May 22 2009

What’s wrong with the electorate? Nothing, this time.

Category: Congress,economy,freedom,governmentharmonicminer @ 9:35 am

In the 2008 elections, a bit over 13 million people voted in California.  Obama won about 8 million votes, while McCain won about 5 million.

On May 19, 2009, California held a special election to decide if taxes were to be raised to the tune of about $15 billion dollars (to try to close an enormous financial deficit for the state government), or if the state politicians would have to do the hard work of cutting spending.  About 4 million people voted, with 2 to 1 margins _against_ the tax increases.

Therein lies a tale.  Given that Obama was well known to have favored enormous government spending programs, and tax increases that would be needed to support them, how is it that so many people voted for him, but against the same policies for the state?  It’s actually pretty simple.  A very large number of people who voted for Obama didn’t know much about his policies or stances on important issues, nor about his history as a politician and activist.  The media put forward an attractive image, acting as his unpaid campaign staff, and the public bought it, but professional polling has demonstrated that Obama voters were disproportionately ignorant of fundamental facts about Democrats, Republicans, Obama, McCain, Palin and Biden.

So why didn’t it work this time, too?  Why was the turnout in California less than a third of the presidential election’s turnout?  Why did those who did turn out vote 2 to 1 not to raise taxes in California?

Simply, the only people who voted this time were people who were reasonably aware of the issues, enough to have an opinion about them.  Given that public employees in California, whose jobs and pay are imperiled by cuts in the state budget, probably voted 4 to 1 FOR the tax increases, and given that there was probably a higher percentage turnout OF those employees than the general electorate, the result is even more decisive.  If you aren’t a public employee (including teachers, bureaucrats and staffers, etc.), the odds are overwhelming that you voted NO on the tax increases, if you voted at all.

There are a number of reasonable observations:

1)  People who are aware of what’s actually happening in government, who care enough to vote their opinion about it, and who don’t have a personal agenda (i.e., they work for the government), are overwhelmingly likely to vote more conservatively in fiscal matters.

2)  It is likely that the large majority who voted NO on tax increases also voted for McCain.  Of course, there will be a few examples to the contrary….  but not many.

3)  California’s fiscal future is being shaped, at least to some degree, by McCain voters, not Obama voters.

4)  It is likely, given the size of this sample, and the generally leftward tilt of California as a state, that if a national election were held today to raise taxes in order to “balance the budget,” but no other issue was on the ballot, the result would be similar.  With no _face_ on the ballot, many of those new, Obama-smitten voters would be hard pressed to make an appearance at the polls.  And the generally better informed conservative electorate would be more likely to vote.

5)  The media, and Democrats, will do their very best to keep anyone from noticing the implications of the California rejection of higher taxes.

6)  The job of the Republicans is to continue to tie the Democrat party, justly, to high taxes and high spending, in the public mind.  This will require some courage and resolve, and a refusal to succumb to the minor guilt that remains over excesses of spending by Republicans during the Bush years.  At this point, they are like someone who merely stole a car being afraid to point out the people who are robbing Fort Knox.  Obama and the Democrats are preparing to spend us into deficits FOUR TIMES the size of anything Bush every dreamed about, and that will have to be paid for, sooner or later, with higher taxes.

7)  Expect the media to have very little to say about California’s rejection of higher taxes, with national Democrats saying even less.  (On the other hand, if the high tax initiatives had passed, you can imagine the result being trumpeted far and wide as representing “the public will,” can’t you?)

The simplest way to explain all this:  the people who have jobs in the private sector (and who know something about what’s going on in state government) voted overwhelmingly against higher taxes.  Public employees voted for them, mostly.  People who fit in neither category couldn’t be troubled to turn off Oprah and get to the polls….  which is likely why they were watching Oprah in the first place.

Tags: , , ,

May 21 2009

Use your imagination

Category: Congress,freedom,governmentharmonicminer @ 9:51 am

We do have a Constitution in the USA, sort of. We ignore it sometimes. Well, to be more accurate, the Left ignores it sometimes, and gets away with it whenever possible.  There is, for example, a 2nd Amendment, that guarantees the right of citizens to keep and bear (that means CARRY) arms.  Except, of course, that it doesn’t, because legislators and the courts have decided the words don’t mean what they mean. 

Here’s a headline:

Steny Hoyer says Democrats beaten on guns

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admits that Democrats are conceding the gun issue to Republicans for now.

