Nov 08 2012

Dobson’s 2008 predictions revisited

Category: election 2008,election 2012,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:52 pm

Shortly after the 2008 elections, I posted this article, discussing the predictions that James Dobson had made shortly before the election (and Jim Wallis’ objections to those predictions), about what the outcomes of an Obama administration might be.  The predictions came in the form of a “letter from the future.

If you click the link above and follow the discussion, many of the worst outcomes that Dobson predicted were predicated on the possible retirements of Scalia and Kennedy from the Supreme Court, allowing Obama to appoint two leftist judges to replace one conservative and one moderate, thereby securing a 6-3 leftist majority court that would rubberstamp anything Obama wanted to do, and perhaps discover new “rights” in the Constitution, like same-sex marriage.

Of course, those two judges didn’t retire in Obama’s first time, but they’re getting older, and there is no doubt what kind of judges Obama will replace them with, if they retire during Obama’s second term for health or other reasons.  (For this reason, we should all be fervently praying for their health and vigor.)

It strikes me that while premature, Dobson’s predictions may not be far off the mark now….  with the exception of any of them that require a compliant House of Representatives, which I hope Obama does not have (though past weak kneed Republican performances don’t fill me with confidence).

I think it’s not unreasonable to suspect that any of Dobson’s predictions that don’t require action by the House of Representatives are likely to come to pass if Obama does have a chance to pack the court to the left…  or even just replace a single conservative or moderate justice with the likes of Kagan or Sotomayor, giving the left a 5-4 majority for a LONG time, in all liklihood.  Note that judges appointed by Democrats don’t seem to move to the right….  while the reverse happens too often (Souter).

And regarding Jim Wallis’ objections to Dobson’s predictions (responded to more fully here),  what would Wallis’ have said in 2008 at a prediction that Obama’s universal healthcare law would force Christian institutions to pay for abortifacient birth control?

Doubtless he would have called it “hate speech” and “paranoia.”

The reality is quite other, isn’t it?

 


Jul 30 2012

Learning from experience… the hard way

Category: election 2008,election 2012,government,Group-think,humor,media,Obamaharmonicminer @ 10:44 am


Feb 15 2012

American Catholicism’s pact with the Devil?

In this article at ToRenewAmerica, I wrote about the failure of the “Seamless Garment” perspective of Cardinal Bernadin to provide a proper moral compass for Catholics and other Christians by equating the moral necessity to resist abortion with the promotion of essentially socialist perspectives on society and government, making resistance to abortion the hostage of socialist policies.  Bernadin’s positions on this have provided cover for way too many Catholics to support leftist, pro-abortion politicians, in the name of vague sounding concern for the poor, politicians whose policies and enacted laws have had a distinctly non-vague, and very negative impact on life in these United States.

And now the comeuppance of these very confused Christians and Catholics has arrived, in the form of a President Obama whom they helped to elect, a president whose plan all along was to find a way to force all Americans to pay for abortifacient birth control, even if it is against their religious beliefs.

Now, Professor Paul Rahe has written on American Catholicism’s Pact With The Devil.

….the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States – the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity – and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism – the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.At every turn in American politics since that time, you will find the hierarchy assisting the Democratic Party and promoting the growth of the administrative entitlements state. At no point have its members evidenced any concern for sustaining limited government and protecting the rights of individuals. It did not cross the minds of these prelates that the liberty of conscience which they had grown to cherish is part of a larger package – that the paternalistic state, which recognizes no legitimate limits on its power and scope, that they had embraced would someday turn on the Church and seek to dictate whom it chose to teach its doctrines and how, more generally, it would conduct its affairs.

I would submit that the bishops, nuns, and priests now screaming bloody murder have gotten what they asked for. The weapon that Barack Obama has directed at the Church was fashioned to a considerable degree by Catholic churchmen. They welcomed Obamacare. They encouraged Senators and Congressmen who professed to be Catholics to vote for it.

