Sunday, February 28, 2010

O found way to make HC reform unpopular

L.A. TIMES: Obama helped bring on the healthcare backlash. “By leaving the overhaul in the hands of Congress, he has given the public a full view of how its lawmakers do business. The result is an anti-Washington mood that Republicans have tapped into. . . . The spectacle of Congress’ horse-trading, secrecy and gridlock has fueled today’s virulent anti- Washington mood. The public’s reaction was all the greater because Obama had campaigned on a promise to change the way Washington did business, and because healthcare reform engendered such personal high hopes and anxiety.”

Posted at 7:54 am by Glenn Reynolds

Where’s the Outrage? Where’s the Detention Policy?

Where’s the Outrage? Where’s the Detention Policy?  [Dana Perino and Bill Burck via NRO]

The Obama administration is working with Pakistani intelligence to interrogate Mullah Baradar, reportedly the Taliban’s number-two man. We’ve been a little underwhelmed by the Left’s reaction to this news.

As others have pointed out, the Pakistanis made the arrest and are taking the lead in gathering intelligence from Baradar. But the Pakistanis are not subject to President Obama’s ban on interrogation techniques that go beyond those authorized in the Army Field Manual. The Pakistanis don’t know the Army Field Manual — and probably think the enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, used in years past against certain al-Qaeda detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, are rather quaint.

The Left’s silence on Mullah Baradar is convenient. Gone are the hysterical cries of torture. Missing in action are the opponents of rendition. One searches in vain for impassioned denunciations of Obama’s outsourcing of interrogations to countries with long histories of torture. What happened to the sputtering self-righteousness of yesteryear, when Bush and Cheney were routinely compared to Hitler and Pol Pot? To the Left, it would appear, it’s totally cool as long we’re not the ones doing it.

Further, the interrogation of Baradar may not be working. According to the LA Times, which based its account on sources in the Obama administration, the “joint” interrogation of Baradar by Pakistan intelligence and the CIA has not provided information that could lead to the capture of other Taliban leaders or “inform the planning of U.S. military operations.” Maybe this is because, as some have suggested, instead of breaking out the medieval torture devices, the Pakistanis are treating Baradar with kid gloves. Perhaps the Pakistanis have no real interest in gathering intelligence from Baradar. They want to use him as a bargaining chip to enhance their advantage in any post-war settlement, as we have discussed....

UAW paid for grilling non-union Toyota

SHOCKER: Thirty-one House Dems quizzing Toyota execs got UAW campaign cash. “Why is that significant? Because the UAW is a major stockholder of Toyota’s top U.S. rival, General Motors. Also, Toyota has successfully resisted UAW attempts to organize the Japanese firm’s estimated 31,000 assembly line workers employed in five plants here in America.” Yeah, but it’s only special interest money when it goes to Republicans.

by Glenn Reynolds

Tea Party moving faster than past movements

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Tea Party Movement As Major Historical Landmark. “My guess would be that the Tea Party movement is part of a very big wave. . . . For now at least, many Tea Partiers seem to want a populist coalition that focuses on economic and government reform while moving more slowly on social issues. Perhaps the movement is pulling itself together more quickly than past populist upsurges have done because the combination of higher education levels and better communications make today’s populists a little more ready for prime time than some of their predecessors.”

by Glenn Reynolds via Instapundit 

See entire article:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Monday morning column from Clark Judge:

Glenn Beck, George Will, Amity Shlaes, CPAC and the American Swing Voter

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

...The Left likes to caricature the Right as full of irrational rage. Beck made this point, pausing in his speech to tease photographers whose flashes popped whenever he offered a stern face and gesture. Perhaps the Left is simply projecting its own default emotion on its critics, but the truth is exactly the opposite. From Beck to George Will to Ann Coulter to any of a number of others, CPAC put on full display that the American Right is rational and very, very funny.

Of course, the absurdity of Obama Administration policies has proven a gift to conservative humorists. It is easy to get a laugh about an administration that, as George Will remarked in his speech, finds unacceptable a world that has internal combustion engines and that does not have Chrysler.

But as anyone with eyes could see for more than five years now, the Right’s laughter – and disgust – is not directed at Leftists of the Democratic Party alone. The GOP is a target, too – and not just among the students and activists who attend the annual CPAC gatherings.

For at least half a decade the swing vote in American politics has been driven by alarm at the growth of Federal spending. More likely to cast ballots for Republicans, these voters abandoned the GOP in 2006 and 2008 out of revulsion at the run-ups in spending and deficits during the Bush years.

They expected the Obama Administration to be liberal. They didn’t care. They wanted to teach the GOP a lesson. And they would probably have stuck with a Democratic president that was more or less like Clinton after the 2004 elections – still liberal but with restraint and (in combination with the GOP Congress of the time) delivering budget surpluses.

In less than a year, the Obama White House’s piling on of trillion dollar bank and auto bailouts, a trillion dollar health-care overhaul, a trillion dollar stimulus bill, and the nation’s first trillion dollar deficit exhausted their good will. In Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, this vote swung back hard to the GOP. But that doesn’t mean that they have forgotten how the party acted when it controlled Congress. They may not like the don’t-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste full throttle Leftism of the current administration. But they do not fully trust the Republicans, either. In deriding the Congressional GOP, Beck spoke for this pivotal group.

A less flamboyant but equally telling CPAC presentation came from conservative writer Amity Shlaes. Author of the celebrated history of the New Deal, The Forgotten Man, Shlaes cautioned that slogans of opposition are not enough. Conservatives need to develop their policies. How would a conservative administration cut federal spending? How would it deal with the economic crisis? How would it eliminate the government’s unfunded liabilities? How would it deal with inflation in the health sector?...

Read the rest:

Spain, Down the Drain

Spain, Down the Drain  by John Hinderacker

At Pajamas Media, Soeren Kern chronicles the sad case of Spain under the leadership of Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The hapless Zapatero presides over Europe's second-worst economy, with nearly 20 percent unemployment and a crumbling GDP. Zapatero and his minions have blamed the collapse on anything other than their own socialist policies, including--I'm not kidding--George W. Bush. (Hey, if it's good enough for Barack Obama, why not Zapatero?)

Most recently, Zapatero has ordered an investigation into "whether attacks by investors and the aggressiveness of some Anglo-Saxon media are being driven by market forces and challenges facing the Spanish economy, or whether there is something more behind this campaign." I think the order lost something in translation, but Zapatero seems to be suggesting that Spain's problems are the result of a conspiracy by British and American newspapers.

It's hard to have a lot of sympathy for Spain. Spaniards voted for a Socialist government, so they're getting what they should have expected. We would never do anything that stupid. Would we?

You expect concern over national security?

(The ever-brilliant Mark Steyn):

If you're minded to flip a pancake at speeds of more than four miles per hour, the state will step in and act decisively: It's for your own good. If you're a tourist from Moose Jaw, Washington will take pre-emptive action to shield you from the potential dangers of your patio in Arizona.

On the other hand, when it comes to "keeping you safe" from real threats, such as a millenarian theocracy that claims universal jurisdiction, America and its allies do nothing. There aren't going to be any sanctions, because China and Russia don't want them. ...

It is now certain that Tehran will get its nukes, and very soon. This is the biggest abdication of responsibility by the western powers since the 1930s. It is far worse than Pakistan going nuclear, which, after all, was just another thing the CIA failed to see coming.

In this case, the slow-motion nuclearization conducted in full view and through years of tortuous diplomatic charades and endlessly rescheduled looming deadlines is not just a victory for Iran but a decisive defeat for the United States. It confirms the Islamo-Sino-Russo-everybody else diagnosis of Washington as a hollow superpower that no longer has the will or sense of purpose to enforce the global order. ...