Republicans have been increasingly using pro-gun amendments to throw a wrench into Democratic legislation, attaching amendments to seemingly unrelated bills allowing for expanded gun carrying privileges in national parks.

The tactic seems to be working, with Democrats acknowledging that pro-gun members rule in both chambers.

“There clearly is a majority in both houses that the Second Amendment rights … that relate to the national parks are too restricted,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “The reality is that a majority in both houses agree with that position.”

Imagine:  a majority of both houses (which has to include a decent share of democrats in the current congress) seems to be willing to uphold the 2nd Amendment as meaning what it means. 

So, now to use your imagination.  What if the headline read this way?

       “Steny Hoyer Says Democrats Beaten on Freedom of Speech”

And, what if, as we read the article, it said that Democrats had been trying to restrict Freedom of Speech, but unsuccessfully so far.

That’s where we are these days.  We have, to our shame, a government of men, not one of laws.  And it will probably get worse.

Tags: , ,

Apr 20 2009

“Not yours to give”

Category: Congress,governmentharmonicminer @ 8:21 am

A friend alerted me to a fascinating excerpt from a book on Davy Crockett.  While some dispute the authenticity of the passage, it has never been proved false, and it does fit with what we know of Crockett’s politics.

The passage is just a bit long, but well worth the read, and I recommend it to you for it’s clear application to our current circumstances.

Tags: ,

Apr 10 2009

Killing the patient with care

Category: Congress,economy,energy,government,Obama,taxesharmonicminer @ 8:37 am

An earlier version of this was posted Oct 21, 2008.  It has been edited slightly to reflect current conditions, but it is basically accurate still.

The patient takes vitamins and minerals in doses recommended by most physicians, and gets plenty of exercise.

The patient eats a reasonably healthy diet. However, the patient depends to a large degree on imported food, which is often expensive, though the price goes up and down to a degree, and while the patient could grow plenty of home grown food, the patient hasn’t been planting enough lately to sustain present and future dietary needs. So the patient is hungry, and losing weight

The patient is mysteriously ill. Upon examination, it appears that the patient has been slowly poisoned. The patient’s immune system and general state of health might have been sufficient to cover the symptoms of the poisoning longer, except for the strain imposed by the recent hunger and weight loss. The symptoms have been coming on for sometime, but only recently have they become indisputable, as what seemed subclinical does of the poison accumulated in the tissues enough to cause big problems.

Some physicians suggest simply stopping the poison immediately, engaging in a crash program to feed the patient, and growing lots more food for the future, starting today. The basically healthy patient’s immune system and generally good habits will reverse the effects of the poison.

Some physicians suggest continuing the patient’s calorie restriction, cutting back on the vitamins and exercise, switching to a different poison (but reducing the dose) and using leeches to drain away the bad blood. When it’s pointed out that the vitamins and exercise are usually good things, and that poison is usually a bad thing, these practitioners assure the patient that the problem was an unexpected reaction between the nutritional supplements and the low grade poison dose, and the new poison is really a purgative to help clear the system of the effect of too many vitamins, and won’t do any harm. When these doctors are asked if the patient really shouldn’t be eating more, they say it’s good to be skinny, and research shows that skinny people live longer, anyway. They point to all kinds of studies that seem to prove all of this, and cite complicated sounding theories to justify the counter-intuitive nature of their prescriptions. Trust them: they’re the experts. And besides, even if the patient starts growing more food again, it will be many years before enough can be grown to adequately feed the patient (aren’t growing seasons usually annual things?). And even if the patient eats more, the patient will just start exercising more again, and burn the calories, and what good will that do?

I know which advice I’d follow, if I was the patient.

The patient, of course, is the US economy.

The vitamins and exercise are the tax cuts put in years ago by the Bush administration and Congress. Strictly speaking, the vitamins are the tax cuts (think antioxidants that prevent cross-linking), and the exercise is the additional economic freedom those cuts created for productive activity that drove the huge success of our economy for six years after 9/11, until the combination of oil prices and the housing/financial meltdown drug it down about a year ago.

