Archive for November, 2009
For the most part, Jason Chaffetz has been a breath of fresh air in the House of Representatives since he defeated RINO Chris Cannon, then won the general election. Cindy certainly speaks highly of him, which is high praise.
This time, though, I’ve got to take Rep. Chaffetz to the woodshed for his stated views on Afghanistan:
Earlier this year, Chaffetz traveled to the region and said that, since then, heâ€™s â€œbecome more engrossed in my conviction it is time to bring our troops home.â€
â€œI am opposed to nation building, and I quite frankly donâ€™t see or understand what victory looks like,â€ he said. â€œI believe, as most people do, that our military can do everything we want them to do…But weâ€™re asking them to fight a war that is not very well-defined. And we are asking them to do so with one hand tied behind their back.â€
Rep. Chaffetz, I agree that the war hasn’t been “well-defined.” I don’t agree, though, that that’s justification for pulling our troops out. In fact, I’d argue that it’s important that Congress take an aggressive role in pushing President Obama to properly define the mission in Afghanistan. I’d further suggest that Gen. McChrystal has a plan that properly defines the mission.
Rep. Chaffetz, it’s imperative that we think about the consequences of not winning in Afghanistan. Most importantly, walking away from Afghanistan means giving the Taliban control of Afghanistan, which means that al-Qa’ida will once again have a sanctuary where they can plot more terrorist attacks. THAT’S TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!
Next, pulling out of Afghanistan will be proof throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East that we’re a paper tiger that shouldn’t be taken seriously. THAT’S UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!
Third, pulling out of Afghanistan will be proof throughout the industrialized world that we’re an unreliable, fickle ally. THAT’S UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!
If President Obama’s policy fails, LET HIM OWN THAT FAILURE!!! It’s important that conservatives not give him political cover for botching the most important national security policy his administration will likely ever face. If President Obama’s policy fails and there is another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, let him explain why he didn’t implement a plan that won the war against al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan.
Rep. Chaffetz, it’s time you rethought your policies towards Afghanistan. I don’t doubt that you’re concerned with the troops’ well-being. That’s an admirable thing. Unfortunately, that’s not the most important consideration. Defeating the Taliban and al-Qa’ida is the most important consideration. Anything short of that is unacceptable. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
The minute people start reading the CBO’s report on what the Senate’s health care bill does to their insurance premium is the minute the people will revolt. Here’s what the Hill Magazine is reporting:
Individual insurance premiums would increase by an average of 10 percent or more, according to an analysis of the Senate healthcare bill.
The long-awaited report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) also concluded that subsidies provided by the legislation would make coverage cheaper for those who qualify.
The report, issued in the form of a letter to Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), will provide both Democrats and Republicans with ammunition as the Senate begins amending the healthcare bill on Monday.
“CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law. About half of those enrollees would receive government subsidies that would reduce their costs well below the premiums that would be charged for such policies under current law,” the report says.
Those enrollees that get subsidized insurance premiums would either effect a tax hike to taxpayers of all stripes or the subsidies would just bet added to the annual deficits. As I’ve said before, they wouldn’t be self-sustaining. The subsidies would just hide a major deficiency in the Democrats’ legislation.
It’s time that the Democrats stopped this insanity and got to work on fixing health care.
I’ll ask a few simple questions and see if you think this constitutes reform:
- Is it reform when health insurance premiums continue increasing?
- Is it reform when taxes are raised by hundreds of billions of dollars?
- Is it reform when the deficit will increase by half a trillion dollars? (That’s what will happen when you add in the doctor fix of $210,000,000,000 and you don’t cut Medicare by $470,000,000,000.)
- Is it reform when many costs are shifted from the federal government onto states in the form of an underfunded mandate for Medicaid expansion?
