Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ross Douthat of The New York Times needs help defining Barack Obama

Ross Douthat of the New York Times is having a hard time defining our president.

Here's Ross: "Every presidency is the subject of competing caricatures. But almost a year into his first term, there’s something particularly elusive about Barack Obama’s political identity. He’s a bipartisan bridge-builder — unless he’s a polarizing ideologue."

Somewhere or another, I missed the bipartisan-bridge-builder part, but let's keep going.

He’s a crypto-Marxist radical — except when he’s a pawn of corporate interests.

Agreed, with one caveat: Ross, do you know what you call crypto-Marxist radicals who are pawns of corporate interests ???? You don't ??? Be patient. All will be explained in due time.

He's a post-American utopian - or else he's a willing tool of the national security state.

While Obama is doing his dead-level best to bring about an extremely post-American century, I'm going to go with the latter option. Look at Gitmo, Afghanistan, rendition, wiretaps, etc. The man is a tool.

The press has churned out a new theory every week, comparing Obama to John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt, to George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — to every 20th-century chief executive, it often seems, save poor, dull Gerald Ford. But none of the analogies have stuck. We’re well into the Obama era, but neither his allies nor his enemies can quite get a fix on exactly what our 44th president really represents.

I don't know why Mainstream Media Typists find this so difficult to say.

It isn't difficult. Barack Obama is a fascist. This is from the Library Of Economics And Liberty:

"Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.)

Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions."

Not a perfect fit, but it shoulda been close enough for Ross Douthat to slap himself in the forehead and start wondering if Obama will take over the newspapers.

The Obama As Fascist pics came from here and here and here and here and here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Insurance Stocks And The Public Option

Talking Points Media, one of the most left-wing outfits outside of a few academic enclaves, understands that the current healthcare abortion puts a greater burden for the uninsured and allows the insurance companies to continue to operate as oligopolies/monopolies.

Why do so few other people get this? And second, why do people tune in to news shows where hosts won't allow guests to answer questions?

One other thing.... the current mess doesn't include much in the way of a public option. It has created space for a public option, which will be voted in as attachment to other bills. Here's all ya need to know about the public option:

Both of these came from the Tom Lewis blog.

On Santa Claus and Jesus

I was in the 2nd grade, working on homework at a desk in our den. It must have been close to Christmastime, because my mother was explaining something about Santa Claus to my little sister.
I don't remember my sister's question, but it probably involved the North Pole, elves, reindeer, Rudolph, or (temporal) punishments and rewards for being either naughty or nice. In one blinding moment the Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy Axis Of Impossibility revealed itself to me.
There are no elves. Reindeer can't fly. Old fat guys can't get down chimneys. A giant rabbit can't leave us colorful plastic eggs (from Gibson's department store) filled with coins or candy.
Any fairy with a tooth fetish must be very lonely fairy indeed.

I had figured out the conspiracy, and needed some clarification on the finer points so I looked up from my homework and asked "Hey, there can't be a Santa Claus who brings all this stuff. Is it just you and Daddy, or is it somebody else?"

My Mother went through a frantic series of shushing gestures, throat slashings, and brow-furrowings, and then said something like "Of course there's a Santa Claus", followed by a wink-wink nudge-nudge. Once my sister left the room, she explained that Santa Claus was something that parents did to make Christmas more fun for children, along with a follow-up conversation about the need to conceal this from my sisters and brother. I immediately felt like more of an adult since I was in on what was obviously a very adult secret.

I relished the conversations I could have with my parents and other adults about what other kids were getting from Santa Claus. I had access to the people behind the curtain, the ones who made the magic happen.

I had a friend named Glenn Williams who was a year younger than me. (Note to self: write a post about the day Glenn was working at The Rushing Winery and managed to bottle his thumb.) Another friend, Walt Burns, took Glenn aside one day and told him all about Santa Claus. Glenn has told me at least three times about how mad he got at Walt for doing this.

Up until the time Walt spilled the beans, Glenn had a worldview that included a benevolent old guy who paid attention to his behavior and rewarded him with great stuff every December 25th. People were killing each other in Viet Nam but Santa was watching. Elves were making toys for people who were good, even if kids our age were starving in communist China. And Walt Burns had to ruin everything. There was no magic guy in a sleigh, it was just Pat and Guy B. Williams waiting up past their normal bedtime to bring Glenn's toys down from the attic.
Other kids claimed to believe, or pretended to believe, until they were in the 5th or 6th grade. In their families, once you stopped believing, the quality and quantity of gifts from Santa declined. Why rock the boat?

