16 July, 2011

The Undefeated

As I mentioned in my last post, I saw two films yesterday. The second one was the documentary about former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), The Undefeated.

A few points need to be mentioned before I start. The fact that I’m an unabashed Palin supporter, and have been since even before she appeared on the national stage almost 3 years ago is common knowledge. She was the person I was hoping Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would pick as his running mate. I had researched her and was impressed with what I discovered. Also, the movie is based somewhat upon her first book, Going Rogue: An American Life, which I had read enthusiastically. Finally, in an attempt to generate buzz, the movie has been shown to various pundits and limited audience for the last couple months. There’s been plenty of information made public about the film for those willing to look.

So, given all that, you’d think that I would have been prepared for the film. You’d think that I would have nothing to learn from going to see it.

You’d be wrong. Stephen Bannon’s film is a masterpiece. He reminded me why I became a follower of Sarah Palin in the first place.

If you’ve been reading other reviews, you know that this is a documentary in 3 acts. I’m not going to hit much on the substance of the individual parts of the film. Others have done that already. See some reviews here, here, here, and here, if you’re interested. I will take umbrage with part of Ed Morrissey’s review. He said that he loved the material of the film, but thought the style was off and the music was too heavy-handed and overwhelming. I couldn’t disagree more. The music fits well, and directors have long known of the importance of adding music to a film to control pacing (hence the accolades constantly thrown at the master, John Williams). The music in this film works. It helps keep the movie flowing through what is, admittedly, a history book on film.

What the film does, is show why the left fears and hates Sarah Palin so much. Some of it is just who they are. The opening sequence is a montage of Palin-hate from the left. And it’s important to remember, that a lot of this was from the first few weeks after she’d been announced as McCain’s running mate. These people were telling us that she was the worst human being alive, despite knowing almost nothing about her. All they knew was that she was a pro life conservative woman, a governor, and quite obviously a happy wife and mother to 5. Just that little bit was enough to send the left into apoplexy.

But even that’s not the biggest problem with Palin from the left’s standpoint.

I have said this often, that the biggest difference between Palin and President Barack Obama (D-USA) isn’t their politics, it’s that Palin clearly gets America, and Obama, just as clearly, doesn’t. I realized during the film that I was understating the case. Not only does Palin get America, she gets Americans. When she gives a speech, she’s not just speaking to us, she’s speaking with us and for us.

That is quite different from any politician on the left, and most politicians on the right. And it scares the living daylights out of them. It also terrifies the media, because she is so capable of talking directly with us, without the need for media interpretation or amplification. She makes them unnecessary.

The sequencing of the film is no accident.  It deliberately shows Palin dealing with and conquering issues in AK that are very similar to the issues that we face as a nation today. The whole point of the film is not “Palin’s an effective leader”, but “Palin knows how to deal with the issues we’re facing and has dealt successfully with them before”. It’s also no accident that the film brings up Palin’s knowledge and successes at energy production and delivery, nor her successes in dealing with the energy barons. To those that just think they know Palin, and don’t actually know her, this part, Act 2, will be the most eye opening part of the film, as it was to Ben Howe of RedState.

Hint folks: there’s a reason why Rush Limbaugh, Tammy Bruce, and Mark Levin sing this woman’s praises constantly. And it’s not because they’re crushing on her (well, maybe Tammy a little bit Winking smile). These people do their research. They wouldn’t tell you that she’s the real deal if she wasn’t. She’s possibly the most “genuine” person in the American political arena today. Period.

Act 2 is terrific, there’s no doubt. It should be required viewing for those who want to “report” or “expound” on Sarah Palin. But to me, Act 3 was the most amazing part of the film. It’s here where we see Palin at her “coming out party” the Republican National Convention in 2008. We see the genesis of the Tea Party movement and her help in it. We see clips from several of her speeches at Tea Party events and at other venues. And what we see is a woman that’s a natural at giving a stump speech. I’d forgotten that. It’s amazing to watch. We have a President now that is so politically tone deaf, and she’s the exact opposite. And she doesn’t just speak what the crowd wants to hear. She speaks from her heart, which is what makes the message so powerful and dynamic. She will absolutely change the dynamic of the Presidential race if she enters it. Whether she will, and whether she can win the nomination, I don’t know. I’m not trying to guess at the moment.

The other thing that’s important in Act 3 is that Andrew Breitbart calls me out. I’m going to steal Ben Howe’s words here because he says them far better than I could.

As Breitbart points out in the film, the greatest shame is that while this woman was savaged to degrees you may not even realize yet, some of us sat back and let it happen. For me to buy into the media template and not defend someone who’s only offense was being a conservative, is the absolute antithesis of what I stand for, and something that I shall never allow to happen again.

