Monday, March 31, 2014

Only one in five FHer-care enrollees is paying his or her own way

The remaining 80 percent qualify for  subsidy.

The two tiers of leftism

Great Kurt Schlichter column at Townhall today entitled"Seven Hard Truths Liberals Just Don't Want to Hear."  All seven of the hard truths are worth examining.  I particularly liked number three:

If you need government to set you a “living wage,” it’s because you have failed to make yourself worth a living wage. A higher minimum wage is merely a subsidy to ensure you don’t have to put in the effort necessary to earn what you want. I’m unclear why your failure to work hard, gain skills and not do the stupid things that lead a 30 year old to be making minimum wage morally compels me to give you my money.

But it is Truth Number One, and its codification of what Schichter points out in his introductory paragraph that I find particularly significant.  I've long held that there are two levels to the great leftist enterprise: There are the earnest believers, the kind who network at Unitarian coffee hour and congratulate themselves for being caring people because they recycle and shop for "sustainable" grocery items and serve on human-rights councils.  Then there are the ones who understand the game, that all the hoo-ha about fairness and stewardship of the planet and such is designed to amass power for themselves.

Here's Schichter's first hard truth:

If you are a liberal who really believes that your liberal heroes actually believe in liberalism, you are a sucker and a fool. Maybe even foolish enough to let your daughter take a drive with one across a bridge. 

Oh, and there's number seven: "This can't go on."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

But here's his absolute masterpiece

One of my unsung musical heroes

He wrote tunes that became associated with a wide variety of artists, from Mitch Ryder to Jimmy Buffett.  But his own treatment of his creations was always something else again.

Actually, what inspired me to post this was some poking around in service of a Facebook your-favorie-music group.  I was not previously aware that he'd ever been the musical guest on SNL.

I saw Keith Sykes at a small club in his native Memphis in 1979, and he delivered like he's doing here.

Harry Reid - embodiment of the Left's phoniness

The Senate majority leader finds himself in an interesting position:

Most of Reid’s headlines from last week were related to a campaign finance controversy. Reid paid his granddaughter, a jewelry designer, some $31,000 in campaign funds in 2012 and 2013 to create holiday gifts for his donors.
It goes without saying that nothing is a “gift” if you use someone else’s money to buy something for them. That’s called being a cheapskate. But being cheap isn’t against the law, and neither is employing family members as part of a campaign. A testy Reid said he’d done nothing wrong, then all but admitted as much when he announced he’d written a personal check to reimburse his campaign. If it were that easy for him to come up with the money, why didn’t he use personal funds in the first place?
What’s especially galling about Reid’s campaign finance blunder, however, is the fact that he has spent much of March hammering the industrialist/philanthropist Koch brothers as “about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.” Over what? Using their own money to fund groups that criticize Obamacare, Reid and help elect Republicans. Reid is so mad at the Kochs, whose companies employ tens of thousands of people, that he had his own PAC fund a counterattack campaign smearing both GOP candidates and the brothers.

And the lame excuse he gives for FHer-care's failure - that "people are not educated about how to use the Internet" - is given the lie by all the clearly-below-genius-types I see passing by my office window all day every day, eyes glued to their mobile-device screens.  Then there's his pathetic attempt to walk back his accusation that individuals with personal stories to tell about FHer-care's failure were liars.

He's been at this for a long time.  He tried to use his faux-sacntimonious rhetoric to derail the US-led international coalition's deposing of Saddam Hussein over a decade ago.

How do FHers sleep at night?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

No one else is bringing this kind of comprehensive package to the table

Everyone, from disinterested observers to foaming-at-the-mouth Freedom-Haters to oh-so-savvy number-crunching wonks on "our side" will react to this with the expected "It's impossible to put a figure like that into the final arena of modern presidential politics" assessment.

Here's what's wrong with their assessment: They assume that post-modern post-American society is so far gone with its relativism, its prioritization of "fairness" over liberty, its utter lack of understanding of the role history has handed America, that it will immediately dismiss this great man as cartoonish and marginal.

They are wrong.  We on the Right venerate our beloved spokespeople a little differently from the way it's done on the Left.  On the Left, they lionize the likes of the Most Equal Comrade or the H-Word Creature based on identity politics and the basic leftist affinity for anybody who talks a good game about wealth redistribution or a new "enlightened" arrangement of the world stage.  And inevitably the bloom comes off the rose of someone adored on such a basis.

We scream and pump our fists over our heroes based on their adherence to time-honored truths about human nature and the human creature's relationship to almighty God.  We receive as nectar from the fountain of common sense and wisdom clearly thought-out and courageously expressed words of our spokespeople, because we truly love human freedom.  It's our own sovereignty, and everybody's that gets us fired up.

Ted Cruz is my first choice for a 2016 presidential candidate for the same reason Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Allen West, Michelle Malkin and John Bolton occupy my pantheon of heroes.  Yes, all these figures are ridiculed with a regularity and viciousness that would sear the senses of self-worth of beings of any less stoutness.  But these people understand what's really important in this universe.  Their cause is mine, and there's not a poll or opinion piece or Facebook exchange that could ever change that.

