Monday, December 21, 2009

"The perfect laboratory for Leftist policies."

The Left says that if you let them do what they want they'll bring a utopia of fairness and justice and peace. Let's see what they've done in one of the places where they've had the chance to preform: Detroit


Roger Kimbal has a bit on it.

But now Reid gives a fresh batch.

“There are 100 senators here and I don’t know that there’s a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that isn’t important to them,” Reid said. “If they don’t have something in it important to them then it doesn’t speak well of them.”

That's right... he's bragging about his ability to bribe his chums with your money in order to take more of your money in the near future.

And then he mocks those that didn't "play ball".


And don't worry about the future.

The current spin is that this bill will be good for the Dems.

Even if Ben Smith’s sources are right and there’s some short-term relief for Obama, what’s the big takeaway from the bill next year for the 85 percent of voters who already have insurance? There’s no public option to sweeten the pot, and no one seriously believes that the bill will reduce costs over time. The only thing the average chump gets from it is the satisfaction of watching lefties call The One a corporate sellout and a promise that if you cancel your policy, you might go to prison.

Ace has more thoughts.

Right. People are going to be blown away by a plan whose benefits begin in 2014 but which begins escalating taxes on every damn thing in sight immediately.

The left won't be as energized since they were promised the moon (single payer no private insurance) and promized it now. Sure eventually they'll likely get it, but that's not good in the near term.

Neither are the voters that would be bribed with goodies on this bill. In order to scam the CBO the outlays only start after several years of new fees and taxes.

So, the left isn't enthused, the middle is skeptical and likely to get moreso, and the rigth hates it. That's not a winning combination.

Then again such happy talk could be just spin, and the dems are looking long term and don't care about 2010 or 2012.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's comming

Well, the dems have cranked up the bribes. So, anyone that complains about not voting gets some nice pork.

And if this Healthcare bill (a Bill ANY Bill) comes to pass?

Megan McArdle: “No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote. No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote. We’re in a new political world. I’m not sure I understand it.”

Obama won. But will this cause people to treat the bill as illegitimate, leading to tax revolts or worse? Or will people grumble and go along?

Plus this: “We’ve just increased substantially the supply of unrepealable, unsustainable entitlements. We’ve also, in my opinion, put ourselves on a road that leads eventually to less healthcare innovation, less healthcare improvement, and more dead people in the long run.” And that’s from an Obama voter.

But don't despair. This can still be fought.

The history of Western democracy includes some truly stunning partisan wipe-outs, but we don’t need to dwell on what today seems a remote political possibility (as remote as, say, a ca. 60-Democrat Senate seemed in 2002).  Dismantling, impeding, nullifying, and, in the end, fully repealing this bill does not require 60 Republicans or 60 conservatives:  Greater legal, legislative, and historical minds than mine must already be studying the precedents and gaming the scenarios, but we can observe here that, if passing popular legislation in the Senate always required partisan super-majorities, we wouldn’t have had a major piece of legislation signed since 1979.  We don’t know yet how the final votes in the Senate or for final passage after a House-Senate conference may go, but reversing them down the road would merely require a popularly backed majority joined by a passel of fence-sitters, perhaps including Democratic senators who in the current session vote for cloture but against final passage, perhaps including a few changes of heart.  It could be as simple as that.


The only reason to consider such outcomes impossible would be belief that the public will change its mind, that we do not face a looming fiscal and economic crunch, and that entitlement programs, once enacted, cannot ever be rescinded.

The first two propositions are at minimum debatable, and the tides of opinion and economic projection currently seem in conservatives’ political favor – a very well-evidenced observation that provided the basis for my “Make Our Decade” post and to varying degrees for the positions of my fellow Polyannist-Leninists. As for the third point, on the supernatural immortality of entitlement programs, we hear and read variations on it frequently – sometimes offered with a knowing laugh, lately from conservatives who have been attempting to gin up opposition to O-care – but, if and when the bill passes and is signed, the embrace of this perspective would be defeatism pure and simple.


As for this specific entitlement, what makes anyone believe that any guarantee it entails or calculation it depends on will be sustainable for very long, much less become “permanent”?  We will soon have to make some difficult fiscal choices on an almost incomprehensible scale, or have them made for us via national bankruptcy – under which latter situation all such entitlements would merely entitle the citizen to go searching with devalued dollars or theoretical guarantees for scarce to non-existent goods and services. The crisis of debt-supported, obligation-deferred, risk-displaced welfare state capitalism that exploded last year is not over.  It’s hardly even in abeyance, and Obamacare promises to deepen and accelerate it.

Before the next reckoning is reached, a coherent political force can achieve things that previously seemed politically impossible. That sort of change, believed in or not, has happened before in history, several times in our own history, and sometimes far ahead of the schedule set by the change agents themselves.  Furthermore, as has been pointed out by many observers ever since the polls turned decisively against Obamacare, no legislation this sweeping, partisan, and unpopular has ever before been passed.  To use one of the Obama Administration’s favorite words, enactment of Obamacare would be truly unprecedented.  We should therefore consider that unprecedented events tend to imply unprecedented responses, and unprecedented political events require and ensure unprecedented political responses:  The only real question is how long the equal and opposite reaction can be denied and suppressed.

Read it all.

This bill is massively unpopular and requried a perfect storm and a 60 majority in the Senate and months and months of pushing to get this close, to being passed in the middle of the night before Christmass

If it keeps getting more unpopular and controling. Especially given the meme of it being an "Insurance Industry" bailout...

This is new territory.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's come to this

How badly do Obama and the Left want a bill, any bill?

This bad:

Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson's demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.

Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.

That's right. Vote Obama's way or he'll close a military base in your state. Even if it's critical for national security.

What next? Will Obama refuse to declare a federal emergency next time a disaster hits? Will he refuse to send in national guard or other fed level services?

Maybe he'll blow up some highway bridges.

Hope and Change!

Compared to that, flagrant voilation of the Senate rules seems so... small.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prof. Reynolds calls it.

The Instapundit nails iot.

Back in September, noting a continuing pattern of White House incompetence, I predicted: “Expect this to play out in thumbsucker columns on whether America is ‘ungovernable.’”

And, right on cue, here’s Matthew Yglesias: “The smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the fact that it’s not tactical errors on the part of the president that make it hard to get things done, it’s the fact that the country has become ungovernable.”

Funny, that dumb cowboy Bush seemed to get a lot done with fewer votes in Congress. . . .

Plus, from the comments: “There have been no major institutional changes in the United States government in recent history that have caused it to ‘become ungovernable.’ There just isn’t enough political support to enact various news laws and policies that you favor. Tough. If you hadn’t become seduced by the delusion that Obama is a ‘progressive’ and that last year’s election represented some kind of historic realignment in favor of ‘progressive’ policies you might have seen this coming.”

Read it all here.

And another comment:

Plus, reader Zachary Terry writes: “That silly, silly Constitution. It always seems to get in the way. In all seriousness, though, wasn’t the United States intended to be relatively ‘ungoverned?’ Why is it not surprising that blatant deviation from the intended structure and function of our national government has led to this quandary?”

Can we get a T-Shirt that says Proudly Ungovernable Since 1776?

Yes, recall the type of "governance" these people are complaining about when they cry they "can't govern" the US.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Government by Wishful Thinking

A must-read essay by Steven den Beste

Here's a taste:

[Materialism is] the world view of engineers and scientists — and businessmen, for that matter. It’s the world view of people who understand and use mathematics, and statistics. It is a place where cause leads to effect. It’s the place that game theory studies. It isn’t necessarily inherently atheistic; a lot of religious people live in the materialist world.

But there are people who don’t. A different epistemological view is teleology, which says that the universe is an ideal place. More or less, it exists so that we humans can live in it. And human thought is a fundamental force in the universe. Teleology says that if a mental model is esthetically pleasing then it must be true.


One way to compare and contrast those two world views is to consider what they think about socialism. Materialists look at history since Marx and point out that socialism has been tried many times, in many nations, in various forms, and it has always failed. In places where it was fully implemented the result was decline and economic collapse. When it was only partially implemented you got slower decline. It often looks like it’s working in the early stages, but in the longer term it has never succeeded.

So to materialists, it’s apparent that socialism is a nice idea, but one that doesn’t work and shouldn’t be adopted.

