Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Now it's personal: beer & food prices would go up under new FDA regs

Breweries and livestock farmers have had an arrangement for basically forever by which the breweries sell leftover grains as feed for the animals.

The leviathan state can't abide by such a straightforward, win-win scenario:

under the new rules, the grains would be regulated like pet foods and would have to meet FDA regulations for food safety. These regulations would cost both farmers and brewers more than a handshake.
Naturally there isn't a single report in the entire history of these grain deals of harm coming to either livestock or humans. Regardless, regulators in Washington have found yet another thing to interfere in and, yet again, the feds want to stop Americans from doing something they've done since the country was young.
Along with the outrage caused among brewers and farmers, a few Congressmen have also questioned the FDA over why these sudden new rules are necessary, causing the FDA to take another look at the regulations.
"We are working to develop regulations that are responsive to the concerns expressed, practical for businesses, and that also help ensure that food for animals is safe and will not cause injury to animals or humans," the FDA said in a statement.
But if these new rules take effect at any level, it will essentially be just a new tax added to beer prices. According to the Tax Foundation, already some 40 percent of what we pay for beer is made up of taxes.
Worse, some sources also claim that these new rules will also drive up food prices beyond the price of beer.

Hobbled economic activity - on purpose.

This Lois Lerner is a real piece of work

Not only did she direct her IRS unit to target conservative groups for denial of tax-exempt status, she asked the DoJ to help her find grounds on which to prosecute them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wendy Davis has yet to attain a modicum of viability

Per PPP, which is nobody's idea of a right-leaning polling outfit, Greg Abbott has a favorability rating among women of 35 % to her 32.  And her unfavorability rate among women is 46% to his 27.

The regime never wants you to know how much its schemes actually cost

Which is why it told the UN that it wanted the latest IPCC report to downplay them.

Before the report's formal release, US officials - who had seen an earlier draft - wrote to the United Nations demanding it be amended.
"The discussion of the economic costs of mitigation is too narrow and does not incorporate co-benefits of action."
Loosely translated this means: "If we admit how much we're spending to such little purpose, the taxpaying public is going to kill us."
So the report was duly amended to suggest that the benefits of wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels - not to mention the losses entailed by leaving fossil fuels in the ground - more than offset the massive costs and inconvenience involved.
This presumably is why the left-wing Guardian was able to give its coverage the headline"IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable".
Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable.
“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.
Perhaps this was an accurate summation of the report if you read it a certain way. But equally, it was accurate to report, as Breitbart London did, that it was basically a wish list for the eco-fascist new world order.
Or - as some other newspapers did - you could decide that the report's main take home message that the IPCC had now come round to the virtues of nuclear energy and was guardedly approving of shale gas.
How could the report lend itself to such different conclusions? Because it was written by a vast international committee and then tinkered with further by politicians in order to be all things to all men.

The essential message:  "The cattle-masses need to have their tyranny spoon-fed to them."

Monday, April 14, 2014

When some smart-a-- FHer starts to crow about shrinking deficits, here's your retort

The new CBO report paints a pretty dire picture of the coming years:

The nonpartisan agency said debt held by the public will reach 78% of GDP by 2024, up from 72% at the end of last year. That high and rising debt “would have serious negative consequences,” the CBO warns, including lessening lawmakers’ abilities to use tax and spending policies to respond to “unexpected challenges” in the economy.
[T]he nonpartisan agency warned that shortfalls would grow after 2015 as health care costs rise with an aging population and interest payments on the federal debt increase.
CBO said annual budget deficits will rise from a low of $469 billion in 2015 to about $1 trillion from 2022 through 2024.
For the 2014 fiscal year, CBO said revenues will increase 9%. The increase is primarily due to tax provisions that expired in 2013, as well as taxes and fees related to President Barack Obama’s health-care law, among other factors.
Discretionary spending, meanwhile, will fall about 2% in 2014. CBO said spending for defense will fall by $30 billion this year.

It's on purpose.

The main factor driving our cultural rot

In the course of citing data from a study done by Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, Peter Wehner at Commentary makes this observation:

We are dealing in a realm of human behavior where the positive effects of public policy look to be quite limited. What will be required is a substantial shift in social mores–in how we view the institution and purposes of marriage, the duties of parenthood, our commitments to one another, and even human fulfillment itself–and there’s little evidence that is about to occur anytime soon. 
In 2000, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was asked to identify the biggest change he had seen in his 40-year political career. Moynihan responded, “The biggest change, in my judgment, is that the family structure has come apart all over the North Atlantic world.” This change has occurred in “an historical instant,” Moynihan said. “Something that was not imaginable 40 years ago has happened.”
Indeed it has. (The trends that concerned Moynihan have, in fact, accelerated.) The historian Lawrence Stone said the scale of marital breakdown in the West since 1960 has no historical precedent. It is unique. And as a civilization we seem unable, or at least unwilling, to do much of anything about it.

