The emails are incendiary.
* The implications shake the scientific basis for AGW, and the scientific reputations of some of AGW’s major proponents, to their roots

Read the whole thing.

Hacked emails show collusion/fraud over gw "science"

First, before you get lost in the scandalous story of global warming (gw) emails, open the following link in new tab and see for yourself that the...big...arguments from gw crowd over Arctic ice declines just don't exist (the ice declines, that is) currently. You'll see that the summer minimum ice coverage declined from 2002 to 2007, and then, remarkably, has increased back to near normal in the last 2 years. Look for yourself:

(Wash'n Times) EDITORIAL: "Hiding evidence of global cooling: Junk science exposed among climate-change believers"

"Scientific progress depends on accurate and complete data. It also relies on replication. The past couple of days have uncovered some shocking revelations about the baloney practices that pass as sound science about climate change.

"It was announced Thursday afternoon that computer hackers had obtained 160 megabytes of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in England. Those e-mails involved communication among many scientific researchers and policy advocates with similar ideological positions all across the world. Those purported authorities were brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global-warming claims...

" Professor Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit, and professor Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University, who has been an important scientist in the climate debate, have come under particular scrutiny. Among his e-mails, Mr. Jones talked to Mr. Mann about the "trick of adding in the real temps to each series ... to hide the decline [in temperature]." ...

"There is a lot of damning evidence about these researchers concealing information that counters their bias. In another exchange, Mr. Jones told Mr. Mann: "If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone" and, "We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind." Mr. Jones further urged Mr. Mann to join him in deleting e-mail exchanges about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) controversial assessment report (ARA): "Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re [the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report]?" ...

"We don't condone e-mail theft by hackers, though these e-mails were covered by Britain's Freedom of Information Act and should have been released. The content of these e-mails raises extremely serious questions that could end the academic careers of many prominent professors. Academics who have purposely hidden data, destroyed information and doctored their results have committed scientific fraud...."

Read the whole article:

"Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?"

"Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?" By James Delingpole

If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka CRU) and released 61 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)

When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:

"Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more."

One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting:

“In an odd way this is cheering news.”

But perhaps the most damaging revelations – the scientific equivalent of the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal – are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause.

Here are a few tasters.

Manipulation of evidence:

"I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline."

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:

"The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate."

Suppression of evidence:

"Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

"Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

"Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

"We will be getting Caspar to do likewise."

Fantasies of violence against prominent Climate Sceptic scientists:

"Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat
the crap out of him. Very tempted."

Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):

"……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back…."

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority....

If you want to grasp more of the monumental fraud that has been perpetuated, read the rest:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Links for fact-check of AP's Palin-fact-check

Here are the articles linked that were referred to in Monday's column on the AP's biased, agenda-driven so-called "fact check" of Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue":

Power Line Blog: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff

"Fact-Check This"

November 13, 2009 Posted by John at 10:16 PM

The Associated Press got an advance copy of Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue, and assigned eleven reporters, apparently, to try to find errors in it. The eleven collaborated on an article titled "FACT CHECK: Palin's book goes rogue on some facts." In fact, though, the AP's catalogue of alleged errors--six in total--is thin at best...

"Rogue's Eleven: [Mark Steyn] (via NRO):

If you wonder why American newspapering is dying, consider this sign-off:

AP writers Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine contributed to this report.

Wow. That's ten "AP writers" plus Calvin Woodward, the AP writer whose twinkling pen honed the above contributions into the turgid sludge of the actual report. That's eleven writers for a 695-word report. What on? Obamacare? The Iranian nuke program? The upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?...

Robert Shaffer
- November 18, 2009
AP Turns Heads for Devoting 11 Reporters to Palin Book 'Fact Check'

Reviewing books and holding public figures accountable is at the core of good journalism, but the Associated Press' treatment of Palin's book seems an unprecedented move at the wire service

Sarah Palin is no normal politician, and at the Associated Press, apparently "Going Rogue" is no normal book.

When the former Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor wrote her autobiography, the AP found a copy before its release date and assigned 11 people to fact check all 432 pages.

