Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The end of proxy socialism

Obamacare: More than 2 million people getting booted from existing health insurance plans - CBS News: "That means consumers have to sign on to new plans even if they don't want or need the more generous coverage."

Note to proxy socialists: it is not a more 'generous' plan if you have to pay for it. If you tell me it is illegal to buy the economy car I want to buy and force me, by way of a fine (excuse me, 'tax'), to buy a more expensive car, it would hardly make sense to say the car company is being more 'generous.'

Of course, this has been going on throughout the 20th century as politicians took credit for forcing companies to pay more and buy more 'generous' cars by the simple expedient of making it illegal to pay less or sell less 'generous' cars, but the government always did so in small steps so that the pain was imperceptible, so it worked politically. The Obama administration made the mistake of moving so quickly and abruptly that the scam was apparent.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Speaking Truth to Power...and your own

‘Uncomfortable truth’ in Matthew Shepard’s death | New York Post:
Gay himself, Stephen Jimenez challenges the conventional wisdom that Matthew Shepard was killed because he was gay. He argues, after extensive research that one of his murders was the gay lover of Shepard and that Shepard had been in the habit of trading sex for meth. McKinney, one of Shepard's murders and lovers, had been strung out on meth for a week before the killing, making the Shepard's death more about drugs than about homophobia.

Jimenez has been attacked for telling the story by his fellow gays.

In my opinion, stories that preport to illustrate some terrible, deep hatred of the Americans of fly-over country for some favored minority group should be judged untruthful until proven otherwise. The coastal elites are too ready to believe anything that supports their cultural suppositions and justifies their power to inquire too closely into the actual facts.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Refusal to See What is "In Front of Your Nose"

As Mark Steyn explains, writing in the wake of the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, whenever people are killed in an attack by Muslim terrorists, polite opinion blames anything but Militant Islam:

"Same with the Muslims who beheaded a British soldier, Drummer Rigby, on a London street in broad daylight. On that occasion, David Cameron assured us that the unfortunate incident was "a betrayal of Islam. . . . There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act." 
How does he know? Mr. Cameron is not (yet) a practicing Muslim. A self-described "vaguely practicing" Anglican, he becomes rather less vague and unusually forceful and emphatic when the subject turns to Islam. At the Westgate mall in Nairobi, the terrorists separated non-Muslim hostages from Muslims and permitted the latter to leave if they could recite a Muslim prayer—a test I doubt Mr. Cameron could have passed, for all his claims to authority on what is and isn't Islamic. So the perpetrators seem to think it's something to do with Islam—and, indeed, something to do with Muslims in the United Kingdom, given that the terrorists included British subjects (as well as U.S. citizens)."
It is difficult to defeat an enemy whom you don't have the courage to name. 

Shouldn't he have thought of this before he voted for it?

Dem. Senator: 'Nobody Should Be Forced to Buy a Policy that Costs More than What They Had and Is Inferior'

The reason people are being forced to by inferior policies at higher prices is that the superior and lower priced policies have been made illegal by the law his party passed. As badly as the shutdown fiasco went for the Republicans they will at least have the comfort of knowing that in the public mind they are completely and irrevocably severed from any responsibility for Obamacare.

Shouldn't he have thought of this before he voted for it?

Dem. Senator: 'Nobody Should Be Forced to Buy a Policy that Costs More than What They Had and Is Inferior'

The reason people are being forced to by inferior policies at higher prices is that the superior and lower priced policies have been made illegal by the law his party passed. As badly as the shutdown fiasco went for the Republicans they will at least have the comfort of knowing that in the public mind they are completely and irrevocably severed from any responsibility for Obamacare.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Don't just know your enemy, take his advice

Roger Simon describes how Conservatives can use Alinsky's tactics to their own advantage in fighting against Obama (himself a follower of Alinsky):

Roger L. Simon: Alinsky Lessons for Republicans

If you like your coverage, you can keep it, period..

The outrage of Obamacare isn't the wrecking of the individual insurance market, it is the destruction it has wrought in the group insurance market.

More People Getting Cancellation Notices In The Mail Than Enrolling In Obamacare Plans

Sometimes the most important thing a man is telling you is what he is not telling you

Michael Barone points out that the most important thing said in the Shutdown debate was what was not said: the Dog That Didn't Bark--Taxes.

Is this racist?

I haven't seen the whole interview, but it seems to me this is being blown up a bit out of proportion. I think Comedy Central will have the whole interview up tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blaming the victim?

