Thursday, December 16, 2010

Democrat Congress Has No Shame

After losing 63 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate just a month ago, Congressional Democrats have learned.......absolutely nothing. What did the voters reject, exactly? Why did they toss Democrats en masse?

Everyone besides committed liberals understands that big government and unapologetic rampant deficit spending were what the voters were protesting against. Not just Republican wins, but Tea Party-backed conservative wins proves this point.

The Democrat Response

So how have Democrats responded in the "lame duck" session between the election and the end of this Congress? By acknowledging the will of the people? Being contrite, making arrangements for a smooth transition to a more conservative legislative body? Negative. They have responded by throwing a circus tent up and working as hard as possible to ram through every left-leaning bill they can find. Senate Majority Leader Reid is dragging the session out, working on weekends and, it looks like, right up to Christmas, and maybe even after Christmas, to maximize the number of hours spent on these bills. He has had two years, since President Obama took office, to push the bills through, yet now is the time.

They Lie. Why?

The really hilarious part of this is that he stands up there and claims that Republicans, with their opposition, caused the mad rush, and that by keeping everyone there and trying to run all this through he is obeying the will of the people, doing the people's work.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Gallup just released a poll that shows Congress's approval by the public at 13%, the lowest in history. The 83% disapproval (only 4% had no opinion) is also a record. And this poll was taken before Reid started cracking the whip on all the liberal legislation.

In reality, what happened was that Reid and his counterpart in the House, Nancy Pelosi, calculated before the November election that they might be able to salvage a few seats if they held off on controversial votes that would force Democrats in Congress to go on the record with what they all knew were unpopular stands. Stands against raising taxes across the board, stands for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," stands for further extensions of unemployment insurance (without corresponding reductions in other spending, leading to new deficit spending), etc.

In the end, the damage done to Democrat/liberal power by the election was amazing. Yet the most powerful Democrats (none of whom lost their seats) never acknowledged the reasons for the "shellacking," as President Obama put it. Obama himself never admitted that voters had rejected his decidedly leftist policies of growing government; forcing through unpopular and earth-shaking legislation (i.e. Obamacare) on purely partisan votes, with no input from conservatives and no transparency in the bill's development; extending the welfare state; and taking the nation deep into debt. Instead he rationalized that he hadn't sold these policies well enough. That people didn't understand them. That was all he took responsibility for.

Changing Course...Or Not

To his credit, Obama has been the only liberal on the Hill to actually start changing course, responding to the imminent demise of his super-majority in Congress. He actually sat down at the table with Republican leaders, showed a tiny bit of contrition, and hammered out a compromise with Republicans on "extending the Bush tax cuts," which means not raising taxes come January 1. He publicly came out and vented about having to make such a deal, but make it he did. Then his own party came out against the compromise, and he has spent a week trying to get them all in line.

So here we find Congress, arguing about this compromise bill, in which both sides won, and both sides lost. But the really galling part of this is all the other bills that Reid and Pelosi have been bringing out, knowing that they only have a few weeks left before the big shift in power arrives. Rather than respect that shift, and the voice of the voters, Pelosi and Reid are pushing through votes on legislation they know they will have no chance of passing come January. More legislation that is wildly unpopular, some of which is reckless in its spending.

Some of What They're Working On

We have "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," that invention of the Clinton administration that acknowledged tolerance for homosexuals in the military, a genuinely good piece of legislation. Having established tolerance, the gay lobby has moved to "acceptance" as their new goal, and have been demanding to serve "openly" in the military (I can only guess what they have in mind). The conservatives wish to hold hearings about this and demonstrate that the decision is hardly the slam-dunk the liberals claim it is. But Pelosi and Reid will have none of that. They voted on it already in the House, and it's coming up in the Senate unless the GOP filibusters it, which is not clear if they will.

Then there is the DREAM act, which would, among other things, give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and allow them to get in-state tuition at state universities despite their illegal status. This is, according to Reid, again a very urgent piece of legislation. Except that it's really not.

There is also the issue of the START treaty, an arms-control treaty with Russia currently under consideration by Congress. President Obama wants something he can hang his hat on besides the controversial Obamacare, and something that looks like a foreign-policy success. Republican experts on these types of treaties have been counseling to take a breath, and let them get a look at the negotiation minutes because they want to see what Russia is expecting from us if we sign the treaty. The White House has so far ignored the requests. And Reid/Pelosi push it forward for vote.

