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Archive for the ‘socialism’ Category

Jobs Americans Won’t Do

Posted by Dan Draney on October 24, 2010

Socialist Patty Murray has discovered that it’s OK to exploit illegal aliens in service of her own bid to cling to power. Apparently there really are some Jobs Americans Won’t Do.

The 42-year-old is one of dozens of volunteers — many of them illegal immigrants — canvassing neighborhoods in the Seattle area trying to get naturalized citizens to cast a ballot for candidates like Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who is in a neck-to-neck race with Republican Dino Rossi.

Pramila Jayapal, head of OneAmerica Votes, says the campaign is about empowering immigrants who may not feel like they can contribute to a campaign because they can’t vote.

“Immigrants really do matter,” Jayapal said. “If we can’t vote ourselves, we’re gonna knock on doors, or get family members to vote.”

So far the illegal immigrants going door-to-door aren’t meeting opposition. Craig Keller, an organizer for Respect WA, a group pushing for stricter immigration law in the Washington, said he doesn’t mind illegal immigrants volunteering for vote drives, he just wants to make sure mistakes on the voter rolls don’t allow them to vote.

via Illegal Aliens Canvass for Votes in Wash. State – FoxNews.com.

You can make a contribution to Murray’s opponent, Dino Rossi, here.

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Posted in Senate, socialism | Leave a Comment »

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 »

What He Said

Posted by Dan Draney on April 28, 2010

I just loved this letter to the editor today in the WSJ from Robert G. Anderson of Sheridan, Wyoming.

Gerald O’Driscoll’s excellent “An Economy of Liars” op-ed, April 20 ends too soon. Crony capitalism is merely the first phase of an imposed interventionist welfare state on a free-market economy. As our country continues its descent down Frederich von Hayek.s “road to serfdom,” our politicians and their apologists are being transformed from liars to demagogues.

The anti-capitalist mentality ingrained in egalitarianism and envy is taking our country closer to the path taken by Argentina as that country steadily declined from being one of the world’s richest countries to one of its poorest in the last century. Recovery still remains an illusion for Argentina, and possibly it will for us as well.

While the most immediate and visible consequences from this shifting change are the unfunded, contingent liabilities and growing deficits in both the public and private sectors, the far more dire result is the massive destruction of accumulated wealth and the disincentives for its replacement which this anticapitalist mentality of expanding wealth transfer by political edicts is generating.

As the indebtedness and regulatory grasp of the political process expand, it’s becoming obvious that the government parasite is killing its market host. The wealth destruction occurring today, coupled with the undermining of market incentives to replace it, inexorably assures a declining material standard of living ahead.

Unless a drastic change in our political climate comes soon, with a restoration of market wealth generating prospects for future entrepreneurs, Americans may find themselves doing the bidding of the Chinese rather than buying their goods.

Posted in government spending, socialism | Leave a Comment »

Who Are These Tea Partiers?

Posted by Dan Draney on April 1, 2010

Fellow Nebraska blogger, Uncle Wiggily, had a post this week that caught my attention, entitled The enemy of my enemy is sometimes my enemy too. He starts by describing the original Boston Tea Party in context and then turns to the current Tea Party Movement:

I laid that micro-lesson in history on you as prelude to this declaration – in one rabbit’s opinion, today’s so-called Tea Parties are nothing like, and bear no meaningful relationship to, that honored, even sacred, juncture in American history that took place in Boston so long ago. To compare today’s boisterous chatauqua-cum-picnic gatherings (complete, of course, with the requisite goofy hats, shirts and hand-painted signs) to the coup d’éclat of those early revolutionaries whose courageous actions jeopardized their careers, reputations, and even their lives, is to dishonor those who birthed this republic.

Additionally, I have never liked what I believe to be the symbological disconnect between current political revelers and those old colonial patriots. Adams, and many others, were struggling against, among other indignities, illegal taxation and tyrannical exploitation by an imperious English king, as well as striving to maintain rights and liberties they had devoted their entire lives to securing. Today’s weekend demonstrators are cranked about a whole variety of issues, but mostly they seem to just want to attend a sort of political Woodstock and generically bitch about those policy aspects of the current administration with which they disagree. The facile co-opting of the emotional horsepower contained within the philosophical bone and sinew of real American patriots by today’s pseudo-political saturnalians strikes me as impertinent toward, if not contemptuous of, those old guys’ heroic exertions.