The AP claims Palin misstated her record with regard to travel expenses and taxpayer-funded bailouts, using statements widely reported elsewhere. But it also speculated into Palin's motives for writing "Going Rogue: An American Life," stating as fact that the book "has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto."

Palin quickly hit back on a Facebook post titled "Really? Still Making Things Up?"

"Imagine that," the post read. "11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book, instead of using the time and resources to 'fact check' what's going on with Sheik Mohammed's trial, Pelosi's health care takeover costs, Hasan's associations, etc. Amazing."...

The ludicrous numbers game: Dr. K's take

Krauthammer's Take [NRO Staff]

On the Reid health-care bill:

Where do you start? This is a really unbelievable bill.

Because the provisions that the CBO looked at are so jiggered, even though CBO's numbers are real, it's about an unreal assumption.

If you start with 2015, which is essentially where the benefits start, and you go into the future, every ten years you will have a plan that is not [costing] $800 billion. It will be [costing] $1.5 trillion. Which means that except for the early years — in which there are no benefits paid out and a lot of taxes paid in — you're going to have a huge net deficit which will probably be around half a trillion every decade.

Secondly, even if you had the revenue neutrality, which you won't, everybody assumes: Well, that is going to help us economically. In fact, to achieve revenue neutrality, you have to increase taxes, and you're going to have to have spending cuts.

Those increases in taxes, and cuts in spending, are now not available in reducing the other deficits outside of health care which are going to amount to $9 trillion over the next decade.

So you create a new entitlement, you support it with new taxes and spending cuts which you cannot now use in reducing the outside — the other — deficits, which are destroying the dollar and the federal budget.

… Of all the ways in which you can raise revenue, in the Reid bill it's done with raising the payroll tax in the middle of a recession with over 10 percent unemployment — exactly at a time when you want to encourage employment and lower the payroll tax. It's perverse.

Hypocrisy--Obama/Dems are thy name

Mandates [Ramesh Ponnuru] (via NRO):

In the primaries, Obama distinguished himself from Clinton on health care by opposing an individual mandate. In the general election, he distinguished himself from McCain by opposing taxes on health benefits. So now he is trying to pass bills with both an individual mandate and taxes on health benefits — and his supporters are saying that Congress should go along because he won the election.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The plain and clear "budget buster" of a bill...

When even David Broder--center/left icon and liberal-but-honest journalistic legend--has the following to write, the Dems will be heading for the exits unless they are completely sure of their voters cheering them on:

A budget-buster in the making

By David S. Broder
Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's simply not true that America is ambivalent about everything when it comes to the Obama health plan.

The day after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) gave its qualified blessing to the version of health reform produced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Quinnipiac University poll of a national cross section of voters reported its latest results.

This poll may not be as famous as some others, but I know the care and professionalism of the people who run it, and one question was particularly interesting to me.

It read: "President Obama has pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our federal budget deficit over the next decade. Do you think that President Obama will be able to keep his promise or do you think that any health care plan that Congress passes and President Obama signs will add to the federal budget deficit?"

The answer: Less than one-fifth of the voters -- 19 percent of the sample -- think he will keep his word. Nine of 10 Republicans and eight of 10 independents said that whatever passes will add to the torrent of red ink. By a margin of four to three, even Democrats agreed this is likely.

That fear contributed directly to the fact that, by a 16-point margin, the majority in this poll said they oppose the legislation moving through Congress.

I have been writing for months that the acid test for this effort lies less in the publicized fight over the public option or the issue of abortion coverage than in the plausibility of its claim to be fiscally responsible.

This is obviously turning out to be the case. While the CBO said that both the House-passed bill and the one Reid has drafted meet Obama's test by being budget-neutral, every expert I have talked to says that the public has it right. These bills, as they stand, are budget-busters.

Here, for example, is what Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group of budget watchdogs, told me: "The Senate bill is better than the House version, but there's not much reform in this bill. As of now, it's basically a big entitlement expansion, plus tax increases."