This is what Washington thinks constitutes reform. Here in the real world, though, it’s what’s called making the situation worse.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Try as he might, Charlie Crist’s problems persist. Although I disagree with a couple points in this Orlando Sentinel article, the article is right that Crist is in trouble. Here’s one thing where I think they’re wrong:
His sunny disposition; Crist has famously described himself as a “live-and-let-live kind of guy”, suited Florida during the boom times, but it now may be working against him among the party’s social conservatives, “Tea Party” activists and fans of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Crist’s “live-and-let-live” politics work better when dealing with sane people. When a lunatic Congress is pushing a radical agenda, We The People require a politician with backbone. That clearly doesn’t describe Crist, who is altogether too flexible for the Senate. (It’s one thing to fight a good fight for your principles, then compromise at the end to get something worthwhile done. It’s another to give up before the first punch is thrown. PS- Passing the current health care legislation ISN’T getting soemthing worthwhile done.)
“People are mad, and they want to see somebody mad,” said David Johnson, a Republican consultant and former executive director of the state party. “But Charlie’s not an angry person. He doesn’t shout; he talks.”
This is why conservatives aren’t happy with the GOP. This is also code for ‘Charlie is a spineless politician’. When dealing with sane people, it’s perfectly fine to talk in reasonable tones. When dealing with hardliners like Chuckie Schumer, Rahm Emanuel and others, it’s best to be prepared. It’s best to bring your brass knuckles, grenades and other weapons of warfare. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve said that Brett Favre’s been playing the best football of his fabled career since joining the Vikings this August. The MVP talk started in earnest after the Vikings defeated the Packers at Lambeau. Since then, Favre’s thrown for 949 yards, completing 74 passes in 103 attempts for 8 TDs.
By the way, the Vikings have won those games handily. That figures since they’ve won most of their games handily this season.
The story of today’s game was that 5 receivers caught 5 passes or more today, with Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian and Chester Taylor catching 6 each and Visanthe Shiancoe catching 5 passes.
Meanwhile, the running game was productive but inconsistent. Adrian Peterson fumbled twice, losing it once. Still, Adrian ran for a score while accumulating 85 yards rushing. Harvin had 2 carries for 45 yards, including a 35 yard attempt. Chester Taylor carried the ball 4 times for 33 yards.
Defensively, the Vikings dominated, holding Chicago to a paltry 169 yards offensively while picking of 2 of Cutler’s passes and sacking him 4 times. Simply put, Jared Allen abused Orlando Pace until Pace left with a groin injuury.
Prior to today, I didn’t think Favre had a shot at winning the MVP but I’m thinking he’s got a serious shot now. Tonight, Tony Dungy said that he’d vote for Favre. During the game, Troy Aikman made it clear that Favre’s 24 TD-to-3 INT ratio and his going the entire month of November without throwing a pick stood out for him.
The other story of this game is that the Vikings defense is VERY SOLID, especially considering the fact that Antoine Winfield missed his 6th straight game. Granted, Chicago is a mess offensively, gaining only 2 yards the entire second half. Still, the linebackers played well enough, the secondary taking away what are rumored to be Chicago’s wide receivers and the defensive line setting the tone as they have all season.
Minnesota’s front four of Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams and Ray Edwards is putting alot of pressure on QBs. That foursome has prevented offenses from establishing a rhythm most of the season. The biggest weakspot I’ve seen is in the secondary’s tackling. In fact, that’s the only weakness I see them having defensively. Jimmy Kennedy and Brian Robison have been productive D-Line backups. It’s nice seeing Asher Allen getting meaningful reps, too.
It’s too early to start thinking that the Vikings are Miami bound but it isn’t too early to think that this team has a chance of doing something special. Likewise, it isn’t too early to start saying what Vikings fans understand: they wouldn’t have this type of record without No. 4 orchestrating the offense.
In his post about whether the federal government was contractually obligated to paying ACORN, Ed raised a number of legitimate points. Here’s a point that I agree with, though I don’t like what’s required:
On those relationships between ACORN and the government that are based on contracts, both parties have an obligation to meet the terms of the contracts. Congress cannot arbitrarily abrogate existing contracts without cause; each contract would have to have been violated by ACORN in some manner to make each contract individually void. The dissipation of its political favor can certainly keep ACORN from gaining any future contracts, but the existing contracts have to be honored.