Why we don't need a Department of Education, much less a DoE civil-rights office

Because their existence leads to nonsense like this:

As reported by The Blaze, “The U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has forced a school in Michigan to tear down a brand-new set of bleachers for its boys’ varsity baseball team because the new seating is nicer than the girls’ softball bleachers.” Yes, they ordered seats torn down – which by the way have been in place six years ago — because they were nicer than the girls’ softball bleachers.
The raised seating deck for the boy’s baseball team was paid for and installed by parents. Fans who’d come to watch games at Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan were having a hard time seeing the game through the chain-link fence, according to WJBK-TV. The parents installed the new bleachers themselves and even added a new scoreboard.
However “someone” complained to the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that the bleachers were unequal because the boys’ bleachers were nicer. Government officials investigated and agreed. The school was told it had to remove the new seating because it was “no longer equal” to the adjacent girls’ softball bleachers, which have yet to get a makeover of their own. Further, government officials said, the new boys’ bleachers were not sufficiently handicap-accessible.
The school agreed to tear down the new bleachers after government officials issued a citation. The superintendent also said that the school doesn’t have the money to renovate the girls’ bleachers. They will, however, add a new scoreboard to the girls’ field soon.
In other words, the government doesn’t want us to better ourselves, with our own resources. This is by far one of the top asinine decisions — among many asinine decisions — that have emanated from this Obama administration.
Fear, coercion and intimidation are the liberal progressive socialist tools to get people to bend to their will. These bleachers were built using good ol’ American initiative, innovation, investment, and hard work. The parents of the girls’ softball team could do the same.
What lesson have the kids been taught? They’ve been exposed to the danger of socialism, where everyone is at the same level in shared misery, and no one is allowed to rise above — regardless of individual liberty and initiative.
The Great Top-Down Leveling Project continues apace.

The terminal stages of Reasonable Gentleman Syndrome

The more that time passes, the clearer it becomes that the Pubs share significant culpability for the fundamental transformation of America.

John McCain tells the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that he will work tirelessly for the rest of his life for amnesty for illegal aliens, and that when such a law is signed by a post-American president, he will see that it is named after Ted Kennedy.

How is it that the MEC keeps having a different account of his exchanges with world leaders?

The regime and the Vatican certainly offered differing views on how the MEC-Pope Frances meeting went.

Now the White House and the Kremlin give divergent reports of yesterday's MEC-Putin phone call.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Determined to turn us into totally dependent cattle - today's edition

Deroy Murdock has a piece at NRO today that tells you all you need to know about FHer-care: its labyrinthine bureaucracy, the slimy wiliness of the smiley-face representatives one deals with when embarking on the enrollment process, the utter disregard for individual sovereignty and privacy, and the overt attempt to maximize each comrade's dependency on Leviathan.

He tells the story of Helen, a 60-year-old widow who earns $15,000 a year as a self-employed house cleaner.  For her health care, she'd relied on a volunteer clinic at which doctors examined her and provided her with medicine free of charge.

Nonetheless, this lifelong Democrat considered it her duty to sign up for Obamacare. After all, it is the law. And Helen did not want to pay the penalty for violating the individual mandate.
So, last October, Helen visited and smacked into the same delays and diversions that have flummoxed so many Americans. She rang the help line and spoke with someone whom she described as sweet and friendly. The woman on the phone, who never gave her name, listened to Helen and then recommended that she seek public assistance.
“Public assistance?” Helen erupted. “That sounds like welfare. I raised my family my whole life and never took one penny of welfare — ever. Why would I want to take government aid now? This is why the system is the way it is today. I am an honest person, and this is why I am refusing welfare.” The woman kept firing questions at her. Helen felt as if the navigator wanted to derail her train of thought, break her down, and make her surrender and accept government aid.
Helen says the Obamacare navigator told her that she did not meet the criteria to qualify for Obamacare. Still, since Helen already had started the application, the navigator told her to complete it. This devoured another hour and 45 minutes. The application was filled with some three dozen deeply personal questions about her bank account, health condition, and even HIV status.
“I felt violated,” Helen said. “It was as if they thought I was a criminal.”
After two weeks, Helen received a letter. The federal government deemed her ineligible and denied her Obamacare.

It gets worse.  She called back to find out the regime had lost her paperwork.  After going though the process again, she discovered that her second navigator had, with stunning dishonesty, signed her up for Medicaid.

The story continues to  unfold from there, and it has at least a somewhat happy private-sector ending, but the overall point is that it examines what happens when an American citizen who insists on paying her own way in the world stands her ground against the socialist machine that just wants to put her on its thrift-shop health-care plan and be done with her.

The anti-Julia.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why we call them Freedom-Haters - today's edition

Chuck Schumer's media "shield law" would empower government to define the term "journalist" and decide who fits it and who doesn't.

As a freelance magazine writer and a blogger, I have skin in this game.  I'm good, I'm a professional, and I won't have some agent of the regime determining whether or not I pass muster.

A few thoughts on the NLRB decision on Northwestern U athletics

There's nothing surprising about the decision, which decrees that private-university athletes are de facto employees, based on the fact that their scholarships are tied to performance on the field.  After all, the NLRB, in its post-American incarnation, loves to see anybody anywhere unionize.

The college-athletics realm had this coming, even if it's a truly destructive decision.  While it was a stretch to define scholarships as pay, it wasn't all that much of a stretch in this era of scouts having a microscopic knowledge of the talent pool in the nation's high schools, the garish recruiting overtures, the ridiculous amount of power athletic departments have come to have vis-à-vis- the overall university structure.  The pretty illusion that college sports participants are just earnest young folks seeking to hone their physical skills and competitive spirit as a sideline to their main focus of optimizing their understanding of the human condition has been exposed for being just that for a long time.  In that sense, I suppose it's a wake-up call to all of us about just what our priorities are.