Here's another expert, Maya MacGuineas, the president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: "While this bill does a better job than the House version at reducing the deficit and controlling costs, it still doesn't do enough. Given the political system's aversion to tax increases and spending cuts, I worry about what the final bill will look like."

These are nonpartisan sources, but Republican budget experts such as former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin amplify the point with specific examples and biting language. Holtz-Eakin cites a long list of Democratic-sponsored "budget gimmicks" that made it possible for the CBO to estimate that Reid's bill would reduce federal deficits by $130 billion by 2019.

Perhaps the biggest of those maneuvers was Reid's decision to postpone the start of subsidies to help the uninsured buy policies from mid-2013 to January 2014 -- long after taxes and fees levied by the bill would have begun.

Even with that change, there is plenty in the CBO report to suggest that the promised budget savings may not materialize. If you read deep enough, you will find that under the Senate bill, "federal outlays for health care would increase during the 2010-2019 period" -- not decline. The gross increase would be almost $1 trillion -- $848 billion, to be exact, mainly to subsidize the uninsured. The net increase would be $160 billion.

But this depends on two big gambles. Will future Congresses actually impose the assumed $420 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs? They never have.

And will this Congress enact the excise tax on high-premium insurance policies (the so-called Cadillac plans) in Reid's bill? Obama has never endorsed them, and House Democrats -- reacting to union pressure -- turned them down in favor of a surtax on millionaires' income...

Lest we forget the UC student whine-fest

Whiny Spoiled Brats [Anthony Dick] (via NRO):

The University of California system took some predictable steps to tighten its belt this week in the face of the state budget crisis, cutting some services and boosting student tuition. Equally predictably, students across the state have responded with a series of self-concerned protests, taking over campus buildings at Berkeley and UCLA.

Perhaps most predictably of all, the New York Times has started in with its faux-poignant protest coverage, as illustrated in this slide show (complete with a don't-tase-me-bro moment). Two things about this mess:

First and foremost, the protests are about privileged kids demanding subsidies from working people. The UC system will continue to be heavily subsidized by taxpayers, and the students who attend are among the most naturally gifted, with the highest future earning potential, in the country. This is especially true at the system's flagship schools of Berkeley and UCLA, where the protests have been most intense. Narcissism and self-absorption are the norm on college campuses, but it really is pushing the limits to throw such a tantrum at the idea that you will be getting a smaller amount of free money taken out of the paychecks of strapped taxpayers, most of whom could never dream of the advantages and opportunities you enjoy.

Second, these protesters claim the mantle of the free-speech movement, but it is a betrayal and a subversion of the principles of free speech to forcibly occupy a school building and block out its rightful owners and occupants (including other tuition-paying students). The very idea of free speech is to facilitate the peaceful exchange of ideas, without allowing the use or threat of force to distort the process. The whole enterprise suffers when thugs begin breaking out the chains and barricades and committing property crimes in order to get their way.

Gov't health care $$$$$$$$$uck$$$$$$$$$...

The Real Cost of Government-Run Health Care [Veronique de Rugy] (via NRO)

In light of the current debate over health-care reform and its cost, this video, narrated by Dan Mitchell, is a very good reminder of why government-run health care is a terrible idea that will cost billions more than what is announced. For instance, Mitchell reminds us that government's ability to forecast the cost of its new entitlement programs is terrible. When Medicare was created in 1965, the long-term forecast was that the program would cost $12 billion in 1990. Wrong. It turned out to be over $100 billion. Today, it costs $500 billion. The same thing is true with Medicare and pretty every other government-run program.

The important message of this video is that no matter what CBO, Pelosi, the Senate, or Baucus tell us, either version of these plans are budget busters and that we will, as taxpayers, have much to lose.

Keep reading this post . . .

Another writer points to unhinged Palin-phobes

On Palin and the Palinophobes [Jonah Goldberg] (via NRO):
From my column:

My all-time favorite response to John McCain’s selection of Palin as his running mate was from Wendy Doniger, a feminist professor of religion at the University of Chicago. Professor Doniger wrote of the exceedingly feminine “hockey mom” with five children: “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”

The best part about that sentence: Doniger uses the pronoun “her” — twice.