To teleologists, none of that matters. What matters is the fact that it’s a beautiful idea. It’s how things should be. In a world in which socialism was implemented and which worked the way the teleologists think it should work, you really would have a utopia. The fact that it’s invariably failed when used doesn’t change any of that. (When asked to explain all the failures, usually the answer is, “They didn’t do it right.” But for teleologists, a long string of failures doesn’t matter because fundamentally teleologists don’t believe things like that make any difference.)

It’s teleologists who drive around with bumper stickers that say, “Imagine world peace.” I can imagine it just fine. I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime, though. Why would they want me to imagine it?


Why does teleology (in this mutated form) matter? Because right now we have a teleologist as our President.

Matthew Continetti says that we’re in “a year of magical thinking.” And to someone who has grown up with a materialist view of the universe, it could certainly seem that way. But what’s really going on is that Obama has this kind of world view. And that explains everything he’s done.

It explains his foreign policy. To a teleologists, it just makes sense that everyone should want to get along. If you unclench your fist and hold out your hand, everyone else will unclench their fists, and become your friends. So Obama is doing that, and as we know the result has been a shambles.

It explains his economic policy. Teleologists inherently don’t believe in unintended side effects when it comes to implementing their idealistic policies. Obviously it should be possible to provide free health care to everyone without wrecking the economy; it’s just how things really should be, so that’s how it will be. Where will the money come from? That’s the kind of question that materialists ask; teleologists don’t concern themselves with such trivial. It’ll happen somehow, because it’s obviously how it should turn out. To say we shouldn’t do it is to be heartless, uncaring — and those things are more important than mundane claims that it won’t work. If you just believe, it will work.

Read it all.

And these are the people that call you heartless, evil, delusional, anti-sciene, and so on if you dare disagree with them. Meanwhile, they feel their ideas will work, because they are right and their ideas are noble.

And it's just a happy coincidence that their utopian path ends up giving them more power and more control.


"The Science" of Global Warming

Do these sound like the words of someone confident in the quality of their data?

Yet perhaps the most important revelation is not the collusion, the bullying, the politicization and the evidence-planting, but the fact that, even if you wanted to do honest “climate research” at the Climatic Research Unit, the data and the models are now so diseased by the above that they’re all but useless. Let Ian “Harry” Harris, who works in “climate scenario development and data manipulation” at the CRU, sum it up. Mr. Harris was attempting to duplicate previous results—i.e., to duplicate all that science that’s supposedly settled, and the questioning of which consigns you to the Climate Branch of the Flat Earth Society. How hard should it be to confirm settled science? After much cyber-gnashing of teeth, Harry throws in the towel:

“ARGH. Just went back to check on synthetic production. Apparently—I have no memory of this at all—we’re not doing observed rain days! It’s all synthetic from 1990 onwards. So I’m going to need conditionals in the update program to handle that. And separate gridding before 1989. And what TF happens to station counts?

“OH F–K THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found.”

Thus spake the Settled Scientist: “OH F–K THIS.” And on the basis of “OH F–K THIS” the world’s enlightened progressives will assemble at Copenhagen for the single greatest advance in punitive liberalism ever perpetrated on the developed world.
Back in the summer, I wrote in a column south of the border:

“If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None. Admittedly the 21st century is only one century out of the many centuries of planetary existence, but it happens to be the one you’re stuck living in.”

In response to that, the shrieking pansies of the eco-left had a fit. The general tenor of my mail was summed up by one correspondent: “How can you live with your lies, dumb­f–k?” George Soros’s stenographers at Media Matters confidently pronounced it a “false claim.” Well, take it up with Phil Jones. He agrees with me. The only difference is he won’t say so in public.

Which is a bit odd, don’t you think?

Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole “climate change” racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times—and a tragedy. It’s not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong. Science is never “settled,” and certainly not on the basis of predictive models. And any scientist who says it is is no longer a scientist. And the dismissal of “skeptics” throughout the Jones/Mann correspondence is most revealing: a real scientist is always a skeptic."

And what is the mass media, the gaurdians of democracy, doing about this?

They're ignoring it and focusing on how the information was leaked and if they have to they'll talk about the emails themselves, but they won't ever touch the real story:

You must know this about the leaked files: While the emails were damning, the real “meat” was in the computer code leaked. Skeptical climate scientists have already studied it; they find it to be an outrageous manipulation that takes real temperature data and converts them into a warming fairytale. This data form the baseline for the research used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This is huge.

Those who counter this argument by saying there are three other databases, and the two that use surface temperatures agree with this data, need to rethink what they are saying. Think about it. The CRU data is scientifically meaningless, and the scientists at the other centers are in constant contact with the scientists at CRU. There is a strong likelihood that the other databases are similarly without scientific merit.

They said that the code in the CRU scandal would be more damning than the emails, they were right. Read the link.

And then there's this:

Met Office in UK Declares Time Out on Global Warming Alarmism?
But: Government Itself Seeks to Halt Reexamination!

It doesn't sound like a cover-up... at least not yet.

But check it out: Gordon Brown's government is attempting to stop the science.

That's pro-science, right? Stopping a scientific reconstruction of "lost" data and a reexamination of the evidence? Yes, I think so. That's what science is. Science = not science. QED.


The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re-examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics.

1, Of course it will, and 2, So what? This is science? Halting a scientific inquiry because it might undermine theories for which there is currently no existing evidence?

And more "anti-science"
“Anti-science”? Maybe those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. As Dr. Pachauri himself notes, the entire issue with the East Anglia CRU is that they weren’t doing science, but advocacy. They conspired to silence critics, refused to release their methodology, used “garbage” data to bolster their claims, and then destroyed the raw data on which they based their models and conclusions.  What about that is pro-science?

Perhaps Gordon Brown needs to familiarize himself with actual science rather than political hackery. Actual science gets conducted in the open, and needs repeatable conclusions and full data sets to be considered “settled.” It welcomes scrutiny and testing; actual science doesn’t hide from scrutiny, or conspire to block it, and actual scientists don’t plot ways to ruin the careers of those who question the models or results.

Remember this next time someone reflexivly blathers about how being a skeptic is "anti-science".

And here's some evidence on just how scientifically "sophisticated" the global warming crowd is.

Let’s say you had two compasses to help you find north, but the compasses are reading incorrectly. After some investigation, you find that one of the compasses is located next to a strong magnet, which you have good reason to believe is strongly biasing that compass’s readings. In response, would you

1. Average the results of the two compasses and use this mean to guide you, or
2. Ignore the output of the poorly sited compass and rely solely on the other unbiased compass?

Most of us would quite rationally choose #2. However, Steve McIntyre shows us a situation involving two temperature stations in the USHCN network in which government researchers apparently have gone with solution #1. Here is the situation:

He compares the USHCN station at the Grand Canyon (which appears to be a good rural setting) with the Tucson USHCN station I documented here, located in a parking lot in the center of a rapidly growing million person city. Unsurprisingly, the Tucson data shows lots of warming and the Grand Canyon data shows none. So how might you correct Tucson and the Grand Canyon data, assuming they should be seeing about the same amount of warming? Would you

average them, effectively adjusting the two temperature readings

towards each other, or would you assume the Grand Canyon data is cleaner

with fewer biases and adjust Tucson only? Is there anyone who would not choose the second option, as with the compasses?

The GISS data set, created by the Goddard Center of NASA, takes the USHCN data set and somehow uses nearby stations to correct for anomalous stations. I say somehow, because, incredibly, these government scientists, whose research is funded by taxpayers and is being used to make major policy decisions, refuse to release their algorithms or methodology details publicly. They keep it all secret! Their adjustments are a big black box that none of us are allowed to look into (and remember, these adjustments account for the vast majority of reported warming in the last century).

We can, however, reverse engineer some of these adjustments, and McIntyre does.

That's right. Because black boxes and hidden data manipulation is the sign of true science. Nevermind the questionable averaging.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rocket Troopers

Following on the Rocket-Man's invention is the potential military use.

Basically, it's a rocket(or turbo jet) powered glider that can take a single man over long distances. Think of it like a HALO jump with much greater range.

Not for common use, but there are some cases where it'd be handy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

What is Science?

Rand Simberg has a roundoup on what the CRU scandal means, for climate science and for elite "science"-driven politics in general.

