Friday, July 31, 2009

A Bit of Good News on Card Check

The Wall Street Journal reported that "Card Check" is probably dead for this year's legislative agenda.

Chances that Congress will vote on a union-organizing bill this year are dimming as lawmakers make health care and appropriations the top priorities.
Check out the YouTube video below featuring a former union organizer as he explains all the ways things can go wrong with certifying unions under the card check program.

Glad to see that the Republicans in the Senate intend to filibuster this vile piece of anti-liberty legislation. Right now, the Dems don't have the floor votes to force a vote with Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd in lengthy absences due to health issues.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

News Alert - Cash for Clunkers Suspended

The AP is reporting that the "cash for clunkers" program has run out of money after only six days. I can guarantee you that we will soon be news stories about abuse in this program. What's that you ask? What special clairvoyance does BDaddy possess? None. It is as certain as supply following demand that big government give aways will result in abuse. Just remember, you heard it here first.

Dang, I was seriously thinking of unloading my own clunker. And not the fine piece of Detroit muscle pictured above but this:

Injustice Updated

Over at BwD, Dean is full righteous throe against the injustice heaped on Lucia Whalen over the whole Gatesgate incident. I couldn't agree more. Typical of the left to crucify "the little people" they are supposed to love. Just a couple of additional thoughts.

The reaction of the left wing blogosphere to Lucia Whalen is a typical outpouring of bile and hatred from the left wing hate machine. Notice how the left always accuses the right of hatred, but when there is a "teachable moment" all we ever learn is that the left loves character assassination of every day Americans who are just doing the right thing.

And here's a sample of the left wing vitriol you'll find towards Lucia Whalen. Click here if you can stomach reading their bile. Note the little Maoist/Stalinist call for re-education at the bottom of that post. Can we all stop pretending that the left isn't linked spiritually and culturally to communist and nazi style tyranny?

And where's her beer, dang it? Why do the two jackasses get some bubbly, but not Lucia?

Why do I say two jackasses? One mouthed off to a police officer; the other arrested a man inside his own home for disturbing the peace.

In the comments, Foxfier correctly points out what I said in my own post two days ago. Professor Gates was not arrested in his own home, but outside of it. I still think the officer was a jackass not to just let it go after it was determined that Gates was the home owner. I also think it is telling that the police dropped the charges before all the brouhaha. Thanks for commenting and keeping us honest on this blog.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rule of Law

There have been plenty of "teachable moments" with respect to the rule of law lately, just not the one's the President would choose. By now everyone who gets their news from the internet or TV has heard about Professor Gates run in Officer Crowley of the Cambridge police. While I admit that the Professor behaved like a jackass, and had no basis to assume that the Officer's conduct towards him was based on race, I am still not happy about the "disturbing the peace" arrest. First, since when is behaving like a jackass a crime in America? Second, whose peace was being disturbed? Gates was not arrested until he had been asked to step outside, because, in my opinion his conduct, when fully confined to his own home, did not constitute disturbing the peace. That is because it requires the element of other witnesses. I think the police like to use this crime as a catch all when their authority is challenged. I understand the tough job they have to do, but I still think the arrest unwarranted by the facts as presented. But did they act stupidly? Au contraire, the police actions showed remarkable restraint and understanding of the law. What bothers me is that the law is written so broadly as to given almost unlimited discretion to law enforcement to make an arrest.

But remember also that the President is the chief law enforcement officer in the land, by virtue of heading the executive branch. For him to state that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" without possession of the facts is a gross dereliction of his duties. His statements certainly prejudice the playing field. Further, what if the police were in the wrong, legally? The President's rash statements make it harder to find an unbiased jury pool. Another sad commentary on our legal system.

On this same subject, the WSJ has a nice breakdown on the race vs class aspects of the confrontation.

On to other legal matters, Obama's place of birth and ipso facto, his eligibility to be President. The birthers are wingnuts, there I said it. The fact of the situation that convinced me are the newspaper blurbs announcing the Chosen One's birth in Honolulu. Hard to believe a conspiracy theory so devious, so penetrating, so all powerful, as to be able to reach into the past over forty years. I am not even going to argue the rest of it, because it is so absurd. Sometimes you only need one fact to make a judgement. For example, in a famous local murder here in America's finest city, the victim, a married male in his twenties was found with rose petals scattered around him. Sorry, that one fact allowed me to correctly conclude that the little wifie did it, no guy is going to commit suicide in that fashion.

Finally 'Dawg sent me an email with a link to this video below. While it appears outrageous at first. I think it is a clever piece of propaganda.