And, in this day of junk science and humanities departments turned into sewers of indoctrination, it's not like we're losing anything of great value like we did when higher education could really be taken seriously as a civilizational necessity.

But, as is the case with the Dietary Guidelines Committee I posted about yesterday - or the EPA, or the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, or FHer-care, to name a few of this regime's outlaw functions - this episode points out that when the leviathan state creates its little agencies and boards immersed in concerns found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, it's never long before mischief is brewing.

UPDATE: John Kass at the Chicago Tribune reminds us that this was all foreseen in the 1930s by University of Chicago president Robert Maynard Hutchins.  Hutchins made a decision about how to deal with it that reverberates to this day:

In those days, the U. of C. was a national football powerhouse. The first Heisman Trophy winner was a U. of C. back named John Jacob "Jay" Berwanger, who was awarded the trophy in 1935.
But America's football mania turned Hutchins' stomach. The game didn't bother him as much as the hype, the crooked recruiting, the corruption and the gambling.
So in 1939 he astonished the nation, and angered the sportswriters, by dropping varsity football from the U. of C.
"College football: I do not see the relationship of those highly industrialized affairs on Saturday afternoons to higher learning in America," Hutchins said.
Here's another Hutchins quote:
"Football has done much to disseminate and confirm the popular misconception that a university is either a kindergarten or a country club."
When I was a high school football player, I thought Hutchins was a monster. It was only later that I realized he was a hero.
Of course, football is back at the U. of C., only now, they don't run a big-time program. They're in Division III.
And that's just fine. Division III athletes aren't allowed to practice year-round and run extensive offseason programs.
They play before smaller crowds. They don't get full rides. The coaches don't have shoe contracts. The bookies don't care.
Division III athletes are students. No matter what the sport, they play for the love of the game, not for the love of the money.
Those young people who care more about sports than academics should go pro, where unions are already allowed. Let the pros establish minor leagues, instead of using the colleges for that.
Take the money out of football, and the hustlers, pimps and weasels will go elsewhere.

Which does not in any way preclude keeping a close eye on troublemaking government agencies like the NLRB.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's the do to have - by state decree

Kim Jong-un orders all male North Korean citizens to wear his haircut.

The Most Equal Comrade's "priorities"

Senator Jeff Sessions has issued a report that makes plain the utter disregard the MEC has for the rule of law:

“Under the guise of setting ‘priorities,’ the Administration has determined that almost anyone in the world who can enter the United States is free to illegally live, work and claim benefits here as long as they are not caught committing a felony or other serious crime,” Sessions said Wednesday in conjunction with a three-page report, obtained by The Daily Caller, detailing the administration’s immigration “lawlessness.”
Sessions’ three-pager labeled “DHS Enforcement Data Reveals Administrative Amnesty Much Broader Than Previously Understood” shows even future visa overstays and illegal immigrants will not face any repercussions.
“[A] review of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICS) published enforcement statistics for 2013 reveals a shocking truth: DHS has blocked the enforcement of immigration law for the overwhelming majority of violations — and is planning to widen that amnesty even further,” the document reads.
The review of the 2013 ICE data revealed that less than 0.2 percent of the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants and visa overstays who were not convicted of a serious criminal offense were placed in removal proceedings. Further, merely .08 percent of the 12 million who were not convicted of a serious crime or a repeat immigration offender were placed in removal proceedings.
Thus, 99.92 percent of illegal immigrants and visa overstays without serious crime convictions or repeat immigration offenses did not face deportation.

And there is also his regime's most recent act of disregard for the letter of FHer-care.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Precisely why we should never have had a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in the first place

Because it is bound to lead to mischief like this:

Unfortunately, ideology now trumps practicality; rather than devoting its time to the group’s actual purpose—serving as the cornerstone of Federal nutrition policy and nutrition education activities—the DGAC is focusing on environmental concerns. As Millen stated at the initial meeting, “Overall, we want to be certain to make recommendations for a healthy, ecologically responsible diet.” The Subcommittee on Food Sustainability and Safety made this objective even more explicit in their presentation at the second meeting when they stated: “The goal is to develop dietary guidance that supports human health and the health of the planet over time.” [Emphasis added]
Dr. Miriam Nelson, chair of the subcommittee, did not attempt to hide her desire to manipulate the American diet to promote this agenda. Dr. Nelson was quoted in The Washington Free Beacon as saying that, “Eating fewer animals, but choosing those wisely, and reducing sugar, refined grains, things like that…would actually have a lower footprint than what we are currently doing.”
Right now, the DGAC is still gathering research before they formally issue new recommendations. Nothing concrete has been decided but their public statements have had a significant focus on the environment, including climate change.
It does not matter to “environmentalists” that DGAC’s sole purpose is to consider the health of Americans: For adherents of the environmental extremist movement, human welfare often comes second to that of the environment.

Well, there's also the matter of there being nothing in Mr. Madison's sacred document about government advising us on how to friggin' eat.

This smells really bad

Did you know that unions such as the SEIU have been accompanying OSHA agents on inspections of non-union businesses?  In 2013, the agency "clarified" a rule buried deep within its sludge of arcane provisions that allows third parties to make the rounds of a worksite with an OSHA person.

Where the hell did the reasoning behind this come from?  The damn union has no connection to the situation.  Wouldn't "get the hell off this company's property" trump any kind of regulation like this?

Two by Kevin

Kevin Williamson, whose mind and writing chops I readily confess to envying, has two must-reads at NRO today.

