Thursday, August 30, 2012

Washington Court Again Disenfranchises Texas Voters

Today, from the same federal court which just disenfranchised every Texas voter, came a ruling in the Voter ID case.  Their ruling?  Somehow a law which is completely legal and constitutional in other states is not in Texas, and we may not protect the sanctity of legal votes by requiring photo ID to vote.

Despite the fact that the Texas Law specifically provides for free IDs to the poor, the panel found "that the law imposes 'strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor' and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty."

So merely providing the IDs for free isn't enough.  This isn't about protecting the poor or minorities, it's about allowing fraudulent votes.  That "strict, unforgiving burden" doesn't seem to prevent "the poor" from buying alcohol, cigarettes, or paint.  It doesn't seem to prevent them from getting jobs.  It doesn't seem to prevent them from driving or opening bank accounts.  But for voting?  Way too strict.

I say this fairly frequently, but I do because it's true.  The State of Texas must tell the Federal Courts to pound sand, and enforce the law anyway.  Yes, it will cause a "constitutional crisis," but it will cause one that is way, way overdue.  The only thing that can be accomplished by preventing voter ID laws from taking affect is to disenfranchise legal voters in favor of illegal voters.

Consider: every illegal alien who casts a vote is nullifying a legal citizen's vote the other way.  Moreover, most vote fraud is not illegal aliens in the first place, it is a form of identity theft, where someone pretends to be you- meaning you don't get your vote at all.  And the Washington District court believed this needed to be protected.

If my vote is not protected, then we no longer have a Republic, we have a sham government.

Sally Kohn in 3 Words

Here, first go read this.  Back?  Okay, let's get started.

1) Banal.

As an opinion writer, Sally Kohn should know that being boring is perhaps the worst sin one can commit.  Sometimes you can't help it, you're doing as much to impart information as you are expounding on an opinion, but you should avoid it whenever possible.

This article was worse than merely boring, however, it was predictable.  Indeed, the meme from the Left today seems to be that Paul Ryan is a Lying Liar who Lies.  Strangely enough, that's not just the meme from the media, but from the DNC, too.  I'm sure that's just coincidence, though.

2) Fantastical

In the meat of her article, Ms. Kohn calls out several "Facts" which she asserts.  She's absolutely wrong.  Let's look at them:

a) Debt Ceiling
Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

Only in Liberal La-La land do you keep a good credit rating by taking on more debt.  The credit rating was slashed because the United States had no plan to deal with it's debt.  Several credit agencies specifically said that just raising the debt ceiling wasn't going to cut it- a real plan to reduce future deficits had to be put in place.  The single biggest obstacle to that was President Obama.

b) Janesville GM Plant
Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush.

You'll hear this a lot, and it's a blatant lie.  While much production had been shut down by the end of 2008, the plant was still open until April of 2009.  More importantly, given Mr. Obama's level of influence, if not control, over GM by that time, it's also worth it to mention that the Janesville Plant was passed over for a new car line before it closed.

Just as important, you'll notice she doesn't quote Mr. Ryan or how he "blamed President Obama for the shut down..."  That' because he didn't.  Here's Mr. Ryan's quote:
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that G.M. plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said, "I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years."

That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.

Barack Obama promised that, with government support, that plant would still be there "for another 100 years."  That government support came, the plant is still closed.  Where is the lie?

She also mention's Paul Ryan's support for, and Mitt Romney's opposition to, the auto bail out in 2009.  I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, though.

c) "You didn't build that."
Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn't what the president said. Period.

Note the flat denial with no attempt to quote either Mr. Ryan or the President.  Here, for Ms. Kohn, are links to my own take on what Mr. Obama said.  Remember, the context made it worse.

d) Medicare Cuts
Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.

This is so divorced from reality that I almost don't where to start.  First off, her own "fact" supports what Ryan said: President Obama is taking $716 billion dollars out of Medicare.  Second, this idea that "savings in Medicare reimbursement rates" will "save Medicare recipient out-of-pocket costs" is absolutely ludicrous.  What will actually happen is that Doctors, in droves, will stop accepting Medicare and Medicare recipients will either not get care, or bear more of the cost up front.  Unless you think Doctors are suddenly going to start working for free.

She also claims that Mr. Ryan "embraced these savings in his budget plan." Absolutely false. Where Obamacare removes $716 billion from Medicare right now, Mr. Ryan's plan simply reduces the rate of growth over 10 years. It also specifically exempts from any reforms anyone age 55 and over.

3) Desperate
This piece was nothing more than a desperate attempt to spin the Ryan speech as something it wasn't for people who didn't hear it live.  It was an attempt to "get ahead of the story," and an attempt to substitute the Liberal version of reality for the Truth.

Ms. Kohn, if this is the best your side has, I suggest you seek shelter.  A storm is coming, and it's name is Romney/Ryan.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Don't Tread On Me

As morning turned into afternoon today, I enjoyed some practical freedom.  I got in my car and drove to lunch.  Because it was my own car, and not a bus or a train, I had the freedom not even to know exactly where I was going to go to lunch when I left.  There was no "right line" to take, because I could go wherever I wanted.  Indeed, had I turned one way and decided to go to some restaurant in the other direction, I would just have had to turn around.

When I got to the restaurant, I had a plethora of choices for my meal, including four different sizes of drink.  The restaurant, on this exceedingly nice North Central Texas day, was actually nearly too cold for me.  Ultimately, I decided the inconvenience of my napkin blowing away was worse than the very minimal discomfort of being a degree or two to the chilly side, so I dined at an indoor table.

Had I so desired (I don't) I could have gone outside and smoked a cigarette either with or after my meal.  I could have gone to a restaurant that served alcohol and had a nice adult beverage.  Indeed, I could have chosen to go to a 7-11 or QT or other convenience store or service station, grab some You-Nuke-It burrito, and spent my lunch at some store, instead of eating in a restaurant.

The Democrats want to take all of that freedom away from me.  From bans on salt, trans-fat, and large sodas (the "small" I got today would have been too big for Nanny Bloomberg), to unrealistic 54 - 55 MPG CAFE standards, to the crippling of the energy industry, everything I did today just going to lunch is under assault by the Democrat party.

If the Democrats have their way, I won't be able to drive wherever I want on lunch- my vehicle will be some all electric thing with barely enough juice to get me home, after having charged all day at way-too-expensive charging stations my employer will be forced to provide.  Instead, I'll have to take a bus or train.  In Texas in the Summer, that means I'll have little practical choice but to bring my own lunch or eat at the invariably-over-priced cafe in my office building; no one wants to work next to someone who had to go for even a short walk in the Texas summer.  That also means my choices in when and where to go to lunch are limited, as I can only go where the bus or train goes, plus a short walking distance, and I can only go when the bus or train goes there.

If the Democrats have their way, I won't be able to choose whatever I want to eat.  Trans-fats and sodium will be banned, meaning any food I do choose will be largely tasteless.  I will not be able to choose whatever size drink I want, I'll be stuck with whatever happens to meet the government regulation.

For the reasons above, the very idea of choosing not to spend my whole lunch hour obtaining and eating lunch goes right out the window; or requires much more advance planning.  Indeed, the service station probably would not be allowed to sell the You-Nuke-It burrito.

As for the restaurant, should I be able to get to one, being too cold?  Only if it's Winter.  When electricity prices "necessarily sky-rocket," as our illustrious SCOAMT once said, restaurants will pass on the additional cost of cooling and heating their establishment to me, the consumer, as well as settling for less warm in the Winter, and less cool in the Summer.

We often don't think of the little things that we do every day being examples of freedom, but they are.  The Democrats need for absolute control doesn't change just because it's your lunch hour, they want to control you then, too.

From The "If a Conservative Said It" Files

In today's New York Times (no link for the primary propaganda arm of the DNC) Ross Douthat makes one of the most hideously racist/bigoted screeds against Mitt Romney I've seen in a while.  That even the NYT would publish this filth is disgusting.

That's a high bar to set, so let me go about proving it.

Imagine a Republican saying the following line- maybe Trent Lott:
"Michelle Obama was not born into Muslim/Indonesian Culture, but she's a quasi-Muslim by birth and breeding, and her marriage to Barack Obama clearly united like with like. ("I was into Black Liberation Theology, he was reared a Muslim," she said Tuesday night, straining to make an affinity sound like an impediment.)"

