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Greeks In the Streets

Posted by Ryne McClaren on May 2, 2010

America, welcome to a snapshot of your future!  Greeks take to streets in protest of deep spending cuts.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Greece on Saturday, including hundreds of black-clad youths who clashed with the police here, as Greeks vented their rage at tough new austerity measures aimed at securing aid and avoiding a debt default.

[…]

The protests, and a planned strike on Wednesday, are a sign of the challenges ahead for Greece. On Sunday, Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to announce cost-cutting measures totaling 24 billion euros (about $32 billion) that will include freezing public-sector salaries, raising taxes and slashing pensions. In return, Greece is expected to receive up to 120 billion euros in aid over three years.

Greece is, thanks to having their arms twisted, slashing their runaway “social democratic” spending ways, all in hopes of receiving an influx of necessary euros to keep their country from collapsing.  I mean, long story short.

But surely the can-do attitude can keep the country of Greece running, right?

Wrong.  Many in Greece are responding with nothing short of rage.  Sweet, sweet rage at the government that they require and expect to sustain them from the cradle to the grave.

The government’s proposals for deep spending cuts pushed by the International Monetary Fund have met angry resistance in a country where one out of three people is employed in the civil service, which until now has guaranteed jobs for life. The shake-up of Greece’s bloated public sector represents one of the biggest overhauls of the country’s welfare state in a generation. Fears are growing that once Greek society begins to feel the effects of the austerity measures, social unrest could unhinge a potential recovery or force the government to dilute some changes.

“This crisis is not my fault, I won’t accept these austerity measures and I want to know where all the money has gone,” Emily Thomaidis, 29, the owner of a coffee shop, said as she marched through central Athens past vendors selling newspapers with the headlines “Fear. Rage. Hope.” She added, “Why should my generation have to pay the price for problems created by our parents’ generation?”

I can’t remember the last time I read such a delicious, delicious quote in a newspaper.  “Why should my generation have to pay the price for problems created by our parents’ generation?”

Oh my… the glorious irony… the lip-smacking schadenfreude.

Because this is how it works, Emily.  This is government in action.  This is the essence of government, being acted out on the global stage: Patching and solving problems by passing the buck to its future generations.

Given the tragedy and farce of such beautiful American endeavors such as the “stimulus,” and Obamacare, I hope that the New York Times archives this piece of work for future reference, because they’re going to need to run it again and again in the coming decades.  Except the scene won’t be Athens.  (Well, Athens, Georgia, perhaps.)

But there is hope yet.  Surveyed Greeks claim to support these fat-trimming measures (84% claim that the economic difficulties present the chance to introduce needed reform).

One can only hope that they’re not three to five generations (at least) too late.

Posted in capitalism, debt, Economics, socialism | 1 Comment »

The Road to Welfaredom

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 29, 2010

In what could arguably go down as one of the most laughable quotes ever to come out of the office of an American President, Real Clear Politics lands this Moby Dick of bullsh*t from President Obama, during remarks that were apparently uttered yesterday:

“Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

The link will take you to actual footage of these words, from a man who’s shaping up to be the ultimate barker in the carnival of anti-capitalist, anti-free market insanity.

I spent a part of my day (ok, the last 15 minutes or so) parsing the sentence quoted above.  There’s a lot of voodoo in this sentence, and I would urge most readers to not dismiss it as Obama simply pimping to a room of “ordinary Americans.”  Not at all.  In fact, these words are quite lethal.

“I want to be clear…”

I only add that because it’s a staple of any Obama speech, and I find it funny.

“[W]e’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success…”

Oh, heavens no.  By no means does the President or his cadre of tax cheats and bank failure friends begrudge success.  They’re hugely, massively, hilariously wealthy.  The President himself is wealthy by nearly any standard you want to measure him against.  And they’re getting more wealthy every day.  And you, Ordinary Citizen, are not to begrudge them this success.

“[success] that’s fairly earned…”

We do not need a financial reform, headed by hand-picked success auditors, to begrudge success that’s fairly earned.  What we need to do is create measuring devices to determine what is fairly earned, and what is not fairly earned.  What is fairly earned will be ours.  What is not fairly earned will be theirs.

This right here is us.  That over there is them.  And all around is a system of class warfare.

I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.