[E]ven without launching a single missile Iran will at a stroke have transformed much of the map -- and not just in the Middle East, where the Sunni dictatorships face a choice between an unsought nuclear arms race or a future as Iranian client states.

In Eastern Europe, a nuclear Iran will vastly advance Russia's plans for a de facto reconstitution of its old empire: In an unstable world, Putin will offer himself as the protection racket you can rely on. And you'd be surprised how far west "Eastern" Europe extends:

Moscow's strategic view is of a continent not only energy-dependent on Russia but also security-dependent. And, when every European city is within range of Teheran and other psycho states, there'll be plenty of takers for that when the alternative is an effete and feckless Washington.

What's theirs is theirs--what's yours is negotiable

Are the Democrats Coming After Your Savings?   by John Hinderacker

Beginning around 40 years ago, the federal government implemented one of the wisest domestic policy initiatives of modern times. In an effort to equalize the tax treatment of employees and self-employed individuals, a series of statutes permitted self-employed persons to save pre-tax money for retirement and to accumulate funds in retirement accounts that are not taxed until money is withdrawn post-retirement. Those programs have been broadened over the years to include employees, as well as the self-employed, in 401K accounts. Over the last four decades, Americans have saved hundreds of billions of dollars in such retirement accounts. I haven't seen figures lately, but the total of such savings is most likely in the trillions.

Now we have an improvident federal government that has spent itself into a state of near-bankruptcy. It can survive only by selling Treasury bills to Americans and foreigners, but as the government's debts accumulate, international demand for T-bills slackens. So the Democrats are looking for money. They can't help noticing that Americans have saved many billions of dollars--private property, theoretically, but under contemporary constitutional jurisprudence, subject to pretty much any whim that may come out of Washington.

Argentina showed the way in 2008, as we noted here, by nationalizing private retirement funds on the ground that "the private system never achieved what was needed."

Now, the Democrats may be poised to imitate Argentina's theft. Investor's Business Daily reports:

You did the responsible thing. You saved in your IRA or 401(k) to support your retirement, when you could have spent that money on another vacation, or an upscale car, or fancier clothes and jewelry. But now Washington is developing plans for your retirement savings.

BusinessWeek reports that the Treasury and Labor departments are asking for public comment on "the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams."

In plain English, the idea is for the government to take your retirement savings in return for a promise to pay you some monthly benefit in your retirement years.

They will tell you that you are "investing" your money in U.S. Treasury bonds. But they will use your money immediately to pay for their unprecedented trillion-dollar budget deficits, leaving nothing to back up their political promises, just as they have raided the Social Security trust funds.

In other words, the government will allow you the "opportunity" to give Washington your savings, in return for which the government will give you unmarketable T-bills or other unreliable promises to pay some minimal rate of return. The program likely will be "voluntary" to begin with, but that makes no sense--you can buy T-bills in your retirement account any time you want. So the only possible point is to make the exchange mandatory. The government steals your savings in exchange for an IOU.

Will it happen? Clearly the Obama administration, inspired by Argentina, is exploring the option. Today, we have the first administration in American history that aspires to be a banana republic. But can they get away with confiscating millions of Americans' savings? I doubt it. Because first on the list of those who have accumulated wealth in reliance on the laws governing private savings accounts are lawyers. Most people don't realize it, but even lawyers of modest ability typically have, after three or four decades of diligent savings, seven-figure retirement accounts. (This is one reason why influential Democrats don't care whether Social Security goes bust. They wouldn't dream of depending on it.) Lawyers are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party; public employee unions are more important in some ways, but they are junior partners in the Dems' coalition.

If the Obama administration were to announce an intent to confiscate Americans' retirement savings, the howls that would arise from lawyers (and others, too, of course) would be deafening. I don't think the administration could get away with it. Which doesn't mean they won't try, as the current efforts by the Departments of the Treasury and Labor indicate.

Still, others disagree. Earlier today I learned that a relative on Wall Street has stopped accumulating funds in his retirement accounts precisely because he thinks they may be confiscated by the Obama administration. Instead, he is acquiring untraceable, tangible assets--gold and silver--that the government won't be able to steal without a physical search of his property.

That's not good for the economy, of course. When citizens who have the ability to invest in our economy don't dare do so, for fear that their savings will be stolen by the government, we are reverting to an earlier and far poorer economic era. But that, apparently, is what the Obama administration wants. Here, as in so many other ways, we are sailing in uncharted waters.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dr K on the travesty of Obama's HC plan

Krauthammer's Take [NRO Staff]

On President Obama’s health-care plan, unveiled yesterday:

Well, the plan that the administration unveiled today is really a travesty masquerading as outreach to the Republicans.

It looks at the — first of all, it has nothing about tort reform, which is a very important element. We know why. Howard Dean himself has said that the Democrats don't want to anger the trial lawyers.

And tort reform — [it] has been estimated by the Massachusetts Medical Society that doctors ... practice defensive medicine [for] a quarter of all tests and procedures and referrals ...

Secondly, there is nothing about nationalizing the [health-insurance] market and purchasing health insurance across state lines.

What the president has done here is he tries to reconcile House and Senate. But he does it by throwing money at every difference. For example, the Nebraska kickback, which is federal giveaway on Medicaid that was only for Nebraska — every state now has it.

The union cutout, which was the unions being exempt from the tax on the Cadillac plans until 2018, everybody has it.

Higher subsidies for those who are forced into purchasing health insurance — all of this is going to cost. ...

The estimate in the White House is it is going to cost $200 billion. That is a vast underestimate. And it's added on to a Senate bill which is $850 billion which in and of itself is a huge underestimate — it only counts the second half of this decade. It's twice that.

In effect, what you have here is a $2 trillion expenditure at a time when the president is hypocritically calling for deficit reduction.

Lying liars won't stop til American HC destroyed

ObamaCare at Ramming Speed

The White House shows it has no interest in compromise.
A mere three days before President Obama's supposedly bipartisan health-care summit, the White House yesterday released a new blueprint that Democrats say they will ram through Congress with or without Republican support. So after election defeats in Virginia, New Jersey and even Massachusetts, and amid overwhelming public opposition, Democrats have decided to give the voters what they don't want anyway.

Ah, the glory of "progressive" governance and democratic consent.

"The President's Proposal," as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone.

The bill's one new inspiration is a powerful federal board that would regulate premiums in the individual insurance market. In all 50 states, insurers are already required to justify premium increases to insurance commissioners, who generally have the power to give a regulatory go-ahead, or not. But their primary concern is actuarial soundness and capital standards, making sure that companies have enough cash to pay claims.

In the News

Obama Health Plan Costs $950 Billion Over 10 Years

Obama's Health Plan Adds $75 Billion to Senate Bill

The White House wants to create another layer of review that will be able to reject any rate increase that is "unreasonable or unjustified." Any insurer deemed guilty of such an infraction by this new bureaucracy "must lower premiums, provide rebates, or take other actions to make premiums affordable." In other words, de facto price controls.

Insurance premiums are rising too fast; therefore, premium increases should be illegal. Q.E.D. The result of this rate-setting board will be less competition in the individual market, as insurers flee expensive states or regions, or even a cascade of bankruptcies if premiums are frozen and the cost of the care they are expected to cover continues to rise. For all the Dickensian outrage about profiteering by WellPoint and other companies, insurance is a low-margin business even for health care, and at least 85 cents of the average premium dollar, usually more, is devoted to actual health services.

Price controls are always the first resort of national health care—i.e., Medicare's administered prices for doctors and hospitals. This new White House gambit is merely a preview of ObamaCare's inevitable planned medical economy, which will reduce choice and quality.

The coercive flavor that animates this exercise is best captured in the section that purports to accept the Senate's "grandfather clause" allowing people who like their current health plan to keep it. Except that "The President's Proposal adds certain consumer protections to these 'grandfathered' plans. Within months of legislation being enacted, it requires plans . . . prohibits . . . mandates . . . requires . . . the President's Proposal adds new protections that prohibit . . . ban . . . and prohibit . . . The President's Proposal requires . . ." After all of these dictates, no "grandfathered" plan will exist...

