Saturday, September 22, 2012

Foreign policy: Romney and Obama

Sure, our economy has stayed in the toilet and even the magic words from the administration celebrating the upturn hasn't actually created a significant upturn. (Wow!)
But "fixing the mess" that is supposedly due to conservative politics, was just one of 300+ items on Obama's agenda.
So it's important to remember that Obama was mostly hired because his name and face would cause every knee to bow and every tongue confess across the world.  (The Europe Union swooned and genuflected.)  He was going to transform foreign policy with identity politics.  After all, he wasn't entirely raised as an American.
Who could have predicted that we were heading back to the days of Carter?
Enter Romney.  Romney and foreign policy?  Well, our unbiased media buzzed with British tweets about "Mitt the twit" after he dared to comment on their Olympics debacle as a former organizer of the Olympics.  Why if Mitt were elected, he might give the Queen of England an iPod with the best of Mitt's speeches.  Wait, sorry, I'm confused... that already happened, but it was Obama(!) that already did that.  Remember that story going viral?  No?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama's America: Complete with Flag

After incensing veterans by putting his face on an American flag,  Team Obama has been selling a flag poster that looks like a deconstructed American flag with the Obama logo.

Some have pointed out that the Flag has been co-opted in other campaign logos, but these do not have the same eerie quality.  I think it's partly that it looks like it could function an actual flag, is made to be displayed as a banner, and that it seems fundamentally reinvented.  Given Obama's "living Constitution" ideas of Progressive reformulation of America, it is especially disturbing.  Welcome to Obama's America.

The recent association of the flag with the blood smears at the Libyan embassy is an accident of timing, but it does add an extra eerie element of ill portent to what is already a disconcerting symbol:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is America wising up?

It has got to be some of the dumbest reasoning in the world for the American people to have fired Bush I for "no new taxes," if that's truly what happened.  To try to correct the situation by replacing Bush I with Clinton was absolutely ludicrous.  There were some arguably good things that came out of it.  But these are a little iffy. One is that firing Bush I might be one reason why the "rabid Republicans" are being faithful to their base in the recent Republican Revolution in Congress, and not getting suckered into raising taxes like Bush I did.  In the sense that that is true, the Democrats made their bed in 1992 (and crapped it) and are having to sit in it.  However, if the Democratic Party is successful with their strategy of blaming Obama's failure on recalcitrant Republicans (who like--or unlike?--Obama are following the mandate behind their election) then whatever deterrent or "lesson" was brought about by firing Bush I was fairly pointless.

The second good thing was more accidental and not a recipe for success.  The American public found out that Clinton was not a moderate, and the backlash resulted in a Republican Congress that hadn't happened in many decades, and the "Clinton economy" was born.

Almost no one insults the heartland of America like leftwing pundits. The contempt of the Left for the Great Unwashed is legendary.  But almost no one from either party can wrap their brain around the fickleness of the public and their amazingly short memory.  Less than a generation has passed since the public had to give dues to Gingrich for dragging Clinton kicking and screaming into fiscal responsibility, and now it appears the public memory has been wiped clean.  No one can remember what happened before the Twin Towers fell.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bloodletting and the Practice of Economic Stimulus

An economic downturn in 1920-21 sent unemployment up to 12 percent. President Warren Harding did nothing, except for cutting government spending. The economy quickly rebounded on its own.  In 1987, when the stock market declined more in one day than it had in any day in 1929, Ronald Reagan did nothing. There were outcries and outrage in the media. But Reagan still did nothing.  That downturn not only rebounded, it was followed by 20 years of economic growth, marked by low inflation and low unemployment.  - Thomas Sowell
Even in 1933 if you read the Annual Report [of the Federal Reserve] you will "discover" how much worse things would have been if the Federal Reserve hadn't behaved so well!  - Milton Friedman

The liberal/progressive narrative that I've been hearing for a while, and will continue to hear, I'm sure, all the way into November, is that Obama put a "bottom" under the economic "freefall"--implying a certain physics in which the recession would lead to X% (20%?, 25%?) unemployment under the sheer momentum of the object.  After all, in physics, the body keeps moving at a constant rate unless another force acts upon it.

Whenever the economic stagnation is juxtaposed against repeated "stimuli"--attempts at defibrillating the economy--that have contributed to a deficit that dwarfs Bush's record-breaking expenses on bailouts and war, the left-wing narrative is JUST THINK HOW BAD IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IF THERE WERE NO STIMULUS.  This is exemplified by Andrew Sullivan's typical description: "It put a bottom under the free fall."

