Friday, October 31, 2008

The Magic Republican Formula

Too good to pass up.

Whenever Republicans lose an election, there are pundits at the ready, prepared to explain that the GOP must downplay issues like abortion in order to concentrate on those sexy populist themes like cutting the capital-gains tax. The script is written before the campaign begins. If Republicans win, it is because of the appeal of capital-gains cuts and despite their opposition to abortion. If they lose, it is because of their opposition to abortion and despite the appeal of capital-gains cuts. The facts don't matter; the analysis comes before the data

Got that?

It's all Palin's fault.

As you might guess, the commentary was written in response to an "Expert" on the staff of the Wall Street Journal.

Humbert H Humphrey, Cuba, and Doyle-Style Politics

There's nothing like a story from Roeser to illuminate the dark (and I MEAN 'dark') corners of Democrat politics.

Humphrey and his Democrat (DFL) allies had a lock on the Mesabi Range voters, all of whom were convinced that the mining companies had screwed them silly. In fact, the DFL's increasingly extortionate taxation of mining had brought the enterprise to its financial knees. Unemployment on the Range would not go away.

Then, the discovery that taconite (the waste product of mining) could be processsed--manufactured---into viable iron ore. Millions could be spent on the necessary machinery and technology, and thousands could be employed. Were jobs to be had, the DFL resentment-vote would slowly disappear, endangering Hubert H Humphrey's empire.

But in order to make that happen, the Minnesota Constitution had to be amended.

Of course, the (R) Governor of Minnesota made it a priority to amend the Constitution. This item would be on the 1962 ballot, as would the Governor.

Minnesota was always to be a Democratic state but as the fall of 1962 loomed, it looked like we were ahead and the taconite amendment might be accepted by the voters for consideration later. Humphrey saw this as a great threat. We were on the way to reelection in mid-October, 1962 when the Cuban Missile Crisis hit the Kennedy administration

Suddenly the whole complexion of the campaign changed. We were shut out of the news for more than a week because the national and Minnesota media concentrated on the heroic figure of John F. Kennedy facing yet another test in national security policy

...The nation thrilled to see the Russians supposedly…supposedly… back down. Kennedy was adjudged the winner and with it came a gigantic surge of pro-JFK admiration across the land

...Unknown at the time was that Bobby Kennedy had cut a secret deal with the Kremlin that we would remove missiles from Turkey if they would recompense in Cuba…and keep it quiet so his brother could savor the favorable press. We dismantled our missiles in Turkey which gravely weakened the defenses of the West but the media portrayed it as a glorious victory for this young photogenic president

The Gubernatorial/Amendment campaign continued apace, and it appeared that the (R) Governor would prevail, as well as the Amendment.

...Hubert Humphrey took care of that. In the last few hours of October he unveiled a so-called “scandal” involving 13 feet of concrete poured at unacceptably cold temperatures for a stretch of Interstate 35 near Hinckley…poured, he charged, in cold weather at the insistence of my governor so he could dedicate the portion of the highway for his own political aggrandizement. Then to make it official, Humphrey got the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (then in the Commerce Department) to cancel the portion of the interstate that was to be paid by the feds-90%. I discovered that the highway worker responsible for orchestrating the “scandal” was a brother of a high DFL operative. Did the media care? Nope

(That's for those of you who think that media antipathy for Pubbies is of recent ain't so, folks...)

With that supposed contract cancellation in his pocket, Humphrey announced that the taxpayers of Minnesota would have to pay the entire cost of the Interstate at a cost of tens of millions of dollars due to the Republican governor’s piggish, loutish insistence on pouring the concrete. Of course the pouring of the concrete wasn’t done at our behest. Dedicating a portion of the Interstate was of minimal significance and we never bothered thinking about it. But between the Kennedy aura and the Humphrey charge of evil collusion, we lost reelection by…get this…91 votes out of 1,250,000 cast

Think that "the national interests," or even "the PEOPLE'S interests" ever get between a Dem politician and the power-goal?

Think again.

"Experts" on Palin

The other McCain swings his mace.

None of her critics in the commentariat could ever draw such a crowd or generate such enthusiasm, and yet they do not hesitate to proclaim that she is "not close to being acceptable in high office" ([Ken] Adelman), that her selection as John McCain's running mate is "irresponsible" ([Francis] Fukuyama) and even that she "represents a fatal cancer to the Republican Party" ([David] Brooks).

Popularity as a pathology? What Brooks and the others are saying is that these people who spend hours in the cold October wind for a chance to see Sarah Palin are too stupid to know what's good for them. "Listen to us," say the political experts.

One of those (R) "experts" happens to comment on this blog, and runs his own blogs, too...

After briefly mentioning the "Nuke Iraq/Iran" proclivities of the above-named "experts," McCain opines with accuracy:

...And at nothing are they more expert than evading responsibility, a task that requires scapegoats. So the unpopularity of the Republican Party has nothing to do with the policies the experts urged and the politicians the experts supported. Rather, it's the provincial hockey mom who is to blame."Cakewalk Ken" and Fukuyama have now declared their support for Obama, citing Palin prominently among their reasons. Brooks and Will have not (yet) declared themselves acolytes of Hope, but have made clear that they view Palin as an unalloyed dead weight on the GOP.

...AMONG THE FACTS the experts ignore is that the Republican Party was in deep political trouble long before John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. The total popular vote in the Democratic primaries (36 million) was 70 percent larger than in the GOP primaries (21 million), and McCain's 9.9 million primary votes represented just 47 percent of the Republican total

At least the local 'expert' didn't advocate turning the Middle East into glass, and DOES have constructive criticism of the (R) campaign--admittedly, a barn-sized target.

But "experts" who see Palin as the problem are wrong. McCain and the (R) label are the problem--and it will be precisely the same with Romney, or Jeb Bush.

Romney? Is He Serious?

Mitt Romney now sees himself as the savior of the (R) brand.

This is the guy who instituted "Romney-Care" in Massachusetts--which even his (D) successor (Patrick) can't afford to keep running? The guy who illegally "blessed" same-sex marriages in Massachusetts?

THAT Romney?

The Romney gang is dirt-i-fying Palin--mostly to head her off at the pass.

But Romney will have a larger problem than merely burying Palin.

It will be finding Conservatives who have any interest in him, whatsoever.

HT: Peter

Underwater In Wisconsin

The WSJ publishes a map.

In Wisconsin, according to the WSJ item, about 14% of Wisconsin homeowners are "upside down" on their mortgages (they owe more than the home is worth,) and 20%+ are "near underwater."

It's not quite as bad as the national average of 18%.

Principal Removes Obama Sign

JSOnline reports that Dr Mark Schmitt, Principal of Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha has removed the Obama sign from his front yard.


'Responsibilities' finally showed up and arm-wrestled 'rights' to the ground, where (in this instance) they belong.

Fr. Hartmann and the Board are to be thanked for their courage.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama, Dr. Schmitt?

The principal of Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, WI., insists on maintaining his "OBAMA" sign in his front yard, across the street from the school. Most people familiar with the school and with Dr. Schmitt KNOW that it's his yard, and his sign.

This despite the following:

Obama is undecided on whether life begins at conception -

Obama has pledged to Planned Parenthood to sign The Freedom of Choice Act, a law which would cancel every state, federal, and local regulation of abortion, no matter how modest or reasonable. It would even abolish all state restrictions on government funding for abortions. Catholics that pay income tax will be paying an abortionist to perform an abortion

Obama would repeal the Mexico City policy, which bars federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations involved in abortion-related services and would pit the US against the Vatican on the international fight against abortion

He strongly supports the 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion rights and says he will oppose any constitutional measure to overturn it.