Several of my students in my first year Introduction to American Politics class, when asked to name the biggest problem our country's government has, described some variant of the influence of businesses and special interests on politics bought by their campaign contributions. But what if it is the other way around? What if it is not the businesses and special interests that are getting politicians to do their bidding but the politicians that are extracting money from businesses and the productive economy? Peter Schweizer argues in a NYT's oped that it is the political class that squeezes the private sector by proposing laws that would be detrimental to their interests and extorting campaign contributions from them in exchange for seeing that the laws are never passed.

Politician's Extortion Racket - NYTimes.com: "Take the maneuver known inside the Beltway as the “tollbooth.” Here the speaker of the House or a powerful committee chairperson will create a procedural obstruction or postponement on the eve of an important vote. Campaign contributions are then implicitly solicited. If the tribute offered by those in favor of the bill’s passage is too small (or if the money from opponents is sufficiently high), the bill is delayed and does not proceed down the legislative highway.
Republicans and Democrats are equal opportunity offenders here. The solution is not changing who runs government but reducing the scope and amount of discretion of government's power over our lives.

Don't hate him, laugh at him....

From the continuing adventures of the smartest president in the history of everything comes his latest defense of the ongoing website debacle...
President leads a surreal pep rally for ailing Obamacare | WashingtonExaminer.com: "Nothing about the event seemed to go smoothly. For example, Obama said anyone having trouble with the Obamacare website could call an 800 number to apply for coverage. "You can get your questions answered by real people, 24 hours a day, in 150 different languages," Obama said. But a short time later, the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein tried the system and tweeted what he learned: "Can't make this up. Got through to 800 number, followed prompts, and got referred to Healthcare.gov.""
The thing that the right has gotten wrong about Obama is that the way to fight him is not to angrily denounce him but to laugh at him. Has there ever been a president so self-righteous, humorless and condescending to his enemies? And now the team that revolutionized the use of the web in political campaigns has botched the one part of Obamacare that everyone expected they would be able to get right: the website.

The thing that is strange here is how the President seems to be able to get away with happy-talking this thing, not really explaining what went wrong or being confronted with the obvious questions like, "How could this thing be so messed up and he had no idea?"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Missing the point: Why should you school depend on your address?

Jessica Gross expresses concern and perplexity over the increasing income segregation of the US, with the rich living near the rich and the poor living near the poor.

So what’s going on here? Why are more affluent Americans with children clustering together now than they did in the '70s? Presumably wealthy people have always wanted their kids to live in areas that had good public schools and low crime rates—what’s changed?

She and her fellow NPR Liberal attribute it to rich people using zoning laws to keep out the poor, but then why is that the rich are so concerned to keep out the poor or even the not all that rich in the first place?

Because in liberal America your school depends on your address. You don't have to live within bus distance to Harvard to go to Harvard but the quality of the education your child receives K-12 depends on your zip code. If you gave parents the money instead of school administrators and allowed parents to choose address would become irrelevant, but that would expose bad government schools--and their loyal teachers union members--to competition.

There is also another overlooked element here, the way that changes in our criminal justice and mental health system since the 1960s has made it harder for local communities to set standards and to control crimes and acts of public disorder.

In short, I believe big government has created these problems, not the free market and not local prejudice. Remember, government helps insiders, not outsiders. Teachers, homeowners and lawyers are the insiders. The working guy that just wants to be able to send his kid to a better school that would cost less than the government is spending on "free" education, the mother that would like to be able to have the crazy guy wandering around her neighborhood smelling of urine and cursing to himself put in a hospital rather than have the cops ask her if the guy has actually tried to hurt anyone yet, they are not insiders. They are not helped by the government. Their only function is to express their gratitude for its beneficence and to pay for it. Suckers.

Shameless promotion, err..., enlightened self-interest

Ok, I get $5 if you buy their razors for a dollar, but I promise the add is worth paying a dollar to see (though maybe not the $2 shipping and handling).

The French Revolution had some good points

There was one project of the French Revolution that would definately have been a service to human kind.

France's first full team of computers, however—people making calculations in an organized network that would foreshadow computers of a more mechanical variety—was assembled in the early 1790s by Gaspard de Prony, the engineer and mathematician who would be known, later on, for his work with hydraulics. These human computers had a typically France-post-revolution assignment: to produce logarithmic and trigonometric tables that would help France in its work of decimalizing trigonometry. (The goal? To do for angle measurements what the metric system was doing for mass and length, democratizing measurement for a new republic.)