I do not mean to say that I would prefer that the bishops, nuns, and priests sit down and shut up. Barack Obama has once again done the friends of liberty a favor by forcing the friends of the administrative entitlements state to contemplate what they have wrought. Whether those brought up on the heresy that public provision is akin to charity will prove capable of thinking through what they have done remains unclear. But there is now a chance that this will take place, and there was a time – long ago, to be sure, but for an institution with the longevity possessed by the Catholic Church long ago was just yesterday – when the Church played an honorable role in hemming in the authority of magistrates and in promoting not only its own liberty as an institution but that of others similarly intent on managing their own affairs as individuals and as members of subpolitical communities.

In my lifetime, to my increasing regret, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost much of its moral authority. It has done so largely because it has subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state. In 1973, when the Supreme Court made its decision in Roe v. Wade, had the bishops, priests, and nuns screamed bloody murder and declared war, as they have recently done, the decision would have been reversed. Instead, under the leadership of Joseph Bernardin, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, they asserted that the social teaching of the Church was a “seamless garment,” and they treated abortion as one concern among many. 

 

There is more at the link, all worth reading, and pretty forthright in its condemnation of the Catholic church leadership’s “deal with the devil,” that is, its deal with the powers of the state.  Basically, it failed to render unto God what is God’s, and gave way too much away to Caesar, and was aided in this by liberal Christians of all stripes.


Jun 03 2010

Steyn: We’re too broke to be this stupid

If anyone is counting, this is the 1200th post on this blog.  Or so says the WordPress editor.

I hate to quote only an excerpt of this piece by Mark Steyn, titled We’re too broke to be this stupid.

Back in 2008, when I was fulminating against multiculturalism on a more or less weekly basis, a reader wrote to advise me to lighten up, on the grounds that “we’re rich enough to afford to be stupid.”

Two years later, we’re a lot less rich. In fact, many Western nations are, in any objective sense, insolvent. Hence last week’s column, on the EU’s decision to toss a trillion dollars into the great sucking maw of Greece’s public-sector kleptocracy. It no longer matters whether you’re intellectually in favour of European-style social democracy: simply as a practical matter, it’s unaffordable.
………
… the easiest “solution” to <social problems of all kinds> is to throw public money at <them>. You know how it is when you’re at the mall and someone rattles a collection box under your nose and you’re not sure where it’s going but it’s probably for Darfur or Rwanda or Hoogivsastan. Whatever. You’re dropping a buck or two in the tin for the privilege of not having to think about it. For the more ideologically committed, there’s always the awareness-raising rock concert: it’s something to do with Bono and debt forgiveness, whatever that means, but let’s face it, going to the park for eight hours of celebrity caterwauling beats having to wrap your head around Afro-Marxist economics. The modern welfare state operates on the same principle: since the Second World War, the hard-working middle classes have transferred historically unprecedented amounts of money to the unproductive sector in order not to have to think about it. But so what? We were rich enough that we could afford to be stupid.

The reason I hated to quote only the excerpt is because you should really read it all.

Steyn goes on to make the case that a great deal that is publicly funded, with taxes extracted from average working people, is counterproductive, or at least subsidizes bad behavior.  He is at his usual entertaining and trenchant best.  Read it all at the link above.

What it boils down to is this:  trying to repeal the laws of economics is a luxury for societies with lots of extra cash laying about.  That is no longer the case in pretty much any society, and certainly not in western society.   It’s a bit like pretending you’ve undone the laws of thermodynamics by injecting extra energy from outside the system, so that you can try to convince people that entropy isn’t really happening. 

But there are some laws of economics that apply.  Here are a few:

1)  You will get more of anything you subsidize.
2)  If you increase demand, and don’t increase supply, prices go up.
3)  If you increase demand, and don’t increase supply, and don’t let prices go up, shortages and rationing come next.
4)  If you decrease supply, and don’t decrease demand, prices go up.
5)  If you decrease supply, and don’t decrease demand, and don’t let prices go up, shortages and rationing come next.
6)  If you spend money on things that don’t lead to the production of more money than you spent, then you’re losing money.
7)  Ponzi schemes always collapse eventually, usually sooner than the con artists hoped.