Obama has pledged to choose Justices with a Pro Abortion agenda and he voted against Roberts and Alito

Obama voted no on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions and prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion

Obama supports the destruction of embryos for experimentation and voted to expand research to more embryonic stem cell lines

He voted yes on $100M to fund contraceptives for teens and sponsored bill providing contraceptives for low-income women

Voted no on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP a program that gives funds to states in order to provide health insurance to families with children

He opposed the federal marriage amendment in 2006 and also favors repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which gives a state the right not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state

These are not "values of the Kansas heartland." These are the values of Moloch--the Culture of Death.

HT: Pro Ecclesia

McCain/Obama Tax Plans

They actually do have some proposals.

Both plans, on balance, reduce federal taxes, demonstrating a clear and encouraging understanding by the candidates that income taxes are too high. McCain proposes $300 million more in tax cuts over 10 years. Unfortunately, Obama proposes additional tax increases -- but conveniently delays their implementation until at least two years after a hypothetical second term...

Oh, really? That's not taking into account the Magical-Disappearing-Tax-Credit "reduction" of the O-and-Con-Man...


Among the major differences, the most important is that McCain's proposals emphasize creating jobs and raising wages.

This distinction is most apparent in the Republican nominee’s proposal to extend all the 2001 and 2003 reductions in tax rates and his proposals to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent -- second highest in the industrialized world -- to 25 percent. The distinction is also apparent in McCain’s proposal to allow immediate expensing of business investment necessary for job growth and international competitiveness.

McCain finesses the "fair trade" issue by addressing one of the causes: tax rates. Business in PRChina do not pay taxes; matter of fact, they are heavily subsidized for exporting products. It's mercantilism pure. McCain's answer: a little-bitty teeny-tiny counter-fire exercise.

Beats the hell out of Obama's plan:

Obama's preference for punitive redistributionism is also seen in his proposal to raise tax rates on capital gains and dividends. Capital formation is essential for increasing workers’ productivity and wages. Taxes on capital gains and dividends are direct and certain impediments to business investment.

Given the problems with capital in the last few months (it disappears from Banks pretty quickly, no?) this "capital formation" thing is extremely significant. Running a business on borrowed money doesn't work for long, particularly in thin-margin industries--that is, in competitive businesses.

Like jobs? Like having an income?

Think carefully about long-term prospects.

IBD/TIPP Tracking Poll, Day 17

Umnnnnhhhh, that's yesterday, 10/17...

Three points, with 9/2% undecided.

I looked at the "Catholic" section. And the "Catholic" section is moving towards McCain. A few days ago it was a dead heat--now it's 44/42 McCain, with 13% undecided.

Think 59 Bishops may have had something to do with it?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Catholic Memorial HS Principal: OBAMA Supporter

Belling has a hot one.

Seems the Principal of Catholic Memorial HS in Waukesha, WI., has a large "Obama" sign in his front yard--which is across the street from the school.


Here's a guy, Dr. Mark Schmitt, who makes his living on NON-ABORTED children, working for a Church whose Bishops have made clear that only a "grave reason" should allow support for the most viciously pro-abortion Presidential candidate in US history.

Further, Belling reports that 'several members of the CMH Board' have asked the principal to take down his sign--and he has refused.

The President of the school, Fr. Paul Hartmann (who is unable to articulate the USCC position on the matter, by the way) acknowledges that Board members are "upset," like many teachers and students.

But Hartmann cannot convince the Principal to take down his sign, either.

I'm sure that the Principal, Mr. Schmidt, has a morals clause in his contract, Father.

Exercise it, Father. Grow a pair.

Palin and McPain

Couldn't-a said it better myself.

The only reason that John McCain even has a chance in this election is because of Sarah Palin. No one cares about the “maverick.” Before he selected her to be his running mate the only reason people were thinking of voting him was because they were deathly afraid of having a progressive loon like Obama in the White House. Much of the support for McCain is still largely anti-Obama sentiment, but now there are people genuinely excited about the Republican ticket because it contains the most truly conservative candidate on the ticket since Reagan left the scene. While McCain can barely fill small auditoriums at his rallies, Palin has people lined up for nearly a mile to catch a glimpse of her.

Those who despise Sarah Palin are the very same people who gave us the turd sandwich called John McCain. They thought that the Republican Party could once again return to its Rockefeller (non) glory days. The fact that Palin conservatism is vastly more appealing than McCain conservatism has got to be a tremendous disappointment to those operating under the delusion that they could recapture control of the Republican Party. Sorry guy, but no dice. If McCain loses next Tuesday - and I am going out on the limb of limbs in predicting that he WILL NOT - then that paves the way for traditional conservatives to solidy control within the party for the 2010 and 2012 elections. Even if McCain wins, the strong possibility that he will step down after one term means that Sarah Palin will be the next GOP nominee

Look, folks. McCain's campaign has been horrible; it began as a cult-of-personality thing and is ending sounding as though he's channeling Reagan. But in reality, that's because there's no there there in McPain. To call him 'erratic' is accurate, but does not capture him.

In the end, McCain's political philosophy is non-existent. Period. It's day-to-day; it's ad-hoc.

It's reported that the Pubbie Poohbahs are retreating to the Bat-Cave after the election to 'figure it all out' again.

They would do better to ask Palin her thoughts and unanimously agree to adopt them as the next Party platform.

Damn Hard Work, That Foreign Relations Stuff

Obama will get a crash course, I guess.

Here's a short vid demonstrating his assiduous study of foreign affairs.

He's on the Senate For/Relat's Committee. But don't confuse letterhead-presence with actual application.

HT: Regular Guy

Fifty-Nine Bishops and Waiting

A comprehensive list compiled by reveals that more than 80 U.S. bishops have proclaimed abortion and the life issues to be the defining issues in the upcoming election, including 22 bishops who signed on to a joint statement by the New York bishops, and another 10 bishops who signed on to a Pennsylvania joint statement (Free Republic)

At this time, the Archbishop of Milwakee has not issued a statement, nor has the Bishop of Green Bay.

However, Bps. Listecki (LaCrosse) and Morlino (Madistan) have done so.

Abp. Timothy Dolan may yet essay on the issue. The closest he's come is this:

...abortion is a complex issue; ...people of good will need to work creatively to create a just society where the poor have options to care for their babies, born and pre-born - a point powerfully made in many documents of the American bishops, including "Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. bishops' pastoral statement on political responsibility

...printed in the Milwaukee JS in September.

"I Lost My Home"

Here's a long essay from an ex-Obama speechwriter.

There are a couple of lines which are significant:

Perhaps this is why I found the initial mocking of Joe so offensive and I realized an old line applied: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”

The party I believed in wouldn’t look down on working people under any circumstance. And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations.

That's the clincher, although her take-away isn't bad, either:

When people say how excited they are about this election, I can now say, “Maybe for you. But I lost my home.”

According to Charlie, Obama has now told us that tax-increases will hit those earning $75K.

She won't be the ONLY one to lose her home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"A Collective Salvation"?

Interesting video here.

This is the vid in which Obama compares Bosnia to the USA. I don't recall any recent episodes of ethnic cleansing here in the US, nor Hutu/Tutsi mutual bloodbaths, (except, of course, Planned Parenthood's campaign,) but that wasn't the part that interested me.

