Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama's feckless leadership

In foreign policy, as in domestic, a president can do damage that lasts for decades. While it is easy to imagine Pres. Obama's support of Islamist rebels in Libya and Egypt having disastrous consequences for years to come, there are other problems. In an interview with the Washington Post, Jordan's King Abdullah explains another more subtle lesson associated with Obama's leadership:
Washington Post: Do you and other leaders in this area believe you cannot rely on the U.S.?

Jordan’s King Abdullah II: I think everybody is wary of dealing with the West. . . . Looking at how quickly people turned their backs on Mubarak, I would say that most people are going to try and go their own way. I think there is going to be less coordination with the West and therefore a chance of more misunderstandings.

By turning so quickly on Mubarak, a long-time US ally, President Obama demonstrated that the US cannot be trusted. As future US presidents come and go, a lesson like that is one middle-east leaders will likely remember.

Hat tip: YidWithLid and Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY, on the general subject of Obama's foreign policy:
2009: Obama foreign policy in review
Iranians chant "Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,"
Obama disses Norway
Iran accepts Obama's surrender
Obama angers Iran
Obama gets an education
Krauthammer on a roll
Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy: Russian edition
Obama alienates Germany
Obama's charm offensive not working
Obama snubs Brazil
Obama insults Britain
On Iran's nuclear program, Obama abandons cooperation with Europe
Obama antagonizes India

Strangling business is no way to create jobs

How important is regulatory overreach to the current recession? Democrats say not much. Businessmen say otherwise. In Forbes, Wayne Crews provides an excellent and concise summary of the magnitude of the problem as viewed as business sees it:
The roots of today’s economic troubles are hinted at in a new Gallup Poll of small business owners, which finds compliance with government regulations tops their “problem list.”

Bigger businesses say the same. No one’s forgotten that Vegas resorts mogul Steve Wynn called Washington “the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime”; or that Bernie Marcus claims he could not have built Home Depot in the regulatory environment of today.

Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro this month called today’s White House the “most anti-business administration in my lifetime.” Even Apple’s Steve Jobs reportedly gave President Obama an earful on regulation, invoking impediments to manufacturing in the U.S and more.

Continental Energy CEO Harold Hamm, rebuffed by the president when describing the sheer torrent of domestic energy available and accessible, told the Wall Street Journal that Washington keeps “a regulatory boot at our necks and then turns around and asks: ‘Why aren’t you creating more jobs.’”

Everyone’s talking about spending and flat taxes; but for healthy recovery, the hidden tax of regulation needs flattening too.

But the sky is a different color above Pennsylvania Avenue, and this week’s southern auroras can’t explain it. While Obama seeks more money, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Dr. Jan Eberly officially blogged that no evidence supports the idea that uncertainty over regulation hinders job growth. Business leaders like the above don’t count as evidence, you see.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

PREVIOUSLY on Obamanomics:
CEOs to Obama: Get out of the way!
Survey of CEOs: Obamanomics is still the problem

Occupy Portland and Michael Moore's hypocrisy

Michael Moore calls on the rich to give back a million dollars each. Strangely, Michael Moore (net worth: $50 million) does not offer to give back any of his own fortune:

To respond to the questioner, as shown at the end of the video, the Occupy crowd is reduced to ad hominem attacks: they shout "instigator" and chant "Who's paying you?"

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of liberal hypocrisy:
President Obama preaches Tolerance
Dem attack against lobbyists is led by a Dem lobbyist
Minimum wage and hypocrisy
UN humanitarian hypocrisy
Eco-hypocrisy at the UN Climate Change conference
Dems, taxes, and hypocrisy
Eco-hypocrite of the day: movie director James Cameron
Liberal gay bashing
Poster child hypocrisy
Eco-hypocrisy: Supermodel Gisele and Prince Charles
Eco-hypocrisy: Barack Obama
Eco-hypocrisy: Nancy Pelosi
The ever-increasing energy use of Al Gore's mansion
With five private jets, Travolta still lectures on global warming
Edwards' hypocrisy on the poor
HuffPost blogger projects enviro-hypocrisy

Friday, October 28, 2011


The front label on the magnifying glass that I just purchased from Amazon says "important warning label on back." Here is the back label:
Who do you blame for the proliferation of stupid product warnings? Many blame lawyers but don't juries also share the blame?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Government health care is something to die for

In a peer-reviewed study(abstract here and full text (PDF) here), two researchers from the University of Pennsylvania compared US health statistics with those from Europe. Here are their results for 5-year cancer survival rates:

The US does better in all categories and often dramatically better. If you get prostate cancer in the US, you have a mere 0.7% (5-year) chance of dying from it. In Europe, it is thirty times worse: 22.5%.