But They're Having Success

What's so remarkable about all this activity is the success they seem to be having. DADT was passed by a wide margin in the House today. It's not clear what will happen in the Senate, but it's entirely possible this legislation will go through before year-end, results be damned. In a survey of combat Marine troops in the Middle East, 57% were negative or "very negative" on the idea of repeal of DADT. Yet they are not heard. Reportedly, many troops around the world did not bother to fill out the survey because they did not believe anyone would look at it anyway, since the politicians, and even the Chairman of the JCS, have already endorsed the repeal. What will happen to troop retention? Combat readiness? Who knows? Who cares? Not the liberals, apparently.

If the Republicans don't halt Reid's excesses right here and now, what good are they? McConnell and Boehner were in power when the GOP lost horribly 4 years ago, and they should not be the leaders now, in my opinion. If they let Harry Reid walk all over them, drag them through the Christmas season voting, but failing to stop, all manner of liberal legislation, then what good are they?

A Bridge Too Far

Liberal Democrats, when in power, always get somewhat totalitarian, and they also always eventually over-reach. Reid made jaws drop all around a couple days ago when he wheeled out a new 2000-page "omnibus" bill containing a trillion dollars of spending, including nearly 6,500 earmarks totalling $8 billion. And he announced this monstrosity, like all the others, needed to be passed right away, in the lame duck session, and that he would keep everyone there until the last possible moment, on January 4th, 2011, if necessary, "to do the people's will." At this point, Reid has crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

Time To End It

Stop the insanity. Hold a filibuster party. Get a few copies of the phone book you can read out loud. Whatever it takes. If Reid's or Pelosi's pride or dignity won't stop them from force-feeding the country bad legislation that will take years, if ever, to undo, the GOP needs to pull out all the stops and run out the clock to stop them. That should be their mandate until 1/4/11.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Everywhere I Look, Liberal Stupidity

It's getting to where I can't even look through my local paper without tripping over story after story of liberal idiocy these days. It used to just be the columnists, now it's everywhere in the news, too. My theory is that the left must know their days are now numbered, what with the large majority of the country turning on them, and so they're making whatever they can stick between now and November.

Exhibit 1: Boycott

Right there on the front page this morning was the headline, "L.A. County board votes to boycott Arizona," and the sub-head for good measure, "School district also criticizes state's immigration law." In the article we find that the county board voted 3-2, all 3 votes FOR boycotting were Democrats (liberals) and both of the NO votes were Republicans. Now, whether you like the Arizona law or not (I do), when you're a board governing a county in California, a state that's been on the verge of bankruptcy for several years, you have zero business commenting on a law in another state. Do what you were elected to do: Run the county. That goes doubly for the L.A. Unified School District, owned by the left. They have even LESS business criticizing laws in another state. They're not even a law-making or law-commenting body!

The problem is, the idiot liberals on both of these boards just can't stop themselves from playing the race card whenever they see a chance. Racism in this country is practically non-existent and has been for years, but supervisors like Gloria Molina feel the need to grandstand, even busing people in to cheer for her at the meeting, crowing about how racist such a law is. Her evidence? Just that people should "look at me, because I'm the kind of person who would probably have trouble in Arizona." Yeah, right, Gloria. I'm sure you've been such a victim of racism your whole life, right? Give me a break.

And as has been pointed out all over the place, the law in Arizona specifically FORBIDS racial profiling! It says that right there in the text! But that doesn't stop these liberals, who argue - as always - on raw emotion, not facts or logic. They can whip up a crowd into a frenzy with their rhetoric, even when the rhetoric is totally contradicted by the facts.

The Arizona law is MORE RESTRICTIVE than the federal law that it was written to mirror at the state level. The federal law has been in place forever, and allows ICE agents to stop anyone, anytime, any place, for any reason, and demand to see their proof of citizenship. Yet not a word about that law. Why? Because the left knows the federal law is almost never enforced. Since it's never enforced, it's meaningless. That is the whole point of the Arizona law. Arizona, plagued by illegal immigration-created crime problems, created this law so that their own cops could get a handle on the situation, since the fed's obviously have no interest in doing their job. Good for Arizona!!