Earlier on, Obama gets into his reparations-race-fixation--castigating the suburbanites who 'don't want to pay for city children to go to school...' Well, there are some who feel that way. It's a leap, though, to imply that ALL suburbanites have that attitude, and in Wisconsin, it's irrelevant. The entire State contributes to MPS.

Most striking is his comment that 'my individual salvation....[requires]....collective salvation for the country...[requiring] sacrifices for the new day and the new age.' (Right around 1:00 in the vid.)

That language is odd, wouldn't you say? He's invoking religion here--but what religion? Is this what Rev. Wright teaches? Or does this "collective salvation" notion come from some other place?

It's language for a crusade--but in whose name?

HT: No Quarter

Ayers and Dohrn Visited Mecca

Well, THEIR version of Mecca.

If the MSM had any difficulty, or even cared about, finding unrepentant domestic terrorist and Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers, or his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, during a week this past September, it was perhaps because they didn’t know where to look — or, most likely, weren’t looking.

The radical couple had made a little offshore visit to that four-letter island off Florida’s coast...

That would be Cuba, folks.

Documentation here.

Toledo Cop-Clerk Searched Joe's Records

Well, here's the fish that will get fried.

The Toledo Police Department confirms that one of its records clerks has been charged with performing an unlawful search of Joe The Plumber’s records.

(Nothing said as to whether the perp was DIRECTED to do so by a superior... and I'll bet a bit that she was just following orders.)

One who will NOT get fried:

Obama donor Helen Jones-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, approved a separate search. More are being investigated.

But word has it that Joe the Plumber's thinking about a lawsuit...

"Hush Rush" Hits McIlheran

Clearly, the JS editorial board is working towards fairness.

McIlheran's blog has been dead since the Great Makeover (except for about 1 day with the new graphix).

Perhaps he'll send messages by pigeon?

$250K, $200K, $150K.....and Counting Down to YOU!

Sykes has least for the time being:

7/8/08: "If You Make $250,000 A Year Or Less, We Will Not Raise Your Taxes. We Will Cut Your Taxes." (Barack Obama)

10/25/08: "If you have a job, pay taxes, and make less than $200,000 a year, you’ll get a tax cut." (Barack Obama)

10/27/08: "What we're saying is that $87 billion tax break doesn't need to go to people making an average of 1.4 million, it should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people -- people making under $150,000 a year." (Joe Biden)

At that rate, it will be $52K by January 1st, and $30K on Inauguration Day.

Maybe WEAC members should be paying attention.

ACORN Needs a BIG Tax Credit, Obama!!


This outfit knows how it would like you to spend YOUR money. Not-so-good on spending their own, particularly for Federal taxes, fair wages, know, silly stuff like that.

...more than 200 federal, state, and local tax liens adding up to more than $3 million have been filed against the ACORN network since 1989. All of these liens, which are only issued by creditor tax agencies after a tax debt has become seriously delinquent, are associated with ACORN's 1024 Elysian Fields Avenue address in New Orleans, Louisiana. That address is the official headquarters for nearly 300 ACORN-affiliated groups.

The most recent lien ($23,383) was filed by the IRS against an ACORN affiliate, American Workers Associates Inc., on Sept. 9. The largest lien ($547,312) was filed against ACORN itself by the IRS on March 10.

...Even though it's unclear what kinds of taxes ACORN and its affiliates failed to pay, because almost all ACORN affiliates are nonprofits that are exempted from paying most or all taxes, it seems likely that the liens were issued for non-payment of employees' payroll taxes, which are not covered under the tax-exemption.

Several accountants confirmed this view, saying the tax debts are probably related to delinquent payroll taxes. If so, this would be the ultimate irony because payroll taxes fund the social programs and wealth redistribution schemes that ACORN so ardently supports. (See Foundation Watch, November 2008.)

Makes sense. After all, when the O-and-Savior steals YOUR 401(k) money, then all that cash can go toward the delinquent Social Security taxes which ACORN didn't pay.

Ironies abound:

ACORN stoutly defends the right of workers to organize unions, but the group doesn't like it when its own workers try to organize. It has tried to stop its own employees from signing up with unions, and in 2003 the National Labor Relations Board determined it had unlawfully blocked its workers from organizing...

This while occupying the very same building as the SEIU headquarters, no less...

And all that "living wage" stuff? Piffle!!

ACORN supports raising the minimum wage and enacting so-called living wage policies, and claims it organized community and labor coalitions that succeeded in enacting living wage laws in 41 cities by the end of the 1990s.

Yet a 2003 study of ACORN by the Employment Policies Institute found the group paid a wage of $5.67 per hour, which was "less than half the level demanded by many proposed 'living wage' ordinances that ACORN supports."

As to Equal Opportunity--screw THAT stuff, too:

Even though it supports the continued imposition of equal employment opportunity laws on the rest of America, it argued in a separate lawsuit that same year that it shouldn't have to comply with those laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had to sue ACORN to force it comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the crown jewel of the civil rights movement's legislative accomplishments. (See Labor Watch, November 2008.)

If the O-and-Savior loses, there's a tax-counsel/ER attorney slot available.

Early Natural Law Affirmations v. "Redistribution"

Some would imagine that Natural Law was invented in the Dark Ages.

Not really. It's been around for a long time, and acknowledged as such...

...this reasoning was phrased by Aquinas but not invented by him but by ancient non-Christian philosophers: Aristotle who wrote of “natural justice”; Cicero who wrote “law is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, nature.” Cicero was the first one to write, “if the principles of justice were founded on the decrees of peoples, the edicts of princes or the decisions of judges, then justice would sanction robbery and adultery and forgery of wills, in case these acts were approved by the votes or decrees of the populace.”

What else than 'edicts of princes or ....judges' can Obama refer to when he suggests remedying the 'defects' of the Constitution?

It was not accidental that the Framers used the phrase "....Laws of Nature and Nature's God..." in the Declaration, folks. Jefferson & Co. had read Aristotle and Cicero--in the original Greek and Latin--and knew exactly what they were talking about.

The Natural Law insists that the fruits of one's labors are one's own. The disposition of those fruits are subject to moral imperatives incumbent on individuals, not States (although States are naturally allowed to provide for defense, highways, and some minimal social safety-net for the unfortunate or disabled.)

We argued that "In the FDR/Obama worldview, "rights" begin with positive law--that law made by the sovereign, or the Legislature. In the view of the Founders, "rights" originate from God, thus are "natural." BIG difference."

Obama's view corresponds precisely with that of the Princes--that all comes from the State, its Princes, and its judges.

Too bad it's not true.

HT: Roeser

What's Your House Worth?

Sorry, I can't answer that.

But there IS a measure, once-removed, provided by Case-Shiller. It's not perfect. And I call it "once-removed" because the closest measured Midwestern city is Chicago.

And in Chicago, August 07/August 08 prices are down 9.8%. (Highest value-to-current value is off by 11.3%).

Minneapolis, also close by, is even worse: August o7/August 08 is down 13.5%, with peak-to-current down by 17.1%.

Overall USA: down 16.6% August 07/August 08.

HT: Ritholtz

Whose Platform Is This One?

P-Mac did the research, and it's telling.

...suppose there were a candidate who promised things you think good. He felt the government should alleviate poverty among the old, providing an adequate income when necessary. He wants the government to act to maintain a sound middle class, if necessary providing opportunities for work for those left unemployed. He believes large corporations should share their prosperity with their workers via profit-sharing plans. He supports universal access to higher education. The government should provide universal health care, especially for children, and it ought to provide them better opportunities for exercise, since they’re woefully unfit these days. It is time, he says, for the nation to unite, leave no citizen behind, to work as one and grant every member equal rights and duties.

