Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Handicapping the Event

They are rolling out the big guns. Copenhagen will be tied up tighter than a drum and Tivoli won't have a ride seat on the carousel even with an E-ticket unless you are an insider. Yes, the co-queens of American royalty, Michelle and Oprah are both in Denmark. Of course there is that global warming and carbon footprint thing when they each take a personal big jet, Michelle in the 757 and Big "O" in her G-III, but they probably bought a bushel of carbon offsets to make their greenies happy.

We're Connected in Chicago

Now, if they were really concerned with the environment, the Messiah could have easily shoe-horned them into AF 1 for the trip I would think. He's traveling separately tomorrow and he's desperately trying to figure out how Chicago's gang-bangers can be downplayed and overshadowed by the Yakuza of Japan, the Basque separatists of Madrid and the Girls from Ipanema in Rio. It looks like a tough sell to me, but then I grew up in Chicago and know a bit about the underbelly of the city.

The real question is why is he going. I was out this morning and listening to talk radio. Now I'm confused.

There apparently are three options here.

The first was what I simply assumed. Bamster is the President. Bamster is from Chicago. Bamster believes that he is the most persuasive fellow that ever picked up a Harvard law degree. He could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. He's the ultimate pitchman and when he stands before the Olympic decision-makers and looks at them right between the two teleprompter screens and says, "let me be perfectly clear" they will simply melt. He's going to sell Chicago.

But, then one of the talk show guys gave me the second option. The One is sagging in the polls. He's taking heat on a collapsing healthcare initiative. He needs a boost. The back channels have told him that the decision is already made and Chicago has got it in the bag. He's going to get the boost of claiming it was his persuasive rhetoric that brought it home. He's going to claim victory.

Minutes later, another talk show gave me option three. It looks bad for Chi-town. The power behind the throne, Mayor-for-life Dick Daley, called in his markers. He has told the Bamster to get his butt over there and sell this thing big time or he's going to be history. Rescue this effort or you'll never work in this town again. So, we've suddenly got the President firing up the entire Air Force airlift fleet to move his entourage to Denmark for the sales pitch. He'd better meet quota or else.

So, what have we got here? Simple sales job, jump for the limelight or try to rescue a disaster?

I've got to go with the third. I didn't like it at first, but when you consider the attitude of so many of the nations of the world about the US, it seems unlikely that they are going to hand a showcase opportunity to the US. I'm thinking S. America looks like a winner to me. Rio might be pretty nice in the off-season.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Next, Messiah?

The old punch-line about "are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?" is more and more applicable. By now we've seen enough denial coming from this administration to last a lifetime. It was cynical and sarcastic when I previously said that whatever he says, understand the truth to be just the opposite. Now we are getting to crunch time.

This week we've watched the President first stand before the nations of the world and abrogate American leadership with a declaration that we are no better than Somalia or North Korea or Zimbabwe or any of the dozens of other hell-holes of the world. We possess no moral superiority in his world view.

He followed that up with an impassioned vision of a nuclear-free future. We, the world's super-power, which has kept the nuclear genie at bay for sixty years through our clear policy of strength and deterrence, would lead the way toward disarmament.

That got an immediate response from his close friend in Iran who said, "by the way, Barack, did I mention this additional under-ground high grade nuclear material plant?" Faced with the public statement, the Messiah brought forth a "new discovery" of the facility which somehow denied the evidence that intelligence had identified the plant more than two years ago. Denial in action.

In almost Clinton-esque fashion, he wagged his finger at the camera and spoke of the severe sanctions which would be imposed for flaunting a nuclear weapons program. The reply to that? How about some launches of mid-range missiles capable of reaching half of Europe, all of Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan and half of India. Payload? About 2500 pounds. For comparison, the 345KT weapon I used to baby-sit (that's more than 15 times the yield of the Hiroshima weapon) weighed in around 800 pounds. Plenty of throw-weight available in these missiles for an Iranian crude device.

Here is a sobering analysis of where we can go from here:

Rock and Hard Place, Bad and Worse Options Left

The bad choice that remains is military intervention to remove the nuclear capability. As the editorial points out, that is a lot tougher than it was in 1981 at Osirik. It will be messy and it will have repercussions. It can be done by Israel or the US. The underlying truth here is that if we don't do it, Israel has no choice.

The worse choice is waiting for the seismic evidence that Iran has completed their work and a weapon is a reality in their hands. That seems to be the leaning of the administration. Somehow the naivete of the incumbent has him believe that once Iran has a bomb, they will be confident and secure and their bellicosity will be reduced so that they eagerly seek to become good neighbors. Christmas is coming but Santa can't put that in his sack, I'm afraid.

Is there a third choice? Maybe. We could get Russia and China, along with the Arab states to come on board with meaningful and effective sanctions that would bring the economy of Iran to a standstill. The people would finally have had enough of the theocracy and resist their government. Replacement with a progressive and democratic regime would be a positive outcome. Is that likely or probable? Not at all, except maybe in the Bamster's fantasy world.

I'm thinking the choice is going to be the worse one and that will trigger Israel's application of the bad one. Which means there isn't really a choice at all now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hard Work

You think your life is tough? How about a bit of chain gang and some railroad heavy hammer work:

Getting No Respect

The promise was that under his policies of engagement and apology, the world would once again love us. We would no longer be the mean bully who had our way with the weaklings of the world. We would embrace those who hate us. We would disarm ourselves and make America equally weak. We would grovel before princes and despots, and in return we would have peace and comity throughout the world. Kumbaya!

Now we've got a true Rodney Dangerfield moment here:

Obama is a Fraud

For a moment while I was reading Al-Zawahri's comments I thought that maybe I was becoming one with al-Qaeda. I mean, I could easily have said:

"Is the reality of the criminal Obama now clear to us?"

Or even this:

"Here is Obama, the fraud, who pretended to be affected by the suffering of the Palestinians

Where is the love?

Political Science Lesson

Maybe instead of my dry old lectures on government roles and basic economics, I should learn a bit of song and dance. This one captures about four hours of lecture into just over three minutes:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Sky is Falling

Creating crisis is the specialty of this administration. Failure to examine and question statistics will always lead you down the rabbit hole and into Obamaland. How about this one that caught my eye:

Unemployment of Young Reaches Record 52.2%

How about that? When the country is supposedly reeling under record unemployment of 9.7% we've got a demographic with more than half out of work. But, wait a sec. What is "young people"?

The parameter is aged 16-24 years old. But aren't 16, 17 and a large chunk of 18 year olds still in high school? Aren't they, by definition, unemployed because they are full time students? They might have a small part-time job, but they sure shouldn't be factored into unemployment statistics.

Then I really love the clarity of this analysis by a former Secretary of Labor under Reagan:

Angrisani said he believes that Obama's economic team, led by Larry Summers, has a blind spot for small business because no senior member of the team -- dominated by academics and veterans of big business -- has ever started and grown a business.

Well, bless my capitalist soul. You could really say that about the entire administration couldn't you? Never started and grown a business?

But, get a load of the solution proposed. It is an embarrassment and an indictment of how we have deteriorated to have a former Reagan executive come out with this:

"They should carve out $100 billion right now and create something like $5,000 to $6,000 job credits that would drive the hiring of young, idled workers by small business."

Ronaldus Magnus would have fired him outright for that. "Carve out" a $100 BILLION to artificially create jobs when private business isn't hiring. The essential fact is that the phony unemployment horror story is about people who aren't really breadwinners who don't have jobs because they aren't qualified to do anything! Business that needs workers will hire workers without any carved out federal money. They will hire workers who have skills to work.

When people stop throwing up their hands in horror at bogus crises and justifying federal government expenditures to artificially put fish in the ponds we'll have economic recovery. So long as we expect billions to be carved out of something and distributed to make it "all better" we shall be in dire straits.

Health Tips For You

Here at ThunderTales we try to be health conscious. It is important to take care of yourself and do what is right for your body, particularly when you are a bit older and facing a counseling session with the government on your obligation to check out and leave room for some younger folks in the government clinic lines.

So, here's an excellent message:

Asking Why?