A personal aside: I am a producer, not a moocher.  I’m also a capitalist, and notoriously greedy.  I’m greedy for myself and I’m greedy for my neighbors.  And yet even I (yes, me!) think that there’s a certain point that you’ve made enough money.

And that point is… when there’s no more money left for you to possibly make.  Either the day isn’t long enough, the market has been tapped, saturated, milked dry, or else when the spirit is willing but the body is unable, even I know that there’s a certain point when someone has made enough money.

But I’m not the person who gets to decide that.  Our markets get to define that.  Our demand gets to define it.  Our supply gets to quantify it.

But not the President of the United States.  And not Congress.  And not even “community organizers” shouting vaguely bubble-gummy flavored slogans.

There’s any number of directions that the speechwriter (or the President himself) could have taken the end of that statement.

It could have been said, for example, “I do think that at a certain point Wall Street has made enough money.”

Wall Street is made up of big boys and girls who are used to being rolled around.  Insulting Wall Street is like insulting used car salesmen and lawyers: it really can’t even be done.  Giving the imaginary Monopoly Guy who rules Wall Street a delicious cod punch is always a crowd pleaser, and plays well to the “ordinary Americans.”  Talk about fired up and ready to go!  Nearly every flunky working in an Organizing for America office would have stood and cheered at that one.

The President may also have said, “I do think that at a certain point people who wish to commit fraud have made enough money.”

If he had said that, then I think we could reach a milquetoast agreement that he said something true.  That breaking the law to make money is unethical and immoral.  That gains must not be ill-gotten.  We all could have been happy.

Is this a case of the President committing a Freudian slip?  Or one of a work weary blogger totally over analyzing and blowing out of proportion a throwaway line in yet another of our President’s ridiculously dumb speeches?

I hope it’s the latter.  I hope years from now we can sit back and laugh, like we do when we think of, well, basically anything that came out of the mouth of James Earl Carter.

But I don’t think this is going to be.  I’m deeply suspicious that, years from now, we’re going to sit back and wish we’d paid closer attention to the things this man said.  To the way he said them.  To the way he liked to utter “us” and “them,” all the while meaning himself, his friends, his cronies, his confidants.

And all the while not realizing that when he said “you” at the end of that line, he really did mean you and me.

Posted in capitalism, Obama | 1 Comment »

Abandon All Hope

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 27, 2010

This word “illegal.”  It does not mean what liberals think it means.

According to one enterprising headline writer at MSNBC, Arizona law “Makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant.” Contessa Brewer and her guest also take a journey down that road in very serious voices.

And yes, according to most definitions of the word oxymoron, it should be intentional.  I’m not sure if MSNBC got the memo, but at any rate you would certainly think that they would be able to read.

Posted in MSM bias, Obama | 1 Comment »

The Ghosts of Cowboys Past

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 27, 2010

Remember how we used to be governed by a dopey cowboy who used tragedy for political gain and drive-by pandering?  All the while his sinister VP secretly ruled the planet (along with the Queen, the Vatican, the Gettys, the Rothschilds, and Colonel Sanders before he went tits up)?

I’m sure glad that we don’t have that any more.  What we have now is a government that is much more full of nuance.

National Security Adviser James Jones loves a good Jewish merchant joke, for example.

And Joe Biden plumbs the depths of head football coach Rich Rodriguez leaving West Virginia for Michigan… while eulogizing at the funeral of the tragically deceased WV coal miners.

Personally, I have a sensibility that is almost impossible to offend.  Jones’ Jew joke?  Inappropriate and disrespectful.  Trade the jokes in your spare time.  But I’m not offended, merely peeved that the man would actually think that saying something like that into a live microphone would be in good taste in any situation.

Biden’s remarks may well have captured the thoughts and personalities of the miners who lost their lives.  But really?

But if you flip either of these situations back in time three or four years, I think you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Posted in fake news | 1 Comment »

It’s Over

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 21, 2010

What will likely go down in history as the most egregious expansion of government ever seen, Congressional Democrats tonight paved the way for the future bankruptcy of every American who hasn’t even been born yet.

Obama watched the vote in the White House’s Roosevelt Room with Vice President Joe Biden and about 40 staff aides. When the long sought 216th vote came in — the magic number needed for passage — the room burst into applause and hugs. An exultant president exchanged a high-five with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Yes, high fives all around.  From two men who will likely never spend a single day of their lives in the system they just created.