Outrageous, yes?  We'd be hearing cries of racism for weeks.  Well, here's the actual quote.
"Ann Romney was not born into Mormon culture, but she's a quasi-WASP by birth and breeding, and her marriage to Mitt Romney clearly united like with like. ("I was Episcopalian, he was a Mormon," she said Tuesday night, straining to make an affinity sound like an impediment.)"

Now, first, this shows a profound misunderstanding of the strains that can be put on a relationship between couples of different Christian denominations.  While we have much more in common with each other than we have in conflict, those areas of conflict can be, and often are, highly divisive.  When you look at the difference between Mormonism and the Episcopal Church, that only gets worse.

More importantly, I find it odd that Mr. Douthat finds it so necessary to remind us that the Romneys are WASPs (that would be "White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant" for the uninitiated).  He mentions the word WASP in some form at least three times.  He also gets in a gratuitous nod to Mormonism's history of polygamy.

I can't help but ask what his reaction would be if someone mentioned either the Islamic heritage under which Barack Obama was reared, or his embrace of Black Liberation Theology under Reverend Wright so gratuitously in a column.  I can't help but wonder what his reaction would be to someone pointing out that Mr. Obama's own father was a polygamist.

And, of course, the point is exactly what Liberals accused Conservatives of in 2008, attempting to paint Mitt Romney as "the other," and "not like us."  Even the title of the piece "The Case for Noblesse Oblige" is supposed to evoke imagery of an aristocracy ruling over "the little people," not a representative government which serves them. 

As we often point out at the Ace of Spades HQ (link in sidebar), anything of which a Liberal accuses a Conservative is usually projection, and this is no different.  It is Liberals who believe in Neo-Feudalism, with little fiefs ruled by an unaccountable bureaucracy (I won't say "aristocracy").  It is Liberals who believe we are subjects to be ruled over, and not citizens to be governed.  And it is Liberals who believe race, or gender, or religion define a person, and not the choices they make and principles they hold.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Congratulations, Texas: You've Just Been Disenfranchised

I'm so mad, I'm nearly incoherent.

According to this Bloomberg News article, a US District Court in Washington threw out the Texas Redistricting map because "Texas used an 'improper standard or methodology' when determining whether minorities had the ability to elect their preferred candidates."

Let's take this apart, shall we?  In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, redistricting was done such that good, solid Republicans had to run against each other in the primaries, and Eddie Bernice Johnson still skated by unopposed.  Yeah, that sounds real harsh on "minorities."  And that ignores the new "Majority Minority" district created that encompasses parts of Tarrant and Dallas Counties stretching from Fort Worth, through Arlington and Grand Prairie, and into Dallas.  So what the real problem here is that Republicans didn't just hand away their majority to the Democrats with redistricting.

The article does not mention which specific map was rejected.  Was it the map already rejected by the court in San Antonio?  If so, that's still not good, but it could be worse.  We're already operating under a court-imposed "interim" map.

However, if what the Court threw out was that interim map, the US District Court in Washington just disenfranchised every voter in Texas.  If those maps aren't valid, then, even if the court makes new maps and just says "yeah, if you ran for district 33, you're still in district 33, even if we moved that 200 miles to the south," then the people who voted for one candidate don't have that candidate to vote for in the general.  Worse than that is that and emergency appeal would almost have to be heard, given the fact the primaries have already been heard, which means it would take the Supreme Court who-knows-how-long to return a decision, imperiling our ability even to get ballots printed for the November election.

Let's not beat around the bush here.  The people of Texas elected a legislature to represent us.  We elected people we believed would best represent our interests.  It should be for that legislature, and that legislature alone, to decide on new districts after each census.  The Voting Rights Act deprives us, unconstitutionally, of our Republican form of government and imposes a de facto Judicial Oligarchy upon us.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Actions Have Consequences

Once, at a family function, the young son of my cousin was going around asking people if he could hit them.  Everyone said "no" until he got to my older brother.  This brother looked him in the eyes and said, "You can do anything you want.  But remember that actions have consequences, and it would be wise to consider the possible consequences of anything you do before you do it."

The wise young lad paused a moment and said, "you're mean," and wandered off to find someone else to punch.

Perhaps this young man did not have an older cousin who could explain that actions have consequences.

Justin Strine is a Penn State student.  Until last year, he was in the ROTC and wanted to join the military.  That all changed in November when Joe Paterno was fired.  Young Mr. Strine joined in rioting, and was one of the students who attacked a news van during the riot.

Now, apparently, he is quite contrite.  "I'm losing everything I worked my entire life for," he's quoted as saying.  Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you joined in a riot, idiot.  Somehow, I don't think the military wants someone who shows such lack of judgment anyway.

For his part, Mr. Strine the Elder is helping his son learn that actions have consequences.  His quote?  "I had to stand by and watch my son plead guilty to something he didn't do."

Wait.  What?  He was caught on camera participating in a riot.  Worse, it was a riot that was supremely outrageous to anyone with an ounce of empathy and a shred of decensy.  Not to mention the fact it was monumentally embarrassing to Penn State.

I'm sorry that this young man will have to find and pursue a new dream.  Such things are hard.  But maybe, just maybe, one day he can look his young cousin in the eye and say, "You can do anything you want to do.  But remember that actions have consequences..."

Who Knew? Working Is Racist

Yet another racist "dog whistle" that apparently only Democrats can hear.

On this morning's Morning Joe (a show I would avoid like the plague even if I got MSNBC), Chris Matthews went at it with GOP Chairman Reince Preibus.  From the MSNBC website, here's the most salient portion:

I have to call you on this Mr. Chairman. You’ve been suggesting that somehow Obama has been running a negative campaign and your guy is running a positive campaign, but that’s not accurate. They’ve both been negative. That cheap shot about 'I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate [from Romney] was awful. It is an embarrassment to your party to play that card. This part about getting rid of the work requirement for welfare is dishonest. You are playing that ethnic card there.
You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is your side is playing that card. When you start talking about work requirements, you know what game you’re playing, and everybody knows what game you’re playing. It’s the race card. Yeah, if your name is Romney, yeah you were well-born, you went to prep school. Yeah, brag about it. Yeah, this guy [Obama] has an African name and he has to live with it.

Okay... so what I'm getting here is:
1) It's okay for Barack Obama to be negative because Romney has been, too.  Which, I guess, it really is, but it's Obama who has been denying that he's running a negative campaign.  You'll notice Mr. Matthews doesn't even try to defend that stance.

2) A joke which mentions Barack Obama's... nuanced relationship with his birth certificate is somehow racist and evil- as opposed to a one-liner to be dismissed and forgotten.  You'd think the Democrats were a little sensitive about that issue.  I wonder if it's because Obama himself claimed to be a citizen of Indonesia (or was it Kenya?  It's hard to keep straight with the SCOAMT) for something like 14 years.

3) Working is racist.  Apparently, only white people are capable of work, so requiring that welfare recipients work (or prove they're trying to get work) has a "disparate impact" on minorities.  Yes, Blacks and Hispanics, the Democrats believe you're too shiftless, lazy, and inept to be expected to work.  Republicans believe that you are quite capable, and that requiring you to do so is a good way to prevent the "hand up" that welfare is supposed to be from becoming a "hand out" which will only increase your dependency on the Government.

4) Barack Hussein Obama, who has gone by at least two names we know of (his current, and Barry Soetoro) is not capable of changing his name.  So is it his black half that can't change that, or his white half?

As light as I'm making of this imbecilic comment, it's important to understand: the Democrats really believe this.  They really believe that Blacks and Hispanics can only function with government help, that Blacks and Hispanics really are shiftless, lazy, and incompetent.  Republicans believe they're people just like Whites and Asians, and can succeed at anything if they'll put in the time, work, and effort.

Apparently We Aren't Taxed Enough Already

Ronald Reagan once said that Governments view of the private sector could be summed up like this: if it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  If it stops moving, subsidize it.  It seems like the government is keeping true to that mantra.

The FCC is "contemplating" a tax on broadband internet service.  They claim these funds will be use to support the Connect America Fund, a subsidy created by the FCC to provide broadband access to those who don't have it- either because of cost or accessibility.

Translated, this means that the FCC is figuring out how they can get away with instituting a tax they've already decided to levy, and they'll be funneling that money to their cronies at AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, who see lots of profit in a government contract, but not so much profit in making service to remote areas a private venture.

As you might guess, I have some problems with this.

First off, I pay quite enough in taxes, thank you very much.  I, in Texas, should not be paying taxes so that someone in West Virginia can get broadband internet access.

Second, The FCC has no right to create taxes.  Taxation must be authored in the US House of Representatives, not in some unaccountable executive bureaucracy.  This is blatantly unconstitutional, if we were actually following the meaning of that document.

