Archive for category National Politics

Clinton: “Prius Owners Won’t Get Mortgage Deduction”

I know I’m just a country bumpkin from Missouri, but when a politician says this:

“In addition, Hillary will end the tax incentives to companies that ship jobs overseas, and invest those resources in creating good, high-paying jobs here in the U.S.”

I can’t help but think

“In addition, Hillary will end the mortgage income tax deduction to individuals who buy Priuses, because they are shipping those good, high-paying jobs overseas. Instead, they should buy cars manufactured right here in the U.S.”

Of course, you’ll never hear a politician actually say that, although for the life of me I can’t see the difference between a company buying products from overseas and an individual buying products from overseas. Companies are just aggregators of all the people necessary to make a product for the purchasers of the product. Economically or morally, it makes no difference if the purchaser or the company aggregates from foreigners – the foreigners are employed just the same (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In fact, from this nativist point of view, isn’t better to buy from a company that outsources than from a foreign company because the outsourcer preserves more American jobs?

A Simple Proposal

I have not paid close attention to the Presidential race so far. It’s far too early. However, I know the general outlines of what people will complain about – too much money will be spent, the campaign will go on far too long, too many people will be bothered by pollsters and candidates alike, and too many states will bypassed because they “aren’t in play”. I have a rather simple solution. I propose that in return for a small renumeration from all the other states, but large enough to eliminate our income tax, presidential elections be held in Missouri alone. We are the Bellwether State after all — Missouri has voted for the winner of every Presidential race in every election of the past century except one (1956). And in the last half-century, not only have we picked the winner, we were amazingly close to the popular vote.

Think of all the advantages – far less money spent, a much shorter election, nobody outside Missouri disturbed by either the candidates or the media, and nobody has to feel like they’ve been unfairly ignored by the candidates (ignored yes, unfairly, no). All this and the same outcomes! What’s not to like about it?

Media Incompetent – Film All The Time

I’m told not only are there a whole bunch of candidates for next year’s Presidential election, they are holding debate after debate between them. I see this information in blogs, but never on TV. Apparently, at some of these debates the sponsoring media organization (I don’t think calling CNN a news organization is factually accurate) is fooled, like Justin Timberlake, by people claiming to be undecided or average voters. The latest debatewas the worst in this regard, as apparently CNN was fooled repeatedly by political operatives pretending to be, well, normal people. As this was somehow tied in with that other politically neutral group, YouTube, and thus the internet, I think CNN stuck in a timewarp in so many ways still believes the (in internet years) old saw that “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”. How very 1993 of them. If you scroll down at the link, you’ll discover the reality – not only can anyone figure out you’re a dog on the internet, they know your breed, likes, dislikes, favorite activities, and most importantly in this context, your political affiliations.

This is true for not just dogs, not just people, but media organizations as well.

The Joys Of A Democrat In The White House

In some ways I look forward to a President from the Democratic party. Overnight, the Democrats will be for the war on terror. I know that right now the right is calling the Democrats the Surrendercrats and otherwise calling out the lack of a Democratic backbone, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that with a Democrat in the White House the Democratic party doesn’t just rattle sabers, it slashes away with great gusto. Bill Clinton had no trouble attacking other countries, and the Democrats didn’t say boo. Our attack on Serbia over Kosovo was pre-emptive, our airforce bombed Serbian state television — killing civilians and members of the press — because we didn’t like what they were broadcasting.

And lest we forget, it was the Clinton administration that invented “extraordinary rendition. It was Peace Prize winner Al Gore who defended the procedure in interal deliberations thusly: ““That’s a no-brainer. Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.”

Since the mainstream media isn’t just made up of Democrats, but has become a chief supporter of Democrats, the tone of stories will change overnight. Our successes in Iraq will at last be reported; the economy will improve overnight (except for those areas that the Democrats want to change, so healthcare will still be in crisis, and the deficit will be mentioned only in the context of the need to raise taxes). And with the press not feeling the need to smear Bush any way they can, the tone of overall reportage in general will improve, while the stores about how bad the US is will dramatically decline, so much so that our stature in the world will improve (which naturally will be described as result of the policies of our wise and beloved Democratic President). Yes, the stories the US press pushes are picked up internationally; the idea that somehow our press stops at the waters edge and has no influence on how the rest of the world sees us is laughably naive. It’s human nature to assume that a country’s own press is more accurate than any foreign reportage.