Many, if not most, modern-day TPers appear to this observer to be only inflamed with the “pious ecstasies of the dissidence of dissent“, to borrow a wonderfully descriptive phrase from Russell Kirk. They’re into the scene – the self-absorbed urgency of the throng – with no very clear idea of where their perhaps well-intentioned flailing about will take them or their disordered enterprise. That old Shakespearean phrase comes to mind: “... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I consider myself to be a member of the Tea Party Movement, broadly defined. I was a founding member/leader of Grassroots in Nebraska, although I am not much involved with that group today. More recently, I have been working with about a half-dozen people at Give Me Liberty TV, making TV shows and clips. See for example our most recent show. I don’t think you can get any more “grassroots” than GML-TV: everything is done by individual initiative and consensus, and we have no budget.

Although Uncle Wiggily is one of my favorite rabbits, his criticism struck me as a bit harsh. Feel free to read his entire post and the comments, although I won’t quote them all here. He goes on to express concern that the TP groups will end up splitting the opposition to progressivism, resulting in the triumph of the very forces we are protesting against. This is a serious issue and the main reason I don’t support creating a Tea Party Party. UW is certainly right about the different levels of risk assumed by the original Tea Party members vs. today. However, in my experience people in the Tea Party Movement have tremendous respect and admiration for the Founders.

What bothered me, though, was that smart folks like UW and his commenters seemed to have absorbed a lot of the MSM line characterizing the Tea Party Movement as primarily Angry Racist Kooks. That doesn’t square with my personal experience at all. The most apt description I have heard for the TPM, from Larry Kudlow, I believe, is “free market populists.” Some good work has been done toward understanding the Tea Party Movement by people who are not out to discredit the protesters, such as this from Kristen Soltis at the Winston Group:

Some of our findings were unsurprising — tea-party members tend to be conservative; a majority are Republican; they are concerned about the federal deficit and spending.

But some four out of ten tea-party members aren’t Republican, and a third aren’t conservative, painting a picture of a movement that is hardly monolithic.

There’s quite a bit of data to sift through, but the critical storyline that emerges is this: The tea-party movement is driven by concern about the economy and jobs. Yes, they place a high level of importance on the national deficit — over three times as many tea-party members name it as their top issue than do voters overall — but it doesn’t end there.

In question after question, tea-party members expressed their belief that things like low taxes and reduced spending can create jobs.  For instance, 85 percent say that cutting taxes for small businesses will create more jobs than increased government spending on infrastructure projects. Yet when pressed on what they’d prefer — a balanced budget or a 5 percent unemployment rate — 63 percent picked the unemployment rate, similar to the overall sample of voters at 64 percent.

Similarly, Ramesh Ponnuru and Kate O’Beirne argue that the GOP should consider the Tea Party Movement an opportunity rather than a threat:

The first [myth] is that the tea partiers are driven by racial animus against the president. Actually, a third of the people who participated in tea-party rallies say that they approve of Obama’s performance in office and a fifth say that they voted for him in 2008. Five percent of them are black, 11 percent Hispanic. Of those who agree with the protests, 29 percent approve of Obama’s performance. Waters and Krugman can rest easy.

The second myth is that the tea partiers are unpopular. Krugman wrote last April that the tea parties “have been the subject of considerable mockery, and rightly so,” and Brooks speculated that “the tea-party tendency” might “be the ruin of the Republican party, pulling it in an angry direction that suburban voters will not tolerate.” Some Republican officials worry that media criticism and Democrats’ attacks on the activists have made it politically risky to associate themselves with the tea-party movement.

The polls do not bear out this fear. Most voters don’t consider themselves well-informed about the tea parties, but have a favorable view. As noted already, 53 percent of the electorate look sympathetically on the tea parties. McLaughlin also asked likely voters which characterization of the tea parties they leaned toward: an “anti-government, fringe organization that is driven by anger” or a group of “citizens concerned about the country’s economic future.” A majority of 57 percent chose the benign characterization while only 19 percent disagreed. Even a plurality of self-identified liberals went with “concern” rather than “anger.”

It really should not be difficult for the GOP to win over the majority of the Tea Party Movement, provided the GOP is actually willing to stand up for the principles it claims to hold dear:

But Republicans can do more than hope. They can appeal to the tea partiers and ally with them. While the tea partiers often express disgust with the Republican record on spending and bailouts, their views on most issues are within the mainstream of the Republican party. As we have seen, they are concerned about deficits but enthusiastic about tax cuts; they are pro-life; they are pro-defense. McLaughlin also finds that they favor increased reliance on nuclear power. They listen to the same talk-radio shows that conservative Republicans do. Their demographic profile looks very similar to that of Republicans.

Which is not surprising, since they’re generally the same people. The tea partiers are, for the most part, Republicans. Specifically, they are a highly engaged, but not highly partisan, segment of the party. A majority self-identify as Republicans and as conservatives. A full 68 percent of tea-party sympathizers voted for John McCain in 2008 — which was, it need hardly be noted, low tide for the GOP. Some of the tea-party activists take pride in their movement’s independence from the Republican party, and Republicans reaching out to them need to be mindful of that fact. But it’s also true that they’re not going to have to reach very far.