The rest:

Bad boy, bad boy--what'cha gonna do?

Charlie Rangel ruling puts Nancy Pelosi in a jam

The House ethics committee's decision to admonish New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel over improper corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean leaves both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the ethics committee itself facing some difficult questions.

When then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was admonished by the ethics committee in October 2004, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders went on the offensive against him.

“Mr. DeLay has proven himself to be ethically unfit to lead the party,” Pelosi said at a press conference the following day. “The burden falls upon his fellow House Republicans. Republicans must answer: Do they want an ethically unfit person to be their majority leader or do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over the Capitol?”

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — now the House majority leader — said DeLay "certainly ought to step aside as leader at this point in time because I think his credibility has been undermined by these findings."

Six years later, the shoe is on the other foot: Republicans have previously called for Rangel to lose his chairmanship over his ethical troubles, and some of them — including Indiana Rep. Mike Pence — renewed that call Thursday night.

How will Pelosi and Hoyer respond?... (DP: INDEED!)

Read more:

Obama casts off capitalist, free market loans

DP: This--one day after Obama defensively insisted he's "not a socialist" and opened his shirt to show a big "C" for capitalist:

Obama May Prohibit Home-Loan Foreclosures Without HAMP Review
By Dawn Kopecki

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration may expand efforts to ease the housing crisis by banning all foreclosures on home loans unless they have been screened and rejected by the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

The proposal, reviewed by lenders last week on a White House conference call, “prohibits referral to foreclosure until borrower is evaluated and found ineligible for HAMP or reasonable contact efforts have failed,” according to a Treasury Department document outlining the plan.

“It is one of the many ideas under consideration in the administration’s ongoing housing stabilization efforts,” Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said in an e-mail. “This proposal has not been approved and there are no immediate planned announcements on the issue.”

She confirmed the authenticity of the document, which hasn’t been made public.

At present, lenders can initiate foreclosure proceedings on any loan that hasn’t been submitted for HAMP eligibility. Under current HAMP rules, foreclosure litigation can proceed while borrowers are under review for the program or even in a trial modification.

The proposed changes would prohibit lenders from initiating new foreclosure actions before loan screening by HAMP and would require lenders to halt existing proceedings for borrowers once they are in a trial repayment plan. ...

We fear the gov't--there's a lot of us: CNN

CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens' rights
From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Fifty-six percent of Americans say the government poses an immediate threat to individual rights and freedoms.

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government's become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans....

O's number keep plumbing the Bush depths

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -20. For President Obama, the Approval Index has been lower only once (see trends). ...

Also : 47% Oppose Public Option Health Plan; 58% Oppose If Workers Forced To Change Coverage

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ron Paul compared to Pee-Wee Herman

Pee-Wee for President? by John Hinderacker/Powerline

Ron Paul has won the CPAC straw Presidential vote with 31 percent of the total. This is dismaying, to the extent one takes it seriously. Ron Paul is the crazy uncle in the Republican Party's attic. He is not a principled libertarian like, say, Steve Forbes. Rather, as I noted in this post, where I likened him to Pee-Wee Herman, Paul has a rather sinister history as a hater and conspiracy theorist. He has no business being taken seriously as a Presidential contender--and that's before we even start talking about his inadequate vision of national security or his disgraceful performance in the 2008 Presidential debates.

Stimulus jobs claims just "opposite truth"

Thanks Barack… Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs; 4 Million Lose Their Job Under Obama by Jim Hoft

The US Lost Another 20,000 Jobs in January But the Unemployment Rate Dropped to 9.7%.

BB’s chart

4,022,000 million Americans have lost their job since Obama came into office:

Video by Eric Cantor, via STACLU

The unemployment rate is now at 9.7% and it doesn’t look like things will improve much any time soon.

Millions of unemployed Americans will face years without jobs.

The New York Times reported:

Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department.

As ACORN devolves, Obama caught in lie

SHOCK VIDEO— Obama Caught in a Major ACORN Lie (Jim Hoft

The brazen dishonesty of this president is a bit concerning to say the least.

A newly discovered video shows Obama lying to the American people about his relationship with ACORN:

Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released this video at CPAC of Barack Obama discussing his close partnership with ACORN. Obama talked about his long relationship with ACORN privately in this video before the 2008 election:

“When I ran project vote, the voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it. Once I was elected there wasn’t a campaign that ACORN worked on down in Springfield that I wasn’t right there with you. Since I have been in the United States Senate I’ve been always a partner with ACORN as well. I’ve been fighting with ACORN, along side ACORN, on issues you care about my entire career.”

But, when Barack Obama was confronted about his relationship with ACORN publicly before the election he had an entirely different story. This is what he said in October 2008:

Reporter: Senator McCain today said there was voter fraud going on in the battleground states. ACORN has been tampering with America’s most precious right. There has to be a full investigation and he also said you need to disclose your full relationship with ACORN. I’m wondering if you have any reaction to Senator McCain’s charge?

Barack Obama: Well, first of all my relationship with ACORN is pretty straightforward. It’s probably 13 years ago when I was still practicing law, I represented ACORN and my partner in that investigation was the US Justice department in having Illinois implement what was called the motor voter law, to make sure people could go to DMV’s and driver license facilities to get registered. It wasn’t being implemented. That was my relationship and is my relationship to ACORN. There is an ACORN organization in Chicago. They’ve been active. As an elected offiical, I’ve had interactions with them. But, they’re not advising my campaign. We’ve got the best voter registration in politics right now and we don’t need ACORN’s help.

For the record…

ACORN is the largest radical leftist group in America today.

This radical group worked closely with the Obama camp during the election but, the community organizing group was not open about the relationship. The photo below was scrubbed from the ACORN website before the election:

One of Barack Obama’s first big “community organizer” jobs involved ACORN in 1992. He worked along side ACORN before he became an elected official. Obama also trained ACORN employees. He represented ACORN in court. Obama worked with and protested with ACORN. His campaign donated $800,000 to ACORN in 2008 for voter registration efforts.

And, ACORN even canvassed for Obama in 2008.

In 2009 Obama promoted a top ACORN operative, Patrick Gaspard, who’s oranization was fined $775,000 for election violations, to a top post in the White House. Gespard is helping shape domestic policy today.

Obama’s ACORN group was banned from receiving federal funds in September after the group was busted on tape promoting the child sex slave trade.

Go to original at Gateway Pundit for links:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hard interrogation sensible to Americans

Blown Up or Guantanamo?  [Victor Davis Hanson via NRO]

Those who accuse former Bush administration officials of criminality for having supported enhanced interrogation techniques are nearly silent about the ongoing and vastly increased targeted assassinations ordered by the Obama administration, and I for one am confused by this standard of attack.

If a suspected jihadist on the Afghan Pakistan border were to be asked his choice, he might very well prefer to be apprehended, transported to Guantanamo, and harshly interrogated rather than blown to bits along with any family and friends who happen to be in his vicinity.

To make things simpler, water-boarding the confessed architect of the murder of 3,000 innocents, on a moral scale, seems less atrocious than executing suspected terrorists, as we are now doing. Since the easy denunciations of criminality are moral rather than legal — no one has actually convicted a John Yoo or a Dick Cheney of anything — surely we should hear something about these capital sentences handed down from the sky on those who, quite unlike KSM, are suspected, rather than confessed, killers.

This is not a question of either advocating the use of water-boarding or criticizing the Obama administration for its judge-jury-and-executioner Predator attacks against probably dangerous terrorists. It is simply a matter of curiosity about why in the former case there is loud moral outrage but in the latter, far harsher instance, relative silence.