Why? Is there really any good reason why? What is the gain?

My conclusion is that there is none. It is pure and simple political posturing. I'm talking here about Club Gitmo. What do we gain by closing the detention facility at Quantanamo?

Let's review. The facility is in a US military installation which is isolated on the island of Cuba. It is in place, running and fully operational. It houses about 225 terrorists captured in the war on terror, mostly in Afghanistan. It has been inspected by outside agencies and reports indicate it is secure, clean, disciplined and effective. It is extremely safe with regard to the security of the United States.

Through an organized policy of insinuation, innuendo and sensationalism, the facility has been characterized as a New World Inquisition with torture chambers, and the full auto-de-fe treatment. President Obama campaigned on a promise to immediately shut it down and let these poor oppressed Muslims go home. He still points to his first week in office executive order shutting the facility by January 2010. He boasted of it last week in his UN apology and surrender speech.

The problem is that these 225 thugs are seriously dangerous people. They aren't white-collar criminals or minority pot smokers. They are terrorists, trained in mass destruction and dedicated to the collapse of America. If you release them they will return to killing Americans. Even their home nations don't want them back. You can't repatriate them.

What to do? How do you fulfill a promise to do something stupid that didn't need doing in the first place and which can't be done without making us less secure?

It looks as though they are going to bring them to America.

Finalists Emerging on American Gulag

Now, I've seen Super Max. It is just off US 50 in Colorado between Pueblo and Canon City. It is in an area in which prisons are a growth industry. There you'll find a Colorado Women's Prison, another Federal prison, the original Colorado Territorial Prison (still in use), a major juvenile facility and more. They could handle the job, but you would lose the isolation of the jihadi terrorist population and the focus of the intelligence operations. You would be simply warehousing in solitary confinement.

How about those "military brigs"? Leavenworth is a true prison, but most military detention facilities aren't suitable for maximum security imprisonment. They are wooden barracks with chain link and concertina wire around them. They house AWOLs and hub-cap thieves, not terrorists.

What will be improved? They will now be on US soil. If they escape they won't be on an island nor will they be in Castro's communist paradise. They will be in our backyard.

The next step after they are on US soil will be the ACLU and fellow-travelers society extending habeus corpus, bleating about Constitutional rights, demands for federal trials with full disclosure and compromise of our intelligence capabilities which have already been seriously impaired.

Why? Why? Why?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paying the Penalty

Jean Valjean is going to be imprisoned in America, not for stealing bread but for opting to go without health insurance. To protect him, you see, we will have to incarcerate him and take away his assets so that when we release him he will then try to buy health insurance without any money!

Henri Charriere will be sent to an island prison from which escape is impossible because he wouldn't follow the government dictate to underwrite the government's healthcare program. He committed no crime other than being healthy. We can't have that going unpunished.

Those tales were fictional. Valjean and Papillon weren't real, but the punishments for not falling into lockstep with the Messiah's plan for healthcare are quite real:

Incur a $1900 Debt? Get a Year in the Slammer and a $25G Fine!

I wonder if that falls under the 8th Amendment to the Constitution? It seems "cruel and unusual" to me. Should the fine for a debt be a year of life and more than 12 times the amount owed? The 8th also covers "excessive fines" and the imposition thereof. I wonder how Justice Sotomayor will convolute the language to support her Messiah on that one?

Maybe we should just repeal the 8th. If we break up those core ten amendments, we can start chipping away at the others, like maybe the 2nd. We already ignore the 9th and 10th. This should be easy. Maybe just declare a state of emergency and repeal the whole damn thing. Financial markets, car companies, healthcare, global climate change, yeah...we've got a state of emergency here. Adolph, can you form a government for us and save Weimar?

Saturday Morning Strolls

I once liked Lou Reed. But then I came home from the store with his latest release, an album called "Metal Machine Music". It was the dirtiest marketing trick that I've ever encountered. Twenty-three minutes on each side of nothing more than monotonous metallic screech. No tunes, no instruments, no words, no melody, no singing, nothing but feedback. But, this was one of my favorites when I still liked him:

But one man's walk isn't another and one man's wild side can be considerably different. This man never palmed a load of screetch off on me:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Testing The Material

You've seen the video here, on a dozen other blogs, and on Fox News. You've heard conservative talk radio jump on the story. Much like the Van Jones saga, you didn't hear a peep from the MSM. They missed it, or didn't think it was important.

I'm referring to yesterday's video of the cute little kindergarten class with their charming rendition of their hymns to the Messiah. I collected three other videos of indoctrination of youth in the cult just to make sure the New Jersey scene wasn't an isolated incident. It seems that over the last eight months similar indoctrination sessions have been pretty organized. It can't be coincidence.

Today, the disavowal emerges from the White House. New Jersey wasn't anything they were behind. They apparently don't have any national events scheduled this week like last weeks school TV blitz. But, how then do you account for the others schools I showed you?

Is the principal repentent? Maybe a bit chagrined? Well, not quite:

Would Do It Again, In Fact WILL Do It Again

Do we get the important distinction here between freedom of speech for the teacher and principal and propagandizing the children in the guise of education?

Let's apply a simple test to insure this outrage isn't just right wing loons going off again. We don't want it to be racism, either. The test is simple. Just substitute the name of any other President during his term in office. Let's try it with:

Mmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm, George Walker Bush...

Now, that would be terrible. Let's use a Democrat:

Mmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm, William Jefferson Clinton...

Doesn't work either. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Richard Milhouse Nixon. None of them work. All would have fostered outrage.

Maybe we should try it with some older children and some choreographed dance:

Those girls did look a bit like that marching viddie of the teenagers yesterday. Nah, that street theater thing is so proletarian. We need some pomp, some ceremony, some neat uniforms.

That should get the kids fired up. Everyone loves a stadium outing.

It Won't Be Long Now

We've been waiting for the other shoe to drop for eight years now. After the 9/11 attack we have known that they were coming again. Have we muddled through reasonably well during that period? I'd like to think so.

We've cleaned up some of the inter-agency bureaucratic snaffle-grabs that made it impossible for a clear picture of what the threat was to emerge. It's still a very parochial business but it got a bit better. They talk to each other a little bit now.

We got serious about intelligence gathering and somewhat stifled the enraged screams of political correctness. The threat that is greatest in our country CAN be racially profiled! It isn't a little old lady. It's a young man of Middle-Eastern extraction, with a beard. He's a practicing Muslim. He travels overseas a bit. He's technologically wired into the system. He's got a cell phone and a laptop. He may or may not have a visa.

What we've been slow to realize is that the threat isn't localized to New York, Washington or the coastal areas. Here's one aspect:

The Denver Airport Shuttle Driver

Denver is heartland. It's a perfect place for deep cover and as a base for your travels and activities. It is an accepting community with lots of high tech communications access, not much suspicion, and a diverse population that isn't simply black or white.

Localized? An abberation? What about this one:

Dallas Skyscraper Bomber Stung

OK, he wouldn't have been caught in the beard. But you've got a young man, middle-eastern, muslim, and, by the way, HE'S AN ILLEGAL!!! And we knew he was an illegal!!! We just didn't have the cojones to do much about it.

That would have been noticeable. A carload of explosives in front of the downtown Dallas Bank building would have been a lot more impressive than the OKC Murrah office building bomb.

So, Dallas, Denver, where next? But at least we've stopped "torturing" them, we don't detain them in Gitmo anymore, and we're reaching out with open arms by throwing Israel under the sputtering Iranian bus.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's the Missing Phrase?

Here'a a piece in the New Yawk Times which should put the enviro-whackos off their feed for a while. While they scream of "reducing our dependence on foreign oil" and alternative energy sources we've got the rest of the world doing this:

Everywhere We Drill We Find the Gooey Stuff

That's right, folks. It's a bumper crop year for oil. Almost impossible to drill a dry hole. Why British Petroleum (that's BP for the folks in Sivell's Bend) is even touting the richest find in decades in the Gulf of Mexico.

What's the missing phrase in that article about all those oil strikes?

The United States.