It may not be clear to you, but virtually EVERY regulation has the effect of decreasing supply, and so prices go up.  So we had better have a minimum of regulation, sticking to only the absolutely necessary.  Keep in mind that rich people who own businesses don’t pay high prices.  They just pass them on to consumers.  When they reach a point where they can no longer pass higher prices on to consumers (because consumers won’t pay it, or the government won’t let them raise prices themselves, regardless of their costs), they leave the business, since that means it’s no longer making money.

The single biggest Ponzi scheme in American history is Social Security.  The next biggest is Medicare.  If you aren’t already collecting benefits from one of them, you aren’t going to get nearly as much from them as did your predecessors.  Your children will get FAR less than that.  Check the economies of Greece and Spain for details.

The “tea parties” springing up around the country are evidence that the entire electorate has not lost its mind, but part of the electorate is clearly insane.  Or suicidal, which may be the same thing.

The 2008 election was a prime example of hope (and apparently faith in the tooth fairy) triumphing over clear thinking based on facts and history.

As Dallas Willard says in Knowing Christ Today, people only know what they’re willing to know.  So I suppose that putting this together with Mark Steyn’s observation that “we’re too broke to be this stupid,” we can say that we’re too broke to be willfully stupid.

We’re too broke to decide we just don’t want to know how we got that way.

I think some people are beginning to catch on, finally.  Pray it isn’t too late.


Apr 08 2010

Young adults, with less money, will pay more

I just want to say thank you, once again, to all the young adults who voted for Obama. The fact that you volunteered to pay more for my health coverage and retirement is a sign of real respect for your elders.

Health premiums could rise 17 pct for young adults

Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.

Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That’s when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.

The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years.

Consider 24-year-old Nils Higdon. The self-employed percussionist and part-time teacher in Chicago pays $140 each month for health insurance. But he’s healthy and so far hasn’t needed it.

The law relies on Higdon and other young adults to shoulder more of the financial load in new health insurance risk pools. So under the new system, Higdon could expect to pay $300 to $500 a year more. Depending on his income, he might also qualify for tax credits.

At issue is the insurance industry’s practice of charging more for older customers, who are the costliest to insure. The new law restricts how much insurers can raise premium costs based on age alone.

Insurers typically charge six or seven times as much to older customers as to younger ones in states with no restrictions. The new law limits the ratio to 3-to-1, meaning a 50-year-old could be charged only three times as much as a 20-year-old.

The rest will be shouldered by young people in the form of higher premiums.

Higdon wonders how his peers, already scrambling to start careers during a recession, will react to paying more so older people can get cheaper coverage.

Of course, these people who are telling you that your premiums will go up by 17% are just trying to break it to you gently, to let you find out the truth in stages.  But this IS the government we’re talking about, and this IS an entitlement program, so you know, don’t you, that the real cost is going to be more.  Much more.  Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., all cost much more than anyone dreamed they ever would.   So will this.

And, of course, for the many young adults who could afford health insurance but have simply chosen not to buy it themselves (something like 1/3 of the currently “uninsured” if memory serves), their cost under the new regime will be much more than they currently pay…  which is nothing.  But we really need to grab these deadbeats and shake some money out of them.  Don’t they know that their turn will come later, to have the generations after them pay for their healthcare?

The young musician in the article above, Nils Higdon, is a perfect representative for your demographic, because even though he’s about to be soaked, he is willing for it to be even worse, by being for single-payer health care (you can read about it at the link above).  Very generous of him.  And you, since I’m sure you agree, being a young Obama voter who really respects your elders, and wants to take care of them even more.