Flash forward about 15 years.

I briefly attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Cemetery Seminary in Fort Worth. The place seemed to operate on two levels. In some classes the professors spoke as if every word in the Bible was inspired by God, and that all of scripture hung together as a unified statement and plan. But a few other professors would sometimes imply that the book was a mishmash. It was filled with time and place-specific rants that had to be twisted and tortured into relevance. A few brave souls, usually at the doctoral level, would introduce Biblical Criticism into the mix.

(Go here for a Dan Dennett video on what happens when seminary students encounter Biblical Criticism for the first time, but find that they've gone too far to change careers. Go here for something I wrote on the subject a while back. If you don't know the competing gospel stories of the resurrection of Jesus, don't bother. You won't get it.)

No professors publicly confessed any doubts about whether the basic story was true. And by true, I mean in the sense that this event happened, not true in the sense that something is a true to life parable or narrative that can teach us something about blah blah blah....

However, I found that if I could get these professors off the clock, and they would sometimes confirm that doubt was a valid response. Some of them would go so far as to give me further reading on the subject.

But by and large, the main response to doubt went something like this: "These stories have given comfort to millions. They are the foundation of our morality, our ethics, and our hope for the future. They are the received wisdom handed down from previous generations. If they weren't true, would God have given them to us? And one last thing.... people will give 10% or more of their income to spread God's Eternal Truth. But can you imagine anyone giving 10% of his money to spread a story that's just a parable? Churches and ministers that waver in their professed beliefs have a hard time paying the light bill."

In other words, once people start thinking of Santa Claus as a metaphor, you can't rely on them to put out milk and cookies in front of the fireplace.

Go back to the Dennett video above. We now have ministers all over the U.S. who no longer truly believe what they're preaching. So why do they continue?

They don't want to be the Walt Burns who tells Glenn Williams what they've learned. They don't want to hurt their colleagues, financially or professionally, who still claim to take it all literally instead of figuratively. In some groups, to go against the story is to go against the entire tribe, and would mean rejecting family, town, denomination, and (ahem) salary. Sometimes it's too late to re-invent yourself as an insurance salesman, retail manager, or freight broker.

Plus, the church still owes $250,000.00 on the new education wing they built 10 years ago.

When I'm feeling particularly dark, I sometimes tell people that I didn't learn the truth about Santa Claus until I spent 6 years training to be an elf.

Could there be anything sadder than a 25-year old who still believed in Santa?

On the other hand, could there be anything sadder than a 50-year old minister who lives on the same planet as theologian/scholars like Marcus Borg and John Spong, but who continues to proclaim the virgin birth, angelic visitations, and the eternal damnation of dead Muslim teenagers?

Let's make some changes, starting with a few obvious propositions. I don't believe in hell. I don't believe that I'll die and get some wings and a harp either. What happens after we die? I don't know. Neither does anyone else. But we can all agree on what happens to a tree when it dies, can't we? Let's start there.

Here's another one. I don't believe that Jesus got his Mama pregnant with himself.

I don't believe that languages were invented when people got uppity and tried to create a tower that would reach the sky and God felt threatened and punished everybody by giving them different languages. You don't believe that either. I promise, you don't. People... Just... Don't... Believe... That...

So if you're a minister who happens to read this rant, you have the blessing and approval of a lot of people to crawl up into your pulpit Sunday and admit what you don't believe certain things anymore. You're probably a good person with some good ideas. Give your folks something new to think about. The Santa Claus guided by Rudolph/Wise Men guided by the star in the east business - those stories don't work any more.

Sunday morning, tell us what you think will make the world better, without resorting to mythology.

I think you'll feel better afterwards. I feel better just writing all of this.

Merry Christmas !

Caption Contest - Snowman Edition

Because of Global Cooling, we're having our first White Christmas in The Town Of The Cow since sometime in the mid-1970's.
I need a caption for this picture.

Tarrant Liberty Guy won the previous caption contest.

Pic came from here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Michele Bachman is a Welfare Queen

From Truthdig:

Michele Bachmann has become well known for her anti-government tea-bagger antics, protesting health care reform and every other government “handout” as socialism. What her followers probably don’t know is that Rep. Bachmann is, to use that anti-government slur, something of a welfare queen. That’s right, the anti-government insurrectionist has taken more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts thanks to corrupt farming subsidies she has been collecting for at least a decade.

....But data compiled from federal records by Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks the recipients of agricultural subsidies in the United States, shows that Bachmann has an inner Marxist that is perfectly at ease with profiting from taxpayer largesse. According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006.