We don't do any of that nasty ol' oil exploitation. We'd rather whimper and whine about it.

The End of The World

Does anybody here remember the tune of the Horst Wessel Song?

But, wait, there's more:

Try to believe this isn't organized somewhere at the top:

The images are chilling:

Refresher Training

So, you think you know all about it. You've been trained or at least you've read a book and been to the range. Well, whether you're a Thunder Ranch/Gunsite grad or a local CCW alumnus or just a guy who likes to shoot, you can benefit from spending a few minutes thinking about what to do when stuff goes wrong:

Tap, Rack, hands hurt just watching him. But, I feel a lot more confident now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not So Fast, Mahmoud

As the madman of Teheran is about to make his UN appearance to pat the Messiah on the back and try to outdo Mohammar Qaddafi, we get this:

Simorgh and Tiger Try To Occupy Same Airspace

Yes, you don't want to ding up the equipment doing gratuitous parade flybys!

But, wait, there's more:

You Shouldn't Buy Used Russian Equipment

So, we've got a former Soviet IL-76 that was sold to Iraq, which then "saved" it from the advancing coalition forces during Desert Storm by moving it to Iran. That was in 1991. Flash forward 17 years and the innovative Iranians have "upgraded" it to an AWACS configuration--at least they put a big rotating dish on its back. I can only imagine the high tech electronics Heathkits in the interior.

Now, I don't know about you, but what condition do you think this airplane was in? Do you suppose it was maintained like a fine watch or a well oiled Ferrari? Lots of loving care by those high tech Iraqi conscript airmen followed by some really fine modification work by the Iranians? It would be a wonder that they got the damn thing airborne at all.

Then lets get it escorted by a couple of F-5Es dating back to the friendly-with-the-US period of Shah Reza Pahlavi, prior to 1979. Wonder how those birds were holding up?

Put those lightweight fighters out there next to that huge vortex generating behemoth and then slow them down to a nice turbulent parade fly-by angle-of-attack. Can you say "whoopsie"?

Ahh, but these are the folks that are going to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Now their air defenses are going to have to start out the engagement blindfolded.

Life is good today, despite the UN shenanigans.

Buy It Now!

"Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to Senate Motors. Are we looking for a new car?"

"Hello. Well, I might be. I've got some problems with my old one. Mind if I look around?"

"Certainly. Make yourself right at home. See anything you like?"

"Well, no. Where are all the cars? I only see that one generic in the center of the floor. Is that cardboard?"

"Ahh, you mean our Conceptual Car. Yes, it is. Mostly cardboard, but quite a bit of heavy-weight construction paper is in the interior. Yessir, that's what it will look like when you drive home. Except of course, yours will be metal and in the color of your choice and with the options that you prefer. An engine and tires too, I think. We'll work out the details for you. Now, let's step into the office and get going with the paperwork."

"But, wait a minute. I'm not sure that's what I want. Haven't I got some time to look at some actual cars? What do they cost? What's the rush?"

"You never know how bad your old car is until you've got yourself in this nice new one. Here's the contract, now just sign on page 1248 at the bottom. You'll love it when it's delivered, I'm certain."

"That's an incredibly big contract and it's just for a conceptual car that you can't even tell me what it costs? Mind if I read it?"

"Migod, sir. Do you realize how long it would take you read that? Trust us we'll finish up the details for you and you'll love it. And it won't bother your home budget at all. In fact it will be practically free. You won't even notice it on the spending. Trust me."

Ridiculous? Unbelievable? An insane dream that never could occur? How about in the US Senate today over your healthcare?

Pass the Conceptual Plan and We'll Tell You How it Works Later

Those nasty obstructionist Republicans want 72 hours to post the actual law proposed on the Internet along with the CBO cost estimates before voting on healthcare reform. Outrageous! Why that might delay passage by two weeks! We'll all be dead by then if we don't act. Why would a lawmaker ever want to read a bill or know what it costs?

Is this Wonderland? Have we fallen down a rabbit hole?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New Paradigm

I was paging through the new edition of American Rifleman last night when a "Eureka" moment occurred. We had changed the paradigm of American Rifles. The blessed free market had functioned once again and the result was something that the anti-gun forces could not have imagined in their darkest, Tim Burton, nightmare moments.

Back in the Clinton era it was easy for them to fan the fears of the limp-wristed left of the nation by pointing to those evil "assault rifles" which were so menacing that any rational person would quake in fear upon being in the same city with one. They were only meant for one thing, killing people. They were "cop-killer" guns. They were capable of shooting repeatedly! They were the "weapon-of-choice" of gangs, thugs, bank-robbers and people who push ahead of little old ladies in grocery store checkout lines.

They passed a law, you may recall. The assault weapons ban needed to define around "legitimate" hunting weapons--they would get to them later. So, they built a list of naughty features which made a gun too bad for a civilized person to possess. Stuff like collapsible stocks, flash-hiders, large capacity magazines, vertical hand grips, bayonet lugs, etc. If it was black it was bad.

That is indeed a menacing looking weapon. I'd like to have one just like it! Actually the ban did very little but raise the prices on guns. Minor cosmetic modifications made the new versions legal and the sales flourished. Eventually, Clinton was out and George W. Bush was in with a Republican congress and the ban expired.

During the ban and since then, a legion of folks have sought out their very own assault rifle to have, to hold, to shoot, to enjoy. We found that they are lightweight, they are easy to shoot without a lot of recoil, they are accurate, they are durable, they are inexpensive to shoot. The market noticed what the shooters wanted.

Today, if you want an AR-15, you can find them from at least a dozen manufacturers. They all follow the same basic pattern as the military M-16 rifle with the exception that they don't have a full automatic or a burst fire option.

Rock River Arms
Wilson Combat
Smith & Wesson
Ruger SR 556

And that's just a sampling. But, the problem is that while these "assault weapons" are fine for shooting targets, plinking at the range, or hunting ground hogs, coyotes and jack rabbits, they aren't legal in most states for hunting larger game. The .223 caliber bullet is too small. Most states require a minimum of .243 or 6mm for deer and larger game.

Which leads us to the new paradigm. The AR-15 model is so popular for so many reasons that we are now seeing it available specifically in "hunter" versions--AR rifles in calibers that are great for North American big game hunting. We've had ARs in .308 (7.62 NATO) for a long time. We've added things like the 6.8mm SPC, the .243 Winchester, the .338 Federal, 7.62x39, .450 Bushmaster and there are more lurking out there.

The options to equip your AR make the old hunting rifle choice of "what kind of scope" look like the amateur hour. Worrying about rings and bases to mount that scope? Not with an AR. A simple mil-spec rail system lets you take any of the menu of optional pieces out of the box and clamp it on the rifle securely and ready to take to the range. Choose a lightweight variable power scope designed for the combat rifle and you've got great optics with the plus of an illuminated reticle that doesn't need batteries. "Light" years ahead of that old scope. Smaller too.

Want a simpler system? Go with a holographic "red dot" sight. A few ounces in weight and it offers a classic illuminated reticle that make a fighter pilot feel right at home. Single plane sighting in a nut shell sized gadget. Combine it with the scope if you want.

Want a light in the dark to get to your spot in the woods? Add a tactical LED flashlight to the rifle--there's plenty of room on the rail system. How about a laser aimpoint? That fits too. You can always go back to basic iron sights if you want.

When you've modded your rifle to fit your personal preferences, you've still got a lightweight, easy-shooting, accurate friend in the field. Sling points at front, middle and back of the rifle make it easy to carry. Collapsible M-4 carbine stock means you can get one for your son or grandson that will fit on his first deer hunt and still be comfortable when he's grown and on his own.

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for a classic bolt action rifle with finely figured walnut stock, dark blue steel and a fine scope atop. But, the paradigm has changed and the rifle world has moved on. Today, the hunting rifle of choice is becoming the evil assault rifle of the '90s.

That is going to make it a whole lot harder for them to pry them out of our cold dead hands in the future. Their faulty argument that somehow the 2d Amendment is about hunting is going to be useless since the target of their effort is quite clearly a hunting rifle.