Just this week, a liberal blogger at The Atlantic who has dedicated an unhealthy amount of his life to proving a one-man birther conspiracy theory about Palin’s youngest child (it’s both too slanderous and too deranged to detail here) shut down his blog to cope with the epochal, existential crisis that Palin’s book presents to all humankind. The un-self-consciously parodic announcement seemed more appropriate for a BBC warning that the German blitz was about to begin, God Help Us All.

Indeed, some of us will always be sympathetic to Mrs. Palin if for nothing else than her enemies. The bile she extracts from her critics is almost like a dye marker, illuminating deep pockets of asininity that heretofore were either unnoticed or underappreciated.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More raw posts on GW scandal/email dump...

Hacker Releases Data Implicating CRU in Global Warming Fraud (Updated)
BBC confirms that a hack did indeed occur. Is this smoking-gun evidence of global warming data being fabricated? (Also read Richard Fernandez: "The CRU Hack")

November 20, 2009 - by Charlie Martin
Page 1 of 2 Next ->UPDATE: Watts Up With That explains the significance of the topic discussed in the “Mike’s Nature Trick” email.

UPDATE: This is beginning to get some attention. Ace notices the same paragraph, and notes: “Keep in mind that when Jones wrote that in 1999 we hadn’t had a decade of global cooling yet. So perhaps he was obscuring a decline in the warming trend?”

It’s been picked up by Rush Limbaugh via American Thinker, and I’m hearing rumors that CNBC may be next.

So, has much of the climate change debate of the last ten years been a purposeful fraud? If the files that became available in the last few hours prove to be legitimate, it would appear so.

Here’s the story so far. ...

Because we all know how well gov't grip works

(raw post via pjmedia) "Kelo, GM, and the Stimulus: Three Examples of Government-Induced Failure--Government-managed economic projects rarely deliver."

Page 1 of 2 Next ->Recent weeks have not been good to those who bitterly cling to the notion that governments can manage economic initiatives. Three of them — one in real estate, a larger one in manufacturing, and a colossal enterprise supposedly intended to revive a downward-spiraling economy — have all either failed miserably or foundered badly.

On November 9, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it would abandon its eight-year-old research and development facility in New London, Connecticut. That decision effectively ended the chances of any additional development taking place in the city’s Fort Trumbull area, the subject of June 2005’s infamous Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision.

Citing what Justice John Paul Stevens called a “carefully formulated … development plan,” the Court’s decision allowed the city to condemn and bulldoze dozens of houses. Today, the area, except for the politically connected Italian Dramatic Club, is a vacant wasteland.

Hopes for anything substantive were already on life support. But Pfizer, whose 2011 departure coincides with the end of ten years of tax abatement originally granted by the city, applied the fatal blow...

Read the whole article...

Come on, that "no new taxes" thing...lip service?

Breaking the no middle class tax increase pledge (again) from Kieth Hennessey:

On September 12, 2008 in Dover, New Hampshire, then-candidate Obama said:

I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.

On February 4, 2009, President Obama signed Public Law #111-3, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. §701 of this law increased tobacco taxes, effective April 1, 2009. Since most smokers have annual family income less than $250,000, this was a clear violation of the President’s pledge.

If anyone argues the President was only talking about “Under my plan,” and that his “firm pledge” does not apply to legislation enacted by Congress, Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press wrote of the Dover campaign speech:

"He repeatedly vowed “you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime.”"

Let’s look at the Reid health care bill in the same context. If the President were to sign the Reid bill in its current form, would he violate the Dover pledge?

1.The clearest violation is the 5% excise tax on cosmetic surgery and similar procedures (including teeth whitening). I assume that cosmetic surgery and similar procedures are skewed toward the high end of the income distribution, but there certainly are many people getting these treatments with annual family income less than $250,000.

