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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And for My Next Trick...

The political pissing-match continues, and along with the verbal volley-du-jour we have an extra helping of double-speak and fiscal legerdemain surrounding the obsession with passing Health Care Reform yesterday, if not sooner.

But first the always popular Anita Dunn, whose smugness is much more endearing than her message, has been lambasted by supposed right-wing-media outlets for her recent YouTube twofer concerning Chairman Mao and control of the media respectively.

At a speech to high school students Dunn said this in regards to future choices the students would be making about their lives, ".... In 1947, when Mao Tse Tung was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-Shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army. They had the air force. They had everything on their side, and people said how can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this? Against all the odds against you, and Mao Tse Tung said, you know, you fight your war, and I'll fight mine, and think about that for a second." How many of these students have a clue who Mao is, or know much more about China beyond the fact that the communist country manufactures roughly 80% of the crap they buy at Wal-Mart, is unclear. It's probably safe to say that they don't have a thorough grasp on Mao's true role in Chinese history. They probably don't realize the latter statement is true, either.

When word got out Dunn's rather anemic response to her critics was that former chairman of the Republican National Committee Lee Atwater also quoted Mao. It appears to be the fault of Republicans whenever anyone in the current administration is pressed to be accountable for their words or deeds. Conveniently, Atwater is deceased and can offer no context for his own quote. Own your comments, Madam. It is, as of this writing, still a free country, and your First Amendment rights still apply.

Which bring me to the second gem spouted by Dunn at a conference in the Dominican Republic addressing specifically the tactics used during the Obama campaign to disseminate information via the media. "Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control. We just put that out there and made them write what [David] Plouffe [Obama's chief campaign manager] had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it..."

Of course, when the story broke the fact that Dunn was describing strategies used during the election morphed into, "The White House is controlling the media - and bragging about it!" Not at all what Dunn said. All you have to do is pay attention to know that. Dunn's defenders are quick to point out that both of these quotes were unearthed by Glen Beck (whose style offends all of my sensibilities; which I'll explain in a separate post soon) of the infamous Fox Network so, of course, he's taking them out of context.

Okay, let's assume for argument's sake that Beck is building mountains out of molehills; not a stretch by any means. Are we then to assume that these tactics are no longer in use now that the candidate is the President, surrounded by the same people?

Let's ask Helen Thomas, shall we? A self-confessed liberal, former presidential correspondent and current member of the White House Press Corps, Thomas accused White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs and the Obama administration of “controlling the press” during a briefing earlier this year. She also called questions from the Huffington Post and the administration's responses, "blatant" management of the news. Of the current White House she asked, “What the hell do they think we are, puppets? They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”

Have the tactics changed post-campaign? Just go to the Health and Human Services website and click the "state your support" button. You will then have the honor of sending an e-mail in support of Obama's health care reform plan; well, sort of. You won't be allowed to use your own words, instead you're sending a form-letter with language like, "We strongly support your commitment to comprehensive health reform. This is not a luxury. The continuing, sharp escalation of health care costs for families, businesses, and government is unsustainable. Reform is imperative. We believe that health reform must be enacted this year." It goes on to say, "During these extraordinarily challenging times, we need to put aside past differences and address the health and economic crisis. Our shared interest must come before narrow interests so we can achieve a health system that is affordable and provides high quality for all Americans. We will support your budget with its reserve fund dedicated to achieving health care reform in a fiscally responsible manner. Each of us must be prepared to contribute to achieving this fundamental goal. By signing this statement we affirm our commitment to work with you and our Congressional leaders to enact legislation this year which provides affordable, high quality coverage for all Americans.”

No anonymous signers, please. The form letter requires your name, email address, and zip code and would like to have your mailing address and phone number as well.

Finally, if you weren't already nauseous, the slight-of-hand over Health Care Reform continues. In what can only be kindly called creative accounting it appears as of this writing that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that ObamaCare will cost 87 billion dollars a year (the defense budget is 55 billion per year) and can be deficit-neutral if the $300 billion owed to doctors for Medicare reimbursement is removed from the cost of the bill and tacked on to the national debt. New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg points out that even with this shuffling, "the CBO were told to score the expenses beginning in the fourth year and the income beginning in the first year, so it isn't deficit-neutral." Gregg adds, "I think they've found a new job for Bernie Madoff because this is [clearly] a Ponzi scheme."