At that point, of course, all wise men will remind them that hunting isn't covered by the 2d Amendment. The amendment is about protection from oppressive governments and we know that.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Than a Mouthful

While the political blogs are fascinating and even insightful, they tend to be driven by quantity rather than quality of commentary. The average independent blogger digs at scabs, then if there is some blood, he or she will point it out to the faithful audience. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. There is so much information available at our fingertips today that drawing attention to hot-button issues is helpful in sorting through the swamp.

I write short pieces and most of the "Regular Stops" links on the right will get you to other folks doing roughly similar work. Occasionally, however, someone will spend some excess energy on an essay that is insightful, powerful, well-referenced and undeniably logical. That is what happened today at Dr. Sanity's site. Take fifteen minutes to read through this. Slowly to absorb if you can, skim it quickly if you must, but read it:

Curiouser and Curiouser

Now, do you think you understand what is going on a little better? I hope so.

Messiah Open to Consider

How great is this man? It is mind-numbing to see the pace at which he seeks to convert this formerly capitalist, free-market, republic to a monolithic, all-powerful, total-dependency welfare state. It worked so well for the Soviet Union that today they are...oops, never mind. Well it worked so well in the People's Republic of China that they are now embracing free market capitalism and on a breakneck pace not only to catch up but to surpass the economic and technological prowess of the West...oops, poor example. Well, then it worked so well in Cuba that today people find it easy to keep a fleet of 1950's cars working reasonably adequately on the available fuel rations...oops, can anybody come up with an example where this stuff has worked?

Now, we've got this proposal:

Make Them Non-Profit and Dependent Upon Us

That's right! The news front is an important one. Gotta get control over that pesky media. They can't do it right themselves and make a profit. People see right through them when they are obviously in the tank for the administration. Advertising plummets, readership is non-existant, and their soft-ball journalism is fodder for late night talk-show monologs. They are collapsing and they are necessary to inform the proletariat what is good for them.

So, a couple of reliable liberal flunkies introduce a bill in the Senate to bail out the newspapers. Do it just like the banks and the car companies. Give them some money, save their scrawny butts, and then the Messiah makes the rules. Force them to become non-profits. That way they have no links to capitalism any more. Once saved, the government can then set the editorial policies, hire and fire the writers, control what gets published and have a magnificent tool for propagandizing the masses.

How easy to establish a state newspaper system and it will make Pravda look like a comic book operation.

A Day of Delights

Sunday was the day we all were waiting for. The usually shy President tried to overcome his reluctance to take the public platform and went out among the hostile elements of the mainstream media who have been aggressively opposing his every move dating back to his first efforts to enter this country as an immigrant from Indonesia with a sketchy past and an ultra-conservative mother.

Despite the deep-seated hostility of the national press corps, the President braved the lions and for the first time since his inauguration he went on television. As with all shy persons, he didn't choose a broad base for his appearances. At the suggestion of his staff of forty-six top-rated therapists who reached a consensus after the last four months of negotiation and review of a $137 billion study on causes and treatment of shyness, he choose narrow and tightly controlled market segments for his appearance.

The consideration was that if he spoke for short time to a single individual and in his own comfort zone of the Roosevelt Room of the White House, he could get through the ordeal. So, yesterday, America got to really see their President for the first time on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Univision. In quick, well-rehearsed, tightly scripted, pre-recorded and scrupulously edited video segments, he did a blitz of promotion of his favorite reading and historical perspectives from the 1917 revolutions to the nationalization and creation of the collectives of China. He seemed relaxed in the unfamiliar environment.

The citizen-subjects of the nation were delighted to see his face on channel after channel, each time across the five foot gap from a well-known and comfortably familiar avuncular news-reader celebrity. He exuded a warmth that has seldom been seen in recent years.

The topper for an already thrilling day of Messiah TV was his twenty minute live guest shot on the Home Shopping Network. He had changed to a less Presidential tie and indicated an approach to bipartisanship by donning a legacy Rush Limbaugh floral pattern that apparently had been recently purchased on eBay. (The reputed seller was not returning calls at the time of this writing.)

He was at the top of his game when he pitched a beautiful 14-karat gold-filled delicate chain necklace with zircon studded heart pendant that had a delightfully retro look. When he held it in his well-manicured hands, he accentuated the cut and clarity of the synthetic gems and seamlessly compared the similarity of his own healthcare proposals to real medical care. It was a delightful metaphor for those housewives who have been confused or unaware of the issue until then.

The necklace was offered at a special Presidential "no exorbitant profit" government negotiated contract rate of only $2750 with a special letter of authenticity. He stressed that buyers could pay it in 68 years of low monthly payments of just $49.95 per month and that doing so could shift the costs to the next generation and they would effectively get that beautiful necklace for free.

Well, I will tell you that as quickly as I could I reached for my phone. Alas, I was too late and according to the very nice telephone clerk in Sri Lanka, "My name is Betty. All dese nicklices are been already sold to dose nice men from dat federal regulatory agency for der wives. Would you like sometheen else?"

Still, I was calmed by the reassuring appearance of my President. He seemed in good health and his smile just made tingles run down my leg. But, then I realized it was only my dog scratching at my cuff to take him out for a walk.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Hard Sell Begins

I try to read the newspaper with an open mind. Not an accepting mind, but an open one for new ideas, challenging viewpoints, previously unseen perspectives and additional information. I've always read the major newspaper from the big city nearest where I live. When I was in Mesa, it was the Arizona Republic. In Alamogordo, it was the El Paso Times. In Colorado Springs it was both the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Denver Post.

Today, I live north of Dallas and that means the Dallas Morning News. That isn't a good thing. They are deep in the liberal tank. I've tried to be objective, but can conclude nothing else. One need only check their front page every day for a week or two. There may be huge issues afoot in the world, but what the DMN will offer you is a human interest story on the front above the fold. You'll find little about N. Korea's latest adventures. Not much about Iran's weapons program. Certainly nothing about Israel's challenges or Russia's resurgent adventurism.

No, you'll find a sad tale about a single mother of four who has no job, is eight months delinquent in her rent, faces eviction, will lose her children by court order because of impending drug charges and needs health insurance. Or, maybe there will be a deep analysis of the homeless wandering the streets of downtown Dallas and the nutritional content of the offerings of the soup kitchens.

This Sunday they've started the hard sell for Obamacare. They've got it localized, of course. There's the picture of a poor mother with lupus getting a treatment and not knowing how to pay for it when she reaches her maximum coverage point. Inside there is the self-employed couple working from home in a business selling "book holders". They are pinching pennies by using clamp-on reading lights on their laptop computers while working on the kitchen table with the overhead flourescents turned off! They opt for $6000 deductible health insurance and complain that they are paying a lot.

Inside there is five full pages of pictures and text of the need for a national healthcare plan. Take a look:

This Week We Focus on the Healthcare Problem in America

Now, let us stand back and try to detach the DMN's obvious bias. Dallas has an incredible network of quality healthcare providers in the city such as Baylor Medical Center or SMU. They've got a huge infrastructure of suburban medical center complexes. There is no care that you cannot receive in Dallas. If you expand to the entire state of Texas, the choices get even better. MD Anderson's Cancer Center in Houston is world renowned. The burn services available in the San Antonio area are best in the world.

What's the kicker headline of the DMN piece today? "Competition Drives Up Costs"!!!

Yes, despite monopoly being counter-productive to cost efficiency in every other enterprise in the world, the DMN found someone to say that competition doesn't work in healthcare.

Why? Well, the reason given is that when you have competition you will have doctors seeking to make profit...duh! Yes, and they do that by prescribing unneeded tests and examinations! Excuse me, how many times have you personally experienced a wrong diagnosis? I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 26 years old. It was a wrong diagnosis.

Doctors prescribe tests for two reasons and neither of them are profit motivated. First, they prescribe tests to narrow the possibilities and rule out or confirm causes of symptoms. Doctors are not prescient. They can't say conclusively, "your acid reflux is caused by a faulty esophogeal valve, let's go to surgery." They have to scope you, x-ray, cat-scan, MRI and maybe ultra-sound you to insure they have found the cause. Thankfully the "exploratory surgery" of the 1950's is a thing of the past.