2.The bill would allow State insurance exchanges “to charge assessments or user fees to participating health insurers, or to otherwise generate funding, to support its operations.” [ §1311(d)(5)(A) ] Health insurers would pass these “assessments or user fees” through to consumers as higher premiums. This would affect anyone who buys health insurance, including those with family income less than $250,000.

3.The bill would impose a 40% excise tax on health coverage in excess of $8,500 (individuals) / $23,000 (families). While policies this generous are almost certainly skewed higher on the income distribution, there are definitely families with income less than $250,000 receiving these plans. Again, health insurers would pass these tax increases through to those families.

4.The bill would increase taxes on all health insurance plans, as well as on brand-name drugs and biologics, and on medical devices. These tax increases would affect anyone who buys these goods, even if their family income is less than $250,000.

5.According to CBO, “By 2019, … the number of nonelderly people who are uninsured would be reduced by about 31 million, leaving about 24 million nonelderly residents uninsured (about one-third of whom would be unauthorized immigrants.)” (p. 8) These roughly 16 million people would pay “penalties” of $95 per adult in 2014, $350 per adult in 2015, and $750 per adult in 2016 and later. You’re charged half as much for each kid. Most of these 16 million people paying higher taxes will have family income less than $250,000 and will pay higher “penalties,” although not all will pay these full amounts.

6.The bill would create a new 0.5 percentage point increase in payroll taxes on individuals with incomes greater than $200,000 in 2013 and families with incomes greater than $250,000 in 2013. Since these amounts are for 2013 and not indexed, someone making $233K in 2009 would be affected by this in 2013, assuming 1% annual real wage growth and CBO’s assumptions about inflation. If you’re making $220K this year, you’ll probably be hit by the new tax in 2016. $210K this year, you first get bit in 2017, and so on.

These are six tax increases (eight if you split #4 into its three components) that would violate the President’s pledge. I believe #1, #5, and #6 are indisputable.

The Administration could argue that #2, #3, and #4 don’t violate the letter of the President’s pledge, in that the incidence of the tax falls on the seller of the good, rather than on the purchaser of the good. But almost every economist will say that the economic impact of those tax increases would be felt by the person who buys that good, meaning these provisions at a minimum violate the spirit of the President’s pledge.

I would also argue that someone who would not otherwise buy health insurance, but does so to avoid the individual mandate / penalty, is being taxed. But I didn’t want the philosophical debate that underlies my view to detract from the conclusion derived from the above list.

Will President Obama sign such a bill that repeatedly breaks his “firm pledge”?

When the Administration issues its Statement of Administration Policy on the Reid bill, will it raise these objections?

The so-called evidence for global warming thins

Revenge of the Climate Laymen
Global warming's most dangerous apostate speaks out about the state of climate change science.. .By ANNE JOLIS (via Wall Street Journal)

Barack Obama conceded over the weekend that no successor to the Kyoto Protocol would be signed in Copenhagen next month. With that out of the way, it may be too much to hope that the climate change movement take a moment to reflect on the state of the science that is supposedly driving us toward a carbon-neutral future.

But should a moment for self-reflection arise, campaigners against climate change could do worse than take a look at the work of Stephen McIntyre, who has emerged as one of the climate change gang's Most Dangerous Apostates. The reason for this distinction? He checked the facts.

The retired Canadian businessman, whose self-described "auditing" a few years ago prompted a Congressional review of climate science, has once again thrown EnviroLand into a tailspin. In September, he revealed that a famous graph using tree rings to show unprecedented 20th century warming relies on thin data. Since its publication in 2000, University of East Anglia professor Keith Briffa's much-celebrated image has made star appearances everywhere from U.N. policy papers to activists' posters. Like other so-called "hockey stick" temperature graphs, it's an easy sell—one look and it seems Gadzooks! We're burning ourselves up!

"It was the belle of the ball," Mr. McIntyre told me on a recent phone call from Ontario. "Its dance card was full."

