Mar 06 2009

“Big government” equivalence is a smokescreen

Category: Congress,economy,mediaharmonicminer @ 8:31 pm

Both parties love big government _ just different programs

Republicans say they’re outraged that Obama would “borrow and spend” his way to a new behemoth government. But they borrowed and spent their way through the ’80s and the current decade. And they love big government — when it’s at the Pentagon .

Democrats from Obama on down insist that they don’t like big government, that they’re just forced into a temporary spending spree by the recession. But Democrats love big government as well, when it’s for social programs such as universal health care.

“The basic difference between Democrats and Republicans in recent decades is which aspect of government spending they prefer,” said Steven Schier , a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. “With the Republicans, it’s defense. With the Democrats, it’s education, environment, health care etc. That’s been the major difference between the two parties going back to Reagan.”

What a crock.

Without a strong military, a nation disappears, or must depend on some other nation for its defense. Who, exactly, would have defended the USA during the Cold War, if not the USA? Who, exactly, will defend the USA now against the various threats on the world stage? Bluntly, our biggest error has probably been letting OTHER nations subsist under the USA defense umbrella for so long, especially Europe and Japan, but that’s Monday morning quarterbacking at this point… After WW II, it seemed like a good idea for Germany and Japan not to be militarized.

But what happens if a nation does not provide nationalized health care and retirement programs, centralized education bureaucracies and regulatory agencies? Not much. People simply make other arrangements. The market works, except when government interferes with it, and then blames the market for the outcome of its own interference.

Defense is one of the two biggest absolutely required roles for government, the other being the maintenance of law and order in the interest of public safety.

In any case, the amount of money that has been spent on social programs since 1960 is ENORMOUS, and social spending remains 60% or more of the national budget. And Obama’s intentions in social spending make the Pentagon’s fondest wishlist look like chump change.

The Lefty media, of course, wants to pretend there is a moral equivalence between what a nation must do to survive, and what Left leaning politicians must promise in order to be re-elected.

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Mar 04 2009

USA Gunshops Arming Mexican Gangs?

Category: guns,media,Mexicoharmonicminer @ 10:27 am

U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels – NYTimes.com

The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.

Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

Maybe some of this is true. But some fundamental facts:

1) It isn’t an “assault rifle” if it isn’t capable of fully-automatic fire. It doesn’t matter if it is a “military style” weapon, or “looks like” an assault rifle, if it only fires one round for each pull of the trigger.

2) No American gun store can legally sell fully-automatic weapons to anyone who has not cleared VERY high hurdles of authorization under existing federal law, as well as state law. No one can just walk into a gun shop and buy one after filling out some paperwork. Most gun shops don’t have ANY automatic weapons for sale, because their opportunity to sell them is so limited, and the process so cumbersome, that stocking any would just tie up cash in inventory that is almost never sold.

3) It appears that no new law is required, because the gun shops that are knowingly aiding “straw purchases” are already breaking federal and state laws.

4) No weapon that is really an “assault rifle” can be purchased easily, and the chances of a “straw purchase” of such a weapon are exceedingly slim, because by definition it is fully automatic and requires extreme levels of authorization and qualification.

5) Articles such as the one quoted above usually omit these facts, using the term “assault rifle” to mean anything that simply looks “military style” and is semi-automatic, like many modern hunting rifles. They also tend to tar an entire legal industry with the misdeeds of a few. On that grounds, of course, the New York Times should be closed, permanently, given the number of lies it tells, and laws it breaks (even when they cannot be prosecuted for political reasons).

6) If you hear of Mexican shootings involving “machine guns” (i.e., fully automatic weapons), those guns were not bought using “straw purchases” from American gun stores.

7) The level of corruption in the Mexican police and military is so huge that many automatic weapons that are used illegally probably came directly from military stores.

8) Mexico has an enormous coastline, mostly very lightly patrolled.

Does anyone have any doubt that large numbers of weapons enter Mexico that way, including fully automatic assault weapons? What would make a smuggler take the risks of bringing South American drugs into Mexico, and not the illegal weapons necessary to defend the trade?

So: while no doubt some USA weapons have made their way into Mexico and been used in crimes, this kind of report has only one clear aim, and it is to add to the drumbeat for yet more restrictive USA gun laws.

But what else would we expect from the New York Times?

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Feb 28 2009

Deficit reaction deficit

Category: Congress,economy,left,media,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:27 am

Powerline points out, in an absolutely fantastic article, how the Left’s reaction to Bush deficits was panic and accusation, but its reaction to 4 or 5 times bigger Obama deficits is ho-hum, when it’s not out and out cheerleading.

