Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Corrupt Politicians

Bruce linked this at No Looking Backwards.

Read the details. These scumbags no doubt will have a long and successful career in politics.

  1. Chris Dodd (second year on the list)
  2. John Ensign
  3. Barney Frank
  4. Timothy Geithner
  5. Eric Holder
  6. Roland Burris/Jesse Jackson, Jr.
  7. Barack Obama (third year on the list if you ignore dishonorable mention)
  8. Nancy Pelosi (third year on the list)
  9. John Murtha (dishonorable mention a couple of times)
  10. Charles Rangel (second year on the list)
I wonder how Reid, Conyers and Feinstein got off the list. Or maybe this list has gotten that much scummier. I guess Hillary finally got off the list because she's an appointee now and not an official political scumbag.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Obama's Xmas Present to Fannie and Freddy Execs

Did we just hear about what bastards the Wall Street guys or the Bankers were for paying out big bonuses, even when they were contractually required or just deserved? Well, apparently Obambi is now throwing money bonuses at Freddy and Fannie execs. Well that and handing them huge wads of money to accelerate their destruction of the economy.

Best of all, he hides it by handing it all out on Xmas eve.

The Obama administration pledged Thursday to provide unlimited financial assistance to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an eleventh-hour move that allows the government to exceed the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid without seeking permission from a bailout-weary Congress.

The Christmas Eve announcement by the Treasury Department means that it can continue to run the companies, which were seized last year, as arms of the government for the rest of President Obama's current term.

But even as the administration was making this open-ended financial commitment, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disclosed that they had received approval from their federal regulator to pay $42 million in Wall Street-style compensation packages to 12 top executives for 2009.

The compensation packages, including up to $6 million each to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's chief executives, come amid an ongoing public debate about lavish payments to executives at banks and other financial firms that have received taxpayer aid. But while many firms on Wall Street have repaid the assistance, there is no prospect that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will do so.

But hey, don't worry, he's and his lackies are only hear to try and help the little guys.

Can't Give a Straight Answer

This baffled me when I saw it and I still can't figure out how she made the statement. It is obvious that the system failed terribly.
Making the rounds of the Sunday news shows, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared, "One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked."

That drew the fire of Republicans and other critics, who said a tragedy had only been narrowly averted.

On morning news shows today, Napolitano sought to clarify her remarks, saying she was referring to the system of quickly notifying other flights and law enforcement on the ground.

"Our system did not work in this instance," she said on NBC's "Today" show. "No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way."
Of course the Republican critics were wrong as well. It wasn't averted, the attack failed. Averted would mean that someone did something to stop it. At the point anyone did anything the device was a failure.

Napolitano should be angering people with such statements. Be truthful right from the beginning. Don't choose what you meant the answer to be. Answer directly.

Of course the terrorists succeeded. The flight the next day to Detroit had the crew freaking out about a guy who was sick. Not to mention all the changes to the internal monitoring, that had nothing to do with the issue in the first place.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Obama's Afghan Policy

You can find the speech and transcript at Small Wars Journal.

Looks like it's not popular. The military types don't like it, putting it mildly, and the loony left, better known as "the base" don't like it either. James Taranto has a decent piece discussing some points. (title link) I especially enjoyed reading Rumsfeld's response that he linked to. I'm oh so very tired of hearing about how someone else buggered it up while the ditherer in chief delayed for months.

I personally preferred the drunk blogging of it. Stephen Green makes it easier to swallow especially with a martini (or bucket of vodka) chaser.

A couple of entries at Blackfive gives some taste of what military types are thinking.
Uncle Jimbo has this bit. Though I am a bit pained by the Palin quote he starts the discussion with.

UPDATE: Sarah Palin makes an interesting statement.

At long last, President Obama decided to give his military commanders much of what they need to accomplish their mission in Afghanistan. In the end, he decided to endorse a “surge” for Afghanistan, applying the counterinsurgency principles of “clear, hold and build” that worked so well in Iraq. Given that he opposed the surge in Iraq, it is even more welcome that he now supports a surge in Afghanistan.

I'm sorry did I miss something? He never said he was gonna do COIN and he certainly didn't say anything about "clear, hold and build". He didn't articulate any strategy at all. He had a goal of knocking back the Taliban, but didn't mention what our troops were going to do. Let me know if I missed something.

He also has a short bit here.

McQ (usually at QandO) has this piece.

Robert Haddick at SWJ has an interesting piece on the strategy. Here's a pretty damning bit that he starts off with.
The most controversial feature of President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan is his decision to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from the country in July 2011. This feature (no doubt aligned with his re-election plans – why else withdraw troops at the start of the Afghan summer fighting season?) is a fatal flaw and makes it very likely that little will go right for his Afghan strategy. Indeed, it negates the point of hastily adding over 30,000 U.S. and European soldiers in 2010.

Over the past three months President Obama and his team have analyzed the Afghanistan problem from first principles. Yet in spite of this effort, their solution is not likely to make the problem go away. Regrettably, the next few years are likely to reveal that America still lacks a winning strategy for modern irregular conflict.

Yep, I pretty much read this all as only politics. No doubt it ends up outside of politics, but the calculations only came up with a strategy that will help him get re-elected. Anyone surprised?

Lots of other links, but I have to go to work.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Shoe Based Karma

Heh, this kills me:

PARIS (Reuters) - An Iraqi reporter imprisoned for throwing his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush found himself on the receiving end of a similar footwear attack in Paris on Tuesday.

Muntazer al-Zaidi, whose flare-up against Bush last December turned into a symbol of Iraqi anger, was speaking at a news conference to promote his campaign for victims of the war in Iraq when a man in the audience hurled a shoe at him.

Now that's karma.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Not So Stimulating

Niall Ferguson in Newsweak. Not sure what they are doing publishing Niall's commentary since it is definitely NOT supportive of Obamanism, but hey, maybe they had a troubled conscience. Or not.

This bit pretty much validates what I am continually arguing is the fact.
Meanwhile, let's consider the cost of this muted stimulus. The deficit for the fiscal year 2009 came in at more than $1.4 trillion—about 11.2 percent of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). That's a bigger deficit than any seen in the past 60 years—only slightly larger in relative terms than the deficit in 1942. We are, it seems, having the fiscal policy of a world war, without the war. Yes, I know, the United States is at war in Afghanistan and still has a significant contingent of troops in Iraq. But these are trivial conflicts compared with the world wars, and their contribution to the gathering fiscal storm has in fact been quite modest (little more than 1.8 percent of GDP, even if you accept the estimated cumulative cost of $3.2 trillion published by Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz in February 2008).
I think a lot of people are still in denial over this stimulus and its affects. Most people I work with seem to think the stimulus is going swimmingly and deny that this is an unprecedented spending spree.

