Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
This seems about right:
To answer any question economic, foreign policy or political regarding President Obama one must only answer one question: What is good for Obama?
President Obama coughed up his birth certificate today. So, the question is: How is this good for Obama?
It has been my view that the “birther” issue turned bad for President Obama some time before the latest round in the press brought the issue to a head.
Here’s the thing about rumors: If people like you, they won’t believe even the most vicious gossip. Like a besotted lover, who refuses to see faults, a political supporter will just see all rainbows and bunnies.
When people start to dislike you, though, they’ll believe every spurious and outrageous claim. Why? Because they’re looking for evidence to support their changed belief.
Americans are looking for evidence to support their changed belief about President Obama. They once looked at their President adoringly. No Jeremiah Wrights, Bill Ayers, lack of college transcripts, lack of scholarly writing, lack of record, or lack of any sort of meaningful resumé would dissuade the public (and certainly not the lapdog press) from their devotion.
But it only takes so many smacks to the head at the gas pump and grocery store and job and bank to make people stop digging the guy who promised them everything. And I mean everything.
Liberals should know what playing with this sort of fire is like. They used it to great effect themselves. Remember the “Bush Lied, Babies Died!” chants? Yeah, well, to their chagrin, the ranting and raving didn’t work at first and President Bush got reelected.
And then President Bush’s second term came around. The press had hounded him (unlike how they cover for President Obama–who would have no approval ratings whatsoever, if the press were honest). The mantras started to work. People started believing that President Bush had lied about weapons of mass destruction. Worse, people believed that President Bush had knowledge of, or even planned the destruction wrought on 9/11. And many on the left still believe this. Why? They want to believe it–to justify their feelings about him.
Facts don’t matter in the political world at the point when people want to believe ill of you. I’ll repeat: Facts Do Not Matter.
People will add stupid evidence to smart evidence to substantial evidence. What they’re looking for is evidence.
Americans, even people who would normally not fall for a rumor that President Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, started asking, “Yeah, why won’t the President just release the stupid birth certificate? I have a birth certificate. This is no big deal. Why is he making a big deal?”
It is easier to ask outrageous questions about the President than it is to admit making a mistake about electing him to begin with. It’s easier to believe you’re deceived than to make a stupid decision.
President Obama is nothing if not a political beast. He knows, and has known, for a while now, that the birth certificate issue is not fun for him anymore. When he was wink winking away at his buddies in the media (winky wink Jounolist!), it was delicious making people look like fools. Aren’t those right wing crazies crazy? Tee hee!!
President Obama was treating the issue like a juvenile. Unsurprising. He presides as a child.
The last two months, though, have been less fun. With his poll numbers diving and people wanting to be mad at him, President Obama decided to come out today.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Great Kyle-Anne Shiver piece.
rattling the presidential goal posts.
Sentient observers have known since Election Day 2008 that Barack Obama is the pinnacle affirmative-action statement. Mickey Kaus finally came right out and said this in the Daily Caller, while parrying Jay Cost's column on Obama's outright failure at American politics:
Cost doesn't go into why Obama managed to get to the top of politics without being all that good at it. The answer is distressingly obvious: Obama's the biggest affirmative action baby in history. When other pols are trying, failing, learning, while climbing up the middle rungs of the ladder, he got a pass.Well, of course, he got a pass. Actually Obama got far more than a pass. He was allowed by an ideologically-driven, white-guilt-motivated media to hop, skip, and jump his way to the pinnacle of world power without ever producing one single shred of verifiable evidence that he could do anything whatsoever but run his full-of-utter-BS mouth -- even that, constantly enabled by a teleprompter. And Republicans winked and nodded and permitted the whole Orwellian spectacle due to their fear of being forever outcast as racists.
Now, in any real world, that is not just affirmative action, folks. That's rolling the dice on the future of civilization, which is exactly what Bill Clinton told them it would be. Clinton made this prescient observation in 2007, long before the current die was cast.
The whole 2008 election is being experienced by the vast American middle-class as a huge, cruel joke, one that has dire consequences to our standard of living and our standing in the world. But the media elites on both sides of the aisle seem to believe that having turned American politics into a joke of a fools' parade, they can now somehow bring the whole thing back to a level of respectability by circling the wagons around Barack Obama and uniformly denouncing the guy now rattling the cage with increasing popularity.
One thing the political class seems to have forgotten is that there are few living white Americans who have not had some personal experience with an affirmative-action co-worker and/or collegiate peer. For decades now, we Mainstreet dwellers have borne the brunt of this liberal two-wrongs-really-can-make-a-right folderol, and now we stand, mouths agape at those who still pretend this isn't what happened in 2008.
Awarding the pinnacle of world power to a guy on the basis of eternally-aggrieved skin color is quintessentially anti-American and the people know it. It was playing with fire and we're getting burned. The people know this. The people are saying it in private.