Power Line

It’s no secret that there is no intellectual integrity on the Left, but it’s still hard not to be a bit shocked by liberals’ reaction to the budget proposal that Barack Obama unleashed yesterday. Let’s take the example of the New York Times, probably the most prominent voice of the Far Left in the U.S. Throughout the George W. Bush administration, the Times’ editorial board waxed eloquent about the terrible consequences to be expected from the Bush deficits.

There is a deficit in the Left’s reaction to the Obama deficit.

Read the whole thing at the Power Line link above.

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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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Feb 21 2009

Agenda journalism meets agenda science

Category: global warming,higher education,media,scienceharmonicminer @ 10:40 am

In a typical profanity laced diatribe, the Daily Kos accuses George Will of lying or ignorance, fielder’s choice:

George Will — “According to the University of Illinois’ ACRC, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.”

University of Illinois’ ACRC — “We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows … [the] decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined. It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.”

This is a reference to a column in the Washington Post by George Will.

And despite all the eco-pagan handwringing, wailing and nashing of teeth, it appears that Will was correct, and the ACRC was engaged in a certain amount of spin in its disingenuous statement.

It’s got to be tough when the public spokesperson for the ACRC can’t read a graph.  Check it out yourself:  you’ll see the values go up, and the values go down, but they consistently orbit around the same general center.

I share one bit of frustration with the Daily Kos, though for different reasons.  I wish WAPO would respond a bit more vigorously to false allegations when it’s one of their few conservative columnists being attacked.  But, for now, I guess this will have to do.

The University of Illinois center that Will cited has now said it doesn’t agree with his conclusion, but earlier this year it put out a statement
(http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/global.sea.ice.area.pdf)
that was among several sources for this column and that notes in part that “Observed global sea ice area, defined here as a sum of N. Hemisphere and S. Hemisphere sea ice areas, is near or slightly lower than those observed in late 1979,”

It would seem that ACRC’s spokesperson doesn’t read their own website.  And it would seem that the eco-pagan global warming panic-mongers simply believe spokespersons without checking the facts themselves…  which makes it especially funny that they accuse George Will and WAPO of not doing adequate fact checking.

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Feb 07 2009

“Troopergate,” having died some time ago, is unceremoniously buried

Category: election 2008,media,Palinharmonicminer @ 8:45 am

After nine paragraphs essentially admitting that there was nothing to the “troopergate” allegations against Sarah Palin, but without quite coming out and saying so, we finally get this in paragraph number ten from the AP:

Palin herself initiated a separate investigation by the Alaska State Personnel Board and said she would abide by it instead. This investigation found there was no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act. [emphasis mine]

The fact that the state legislature found a few witnesses “in contempt” because they failed to appear when subpoenaed but later gave written statements instead, following advice on their options from the state attorney general (who was busy challenging the subpoenas in court), hardly seems worth a comment even from the AP, but of course the media can’t resist any opportunity to throw mud at Palin, however miniscule that opportunity actually is, and regardless of the thin gruel making up the mud.

Let’s not kid around.  The Alaska legislature had all kinds of options if it wanted to take the matter seriously, none of which it took, because the whole thing was a witch-hunt from the get-go.

Media Malpractice:  How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted” is going to tell the whole story on the media in the last election cycle, coming out soon.

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Jan 13 2009

At least now the AP admits it

Category: Hamas,Israel,mediaharmonicminer @ 10:00 am

The AP’s earlier report on the Israeli attack near a U.N. school alleged that the UN school had not been a location from which attacks on Israel were launched.  Now it admits the truth, but without referring to the failure of it’s earlier reporting, though others certain knew the facts at the time.

Earlier this week, an Israeli attack outside a U.N. school killed nearly 40 people. Both Israel and Palestinian witnesses said militants carried out an attack from the area moments earlier.

Some may say that the AP is “correcting the record”. But you can’t correct the record unless you specifically mention your previous failures, and then make the correction in a prominent place sure to get some attention, as opposed to burying it in paragraph thirteen of another story.

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Jan 08 2009

John Ziegler’s interview with Sarah Palin for his new film

Category: election 2008,media,Obama,Palin,politicsharmonicminer @ 10:11 am

I’ve mentioned John Ziegler’s efforts before to correct the record about How Obama Got Elected. As part of making his new movie, “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Smeared” he has interviewed Sarah Palin. Some of his comments on that interview are here. (you may need to scroll down)

the most important part of my visit to the Palin house is that there is a big difference between thinking that something is true and knowing for sure that it is. I now know that Sarah Palin is who I thought she was.