And Bart Stupak, who has spent the last couple of months misleading the American public into thinking he just might be virtually the only Democrat in Congress with any morals or spine, was purchased for a mere $726,429.

Sickening.  Positively sickening.

The only positive that I can extract from today’s events are that in eight short months we’re going to get to find out exactly what the American people think of this.

Posted in crazy leftists, healthcare, Obama, socialism | 1 Comment »

The Eye-Are-Ess

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 20, 2010

It’s almost April 15th, people!  Get cracking on those tax returns if you haven’t already, because Comrade Pelosi is depending on you to pay for a lifetime membership to her favorite Botox warehouse.

Oh, and one more thing: If you think you love the IRS now, just wait until America gets put in a stranglehold by the perverted “vote” that may or may not occur this weekend in re the government takeover of health care.

“If the Democrats’ health care bill becomes law, the IRS could have to hire more than 16,000 additional agents, auditors and other workers just to enforce all the new taxes and penalties,” said Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI).  “It is a dangerous expansion of the IRS’s power and reach into the lives of virtually every American.”

Highlights of report, which is entitled “The Wrong Prescription: Democrats’ Health Overhaul Dangerously Expands IRS Authority,” include:

  • IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
  • IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
  • IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
  • IRS audits are likely to increase;
  • IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade;
  • IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and
  • Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)

Posted in healthcare, Obama, socialism, taxes | 3 Comments »

All the World Is A Stage

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 16, 2010

How bad are things going for Nanny State Pelosi and crew?

So bad that even the (formerly!) smoking hot Carla Bruni slapped on a Tragedy Mask.

So bad that even the Massachusetts state treasurer, a guy who’s never seen anything that can’t be taxed or subsidized, thinks that ObamaPelosiCare will bankrupt the entire freaking nation in a few short years.  [ed — But I’d distrust his opinion, since he’s running for MA governor right now.  Obama and Company have essentially bankrupted the nation in just one year, and they haven’t even passed HCR yet.]

This would have all the makings of a great (but comical) farce, if our country wasn’t on the verge of ruin.

And yes, I know, all of today’s bits were ripped straight off of Drudge.  To explore the news any more than that today would probably land me in an insane asylum.  So y’all are on your own.

Posted in healthcare, Obama | 2 Comments »

Go-Go Nancy

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 14, 2010

Nancy Pelosi exists in a world which is impenetrable to the harsh light of reality: For Nancy Pelosi, There Is No Such Thing As Bad News.

To sum up: A procedural barrier was confirmed, an old issue-based conflict proved effectively unsolvable, another issue-based conflict flared up, and the president all but admitted that 1) his timeline was (yet again) unrealistic and 2) the votes to pass the bill don’t yet exist.

Pelosi response? According to The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward, the day was “another step taking us closer to voting.”

We’ve learned a lot of things over the past few weeks, but the biggest might very well be that despite spending just shy of 23 years in the House, she has very little idea of how it actually works.  Procedurally, I mean.  She’s got the greasing of the federal teat and trough queuing down pat, but the nuts and bolts?  Perhaps not so much.

There’s nothing about the last two weeks especially that would make me think otherwise.  Health care “reform” is burning down around the Democrats, but Speaker Nan keeps marching the soldiers onward in a fashion reminiscent of lemmings, and with the cliff metaphorically represented by the mid-term elections of November 2010.

We all know that this is a woman who thinks that contraceptives alone can lower state “costs,” and that bills must be passed before we can know what’s in them.  Those of us with any eyesight whatsoever also know that one thing Nancy Pelosi has never said no to is Botox and extensive plastic surgery. We’ve even let this clownish woman burn our tax dollars on booze.

But even our most sleazy and despicable politicians usually have to be given credit for possessing a keen intellect (no matter how misguided), or their charisma and star power.  Pelosi possesses neither of those traits, and is largely just a beneficiary of a constituency that has played a large hand in essentially destroying what was once America’s most industrious state.

Nancy Pelosi serves America about like a call girl serves her best john.

When I’m teaching my future children exactly what’s wrong with American government (I’m figuring at least thirty years worth of lesson plans will be needed), it’s the kinky bureaucrats like Pelosi that I’ll point to.