Since we have transformed this War on Terror into a criminal-justice matter rather than a traditional conflict in which uniformed combat soldiers are pitted against non-uninformed combat soldiers on a global battlefield, it is not persuasive to say that in one case non-uniformed suspects are in our custody while, in the other, they are only in our cross-hairs. It is time critics made the case that targeted assassinations fall within the legitimate bounds of a war in which we are properly engaged, while the water-boarding of three confessed terrorists was morally unacceptable torture of no utility and contrary to any of our own past protocols concerning apprehended and non-uniformed belligerents. Otherwise, their exercise in moral outrage is blatantly selective and reduced to a partisan belief that the evil Bush and Cheney are guilty of crimes, while the contemplative Obama is simply struggling with a moral crux.

Olberman, Matthews ignorant of black TPrs

The Corner - National Review Online

A Response to Olbermann on 'Racist' Tea Parties [Daniel Foster via NRO]

Blogger Randy Haddock has put together this video as a response to Keith Olbermann, who wonders where are the people of color are in the tea party movement:

Haddock, a self-described boricua, talks about the impetus for making the video over at his blog.

Pick an Excuse, Any Excuse

Pick an Excuse, Any Excuse (via NRO)

Remember that great scene from the Oscar-robbed classic The Blues Brothers? Jake and Elwood (John Belushi and Dan Akroyd) are finally cornered by Jake’s former fiancée (Carrie Fisher). Jake left her at the altar with 300 guests and the best Romanian caterers in the state waiting.

“You betrayed me!” she exclaims.

“No I didn’t. Honest,” Jake explains. “I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!”

This is pretty much how Democrats sound these days. None of their problems are their fault.

Ideology, unions cause few actual, you know, jobs

Home Improvement by Committee - Daniel Foster - The Corner on National Review Online [Daniel Foster via NRO]

Remember the $5 billion "Cash for Caulkers" home weatherization program included in the stimulus? The one that the president wants triple funding for as part of his new "jobs"/stimulus-redux bill? The one that was supposed to create jobs, improve energy efficiency, and weatherize 593,000 homes through 2012?

Well, so far it has weatherized just 9,100, according to a GAO report (though to be fair, the Department of Energy, which administers the program, claims they've actually completed a whopping 22,000).Why the delay?

Why else:

The problem is red tape, according to the GAO. Local governments and contractors have to jump through several hoops before getting full funding.

For example, the Recovery Act included so-called Davis-Bacon requirements for all weatherization grants. Davis-Bacon is a Depression-era law meant to ensure equitable pay for workers on federally funded projects. Under that law, the grants may only go to projects that pay a "prevailing wage" on par with private-sector employers.

The Department of Labor spent most of the past year trying to determine the prevailing wage for weatherization work, a determination that had to be made for each of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, according to the GAO report.

Secondly, many homes have to go through a National Historic Preservation Trust review before work can begin. The report quoted Michigan state officials as saying that 90 percent of the homes to be weatherized must go through that review process, but the state only has two employees in its historic preservation office.

But the pace of weatherization is starting to pick up because the Davis-Bacon issues have now "largely been resolved," according to the Department of Energy.

"The states received wage determinations for every county in the U.S. before Labor Day and worked through the process of updating their systems and their wage rates throughout the fall," the Department of Energy said in a written statement.

"The agency is on a path to reach its target of weatherizing 20,000-30,000 homes a month."

So far $522 million has been spent on the program, meaning that American taxpayers have spent between $24,857 and $56,372 for each caulk job.

UPDATE: A reader points to this Texas Watchdog report on Cash for Caulkers spending in Texas, where 47 homes have so far been weatherized at a cost of $3.7 million, or $78,000 per house. Nor is it a case of $500 hammers. The cost-per-household for materials and labor works out to just about $4,255. The rest of the money went toward growing the government housing bureaucracy...

Read the rest:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Obama's absurd claim of "saving" economy

One Year Ago I Saved The Economy (W. A. Jacobson/Legal Insurrection):

Barack Obama is claiming credit for "saving" the economy from a full-blown depression based on passage of the stimulus plan.

As with most Obama claims of success, Obama simply is exhibiting his prowess at using strawman arguments.

Obama compares where the economy is now, versus where the economy would have been on some hypothetical downward spiral assuming government did nothing. The "some say doing nothing would be better" paradigm is classic Obama.

But the alternative to the Obama stimulus plan and ramped-up budget deficits was not nothing, but a lowering of the tax and regulatory burdens on businesses and individuals which would have created real, economically sustainable jobs.

Instead, at most, we had subsidies to state governments to perpetuate completely unsustainable budgets drowning in union-related labor costs and pensions, and infrastructure projects notorious for cost overruns. No jobs were created or saved; unless of course the federal government is going to continue to subsidize these jobs indefinitely.

Obama confuses association and causation. Just because two events occurred (the economy did not go into a full-blown depression and Obama passed the stimulus) does not mean that the stimulus saved the economy. It is the intellectually lazy person's idea of logic, since it is much, much more difficult to compare what was to what could have been.

Now to the point of this post. Using Obama's logic, I saved the economy.

On February 20, 2009, I wrote The Last Bull Capitulates. In that post I wrote about the damaging effects of Obama deliberately talking down the markets to create a crisis atmosphere necessary to pass the stimulus (as in Rahm Emanuel's "never let a crisis go to waste"):

For the first time in my adult life [yes, h/t MO], I am convinced that we have a President who sees capitalism and markets as the enemy. There is no other explanation for the hyperbolic rhetoric Obama has used to create a sense of economic crisis far in excess of reality. We are in a recession, but as others have documented extensively, to compare the current economy to the Great Depression is damaging.
Read the rest:

Meaning: it's only true if you believe it

Obama’s Faith-Based Economics [Brian Riedl--a real economist per below, for those questioning Sarah Palin's take in following article--via NRO]

On the stimulus’s first anniversary, keep in mind one number: 6.3 million.

That is the Obama jobs gap — the difference between the 3.3 million net jobs President Obama said would be created (not just saved) and the 3 million additional net jobs that have since been lost.

By the president’s own logic, the stimulus failed. So Obama has shifted his argument. Sure, the economy lost jobs, he now says, but without the stimulus it would have lost nearly 2 million more jobs.

This “it would have been worse” theory is completely unprovable. No one knows how the economy would have performed without the stimulus.

Furthermore, it’s faith-based economics. The White House’s new estimates of “saving” nearly 2 million jobs are not based on observations of the economy’s recent performance. Rather, they are based on the Obama administration’s unshakable belief that deficit spending must create jobs and growth. Specifically, the White House’s “proof” that the stimulus created jobs is an economic model that they programmed to assume that stimulus spending automatically creates jobs.

How’s that for circular logic?

The idea that government spending creates jobs makes sense only if you never ask where the government got the money. It didn’t fall from the sky. The only way Congress can inject spending into the economy is by first taxing or borrowing it out of the economy. No new demand is created; it’s a zero-sum transfer of existing demand.

The White House says the $300 billion spent from the stimulus thus far has financed as many as 2 million jobs. Maybe. However, the private sector now has $300 billion less to spend, which, by the same logic, means it must lose the same number of jobs, leaving a net employment impact of zero. But the White House’s single-entry bookkeeping simply ignores that side of the equation.

Even Washington’s transferring money from savers to spenders doesn’t create demand, since the financial system already converts one person’s savings into another person’s spending (as I detail here). A family might normally put its $10,000 savings in a CD at the local bank. The bank would then lend that $10,000 to the local hardware store, which would then recycle that spending around the town, supporting local jobs. Now suppose that the family instead buys a $10,000 government bond that funds the stimulus bill. Washington spends that $10,000 in a different town, supporting jobs there instead. The stimulus has not created new jobs. It has merely moved them to a new town.