I haven’t made that mistake with Palin. But, I’ve said often that the personal destruction politics used against Palin were just a test run for 2012. I’ve repeated that the GOP nominee will go through just as bad, if not worse. I’ve repeated that often, but I haven’t done anything about it. I owe a personal apology to the candidates, particularly Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) and to Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) who are already getting the Palin treatment. I’ve defended neither. That ends today.

John Nolte at BigHollywood is constantly reminding us that we need to fight back against not only the Democrats, but also (especially) the media, if we’re going to win. Palin has been terrific at this, but she can’t do it alone. Others, like Bachmann and Perry are still learning this. Breitbart and Nolte have reminded me that I have a voice in this effort also, and I will be using it.

I was also left with one other impression. It hit me in the final 10-15 minutes of the film. My wife and I are currently raising two wonderful daughters. My wife is a wonderful role model for them, and I salute her for that. But Palin’s story, this movie, is a remarkable exhibit of what one woman can do if she has guts and determination and sticks to her core beliefs. I found myself wishing that my daughters were just a bit older so I could show this to them. Maybe after her first term is over. Winking smile

As I said at the top of this post, I saw two movies yesterday, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, and The Undefeated.

Harry Potter was terrific. The Undefeated was better.

And finally, if you don’t click through on any of the other links on this post (and I encourage you to read them all), please at least read the Ben Howe piece and listen to his interview with Stephen Bannon, the director of the film. It is definitely worth your time.

July 16, 2001

The Village Voice receives the following disturbing information from a New York City taxi driver:

You know, I am leaving the country and going home to Egypt sometime in late August or September. I have gotten e-mails from people I know saying that Osama bin Laden has planned big terrorist attacks for New York and Washington for that time. It will not be safe here then.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2

I saw two movies yesterday. This was the first. My moviegoing experience was tainted somewhat as the woman in the row in front of me decided everyone else would love it if she brought her 15 month old to a 3D Harry Potter film.

Grrr…inconsiderate people drive me crazy.

But, anyway, on to the film. Yes, it’s the last. Harry Potter haters just have to put up with talk about it for another couple months or so, and then they won’t have to hear much about it ever again.

For those of you not in that category…

Warner Brothers released this look back earlier this week:

This is the film we’ve been waiting for since we first saw Harry trying to prevent Voldemort from acquiring the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone 10 years ago. We finally get to see both Harry and Voldemort face their destinies. But it’s how they face them that determines the outcome of the film. As Harry learned while sitting under the Sorting Hat 10 years ago, and is repeated to us in the epilogue, it is our choices that define us.

In the 10 years since, we’ve seen the three main actors and their characters grow and develop. Chris Columbus, director of the first film, made some excellent choices for his actors, and for the settings and tones of the films. Later directors have much to thank him for.

The penultimate film in the series, Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows, was not well received. Many people complained about the pace and the lack of action. If it’s any consolation, the same complaints were made about the book when it was released. There’s no doubt about it. The pace is slooooooow. I’ve reread the book a couple times now, and I understand that’s deliberate, but knowledge of that doesn’t help in a movie theatre.

People that had that complaint will find much less to complain about in the final installment in the series. Apart from a couple pauses to let you catch your breath, the action is mostly non-stop in this one.

For the most part, I think the actors delivered their best performances in this one as well, which adds to the enjoyment. I did think that Maggie Smith was a little weak, but while physically she’s perfect for McGonagall, I’ve never been all that impressed with Smith as an actress. Two performances stand out though. Alan Rickman reminds us why he was the perfect foil for Bruce Willis in Die Hard, so many years ago now. And Rupert Grint shines as Ron Weasley, Harry’s best friend. In many ways, I think Grint has had the hardest role to play of the three, and this is the film where the he gets the payoff from all his earlier hard work.

Seriously, watching Rickman and Grint in this film is worth the price of admission by itself.

Yes, the film is a special effects extravaganza. But that’s not what it’s all about. In the end it’s about good vs. evil and about faith and love, i.e. Harry’s faith in himself and those he has trusted, and Harry’s love and those who love him.

I have a few minor quibbles about changes from the book, but over all, fans of the book as well as the film series should be happy about the conclusion. The film meets and exceeds expectations. I’ll be seeing it again. Soon.

Actually my biggest gripe about the entire film is related to the first minute. Why did we not start with the well known phrase of music from Hedwig’s Theme (commonly called Harry’s Theme)? What, doing that 8 times in a row was just too much? 7 is the limit? Stupid choice by the director, Yates. Sets the tone wrong for the entire beginning of the film.

But that’s my biggest gripe. So, yes, I enjoyed it immensely.

One final thing…

Minor spoiler alert!

Seriously, stop here if you don’t want to learn anything!

This means you!

This is your last warning!