Well, read it all. It's long, but he makes some outstanding points on the whole economic mess we're living in.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Six Bills to be Worried About

I heard of S. 1619 from a Trifecta show at PJTV. I hadn't heard of it anywhere else and for good reason. I tried googling it under news and came up with the title link only. No other analysis or reporting. None.

I'm only going to briefly discuss S. 1619. It does read like a bill only a government could love. Too much of it relates to how the government can incentivize people to live in more urban settings. No doubt the intent by the sponsors who all are Democrats and all who come from states whose majorities are in large urban settings.

Look at this section on Mortgage definitions.
(A) the term ‘energy-efficient mortgage’ means a mortgage loan under which the income of the borrower, for purposes of qualification for such loan, is considered to be increased by not less than $1 for each $1 of savings projected to be realized by the borrower as a result of cost-effective energy-saving design, construction, or improvements (including use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, geothermal, biomass, and wind, super-insulation, energy-saving windows, insulating glass and film, and radiant barrier) for the home for which the loan is made; and

(B) the term ‘location-efficient mortgage’ means a mortgage loan under which--

(i) the income of the borrower, for purposes of qualification for such loan, is considered to be increased by not less than $1 for each $1 of savings projected to be realized by the borrower because the location of the home for which the loan is made will result in decreased transportation costs for the household of the borrower; or
(ii) the sum of the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance due under the mortgage loan is decreased by not less than $1 for each $1 of savings projected to be realized by the borrower because the location of the home for which the loan is made will result in decreased transportation costs for the household of the borrower.
Wonderful that. Giving out mortgages based on peoples decisions to meet the definitions not on their ability to pay. Sound like part of the problem that caused the housing bubble?

What about the "interagency councils?" I'm not quite certain about the executive director. Is this a position requiring confirmation? Or is this just an appointee without oversight? And is this a position that you really want your opposition filling at a later date? Because there is little doubt that the Republicans will be back in power at some point, so how wise is it to create such a position? Sounds in total like another agency run to tamper with existing agencies. Just another layer of bureaucracy that makes things less efficient and more cumbersome.

They also start with $100M of appropriations for the grants. Nice way to start something with really vague definitions. Makes you wonder what the oversight will be like for all that money. Nothing in the bill describes the oversight though. No corruption will be involved though, no doubt. Not that we don't have any worries like we have with ACORN.

Read the bills, and be concerned.

Give Me My Goddamn Nuclear Hot Shower...

First go watch the Trifecta show at PJTV. The title of this post is Bill Whittle quote from the end of the show. I don't usually expect his statements like that one, but it cracked me up.

Now, to the climatologist Liars. I guess this is documented evidence of my contention that scientists have no moral or ethical standing above the normal citizen. Go read these emails and other documents and you'll be amazed that they conciously and intentionally h

id evidence rather than open it to scientific debate.

This justifies the debate and the doubts of anyone questioning the "data" that is used for the supposed scientific "consensus" on human caused global warming.

And for those that think this indicates that I discount all of the science, you are wrong. I'm not of the opinion that all the science is wrong, I have found justification for questioning the results and the scientists who have found religious level belief in their own results.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Unemployment Crest

Not a pleasant overview of the economy. James Pethokoukis quotes Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg. There are 12 points, but the last is the most disturbing, at least to me.
12. After all, the recession ended in November 2001 with an unemployment rate at 5.5% and yet the unemployment rate did not peak until June 2003, at 6.3%. The recession ended in March 1991 when the jobless rate was 6.8% and it did not peak until June 1992, at 7.8%. In both cases, the unemployment rate peaked well more than a year after the recession technically ended. The 2001 cycle was a tech capital stock deflation; the 1991 cycle was the Savings & Loan debacle; this past cycle was an asset deflation and credit collapse of epic proportions. And economists think that the unemployment rate is in the process of cresting now? Just remember it is the same consensus community that predicted at the beginning of 2008 that the jobless rate would peak out below 6% this cycle.
Great. Hope & Change is doing so very well. Another stupid belief that the government could actually affect this recession by throwing money at it. Let's not forget that they throw the money at the wrong people as well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Barry's Peace Prize - Consent

I knew there was a restriction in the constitution. I didn't know there was a law. But I'm still waiting to see if Obama will prove his constitutional credentials or his contempt for the law.

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, Rep. Cliff Stearns, and Rep. Ron Paul say “no,” and have sent a letter to the President asking him to request congressional consent, which they expect would be speedily given. They point to the example of President Theodore Roosevelt, who created a committee, including the Chief Justice, to hold Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace Prize money in trust until he left office. After leaving office, Roosevelt asked for congressional consent to disburse the money to particular charities.

Article I, § 9, clause 8, of the Constitution states that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

When Roosevelt won the Peace Prize, there was apparently no controlling statute. Today there is: 5 USC § 7342 (titled “Receipt and disposition of foreign gifts and decorations”) sets out the conditions under which foreign gifts can be accepted without a separate action of Congress. The statute applies to an “employee,” which includes “the President and the Vice President.”

A “foreign government” includes ” any agent or representative of any such [foreign] unit or such organization, while acting as such.” Since the Nobel Peace Prize committee is, as the Representatives note, appointed by the Norwegian Storting (the legislature), it would seem to be within the scope of the statute.

A “gift” is “a tangible or intangible present (other than a decoration) .” A “decoration” includes a ” medal, badge, insignia, emblem, or award.”

By the statute, Congress explicitly consents to employee receipt of gifts of “minimal value,” which is “means a retail value in the United States at the time of acceptance of $100 or less.” The statute authorizes the Administrator of General Services to make regulations to adjust “minimal value” to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index, beginning in 1981, and reflecting CPI changes in the previous three years. Roughly speaking, $100 in 1978 is about $327 today.

A Peace Prize laureate receives a diploma, a 196-gram gold medal, and a large check (10 million Swedish crowns in 2007). The spot price of gold is $33 a gram, so the medal and the check obviously do not qualify for the “minimal value” exception. The diploma, as a piece of paper, could, although not if it were delivered with an expensive frame.

In the statute, Congress also formally “consents” to an employee receiving and keeping “a decoration tendered in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or awarded for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance, subject to the approval of the employing agency of such employee.” The diploma and the medal both fit within the definition of “decoration.” As President, Obama is the head of his own “employing agency,” and therefore can approve his receipt of the medal and the diploma.

The check is not a “decoration” and is of much more than “minimal value.” Employees may not accept gifts of more than minimal value. However, there are various exceptions, and the relevant one is that a gift may be accepted “when it appears that to refuse the gift would likely cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States, except that– (i) a tangible gift of more than minimal value is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States and, upon acceptance, shall become the property of the United States.” It would seem to be within the foreign policy discretion of President Obama to determine that refusing the Nobel check could cause offense, embarrassment, or an adverse effect on foreign relations.