Yet the White House continues to wave the magic wand of “stimulus.” All evidence that it failed be damned.

— Brian Riedl is Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at the Heritage Foundation.

Where Did the Money Come From?

Where Did the Money Come From? (Use the link for the entire article on NRO):

...Finally, say what you will about Sarah Palin, but I found her take on the stimulus to be a useful and simple explanation of the foregoing:

Americans were promised the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8%. It’s now well over that. We were promised it would be targeted and pork-free. It’s been loaded with pork, corporate giveaways, union bosses’ goodies, and other manners of waste. We were promised there would be no fraud, but our government now tells us it can’t even verify the eligibility of people applying for the $325 billion worth of stimulus tax provisions. We were promised there would be strict oversight, but billions of dollars apparently were allotted to congressional districts that don’t even exist. We were promised it would provide “green jobs” for Americans, but 80% of the $2 billion they spent on alternative energy went to purchase wind turbines built in China! We were promised it would help state governments weather the recession, but states receiving the stimulus bait will be in worse fiscal shape now because local governments will be on the hook for new unfunded mandates and continuation of government programs they couldn’t afford in the first place – as many of us governors warned state legislatures.

One year later, we see plainly that the stimulus was not a well-thought out plan. It hasn’t revived our economy; instead the debt-ridden package will prove to be a drag on our economy. It hasn’t put us on the path to a better future; instead it’s unfairly mortgaged our children’s future and stolen opportunities from them. It hasn’t strengthened us; instead it endangers our freedom and security by making us even more beholden to foreign lenders. The legacy of the stimulus isn’t jobs or economic growth – it’s more dangerous debt.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A year's worth of fuzzy or made-up numbers

Stimulus, They Cried - Jonah Goldberg - The Corner on National Review Online

(Here are a few notes from the piece by Cantor referred to below--use the link to original for monthly jobs lost, and the unemployment rates):

From Eric Cantor's shop (PDF):

As we looked back over the past year of the Democrats’ Stimulus, two reoccurring themes emerged:

1. Every time the Administration or Congressional Democrats would claim credit for some number of jobs created or saved, a subsequent fact-check would debunk the claim

2. The unemployment rate kept marching upward.

...March 4, 2009: CNN reports on the controversy surrounding the first Recovery Act project in a segment titled “A New ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’”

...March 16, 2009: Press reports indicate that even Recovery Act “Czar” Earl Devaney is questioning the state-by-state jobs figures released by the Administration

...April 13, 2009: The Administration announces 2,000th Recovery Act project, but an ABC News fact check reveals that far fewer projects are actually underway.

...May 12, 2009: Reports begin to surface of dead people, some deceased for 40 years or more, receiving $250 stimulus checks.

...May 27, 2009: President Obama marks the 100 day anniversary of the Recovery Act by claiming that 150,000 jobs have been saved or created.

May 29, 2009: reports on the President’s claim of 150,000 jobs created or saved, saying it is “not much better than a guess presented as a fact.”

...July 31, 2009: ProPublica checks in on the Democrats’ claim of 48,000 highway and transit jobs created or sustained and says the estimate suffers from “fuzzy math.”

...October 29, 2009: Associated Press analysis reveals that the 30,883 job count previously released by the Administration overstated the jobs created or saved. “The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.”

October 30, 2009: Administration announcesRecovery Act has saved or created 640,329 total jobs.

...November 19, 2009: Administration confirmsthat they cannot confirm their claim that 640,329 jobs were saved or created by the Recovery Act.

...December 18, 2009: Administration sends out a memo saying they will no longer count jobs created or saved, but instead count jobs funded in whole or in part by the Recovery Act.

(DP: Keep this all in mind upon hearing that Gov. Terminator claimed Republicans were wrong to oppose the stimulus because  California alone has 150,000 jobs from it.)

Of course they didn't really mean any of it!

Pay-Go a No-Go on 'Jobs' Bill - Daniel Foster - The Corner on National Review Online

New “Pay-Go” spending rules — which would require Congress to offset new spending with tax increases or cuts elsewhere — that were signed into law just last week are already being side-stepped by Congressional Democrats eager to pass a second stimulus bill.

Democrats are strongly leaning toward passing new extensions of unemployment and COBRA insurance as "emergency spending" measures exempt from pay-as-you-go:

“Assistance to unemployed workers during periods of high unemployment are always classified as emergencies,” a House Democratic leadership aide said. “That’s why they were done that way under the [House] jobs bill passed in December — while everything else in the bill was paid for.”

All told, about half of the House jobs bill would be paid for as emergency spending — with the rest financed by redirected TARP funds.

Wasn't it Clinton who decried "politics of personal destruction"?

Related: Bill Clinton planning a Tea Party counterattack?

Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a “push/pull” strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign. (Has MSNBC already been notified?)

Big Government has also learned that James Carville will head up the effort.

Hmm. If this is true, I think it’s a mistake. I don’t think the politics of personal destruction will work on a movement that doesn’t have major leaders. But perhaps the Tea Party folks will respond by sending busloads of protesters to Clinton and Carville’s houses in response. After all, that’s a White House-approved tactic . . . .

UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch writes: “This could be the best thing that has happened to the tea parties since that out of control reporter from CNN went off on that poor man and his kid at a tea party rally.” Yeah, if they go through with this I’m pretty sure it’ll backfire big-time.


Still, it is not the first evidence that well-funded and -connected sources on the left are mounting a clandestine campaign against the tea-party movement. Last week, we noted a Fox News investigation of an elaborate anti-tea-party astroturfing effort, comprised of a number of what seemed to be grassroots organizations supported by cash infusions from big unions and Democratic lawyers.

They’re obviously worried.

MORE: Reader Stephen Clark writes:

Doesn’t the fact that they expect to find 7-8 “national figures” of the Tea Party movement tell you all that you need to know about their understanding of politics of this? Next, you’ll be reading in the Times that they’re dumpster diving in Coeur d’Alene.


Posted at 1:14 pm by Glenn Reynolds via Instapundit

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Obamavilles" growing where unemplm't high

Obamaville: The Next Kettle for the Tea Party? by Roger Kimball

I was interested to see that some enterprising souls in Wisconsin have erected a billboard along Highway 41 calling for the impeachment of President Obama. “America’s small businesses are failing,” it reminds motorists; “help us spread the message.” I’m doing my bit here.

Not that the fact of America’s stuttering economy is, by itself, grounds for impeachment as provided by Article II Section 4 of the Constitution. But it certainly is grounds for protest — a clarion call for a new species of “community organizer,” one not taught by chaps like Bill “just-a-guy-in-the-neighborhood” Ayers.

A friend presented this brilliant strategy, right from the Left-wing Democratic playbook. Remember reading about “Hoovervilles,” the shantytowns erected by the homeless during the Great Depression? I suggest that tea-partiers consider nominating various depressed municipalities Obamaville, in honor of the President’s magical non-stimulating stimulus bill which, at last count, had cost taxpayers some $850 billion and which, as of this writing, has left us with a national unemployment figure hovering around 10 percent.

Ten percent is bad. But take a trip to El Centro, California, where the unemployment (by the government’s own, probably conservative, figure) is 27.7 percent. Or try another part of Nancy Pelosi’s state, Merced, California, where the Labor Department says the unemployment rate is 19.8 percent. While you’re at it, you might wish to nominate the entire state of Michigan — where the unemployment rate in December was 14.6 percent — an honorary Obamaville.

“Welcome to Obamaville,” a billboard might say, “where seldom is heard an encouraging word and the taxes are higher today.”

Read the rest:

Not all Tea Parties are legit

Tea Party of Nevada: Real Third Party, or False Flag?

I've seen several articles today and have read some comments about the formation of the Tea Party of Nevada and their intention to run an unknown against struggling Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

As others have noted, there isn't a great deal of information online about the group or its principles... but there is enough to start wondering whether the group is remotely serious, or just a bunch of cutups.