Michael Gambon also gives his best performance of the series, IMO. I’ve always thought he was a bit of a step down from Richard Harris has Dumbledore, but he finally fills the role here and for the first time makes you forget about Harris. The “Kings Cross” scene with him and Harry has always made me think of Harris when I read it, so I was anxious as to how Gambon would handle it. I needn’t have worried. He was flawless.

And there was a scene missing that I felt deserved to be part of the film. The death of one of the major characters. We know the character dies, but we don’t see it happen. I think that was a wrong decision, because I think that adds to the emotional impact of one of the concluding battles. Just my opinion.

July 16, 1945

The Atomic Age begins. The United States successfully test detonates an atomic bomb at the Trinity Site as part of the Manhattan Project.

At 05:29:45 local time (Mountain War Time), the device exploded with an energy equivalent to around 20 kilotons of TNT (90 TJ). It left a crater of radioactive glass in the desert 10 feet (3 m) deep and 1,100 feet (330 m) wide. At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated "brighter than daytime" for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as "being as hot as an oven" at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers.[26] The shock wave was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12 km) in height. After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, "Now we are all sons of bitches."[31] Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita:

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.[32][33]

Also, the USS Indianapolis leaves port today. In ten days, the Indianapolis will deliver the parts for the first atomic bomb to Tinian Air Base in the pacific. She will then be sunk by a Japanese submarine on the 30th. The picture below was taken on July 10, 1945.

15 July, 2011

July 15, 1979

Jimmy Carter shows why he shouldn’t be re-elected to the Presidency of the United States.

When the energy market exploded — an occurrence Carter tried to avoid during his term — he was planning on delivering his fifth major speech on energy; however, he felt that the American people were no longer listening. Carter left for the presidential retreat of Camp David. "For more than a week, a veil of secrecy enveloped the proceedings. Dozens of prominent Democratic Party leaders—members of Congress, governors, labor leaders, academics and clergy—were summoned to the mountaintop retreat to confer with the beleaguered president." His pollster, Pat Caddell, told him that the American people simply faced a crisis of confidence because of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Vietnam War; and Watergate.[42] On July 15, 1979, Carter gave a nationally-televised address in which he identified what he believed to be a "crisis of confidence" among the American people. This came to be known as his "malaise" speech, although the word never appeared in it:[43]

I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy. . . . I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might. The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. . . .

In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. . . .

I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel... I have seen the strength of America in the inexhaustible resources of our people. In the days to come, let us renew that strength in the struggle for an energy-secure nation. . . .[44][45]

The whole video is here, if you can stomach it.

14 July, 2011

July 14, 2009

Presented without comment.

July 14, 2003

I know, you were expecting 1789. Well, where’s the fun in that?

No, instead it’s time for a tip of the hat to the tinfoil hat crowd.

On July 14, 2003, the U.S. government admits the existence of the infamous “Area 51” for the first time.

Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.[1][2]


Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation,[5] other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch,[6][7] Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake,[8] and most recently Homey Airport.[9] The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N),[10] known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".[11]

The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government did not even acknowledge until July 14, 2003,[12] has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.[7][13]

Groom Lake is the term that I’ve always heard from people that actually worked there.

In the last 20 years or so, a new runway has been added (that now appears to be unused), with a length of over 23,000 feet. That’s more than double the length necessary for a fully loaded 747 to land. Many have speculated that such a long runway might be needed for the (mythical?) Aurora project.

Interesting side note. Pay attention to the credits during the 1996 film, Independence Day, starring Will Smith. You’ll notice that it doesn’t have the typical “the producers would like to thank the U.S. Air Force for their help in this film”.

The Air Force did agree to provide quite a bit of help and assistance early on. But they read the initial script, and came back and told the producers that there was a problem.

Essentially they said, “this looks like a great movie and we’d love to help you. But first you have to remove all references to Area 51”. The producers said “no way” and the collaboration was over.

Second side note: if you’ve never seen the original bi-plane ending to Independence Day, you’re missing something. Looked for it on youtube. Couldn’t find it.

13 July, 2011

Moody’s And A Clean Debt Ceiling Vote

My liberal friends think the Moody’s statement means that the debt ceiling debate is over and President Barack Obama (D-USA) has won. I’ve heard many times today that the GOP should just give Obama the clean debt ceiling hike, and move on. Here’s why:

Moody's Investors Service has placed the Aaa bond rating of the government of the United States on review for possible downgrade given the rising possibility that the statutory debt limit will not be raised on a timely basis, leading to a default on US Treasury debt obligations. On June 2, Moody's had announced that a rating review would be likely in mid July unless there was meaningful progress in negotiations to raise the debt limit.

As I keep pointing out though, the ceiling is only part of the problem. Read the whole release.