I'll leave out the "tell-line" from McIlheran's piece--but I'll connect it to another sterling local blogger (who has overcome his legal training), who mentioned that the candidate with that platform was NOT a social conservative.

Just as a matter of contrast to the Governor of Alaska...

FDR Fulfilled: Re-Distribution & Regency vs. the Founders

As Grim noted, the "negative-/positive- rights" debate about the Constitution has been ongoing for a while. Today, PowerLine provides more historical notes.

...Professor Sunstein was actually the right man to call on to explain Obama's remarks. They derive directly from Sunstein's advocacy of Roosevelt's so-called second Bill of Rights.

Roosevelt set forth his "second Bill of Rights" in his January 1944 State of the Union Address:

"In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all--regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

--The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

--The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

--The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

--The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

--The right of every family to a decent home;

--The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

--The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

--The right to a good education."

Well, that's a lot of "rights."

PowerLine then quotes Tom Palmer's analysis of FDR's manifesto:

You owe your life -- and everything else -- to the sovereign. The rights of subjects are not natural rights, but merely grants from the sovereign. There is no right even to complain about the actions of the sovereign, except insofar as the sovereign allows the subject to complain. These are the principles of unlimited, arbitrary, and absolute power, the principles of such rulers as Louis XIV. Intellectuals have assiduously promoted them; think of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes

In the FDR/Obama worldview, "rights" begin with positive law--that law made by the sovereign, or the Legislature.

In the view of the Founders, "rights" originate from God, thus are "natural." BIG difference.

Several millennia of experience with Sovereign Law have demonstrated that it doesn't work out exactly as its proponents would have you believe. Recent applications were instituted by Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro.

I don't think we need another example to emerge on this land.

"Trust Your Government?" Kiss My Ass!

Oh, yah.

My next-door neighbor is retired. When he was working, he was an employee of a local government. His political thinking is like mine--and he is more than a little disturbed about this sort of crap.

Helen Jones-Kelly, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, confirmed today that she OK'd the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher following the Oct. 15 presidential debate.

She said there were no political reasons for the check on the sudden presidential campaign fixture though the Support Enforcement Tracking System.

Amid questions from the media and others about "Joe the Plumber,"
Jones-Kelley said she approved a check to determine if he was current on any ordered child-support payments.

That's the sort of stuff that the Milorganite plant processes every day, folks.

More pertinent:

Helen Jones-Kelley (two e's in Kelley) just happens to be a maximum $2300 contributor to Barack Obama.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Next up: which slimebag in the Toledo cop-shop was pulling Joe's records.

Wanna make any bets about campaign contributions from THAT turdball?

"Trust your Government."

Kiss my ass.

HT: Malkin

What's Behind the Curtain in Obama's Health Plan?

There are a LOT of details missing from the Obama health plan--and when the NYTimes expresses that, you know....

Though Mr. Obama has not released details, economists believe he might require large and medium companies to contribute as much as 6 percent of their payrolls

...Writ large, that is one of the significant concerns about Mr. Obama’s health plan, which like this state’s landmark 2006 law would subsidize coverage for the uninsured by taxing employers who do not cover their workers. And it is a primary reason that so-called play-or-pay proposals have had an unsteady history for nearly two decades.

With Mr. Obama’s plan, business leaders say, the devil will be in the unknown details.

...Left undefined has been what size firms would be exempted, what constitutes a “meaningful contribution,” and how much noncompliant businesses would be required to pay.

Gee. "Meaningful contribution." Does that sorta, kinda, vaguely sound like "all workers whose employers don't offer a sufficiently generous pension..."

The Obama campaign is unapologetic. In fact, near defiant on the question.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, badgered Mr. Obama in two of their debates to define the penalty, but Mr. Obama did not rise to the bait.

“We made a decision even before the plan was rolled out not to decide,” said David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist who speaks for the campaign on health care. “
It’s not that there’s a decision out there that we’re not telling. It’s literally that we’ve decided not to decide.”

Now THAT's reassuring.

For those of you who recall the Wisconsin proposal, these numbers will resonate:

Several econometric models have assumed that Mr. Obama would have to set his penalty near 6 percent of payroll (Mercer, a benefits consulting firm says that large employers typically pay 15 percent).

Vote Obama! There's a surprise inside!!

HT: JustOneMinute


Reported by Clay Cramer:

An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.

The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.

Police said the boy, Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., was with a certified instructor and called the death a "self-inflicted accidental shooting."

Cramer observes, and I concur, that there are some things one should NEVER do. Having an 8-year-old 'try out' a full-auto is one of them.

This father will have a long time to regret the decision. His son did not.

"Redistribution" Spin from Obama, Refuted

Oh, yah, the O-and-Savior gang is spinning the radio-interview "redistribution" quote.

Problem is, they're re-distributing the actualities--which is polite for Lying.

Chicago Public Radio's Ben Calhoun had done a report on the clip:

"...when heard in the context of the whole show, Obama’s position is distinctly misrepresented by the You Tube posting. Taken in context, Obama is evaluating the historical successes and failures of the Civil Rights movement—and, ironically, he says the Supreme Court was a failure in cases that it took on a role of redistributing resources."

This is itself a misrepresentation, and a severe one. Obama does indeed thoughtfully describe the historical success and failures of the Civil Rights movement, but he most certainly does NOT repudiate redistribution

...He only notes that redistribution was unwieldy to achieve in the courts and is a bad idea there because of structural problems (47:00). Aside from that he feels redistribution is fine

That's precisely the sense of the edited version easily available on the 'net.

Obama's line of thinking was that 'we should do redistribution'--and that the Constitution, as written, doesn't allow for that too easily, nor should the Courts direct such an effort.

That's largely up to the President and Congress, in his view.

HT: SpectatorBlog

Monday, October 27, 2008

MADD Lies: Statistics Version

Nick nails it.

When a state doesn't have sobriety check points, we need them to catch drunk drivers. When drunk drivers aren't caught at sobriety checkpoints, then that is a show of their effectiveness. Under what conditions then would they not be found useful? It's totally bogus.

His research also shows that checkpoints are VERY expensive in DUI's/hour and Payroll/issued ticket, compared to your basic regular patrol activity.

But checkpoints ARE good for rummaging around in people's cars!

..The concern is that police are not only using the checkpoints as a way to enforce other laws but also as a way to make money — especially since cities such as Sacramento make $70 every time they impound a car at a DUI checkpoint, even if that car’s driver was not suspected of drinking and driving.

This is what Sheriffs like to show off: increased fine revenues. That's one reason David Clarke, self-alleged Republican, thinks this is a fine and dandy idea. Doesn't hurt the Deficit-Laden James Doyle regime, either, by the way.

One other thing: they may be drunks, but they aren't stupid. When you KNOW that the County Mounties are hanging around 35th St. at I-94, you get onto I-94 at Hawley Road.


The Boom in Sales

Pun intended, folks.

Americans have cut back on buying cars, furniture and clothes in a tough economy, but there's one consumer item that's still enjoying healthy sales: guns. Purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 to 10 percent this year, according to state and federal data.

...Several variables drive sales, but many dealers, buyers and experts attribute the increase in part to concerns about the economy and fears that if Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wins the presidency, he will join with fellow Democrats in Congress to enact new gun controls. Obama has said that he believes in an individual right to bear arms but that he also supports "common-sense safety measures."