I am generally unsympathetic to Muslim causes because they often act like intolerant dictator wanna-be's. While I agree that the security guards behaved badly, I still have a question. Let's say this were a Christian gathering like Promise Keepers at a public stadium like Qualcomm. If some Muslims showed up with literature, wouldn't the Promise Keepers security team have the right to have them removed? That's because the Promise Keepers have the permit to hold their rally and it interferes with their freedom of speech to have that rally disrupted. Doesn't excuse the assaults security goons, but maybe puts a different perspective on the whole deal. I think the permit holders have the right to eject who they want, even if the individual was acting reasonably. But we also don't know what the guy said or did before the whole video shoot started, so I am not exactly sympathetic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Government Health Care Sticker Shock - UPDATE

Now that sticker shock is setting in, Obamacare is proving a tough sell. Around the news and blogosphere today, there was more evidence of how hard this is getting for the administration.

First, the President himself did not appear to know the details of the bill, as pointed out by Dean. He was asked about the provision outlawing private health insurance and couldn't give a coherent answer, other than punting the question. Without the TOTUS by his side, Obama continues to flounder.

Second, outlandish claims of future efficiencies and more unicorns are not selling well either. Congressman Carnahan (D-MOron) is shown here trying to sell the big lie:

The sticker shock of the CBO's $1 Trillion dollar cost estimate seems to be giving people some buyer's remorse as Obama's poll numbers continue to fall.

Also, Democrats from tonier districts are getting nervous over all this tax the rich talk. From the Wall Street Journal:

A group of Democrats elected in recent years from some of the country's richest congressional districts have emerged as a stumbling block to raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for President Barack Obama's ambitious health-care overhaul just as the plan has begun to meet increasing resistance over its cost.

I think there is an opening to put forward an alternative health care financing reforms that are far less costly and less intrusive. I know that the Democrats demagogued social security reform to death, without a credible alternative, but that isn't a strategy for a long term majority party. Do we really want to be like them?


I can't believe I missed this one, hat tip to Pop for pointing it out. Obamacare also means pressuring seniors into refusing care and therefor dying to save us all money. From the New York Post article where former Lt. Gov. McCaughey of New York states:

One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430). The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and "the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration."
This mandate invites abuse, and seniors could easily be pushed to refuse care. Do we really want government involved in such deeply personal issues?
And oh by the way, wasn't Roe v Wade decided on the issue of privacy, i.e. the government couldn't invade the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship by regulating abortion? Is Obamacare arguing that the constitutional principals that case are no longer valid? To quote 'Dawg, just because he's studied the constitution, don't mean he agrees with it.

From the wikipedia article:

The opinion of the Roe Court, written by Justice Harry Blackmun, declined to adopt the district court's Ninth Amendment rationale, and instead asserted that the "right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy."
But apparently no other decision between a doctor and a patient would be so protected by constitutional scholar Obama. I look forward to myriad court challenges to Obamacare on this basis should it pass.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Free Markets and Health Care

Republicans shot themselves in the foot last week on the health care when Senator Jim DeMint said that health care would be Obama's Waterloo. It allowed Obama to portray them for the narrow minded political operatives they are. I guess going from the majority party to irrelevance in a few short years wasn't good enough. However, our side needs a plan that will be both popular and helpful in solving some of the problems with health care financing (let me be clear it is financing not health care itself that is being changed). I offer an alternative, but first this quote from the Ludwig von Mises Institute:
It's true that the U.S. health care system is a mess, but this demonstrates not market but government failure. To cure the problem requires not different or more government regulations and bureaucracies, as self-serving politicians want us to believe, but the elimination of all existing government controls.

So what's to be done? The two issues that Obamacare purports to solve are the rising cost of health care and the lack of coverage for 46 million Americans. (By the way that last number includes 11 million illegal aliens, why aren't the Republicans all over that?) Over at Carpe Diem, Professor Perry has documented that the costs of elective cosmetic surgery have been totally contained, in fact they have risen less than inflation. The obvious lesson is that folks with "skin in the game" help control costs. This is economics 101, a subject Obama clearly flunked, or more likely, was never taught. It seems that the best health insurance scheme would be to have plans that give money back to the beneficiary for not using the insurance. Alternatively, perhaps the first $3000 dollars, or pick some other number, of medical expenses are paid out of pocket. After that insurance kicks in to cover catastrophic conditions, with some sort of copay upt to a limit to discourage bad behavior.