Michael Barone sees the Tea Parties as the continuation of the long-term struggle between the ideas of “Progressives” (i.e. statists) and those of the Founders (i.e. individualistic, free market), as embraced by the TPM. That certainly describes the attitudes of the people I have met in the Tea Party Movement (in person and online). Some see the GOP as the natural home of the movement, since these are ideals long espoused by the party. Most agree that the GOP blew it and bears a lot of responsibility for the mess we are in now. Some are convinced the GOP has now seen the light and are ready to re-join it. Others, including me, think that some in the GOP have seen the light, but too much of the party infrastructure is just waiting for the storm to blow over so they can get back to business as usual.

As far as Tea Party events themselves, it’s a tricky path to find the right notes. If things are too “light” some (e.g. UW) may feel the movement lacks seriousness. If things get too passionate, it’s “hate speech” or “racism” to those who disagree. If one person looks or sounds like a goofball or brings an offensive sign, he/she is a magnet for TV news reporters: See! We told you they are all Kooks and Klansmen!

It would be a mistake to think of the Tea Party Movement as some monolithic, nationwide organization, as sometimes portrayed in the MSM, or by self-appointed, national “leaders” of the TPM. It’s very much a local phenomenon that is breaking out nationwide, with local groups and leaders cooperating and competing with each other. Not everyone has the same goals, either. As my friend, Ed, put it the other night: It’s like we all agree we should head west, but to some that means Los Angeles, while others are thinking Alaska, and everywhere in between. Throw in the regional cooperation/competition, with GOP and national organizations trying to “lead” it, and the results are often not particularly pretty. Most of us are amateurs, after all.

We’ve basically got one shot left to stop this statist juggernaut, and it starts in November. The Dems must be severely punished at the polls, and the spending floodgates must be closed. In 2012 we get our one shot to repeal the ObamaCare monstrosity by electing a president and large Congressional majorities committed to that. I welcome the help of everyone who is pursuing that goal in a non-violent, non-nutty way.

Posted in Nebraska, socialism, tea party | 3 Comments »

It’s the Debt, Stupid

Posted by Dan Draney on March 28, 2010

It’s been said before, but rarely this well. There’s more where this came from: In the End, There Is Only the Debt – Victor Davis Hanson – The Corner on National Review Online.

In short, the United States is floating far more loans than ever before in peacetime, and for longer scheduled durations, because interest rates are only a quarter of what they have been in the past. But this theory that we can endlessly multiply the size of our debt because the service costs remain low and static is a prescription for disaster — like the credit-card introductory offer of 2 to 3 percent for 6 months that hooks the naive into charging thousands of dollars, only to end up without the means to service the debt when the rate climbs over 20 percent. For a technocracy that is Ivy League certified and brags about its competency, we have fallen into the age-old trap that snares the naive ARM house buyer, the teenaged MasterCard mega-borrower, and the “free” coupon holder who heads headlong to Vegas.

That we are borrowing now at cheap interest hundreds of billions for things that are unnecessary or counterproductive will only make it worse, psychologically, when we have to pay it all back with high interest. It reminds me of the boom-to-bust neighbor who bought his superfluous super-duper, hydra-headed, metallic red-painted hydraulic vine-cutter with easy farm loans in the late 1970s and, when headed for bankruptcy in the 1980s, looked at the now rusted, useless contraption in his barnyard and sighed to me, “And I’m still paying 17 percent on that sucker!”

Posted in debt, Economics, government spending, Porkulus, socialism | Leave a 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 »

Rahm Emanuel on Bipartisanship

Posted by Dan Draney on March 18, 2010

Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review Online calls attention to this quote from last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine:

“Rahm thinks bipartisanship is a way to get what you want — to fake bipartisanship to get what you want,” a senior administration official told me. “He understands that’s a better way to get things done than to be nakedly partisan.”

Like they always say, “The key thing is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

Posted in Obama, socialism | Leave a Comment »

Open Letter to Rep. Stupak

Posted by Dan Draney on March 14, 2010

Dear Rep. Stupak,

First I want to thank you and those who have stood with you for your opposition to the federalization of healthcare and subsidization of abortion. Please pass this message on to the others as, well.

I’m writing now to urge you to hold fast against this bill. Since I live in Nebraska, I’ll let you know a little more about what his vote in favor of the exact bill you are considering has done for Sen. Ben Nelson. He was one of the most popular political figures in this state over the past 25 yrs, but he will never be elected to anything in Nebraska again. He can barely go out in public without being booed and heckled by our fellow Nebraskans.