Yah--like protecting my 401(k).

More than three dozen interviews with gun dealers and buyers in Virginia and Maryland and with experts nationwide indicated that the increase in gun sales appears to be driven predominantly by concerns about the presidential election and the economy.

Gun buyers were more likely to say they were responding to the political situation than to the economy, and all but three people said they feared that Obama would restrict gun rights. Two who indicated that they would support Obama anyway said their concerns about the economy and health care outweighed those about gun rights

Yah, but they bought the guns...

And it's an intermediate-term trend.

The increase is also notable because it follows a heavy year for gun purchases, which industry officials and experts link to the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007 and a burgeoning housing market crisis. NICS checks show a 20 percent increase in April 2007, compared with the previous year.

This year's jump is a continuation of a trend that began in 2006, about the time the housing bubble popped in parts of the nation, and remained steady last year as the political season began to take shape and the housing crisis grew. It is also a bigger jump than the average annual increases of about 5 percent or less typical since instant background checks began in 1998

That's a good thing. As we say, "An armed society is a polite society." And that bulge in the pocket--nope, it's not an AlGoreAlpha sign.

Think Your Union Takes Care of You?

Well, think again, suckas.

An employer and union violated ERISA when they entered into an agreement to deduct 100 percent of retirees' health insurance premiums from their accrued sick-leave accounts, the Seventh Circuit ruled. The bargaining agreement provided that if, upon retirement, an employee had unused sick leave, the monetary value of that leave would be used to pay the retirees' healthcare premiums "on the same basis as the benefit is currently paid for employees." (At the time of the agreement, the employer was paying 90 percent of the premium cost while employees paid 10 percent.) Despite this provision, the employer used up the entire $42,000 in a retiree's accrued sick leave by deducting 100 percent of the cost of his insurance premium from the sick-leave account. The appeals court rejected the employer's justification that the retiree health plan agreement had been modified by later dealings with the union,

...This "secret side deal" between the union and employer to alter the terms of the retiree health plan agreement was a breach of fiduciary duty by the plan managers nonetheless. "So it is doubly unlawful—as unwritten and as secret," the appeals court concluded. Moreover, the Seventh Circuit ruled attorney fees were properly granted to the plaintiff retirees. "For the defendants to use their deceptive conduct toward the retired employees as a basis for trying to duck liability was shabby," the appeals court wrote

Oh, by the way: the Wisconsin State Employees Union Council 24 LOST the decision.

They screwed Orth (and a number of others....)

THIS Cardinal Intends to Teach

From Creative Minority:

...Cardinal Egan today criticized Fordham University for giving an award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a supporter of abortion rights. The Jesuit university wasn't just giving him any award though. Breyer is scheduled to receive the Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize Wednesday at a dinner in New York

...A spokesman for the New York Archdiocese said Cardinal Edward Egan was surprised to learn Breyer would receive an award from Fordham's law school and has spoken to the Catholic university's leaders to ensure "that a mistake of this sort will not happen again," says the Associated Press.

Leaving no room for misunderstanding, spokesman Joseph Zwilling said Monday that Egan was talking specifically about Breyer's votes on the court in favor of abortion rights

We await Abp Timothy Dolan's pre-election editorial in the local Catholic newspaper.

Wanna Trade in Your Car?

Not so fast, sucka.

In the last 30 days, used-car values have dropped by $2,000.00 across the board.

Now you're upside-down!!

Obama's Education at Columbia U.

Another piece of the Obama mindset clicks into place.

[Obama]... is a follower of Jeremy Bentham who said the purpose of law is to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Good is defined as pleasure. In law that view has been inculcated by Hans Kelsen [1881-1973] who exerted a tremendous influence on American law in the same way that John Dewey (who lived at the same time) gave us relativism in philosophy and education. Kelsen, born in Austria, author of his country’s constitution between the two world wars, rejected the possibility of natural law and as a renowned professor at Columbia denied the “metaphysical view that there is an absolute reality, i.e. a reality that exists independently of human knowledge.” He adopted philosophical relativism which he described as the “empirical doctrine that really exists only within human knowledge and that, as the object of knowledge, reality is relative to the knowing subject.” The Nazi rule of law came from Kelsen despite his best intentions. When we remove absolutes, remove natural law, you substitute human convenience for law

Denial of nature has its consequences, eh?

Philosophical relativism, taught Kelsen, which has become an accepted part of contemporary legal studies (so accepted that it is granted without attribution), teaches that “what is right today may be wrong tomorrow.” He stated, “the minority must have full opportunity of becoming the majority. Only if it is not possible to decide in an absolute way what is right and what is wrong is it advisable to discuss the issue and after discussion submit to a compromise.” The problem, of course, is that when the majority is in control of the political process decide to oppress the minority there is neither moral nor legal recourse. We are seeing this now even before the campaign is over...

So what is yours today (like that 401(k)) might NOT be yours tomorrow, you repressive ass.

...under this nihilistic Kensen legal philosophy the legislator decides what law will be useful and in accord with the basic norm as determined by himself. There is no higher law of nature or of God and the ultimate criterion is force

That 'nihilistic legal philosophy' has also been called "legal postivisim" on this blog. You can look it up--it's the single worst fault of attorneys who become legislators and judges.

Jeremy Bentham [said] man’s “only object is to seek pleasure and to shun pain…Evil is pain or the cause of pain. Good is pleasure or the cause of pleasure.”

And the O-and-Savior intends to eliminate pain, legally.

For some folks, anyway.

HT: "Cass" Roeser

"Trust the Polls"?

Well, maybe--and maybe not.

...her shop was retained to do a few Presidential polls for targetted states on behalf of a union so the union could decide where to spend their ad dollars for the last week. They did Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Missouri. After mocking the hell out of the voter id spreads used by Rassmussen, Zogby, etc. (and this is coming from a committed Dem who will be voting for Barry O) she said the results of their polling lead her to believe that McCain will definitely win FL, OH, NC, MO and NV. She says Obama definitely wins New Mexico. She said that Colorado and New Hampshire were absolute dead heats. She said she thinks there is a 55% chance Obama holds on in Pennsylvania and a 75% chance McCain wins Virginia...

Comes down to how the pollsters select their field:

all of those polls rely on Dem turnout being +4 and as much as +7, when in 2006, Republicans actually had the advantage by +3.

The quoted guru-ette favors IBD/TIPP as a credible source. Today's numbers: 46.5/43.3/10.1 Obama, McCain, Undecided (respectively.)

HT: The Hatted One

"Change"? Oh, Yah! It's Called "Leviathan"

This YouTube is all over the 'net, for good reason. (Alternative link from Ace--just in case YouTube "disappears" the original.)

It's a 2001 radio interview of then-State Senator Obama.

In it he talks about the "change" he wants to effect. The discussion he had with Joe the Plumber was NOT an accident--"wealth" re-distribution is precisely what Obama intends to achieve.

Grim has the historical context on Obama's "negative liberty/positive liberty" comment:

The terms "negative liberty" and "positive liberty" come from Sir Isaiah Berlin.

(Quoting Wiki):

Berlin contended that under the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel (all committed to the positive concept of liberty), European political thinkers often equated liberty with forms of political discipline or constraint. This became politically dangerous when notions of positive liberty were, in the nineteenth century, used to defend nationalism, self-determination and the Communist idea of collective rational control over human destiny. Berlin argued that, following this line of thought, demands for freedom paradoxically become demands for forms of collective control and discipline – those deemed necessary for the "self-mastery" or self-determination of nations, classes, democratic communities, and even humanity as a whole. There is thus an elective affinity, for Berlin, between positive liberty and political totalitarianism.