With respect to the uninsured, the 46 million number is a vast exageration. But that is actually good news, it means that the problem can be solved with much less pain and market distortion than Obamacare proposes. I would propose that we just put together a health insurance subsidy for those with less than poverty line income, a little like the earned income tax credit works today. But even the poor need "skin in the game" too, or they will overwhelm the system. So such a subsidized system should require large initial out of pocket expenses until a catastrophic cap is hit or some way to reward those who did not use their insurance. Further, the government should not be providing the insurance, only the subsidy, it would still be up to the poor to purchase their own policy. This will keep the feds out of the insurance business. I know this still costs some money, but not nearly what Obamacare will cost and it will be far more effective.

There are certainly other changes needed. We need more doctors and should allow as many to immigrate as want to. Many ailments do not require one to visit a doctor, other health care providers work just as well. I know this from military medicine, where the vast majority of my prescriptions over the years came from Nurse Practicioners or Independent Duty Corpsmen. Frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits remain a problem; Texas showed the benefits of cleaning up that mess. This package of reforms could bring real relief to Americans while not endangering the free market that has made American health care so advanced.

I think it is important to have free market solutions as ready alternatives. People are conservative and generally don't want radical change but they also are unhappy with the present system. Given the choice between change and the status quo, I think change is going to win. Friends of liberty need to offer a better change.'s Nick Gillespie offers this half a loaf solution that reinforces some of my themes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why Stopping Obamacare Should be Top Priority

Of all the stupid change that Obama hopes to pass through the Congress, Health Care Financing is the one most pernicious and deserves our attention.

First a summary of the big ticket items on offer.

1. Supreme Court nominee. Sonia Sotomayor is going to be confirmed, it could have been far worse. In fact some liberals are disappointed.

2. Crap and tax (aka cap and trade). This useless paean to the political correctness that "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE" about global warming actually does almost nothing. There was the usual log rolling and minor corruption, all legal mind you, to buy the necessary votes. But this bill is so watered down that it will have little real impact on the economy. Further, it will not be difficult to substitute a carbon tax or repeal this ugly baby altogether if AGW does not prove out.

3. Prosecution of former Bush administration officials for ...? I still can't figure it out exactly. Hatching a CIA plot to kill Osama bin Laden? Issuing amazingly legalistic and detailed legal opinions on the limits of interrogation? This liberal blood lust is actually a welcome distraction. If it slows down Obama's legislative agenda, so much the better. By the way, if you can go to jail for writing the tortured legal prose in the linked article, most lawyers would be in jail today. I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm just saying.

4. Obamacare. This is the true horror show. As detailed elsewhere, this is not about health care reform, but about changing the financing of health care. Health care will not improve one iota for the average American if any of the pending legislation passes. The key detail to remember, which the left has never really denied, is that eventually, the only health care insurance will be government health care insurance. As detailed in a previous post, the scheme will be priced to drive employers out of the market for providing health care insurance to employees. Further, a little reported on clause in the bill will outlaw private health insurance. H/T Hotair.

Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day.
Further, the creation of vast new entitlement programs can almost never be undone. The left knows this, which is why they always seek new entitlements. Additionally, now all the talk is about new taxes to pay for Obamacare. It takes herculean efforts to lower tax rates, which is why the left is always proposing to raise them.

For these reasons, I think that conservatives and libertarians should put all our efforts into opposing Obamacare, more that any other initiative.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lefty Hatred of Wal-Mart - Updated

What is it with the left and Wal*Mart? Hat to Tip to Carpe Diem for pointing us to this editorial in the Chicago Tribune:

Wal-Mart wants to provide jobs to Chicago.
Ald. Howard Brookins wants Wal-Mart in his 21st Ward.
Yet the company and the alderman face huge resistance from the City Council to a proposal for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the South Side, at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue just west of the Dan Ryan.
What's there now? A vacant lot. A vacant lot where no one is working.

The article goes on to say that these jobs aren't going to be coming to Chicago because Wal-Mart doesn't provide Union jobs. 500 new jobs in the middles of a recession plus more jobs for the constructon and still no sale?

I'm sure ACORN will come to the rescue, organize the community and convince the city council to approve Wal-Mart's plans. Isn't that what community organizers do, help the community? NOT!


Dean found a 2006 George Will column on lefty hatred of Wal-Mart. I liberated the money quote below, to answer my own question.

Liberals think their campaign against Wal-Mart is a way of introducing the subject of class into America's political argument, and they are more correct than they understand. Their campaign is liberalism as condescension. It is a philosophic repugnance toward markets, because consumer sovereignty results in the masses making messes. Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots and announce -- yes, announce -- that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by . . . liberals.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Race Baiting Lefty

Over at BwD, Dean points out the total hypocrisy of Maureen Dowd's following quote:

It was a disgrace that W. appointed two white men to a court stocked with white men.
But Maureen Dowd is the disgrace. She continues the race baiting that is so bad for this country. Tribalism kills. We see it all over the world. Racism is just another form of tribalism. Lefties see the problem and think that dividing up the spoils by race will placate the disenchanted and calm racial tension. It does not, it only stokes the fires of tribalism as each group competes for wealth through the means of theft by government. And government can only divide the spoils by seizing the wealth of citizens, killing the goose laying the golden eggs.