One is about how American society came to the juncture at which the Supreme Court is looking at whether Hobby Lobby can refrain from offering coverage of contraception of a certain type as part of the insurance benefits it offers employees.

To a mind like mine, the simple refutation of the assertion that Hobby Lobby can't indeed refrain thus is that no one forces anyone to work at Hobby Lobby, and Hobby Lobby is not obligated to offer anything other than monetary compensation, no natter how much we have all come to assume that insurance is part of an employment package.

But the value of a mind like Williamson's is that he takes that basic truth and examines its full irrefutability, and how the Left attempts to skirt that immutability with well, just a plain skirting of it.  In the process of getting to the actual subject at hand - today's SCOTUS case - he looks at how homosexual marriage went from supposedly being a "straw man" to an assumption, and all it took was for FHers who had reversed course to say, "pay no attention to my previous position."

One of the finest books ever written about politics is The Once and Future King, in which young Arthur, not yet king, is transformed by Merlin into various kinds of animals in order to learn about different kinds of political arrangements: Hawks live under martial law, geese are freewheeling practitioners of spontaneous order, badgers are scholarly isolationists, and ants live under totalitarianism, with T. H. White famously rendering their one-sentence constitution: “Everything not forbidden is compulsory.”
There is a great deal of political and moral real estate between those libertarian geese and totalitarian ants — at least there should be, in a healthy, liberal society. But we do not enjoy, at the political and legal levels, a healthy, liberal society. Rather, we are a society that goes from forbidden to compulsory in record time, and vice versa.
Consider the case of the legal and social standing of homosexuals. Until just over a decade ago, homosexual intercourse was a crime in many jurisdictions. Then in 2003, the Supreme Court overturned the sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas, which was in my view a bad decision with a good outcome. That same year, California considered a civil-union law, which was the source of some controversy. Opponents argued that it was a step toward the much more serious issue of gay marriage, and Democrats rejected that as a red herring: “Nobody is talking about gay marriage,” said John Longville, a Democratic assemblyman, “except the people who are trying to wave it around as a straw-man issue.” Within five years, that straw man was flesh and blood. Along the way the conversation changed from whether states could legalize gay marriage to whether states couldprohibit it, and from whether the federal government should recognize same-sex marriage to whether it could refuse to do so. 

Having honed its favored-demographic-status-trumps-considerations-of-an-employer's-freedom chops on that issue, it now feels emboldened to apply them to the current issue at hand:

 It is not enough for religious conservatives, such as the ones who own Hobby Lobby, to tolerate the legal sale and use of things such as the so-called morning-after pill — rather, they are expected to provide them at their own expense. Abortions are not to be legal, but legal and funded by the general community, with those funds extracted at gunpoint if necessary.
This is not merely, or even mainly, a question of economics. A monthly dose of emergency contraception (which seems like a lot) paid entirely out-of-pocket would run less than the typical cell-phone bill. One does not suspect that Americans would find it very difficult to locate gay-friendly firms in the wedding-planning business. The typical first-trimester abortion costs less than an entry-level iPad — hardly an insurmountable economic barrier for a procedure that is, if we take the pro-choice side at their word, absolutely fundamental to a woman’s health and happiness.
The economics are incidental. The point is not to ensure that we all pay, but that we are all involved.  

Read the rest of that one.

His other piece at NRO today is about how the Left devises memes that circumvent plain reality:

The great example of our time is the phrase “voting against their own interests,” popularized by Thomas Frank in What’s the Matter with Kansas? Those words, or nearly identical ones, turn up everywhere: the beef-witted columns of Robert Reich, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, the Bangor Daily News,Alternet, the BBC, The New York Review of Books. Robert Schenkkan even put the phrase into the mouth of Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon Baines Johnson in his new play, All the Way.
As a phrase, “voting against their own interests” clearly has taken on a contagious life of its own, a genuine linguistic meme. But what is its function? Its ostensible function is to communicate the idea that conservative people of modest means, particularly in relatively poor Republican-leaning states, vote for candidates who are in fact hostile to their economic interests, having been beguiled into voting thus by the so-called social issues, by religion, by racism, by Fox News, or by whatever attendant boogeyman will do to swell progressivism, start a tweet or two. But its ostensible function is not its authentic function, nor can it be, because the antithought is engineered to foreclose discussion of the facts that it assumes . . . 

If you find yourself in any tangles with FHers today over the SCOTUS case, listen carefully.  Are they employing this technique?  Don't stand for it.  Keep the discussion focused on what is actually at stake, and refuse to accept their assumptions.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The regime's crusade of planned vulnerability

The MEC wants to get rid of the Hellfire and Tomahawk cruise missile programs:

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Seth Cropsey, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower. “This really moves the U.S. away from a position of influence and military dominance.”
Cropsey said that if someone were trying to “reduce the U.S. ability to shape events” in the world, “they couldn’t find a better way than depriving the U.S. fleet of Tomahawks. It’s breathtaking.”
The Navy has used various incarnations of the Tomahawk with great success over the past 30 years, employing them during Desert Storm and its battle zones from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Balkans.
While the military as a whole is seeing its budgets reduced and equipment scaled back, the Tomahawk cuts do not appear to be due to a lack of funds.
The administration seems to be taking the millions typically spent on the Tomahawk program and investing it in an experimental missile program that experts say will not be battle ready for at least 10 years.
“It is definitely short-sighted given the value of the Tomahawk as a workhorse,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, a former Pentagon staffer who analyzes military readiness. “The opening days of the U.S. lead-from-behind, ‘no-fly zone’ operation over Libya showcased how important this inventory of weapons is still today.”
Overall, the Navy has essentially cut in half its weapons procurement plan, impacting a wide range of tactical weapons and missiles.
Navy experts and retired officials fear that the elimination of the Tomahawk and Hellfire systems—and the lack of a battle-ready replacement—will jeopardize the U.S. Navy’s supremacy as it faces increasingly advanced militaries from North Korea to the Middle East.
The cuts are “like running a white flag up on a very tall flag pole and saying, ‘We are ready to be walked on,’” Cropsey said.