That would have been a wonderful advance and one wonders why it never happened. I had until recently assumed that there was some logical reason that we measure angles in geometry on the basis of a 360 degree system but it turn out that is was just an historical accident due to the Babylonians.

Generation Sucker: Update

An unlikely class-warrior explains why young Obama voters are suckers:

While many seniors believe they are simply drawing out the "savings" they were forced to deposit into Social Security and Medicare, they are actually drawing out much more, especially relative to later generations. That's because politicians have voted to award the seniors ever more generous benefits. As a result, while today's 65-year-olds will receive on average net lifetime benefits of $327,400, children born now will suffer net lifetime losses of $420,600 as they struggle to pay the bills of aging Americans.

One of the great ironies of the Obama presidency is that it has been a disaster for the young people who form the core of his political coalition. High unemployment is paired with exploding debt that they will have to finance whenever they eventually find jobs.

Are the kids finally figuring out that the Obama economy is a lousy deal for them? "No, I don't sense that," says Mr. Druckenmiller, who is a registered independent. "But one of my points is neither party should own your vote. And once they know they own your vote, you're not going to get any action on this particular issue."

For the 9,000th time, government helps insiders, first commers, the established, the connected, the organized--not the needy. Sorry kids, the old people were there first.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why can't you see the price before you make an account with all your personal information?

Most of the problems with the website so far seem to be due to the decison to make people create an account--with all their personal information--before they can see the prices of the various insurance pakages available. So why do that? Yuval Levin in National Review Online:
Some journalists and analysts have speculated that this decision was made in order to prevent people from seeing premium costs before they could also see any subsidies they might be eligible for, so that the shock of higher prices could be contained and so that simply curious observers and journalists couldn’t get a picture of premium costs in the various states.
This is certainly a plausible explanation and is in line with the fundamental dishonesty of the Administration, but it is a lot less disturbing than the explanation I had formed in my own mind, that they wanted to have all your information in order to track you down and force you into buying insurance. Of course, my more sinister theory can still come true even if the other explanations are actually correct as to how they came about. Now that they have come about, how they are used is another matter.

Later, in the same long piece, he makes another point that had not occurred to me and which I had not seen discussed anywhere else.

One key worry is based on the fact that what they’re facing is not a situation where it is impossible to buy coverage but one where it is possible but very difficult to buy coverage. That’s much worse from their point of view, because it means that only highly motivated consumers are getting coverage. People who are highly motivated to get coverage in a community-rated insurance system are very likely to be in bad health.
 That means that the whole problem the mandate was designed to avoid--only people that know or strongly suspect they are going to be sick buying insurance thus causing rates to go up and making it even more unlikely that healthy people will sign up leading to an upward spiral of costs--may be afoot. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How do you assign blame?

It has been a consistent puzzle to me how people have assigned blame in the current shut down crisis. If there are three people that have to agree in order for something to get done and that agreement is not reached how do you assign blame to any one of the three parties? If all you know is that they disagree then all you can say is they are all wrong.

But what if one party offers an agreement and the other two turn it down? You can say the  offered agreement was unreasonable, perhaps so unreasonable that the other two parties had no choice but to turn it down. If the offer was reasonable then the two parties that turned it down are being unreasonable. But in any case, it is the two parties that have turned down the deal.

In this case, turning down the deal is shutting down the government. It is important to remember that the Democrats in control of the Senate who have shut down the government. You can say that the offer was unreasonable but the fact remains that the party that turned down the unreasonable offer is the party that shut the government down. And yet, I hear over and over again that "the Republicans shut the government down." That is simply wrong. It was the Senate's refusal to take up the bills passed by the House, three full continuing resolutions and nine bills that opened up individual parts of the government, that actually shut the government down. You can say that the Republicans are morally responsible in some way, that the offer they made was so unreasonable that the Democrats had no choice but to turn it down and shut down the government, but that does not change the fact they were the ones that shut down the government.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Revolution will be Televised!

Why college costs will soon plunge - Bart Hinkle: The run up in prices has occurred because the government has subsidized it and, as always with government, the insiders have captured the benefits. But this has all happened just at the moment with technology is about to bring prices crashing down.

