Archives for December 2009

Predictions: Did It Happen?

Charles Krauthammer, July 2009:
“Yes, Obama’s aura has diminished, in part because of overweening overexposure. But by year’s end he will emerge with something he can call health care reform. The Democrats in Congress will pass it because they must. Otherwise, they’ll have slain their own savior in his first year in office.” Link
Prediction occur? Yes.
Update, January 2010, post Scott-Brown victory: For awhile there it looked like Obama had it in the bag. Not so sure now.
Update, April 2010. Krauthammer right on, after all.

John Bolton, July 2009:
“Yet Iran’s progress with nuclear weapons and air defenses means Israel’s military option is declining over time. It will have to make a decision soon, and it will be no surprise if Israel strikes by year’s end. Israel’s choice could determine whether Iran obtains nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.” Link
Prediction Occur? No.

Predictions from earlier years that have not happened – that hopefully never will happen, but still very worrisome:

Niall Ferguson, January 2006:
“The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration’s original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran’s nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.” Link
Prediction occur? No.

Pat Robertson, January 2007:
“Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted Tuesday a horrific terrorist act on the United States that will result in ‘mass killing’ late in 2007. ‘I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to be nuclear,’ he said during his news-and-talk television show The 700 Club on the Christian Broadcasting Network ‘The Lord didn’t say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that.’ Robertson said God told him during a recent prayer retreat that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.’I put these things out with humility,’ he said. Link
Prediction Occur? Robertson humbled.

No Surprise that “Blue” States Losing Folks Fastest

A CNN article shows that the states with the biggest population losses mainly were those where the left is dominant: California, New York, Michigan Illinois, and New Jersey, plus the “swing” states of Florida and Ohio.

The state with the biggest population gain? Solidly-red Texas.

It affirms yet again that leftist policies result in a lower overall quality of life, driving people out. Click here for the California story.

Condoning Dishonesty

Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein denounces the practice of insurance companies canceling insurance on someone who omitted an illness or pre-existing condition on their application.

Comment by rodhug:
Just to get this straight: You think an applicant for medical insurance should be allowed to lie about their medical history to get lower rates and you think the insurance company (whose business model requires it to make money for its shareholders) should simply have to pay up for that lie. Wonderful.

Another comment, by donaldlevit:
What you fail to discuss is the fact that state government and law enforcement has refused to prosecute individuals that knowingly lie to obtain insurance with false information. When the government refuses to do their job insurers are left with no option but to protect themselves for the good of the company and honest policy holders. I would be pissed to find out my insurance company is charging me inflated rates because they are allowing dishonest people to game the system. Why do you leave this out? You further fail to mention this only applies to the individual market, which is 10-15 million people, this is not happening in the group market which is 10 times larger, meaning this hardly effects anyone, and only those that lie.

So Much for “Minnesota Nice”

Speaking of the Angry Left (see below), several of their own are firmly ensconced in the U.S. Senate. Socialist Bernie Sanders is the most prominent angry leftie that comes to mind, but he’s now getting a run for his money in the form of Al Franken. He’s the one who previously made a name for himself by hurling insults at people, like “fat”, “idiot”, and the eminently redundant (or double negative) “lying liar”, as well as writing obscene literature in magazines like Playboy.

Minnesota’s former Senator Paul Wellstone had a knack for being coarse and abrasive, but the new senator from that state makes Wellstone look like a paragon of civility. Click here to read about some of his greatest hits – after only a few months in the Senate.

Worried about the coarsening of American society creeping into our revered institutions? Talk to the people of Minnesota about that – or the half of them who voted for angryman (not funnyman) Al.

(Update – two months later.) Ya know I’ve been meaning to change that last sentence. I have to admit that when it comes right down to it, people mainly vote based on a candidate’s policy positions rather than his or her comportment. I mean, if you abhor a certain political agenda, and if the only candidate opposing that agenda happens to engage in buffoonery a little too much, then I’ll admit that you’re going to place more importance on the agenda than on the buffoonery. So I’ll grant that the half of the people of Minnesota who voted for Al Franken aren’t necessarily at fault for promoting the coarsening of American society. After all, if they abhor free markets, small government, a strong defense, etc., then I guess they had no choice than to vote for ole’ Al.