There are politicians with whom one can politely disagree.  There are politicians which you would readily vote against even if they were running for county coroner.  Then there are those like Pelosi, who deserve every bit of mockery and scorn you can humanly pile atop them in a given day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The First Pacific President

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 14, 2010

Don’t worry, Europe; he doesn’t give a damn about us, either:

The president’s affinity with the Pacific serves as a reminder that the sole European in his lineage seems to be a great-great-great-grandfather from County Offaly who inspired the 2008 folk song There’s No One as Irish as Barack O’Bama.

Unlike George W Bush and Bill Clinton, Obama has made little effort to strike up friendships with European leaders. At the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last year he was pictured walking out with the leaders of China and India, his administration’s evident priorities, along with Russia, at the expense of America’s traditional allies.

So don’t go thinkin’ that you’re special in your not-give-a-damn-ness.  We’re running such a large friendship deficit in this era of Hope and Yada-Yada-Yada.  And when it comes to getting the shaft from Barry and his tribe of Capitol Hill careerists, Israel still has you beat hands down.

This is the sort of nonsense that I could have easily predicted for, well, everyone, but didn’t really want to harsh the awesomeness of The One.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 14, 2010

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently found himself in a whole heap of trouble down in Milledgeville, GA.  Allegedly, mind you.

Former Milledgeville resident Flannery O’Connor would have had a field day examining our modern day culture of celebrity sports heroes, who appear to get by largely on mass quantities of booze and a steady diet of willing 20-somethings.  What passes for being a celebrity these days is far more grotesque and gothic than anything the marvelous Ms. O’Connor could have dreamed up.

Posted in fake news | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Leave the Same-Sex Marriage License On the Table

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 13, 2010

From just up the road in Rapid City, SD comes one of the more bizarre stories you’re going to read in a while: Lesbian Sgt. discharged after police tell military.

Jene Newsome played by the rules as an Air Force sergeant: She never told anyone in the military she was a lesbian. The 28-year-old’s honorable discharge under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy came only after police officers in Rapid City, S.D., saw an Iowa marriage certificate in her home and told the nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The Rapid City Police Department says Newsome, an aircraft armament system craftsman who spent nine years in the Air Force, was not cooperative when they showed up at her home in November with an arrest warrant for her partner, who was wanted on theft charges in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa — where gay marriage is legal — in October.

Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome’s home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP. The license was relevant to the investigation because it showed both the relationship and residency of the two women, he said.

Odd, yes?

1.) “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is a lot of things, but it’s not actually a policy.  It’s more or less a non-policy, and one so stupid and ignorant that it could have only been devised by a Democrat.

2.) Did the Rapid City PD do anything wrong?  I have absolutely no idea.  If something can be viewed from the outside of your home, there’s no violation of privacy involved.

3.) The woman was given a chance to leave the base and assist the PD in finding her partner.  She refused.

4.) If a law enforcement officer finds out that you’re a homosexual and an active member of the United States military, do you have the reasonable belief that the police will actually report that to your superiors?  I’m not familiar enough with what in the hell might be considered reasonable procedure under these circumstances to even go there.

So what is this, exactly?  A case of bigoted revenge?  Just another odd “plain sight” case?  One of the strongest defenses you’ll ever read against “Don’t ask, don’t tell?”  I have no idea, but it is an interesting story, and it’ll be equally interesting to see how it turns out, as the ACLU has filed a complaint against the police department.

I’m flummoxed.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is dumb, dumb, dumb.  The sooner we’re done with it, the better.

Posted in Gay rights | 1 Comment »

Hacking Big Media

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 12, 2010

Without much comment from me (because it’s a very lengthy piece) comes a great story about Andrew Breitbart from Wired: How Andrew Breitbart Hacks the Media.

For someone who claims to hate the “Democrat-media complex,” Breitbart sure knows how to work it. Few people are better at packaging information for maximum distribution and impact. He is, depending on whom you ask, either the “leading figure in this right-wing creation of a parallel universe of lies and idiotic conspiracy theories” (that was liberal critic Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America) or “the most dangerous man on the right today” (from Michael Goldfarb, Republican consultant and former campaign aide to John McCain). Breitbart is, in short, expert in making the journalism industry his bitch. “The market has forced me to come up with techniques to be noticed,” Breitbart says. “And now that I have them, I’m like, wow, this is actually great. This is fun.”