I also know now, with moral certitude, that the media assassination of her, her character and her family was one of the greatest public injustices of our time and I am totally justified in devoting my life to correcting the historical record in my forthcoming film “Media Malpractice…How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Smeared”

I’ll keep linking to developments on this, but I think this is going to be a gangbuster’s film, with so much content in making its case that no one, no matter how avid a media consumer, has seen it all, and many people are going to be surprised at the strength of the case Ziegler makes.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE:  Early rumblings in the main-stream media about the Palin interview are here, including Palin pointing out the obvious disparity in the treatment of Caroline Kennedy’s candidacy for the Senate as opposed to Palin’s for the veep slot, even though Kennedy is angling for an appointment and won’t even be vetted by the voters til 2010, while Palin would at least have to have been elected to start with.

UPDATE:  Of course, in the coverage linked here, John Ziegler is a “conservative film maker,” not merely a “documentary film maker.”  I wonder if the makers of anti-Bush films in the last 8 years are usually referred to as “liberal film makers”?   How about all the anti-war stinkeroos that have died in the box office in the last few years?  In the reviews, are their writers, producers and directors referred to as “liberal filmmakers”?  The double standards here are so obvious that pointing them out is like shooting fish in a barrel with a howitzer…  but I suspect Ziegler is going to be the target of a great deal of ad hominem attack and attempts to label him out of relevance.

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Jan 07 2009

Don’t believe the AP

Category: Hamas,Israel,mediaharmonicminer @ 2:04 pm

Here is what faux reporting actually looks like: Israel, Hamas briefly hold fire to allow Gaza aid – Yahoo! News

The United Nations called for an inquiry into Israel’s deadly shelling of the U.N. school in Jabalya refugee camp on Tuesday. Israel said Hamas militants at the school had fired rockets. The U.N. said there were no gunmen on the premises.

Here is what actual reporting looks like.  Don’t you wonder why it is that Michelle Malkin is able to get information and background on Israel’s “attack on a UN school”, but the AP is not.  It’s pretty simple.  She just looked for it.

And does anyone believe anything the U.N. official spokesdweebs say?

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Jan 05 2009

Cut from what?

Category: economy,media,Obama,taxesharmonicminer @ 10:37 am

Doing its usually spectacularly incompetent job of reporting comprehensible information, the AP says that Obama supports $300B tax cut plan

President-elect Barack Obama, commencing face to face consultations with congressional leaders Monday, is embracing an unexpectedly large tax cut of up to $300 billion. Obama said the country faces an “extraordinary economic challenge.”

Besides $500 tax cuts for most workers and $1,000 for couples, the Obama proposal includes more than $100 billion for businesses, an Obama transition official said. The total value of the tax cuts would be significantly higher than had been signaled earlier.

The huge question, completely unaddressed by the AP in its report: what is the “starting line” from which the tax cuts will be calculated?

Is the tax cut going to take the current situation, with the Bush tax cuts still in place till 2010 or so, as the starting line from which to do further tax cutting?  Or are the tax cuts only to be calculated from the state of play after the Bush tax cuts expire?

Keep in mind that it is the Democrats who have always called it a “cut” in spending when the actual increase in spending is simply reduced from what had been planned.  Only in Washington DC Democrat-speak can you call it a “cut” when you’re increasing spending by 2% instead of 4%.

Is this really going to be a tax “cut”?  Or is this Dem-speak for less of a tax increase than they had planned?  And is it going to be calculated from the lower tax rates in force under Bush?  Does this mean the Bush tax cuts are going to be extended, with new cuts in addition?  The AP may be forgiven for not having answers to these questions, but to pretend the questions aren’t there by ignoring them is risible.

Of course, to report on this would require reporters who actually understand the subject, and who want us to know what’s going on, and aren’t just shilling for Obama during the honeymoon.  Obama had better move fast:  the honeymoon isn’t going to last forever

UPDATE:  This report from the Wall Street Journal is more comprehensive but still does not mention the fate of the Bush tax cuts when their current authorization expires in a year or so.

UPDATE: One of my more cynical emailers suggests that there will be NO real tax cuts of any duration (maybe very short term only), because he expects that the Democrats will let the Bush tax cuts expire shortly, so that they can take credit for “cutting” taxes that would stay lower if Democrats simply made the Bush cuts permanent.  This seems possible to me, given the nature of Washington doublespeak.

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