You might think I’m cynical – but I don’t. I think I’m quite scientific, since I’ve seen this happen before.

Government Popularity Continues Slide

Here’s a headline you’re not likely to see: Bush twice as popular as Congress. Not that that’s saying much, although more people think Bush is doing a good job than people think the average newspaper is accurate, which again isn’t saying much.

Now I think it’s normal for most President’s approval to trend downward with time because the art of governing in America is the art of comprimise while most Americans want victory on the issues that are important to them. At the start of a Presidency, the only thing people hold against him are promises not made. Over time, a President is bound to not deliver victory on more and more issues important to particular Americans. It’s harder on a President who lost party majorities in Congress and therefore can deliver on very little – although he can still keep his opponents from delivering victories for their supporters.

Since President Bush serves in interesting times, everything is magnified. While the war is clearly a big driver, the President’s failure to deliver on Social Security reform and his difference with his base on immigration reform are another two big hits to his approval. A mainstream media that continues to bend the truth to “get Bush” at all times is no help to his approval ratings either.

I think the real question is why is the approval rating of Congress so low, and what does it mean for America?

Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize

As I’m sure you already know, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. This is greated as big news in some quarters, or as an affirmation of the correctness of his global warming scare job. Look, if Al Gore really believed in what he’s peddling, namely we all have to make significant lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon emissions or we going to face deathly consequences, he’d change his own behavior. But he doesn’t – he burns through carbon based energy at a rate far beyond the average American. Maybe Al Gore is entirely correct in his predictions – but I’m not going to believe a man who doesn’t practice in the slightest what he preaches.

So what does his victory really represent? Coupled with other recent Nobel Peace prize picks, it is clear that the European leftist elite, not content with rendering their own countries impotent, are trying to influence American politics to their liking. If the Nobel Peace Prize committee wants to reduce the presitge of their own award, have at it boys. If they think that a bunch of Norwegian elists sway my thinking, they are sadly mistaken.

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SCHIP

I read in the papers about President Bush’s heartless veto of SCHIP — and that’s how it’s always described, heartless, like he’s taking money from orphans or is going to personally infect these nameless masses of kids with some horrible disease and then sit back and laugh in the White House as they aren’t treated because they don’t have “access” to health insurance – and I had a couple of thoughts.

First off, I thought after the Democrats raised the minimum wage in this country, nobody was going to be poor anymore. Silly me. Too bad they didn’t have a set of bench marks for that feel good but harm some while helping some others kind of non-solution. The way to raise wages isn’t by legislative fiat but by helping people to be more productive.

Secondly, where were all these handringers when President Bush was proposing tax cuts for parents? What a novel idea, let parents decide where they want to spend their money for the children, not Washington.

The crazy thing is, the fight is over just how much the program gets expanded, and oh by the way we’re already covering kids above “the poverty line”.

Before we get caught up in all the partisan back and forth, with deception the rule of the day, or go all gushy because children are involved, let’s think. What kind of healthcare system do we want – one with more third party pay, or one with less? And how do we want to pay for programs – with targeted taxes on one group to help another group, or with broad based taxes to help broad swaths of society? Do we want a battle over icons, another meaningless skirmish between two political parties, or do we want to think clearly about public policy? Because in the mangled words of a real political titan, here we go again — down the path of slogan wars and demonizing not just what we don’t understand, but what we don’t want to understand.

The flying nun got everybody stirred up the other day by saying:

“May they be seen, may their work be valued and raised, and to especially the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait  - wait for their children to come home for from danger, from harm’s way and from war. I’m not finished. I have to finish talking – if the mothers ruled the world there would be no goddamn wars in the first place.”

The left is decrying “censorship” because FOX cut the cussing (and the rest of the statement with it) out.