Exhibit 2 : Unloaded Gun Control

Fast-forward to page A6, where we see California state-level liberal politics in all their glory. Here's the first headline: "Carrying unloaded gun may be illegal." Seems our liberal state legislature, upset that people are allowed to carry UNLOADED pistols in plain sight, are making a law against doing that. They are doing so for "safety reasons," because said gun carriers could maybe be carrying ammunition in their pockets, and that's dangerous. Why? Who knows? Apparently the liberal sponsor of the bill, Lori Saldana (D) from San Diego, feels it's not enough to ban people from carrying handguns around, even unloaded ones. The fact is, of course, having more gun owners walking around with guns would make us MORE safe, not less so. More guns in the hands of responsible people would lead to fewer idiot criminals committing crimes against individuals because the victims can't fight back. But such logic is misplaced on a liberal.

Exhibit 3 : Evil Pet Insurers

Next on the list is a law going through the state legislature that "improves disclosure" on PET INSURANCE. Yes, that's a burning issue. People are being swindled by pet insurers because they buy policies and don't know that certain things aren't covered, or that there are limits to their coverage. Actually, if I had to guess I'd bet that "people" aren't having this issue, but that a single person who knows the idiot Democrat (liberal) politician who wrote this law, Dave Jones, whined that he didn't get something he thought he was entitled to, and wanted to punish the insurer so he got his buddy the politician to come up with yet another moronic anti-business law that forces companies to put all kinds of disclosures on their websites. It's people like this who force lawn mower companies to display warnings to keep your feet away from the underside of the mower.

Exhibit 4 : Nanny State vs Skiers

Then there is a new law - in two different bills, it's so important - that would mandate that young skiers be required to wear helmets when they go skiing! Obviously needed because SO MANY kids are dying from head traumas while skiing. It's a huge problem, haven't you heard?? Listen, putting aside the fact that government has no business telling you or me to wear a helmet or a seat belt or anything else, millions upon millions of people (Yours Truly included) have learned to ski without wearing helmets and done just fine, thank you. This law doesn't just over-step government's boundaries, it does so for no good reason.

Exhibit 5 : Hollywood Will Fix the Gulf

Finally I heard on the news this morning that the Obama administration, apparently desperate to make it look like they're actually doing something productive in the Gulf of Mexico, has begun criminal investigations against British Petroleum (BP). Eric Holder was talking sternly about how they would be prosecuting basically anyone they could find who looked like they had done something wrong. The one bizarre part of this story is that BP hasn't plugged the leak yet!!! Don't you think it makes a small amount of sense to put everything you have behind BP, your most important partner right now, instead of moving against them with criminal proceedings??? Talk about stupid. That's like arresting the pilot of the airplane you're flying in before he lands the thing. Right now we need BP to put every ounce of their abilities into plugging the oil leak. Setting the dogs on them while they're trying to do that isn't just stupid, it's reckless!But I'm sure the lib's in Obama's administration feel like they're in good shape. I mean, they've got James Cameron, of "Titanic" fame, meeting with them to brainstorm how to fix this problem. What do they need BP for?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Give the "Lost" Creators a Break

I know I always write about politics, but I'm going to digress for once.

Like millions of other TV viewers, I watched the "Lost" series finale this past week. Apparently UNlike many of those viewers, I actually enjoyed the heck out of it. I thought it lived up to the hype, that it had just as much suspense as any of their other episodes, and I liked how everything played out. I had a few complaints, but they were minor. Overall I liked the wrap-up and respected the storyline that they came up with. Was I the only one?

The day after I watched the finale, I paged through the newspaper and online magazines for reactions, and saw just a lot of negativity. They hadn't answered any big questions, they said; the whole "purgatory" thing was as bad as the "dream" season on "Dallas"; all the reunion moments were just "sniff sniff" tissue moments, unworthy of the show.

I have to say, all that is garbage. I think these reviewers would have been disappointed no matter what the writers ultimately came up with. Look, this is a fictional TV show that takes plenty of liberties with reality. You're simply not going to get a complete explanation as to why everything happened, because there just isn't one. Furthermore, you're much better off in many cases not having heard one, because you can imagine one yourself that's just as plausible as whatever the writers might have come up with, and it'd be just as valid.

The one good review I read, a couple of lengthy pieces in Entertainment Weekly, I thought was pretty dead-on. The reviewer mentioned his favorite "hankie" moments and I even agreed with almost all of them. Come on, most of the "reunion moments" were tear-jerkers, reminding viewers of a lot of great moments from years ago in the series.