Not honoring existing contracts is something we shouldn’t consider. Obviously, terminating contracts because ACORN didn’t meet its legal obligation changes the discussion immediately. The minute ACORN breaks the terms of the contract, that contract is fair game. PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE.
Here’s another of Ed’s observations that I agree with but with a caveat:
The basic principle of law is that it binds the lawmakers as well as the governed. If we are to enforce contractual law, then the federal government has to meet the same obligations as every other citizen in its contractual relationships. Otherwise we encourage arbitrary despotism rather than the rule of law, and ACORN isnâ€™t worth changing that basic fabric of the American system.
It’s impossible to argue against the rule of law. If we want to campaign on being the party of law and order, then we must obey the laws, including when we don’t like the fact that unsavory organizations like ACORN sometimes benefit from those laws.
That said, it’s worth noting that President Obama, the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, ignored settled law when he threw secured bondholders to the side and rewarded the UAW:
Barack Obama’s lawless conduct in connection with the Chrysler bankruptcy is sending shock waves through the business community. It is important to understand what is happening here. Many think that Obama is merely engaging in crony capitalism, favoring his political supporters (most notably the Auto Workers Union) at the expense of others. That’s true, of course, but it is much worse than that: Obama has tried to bully those who have not bought his favor–Chrysler’s non-TARP secured creditors–into giving up their legal rights by threatening to use the powers of the White House to damage their businesses. This sort of lawlessness is common in some of the more corrupt Third World countries, but it is brand new to the United States.
President Obama didn’t obey the rule of law when he threw the secured bondholders under his now infamous bus in favor of the UAW. Still, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just keep this in mind to throw in President Obama’s face if he ever lectures someone on the rule of law.
Ed has the right approach, saying that Congress should prevent ACORN from getting any new money, especially if it’s a contract job.
It’s time we started taking steps to stop the corruption machine known as ACORN. It’s just that simple.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
It isn’t often that I agree with Eugene Robinson but this time, I agree with him. His column E-mails Don’t Prove Warming is a Fraud is actually right, though not for the reasons he says.
Stop hyperventilating, all you climate change deniers. The purloined e-mail correspondence published by skeptics last week, portraying some leading climate researchers as petty, vindictive and tremendously eager to make their data fit accepted theories, does not prove that global warming is a fraud.
He’s right in that the e-mails alone don’t prove that AGW is junk science. The fact that they’ve had to delete emails with contradictory information proves that AGW is junk science. The fact that John Holdren first discredited, then admitted that Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon were right that Michael Mann’s infamous Hockey Stick Graph is wildly inaccurate is proof that AGW is junk science.
Mr. Robinson’s column is predictable. He’s one of the most reliable, and brain dead, shills within the progressive movement, rivalling even Eleanor Clift, Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd in that respect. That reliability is how he can say this without hesitation:
To plot temperatures going back hundreds or thousands of years, long before anyone was taking measurements, you need a set of data that can serve as an accurate proxy. The width of tree rings correlates well with observed temperature readings, and extrapolating that correlation into the past yields the familiar “hockey stick” graph, fairly level temperatures for eons, followed by a sharp incline beginning around 1900. This is attributed to human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in heat-trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide.
While it’s true that scientists weren’t recording temperatures and patterns in 1000 A.D., when the Hockey Stick Graph starts, other data exists to prove that there have significant fluctuations in the earth’s temperatures. The Medieval Warm Period didn’t happen if you trust Dr. Mann’s Hockey Stick Graph. The MWP was followed by the Mini-Ice Age, which doesn’t exist according to the Hockey Stick Graph, either.
Considering the fact that Dr. Mann, Dr. Jones and others propose shutting out scientists that disagree with their analyses from the peer-review process isn’t dissimilar from Al Gore’s wild allegations, then his refusal to debate serious people on the subject. The people that suggest that they know more than other accredited scientists are blowhards and political ideologues.