Finally (well, not really, but finally for this piece), it disturbs and disgusts me that this money will be taken from you and me, and funneled to communication companies.  If providing broadband service to remote areas were profitable, someone would already be doing it.  In fact, some people are, via satellite.  Such service is only broadband for download speed, and uses normal dial-up access speeds for upload, but it is profitable, as evidenced by the fact there are private companies doing it.  This isn't about providing access to those who don't have it.  It is about cronyism and corruption, and lining the pockets of AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Growing Police State: No You Can't Support Your Team Edition

Have I mentioned that we treat our school children as if they're not even human?  Now it's Oklahoma City's turn.

Actually, that's a little mean.  I don't actually have a problem with school dress codes, or even school uniforms.  There are some restrictions on "freedom of speech" which must be imposed while a child is at school, or the primary function of schools couldn't be performed.  So I'm normally willing to let those go.  In this case, though, I think someone didn't think things through.

For those who won't click through the link, an Oklahoma City kindergarten required that student turn his shirt inside out because it violated a rule against clothing which supports any sports team that is not an Oklahoma college team.  In this case, the Michigan Wolverines.

The reasoning behind the rule isn't even all that bad- though it goes back to the problem of restricting something associated with bad behavior, instead of fixing the bad behavior.  In this case, the reasoning is that gangs in OKC were identifying by using sports teams (mostly professional, like the Oakland Raiders), and the schools wanted to tamp down on that.  As far as it goes, that's really not that bad- Oklahoma college teams were exempted because "home pride," and otherwise it's a blanket ban.

My problem is two fold.  First, and probably most important, is that it's exactly the kind of "no tollerance" policy which means that a kid getting beat up who defends himself will get kicked out of school.  It leaves no room for "well that's just dumb" discretion.  The second problem is that, as I mentioned, it doesn't address the problem, it just hides it.

The problem was never the shirts, or baseball caps, or whatever.  The problem was gangs.  Now, I'm not suggesting that you could simply say "Poof! No more gangs!"  What I am suggesting, however, is that we start treating gang violence as what it is- violence in the name of organized crime.  I don't care that these are "children."  They're violent criminals who, for the rest of society, must be sequestered.  It is not right to punish the innocent along with the guilty, and it is even less right to allow the thugs to continue to prey on the other kids in school.

(Battle)Field of DREAMs

Governor Rick Perry is telling President Barack Obama to "Come and Take It" over the illegal immigrants now referred to as DREAMers.

As you may recall, President Obama issued an unconstitutional order instituting the already-defeated-in-congress Federal DREAM Act by executive fiat.  In response, Governor Perry has issued an order to State agencies: Do not comply.  He has ordered that State agencies continue to verify eligibility for State and Local benefits.

Liberals and Big Government types (BIRM) are all agog over this.  Ignoring the fact that ICE and CBP have said they have been specifically forbidden from verifying claims of putative DREAMers, they harp on the fact that Obama "said" he wasn't changing the law, just priorities.  Of course, Obama also "said" he was against an individual mandate, and he "said" that he would Close Guantanamo Bay.  We see how those worked out.

And the fact remains that this is a Federalism question.  Certainly ICE can choose not to deport anyone they desire, for whatever reason they decide.  The Governor's order doesn't change that one bit.  What his order does is to prevent illegal aliens from receiving more social benefits than they already do (and that's a big amount), and it makes it just a little bit harder for them to vote. 

Before anyone attempts to dismiss that, I'll direct them to look at Florida, who have been sued by the Department of Justice for attempting to purge their voter rolls of illegal aliens.

So the real question here is this: does the Federal Government have the right to instruct States to render State benefits to illegal aliens?  Nothing in the Constitution suggests it does.  If ICE wants to let illegal aliens stay in country, and grant them de facto amnesty, that's up to the Federal Government.  That doesn't mean Texas has to help, or to provide any benefits or services we wouldn't provide to illegals in the first place.

5th Circuit to EPA: You Don't Get to do That

It's hardly a secret that Democrats, who largely staff the EPA, think that energy made from fossil fuels is somehow bad.  Despite no solid evidence for it, and, indeed, a fair amount of evidence against it, they believe that burning fossil fuels can cause global warming.  Wait, now it's called climate change.  Wait, no, now they're calling it climate disruption.

Almost need a scorecard, don't you?

When Congress passed the Clean Air Act several years ago, it surprised precisely no one that the first thing the EPA did was to issue crippling regulations against electricity producers, especially against coal-fired power plants.  These new regulations would have forced electricity producers, and therefore you, to pay millions (if not billions) of dollars to address a problem that hasn't even been proven to exist.  It would have cost thousands of jobs, and reduced the reliability of the electric grid.  Ask New York and California about the importance of a reliable electric grid.

In response to those regulations, Texas instituted a "flexible permitting program."  While I am unfamiliar with all the details, I do have a layman's understanding.  At its most basic, Texas said that existing plants could be retro-fit with carbon scrubbers (much cheaper than what the EPA was suggesting), and that, as long as their emissions were within set standards, they would be allowed to continue to operate. 

Let's be clear, here: at no point did this policy challenge the emissions standards, only the EPA's regulations regarding how those standards were to be met.

The EPA, in full Big Government Mode, sued Texas to force us to adopt their much more expensive and job-killing process.  It seems that it's not simply the emissions they care about, but that the energy itself must somehow be tainted.

Recently, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled and overturned the EPA.  They went further than that, stating that the EPA had actively overstepped its bounds under the Clean Air Act.

This is a significant victory for Federalists and opponents of the Growing Police State.  Beyond the economic implications, which are huge, there is also the Federalist issue.  Does the Federal Government have any right to dictate business operations standards to the States?  Does it even have the right to dictate environmental standards to the States?  Well, the latter question is still open; the Federal Government, including the Courts, says yes, but the States largely say no.  The answer to the former question, however, it appears is "no."

And this has a direct impact on Texas.  In recent years, we've heard a lot about new records for energy consumption during the summer.  So far, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has stayed ahead of demand, but it's getting harder.  Mostly this is due to new residents and new businesses- which means it's actually a good problem to have.  Partially, though, this is due to how hard it is to open a new power plant. 

If Texas wants to be able to power ourselves through the future, wind and solar farms simply are not the answer.  We must re-embrace fossil fuel power plants, and we'd better start building them now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Federalism FTW!

Big Wins for Federalism (specifically in my own Texas) this week.  These make a Dedicated Tenther happy.

First was the ruling by the 5th Circuit that the EPA had overstepped its bounds (color me stunned) in rejecting Texas's flexible permitting program, which is designed to help reduce the costs of compliance with the Clean Air Act.  The EPA rejected Texas's plan, Texas sued, and is winning in court.

Second was the ruling (also by the 5th Circuit) lifting a temporary injunction against Texas to prevent us from cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers, under women's health funding.  Planned Parenthood, which does not actually provide cancer services (they provide referrals, but no actual care), was receiving funding earmarked for cancer care.  Texas, accepting a penalty in Federal Funding, decided to withdraw those State funds from PP.  When the threat of reduced Federal Funding did not dissuade Texas, Planned Parenthood sued.  A Judge issued an injunction to prevent the withdrawal of funding.  Standing up for Federalism again, the 5th Circuit removed the injunction, pending the actual trial.

And third is Rick Perry joining other Governors in opposing Barack Obama's unconstitutional usurpation of Congressional Authority by having enacted the DREAM Act by decree.  He has instructed State agencies to comply with actual Federal Law, and not issue IDs to illegal aliens.

More on each of these later, but it's just nice to be able to see a few wins for Federalism.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

'Don't Call Us Illegal,' say... Illegal Aliens

Yep.  I said it.  They're not "undocumented immigrants."  They're not even "illegal immigrants."  Immigration connotes the concept of assimilation.  Too many of those who come legally have no desire to be "immigrants" in that sense- those who are here illegally certainly do not.

A group out of Long Island is protesting the use of the word "illegal" in regards to illegal aliens.  To quote one of them:  "By saying illegal, they're assuming that we broke a criminal law.  No everybody enters illegally."

Honey (I can say that without being sexist, 'cause I'm from Texas)?  You did break a criminal law.  Entering the United States without proper documentation (Visa, Passport, green-card, whatever) is a Federal Crime.  It's punishable by jail time.  If you came to the United States without the appropriate documentation, you're here illegally.  Thus, "illegal" is exactly the right word.