With Friends like These

Ezra Klein gives Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster, and they are devastating considering the source: one of the administration's greatest boosters. His assessment of how bad the website is working and of how bad a job the administration did of building it and keeping tabs on how it was going is just about as bad as it gets. No defenses comparing it to the Bush administration's role out of the prescription drug benefit. They screwed up and covered up, lying to everyone, even themselves. As to the President's defensive strategy of comparing it to the glitches in the new iPhone he says, "Can you imagine how many people Steve Jobs would have fired by now...?"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Word for the Week: "Blamestorming"

Megan McArdle's discussion of the NYT's dissection of the problems faced by the Obamacare websites:

Obamacare Needs a Drop-Dead Date - Bloomberg: "This is stunning. It’s far worse than I imagined, and I am pretty cynical. The law’s supporters are engaged in some high-speed blamestorming: It’s the Republicans' fault for not giving the law more money, or it’s the fault of Republican governors who didn’t build their exchanges, or maybe it’s one of the vendors -- CGI, the firm with the largest contract, is the most favored target, but at various times, the administration has clearly been teeing up to blame Experian or Oracle. Or perhaps the fault lies in federal procurement rules, which prevented the government from getting the right kind of staff and service. A lot of that shows up in the article; there’s a long prelude about the political barriers that the administration faced. But ultimately, the litany of mistakes that the administration made overwhelms these complaints."
The interesting thing is that the NYT's is only now doing this reporting. The article details the near panic among the people involved going back years but it is only after the "rollout" that we hear about all this. It is more evidence that in the long run having the press on your side is not good for you: it hides bad news from you so that you are blindsided when the bad news actually happens. Republicans worried about the bad press they are getting during the last two weeks over the shutdown should take note: it might be a blessing in disguise. As the thing goes a cropper it might be to the Republican's advantage to have been so identified with a last ditch effort to stop Obamacare.

The Reason Socialism is bad

Megan McArdle explains the danger of having the government control prices of new drugs. When a government drives down the prices of drugs to the marginal cost of producing the next pill it saves consumers money in the short run but takes away the incentive for companies to develop new drugs and thus robs the future of cures that we have not yet dreamt of:

"Unfortunately, this is a classic case of Bastiat’s dilemma. It is easy for each country’s government to see the high prices that people are paying and intervene to lower them. It is hard for each country’s government, much less its citizens, to envision the new medical treatments that they might get if they paid more for drugs. So their incentives are heavily skewed toward controlling the price here and now, even if that means losing future cures.
Drug development is essentially a giant international collective-action problem. The U.S. has kept it from being a total disaster because we don’t have good centralized control of our insurance market, and our political system is pretty disorganized and easy to lobby. If that changes -- and maybe we just changed it! -- we’ll knock down the prices of drugs to near the marginal cost using government fiat, and I expect that innovation in this sector will grind to a halt. Stuff will still be coming out of academic labs, but no one is going to take those promising targets and turn them into actual drugs."
That is the real tragedy of Obamacare. Even if it works it will be a disaster. The government always works this way. It benefits incumbents at the expense of newcomers, the established at the expense of the upstarts, the large and resourced at the expense of the small, the present and organized at the expense of the future and not yet formed. The future will be robbed of the innovations that the present has enjoyed and they will not even have noticed the theft. Cruel, tragic and stupid. As Mencken said, democracy is the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Professional Journalism Update

It is a sorry commentary on the state of professional journalism when the toughest question that has been asked of the administration about Obama Care comes from a pro-Obama comedian on a show advertised as fake news:

How Obamacare's Exchanges Turned Into A 'Third World Experience' - Forbes: "All you need to know about the rollout of Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges is that, so far, the toughest questions posed to the Obama administration have come from Comedy Central. “We’re going to do a challenge,” Jon Stewart told Kathleen Sebelius on the Daily Show. “I’m going to try and download every movie ever made, and you are going to try and sign up for Obamacare, and we’ll see which happens first.”"
It is a pity this Stewart guy can't get into Obama's press conferences, though at an average of six questions an hour I am not sure that even Stewart could make one watchable.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chesterton meets Friedman

Here Megan McArdle argues against those who think that the middle-men in the prescription drug business can be easily disposed of and replaced by governments at little or no cost. The case in point is the widespread belief among progressives that drug companies are simply taking the discoveries of university researchers and slapping labels on them and selling them for exorbitant profits. As a believer in free-markets she argues that if there is someone out there providing a service that the market supports then there is probably a reason for that service and that in a competitive market the private firms that are providing the service are probably providing it as efficiently as it probably can be.

The interesting addition she makes to this standard argument is the Chesterton fable of the fence that no one the reason for. The typical reformer reasons that since he doesn't know the reason for the fence the reasonable thing to do is to get rid of it. The wise reformer reasons from the same facts to the opposite conclusion, that you should not get rid of the fence. The people that put it there in the first place can be presumed to have been reasonable as well and so if you don't know what that reason was it is reasonable to assume that the reason is still valid.