Second, they prescribe tests as defensive medicine. A mis-diagnosis can be damaging to a patient, but unfortunately our laws have made a physician's mistake disastrous for the doctor. Failure to conduct a relevant test can lead to loss of a malpractice suit which can result in huge damage awards, so doctors pay exorbitant premiums for malpractice insurance. If they don't also minimize their risks, they will see those premiums escalate still further.

Elimination of competition will only result in deterioration of healthcare. We will lose our defense against mis-diagnosis, doctors will lose access to necessary diagnostic tools, the monopolistic single-payer will control funding leading to escalating costs to meet infrastructure requirements while at the same time rationing what care we receive.

The Dallas Morning News is going to devote a full week to building the Obamacare case and since they are the only major newspaper in the area, the case for the defense will not be heard. We will learn during this week of more human interest cases, lots of bad doctors, scandals in our best hospitals, limited access for the "unfortunates" of our society, and the nasty ol' obscene profits of anybody trying to make a living.

We won't hear anything about the failures and impending financial collapse of Medicare or the squandering of Medicare funds on Medicaid. We won't get an analysis of the very economical and efficient Medicare Advantage programs that are on the chopping block. We won't learn about the tax impacts of Obamacare nor a relationship to that elusive "tax cut for 95% of working families." We won't pick at the dirty scab that is government VA care despite the cesspool of a major VA center in S. Dallas. Nope. We are going to learn that Obamacare is the solution to stamping out competition and profit.

I don't think I can read it all without gagging. I'll depend on my other newspaper for news this week, the Wall Street Journal. The DMN will be good only for sports and comics.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Perspective on Life

Brigid waxes incredibly eloquently today on what for her is the shooter's view of life. She does a magnificent job of it and I might humbly note that her view makes her a "Fighter Pilot".

I Am A Shooter

Many who have had the assignment have not merited the title and many very clearly merit the title who have never strapped on a tactical aircraft. She's got it in spades. Read it and you'll know what I mean.

Saturday Morning Swinger

Why do you suppose zoot suits went out of style? I've been to Dumas, and didn't see a single ding-dong daddy.

Who Is the Injured Party

As someone with a couple of books published, I've learned a lot about the business. The main thing I've found out is that if you want to get rich, you could do it quicker in terms of hourly wage by flipping burgers at a fast-food joint rather than writing books. For every multi-millionaire author like J.K.Rowling, Steven King or (cough, gag, cough) Barack Obama, there are thousands of folks who get a book published by a major house and still net only a couple of bucks. It is a brutal business.

There is a joy to seeing your words in print and holding a book in your hands that has your name on the title page. There is satisfaction in having your thoughts distributed to readers around the world even if they only number in the thousands and not the millions. There is reward which isn't necessarily financial.

At the end you possess two things, a contract and a copyright. The former is an agreement with someone to publish your work and administer the various distributions such as hard-cover, soft-cover, electronic, audio, foreign language, movie/TV rights, serialization, animation, comic books even. The latter is your establishment of intellectual property. Your writing is your work just like a painting, a sculpture or a house that you built. You own it.

I've got Amazon's wunder-Kindle. I love it. I read more, it costs less, it is convenient, and I like the free wireless connection for my book acquisitions. I've encouraged both of my publishers (Smithsonian Books and St. Martin's Press) to make my books available on Kindle. If and when they do, I will get royalties based on our contract.

Google is entering the market and they are taking a different approach. They are seeking to make "out-of-print" books available for their e-reader. I'm not sure if I win or lose in that event.

Here's some analysis and the issue isn't a simple one:

Justice Department Opines to Federal Judge on E-Publishing

Some points need to be emphasized here. First, "out-of-print" is not out of copyright protection. I own the copyright, the publisher owns the right to publish--even when they let the work go out of print. It seems that Google is infringing on the publisher's rights here.

Google's royalty plan, if it is as stated in the analysis, offers 63% of the electronic sales price to the copyright holder as royalty. That appears to exceed anticipated royalties if paid in agreement with the publisher's contract which means I would gain. The publisher holding rights to a work which they have let go out-of-print would apparently lose. Unless, of course, the Google e-sale price is well below what could reasonably be anticipated. Since Google has no up-front costs of publishing and only scans a work and then distributes it, they could really bargain chop the pricing. Then I lose as well.

I've got a deep distrust of the Justice Department under this administration. The public policy emotional attachment of something like a "Free The Books" campaign stressing easy access to information denied the masses by the oppressor class of authors making "obscene" profits is all too apparent.

There is also the issue of big supporter payback which seems to underlie every action of the nationalization of American free enterprise. Google is a big player in every way. Congress loves to pander. The leanings of dependency oriented Americans seem to be toward expecting everything for nothing.

Someone is going to lose here and the way I see it, the only two players who have rights--the publishers and the writers--are the candidates. The smallest constituency is the weakest and we will suffer the tort.

Friday, September 18, 2009

There Are Costs to Living

The First Lady has now been enlisted in the never-ending campaign saga. She's hit the trail for health care and true to form she is playing up the victimhood aspects. Yes, my friends, the national healthcare system is abusive of women!

Act To Help Women Fight the System

Read that piece again slowly. It makes one want to scream that agonized Hindenburg disaster line, "ohhhh, the humanity."

Take this tidbit:

Michelle Obama said women are being “crushed by the current structure of our health care” because they often are responsible for taking care of family illnesses, arranging checkups and monitoring follow-up care.

Yes, they must arrange checkups and monitor follow-up and take care of their families. Who else would do it for you? You want a checkup, pick up the phone and make an appointment. The doctor tells you take two tablets every six hours. Who should monitor that you are doing it if not yourself? Your children need medical attention. They are your children! Take responsibility!

Women also are more disproportionately affected by the lack of insurance options because they are more likely to work part-time or at small businesses that don’t provide coverage.

Dissect that with me. They work part-time or at businesses that don't provide that because their husband is working full time and his benefits cover the family? They are married aren't they? There is a male partner in the household isn't there? Wouldn't that help?

Oh, they are single mothers. How did that happen? Isn't that a biological impossibility? They have to take care of their children, so they can't get a full-time job. They are on welfare and welfare only sends money it doesn't offer healthcare benefits...yet.

My impression is that Michelle is woefully out-of-touch. She also is spoiled rotten and unconcerned apparently about any inconvenience she might cause the proles around her:

Michelle Goes A Block for Fresh Veggies

Pick up some $20 a pound kale and cost the taxpayers a few hundred thousand while bunging up Washington traffic for an hour or two. Gotta love it!

Are You Practiced and Ready?

Tomorrow when you rise it will once again be "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" so you'd better be up on your jargon. It won't happen by itself, so you'd better study tonight and maybe practice a bit so that you don't embarass yourself and have to walk the plank or be keelhauled.

Start easy and work your way into the character:

Eventually though, you will want to get a bit more serious. Here's a real training film:

Learn all about it here:

Official Talk Like A Pirate Website

Now stop your dallying ye scabrous dogs and find me the rum.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Confluence of Giants

Wouldn't you have loved to have been there for this session?


The impact of "healthcare reform" on the actual practitioners has been minimized so far, but Billy Beck expounds on an item in Investor's Business Daily:

Driving the Dedicated Out of Business

There, my friends, is an unintended consequence that not even a blind man could miss seeing.

Dagny, Hank, Francisco, John Galt, you'll have great medical advice soon.

Boom, Boom, Pow!

The sounds of the crashing healthcare plan have me flashing on the Black Eyed Peas hit song...

Yesterday I watched a triumphant Max Baucus (D-Mont) announce the successful negotiation of a Senate healthcare bill that would do everything for everybody and simultaneously reduce the deficit over the next ten years. He smiled, he extolled, he lauded the aspects which would gain bi-partisan support, he had me driving home in this new car today!