Of course, this is simply a continuation of the tactic that began when they pushed to move the word 'alien' out of the discussion.  They were well aware of the connotations of the word 'alien' versus the word 'immigrant.'  Immigrant, all on its own, conveys a sense of legitimacy.  The point is to make it impossible to talk about illegal aliens without having to jump through convoluted hoops to ensure everyone knows you're talking about actual illegals, and not legal immigrants or resident aliens.

Even there you can see that, in proper usage, there's a reason we call one "immigrants" and the other "aliens." 

You know aren't lumped in with illegal aliens?  Legal aliens and immigrants.

But that's not the worst part.  It only stands to reason that illegal aliens would want to change the terms of the debate.  As one referenced in the article remarked, the term "illegal" makes him feel "uncomfortable."  Kind of like the word "criminal" probably makes criminals feel "uncomfortable."  It's called guilt.

No, worse than that are their apologists.  Those people who seek, for whatever motive, to shelter them from the reality that what they're doing is illegal.  People like Alina Das, assistant professor of clinical law at New York University.  Ms. Das is quoted thus:

"Using a phrase like 'illegal aliens' or 'illegals' . . . reinforces the notion that you could treat another individual as less than a human being," said Alina Das, assistant professor of clinical law at New York University. "One action -- whether it's a crime -- shouldn't be used to define a whole group of people or one individual." (Emphasis mine)

One wonders if she would believe the same thing- that the action should not be used to define an individual, if the subject in question was a murderer.  A wife beater?  A rapist?  In absolute terms, a given illegal alien is probably not the kind of scum those three examples are, but some of them are.  Some of them, indeed, are murderers and rapists.  If you don't want to be "labelled" an illegal alien- don't be here illegally.

There's also the little bit of trickery she tries to pull here:

"It's a politically correct way of saying illegal," she said. "What you're also talking about in proper form are the real undocumented -- asylum seekers -- people who are fleeing for threats of their life or freedom."

See, those illegal aliens aren't really illegal aliens- they're seeking political asylum.  Of course, the fact they've never bothered to visit an ICE office or a consulate to formally ask for asylum is just a technicality.  What she overlooks is that no one is talking about asylum seekers.  Just like we're not talking about aliens on H1-B visas, or immigrants who are legally seeking citizenship.  The law already provides for all of those things, thus an "illegal alien" is someone who doesn't fit into one of those categories, and has entered the United States illegally.

The Growing Police State: That's Not Your Land Edition

As the inestimable Mark Davis is wont to say, "Liberty means sometimes people do thing you don't like."

Case in point.  James Davis, of Stevenson, AL, buried his wife in his front yard.  He says it was her request just prior to her 2009 death.  I submit that doesn't matter.

The city immediately decided they needed to tamp down on this obscene use of private property and avoid setting a precedent.  Why, without action everybody might decide they don't have to buy a burial plot or pay for a cremation, and just do it themselves!  On their own land!  We couldn't possibly have that.  So they sued to have the body moved, a suit which they won, but which is being held up during an appeal.

Now, whatever your feelings about the propriety or "weirdness" of burying your wife in your front yard, there are only two sides to the argument of whether or not he should be able to.  Either it's his land and he should be able to do what he wants on it, or it's the government's land and he is merely being allowed to use it.

I think you guess which side I take.  I think it's creepy to bury your wife in your front yard.  I think you should have every right to do it.  I think it's creepy to put a whole through your earlobe that is larger than your fist.  I think you should have every right to do that, too.  There are a lot of things I think are weird, or creepy, or uncouth.  That doesn't mean I believe the government should have the right to stop you.

And, in case you think I'm exaggerating about the two positions being about who actually owns the land, take a look at this quote from the article, and see if you can spot the unspoken premise (emphasis mine, to assist):

City Attorney Parke Edmiston reminded critics that Davis lives in downtown Stevenson, not out in the country.

"We're not in the 1800s any longer," he told the AP.  "We're not talking about a homestead, we're not talking about someone who is out in the country on 40 acres of land."

Yes.  Because when it is, or whether you live on a farm should have any bearing on your private property rights.

The Growing Police State: Anti-Charity Edition

Every so often, when discussing dismantling the 'social safety-net,' someone will claim there is no way that private charity could take care of everyone who would need it.  Beyond the fact this is an assertion without evidence, especially in light of how well private charity did prior to the advent of the modern welfare state, this is an argument made from a stacked deck.  That is: of course private charity can't do what government does.  It's not allowed to.

In Phoenix, AZ, Dana Crow-Smith was with a group handing out free water in the 112 degree heat.  According to her, and reaffirmed in a letter sent by the civil liberties organization representing her, she was approached by a Neighborhood Preservation Inspector and instructed to stop or face a citation.

First off, what the heck is a Neighborhood Preservation Inspector, and why are they telling people what they can do with bottled water they purchased?

Second, I have no doubt that, according to the letter of the law, the city official was correct.  I'm certain the group (probably from a Church, based on the linked report) hadn't even considered they'd need a permit to engage in charity.  Alas, they obviously don't read this blog, or they'd know the Police State will brook no competition.  If you offer a service that the All Beneficent Government sees as lessening its control on the populace, you will be permitted, fined, and inspected out of existence, if the State has anything to do with it.

The people of Phoenix need to stand with their fellow citizen and demand an apology and a clarification in whatever permitting ordinance would cover giving away bottled water.  Simple acts of charity like this should be encouraged by society, not punished.  If the Inspector did overstep his or her bounds, they should be disciplined, and made to apologize individually as well.

The Growth of the Police State is most easily addressed at home.  If we don't do it in our own cities, how can we expect the States or the Federal Government to stop it there?

Monday, August 20, 2012

On Abortion and Rape: Why Are We Talking About This?

So, by now you know all about Representative Akin's remarks regarding abortion and rape.  If you live under a rock, the short version is that he said that women have a natural process which makes it harder to get pregnant when you're raped, so only those who are pregnant by "legitimate rape" should be able to get abortions.  Gah.

So, friend of the blog and twitter buddy @tsrblke who also happens to be a Ph.D. candidate in bioethics and a faithful Catholic sent me his thoughts.  I'll follow up with mine.

The question of abortion is rape is a moral quagmire, and frankly you’re not going to win over either side by trying to split the middle.  Frankly, an exception for rape and incest is a bit internally inconsistent if you truly believe that the product of conception is an innocent human life.  So what to do gets dicey at best.  It’s also a question the Catholic Church has had to deal with for years given its front line status operating hospitals.  So let’s look at the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives (#36 specifically):

“36. Compassionate and understanding care should be given to a person who is the victim of sexual assault. Health care providers should cooperate with law enforcement officials and offer the person psychological and spiritual support as well as accurate medical information. A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”

Now many people will look at this initial response and go “OMG! Catholic Church!! Birth Control!!!!!!!” but read it again.  The church’s objection to birth control is the separation of the unitive and procreative functions of sex.  That’s really not at issue in rape. Some theologians have gone on to say that in the case of rape the sperm actually represent continued assault and the effect of that should be mitigated to the extent that it doesn’t harm and innocent life.

So how does this apply to the non-Catholic Akin?  The answer is simple.  When presented with the question you simply answer in much the same way: “The question of abortions in the case of rape is complicated. Rape is hard on the victims, but since I believe that life begins at conception it seems wrong to resort to abortion to solve these problems.  Furthermore, it isn’t helpful to rape victims.  The primary concern should be getting rape victims treatment they need, such as emergency contraception, as soon as possible. We need to strengthen systems that encourage reporting and help frontline care in hospitals.  In doing so we can prevent the pregnancies all together and avoid having to make the woman choose between two horrible options.”

Now my comments:  Why the heck wasn't Rep. Akin smart enough to keep his yap shut?  Let's say you believe in a complete ban on abortion.  Why on earth would you advertise that?  It even turns of a fair number of people on your own side.  And then it distracts from what this election should be about.

All due respect to tsrblke, here is my answer:

"Abortion is not the issue in this election.  People have differing views, and most of them are quite sincere in their beliefs.  Rape is a horrific crime, and the perpetrators of such crimes should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  However, what is more important is that the health insurance law known as ObamaCare makes it harder for women with legitimate health needs- whatever those may be- to get the care they need.  Meanwhile, it balloons the budget beyond levels that are merely unsustainable.  Let us fix those issues, which have very serious implications for our survival as a nation, and then we can come back to the question of when abortion should be allowed versus when it should be disallowed."

Ladies and gentlemen of the GOP- this is an economy election, and as I've demonstrated here, every social issue has some hook that you can use to talk about the economy.