Those who honestly believe they can squelch the people's demand to know all the things hidden until now by this cosmic-joke president are just whistling Dixie and whizzing in the wind -- which does not really strike me as intelligent.
The truth will out eventually. And mounting this wholly anti-American gambit of shaming those seeking the verification, which was so childishly foregone by the media "verifiers" in 2008, is itself anti-American. Trump strikes this chord among the people with pure aplomb.
Another little known fun fact about Obamacare:
Supporters of ObamaCare acknowledge it will have some unintended consequences. Yet surprisingly little attention has been focused on the law's most problematic provision: government subsidies to help individuals and families purchase health insurance.
Starting in 2014, subsidies will be available to families with incomes between 134% and 400% of the federal poverty line. (Families earning less than 134% of poverty are eligible for Medicaid.) For example, a family of four headed by a 55-year-old earning $31,389 in 2014 dollars (134% of the federal poverty line) in a high-cost area will get a subsidy of $22,740. This will cover 96% of an insurance policy that the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts will cost $23,700. A similar family earning $93,699 (400% of poverty) gets a subsidy of $14,799. But a family earning $1 more—$93,700—gets no subsidy.
Consider a wife in a family with $90,000 in income. If she were to earn an additional $3,700, her family would lose the insurance subsidy and be more than $10,000 poorer. In addition, she would also pay more in income and Social Security taxes. Taken together, these policies impose a substantial punishment on work effort.
Notches also lead to unfairness. The principle that families of the same size with similar incomes should be treated similarly by tax law and transfer programs has deep philosophical roots and appeals to basic notions of equity. The notch turns this principle on its head. Next-door neighbors with virtually identical circumstances could receive very different levels of government assistance, depending on which side of the notch they happen to fall. This feature will justifiably increase public cynicism about the law and government in general.
Fixing the notch is not so easy. To phase out the subsidy smoothly for families with incomes of 134% to 400% of poverty, the law would have to take away $22,700 in subsidies as a family's income rose to $93,700 from $31,389. In other words, for every dollar earned in this income range, a family's subsidy would have to decline by 36 cents. On top of 25% federal income taxes, 5% state income taxes, and 15% Social Security taxes, this implies a reward to work of less than 20 cents on the dollar—in economists' language, an implicit marginal tax rate of over 80%. Although economists may differ on the effect of taxes on work effort, it is hard to fathom how anyone could argue that this will not reduce economic activity.
Either leaving the notch in or smoothing the notch out seems impossibly unattractive. Yet these choices are the inevitable consequences of the law's attempt to redistribute around $20,000 to someone making $30,000, but nothing to someone making $94,000. The only fix is to drastically reduce or eliminate the premium subsidies. As the 2012 elections approach, voters will have to decide: For middle-income families, should economic success be determined by work and savings, or by participation in a government program?
The Principle Of Limited Government Is That As Little As Possible In Life Should Be Subject To The Delusional Debauchery That Is Politics
Yes, as Jerry Pournelle says: “We have always known that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It’s worse now, because capture of government is so much more important than it once was. There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time — not during most of your lifetimes, and for much of mine — and it will probably never be true again.”
And, of course, when you have a system of government so demanding at top levels that few normal people care to participate in it, you will get few normal people at the top levels.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Not Being Able To Tell The Difference Between Heaven And Hell Is Probably Going To Get You Into Trouble At Some Point, Guy
Distasteful as it is, PZ Myers' little atheist supremacist blog is on my daily reading list, not so much because he has anything remotely pertinent or compelling to offer, but because those he rants against sometimes do. Case in point, quite a beautiful Easter Vigil photo (actually a series of photos linked by his inane and perhaps eternally foolish post):
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Not that it is likely to, but the results of the IQ tests performed by an American Army psychologist at the Nuremberg Trials should put at least a slight damper on the often-heard atheist appeals to intelligence. Especially since at 121.72, the average IQs of the National Socialist leadership was more than a standard deviation higher than the 103.09 mean IQ reported for atheists:
[ table of IQ's ]
In other words, if we are to take seriously the idea that the reported 5.95-point IQ advantage enjoyed by the "not-at-all religious" over the "very religious" means that we should be inclined to reject the theistic perspective, then surely the 18.63 advantage of the National Socialists proves we should all convert to Nazi atheism.
Jay Tea spells it out:
RJ here makes a very stupid mistake, but that's not so bad -- it's one that a lot of leftists make. It comes from the very common failure of projection -- they see how their side operates, and imagines that that is the only way things can be done. RJ constructs a chain of logic, but makes a jump at the end that completely unravels the whole chain.
1) There are a lot of rich people on the right. True.
2) The rich people on the right spend their money to push their interests and beliefs. True.
3) Among the beneficiaries of their largesse are right-wing think tanks, institutes, and organizations. True.