Numbers such as these are always questionable because different countries gather statistics differently. Since Obamacare has forced the issue, however, we need to compare with the best numbers we can find. In this case, that appears to be this U. Penn. study.

Hat tip: Prof. M. J. Perry.

Small businesses' No. 1 problem: government regulations

In a survey released this week, Gallup found that small business owners say their number 1 problem is government regulations:

The Obama 2012 campaign sent out an email today saying
"[C]laims about 'job-crushing government regulations' seem like what they are: political talking points with no basis in the truth."
Apparently, business owners see it very differently.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Civilization suicide watch: Greece

The socialists running Greece have run out of money.  Rather than cut their budget as necessary, they are begging for bailouts from Europe's more fiscally-responsible nations.   Rather than appreciating the offer of bailouts, they are comparing their benefactors to Nazis.  Reuters reports:

Germany, the euro zone's largest economy, has been playing a key role in trying to prevent Europe's Greece-spurred debt crisis from spiraling.  The "troika" unites the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank, which is headquartered in Frankfurt.

[A] cartoon from last month shows a soldier atop Venizelos asking why lists of names for the "Labour Reserve" remain empty, nodding at Greece's new austerity law which wants 30,000 state workers put aside. They will be laid off permanently if no other public sector job is found for them within a year.

In the cartoon, a young Greek answers the soldier: "They are empty as you exterminated the Communists, the Jews, the homosexuals, the gypsies and the crazies last time," in an obvious swipe comparing the "troika" to Nazis.

It seems obvious, to adults anyway, that, when you've run out of money, it is time to stop spending.  Neither Greeks nor Democrats seem to understand that.

After all the challenges that mankind has overcome, will civilization be brought down by liberals' innumeracy?

The battle for Oakland

Police battled the Occupy (OWS) protesters at Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. ABC 7 News reporter Amy Hollyfield reports that Oakland is still unsafe:
Because of all of this police activity, they have shut down a lot of the streets here in downtown Oakland, and they have advised people that work here to delay the start of their day. Don't come down here immediately, maybe stay home until further notice.
Oakland's Police Chief Jordan explains why they had to shut down the Occupy Oakland protest
The decision to move was based on public health and safety due to defecation, fire hazards, sexual assault incidents, violent behavior, and the denial of access of medical aid. . . . Several officers had been assaulted, doused with hazardous materials, paint and bottles.
Videos collected by Ed Driscoll show the tear gas flying during the battle.

Other than that, of course, it was just like a typical tea party.

PREVIOUSLY on the Occupy Wall Street movement:
A Visit to Occupy San Francisco: photo essay
Occupy Oakland and Marxism: a video

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Congress!

Maybe the rich really are the problem:
(Graphic found on facebook.)

PREVIOUSLY on the Occupy Wall Street movement:
A Visit to Occupy San Francisco: photo essay
Occupy Oakland and Marxism: a video

Monday, October 24, 2011

In NYC, the socialists make a discovery

In the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto writes:
[A]ccording to the Daily News, "Zuccotti Park has become a haven for the homeless," who are abandoning shelters and camping out at the park, "enticed by the allure of free food and a community of open-minded people." But as in Boston, open-mindedness goes only so far. "We have compassion toward everyone. However, we have certain rules and guidelines," says Lauren Digioia, 26, who belongs to the "sanitation committee":

"If you're going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back," Digioia said. "There's a lot of takers here and they feel entitled."  [Emph. added]
Pot, meet kettle.

Occupy San Francisco!