Fundamental transformation in action

Incinerating Western civilization

UK hospitals are keeping heating costs down by using aborted people as heating fuel along with "other rubbish."


FHer-care: 2.5 times more costs than benefits

Per a new American Action Forum report, FHer-care is about as big a paperwork and red tape burden on the economy as you could ask for:

“From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities.”
“What’s more troubling, the law has generated just $2.6 billion in annualized benefits, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs,” it said. “In other words, the ACA has imposed 2.5 times more costs than it has produced in benefits.”
Aside from reduced employment, insurance cancellations, and implementation problems in all 50 states, Obamacare’s regulations are very costly to the economy, the report said.
For instance, a rule requiring restaurants to post nutrition information on their menus will cost $757.1 million, and require 622,000 hours in paperwork.
In all, the law requires 159 million paperwork hours, more than twice the amount for Dodd-Frank financial reform, which imposed 60 million hours of paperwork.
“To put the ACA’s paperwork burdens in perspective, it would take 79,518 employees (more than the population of Napa, California) working 2,000 hours annually to complete the ACA’s paperwork mandates,” the report said.

All the more reason to pursue the plan of Project 2017. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What happens when you thwack a hornet's nest for no good reason

In the latter days of the Ghaddafi regime in Libya, that country's own society was stable if oppressed, and Libya was no longer a terror or WMD-proliferation threat.  Still, the MEC said Ghaddafi had to go at the first sign of dissent, and joined, albeit in a leading-from-behind position, Europe in a push to remove him.

Now the place is another Somalia, replete with tribal warlords and jihadist gangs and cells and no central government to speak of.

Warlords aren’t going to give up their power unless it’s taken from them, and in both cases the chaos allows terrorist networks to grow, train, and metastasize — and that nearly caused the fall of Mali, which the French finally prevented by putting boots on the ground to control the situation.
The only way this situation will stabilize is for an overwhelming force to occupy Libya, disarm or destroy the militias, and re-establish order over several years while withstanding insurgencies and turmoil. If the West did not have the stomach to do that up front, when it would have dealt with much weaker militias, then it shouldn’t have forced the collapse of the existing regime in the first place. Instead, the US and NATO created a second Somalia on the Mediterranean, and now Europe will pay the price for it.

One more reason why the MEC regime's utter incoherence re: foreign policy gives everybody the jitters.

Pretty rich coming from the gal who wanted to force us at gunpoint to pay for her contraception

Sandra Fluke joins the ban-bossy campaign.

Mixing economic nonsense and identity politics as only the Most Equal Comrade can

In his weekly radio address, he says raising the minimum wage is "about rewarding women."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Vlad cases our neighborhood

Rightly so, everyone is looking at the effect of recent Russian moves vis-a-vis Ukraine on European dynamics.

But consider that the bear is casting a wider net.  Its pals also see opportunity in the hemisphere that once basked in the security of the Monroe Doctrine:

Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.
“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”
Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.
“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing. 
The U.S. military says it has been forced to cut back on its engagement with military and government officials in Latin America due to budget cuts. Kelly said the U.S. military had to cancel more than 200 effective engagement activities and multi-lateral exercises in Latin America last year.
With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.
Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the "operational presence" of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.
“On the military side, I believe they're establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said. 
China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges. 
The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.
Meanwhile, the U.S. had to cancel the deployment of its hospital ship USNS Comfort last year. 

They smell weakness.  They know the Most Equal Comrade, aka Commandante Bracket Pick / Between Two Ferns / Ellen, doesn't give a flying diddly if they colonize both American continents.

Compare and contrast: Midland Texas vs. Yuma, AZ

This is rich indeed.

Midland is going gangbusters on shale fracking and has the nation's lowest unemployment rate and Yuma has the highest rate at 16.1 percent.  A solar power plant  - "the largest photovoltaic solar generation facility in the world," financed with a DOE loan guarantee - there has created all of ten jobs.

A sign that the "scientific community" may not be the monolith depicted by greenies

The American Physical Society has appointed three prominent climate-change skeptics to its board of public affairs:

Professor Richard Lindzen, formerly Alfred P Sloan Professor of Meteorology at Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a highly regarded physicist who once described climate change alarmism on The Larry King Show as "mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves."
John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who has written: "I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see."
Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, a former Warmist (and still a self-described "luke warmer") who has infuriated many of her more extremist colleagues by defending skeptics and by testifying to the US House Subcommittee on the Environment that the uncertainties in forecasting climate science are much greater than the alarmists will admit.

Should be interesting to see the FHer conspiracy theories on this one. Who put society up to it?  The Koch brothers?  The American Petroleum Institute? Dick Cheney?  Sarah Palin?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The minimum wage is a horrible idea - today's edition

Per a new survey by the nationwide staffing agency Express, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would result in drastically less opportunity for those on the bottom rung of the labor force.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Playin' chess

You saw this one coming.

Russia is poised to use Iranian nuke talks as a bargaining chip in its overall grand strategy to eclipse the once-respected USA.