4) That's how the Tea Party is succeeding -- lots and lots of right-wing money.
I've looked very carefully, and I don't see any signs that there is any big money involved in the Tea Party movement.
When you spend money, it tends to be rather visible. Let's look at the average leftist event.
They tend to have a lot of people, many of whom arrive on chartered buses emblazoned with banners. They demonstrate their solidarity by wearing matching t-shirts and holding up the same signs. They're organized by professionals, who secure the permits, put out the publicity,
All of which cost money.
On the other hand, Tea Partiers mainly provide for their own transportation, wear whatever they feel like wearing, and make their own protest signs -- none of which cost much at all. (One exception is a Tea Party event friend of Wizbang Rob Port attended -- in that case, a talk radio station chartered a bus for the event. But they then charged admission for the bus and turned it into a station promo event -- meaning that it was either a tax writeoff, or possibly turned a profit.) And they're organized through e-mail, blogs, and other social media -- all very low-cost or no-cost forms.
The watchword of the movie "All The President's Men" was the made-up aphorism "follow the money." Well, please -- someone follow the money from the right-wing billionaires down to the Tea Party rank and file. Demonstrate how these events show concrete indicators of having serious money behind them.
It just ain't there.
And that is what has the left so puzzled -- they are so used to being tightly regimented, organized down to the smallest detail, given their marching orders, and having very well-funded organizers to handle all the finer details. They are so used to needing "community organizers" to tell them what to be angry about, who to be angry at, how to express their anger, and even what to wear and hold while expressing it (ever wonder how the Koch brothers were suddenly promoted to Satan's Little Helpers?) that they simply can't imagine a community organizing itself without the help of their "betters."
Well, it's happening. And they have absolutely no clue how to deal with it.
That's why they need to find the mysterious puppet masters behind the Tea Party movement, so they can fight back. And when they can't find them, they will invent them -- they NEED that monolithic entity, that Great Satan, that they can challenge directly.
Which is why they fail.
Diagnosis of the Malady
a) An erratic, unengaged president is bored with the work part of the job, enjoying far more the golf, attention, influence, and perks (despite not getting a “cool” phone system with a drop-down screen in the Oval Office), and so he simply sleepwalks through his speeches, oblivious to the contradictions he presents. (Who cares if his Libyan misadventure contradicts almost everything he said from 2002-10, since he was already on to Rio and praising Brazil for drilling off-shore in a manner we never would. Life is short, but the job cool.) OR
b) The president is cynical and says whatever he wishes without worry of consequences, because based on the past abyss between laurels and achievement (Harvard Law Review, offer of Chicago Law School tenure, record in the Senate, Nobel Prize, etc.), he feels exempt from scrutiny and audit. Indeed, he expects that he can always “hope and change” or “millions of green jobs” his way out of any rare, nit-picking journalistic follow-up. (A journalist will always declare him a “god” even if speech A nullifies speech B a day later). OR
c) The president says, like most, what he must to be elected and now reelected; Guantanamo, renditions, Iraq, tribunals, Predators, preventative detention, public campaign financing, revolving door politics, earmarks, lobbyists, etc. — these are all just “constructs” without real absolute truth. They are bad or good, depending on the political calculus at any given time — a consideration that changes sometimes hourly. So Obama seems to have discovered that what he said to get elected, or even said two weeks ago, he need not say today again or tomorrow. Polls change, so do talking points. (He also knows that 50% of the citizenry receive some sort of government money; almost 50% pay no income tax; and in February more money was redistributed than collected by the Treasury. Therefore most Americans will stick by him whatever he says — as long as he keeps the money flowing.) OR
d) The president is Machiavellian and, amid his apparent confusion and misdirection, has actually quite adroitly moved the country far to the left since 2009. While his growing number of critics bemoan his inconsistency, disingenuousness, ill-preparedness, contradictions, and lack of persistence, Obama looks only to the fact that the nation in the last 30 months has come to look more like his vision than that of his opponents. (The Left may groan, but they grasp that Obama’s youth, mixed ancestry, charisma, and untraditional candidacy are rare gifts that can advance a once unpopular agenda in a way a McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, or Kerry never could.)
Juxtaposition: The genius of Drudge
Glenn Reynolds mentioned Matt Drudge’s masterly art of deploying headlines just the other day. But this is pure genius:
45% of households pay no income tax...
43% say tax level 'about right'...
“About right,” eh?
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The government almost shut down last week over cutting 38 billion dollars… That may sound like a lot, but comparatively speaking, that’s like a 600 pound man who’s heart is about to explode congratulating himself that he got a hamburger instead of a cheeseburger… for his fifty-seventh meal of the day. Republicans backed off because they didn’t think they could win the PR battle. Let’s see… the Democrats were willing to not pay soldiers, currently fighting three wars, in order to ensure funding for abortion clinics… And you didn’t think you could win that PR fight? Seriously? Have you ever thought about maybe hiring a marketing major? I know a guy….More good stuff at the link.
