Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ReBlog - history will repeat itself

history will repeat itself... this is a truth we learned in our youth... our social studies, civics, and history professors said it time and time again... and yet we don't listen... we don't learn... history will repeat itself.

If we are to survive the looming catastrophe, we need to face the truth - By Janet Daley 9:00PM BST 06 Aug 2011 - Telegraph
[emphasis added]
Which of these is the most important question to ask in the present economic crisis: how can we promote growth? Should we pay off government debt more or less quickly? Is the US in worse trouble than Europe? Answer: none of the above.

The truly fundamental question that is at the heart of the disaster toward which we are racing is being debated only in America: is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society? On this side of the Atlantic [UK], the model of a national welfare system with comprehensive entitlements, which is paid for by the wealth created through capitalist endeavour, has been accepted (even by parties of the centre-Right) as the essence of post-war political enlightenment.

This was the heaven on earth for which liberal democracy had been striving: a system of wealth redistribution that was merciful but not Marxist, and a guarantee of lifelong economic and social security for everyone that did not involve totalitarian government. This was the ideal the European Union was designed to entrench. It was the dream of Blairism, which adopted it as a replacement for the state socialism of Old Labour. And it is the aspiration of President Obama and his liberal Democrats, who want the United States to become a European-style social democracy.

But the US has a very different historical experience from European countries, with their accretions of national remorse and class guilt: it has a far stronger and more resilient belief in the moral value of liberty and the dangers of state power. This is a political as much as an economic crisis, but not for the reasons that Mr Obama believes. The ruckus that nearly paralysed the US economy last week, and led to the loss of its AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s, arose from a confrontation over the most basic principles of American life.

Contrary to what the Obama Democrats claimed, the face-off in Congress did not mean that the nation’s politics were “dysfunctional”. The politics of the US were functioning precisely as the Founding Fathers intended: the legislature was acting as a check on the power of the executive.

The Tea Party faction within the Republican party was demanding that, before any further steps were taken, there must be a debate about where all this was going. They had seen the future toward which they were being pushed, and it didn’t work. They were convinced that the entitlement culture and benefits programmes which the Democrats were determined to preserve and extend with tax rises could only lead to the diminution of that robust economic freedom that had created the American historical miracle.

And, again contrary to prevailing wisdom, their view is not naive and parochial: it is corroborated by the European experience. By rights, it should be Europe that is immersed in this debate, but its leaders are so steeped in the sacred texts of social democracy that they cannot admit the force of the contradictions which they are now hopelessly trying to evade.

No, it is not just the preposterousness of the euro project that is being exposed. (Let’s merge the currencies of lots of countries with wildly differing economic conditions and lock them all into the interest rate of the most successful. What could possibly go wrong?)

Also collapsing before our eyes is the lodestone of the Christian Socialist doctrine that has underpinned the EU’s political philosophy: the idea that a capitalist economy can support an ever-expanding socialist welfare state.

As the EU leadership is (almost) admitting now, the next step to ensure the survival of the world as we know it will involve moving toward a command economy, in which individual countries and their electorates will lose significant degrees of freedom and self-determination.

We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine: to pay for the kind of entitlements that populations have been led to expect by their politicians, the wealth-creating sector has to be taxed to a degree that makes it almost impossible for it to create the wealth that is needed to pay for the entitlements that populations have been led to expect, etc, etc.

The only way that state benefit programmes could be extended in the ways that are forecast for Europe’s ageing population would be by government seizing all the levers of the economy and producing as much (externally) worthless currency as was needed – in the manner of the old Soviet Union.

That is the problem. So profound is its challenge to the received wisdom of postwar Western democratic life that it is unutterable in the EU circles in which the crucial decisions are being made – or rather, not being made.

The solution that is being offered to the political side of the dilemma is benign oligarchy. Ignoring national public opinion and turbulent political minorities has always been at least half the point of the EU bureaucratic putsch. But that does not settle the economic predicament.

What is to be done about all those assurances that governments have provided for generations about state-subsidised security in old age, universal health provision (in Britain, almost uniquely, completely free), and a guaranteed living standard for the unemployed?

We have been pretending – with ever more manic protestations – that this could go on for ever. Even when it became clear that European state pensions (and the US social security system) were gigantic Ponzi schemes in which the present beneficiaries were spending the money of the current generation of contributors, and that health provision was creating impossible demands on tax revenue, and that benefit dependency was becoming a substitute for wealth-creating employment, the lesson would not be learnt. We have been living on tick and wishful thinking.

So what are the most important truths we should be addressing if we are to avert – or survive – the looming catastrophe? Raising retirement ages across Europe (not just in Greece) is imperative, as is raising thresholds for out-of-work benefit entitlements.

Lowering the tax burden for both wealth-creators and consumers is essential. In Britain, finding private sources of revenue for health care is a matter of urgency.

A general correction of the imbalance between wealth production and wealth redistribution is now a matter of basic necessity, not ideological preference.