Most of the social ills you see around you, from the discarded Polar Pop cup on the sidewalk to the meth lab on the outskirts of town, are intricately bound up with this core phenomenon.

Culture precedes politics.  There's not an official policy in the world that can heal this spirit-level decay.

Burwell should be able to readily answer questions about the MEC's keep-your-doctor claims at her upcoming nomination hearing

After all, she's head of the OMB:

The agency Burwell heads, the Office of Management and Budget, is responsible for the president’s budget. But OMB also has another, lesser-known responsibility: fact-checking presidential speeches. Every proposed presidential utterance is scrubbed for accuracy by OMB.
When speechwriters finish a draft presidential address, it is circulated to the White House senior staff and top cabinet officials in what is known as the “staffing process.” As part of that process, nonpartisan career policy experts at OMB review the speech and are responsible for attesting to the factual accuracy of everything the president says.
So thanks to Burwell’s nomination [to succeed Sebelius at HHS], Americans may finally get to the bottom of how the biggest presidential lie in recent memory made it though OMB’s fact-checking process — not once but dozens of times.

Questions about this must be front and center in her hearing.

Everybody winds up believing in something

Great Kurt Schlichter column at Townhall today on what is driving the FHer party's rush toward an embrace of atheism:

Today, they still pretend not to hate the concept of faith or hold those who have it in contempt. You’ll see Hillary hitting plenty of black churches in 2016 – after all, that condescending empty suit is in no ways tired. But otherwise, Democrats are delighting in their opportunity to burden, harass and humiliate the believing. They use Obamacare to try to force the faithful to breach their consciences. They demand that believers be silent or lose their livelihoods. Their liberal academic flunkies do everything possible to marginalize those of us who feel that life must mean more than dreary obedience to liberal orthodoxy.
They are getting closer to outright admitting what we all know they really think. Part of it is fashion – boutique atheism is trendy. Part of it is snobbery – the same people who think socialism is a viable system like to look down on others for believing in “fantasies.” But mostly, liberals worship Government and don’t like the competition.
It's important to distinguish between regular atheists and the militant liberal atheists. There are plenty of conservative atheists who don't feel a connection to God but share conservative values. The Democrats are militant atheists. They are atheists because they imagine they are smarter and wiser than people like Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, and about 85% of the rest of America.
They are proud believers in “Science.” That’s different from science. Science is the one where you take evidence and draw conclusions from it. “Science” is the one where you figure out what gives liberals the most power and shriek at anyone who dissents. This explains how the “Science” is settled that cold weather proves global warming.

The whole thing is full of incisive observations like that.  Here's a taste:

being God-free lets liberals take advantage of the moral ambiguity of situational ethics. It provides them with the kind of wiggle room they need to do exactly what they want without any annoying principles obstructing them.

Or check out how he characterizes the few remaining believer-type FHers:

Sure, we occasionally see a few liberal evangelicals get trotted out by the mainstream media to tut-tut believers who actually believe in something more than free money for the lazy. Their ideology is just socialism with a thin veneer of Jesus. And it’s a Jesus who appears nowhere in the Bible, a gutless hippie who runs from fights and thinks that the Gospel requires you to keep fishing while giving away your catch to the dude kicking back on the beach because he doesn’t feel like casting his own net. 
So they're well on their way to openly embracing the stance that there's nothing absolute in this universe.  But we all know how nature feels about a vacuum.


All we are saying is give freedom a chance

There are certain types of people who lay the blame for their dissatisfaction at the way government operates on lobbying.  They don't generally make any distinctions between the broad term "lobbying" and the various kinds of lobbying that occur in Washington and state capitals.

That's sloppy thinking and an excuse for leftists and certain types of populists to lump various businesses and various industries into some kind of monolith called "corporate America," which, in their minds, runs roughshod over some kind of mythical "common person."

Which is not to deny that certain companies and industries do indeed have a revolving-door / in-each-others'-back-pockets relationship with various agencies and departments of the government's executive branch, and certain committees of Congress.  Why that is so, however, is because particular circumstances provoke behaviors that are entirely predictable to the most casual observer of human nature.