Did you get the pun?  The housing/financial meltdown “drug” the economy down.  Ouch…

The diet is oil and energy, and we don’t make anywhere near enough of our own, which is part of the reason prices were so high not long ago.  Don’t be fooled!  Even though prices have fallen far off the $150/barrel highs, oil is still in short supply for an active, vibrant economy.  You can’t have a speculative bubble without an underlying “shortage,” and right now people are simply doing less that demands energy. But our access to energy is going to reflect itself in our ability to “rev up” the economy as we grow out of the recession.  The combination of a true structural energy shortage for a vibrant economy, plus the inflation that is going to result from the printing of new money, is going to result in higher oil prices than we’ve ever dreamed of, within a relatively short time, as the economy improves, demand goes up, and the worth of money goes down.

The mysterious poison (that “drug” we mentioned, the one with inevitably serious side effects) is government interference in the marketplace, particularly in trying to repeal the basic laws of economics. One of the main things that poisons do is to interfere with normal biological processes, and market interference is little different. There are many of these poisons, and when one of them is having an obviously negative effect on the patient, too many so-called experts suggest we try a different one. The problem is that all such interference is toxic for our economy. Some amount of government interference is probably inevitable; after all, we take medicines that are essentially poisons, because our overall organisms can handle it in small amounts, and the medicine sometimes helps resolve a short-term problem. But you will die young on a steady diet of high doses of all kinds of medicine, regardless of how beneficial some medicines are in short term use for very specific problems. A body can tolerate just a very few “maintenance” medicines for a long life, and they must have very mild side effects to be survivable.

A few years ago I had some blood tests that revealed serious problems.  My doctor couldn’t figure it out, and sent me to a specialist.  He looked at the list of medicines I was taking, and simply took me off everything but the absolute minimum.  My blood-work improved dramatically, as did my overall health.  What had happened was “medicine creep”, where the doctor prescribes one thing, then another to deal with the side effects of the first, then another, then another, and so on.  It took an expert to decide to do very little, while the mediocre practitioner tried to do too much.

We are toxic with government economic medicine right now. The physicians who are prescribing it were wrong about the LAST ten prescriptions, with side effects they claimed we wouldn’t experience, and with frequent failure in the purpose of the medicine, even WITH the deleterious side effects. And they are planning to send us the bill for their professional services, anyway. The very best thing they could do is to withdraw all but the very minimum of economic medicine (meaning a tolerable toxicity), and let the body heal itself. It will.

But our president and Democrat congress have big plans. They want to put us on about a dozen VERY STRONG maintenance medicines for life, medicines with serious toxic side effects, medicines that have not ever worked for any other patient over the long term, and send our children the bill.

I wish politicians had to take the Hippocratic oath before taking office, which includes, if memory serves, this promise:

First, do no harm.

Unfortunately, instead of Hippocrates in office, we have hypocrites.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

Feb 16 2009

The Keynes-stoned cops are in control now

Category: Congress,economy,governmentharmonicminer @ 10:45 am

Read this next paragraph carefully.   If people who believe such things are ever in control of our government and you are not frightened by the implications, then you simply didn’t understand what you read.
Keynes Returns

“The time has already come when each country needs a considered national policy about what size of population, whether larger or smaller than at present or the same, is most expedient. And having settled this policy, we must take steps to carry it into operation. The time may arrive a little later when the community as a whole must pay attention to the innate quality as well as to the mere numbers of its future members.”

The problem, as is pointed out in the article at the link above, is that people who believe this ARE in control of government, right now. Read the whole article. Then pray.

Tags: , ,

Feb 13 2009

Stimulus to bad behavior

Category: Congress,economy,societyharmonicminer @ 9:51 am

What gets rewarded is repeated. Everyone knows it, from parents to teachers to employers.

And disguised as a stimulus bill, the Stimulus Bill Abolishes Welfare Reform and Adds New Welfare Spending

Both the Senate and House stimulus bills are Trojan horses that deliberately exploit anxiety about the current recession to conceal their destruction of the foundation of welfare reform and a massive expansion of the welfare system. Since its enactment in the mid-1990s, such reform has proven to be a very successful policy that dramatically reduced welfare dependency and child poverty. The fact that the stimulus proponents seek to conceal the bill’s massive permanent changes in welfare is a clear indication that they understand how unpopular these changes would be if the public became aware of them. Far from an exercise in “unprecedented transparency”–as President Obama claims–the stimulus bills are an example of unprecedented deception.

There is much more at the link above, including a brief review of the history of welfare reform, and an account of its successes. There is also a description of what the changes to welfare spending will be in the “stimulus bill”, and the Trojan Horse method Democrats have used to sneak it in.

Well worth reading.