When they aren't getting arrested blockading Wells Fargo's headquarters, the Occupy San Francisco protesters live in this camp near the San Francisco Ferry Building:
The red flag in the center shows Che Guevara, the left's favorite mass murderer. When asked what he felt about living under a flag honoring a murderer, a kind resident explained that he didn't know who Che was. However, he enjoyed the free food.

In the above photo is a sphere with sign taped on it which further clarifies the political philosophy of these protesters. A close up of this sign is below:

The sign reads "we need affordable housing, rent stabilization, no more slum lords, livable wages, [and] 30 hours a week." That makes sense: if you are going to get all that free stuff, why work 40 hours a week?

San Francisco already has rent stabilization (see the SF Rent Board) with anti-landlord policies and the highest minimum wage in the nation. So, shouldn't the protesters celebrate living in this worker's paradise? Must not have worked out like they would have hoped.

Here are two more signs. I'll leave it to you to work out what their policy implications are:
Below is the encampment's kitchen, which appeared well stocked with boxes of apples and bread:
Left-wing protesting seems to generate an extraordinary amount of trash that overflows all the provided trash containers. This view is from just off the kitchen and you can see the Che flag in the background:
Living in a park for months at a time with trash always overflowing is not always popular. The protesters blame the police:
Managing these protests is a lot of work. Below is the org-chart for the Occupy-SF protest:
Note that they have volunteers in charge of "gender issues" and "arts + culture" but, unsurprisingly, no one has volunteered for "sanitation."

Also note that no one has volunteered for the "finance" post. Would you volunteer for that post if you lived in a camp that demonized bankers?

Many ask: are corporations people? The sign below on the left tries to answer that:
It reads:
"I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one! -- I am the 99%"
Of course, corporations are executed, mercilessly, all the time: it is called Chapter 7 (liquidation).

Note the green sign in the center above. It was left by a Republican who brought it for today's anti-UN protest (see the post below). Is it out of place here? Will they notice?

PREVIOUSLY, you have seen this same park on this blog as the site of a Tea Party protest:
To protest Obamacare, San Francisco holds a sick-in (Nov. 15)

PREVIOUSLY on Occupy Oakland:
Occupy Oakland protesters are committed Marxists

RELATED: In Atlanta, the Democratic Mayor wants to clear the park of Occupy protesters. OWS protesters "don't want to restrict anyone's behavior" unless the anyone is driving to work in which case they are happy shut down the road. Zombie has an excellent photo essay on Occupy Oakland.

PREVIOUSLY on Tea Parties in the San Francisco area:
Long Strange Trip: Hippies defend establishment; Tea Party protests (Jul 18)
A Tea Party greets Obama in San Francisco and the left is not happy about it
Collected photos of this year's San Francisco Tea Party events
Minutemen vs. May Day protesters in San Francisco
A tax day Tea Party breaks out in San Francisco's Union Square
A tax day Tea Party breaks out on the San Francisco Peninsula
3 in 10 Californians identify with tea party protests
To protest Obamacare, San Francisco holds a sick-in (Nov. 15)
A Tea Party greets Obama in San Francisco (Oct. 15)
Videos of the October 15 San Francisco Tea Party
San Franciscans speak to Nancy Pelosi (Aug. 14)
The San Francisco Tax Day Tea Party Protest in Pictures (Apr. 15)
Farmers protest in San Jose (Nov. 21).
Tea Party breaks out in Palo Alto (Nov. 21)

San Franciscans protest against the United Nations

There are those who idolize the United Nations as mankind's last best hope. Among other things, they see the United Nations as working to protect the world's environment. The affects of this work are starting to appear locally in the form of "green power" (i.e. expensive and unreliable power), and UN-advocated (via ICLEI) zoning regulations that strip home owners of rights to their private property. Today, a crowd, concerned largely with the "green" agenda, gathered in UN plaza in San Francisco, where the UN charter was signed in 1945, to protest against the UN:
It was a bi-partisan crowd: this is one of those rare issue cuts across party lines.