(In contrast, the Catholic Church defines "liberty" as "the freedom to do what is right," an entirely different ground of understanding.)

Back to Grim:

"Negative liberty" is actual liberty. It's freedom from constraint, freedom to do what you can do, to be what you can be. Positive liberty is not the assurance that you'll have the chance to try for something, but assurance that you'll have that thing. The government will give it to you -- which means, the government will force other citizens to provide you with the means

That is a fundamental alteration of our concept of the relationship between government and citizen. It is a radical mode, and one that Berlin rightly warned has often led to totalitarian modes

...I think that now-Senator Obama intends a vision that isn't race-based. Below I described his tax plan as "putting a third of America on welfare," as it would give people "tax cuts" beyond what they pay in taxes -- money for nothing. I think that really is the plan here: not to make payments to minorities, but to make payments to everyone below a certain threshhold

It's grand-scale welfare.

Now there is nothing wrong, per se, with welfare--if one begins with the Christian/Catholic concept of liberty as the freedom to do what is right, which means assisting the less-fortunate. But that is a moral imperative applying to individuals, not necessarily to States.

Elevating the moral imperative to a State-administered system is necessarily messy. Obama conceded that in his discussion of the Courts' civil-rights rulings.

So his default position is that the "messiness" of re-distribution should be legislative instead.

Which means that you have to trust Congress to get it right, if that's the direction you're going.

Side note: If Obama spent all that time in a Christian church, how come izzit he buys this entirely atheistic/secularist line on "freedom"?


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Palin-Stabbing: Cui Bono?

Well, here's an interesting tidbit.

Noam Schreiber of TNR infers that complaints from supporters of Sarah Palin about McCain campaign aide Nicolle Wallace are somehow related to Wallace's ties to CBS news.

In fact, Wallace is a Bush loyalist, and if you think Wallace's old boss Jeb Bush isn't looking ahead to 2012 -- if you think the Bush clan doesn't views Palin as a potential threat to their dynastic succession -- you're crazy.

We know the NeoCon/Lefty Pubbies are doing their best to sink Palin the day the election is over (assuming Obama wins.) We know that Romney operatives are doing it, too.

And I don't think we need another Bush in the White House. Ever. Again.

HT: McCain

Bailout: Already There Are Secrets!!

Shoebox flagged a Minneapolis Fed Reserve paper which contradicted the Party Line about the imminent death of credit.

So at best, the "imminent death of credit" is in play.
Maybe it's there; maybe it's not.

But there's no death of Government contracts!

And certainly no death of Government SECRET contracts!!

So you know, the recipient of the contract is Bank of New York/Mellon.

By the way:

When the Treasury Department's bailout czar provided an update this week on the government's $700 billion plan to rescue troubled financial institutions, he vowed that it would be an "open and transparent program with appropriate oversight.''

HT: The Agitator

NOT Just a "Farm Raid" in Iran

Oh, yah, SOCOM took out a way-station in Iran.

But PowerLine's source says it was a little more than just KO'ing 8 'farmers' who were accomplices for AlQuaeda.

The announced goal was to shut down a family who were facilitating jihadi entry into Iraq. The intel was obviously good . . . so good we did a very risky and un-necessary thing, if the "goal" is as advertised: we endangered American helos and troops by inserting them conspicuously into hostile territory, needlessly endangering both and our prestige (imagine if something had gone wrong and the helos had tangled like in Iran after the Shah's overthrow).

This was not a subtle operation. We could easily have sent exactly the same message -- if a message we were sending -- by using a drone and some smart munitions.

Something else was going on there -- kidnapping, the appearance of kidnapping (to remove a friendly operative), computer theft, setting up sensors, or something else.

Maybe building a McDonald's?

Following the Coronation in January...

Because you had nothing important to worry about, here's a short list of The Hive's next few objectives on the international front. The (very brief) synopsis is written by Austin Ruse, who is extremely knowledgeable of the United Nations, having been the leader of a pro-life NGO there for well over 20 years.

Enter Barack Obama. If he is the next president of the United States, the international social radicals will have free rein to do whatever they wish. And here is what they wish.

First, they need the United States to sign a bunch of treaties. It embarrasses the left that we – almost alone in the world – have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Criminal Court (ICC) There are other treaties they want the US to ratify, like the Land Mines Treaty, but here let’s concern ourselves only deal with social policy.

(Somewhere in the stack of treaties is one which seriously restricts small-arms dealing. I'm sure that the NRA is tracking that one; they're reasonable certain that it will damn near obviate 2A freedoms in this country.)

Here is a snapshot of the problems with each treaty. CEDAW is used to promote abortion. CRC undercuts the rights of parents. ICESCR introduces things like a right to health and certain economic rights that Americans have found off-putting and that come with hefty price tags

...Lack of merits aside, the United States views its treaty obligations seriously. Many other countries ratify these things simply to get the United Nations off their backs. Those governments sign these treaties and promptly ignore them. We incorporate treaty obligations into our domestic laws, which can then be litigated in the federal courts

In other words, international treaties become "the law of the land" in the USA.

Obama has endorsed CEDAW as has his vice presidential running mate Joe Biden. Both are in favor of the ICC, too. It is likely that, with a larger and more left-leaning Senate, a whole slew of left-leaning treaties will be ratified

Oh, that's hardly the worst part.

But there are even larger issues than these particular treaties or new UN conferences. There is larger mischief afoot. It is called global governance. governance holds that international relations and international law should have more to do with regulating the behavior of individual citizens within each state and that these decisions should not be left to sovereign states, but to international bodies like the United Nations and its various commissions and committees.

You always wanted to meet a UN bureaucrat? Here's your chance!! Imagine one of Idi Amin's stooges inquiring about your possession of a your living room.

A name to watch: Douglas Koh, a Clinton Admin guy who is a serious and dedicated "internationalist." The O-and-Savior may put him on SCOTUS--after the Hildebeeste, of course.

Columbo Has a Few Questions

From a successful Hollywood TV scriptwriter.

Set/scene: Large, well-appointed home in Chicago, mid-afternoon. Obama answers the door, enter Columbo, extinguishing cigar in porch ashtray....

Excuse me Mr. Obama, I mean Senator Obama, sir. Um . . Know you are busy and important and stuff. I mean running for president is very important and . . Ah . . . I hate to bother you. I will only take a minute ok, sir?

...So if you could just help me out a minute and give me some details, I will get right out of your way. I want to close this case and maybe take the wife to Coney Island or something. Ever been to Coney Island ? No, I didn't think so. .

Well, listen, anyways, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap this up. These things seem to either be "locked" or "not available'. I'm sure it's just some oversight or glitch or something, so if you could you tell me where these things are . . . I . . . I . . . Have them written down here somewhere . . Oh wait. Sorry about the smears. It was raining out. I'll just read it to you.

Could you help me please find these things, sir?

1. Occidental College records -- Not released
2. Columbia College records -- Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper -- "not available"
4. Harvard College records -- Not released
5. Selective Service Registration -- Not released
6. Medical records -- Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule -- "not available"
8. Law practice client list -- Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate -- Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth -- Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published -- None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles -- None
13. Your Record of baptism-- Not released or "not available"
14. Your Illinois State Senate records--"not available"

Oh hey . Listen! I know you are busy! Is this too much for you now? I mean tell you what. I will come back tomorrow. Give you some time to get these things together, you know?

Stuff you'd love to see...