To quote the iconic Yellow Leader: "Stay on target."

On Bipartisanship

Every now and again I think it's nice to set aside the politics and bickering.  Occasionally, we all need to come together for the common good, and just try to understand one another.  So, in the spirit of universal brotherhood, I think we can all agree:

I need one of these

Heck, I'll be magnanimous and say we all need these.  I've been promised a flying car since I was 9, and that's just that I remember.  I will accept, as a valid substitute, a flying motorcycle.

Side-mounted machine guns completely optional, of course.  Maybe they'll put that in the premium upgrade package.

Yes He Did!

I'm so old, I remember when high gas prices were the direct fault of the President, and a sign that the end was seriously nigh.

Today, US Avg Gas Price: $3.72/gal.
When SCOAMT took office: ~$1.78/gal.

Wait, I remember someone saying that household energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket."  Hmm... this appears to be one promise without an expiration date.  I guess there had to be one.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Government Motors Failing Already?

Once, General Motors was the largest automaker in the world.  For a long time, it was the largest automaker in the country.  Then, decades of mismanagement, union thuggery, and just generally selling cars no one wanted lead it into decline and, finally insolvency.  The end was seriously nigh.  The curtain was closing on this once great car company.

Unable to face the horror of a GM collapse, and unwilling to leave it to blind fate, King Barack The Magnificent invalidated decades, if not centuries, of bankruptcy law and engineered the GM Bailout.  With a price tag in the billions of dollars, and requiring that secured bond holders be denied their claims, the GM Bailout was laughably illegal.  But, we were told, it was necessary to save GM, and, it was darkly suggested, the country.

In the end, the US Government established a de facto new Board and installed a new CEO.  You, the US Taxpayer, own over a quarter of the company.  Most of the rest is owned by the UAW.  Very specifically unchecked by the Federal Government, the Union extracted a very nice contract for itself from GM.  Not for GM was the much reduced in cost contract that Ford Negotiated.  Neither would the union or the US Government simply allow GM to return back to private ownership.

Where Ford has battled back from the brink and is still making the number 1 truck in America, GM is still flailing.  GM has spent immense sums of money on bringing the Chevy Volt to market.  This car, mandated by the Government, is one that no one wants and isn't even as good as it's closest competitor, the Nissan Leaf.  A compact sedan that costs more than some full-sized sedans, and that includes a hefty subsidy from you, the US Taxpayer, the Volt is only moving at fire-sale prices.  By which I mean: when it spontaneously combusts.

So it should come as no surprise that GM is once more on the path to bankruptcy.  Math will not be denied, nor will the laws of competition.  If you make a product that is more expensive than your competitors, but isn't as good, you're not going to make money.  Add to that a Barack Obama approved CEO who had never worked in the auto industry before getting the job, and you can see why GM is on a collision course with reality.

Now there are two questions.  The first, which only time will answer, is if GM can turn things around, or when (more likely) they will actually be forced to go into bankruptcy again.  The second is, when (yeah, I'm not going with 'if') they are forced into bankruptcy, will they actually be allowed to go through it correctly.

See, had GM been allowed to go through the normal bankruptcy, things would be very different.  First off, the secured bond holders would have gotten their just share.  Beyond that, though, GM would have been able to shed its crippling union contracts.  They would have been able to restructure their debt.  Perhaps most importantly, they would have been able to select their own CEO.  Say, I don't know, someone who knew cars.

Instead, we're faced with a second bankruptcy, probably, within the next few years.  Worse than that, we're faced with the prospect that the Federal Government will try again to "save" GM by bailing it out.  Buy why should they care, it's not their money, right?

As an addendum, remember when Obama said that GM had come roaring back after the bail out?  Yeah.  Not so much.

Obama's DREAM: See Also: Fantasy, Lies

First it was so-called DREAMers.  They were supposed to be illegal immigrants who had "come here as children" and who "had or were working to a High School Diploma, or a College Degree."  Then we found out that ICE and CPB weren't even allowed to demand proof that someone claiming to fall under the DREAM doctrine would actually qualify.  And now this.

It turns out that Obama's DREAM by fiat is not actually the DREAM act that has received Democrat and even some Republican (primarily among the already pro-amnesty crowd) support.  No, this one includes middle school drop outs.  Yes, you read that correctly.  People who never bothered to finish middle school, let alone high school or attempting to get a college degree, are eligible under Barack Obama's unconstitutional power-grab, which went into effect yesterday.

Now, I could complain that we were lied to, but so what?  It's Barack Obama, if he told me the sky was blue I'd go outside to verify it.  If he told me water was wet, or ice was cold, I'd touch them just to make sure he wasn't lying.  I fully expect him to lie.  Lies are all he has.  No, I place the blame for this squarely on Congress and on the States.

Congress has the constitutional authority to set immigration policy, and the constitutional duty to keep the executive in check.  Thus it was Congress's job to slap down the President when he issued his illegal executive order in the first place.  That Congress did not is a gross dereliction of duty.

The States, on the other hand, bear no direct culpability for the executive order or the failure to block it.  They do, however, bear the blame of not stepping up when the Federal Government failed, and enforcing already existing Federal Law.  Yes, even over the Federal Government's objections.  One State, that I know of, has stood up to this act of lawlessness.  I wish I could say that state were my native Texas (are you listening, Governor Perry?), but it's not.

That one State is Arizona.  Their excellent Governor Jan Brewer issued her own executive order yesterday.  She re-affirmed the spirit of their Immigration Enforcement law, and instructed state agencies not to provide any state benefits to illegals, even those who had applied for Barack Obama's illegal amnesty.  Considering Arizona has already been sued by the Federal Government over their desire to police the illegal immigrant community, this is a gutsy move.  The coming weeks and months will show us how it all ends up, but this was a courageous move which should be emulated by other Governors.

When the Federal Government fails to protect legal citizens, then the States must do the job.  The Federal Government divests itself of more legitimacy every day.  I hope the States will not follow suit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Commissar Obama Strikes Again

 Sometimes I find it hard to credit exactly how Marxist (stow that: Maoist, but more on that in a future post) this Administration is.  From his remarks about business owners' success not being their own, Barack Obama comes back for Marxism II: Electric Boogaloo.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, Barack Obama was at it again on Monday.  Now, it's not simply that the Government is partially responsible for your success.  Now you own none of it.  You see, you were just a bystander who fate chose for success, not a hard worker driven to succeed. 

Mr. Obama's quote (my emphasis):
If you're lucky enough, and fortunate enough, and been blessed enough to be in the other two percent...

Yes, that's it, Mr. President.  They were lucky.  They simply tossed a coin in a well and wished real hard.  Then, one day, they woke up and *poof* they had all this success.

But of course, the President doesn't believe that either.  He knows you are the author of your own success.  He knows that, however lucky and blessed you may be, that store didn't open itself, and the Government didn't open it, either.  He knows that, whatever good fortune you've received, you didn't sit around on your hands waiting to be handed success on a silver platter.  He just also doesn't care.

You, successful business men and women, are not his audience.  His audience is the looters and leeches.  His audience is those who would vote themselves benefits from the public treasury.

You Can't Ask That On Television

H/T to the Ace of Spades HQ, where Ace opines simply, "No Words."

This story is stupid on so many levels, I almost don't know where to begin. 

The short form is this: the commission that decides the when and where of the Presidential debates (really they just propose them, the campaigns can still agree or not) published their list of same, along with the moderators.  Surprising precisely no one, all the moderators were confirmed leftists.  So some Senators- Republicans Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss, Democrat Mark Pryor, and the Independent (see also: Democrat) Joe Lieberman sent a letter specifically requesting questions, in the first debate, on the so-called Simpson-Bowles commission on deficit reduction.  Showing their true colors, three Democrats in the House, Mike Honda, Jerry Nadler, and Jan Schakowsky, all signed a letter asking the debate not "to unnecessarily narrow such an important debate by placing disproportionate attention on one set of proposals over another."  They went on to say that it would "thwart the candidates' ability to explain alternative proposals."

With the basic facts out of the way, we can begin mocking the Democrats.

First, this was Obama's commission, which he then summarily ignored.  Certainly asking questions about the commission, and specific points they support or reject would be valid questions.  To argue otherwise is stupid.  It would be like asking the moderators of a Bush/Kerry debate not to ask about the War on Terror.  It's a major issue, it needs to be discussed.

Second, there's the little problem that they just called Barack Obama stupid.  You didn't see it?  Take a look at this again: "thwart the candidates' ability to explain alternative proposals."

For this to be true, here is what would have to happen:

MODERATOR: Mr. Obama, you commissioned the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to find a way to reduce the deficit.  Thought the the committee's proposals never made it into law, can you highlight some specific areas where you agree and specific areas where you disagree, with the panel's suggestions?

OBAMA: [Deer in Headlights.]

Seriously, that's what would have to happen.  Any even moderately competent debater could answer that question.  Here's one, of the top of my head, example:

"I'm glad you asked that.  The Simpson-Bowles plan was wide ranging and ambitious.  I did agree with much of it.  They understood the need of the top 1% to pay more of their fare share in taxes, for instance.  They saw that Defense spending is getting out of control.  However, they use the backs of the poor- those most dependent on the social safety-net- too much to regain balance.  The Simpson-Bowles plan would simply have devastated social safety-net programs, and that would simply be unacceptable."

(Okay, need to go puke from channeling the SCOAMT.  BRB...  Alright.  Back.)

Given how transparent that is, the House Democrats can only have one real motive for opposing those questions: they know that the President will simply get destroyed if those issues come up in the debate.  Worse, for them, they're tied to him.  When they voted for Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader, they reaffirmed their support for Barack Obama and his agenda.

Let's see how that looks for them: Forty-two months of official unemployment over 8%, and real unemployment over 14%.  Deficits in the millions of millions of dollars.  New Debt already accumulated of five million million dollars.  Energy prices soaring.  Food costs soaring.  Manufacturing down. 

The economy is in a shambles because of Barack Obama's policies, and the Democrats know it.  It's hardly surprising they'd rather not be embarrassed by it on live national TV.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This is What Liberty Sounds Like

Just go watch.  It's pretty awesome.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what Liberty sounds like.  Call it "Nature," "God," or just "The Universe," but our Rights are inherent in our very being, they are not granted by Government.  No government can promise equality of outcome without guaranteeing the equality that comes from misery.  Equality of opportunity is what caused this Nation to be the Greatest Nation with which God has gifted the Earth.

The Growing Police State: Logical Ends Edition

It's been mentioned here before that we, as a society, have decided that school children are not US Citizens; that, indeed, they are not even human beings.  We deprive them of rights that we extend to terrorists, let alone suspected criminals and ordinary citizens.  This idea, even if never expressly stated, or even if rejected when voiced, is prevalent in our society, and how we deal with children.  And it has consequences.

Federal Authorities are charging two judges on the Lauderdale County, Mississippi, Youth Court, as well as unnamed (in the linked report) "state, county, and local officials in Meridian."  Their crime?  Depriving children of their constitutional rights.

The specific charge is that the Youth Court was operating a "school-to-prison pipeline," throwing them in jail for school-related disciplinary issues.  Mentioned only at the end of the CNN report is the fact that incarceration is part of the student's parole.  Apparently, students in violation of the law are given parole, one of the conditions of that parole is that they will serve any suspension from school in jail. 

Now, we can debate the merits of that parole policy.  We can say, "hey, that really doesn't sound that unreasonable," or, "they what?!"  And that's probably a good discussion, especially for those in Lauderdale County, to have.  But I have a different point.

As demonstrated here previously, the basic assumption regarding children in school is that they have no constitutional rights.  Unannounced, random (that: no probable cause) searches of children's lockers and cars, for those who happen to drive to school, are routinely accepted.  Apparently simply wanting to be in the band ranks as probable cause for having the sanctity of your person violated in the form of random drug testing.  In-school discipline does not presume innocence until guilt is proved, and refusal to self-incriminate can get the same, or sometimes worse, punishment than the presumed offense.  It shapes every day of life for children in public schools.

To make matters worse, schools are now punishing children with in-school penalties for behavior conducted on their own time and off of school property.  Children are being suspended and they are being removed from extra curricular activities for a variety of offenses.  And this unrelated punishment is being supported by parents (often well-meaning) and the legal system.

So it is hardly surprising that a legal system which allows such treatment and low regard would then use the same underlying philosophical foundations to justify removing children's constitutional rights outside of school.  By the logic above, there is no magic line between a child's school life and their out-of-school life, which allows behavior in one (out-of-school) to accrue penalties in the other (in-school).  Well, if that is true, then it stands to reason that it is a two-way street.  If behavior out of school can get a child an in-school punishment, then it is only reasonable that behavior in school can get a child an out-of-school punishment. 

It does no good simply to be outraged about it.  The logical foundation is solid, if not unassailable.  You cannot simply assert that children are not human while they're inside the school walls, but they are outside them.  Which means the answer is not one of punishment, but one of philosophy. 

We must fundamentally change our understanding of children in school.  They are human.  They should be extended the same rights as any other human in the United States.  The 14th Amendment applies to them as much as it does to anyone else, which means they do have free speech rights.  They do have protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.  They do have the presumption of innocence and protection against self-incrimination.

If we are not willing to extend them those basic human rights, then we cannot complain when other deprive them still further.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is That Like "Fundamentally Transform?"

On Sunday, Barack Obama was at fundraiser in Chicago.  One which was, quite famously, about half full.  There he said this:

"Too many folks still don't have a sense that tomorrow will be better than today. And so, the question in this election is which way do we go? Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared? Or do we go backward to the same policies that got us in the mess in the first place?" (Emphasis Mine)

Prosperity is shared?  By your political vision, Mr. President?

See, if I believed that he were anything other than a Stuttering Clusterf*ck of a Miserable Tyrant, I'd allow as how he was just espousing a Liberal's top-down worldview.  But I don't believe he's anything other Stuttering Clusterf*ck of a Miserable Tyrant, so I believe this is something much more important.

Remember these phrases?
"I want to fundamentally transform America."
"I think at some point, you've made enough money."
"I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs."

Barack Obama is full on, out-of-the-closet Marxist.  He believes that prosperity is a zero-sum game and that anyone who gets rich does so at the expense of others.  This is a 5th grade understanding of economics.  The sad part is that, if given his own way, the economy would be zero-sum: no one would have anything.

And So It Begins

The left has absolutely no idea what to make of the Paul Ryan VP pick.  With Sarah Palin, they used the "she's a stupid little tartlett, you wouldn't want Brittany Spears or Lindsey Lohan to be Vice President, would you?"  With Dick Cheney, they used "He's evil!" and "Halliburton!"  Neither of those really work with Mr. Ryan.  So let's see what they're trying.

Of course, there's the old favorite "Mediscare."  With this tactic, they're trying to say that Paul Ryan wants to kill granny.  He'd completely destroy Medicare, they say.  Indeed, using his budget proposal, they've gone beyond that to saying he'd ban birth control.  Yes, ban it.

This could be an effective tactic, but it's fraught with peril.  First off, there's the fact that Paul Ryan has already weathered the Mediscare storm more than once, and is unlikely to flinch from it this time.  He's continually been ready with calm, well reasoned answers about his plan, and he communicates very well.  Over and above that, there's 700 Billion reasons the Obama campaign probably wants to avoid the question of Medicare funding: that's the amount of money, between that taken by ObamaCare to pay for different, new entitlements, and that scheduled to be eaten by sequestration- which Senate Democrats have already said they're willing to face.  It's hard to argue that the other guy wants to gut Medicare when it's your team that just took $700,000,000,000.00 from the program.

Then there's the "he's a wimp" card.  The Huffington Post tried this one already as well.  At his homecoming celebration in Wisconsin, Rep. Ryan got a little misty eyed and had to dry his eyes.  So HuffPo decided to run a caption contest on the photo

This could also be an effective tactic, since no one wants to elect a wimp.  Again, though, it's walking a tight-rope.  First, there's the fact it simply isn't true.  Now, that's never stopped Democrats before, and it likely won't this time, but it does make the attacks less effective.  More importantly, their Candidate and VP are President Mom-Jeans and Vice President CHOCKWIT ICE CWEAM!.  Neither one is exactly "alpha-male" material.  President Girl-Bike McCantUseAnUmbrella is going to have a hard time with that line of attack.

The third line of attack I'm seeing is the "he's too inexperienced" line.  Frankly, that one is laughable.  He's got a more hefty resume than Barack Obama did when he won the Presidency, and he's not running for President.  Besides that, would you rather have Joe Biden or Paul Ryan one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

All in all, I think we're in for a rough time as far as how many attacks get launched.  If the Romney/Ryan camp is prepared, and handles them in stride, though, I just don't see how they can be very effective.  In an economy that's had over 8% official unemployment (over 14% real unemploymen) for more than 42 months, where the Democrat Controlled Senate hasn't even come to the table about a budget in 3 years, and we're running trillion dollar deficits every single year, Paul Ryan is exactly what the doctor ordered.  It's going to be hard to show him as anything else.