Had Dr. Mann and Dr. Jones not used such extravagant trickery, they still would’ve been ridiculed. There are wild inaccuracies in their studies, inaccuracies that still haven’t been explained to anyone but the most devout AGW believers.
It would be great if this were all a big misunderstanding. But we know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and we know the planet is hotter than it was a century ago. The skeptics might have convinced each other, but so far they haven’t gotten through to the vanishing polar ice.
What we don’t know is whether one has to do with the other. Until there’s proof that one is caused by the other, we don’t have anything. Just because a group of ideologically-driven scientists say so doesn’t mean anything to John Q. Public.
Until these scientists start making decisions based SOLELY on proof, not politics, people will be justifiably skeptical.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
After reading this post, I’m pretty certain that Maureen Reed isn’t a serious challenger. Listen to this worn-out spin:
“Bachmann claims her rally is to remind Congress of the town hall meetings over the summer, but those meetings were orchestrated by insurance companies opposed to meaningful reform from the start,” said Jason Isaacson, Reedâ€™s campaign manager. “Michele Bachmann shouldnâ€™t be defending her political contributors who have reaped billion dollar profits last quarter; she should be focused on helping the hard working families and small businesses of Minnesotaâ€™s 6th District that need health care reform now.â€
That’s dreadful communications. I could’ve written that in my sleep. For that matter, I could’ve done better had I written something during a drunken stupor.
Based on this and other statements I’ve read by Dr. Reed’s campaign manager, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Mr. Isaacson isn’t ready for primetime in terms of communications.
First, Isaacson used the discredited talking point about windfall profits being reaped by evil insurance companies. No less a conservative schill than the AP refuted that talking point:
The APâ€™s Calvin Woodward ran the numbers. Not surprisingly, the numbers tell a substantially different story:
Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.
Making a 2 percent profit isn’t obscene, though it’s becoming rarer every day that President Obama’s policies are in place.
Next, let’s turn things around. If Mr. Isaacson insists that Rep. Bachmann “shouldnâ€™t be defending her political contributors”, then let’s insist that Dr. Reed follow the same rules. What’s good for the goose, right?
Finally, Mr. Isaacson’s use of the astroturfing claim is preposterous and it’s projection. The Democrats are the astroturfers. (That’s what the SEIU is, for example. Ditto with their myriad of community organizing organizations.)
Democrats haven’t learned that villainizing insurance companies, while it’s a great way to rally their base, is the surest way to drive independents away in even bigger numbers. The price they’ll pay for winning their party’s endorsement and/or primaries is steep.
Chalk Mr. Isaacson’s sterotypical rant to frustration. He’s got to know that Tarryl getting a bunch of campaign dollars from the unions and from establishment politicians’ PACs is putting the thing out of Dr. Reed’s reach. After fighting hard and doing a pretty nice job fundraising, it can’t be pleasant to see Tarryl announce her candidacy, then swiftly pick up one endorsement after another.
At the end of the day, though, it’ll be accurately said that Dr. Reed’s team just wasn’t quite ready for primetime. It’s as simple as that.
Eric Black’s post about the Tarryl Clark-Maureen Reed contest is potentially damaging to Tarryl of a couple of reasons. First, according to Eric’s reporting, it sounds like Dr. Reed is prepared to take Tarryl on in a primary:
I told Isaacson that that sounded pretty close to declaring that Reed will run in the primary if Clark gets the endorsement. He replied that that decision has not been made but:
“I would say that weâ€™re getting a lot closer to making that decision. I would expect that some decision will be made about that in the near future.”