Finding Good Drugs Is Harder Than It Sounds - Megan McArdle

Friday, October 11, 2013

Waste, Fraud and Abuse

This Data Visualization Of Pigford II Claims Says It All: This amazing graphic shows how the fraudulent claims are centered on a city where training programs in how to commit undetectable fraud are run. 1.2 Billion is going out to people who have to claim only that they "attempted to farm" and produce no documentation.

I used to hate when conservatives would go on about waste fraud and abuse in the welfare system when the potential for savings from those sources was really very limited. But in this case the program seems designed to make it easier to commit fraud, that its not a bug but a feature.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From the Chutzpah Files of Barak Obama

Obama Fails To Practice His Preaching On Civility During Shutdown - Investors.com: A nice collection of some of our Unifier in Chief's less civil statements from his time in office, nicely juxtapositioned with his calls for a kinder, gentler political discourse.

When the State Becomes an Interest Group

Documenting the failure of the Civil Service Act to create an a-political, professional bureaucracy. The problem is that one party wants to expand the government and the other wants to contract it. The employees are not disinterested parties to this conflict. The old spoils system might well have performed better, as Glenn Reynolds suggests. At least in that case their political masters would have direct responsibility and therefore an incentive to keep them under control.

How Federal Workers Became Obama’s Private Army

The Bloody Crossroads of Multiculturalism and Abortion

How sick is this?

Instapundit: "Dr. Mark Hobart, an Australian doctor who is under investigation for refusing to preform a sex selective abortion and then failing to refer the couple seeking the abortion to another doctor. Dr. Hobart could lose his job or even his medical license. The investigation has apparently been going on for five months now, but it has just started to generate more media and political attention, with an MP recently speaking out on his behalf."
This is what happens when you decide to honor every culture but your own.

Vice-Presidential Trivia Meets Music Trivia

From the inimitable Mark Steyn, file this away for the next time you are teaching a class on the Presidency:

It's All In The Game: Steyn's Song of the Week :: SteynOnline: "It's the only American Number One and British Number One to be written by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a distinction neither Barack Obama nor insecure fantasy laureate Michael Mann seem likely to threaten. A song so popular, it's been in and out of the charts pretty much every few years for six decades. A song so versatile it's been recorded by Bing Crosby, Van Morrison, Dinah Shore, UB40, Liberace, Barry White, Merle Haggard, Elton John, Lawrence Welk, Donny and Marie Osmond, Louis Armstrong, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Sammy Davis Jr, Phoebe Snow, Isaac Hayes, and the Gaylads. And, although it was written by an election winner, its opening lines are ruefully philosophical for those who come up short on a Tuesday night in November:

Many a tear has to fall 
But it's All
In The Game...

Indeed. The man who wrote the notes on which those words sit was Charles Gates Dawes, a one-hit composer better known as Vice-President under Calvin Coolidge. Well, okay, not exactly "better-known". Still, in the pantheon of Elbridge Gerry, John C Breckenridge, Thomas R Marshall et al, "It's All In The Game" can reasonably claim to be the most enduring vice-presidential legacy of all."

When Gerrymandering was Good

One of my favorite bloggers, Democrat Mickey Kaus, reminds us, amidst the gnashing of teeth over the suicide bomber Republicans who have deviously ensconced themselves in safe designer Congressional districts, that there what a time when Democrats, such as Pelosi, Loved Gerrymandering. In fairness to the great lady she made these statements in a place and time when the practice helped Democrats.

It Depends on the Meaning of What "is" is, Obama style

Obama on Obamacare: Press Conference Misleading on Rate Shock | New Republic: "It will only be expensive relative to what these people are paying now—i.e., for less comprehensive, less available coverage. For that reason, among others, it’s possible to argue that coverage under Obamacare will be cheaper than equivalent coverage is today."

Oh? I see. So you pay more but you get more--whether you want it or not. And you will be able to buy insurance whereas you may not have before.

But if you were able to get coverage before and you didn't want to "get more" of the particular things that Obamacare has now decided you need you will be paying more. That is "more" as in "more".

You see, when the Republicans offer you a tax cut they mean that your taxes will be cut, as in "less". They don't mean your taxes will go up but a lot of people like you in some way will have their cut so you should take that into account, or, your taxes will go up but the government will spend more on your welfare so since you are getting more for the higher amount of taxes you will pay "it's possible to argue that" your taxes "will be lower" than the lower level of you pay now. They actually mean "lower taxes."

When the Democrats say "you" they mean people on average in the category they have decided you belong in. When the Republicans say "you" they mean you.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Madison for the Republicans!