Oh, and don’t get all, “Well, Planned Parenthood (or NPR, or grants for African Genital Washing studies, or whatever the hell your stupid cause is) only gets a fraction of half a mili-percent of its budget from the government! So. F’ing. What… Those are my dollars. Why should they get ANY?
Every time there is a discussion about cutting some government program, people line up to whine about how that cut is going to hurt somebody. Then you get the sob stories… So we never cut anything. Guess what? They’re not called Budget Pillows or Budget Tickles. They’re Budget CUTS. Cuts are supposed to HURT.
I had a discussion the other day with some relatively intelligent folks about social security. The idea of cutting benefits or moving the retirement age shocks them. “How unfair! But I’ve paid into this my whole life!”
Yep. You sure did. You got lied to and screwed over by evil political opportunists. Deal with it. I’m just shy of 40. I know that I’m not ever going to see a dime of any of the money I paid into Social Security. FDR’s pet program was garbage when the average old person died a couple of years after retirement and the ratio of workers to retirees was 40 to 1. How in the hell is it supposed to work when retirees are expected to live for TWENTY YEARS and there’s only a handful of people paying in for every one getting a check?
It doesn’t work. No matter how hard you wish, no matter how hard you hope, no matter how much compassion you can fit in your stupid compassionate heart, no matter how much you happen to like some program that helps somebody do something wonderful… math never lies and interest never sleeps. Caring don’t pay the bills.
Reader Gordon Calkins writes in with his perspective on President Obama's ghastly budget speech:
I am the primary care-giver to my autistic and developmentally delayed son. I must admit that we accept from our state Division of Services for People with Disabilities some monetary support. The state gives us a small grant with federal matching money that allows us to hire extra support workers and care givers which gives us a few hours a month to run errands and have a little time out of the house.As if to illustrate the point, CNN.com has a "gallery" of the "meanest budget cuts" in the legislation Congress approved this week. One is the Administration on Aging:
The program has been a benefit to us. But to put this into perspective, in order to be eligible for the support, we work with a state-contracted support coordinator, a state-approved fiscal agent that handles the payroll, and we have to keep logs of what we are doing to meet the state-approved training goals. We have several hours of doing paperwork each time we hire a new person. Our current employees are the adult kids of some of our friends, but they are still required to get background checks, fingerprinting and annual reviews. I've known people who have opted out of this system because the hassle of dealing with the state is too much.
Although, as I said, I believe that this support is a net positive for us, the benefit we receive is much less than I pay in federal taxes each year. I would be even better off if the federal government would cancel programs like this and just let me keep more of my money, and there wouldn't be nearly so many people making money off the support we get.
So, the purpose of government is to take my money, filter it through a bunch of agencies and contractors, each taking their cut, and then give a small fraction of it back to me to spend on "approved" services. Gives new meaning to the phrase "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." I wish they would stop helping.
This agency, which helps senior citizens navigate the maze of federal bureaucracy and maintain independent lives, saw its budget of over $2 billion cut by $16 million.Imagine if, instead of trimming the Administration on Aging by a paltry 0.8%, Congress had slashed funding to "the maze of federal bureaucracy" by, say, 20%.
EADER MARTIN MURCEK ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S INTERNET ID POLICY: “So, I need to give my ‘real’ identity to use the Internet, but not to vote? That makes sense…”
UPDATE: Reader Kevin Greene snarks: “I’d be more than happy to present the government a copy of my original long-form birth certificate in order to use the internet. And I’ll do that the day Barack Obama shows me his.”
Friday, April 15, 2011
Well Expressed Slam Against 'Theistic Evolutionists' And 'More Pure And Sophisticated Than You' Thomists
Background: Christian evolutionists/Darwinists avoid these problems, however, by pointing out that evidence is superfluous to their God, who is so great that he need not exist. (Atheists agree with them and go merely one step further: God has actually dispensed with existing.)
In their view, the ID theorists – who attract the wrath of atheists – have themselves to thank for their trouble: They imagine a God so paltry, so unsatisfactory, that there is evidence in nature for his existence.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
A very strange personality test that nailed me pretty accurately. I tested the same as Vox Day. Don't know whether it's some sort of trick. Maybe it gets passed on virally just by those who feel that a randomly given assessment is accurate.
Or maybe there's really is some serious joo-joo going on. Anyway it's entertaining for its unconventional approach.
Or maybe there's really is some serious joo-joo going on. Anyway it's entertaining for its unconventional approach.
Good Charles Hugh Smith piece.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Unusual but somewhat condescending piece at Slate.
Of course it causes many leftist know-nothings to rave and fume in the comments.
Of course it causes many leftist know-nothings to rave and fume in the comments.