Too damn bad, pal; Ya'alon is speaking the plain truth

An unspecified "senior administration spokesperson" says the MEC regime is "shocked" at the Israeli foreign minister's remarks about the rapid decline of post-America's stature on the world stage.

What do you think?  Sounds about right to me:

Speaking at a Tel Aviv University event reported by the Haaretz daily, Ya’alon said Israel could not afford to rely on the Obama administration to lead an action against Iran’s nuclear program, and that Israel could only rely on itself. Israel had believed that “the one who should lead the campaign against Iran is the US,” but instead, “the US at a certain stage began negotiating with them, and unfortunately in the Persian bazaar the Iranians were better,” he said. Therefore, “we (Israelis) have to look out for ourselves.”
In his reported remarks Sunday, Ya’alon was adamant that “Iran is fooling the world” about its nuclear program,” but said the West preferred to put off any confrontation — “to next year, or the next term; but it will blow up in the end.” The Iranians had been “on all fours” because of sanctions and diplomatic isolation, but had been allowed to recover, he charged. The interim deal signed in Geneva in November “is very comfortable for the Iranians,” he said, enabling them to establish themselves as a threshold state “and break out to the bomb when they choose to do so.”
Moving to a wider critique of the Obama administration, Ya’alon reportedly stressed several times that the US was radiating weakness in every region worldwide. “The Sunni camp [in the Middle East] expected that the US would support it, and would be as determined as Russia is in its support of the Shiite axis,” he was quoted as saying. “I hear voices of disappointment in the region. I was in Singapore, and I heard disappointment at the strengthening of China and the weakening of the United States. Look what’s happening in the Ukraine; there, to my sorrow, the US is broadcasting weakness.”

Hell, all our friends and allies are on their own.  Britain, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Poland, the Czech Republic.  When this was the United States of America, the nations in the world that understood and cherished freedom knew they were covered when crises arose.  No more.  The world is going to look a lot different as each of these lands makes its own arrangements.

The public-school battlefront in the war for America's soul

The teacher's union for the Ferndale, Michigan public schools has a few specifications for applicants for positions in the district.  They'd rather you'd be female and/or Native American, Latino, African-American, Asian-Ameircan - and non-Christian.

Meanwhile, in Crimea . . .

This is now a war.

Masked Russian-speaking troops on Wednesday seized control of Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea after it was stormed by militiamen. Pro-Moscow Crimean authorities also detained the Ukrainian navy commander and reportedly blocked the defense minister and another government official from traveling to the peninsula in what they said was a bid to defuse tensions.
Ukraine's military, which is heavily outnumbered in Crimea, has come under increased pressure since the region was nominally incorporated into Russia on Tuesday.
The several hundred militiamen who captured the base in Sevastopol met no resistance. Sevastopol is also the home port of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and tens of thousands of Russian-led troops are now patrolling Crimea.
It came a day after a confrontation between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian militia left two dead.
The Russian-speaking troops, who arrived on the base after the storming, wore helmets, flak jackets and uniforms with no identifying insignia. By afternoon, they were in full control of the naval headquarters, a set of three-story boxy white concrete buildings with blue trim. It was not immediately clear how many, if any, Ukrainian servicemen remained on the base.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry said no one was injured in the raid, which it said was led by pro-Russian militiamen and Cossacks.
The ministry said in its statement that Rear Adm. Sergei Haiduk was detained by unknown people after the storming of the fleet headquarters. The Russian state ITAR-Tass news agency reported that he was being questioned by Crimean prosecutors.
Ukraine's defense minister and deputy prime minister had planned to travel to Crimea on Wednesday in what they said was a bid to avert an escalation in hostilities.
The prime minister in Crimea warned after the announcement of their departure that they would be turned back, however.
"They are not welcome in Crimea," Sergei Aksyonov was quoted as saying . . . 

Spring 2014 is going to be one bumpy ride.

UPDATE: Russia has confiscate twenty of the Ukraine navy's ships.  A submarine, too.

Why I haven't blogged about the missing plane yet

Even FNC started five of of its six evening shows with "coverage" of the Malaysian airliner.  It fell to my least favorite host in the line-up, O'Reilly, to lead with the actual big story (the peril to America from the axis of its enemies and adversaries), and I was surprised at the hard-hitting fashion in which he did so.  For cryin' out loud, even the normally excellent Megyn Kelly devoted most of her hour to the plane "story."

At the gym yesterday morning, I caught some other cable news outlets, and it was the same thing.  Experts on everything from aerodynamics to Pakistani politics.  Someone has determined that this is the supreme ratings-driver this week.  All very interesting, except that the core of the matter is that we still know absolutely nothing about what happened to this aircraft.

I have my own suspicions:  I'd wager that when and if the situation is fully explained, this story will indeed become yet another episode in the real news of our time: the mortal danger in which the West finds itself.

Until we know, until we eliminate less likely explanations, it's nothing but a sensational mystery.

And that's why the preoccupation with it concerns me so.

Entertainment long ago metastasized beyond its healthy place in our culture as a relief valve from life's hard realities.  We no longer "go to the picture show" or "stop by the club" or round up friends or family for attendance at a sporting event followed by a late-night snack before heading home to resume our routines.  Post-American life is a constant stream of cute kitty videos, March Madness bracket picks, festivals and showcases, and boxed sets of the first five seasons of gritty dramas and irony-heavy comedies.  We tweet and twerk and jam and paint team logos on our foreheads, and when it comes time to think about public policy or the direction of our culture or threats to our very civilization, we consult smart-alec comedians who openly mock common sense and morality.