It seems that Madison was ok with the House using its power of the purse and supports his argument with the historical example of the British House of Commons using it successfully to reduce the power of the Crown and the House of Lords. 

The Federalist 58:

"a constitutional and infallible resource still remains with the larger States, by which they will be able at all times to accomplish their just purposes. The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure."
'via Blog this'

Hold Lawyers to the Same Standard They Hold Us

Appeals Courts Give Misbehaving Prosecutors The Privilege Of Anonymity

Monday, October 07, 2013

Second Amendment Update

5 off-duty NYPD officers were among bikers involved in Edwin Mieses Jr SUV attack | Mail Online
"At least five off-duty New York Police Department officers have admitted being present at the savage revenge beating last weekend on the Henry Hudson Parkway, according to reports.

Among the off duty cops were at least two detectives and three other officers, all who witnessed the attack and did little to stop it. One of the detectives, an undercover narcotics officer, watched as the violence broke out and chose not to break it up for fear of ruining his cover.

The five officers were not the only ones present, WABC is reporting that the NYPD is investigating whether several off-duty corrections officers were also there. Police who saw the violent attack did not begin coming forward until Wednesday - four days later."

Glenn Reynolds likes to remind us that when seconds count the police are just minutes away, but even their being there may not be sufficient. They also have to be on your side.

Paging Winston Churchill....

The website for the Anglosphere lists 101 English-Speaking nations.

Why is it racist to talk about the Anglosphere but not racist to talk about hispanics?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Know Thy Enemy....

THE RONALD REAGAN MYTH . . . The Progressive Review: Those of us who revere Ronald Reagan and his legacy should be aware of some of his weaknesses, mistakes and, at least to some people, embarrassing or hard to explain statements. My only real memories are from the 1980s so some of the quotes from the 1960s Reagan have a harder edge to them than what I remember.

This is How a Moral Panic Ends

IPCC Calls Off Planetary Emergency?: The IPCC, the UN Panel that has led the world in sounding the alarm over global warming, seems to have downgraded AGW (Anthropogenic--or human caused--Global Warming) from a crisis to a serious concern. More here.

For years the fact that global temperatures have not risen for what is now 15 years has been one of those facts that is only mentioned on the right. Now it seems to have gone on so long that even the Global Warming Industrial Complex can't ignore it. Let the long climb down begin.

The monuments are now the property of the government--Pay Up Or Else!

Ronald Reagan - Wikiquote: "Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which "We the people" tell the government what it is allowed to do. "We the people" are free."

I was reminded of this quote as I was reading these stories on Instapundit.com about the national parks and monuments and even graveyards overseas being shutdown, even when they were open without gates around them, even when they were more expensive to shut than to keep open, even when they were primarily owned by the states, even when they were privately owned and funded, they had to be shut down. They even threw an 80 and 77 year old couple out of their privately owned residence because it was on Federal land. Next thing they will shut down the Federal Highway system--wait, no one tell Obama the Feds own that!

Later on TV I heard a defender of the administration saying, "Well, when the Republicans shut the government shuts down, the government shuts down." It was as if the people needed to be taught a lesson, that when they don't give the government its money they have to suffer for it. It is as if the government thinks of our monuments as theirs and that we, we selfish tax payers, have to go along with the government's spending plans to earn the privilege of seeing them. It doesn't matter that most of these monuments, like the WWII Veteran's Memorial or the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial were paid for by private donations. They are now the government's and the people must make their unruly representatives behave to be allowed to see them. The administration really behaves like a Chicago Political Boss, leaving a neighborhood's potholes un-repaired in retaliation for electing someone not endorsed by the Machine.

Worse than I remembered

Obamacare Sickens American Workers | National Review Online: "“If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period,” Obama infamously claimed while peddling the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA)."

This is worse than I remembered the quote being. I remember him saying that if you liked your current health care plan "nothing in this bill will take it away from you," or something to that effect. I thought it was something that allowed him some wiggle room that would let him say later to people who had been dropped by their insurers or companies or whose policies had been changed by their insurers or employers that is wasn't the ACA that was responsible, at least not directly. But he really did make a flat categorical statement. It will be fascinating to see how he attempts to wiggle out of it--that is if he is ever asked by the press about it--that is if he ever has a press conference again.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

How a People Loses It's Freedom

This story form  PJ media, Navigating the Obamacare Marketplace Labyrinth,
details the process of trying to sign up for Obamacare. Like most people she was unsuccessful, but she does hit on some interesting details.