Everyone is aware of the so-called Cornhusker Kickback, and certainly Nebraskans are mad about that. We don’t like to be seen as cutting a special, dishonest deal at the expense of the rest of the country. However, the distaste for Sen. Nelson is much broader than that.

  1. The bill allows federal funding of abortion. After claiming he would not vote for subsidized abortions, he broke his word. Pro-life groups and leaders in the state who have long supported him rightly viewed this as a betrayal of fundamental principles. These former supporters will never be back, regardless of the ultimate fate of this bill.
  2. The bill itself is deeply unpopular. The more people know about this bill the less they like it. Just as the massive, wasteful, ineffective “stimulus” bill has become even less popular as people see what is in it, so it will be with this healthcare bill if it ever becomes law. It will be a millstone around the neck of every politician who supports it for the rest of his/her career.
  3. He failed to notice that the political ground has shifted under his feet. Sen. Nelson thrived as a senator by bringing home pork from the federal trough. Today Americans can see that Congress and the President have dropped all pretense of fiscal discipline. We know that this path leads to disaster, and people are paying attention. No one believes the healthcare “reform” bills will save money. We are not stupid. We know the existing entitlements are already bankrupting the country.

Senator Nelson thought the subterfuge embodied in the abortion clauses of the Senate bill would protect him from pro-life backlash. It did not. He thought it was business as usual, and he could sell us a bill that we don’t want and can’t afford by sweetening the deal with the “Cornhusker Kickback.” He was stunned to discover that the juicy pork he brought home just made things worse for him politically instead of better.

Do not vote for this bill or for any phony “self-executing rule” and/or reconciliation shenanigans. It is political poison. It is bad policy. It is fiscal insanity.

Addendum: I attempted to post this with Rep. Stupak’s web form. However, it states that he is “unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the 1st District of Michigan.” I was not expecting a reply, but it appears that also means he is not accepting any emails from outside his district. If anyone reading this is in Rep. Stupak’s district, please pass this along to him.

Posted in government spending, healthcare, Nebraska, socialism | 2 Comments »

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 »

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 »

The Left Gets Caffeinated

Posted by Dan Draney on March 3, 2010

From The Left Gets Caffeinated – Daniel Foster – The Corner on National Review Online.

Behold the Coffee Party, USA, 50,000-strong and growing:*

Fed up with government gridlock, but put off by the flavor of the Tea Party, people in cities across the country are offering an alternative: the Coffee Party. . . .

The slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up.” The mission statement declares that the federal government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”

Local chapters are planning meetings in cities from Washington to San Antonio to Los Angeles (where there have been four in the last month.) The party (coffeepartyusa.org) is planning nationwide coffee houses for March 13, where people can gather to decide which issues they want to take on and even which candidates they want to support.

This summer, Ms. Park said, the party will hold a convention in the Midwest, with a slogan along the lines of “Meet Me in the Middle.” The party has inspired the requisite jokes: why not a latte party, a chai party, a Red Bull party? But Ms. Park said that while the Coffee Party — and certainly the name — was formed in reaction to the Tea Party, the two agree on some things, like a desire for fiscal responsibility and a frustration with Congress.

“We’re not the opposite of the Tea Party,” Ms. Park, 41, said. “We’re a different model of civic participation, but in the end we may want some of the same things.”

*Caveat: 50,000-strong on Facebook.

UPDATE: It turns out that Annabel Park, the Coffee Party’s founder, is a former New York Times employee and Obama campaign apparatchik, neither of which is disclosed in the article.

[Emphasis added] Sorry, Ms. Park, but with that Mission Statement, you most assuredly are “the opposite of the Tea Party” movement. I can’t imagine a single signer of the Declaration of Independence or member of the Constitutional Convention agreeing with the proposition that the federal government is “the expression of our collective will.” The Framers were acutely aware of the danger government power poses to individual liberty. Strong, central governments have proved to be “the enemy of the people” time after time all over the world.

The phrase “our collective will” reminded me of the poster at the right. From the site where I found the picture:

The Nazis viewed this as one of their best posters. It, too, is by Mjölnir. The caption translates: “National Socialism: The Organized Will of the Nation.” Goebbels claimed that Mjölnir perfected the art of drawing the Nazi Storm Trooper.

The phrases “collective will” and “organized will” are also staples of Marxist rhetoric. You could Google it.

So are the Coffee Party Nazis or Communists? Of course not. Well, there are probably a few, but mostly they just haven’t realized the logical outcome of putting the “collective will” ahead of the individual. But ideas have consequences, and the consequence of “collectivism” is inevitably tyranny. Most of those who followed leaders who claim to embody the “collective will” in Germany, Russia, Cambodia, etc. were not seeking to do evil. That road is paved with good intentions, but we can see where it leads. If we are willing to look and think.