But, I then realized that his lips were moving and I know too well what that means. There was the now familiar canard about keeping what I've got if I'm satisfied. And, the business about all that savings from reducing costs in Medicare--which I know means I'm going to get a lot less service and pay a lot more co-payments. There was that business-ignorant line about no denials for pre-existing conditions and the populist rhetoric about stopping those profits that insurance companies make.

But, there was some new stuff as well. Like the tax on "Cadillac" plans. If an employer is offering too good a healthcare plan, we're going to tax it for you! How logical is that? If they tax a conscientious employer providing quality insurance who will pay the tax? It always trickles down to the end-user, the worker. You will get taxed or your great plan will become a crappy one.

Now, here's the crashing part:

Won't Work For Nevada!

Imagine that! The Baucus plan is so bad that even Socialist-in-chief of the Senate, the leader of his own party, Harry Reid can't abide it!

But hey, if you've got union support, you can make it work can't you?

Coal Miners Will Take Lumps

Ooops! Fellow traveler Jay Rockefeller sees through the concept and points out that the union workers are going to get screwed over their hard-won Cadillac healthcare. And Rockefeller is well aware that putting an exemption for selected unions in the bill won't be a pretty picture for the media coverage.

Yet, there is always the possibility of some renegade Republicans showing how they embrace bipartisanship. You can always count on Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to cross the aisle and show her egalitarian side.

You're On Your Own, Max!

Boom, boom, pow!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Loving Every Minute of It

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Audacity of Hos
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests


"Gotta save the planet you know. Yes, indeed, those exhalations are the cause. Can't have that carbon dioxide you keep emitting screwing up the weather can we? Let's declare it evil and then tax it! Yes, that's the ticket."

"But, boss, we're in a recession, people are unemployed, taxes are sky-high and your poll numbers are plummeting."

"What do you think, Rahm? Can we turn this around by screwing them over still more? What would Saul Alinsky do? Are they frightened enough about global...what are we calling it this week?...That's right global climate change. Are they scared enough to let us milk this profit center?"

"Sure, boss. They're even dumber than the folks in Chicago. They don't even look for a taste out there in fly-over country. We can stick 'em, no problems. Anybody objects, we call'em racists."

"OK, so here's what we do. First I have EPA declare carbon dioxide a carcinogen and cause of greenhouse effects. Then I want you guys to set up a way to charge folks for it. How about we pull a number out of our butts and declare that the maximum allowed? We then sell stock in that butt-number, sort of like franchises to screw up the atmosphere. If you need more you can buy more from us. They can trade shares between themselves, but we control the total number of shares. Then every year or two we rachet the total amount down so that the shares cost more. We create a market for a product that is totally free and which they can't do without! Ohmigod! We're sort of being capitalists!"

"Genius, boss, simply genius. That's why you're the Messiah!"

So, now we start to get some truth out of (drum-roll and pregnant pause, please) the mainstream media outlet, CBS! Read this on what Cap-and-Trade will mean to you:

Effectively a Fifteen Percent Tax Hike

That's right! You won't have a thing that you don't have already, but now it will raise your yearly income tax rate, not your total tax, but the rate you pay by 15%.

It won't stimulate the economy. It won't increase the GDP. In fact it will lower it. It won't improve our position relative to the rest of the world. It won't create jobs, but it will increase unemployment. And, best of all, it won't do a damned thing to effect global weather patterns. It will just take your money out of your pocket.

How's that hope and change working out for you today?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toy Story

You've heard, I'm sure, about the Yard Sale Gestapo that will visit your driveway on a Saturday morn to check that you aren't selling any used but dangerous lead-filled toys that you've had around the house for five years in the hope that some child of a less fortunate family might get some use out of them. Can't have that can we?

Not finding many toys or books at the Goodwill store these days? No resale of that sort of thing anymore because unless you are willing to risk the liability you will be fined. Sorry, all of that useful stuff must be destroyed to "protect the children."

Unintended consequences are the bane of our existance. And, well-meaning, pandering legislators are the prolific creators of a never-ending supply of unintended consequences. If I were not an optimist I might believe that they actually intend to inflict the maximum damage on American families and businesses with the goal being to prolong the recession and exacerbate our economic strife. That couldn't be it, could it?

Read this:

The Toy Story From Hell

There must be some sort of qualification required to display demonstrable stupidity to serve in our Congress these days. The ineptitude with which they impose this crap on America is impressive indeed.

Yet, the Congress-critters were duplicitous enough to exempt toy-behemoth, Mattel, from the requirements of the legislation. How did that happen?

Your Healthcare Future

Have you been wondering about your healthcare visits after imposition of Obamacare upon us all? Do you think you will get the help you need in the precise areas you are concerned about? Or is it possible that bureaucracy could run amok?

It isn't like it hasn't happened before:

Deep Cesspools From Tiny ACORNs grow

I've got to note that the orchestration of the revealing of the ACORN sting video(s) is masterful. You've got to pay attention to avoid the possibility of thinking you are seeing repetition of a single incident. It hasn't dumped the whole crap bag on the table at one time. It is allowing it to be stretched so that outrage can build and maybe America will be able to get some information from their usual news sources in case they don't watch Fox or read the WSJ.

It started in Brooklyn. The intrepid stinger in garish bling and pimp rags accompanied by the scantily clad and tantalizing beauty in an unusual occupation seek some help from their local branch office of ACORN. They want to get a government housing loan to buy a place for their business but they can't figure out how to fill out the application. What do they do for a living? He's a pimp and she's a prostitute. Now they are an agent and a performing arts practitioner. No need to declare all of their income. That's the ACORN advice.

And, by the way, they also want to bring a bevy of thirteen year old illegal girls to live in the cat house. No problem, they become dependents.

Scandalous? You bet. Government funded? Absolutely! Isolated incident? Don't you wish.

Two days later, we get another chapter in the reality TV serial of what ACORN does with your tax dollars. The script was nearly identical in Washington DC. That reveals a pretty consistent ACORN modus operandi.

But, as the Ginzu knife commercial has taught us, "Wait! There's More!"

The most recent is Chapter 3. This time the ACORN road show is in Baltimore. Will this begin to lose impact because of repetition? I hope not. The stingers promise there is more to come before the season finale.

How is this playing in the MSM? This appeared on page 5 of this morning's Dallas Morning News:

Senate Cuts Funding for ACORN

Short and sweet, isn't it? No mention that this is the third instance. No mention that the videos have a two microphone record so it would take more than simply over-dubbing video. Creating identical audio tape and video record would be pretty high tech. Strong implication that this is some sort of right-wing conspiracy. Gratuitous hits at Fox News.

America is about to get sick of this, I think.

Monday, September 14, 2009

'Roid Rage

One side effect of steroid abuse is supposedly an overly aggressive attitude and a proclivity for violent outbursts. We should be familiar with it as we've watched for the last twenty-five or more years as football players become increasingly super-sized, able to bend steel with their bare hands, run faster than a speeding bullet and crush opposing super-sized linemen into submission without winding up short of breath. In fact, if rampant steroid usage makes an individual more susceptible to focussed outbursts without much provocation that might be viewed as a desirable football outcome. Explode off the line of scrimmage if you need to.

The problem arises when the 'roid rage occurs off the field because unfortunatley there is no convenient on/off switch. Then we get spouse abuse, bar fights, night time habitat destruction and injured by-standers.

In baseball, we see the manifestation in charging of pitchers' mounds (once a rare interruption to the normal staid and placid passage of a sunny afternoon at the ball park) or the breaking of a Louisville Slugger 35-inch, 34-ounce Bobby Bonds knot-free ash autograph-edition bat with bare hands. It may extend to the hapless water fountain in the dugout and occasionally results in a shower of furniture erupting from the clubhouse tunnel onto the area behind the third base coach's box.

But, what to make of this:

I'd Shove This F****** Ball Down Your F****** Throat

That was the petite Miss Serena Williams expressing her disagreement with a 4' 8" Asian line judge in a ladies tennis match.

Yes, the white flannels and straw boater crowd was delighted to observe the distaff side of the sport engaged in good old American sports banter on the clay courts. Take a look at the pictures in that news piece.

Is Ms William's musculature indicative of a well-planned exercise and diet regimen do you think? Or is modern chemistry at work there? Then also note the picture of the winners.