Personally, this underscores you’re on solid PC ground claiming women are superior to men (not just the flying nun, but entire women’s studies departments claim this), but you’re in trouble if you claim men are superior to women – just ask Larry Summers who was disinvited to speak by the University of California Regents after they were reminded of Dr. Summers remark that it would be worth researching whether the dearth of female professors in the hard sciences was due to innate sex differences. How is this different than saying mothers are more innately fit to run the world than fathers? Just asking.

I also have to wonder at the condition, if moms ran the world.

Umm, don’t they already?

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) famously observed “Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man”. I not so famously have observed that women in general, and mom’s in particular, have the children — boys and girls — to at least seven. I’d pay money to see a discussion between Mr. Jason Whitlock and Mrs. Sally Field on this subject do we have insufficient fathering in this country?

At the risk of raising ire from the right people, I’ll also point out that “momma’s boy” is not a compliment.

So my answer to the question What would life be like if moms ran the world, I have to say not much different. Actually, I take that back. If we mean only moms ran the world in a dictatorial fashion, then there would be more emphasis on reducing risk across the board – physically, economically, etc. And there would be more emphasis on religion. And we’d all wear clean underwear under penalty of law. I say this because these are two areas where men and women are different – women are more risk averse and more religious, and everybody knows about moms and clean underwear.

But an end to war altogether? No.

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Ann Coulter Interview

I’m not a fan of Ann Coulter’s an insult too far style of attention getting, but I did find this interview funny:

FB: Sexual harassment is a big issue in certain industries such as politics and the modeling business. Do you think people who trade sexual favors really get ahead?
AC: It seems to have worked for Hillary.FB: You are a brilliant self made and accomplished woman. Would you ever date a model?
AC: Is the model a Republican?

FB: Which is the Bigger Disaster… a) Britney Spears at the VMAs… b) The New York Times.
AC: At least there’s hope for Britney.

The comments would be even more funny if they weren’t such a sad commentary on the current state of political discourse.

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Craig, Gore, and Begley: Hypocrisy Examined

I think charges of hypocrisy are thrown around far more than warrented. The most common case is where someone who advocates what we shall call virtue is found not to always act in accordance with that virtue. For me the person would be a hypocrite not just because they sometimes failed to live up to their standards (only the standardless person would not then be a hypocrite), but the person who advocates something as a virtue they really don’t think is a virtue and who have no intention of living up to it as a standard.

So do I think for example that Senator Craig is a hypocrite as some have suggested for being a closeted conservative homosexual while not supporting a liberal homosexual agenda? No, I don’t think so. I think he should resign for soliciting sex in a public restroom, but I don’t think he’s a hypocrite because his politics don’t match someone else’s idea of what they should be because of his sexual orientation.

I think Al Gore is a hypocrite because while he tells us that because CO2 emissions are going to wreck the planet and kill millions, we need to change our lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions, he has not made any such changes in his lifestyle (nor is he alone in this).

Which brings me to Ed Begley Jr. I’ve seen his show on HGTV a couple of times (it’s on after Design Star) and he’s the anti-Gore. While I’m a global warming sceptic, I appreciate that making changes in the atmosphere’s chemistry may not be a good idea without a much better understanding than we possess. Begley seems to live the lifestyle he advocates, and he makes a fear free pitch. He doesn’t say you need to change everything or we’re all going to die; instead he tries to give practical advice on how you can save energy (and money) in a pretty non-judgemental way:

I think there will be a lot of takeaways; that’s the thing that we’re going to try and stress, that people should grab the low-hanging fruit first. Not everybody is going to buy a hybrid car, an electric car, put up solar panels, or maybe even do solar hot water – that may be out of people’s budgets – even though it’s a lot less than solar electric. But people can afford a light bulb. They can afford a thermostat if it’s going to put them into profit in six months. They can afford perhaps some insulation, if they have a little piece of dirt in their backyard or front yard, they can plant some vegetables, they can afford to compost, or ride a bike or take a bus. Those things are quite affordable; indeed they’re quite cost-effective.

Who gets better press coverage – Al Gore, or Ed Begley Jr. Who should? I’ll take Ed any day of the week.

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