While putting a wooden stake through Copenhagen and cap’n'tax are immediate beneficial results of this, I think it may have policy implications far beyond climate change. The Emperor of “science,” whose findings have been used to justify all manner of totalitarian impulses has been shown to be naked. It’s perfectly natural, at this point, to ask “What else have they been lying to us about?”

Indeed, what else is a naked lie? What else are they saying "Shut up, trust us" on?

VDH on the fall of science, the fall of rationalism and empiricism.
There are people that want to bring us into a new dark age of superstition and obedience. That want to impoverish and control everyone. That want to rule over the common rabble like grand enlightened aristocrats.

Frank J. Tipler is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University. Here's part of what he thinks.

The now non-secret data prove what many of us had only strongly suspected — that most of the evidence of global warming was simply made up. That is, not only are the global warming computer models unreliable, the experimental data upon which these models are built are also unreliable. As Lord Monckton has emphasized here at Pajamas Media, this deliberate destruction of data and the making up of data out of whole cloth is the real crime — the real story of Climategate.

It is an act of treason against science. It is also an act of treason against humanity, since it has been used to justify an attempt to destroy the world economy.

Funny that the very people that scream the "science is settled" are so willing to pervert it. Here's a hint, science is never settled. That's the point. Science is a process of understanding that is constantly being refined. When someone says there is no more debate and to simply shut up and trust the experts, that's not science. That's faith.

I am automatically skeptical of any claim that by its very nature cannot be replicated by other scientists. What keeps scientists honest is not that scientists are more honest than other people — we aren’t — but that we know our colleagues are looking over our shoulders. Everyone is honest when he knows he is being watched.

We must seriously question whether climate “science” is, or even can be, a true science if skeptics cannot check its experimental claims. The only way climate “science” can approach being a real science is for all of its raw data to be made available. Only then is it possible for outsiders to check, at least partially, the claims of the insiders.

It's not science if you keep your methods and data a secret.

A list of Scientific Red Flags via Goldberg

(1) Consistent use of ad hominem attacks toward those challenging their

(2) Refusal to make data public. This has been going on in this area for
some time.

(3) Refusal to engage in discussions of the actual science, on the
assumption that it is too complicated for others to understand.

(4) Challenging the credentials of those challenging the consensus position.

(5) Refusal to make computer code being used to analyze the data public.
This has been particularly egregious here, and clear statements of the
mathematics and statistics being employed would have allowed the
conclusions to be challenged at a much earlier stage.

If one believes in the science one is doing, one should be willing to go
to great lengths to engage those who challenge it or fail to understand
it, and provide various explanations at various levels of technical
detail, rather than attempt to discredit others.

Sound familiar?

Standing aside?

Sure, science is being corrupted, but not your corner of it, and climate "science" isn't really even science in the first place, and their end goals are (supposedly) laudable, so....


But now... I don't know if scientists have the choice anymore of ignoring the problem. This case is getting enough attention -- and the details are hair-raising enough for anyone who does science for the science and not just the paycheck -- that others will have to weigh in here, about whether the special papal dispensation afforded for climate secret science is legitimate... or if it is hopelessly corrupting.

Scientists will have to weigh in: Is it "science" when data and methodologies are kept secret and only the conclusions published, stripped of any backing evidence that can be criticized (or even merely examined)?

What the hell is that? If you want to keep your evidence secret, keep your conclusions secret too. You cannot offer naked conclusions -- assertions without a shred of evidence backing them -- as you conspire in secret to delete data rather than disclose it and "hide behind IPR claims." (Intellectual Property Rights, that is.)

Conclusions without evidence deserve the the precise level of seriousness their proponents invest them with: None at all. Because if they meant to be taken seriously, they'd offer their data and methodology to the world.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Con

So what exactly has the CRU done?

Well among other things there's this:

They have learned the "trick" (which I don't get myself) of adding in a specific series of data -- the real temperature record, but only through 1960 -- to a model based entirely on proxy temperature readings (tree rings and ice cores and so on) and adjusted real-world temperature readings. This data shouldn't be added in -- they've already got their adjusted (i.e., also kinda faked) temperature readings in there. They are adding this one piece of data again, this time in raw form, because it changes how the graph looks at the end, and gives them that sharply-rising flare at the chart's end.

Why not use all real temperature data, through the present day?

Because that doesn't result in the shape of the graph they want.

Why add real temperature data through 1960 in when you've already included "adjusted" versions of that data?

Because if you don't, you don't get the shape of the graph you want.

Why do they want a particular shape of graph? Because these charts aren't being used for science; they're being used for political propaganda. People understand what a sharply-rising line means.

Why are scientists choosing which data to add and not add according to what gives them the results they want?

Because they're not scientists. They are political advocates with some math and science degrees.

And these are the same people that scream "the science is seattled!"

Ahh, gotta love people that will sacrifice ethics and honesty for "the cause".

EDIT: Via VodkaPundit Here's the Climate Science Quiz: Can you figure out the right answer?

Friday, November 20, 2009


A collection of hacked files that were released seems to point to a massive conspiracy to downplay, distort, and destroy data that doesn't confirm the "global warming" consensus.

This is something to keep an eye on.

Keep scrolling to read the updates. Damning stuff if true.

Here's some more.

Steve Green has some thoughts.

Well this isn’t looking very good.

What makes me most skeptical, however, isn’t the emails — it’s the proposed solutions to the “crisis.”

Here’s what I mean.

The nature of the crisis changes as needed. It’s getting too hot, it’s getting too cold, free markets are for meanies, TV is too dirty, there are only so many radio stations, this one guy got more stuff than this other guy…

But the solution always remains the same: Give the government more power to tax and regulate and control.

Funny that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Incentive, Justice, and Farce

What gets rewarded? What gets punished?

When it comes to terrorists, you would think that an al Qaeda operative who targets an American mom sitting in her office or a child on a flight back home is many degrees worse than a Taliban soldier picked up after a firefight with U.S. Army troops.

Your instinct would be correct, because at the heart of terrorism is the monstrous idea that the former is as legitimate a target as the latter. Unfortunately, by dispatching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda leaders to federal criminal court for trial, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be undermining this distinction. And the perverse message that decision will send to terrorists all over this dangerous world is this: If you kill civilians on American soil you will have greater protections than if you attack our military overseas.

Behavior that you reward tends to increase, versus behavior that you punish.

There's also this.
None of this seems to bother Mr. Holder. Since he dropped his bombshell on Friday, much commentary has focused on the possibility that KSM might be found not guilty. That, however, is unlikely: Mr. Holder is not a fool, and everyone in the Obama administration appreciates the backlash that would occur if a KSM trial results in an acquittal. Thus, the men he will send for trial will be those against whom he has the most evidence.

The perversity here is that the overwhelming evidence of their war crimes gain them protections denied a soldier fighting in accord with the rules of war.

Not only does being a clearly evil monster (to the point where acquittal is near-unthinkable) reward you with greater perks, but there's also the idea of selective civilian trials. The administration wants to show that civilian courts can handle this, but they are specifically only sending the terrorists that they know won't be acquitted in. The rest will face military tribunals, or simply be held indefinitely.

Under that scenario, justice doesn't exactly seem blind.

Worst of all, he says, is turning the laws of war upside down: Why fight the Marines and risk getting killed yourself or locked up in Bagram forever when you can blow up American citizens on their own streets and gain the legal protections that give you a chance to go free? With this one step, Mr. Holder is giving al Qaeda a ghastly incentive: to focus more of their attacks on American civilians on American home soil.

"It is foolish to think that al Qaeda does not train to our system and look for our vulnerabilities," says Mr. McCarthy. "Remember what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his captors when we got him, 'I'll see you in New York with my lawyer.' It seems he knows our weaknesses better than our government does."

Heck of a job guys. Heck of a job.

And Goldberg has more detais on the "nuance"

Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) defended the administration Sunday on Fox News, echoing suggestions from the White House that even if the accused are acquitted on a technicality, they won’t be released. They would go back to the legal purgatory known as “preventive detention.” That is the right policy; these are dangerous men, after all. But it is an affront to civilian jurisprudence. Under military law, preventive detention is a well-established norm. Under civilian law, it’s an affront.

Throw into the equation that these men weren’t read their rights, were interrogated in a manner that is illegal in civilian courts, are being tried with little if any possibility of an impartial jury — and the fact that Holder all but insists they’ll be convicted — and it all adds up to a farce.