The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system....

Go here for a USA Today listing of legislators benefiting from farm subsidies. The list includes Senator Charles Grassley (R-Ethanol), whose outfit has taken home more than $800,000.00

End it, Don't mend it.

Fight the power.

Pic of subsidies growing in a field came from here. Go here for a Shameful True Confession moment relating to farm subsidies in my family.

Gun Sales Up, Crime Rate Down

Sometime last week, I heard a radio ad for a gun shop. "We have firearms and ammo AT PRE-ELECTION PRICES !!!" was one of the lines used.

Gun sales have gone through the roof because of the Dems taking control of Congress and The Teleprompter.

So what is supposed to happen, with all these dangerous weapons in the hands of ignorant citizens, radical right-wingers, loony libertarians, and P.O.'d Tea Party Participants?

Crime should be up, right? According to the preferred narrative, we should be reading about an increase in violent crime.

Nope. Violent crime is still decreasing, and is a full 10% lower than last year.

When Jesus "cleansed" the temple, he used a knotted rope to knock some folks upside the head, possibly because assault rifles hadn't been invented yet.

Naww....I'm not going to go there.

Links and pics, one way or another, came from Ed Driscoll.

We Three Kings - The Demotivational Poster - Elvis Edition

Some neighbors of mine put this in their front yard every December.
I love it, love it, love it.

Even if some skeptics say he's buried in Memphis, I hope the King lives in your heart all year long, with a hunka hunka burnin' love.

Note to self: when time permits, write a post about your Mississippi neighbor's daughters who, in the mid-1970's, packaged themselves in dog crates and had themselves shipped to Graceland. And actually got inside the gate.

Merry Christmas Demotivational Poster

I created this thing last year when things were looking a bit bleak.
This year, they're worse.
Oh well. Hope'n'Change.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Winter Solstice, Deer Hunting Season, etc.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Benevolent Government Saves Airline Passengers From Evil Capitalists ! ! ! !

This is from CNN, reporting on how the government is preventing those mean ol' airlines from keeping you stranded on the runway....

Washington (CNN) -- In what one advocate called "a Christmas miracle for airline passengers," the Department of Transportation on Monday announced a rule prohibiting U.S. aircraft on domestic routes from remaining on a tarmac for more than three hours with travelers aboard.

"Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

That sounds good, doesn't it? One of the instances where we would want government to intervene. But hold on a minute....
This is from a book by Michael Cloud. This little essay is entitled "How Government Blames Business". I just happened to read this last night.

Our United Airlines flight had been sitting on the runway for 40
minutes. Boston's Logan Airport is notorious for delays. The people
behind me and in front of me were grumbling.

"I hate these *$*%+*#*! airlines," said the guy behind me.

"They ought to do something about these fat cats," said a man across
the aisle.

"The Government ought to do something about it," said the woman in
front of me.

While pretending to talk to the person next to me, I spoke loud enough
to be heard 4 rows back, and 4 rows up:

"There must be 10 times as many flights today as there were 22 years
ago, before we deregulated the airlines. Probably 10 times as many
airplanes in the skies. Free enterprise builds the planes and puts
them in the air.

"But Big Government runs the airports. Big Government controls the air
traffic. Are there 10 times as many airports as there were 22 years
ago, when we deregulated the airlines? Are there 10 times as many
gates at the government-run airports? Are there 10 times as many air
traffic controllers?

"Government's causing this bottleneck. Free enterprise is generous
with airplanes, but Government is stingy with airports, gates and air
traffic controllers.

"Then Government plays the Frame and Blame Game against the airlines.
Government tells us it's United's fault. Or Delta's. Or American
Airlines'. The airlines have solved their part of the problem: getting
us planes and getting us seats. But Government can't deliver the
airports, the gates or the air traffic controllers needed to fly us
safely and on time. We're stuck on this runway because of
Government-created scarcity.

"What do you think?" I asked the person I pretended to be talking to
privately... while making a statement to the people around me.

"Gee, I've never really thought about it," he said. "But you know, the
Government hasn't made Logan Airport much bigger in the last 20 years.
It's kind of like the Big Dig, isn't it?" [The Big Dig is a typical
Government highway project in Boston: way over budget, late and a

The people in the seats in front of and behind me started discussing
who caused the delays in our flight. These Massachusetts flyers openly
discussed how much Government was at fault.