Postmoderinst Marxists

Take it from one who knows.

"Because I used to be a Marxist-feminist-postmodernist ideologue, and I understand the party-line of the movement:

-- destroy the notion of objective truth with appeals to diversity, difference, and multi-cult(ural)ism;

-- eliminate the possibility of rational discourse by elevating the affective above the rational;

-- convert all public political discourse into emotive appeals to race, gender, class, and sexuality;

-- define "freedom" as "freedom from constraint" and never as "freedom to do what is right;"

-- attack all secular opposition as "oppressive, self-centered, and fearful;"

-- attack all religious opposition as "superstitious, fundamentalist, and ignorant;"

-- use "white liberal guilt" to attack economic growth and prosperity;

-- feed over-educated narcissism with the prospect of ruling, finally, and ruling more than the meager resources of an English/women's studies department at a state university."

It OUGHT to seem familiar. It's The Project, the Project of the Hive, and has been since roughly the French Revolution, albeit the roots go back to a tree in Eden.

The platform of "Hope and Change."


Old Enough to Hope

G K Chesterton:

IT is currently said that hope goes with youth and lends to youth its wings of a butterfly; but I fancy that hope is the last gift given to man, and the only gift not given to youth. Youth is pre-eminently the period in which a man can be lyric, fanatical, poetic; but youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged. God has kept that good wine until now

--Charles Dickens

The Takedown of Barack

I thought Penn and Teller were magicians or something, in Vegas.

But whatever they are, they put together a VERY well-edited clip which does a very good job demonstrating the Follies of Obama.

HT: Peter

MPS' Woes: Union Benefits!

So long as we're on the topic of 'union benefits,' and how they will be used to destroy 401(k) plans and "less-than-sufficient" health plans... will be instructive to see what "union benefits" have done to Milwaukee Public Schools.

To appreciate the impact of fringe benefi t costs, consider that in 2004-05 the overall MPS budget grew $27.3 million while fringe benefi t costs grew $45.8 million. In other words, every new dollar of spending plus an additional $18 million were needed to pay for higher fringe benefit costs

The independent WTA report issued last year found that fringe benefit costs rose 83 per cent between 1995 and 2004, faster than any other MPS spending category. Looking to the future, the WTA concluded: “[I]n the coming years, the expenditure demands MPS faces, particularly in the fringe benefit area, will grow faster than available revenues. As a result, annual rounds of budget retrenchment are inevitable."

Think that's a problem? Get a load of this:

In just one category — health care for retirees — MPS has a $2.2 billion unfunded liability. This is nearly twice the size of the MPS annual budget. MPS uses a “pay-as-you-go” system that
annually provides only a quarter of the cost needed to address its unfunded liability. As a result,
that liability will grow to $4.9 billion in less than a decade.

The summary:

A new report from an independent consultant confirms the basic conclusion that MPS reached years ago, namely, the district’s fringe benefits are “considerably more generous” than in
the private sector and among other units of government
. As a consequence, cuts in
classroom programs have occurred despite a substantial increase in per pupil spending,
something verified more than a year ago in an independent report from the Wisconsin
Taxpayers Alliance (WTA).

Well, now. "Union benefits," seemingly the new gold-standard for retirement and health-plans under the (anticipated) Democrat hegemony, may be detrimental to your health.

You'll DIE trying to pay for them...

HT: The Warrior

The Obama Health Plan and 401(k)s

By the way...

Reports have it that the Obama health plan does not 'force' national health-care onto the country. Instead, his plan will set 'minimum standards' for coverage similar to coverage provided to Federal workers.


Does that "minimum standards" thing ring a bell?

Let us quote the invaluable McIlheran:

...all workers whose employers don't offer a sufficiently generous pension would be required to divert 5% of their pay into an account ...

Kinda looks like the same-o, same-o, right?

The pattern:

Government sets a standard which must be met; that standard can only be met by a minority of businesses (and Government-as-employer); people employed by other businesses, or self-employed with minimal benefits, will pay, dearly, for their jobs.

Think YOUR Sales Are Down?

For a lot of businesses, sales are ....meh.

Not Volvo Trucks. Their sales decide:

...truckmaker Volvo admitted demand across the Continent has crashed by 99.7% as it took orders for just 115 new lorries in the last three months.

That compares to orders totalling 41,970 in the third quarter of 2007.

They certainly had the time to "focus on quality" while building those trucks. That's only about 1 per DAY.

HT: CalcRisk

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two New Blogroll Adders


Janeabelle and Berry Laker. The first one's a little racy. The second likes Rush.

Both are listed as "followers" on my blogspot.

I cannot imagine why, (what's to follow? Old? Nasty?) but at least I can mention and 'roll 'em.

"Show Me Just One, Charlie"--Well, How About 30%?

Tom Barrett's office could be crowded if ACORN's own numbers are accurate.

The folks over at ACORN - Barack Obama's favorite "community organizers" - now admit that more than 30 percent of the 1.3 million voter-registration forms they submitted this year were rejected by election officials nationwide

ACORN says no more than "1 to 1.5 percent" involved actual fraud - which was committed, according to their friends at The New York Times, by "low-income field workers trying to please their supervisors." They were only following orders, you see ...

...a long [NYTimes] story a couple of pages later cites a report by ACORN's own lawyer that says the relationships between the group's 174 affiliates may have violated multiple federal laws.
The report raises problems, the article adds, about possible illegal use of charitable dollars for political purposes, improper money transfers and conflicts created by employees working for ACORN affiliates

Oh, 'what's a few votes here and there,' in the words of a local Democrat...

MSM Tanking for Obama--Part 1,078,432, Illegal Campaign Contributions

Obama's campaign finance scandal gets bigger every day, but you won't notice it if you live on MSM coverage.

At least National Journal made an attempt.

...The Obama campaign’s Web site accepted the $25 donation, but the McCain campaign’s Web site rejected it.

Rebecca Donatelli, president of Campaigns Solutions of Alexandria, Va., which processes donations for John McCain, said her system rejected the donation because American Express could not verify that the donor lived at the address given with the online contribution...

(Quoted by Morrissey)

As Ace points out, Obama's campaign has deliberately and knowingly DISABLED the credit-card verification routines. That's why they can get contributions from A. Hitler, O. BinLaden, Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, (etc.).

Disabling verification allows that.


"It’s fairly clear that the Obama campaign has allowed certain donations to stand for certain periods of time that are dubious,” said Stephen Weissman, policy director at the nonpartisan D.C.-based Campaign Finance Institute

(Morrissey, again)

Here's the damning part:

The wider disconnect here, if I’m reading the piece correctly, is that the FEC uses donors’ names to police campaign contribution limits when in fact it’s the names that are the most easily faked aspect of donating online.

The FEC will not be able to police the illegal activity, now or ever. Obama's campaign says that "they will catch up" with fake-name contributions--but the Obama campaign is DELETING CREDIT-CARD NUMBERS--which is the only method FEC might have to run audits.

Look: if you register as Mickey Mouse and use Amex 1234-5678-9012, giving a fake address, then as Minnie Mouse using Amex 1234-5678-9012, giving another fake address, the only audit-trail is the credit-card number.

So Obama's campaign deletes the credit card number from its records!

"The campaign does not store credit card information for verification purposes because it can subject individual accounts to being compromised," Shapiro said in an e-mail. "We track contribution history by an individual's name, address, and other information provided," he said. The McCain campaign did not say whether it stores credit card numbers.

Yes, the laws were written by Congress, which would rather not have a strong FEC. And yes, there are 'gray areas.'