I suppose it’s just a good thing for me that most young drummers haven’t read Adam Smith, or F.A. Hayek, or Milton Friedman, or Thomas Sowell.  Undoubtedly, the screeds from these promoters of the greed motive would have poisoned their young, impressionable minds.

I see that Mr. Higdon is a self-employed drummer.  In the real world, in this economy, that sometimes means he makes most of his living as a golf caddy.  I’ve always thought that golf caddies should pay more for the health care of the old duffers, er, golfers, that they serve.  I mean, since the caddies already fund their retirement via social security and incompletely funded government pensions and so on, it just seems reasonable. 

If you’re going to carry their clubs, you may as well carry them, too.


Mar 08 2010

Big Business is not in the Republicans’ pocket; its hands are in YOUR pocket, if you pay taxes… and everyone does, one way or another

At Townhall, Jonah Goldberg points out that big business supported Obama 2 to 1 against McCain, because it hoped to cash in at taxpayer expense:

It’s worth remembering that Obama was the preferred candidate of Wall Street, and the industry gave to Democrats by a 2-1 margin at the beginning of last year. The top business donor to Democrats in 2008 was Goldman Sachs, and nearly 75 cents out of every dollar of Goldman’s political donations from 2006 to 2008 went to Democrats. Few can gainsay the investment, given how well Goldman Sachs has done under the Obama administration.

It’s not just Wall Street. Obama led in fundraising from most big business sectors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Aside from the desire to back the winner, and the cultural liberalness of East and West Coast plutocrats, why did Obama get so much support from precisely the constituency he demonizes?

Because it was good business. A host of big corporations bet that the much-vaunted Obama era would materialize. For instance, nearly 30 major corporations and environmental groups invested in Obama’s promise to force the American economy into a new cap-and-trade system via the United States Climate Action Partnership (CAP).

Whatever the benefits of such a scheme for the economy and environment as a whole, these corporations, led by General Electric, were looking simply to cash in on government policies. GE, which makes many wind, solar and nuclear doodads that would be profitable under “cap-and-trade,” was poised to make billions if Obama succeeded in seizing control of the “carbon economy.” GE is still protecting its bet, but after the failure in Copenhagen, the “climategate” scandals and perhaps most significantly, that implosion of Obama’s new progressive era, several heavyweights — Caterpillar, BP and ConocoPhillips — have pulled out of CAP, with rumors that more will follow. There are similar rumblings of discontent within the ranks of PhRMA, the trade association for the pharmaceutical industry, which had cut an $80 billion deal with the White House last year for its support of ObamaCare, only to see the whole thing unravel.

The lesson here is fairly simple: Big business is not “right wing,” it’s vampiric. It will pursue any opportunity to make a big profit at little risk. Getting in bed with politicians is increasingly the safest investment for these “crony capitalists.” But only if the politicians can actually deliver. The political failures of the Obama White House have translated into business failures for firms more eager to make money off taxpayers instead of consumers.

That’s good news. The bad news will be if the Republicans once again opt to be the cheap dates of big business. For years, the GOP defended big business in the spirit of free enterprise while businesses never showed much interest in the principle themselves. Now that their bet on the Democrats has crapped out, it’d be nice if they stopped trying to game the system and focused instead on satisfying the consumer.

Go back and read the title of this post. Then read this, to which I’ve linked before.  Ignore the reviews, pro and con, and just take it on its own terms… and see if you can refute the history.  I think you can’t.

There hasn’t been a “free market” in the USA for sometime.  The government’s power to tax and regulate, and to give tax breaks and regulatory exceptions, is the reason there is so much lobbying in the Beltway.  It could not have been otherwise, once corporate taxes got high, and the regulation of business became one of the chief functions of government.  The merry-go-round career path of government “service” to lobbyist, and often back to government “service,” is the biggest indicator of this.  The essential role of a lobbyist in the modern world is to figure out who should get the money that the lobbyist’s principals have to donate.