Although details on this issue are changing almost daily, and the Senate bill is over 2500 pages long, elected officials are racing to get this unread legislation passed. All the more reason to stay informed and, regardless of which side of the issue you happen to favor, exercise your First Amendment right to free, not preprepared, speech by contacting your local Senator or Congressperson. Don't delay or you'll be too late to be counted.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

So what is health care - I mean Insurance reform - anyway?

Well, It can be hard to understand what the Obama Administration is talking about. They are very fond of changing the name of their plan depending on who they are talking to. President Obama has told us that those who call his plans Socialized Medicine are guilty of fearmongering. Supporters of President Obama say that we are jumping to conclusions; we should give the President the benefit of the doubt and see if he really plans to socialize our medical system. Folks, the man has been telling us for years what he intends to do to our health care system. He and his cohorts want to put in place a single-payer, government controlled, public option. President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, US Representative from the 9th Congressional District of Illinois Jan Schakowsky, and many more are all on record pushing for the end of private insurance and the beginning of a new era of government controlled health care.

See for yourself.

If you would like to hear the real plan presented in very plain English then listen to this 2007 speech by Obama adviser Robert Reich who served as United States Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

IS this what you want? Socialized medicine that provides more expense, higher taxes, lower quality of care and fewer innovations?

Please vote next November.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Media Bias: What Happened to the Facts?

With all the stone-throwing coming from network and cable news, print media, internet news sites, and even the White House, you'd have to be blind not to see the cracks in their journalistic glass-houses.

There's so much going on in the country, and the world for that matter, that has the potential to impact our lives for years to come. Fortunately there's a myriad of sources out there dedicated to providing us with up-to-the-minute synopses of breaking news.

The trouble is not one of them seem capable of delivering a factual breakdown of events without putting a "spin" on the subject. Blame it on the immediate and constant availability of information via the internet, 24-hour news channels competing for viewership, coupled with the fast-paced lives and short attention spans of most Americans and you get catchy soundbyte disinformation that only loosely passes for news and is very often patently false.

What everyone seems to have forgotten here is that news is always non-partisan, rarely entertaining, often important in the day-to-day lives of others, and never needs to be melded with opinion. That's not to say that opinion pieces are invalid. On the contrary, they are a glorious testament to our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. But the line between fact and factionism has been blurred beyond distinction.

The only line that seems clear is the ever-widening gap between the "liberal" and "conservative" media outlets. All of them - at least to my knowledge - are guilty of spinning the wheel of truth until it lands on the slant most in line with their demographic. The only saving grace in all of this is you are exposed to both points of view, which are often diametrically opposed to each other, and can then draw your own conclusions; provided, of course, you have the time. Let's cite the two most prominent internet news competitors websites' headlines about Health Care Reform as I'm writing this. The headline on FoxNews is, "URGENT: Olympia Snowe becomes lone Republican to support health reform bill, virtually assuring its passage" wheareas CNN's take is "Crush of cancer, medical bills snares family".

In case you're wondering, I try to get my news from both sides of the fence and, when I can't, I'm very conscious of the fact that the "facts" being presented have been spun like a kid playing pin the tail on the donkey and I employ whichever "filter" is necessary. This is what moderates do; at least I hope it's what they do.

To make matters worse, in a monumentally juvenile, and not terribly well thought out, maneuver the White House and specifically Anita Dunn, former Obama campaign transition liaison turned communications director, have deemed FoxNews, "a wing of the Republican Party" adding, "...let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is". To be fair there is some validity to Dunn's statements. Fox does tend to skew their news towards fiscal and social conservatives. Whether this is representative of the Republican party at this stage is a mystery to me (and probably to them). It's also true that they're nothing like their fiscally and socially liberal counterpart CNN.

Nevertheless, I have to question the intelligence of lobbing a rock at the number one rated cable news network in the hopes that they will run away sobbing to their Mommy. Marginalization of a media outlet as influential, for better or worse, as Fox is a very weak attempt at not having to answer questions that may be critical of current policies and plans. It makes it seem as if vilifying them for not being, "a news network the way [blank] is" lets you off the hook for having to answer to them.

Be careful. I can see that rock in your hand through the glass - and so can anyone else who bothers to look.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

The lunatics are running the asylum, and they're sneaking their meds into our water in the hopes that we won't notice.