I'm thinking here of two main types of catalysts for cronyism-type lobbying behavior:

1.) The lure of special advantage that can be bought for a campaign contribution, and

2.) The perfectly natural response of an association of firms in a particular industry to the likelihood that their ability to operate and thrive is going to be hemmed in by new laws or regulations.

Both motivations have been on display throughout Kathleen Sibelius's tenure at HHS:

The revolving door always spun freely at Sebelius’s HHS, in almost comically perfect ways.
HHS’s top food cop is Michael Taylor, the former chief lobbyist for Monsanto.
After Obamacare passed, Sebelius hired Liz Fowler to help put it into effect. Fowler was a revolving-door veteran who had alternated between the K Street-friendly office of Sen. Max Baucus and running the lobbying shop at insurance giant Wellpoint. Today, Fowler runs the lobby shop for pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
William Schultz, a top HHS lawyer hired by Sebelius, also came from K Street. Steering clear of Obama’s “lobbyist bans,” Schultz deregistered as a lobbyist in September 2008, and days later donated to Obama’s campaign — while keeping at least some of his corporate clients until he joined HHS as deputy general counsel.
Schultz’s biggest client in his lobbying days was Barr Laboratories, maker of Plan B, the “morning-after pill.” After Obamacare passed, Sebelius and Schultz’s HHS construed the Obamacare provision on “women’s preventive health” as a requirement that employers cover 100 percent of the cost of all birth control, including Plan B. Sebelius promoted Schultz to general counsel in 2012 as that office took up cases defending the contraception mandate from religious-liberty lawsuits.
To recap: a Monsanto lobbyist to regulate food, an insurance and drug lobbyist to implement Obamacare and a Plan B lobbyist to help mandate coverage of Plan B.
Sebelius was a model of Obamanomics: carrying plenty of sticks to drive industry where she wanted it to go and bushels of carrots to reward the compliant businesses.

So cozy relationships between government and business are undeniably real, but the problem isn't with anything inherent in the nature of a corporation of any type.  The problem is with a government that has metastasized beyond how it was Constitutionally designed.

This gets back to the two-levels-of-leftism observation I make with some frequency here at LITD.  The obvious question is how one is going to stop this phenomenon, given the personal relationships that are formed at the nation's prestigious law schools, business schools and behemoth civic institutions.  It's a lot easier to grant a favor to someone with the anticipation that you'll be able to call it in at some point if your relationship goes back to your formative years.  But to the ground-level environmentalist or feminist it looks like the Washington champions for his or her cause are merely getting righteous results.  Such people dismiss as unseemly cynicism any suggestion that their heroes are actually preoccupied with perpetuating their power.  That reality goes far to explain Harry  Reid's connection to the recently concluded cattle-ranching standoff in Nevada, a connection involving a Chinese solar panel company.

But to say that lobbying per se, or "big money" in campaign activity needs to be curtailed is to miss the point, which is that extra-Constitutional government distorts economic activity which would otherwise proceed in a natural fashion.

Petitioning the government for a redress of grievances is a concept with roots extending at least as far back as the Magna Carta.    What is required to keep that from turning into a gimme-fest for all comers is a government peopled by those committed to strict Constitutional limits on their functions.  In short, people of integrity.

This is, of course, why the Tea Party movement arose.  The Left can concoct all kinds of demographic caricatures about those involved in it, but they can't with any legitimacy accuse it of being a mouthpiece, either disingenuous or overt, for any kind of special interest.  Despite their attempts to do so with their demonization of the Koch brothers, the facts are clearly not on their side.

Our message is this:  You can, and ought to, lobby government to stay out of private-realm activity - keep the playing field level, if you will - but special goodies, whether you're a union or a corporation or a trade association, are a temptation you must not succumb to, nor ask anyone in government to succumb to.

Another point I make frequently is that freedom is so much simpler than statism.  If you read the full account of something like the cronyism at HHS or the EPA, or even the Defense Department, the maze of acronyms, relationships, communications and arcane regulations will make your eyes glaze over.  By contrast, people transacting when buyer and seller agree on a price of a good or service, while government tends to basics like defending our borders and enforcing contracts, is easy to understand.