While the debt limit has been raised numerous times in the past, and sometimes the issue has been contentious, bond interest and principal have always been paid on time. If the debt limit is raised again and a default avoided, the Aaa rating would likely be confirmed. However, the outlook assigned at that time to the government bond rating would very likely be changed to negative at the conclusion of the review unless substantial and credible agreement is achieved on a budget that includes long-term deficit reduction. To retain a stable outlook, such an agreement should include a deficit trajectory that leads to stabilization and then decline in the ratios of federal government debt to GDP and debt to revenue beginning within the next few years.

Translation: Our debt-to-GDP ratio is too high. Unless something is done about that as part of any debt ceiling increase, the rating will still be lowered. And unless sustained progress is made in this area, the rating will still be lowered.

So, no, a clean debt ceiling hike won’t help. Nothing has changed. We still need serious entitlement reform, and the President is still playing political games while the nation burns, and we’re all going to pay the price.

Mr. President, You Want Tax Hikes? Here’s What It’s Gonna Cost

President Barack Obama (D-USA), despite saying that “it can’t be ‘my way or the highway’” also says “I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing” (i.e. no deal without tax hikes—my way or the highway).

Ok, here’s the first thing you have to understand, Mr. President. November 2010 happened. You experienced a “shellacking” with the Republican takeover of the house. You do remember that, right? Well, these new Republicans were sent to Washington, D.C. for one purpose and one purpose only, to represent those of us who feel that we’re “Taxed Enough Already”. They’re painfully aware that giving in on taxes to you may be political suicide.

So, when you ask for  $1 trillion in higher taxes, you’re asking for something huge from the other side. That’s fine. We can talk huge if you want. But to get something huge, you’re going to have to give up something huge. They can’t give up huge and then go back to their constituents empty-handed. So, you’re going to have to get your party to agree to something huge in return. Otherwise, there’s no deal that includes tax hikes. No chance of one.

Let me be clear. To get huge, you have to give up huge. Capisce?

I can think of exactly two things that the Democrats could give up that would be comparable. Pick one. And force them to vote yes on it. We’re gonna tie this all into one bill too, so you can’t weasel out at the last minute and only sign one of them.

What are the two things?

  1. Complete repeal of ObamaCare
  2. Balanced Budget Amendment

No, you have to get them to agree to pass one of these, not just vote on them. It has to pass and get your signature.

You do your side on this, and I’ll blog. I’ll Tweet. I’ll call my Congressman and Senators. I’ll write them. I’ll fax them. I’ll write letters to the paper. I’ll call John Boehner and demand to speak to him personally. I’ll do whatever I can to get you that $1 trillion.

I know what you’re thinking, “no way! There’s no way they’ll vote in favor of the BBA, and there’s no way I’m signing away my signature piece of legislation!”

I know you won’t and I know they won’t. You’d have to be a fool to think the Democrats will give up that much. But, you’d have to be a just as big a fool to think the Republicans will give up that much, and get nothing for it.

And if that’s the case, shut up about the tax hikes. Stop grandstanding on this issue and wasting everyone’s time.

This is the offer. It is non-negotiable and final.

Thank You, Mr. Speaker

There’s been a lot of criticism from the right of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-08). I’ve joined in some of that, but I admit that I’ve been mostly supportive.

In like fashion, I must thank the Speaker for the blog post from his staff today. (post quoted in its entirety)

In advance of today’s meeting at the White House, here again are the three things Speaker Boehner and Republicans have said all along are needed for President Obama’s debt limit increase to pass the House:

Republicans have repeatedly said any proposal that fails to meet this test is bad for job growth and can’t pass the House. Here’s Speaker Boehner again yesterday:

A survey by Resurgent Republic found Americans only support raising the debt limit “in exchange for substantial spending cuts and a commitment to reduce the deficit.” And according to US News & World Report, the American people are against tax hikes “in a big way.” Republicans are standing with the American people.

There are no surprises. As Speaker Boehner told Fox News, if President Obama wants to raise the debt limit, it’s time for him to put a plan on the table that meets these requirements and can pass Congress.

July 13, 1973

Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the Nixon tapes:

When Nixon was re-elected, Butterfield was appointed on December 19, 1972 as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He was routinely asked to appear before the United States Senate committee headed by Sam Ervin and was interviewed by staff of the committee on July 13, 1973, prior to going before the Senators. John Dean had previously mentioned that he suspected White House conversations were taped, and the committee was therefore routinely asking witnesses about it. Butterfield did not want to voluntarily tell the committee of the system, but had decided before the hearing that he would, if asked a direct question.

As it happened, Butterfield was asked the direct question by the minority (Republican) counsel, Donald Sanders. He told the staff members that "everything was taped ... as long as the President was in attendance. There was not so much as a hint that something should not be taped."[3] All present recognized the significance of this disclosure, and Butterfield was hastily put before the full Committee on July 16 to put the taping system on the record. Chief Minority Counsel, Fred Thompson, catapulted himself into history by asking "Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?"