Most primary fights don’t turn out as dramatic as when they’re first announced, mostly because activists don’t like voting against the endorsed candidate. Still, Reed has the financial wherewithal to be a thorn in Tarryl’s side. More problematic for Tarryl, though, is that Dr. Reed is painting Tarryl as a leftist who represents the DFL leadership, not the people:
Isaacson didn’t concede anything, and Reed is still seeking the DFL endorsement. But Iaacson didn’t dispute that Clark has a commanding position in the contest for the DFL endorsement. “The question is: How do we get Michele Bachmann out of office? The answer is: Itâ€™s going to have to be a moderate Democrat. We’re not sure that the convention is the way to manage that.”
It’ll be difficult for Tarryl to portray herself as a moderate in the general election because she’s voted for each of the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history. That isn’t the way to endear yourself to small businesses who worry about the DFL’s spending addiction.
Getting tied to a spending addiction is political death this cycle. Controlling spending is the top-rated issue with people in poll after poll, even surpassing job creation. The other problematic issue Tarryl has is her inflexibility on cutting spending and reforming government.
There’s a stark difference between Tarryl and Michele on this issue, one that can’t be papered over or spun. People will want to know why Tarryl voted to let the DFL spend the entier surplus in 2007 when the economy was weakening. Tarryl’s attitude that ‘government should do many good things’ can’t be easily explained away.
That might’ve been innocuous when Tarryl said it because the economy wasn’t in the bad shape it’s currently in. It’s dangerous now thanks to the unprecedented deficits we’re dealing with today. (HINT: The DFL will learn that it’s a toxic environment for being fiscally irresponsible.)
Tarryl would have a better shot if the economy was in the midst of a strong recovery. That’s the only time when her irresponsible spending habits might be justifiable. Tarryl’s agenda of taxing small businesses into oblivion to pay for her unprecedented and unsustainable spending habits.
Businesses want stability in taxations, regulation and spending. Without that, businesses can’t know what their labor costs are. When businesses don’t know how much labor will cost them, they’re less likely to hire people, especially if the economy is slowing or in recession. It’s nothing more complicated than that.
By comparison, Michele’s every vote has been cast for stabilizing spending, reforming programs and keeping various levels of government out of taxpayers’ wallets.
If Tarryl gets the DFL’s endorsement, this will be a classic matchup between a reactionary liberal and a visionary conservative. This election cycle, the odds are that conservatives will win most of those matchups. I suspect that’s what the outcome of the CD-6 race will be, too.
Based on this reporting by CFP’s Tim Ball, “Obama Science Czar John Holdren is directly involved in CRUâ€™s unfolding Climategate scandal.” If that’s substantiated, no spin will prevent Holdren from falling on his sword. Here’s what CFP is reporting:
â€œThere is a multitude of small but frightening stories in the massive files,â€ Ball writes. â€œFor example Iâ€™ve known solar physicists Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon for a long time. Iâ€™ve published articles with Willie and enjoyed extensive communication. I was on advisory committees with them when Sallie suddenly and politely withdrew from the fray. I donâ€™t know if the following events were contributing factors but it is likely.
â€œBaliunas and Soon were authors of excellent work confirming the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) from a multitude of sources. Their work challenged attempts to get rid of the MWP because it contradicted the claim by the proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Several scientists challenged the claim that the latter part of the 20th century was the warmest ever. They knew the claim was false, many warmer periods occurred in the past. Michael Mann â€˜got ridâ€™ of the MWP with his production of the hockey stick, but Soon and Baliunas were problematic. What better than have a powerful academic destroy their credibility for you? Sadly, there are always people who will do the dirty work.â€
Michael Mann’s infamous Hockey Stick Graph was challenged by scientists who were actually concerned with fact-checking. When Baliunas and Soon questioned Mann’s work, Holdren came to Mann’s defense:
â€Iâ€™m forwarding for your entertainment an exchange that followed from my being quoted in the Harvard Crimson to the effect that you and your colleagues are right and my â€œHarvardâ€ colleagues Soon and Baliunas are wrong about what the evidence shows concerning surface temperatures over the past millennium. The cover note to faculty and postdocs in a regular Wednesday breakfast discussion group on environmental science and public policy in Harvardâ€™s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is more or less self-explanatory.â€
This is where Nick Schulz, the editor of Tech Central Station (TCS), jumps into the discussion, questioning Holdren in this email exchange:
In a recent Crimson story on the work of Soon and Baliunas, who have written for my website [techcentralstation.com], you are quoted as saying: My impression is that the critics are right. It s unfortunate that so much attention is paid to a flawed analysis, but thatâ€™s what happens when something happens to support the political climate in Washington. Do you feel the same way about the work of Mann et. al.? If not why not?â€
In other words, Holdren is talking out of both sides of his mouth, first questioning the findings of Baliunas and Soon, then being quoted as saying that Baliunas and Soon are right.