Following the law (civilian or military) is less important than looking like you're following the law.

Obama’s defenders don’t believe it. “Does anyone think,” asks Joshua Micah Marshall, a prominent liberal blogger, that the “Nuremberg trials . . . advanced (the defendants’) causes?” Obama himself invoked the Nuremberg trials during the presidential campaign. “Part of what made us different was even after these Nazis had performed atrocities,” he explained, “we still gave them a day in court, and that taught the entire world about who we are but also the basic principles of rule of law.”

Such arguments are revealing on at least two counts. First, the Nuremberg trials were military tribunals — it was understood that the Nazis were not mere criminals.
Second, they took place after we had won the war against Nazi Germany. We could afford such a spectacle because the Nazi cause was dead.

Wow... You'd think if you bother citing Nuremberg, that one would know the kind of trials those were.

And if that's not enough...

In a meeting with the press in China, President Obama said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be "convicted" and had "the death penalty applied to him" ... and then said he wasn't "pre-judging" the case. He made the second statement after it was pointed out to him — by NBC's Chuck Todd — that the first statement would be taken as the President's interfering in the trial process. Obama said that wasn't his intention. I'm sure it wasn't — he's trying to contain the political damage caused by his decision — but that won't matter. He has given the defense its first motion that the executive branch, indeed the President himself, is tainting the jury pool. Nice work.

And this is a man that bragged about how he was a Constitutional Law Prof, and the President of Harvard Law review. He's really showing off that firm legal mind ain't he?

And more reactions to the "fair trial"

Where in the Hell do we live again? Is this Putin talking? I will not have the slightest difficulty sleeping after KSA assumes room temperature, but that doesn't mean I want to start emulating the Soviet Union FFS? or Iran? I especially like the idea that even if the are acquitted we will keep them locked up. I mean that is a quintessentially American twist on totalitarian show trialing. We can't even guarantee the outcome.

Holder and Obama have stepped in it and while we will all pay in some ways, they have exposed themselves as clueless political hacks on a vital issue of national security. Bring 2010 on and let's carve away at the clowns in Congress who enable these two to play payback politics.

And going forward, it just gets worse.
The next question is if the Obama administration has intentionally setup a show trial for one man with a predetermined outcome and penalty, they've just proven they're OK with the notion of rigging civilian trials.

That is a pretty chilling revelation.

Well, that's a comfort. And these are the folks that constantly bleated about how Bush was undermining the rule of law and the justice system.

If Healthcare is a right....

If Healthcare is a right, and thus requires goverment to make sure everyone buys it and pays for those that can't afford it...

Why doesn't this logic apply to other rights?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Food for thought.

Think about this.

The left says: You are crazy to claim your so-called freedoms are being taken away, and you are a lunatic to scream about an overly powerful state which will use violent coercion (no one goes to jail without the threat of violence if he doesn't, after all) to enforce its notions of the "economic good."

And with the next breath the left says: By the way, you shall either buy health care insurance or we will throw you in prison for two or three years.

Change eh?

Used to be in this county when we proposed making an entire category of human behavior a crime, that was cause for debate. Civil libertarians on the left would join those on the right in wondering what has so changed in the past several years to require an entire new category of criminality, an entire sphere of human activity now removed from the column of "freedom" and moved to the column of "forbiddance."

But not this time. Fascism, as they say, tends to come with a smiling face, and there's hardly a face more surgically stretched into smiles than Nancy Pelosi's, quite chipper and blithe as she proposes that she will begin filling America's prisons with a whole new category of criminal, the economic saboteur.

And there is no argument about it, and no debate. We are creating an entirely new type of "crime" that could end up imprisoning millions (or -- very nearly as bad -- compelling behavior and restricting freedom due to threat of incarceration) and the entire left and the entire media (but I repeat myself) blows it off as no big deal.
It's just What Must Be Done. Omlette, eggs, some breaking required.

But I'm a paranoid and extremist to take notice of the fact that what was once my freedom in 2009 shall become a cause for imprisonment in 2010."

Nice to see that "liberals" are hell-bent on making more and more things illegal.

And here's more good news!

Friday, November 13, 2009


What is short for Confidence?

Obama held himself out to be one thing during the election (a bipartisan moderate), and on taking office became quite the opposite. Cons, like Obama, are ordinarily out to deceive people as to their true purposes. But it’s an error to think they come across as sleazy. The most effective ones are unusually likeable and charming, even as they pull off their scams. This likeability is not a tangential characteristic of con artists, either; it is a central one.

“Con,” after all, is short for “confidence.” The con artist works by gaining the victim’s confidence and trust. The successful con artist is so very likeable, in fact, that he seems especially credible, and people who might otherwise be wary and cynical drop their guard around him. They don’t examine him too closely, so great is their desire to believe.

Contradictions are waved away. Acts that would arouse suspicion if they were committed by someone else are excused. Important omissions go unnoticed. Inconsistencies are rationalized. Shady company is defended or ignored. Sound familiar?

Yes yes it does.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something lighter.

Via Goldberg

Dogs Welcoming Home Soldiers

And then Bill Whittle A Message For All of America's Veterans

Sad. Expensive. And frightening.

How are things going in the United Kingdom?

Well... Roger Kimball has the story:

Every phone call. Every email. Every text message. Every web site visited. I land at Heathrow and discover that Big Brother in England will be recording it all: the entire electronic career of every private citizen will salted away for a year in a gigantic database and “available for monitoring by government bodies.” Six-hundred and fifty-three government bodies, to be precise, including the police and local council authorities. They will not need a warrant from a judge but only the authorisation of a “senior” police officer or equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority to rifle through who you’ve talked to when about what. This is more or less the equivalent of a hall pass in your local high school. Adding insult to injury, the British taxpayers are going to be forced to fork over some £2 billion to spy on themselves.

29 percent of the British people are in favor of this preposterous scheme. But the Home Office insists that it will push it through anyway. In this post-democratic era, what does the will of the people mean when put up against the inclinations of political bureaucrats?

Despite how much it's revilved, expect it to pass. After all, what would the public do? Protest, refuse to comply? Vote the bums out?

I have been quoting this observation of David Hume frequently of late: seldom is freedom lost all at once. Here in England we have another example of how it oozes away. Sad. Expensive. And frightening.

And that's why, their liberty has been nibbled away bit by bit. So what's another bit?

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's come to this

Roger L. Simon talked about how Political Correctness kills.

Tip of the iceberg.

Why did the Feds drop their investigation of Hassan?

He wasn't "likely to be violent."

Wonderful. That worked out so well.

Though even if he wasn't voilent, that doesn't excuse him contacting the enemy.

Ace shows just how clueless some people are

Chris Matthews: "It's not a crime to call Al Qaeda, is it? I mean, where do you stop the guy?" Matthews spins on behalf of his wannabe-boyfriend Obama and the incompetents in the federal government.

Funny, seems to me that after 9/11, National Security Concern Trolls like Chris Matthews were pretty sure we should have rolled up the Mohammad Atta cell based upon pilot-training inquiries.

But now we have a guy in the army calling Al Qaeda on the phone and Chris Matthews is generally perplexed as to what we could have possibly have done to stop this.

Um, in any security position, having or attempting to have communications with the enemy is a crime, or at least a cashiering-level offense, if it's not reported immediately.

Meanwhile how does our president respond?

Well on Saturday he said this:

“Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit” Democratic voters “and it will encourage the extremists.”

Lovely. He tells us not to "jump to conclusions" about Hassan but those that disagree with his political plans...

Glen Reynolds has more.

Best of hands.

And what made Hassan's count so high? “Packed into cubicles with 5-foot-high dividers, the 300 unarmed soldiers were sitting ducks.”

Because "An Army base is no place for weapons.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Safety Deposit?

Not so safe in the United Kingdom.

In the UK the police can break into a safety deposit boxes if they feel that there's enough criminal use. And not just the boxes they've confirmed to be used or owned by criminals. Nope, all of them.

However, by talking to scores of box-holders, none of whom have spoken before, Live has uncovered a different version of Operation Rize, one that shows how the vast majority of those caught up in the raids were innocent. They have had their lives turned upside down over the past 17 months. Many have struggled to recoup their money and possessions, been forced into legal trench warfare with police lawyers and told they must prove how they came by the contents of their boxes.