That's all those of us who call ourselves conservatives are trying to say about the relationship between the state and the individual.  You want a bunch with no hidden agenda, we're it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Somebody in that country still has some chemical weapons

Pinning responsibility on a particular enemy hasn't happened yet, but one thing we know is that a lot of people got hammered by real bad weapons:

Both sides in Syria's bloody civil war said Saturday that a rural village fell victim to a poison gas attack, an assault that reportedly injured scores of people amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons.
What exactly happened Friday in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama province some 125 miles north of Damascus, remains unclear and likely won't be known for some time. It took United Nations weapons inspectors months to say it was likely some chemical weapons attacks happened last year, including an August attack that killed hundreds and nearly sparked Western airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's forces.
But online videos posted by rebel activists from Kfar Zeita echoed earlier images that sparked a world outcry, showing pale-faced men, women and children gasping for breath at a field hospital. They suggest an affliction by some kind of poison — and yet another clouded incident where both sides blame each other in a conflict that activists say has killed more than 150,000 people with no end in sight.
The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said the poison gas attack hurt dozens of people, though it did not identify the gas used.
Global Test, answer your phone.

Trying to have a little fun with the fact that his daughter's school is an ideological sewer

Chris Wysocki at Wyblog recounts a conversation with his daughter about a homework assignment:

She came home with an index card last night. On it she was supposed to write and then decorate a "slogan" urging people to curtail their use of fossil fuels.
Smart-ass that I am, I immediately channeled my friend Jeff.
In the Future, everybody gets to freeze in the dark.
"Dad!" She whinced. "We're worried about pollution."
Oh, then how 'bout this?
Recycle this index card, or THE PLANET WILL DIE!
"No, Dad, it has to mention fossil fuels or alternative energy. Besides, I'll get in trouble if I write that," although she was giggling by now.
Wait, did someone say "alternative energy?" OK then!
Put solar cells on your roof, because who needs lights at night?
That one really cracked her up. "It says that in my book. Look ..."
And sure enough, in her book it says one "drawback" of solar energy is that it doesn't work without sunlight.
So we're back to freezing in the dark again.
"What about wind energy?"
Have you ever heard how much noise a windmill makes?
Put a windmill in your back yard, because who needs sleep?
We won't even bother with how many minced birds they make every day.
A look of horror came over her face. "Windmills kill birds?"
Say, what if we put a positive spin on something that's actually practical, like nuclear energy?
"No Dad! Nuclear waste is toxic! It lasts forever!"
Oh boy.

They then discuss electric cars and he enlightens her on the fact that coal is still a necessity for their operation.

She winds up putting some lame exhortation about recycling on the index card and their lives go on.

Old-school pop culture acknowledges the death of adolescent innocence

Archie Andrews is going to die in July.

If it does spread, geostrategic considerations won't allow the MEC to act like there's no stake for post-America

The Russian assault on Ukraine continues.  Donetsk, Kharkov, Slaviansk are just a few of the esastern cities where municipal governments are crumbling.

If this were merely  conflict between those two nations, a number of viewpoints, including whether the West, particularly the US, had a stake in the outcome might be worthy of consideration.  But the threat to Europe's gas supply looms large.  Then this thing expands in scope, and there's no avoiding real confrontation with Putin.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The FHer mob's relentless cry for more blood

Dropbox appoints Condoleezza Rice, about as civilized and gracious a human being as you'll find, to its board of directors, and the Freedom-Haters immediately start howling about how she's "a known war criminal."

Then there is the avalanche of leftie outfits trying to cast aspersions on American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray, calling him a "white nationalist" (a claim they're getting from the Southern Poverty Law Center) and a "woman-hater" and saying his association with Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott taints Abbott's campaign.

These savages stop at nothing.

UPDATE:  Dropbox is not kowtowing to the jackboots!  Condi stays on the board!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Only in post-America do we lionize empty suits

Bill Kristol kicked off a most telling conversation on MSNBC's Morning Joe today.  He asked, just what has the H-Word Creature ever actually done? 

The panel, which initially scoffed at Kristol’s question, cannot name any accomplishment at all, and Chuck Todd ends up talking about how much she traveled as Secretary of State.

She's been involved on some shady dealings that she's never explained, but actual achievements?  Crickets.

Clinton has been in the public eye since the Clinton days in Arkansas, 30 years ago. She ran for President in 2008 after eight nondescript years in the Senate, and then served four years as Secretary of State in a tenure bookended by the embarrassing “reset button” with Russia and the Benghazi failure that left four Americans dead. If she had a major accomplishment in all of that time, we wouldn’t need a campaign biography to discover it.

The question now is how many post-Americans are so hot to have a brand-new demographic become Commander-in-Chief that they will ignore a resume short on substance but brimming with tawdriness.