When big business couldn’t count on government to help it get captive markets, and to restrain competitors, it had to compete for consumers on the basis of price and quality.  That’s why Rockefeller kept cutting the price of kerosene in the 19th century, not exactly an act of violence against the consumers of the day.

It’s unfortunate that so many people still believe that we live in a “free market” economy and that “the market” is the cause for so much economic woe today.  But we have had a “mixed economy” that often crossed the line into “crony capitalism” or just plain “state capitalism” (especially in time of war), for over a century.  The government is by far the most responsible for our current economic mess.  The lobbyists of big business (the johns) wouldn’t have any place to spend their money if politicians weren’t pimping themselves out.  Those lobbyists are often the ones who write campaign finance law and regulations.

It’s simple.  If big business didn’t think it was going to get something out of it, why would it donate so much money to politicians?  And more particularly, why did it give so much to Obama?

Let’s hope that if the Republicans do get some power back, they don’t blow it this time.


Oct 25 2009

Hello World Government? Goodbye freedom? UPDATE

Watch this, from Lord Christopher Monckton, chief policy advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute.

I haven’t heard much about this from other sources…. I’m trying to get more information about it.  But if this fellow isn’t exaggerating, this is looking really ugly.

More info here and here and some especially scary nonsense from Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister.


May 23 2009

What Price Victory? #3

Category: election 2008,politicsamuzikman @ 9:25 am

The Minnesota senate election results are still being contested and a final winner has not yet been declared.  At this point democratic challenger, Al Franken (of Saturday Night Live fame), leads incumbent Republican, Norm Coleman by a margin of just over 200 votes.  And to absolutely no one’s surprise Mr. Franken now wants the recount process halted.  Could it be because he has somehow miraculously overcome a 700+ vote deficit to take this slim lead?  Or does he feel that all recount efforts have been concluded fairly and completely?  What do you think?  Is there ANYONE who thinks the outcome of this election still lies in the process of simply counting votes?  I know I don’t.

As soon as the initial results showed a close finish this race became the domain of lawyers and judges.  And anyone following the recount soap opera knows there is a statistical impossibility in the way additional votes were picked up by Franken, virtually all from heavily democratic precincts!  Go figure.

Now I am no fan of Al Franken. Someday maybe someone can tell me how in the world this nouveau-burlesque comedy writer ever got even one vote.  Oh, wait…. I live in a state that elected a body builder turned movie star, whose most famous utterance is, “I’ll be back”.  Never mind about the comedy writer…

But aside from the individuals involved there is a greater issue at stake-the electoral process.  Once again we see the relative ease with which our process of electing leaders can be usurped.  All it really takes is a couple of politically motivated people in key positions with a win-at-any-cost mentality.  An elections director here, a Secretary of State there…. (see Ann Coulter’s article on this for more details).

The complex legal challenges in this case may go on for many months, maybe even longer.  But it seems to me that no matter who is ultimately declared as winner, the loser is the Minnesota voter who will be left to ponder once again…why bother to vote?


Mar 18 2009

An anchor around CBS’s neck

Category: election 2008,media,Palinharmonicminer @ 9:32 am

The “most trusted man in America” has had his name used to shower kudos on surely one of the least trustworthy news anchors in America, Katie Couric, who has fewer daily viewers than Rush Limbaugh has listeners, if I’m reading the chart here correctly.

Don’t you know, it’s always profound journalism to attack anyone from the Right.   The simplest way to get professional recognition in academia and journalism is simply to be very left.  Advocate for the, uh, “right” stuff, and you’re a cinch to receive some award from somebody for something.

So you thought Katie Couric did the tough job of revealing “the real Sarah Palin” by demonstrating that she doesn’t read, and is incoherent?

In Media Malpractice, John Ziegler tells the truth about Katie Couric’s deliberate hit-job on Sarah Palin, proving with complete interview excerpts that:

1)  A widely circulated “incoherent answer” from Palin was actually her attempt to answer an incoherent question from Couric, which was always conveniently removed from the replay that “went viral”.  When you see the question, suddenly Palin’s answer makes sense, though everyone from CNN to SNL focused only on the answer without providing the context of what the question was.