Then, “Within 60 days after accepting a tangible gift of more than minimal value,...an employee shall– (A) deposit the gift for disposal with his or her employing agency; or (B) subject to the approval of the employing agency, deposit the gift with that agency for official use.” Accordingly, it would appear that President Obama must turn the check over to the United States government, for official use. I have not researched whether there are regulations detailing precisely how gifts which a President receives are to be disposed. It would appear that President Obama cannot personally give the Nobel money to charity.

Thus, it seems clear that the statute already supplies the constitutionally-required congressional consent for President Obama to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, and no further action by Congress is needed, provided that President Obama signs the check over the government, as the statute requires.

Makes you wonder if the check will be signed over to the government.

In a lot of ways this is more about what Obama will do with regards to the law rather than the money. But, it does appear to be something that should be noted as a real world indication of what he does rather than says.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crime and Criminilizing the Citizen

I've been reading a bit on this topic and have to admit this does scare me. I don't even know if I would understand what laws I'd be breaking if this is accurate, and from what I've been reading, it sounds to be.

Fear makes for easy politics. It both wins votes and primes us to give government more power at the expense of personal liberty. And that's certainly true when it comes to crime. With the possible exception of an incumbent mayor, politicians only benefit from exaggerating the threat of violent crime. Senators, Congressmen, and even governors are rarely held responsible when the crime rate goes up. But they do win votes by proposing new powers for police and prosecutors to bring it down.

The result has been a one-way ratchet effect on crime policy. We're perpetually expanding police and prosecutorial power, a process only occasionally slowed by the courts. Congress and state legislatures rarely take old criminal statutes off the books, but they're always adding new ones. A 2008 report from the Heritage Foundation estimates that at the federal level alone, Congress has been adding about 55 new crimes to the federal criminal code each year since the 1980s. There are now about 4,500 separate federal crimes. And that doesn't include federal regulations, which are increasingly being enforced with criminal, not administrative, penalties. It also doesn't include the increasing leeway with which prosecutors can enforce broadly written federal conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering laws. And this is before we even get to the states' criminal codes.

In his new book, the Boston-based civil liberties advocate and occasional Reason contributor Harvey Silverglate estimates that in 2009, the average American commits about three federal felonies per day. And yet, we aren’t a nation of degenerates. On the contrary, most social indicators have been moving in a positive direction for a generation. Silverglate argues we're committing these crimes unwittingly. The federal criminal code has become so vast and open to interpretation, Silverglate argues, that a U.S. Attorney can find a way to charge just about anyone with violating federal law. In fact, it's nearly impossible for some business owners to comply with one federal regulation without violating another one. We're no longer governed by laws, we're governed by the whims of lawyers.

Just more reasons to avoid the police. And people wonder why LEO jobs are so hard. People don't want to talk to police because you could innocently be stepping into a felony arrest that you neither understand nor can avoid.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

War on Drugs Gets Bitten

This is a bit old (Dec. 2008) but I still find it remarkable.

Right up front I think the war on drugs has become a farce if it wasn't one to begin with. The institutionalization of the tactics and the laws that allow the various travesties of justice are astounding if one takes the time to view how often the innocent get bitten. I have no doubts that power proves irresistible in many of the cases and police forces tend to have a lot of people who go into crusader mode when they think there is an issue. No knock raids killing LEO and citizens isn't highly common, but it is far too common for what should be some basics in investigations. Police forces profiting from drug arrests and seizures just feeds into corruption.

Now a TeeVee program in Texas bites back. I am just astounded at the cajones of the guys who did this. In fact, I'd love to see this performed more broadly throughout the country.
"KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana," claims a release from NeverGetBusted.com "When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house."

"The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster's attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster's secret mobile office nearby.

"The attorney was handcuffed and later released when eleven KopBuster detectives arrived with the media in tow to question the illegal raid. The police refused to give KopBusters the search warrant affidavit which is suspected to contain the lies regarding the probable cause.

"It is not illegal to grow plants under a light in your home but it is illegal to lie on an affidavit and plant drugs on a citizen. This operation was the first of its kind in the history of America. Police sometimes have other police investigating their crimes but the American court system has never dealt with a group of citizens stinging the police. Will the police file charges on the team who took down the corrupt cops? We will keep you posted."

I wonder if they have any grounds to get the original affidavit. No doubt the police will keep it out of public view because it's an ongoing investigation, but I do think there are legal actions to be taken around this.

And note, I don't blame the police for using the tools that the politicos have handed them, but on the reverse, it is about time that citizens fight back with those tools that they have. If our society is to be truly free then all portions of the legal system has to be open to review and change. This is especially true of those that people rarely dare challenge alone.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Michael Moore - Capitalist Whiner

The Fat Fuck From Flint is whining that capitalism did nothing for him. This is just too funny considering the amount of money he has. But then it appears that his point is that is was hard.
CNSNews.com asked: “Critics may say, when they see this movie, Michael Moore has amassed a fortune of over $50 million, some have said and –”

Moore said: “Really? Are you kidding me? Seriously? Wow. Where did it go?”

CNSNews.com then asked Moore: “Critics would say he’s [Moore] been very successful under a capitalist system. How would you justify making a movie where you paint capitalism as evil?”

Moore said: “Well, capitalism did nothing for me, starting with my first film.”
“You know, I had to pretty much beg, borrow and steal,” he said. “The system is not set up to help somebody from the working class make a movie like this and get the truth out there.”

“In fact, in Fahrenheit 9/11 if you remember, capitalism, the Disney Corporation, tried to kill that film--tried to make it so that people couldn’t see it,” said Moore. “My book Stupid White Men--Harper Collins tried to kill that book so that people couldn’t see it. It's only because I put the light of day on it and told people what was going on did people get the chance to see these things.”

According to Fortune Magazine, Moore’s films have grossed over $300 million worldwide. His highest grossing film was “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which critiques the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq and earned over $200 million worldwide.

Moore reportedly was paid $21 million by Disney for producing, directing and creating the film.

Moore also earned 50 percent of the profits of his 2007 film “Sicko,” totaling $25 million plus DVD sales, according to Vanity Fair.
"Oh no the capitalists tried to kill my movies and books, but yet went on to produce them for me and then gave me huge quantities of money. Those evil bastards."

What a fucking hypocrite. Imagine Michael Moore in China or the USSR. He'd have been allowed to shovel snow and never would have made a rubel, but no doubt he'd have had great health care and no worries about guns.