On the campaign trail, that’s known as a flip-flop. In DC, that’s known as spin. In the real world, that’s known as lying.
The blogosphere and talk radio isn’t going to let go of this story. In fact, this CFP article will just add fuel to the fire. Whether the Agenda Media picks up on this is fairly irrelevant. People questioned the validity of AGW prior to this scandal. Now they’re reading emails between agenda-driven scientists that say that they’re changing up their data to fit their conclusions.
This isn’t dissimilar in principle to a jury rendering a verdict right after the opening statements, then viewing the evidence and listening to the cross-examinations after the verdict has been reached.
This WSJ editorial shows how Mann and others rigged the game from the outset:
As anonymous reviewers of choice for certain journals, Mr. Mann & Co. had considerable power to enforce the consensus, but it was not absolute, as they discovered in 2003. Mr. Mann noted to several colleagues in an email from March 2003, when the journal “Climate Research” published a paper not to Mr. Mann’s liking, that “This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the ‘peer-reviewed literature’. Obviously, they found a solution to thatâ€”take over a journal!”
The scare quotes around “peer-reviewed literature,” by the way, are Mr. Mann’s. He went on in the email to suggest that the journal itself be blackballed: “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.” In other words, keep dissent out of the respected journals. When that fails, re-define what constitutes a respected journal to exclude any that publish inconvenient views. It’s easy to manufacture a scientific consensus when you get to decide what counts as science.
This is the equivalent of calling someone who opposes President Obama’s health care legislation a racist. Mann is essentially saying that anyone who disagrees with him isn’t worthy of respect. How convenient that the scientist who’s been corrected is the scientist that determines what is or isn’t a respectable scientific viewpoint.
If Dr. Mann is the great scientist he says he is, then let him defend himself with more than temperamental diatribes and blacklisting those who disagree with him. In short, it’s put up or shut up time for Dr. Mann and his exposed colleagues.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
The President may announce he’s sending tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan, but in doing so, he’ll emphasize how he’ll eventually bring them home.
“The president does not see this as an open ended engagement,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters. “Our time there will be limited. And I think that is important for people to understand.”
Simply put, President Obama isn’t giving us proof that he’s in it to win it. More importantly, he’s telling the Afghani people that they’ll be sticking their necks out for an ally that won’t be there when they’re needed.
I’m betting that this decision won’t sit well with British Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth, either. The British are looking for a realiable ally. Having this administration as an ally will make for a difficult sell to the British, especially with skepticism running high in Britain.
It’s time President Obama stopped making decisions like his title is Triangulator-In-Chief. He’s supposedly the Commander-In-Chief, though there’s no proof that he fits that description. Mr. President, it’s time you did the right thing for our troops and the right thing for our national security. It’s time you took a page from President Bush’s surge playbook and went on the offensive militarily.
Under President Bush, the terrorists lived in fear every day. Under President Bush, the military put pressure on the terrorists in the tiny villages in Afghanistan. Under President Obama, not so much.
Mr. President, it’s time you divorced your national security decisions from political considerations. The maxim of “good policy makes for good politics” is still valid. Who cares if part of your base has a problem with you preventing another terrorist attack? The American people will appreciate it.
Do the right thing. Forget the timetables. WIN THE DAMN WAR!!! That’s the only right way of dealing with this challenge.
Cross-posted at California Conservative