Gommygoomy Says it All

Today there’s a mea culpa column in the New York Post written by someone who, based on his article, seems fairly right-of-center, yet who voted for Obama and regrets it. I was fixin’ to write a comment to the article by Michael Goodwin, pointing out how in the heck could he ever have voted for Obama given that the latter’s leftist record was so plain to see, as I did vis-a-vis Clive Crook in this video.

But then I read one of the comments under the article, and knew right then that anything I write could never, ever even come close to topping what this guy had to say. Remember that ad where the guy takes one look at his cell phone bill and is blown out of his chair? Well in my imagination, that’s what happened to Michael Goodwin when he read that comment.

It was written by “gommygoomy” dated 12/20/2009, 9:04 am. Here are the relevant points:

See? … This is what happens when you IGNORE what you know to be true. Barak Obama was NOT a secret. He had a VOTING RECORD. He had a RESUME’. He had a HISTORY. “Men shall know you, by the company you keep.” Jeremiah Wright, for TWENTY YEARS! William Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn. John Marshel Davis. Louis Farakhan. Khaleed Rashidi. The Black Panthers. He ADMITTED who he was in his BOOKS. His life, running the streets of Chicago. TRAINING ACORN in the ways of SAUL ALINSKY. The most LIBERAL VOTING RECORD in the Senate. And now you’re SHOCKED, that there’s gambling taking place at the Casino.
What did you think was gonna happen.. . . Ever wonder how ROME fell? You’re looking at it. Obama is CALIGULA. He’s NERO. And he’s LENIN. And YOU put him there. IDIOT.

(Disclaimer: In the comment, Obama is equated with Lenin. For the record I disagree with that equation. Actually, gommygoomy likely was exaggerating. Nevertheless, to guard against the eventuality of someone evoking Alinsky’s Rule #12 on me, I am obliged to include this disclaimer. As far as equating Obama with Nero and Caligula, I have no opinion because my Roman history is quite rusty. Also, I don’t endorse name-calling, as in “IDIOT”.)

No Surprise that “Blue” States Unhappier

U.S. states with the highest levels of happiness tend to be “red” states while the least happy tend to be “blue” states, based on a recent survey.

That’s because people who lean right tend to be happier than those who lean left. The latter tend to be upset and stressed out about various nonexistent problems, such as “evil” corporations, most of which are actually good – without them there would be few or no products available necessary for human consumption, resulting in most of us either living in poverty or dead from starvation. Or they’re stressed out about perceived racism or sexism that doesn’t actually exist. There’s also the powerful emotion of envy, which is much more prevalent among lefties than righties.

Yep, places like New York and California are rife with members of the Angry Left, which is why those states rank dead last in the happiness survey.

Global Warming Alarmists’ True Motive?

The most outrageous story of the week: the cheers, applause, and ovations that Hugo Chavez received at the Copenhagen climate change conference, during his capitalism-bashing speech. On the surface it shows that global warming alarmists are ultimately motivated by a desire to overthrow or impede capitalism. In my mind it’s a huge blow to the global warming movement; is it possible that the movement is nothing more than a disguised attempt to squelch capitalism?

I say “on the surface,” because before reaching such a conclusion I’d have to find out the composition of the audience, and whether the cheers and applause came from all of the audience or just a vocal minority. If it was a general audience composed of the participating countries’ main delegates, and if most of them applauded, then we have reason to worry.

If on the other hand the audience was mainly composed of a minority of delegates from countries in Africa and other third world locales where radical leftism is par for the course, then there’s less reason to worry.

Unfortunately, the news report gave no indication of the composition of the audience. If you have any information on that, please contact me.

Deciding to Delay a Decision: A Show of Strong Leadership?

There’s the idolization of Barack Obama within the traditional media, and within the blogosphere as well. A good example of the latter is Andrew Sullivan. Recently he wrote one of the most extolatory pieces on a president I’ve ever come across – based on an action the president didn’t take!

It was titled “We Have a President”. A title like that implies that 10-odd months into his presidency, Barack Obama really has proved himself as president. The occasion? Obama’s decision not to decide yet on Afghanistan.