New RNC Ad: Change Direction

Great ad.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…

This post has been running around in my head for almost a year. It’s time I finally sent it out into the world. Warning, it’s going to be long.

All liberal policies and ideas are based upon the above phrase.

Wouldn’t it be nice if…

  • everyone could have access to free healthcare?
  • everyone could afford to buy a home?
  • everyone could earn a living wage, no matter what the job?
  • the unemployed could still pay their bills?
  • everyone could retire comfortably?
  • only the richest among us had to pay taxes?
  • we got rid of all our nuclear arms and set an example for the rest of the world?
  • we set an example for the world to follow in tolerance and understanding?
  • there were no wars?
  • employers and universities accepted minorities in proportion to their proportion of the general population?
  • workers have job security in times of economic strife?
  • the government could help starving artists?
  • the government could help with educational programming?
  • the government could make public access to news freely available?
  • we stopped burning fossil fuels that are destroying the planet?
  • we stopped using nuclear power based on risky fission?
  • we rebuilt cities and towns destroyed by mother nature?
  • we eliminated crime by eliminating guns?
  • no one ever had to worry about buying unsafe or useless products?
  • no one ever had to worry about being taken advantage of by banks, credit card companies or other large corporations?
  • there was no poverty?
  • everyone who wants one can get a job?
  • everyone around the world could experience the same freedoms we have here?
  • we had the same government benefits that other countries have?

I could come up with a much longer list given time, but you get the idea.

Yes, all of these things would be nice. They’d be wonderful, in fact. Who wouldn’t sign up for a society like this, given a chance? But liberals never recognize the problems associated with these goals. And there are plenty.

First, some of them are impossible. We’re never going to eliminate poverty, crime, or war. Second, some of them are contradictory. The world’s energy needs are increasing every day. If we stop burning fossil fuels, we’ll need more nuclear fission. If we stop using nuclear fission, we’ll need to burn more fossil fuels. But thirdly, and most importantly, even attempting to achieve any of these goals has consequences, and the consequences cannot be ignored, despite the best efforts of liberals to do so.

You want free healthcare? Fine. But that means that there’s going to be rationing, or less research into new practices, or there will be doctor & hospital shortages, or longer wait times, or higher incidences of malpractice, or lower employment due to forcing corporations to cover the cost. Most likely all of the above.

You want everyone to be able to get a home? That means you have to force banks to give loans to people that are high credit risks. Or don’t have much in the way of down payment. So, when there’s an economic downturn, and these people lose their jobs, they lose their homes. This causes home value deflation, and now the ones that didn’t have down payments are underwater on their mortgages, and are stuck there, unable to move to a better economic situation.

You want everyone to be able to earn a living wage? Fine. Raise the minimum wage. Of course, that means that companies won’t be able to afford to hire as many people, which will result in lower employment.

You want unemployment insurance and retirement insurance? Fine. But that money has to come from somewhere. Forget about the next line, “only the richest among us have to pay taxes”. We were there once, back before WWI. When we didn’t have all this government spending. Include the above “free” healthcare, and everyone’s going to be paying taxes. Lots of them.

You want to dismantle all our nuclear arms and show tolerance and understanding to people fomenting wars all over the globe? Fine. But forget about them following our example. They won’t. In fact, a nice rich country like the United States without a nuclear arsenal would be too delicious a target to pass up. Hope you like Sharia law or speak Chinese. And you can forget about “no more wars”.

You want affirmative action? Fine. But it assumes that companies and universities will be forced to accept the less qualified. That means higher costs, lower productivity, and poorer results. Now I’m not saying that we need to keep minorities in the ghettos. No, in fact, what we need to do is the opposite, so they won’t be less qualified. Don’t make it so minorities don’t have to compete. Make it so that they can compete and win. That’s a win for everybody.

You want workers to be able to keep their jobs when economic times are bad? Fine. Either they’re working for the government or you just destroyed capitalism. Probably both. Side effects? Well, at least we won’t have to worry about class warfare between the rich and the poor anymore. We’ll all be poor. And just like most of the things above, somebody’s going to have to pay the bill for this. Ask Greece how this works out.

You want the National Endowment for the Arts, the Public Broadcasting System, and National Public Radio? Fine. But let me remind you of something. When you’re the one paying for something, you have control over it’s production. When the government is paying for art funding, the government gets to decide what constitutes art. When you have the government funding educational programming, the government gets input into what is shown. When the government pays for news, the government gets input into what stories are exposed and to the slant of editorials. We don’t call this art, education, and news. We call it propaganda, indoctrination, and censorship.