2)  Palin’s refusal to list the exact things she reads for Couric,  which was nothing more than Palin’s refusal to be a good little schoolgirl and recite for the schoolmarm, was widely and deceitfully used by Couric and others to imply that Palin doesn’t read anything.

3)  Couric deliberately phrased questions to attempt to remove the best answers from the table before Palin could reply.  “Other than trying to reform Fannie and Freddie, what’s the most important thing John McCain has done to improve regulation?”  That’s about like asking, “Other than Social Security, what’s the most important thing FDR did for old people?”    And then, insanely, when Palin answered that fixing Fannie and Freddie WAS the most important thing McCain had tried to do in the regulation arena, other reporters (like Major Garrett, still impersonating an officer) said she hadn’t even given THAT answer, to Couric’s great joy, of course.  Garrett appears not even to have the grace to be embarrassed about it.

Sure, I wish Palin had mentioned something else just to show she knew McCain’s record, like campaign finance reform, but maybe she thought (justifiably) that “campaign finance reform” was actually a bad idea, and didn’t want to put a positive spin on it.  In any case, the entire episode was among the LEAST revealing bits of journalism around, other than showing very clearly the agenda that motivates let’s-pretend-journalism at CBS.

Media Malpractice has much more, including all the real gaffes committed by Joe Biden when he was interviewed by Couric, which were conveniently downplayed, or totally deepsixed, and to which no follow up questions were asked.

For example, Ed Morrisey reports here:

I guess the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center never saw Katie’s crack journalistic work with Joe Biden. CBS crabbed at YouTube and got the video taken down, but the flavor remains:

Joe Biden’s denunciation of his own campaign’s ad to Katie Couric got so much attention last night that another odd note in the interview slipped by.

He was speaking about the role of the White House in a financial crisis.

“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed,” Biden told Couric. “He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”

FDR wasn’t President when the stock market crashed, and he didn’t get on TV until a decade later — but Couric never seems to notice either gaffe. Why? She wasn’t out to get Joe Biden.

And that’s pretty much about the size of it for most of what passes as journalism these days. When the Left flubs, it isn’t even news, but creating news by misrepresenting the Right is always fair game.

The schadenfreud of watching CBS News’ ratings in free-fall is delicious.  Keep up the great work, Katie.  I’m sure you can land a nice sinecure teaching journalism somewhere to wide-eyed graduate students who want nothing more than to learn how “the pros” do it.  On the other hand, cheer up:  maybe the clowns you helped elect will send a nice bailout to CBS.

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Feb 21 2009

Media Malpractice: New Film Released

Category: election 2008,mediaharmonicminer @ 6:39 pm

The new film, Media Malpractice, has just been released.   It details conclusively the unprecedented level of media bias that existed in the last election cycle.  You’re guaranteed to see footage you never saw during the election season, because you don’t watch TV 24/7 on seven channels at once, but John Ziegler has done that for you, and put together a documentary of what may be the most amazingly one-sided coverage on the part of the major media in any election in American history.

I paid a lot of attention to the media during the election, and even so I was stunned at some of the things I’d missed…  much of it in daytime TV, of course (I do have a job), as well as evening.  In aggregate, I can’t think of another film quite like this one, simply because the situation in the last election was more extreme than any we’ve seen before.

Mr. Ziegler’s biggest problem in the film was in winnowing the number of clips down to a manageable length, but the film moves along quite snappily, and I think will keep you interested right up to the end.  It does a particularly good job of providing context for certain things that were stressed in the media, but for which the media itself provided little or no context, to their shame.

The music is especially good (!), and helps frame the various scenes and video montages.

And now, full disclosure:  I composed the music for the film.  But don’t let that stop you from ordering a copy!

Watch for John Ziegler to appear on TV and on radio in the next weeks, discussing his film with the very people it’s about.

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