Fucking idiot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Interesting articles from the past couple of days that frankly just fall under the heading of fools.

Let's start off with another of the Czars. This one isn't nearly the Prat that VanJones was, but then, this is a bit hard to swallow from a government official without reading an underlying tinge of threat. You can determine the amount of threat for yourself.
Mr. Lloyd said in a formal statement provided to the Washington Times through the FCC that his comment was being misinterpreted.

"The point I was trying to make was that there was dramatic social change in places like Rwanda and Venezuela and that media played an important part in that. I am not a Chavez supporter. I do not support any political leader other than the president of the United States. I do believe all Americans would benefit from more opportunities to participate in media and that the answer to ugly speech is not censorship, but more speech."

At another conference, Mr. Lloyd spoke about the need to remove white people from powerful positions in the media to give minorities a fairer chance.

"There's nothing more difficult than this because we have really truly, good, white people in important positions, and the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions," he said.

"And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions, we will not change the problem. But we're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."

He added: "There are few things, I think, more frightening in the American mind than dark-skinned black men. Here I am."

Emphasis is mine. Note that Lloyd is a politico of undetermined power since he isn't in a defined position and we don't know what he will be allowed to set policy on. Statements like that clearly indicate that he believes that someone can push aside executives of private companies in order to meet some diversity plan. We've seen how they've pushed out execs in the major car companies. Could this be an extension of that?

If you want diversity in the media, it should come from the free market and not from some forced conception of what is fair. I doubt you'll be seeing many MSM execs jumping off the pier to make way for diversity.

The article has a bunch of other interesting info on Lloyd. Have fun.

Then there is Joe Scarborough. This fool thinks Glen Beck is bad for conservatism. I'd like to point out to Joe, SO WHAT? Beck may posture as a clown, but deprecating humor aside, he is asking questions and demanding the viewer figure it out. These people apparently don't listen to what he says. That's quite obvious when you get to the point where they demand to know how he's going to take responsibility for what happens. Well, so far I think he's done a very good job of keeping it peaceful and has forced a lot of people to actually do a lot of due diligence on topics he's handled.

I think Joe should stop pissing himself and realize that conservatives have pissed off far too much of the population in recent years. Now the Dems are doing the exact same thing, only difference is that they took the republican's irresponsible spending to the next level. Both groups miss what the middle/majority really want. But please Joe, continue attacking Beck with the Progressives. It will just make his points appear more valid to more people.

And lastly there are the fools in the UN. I'm just going to skip the general BS that is flying about. But there is an interesting point here:
One of the lead authors of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Prof. Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute, has admitted the Earth is entering a one to two decade cooling period. You haven't seen this reported in the mainstream media because they are too interested in shilling for the global warming crowd. They don't want to report this "inconvenient truth." BBC blogger Tom Feilden brings it home in this excerpt.

The global warming narrative - that mankind's addiction to burning fossil fuels is rapidly changing the climate - may be about to go seriously off message.

Far from suggesting the planet will get warmer, one of the world's leading climate modellers says the latest data indicates we could be in for a significant period of steady temperatures and possibly even a little global cooling.

Professor Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany, has been looking at the influence of cyclical changes to ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic, a feature known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. When he factored these natural fluctuations into his global climate model, professor Latif found the results would bring the remorseless rise in average global temperatures to an abrupt halt.

"The strong warming effect that we experienced during the last decades will be interrupted. Temperatures will be more or less steady for some years, and thereafter will pickup again and continue to warm".

With apologies to Al Gore, professor Latif's finding is something of an "inconvenient truth" for the global warming debate.

Nothing like having your main support scientist suddenly shouting out that the UN politicos of the IPCC don't have a clue.

Monday, September 21, 2009

MSM to Become the Ministry of Truth

So Obama thinks this is worthwhile.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called "Newspaper Revitalization Act," that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin's Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).
Hmm. I wonder if there are any impediments placed on such groups for political speech. Well, I suppose they could overlook such restrictions being that they are only reporting the truth and not opinion as they constantly remind us.

But of course Obama thinks this all wonderful.
Obama said that good journalism is "critical to the health of our democracy," but expressed concern toward growing tends in reporting -- especially on political blogs, from which a groundswell of support for his campaign emerged during the presidential election.

"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding," he said.
Hmm. Funny that he doesn't seem to be reading any of the criticism of the papers. No doubt he honestly believes that the NYTimes isn't carrying his water, or that of liberals in general. I suppose that is all "good" journalism since many media outlets failed to bother reporting his associations with radicals or corrupt political groups like say ACORN.

It may not be 1984, but there certainly are a lot of things that smell fouly with regards to this idea.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vacation Pictures

These first are the nicer pictures of some of the places we went on Mount Desert Island. This first is the Witch Pond Bridge. I think it is the finest of the bridges that Rockefeller placed on the island.

The rocky coast. I think this was somewhere near Otter Cliff.

Sunrise on Mount Cadillac. Damn cold and windy. Well, it was pretty.

Somme Sound fjard. I guess it doesn't quite qualify as a fjord, but it was interesting.

And this one really pissed me off. Look at the word "America" at the bottom right of the plaque.

Town Hall Security

I couldn't get to the original article quoted, but this one will do. Seems the local Sheriff decided to pull up some rather big crowd control devices from the town hall meetings. I'm still wondering why he thought this level of device would be necessary considering that no town hall meeting in the US has come to an actual riot.

Rep. Susan Davis-D Calif. and Rep. Darrell Issa-R Calif. held town halls that exceeded capacity (10,000+ total attendees) and prompted the Sheriff’s Department to have Long-Range Acoustic Devices(LRADs) standing ready.

Both town halls took place without incident; however the use of the military device concerned San Diegians. The LRAD crowd control is primarily used in Iraq to control insurgents and can cause serious and lasting harm to humans.

According to the manufacture, American Technology Corporation, the LRAD provides “military personnel the capability to transition through the rules of engagement to determine a target’s intent and also provides greater assurance that innocent lives on both sides of the device are not lost due to miscommunication.”

That being said why would local law enforcement feel the need to have such drastic measures on standby? Did the Sheriff Department have reason to believe a catastrophe was in the making?

In an interview with East County Magazine, Sheriff Gore answered a couple of questions. When asked about the use of sonic cannons directing a deterrent sound and the fact they are used in Iraq, Sheriff Gore replied; “That’s a precaution in case you need it.”

Well, hell, where are the flame-throwers and tanks then? You know just in case. What an imbecile.

Got to love this perspective as well.

At a Sheriff’s debate Gore was asked directly (by this writer) why he felt the need to place such heavy-handed piece of military equipment at two area town halls.