Right now, the airplane story is fun.  It's quite a hoot to ruminate on conspiracy theories, or post Gilligan's Island ha-has on Facebook.

All this plays right into the hands of Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim, Assad, the Iranian mullahs, al-Zawahiri, Maduro and Castro.  We could not be more distracted.

So, no, I have nothing to say about the airplane at this time.  Neither do all the talking heads who nevertheless fill endless hours of television air time with their pretensions otherwise.

Homeland "security" indeed

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson met with leaders of the pro-jihadist group Code Pink at his department's headquarters in Washington.  Even posed with them for a cozy little photo op.

A real dumb move, but it fits perfectly with the regime's planned-decline agenda

So post-America is voluntarily giving up its Internet domain-name authority.  Haven't we already had enough evidence - recent evidence - of how things shake out when there's a power vacuum in the world?

Why would the U.S. put the open Internet at risk by ceding control over Icann? Administration officials deny that the move is a sop to critics of the National Security Agency's global surveillance. But many foreign leaders have invoked the Edward Snowden leaks as reason to remove U.S. control—even though surveillance is an entirely separate topic from Internet governance.
Until late last week, other countries knew that Washington would use its control over Icann to block any such censorship. The U.S. has protected engineers and other nongovernment stakeholders so that they can operate an open Internet. Authoritarian regimes from Moscow to Damascus have cut off their own citizens' Internet access, but the regimes have been unable to undermine general access to the Internet, where no one needs any government's permission to launch a website. The Obama administration has now endangered that hallmark of Internet freedom.According to the administration's announcement, the Commerce Department will not renew its agreement with Icann, which dates to 1998. This means, effective next year, the U.S. will no longer oversee the "root zone file," which contains all names and addresses for websites world-wide. If authoritarian regimes in Russia, China and elsewhere get their way, domains could be banned and new ones not approved for meddlesome groups such as Ukrainian-independence organizations or Tibetan human-rights activists.
The U.S. role in protecting the open Internet is similar to its role enforcing freedom of the seas. The U.S. has used its power over the Internet exclusively to protect the interconnected networks from being closed off, just as the U.S. Navy protects sea lanes. Imagine the alarm if America suddenly announced that it would no longer patrol the world's oceans.

What other signals shall we give our adversaries and enemies that they're welcome to claw out our entrails?

Just how big a failure is Freedom-Hater-care?

Well, health insurance premiums are rising faster now than they did in the eight years before FHer-care was instituted.  That's eight years combined.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One in three

That's how many currently uninsured post-Americans intend to maintain that status.

Why we pay Secretary Global-Test the big bucks - today's edition

His messages to Russia just keep getting sterner and sterner.  Says that indications that Russia may go for more Ukrainian territory are "very questionable activity" and "just an enormous challenge to the global community."

That's tellin' 'em, Global-Test!

A little of what the Most Equal Comrade and Mahmoud Abbas discussed yesterday

This is who the MEC and Secretary Global-Test expect the Israelis to achieve "peace" with.

The MEC-Abbas conversation touched on various subjects.

There was the insistence on freeing terrorists:

Abbas expressed his concern about Israel’s freeing of a fourth and last batch of 26 convicted Palestinian terrorists on the scheduled date, March 29, saying this would “give a very solid impression about the seriousness of the Israelis on the peace process.”

There was the attempt to weasel out of the issue of Israel's Jewish identity:

Abbas further pursued the shakedown effort by claiming the Palestinians had already recognized Israel in 1988 and 1993. It was an attempt to evade Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state. It was also untrue.
As noted by Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the supposed 1988 recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by Yasser Arafat, Abbas’s predecessor, was rejected as totally inadequate by the U.S. at the time. As for 1993, at that time Arafat purportedly recognized Israel’s “right to exist”—but with no mention of its Jewish character.
That ongoing evasion has a simple basis: acknowledging Israel as a Jewish state would—albeit only semantically—entail an end to demands to flood it with “refugees.” It is something Abbas is adamantly unwilling to do—not even to promote that other supreme value of getting the convicted terrorists released. 

As is so often the case at the conclusion of meetings between post-American officials and various world leaders these days, the closest to a conclusive outcome was a mouthful of platitudes about "tough political decisions" and peace being "difficult."

200 so far this year

Iran is executing people in record-breaking numbers not seen for more than 15 years in the Islamic nation . . . The situation is so dire that activists have petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Council to take action about what they described as a massive uptick in the number of individuals killed by the Iranian government.
More than 600 of these executions, many of them carried up publicly, have taken place under the tenure of current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who promised the world that he would act as a force for moderation.
At least 895 political prisoners are currently incarcerated in Iran for exercising free speech and other basic rights, according to the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.
Another 687 Iranians were executed in 2013, many without fair trials, according to a revised counting of the number of executions last year. Thirty of those killed were woman, while at least three were juveniles, according to the group Iran Human Rights (IHR), which recently released in annual report on the death penalty in Iran.

When the Iranian people rose up against their regime in 2009, we did nothing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The match over the gasoline can

Two of the latest Ukraine / Crimea / Russia developments:

The Ukraine government says its troops will stay in Crimea, a clear signal that it regards the referendum as illegitimate.

The Crimean parliament nationalizes its two major energy companies, and may sell a majority stake in one of them to Russia's Gazprom.

The love that won't shut up

Caroline May at The Daily Caller on the beer companies that are pulling sponsorship from New York and Boston St. Patrick's Day parades because of the exclusion of homosexual groups.