Read the whole thing, as they say.

One of the things that Breitbart has capitalized on, and I’m tracing this back to his Drudge Report days, is his ability (and foresight) to work around the media, and not within their narrow little box of what constitutes “reporting” and “journalism.”  In one short year Breitbart has changed the dynamic of reporting, for good or ill, and has rendered leftist stalwarts such as Eric Boehlert and Max Blumenthal insane with rage and hypocracy.

Andrew figured out a long time ago that a.) the media is not the non-liberal’s friend, and b.) there is absolutely no such thing as “equal time.”  The media is, quite simply, running a rigged game filled with straw men and all sorts of wacky traps for non-leftists.

It’s possible to bring the story to the people, in the year of our Lord 2010.  You don’t have to wait for the people come to you.

Posted in crazy leftists, general nuttiness, MSM bias | 2 Comments »

Starring Eric Massa as Janet Leigh

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 10, 2010

If we didn’t have Rahm Emmanuel, we’d have to invent him: Nude Rahm Emmanuel told Massa he “better vote with the President.”

Massa is nothing short of a creep and a nutball, but this is the sort of hard charging, Alpha Male B.S. that Emmanuel could conceivably pull.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Federal Pay Premium

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 8, 2010

If you’re working for the federal government, then congratulations.  The chances that you earn more than your average counterpart in the private sector is above average.  In fact, it’s nearly a certainty that you’re better paid than someone with similar (or identical skills) performing the same job on our side of the fence.

From USA Today comes this story, culled from an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data: Federal pay ahead of private industry.

Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds.

Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

What does this “more pay on average” add up to?  Quite a bit actually.

Federal. The federal pay premium cut across all job categories — white-collar, blue-collar, management, professional, technical and low-skill. In all, 180 jobs paid better average salaries in the federal government; 36 paid better in the private sector.

Granted, the federal pay scale is “limited,” or capped in many circumstances.  But 180 of the 216 jobs that were analyzed were more profitable on average when Uncle Sam is your employer.  So if that’s the average, I could probably stand some of that federal pay cap myself.

This isn’t to begrudge everyone on the federal payroll, or even to argue about the disparity.  There are plenty of federal workers whose pay is commensurate with their skills and training.  But in many cases those private sector workers don’t just make less, but significantly less.

If you click through to the link you’ll see a “job comparison” chart explaining the average federal pay versus the average private sector pay for a given job.  The article makes some mention that certain federal jobs, like accounting, for example, “has more complexity and requires more skill.”

A cook working for the government makes $38,400 on average. The average for the guy working in the diner kitchen makes $23,279.

How about the position of “clergy?”  They make a whopping $70,460 per year when they’re employed by Uncle Sam, which is a certifiable chasm of $31,213 more than their non-fed counterparts ($39,247).  While I can think of a multitude of reasons that our federal government does in fact need highly trained and skillful clergy, I was left scratching my head at the “complexity” and higher level of “skills” in this one.

It all makes for interesting reading on a Monday night.

Posted in capitalism, Economics | 1 Comment »

When Accused of Arousing Murderers, Do You Take It Lying Down?

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010

Has the “Tea Party” movement been tainted by the growth of “extremism?”  Kenneth P. Vogel over at Politico would like to sort of insinuate that it is, and may continue to be.  Someday soon we’ll all have to worry about the “Taxed Enough Already” gang going gaga and shooting up public places and people and crashing planes and blowing things up.  Or at least we will if we believe this sort of tripe.

When John Patrick Bedell, killed this week in a shoot-out with police at the Pentagon, was revealed to have left behind a rambling trail of anti-government screeds, conservative commentators reacted with another collective cringe – just as they did after the discovery of the writings of IRS suicide pilot Joe Stack.

“Don’t Believe the MSM: John Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon Shooter, was no Right-Winger,” blared the headline of a piece leading the conservative media watchdog website Big Journalism Friday afternoon.

“Tragedy Occurs. Media Rush to Blame Right-Wing,”echoed one at the heavily trafficked righty blog Townhall.com.