The hardest obstacle to overcome will be the idea that anyone who challenges the prevailing consensus of the past 50 years is irrational and irresponsible. That is what is being said about the Tea Partiers. In fact, what is irrational and irresponsible is the assumption that we can go on as we are.
history will repeat itself... this is a truth we learned in our youth... our social studies, civics, and history professors said it time and time again... and yet we don't listen... we don't learn... history will repeat itself, unless we heed it's dire warning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

silent screams

Biden approves of forced abortions and child murder... or does he even know what he's talking about?

Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I’m not second-guessing -- of one child per family.
Remarks by Vice President Biden on U.S.-China Relations - August 21, 2011

Birth control has been compulsory in China since 1979 and the official government line that “coercion” is not permitted is flatly contradicted by the facts. Birth control is enforced through quotas allocated to each work or social unit (such as schools factories or villages) with local officials directly responsible for monitoring and enforcement. At a minimum, couples who have “above quota” face punitive action, including heavy fines and loss of employment. In reality, many local authorities resort to much more severe action, including forced abortions and forced sterilizations. Relatives of those accused of having too many children have been held as hostages until fines are paid or the pregnant woman agrees to have an abortion. “Above quota” newborn babies have reportedly been killed by doctors under pressure from officials and at-least one doctor who issued false sterilization certificates was given the death penalty.
Congressional-Executive Commission on China - Committee on Foreign Relations; United States Senate - Testimony By T. Kumar - September 11, 2003

Biden must have not known these facts... of course, he was the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations from 2001 through 2003... but, he wasn't the Chairman on the day Kumar gave this testimony... was he even present?

Biden made this statement while in China, after which he took questions from chinese students... i wonder what questions those missing children would have asked.

i have a question... how many more have to die?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

we don't need no stinking facts

the trouble with lies is that facts often get in the way of a perfectly good untruth... take, for instance, the "Bush-era tax cuts"... the common misconception is that these tax cuts caused (in whole or in part, depending on the lie being told) the current deep recession we are in... for example:
Recently, a Florida Democratic representative, Corrine Brown, explained her vote against the debt ceiling agreement by citing "eight years of horribly reckless spending and excessive tax cuts for the rich under President Bush and the Republican Congress."
point... and counterpoint:
Bush did indeed cut taxes for the wealthy -- along with everybody else who paid income taxes. But does Brown remember that tax revenues actually increased in the years after the Bush tax cuts took effect?
Obama Partisans Ignore Facts When Bashing Bush - Byron York - Townhall Conservative
Revenues fell in Bush's first two years because of a combination of the tech bust and the start of the tax cuts. But then things took off. After taking in $1.782 trillion in tax revenues in 2003, the government collected $1.88 trillion in 2004; $2.153 trillion in 2005; $2.406 trillion in 2006; and $2.567 trillion in 2007, according to figures compiled by the Office of Management and Budget. That's a 44 percent increase from 2003 to 2007. (Revenues slid downward a bit in 2008, and a lot in 2009, when the financial crisis sent the economy into a tailspin.)



so, what would have been saved had the "Bush-era" tax cuts been permanent?... well, by the charts above, maybe our federal government, but i don't want to speculate over what-might-have-been... let's look at those damnable facts again:
Treasury estimates the costs of making the tax cuts permanent for everyone is $3.7 trillion over 10 years.

Of that, $3 trillion accounts for the cost of extending them for the vast majority of Americans, as the president has proposed. The remaining $700 billion is the cost of extending them permanently for the high-income earners.
Bush tax cuts: What you need to know - By Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer for CNN Money

so what the Big Lie is, if we cut taxes on the rich, we'd lose $700 billion over a span of a decade... my math isn't the best, but that's about $70 billion a year... the deficit as of 2011 is $1,500 billion (that's $1.5 trillion)... but, let's presume we somehow recoup the money the rich should have spent since 2001 when the taxes were introduced... the federal deficit would have been $700 billion less, or only $800 billion... that's still $790 billion more than it was in 2001.

what is the point of all this fact-finding?... the point is that blaming the "Bush-era" tax cuts for our current situation is like blaming Dr. Jonas Salk for polio deaths... there was a financial problem, and President Bush tried to solve it... like his solution or not, he worked under adverse conditions (i.e. tech-bubble, 9/11 WTC attacks, Democrat Congress) to make the economy better.

and when President Obama has troubles (i.e. mortgage-bubble, bailouts, european debt crisis), we look to see what he and his Democrat Congress are going to do... and what do they do?... they blame Bush-era tax cuts.

and three years later, they still blame him... oh, it's turned to blaming the rich for wanting $700 billion in tax cuts... those dirty, evil rich people.

what about the $3 trillion that the not-so-rich are holding onto?... no one seems to remember them.

and yet, in 2010, my taxes increased and Social Security withholding reduced... remember that?

i sure do.