But a credible and painstakingly thorough reporter--Ken Timmerman--speculates that the O campaign could have taken as much as $63 million from non-citizens. Even if it's only HALF that, it's a lot of illegal money.

But who cares? The Messiah is near! The Selected One, favored by NBCCBSCNNABCAP.

And they wonder why nobody buys their "product."

HT: Ace

Kiss Your 401(k) Bye-Bye? P-I-G Delight!

P-Mac doesn't like what he hears from the DC Establishment Lefties.

...Reps. George Miller of California and Jim McDermott of Washington, both Democrats, head a couple of committees that make law about retirement accounts. They've been listening to critics of 401(k) plans, including an economics professor who's got a notion to force people into a government-run replacement.

...The plan that Miller and McDermott liked, by economist Teresa Ghilarducci, has been peddled for at least a year by the influential left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. It would repeal the law by which you don't pay taxes on money you put into your 401(k) or earn in it. The accounts would be taxed as any investment. [Note well: the Economic Policy Institute is Union-funded.]

Meanwhile, all workers whose employers don't offer a sufficiently generous pension would be required to divert 5% of their pay into an account handled by the Social Security Administration. It would be invested in government bonds and would supposedly provide a return of 3%, no more, no less.

Let's break for perspective.

There are three common forms of retirement benefits for most folks; this will be a VERY brief and not-too-technical overview. There is nuance in each of these, and there are a number of twists and turns which may be applicable only to your workplace and your personal situation. I ain't not a Retirement Specialist, CLU, or other kinda guru, folks. Do NOT take this to the bank.

1) Fixed-Benefit Plans require the employer to pay retired workers $XXX/month, the number being decided by some formula usually including years of service and average pay in the last few years of employment. This is the plan commonly held by powerful unions (UAW, Machinists, Steelworkers, Teamsters, AFSCME, Trades) and (surprise!!!) by public salaried employees such as Milwaukee County Supervisors, Congresscritters, Governors, and Leggies. They are generally the most-expensive plans; that is, they cost the employer a lot of money because if the plan's assets do not bring in the expected return, the employer must contribute extra money to make up the difference.

Ask Scott Walker about these plans...

2) Fixed-Contribution Plans require the employer to deposit a percentage of your annual pay to a retirement fund (say 5%.) After you retire, you withdraw from the accumulated assets in the fund. Generally, an actuary figures out how much you get every month based on your life-expectancy and that's the amount you get. If the assets diminish or increase significantly, the withdrawals are re-figured. Some Wisconsin public employees have this sort of plan. Note that the employer's pension contributions stop when you stop working, making it a less-burdensome plan to your employer.

3) 401(k) Plans are similar to Fixed-Contribution plans--your employer usually (not always) "matches" a certain portion of what YOU contribute. The assets are invested, usually at the discretion of the employee, and at retirement, withdrawals are made as in Fixed-Contribution plans, except the Government has rules about how much you must take every year. Again, the employer's obligation stops when you stop working.

Generally speaking, employers which provide 401(k) plans are in highly-competitive industries and may be thinly-capitalized--that is, their stock is not publicly traded. There's not a lot of fat to spread around.

Why do this, when nearly any prudent 401(k) can double that return long-term with a middling mutual fund? Because 401(k)s are unfair, Ghilarducci says - lots of people don't save into them, so the break goes to a "lucky few."

P-Mac goes back to the infamous Joe the Plumber exchange with the O-and-Savior. Pay attention to the red-highlighted word:

The Ohio man asked Obama a good question: Where do you get off jacking up taxes on me when I strike it rich via hard work and enterprise? Obama's rambling, unguarded answer was telling. He said that plumbers do better when "folks from the bottom up" have money to get their plumbing fixed. Obama concluded, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

"Wealth" is different from "Earnings." To economists, "wealth" is assets--what you own--like your house, your cars, your Elvis recordings and collector Smurf dolls, diamonds, stocks, bonds, and cash-in-the-bank. "Earnings" is exactly that: what you get paid in salary, wage, and/or dividends and interest. Taxing "earnings" is commonplace.

On the other hand, the only "wealth" tax we have is the estate tax, and while that is a burden to some people who have accumulated wealth, like farmers who own several thousand acres or plumbers who built a successful business, it doesn't usually hit a lot of middle-class-salary-man/wage-man type folks.

If we take Obama's "wealth" comment seriously, it is extremely significant.

Taxing a 401(k) under the terms vaguely outlined by Ghilarducci would be a new 'wealth' tax--you'd pay cap-gains taxes when the gains were taken, not post-retirement when rates are lower. More significant, employers would NOT have a tax-incentive to contribute to your 401(k) retirement any more. Worst of all, you would be required to finance the Government's debt at 3%--a helluva deal for Congressional spenders, but not necessarily for you.

In brief, it's the death-warrant for the 401(k) plan.

Thus, the Ghilarducci plan has two very powerful built-in constituencies:

1) The Party-In-Government (PIGs), who will be able to spend a bunch of money (and purchase a lot of votes) at VERY low interest-cost; and

2) Unions, who have extracted a "sufficiently generous" retirement plan such as fixed-benefit or fixed-contribution. In other words, it will benefit the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Teamsters, Machinists, Steelworkers, and UAW. Fuggedabout thinly-capitalized or highly-competitive businesses. Work for them and you're screwed.

This plan will hit anyone with a 401(k), which includes a lot of people who drive 10-year-old Fords and whose 'exorbitant nights-out' consist of once-a-month movies w/a fish-fry and a late chocolate malt from Gilles', (which is most of the 4.5 readers of this blog.) In other words, regular people who are not likely paying Union Bosses or taking a Government pension.

And it will force them to accept a VERY meager dole from the Government--3%, forever--meaning that Government spending will go up to purchase more votes.

Reduced to its simplest terms, the attack on the 401(k) will benefit only two interest-groups: the Party-In-Government and the Unions. If you don't work in a union shop or for the Government, go to the back of the bus.

The PIGS and their Union Co-conspirators. What a great group of folks. "Spreading the wealth," indeed.

Peanut Butter Side to the Floor!! MARCH!!

In the Murphy's Law book...

We mailed a package to a student offshore; the scheduled arrival date was 10/18.

But in the particular country, things with the post office are a bit....lackadaisacal.

So, of course, the damn thing arrived ONE DAY AFTER the recipient left for a 10-day trip. We have no friggin' idea whether they will actually attempt a second delivery.

What To Do AFTER the Election

Cued in by Ace.

See THIS film.

Sure, it's Eastwood reprising Dirty Harry.

But that's the very best cure for election blues.

And his voice is even better with the 'age-wrinkles' in it...

Another Rat Deserts the Ship

Noonan, Parker (whoever SHE is), Buckley, and Adelman.

Our subject will be Adelman.

Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years.McCain's temperament -- leading him to bizarre behavior during the week the economic crisis broke -- and his judgment -- leading him to Wasilla -- depressed me into thinking that "our guy" would be a(nother) lousy conservative president. Been there, done that.

Quoted by Stacy McCain, who observes:

Keep in mind that this is coming from a supporter of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Bill Kristol's "National Greatness" outfit that pushed for the invasion of Iraq.

Then McCain quotes Matt Lewis:

In 2000, the thing to value was character and integrity, because it was perceived that Clinton lacked that. In 2008, the thing to value is competence, because it is perceived that Bush lacked that

What we are seeing, folks, is the Urge to Survive; how to keep the money rolling in given what may be an Obama victory.