Gee, Ken.  There’s something about being portrayed as fomenting murder that most people don’t like.  The tone in the piece quoted above almost suggests puzzlement at that.  So if I were writing for a website viewed by tens of thousands of people every month, and perhaps millions every year, and I wrote that the writings of Kenneth P. Vogel incited some nut to shoot up a public place, do you think he might disagree?

The media driven “debate” about whether or not John Patrick Bedell, the nutbag who started shooting at the Pentagon last week, was a “right-winger” is so #%^&ing stupid that it causes me physical pain.  Actual, serious physical pain.  My head hurts when I read this sort of thing.

It would seem that any time we see lunatics of any particular stripe painted as representative of political or social movements, any able minded commentator, pundit, or journalist would take the opportunity to slam the door shut on such absurd notions.  But I guess not.  After all, our American, unbiased, for-profit chattering class spent all of 2008 not even mentioning that Saul Alinsky was a member of the Weather Underground, a radical organization that did, in fact, plot and carry out acts of violence against our government.

See where this gets confusing?  Alinsky is not news because he may or may not have hung out with Barack Obama.  John Patrick Bedell was a registered Democrat and Joseph Stack was a communist, but they’re right wingers inspired by Glenn Beck.

I don’t watch or pay much mind to Glenn Beck, but if I did and he said to do something, I wouldn’t do it.  The same goes for any other guy on TV who writes and sells books and talks about politics.  That is because I am not crazy.  If Glenn Beck angered me enough to fly an airplane into a building with IRS offices in it, then I am totally around the bend crazy.

If I write a funny sign on a piece of paper and peacefully carry it in the street because I think our government spends too much money, I am not crazy.  If I take a couple of semi-autos to the Pentagon, then I am eat my own feces in a rubber room insane.

This concept should not be difficult.

Insinuating that people who are using a public voice to express displeasure at how the government spends their money are exciting “extremists” to commit murder is tacky, absurd, and borderline insane.  It crosses the threshold of merely carrying water in opposition to the Tea Partiers to something much more malignant and dangerous.

I don’t care about the “rise of militias.”  They’ve always been around.  I don’t care about the “rhetoric” that people like Bedell or Joseph Stack use, because their “rhetoric” is unhinged, and being bug-eyed crazy is not a partisan gig.  I also don’t care for clowns like John Avlon insinuating these sorts of things in the name of selling copies of his own book.

Conservatives are right to worry about being tainted by the growth of extremism, said John Avlon, the author of “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.”

“In the extreme edge of conspiracy theory politics, it is way beyond the simple left versus right – the two overlap,” said Avlon, a former speech writer for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, both in City Hall and during Giuliani’s campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. For example, Avlon pointed to Bedell’s belief in a cover-up about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which harkens back to an earlier strain of non-partisan conspiracy theory.

Shame on anyone — left, right, or in-between — who would engage in this nonsense other than expressly and completely condemning it.

Shame all around.

Posted in fake news | Leave a Comment »

National Debt 2: Electric Boogaloo

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010

Scrooge O'Bama

An elusive federal bureaucrat photographed in his natural habitat.

Earlier tonight I posted an offhand item about the ongoing Obama v. CBO rumble.  Abe then weighed in here.

To keep a theme going, I want to reference something that Abe said in his post, something Very Important:

One big problem for enlightened debate about spending is the difficulty we all have in comprehending the magnitude of the numbers involved. We can all get outraged about millions of dollars for bonuses to Goldman Sachs employees without realizing how miniscule those are compared to the real problems we are facing.

It is hard to get your head around, and Abe — being quite the astute taxpayer — helped out.

But as an addendum I don’t think that it’s possible to really put both arms around a trillion here and a trillion there until we ask that age old question, “What does it mean to me?”  It’s a simple question, honestly, but it’s seldom asked by anyone endeavoring to do anything these days.

According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the “real” national debt is currently $56.4 trillion dollars, and not the $11 trillion usually referenced.

How is it $56.4 trillion, you ask?  And not the paltry $11 or $12 trillion commonly referenced?  The “real” debt page explains.

How exactly does this $56.4 trillion bill add up? First, there are the federal government’s known liabilities that it is legally obliged to fulfill. These include publicly held debt, military and civilian pensions and retiree health benefits. As of September 30, 2008, these liabilities added up to $13.5 trillion.