Posted in socialism, tea party | 3 Comments »

Are You a Socialist?

Posted by Dan Draney on February 27, 2010

You might be a socialist if…
You think it’s “best to spread the wealth around”

You might be a socialist if…
You go to political rallies in the middle of the week
And no one misses work
Except the government workers

You might be a socialist if…
You strongly believe “The Rich” don’t pay their fair share of taxes
But you can’t define “Rich”
Or “Fair”
And you don’t know what they are paying now

You might be a socialist if…

You believe it is necessary to destroy capitalism in order to save it

Or…
If you think it’s patriotic to pay taxes
But you don’t actually pay any yourself

You might be a socialist if…
You think it’s a “giveaway” to let someone keep his/her earnings, but you think people who aren’t paying any taxes deserve a “tax cut,” too.

You might be a socialist, if you think the government owes more loyalty to those getting money from it than to those paying for it.

If you think government spending creates jobs, but…
You never consider the jobs destroyed by taxes and borrowing to raise the money, and…
Most of the permanent jobs “created or saved” by your plan seem to be in government, then you just might be a socialist.
If you call for America to return to a time of “savings and investment,” but…
You think a tax increase is “savings”
And government spending is “investment”

You might be a socialist if…
You rant about the deficit you inherited
And claim to be “cutting the deficit in half”
Without mentioning that you’re quadrupling it first

You might be a socialist if,your preferred solution for a crisis due to massive, unsustainable private debt is to permanently expand government spending as much and as fast as possible to generate massive, unsustainable government debt. Because clearly the best cure for a hangover is to drink ever more heavily and never sober up.

“You never want to let a good crisis go to waste.” Rahm Emanuel

You might be a socialist if you see a compelling need to redistribute other people’s wealth, but you never considered how wealth gets created in the first place. You’ve got that “destroying wealth” thing down, though.

You might be a socialist, if you think private decisions in the marketplace are dangerous, because people will act in their own interests. But political decisions are better because politicians and bureaucrats will… act in their own interests.

If you swear you don’t want to run the all the banks, but..
You want to control what they pay their employees
And who they lend to
And the terms of the loans
And get some for yourself, of course
Then you might be a socialist

If you don’t want to run the car companies, but…
You just want to decide who’s the CEO
And who’s on the Board of Directors
And what kind of cars to make and how many of each
And where the plants are, and the wages paid
And give “tax cuts” with car purchases
And cover the warranty
Then you just might be a socialist.

You might be a socialist, if you think borrowing your way out of debt makes perfect sense. Because doubling the size of government will stimulate the economy just like a falling boulder stimulates Wile E. Coyote.

You might be a socialist, if you think a massive, new government healthcare entitlement is going to “save” money. Because government does such a good job with… There must be something? You might be a socialist, if you have to be glued to your teleprompter at all times to avoid accidentally blurting out your true aims and opinions and scaring people. You might be a socialist, if you think penalizing success and subsidizing failure is a good way to produce anything other than less success and more failure.

You might be a socialist, if you think getting the government to spend other people’s money means you are generous, and if they don’t like it, they’re greedy.

You might be a socialist, if too much private, corporate power scares you, but you’re comforted by thoughts of a large, benevolent government that can take care of everyone. You might be a socialist, if that nasty, fat, ugly, drug-user, Nazi Rush Limbaugh really makes you puke, because he’s such a “Hater.” But you’re comforted by thoughts of a large, benevolent government that can take care of him, too

You might be a socialist, if you think bankers are evil for refusing loans to people who can’t pay them back and that bankers are evil for making loans to people who can’t pay them back. You might be a socialist, if you think US companies exploit poor countries by doing business with them and that US companies exploit Cuba by not doing business with them.

You might be a socialist, if this presidential succession tree doesn’t scare the daylights out of you: Barack Obama; Joe Biden; Nancy Pelosi; Robert Byrd; Hilary Clinton; and Timothy Geithner.

If you hate creeping socialism, but you support Essential Government Programs to Preserve The Family Farm, or Crop price “stabilization,” or ethanol fuel subsidies, then you just might be a part of the socialism problem.

If you oppose wasteful government spending, but you think that $19 million footbridge across the Missouri “created jobs,” and it was federal money, so it didn’t cost Nebraskans anything, then you just might be part of the socialism problem.

You might be part of the socialism problem, if you think all the problems we’re facing were caused by one party. Or that conservative, Constitutional principles are a problem rather than the solution. Or that political “moderation” is a virtue. Or that you can go back to sleep once the Republicans are in charge.