Monday, August 15, 2011

i got clowns to the Left of me, jokers to the Right

and the Left thinks the Right is paranoid... if they can't have Socialism, then we must be after Christian Dominionism... lunatics abound!
For believers in Dominionism, rule by non-Christians is a sort of sacrilege—which explains, in part, the theological fury that has accompanied the election of our last two Democratic presidents.

Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.
Dominionism: Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s Dangerous Religious Bond - Michelle Goldberg - Newsweek

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"vote early; vote often" used to be funny

While NAACP President Benjamin Jealous lashed out at new state laws requiring photo ID for voting, an NAACP executive sits in prison, sentenced for carrying out a massive voter fraud scheme.
Mississippi NAACP Voter Fraud Prison - Matthew Vadum @ The Daily Caller
The NAACP has had other problems with voter fraud. The NAACP National Voter Fund registered a dead man to vote in Lake County, Ohio, in 2004. That same year, out of 325 voter registration cards filed by the NAACP in Cleveland, 48 were flagged as fraudulent [15%].

But the NAACP’s voter fraud record doesn’t approach that of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. At least 54 individuals employed by or associated with ACORN have been convicted of voter fraud.

And ACORN, which filed for bankruptcy last November, was itself convicted of voter fraud in Nevada in April.

who needs voter ID?... that will just oppress the poor and minorities... because dead people have no money... and the voting-dead are very few, indeed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i bet you don't know what country Jerusalem is in...

For a person born in Jerusalem, write JERUSALEM as the place of birth in the passport. Do not write Israel, Jordan or West Bank for a person born within the current municipal borders of Jerusalem.
-> U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 7 – Consular Affairs

For purposes of the registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.
-> Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003

I posted this photo of Vice President Joe Biden and Shimon Peres, with an accompanying caption that indicated it had been taken last year in Jerusalem, Israel.

Within two hours of posting, the White House has apparently gone through its website, cleansing any reference to Jerusalem as being in Israel.
-> White House Cleanses Israel | Daniel Harper - The Weekly Standard

Did the White House ‘Cleanse’ References to Jerusalem, Israel From Its Web Site?

Israeli-Americans’ U.S. Passport Case Against Obama Admin Goes to Supreme Court

Thursday, August 4, 2011

disappoint mints

Satirical mints poking fun at Obama pulled from UT bookstore » Knoxville News Sentinel
The store previously carried satirical mints aimed at former President George W. Bush when he was in office.
"Let me make very clear, there is no candy exception to the First Amendment," said Glenn Reynolds, who teaches constitutional law at UT. "Free speech is free speech. If you make fun of the president in a mint, it is just as much free speech as it is if you make fun of the president in a political cartoon."

it's okay to make fun of Bush or Palin, though... oh, and ridicule Jesus or other religions (except Islam) all you want... but don't you dare make fun of Obama!

for those of you who haven't lost your sense of humor, the Obama "Disappoint-mints" are sold online at the Unemployed Philosophers Guild... they also sell Empower-mints, Messiah-mints ("Save your breath"), Meshuga-mints, Sarah (Palin) Embarass-mints, and Retire-mints... as well as many other products which will offend someone, somewhere.

GET YOURS NOW! (before some liberal jerk gets offended)... Sarah Palin and George W. Bush products will never get pulled off the shelf, so no rush there.

time to go; where's the handbasket?

Just 14% of Likely U.S. Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken the week ending Sunday, July 31. That finding is the lowest measured since November 2, 2008, just before Barack Obama was elected president.
Right Direction or Wrong Track - Rasmussen Reports™

I been in the wrong place
But it must have been the right time
I been in the right place
But it must have been the wrong song
I been in the right vein
But it seems like the wrong arm
I been in the right world
But it seems wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong
I'd a took the right road
But I must have took a wrong turn

amen, Dr. John... amen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

'Civility': The Denouement

'Civility': The Denouement -
you don't get a better title than that... Mr. Taranto, i surrender.

but your point is well made... the left routinely chastizes the right for any perceived slight or poorly chosen word... but call Republican's terrorists, and it's just another day in Washington.

"We have negotiated with terrorists," an angry [Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)] said, according to sources in the room.

"Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. . . . Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that's what it took. . . . For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests." - Joe Nocera, NY Times columnist

"If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the G.O.P. on a suicide mission." - Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist

The Republican “Taliban wing,” as some Democrats dub the rabid Tea Party militants..." - Maureen Dowd, NY Times columnist

And it’s because there’s a nihilist caucus which is, “Listen, we want to burn the place down." I mean, they’re not, they’ve strapped explosives to the Capitol and they think they are immune from it." Margaret Carlson - Bloomberg News

and at what point does the media frenzy begin?... for the right; the frenzy has never stopped... for the left; it never begins.

and Maureen Dowd just took it ten-times further down the anti-civility chasm.
They were like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country’s reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims, Boehner and President Obama. They were like the metallic beasts in “Alien” flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner’s stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones.