From The Past, A Present

October 28, 2009

From 1948…who says you can’t predict the future?

H/T: National Juggernaut.

A Thorn By Any Other Name Will Hurt Just As Much

October 27, 2009

One of the aspects of political correctness that makes it so insidious is the manipulation of language. The term itself—”political correctness”—implies a wrong and a right way of looking at things. There are no differing opinions, each served by facts and data; there is only the right way and the wrong way. Wherever political correctness has gained a foothold, the first thing that came under assault were the words people used.

It’s everywhere today. “Illegal alien” has been replaced with the more benign-sounding “undocumented worker.” You see? He’s not a law breaker, he just doesn’t have his papers. For young people today it’s probably difficult to imagine when people said “I’m black and I’m proud.” “Black” has fallen out of favor, replaced by the awful and clunky “African-American.” “Handicapped” people are now “differently able.” “And since “global warming” really isn’t working out quite like they expected, it’s now “climate change.”

What the merchants of PC groupthink understand is that controlling the language controls the debate. Today we’re seeing this with health care reform. Nancy Pelosi has decided, correctly, that the “public option” has become synonymous with “government-run health care,” and “government-run health care” is synonymous with “socialized medicine,” and “socialized medicine” is synonymous with “really bad health care.” What to do, what to do…

The solution, of course, is to change the language. If the tree is bearing poisonous fruit, you can change the name of the tree from “Poison Fruit Tree” to, say, “deliciously good fruit tree.” People will then merrily pluck and eat the fruit because, after all, progressives like Pelosi think that we’re all a bunch of stupid rubes.

According to the Associated Press, Pelosi wants to change the name of the “public option” to the “competitive option” or the “consumer option.” Well that makes all the difference! Quick, hand me some of that deliciously good fruit while I wait for the doctor to see me!

Quoth Nancy:

“You’ll hear everyone say, ‘There’s got to be a better name for this,'” Pelosi said. “When people think of the public option, public is being misrepresented, that this is being paid for with their public dollars.”

Pelosi said that was a misconception and that any taxpayer money used to start up the public option would be repaid. She also said such an option would ultimately drive down government health care costs.

Note to Nan: Every single thing government does is paid for with our public dollars. Every $500 hammer ordered by the Pentagon, every bloated bureaucrat’s salary, every “Your Stimulus At Work” road sign, every piece of tile in the Capitol’s ladies room, every blade of grass on the Washington Mall, every piece of junk mail you send to your constituents, every benefit in your Congressional benefits package, every dime you put into the bank from your salary, every trip home to your district in your Congressional jet, every flight on Air Force One, every stimulus check that’s sent to the recently deceased, every first-time home buyer’s tax credit…my God, the list is endless. Everything you do is paid for with our money. Washington D.C. is a city that would turn into a ghost town overnight if not for taxpayer dollars.

The whole notion that the government is going to set up a plan to insure millions of people and administer that plan out of offices in Washington D.C. and that it won’t cost the public anything is ridiculous. It’s beyond patronizing; it’s absolutely insulting. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Every bleat that comes out of Pelosi’s mouth is an insult to people whose thoughts extend past the bumper stickers on their cars.

So go ahead, Nan. Change the name. Call it the “competitive option” or the “consumer option.” You can call it “Gypsy Sun and Rainbows” if that’s really what you want. You’re not fooling anyone.

Hot Air has more.

Fraudulent Waste Removal

October 24, 2009

The Democrats in Congress and the Administration are currently trying to finalize their planned overhaul of the healthcare system in America. President Obama has promised that he will not sign any plan that adds one dime to the defecit, so there are going to be all sorts of fantasias spun when the price tag for this is released.

One of the current Democrat talking points is that we can pay for a very large portion of this by eliminating waste and fraud in Medicare. Medicare is over 40 years old now, and the Administration is quick to promise that, unlike past Administrations and past Congresses, the new breed in Washington are very fiscally aware and able to root out waste and fraud.

One need look no further than the stimulus plan that was proposed and pushed by Obama, and passed by the Democrats in Congress, to see the lie here.

Of the money spent in the stimulus package, approxiately:

  • 10,000 stimulus checks were sent to dead people
  • There are about 100,000 suspicious claims from home buyers who are looking for the $8000 first-time buyer tax credit, including hundreds of illegal aliens, at least one four-year old child, and approximately 19,000 people who claimed the credit and never bought a home
  • Nearly 10,000 Medicare prescriptions were written out to dead people
  • The Wall Street Journal estimates that as much as 50 billion dollars in stimulus money will be used for fraudulent purposes.

Remember this when the Democrats talk about eliminating fraud from Medicare in order to pay for healthcare reform: it will never, ever happen.

The “savings” generated from eliminating fraud should not be considered as any part of the budget scoring for this plan because those savings are based on nothing more than empty promises belied by past actions. This is a shell game, and the stakes are enormous. Call your representatives and senators. Tell them to vote no on healthcare reform. Many of them won’t listen (I know mine won’t), but some of the ones who are on the fence need to be persuaded.

Our Rascally President

October 23, 2009

When I was a kid I used to love watching The Little Rascals. They were on TV regularly back then, and I always found them hilarious. I learned several things from watching Spanky, Alfalfa, and the assorted boys and girls:

  • The meanest man in the neighborhood is the dog catcher who lives to take dogs off the street and put them to sleep
  • Everything you do, and everywhere you go, will be instantly better if it’s accompanied to the Little Rascals theme music
  • Profit is bad

As an adult, I still find the Rascals hilarious. Some of those child actors, especially the very young Spanky, bordered on comic genius. But I also view them differently now. As a kid, I never really noticed the fact that the Gang was incredibly poor and many of them were living in desperate situations. Now when I watch them I can see the Great Depression looming in the background in almost every frame.

There is also a great deal of the Progressive brand of populism evident in many of the short films. Grandma’s store is going to be bought out by an ominous sounding “chain.” The professionally owned and operated lemonade stand is ruthlessly crushing Scotty’s grandfather’s corner stand. Nightclub owners will force you to sing on the street corner if you break a contract. One of the themes of the Little Rascals is that big businesses are evil and looking to destroy competition in the name of increasing their profits.

Now, big business doesn’t need me to defend them, and I wouldn’t necessarily do that even if the Fortune 500 begged me to take up their cause. Big Business has plenty of sins for which it should atone. But like most of the life lessons I learned from Our Gang, the idea that profit is a terrible thing sought by ruthless corporations has turned out to be simply not true.

Profits are not evil. They are a great good. Profits allow businesses to keep operating. They allow businesses to expand. They allow businesses to hire people. They allow businesses to innovate and take chances. In any sane society, profits are something that that should be intensely desired. More than that, the idea of profits should be promoted as necessary to a healthy, growing economy. The difference between an economic boom and a Great Depression is that during a Depression companies are not making enough profits to sustain prior levels of business. They are scaling back, laying off workers, eliminating risk, shrinking.

Unfortunately, as I watch the news now I see virtually the entire administration, led by the President, blaming many of the ills of society (and especially healthcare) on the thirst for dirty, filthy profit. Remember the talk during the campaign when gas prices were at their highest about “windfall profits?” The implication was that businesses were living high on the hog at the expense of the middle class, and that those profits needed to be taken by the government to put to “good” use. The reality of “supply and demand” never entered into the equation. The simplistic summation of this is that profits are good for companies, but too much profit is bad for America. It’s a ridiculous assertion. The subtext of this is that government will spend the money for good things because only government, a non-profit entity, has the pureness of heart and the clarity of soul to see what people really need.

In just the past few days, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs used the “P Word” as a way of explaining why Fox News is bad, Barack Obama has implied that insurance companies fear health care reform because it will cut into their profits, and now the White House is demonizing the Chamber of Commerce for using their profits to lobby the government. If we don’t act now, Obama is saying, Grandma’s store will be taken over by a chain, kids will be in orphanages, and greedy fat cats with handlebar moustaches and top hats will be in charge. The dogcatchers will be roaming the streets and only Barack Obama can save Petey.

While I don’t think Obama is a true blue Marxist, his philosophy of economics has its roots in Marxism: the people need to be protected by a caring intellectual elite from greedy corporate hustlers. Or maybe he just spent too much time watching the Little Rascals.

The Fox In The Hen House

October 19, 2009

Mark Twain famously advised against picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. He was referring, of course, to newspapers, but the adage works equally well in these early days of the 21st century. Don’t pick fights with people who can beam themselves into living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But then, Mark Twain was not as thin-skinned as Barack Obama.

The White House assault on Fox News, led by White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, is actually pretty mind-blowing. Politicians have long selected whipping boys in the press. Conservative politicians have been quick to point fingers at “the liberal media” even when it’s not particularly appropriate. Liberal politicians have been trying to paint horns on Rush Limbaugh’s head for many years now…when Timothy McVeigh’s bomb went off in Oklahoma City, President Clinton ridiculously tried to blame the terrorism on hate speech as heard on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

The success or failure of these political games is largely dependent on how true the statement is. Yes, Virginia, there really is a liberal media, so that accusation has resonated with the American people. No, Rush Limbaugh is not a racist, hate-filled, homophobic, sexist, fire-breathing zealot, so that accusation is generally accepted only by those who want to believe it because it reinforces their view of what conservatives think.