You want to get rid of fission and burning of fossil fuels? Fine. Where’s the energy going to come from? Solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric are incapable of supplying our needs. We would need solar arrays the size of small western states just to power even a small city. We’d need to cover the world with wind farms. Fusion is currently still a dream, and all your other programs have made it impossible to spend the money on researching new energy sources.

You want to rebuild cities and towns destroyed by mother nature? Fine. Actually, I’m in agreement on this one. Within reason. Having a large city that is in a major hurricane alleyway, is coastal, and is mostly below sea level is stupid. At some point we need to admit that it’s stupid to build there and stop trying to fight against the earth. It’s a losing proposition. So is having a large city on a major fault line. Tornados, thunderstorms, hail, forest fires are different. The first three generally do not cause the same kind of widespread damage as a hurricane or earthquake. The last is often preventable and not an act of God. Even when it is, it’s usually containable before it causes the kinds of damage we see from other catastrophic events.

You want to make guns illegal? Fine. You realize of course, that the cities in the U.S. with the highest crime rates also have the most strict gun control laws? The old cliché is true. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. We can’t stop people from being able to get heroin in the United States. You really think you’re going to keep guns away from them? Gun control doesn’t prevent crime. It may prevent accidents, but it’s surely not the best way to do so. And it does limit personal freedom, as do many of the items above. More on that in a moment.

You want to put watchdogs and oversight on every single company and every single product or service it sells? Fine. You realize that’s going to cost the government a lot of money, right? You also realize that it’s going to cost the companies a lot of money too, right? And stifle innovation. And reduce money available for hiring, therefore lowering employment. And who do you think is going to end up paying for all of this? That’s right, the ordinary citizen. Who’s already broke and out of work from all the other stuff above.

You want 100% employment? Fine. But first, realize that some of the things above make employment unnecessary. If the government is going to give me a free ride, why should I go to work? Still, we’ll assume for the moment that’s not the case. But the only way you get to 100% employment is if government takes over responsibility for hiring. In other words, government nationalizes everything. Well, kiss innovation goodbye then. And without innovation, there’s little to no economic growth. There’s no increase in standard of living. Everyone lives at the same level, and that’s the minimum level the government can afford to pay. You eliminate the disparity in incomes and the disparity in happiness. Everyone is poor and miserable.

You want everyone around the world to share the same freedoms and same terrific government benefits? Fine. Of course, generally those are perpendicular lines, so you’re probably going to have to choose between freedom and benefits. Furthermore, you’re going to have to give up sovereignty to do this. That doesn’t bother you? Think it won’t bother the Muslims? Well, it might not, if everyone succumbed to Muslim law. Even if you can get everyone on board, you’re left with a rather controlling world government. You’re going to lose freedoms, not gain them. The reason we have so many freedoms in the U.S. is because we have a decentralized government. And the moves away from that are why we’re losing freedom here. You’re the most free when government decisions are made closest to where you are. RomneyCare is an example of what I mean. The people of MA wanted it, and it was passed. The people next door in NH didn’t want it, and weren’t forced to take it. ObamaCare, being nationwide doesn’t allow you to escape to another state that doesn’t have it, and it burdens a huge number of people that don’t want it. Loss of freedom. This is what you’ll see with your world government. Beyond that, every item on the list above limits freedom. Typically that’s true of government benefits. To get something from the government, you have to give something up.

This is why polls on changing Medicare and the like are ridiculous. “86% of respondents oppose changing Medicare” (made up quote). Well, of course they do. The question didn’t show the consequences of not doing so. Libs need to have TANSTAAFL tattooed on both sides of both hands so they can see it all the time.

This is reality. All of the consequences listed above are true and undeniable. There may be and probably are worse ones that I haven’t even mentioned. Now, it’s true that not all of these hurdles are insurmountable. But they do exist. When you pretend they don’t, which is what liberals do, you invite disaster. You may argue that the consequences are worth it. I don’t think many will agree with you, though.

12 July, 2011

First A Greece Fire, Now Rome Is Burning

Actually, the bad news in Italy has been going on for about as long as Greece, and possibly longer. It’s just been quiet lately, comparatively. But, in case you haven’t been paying attention the last few days, things have heated up again. This is even worse news for the U.S. and the world than what’s been coming out of Greece, simply because the Italian economy is far larger.

But the contagion that started in the euro zone’s smaller countries is suddenly moving to some of its largest. As Greece teeters on the brink of a default, the game has changed: Investors are taking aim at any country suffering from a combination of high debt, slow growth and political dysfunction — and Italy has it all, in spades.

Sound familiar?

In recent days, Italy has become Europe’s next weak link after Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, harmed in particular by a power struggle between Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his finance minister, Giulio Tremonti. The dispute threatens to turn the euro zone’s third-largest economy, after Germany and France, into one of its biggest liabilities.