In the eyes of the UK, it's your fault for keeping cash and valuables in a facility criminals also happen to use. And you'll be guilty until you can prove otherwise.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Via Instapundit, Breitbart has a clip on what the Whitehouse is trying to do...

National Review has a bit more on the subject.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's not science when physical evidence is a problem.

The global warming lobby is in a spot of trouble.

The global warming alarmists have a problem: They've claimed for 15 years that there is simply no natural mechanism that could possibly explain a one degree change in global temperatures, so all warming must be man-made.

Now that we have a period of cooling, they're claiming there is a natural mechanism big enough to both cool the earth from its 1998 high and also wipe out the "expected" additional warming that should have occurred since then. (The big cooling year of 2007 wiped out over a degree Farenheit of global warming -- in fact, it erased most of the warming that occurred this whole century.)

So -- um, what? There is no natural mechanism to explain a degree of warming, but there's a big-ass natural mechanism you now concede to conveniently explain away the cooling? Couldn't the 1975-1998 "warming" be explained as simply as the diminishment of the 1940-1975 cooling phase? If a cooling force abates, does not the earth warm?

Ponder that. These people have a problem squaring that's happening in the real world with their pet theories.

And here's more thoughts on being wrong.

According to the BBC, the world has been cooling since 1998, although some claim the warming is only in hiatus. What do we make of that? The issue has been so politicized that it is hard to find rational scientific judgement. For someone like Gore – a non-scientist – to be so adamant about it feels almost off-putting. It makes me want to believe in global warming less. He’s the exact wrong person to be delivering this kind of message, especially since there are scientists who write well (many better than Gore). But his narcissism and greed have placed Al out front.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Rule of Three

Third time's a....

Back when I did computer tech support, we had a rule of thumb for evaluating the significance of reports of unusual and previously unreported failures .

*One report of a failure is a fluke.

*Two reports of a failure is a coincidence. It might just be two users making the same error.

*Three reports indicates a pattern of failure that arises from the hardware or software itself.

This rule of thumb evolved after observing the failures of millions of computers. We learned that three separate computers would only suffer the same failure if the failure arose from a common source in the computers themselves. Just three machines out of millions told us we most likely had a systemic problem.


And similarly with ACORN. Once is a fluke, can happen with any large organization, twice coincidence but...

Three identical reports of the same failure from three separate offices indicates the criminality arises from the organization itself. It is highly unlikely that, out of the hundreds of Acorn offices around the nation, the journalist just happened to wander into the three offices whose managers wouldn’t blink an eye at helping to set up a brothel using children.

This degree of organizational systemic rot has to come from the head. I think that much is obvious. Something in Acorn’s organizational culture made these people feel that it was okay and expected for them to give the criminal advice that they did. Certainly, if Acorn had been a private for-profit company, three separate and wholly unrelated incidents would have been enough for leftists to demand the heads of the corporate officers.

The really disturbing part is how in all three cases the managers of the Acorn offices don’t even bat an eye when the journalist asks about setting up a brothel. Further, they seem to have the logistics and legal tangles of using a brothel to fund a political career already well thought out. I don’t know about you, but if someone ask me how to run a brothel using minors and how to funnel that money into the a political campaign, I would have to stop and think about it for while. The fact that they have the answers already queued up and ready to go tells us one thing…

The emphasis here is that it's the same failure. The same response to a given stimulus. That makes it extremely hard to say "it's all a coincidence".

The really disturbing part is how in all three cases the managers of the Acorn offices don’t even bat an eye when the journalist asks about setting up a brothel. Further, they seem to have the logistics and legal tangles of using a brothel to fund a political career already well thought out. I don’t know about you, but if someone ask me how to run a brothel using minors and how to funnel that money into the a political campaign, I would have to stop and think about it for while. The fact that they have the answers already queued up and ready to go tells us one thing…

They knew how to do this; they had plans on how to do this. Not just one office, but many offices. They were not surprised when a pimp came to them for advice.

But this is what I really don’t understand:

This systemic criminality is an act of treason against both Acorn’s supporters and the people they were supposed to help! There is no other word for this level of betrayal. Honestly, what greater crime could an organization commit against the sensibilities and trust of leftists than to support criminal activities that degrade the communities of our nation’s most poor and helpless? What greater sin is there in the leftists’ lexicon than the literal sexual enslavement of children?

Where is the blind rage from the left? Why aren’t they mobbing the offices of Acorn and dragging the corporate officers out into the street? How bad do things have to become within a leftist organization before the rest of the left says, “Enough! You are no longer part of us!” How long will it take for the left to cast Acorn from the fold? How long before they stop making excuses and condemning those who brought this evil to light and instead clean their own house?

Remember this the next time someone says how inherently heartless the Right is and how inherently moral the Left is.


Remember that it took two outsiders to do this undercover operation, and when they broke the story it was still ignored by the Mass media. They did not want to do this story and when it came out they did their best to ignore it; they're still trying to ignore it.

What do you call a news organization that concentrates less on reporting the news and more on keeping unpleasant facts from emerging?

Oh look, it's up to four now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mass Media loosing it.

The bulk of the media is doing its best to ignore the ACORN story.

Go to the link to hear what the NYT et al, literally don't want you to know.

Glen Reynolds: So how will the NYT, and other big-media outfits that have ignored the ACORN scandals so far, explain this to their readers? The same way they explained Van Jones’ resignation, I guess . . . .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A review of Obama's speech.

Powerline I think has the most detailed analysis of the speech, so here's a few quotations from it.

One striking aspect of the speech was that Obama kept talking about the "plan" that he "announced" tonight--but there is no plan; not in writing, anyway.


Here are some excerpts from the speech that I thought were noteworthy:

Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare tactics.

Then, a few minutes later:

Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result.

By far the biggest scaremonger on this issue has been Obama himself.

Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed.

I'm not sure whether Obama and his handlers understand how this sort of talk grates on those of us who are not liberal Democrats (a large majority of the country). Debating public policy issues is not "bickering." Disagreeing with a proposal to radically change one of the largest sectors of our economy is not a "game." This kind of gratuitous insult--something we never heard from President Bush, for example--is one of the reasons why many consider Obama to be mean-spirited.

I assume most people noticed how, in tonight's speech, Obama's assurance that we will not lose our present insurance coverage has been scaled back. This was after thousands of critics pointed out that under the Democrats' proposals, many people (more than 100 million according to some estimates) will in fact lose the insurance coverage they now have.


Consider the analogy to life insurance: could a dying, 90-year-old person expect an insurance company to issue him a million dollar life insurance policy? Maybe, but it would cost close to a million dollars. Why can life insurance companies sell policies at rates that people consider reasonable? Only because they are insuring against premature death, and the insured has been paying premiums for many years, during most of which time there was little risk of his dying. The same principle applies, pretty closely, to health insurance.

Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

No, it isn't. The Democrats' bill doesn't call the agencies it sets up "death panels," it says they will decide on "best practices." But any socialized medicine scheme saves money by rationing care. Who gets shorted, the politically powerful? No, of course not; the elderly and those who are otherwise helpless. In the United Kingdom, the death panel goes by the Orwellian acronym "NICE."

As Steven Green says in his much breifer but more colorful "drunkblog" of the speech:
5:32PM Correction: Preventative care does save lives, but it costs more money, not less. Nothing costs less than a dead patient. Don’t forget that. Ever.

Give his account a read too.

Back to Powerline

In fact, Obama and Congressional Democrats have zero interest in increasing choice and competition. If they did, there is an easy solution. There are over 1,000 health insurance companies in the United States; why do you think it is that in Alabama, one company has 90 percent of the business? It is because there are major legal obstacles to insurance companies operating across state lines. State legislatures, and lots of the companies, like it this way. Competition is hard. But if Obama really wanted to expand "choice and competition" in health care, all he would have to do is go along with the Republican proposal to allow health insurance companies to sell on a national basis. Like, say, computer companies, beer companies, automobile companies, law firms, and pretty much everyone else. The Democrats' refusal to allow existing health insurance companies to compete against each other nationwide, more than anything else, puts the lie to their nonsense about "choice and competition."

Now, I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business.

Really? We've all seen the YouTube video where Obama says that under his plan, private health insurance will be driven into extinction over a period of ten to twenty years. Has he changed his mind? When? Why? Does President Obama fail to understand the ubiquity of YouTube? Does he not understand that many millions of Americans consider him a liar when he says things like this?