You might be a socialist, but it’s not too late to change course.

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

Future News: Election 2010 Report

Posted by Dan Draney on February 23, 2010

The morning after voters issued a historic rebuke to the Democrats, party officials struggled to comprehend the magnitude of the loss. Two years ago the Democrats appeared to have established a permanent grip on the Washington levers of power. Yesterday, every Democrat in the House lost, and the only Senate Democrats to escape the electoral tsunami were those who were not up for reelection. A party operative, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to trash his colleagues, conceded that the party’s legislative strategy might have been an error. “By ramming a series of huge, costly, unpopular measures through the Congress on party-line votes, we lost many moderate voters. When your agenda is opposed by over 80% of sentient voters, using parliamentary shenanigans to pass it makes you appear a little arrogant.”

Happier times when the TARP cookie jar was full

A chastened President Obama accepted his share of the blame while reading from his teleprompter to a group of reporters gathered in the Presidential Bunker. “We failed to communicate clearly enough to the voters how much they are going to like these programs once it’s too late to repeal them. We need to do a better job of that. I need new speech writers.” In October, President Obama held more press conferences and gave more speeches than Presidents Bush and Clinton combined in their entire terms. However, the President feels he could have done more, “I need to get out and speak directly with the press, academics, union officials, and, you know, the little people clinging to their guns and butter.” The ratings of his fourteen televised speeches during the last week of the campaign were so low that only MSNBC would only run them and only in the middle of the night.

Exit polls in several states showed Democratic candidates failing to gain even a majority of registered Democrats. It was no surprise to see Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lose his bid for re-election, but few predicted he would come in third behind the Raving Loony Party, whose candidate was put up as a joke by some college students.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi lost her seat to Republican newcomer Pat Lapin, the first openly transgendered congressperson. The Speaker was clearly a lost cause after she broke down during a televised debate with Lapin and began screaming incoherently about “f-ing Teabaggers.” Lapin seized the moment with the quip, “Ich bin ein Teabagger.” The audience roared its approval, and the electoral rout was assured.

Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi remain committed to completing the passage of the Obama agenda this year during the lame duck session of Congress. “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get these programs enacted while the Democratic majority is intact,” said Reid today. These plans may be hampered by the fact that most of the defeated Congressmen appear to have gone into hiding.

Posted in fake news, jokes, Obama jokes, socialism, tea party | 3 Comments »

None Dare Call Them Golf Carts

Posted by Ryne McClaren on February 22, 2010

LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth (proudly representing my district) has named his priority bill: LB1004.

Nebraskans would be able to drive their golf cars down residential city streets, just like the old folks do in Florida and California, under a bill that carries priority designation.

Golf cars and other slow-moving vehicles would be allowed on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less and could cross other higher speed roads, under a bill (LB1004), named by Sen. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth as his priority bill.

That’s golf cars, not carts.

If you’re like me, you were confused at this point.  “Golf car? Wha?”

I’m so very glad you asked, because this is the important part.

And there is a difference between, said Joe Masek, president of the Masek Golf Car Co. in Gering.

A golf cart is that “little two-wheeled thing that you drag around behind you when you are un-American and walk the course,” he told senators on the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Monday.

The Legislature is looking at rules for golf cars, which “have a steering wheel and you drive,” Masek said.

Ok.  See?  I told you this was very important.  (And I’m not even going to touch his “un-American” comment).

But now let’s leave the study of motorized golf car lingo alone and get to the wacky.

Under the bill, only licensed drivers could operate a slow-moving vehicle, and owners would have to carry liability insurance.

The bill covers golf cars, which can go about 10 to 16 mph, and slow-moving vehicles, which under federal law can go 20 to 25 mph and must have seat belts, windshields and turn signals.

Around three dozen states allow these very slow moving vehicles on city streets, according to supporters.

Because they can’t be driven very fast, these vehicles are safe, they said.

The law would help a lot of elderly people in small towns who don’t want to or shouldn’t drive, Louden said.

Problem #1: You possess neither the eyesight nor the reflexes to operate one of those high speed cars that are all the rage.

Problem #2: You still possesses a valid drivers license.

Problem #3: Driving fast is unsafe; driving slow in and around fast traffic is much safer.

Solution: Golf cars.

I’m always dumbfounded why we believe that taking a slow moving vehicle and granting it access to the fast lane is a solution for anything at all, but there you go.  This might work if all of us were required to bump around town in our golf cars, but it’s absurd to think that you’re safer moving slow when the roadways are occupied by… texting teen drivers.

The golf car salesman (obviously) thinks this is a stroke of genius.