For Italy, the biggest worry right now is that its fate may rest as much in Athens, Brussels and Berlin as it does in Rome. Only a week ago, it looked as if Greece might be turning a corner on its problems, after the government managed to push through an austerity package and French and German banks worked on ways to help Greece avoid default.

But the plan by banks fell apart over the weekend, and policy makers are at an impasse on how to require contributions from private creditors as part of a second Greek bailout.

Italy’s biggest worry is everyone’s biggest worry, including the United States. Forget dominos, the world economy is currently based upon a huge house of cards.  Look at the pic below. Click on it for a full-size view.

When Greece falls (yes, I said “when”, not “if”), the effects will be felt all over Europe. It’s hard to see how some of the teetering economies there will be able to survive. Spain in particular is very weak, perhaps the weakest card on the table. One of the many problems is that everyone has been financing everyone else’s debt, like paying off one credit card with another. Eventually that stops working and the debt comes due. That time is now for Europe and the United States.

Greece is back in the news because, despite their reluctant acceptance of the European austerity plan, it wasn’t good enough for the credit agencies.

However, because the proposals left bondholders nursing losses, S&P yesterday ruled that they would amount to a default on the debt.

This sets up Germany and France for a clash with the ECB. The proposals are contingent on Greece not defaulting on its debt, because the central bank has said it will not accept defaulted bonds as collateral for loans. But any deal that satisfies German demands that bondholders take a share of the losses is doomed to failure since, based on the S&P ruling, it would trigger a default.

In fact, Greece defaulting on at least part of their debt seems unavoidable at this point. That has always been the most likely scenario, as even the austerity measures were just kicking the can down the road a few months. S&P’s statement that they won’t accept the current plan just moves the can back up the road. In other words, to now.

The outlines of the new rescue emerging this morning pitted Germany against the European Central Bank, with elements of the deal designed to accommodate both camps. Bailout fund buybacks are supported by the ECB, while private creditor losses are a German condition.

Accepting that a Greek default was now impossible to avoid, EU governments are hoping it will be brief and "selective", not triggering a "credit event" on the financial markets that could wreak havoc on the credit default swap markets, also in the US, and unleash contagion.

As the picture above shows, there are firestorms now all over Europe. It’s hard to say which one is the “lynchpin” as they’re all interdependent. Perhaps a selective default in Greece is survivable. I’m not sure. Almost certainly, an Italian collapse is not. I believe that they’re going to need a huge amount of external funding to avoid collapse, from China, the United States, Russia, or Japan. The problem is that all of these countries have problems of their own, and are unlikely to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in what is clearly a bad risk, even if they had the funds to do it.

I’ve been saying for a while now that the real problem that U.S. faces is not the debt ceiling, but when we reach the point where no one will buy our debt. Clearly, no one in Europe is going to be buying any in significant quantities in the foreseeable future. That’s got me thinking about the debt ceiling talks again. At first I thought that the idea of not raising our debt ceiling was crazy. Then I began to think it wasn’t quite so crazy after all. Now I’m starting to wonder if that might be the only solution. We have to have our financial house in order in the event of a European collapse, to avoid one here. Regardless, if that happens, it’s going to wreak havoc on our economy. But, if we have our own finances in order by then, and we’re not spending like there’s no tomorrow, then we can probably pull through.


If we have our own finances in order.

Yeah, I know. I still believe in Santa Claus too.

Anyway, I’m still not quite ready to jump on the “don’t raise the debt ceiling” bandwagon. But I am checking to make sure there’s a spot aboard for me. I have a feeling it may get crowded there over the next couple weeks.

11 July, 2011

July 11, 1796

The United States takes possession of Detroit from Great Britain as part of the Jay Treaty.

I wonder if it’s too late to give it back?

10 July, 2011

Polling News

I said back in May that I was disturbed by how well President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) polling numbers seemed to be holding up, in spite of conflicting polls indicating that people were dissatisfied with the state of the country.

Well, his numbers have fallen back to something approaching reality now. His RealClearPolitics average now stands at 46.3/46.8. Consumer confidence is still low, and falling, now at 58.5. Remember that 90 indicates a healthy economy. Right Track/Wrong Track at RCP has fallen to 28.7/63.3. That’s a drop of 12.3 points in the spread since I last looked at this on May 31st. That is awful news for the President.

He’s been treading water for the last couple of weeks, with the approval spread being right around 0. Today it’s below 0, but tomorrow it may be above again. His all time low on that score is –6.7, back on 9/26/2010, so he’s still quite a bit above that. And I still find that depressing, disturbing, and confusing.