Emphasis added. And its interesting that such a "tech savy" and "skilled communicator" forgets that his past statements can be called up and directly contrasted with what he's saying now. How stupid does he think we are?

Is it churlish to point out that profits are not overhead? It might be if this were just a slip of the tongue on the stump. But this was a speech that was carefully crafted by Obama and his top advisers. They really do not know the first thing about business or economics. So why should we put them in charge of our economy?

I want to speak directly to America's seniors for a moment, because Medicare is another issue that's been subjected to demagoguery and distortion during the course of this debate.

Actually, the administration has said that around half the cost of the plan, $500 billion, would be paid for by cuts in Medicare. So it isn't exactly "demagoguery and distortion" to suggest that there might be cuts in Medicare.

And some wonder why there's a lack of trust in the intentions and competence of government.

But wait! If we can identify hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and we know how to eliminate it, why haven't we done so already? Why don't we do so--right now!--regardless of the administration's highly controversial health care bill?

There is no possible answer to these questions. The Obama plan--whatever it is, once reduced to writing--depends for most of its financing on the bare assertion that we are currently wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, and that we will stop wasting that money only if taxpayers knuckle under to Obamacare.

So the takeaway message is "Shut up" Stop pointing out the flaws in the "Plan" stop questioning the government, stop "bickering" Just Shut up.

Where have we heard that before?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Aaaaannnnnndd - under the bus.

Van Jones, resigned.

This is another "I told you so" for the White House's critics. Huh, guess Obama wasn't above putting radicals on his staff. Oh and the excitable overly-dramatic Glen Beck was right about this.

And talk about timing the release for burial.

According to Chuck Todd of MSNBC just now on Twitter, “Van Jones has resigned. Release just went out after midnight eastern.”

And another "tweet"

As Andy Levy Of Fox News’ Red Eye show notes on Twitter, “Won’t it be weird when people who don’t get their news from the internet or FNC have no idea who the guy who resigned is?”

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More "pesky math"

Glen Reynolds has that unemployment chart. The one that shows the Whitehouses projections versus... reality.

Note how badly wrong the White House’s pre-stimulus projections were. Remember this when you hear their healthcare projections . . . .

That's what I don't get. Even if you support everything the WH and Congress claim about healthcare, why do you believe them? Why do you trust that things will actually go the way they promise?

Meanwhile people that aren't stary-eyed with faith in government not a certain... pattern.

Who could have warned us that a man who served seven years in the state legislature and three years in the Senate would not have been prepared for the toughest executive position in the Free World? We did. Repeatedly. So did John McCain, and for that matter, so did Hillary Clinton.

"Oooh. Van Jones, alright! So, Van Jones. We were so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House. -

-We were watching him, uh, really, he's not that old, for as long as he's been active out in Oakland. And all the creative ideas he has. And so now, we have captured that. And we have all that energy in the White House."

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs on Van Jones.

And what creative ideas does Mr. Jones have?

A self-proclaimed Communist. A vulgar Marxist twice over. A supporter of cold-blooded cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal. A 9/11 Truther . A racist hater, whose hatred extends to the United States. And insofar as his current job is concerned, we have a man who sees the "green jobs" con as a tool for overthrowing capitalism. We have, in short, the complete left-wing nightmare package.

Don't you feel better that Obama's expanded all those czars. Remember the promises of transparancy?

Hopechange! Read it all. This is a story the mass media won't cover (itself a story).

Well at least Jones doesn't advocate mandatory sterlilizations of undesirables, unlike some of Obama's staff.

Some other thoughts.
The problems with Van “change the system” Jones are not just his serial slurs against much of American society (“an apartheid regime”) as we know it (e.g., capitalism, the coal industry, American farming, the white population, the Bush administration (for causing 9/11), the Republican “***holes”, etc. — but that he simply cannot tell the truth about his own history, in disavowing almost everything he has said, written, or signed in the recent past. (His involvement with the 9/11 “Bush did it” lunacy has a heritage beyond just his written endorsement).
Worse still, by its own admission, the Obama administration seems to have monitored Jones and selected him for his czardom precisely because of, not despite, his flamboyant past.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Going Galt.... on education?

At least for a day.

Obama wants to address the nation's youth.


Students could discuss their responses to the following questions:
What do you think the President wants us to do?

Does the speech make you want to do anything?

Steven Green's response:

Now my son is young enough that he won’t be subjected to the President’s smiling face, dulcet tones, and calls to action. He won’t be pressured by his teachers or peers to go along or get with the program.

Your kids might not be so lucky.

In impossible times, the only way to be a responsible parent is to do the irresponsible thing. If my son were in a public school…

I’d call him in sick next Tuesday. I’d keep him home. I suggest you do so. I urge you to do so. If pressed, be honest about your reasons — but be reasonable about presenting them. Otherwise, don’t offer an explanation. Make it a silent protest.

Steven Green's not the only one that advises you to do something.


The whole problem with healthcare being a "right"

There is no automatic “right” to goods or services that must be produced by another — that would be state-sanctioned theft or slavery.

The article goes into what it actually means to ration. It's similar to the issue of what censorship auctally is. In that the key is ability or inability of goverment to exercise force on invididuals.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What does it mean to be exceptional?

Bill Whittle uses facts and math to answer the question: Is America exceptional?

He looks at 4 measures:

1 Military
2 Economic
3 Scientific
4 Cultural

And he uses math and numbers. The horror. Watch it and see if you don't agree that there is something unique about America.

Then wonder what it takes for supposedly intelligent people to not see it.

And any piece that mentions Norman Borlaug is worth it.

Seriously. if all you get out of this is learning a bit about Norman Borlaug then that's enough.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So which side is using the paid goons?

Steven Crowder goes undercover to expose those sinister astroturfers using big money to push an undemocratic agenda.

Watch it all, as he explains what 33k a year gets you and where it comes from.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A question

Ed Morrissey:
what authority does the federal government have to set up commissars for private industry at all? This question becomes even more urgent when these “czars” have no accountability to or oversight from Congress, whether they choose to exercise it or not. Obama has more czars than Cabinet members now, and none of them required any confirmation from the Senate or answer to anyone but the President.

That's right, more czars that Cabinet members. It's almost like a shadow government.

Glen Reynolds shows a list of just who these people are and what they're czars of.


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Power & Danger of Iconography: The Resistance Steals Obama's Weapons

Bill Whittle shows the dangers and weaknesses of Obama's symbols.

Here's just a taste. Notice how Obama's still using his campaign symbol for all this official White House stuff? Just imagine if Bush had kept using his W for everything he did after his elections.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Again with the Turst

Glen Reynolds has some thoughts
My thought has been that — in order to avoid the perception of an Obama defeat — Congress would eventually pass some sort of watered-down bill, proclaim health care “reformed,” and declare victory. But the trust-level is so low now — with a majority of voters saying that it would be better if nothing passed at all — that I’m not sure that approach is viable. Once you don’t trust reports of what’s in the bill, you’re not likely to trust reports that “we’ve fixed all the problems.” Indeed, I think opposition to health care is largely about distrust of the entire political class, which is something you can’t fix with a few amendments.


Yes. And trust, once lost, is hard to regain. Just ask the Republicans . . . .

Part of Obama's appeal was that many people wanted to believe him, his promises of new politics, of transparency, of moving beyond petty partisanship was a salve to people that were sick of politics and wanted... Change.

Which was exactly why Obama said those things.

But, in the end, reality wins. Obama's promises are crumbling before his actual performance.

And once you start seeing the gap between rhetoric and reality, it's hard to unsee it.

More on the Healthcare Snake Oil.

Using logic? Well you're just a cynic.

Under the plan discussed at President Obama’s infomercial-esqe town halls, America would cut costs and expand coverage while avoiding rationing. Apparently, it’s paranoid to think that’s too good to be true.

Imagine you’re in charge of bringing pie to a company picnic. You’re planning to provide dessert for 100 people. Then, your boss says you need to hand out pie to 150. Fine, you say, I’ll make more pies. But — oh no! — you can’t, because you’ve also been told costs must go down. Okay, then you can cut slices of the existing pies smaller so everyone can have a piece. Wait! You can’t do that either, because you’re not allowed to ration (i.e., give less to more).

According to Obama, the health-care pie will be sliced into more pieces, of equal or greater size than available now, for less money — all because government is so much better than the private sector at managing large projects.