At least until Mr. McIntyre reported that the modern portion of that graph, which shows temperatures appearing to skyrocket in the last 100 years, relies on just 12 tree cores in Russia's Yamal region. When Mr. McIntyre presented a second graph, adding data from 34 tree cores from a nearby site, the temperature spike disappears.

Mr. Briffa denounces Mr. McIntyre's work as "demonstrably biased" because it uses "a narrower area and range of sample sites." He says he and his colleagues have now built a new chronology using still more data. Here, as in similar graphs by other researchers, the spike soars once again. Mr. McIntyre's "work has little implication for our published work or any other work that uses it," Mr. Briffa concludes.

He and his colleagues may well ignore Mr. McIntyre, but the rest of us shouldn't. While Mr. McIntyre's image may use data from fewer sites, it still has nearly three times as many tree cores representing the modern era as Mr. Briffa's original....

Read the rest:

Funny how the more we learn about the cause for Katrina disaster, the less Bush was at fault

DP: We knew from prior reports that the design of the newer levies didn't prevent the base from being undermined--an engineering flaw from the initial design phase. Now, it appears a canal was a known risk but...

"Don't Just Blame the Corps" [Stephen Spruiell] (via NRO):

A federal judge has decided to hold the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liable for the flooding in New Orleans that followed Hurricane Katrina. At issue is the Corps' maintenence of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a rarely used shipping channel that hurricane experts warned for years should be shut down. I wrote about the Corps for NRODT shortly after the Katrina disaster. A scientist I talked to explained why MRGO posed a threat:

"Dr. Ivor van Heerden of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center explains the geography: “The MRGO and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway [GIWW] join together in an area known as the funnel. You have the Industrial Canal in the middle of New Orleans. Heading off eastward from it is a canal that opens into a big Y — that’s where the GIWW and MRGO merge. That’s one of the very weak points in the system. When you get a surge such as Katrina, the water flowing westward amplifies the surge and leads to levee overtopping in those areas. There was very significant erosion during that levee overtopping during Katrina. It’s the design and location of the levee systems which creates this funnel effect, which caused levee overtopping and erosion and added to the flooding of eastern Orleans and St. Bernard’s parishes.”

So why didn't the Corps close MRGO down? The short answer is that even though traffic was declining and residents of New Orleans hated it, a few influential companies still preferred the channel, and they joined the Port of New Orleans in lobbying to keep it open. The Corps, like most government agencies, hates to give up anything in its portfolio, and the Louisana congressional delegation likes to bring home the bacon, so MRGO stayed open in spite of the risks.

In other words, don't just blame the Corps. Congress has the final say on the Corps' budget, and the Port of New Orleans played a role. The larger issue is that the Corps — again, like most government agencies — is prone to being captured by special-interest groups and used by Congress as a vehicle for pork spending. This might be the only time in history that pork kept an artery unclogged, when it would have been better to plug it up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Raw post: Health Care is not a right....

Health Care is not a right
By: Iain Murray and Roger Abbott
Washington Examiner
11/17/09 5:10 PM EST

President Obama argues that his party’s health care reform proposals are about “bending the price curve” However, the Democrats’ health care agenda is really about nationalizing health care, based on the concept that health care is a right, and therefore must be secured by the state. This claim is misleading for several reasons, but most fundamentally because of its conflation of “rights” and “needs.” Obamacare opponents need to address this emotional appeal. After all, who can be against basic “rights”?

Lying on a bed in an emergency room this week following a cardiac scare, one of us had an opportunity to think this through. He had a need for healthcare, one which was being met, but to what extent was it meaningful that he had a right to healthcare?

A right, in both a legal and practical sense, is simply an entitlement due to an individual that other people are obliged to respect, with a failure to comply typically resulting in some sort of sanction. Because rights entail claims on other people, they are necessarily negative in their construction and limited in their definition. Constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and religion and the right to property can be clearly defined in accordance with John Stuart Mill’s harm principle—act as you will so long as you do not directly harm others.