But there’s something else a bit curious about the numbers. And something that should give potential GOP foes the ray of hope they’ve been looking for. First, while the spread may not be falling, that appears to be a case of an increasing number of undecideds. His approval numbers are approaching all time lows for his Presidency. Better yet, his current RCP average in approval/disapproval only has 3 polls where he’s above water. All three were polls of “all adults”. The RV and LV polls all have him underwater. It’s not as good as it could be, but may finally indicate that voters are beginning to associate the failed economy with a failed Presidency.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the details for the CBS/NYT poll that is currently “friendliest” to Obama, giving him a +3 approval spread. It’s the only for which I’ve examined the details so far. Will look at the others later. The very last part of the PDF has some numbers that ought to be very disconcerting for the President, and, as I said, this is the friendliest poll out there.

q29 Compared to past Presidential elections, how would you describe your level of enthusiasm about voting in the 2012 Presidential election next year -- are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as usual?

  Total % Rep % Dem % Ind %
More 27 33 24 27
Less 18 17 19 18
Same 54 50 57 54
DK/NA 1 0 0 0

  Unweighted Weighted %
Total Respondents 979    
Total Registered Voters 886 794  
Registered Voters – Republicans 257 233 29
Registered Voters – Democrats 318 285 36
Registered Voters – Independents 311 276 35



Let’s be honest here. These party affiliation numbers aren’t reasonable. And Team Obama knows they aren’t reasonable, and that has to scare the living daylights out of them. Compare CBS’s own data from the 2008 Presidential election.

No matter how you voted today, do you usually think of yourself as a:

Democrat (39%)
Republican (32%)
Independent or something else (29%)

So, CBS kept the same 7 point spread in party identification, yet increased independents by 6 points over 2008. This, despite the data in their own poll which shows that Democrats and Independents feel roughly the same about voting as they did in 2008, but Republicans are significantly more enthusiastic about voting. CBS is putting their fingers on the scale and doing their best to try to make bad news look less bad and yet still maintain some shred of journalistic integrity. They did keep the R/D spread right, but they weighted the I’s too heavily. I’s are abandoning Obama, and that’s definitely bad news for him, but it is when you couple that with an enthusiastic R base, that things get really awful. CBS tried to hide that little detail, but it’s all there for those willing to put forth a little effort.

July 10, 1989


Th-th-th-th-that’s all folks.

Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, and countless others, dies.

Mel, we still miss you, and still honor your work.

(those of you that think it was tasteless of me to use the Porky Pig line to introduce this don’t understand Mr. Blanc)

Peaceful Green Hippies Are In NM Too


Maybe she’d be happier if she got to hold a small child every day. The one she didn’t abort.

Just sayin’.

Fast & Furious Update

As promised, new links. Previous info can be found here.

I can’t repeat this often enough. Pay attention to this developing story. This is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.

(with apologies to Douglas Adams)

This is going to be another mostly “just the facts, ma’am” type of post.

Moe Lane @ RedState is doing an excellent job of keeping up with events here and summarizing. As he says:

For those coming in late: [Congressman Darrell] Issa [(R-CA-49)] and [Senator Chuck] Grassley [(R-IA)] are investigating the horrifically botched Fast & Furious program that Justice/BATFE had put together, starting in late 2009. F&F was this ingenious method by which the federal government ended up knowingly and deliberately permitted illegally-resold firearms to be supplied to Mexican narco-terrorists; said narco-terrorists then proceeded to use those guns to shoot various hostages, Mexican civilians and police officers, at least one US Border Agent… as you can imagine, the Mexican government is not exactly pleased about any of this, which is why elements within said government are currently muttering about extradition treaties. This is where Kenneth Melson comes in: he is the Acting Director of BATFE, and was apparently picked to be the duly-assigned sacrificial lamb in this particular drama.

Soon to be outgoing directory Kenneth Melson apparently cut a deal with Issa and testified last week in private without the knowledge of the Department of Justice.

Really, read the whole thing from Moe Lane, but I want to highlight just one point in the letter that Issa sent to the DoJ regarding Melson’s testimony.

Melson and the rest of BATFE’s leadership of course wanted to give full disclosure to Congress over this entire sorry affair. Alas, “he said Justice Department officials directed them not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.”

Remember, the cover-up is always worse than the crime. The cover-up in Watergate brought down a President. I think President Barack Obama (D-USA) will survive this, mostly because the MSM won’t want to talk about it, but I just don’t see how Attorney General Holder is going to keep his job. He may end up in jail. A Mexican jail.

This is small now, but nobody was paying attention to Watergate early on either.

July 10, 2001

FBI Agent Ken Williams (left) sends memo warning that an unusual number of Muslim extremists are learning to fly in AZ. He notes that many of these people are likely tied to Al-Qaeda, and he believes that Osama bin Laden is using these men to hijack aircraft.  He recommends that the FBI futher investigate flight schools around the country.