Emphasis added. Yes, a man that compars his health care plans to the Post Office in terms of competitiveness and service wonders why we don't trust him.

Such contradictions run through the talking points for Obamacare. Consider life expectancy. In his big speech before the American Medical Association in June, Obama insisted that “the quality of our care is often lower, and we aren’t any healthier. In fact, citizens in some countries that spend substantially less than we do are actually living longer than we do.”


Even greater disparities exist within America. Asian-American women, according to a 2006 study by Harvard’s School of Public Health, have a life expectancy of 87 years, while for African-American men it’s 69. The healthiest white people in America are the low-income folks of the Northern Plains states. Again, is our health-care system the biggest factor?

It's like people that don't understand parametric influence are trying to use whatever they can grab to justifty controling your life.

But here’s the kicker: The more life expectancy improves, the more we will spend on health care. Despite his professed outrage over charges of “death panels” and whatnot, Obama admits this. In an interview with the New York Times last spring, he acknowledged that oldsters are a “huge driver of cost.” The “chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health-care bill out here,” Obama explained. Which is why he advocated an advisory panel of experts to offer “guidance” on end-of-life care and costs. But don’t you dare call it a “death panel.”


When it comes to civil liberties, liberals are often distrustful of government power. But, for reasons that baffle me, they are quite comfortable with Uncle Sam getting into the business of deciding, or providing “guidance” on, which lives are more valuable than others. A government charged with extending life expectancy must meddle not just with our health care, but with what we eat, how we drive, how we live. A government determined to cut costs must meddle not just with how we live, but how we die.

Goldberg continues here

A point I didn't flesh out too much in my column seems to have struck a chord with a lot of readers nonetheless. Once the government decides it is in charge of health care, it has a say in everything you do (this, natch, was an argument of my book). Guns, diet, and cars are more relevant to our slightly lower life expectancy than insurance premiums and reimbursement rates, so of course Henry Waxman and Barbara Boxer and the rest of the gang are going to use their control over the health-care system as an excuse to go after those aspects of our lives. Why wouldn't they? They already want to influence those aspects of our lives now. Health care is really the only other policy area — after "the children" and global warming — that gives the State access to the most private spheres of our lives. Whenever someone says "it's a health-care issue" it's somehow supposed to trump traditional rights and liberties. That's what the push in the 1990s to make gun control a health-care issue was all about. That's why cameras once used to catch terrorists are now used to catch people eating in their cars in the U.K.

I've never heard anyone say something is a "health-care issue" as a preface to an argument for getting the government out of something.

It's like they're just looking for an excuse to control your life. For your own good, of course.

Turst, again....

There are smart and experienced people who say whatever the mess right now, the president will get a bill of some sort because he has the brute numeric majority. A rising number say no, this thing has roused such ire he won't get much if anything. I don't know, but this is true: If he wins it, will be a victory not worth having. It will have cost too much. It has lessened the thing an admired president must have from the people, and that is trust.

It is divisive save in one respect. The Obama White House has done the near impossible: It has united the Republican Party. Social conservatives, economic conservatives, libertarians—they're all against the health-care schemes as presented so far. They're shoulder-to-shoulder at the barricade again.

And more on that tricky, tricky math.

Prevantative care, a cost savings?

Think of it this way. Assume that a screening test for disease X costs $500 and finding it early averts $10,000 of costly treatment at a later stage. Are you saving money? Well, if one in 10 of those who are screened tests positive, society is saving $5,000. But if only one in 100 would get that disease, society is shelling out $40,000 more than it would without the preventive care.

Tricksy math!

That's a hypothetical case. What's the real-life actuality in the United States today? A study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, "if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success," the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country's total medical bill by 162 percent. Elmendorf additionally cites a definitive assessment in the New England Journal of Medicine that reviewed hundreds of studies on preventive care and found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't be preventing illness. Of course we should. But in medicine, as in life, there is no free lunch. The idea that prevention is somehow intrinsically economically different from treatment -- that treatment increases costs and prevention lowers them -- is simply nonsense.

Read the rest.

Here's a bit of a history lesson for all those that complain about the "uncivility". Just a few examples of the protests that took place under the last president.
President as National Socialist, then and now

It's kind of hard to sell a product when you don't know what it acutally is.

Plans? What Plans?
Remember how Bush was supposed to be the idiot who went into Iraq without a plan, while Obama was supposed to be the cool methodical one? But Reich is admitting that despite all the Administration hoopla, there’s still no plan. Or, possibly, that the White House has a plan, but won’t tell us what it is. And yet the people who don’t want to see a bill — some bill, doing who-knows-what — rammed through in the dead of night are somehow the ones who are ignorant and being manipulated. Right.

Hope for Rights?

Maybe there is some hope

SCENES FROM A NEW AMERICA: So I dropped the girls off at a movie, and — since the Insta-wife was lunching with her mom — stopped at a Sonny’s Barbecue for lunch. A man — late 40s, big, with a wife and a daughter — came in with an empty holster on his belt. As he sat down at the booth next to mine, the manager came by and asked him if he’d left his gun in the car. Yes, said the man, who had a permit but thought he wasn’t allowed to carry in restaurants in Tennessee.. Well, they’ve changed the law, said the manager, and if you want to go get it that’s fine with us. It’s legal now, and I’m happy to have you carrying — if somebody tries to rob me, it’s two against one.

The man stepped outside and returned with a Springfield XD in the holster, chatted with the manager for a bit about guns, and then sat down and had lunch with his family.

Glen continues with more examples.

One of the goals of gun-controllers over the past several decades was to “denormalize” gun ownership, stigmatizing it instead as something deviant and suspect. It appears to have failed.

Says Uncle has some thoughts on the trend against demonization.

More states have concealed carry than don’t. AWB not renewed. And quite a few other pro-gun victories. People seem more friendly to gun owners. And people who have never shot before want to go shooting. Issuance of handgun carry permits is at a record high.

I’ve often attributed it to grassroots activists who, with Al Gore’s internets, seem to have gained a knack for working together. But I’ve also realized something else is having an influence. Cable/satellite TeeVee. In a recent episode of Mythbusters (posted earlier about some safety concerns), Jamie was pulling out a .50 caliber and made a comment about how if you were a gun enthusiast, the 50 caliber was awesome. Then, the show Timewarp did an episode on automatic weapons.

All kinds of educational programs on cable TeeVee deal with weapons and guns. Mail Call, Timewarp, Mythbusters, Tales of the Gun, and there are even hour long shows devoted to the history of a particular gun. People didn’t have this stuff piped into their homes 30 years ago. Now, they do. People became acclimated to guns instead of afraid of them. And people see them and realize what gun nuts knew all along: guns are fucking cool. And when handled appropriately, they’re safe.

The gun control movement depends on ignorance and lies. Look at their muddying of semi-auto versus auto, their creation of "assault weapons" based on cosmetic features. They depend on you staying ignorant and afraid. Knowledge and experience is the best way to fight it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More on Trust.

I've mentioned sketpism about the accuracy of polls before, which is why minor shifts on day to day can easilly be discounted, but they are an interesting insight into trends.

Speaking of trends. Scroll down to his Approval Index and Job Approval.

Those trends are well outside any jitter or error.

From Ace: Rasmussen: For First Time in Over Two Years, GOP More Trusted on Health Care; Super-Popular President Who Men Want to Be and Women Want to Be With Now at All-Time Low of 47%

Fox News poll: 69% now expect Obama to break promise about not raising taxes
There’s so much dismal news for The One in these crosstabs, I honestly wasn’t sure to lead with. The GOP erasing a 13-point Democratic lead on the generic ballot in April to pull dead even now? 57 percent declaring the White House snitch line inappropriate? A 52/29 split on the question of whether town hall outrage is authentic or artificial? Or a 13-point surge in the number of people since March who say they’d like to see less of The One on TV? (Overall split is 25/49, among independents it’s 22/50.)


Note: Even a near-majority of Democrats no longer buys the White House nonsense about not raising taxes on the middle class.

It's like people are feeling betrayed by Obama and Congress and feeling that they can't trust him and them.

I wonder why?

There's gotta be some reason?


It's not like dissident has gone from the highest from of patriotism to "evil-mongers". Oh... wait.