Village, towns and college campuses could used modified golf carts rather than pickup trucks to move light loads around if it were legal to drive on the streets, Masek said.

Don’t tell Masek, but lots of people are probably already doing these things anyway, and the Legislature hasn’t even said it’s ok yet. But perhaps once all of this is tied up, he can send out some brochures or something.

Ultimately, so long as these vehicles are properly insured (like I am, for when I run over them) and operated by people who are licensed and sane, I have no problem with the bill itself.  The only problem that I have is with swaddling this baby up in phony “public safety” clothes.

The text of this bill is far too long to read, and it could be condensed to its simplest form: We want to drive something besides cars, trucks, and motorcycles on the roads and streets of Nebraska.

Posted in general nuttiness, Nebraska, regulation, socialism | 2 Comments »

Obama Economic Debris

Posted by Dan Draney on November 4, 2008

Some Pittsburg plumbers describe exactly what will happen to their businesses and employees if Obama’s tax plans are enacted.

Flush go the plumbers: “By RALPH R. REILAND
I INTERVIEWED two plumbing-company owners in Pittsburgh recently about Barack Obama’s economic proposals for small businesses. One has 15 workers and 12 trucks, the other 52 and 34 trucks. It’s Joe the Plumber, writ large.

Both had the same reaction to Obama’s proposed new taxes and mandates. To not have their bottom lines reduced by government fiat, both said they’d be forced to lay off employees.”

They go into detail on exactly how much each regulatory change and tax will increase costs, and how that translates into corresponding layoffs. Anyone who has ever run a business, or even part of one, will immediately appreciate that personnel costs are the biggest chunk of the budget. Well, not every small business will have layoffs; some will just close. Peer into the future offered by TheOne.

Posted in Joe the Plumber, regulation, socialism, tax rates | Leave a Comment »

Senator Stealth

Posted by Dan Draney on November 2, 2008

While much of the media has been studiously ignoring Barack Obama’s past outside of his two autobiographies, Stanley Kurtz of the National Review has methodically examined the record. Kurtz has documented Obama’s days as a “community organizer,” Obama’s funding of radical leftwing causes through Bill Ayers’ Chicago Annenberg Challenge and the Woods Foundation, Obama’s membership in the socialistic New Party, and the stealthy redistributionism of the the Gamaliel Foundation. The article on the latter has just been updated online:

Senator Stealth by Stanley Kurtz on National Review Online: “Beyond its revelation that Obama’s original community organizer home-base is pervaded by anti-Americanism, “Senator Stealth” foreshadows today’s debates over redistributionism, and shows that concerns over Obama’s radical “associations” cannot be separated from the most significant policy disputes of the campaign.

“Senator Stealth” also lays out a way of resolving the contradiction between Obama’s radical past and his apparently moderate present. After learning that incrementalism, rhetorical disguise, and ideological stealth are second nature to Obama’s community organizer compatriots, it’s tougher to take his current self-presentation at face value. More than two months later, the same issues play out in the latest flap over Obama’s ties to the NEW PARTY.

Finally, I couldn’t have guessed, more than two months ago, that the Obama campaign, abetted by the press, would have taken refuge in near-total denial of his unsavory associations, from the question of his New Party membership, to the relationship to Bill Ayers, to the links to ACORN. Obama has downplayed or denied these many ties to an extent that is shockingly at odds with the public record, while the press has played along.”

Many people now accept Obama’s pose as a moderate at face value and Hope, if elected, his Change will be moderate. Kurtz’s research shows that posing as a moderate is an explicit part of the radical organizations and individuals that Obama has allied himself with during his rise to political power. Hoping for Change in Obama on that score is a long shot gamble that he is something other than what he has been throughout his adult life.

Read the rest of Senator Stealth and the entire Kurtz archive. You can’t say we weren’t warned.

Posted in Obama, socialism | Leave a Comment »

Who Should We Trust on Economics?

Posted by Dan Draney on October 26, 2008

If John McCain loses this election, chances are the chief reason will be the concerns we all have about the economy and the current financial crisis. Arguably, McCain’s instincts to return to Washington to work on the “emergency” bailout bill were noble. They’re certainly in tune with his overall perspective on every issue: Country First. However, Obama’s decision to stay as far as possible from the negotiations paid off. The press and the rest of the Democrats falsely, but successfully, laid the blame for the crisis on Pres. Bush and the markets. Obama and McCain were neck-and-neck when the crisis broke, but Obama opened and held a lead as events developed.