The revelation I found most disturbing in story was that you could not browse the prices and features of the various health plans until AFTER you had given them all of the personal information that anyone would need to access all of your finances including your SS number AND the system had accessed your credit report. Only then would the system allow you to (theoretically, since the system crashed on the reporter the same as it has done for practically everyone else) find out what the plans were. So, of course, if you decide not to enroll in a plan they have all the information they would need to prosecute you for not enrolling.

It is shocking and disturbing how easily people are molded from being independent citizens into obedient subjects. It is within living memory that the idea of the government having a unique identifying number for every citizen was controversial. Now we meekly turn over all the information anyone would want to the government without a peep of protest because, of course, the government needs all that information to 'help us.'

And Editor found not smort enough....

Star Local News > Lewisville Leader:

"Murder suspect found not component to stand trial"

Even Churchill got some things wrong

Churchill and Eugenics: "The Feeble-Minded Control Bill rejected compulsory sterilisation, but made it a punishable misdemeanour to marry or attempt to marry a mental defective, or to solemnise, procure or connive at such a marriage. It provided for registration and segregation. And it gave the Home Secretary the power to commit any person who fell outside the definition of feeble-mindedness but whose circumstances appeared to warrant his inclusion.

On its first reading, the Bill had only thirty-eight opponents. But the Liberal newspapers opposed it vigorously, and Josiah Wedgwood, a Liberal Member of Parliament, denounced it as a "monstrous violation" of individual rights. Roman Catholics leaders denounced it as "contrary to Christian morals and elementary human rights." When Wedgwood spoke in the House of Commons against it, he called it "legislation for the sake of a scientific creed which in ten years may be discredited.""

Well, so the progressives were all in favor of forced sterilization and the only opponents at first were Christians? Who knew? I particularly like the sensibility which calls out a political enthusiasm based on a scientific theory as a "creed which in ten years may be discredited." Just so. The heart of science is uncertainty. Something members of the Church of Global Warming might do well to remember. Moral Panics--not just for right-wing populists anymore.

Speaking of fences...

Mark Steyn: Manning the Barrycades of punitive liberalism | government, budget, shutdown - Opinion - The Orange County Register: "So the Parks Service dispatched their own vast army to the World War II Memorial to ring it with barricades and yellow “Police Line – Do Not Cross” tape strung out like the world’s longest “We Support Our Troops” ribbon. For good measure, they issued a warning that anybody crossing the yellow line would be liable to arrest – or presumably, in extreme circumstances, the same multibullet ventilation that that mentally ill woman from Connecticut wound up getting from the coppers. In a heartening sign that the American spirit is not entirely dead, at least among a small percentage of nonagenarians, a visiting party of veterans pushed through the barricades and went to honor their fallen comrades, mordantly noting for reporters that, after all, when they’d shown up on the beach at Normandy, it, too, had not been officially open."

So the same government that cannot build a fence at our border six years can build a fence around the WWII Memorial over night?

When will people get it?

PRUDEN: The cheap tricks of the game - Washington Times: "The Park Service appears to be closing streets on mere whim and caprice. The rangers even closed the parking lot at Mount Vernon, where the plantation home of George Washington is a favorite tourist destination. That was after they barred the new World War II Memorial on the Mall to veterans of World War II. But the government does not own Mount Vernon; it is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The ladies bought it years ago to preserve it as a national memorial. The feds closed access to the parking lots this week, even though the lots are jointly owned with the Mount Vernon ladies. The rangers are from the government, and they’re only here to help.

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”"

I have seen this creep in action. He is a typical, slimy Chicago pol who views the government as a tool to help your friends and harm your enemies. When will people get it? He thinks like the boss of a political machine, like the politicians that he came up among and worked with and for throughout his political career. He thinks of the welfare of the American people about as much as a machine boss thinks of the denizens of the ward of a disobedient Alderman. "Yeah, cut off their snow removal for a week and see how he likes it." His aim is to whip disobedient Congressmen into line and the inconveniences he imposes on their constituents are just a means to do it. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

A very slippery character, Obama....

$175 premium for a young, healthy student? Thanks, Obamacare! | WashingtonExaminer.com: "During a congressional hearing in August, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., asked Marilyn Tavenner of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services whether President Obama's promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” was true.

“It is true,” Tavenner said, but added that it was true “under the assumption that your insurance is ‘true’ insurance that provides coverage.”

Tavenner claimed that insurance that was not “true” was insurance that didn’t include coverage for things like hospitalization or cancer treatment."