From well before the 1700s even into the 1910s, doctors swore by bloodletting.  The theory was simple enough, but doctors would have told you that much more important than the enviable simplicity of the theory was the fact that they had seen it work over and over again in actual practice.  We now know that patients pulled through in spite of bloodletting rather than because of it.  But then, if a patient had died without the treatment, a doctor would have opined that the sufferer may well have had a fighting chance if only some blood had been let.  If a patient's recovery was slow after bloodletting, a doctor would not have suspected that the recovery might have been faster without treatment. (Just think how much worse off he'd have been if we hadn't let out his blood!) And if a patient had died, they naturally would never have suspected  that the patient might have pulled through without the treatment; the patient was obviously a goner anyway--the doctor can only do so much.

Does Obamacare pilfer Medicare? The Affordability of Affordable Care

"Let me also address I think a misperception that’s been out there that somehow there is any discussion on Capitol Hill about reducing Medicare benefits. Nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits are there because people contributed into a system. It works. We don’t want to change it."

And yet: "Altogether, the Obama administration is now asking Congress to trim spending on Medicare and Medicaid by more than $600 billion over the next decade, which is more than some Democrats are willing to swallow." -- CNN, June 13, 2009

So... "Obamacare" policy is supplementing, not replacing, the Medicare system that works, right?  And yet Medicare is going to supply all the same benefits that is was before with $600 billion less dollars?  Or is "Obamacare" is going to step into those cases.  Was Obamacare meant to increasingly put those people who "contributed into a system" into the same waiting line with the forced (penalty tax!) contributors who are on Obama's healthfare?

Check out this link for a look at whether Honest Bill has been "transparent" in his defense of the funding of "Affordable Care" (oh, the irony!) or, alternatively, his double-counting shows a little too much creativity in his vaunted powers of simple arithmetic.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Numbers for homosexual rape

Interesting... Page 73 of this European Commission report on violence against women has some interesting statistics:

In various countries, the percentage of reported rapes (of both men and women) that committed against males are:
9% in Denmark
6% in Germany
16% in Hungary
26% in Ireland
16% in Turkey
12% in the United Kingdom
9% in Spain
16% in Portugal
34% in Slovakia

Now, if you think females underreport rape, consider the likelihood of a given male admitting that his manhood, as he probably sees it, was taken from him.  Men that don't like admitting to being bested or bullied in anyway, as it makes them feel like they are seen as not being men--how many men overcome the shame of being used sexually by other men for the possibly vain hope of some justice?

Consider this thought as well:  The Dutch and the Finnish seem to have no widespread problem with male-on-male rape. They've largely escaped the Or considering the numbers across the rest of Europe, perhaps these cultural variations are better explained by who is not reporting rather than who is not getting raped.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Colonial attitudes and American federalism

Recently I read an article with responses in which several academics/intellectuals traffic in the stereotype that conservatives are cognitively restricted, easily manipulated sheep with authoritarian leanings, who require the comfort of pat, cookie-cutter answers to make sense of their world, answers that are seductive in its black-and-white, emotionally appealing simplicity.

In the fine progressive state of California, it doesn't seem all that comfortable to have and express conservative thoughts.  Especially within the educational institutions.  There, in fact, it often seemed like I was surrounded by people that embraced ready-made, pat, black-and-white oversimplicities.  You could tell who was bad by looking at their skin, looking at their gender, looking at their religion.  They were definitely not conservatives though.  This mode of thinking seemed overrrepresented as well in the journaling niches of cyberspace. 

Aside from the superficiality of arguments, there was also the strange sense of pluralistic thinking. It was a selective kind of pluralism that celebrated the inherent values of all cultures, as long as it wasn't conservative culture in the U.S. or Christian culture in the U.S.  Here pluralism means making room for different points of room as long as they aren't the unacceptable ones; multiculturalism means embracing primitive cultures except for the primitive unenlightened culture of the U.S.; relativism means that all points of view are equal but some are more equal than others.  A point of view that, like the mission of the Starship Enterprise, pretends to treat the imposition of one's enlightened policies upon the mores of the native population as an unacceptable, arrogant, colonial attitude.  Except when it means imposing progressive ideals upon conservative communities.