Then check this out, and ask yourself why people who claim to be concerned about “social justice” don’t seem especially worried about creating conditions that encourage the proliferation of fatherless children, surely the single biggest predictor of everything from poverty to criminal behavior.

Tags: , ,

Feb 12 2009

I give up. We’re doomed.

Category: Congress,economy,Obamasardonicwhiner @ 10:48 am

Just to put really large numbers in perspective, it’s only about 25 trillion miles to the next STAR system, the Centauri system.

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailout Programs – Yahoo! News

The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged up to $5.7 trillion more. The Senate is to vote this week on an economic-stimulus measure of at least $780 billion. It would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.

Only the stimulus bill to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates enacted in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion is in lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the Fed and FDIC. Recipients’ names have not been disclosed.

Store food. Store water. Heck, DRILL for water. PLANT food…. it may be all you have. Lay in a lifetime stock of antibiotics and pain meds, and anything else you need to stay alive. Consider purchasing large amounts of clothing from the Salvation Army local store. Enough to last the rest of your life.  Store gasoline.   Store fertilizer and diesel fuel.   Store AMMO.  Decide which of your neighbors look edible….  they’re doing the same for you.  Buy a nice stock of books on wilderness survival, farming the old fashioned way, medical care, lots and lots of medical supplies, and a nice commentary on the Bible.  Get a good old fashioned encyclopedia in book form.  And some basic educational texts in math, English, history, science, etc., so you can teach your children and grand children what the world used to be like.  Get a piano, and extra strings, and tuning gear.  And a guitar.  And more strings for it.

Oh, and a copy of the US Constitution you can waive in the air as the tanks roll over you.

Where is Mad Max when you need him?

Tags: , ,

Feb 11 2009

The Freedom of Choice Act: trying to put lipstick on the pig

Category: abortion,Congressharmonicminer @ 9:47 pm

There has been an increase in the number of articles by “experts” claiming that the Freedom of Choice Act, invalidating all state laws regulating any aspect of abortion at a stroke, is not really going to change things that much.  (Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)  Outside of the observation that if this were true the pro-abortion forces wouldn’t be pushing it so hard, this isn’t even what its supporters claim about it, such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, who are quite open about what its effects would be. Here is a great, sober accounting for The Legal Consequences of the Freedom of Choice Act. Much more at the link.

First, by banning state laws that in any way “interfere with” the choice of abortion before viability – a more abortion-protective standard than exists under present law and a central feature of the bill – FOCA would materially expand abortion rights in several ways. It would invalidate state laws that attempt to persuade women to choose not to have abortions by providing them with information about alternatives to abortion, about the ability of pregnant women to receive state assistance for support of their child, and about the condition and stage of development of the child at the point in pregnancy at which the abortion is sought. FOCA would also likely invalidate “informed consent” laws and 24-hour waiting requirements, on the ground that they “interfere with” the abortion choice. So too, almost certainly, would FOCA void the laws of many states that provide for parental involvement in minors’ abortion decisions. Finally, FOCA’s ban likely would eviscerate state “conscience” laws protecting the right of medical providers and individuals not to provide or assist in providing abortions. FOCA would also invalidate state constitutional provisions (including state constitutional protections of the freedom of speech or the free exercise of religion) protecting pro-life conscience in such fashion.

Second, FOCA also likely would invalidate state law bans on particular methods of abortion, like “partial birth” abortion, that sometimes may be prohibited under current law.

Third, FOCA appears to provide a new federal statutory right to equal state government funding of abortion, where a state provides resources or benefits that support the alternative choice of childbirth and child care and education.

Fourth, and perhaps most significantly, FOCA would serve to entrench abortion rights, in two ways. First, FOCA would provide a federal statutory right to abortion that protects legal abortion at least as much as (indeed, more than) the Supreme Court’s constitutional abortion doctrine under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In the event the Court were to overrule, limit, or cut back on those decisions, FOCA would provide equivalent or greater legal abortion rights. Second, by so doing, FOCA likely would prevent the Court from ever having the occasion to reconsider (and thus overrule or modify) Roe and Casey in the first place, by rendering such reconsideration unnecessary and pointless. Because a federal statute would in any event protect the abortion right to an equal or greater degree, it would never be necessary for the Supreme Court to “reach” the question of whether the Constitution protected such a right, under usual principles of judicial restraint and avoidance of decision of constitutional questions.

Tags: ,

Next Page »