I'm thinking Serena is wasting her money on hypodermic needles.

Astonished and Apparently Out of Touch

The mainstream media reported it as "thousands" which was an updated estimate from the initial "couple of hundred." The less mainstream have found park police estimates of over a million--those are the folks that deal with DC demonstrations regularly so they have a handle on what the crowds are that fill how much of the mall and the streets of our capitol. Some European media gave the number as two million.

They Were Astonished!

I got an on-scene report from a friend who lives in the DC area. He's a retired Army aviator and a regular attendee at major events on the mall. He often guides small groups at the Vietnam Memorial and he regularly participates in honors ceremonies at Arlington. He is exceptionally active in programs to assist our wounded warriors at the medical facilities in the Washington area. He was there for the Tea Party.

He confirmed the high level crowd estimates. The numbers were amazing. What was more amazing was that the crowd was orderly. The aftermath was not a trashing of the area. The message was clear and consistent. We the people are simply not interested in what the Messiah is adamant that he must have. Leave our healthcare alone.

And, the media was largely absent. The usual media command centers were largely unmanned. The vans, the satellite dishes, the camera guys with talking heads were out of sight.

Above all, the reaction is that the Congress-critters who acknowledge it at all "were amazed."

They still don't get it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Master Race & The Mud People

Study totalitarianism a bit and you will find it; the need for a straw man enemy. Totalitarianism is a unique product of the Twentieth Century. Before that time it might have been a goal but it was a technological impossibility. You could assuredly have autocrats, despots and tyrants, but they did not have the capability to build a system which could monitor and control every aspect of society, which is the basic characteristic of a totalitarian system.

The term gets used haphazardly, but it is a misnomer when you apply it to Iran or Iraq, North Korea or Cuba. It comes close occasionally, but it really fits best to only a very few systems and particular leadership. Stalin's Soviet was arguably the first example of a true totalitarian society. He purged his enemies, organized his loyalists, controlled his economy and tolerated no challenges. He monitored, listened, controlled propaganda and re-interpreted both history and current events. If he told you that there was plenty of food you accepted that as you were turned away at the empty bakery. Nothing in your life was beyond government scrutiny.

Hitler did it best. And, if we dig at his interpretation of totalitarian we find a key to gaining "consent of the governed" for such a loss of liberty. He built a threat to the society, a stereotypical enemy against whom the power of government could be used without limit. For Hitler it was the Jews and the "mud people"--those races against which prejudice could be nurtured and hatred could flower to excess. They had killed Christ and they had been the money-lenders when charging of any interest was viewed by Christians as usury. They were the cause of problems and they could be extinguished without moral question. Be careful what you say or write because the Gestapo will know it.

Are we building a totalitarian future for America?

We are rushing headlong into nationalization of major segments of our economy. Mortgages, banks, markets, wages, automakers, energy production and rationing, soon healthcare will be government run, dispensed, regulated. If you wish to receive you will be obliged to comply.

The power exists to monitor our email, listen to our cell-phone conversations, retrieve our internet activities, track our movements and everywhere we go we are in view of surveillance cameras.

We are watching a free media be overwhelmed by a governmental propaganda arm. The Messiah is on prime time TV at least once a week. He's dominant on every news magazine cover. He has found his way into our school classrooms by webcast so that parents are cut out of the loop. He is dispenser of largess for purchasing a new car, for getting groceries at the local food distribution point, for having a bit of spending money to "stimulate" the economy, and soon for maybe getting a shot of flu vaccine. He is the giver of all things we need for life.

But what if he is challenged? What if someone dares to comment on the absence of clothing on the Emperor? Then we get this:

It Is Always About Race

How can someone spin those two words, "You lie!" into a racist rant? What can possibly be wrong about commenting on veracity of basic statements in a public forum when someone is of a different ethnicity?

Does Maureen Dowd want us to abandon any rational debate simply because the President is African-American?

I wonder what she would have thought of this:

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all."

That was from Theodore Roosevelt in 1915.

I almost wish we could print that on our currency instead of "In God We Trust."

Mis-Shaping the Message

Unless you live in a cave you've heard about Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) being taken up by the Messiah's compelling rhetoric during Wednesday's joint session of salesmanship on healthcare. He was so deeply enthralled that he simply responded with "You lie!" It was a singular comment, nothing at all like my own every 27 seconds during the speech.

The feigned outrage of the left was instantaneous and simultaneously disingenuous. They demanded groveling immediately and purged the national memory of their much more vocal and widespread disrespect for President Bush in those same chambers just a few short years ago. The papers were filled with stories of Wilson's opponents war-chests over-flowing while Wilson plummeted in the local election polls--a totally fictitious and one-sided coverage of that aspect. And, Joe politely sent an apology to the President.

Now, take a couple of minutes for this "news" story that isn't:

Why in heaven's name would CNN put a reporter on a live shot on the mall during a demonstration against Obamacare that drew 2 million people to ignore the envent discuss Joe Wilson four days earlier?

Isn't the story about the fact that America has been activated and is trying to attract the attention of the dilletantes of Washington? Isn't the message de jour that they are moving the nation in the wrong direction? Why is that bimbo standing there talking about Joe Wilson and whether he should be called on the floor of the House for a flogging? What was CNN thinking?

Notice the respect for the reporter when the crowd is asked to listen for a second to a question. Can you imagine SEIU and ACORN acting like that? And then marvel at the deflection of the crowd's reaction when asked how they view Wilson. The anchor fluff simply ignores it.

And, just in case you think Joe Wilson needs to stay in his job, here's where you can check him out:

Notice the big red CONTRIBUTE button on the top right--It's easy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The New Van Jones

You are going to hear a lot about Cass Sunstein in the coming days. Now that Van Jones has been swept into the dustbin of history, Glen Beck is focussing on this new target. He is of concern to a lot of folks because he is the Messiah's appointee to be the Kommissar of Information and Regulation. Sorry, make that Administrator of Information and Regulation...but that title is equally 1984-ish, isn't it? Effectively he is a super-czar that will be coordinating what is apparently already a gigantic effort to control what information we receive and whether the federal government will leave anything unregulated.

He was in the news yesterday with a quote in support of the Supreme Court's Heller decision on an individual's right to ownership of a handgun within the District of Columbia. He sounded reasonable in acceptance of the Second Amendment as an individual vice collective right. It didn't take a very long time, however, to find a quote by him saying exactly the opposite. That statement was just two short years ago.

Want to learn about him? Maybe the most damning fact is his most recent employment--law professor at the University of Chicago. He's an Obama colleague from the same ultra-left academic cesspool. That should tell you all you need to know.

But, I'm not above a bit of research. Sunstein has a web page.

Professor Cass R. Sunstein

The usual college prof stuff is there, including a CV and a list of his publications. Can we glean a bit of info from what he has written? Click on the "Info" button next to his titles, and you get with the books for sale. Words like "nuanced" and "thoughtful" appear regularly, but they thinly mask a very unusual view of the world in America's future.

Check some titles:

Free Markets and Social Justice

Yes, he is going to get that social justice thing going for us and quite clearly achieving that justice is being obstructed by that pesky free market business.

Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech

We've certainly got to do something about the niggling problem of free speech don't we? We need some regulation of that so the proper messages can be supported and those counter arguments don't confuse us.

The Bill of Rights and the Modern State

Pray tell me what modernity has to do with the immutable rights expressed so cogently and so clearly protected by our Founding Fathers.

After the Rights Revolution: Reconceiving the Regulatory State

The review raves about the "right to clean air and safe consumer products" which the free market has always seemed to defend quite nicely. But, we can always use a "regulatory state" I guess. Thank God for Prof. Sunstein.

And, of course, let's not leave out:

Feminism and Political Theory

But, I always thought political theory was delightfully gender neutral. Yet a glance at Prof. Sunstein's picture does seem to show some metro-sexual, sensitive side nuances.

Truth Will Out

Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn. I simply had to watch. I remembered the rule though: if his lips are moving he is lying. I wasn't disappointed.