The only real answer is to ask that we all live lives as color-blind as possible. Sure, we will be imperfect. But didn't America just elect a black man as President? We have already shown an ability to rise above. We need to identify with the tribe America, a tribe founded not on race or religion but on a set of ideas and ideals, like equality before the law, civil liberties, the right of everyone to vote. We ought to treat individuals as individuals. Sonia Sotomayor should be treated not as a Latina woman, even if she insists, but as judge with a record of rulings from the bench and a set of written opinions. They should be weighed against the goals of a constitutional republic. And race, tribe and religion should have no say in the matter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dems Shocked at CIA Plans to Kill Osama, Obama to Apologize

Top Democrat lawmakers expressed outrage that the CIA was working on a Tippy-Top Secret project to put together a process that would lead to a plan to eventually kill Osama bin Laden and other key al-Qaeda operatives. (My sources indicate lean six sigma was inolved.) Eight years later, nothing had come of the plan and it has been scrapped by CIA Director Leon Panetta, who reported its existence to Democrat lawmakers. Democrats expressed outrage that the U.S. would try to assassinate al Qaeda leaders without first getting authorization from Congress.

Meanwhile, other sources inside the White House say that the President is preparing to apologize to al Qaeda for this breach. A snippet of the speech follows:

"... recently, tension has been fed by our inhumane treatment of prisoners that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a so called "War on Terror" in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated without regard to their own aspirations and denied the opportunity to democratically elect Taliban or al Qaeda leaders..."
The President is counting on these and other apologies to prevent future terrorist attacks on the United States.

Planning for these clandesting ops at the CIA was so secret that only crack investigators at the Washington Post were aware of its existence. Mysteriously, the Washington Post article written by Barton Gellman, on Sunday, October 28, 2001; on Page A01, detailing the program has mysteriously disappeared from the post's web site. However, you can read snippets at Weasel Zippers, Free Republic or the whole thing at Subliminal News and judge for yourself the depth of Cheney's evil in trying to kill bin Laden AND keep the whole thing secret from Nancy Pelosi.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Breakin' Down Obamacare

Over at Politicalmath comes this awesome video comparing Massachusetts vs Georgia on Health Care. Politicalmath has all the technical background affirming the bona fides behind the numbers portrayed.

By the way, the Massachussetts plan was signed into law by Romney, who took great pride in it during the campaign. There is no way he should have ever been the front runner for the Republican nomination after watching the way is health care bill is wrecking his home state.

H/T Are We Lumberjacks? And thanks to Foxie, who linked to that blog in BwD comment.

Fighting Back on the California Budget Mess

I don't normally give financial advice in this column, but California's budget mess provides a perfect opportunity to take personal action to protect your finances in a way that also sends a political message. As you may be aware, the State of California is actually bankrupt, and has started issuing IOUs, except that they are called "registered warrants." Here is a little Q&A from my financial institution:

Q. What is a state-registered warrant? How is it different from other warrants or checks issued by the State of California?

A. State-registered warrants are essentially IOUs that are serialized and distributed to customers in lieu of actual payment. They can be deposited only at financial institutions who agree to receive them. California-registered warrants will be identified with "REGISTERED" printed on the face of the warrant and a special endorsement stamp on the reverse side. Both the issue and the maturity date will appear on the warrant. Registered warrants bear interest and are redeemable by the State Treasury only when the General Fund has sufficient money.

Q. Who is impacted by State of California's registered warrants?

A. At this time, the state has indicated it will issue registered warrants to state business vendors, local governments, for tax refunds and certain others. We understand that state employees will not receive registered warrants at this time. For more specific details about the state's plans, please visit the state treasurer's Web site ( or call the treasurer's registered warrants hotline at 1-888-864-2762
Here is where the personal collides with the political. Note that not all banks are accepting these IOUs. Note also, that tax refunds are among the categories of checks that are no longer being issued by the state. So even though a taxpayer has overpaid the state, he or she won't get a refund. In response, I have significantly changed my state withholding and urge everyone I know to do the same. This way, you won't lose out next year when the state is unable to pay you the refund you are owed. Further, this will starve the state government of cash now, putting more pressure on them to solve this budget crisis. I count on the Republicans to hold steady against new taxes (I could get burned, I know) so this is an opportunity to force spending cuts on our bloated state government. If you are nervous about having to pay a big tax bill next April or you count on that refund, I suggest that you increase you federal withholding by the amount you decreased your state withholding. The Feds will just print enough cash to cover your refund, so no worries there. The other worry is that you might underpay by too much and incur a penalty. Since I don't know your personal tax situation, you'll have to work that one out on your own. I have typically overpaid every year, so my course of action was an easy decision to make.