Consider this further proof, though, that William McGurn was right in dubbing ObamaCare the left’s new religion, with protester-heretics now officially deemed “evil” for shouting about it. Exit question: Isn’t this actually the left’s line on the right in all policy disagreements? Pick any issue you like, foreign or domestic, and liberal conventional wisdom has some nefarious explanation available for the conservative position. Warmongering, racism, exploiting the poor, “controlling women’s bodies” — you name it, they’ve got an “evil” ulterior motive to account for it. I wonder why it took Reid this long to drop the E-bomb. He must really want to win this debate.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why don't they believe him?

So at the Townhall where Obama assured us he wasn't being questioned by all plants we have...

A doctor that's not really a doctor and a cute kid that asks why people are mean to the President... who coincidentially happens to have parents with major campaign ties.

Lying about medical credentials (Was it too hard to find a real doctor that could toss Obama a softball question?) and using kids as plants, but it's those against the bill that are manufactured outrage.

And sure Obama's willing to use cheap theatrics and obvious lies to push his agenda, but that doesn't mean what he's selling is bad.

What you don't trust him?

No wonder the public is more sympathetic to Town Hall Protesters than not

In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say the sometimes heated protests at sessions held by members of Congress have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views; 21% say they are less sympathetic.

Independents by 2-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now.

The findings are bad news for President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders, who have scrambled to respond to town halls marked by aggressive questions and noisy demonstrations by those opposed to plans to overhaul the health care system.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


John Stewart notes: “You know a sales pitch is in trouble when it starts with Look, you gotta trust me, we’re not going to kill your grandparents! These hot dogs, I'm selling you, they're not made of pig anus!"

Be kind of nice if Stewart went into why people are having a hard time buying what Obama's selling.

Via Glen Reynolds

Who also notes a mix of handpicked softball questioners and Claire McCaskill's own trust gap.

Meanwhile Althouse wonders about something that's... missing from the healthcare debate.

Another Digest

Here's another roundup of stuff.


As Jim Treacher says: If Kenneth Gladney was an Obama supporter, right now he'd be more famous than Rodney King.

Gotta love this "post-racial America": Democrat union heavies can beat up a black guy using racial epithets and leave him in a wheelchair unable to speak - and happily (unlike, say, a black professor being asked for picture ID) it's not "symbolic" of anything at all. Not a Sharpton in sight to speak up for him: Mr Gladney's only shot at fame is an entry in The Guinness Book Of Records under "Least Famous Black Hate-Crime Victim In America".

Online Rumors Aren't What Is Sinking ObamaCare

Ramesh asks a simple, clear question: Are we really to put our faith in Obama's contradictory claims that "the system is an unsustainable disaster, but you can keep your piece of it if you want"?.

I've wondered how the bill is going to simultaneously cover the uninsured, expand care, and cut costs all at once; put more succinctly, they're promising the new system will spend less money and more money at the same time.

The common theme is that the Obama administration is making multiple promises that are impossible to keep; the response is basically... "shut up, you domestic terrorist"?

Activists against Obamacare are "mob", Un-American, and paid Insurance-company shills, but it's perfectly okay when the Whitehouse makes backroom deals to get this:

The drug industry has authorized its lobbyists to spend as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting President Obama’s health care overhaul, beginning over the August Congressional recess, people briefed on the plans said Saturday.

The unusually large scale of the industry’s commitment to the cause helps explain some of a contentious back-and-forth playing out in recent days between the odd-couple allies over a deal that the White House struck with the industry in June to secure its support. The terms of the deal were not fully disclosed.

From the same link. Take a guess on which side is paying it's protesters about $11-16 and hour.
Just guess.

From the SEIU:

Opponents of reform are organizing counter-demonstrators to speak at this and several congressional town halls on the issue to defend the status quo. It is critical that our members with real, personal stories about the need for access to quality, affordable care come out in strong numbers to drown out their voices.

Someone better tell them that Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer find "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."

And one has to love how people against these government plans are "counter-demonstrators". What next calling people that dare to speak out against the state "counter revolutionary wreckers"?

By any other name...

Robert Wright notes that “we already ration health care; we just let the market do the rationing.” This is a true point made by the proponents of health care reform. But I’m not sure why it’s supposed to be so interesting. You could make this statement about any good:

“We already ration food; we just let the market do the rationing.”

“We already ration gasoline; we just let the market do the rationing.”

“We already ration cigarettes; we just let the market do the rationing.”

And indeed, this was an argument that was made in favor of socialism. (No, okay, I’m not calling you socialists!) And yet, most of us realize that there are huge differences between price rationing and government rationing, and that the latter is usually much worse for everyone. This is one of the things that most puzzles me about the health care debate: statements that would strike almost anyone as stupid in the context of any other good suddenly become dazzling insights when they’re applied to hip replacements and otitis media.

Yes for some reason HealthCare is special, unique from other services.

From the Prof
Also, the market doesn’t deny you a hip replacement or a pacemaker because someone in government thinks your political views are “un-American.” Given the cronyism and thuggery we’ve seen with the bailouts, etc., I’m not confident this would hold true under a government health program. And I’m absolutely certain there would be a special track for insiders and favorites.

Someone doesn't think he can trust congress or the President to be ethical.

Megan McArdlecontinues

But there is also a real difference between having something rationed by a process and having it rationed by a person. That is, in fact, why progressives are so fond of rules. They don't want to tell grandma to take morphine instead of getting a pacemaker. It's much nicer if you create a mathematical formula that makes some doctor tell grandma to take morphine instead of getting a pacemaker. Then the doctor can disclaim responsibility too, because after all, no one really has any agency here--we're all just in the grips of an impersonal force.

But this won't do. If you design a formula to deny granny a pacemaker, knowing that this is the intent of the formula, then you've killed granny just as surely as if you'd ordered the doctor to do it directly. That's the intuition behind the conservative resistance to switching from price rationing to fiat rationing. Using the government's coercive power to decide the price of something, or who ought to get it, is qualitatively different from the same outcome arising out of voluntary actions in the marketplace.

Anger... justified?

I am not, and would not, endorse criminal mob behavior. But exhibitions of anger and spirit when one is justifiably angry and spirited are entirely appropriate. Making clear to a pol who is trying to insult your intelligence that you don't appreciate it is entirely appropriate.

I just don't get the detachment from the real world here. We're not talking trivia here. We're talking about what kind of country we're going to be from here on out. That's something worth getting whipped up about. If we're not whipped up, we lose. If we are whipped up and the Democrats try to use that fact as an excuse to ram this through, then they were going to ram it through anyway.

We are a heavy underdog. To prevail, the needle we have to thread is to convince enough Dems and RINOs that there will be electoral hell to pay if this monstrosity is enacted. That requires an authentic demonstration of fervor. It's unfortunate that some people will go overboard — as happens in any human endeavor — but that's no reason to treat this as if it were an academic exercise. If that's the approach, the game — like the country as we know it — is lost.

At least there's some good news.

Rasmussen: Support For Health Care Reform Falling

I hate posting poll reports because given all the variables of sampling, the wording of questions and other elements, it's hard to tell what they mean but you can certainly see the trend of support for the whole enterprise eroding.
Obama didn't pick his August deadline out of thin air. He knew what this month would mean.

BTW-for those Democrats who say they want an 'honest and respectful debate'...bullshit. If Obama, Pelosi and Reid had their way, the bill would have been passed and signed by now with no chance of debate. If people are mad at what you are trying to do and how you tried to do it, too bad.

And the results:

opposition to the plan has increased to 53%, up nine points since late June.
More significantly, 44% of voters strongly oppose the health care reform effort versus 26% who strongly favor it. Intensity has been stronger among opponents of the plan since the debate began.

...As for the protesters at congressional town hall meetings, 49% believe they are genuinely expressing the views of their neighbors, while 37% think they’ve been put up to it by special interest groups and lobbyists.

"In related news, we have always been at war with Eastasia."

Obama Aug, 19 2008 “If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system,”
Obama Aug, 11 2009 "I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system,"

Compare the two videos.

So who you gonna believe? The President or your lying eyes?

And the Dems wonder why the public is being so hostile and untrusting of them

Rand Simberg nails it: "Just how stupid does he think we are? And how clueless is he if he thinks that we can’t find this kind of thing on the Internet?"

Sure he's insulting your intelligence, but that doesn't mean you can't trust him to run your medical care.