Our elected officials have gone stark-raving mad. As punch drunk on power as they are deficient of reasoning they are conducting themselves in a manner that would get anyone else fired, or committed, or both. In an effort to pass numerous pieces of legislation that would have a significant impact on the lives of the American people both the House and Senate's legislative sneakrecy has been exposed like an ugly flasher on a sunny afternoon.

I am referring, of course, to the prompt and utter squelching of recent attempts in both legislative branches to stop the runaway train of legislation that is bearing down on the rights of the American people faster than you can say, "transparency in government". Both a House petition to force a vote requiring all non-emergency legislation to be posted online, in its final form, 72 hours prior to a vote and a Senate ammendment requiring a 72-hour waiting period and a full cost estimate, and publication of the bill on the internet, before the final committee vote on the proposed health care overhaul bill were soundly, and predictably. defeated. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus explained that it would take his committee staff two weeks to post the bill online, far too lengthy a wait in his estimation for an issue that requires urgent and immediate action.

Is he serious? Do he, and his ilk, really expect us to buy this cow-chip cherry on the manure sundae?

The message to the American people from the bulk of their public servants - the Senators and Congresspeople that work for them - is abundantly clear. Our elected officials don't think we have any right to be informed as to the specifics of the laws they are voting on. Laws that may irrevocably change the quality of our lives for the worse, cost us enough money to keep us down economically, and otherwise demoralize our sense of liberty and need to be heard and informed.

Of course, proponents of sweeping changes in our health care system, cap-and-trade legislation to combat global warming (insert hysterical laughter here), bailouts for failing institutions, and the like will vigorously defend the need for such things. But the rest of us understand that it's a lot like wearing a blindfold while grocery shopping and preparing a meal with your subsequent purchases. You won't know exactly what you've picked up until after you've paid for it, gotten it home, and cooked it.

Fetuccini with Alpo sauce, anyone?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Health Care Bill Unintelligible Gibberish

There are lots of claims being made about what is and what isn't in the new Health Care Bill being pushed by the Democrats. Are there "Death Panels" as some have said? Will illegals be covered under this plan? The list goes on and on. Why is there so much debate on the details?

Well, this might be one of the best explanations I have seen so far as to why it's so hard to understand these new plans.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Global Warming, a rich man's game.

Saving the planet can not be the motivation behind proponents of Global Warming. Oh sure, the little kids that have had global warming driven into their heads since birth think they are doing something important, but folks like Al Gore who has made a life out of setting himself up as Pope of this cultish con-job religion know better. You can tell because they do not live by the commandants they would like to impose upon us all. They live lives that openly mock the God they profess to love. They break the commandments of AGW on a daily basis.

Thou shalt not partake of aviation.
Thou shalt not drive SUVs
Thou shalt not use excessive electricity.
Thou shalt use mass transit or ride bikes.

The highest ranking clergy of global warming don't even pretend to follow these tenants. Al Gore's carbon footprint makes Godzilla blush. His 20 room home and pool house devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours. The combined electric and gas bills on his pool house alone averaged more than $1000 a month in 2006. His average annual gas and electricity bill was $30,000. That's just his Nashville house folks. It doesn't count his other homes, or the jets he uses to jump around the planet preaching this religion, or Tippers gas hog vintage Ford Mustang or Als' -get this - zinc mine. I kid you not; Al Gore gets fat stacks of cash from his own zinc mine.

So why does he behave this way if doing so will cause Global Warming? Well we can either conclude that he is willingly trying to destroy the Earth so his own children, grandchildren and all of mankind have no place to live, or we can chose to embrace the obvious. They know there is nothing to all this Global Warming bunk so why worry? Just sit back and rake in the cash! In fact when Big Al is asked about this very subject he refuses to answer and instead has "his people" put out a statement saying that Al is allowed to pollute all he wants because he buys carbon credits. Got that folks? You don't have to do anything to stop global warning. You just have to buy carbon credits. So who do you buy them from? Well you buy them from Generation Investment Management just like Al does. And why wouldn't Al buy his carbon credits from GIM? After all, he's the chairman and started the company !

Here's a little bit of information on some of the folks that head up groups professing to be combating The Devil - I mean global warming.