“The LRAD was purchased as a crowd dispersal unit,” Sheriff Gore explained. “It was held in reserve in both Susan Davis-D CA. and Darrell Issa-R CA/Duncan Hunter-R CA. events should there be any problems. We could use the LRAD in place of pepper spray.”

Although Gore said the LRAD was held in reserve, a photo taken at the town hall proves otherwise, said a Department of Defense Security Contractor source close to the story.

Gore continued to add that the devise is a non-lethal piece of equipment.

However that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sheriff candidate Jay LaSuer said, “I dispute this answer. It’s a very, very lethal weapon and they (LRAD) have no place in law enforcement.”

“Why would you use a LRAD when members of Congress invited people to talk about health care? The majority of the attendees are probably on Medicare. Are we going after terrorists on walkers now?” LaSuer said.

Spokesperson, Joe Kasper from Congressman Hunter’s office had this to say.

“We were not aware of any type of technology being used to monitor the event at which the Congressman appeared. Law enforcement always stands to benefit from more advanced equipment but, regardless of the system, these tools should be utilized in a manner that is both safe and responsible. More importantly, there are certain systems that should only be used when absolutely necessary, so I think it’s reasonable to question the practicality of this particular technology in this situation.”

Numerous calls made to Congresswoman Davis’s office went unreturned.

Further disputing the call to place military weaponry at town hall events came from a military insider who has been to Iraq and was a part of the testing of the LRAD in San Diego.

“Let me be real clear, this weapon can cause serious injury to the inner ear or result in death if utilized improperly within 30-feet. Furthermore, the LRAD requires explicit training so not to accidentally deploy the weapon which causes hearing loss as well as death,” the DOD source said.

Lovely. I'm sure using such a device in a huge crowd filled with the elderly wouldn't have been dangerous, not even taking into account the misuse of such a device.

If the Sheriff thought this was appropriate, then someone may want to reconsider his appropriateness for filling that post.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Merge the Databases, and Privacy Be Damned

No doubt the rush to get health care reform through during an unassociated economic crisis is the legitimizing factor to place huge risks in the privacy of all the proletariat.
One of the problems with any proposed law that's over 1,000 pages long and constantly changing is that much deviltry can lie in the details. Take the Democrats' proposal to rewrite health care policy, better known as H.R. 3200 or by opponents as "Obamacare." (Here's our CBS News television coverage.)

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it.

Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: "How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee.... So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years."
Interesting, but the journalist in this case seems to not be convinced of the threat. Note to self, never take security or privacy advice from a journalist.
I'm not as certain as Giovanetti that this represents privacy's Armageddon. (Though I do wonder where the usual suspects like the Electronic Privacy Information Center are. Presumably inserting limits on information that can be disclosed -- and adding strict penalties on misuse of the information kept on file about hundreds of millions of Americans -- is at least as important as fretting about Facebook's privacy policy in Canada.)

A better candidate for a future privacy crisis is the so-called stimulus bill enacted with limited debate early this year. It mandated the "utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014," but included only limited privacy protections.

It's true that if the legislative branch chooses to create "affordability credits," it probably makes sense to ensure they're not abused. The goal of curbing fraud runs up against the goal of preserving individual privacy.
He adds an update that EPIC condemns the bill. I just find it fascinating that he is willing to weight fraud prevention equally against opening everyone's records to bureaucrats at the state and federal level. No doubt there won't be any abuse anything like what happened to "Joe the Plumber." The more people have open and free access to information, the more probable abuse will become. Legislating this with no limitations on access is asking for abuse.

Wonder why he won't mention that little things like databases can be accessed by programs to determine whether the person can receive benefits. If the program is in the IRS and will provide a simple yes or no answer to the query then there would be no reason for anyone to have full and open access. But hey, let's just open it all up instead of thinking about implementations.

UPDATE: In timely fashion here is a Schneier post that aids my point.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Those Poor Unfortunate Federal Workers

This makes me feel so bad for them:

Citing the current economic recession -- and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks eight years ago -- President Obama says he will use emergency powers to cut the programmed across-the-board January increase in federal employees' pay from 2.4 percent to 2.0 percent, according to a letter he sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday.

The move was not a surprise, as Obama telegraphed a 2 percent increase in the budget he proposed earlier this year. But it's certainly not welcome news for federal employees, whose unions protested when Obama's budget was released.

Let's see, I took a 10% pay cut this summer and haven't had a raise in 3 years, yeah I'm sympathetic with them getting a RAISE!

Jackass. Missing the economic situation and his out of control spending, he's still handing out raises. Nice responsible government.

Just Not Getting It

Jim Jones is Obama's National Security adviser, and frankly is a clueless git.
In an interview with ABC News, Jones said Obama's efforts to reach out to world leaders and improve relations with law enforcement agencies had made it easier to track and kill terrorists than during the Bush administration.

"We have better human intelligence. We know where the terrorists are moving," Jones told ABC.

"Because of the dialogue and the tone of the dialogue between us and our friends and allies ... the trend line against terrorism is positive," he added.
While noting that he was not keeping tallies of enemy combatants killed and captured under Obama and Bush, Jones said the numbers were going up as a result of good intelligence.

"We are seeing results that indicate more captures, more deaths of radical leaders and a kind of a global coming-together by the fact that this is a threat to not only the United States but to the world at-large," he said.
Jones did not, however, counter Cheney's argument that Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to investigate suspected CIA prisoner abuses could have a chilling effect on the work of the intelligence agency.

"I think it is something we have to address," Jones said. "I think anybody who works in a law enforcement agency ... have to know clearly what the rules are."
So let's get this straight, the increased intelligence and success in taking down terrorist leaders is due to Obama being nice to foriegn leaders, not the fact that the intelligence systems had been put in place (by the Bush administration) and are now being focused on in the Pakistan/Afghanistan region. Fascinating that he can take credit for doing nothing. No evidence is provided that would actually show how the Obama administration's change in tactics demonstrably has caused this.

And you have to love the last quote about the CIA. They are most certainly NOT an LEO. It is primarily an INTELLIGENCE gathering department that also does covert activities. They aren't enforcing laws. He may actually want to read the National Security Act of 1947. This bit being relevant:

(d) HEAD OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. - In the Director's capacity as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Director shall -

(1) collect intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means, except that the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions;

Pretty plain wording. Too bad Jones doesn't know what his own intelligence services are required to do.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Carol Ché -Porter - Time for Change

I'm not a constituent, but when you pull this bull-shit in NH you deserve to be booted from office.

From Now Hampshire:
In four short years Carol Shea-Porter has evolved from a rabble-rousing, town hall disrupting anti-war activist who once had to be forcibly removed from a President George Bush event in Portsmouth to a Member of Congress who instructed armed security guards to remove a frustrated voter from her own town hall event in Manchester on Saturday.