Here's the Big Government Frame and Blame Game:

First, government frames business for the crime. They frame free
enterprise for causing the problems created by government. Then they
blame business and free enterprise for the consequences.

For example, government frames responsible gun manufacturers for gun
crimes. Then government blames the guns for the violence caused by the
Drug War. Gun violence has doubled since the War on Drugs. Need
another example? Compare gun violence during Alcohol Prohibition to
gun violence before and after Prohibition.

Government frames and blames HMOs. But the government created HMOs in
1974 and mandated their use in the early 1980's. Further, government
spends 52 cents out of every health care dollar in America and
regulates 100% of all health care services. Health care is the most
heavily regulated industry in America.

Yet in 1999, the Amherst, Massachusetts Town Government passed a
resolution to "end the free market carnage in health care." And the US
Congress regularly subpoenas and interrogates health care providers in
front of television cameras... blaming HMOs for the crimes of

Libertarians need to think through and explain the following:
* How does Government increase the cost of the business you're
* How does Government regulation create scarcity and reduce consumer
* How does Government red tape drive small businesses out of
* How does Government increase the cost of everything you buy?
Taxes, restrictions, zoning, unfunded mandates... and what else?
* How does Government slow down service and reduce staffing?
* How does Government cause or contribute to the very problems they
blame business for?

To be effective, we must be well-informed. We need to read books like:
The Great Libertarian Offer and Why Government Doesn't Work by Harry
Browne; Freedom in Chains and The Fair Trade Fraud by James Bovard;
Losing Ground and What it Means to be Libertarian by Charles Murray.

As Huxley said, "A beautiful theory, slain by a gang of facts." The
facts are friendly to Freedom.

Sometimes no persuasion is necessary. We merely need to inform and

To show how, where and why Government has caused certain problems, or
made them worse.

Sometimes all you need is a captive audience, a voice that carries,
and a few thought-provoking facts and explanations.
It's funny how the perspective changes, isn't it?

We have seen the future of Health Insurance. And Health Insurance is delighted.

From The Business Insider:

Howard Dean, who knows a thing or two about medicine, and has long been an advocate for reform, just said on CNBC that "you may want to buy health insurance stocks if this thing passes."

Basically, "reform" has turned into a big ol' gravy train for private industry....

What? This isn't about providing low-cost healthcare for America? What else has Howard Dean had to say about the Healthcare Bill?

On Sunday's Meet The Press, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was asked a simple question about health care: What has President Obama achieved? His answer: "He has made a lot of people with insurance stock a lot richer."

"This [bill] is great for insurance companies," he explained. "They were going to reform the system [but] neither side wanted to take on the insurance companies. Neither side wanted to get rid of anti-trust exemptions. Neither side really pushed hard to allow you or me or anybody here to buy across state lines."
And as Howard Dean said -- and this is a devastating fact -- insurance companies' stocks reached [52-week] highs on Friday after this so called reform bill got its 60th vote. So David Axelrod, who I love and respect, but David Axelrod kept saying 'we took on the insurance companies, this is real reform, they're against it.'
Really? I don't think so."

What? Insurance stocks are now at a 52-year high? Do The Playahs know something that we don't know?

Well, yeah, they do.

When time permits, look up
Regulatory Capture.

Then do a bit o' Googling on
Barriers To Entry.

Speaking of Howard Dean, and our failure to encourage competition, here's Dr. Dean in full competition mode:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fester's Den

Uncle Fester, Colorado Libertarian and long-time commenter on these pages, now has his own blog.

Go here. Bookmark it for future edification.

And now, compliments of Uncle Fester, here's something completely different.....

Its gettin thicker than dreadlocks
they treat us like we're dread scot
don't wanna see the feds pop
or be the one that they'd stopped
or get in trouble cause I talked shit to their mascot
frickin' busybodies need to go and buy an ascot
tellin' me you own me then makin sho' i'm taxed out
maxed out, deep in-debted from the easy credit
that the fed imbedded then they betted it all be copacetic
if they were the medic but forget it
the people are gettin' pissed
blowin up like some unleaded
they want control unfettered
but ya'll know that smells fetid
like the craphole that we're headed
to if they don't let me do me
and you do you
and all the guns in the gunverment
won't amount to a twenty-two
if they keep on stompin' on amendment number two
and we don't even need you
take your welfare and your brainwashing free-school
and ya'll are so see through; easy to see you is evil

Nobody owns me
ya'll haters don't
I own me
so back the f*** off
(x 2)
I make my own rules
take my own tools
you ain't in my shoes
no you ain't get to choose
I ain't pay you dues.
I pay 'em for my self
don't expect shit from me
and I ain't need your help

and in case you didn't know
this song is for the parasites
the feeders that bleed us and treat us
like they're the hand and we're the dice
no utopian paradise to be had from any plan
the world's too complex for any man to comprehend
all the supply and again all the demand
when the few control the view
their mistakes are multiplied
the decisions should be ours
like our bodies. Let's take back our lives
Only a slave if you submit
and ya'll know I got some fight!
and this ain't racist
its for blacks, whites and asians
middle eastern people, latinos
and everyone who wants to be free, so
we'll even let it slide if you're emo
I never signed no social contract
I'm about to have to repo
myself, for my health
and my wealth
put your bills back on the shelf
capitol hill can go to hell
we should put them punks in jail
we could live our lives ourselves....


So who's to say Barack Hussein
knows what's best for me?
I knock the man and not the name
cause in my family tree
could be husseins so I take aim
at tyranny times three
branches that act just
like geriatric babysitters
but really you'll get beat-up
if you don't follow their edicts
there's a law against living
year its worse than shariah.
but where can I go if this
whole world is socialist
though we know that it failed for the soviets.
Its 1984 people please notice this.
F*** a tax feeder time to overthrow them tics
its in the declaration Jefferson wrote the shit
So choose to be a free man
governments we're over it
governments we're over it!

Go see Invictus

If you get a chance, check out "Invictus", Clint Eastwood's new movie about Nelson Mandela's decision to use the Springbok rugby team as a cause to unite South Africa after the end of apartheid.

Matt Damon is good, Morgan Freeman (of Clarksdale, Mississippi) is pure, undiluted greatness.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

-William Ernest Henley

The Obama Logo FDR button

From the Von Mises blog:

....Logically, one might think that the best way to fix this mess (the recession) would be to liquidate the malinvestments of businesses, pay down our debts and start fresh; in other words, allow for the market to correct the imbalances and distortions created during the artificial boom.

But the enlightened Barack Obama and his team of trusty economic advisers, along with the ever-compliant Messrs Bernanke and Geithner, have other ideas. Practically every single policy they have enacted is intended to stop the market from clearing out the wastes and excesses of the boom.

The government has undertaken programs to keep people in homes and cars that they cannot afford, fictitiously propping up GDP numbers. It has bailed out failing enterprises; abrogated contractual obligations; created make-work, politically oriented, and naturally often fraudulent and wasteful public-works projects; and increased the money supply at an unprecedented rate, easing the Federal Reserve–controlled interest rate to a ridiculous 0 percent. Our representatives have done all of this while vastly expanding a national debt that was already egregious.""....There is a final point that must be made. Just as during FDR's presidency, market entrepreneurs (as opposed to the political ones, who profit from government swindling) are now genuinely afraid of this administration. People in business do not know how arbitrary or onerous future government regulations will be."

Regardless of what you think of their argument, you have to admit this much: That button is funny.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why things are costing more and more and more and more

I found a great link on Radley Balko's site.

Check out these pics of American currency.

If you go to the site, notice how many banknotes said "payable in gold" or "two dollars in silver" or "payable to the bearer on demand", or similar verbiage. You could walk into the bank and swap this piece of paper for some silver or gold.

Do you think our government was a little more careful about printing batches of these babies?

Compare that system to the junk you see below. The little piece of paper that you sometimes see blowing down the street, and don't even bother to chase after? It says "THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE".

Why is it legal tender? Because they say so.

There are no longer any safeguards in place to prevent our government from spending these in the billions and printing these things by the trillions. You can to for a good explanation of Fiat Money, Inflation, and Dr. Paul's proposal for an open competition in currencies.

Good luck when prices start doubling. A special prize will be awarded to the reader who sends me the first earnest MSM editorial blaming greedy corporations for the price increases.

Jason Mattera gives the AARP an invoice for $1,800,000,000,000.00

This video was produced by Jason Mattera. Young Mr. Mattera is with an outfit called The Young America's Foundation.
He's shown here pursuing the Vice President of AARP, Nancy Leamond, to give her a massive "Obamacare Generational Theft Invoice" for $1,800,000,000,000.00

It's one of the most devastating things I've ever seen.
The AARP has endorsed Obamacare.
AARP, through a special loophole in Obamacare, would still be allowed to turn away people with pre-existing conditions, through something called "Medigap" coverage.
Nancy Leamond makes $400,000.00 per year.

These kids make Michael Moore look like Ed Wood.