Hope my readers find this advice helpful. It is an easy quick way to fight back, that might save you some grief down the road.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Keeping The World Safe from What?

In the "In case you missed it" department comes this little gem. State governments have set their sites on a new breed of pernicious scofflaws who have been endangering the public. That's right, Yoga instructors that teach other instructors are now in the sights of sharp eyed bureauthugs lurking in state capitals all across America. Preventing hamstring pulls from over strenuous yogaing is clearly a national priority. Apparently, the Yoga instructors tactical mistake was to put together a national registry of instructors in an attempt at a little informal self regulation. This only invited state scrutiny. From the NYT article:

In March, Michigan gave schools on the list one week to be certified by the state or cease operations. Virginia’s cumbersome licensing rules include a $2,500 sign-up fee — a big hit for modest studios that are often little more than one-room storefronts.
The mindset of government regulators is clearly captured in this paragraph:

The conflict started in January when a Virginia official directed regulators from more than a dozen states to an online national registry of schools that teach yoga and, in the words of a Kansas official, earn a “handsome income.” Until then, only a few states had been aware of the registry and had acted to regulate yoga instruction, though courses in other disciplines like massage therapy have long been subject to oversight.
That whole "handsome income" thing is particularly appalling to state governments who are afraid they weren't getting their cut.

Obama is a Moron

Just a quick note. I am sick of the the way that the press treats every utterance from Obama's mouth as "thoughtful." He is clearly an idiot. He clearly doesn't understand the lessons from Japan in the early 90s.

Dean has continued to hammer his lack of understanding of history. He famously can't speak without the teleprompter. My favorite example is this from a campaign debate:

GIBSON: All right. You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton," which was 28 percent. It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling, if you went to 28 percent.

But actually, Bill Clinton, in 1997, signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down.

So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

There it is. We've elected a "thoughtful" President who hasn't thought much about history or economics. Doesn't say much for the schools from which he graduated either (Columbia and Harvard, in case you were wondering.)

I will sprinkle other examples in future blog posts, but just had to get that off my chest.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Politics of Personal Destruction

To paraphrase the Godfather, you can count on the left doing exactly what of which they always accuse conservatives. In the 90s the Clintons famously complained about the "politics of personal destruction," when in fact it was their alleged misconduct while in office that was the real issue. Fast forward to the Obama campaign, and we have a regular guy, "Joe the Plumber", who has the temerity to ask The One a tough question, when Obama has invaded his neighborhood, who gets his reputation trashed because government hacks in Ohio leaked personal information about him to the media.

Now, we have the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Her most controversial ruling against white firefighters in New Have was recently overturned by the Supreme Court. Now, I believe that Ms. Sotomayor is about as good a nominee as we are going to get under the current administration with 60 Democrat senators. However, it is stil the minority's perogative to point out flaws in the nominee and ask questions about her written opinions and decisions.

This is where the left wing neo-fascist public humiliation of individuals comes into play. The ironically named "People for the American Way" are inviting journalists to smear the reputation of one of the firefighters involved in the lawsuit, as if that will somehow make the legal issues go away. From the KC Star:

Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are quietly targeting the Connecticut firefighter who's at the center of Sotomayor's most controversial ruling.

On the eve of Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the "troubled and litigious work history" of firefighter Frank Ricci. This is opposition research: a constant shadow on Capitol Hill.

And this quote from Fox News: "People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, and other advocates urged the newspaper to dig into Ricci's background, specifically an earlier 1995 lawsuit..."

Look out ordinary Americans, if you cross the politically powerful, especially those on the left, prepare for your reputation to be savaged.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Music Chill

I can't add much to what Dean had to say about Independence Day, so I thought I would post some music instead. I saw the new MasterCard commercial promoting blue jeans, which I think is a great piece of advertising. It reminded me of how much everyone in the family likes David Bowie, so here he is, in all of his androgynous glory, performing Jean Jeanie.

Sorry, the embed isn't working for the video link above; also, some of the computers in my home aren't even playing that link, so here is an alternate version with convenient embed.

And just because Dean loves SRV, here's one more version.