In the appended video, Shea-Porter can be seen instructing security to remove a man for standing to ask a question without a ticket. Shea-Porter previously held a lottery to determine who could ask questions . She can also be heard taunting the man on his way out by saying, “I do hope the movie theater can be a little quieter for you.”
Nice, Gotta love the taunting of the constituent. No doubt that will be on a campaign commercial in the next election.

And you have to love the fact that she's apparently forgotten completely where she started. Not only has she completely failed to meet with the constituents in anything but a hyper-controlled and small meeting, but she's denigrating those who are using her former tactics. (h/t Hot Air)
She chose what sounded like a derogatory reference to opponents, some of whom sprang from the Tea Party rallies across the country against Obama's fiscal agenda.

"They walked around me and they're videotaping me," Shea-Porter said at the Spring Street home of an Obama supporter, according to Foster's Daily Democrat.

"I chose to go there because I wanted to talk to them about what this is really about. And I ask you to do that also. Don't be so divided and so put off that you don't feel like you can have a conversation."

That's fine and admirable, but this is when it got a little unhinged.

"Find those tea-baggers who don't like the idea of this and talk to them. You won't get all of them, but I think when they realize we're still going to be an employer-based insurance system in this country, and that it is a choice – one choice among many choices – it takes away that sense of fear, that sense that they're losing control over their lives.
The irony is, of course, that Shea-Porter used to be a "tea-bagger'' on the left. She stalked then-congressman Jeb Bradley at town hall-style meetings the 1st District Republican incumbent held throughout his district.
Time for a Chénge.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Canadian Medical Association Says Canadian Healthcare Broken

Here's statements on the Canadian Healthcare System being broken. Not much details though.

SASKATOON — The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.

"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."


His thoughts on the issue are already clear. Ouellet has been saying since his return that "a health-care revolution has passed us by," that it's possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and "that competition should be welcomed, not feared."

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.

He has also said the Canadian system could be restructured to focus on patients if hospitals and other health-care institutions received funding based on the patients they treat, instead of an annual, lump-sum budget. This "activity-based funding" would be an incentive to provide more efficient care, he has said.

I hadn't realized that hospitals were paid in lump sums. That sounds like a guarantee for inefficiency. There isn't any incentive to do anything more than the minimum. Also makes you wonder how they pay their staffs and improve facilities. Not that they need to go overboard like hospitals in the US with massive luxury hotel style improvements, but every facility requires repair and updating periodically.

Apparently they are looking for a solution, but don't want what the US has either.
Doig, who has had a full-time family practice in Saskatoon for 30 years, acknowledges that when physicians have talked about changing the health-care system in the past, they've been accused of wanting an American-style structure. She insists that's not the case.

"It's not about choosing between an American system or a Canadian system," said Doig. "The whole thing is about looking at what other people do."

"That's called looking at the evidence, looking at how care is delivered and how care is paid for all around us (and) then saying 'Well, OK, that's good information. How do we make all of that work in the Canadian context? What do the Canadian people want?' "

Can't blame them for trying to find what works, but from what I see here, they aren't going to find it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ethics for the Intelligence Officer

Interesting piece that Schneier quotes. I can't get to the article, but the quote is the point.
Draft Statement of Ethics for the Intelligence Community

Preamble: Intelligence work may present exceptional or unusual ethical dilemmas beyond those of ordinary life. Ethical thinking and review should be a part of our day to day efforts; it can protect our nation's and our agency’s integrity, improve the chances of mission success, protect us from the consequences of bad choices, and preserve our alliances. Therefore, we adhere to the following standards of professional ethics and behavior:

  1. First, do no harm to U.S. citizens or their rights under the Constitution.
  2. We uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law; we are constrained by both the spirit and the letter of the laws of the United States.
  3. We will comply with all international human rights agreements that our nation has ratified.
  4. We will insist on clarification of ambiguities that arise between directives or law and the principles of this code. We will protect those within our institutions who call reasonable attention to wrongdoing.
  5. Expediency is not an excuse for misconduct.
  6. We are accountable for our decisions and actions. We support timely, rigorous processes that fix accountability to the responsible person.
  7. Statements we make to our clients, colleagues, overseers and the U.S. public will be true, and structured not to unnecessarily mislead or conceal.
  8. We will resolve difficult ethical choices in favor of constitutional requirements, the truth, and our fellow citizens.
  9. We will address the potential consequences of our actions in advance, especially the consequences of failure, discovery, and unintended or collateral consequences of success.
  10. We will not impose unnecessary risk on innocents.
  11. Although we may work in secrecy, we will work so that when our efforts become known, our fellow citizens will be proud of us and of our efforts.
Interesting in that I find this hard to stomach when the operative is answerable to the politician who doesn't have to meet these requirements.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Missing His Own Lesson

Obama in Portsmouth on the Government Insurance option.

Now, the only thing that I have said is that having a public option in that menu would provide competition for insurance companies to keep them honest. Now, I recognize, though, you make a legitimate -- you raise a legitimate concern. People say, "Well, how can a private company compete against the government?" And my answer is that if the insurance -- private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning, taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums, and providing good services and a good network of doctors just like any other private insurer would do, then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time.


I mean, if you think about it, you know, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. I mean, it's the post office that's always having problems. So, right now, you've got private insurers who are out there competing effectively even though a lot of people get their care through Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA. So, there's nothing inevitable about this somehow destroying the private marketplace as long as -- and this is a legitimate point that you're raising -- that it's not set up where the government is basically being subsidized by the taxpayers. So that even if they're not providing a good deal, we keep on having to pony out more and more money. And I've already said that can't be the way the public option is set up.

OBAMA: It has to be self-sustaining.

So does he really want to use the USPS as an example of a program that competes with private enterprise? I can see his point in a twisted sort of way, that private health insurace should be able to compete against the governments plan, but what about those people who don't get the choice? If your company dumps your insurance policy and you can't get a non-government plan what are you getting? And how would a government plan save the economy and help the deficit if it works as well as the postal service?

Daniel Hannan on HealthCare Reform

I saw this on Beck last week. Hannan is quite informative on the British NHS and provides some interesting information about its history that many people seem to forget.

HANNAN: Listen, our system, our NHS came out of a peculiar time, we were basically under full mobilization when we invented this, right? It was.


HANNAN: It's Word War II, 1944. So, it was a time when we had food rationing, when everything had been nationalized, when he had hugely high taxes, you know, because everything had been conscripted into the war.
That was the product — that was the thinking that led to the state health care system.

I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system in peacetime and massively expanding the role of the state when there's no need.

BECK: Because they would say that this is going to save us money.