You need look not further than Barry Levinson to know that the group is a farce. Levinson, former attorney for John Wayne Bobbitt is the Secretary of the organization, and holds a seemingly bizarre pedigree for a Tea Party patriot. According to his own blog, Levinson is a disgruntled Obama supporter:

America is falling apart and we are watching it crumble. Obama is just another politician and not the savor we all thought. His idea of CHANGE is a band aid. Maybe, Americans need to rethink the way our government is run.

He's also a Bush-hating conspiracy theorist:

I was thinking that if Osama bin Laden was captured early on or killed early in 2002 then, Bush's policies would have come to a halt.

Bush's administration lied to the public about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). How can we trust anything else they said? Maybe, the government is keeping his capture or death a secret?

Why?, in order to further the patriot act; other agendas; spy on US citizens and to create a cloud of fear and distrust. Since, the bombing of Tora Bora, Osama bin Laden has not personally claimed any other acts of terror. Why?

Now, I'm certain that there are a representative sample of disgruntled Obama fans among tea party attendees and certain there are conspiracy theorists, but I've not heard of many that were pro-Obama tea party supporters spouting radical left wing "Bush lied, people died" conspiracies.

There is also a Larry Lathum[sic?] listed in the filing. There is a Larry Latham in Las Vegas with a conspiratorial mindset to match Levinson's. Is he the At-Large Executive Committee member that runs this web site and rabid supporter of Zeitgeist: The Movie, a veritable cornucopia of conspiracy theories including 9/11 trutherism and allusions to a shadowy network of "international bankers" running the world? I'm not sure... but he fits the conspiratorial profile Levinson mirrors, so it seems possible, if not probable.

Others listed among the officers are more difficult to pin down online, but I'm going with a preliminary conclusion that if this group isn't a false flag operation designed to split the opposition to Harry Reid and mock the tea party movement, then it is a sad, silly example of why third party runs are doomed to failure.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More on the "proof" AGW's wrong--from Jones

Climategate: Phil Jones Finally Proves Al Gore Right — The Debate Is Over

CRU's Phil Jones just ended it via the BBC, but the world now owes credit where credit is due: to the long-suffering, abused global warming skeptics. (See also Roger Kimball: "It’s Not That I Like Saying 'I Told You So' About 'Global Warming,' but ... ")

February 15, 2010 - by Steve Milloy
Now that Climategate ringleader Phil Jones has admitted that there has been no global warming (man-made or otherwise) since at least 1995, and that the world was warmer in medieval times than now, I only have one question. Where do the so-called global warming skeptics go to get their reputations back?

As head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia — their data underpins most of the claims of man-made global warming — Jones’ admission should be the final nail in the coffin of the anti-carbon dioxide crusade of Al Gore, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most green activist groups, industry lobbying groups like the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), and President Obama.

Concepts and policies like cap and trade, carbon taxes, carbon footprints, and carbon offsets all should shortly be relegated to the same ash heap of history as eugenics, communism, Enron, and Bernie Madoff.

Secondary school students subjected to hysterical global warming propaganda — like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth — should recover quickly, if they were even paying attention in the first place. Since global warming alarmism for America’s universities was all about the federal grant money to start with, they should have no problems switching gears as long as the money keeps flowing.

Goldman Sachs probably won’t get to profiteer from trading carbon credits. But not to worry — there’s always some new sort of financial fraud for modern Wall Streeters to engage in just around the corner. General Electric will be forced to return to Thomas Edison-like innovation rather than lobbying for revenues and profits, but that should be no problem after shareholders get rid of global-warming-loving CEO Jeff Immelt.

Yes, the world will inexorably move on from global warming to new crises, both real and imaginary. But before it does, the world should give credit where credit is due: to the global warming skeptics.

For the past 20 years, the skeptics have consistently, courageously — and most importantly, correctly — pointed out the fatal flaws in the hysterical hypothesis of man-made global warming. In the course of their efforts, they have been mocked, threatened (sometimes physically), abused, derided, cursed, characterized as loons, and likened to Holocaust deniers. One green writer for the prominent online publication Grist magazine even suggested Nuremberg-style war crimes trials for the denialists.

All this for the crime of being factually, though not politically, correct.

And I’m not referring to those skeptics-come-lately who, in the wake of Climategate, finally get it. I’m talking about those lone voices, especially during the Bush years. Few in number, they kept the flame of skepticism burning until the cavalry arrived in the form of Climategate, glaciergate, rainforestgate, and now Phil Jones’ anti-climactic climatic admission.

Had the skeptics not succeeded in preventing the U.S. from signing on to the Kyoto Protocol and to President Obama’s cap-and-trade crusade, we would all have been in for a world of hurt as misanthropic socialists — hiding behind their shields of “the environment” and “the children” — destroyed our liberties and ran our economy (further) into the ground.

Hug a skeptic. They saved your bacon.

Global warming is dead. Long live global warming — at least until it melts the 4-foot snow drifts outside my house.
Links found at original:

Numbers don't support O-dems H C

Poll: Americans Say Start Over on Health Care [Daniel Foster]

A new Zogby International/University of Texas poll shows that 57 percent of Americans believe Congress should start over on health-care reform, and an equal number believe Congress should take a piecemeal, step-by-step approach to the issue.

Just 18 percent of respondents supported passing the Senate bill alongside a seperate bill of "fixes," currently the prevailing strategy in talks among Congressional Democratic leadership. Overall, opposition to the Democrats bill stands at 50.8 percent, while support is just 40.3 percent.

Overall, opposition to the Democrats' health-care-reform bill outstrips support by a sizable margin: 50.8 percent oppose the bills compared with 40.3 percent who said they favor them. And of the respondents who saw or heard President Obama's remarks on health care during the State of the Union, 48.1 percent said the president did nothing to change their views.

While those polled generally favored key portions of the Democrat bill — such as health-insurance exchanges and forbidding the denial of coverage on the basis of sex or pre-existing conditions — they expressed resistance to increased taxes, Medicare cuts, and the individual mandate.

AmSpec's Philip Klein, who sat on a panel discussing the poll results this morning, has more here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Climategte--just another example of academic fraud

A HISTORICAL OBSERVATION ON CLIMATEGATE: As this scandal runs on, it’s beginning to remind me of the Michael Bellesiles scandal. (Here’s a thorough dissection by Jim Lindgren in the Yale Law Journal — it’s a PDF; here’s a shorter summary from Wikipedia, and a thorough summary by Joyce Malcolm.)

Bellesiles, for those who don’t remember, was a historian at Emory who wrote a book making some, er, counterintuitive claims about guns in early America — in short, that they were much rarer than generally thought, and frequently owned and controlled by the government. Constitutional law scholars who expressed doubts about this were told to shut up by historians, who cited the importance of “peer review” as a guarantor of accuracy, and who wrapped themselves in claims of professional expertise.

Unfortunately, it turned out that Bellesiles had made it up. His work was based on probate records, and when people tried to find them, it turned out that many didn’t exist (one data set he claimed to have used turned out, on review, to have been destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake). It also turned out that Bellesiles hadn’t even visited some of the archives he claimed to have researched. When challenged to produce his data, he was unable to do so, and offered unpersuasive stories regarding why.

Bellesiles eventually lost his job at Emory (and his Bancroft Prize) over the fraud, but not until his critics had been called political hacks, McCarthyites, and worse. But what’s amazing, especially in retrospect, is how slow his defenders — and the media — were to engage the critics, or to look at the flaws in the data. Instead, they wrapped themselves in claims of authority, and attacked the critics as anti-intellectual hacks interested only in politics. Are we seeing something similar with regard to ClimateGate? It sure looks that way to me.

by Glenn Reynolds
For links:

Businesses hire--and won't for Obama

Down With Small Business! John at 3:35 PM

We noted here that the "Miss me yet?" billboard of President Bush that garnered national publicity was paid for by a group of small business owners who consider the Obama administration's policies to be hostile to them. No surprise there--pretty much every small business owner I know feels that way. Still, it was a bit of a shock to see these numbers in USA Today, based on a survey of 884 small businesspeople.