But this is the first time in my knowledge that a White House has resorted to an “it’s-my-ball-and-I’m-going-home” mentality when dealing with an entire network. Indeed, the most popular news network in the country.

Since August, not a single White House official has appeared on the Fox News Sunday program because the network fact-checked an interview with the assistant secretary to the administrator of Veterans’ Affairs Tammy Duckworth. You can read the full transcript of Wallace’s conversation with Duckworth here, but the main thing to take away from it is that Duckworth sat there and either was woefully misinformed, in which case she was set up to fail, or she repeatedly lied through her teeth. Wallace, a good journalist, called her on the misstatements and then went back the following week and fact-checked her.

Apparently Anita Dunn does not dispute that what Duckworth said was untrue. She is simply appalled by the idea that a Sunday morning show would dare to fact check someone from the administration. A while back, I referred to Barack Obama as the “crybaby-in-chief” and this latest offensive against Fox News is further proof that Barack Obama has lived an incredibly sheltered political life. For his entire political career he has been wrapped in swaddling clothes by a Chicago political machine that pinned its hopes on the bright kid with a gift for golden oratory. As a state senator, he voted “Present” over 100 times; as a U.S. Senator, he spent his time running for President and smiling for the cameras. As President, he has allowed Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to do the heavy lifting, while he does the photo op and the stacked town halls. Barack Obama’s greatest fear is that someone will see past the smile and recognize that behind the speeches lies a vast emptiness.

This is evident in how he handles dissent. He mocks those he disagrees with because he can not compete on the battleground of ideas. He sends out attack dogs (Anita Dunn is only the latest) to marginalize and ostracize his perceived enemies who are really no more than critics. He uses the media that refuses to look behind the smile to get out his message. Anita Dunn recently spoke of the Presidential campaign at a conference to the Dominican government at which she bragged about the White House “control” over the media:

“Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control,” said Dunn.

There are two stories here: one is of a President who is, frankly, such a wuss that he cannot tolerate anybody out there with a differing opinion and a public megaphone with which to voice it. The other is the story of a press that is so partisan that they willingly neglect the very things that they are supposed to do: fact check the Administration, make sure quotes are sourced, investigate the people who have been elected to do our bidding. It’s no surprise that news outlets are willing to help the Administration in their goals: Fox News is competition, and if the President of the United States wants to say through his spokespeople that Fox is “not a news organization,” why should CNN get in their way?

Is Fox a conservative news network? Yes, in the sense that the news shows give conservatives equal time, which is something MSNBC or CNN or the networks won’t do. It is true the opinion shows on Fox tilt conservative. Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Greg Gutfield are all conservative. Bill O’Reilly leans Republican but take it from this card-carrying member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Bill O’Reilly is no conservative; he’s a populist. But there are liberal shows on Fox News as well. Shepard Smith is, according to things I’ve read, fairly liberal. Greta van Sustern is liberal. O’Reilly and Hannity routinely feature liberal guests. The news shows with Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and the shows throughout the day all feature liberal guests and conservative guests. The political affiliations of Baier, Bill Hemmer, Martha McCallum, Julie Banderas are completely unknown to me, and that’s as it should be. I assume Chris Wallace is a liberal because his father is the poster boy for the “liberal media.” Megyn Kelly’s conservative leanings are known to me only because she has appeared as a guest on O’Reilly and spoke her mind about the issues of the moment. The Fox and Friends show tends to be conservative, but they have liberal guest on all the time.

The point of this is that a news network that features an even mix of conservatives and liberals in its news shows is apparently way too hostile for the thin-skin of Barack Obama to handle. Nobody is surprised that Obama doesn’t want to engage directly with Glenn Beck, but Chris Wallace? Because Wallace called out an official administration spokeswoman on her blatant untruths?

I’m not worried about Fox News in this fight. They’re the big boys on the block and can take care of themselves. I worry that we’re seeing a Presidency that after only 9 months in office is already degenerating into Nixonian listings of media enemies and paranoia. This is the same Administration that wanted you to email them with rumors you had heard about the downside of health care reform, after all. In the meantime, if you want to know about Green Jobs czar Van Jones’s radical beliefs, or Anita Dunn’s philosophical love for Chairman Mao…well, you’ll find those stories only on Fox.

The truth of it all is that the vast majority of news outlets and their reporters are ready, willing, and able to give Barack Obama a free ride, and that’s just the way the administration likes it. And if that means they have to demonize and make enemies of a news organization they feel isn’t a good team player…well, that’s just the Chicago way.

Michelle Malkin has more. Allahpundit has videos on Hot Air.

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