Romney / Ryan 2012

So, by now, you know that Mitt Romney has selected Fiscal Rock and Tea Party Hero Paul Ryan as his running mate for the November election.  And, like clockwork, the attacks have started from the left.

I'll get into the specifics of some of them later, but for now, let's look at the positives of Paul Ryan:

1) He comes from an important battle-ground state.  Wait, when did WI become "battle-ground?" you ask.  When they elected Scott Walker, and then when they re-elected him during a recall.  WI was already in play, the pick of Ryan may have just sealed that deal.

2) He comes from a traditionally blue district.  Remember this, because it's important.  When you start hearing people talk about how he's some super-extreme conservative, remember that he had to win over a good portion of both independents and Democrats, and has done so with convincing margins several times.

3) House Budget Committee Tested, Tea Party Approved.  You'll hear many Tea Party conservatives say these two statements, usually back to back. "Paul Ryan's budget doesn't go far enough," and "It's too extreme to pass."  This is the zeitgeist of the Tea Party.  We're no longer pure political novices, and we understand that some progress is better than none.  Congressman Paul's budget is a necessary step to fiscal sanity.

4) "Hey Girl.  It's Paul Ryan."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Does Jonathan Alter Aspire To Stupid?

Is pre-experiment Charlie Gordon his hero?  Does he wake up in the morning and say, "Johnny boy, you can do this.  You can get through the day merely being stupid, and not advertise the fact you have the intelligence of a mentally retarded paramecium?"  Does he have sticky notes on his fridge with things like, "Think it, Believe it: 70 IQ?" Because if so, he just failed.

On MSNBC's "Ed Show" mental-Lilliputian Jon Alter said this:
"People will die in the United States if ObamaCare is repealed.  That is not an exaggeration.  That is not crying fire.  It's a simple fact.  If you have preexisting conditions and you are thrown off of health insurance, or if you get sick after you or your husband, spouse, loses the job, you're not going to go to the doctor as soon, you cancer or disease is not going to be caught as quickly, and your odds of dying are much, much increased."

Then, if you had any doubt that he was saying that ObamaCare would make you immortal, he followed up with this:
"ObamaCare will save, literally, thousands of lives."

Okay, for those with any doubt.  You are going to die.  One day, you'll be alive.  The next, or even the next hour or minute- you won't be.  No health insurance scheme is going to change that.  As for "early treatment," well, if you don't go to the doctor, that's your own fault.  It's that simple.

See, we already have laws requiring hospitals to provide life-saving emergency care regardless of ability to pay.  You can use a County hospital in place of a primary care physician if you can't afford your own health care.  The American people were already providing that, we didn't need ObamaCare for it.

Of course, his point wasn't actually that ObamaCare will save lives.  That's a transparent lie.  He wanted to double down on the "Mitt Romney has time-traveling cancer-ray eyes," add featuring Joe Soptic.  Don't believe me?  How about this quote:
"And they can bring death into the conversation and say, 'No, we're not calling Mitt Romney a murderer, what we are saying is that if he's elected president, a lot of people will die.' Those are two slightly different, but related issues,"

That's right.  Jonathan Alter isn't calling Mitt Romney a murderer, he's just saying he's responsible for the death of Joe Soptic's wife.

Let's Do That Again!

You know how kids will do something incredibly dangerous, to the point they (and any observers) think they're going to die?  And then when they survive the experience they usually crack up laughing and screaming and then say, "Let's do that again!"?  Parents everywhere are cringing, because they do know.  They also know it's their job to say, "No, I don't think so."

Well, it's time to correct the child in office again.  And we'd better do it quickly because his defenders in the media are already trying to spin it as "he didn't mean it that way."

In Pueblo, Colorado, President Obama gave a speech "villifying(sic) Mitt Romney for opposing the auto industry bailout."  In that speech he said:

"I said, I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back.  Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry."  (emphasis added)

Let's break this down, and you'll see how ludicrous it is.

First off, if he believed in the auto industry, why did he interfere with the normal market operation?  If you believe in something, don't you allow it to operate?  Don't you only interfere if you don't believe that it's capable?

And what about "I want to do the same thing...?"  Well, what did he do?  He directly intervened in the bankruptcy proceedings of both GM and Chrysler with the effect that secured bond holders' legitimate claims were voided and the unsecured claims of the UAW and other Obama Donors were honored.  Just coincidentally, the UAW no basically controls both GM and Chrysler, the US Taxpayer is on the hook for millions of dollars that we'll never see again, and Barack Obama essentially appointed the current CEO of GM.  Just coincidentally.

And now he wants "to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs... in every industry."  I don't know how many more times the SCOAMT needs to say what he believes.  From "you didn't do that on your own," to "I think at some point you've made enough money," to (now) admitting he wants to de facto nationalize every manufacturing job in the nation, Barack Obama couldn't scream "I'm a Marxist!" any louder if he had sworn his oath of office on the Communist Manifesto.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

So What's The Problem?

So, apparently the Occupiers are (probably illegally) coordinating with the Obama Campaign.  I'm sorry, but I'm just not surprised by that.  Indeed, I'm pretty sure that OWS is fully (or almost fully) funded by Obama's "Organizing for America."  You can go read the sordid details at the link.

I want to make a couple of different points, however.  Apparently some anti-Romney folks on the DC Metro are handing out this flier:

Note the companies listed here: Dunkin Donuts, Outback Steakhouse, Guitar Centers, Babies R Us, Michaels, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Basking Robins, and Gymboree.

First off, I thought that Bain Capital was evil because they made their money as "vulture capitalists" by buying up companies, breaking them apart, and selling the pieces a la Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.  That's a long list of big-name companies that apparently weren't broken apart and sold.  So which is it?  Do they own evil corporations, or do they destroy perfectly good companies?

Every one of those companies is highly successful, which easily refutes that original claim.

Second, I thought that Bain Capital fired everyone and gave their wives cancer.  Isn't that what the Joe Soptic ad said?  Look at that list of companies again.  It's fairly safe to say that, among them, those companies have tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of stores around the world.  Everyone one of those supplies Mr. Obama's much vaunted "good, middle class jobs" for their management.  That's not including corporate wage earners like IT staff, accounting folks, and so forth.  Every one of those locations also provides a fair number of good, entry level jobs- the kinds of jobs that get high school and college kids some work experience.  Those are the kinds of jobs that people hold down as "second jobs" to earn a little extra income.

Every one of these businesses creates thousands of jobs.  Every one of these business employs people from the unskilled through grand-high-muckity-mucks with MBAs.  Every one of these companies is a shining example of capitalism.

And OWS and Barack Obama want them destroyed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Growing Police State: When Will They Learn Edition

So, California has a ban on weapons with a "detachable magazine" which also have a pistol grip or some other things.  Basically, they wanted to outlaw AR-15s and AK variants.  Besides the fact they obviously don't understand the language "...the Right to bear arms shall not be infringed..." that's pretty standard liberal "blame the implement" stuff.

In response, the weapons manufacturers designed something called a "Bullet Button."  This is a button, normally depressed by an extra bullet, which allows a magazine to detach.  By the definition of the law, that makes the magazine "fixed" (as opposed to "detachable") and therefore legal.  In addition, various gun accessory manufacturers have created after-market add-ons which make the bullet button slightly less inconvenient.

This, of course, is completely unacceptable to liberals, who now want to ban bullet button weapons over and above their "assault weapons" ban.  Now, let's set aside the obvious Second Amendment issues.  Let's even set aside the fact that no law ever prevented a criminal act.  Let's take a look at some purely practical reasons why legislating how easy or hard it has to be to reload a weapon are silly.
Obviously A Mass Murder In Waiting

1) Multiple Weapons- How many times in the various horrific mass-shootings do we hear that the shooter had multiple weapons?  Most of them.  This is because, without a lot of training and practice, it's actually pretty hard to reload a weapon quickly (in the relative time of a shoot-out).  Releasing the old magazine, retrieving a new one, slapping it into the grip (or wherever the magazine receiver happens to be) and then chambering the first round- you're talking maybe 6 - 10 seconds (maybe more) for someone who hasn't practiced those movements a lot.  As someone who has engaged in various legal and moderated forms of fighting, let me tell you that 6 seconds is forever. 