How has the Obama administration affected small-business success?

It has had a positive effect: 11%
It has hurt me: 77%
No effect: 13%

If anything like 77% of small businessmen think the Obama administration has hurt them, it's no wonder Democratic Senators and Congressmen are fleeing for the exits.

UPDATE: Small businessmen in Wisconsin paid for this sign. Seems like a trend:

Creating Jobs--In China!--Powerline blog

Creating Jobs--In China! by John Hinderacker at 4:16 PM

The Obama administration is setting a standard of incompetence not likely to be rivaled any time soon. In the "stimulus" bill, nearly $2 billion was allocated to support wind power, thereby creating "green jobs" and contributing to energy independence. Investors Business Daily describes what happened instead:

According to the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Investment Act has been spent on wind power. The goal was to further energy independence while creating American jobs. It has done neither.

Of the money spent, according to the report, nearly 80% has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines. ...

Of the 1,807 turbines erected on 28 wind farms receiving grants, foreign-owned manufacturers built 1,219, according to the workshop report. The installation of these turbines may have created as many as 6,838 manufacturing jobs overseas. ...

The irony is we leave vast reserves of job-creating domestic oil, coal and natural gas locked up as we sacrifice our economy to the Gaia, the goddess of climate change, something China has wisely refused to do.

If the Obama administration were actually trying to damage our economy, it is not clear that it could do a better job.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What Did Phil Jones Actually Admit? Was He Correct?

Climategate: What Did Phil Jones Actually Admit? Was He Correct? Pajamas Media

D'Aleo takes a look at Jones' shockingly candid answers to the embattled scientist's interview with the BBC yesterday.

Phil Jones is director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has been at the center of the row over hacked emails. The BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones yesterday, including several gathered from climate skeptics.

Here are some of the questions. Some of Phil’s replies were surprisingly candid. I will look at and comment on six of the 23 questions.

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

Phil Jones admitted the warming trends in the cyclical climate change we have seen since 1860 have been similar in magnitude. He provided these values for those periods:

Period Length Trend Significance
1860-1880 21 years 0.163 Yes
1910-1940 31 years 0.150 Yes
1975-1998 24 years 0.166 Yes

Jones left out 1880 to 1910, and 1940 to 1976, which both had negative decadal trends.

Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

Here Jones noted that the trend from 2002 to 2009 is negative (-0.12C per decade), but not statistically significant. He had noted earlier in the interview:

Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998?

When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period.

However, Jones also noted that volcanoes should have produced cooling (and did) in the early 1980s and 1990s. He said the solar was flat. Here, it actually depends on what and whose measure of solar output you use.

Some, like Judith Lean, show flat solar output, but others like Hoyt/Schatten/Willson show an increase in line with recent decadal warming. Also, the other solar factors like ultraviolet (Shindell and Labitzke) and geomagnetic (Svensmark, Friis-Christensen), which can influence Earth’s temperature through ozone chemistry or cosmic ray cloud cover variations, were ignored by Lean and the IPCC (though they were discussed at some length in the IPCC science chapters). Scafetta and West have shown that, depending on which reconstruction is used and assuming that they are proxies for the total solar effect, you can explain up to 69% of the government (inflated) warming since 1900.

Skeptics of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) suggest that the official surface record paints a different story from the actual station records. To restore trust, should we start again with new quality control on input data in total transparency?

There is more than one “official” surface temperature record, based on actual land station records. There is the one we have developed in CRU, but there are also the series developed at NCDC and GISS. Although we all use very similar station datasets, we each employ different ways of assessing the quality of the individual series and different ways of developing gridded products. The agreement between the three series is very good.

That is because NCDC and CRU do not adjust for urbanization — even though Tom Karl, director at NCDC, suggested in a 1988 peer review paper an urban contamination of 3.73°C for a city of 5 million. Phil Jones himself, in a 2009 paper on China, found a countrywide urban contamination of 1C per century. GISS does adjust for urbanization, which results in much less U.S. warming. For the globe, their metadata base of station location/population is poor. And Steve McIntyre found they just as often adjust urban temperature trends up as down.

There is a debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was global or not. If it were to be conclusively shown that it was a global phenomenon, would you accept that this would undermine the premise that mean surface atmospheric temperatures during the latter part of the 20th Century were unprecedented?

There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. … Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today … then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented.

The Idsos at CO2 Science have done a very thorough job documenting, using the peer review literature, the existence of a global MWP. They have found data published by 804 individual scientists from 476 separate research institutions in 43 different countries supporting the global Medieval Warm Period.

Where do you draw the line on the handling of data? What is at odds with acceptable scientific practice? Do you accept that you crossed the line?

No answer. Matter for the independent review.

Anthony Watts, E.M. Smith, and I have shown in “Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception” that the surface temperature records leave a lot to be desired. Claims about global monthly and annual rankings, and that the last decade was the warmest ever, can be dismissed as folly.

Barack Obama and The Parallel to Jimmy Carter

Barack Obama and The Parallel to Jimmy Carter by Jim Merriner 24 March 2009

Throughout the presidential campaign until now, well into President Obama’s first 100 days, I have been waiting for some pundit to explain how Obama is like Jimmy Carter. Nobody has, so I guess the job falls to me.

As political editor of the Atlanta Constitution, I covered Carter as governor of Georgia and as president. He was a calculating, dissembling politician who pretended to be something else.

As a freelance writer, I covered Obama as a U.S. senator and presidential candidate. He was a calculating, dissembling politician who pretended to be something else.

Both men seemed to have the mean streak that lies, however well hidden, in the spleen of every great leader. It’s forgotten now, but the governor that Carter replaced was the ax-handle-brandishing, red-faced segregationist fool, Lester Maddox. On his first week on the job, Carter drove to the Georgia Capitol with his top adviser. The adviser said he hated how they would spend the day firing all the Maddox holdovers in state government, throwing them out of work with families to support and all. Carter bared his teeth and said, “I can’t wait.”

After he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Obama tried to put his pal Will Burns in his old Illinois Senate seat. The local Democratic committeemen, who did not especially like Obama, balked and named Sen. Kwame Raoul instead. Afterward, Obama could hardly bring himself to speak civilly to Raoul.

Both men ran against the evil Washington establishment. Once elected, Carter filled his cabinet will luminaries of that establishment, guys like Cyrus Vance at State.

Once elected, Obama filled his cabinet with luminaries of that establishment, gals like Hillary Clinton at State.

Early on, Carter defended his budget chief, Bert Lance, long after scandals had caused Wall Street and Congress to lose confidence in him.

Obama defends his Treasury chief, Tim Geithner, long after scandals have caused Wall Street and Congress to lose confidence in him.

Carter promised to balance the budget after a few years. His fiscal policies caused runaway inflation.

Obama promises to slice the deficit after a few years. His fiscal policies potentially could cause runaway inflation.

There were investigations of funky transactions at the Carter family’s peanut warehouse, but nothing ever really stuck.

There were investigations of the Obama family’s funky transactions with Tony Rezko, but nothing every really stuck.

Carter had little experience or interest in foreign policy, leading to gaffes like going to a state banquet in Mexico and discussing “Montezuma’s revenge.”

Obama had little experience or interest in foreign policy, leading to gaffes like giving the British prime minister a bunch of American movie DVDs that can’t work on English players.

Both men sucked up to a mayor named Daley to get where they are.

Perhaps most important, neither man engaged the legislative process. As governor, Carter openly detested the Georgia legislature. As president, he started out by overloading Congress with fiscal, energy, environmental and health-care initiatives.