It is remarkable how the President lies. And he does it so well because he is actually convinced himself that he is telling the truth.

Your insurance goes up over %100 and the policy you had is now illegal, but he does not consider this breaking his promise, 'if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan' has not been broken because the health-care plan you had was not 'true' insurance. You were lying to yourself when told yourself you had 'insurance'. I suppose we owe an apology to the President for even thinking that our insurance was 'true' insurance.

Obama never lies, he merely uses a word in a more precise or more exalted or more complete sense than the rest of humanity. This is so tedious. Its "It depends on the meaning of what 'is' is," all over again, except this time it is not about sex, it is about your money and your health.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Hope and Change!

‘This image is pretty striking’: An eerie snapshot of ‘Obama’s America’ | Twitchy: You see, there is a man with a gun in front of the Lincoln Memorial to keep people out of the Lincoln Memorial because because there is no one there to guard the Lincoln Memorial, meaning there aren't enough men with guns to keep it open. And when did it become necessary to "open" the Lincoln Memorial in the first place? I thought it was open? That it was built that way? When did it become the default assumption of the government that Americans could not be trusted to walk around in a public space without someone with a gun standing around to guard the stones?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

God help me - someone has to say it.

Martin Bashir: How Long Until Obama Is Accused Of Being An "Angry Black Man?" | RealClearPolitics: "MARTIN BASHIR: McKay, how long will it be before the president is accused of being an angry black man, because he said he is exasperated?

Ok, Martin Bashir is angry because the Republicans are going to call President Obama an angry black man. And, and I think I am on solid ground here, Martin Bashir is black. I mean, leave aside the fact that he is angry about something the Republicans haven't done but that he thinks they are going to do because, well, he just knows that that is the kind of thing that they do and it makes him angry they are not doing it just to hide the fact that they are the kind of people that would do which is exactly what you would do if you were that kind of person and so the fact that they are not doing it is in fact proof that they are going to do it, or something. I mean, leaving that all aside, if you were going to complain about stereotyping black men as being 'the angry black man,' wouldn't the first thing you would do is to kind of go out of your way to like not look like an angry black man? I mean, if I were going to try to tell people that fat people should not be stereotyped as lazy gluttons who sit around stuffing themselves I would try to be lying in a lounge chair eating donuts while I was doing it. Isn't that just basic? Am I asking too much? I mean, he can go back to being an angry black man after he finishes lecturing people about stereotyping African Americans males as angry black men. Is it too much to ask? It is not fair. How am I supposed to make a living parodying people if they insist on parodying themselves?

Funny, No one at the NYT seemed to think this was a problem when gerrymandering benefitted the Democrats?

Our Democracy Is at Stake - NYTimes.com: "“Give me the money and nobody gets hurt.” How did we get here? First, by taking gerrymandering to a new level. The political analyst Charlie Cook, writing in The National Journal on March 16, noted that the 2010 election gave Republican state legislatures around the country unprecedented power to redraw political boundaries, which they used to create even more “safe, lily-white” Republican strongholds that are, in effect, an “alternative universe” to the country’s diverse reality.

Gosh, those darned Republicans are using their advantage in governorships and state legislatures to solidify their majority in the House and force conservative policies on the country against the will of the people!

But wait a minute? How did those crafty Republicans get all of those state legislatures? Where was the 'will of the people' what those things were being parceled out?

There is a sound reason that the Republicans have captured the overwhelming majority of state governments. The party of smaller government has an advantage when you actually have to pay for stuff. It is only in the Never-Never-Land of money printing Washington that free-stuff-for-everyone policies of the Democrats make sense. There is a reason the Founding Fathers put the power of the purse in the hands of the House of Representatives.

Obama care is a bad deal for the people upon whom the program depends

Will the 'Young Invincibles' Join Obamacare? - Bloomberg: "So here’s the question: Are enough of those relatively affluent young invincibles going to pay $150 or more a month for insurance rather than pay their ordinary expenses out of pocket and hope they don’t have a medical bill that drives them into bankruptcy? They aren’t doing so now, and Obamacare is probably a slightly worse deal for them financially than the insurance they’re not buying. Young invincibles seem to think that insurance should cost less than their mobile-phone contract and substantially less than their car payment."

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Leading the world - In the Creation of College Dropouts

America's Wasteful Higher Education Spending, In a Chart - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic: The main driver of our poor performance (the chart includes a measure of efficiency that tries to capture education "output" per dollar spent) is that we send so many people to college that don't finish. There should be more alternatives for people that are not really cut out for a college education.