As much as everyone is fed up with the Bush Administration, let’s consider which party and which presidential candidate is better equipped to deal with the ongoing economic problems we face. There are essentially two ways of looking at society and the economy: from an individualistic standpoint or a collectivist one. Remarking on the Joe the Plumber phenomenon, Jonah Goldberg writes on National Review Online:

“Who knows what it will do for McCain in the end, but the Joe the Plumber phenomenon is real. At the rally, supporters carried handmade signs reading “Phil the Bricklayer” and “Rose the Teacher.” Wurzelbacher symbolizes an optimistic, individualistic vision of America sorely lacking — until recently — in McCain’s rhetoric.

Barack Obama, in contrast, has offered the most rhetorically eloquent defense of collectivism since Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his biographical video at the Democratic convention, he proclaimed that in America, “one person’s struggle is all of our struggles.” In his acceptance speech, he artfully replaced the idea of the American dream with the century-old progressive nostrum of “America’s promise.”

But the two visions are in opposition: the former individualistic, the latter collectivist. We each have our own idea of the American dream. Joe the Plumber’s is to own a small plumbing company; yours might be something else entirely. In America, that’s fine, because the pursuit of happiness is an individual, not a collective, right.”

The two parties embody these competing visions of economic policies, although imperfectly. The Republican ideals are those of individual effort, risk taking, and the freedom to win rewards or suffer failure. This is the view of the individual in control of his/her own destiny and responsible for what he/she makes of opportunities. The Democrat view is that most people are not able to fend for themselves, and it is the responsibility of society to take care of them through government actions. The individualist view leads to a desire to keep taxes down and the sphere of government actions limited. The collectivist view leads to a desire to add new government programs, expand existing ones, and seek an ever higher share of the “national wealth” to promote “fairness.”

There certainly are exceptions to the party breakdown on this point. John McCain has hardly been a staunch supporter of limited government and the individual in economic policies. It’s impossible to argue that George W. Bush has been keeping the size and role of government in check. There probably are some Democrats who support minimizing the government’s interference in markets and letting people keep what they earn, but I am unable to come up with any examples of prominent figures in the Democrat party today.

The collectivist view calls for government to “create jobs.” The individualist view sees that real jobs only come from private enterprise. The visible jobs “created” by government spending are more than matched by the less visible jobs lost or not created in the private sector.

The ultimate outcomes of these two competing visions are easy to see, if we look. Low taxes and economic freedom are always associated with growth, jobs, flexible adaptation to changes, and rising standards of living. High taxes and extensive government regulation of economic activities are always associated with slow/no growth, misallocations of resources, high unemployment, and stagnation. Taken to its limits (i.e. Marxism), the collectivist view destroys the private sector and even leads to complete breakdown of society and famine. These results are consistent, wherever they are tried: the stagnation of European socialism; the growth of tax-cutting European states; the perpetual economic failures of communist governments; and the improvements even there when markets are allowed to work.

The American economy is still the envy of the world, but that is not our birthright. It is the result of our sustained commitment to economic freedom and individualism. That system is threatened today. As a result of the bailout much of the banking system is effectively nationalized at this point. It is imperative that these companies be returned to private hands as soon as practical. Otherwise the banking system will become just another political honey pot, used to reward favored groups. Meanwhile, the main causes of the crisis, the quasi-government/quasi-private Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not dead, and the political forces that created them are still in place. We need to drive stakes through the hearts of these companies now to make sure they are never allowed to re-awaken and repeat the activities that brought us to the brink of financial ruin.

Frankly, I don’t know if we can trust John McCain to make the right economic decisions going forward. However, it is completely clear that Barack Obama and potentially large Democrat majorities in the House and Senate are sure to make the wrong decisions for our economic future. We can at least hope that McCain will counter some bad policies.

Obama’s history shows a consistent desire to ally and align himself with far left people and groups. His proposed “tax cuts” are nothing but income transfer plans, welfare checks to those who don’t work paid for with confiscatory taxes on those who do. He, like many Democrats, speak as though all private income rightfully belongs to the government. His appetite for massive, new government programs to solve all society’s ills is insatiable: national healthcare; new alternative energy schemes; new payments to the UN; a new Dept. of Peace and Non-Violence; and more. He has shown hostility toward free trade in talking of “renegotiating” NAFTA and opposing the free trade agreement with Columbia. It’s widely agreed that the Great Depression was precipitated in part by the protectionism of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

Free market capitalism is not just the most efficient mechanism for organizing a society and generating wealth. It is also the most moral, because if you want something from someone else you must offer something of value in return. Obama’s rhetoric is full of class warfare clichés and denunciations of “trickledown economics.” He is set to sweep into office promising only “change” with a crisis to justify whatever he defines that change to be, and a huge partisan majority to enact his visions. Based on what he tells us of his plans and what we can guess he is not telling us, this would be extremely bad.

Posted in capitalism, regulation, socialism | Leave a Comment »

 
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