Obama was an inattentive, bored legislator both in Springfield and Washington. (True, once Democrats won a legislative majority in either city, his mentors helped him promote certain bills.) As president, Obama started out by overloading Congress with fiscal, energy, environmental and health-care initiatives.

I expect now to get emails instructing me in how Obama is totally different from Carter. Truly, I wish that you were right and I am wrong.

But there is one more point, again overlooked by the pundits, that scares me about the future of this presidency. The former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, wily and tough, did not seem to fear Carter at all. The incumbent Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, wily and tough, does not seem to fear Obama at all.

Jim Merriner is a regular correspondent for the Chicago Daily Observer

190 Terror Convictions of Islamist Terrorists in Civilian Trials, Mr. President? How About Fewer Than a Dozen? - Bill Burck & Dana Perino - The Corner on National Review Online

190 Terror Convictions of Islamist Terrorists in Civilian Trials, Mr. President? How About Fewer Than a Dozen? - Bill Burck & Dana Perino - The Corner on National Review Online

A new study should finally put to rest the nonsense claim by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and others in the administration that “hundreds” of terrorists akin to Khalid Sheikh Mohammad were convicted in the civilian justice system during the Bush administration. The number thrown around by the administration has varied widely from 300 to 190 to assorted spots in between. The point of quoting these figures was to make Americans think that trials of people accused of the most serious terrorism offenses, on par with the 9/11 attacks and those the other Guantanamo detainees are accused of committing, have been routine in civilian courts. So what’s the big deal?

We’ve said that this bloated number is not an apples-to-apples comparison, because it sweeps in large numbers of defendants whose crimes — such as supporting terrorism through financial or immigration fraud — are not even remotely comparable to those of the terrorists who are held at Guantanamo Bay (like KSM), or of the underwear bomber, who was caught trying to bomb an airplane as an act of war on behalf of al-Qaeda.

Well, according to, based on an analysis by New York University’s Center on Law and Security, the real apples-to-apples number of major Islamist terrorists who have been convicted in civilian courts is . . . less than a dozen, over seven years. Evidently it’s not so routine after all.

There have been three military-commission trials, but the military-commission process was on hold for years as court challenges were worked through. It didn’t really start getting off the ground until 2008.

And, of course, the number of al-Qaeda terrorists detained by the Bush administration at Guantanamo and elsewhere overseas greatly exceeded the number held in the criminal-justice system. That is for good reason — the Bush administration viewed the vast majority of al-Qaeda terrorists as enemies of the United States, not common criminals.

The NYU study does point out that federal courts can play an important role in bringing terrorists to justice. We agree. Indeed, as we have discussed, the Bush administration used a phased approach to handling many terrorists, which permitted their interrogation for intelligence purposes first, followed by a trial in civilian court or by military proceedings.

In our view, however, war criminals should be tried in military commissions created by Congress for that specific purpose. War criminals, particularly non-citizens like KSM or the underwear bomber, are not entitled to civilian trials under our Constitution or the laws of war, and it is dangerous and wrong to act as if they were.

— Bill Burck is a former federal prosecutor and deputy counsel to Pres. George W. Bush. Dana M. Perino is former press secretary to President Bush.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dr K on Iran demonstrations, feckless O

The Corner - National Review Online

Krauthammer's Take [NRO Staff]

On the demonstrations in Iran on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution:

In terms of demonstrations, the regime had a good day. Sometimes repression works. It certainly worked today.

You can repress a revolution. Tiananmen Square worked. The Chinese communists got 20 years out of it and more.

Sometimes it doesn't [and] you have a crack in the regime. This happened with the Shah, with the Soviet Union, with Ceausescu.

What was impressive in terms of the regime today was how disciplined were the forces of repression. The Revolutionary Guards were in the street, the paramilitary Basiji were out there. They cracked heads, they used tear gas, and they successfully prevented any mass demonstration.

And among the demonstrators, there has to be something of a loss of confidence. The repression is working. Their leadership is rather weak. The two presidential candidates who called for the mass demonstrations are rather moderate. They are not in tune with the ones in the street who want to change the regime.

And they never outlined a program, any kind of manifesto or direction. [They] said go out in the streets and essentially get beaten up. And that's a tall proposition if you are a demonstrator out there on your own. . . .

When President [Obama] spoke earlier in the week about [uranium] enrichment, he made a point of calling the regime "the Islamic Republic of Iran." There were demonstrators in the streets today shouting "Republic of Iran," leaving out "Islamic" as a way of saying: We don't want clerical rule.

Why the president insists on this gratuitous giving of legitimacy by using the preferred term of the mullahs is beyond me.

On Joe Biden’s statement that Iraq “can be one of the great achievements of this administration”:

One point: If this administration will not admit it was a Bush success, at least it ought to have the decency to say it was an American success and not an [Obama] administration success.

Climategate, UK Edition: Following the Money, All €4 Trillion of It

Climategate, UK Edition: Following the Money, All €4 Trillion of It

 There’s a question oft-posed by the proponents of global warming… or of “climate change,” as the new term of art has it, thus allowing warmists to claim both the snowstorm now blanketing America’s East Coast, as well as the melting of that snow, as evidence for their theory.

“To what end?” the warmists ask the skeptics. Or, in the lingua franca of conspiracy theorists everywhere: “Cui bono, my friend, cui bono?”

Well, lots of people are benefiting from the practical implications of this theory. There’s Nobel Laureate Al Gore for one, who is on track to become the first green billionaire:

Then, at the UN there is the organization that shared Gore’s Nobel Prize, the IPCC, and its controversial director Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, a railway engineer with no back ground in climate science who lives what has been described as a lavish lifestyle in Delhi. Publicly he oversaw a report issued with the imprimatur of the UN that the Himalayan glaciers that feed India’s rivers will have melted by 2035. Privately he has been acting as a director or advisor to a score of companies, including Pegasus Capital Advisors, GlorOil, Toyota, and Deutsche Bank, as revealed by Christopher Booker of the Telegraph here and here.

But hard-core warmists, intent on skepticizing the skeptics, invariably ask: “why would the media go along with this poppycock?”

Yes, why are the media so invested in the warming notion, given the countervailing evidence, the fact that the last climate theory (the global cooling scare of the 1970s) was so quickly disproven, and that it is self-evident that CO2, that most persecuted of molecules, is essential for life… for plant life. (When an elephant sighs, a tree smiles.)

Well, the BBC, a prime proponents of warming theory, or AGW, has heavily invested its pension fund in the theory, and thus have had a major non-Scientific reason for their bias. As revealed this weekend in The Express:

The corporation is under investigation after being inundated with complaints that its editorial coverage of climate change is biased in favour of those who say it is a man-made phenomenon. The £8billion pension fund is likely to come under close scrutiny over its commitment to promote a low-carbon economy while struggling to reverse an estimated £2billion deficit. Concerns are growing that BBC journalists and their bosses regard disputed scientific theory that climate change is caused by mankind as “mainstream” while huge sums of employees’ money is invested in companies whose success depends on the theory being widely accepted. The BBC is the only media organisation in Britain whose pension fund is a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has more than 50 members across Europe.

The IIGCC is an interesting group. As their website explains:

The IIGCC is a forum for collaboration on climate change for European investors. The group’s objective is to catalyse greater investment in a low carbon economy by bringing investors together to use their collective influence with companies, policymakers and investors. The group currently has over 50 members, including some of the largest pension funds and asset managers in Europe, and represents assets of around €4 trillion.

Wait… I hate to be a skeptic, but did they just say… “Four Trillion Euros”?

They did.

The Chairman of IIGCC investment group is Peter Dunscombe, who also happens to be the BBC’s Head of Pensions Investment.

Cui bono, my friend, cui bono?
Read original for links: