Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The strange alternate reality of Obama's followers

Several pundits today are noting the stunning gulf between what Pres. Obama and his team say and what they do.  Mickey Kaus, for one, writes on "Obama’s Five Disconnects."  Charles Krauthammer notes Obama's strange pretense that Obama has nothing to do with the dismal results of five years of his economic policies.  Victor Davis Hanson provides a powerful summary of the left's larger policy incoherence and the new-speak that covers it up.

Obama, for example, pretends to care about low-wage workers at the same time that he is fighting to flood the labor market with low-skill workers.  Obama pretends to oppose income inequality while using government largess to enrich his billionaire donors.  His crony-capitalist 'investments' in green energy are in collapse.  Yet, he continues to advocate more such investments, as if unreliable and expensive energy could ever be a path to prosperity.  Obama's foreign policy, from Libya to Egypt to Syria to Russia, is an historic disaster.

The left's deep denial is of course because they do not want to accept responsibility for the clear and obvious failures of their policies.  As the 2014 elections approach, one can expect the denial to only get deeper while the bitter denunciations of the left's opponents only get more bitter.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Creeping Fascism: what are you loyal to? the country or its leader?

Judge Aquilina
A turning point in German history occurred on August 2, 1932.  That was the first day that German soldiers were required to pledge loyalty not to their country but to Adolph Hitler personally.

Flash forward to July 19, 2013 when Judge Rosemarie Aquilina rejects Detroit's bankruptcy petition, statingIt’s also not honoring the president, who took [Detroit’s auto companies] out of bankruptcy.”  The judge added: “I know he’s watching."

It is one thing for judge to rule based on findings of fact or law.  It is quite another to invoke the "honor" of the president in a legal ruling.   While this is clearly not the same thing as the German loyalty oath, it is a small but frightening step away from the rule-of-law toward the rule-of-man.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Detroit offers important lessons but the left hides from them

From what I have seen, the left side of the web is largely avoiding the topic of Detroit's filing for bankruptcy.   An exception is ThinkProgress which has a post on it.  Does ThinkProgress mention that Detroit has been run by Democrats for many many decades?  No.  The only politician in the article whose party affiliation is mentioned is Gov. Rick Snyder (R).  Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr to serve as the Detroit’s emergency manager.  ThinkProgress then tries to blame Orr for many of the city's problems:
Under Orr, Detroit slashed public services. As of June the city had just one-third of its ambulances in service, and just 40 percent of its streetlights working.
ThinkProgress never mentioned that Orr is an African American and Democrat and was an Obama election worker.

More importantly, the lesson of Detroit is that free-spending and crony-capitalism policies of Democrats and their union-allies have dire consequences.

While Detroit will be rescued by Michigan, Pres. Obama is trying to take the US down the same path as Detroit.  When the time comes, who will rescue the US?  Through progressive policies, the Federal government has become a major supplier of retirement and medical insurance.   This might not be so bad if those in government were fiscally responsible but they aren't.

"Progressives" are not going to make "progress" until they accept that history has important lessons lessons to teach.

MORE: Compare and contrast:

Oct 13, 2012: We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.”  -- President Obama in his weekly address.

July 19, 2013: Obama refused Detroit's bailout request.

While on the subject of compare and contrast, one of the cities below was run by Democrats:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Booker T. Washington on race hustlers

B. T. Washington
The media is filled with misinformed and outright false stories intended to inflame passions in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict.  As this goes on, an observation from Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) is quite timely:
"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well." —Booker T. Washington
Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Barack Obama: they are all part of one long sad tradition.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wow! IRS admits “unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates”

The Washington Times reports:
The Treasury Department has admitted for the first time that confidential tax records of several political candidates and campaign donors were improperly scrutinized by government officials, but the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the cases.

Its investigators also are probing two allegations that the Internal Revenue Service “targeted for audit candidates for public office,” the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, has privately told Sen. Chuck Grassley.

In a written response to a request by Mr. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Mr. George said a review turned up four cases since 2006 in which unidentified government officials took part in “unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates,” including one case he described as “willful.” In four additional cases, Mr. George said, allegations of improper access of IRS records were not substantiated by the evidence.
Given what we already know about the IRS's political activism, the claim that only one case was "willful" seems improbable.

PREVIOUSLY on the IRS scandal:
Rep. Trey Gowdy takes on the IRS' culture of entitlement
Collected highlights from the IRS hearings:
The IRS' "willful act of intimidation"
How closely did the IRS coordinate with the White House?

What is the difference between the words "n*gga" and "n*gger"?

Rachel Jeantel
According to Rachel Jeantel, friend of Trayvon Martin, the two words are very different:
  1. "n*gga" refers to a male of any race. This is the version commonly used in rap songs. This usage started circa 2000.
  2. "n*gger" is a hateful epithet, not to be used in polite company.
Ms. Jeantel's definitions might not be definitive. According to the Urban Dictionary, Tupac defines the words somewhat differently:
  1. N*gger - a black man with a slavery chain around his neck.
  2. N*gga- a black man with a gold chain on his neck.
Davey D explains how, to his regret, the words have evolved:
[W]hen I was growing up I was being called 'Nigger' which is offensive.. but when some white or Asian kid comes rolling up to me today talking about 'What's up my Nigga'? I should embrace him because this kid is down with hip hop culture... Even sadder is you have some brothers who take this word and flip it so that it empowers them..So now nigga is a good thing... We've internalized so much negativity it's ridiculous..
Etymologically, both words seem to be derived from the Spanish word for the color black.

MORE: Here is Ms. Jeantel's full explanation:

Zimmerman verdict drives leftists nuts

At Salon, Edward Wyckoff Williams claims that the "Zimmerman affair" shows that "Our real problem is white rage."   He, for example, writes:
And when the criminal justice system —  in the hands, as it was, of two white defense attorneys, two white prosecutors and a mostly white jury presided over by a white judge — choose to disregard the life of an innocent black teenager, it can hardly be a surprising result. Trayvon Martin was profiled not just by Zimmerman on the night he was killed, but by the very people charged with adjudicating justice on behalf of his senseless death.
Williams gets his facts backwards:  the trial showed (1) no evidence at all that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin, but (2) there was evidence that Martin profiled Zimmerman ("creepy ass cracker").

Williams makes the dishonest claim that the criminal justice system "choose to disregard the life of an innocent black teenager."  Instead, what the criminal justice system did evaluate was Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.  Given Zimmerman's injuries and the testimony of the independent eye witness (Good), that claim is quite powerful.

Williams should be aware of all this.  Maybe he is blinded by "rage."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zimmerman trial: the prosecution's closing argument explained

If you have read accounts (such as here or here or here) of the prosecution's closing arguments in the trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin, you may have wondered what is going on.  The explanation is simple.  They are following traditional legal advice:
“When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.”
The prosecution has neither facts nor the law on their side.  So, they are merely pounding the table.  In a few days, we will know if that was enough.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Hard disk crash? PC stolen? Need data recovery?

Hat tip: Greg.

Obama's SmarterGov: theory vs. practice

The White House is rolling out a new initiative dubbed 'SmarterGov.'

This is the theory:

In practice,as the Washington Post just revealed, the Obamacare exchanges will be open to fraud because our "smart" government could not find any way to verify claims by applicants that they are eligible for subsidies.  Also, our "smart" government postponed the business penalty/tax that is supposed to hope fund these exchanges because they don't have reporting forms ready.

If the Obama administration was a play, would it be tragedy or comedy?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

California: the collapse continues

Business Week reports that California is losing businesses at a record rate:
There were 1.3 million businesses in California at the end of 2012, 5.2 percent fewer than in the previous year (that’s about 73,000 fewer). To put that in perspective, Massachusetts lost 5,200 businesses, the second-highest amount, and Kansas had 3.1 percent fewer businesses in 2012 than in 2011, the second-highest loss rate.
Breitbart notes that this might be because " California’s tax burden is the fourth highest in the nation, barely behind New York, New Jersey and Connecticut" Newly added to the tax burden is an increase in gasoline taxes.  At 71.9 cents per gallon, California has the highest gas tax in the nation.

California has set other records.  Forbes reports (Hat tip: PowerLine) that, among US states, California has :
  • Highest taxes (gasoline, sales and top bracket of income taxes)
  • Lowest bond rating
  • Highest poverty rate (at 23.5%, the home of 1/3 of those in poverty in U.S.)
  • Highest unemployment rate (tied with Mississippi and Nevada at 9.6%)
  • Highest energy costs
  • Worst state to do business (as judged by Chief Executive magazine 8 years running)
  • Most cities going bankrupt
  • Prison system so poorly run it has been taken over by a federal judge
Even Mexico has a lower unemployment rate than California.

How did California get this bad?  Both Houses of the legislature have been controlled by Democrats for all but two of the last 40 years.

California is like Detroit but with better weather.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Does the Obama administration meet Obama's own standards for democracy?

The Chicago Tribune reported (hat tip: David French and Instapundit) Monday on Pres. Obama's five criteria for his continued support of Egypt's (now-defunct) Morsi government (I added the numbering):
"But the way we make decisions about assistance to Egypt is based on 'are they in fact following the rule of law and democratic procedures?'," he said, speaking on the last stop of his three-nation tour of Africa.

"We don't make those decisions just by counting the number of heads in a protest march but we do make decisions based on whether or not a government is [1] listening to the opposition, [2] maintaining a free press, [3] maintaining freedom of assembly, [4] not using violence or intimidation, [5] conducting fair and free elections," he said.
Let's each of those five criteria in turn and apply them to Obama's America:

(1) "listening to the opposition"

Rather than "listening to the opposition," Obama talks about "hand-to-hand" combat and tells his allies to "bring a gun" and "punish our enemies."

(2) "maintaining a free press"

Obama is using the Justice department to conduct unprecedented levels of surveillance on reporters who publish stories on his failures.

(3) "maintaining freedom of assembly"

Obama signed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, an act whose vague language allows the government to restrict protests in the vicinity of government buildings or government officials.  Even on the left, such as at Slate and MoveOn, they don't like this one.

(4) "not using violence or intimidation"

Nothing says intimidation like an IRS audit.   Under Obama, the IRS has harassed and silenced opposition groups by the hundreds over two election cycles.

(5) "conducting fair and free elections"

Without voter ID, it is pretty clear that elections cannot be fair or honest, and the Obama administration has been a vigorous opponent of voter ID. Even UN poll watchers are baffled that the US doesn't require voter ID.

It may or may not be good foreign policy for Obama to apply these standards to Egypt.  But, it is time for the American people to hold this administration to the same standards here in the US.

Monday, July 01, 2013

A dispute on economics between Paul Krugman and Paul Krugman's textbook

Paul Krugman
From James Taranto, compare and contrast:
  • "Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker's incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of 'Eurosclerosis,' the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries."--former Enron adviser Paul Krugman and Robin Wells (Mrs. Krugman), "Introduction to Macroeconomics," second edition, 2009
  • "In general, modern conservatives believe that our national character is being sapped by social programs that, in the memorable words of Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, 'turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.' More specifically, they believe that unemployment insurance encourages jobless workers to stay unemployed, rather than taking available jobs. . . . The move to slash unemployment benefits . . . is counterproductive as well as cruel; it will swell the ranks of the unemployed even as it makes their lives ever more miserable."--Krugman, New York Times, July 1, 2013
Paul Krugman, like Barack Obama, is proof that the Nobel Prize Committee occasionally makes mistakes.

PREVIOUSLY on Paul Krugman:
Krugman: Scientists who fail to believe in global warmism are committing "sin"
Krugman says NY Times gig prevents him from joining Occupy Wall Street
Paul Krugman and imaginary crises
Krugman calls Democrats critical of him "crazy"
Krugman argues both sides of Social Security solvency
Krugman sees liberals as victims
Clicky Web Analytics