He was charismatic. He was dramatic. He was emotional. He was convincing. He was declarative. He was reading it. He was lying.

Yes, if I hadn't seen the language of HR-3200, I might have swallowed it all and jumped aboard the US Titanic. If I didn't understand the issue of a public insurance option "competing" with private industry, I would think it a good deal. If I didn't read between the lines about how ridiculous the accusation of "death panels" was, I wouldn't see the rationing in our future. If I didn't understand the economics of "no pre-existing condition" insurance, I would believe that I could delay getting fire insurance on my home until the flames were actually visible.

But, the whole evening was worth the pain. I watched a master-liar at work. He made Bill Clinton's denial of sex with Lewinsky look amateurish. The high point, however, was this one:

Joe Wilson (R-SC) Couldn't Take It

Yes, right there in public for all the world to see, Joe yelled out "you lie" to the President and Messiah-in-Chief. For a moment I thought it was the start of a British Parliament question session of the PM. After the boring stand-up, sit-down, clap-clap-clap of the previous thirty minutes it was refreshing.

The glare from Nancy Pelosi was worth capturing for posterity. Watching her grab her seating chart and look to identify the miscreant while the Bamster raved on was priceless. She can sure give a dirty look!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Once a Year is Too Much

The "Great State Fair of Texas" doesn't kick off until the last week-end of this month, but the most important event may have already taken place.

Yes, my friends, I refer to the "Big Tex Choice Awards," that annual homage to the evilest foods the mind of man can concoct for ingestion along the midway. We've known for years of the preference of incipiently obese children and their doting parents for fried foods. A state or county fair is ample justification to forget about four basic food groups, type II diabetes, and early onset heart disease. We want it fatty and fried.

Now, there are some things that are simply disgusting. I like a great hamburger and won't turn away a quality hot dog, particularly if it comes with all of the classic Chicago fixings. No, I mean that insult to gastronomy, the corny dog. That has no redeeming qualities in any universe. No one beyond the age when you thought Twinkies were good would ever eat a corny dog willingly.

Funnel cakes, on the other hand, are a gift from the gods. Call them what you will, Navajo fry bread or German krullers or southern fritters or super hush puppies. Sweet dough, deep-fried and dusted with powdered sugar is wonderful.

If you accept that folks want fried and fatty, it isn't a stretch to figure out the Big Tex Choice Awards. Hold a competition each year for the fair's midway vendors and then give prizes for "most creative" and "best taste." Win the prize, you get lots of pre-fair publicity, and when the fair opens the world beats a path to your door.

The Last Winners of Big Tex Choice

Proving again that nothing exceeds like excess, the most creative this year is "Deep Fried Butter"! Whip some butter with some nice flavors like maple or cinnamon or apple, then freeze it in little balls. Batter and deep fry the butter-balls. Sprinkle with the obligatory powdered sugar and voila. You get a mouth full of sweet bread with melted butter on the inside.

Best Taste winner is a more attractive and less cholesterol loaded treat, "Deep Fried Peaches and Cream." What's not to like about that?

Fernie’s Deep Fried Peaches & Cream – Sweet juicy peaches are coated in a delicious batter of cinnamon, ginger, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, eggs & milk, then deep fried to a crunchy golden brown on the outside, while luscious and sweet on the inside. Served on a plate drizzled with raspberry sauce, lightly dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a cool dollop of whipped cream. A side of vanilla butter cream icing is provided for dipping.

Be still my beating heart!

Freedom of Speech

From Juneau it might have been difficult to contribute some cogent thoughts on health care, but freed from those constraints and relocated onto the national stage, former Gov. of Alaska, Sarah Palin waxes eloquent in the Wall Street Journal:

Ignore the Past, Embrace the Dream

She points out the obvious and in the process demonstrates the distortions of the administration. The Messia seeks measured discourse, talking "with each other rather than over each other." She smacks him down with common sense, quotes from the congressional budget office and a large dose of common sense.

How can anyone accept the proposals of the President? Take what you know and apply it. Medicare has all workers paying to insure a few, the elderly. That insurance is barely adequate as most folks will need a supplement to really pay the bills. It is already a band-aid solution (no healthcare pun intended.) Many doctors opt not to accept Medicare patients because of the inadequacy.

Now, you are asked to believe that healthcare benefits will be extended by this same bureaucracy to everyone. That necessitates acceptance that the existing base of payers (i.e. all workers) will be able to insure a group five times as large without getting a huge tax increase in the form of Medicare withholding.

Then accept that existing Medicare coverage will be improved while at the same time reducing costs. That is the classic conundrum of doing more with less. Maybe spinning straw into gold would be a better metaphor for our presidential Rumpelstiltskin.

Top the whole sundae with the requirement to believe that a non-profit, bureaucrat operated, mandatory-or-be-fined, public option insurance won't damage private insurance options. Remember that the government will regulate, mandate and handicap the free-enterprise companies along the way.

Listen carefully to the discussion which has gone on regarding "death panels." Throw out the inflammatory nickname. Simply consider the end-of-life options. Is care efficacious at that point? If you are concerned with cutting costs won't you inevitably ration?

Examine all of the other national healthcare experiments. Check numbers to evaluate. Still believe it is a good idea?

Read Gov. Palin, then get involved.

Villainy As High Art

One of my favorite and most dignified villains from one of my favorite movies:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Robin Olds

Production on the Robin Olds book is moving ahead rapidly. The publisher, St. Martin's Press, is already distributing copies of the manuscript for cover blurbs from noted people. The first return is a home-run:

"Robin Olds is probably the greatest aerial warrior America ever produced. He is the real deal, a fighter pilot's fighter pilot, a consumate military professional, a natural, charismatic leader, and a true, heroic servant of our republic. His autobiography tells it like it was... and provides written proof why the people who served with him made him a legend. That men like Olds chose to wear our nation's uniform does high honor to the profession. I confidently predict that this book will be an instant classic."

--Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of THE ASSASSIN

With a few more like that, this book should go flying off the shelves when it is released next spring.

Airpower Classics

Occasionally a bit of recognition pops up from an unexpected place. This is from the current edition of Air Force Magazine, the monthly publication of the Air Force Association. The feature for this month's "Airpower Classics" is the F-105 Thunderchief:

Beautiful Warrior

Yours truly winds up in some pretty powerful company in the list of "notables" associated with the venerable Thunderchief. I'm deeply honored to even be noticed.

The Shoe Is About to Drop

One can only wonder how much longer the Messiah can continue to wag his scrawny little finger in the face of the American people and blame the previous administration for the national debt. This is on the near-term agenda:

Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling Needed to Match Real Debt

That's right! We are going to be over $13 TRILLION by the end of the fiscal year. I wish old Everett Dirksen was alive today. He, you may recall, was the originator of that quote about "a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money." We don't even worry about billions anymore.

But, there is some interesting stuff in that piece. First notice this bit of background:

Democrats in control of Congress, including then-Sen. Obama (Ill.), blasted President George W. Bush for failing to contain spending when he oversaw increased deficits and raised the debt ceiling.

That's modus operandi, isn't it? Bush bad, but now Obama good. In his own words, the Messiah condemns high debt:

“Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren,” Obama said in a 2006 floor speech that preceded a Senate vote to extend the debt limit. “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.”

Truer words were never spoken! I am stunned to find myself in total agreement with him. We do have a debt problem and we definitely have a failure of leadership!

The real pressure point this go-round is the Senate. You see they will have to stand and deliver, not like the miscreants of the House who had a mechanism for hiding:

When the House raised the debt limit to $13 trillion as part of a budget resolution approved in April, Democratic leaders used a maneuver known as the “Gephardt rule,” named after former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt (Mo.), to avoid taking a roll call vote on the debt limit increase.

I think I would really feel bad about leaving that legacy in the House of Representatives, a rule that the members could use to avoid responsibility.

There isn't much choice about the action however, since the SecTreasury, Tim "TurboTax" Geithner says it is a fact that only needs to be legalized. The real issue is how this will impact the debtors (AKA China), the markets, the plummeting dollar, and the future of all Americans.