HANNAN: Well, you know it is the single biggest item of our government budget. And, it's — you know, the state generally doesn't do things as efficiently as the market does. Of course, it doesn't. If you know that you're getting the same treatment without paying for it, you have no incentive to keep costs down.

The NHS came out of a time when Britain was not only broke, but almost broken. The NHS was a great thing at the time because it ensured that people would at least be capable of getting the minimum health support for regular lives. That's not the problem today in the USA. Why would we choose to strap on a system that all examples show ends in inefficiency and red tape?

And the truly disturbing point:
HANNAN: We have 1.4 million people employed by the National Health Service. It is the third biggest employer in the world after the Red Army in China and the Indian National Railways. Most of those 1.4 million people are administrators, that the managers outnumber the doctors and nurses. And that is the electoral bloc that makes it almost impossible to get rid of.

So, if you do this thing, if — you know, you're going to decide.

That bothers me to no end. If we become like the Brits, our version of NHS will be disturbingly powerful just as an electoral bloc. Imagine how the Unions are salivating over that bit of gold that they can pack into their coffers. Power in that combination will be destructive to everyones detriment.

Good for Them

Saw this linked at Insty. I'm rather glad that they feel this way. Now if they can get the Congresslime to listen.

The White House disagreed this afternoon with the contention by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, that the disruptions at town hall meetings are "un-American," as the Democratic congressional leaders contended in a USA Today op-ed this morning.

"I think there's actually a pretty long tradition of people shouting at politicians in America," White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One when asked about the comments.

"The President thinks that if people want to come and have a spirited debate about health care, a real vigorous conversation about it, that's a part of the American tradition and he encourages that, because people do have questions and concerns ...And so if people want to come and have their concerns and their questions answered, the President thinks that's important. Now, if you just want to come to a town hall so that you can disrupt and so that you can scream over another person, he doesn’t think that that's productive. And as a country, we've been able to make progress when people actually talk out what our problems are, not try to shout each other down."

I agree that it isn't very productive, but that method of protest is very common on the left, including in Obama's own support organizations. I just would like the meetings to have sufficient civility that it wouldn't happen. No doubt the SEIU bullying people out of the room as has been seen at several of the town hall meetings is sufficient proof of their own tactics.
At his town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH, tomorrow, Burton said, President Obama "thinks that we're going to be able to have a constructive conversation tomorrow and he'll continue to do that at the town hall later in the week and throughout this effort."
No doubt Obama will have a nice supportive meeting in Portsmouth. Seeing that it is probably the most liberal city in the state it would be surprising that it isn't just loaded with his supporters and union storm troops. I'd be surprised if the seats are already all occupied for the event.

I wonder how many Free Staters are going to try to get in. Should be interesting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Specter of Tort Reform

No not related to the Obamacare fiasco, rather a little gift Arlen (D) wants to hand out to the bar.

Arlen Specter became a Democrat this year, but there’s one party we’re confident the Pennsylvania Senator will never abandon—the trial bar. He’s recently introduced legislation to repeal two important Supreme Court business rulings in order to create a new lawsuit bonanza.

In Stoneridge v. Scientific Atlanta, five Justices ruled in 2008 that companies can’t be sued merely for doing business with another firm that commits fraud. This followed the 1994 precedent in Central Bank of Denver v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, in which the Justices limited liability claims against alleged “aiders and abettors.” Both decisions undermine “scheme liability” suits, which are the kind of elastic legal claim that gives U.S. civil justice a bad name.

Enter Mr. Specter and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, who say the decisions deny fraud victims their day in court. Their bill would amend the 1934 Securities Exchange Act specifically to authorize a private right of action for aiding-and-abetting liability. The two Supreme Court rulings interpreted the law narrowly to apply only to primary offenders, who can still be sued by genuine—and even not-so-genuine—victims of fraud.

Nice that he thinks so much of those poor lawyers that he want to help them make even more money against the fair decision by the SCOTUS.

Spending Like Barney Frank on Meth

This is disturbing. I was irritated when they were proposing four new planes which the Military didn't request, now they've jumped the number to eight.
WASHINGTON -- Bipartisan opposition is emerging in the Senate to a plan by House lawmakers to spend $550 million for additional passenger jets for senior government officials.

The resistance to buying eight Gulfstream and Boeing planes comes as members of both chambers of Congress embark on the busiest month of the year for official overseas travel. The plan to upgrade the fleet of government jets, which was included in a broader defense-funding bill, has also sparked criticism from the Pentagon, which has said it doesn't need half of the new jets.

"The whole thing kind of makes me sick to my stomach," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) in an interview Sunday. "It is evidence that some of the cynicism about Washington is well placed -- that people get out of touch and they spend money like it's Monopoly money."

Several other senators said they share the concerns and will work to oppose the funding for the jets when the legislation is taken up by the Senate in September, including Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.,) Jack Reed (D., R.I.), Richard Burr (R., N.C.), Christopher Bond (R., Mo.) and John Thune (R., S.D.).

The funding for new planes is "a classic example of Congress being out of touch with the realities of deficit spending," said Mr. Thune.
Nice to see that at least there is issues with this in both camps. This is completely out of control. They want to, allegedly, reduce the deficit, and pay for all these new entitlements, yet they still seem to think that spending more on toys for their own use is a good idea.

This makes the cash for clunkers spending seem responsible.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

MaineCare the Smell of Obamacare

Here's something you should be interested in. Just think of this as the end game when it gets to the national level.
A hospital in Maine lost its challenge to a state law requiring all hospitals to provide free, unlimited health care to low-income families after the 1st Circuit sided with a lower court and tossed the complaint.
Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine, is a nonprofit hospital with a "tradition of voluntarily providing free and reduced price medical care to low income families," according to the ruling. It sued state officials, alleging that the free-care laws were tantamount to unconstitutional takings of property.
The hospital further argued that "there is no difference in the government occupying a room or the government ordering that a room be made available to someone it designates."
But the Boston-based federal appeals court sided with a district judge in dismissing the complaint, noting that the hospital "is not required to serve low income patients; it may choose to stop using its property as a hospital, which is what makes it subject to Maine's free care laws."
Maine has required hospitals to provide free, unlimited medical services to low-income patients without reimbursement since 1989. Maine pays for some treatment through its Medicaid program known as "MaineCare," but reimbursements are often well below the hospitals' actual cost.
Fascinating eh?

We Should Follow California Why?

Saw this at Q&O.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Small businesses that received $682 million in IOUs from the state say California expects them to pay taxes on the worthless scraps of paper, but refuses to accept its own IOUs to pay debts or taxes. The vendors' federal class action claims the state is trying to balance its budget on their backs.
Lead plaintiff Nancy Baird filled her contract with California to provide embroidered polo shirts to a youth camp run by the National Guard, but never was paid the $27,000 she was owed. She says California "paid" her with an IOU that two banks refused to accept - yet she had to pay California sales tax on the so-called "sale" of the uniforms.

Now that is audacity at its most brazen. Where is the shame?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Why Not Fix the Parts That Are Broken

Krauthammer puts it in plain wording. Fix it first.

An authoritative Massachusetts Medical Society study found that five out of six doctors admitted they order tests, procedures and referrals -- amounting to about 25 percent of the total -- solely as protection from lawsuits. Defensive medicine, estimates the libertarian/conservative Pacific Research Institute, wastes more than $200 billion a year. Just half that sum could provide a $5,000 health insurance grant -- $20,000 for a family of four -- to the uninsured poor (U.S. citizens ineligible for other government health assistance).

What to do? Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.

The pool would be funded by a relatively small tax on all health-insurance premiums. Socialize the risk; cut out the trial lawyers. Would that immunize doctors from carelessness or negligence? No. The penalty would be losing your medical license. There is no more serious deterrent than forfeiting a decade of intensive medical training and the livelihood that comes with it.

(2) Real health-insurance reform: Tax employer-provided health care benefits and return the money to the employee with a government check to buy his own medical insurance, just as he buys his own car or home insurance.

There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It's economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

Read it. It's at least a logical way to start and would be in everyone's best interest. Well except for the lawyers.

The Reasoned Discourse Continues

Hmm. I wonder who called out the SEIU brown shirts? Oh, that would be Obama.

At a townhall last night in St. Louis, Kenneth Gladney, 38, a local conservative activist said he was attacked by Obama supporters, one of whom used a racial slur against him before the attack. From the emergency room at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, Gladney, who is black, told the St. Louis Dispatch: “It just seems there’s no freedom of speech without being attacked.” In Tampa, Florida, protester Barry Osteen was pushed in the face by Democratic Club Treasurer Karen Miracle, and union members allegedly assaulted another concerned citizen. Both of the events were organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Asked about the possibility of people concerned about Obama showing up at their event, in Tampa, SEIU spokeswoman Kim Diehl told the St. Petersburg Times: “We’re prepared. We have strategies to deal with it if it should come up.”
And what did the Obamateur say?

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina told senators to focus on the insured and how they would benefit from “consumer protections" in the overhaul, such as ending the practice of denying insurance based on preexisting conditions and ensuring the continuity of coverage between jobs.

They showed video clips of the confrontational town halls that have dominated the media coverage, and told senators to do more prep work than usual for their public meetings by making sure their own supporters turn out, senators and aides said.

And they screened TV ads and reviewed the various campaigns by critics of the Democratic plan.

If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” Messina said, according to an official who attended the meeting.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Jeanne Shaheen - Coward

She makes me nauseous.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on Thursday issued a harshly worded press release condemning the Tea Party Coalition “and other groups opposed to health care reform” for protesting staff office hours on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Protesters were present at office hours held today in Grafton and yesterday in Hampstead,” the press release states.

“It’s a disgrace for an organization to deliberately try to prevent people from getting help from their elected representatives,” said Shaheen. “The people who come to my office for help are veterans needing assistance with the VA, senior citizens who need help with Social Security, and small business owners who are having trouble in our tough economy. New Hampshire citizens have a right to get the help they need from the federal government. Their rights have been trampled on.”

“These are not town hall meetings but rather office hours that we host in Town Halls across the state in order to make our caseworkers available to New Hampshire citizens who need help,” said Shaheen. “The organizations that staged these protests knew these weren’t town hall meetings because we called them to tell them so. I recognize the right of people on both sides of the aisle to protest, but impeding the ability of New Hampshire citizens to get the help they need is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. They should be ashamed.”

Ah yes thank you Jeanne. Please now provide us with the details of the "organization" that you keep blaming, but you seem unable to name. I really really think your constituents need to know who this evil enemy is.

Oh and don't forget that Jeanne isn't having any face to face town hall meetings that I've been able to find. It appears she's doing them in meetings where you have to phone in. How quaint. Can't even face the constituents that may be displeased. Coward.

Can't take the heat, maybe you should stay the hell out of politics.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

White House Snitch Line

I've been mulling this over for a bit. This article gets to the point that I have been pondering.

So what has the White House told supporters to do when you run across those who spread "disinformation" about the new attempt by the Obama administration to install the anti-competitive practices of a "public option" into a federalized universal health care initiative?

Report them.

Whether its communicated through e-mail, web sites, blogs, or even casual conversation the executive branch of the federal government is asking you to make them aware of this "disinformation" because they can't keep track of all of the dissenters themselves.

From Tuesday's White House blog entry:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain e-mails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an e-mail or see something on the Web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Pardon me for asking such an obvious question, but what concern is it to the president or his administration if private citizens have disagreements, discussions, and dissections of his proposed take over of the health care industry?

Last I checked I had the constitutional right to do so.

Do you find it disturbing that the White House is collecting information from citizens on those that oppose them? I do. Where does it lead? Terrorist watch list? Do you get a visit from the Secret Service or the FBI? Especially if you are making an impact?

There could likely be many good reasons for the White House to set up an e-mail address "flag@whitehouse.gov." -- Like reporting a suspicious truck parked in a place it's not supposed to be. Or the systematic movement of people that seek to attack the nation. Or even a suspicious piece of baggage that should not be left unaccompanied.

But reporting your neighbors for simply disagreeing on the unknown outcomes of a federally controlled, centralized universal governmental control of health care is not an acceptable use of such an effort.

Perhaps it would be different if we felt the administration was dealing with us honestly. At this point, they've all but admitted that they will have to raise taxes on the middle class. That cheery news, coupled with catching significant personalities on video--i.e. Barney Frank, Jan Schikowski, and President Obama -- all opining about their desire for a new "public option" to lead to a single payer system, gives the nation pause and little confidence to think that what the president says at prime time press conferences is genuine.

So what should our response be?

Greater demands for free speech...

Louder volumes at town hall meetings...

Bigger belligerence the tighter they squeeze...

In short, when free speech is threatened, screeching screams of volition are the only thing preventing the mandated, manhandled, chokehold of silence.

So go ahead... report me... I will shout louder!

Hmm. Probably a good idea. Probably also a situation to start applying the Rules for Radicals. Shouldn't we be making a new rule #4?
RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity's very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
Think on this, if they have a snitch program, start using it. Find where the populists vary from the elitists and report them. And then report the elitists as well. Report newspapers who report even moderate disagreements with the Administration. Report the CBO.

Now how do I get some group to actually ask its members to do this?