As of this writing Obama finally has decided to send 30,000 troops there, but in early November the president’s war council presented him with four options regarding Afghanistan. He initially turned down those options. That really impressed Sullivan, who wrote, “What strikes me about this is the enormous self-confidence this reveals. Here is a young president, prepared to allow himself to be portrayed as ‘weak’ or ‘dithering’ in the slow and meticulous arrival at public policy.” In fact, it’s “a kind of strength we haven’t seen in a president since Reagan.”

People like U.K. minister of defense Bob Ainsworth, who publicly criticized the president for his delays in deciding to send more troops, begged to differ. That Obama took such a long time to decide was a common refrain from many other quarters as well. And Tina Brown of the Daily Beast wrote, “he can’t adequately convey either the imperatives or the military strategy of the war in Afghanistan because he doesn’t really believe in it either.”

Sullivan’s contention that the president’s decision to delay his decision was a show of strong leadership is not convincing to say the least. Given Obama’s votes of “present” 129 times while a state senator, it instead seems like a manifestation of a propensity for indecision – i.e. weak leadership.

And Sullivan’s panegyric was way premature. One won’t know whether Obama’s decision to be “slow and meticulous” was meritorious until a few of years from now when we see what happens in Afghanistan.

Obama’s eventual decision, a month after being presented with the four options, to commit 30,000 additional troops was not that different from one of the options presented to him earlier: to send 34,000 troops.

And according to George Friedman of STRATFOR Global Intelligence, Obama’s 30,000 troops isn’t enough to defeat the Taliban, but rather to quell the Taliban long enough to train and turn over the fight to Afghan forces. And Friedman isn’t optimistic that that’s a viable strategy.

But only time will tell. In any event, few people other than Sullivan think that Obama’s long delays in deciding exhibits strong leadership.

NPR’s Rovner: Advocate, Not Journalist

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”

That quote by Thomas Jefferson sums up lots of folks’ beef with National Public Radio. They’re forced, through their tax money, to pay for the propagation of wrongheaded opinions, including those of Obamacare cheerleaders.

One such cheerleader is NPR’s “health policy correspondent” Julie Rovner. Recently she took questions from listeners, and based on her answers, she easily could have been mistaken for an Obama administration spokesperson – putting the best face on Obamacare without the slightest hint of skepticism about any aspect of the proposed bill.

A listener asked about the apparent contradictions of the financing of the bill – that it will cost about $1 trillion over 10 years yet save $130 billion and add not a dime to the deficit.

Rovner’s response started out, “All three of those statements are true at the same time, believe it or not.”

A good reporter would have prefaced her response with something like “The Obama administration (or Democratic senators) claims that all three of those statements are true…” Instead, Rovner just stated it as if it were fact – or an Obama administration talking point.

She ended her answer with this Obama talking point: “it adds not one dime to the federal deficit; in fact, takes a whole lot of dimes away.”

Julie, in journalism you’re supposed to preface a statement like that with “so-and-so claims…” or “so-and-so believes that…” and then state some of the counter arguments.

Either that, or NPR should introduce her not as “health policy correspondent” but “health policy advocate” or “Obama administration spokesperson” or at least “NPR commentator,” and then add a disclaimer at the end along the lines of “Ms. Rovner’s opinions are solely her own and do not necessarily represent those of NPR, the station, its owners,” etc.

More Revenue = More Spending

In the fall of 2008 during the discussion to implement the $700 billion bank bailout, even free-market types assured us the move would be OK because, as happened in Hong Kong, the money would be paid back to the taxpayers.

They were only half right. The money is being paid back, but not to the American taxpayers. Faster-than-expected repayments by banks is giving the government an estimated $200 billion windfall. Instead of using it to reduce our gi-normous deficit, the Obama administration wants to spend it on a “jobs program.”

So the next time there’s a government bailout, assume that it will result in permanent government spending – even on programs unrelated to the original bailout purpose.

Another lesson learned: Whenever the government gets extra revenue, it most likely will spend it rather than reduce the deficit with it. That means raising taxes will result in more government spending.

Another case in point was the SCHIP program during the late 1990s. Extra tax revenue and a smaller deficit prompted the Clinton administration to start a new entitlement program, rather than pay down the debt or cut taxes.

People who think they’re being fiscally responsible, like New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt, want to raise taxes in order to pay for our unprecedented government spending. But that’s fiscally irresponsible, because once the government gets its hands on any extra tax revenue, it will spend even more.