Then there are various commitments and contingencies – i.e., contractual requirements that the government is expected to fulfill when, and if specified conditions are met. These include federal insurance payouts, loan guarantees, and leases. As of September 30, 2008, they added up to $1.4 trillion.

So where does the remaining $43 trillion or so come from? That’s what the government has promised to pay in Social Security and Medicare benefits in excess of related revenues. As of January 1, 2008, current and promised future Social Security benefits amounted to $6.6 trillion. And between Medicare’s three programs (hospital insurance, outpatient, and prescription drug), current and future promised Medicare benefits amounted to $36.3 trillion.

Yikes.  And also, gulp.

But imagine if America wanted to Do the Right Thing, and settle this $56.4 trillion up.  Say we threw all of our efforts as a blessed citizenry behind not only paying this down but paying it off.  What would it cost each of us?

Only a tidy $184,000 per person, or $483,000 per household.  That’s all.  Will that be cash or check?

Those of you who are real gluttons for punishment can also follow the “national debt” clock on Twitter here: @nationaldebt.

Posted in Obama, taxes | 1 Comment »

Yes, We Can…

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010

… add trillions to trillions.

WASHINGTON – A new congressional report released Friday says the United States’ long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama’s grim budget submission last month.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama’s budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total $9.8 trillion. That’s $1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration.

The agency says its future-year predictions of tax revenues are more pessimistic than the administration’s. That’s because CBO projects slightly slower economic growth than the White House.

Prediction: someday soon the CBO will be outlawed by Presidential edict.  Those guys are always getting in the way of our future Greek way of living.

The article drones on for a bit before mentioning that a 18-member panel is being formed (what, no czar?) to come up with ways that reduce the deficit.  So sit back and relax, working class.

Posted in crazy leftists, Obama, socialism, taxes | 2 Comments »

The Symbolic Symbolism of Fakery

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010

Initially I wasn’t particularly concerned about President Obama’s “green” initiatives, until I remembered that America had just elected a complete fraud.

And while the following story doesn’t have anything to do with our current administration per se, I think it’s handy to remind ourselves that you can pick any issue of the day out of a hat, and whatever the government can do, the private sector can do better, cheaper, faster.

To wit: this informative Tom Steward post at Big Government titled ‘Symbolic Wind Turbines Generating more P.R. Than Power.

Now that most of twelve California wind turbines retrofitted for Minnesota winters are finally operational, several cities have acknowledged to the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota that the $5 million project may be more suited for generating PR—both good and bad—than producing significant quantities of power.

The wind power project involves utilities in eleven cities scattered across the state from the metro area to East Grand Forks in a consortium called the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA). Each of the eleven member cities received one turbine, and the twelfth was given to the MMPA owned and operated Faribault Energy Park in Faribault. It was supposed to be a step toward meeting the state renewable energy mandate that requires 25 percent of Minnesota’s power be from renewable energy sources by 2025.

It turns out, however, the twelve wind derricks will produce power for perhaps several hundred homes, hardly making a dent in the MMPA’s 57,000 household and business customers.

“They’re basically for public relations, educational purposes. They’re just not feasible for any significant amount of electrical generation,” said Dan Voss, Municipal Utilities Director for the City of Anoka.

President Obama’s campaign pledge to promote “green” spending and research hasn’t flowered.  But when it does — pending the collapse of health care “reform” and any number of other items on his agenda — I expect that we’ll see a lot more of this sort of thing.

“Going green” is a farcical notion, in both the corporate and political sense.  “Green” products are stamped as such to induce the consumer to buy them, so caveat emptor.  “Going green,” in the political sense, is a lullaby to convince you to open your wallet to the cats who run Washington, DC and your state legislature.

I’m a pretty solid advocate of research and development of alternative energy sources, as well as the technology to reduce energy consumption.  My political and ethical philosophies are both aligned with being good stewards of the earth, and being effective managers of the resources that are available to us.  I don’t think that makes me any more or less like any particular political party, I think it makes me similar to the majority.

But do we honestly believe that the accounting shell games run by our state and federal governments will ever produce actual, reality-based technologies to make our lives cleaner, more efficient, and more affordable?