Identity-politics jackboots are completely without the ability to give it a rest.

And what did Russian markets think of the MEC's sanctions?

They rallied on relief that they weren't very effectual.

The Left's lame attempt to assign abstract class causes to black poverty

I'm seeing a meme develop in response to two recent events.  The events are the MEC's introduction of the My Brother's keeper initiative, and Paul Ryan's remark on Bill Bennett's radio show that inner-city black culture is "in a tailspin."

An article at Think, the broad scope of which is the parental governing style of the MEC, discusses Dr. Brittney Cooper's concerns that the MEC is putting too much emphasis on the problem of family breakdown and not enough on - well, let's let her explain it:

When writing about the program, Salon’s Dr. Brittney Cooper described himas “donning the role of father-in-chief” for black people while introducing My Brother’s Keeper.
But there are potential pitfalls in playing the role of America’s dad, too. Obama has drawn some criticism for over-emphasizing black men’s responsibility to step up. “Like many African-American men, the president has bought into the narrative about the problems of absentee black fathers and about the potential danger and destructiveness of fatherless black sons,” Cooper notes in Salon. Cooper wrote about these concerns earlier for Ebony last year, lamenting Obama’s decision to blame “broken black families” for much the much larger structural issues of poverty and violence. And even though Cooper is quoted here, she’s hardly the only person to make this point.

Well, sheesh, where does she think the poverty and violence come from?  Oh, that's right.  Systemic racism!  Structural bigotry!

I have to say that, while, in the last few years, Andrew Sullivan has written very little I've found admirable, in his piece today he sticks up for Paul Ryan against accusations of racism.  He even sticks up for Charles Murray in the process:

He noted that “Charles Murray or Bob Putnam over at Harvard – those guys have written books on this.” Cue liberal freakout. Josh Marshall focuses on the citation of Murray:
When you start off by basing your arguments around the work of Charles Murray you just lose your credibility from the start as someone actually interested in addressing poverty or joblessness or really doing anything other than coming up with reasons to cut off what little assistance society provides for its most marginalized members or, alternatively, pumping up people with racial resentments against black people and giving them ersatz ‘scholarship’ to justify their racial antipathies.
That’s because Murray’s public career has been based on pushing the idea that black urban poverty is primarily the fault of black people and their diseased ‘culture.’ Relatedly, and more controversially, he has argued that black people are genetically inferior to white people and other notional races with regards to intelligence. Yes, that last part should be crystal clear: Murray is best known for attempting to marshal social science evidence to argue that black people are genetically not as smart as white people.
Sigh. Josh seems to be arguing that Murray blames all resilient urban black poverty on culture …. and then blames it all on genes! Pick one canard, would be my advice. And the truth is: in The Bell Curve, Murray was concerned about the role of genes andenvironment in the resilient IQ differentials among different ethnic groups, as anyone who actually read his book (I did, most liberals wouldn’t) would know. As Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 11.32.05 AMAnd it is simply untrue that Murray has argued that “black people aregenetically inferior to white people and other notional races with regards to intelligence.” Murray’s work specifically insists that there are countless African-Americans with higher IQs than countless whites and Asians and Hispanics. (He has recently focused his efforts on white poverty as well – which would seem to disprove some of Josh’s claims.) It’s just that the bell curve (which was the title of the whole fricking book) starts at a slightly different place for different racial groupings – something that drives blank slate liberals nuts with cognitive dissonance. Years later, the differentials still exist. Why do you think there are de facto quotas to prevent brainy Asians from dominating the Ivy League? But of course, nothing drives ideologues nuts like reality.
One more thing: I’m sure Murray has gotten used to this distortion of his work. But it still strikes me as outrageous that a scholar like Murray is subjected to being called a racist of the worst sort and a dishonest scholar – simply because the resilient data support his core point, and because he dares to cite genetics. (It’s an old and great line that liberals believe nothing is genetic but homosexuality, while conservatives believe everything is genetic except homosexuality. For my part, it seems pretty damn obvious that almost all human behavior is a function of both – and the interaction between them.) 
All this makes the task of deeply concerned black thinkers and activists focused on eradicating the cycle of the aforementioned poverty and violence - people like Star Parker and  Robert Woodson - all the more daunting.  They aren't interested in abstract smokescreens that perpetuate dependence.  They would genuinely like to solve the problems of their community.

It will be interesting to see how long this Brother's Keeper program stays true to its original mission.  Will its champions, including, ostensibly, the Most Equal Comrade, feel compelled to dilute the focus in order to appease the class-warfare stormtroopers?  I'd say the clock is ticking.  The program had better show some results early on, so as to have some substantiation with which to hold the hardest-core pro-dependency forces at bay.

The Most Equal Comrade has no one but his own declinist self to blame

NYT Washington bureau chief says her reporters are getting word that the MEC is "poison" for FHer Congressional candidates this year.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

If you think a Crimean referendum is the end of the current matter, think again

500 pro-Russian protestors storm a building in eastern Ukraine and burn books on the history of Ukraine.

Portrait in tyranny

The EPA is one of the MEC regime's most effective tools for imposing totalitarianism.  Ask the Johnson family of Wyoming:

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children. 
But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine. 
“I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.” 
But Johnson may be in for a rude awakening.
The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond -- a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife -- which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.  
The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it.
“Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state agency letter to Johnson said.
But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines.
Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.” 

There is no reason for this agency to exist, except to eradicate freedom.