This last season was particularly satisfying because they knew they had a finite number of shows left in which to tell the rest of their story; so they didn't introduce many new questions, while spending a lot of time answering questions they'd raised in the prior 5 seasons. They gave us Jacob's life story and what his job was. They explained - mostly - how Smokey came to be, and revealed that he'd been the one Jack had seen in the form of his deceased father, Christian. They explained why our cast had been brought to the island, why they weren't supposed to have left, and why they'd been chosen in the first place. The list goes on.

In the end they even explained what we'd been seeing with all the "flash-sideways" events from this last season. The survivors had been in a sort of Purgatory, perhaps in an area they had made, themselves, in order to reunite with each other in the afterlife, before "moving on" to Heaven. Far from being alive and well because Juliet had detonated the atom bomb in the mid 1970's, in fact they were all just living a "second" life of sorts in this purgatory, until they eventually snapped out of it and realized where they were and that they'd died sometime earlier. Since their purgatory was outside of space and time, they'd all just come there after they had died, whether they'd died in the first season on the island, like Boone and Shannon, or at the end of the series, like Jack, or even some time much later than that, like Hugo and Ben. I thought it was a clever device to bring back all the viewers' favorite characters in one place again, to reunite and be happy, and to ultimately go away to that "better place" we all long for.

I also thought the very ending, with Jack nearing death and wandering back to the exact spot where he had been lying when his first plane crashed on the beach, then closing out the series with his closing eye in exact opposite to the series opening, was brilliant. I actually went back and watched the last 30 minutes of the show a few times, it was so moving.

One review I read ranked the "Lost" series finale right up there among the worst ever, including the "Seinfeld" series ender that was so horrible. I think that's just crazy. The "Lost" finale was riveting all throughout, wrapping up what they'd been working up to all season long, giving us a solid "win" against the smoke monster and resurrecting our favorite characters one last time so we could send them all off into the light for good.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Obamacare Actually To Become Law???

Tonight the supposed "pro-life" Democrats (what an oxymoron) caved and decided to vote for Obamacare. Previously they'd been the only thing standing in Pelosi & Obama's way to passing their health care boondoggle, proving that even the moderate Democrats are out-to-lunch.

Bart Stupak, leader of the pro-life Dem's, claims he got what he wanted: assurance from the White House that abortions would somehow not get funded through this national health care system. He is going to get this via an executive order signed by Obama stating so. How that is satisfying to Stupak is beyond me. An executive order can be overturned by any president, at any time. Or just not even written by Obama. Or written in such a way that it doesn't give pro-lifers what they want.

Or it could be that Stupak's just an idiot. That seems unlikely, but what kind of person sells out on such a core moral issue when offered so very little? And then Stupak makes it worse (for his reelection campaign) by getting behind the bill and promoting it, claiming Democrats are the good guys, here, when Republicans tried to make motions to kill the bill earlier tonight:

"The motion is really a last-ditch effort of 98 years of denying Americans health care. It is the Democrats who have stood up for the principal of no public funding of abortions. It is Democrats through the president's executive order that ensure the sanctity of life is protected."
Does any serious adult believe that Democrats, not Republicans, are the ones who have been protecting life all these years? Fighting abortion? It's the godless liberals, supporters of the Democrat party, that got abortion to be enshrined into law through the court system, and who continue to argue for it today. Religious conservatives are the ones fighting abortion. The GOP is the party that has anti-abortion language written into its platform. The Democrats are the ones who removed it from theirs.

And this idea that Congress has been "denying Americans health care" for 98 years??? Talk about a drama queen. Where is it, exactly, Mr. Stupak, you moron, where it says Congress has the AUTHORITY, much less the mandate, to provide health care for its citizens?? Where is it, exactly, Ms. Pelosi, you communist, in the constitution where it says health care is a RIGHT??

Pelosi and Obama want one thing: Big Government. They want to "re-make" this country into a socialist utopia. They can deny it all they want, but their actions give them away, even if they themselves are too cowardly to stand up for what they really believe. Taking over the health care system is a big step in that direction. And they just convinced the majority of their party to commit political suicide in order to get it.

Statists In Our Midst

The Nanny State just got a lot larger. Businesses, the life force of our economy, will be required to provide health insurance to their employees. Something that businesses began to offer employees as a benefit, as a way to attract good employees, will now be mandated by law: If you run a business, you have to provide health insurance for your employees, or pay a fine. Furthermore, if you're an insurance company, you won't be allowed to exclude pre-existing conditions anymore (which effectively changes the nature of the product you offer, making it unlike actual insurance).