I certainly do not think so.  If you read the linked story above, and apply it at the macro-level, you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Until “green” R&D presents an actual, accountable savings to the population, it’s never gonna fly.  But when the stars align just so, then we can look forward to a cleaner and more sustainable style of living.

Clean, renewable energy will have to be 1.) profitable to the producer, and 2.) profitable to the consumer.  So ask yourself this: who do you trust to pull this one off?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Obama the Outsider

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 4, 2010

Oh, this is rich.

The throw-the-bums-out mentality is so strong in American politics that even the ultimate insider — the president of the United States — is running against Washington.

Casting yourself as an outsider from inside the White House is no easy trick, especially when your party controls both houses of Congress. But that doesn’t stop Barack Obama from trying.

“At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem,” Obama said Wednesday, referring to the U.S. health care system, “but our ability to solve any problem. The American people want to know if it’s still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future.”

As the writer notes, this story is as old as the office itself.

Every President has tried it, obviously, but it’s going to be interesting to see how well it works when you’ve got the place stuffed to the rafters with lobbyists and gold is raining from the sky.

Posted in crazy leftists, Obama | Leave a Comment »

It’s Not a Communication Problem, It’s A Listening Problem

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 4, 2010

While browsing around the Internet this evening, I found a transcript of an interview that Charlie Cook gave to National Journal.com last month.  Like most “pollsters,” he’s always right until he’s wrong, but he provides lots of food for thought.

The entire thing is an interesting read, as Cook is a very astute, so I suggest that you check the whole thing out.  But the line that really caught me was this one:

NJ: If Obama has a communications problem as you suggest, then what should he do to reach out to the American people? Should he try to appear more populist?

Cook: I sort of reject the notion that there is a communications problem with President Obama. I think it’s just fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning. Of proportions comparable to President George W. Bush’s decision to go into Iraq. While Bush went, “We’re going to go after Afghanistan as a reaction to 9/11,” and then just pretty soon got distracted and obsessed with going into Iraq with varying rationalizations that sort of evolved over time.

Charlie Cook is quite right.  Obama’s ability to communicate is not in dispute — YES WE CAN! — and over 60 million Americans — HOPE AND CHANGE! — voted for him.  His ability to craft and deliver a “message” is evident, and it’s the entire reason the man is sitting in the Oval Office today.

Look at what he had to overcome to get where he is today!  Namely, the complete lack of experience or any sort of viable record on the really important issues of the day.  (And don’t give me any of that stuff about how he was “against the war.”  He may have done that, but it was a pretty intense political gamble he just happened to win.  I don’t believe, based on his actions as President, that he’s any more or less “against war” than any other politician.)

Even in the sound-bite driven, Dumb and Dumber, 30-second attention span world of cable news channels and the Internet, it’s laudable for a man with absolutely no credentials other than being elected to his home state house and the US Senate to become President.

He won, in the absence of a record or concrete ideas because he’s a good communicator.

But here’s the thing.  If Barack Obama’s problem were a piece of e-mail software, it would come only with a send button, and no ability to receive messages.  If Barack Obama’s problem were a telephone, it would only relay your voice, and have no receiver in which to hear what the other party’s saying.  If Barack Obama’s problem were an overnight delivery service, you could only send packages, and never have one show up on the front porch.  I think you get my drift.

And it’s not conceivable that Obama isn’t capable of listening.  After all, not even a US President insulated by a cadre of ward heelers and political heavies could avoid the all-hell-has-broken-loose Tea Parties.  And the President even went so far as to host a health care “summit,” where a number of Congresspeople raised all sorts of hell with his HCR math.

He hears the words that you’re saying.  The problem is that he doesn’t care.  Whenever this President has been confronted with opposition, the extent of his communication has consisted of: I won, and I’m the President.

Barack Obama’s manifest political destiny was written on his shaving mirror by his audacity to hope, by his ability to raise beaucoup cash for Congressional colleagues just with the sound of his voice, and by his ability to surround himself with some of the most wicked and paralyzing political hacks Washington has ever seen.

Eventually a few slivers of daylight may break through Barack Obama’s human wall of David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and Valerie Jarrett.  But the question is, will he actually notice it?  His miscalculations have been many and often, and I think what I’ve detailed above is as much of a reason as I can come up with.

Posted in Obama, socialism, tea party | Leave a Comment »

 
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