The ten top-paid environmental executives

Name Organization Position Salary Retirement Plan/Deferred Compensation Total
Frederic Krupp Environmental Defense Fund, Inc. President $446,072.00 $50,102.00 $496,174.00
Carter Roberts World Wildlife Fund President $439,327.00 $47,067.00 $486,394.00
Frances Beinecke Natural Resources Defense Council President $357,651.00 $75,308.00 $432,959.00
David Yarnold Environmental Defense Fund, Inc. Executive Director $323,801.00 $41,972.00 $365,773.00
David Festa Environmental Defense Fund, Inc. VP West Coast $325,559.00 $35,313.00 $360,872.00
Stephanie K. Meeks Nature Conservancy Acting President $318,507.00 $30,866.00 $349,373.00
Larry Schweiger National Wildlife Federation President $309,579.00 $35,425.00 $345,004.00
Eileen Claussen Pew Center on Global Climate Change President $311,500.00 $23,599.00 $335,099.00
Rodger Schlickeisen Defenders of Wildlife President $254,947.00 $57,949.00 $312,896.00
William Meadows The Wilderness Society President $289,750.00 $18,715.00 $308,465.00

Source: IRS, 2007 data.

So what about those cute little celebrities like Sheryl Crow, Moby or Gillian Anderson that show up on the red carpet for every new Global Warming movie that comes out? Are they making big money? Well, indirectly they are. They live in a world that is so vacant and shallow that they feel guilty for living so well while doing so little. The red carpet events allow them an opportunity to expend very little effort to have their picture taken looking very concerned about the world. This makes the ticket-buying public like them even more and in a roundabout way puts cash in the pockets of the little cutie pies.

Here's a fun little video for you to watch. Check out how Gillian Anderson lays it all out by telling us some people have to stick to the rules and others are doing work that's so important that they don't need to bother. What is that work? Well, mugging for the cameras is at the top of the list.

So maybe you are saying "Ok., hypocrisy sucks but that doesn't address the science that proves Global Warming and how dangerous it is". But the truth is there is no scientific proof that Global Warming exists. All the "Science" around Global Warming boils down to computer models that have projected that the Earth's atmosphere will warm as its CO2 levels go up. The problem is that these are never accurate. To be clear, they all failed to predict the last 10 years of world temperatures, which have not gone up at all. A faithful believer will argue that, "10 years is too small a time frame to measure in regards to global warming". So you might point out that the data shows that the Earth's temperature has gone up and down in an almost regular fashion for all of human existence. But they will tell you, "Oh, that's too long a time span to use for our model". In other words, you must only use the data they have hand-picked to support their theory. But even when you do that they can't get the predictions right.

It becomes rather silly after a while. When it became clear that the globe was NOT warming they changed the name of this religion to Climate Change and claimed it would cause massive amounts of freakish hurricanes. But that didn't happen either. This tricks go on and on. There is NO science to prove global warming. None - not any. It is a false religion and a rich man's game.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Addressing the issues.

One thing that bugs me about our current state of political discourse is that we get so lost in the din of sensationalism, stupidity, hype and misinformation that we never really get around to addressing the real issues. For example, there are some real problems with health care that need to be addressed, there are some problems with our lending practices that could be fixed if we could get Barney Frank's hand out of the cookie jar long enough to put the lid back on it.

But it's hard to address these problems and figure out how to fix them when we are constantly being told that medical bankruptcies are the cause of all our financial problems. We are told that 60% to 66% of bankruptcies filed in the U.S. list illness or medical bills as a contributing factor. Yet the Department of Justice has found that medical debts accounted for only 12 percent to 13 percent of the total debts among American bankruptcy filers who cited medical debt as one of their reasons for bankruptcy. So that doesn't really add up, does it? DATA

But it's hard to focus on these two issues and work out a solution when we give $100 billion to our failed education system in the form of stimulus money and the tax payer gets this back for their troubles....

Now really, what would we think if these kids were singing...

"George W. Bush...
He wants me to kill terrorists..."

That's really scary shit. Who hires these teachers? Now don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming this is any part of some vast left wing conspiracy. I believe it's just an overexcited, left leaning music teacher that just can't imagine anyone not falling totally in love with the romantic and inspiring story of Barack Obama. Honestly, any teacher that can't understand what's wrong with this type of indoctrination is profoundly stupid, grossly overpaid and not someone we want trying to "teach" our children.