Why? Because when people started depending on their workplace to provide their health insurance, they found they had problems when they wanted to switch jobs, because anything they'd been being treated for would now be a "pre-existing condition" and thus not qualified to be insured. This is Insurance 101. It's not unfair, and it makes perfect sense from the insurance company's perspective.

But the Statist Democrats saw an opportunity to grab an enormous chunk of power, to the tune of 1/6 of the entire economy, and couldn't pass it up. In ostensibly trying to help people grapple with this problem, rather than seek out conservative, market-based solutions like removing health insurance from workplaces, or allowing private individuals to purchase their own health insurance at the same rate and tax-deductibility as companies do, the statists instead decided to take workplace-provided health insurance a step FURTHER (making an existing bad situation even worse) by mandating that employers provide health insurance, then turning around and mandating that insurers ignore pre-existing conditions. So in one fell swoop, Congress has injected itself into the operations of almost all private businesses in the country, and into all health insurers in the country.

But this is just one tiny piece of what grew into a 2700+ page bill. As bad as what I just described is, it's the tip of the iceberg for this legislation. The government's own Medicare program (a ponzi scheme within 10 years of going bankrupt) and Medicaid (a taxpayer-funded health provider program for the poor that is in the red) programs will also be affected by this, as millions more people are added to Medicaid and billions of dollars are cut out of Medicare to try to pay for the new health care system. Clearly, taxes will have to be raised across-the-board, and even that won't cover the additional expenses. And this is all happening at a time when we still have double-digit unemployment and an unstable economy trying to recover from a nasty recession.

Stupid or Smart?

Democrats, in their short-sighted unwise attempts to "reform" a health care system that is not fundamentally broken and actually is the envy of the world, are going to wreck that system and risk bringing down the entire American economy in the process. By not intelligently analyzing the health care system to determine what its core problems are, Democrats are instituting new rules that do not address the real issues, and add on more burdens instead. Are they just stupid, and really believe they're helping people? Or are they smart, and targeting for takeover a sixth of the economy that will open the door for more takeovers? It's one or the other, take your pick.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Phil Angelides and the Left's Expectations of Corporate America

This morning I read this editorial in my local paper. I wrote a letter to the editor in response, but they never publish me so here it is:

Your editorial supporting Phil Angelides as the head of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission illustrates one of the problems we have in the media in this country right now: An attitude that the nation's corporations are at fault for all of our woes and should be hauled out in public, beaten senselessly, slapped with a boatload of new regulations, then sent back to work with a pat on the head for their trouble.

Angelides should be interviewing congressmen like Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd, who beat back Republicans that saw FNMA and FHLMC getting too big and wanted more regulation. He should be interrogating Fannie and Freddie's enablers and their executives, and examining the wisdom of the Community Reinvestment Act that forced banks to lend to the bad risks that ultimately started the financial meltdown. My bet is that he won't do that because he's a Democrat, and while both parties share responsibility for this mess, the Democrats and their wrong-headed idealistic policies have considerably more.

But whether or not we think Angelides is the best choice for this role is secondary to why your editorial is bad. Your attitude toward corporate America in general, and banks in particular, is wrong and destructive. You refer to Angelides's role as "lead attack dog on banks" and note that he has a history of "staying one step ahead of corporate fat cats" and that you hope he is as aggressive as possible because the "arrogance of the nation's financial leaders knows no bounds." Your contempt for these companies, which employ millions of Americans and make it possible for our economy to function, is just bizarre. It's similar to Democrats' recent demonization of the health insurance industry.

We live in a capitalist nation. Corporations exist for the sole purpose of earning profits for their shareholders. They are not immoral, but they are typically amoral. Your outrage is misplaced because you expect them to do things they are not there to do. Angelides's question to Goldman's CEO about selling mortgages and betting their value would go down seems pointless to me. Blankfein's response that the investors knew the risks seems reasonable. What did you expect him to say??

Laws and regulations exist to maintain a level playing field for all corporate combatants. If a corporation breaks a law, they should be punished, and if Goldman or others did, obviously they should pay a price. But sitting on your high horse and complaining that times are tough and someone ought to pay, even though they didn't legally do anything wrong, is ridiculous.