In contrast, the expansive “rights” demanded by liberals—like the right to “affordable health care” or to a “decent standard of living”—are not rights but positive demands that require others to hand over some of the property to the claimant. Whereas genuine rights protect citizens from state coercion, the “right to health care” serves to justify state coercion against a particular part of the population: those who pay taxes. Moreover, by their very nature, such positive demands cannot be clearly defined and hence are capable of infinite expansions. As one need is satisfied, others arise.

Consistent with this distorted view of “rights,” the defining characteristic of the health care “public option” is its coercive quality: the taxes imposed on insurance companies, the burdensome individual mandate, the requirement that employers provide health insurance (subject to government approval), the loss or reduction of individual choice over treatment options, and the list goes on.

As the legendary British political thinker Edmund Burke made clear, the question of how to address needs is not moral, but economic. “What is the use of discussing a man’s abstract right to food or to medicine?” he posited. “The question is upon the method of procuring and administering them. In that deliberation I shall always advise to call in the aid of the farmer and the physician, rather than the professor of metaphysics.”

Indeed, man’s basic needs are best managed by the free market, which can coordinate supply and demand through the price system, placing decisions in the hands of individuals and specialized experts. In the case of health care, the government injecting billions of dollars into the market will lead to the warped economic scenario of higher education today. It will discourage consumers from exercising restraint in their use of a scarce resource and encourage providers to inflate their prices, while absorbing capital that could be used more effectively elsewhere.

Far from saving money and helping out the little guy, a health care “public option” would further increase costs and reduce individual liberty, while creating a subject client class that has an incentive to lobby for further handouts.

That's why, while facing a potentially life-threatening emergency last week, Iain was glad he was being treated via the free market. A voluntary exchange whereby doctor, patient and insurance company facilitator all stood to gain something they desired was surely better for all of us than an arrangement in which one or more parties was being effectively coerced.

President Obama has sought to claim the high ground in the health care debate through his use of lofty moralizing language designed to delegitimize any opposition. In order to be effective, Obamacare opponents need to go beyond opposing particular items on the president’s agenda. They must retake the high ground by arguing that the welfare state actually violates individual rights, and hurts the very people it claims to help. As Alexis de Tocqueville put it so well: “It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights—the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ’right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are rations of slavery—hay and a barn for human cattle.”

Iain Murray is Vice-President for Strategy and Roger Abbott is a Research Associate at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington DC-based advocacy group for free markets and limited government.

Oh yeah, our wonderful criminal justice system

...that can clearly show the world...

"Durbin on Moussaoui" [Andy McCarthy] (via NRO):
AG Holder's testimony has resumed, and Senator Durbin claims that no one complained about the Moussaoui trial being in a civilian court. In fact, many of us complained — I pointed out several times that Moussaoui was the "poster child" for commissions.

More importantly, though, Senator Durbin and the attorney general fail to point out that the Moussaoui trial was a three-ring circus, that the district judge actually tried to dismiss the indictment, and that we don't know what would have happened had Moussaoui not surprised everyone by pleading guilty. When the Court of Appeals reinstated the Moussaoui indictment, it also said it was sensitive to the trial judge's concerns and would look very carefully to ensure that the government made available to Moussaoui all the information he needed to present his defense. What would have happened if Moussaoui had continued to press his demand for access to classified information and testimony from al-Qaeda captives like KSM? We don't know.

If Moussaoui is their shining example of how well the civilian courts handle international terrorism cases during wartime, they're in trouble.

CBS: Prove Palin a liar...unless, you can't

(via Ann Althouse): Thursday, November 19, 2009

Memo to CBS and Katie Couric: Release the unedited Palin video.

In "Going Rogue," Sarah Palin criticizes CBS for editing long interviews into the most damaging soundbites and making her look stupid and irritable. There's an easy solution: Release the unedited video. There is a lot of material in the book making assertions about all sorts of trenchant comments Palin supposedly made. Palin says she was asked the same questions over and over in an effort to elicit a bad answer. She says that some of her answers were clipped after some simple beginning and before she delved into details that would have made her look smart and knowledgeable. It would be very easy to check if we had all the video. Put it up on line.