Another Obvious Mass Murderer
This means most shooters know they're unlikely to get to reload their primary weapon, so they're already planning for that contingency.  All this law does is means they're slightly less likely to carry extra magazines even for a "just in case" scenario.  It doesn't inconvenience them at all.  However, that guy at the range who just wants to exercise his God-Given and Constitutionally Protected right to keep and bear arms?  Him it inconveniences a lot.

2) Extended Clips (really 'Magazines' but reporters always get it wrong)- Again a favorite of mass shooters everywhere, extended magazines reduce the need for reloading in the first place.  While even your gun carrying victims are limited to 17 shots (or so) you're not.  Your magazine carries 30 - 50 rounds (for reliable ones), or more (for the more jam-prone varieties).  When you're talking about the amount of damage an AR-15 can do, 50 rounds is a lot of ammunition.

This, again, means that most mass shooters aren't going to worry about reloading.  Extended magazines are (and should remain) legal.  Why worry about reloading when all your targets (or you) are likely to be dead before you run out of ammunition in your first magazine?  However, your honest citizen is more inconvenienced by not having an extended magazine.  In the shooting range it means more time reloading instead of putting hot lead down range.  In self defense, it means you run out of bullets in your gun before the bad guy does.  Very inconvenient.

The point of this is that bad people, committed to doing bad things, will not be stopped by bans on "detachable magazines," or limits on magazine capacity.  This is why making nouns illegal is useless.  Verbs- that is: behavior- are what should be legislated.  Guess what, we already have laws against murder.  Someone planning shoot up a crowd outside a theater or temple, or inside a school, or on a university campus doesn't care about that law.  Why would you think they would care about what weapons are legal?

The Growing Police State: Not-So-Unintended Consequences Edition

A Dangerous Illegal Immigrant
One of the downsides of not have a strict rule of "if you're here illegally, you'll be deported," is that it takes a lot more time for ICE agents to handle illegal immigration cases.  This is especially true in light of the fact that ICE and CBP are not allowed to require any proof of an illegal's claim to be covered by the DREAM act.

By extension, then, it stands to reason that legitimate immigrants will suffer the consequences.  Case in point: Lauren Gray.  With the exception that she's here legally, instead of illegally, she's exactly what the DREAM act claims its supposed to support.  Brought over as a minor (4 years old) from England, she's never known any country but the United States.  She graduated high school, went on to college and got a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Dance.  This is exactly the kind of behavior DREAM is supposed to be encouraging- except DREAM gives preference to people here illegally, and requires no proof that they're actually eligible for its benefits.

However, for her parent's crime of immigrating legally, and her crime of finishing high school and college, Ms. Gray will not be allowed to immigrate legally to the united states.  Her parents are here on work visas, trying to make their residency permanent.  She turned 21 today and "aged out" of eligibility under her parent's visas.  She was supposed to get her own green card before her senior year in college, but her priority date got pushed back.  By two years.  Odd that such a push back just happened to put her outside her eligibility under her parents' work visas.

So, for playing by the rules, and trying to respect our laws, Ms. Gray will be punished by not having a green card and legal residency status.  Showing, once again, the class and respect for our laws which we should be rewarding and holding up as an example, Ms. Gray says she will self deport and return "home" to a country she doesn't know.

Contrariwise, if she were of Hispanic origin, her parents hadn't come here legally, and she merely claimed (remember, ICE and CBP aren't allowed to require proof) that she met the eligibility requirements in the DREAM act- which was never passed by congress but unconstitutionally enacted by executive fiat, she would be immediately granted a temporary visa and allowed to "work toward citizenship."

I'll leave you with this quote from Ms. Gray: "Immigration is a broken system and I don't know why someone isn't fixing it." And my response: "Ms. Gray, they are.  In the favor of groups more likely to vote Democrat that yours."

Photo via original article at FoxNews.Com

The Growing Police State: Politicians' Wives Edition

Count Maryland on my list of places I'm glad I don't live.

Speaking to the Daily Caller, Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley had this to say about the shooting at the Sikh temple:

I don’t know why anybody needs an AK-47. I certainly do appreciate hunters and their sporting reasons for having weapons, and I appreciate people who want to have weapons for their safety. … I don’t understand why somebody needs an AK-47 or why somebody needs to have an arsenal. I don’t understand why we can’t get a better control of that as a country,” (emphasis added)

Yes, that's right, people should only be able to buy weapons if they "need" them, and we should have "control of that as a country."  Second Amendment, madam, do you speak it?

Now, even beyond the Second Amendment concerns, this shows a chilling view of her world-view.  In her world, people should only be able to buy things which they "need."  You don't need that SUV, buy a cheap sedan.  You don't need that beef, buy the tofu.  You don't need that smart-phone, buy the older generation feature phone.  Heck, for that matter, you don't need a car at all- that's why we have trains and buses, right?  And you don't need that cellular phone at all- maybe we could set up public stations where you could pay, oh I don't know, 25 cents to a half-dollar, and make a phone call from a public booth.  We could call these public conveniences "phone booths."

I'm only being half-facetious.  You see, this kind of "what the government allows" thinking is central to the modern Neo-Marxist's view of the world.  This is for two complimentary reasons.  First is the fact that they believe (or would have you believe that they believe) that the Government is the best arbiter of what is good for you, and that if you'd just trust the government and comply with their wishes everything would be fine.  The second is that all of those conveniences you don't need make it that much harder to control you.

They hate cars; they want everyone on buses or trains.  If you have to be in a car, they want you in a range limited electric vehicle.  They hate "American" food like hamburgers and french fries; they want everyone to eat "all organic, sustainably produced" food.  They hate smart phones and mobile devices.  They hate all these things because they provide more freedom, and make it that much harder to impose the tyranny they so desperately desire.

When you hear gun control activists talking about whether or not you "need" a given weapon- whether that's an "assault rifle," or a "semi-automatic weapon," or what have you, remember that what they're talking about isn't whether or not you should have the right to defend yourself, it's whether or not you're submitting properly to what your supposed betters in government want.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A New Low

I'm absolutely flabbergasted.  I'm one of the most cynical people I know, and this still surprised me in its cynical disdain for reality and decorum.  I'm going to recommend you just read the article, not watch the ad.

Now, I have no desire to "pile on" "Joe Soptic," but neither can I, in good conscience, let this pass unanswered.  Mr. Romney's campaign will not directly address the add, for good reason, so it falls to us in the New Media to do so.  I am in a special position to be able to address the ad, so I will.  Let's take it apart claim by claim:

1) Romney and Bain closed the plant. - False.  Mitt Romney had already left Bain Capital when the Kansas City GST Steel plant closed.

2) Mr. Soptic lost his health care. - False.  Mr. Soptic, at most, lost his health insurance.  Health insurance is most definitely not the same thing as health care.  Most importantly, every state in the nation has a way to receive tax-payer subsidized health care: from county hospitals which will see you regardless of ability to pay, to medicaid, to even private charities.  While I'm sorry Mr. Soptic lost his job and his insurance (by the way: he was eligible for COBRA for at least 18 months.  Did he simply elect not to take it?), that did not prevent him from seeking medical care.

3) His wife "didn't say anything because she knew we couldn't afford the insurance," - I don't know if that's true or not.  What I do know, as mentioned in point 2, is that it didn't matter.  Health care options were available to them.  If they were ignorant of those options, I'm sorry.  If they were too proud to accept them, that's on them.  Either way, it is neither the fault of Mitt Romney, nor of Bain Capital.

These are the three premises on which the final statement: "I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned," is based.  We've proven that at least two of the necessary assertions are false.  Given Mitt Romney's other behavior I tend to think he would care, though that caring about one family would probably not have stopped him from trying to make the best business decision possible.

The fact is this add wants you to react on a purely emotional level.  It would have you say that Mitt Romney should have kept that plant open just for the Soptics- so they wouldn't lose their "health care."  Simultaneously, it wants you to forget the fact that Bain Capital exists to make businesses profitable.  Among their success stories are Home Depot and Staples.  There are uncounted others.  Sometimes Bain failed in its goal to make a given business profitable, and those businesses would fail.  Chance of success entails a risk of failure.

Most importantly, though, is that Mr. Romney's response is correct.  Set aside the emotional appeal in the ad, and you realize it's based on nothing.  It is a distraction from the things we should be concerned about.  By any objective measure (trillion dollar deficits, 5 trillion dollars in new debt, rising health care costs, foreign policy debacles, etc.) Mr. Obama is a miserable failure, and lacks any compelling reason he should be granted a second term.