If you want to read more about this, see:

and, for the other side:

Why today? The UN declared that today is United Nations Day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Democrat's view of the world

Journalist Nicholas D. Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and currently writes for the New York Times. A few days ago, after some zoo animals escaped, Kristof tweeted:
To which, the inimitable Glenn Reynolds replied:

MESSAGE TO NICK KRISTOF: Boehner would pull out a gun and make a rug. As would many millions of other Americans.

Liberals live in an imagined state of helplessness. No wonder they are so angry.

Democrats gone wild, 24 years later

While Democrats complain about partisan bickering and try to blame it on Republicans, today marks the 24th anniversary of the Democrats' war against Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.  If Democrats had any sense of decency or shame prior to this war, they abandoned them.  Take, for example, Sen Kennedy's (D-MA) who declared:
Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy… President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.
None of that vitriol bears any resemblance to reality but that mattered not to Democrats.  Democrats have been in a state of unbridled anger unbound by any morality or ethics ever since.

For more on this anniversary, see LegalInsurrection.

Mission Accomplished!

Is it really "mission accomplished"? That would depend on what Pres. Obama's mission was. Also, did he think the mission through from beginning to end? I see no evidence that he had a mission or that he thought through the consequences.

Related: Libyan rebels have Al Qaeda links.

UPDATE: Al Qaeda flag flies above Libyan courthouse.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's a paradox, guns-sales edition

The Daily Caller is shocked: "Gun crime continues to decrease, despite increase in gun sales." Any NRA member could have told the reporter that it is not "despite" but "because." But, that is not a concept that a liberal can easily wrap his mind around.

PREVIOUSLY on the paradoxes that vex liberal minds:
Paradox: student test scores improve despite school funding decrease
It's a paradox: Congress unpopular "despite record"
"Ironically," conservatives and their children are happier
It's a paradox!: Crime down when criminals are in jail.
Paradox: crime is down (again)
Paradox: few fraudulent voters if voters are required to have IDs

Occupy Oakland

Steve Kemp and friends visited Oakland on Monday and came back with some interesting video of what the Occupy Wall Street (Oakland) movement believe:

At one point the interviewer asks whether capitalism is effective. From among the protesters responses:
"I don't think capitalism is effective at all."

"I think [capitalism] is a total bogus system. It is based on slavery and genocide"

"I think capitalism is inherently bad because it feeds on resources... it needs to keep feeding on resources. So, capitalism is not sustainable." [But don't try to take her iPhone away from her.]
In the 20th century, the human race experimented with national socialism and international socialism. The results were disastrous but, apparently, that doesn't bother the OWS/Occupy-Oakland protesters.

Separately, an e-mail dump obtained by Big Journalism reveals that MSM journalists have been helping craft the OWS message at the same time that they file "unbiased" reports on the movement.

President Obama preaches Tolerance

The White House has released a new Presidential proclamation, as FoxNews reports:
President Obama demanded that Americans “preach tolerance” in a proclamation he issued announcing “National Character Counts Week.”

“Together, all Americans must cultivate moral fortitude, preach tolerance, and demonstrate the value of respect for those different from ourselves,” he stated in a press release issued by the White House. [Emph. added]

The official proclamation is here. According to, tolerance means "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own." USA Today reports on a speech given by the President. Judge for yourselves whether the President is "fair" and "objective" toward those with differing "opinions":
President Obama used some of the harshest rhetoric of his term today in denouncing the Republican jobs plan, saying the GOP's emphasis on less regulations would harm the environment, undercut health care and fail to produce necessary jobs in the short term.

"You got their plan, which is let's have dirtier air, dirtier water, (and) less people with health insurance," Obama said in kicking off a three-day bus tour at the airport in Asheville, N.C. [Emph. added]

Video is available here. Read ThinkProgress' approval of Obama's intolerant rhetoric here.

Just to be clear, it is not the President's intolerant (and childish) rhetoric that I disapprove of here. It is his hypocrisy of trying to have it both ways.

Friday, October 14, 2011

When three wars are not enough

Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, move over. ABC's Jake Tapper reports:
Two days ago President Obama authorized the deployment to Uganda of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to help regional forces “remove from the battlefield” – meaning capture or kill – Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and senior leaders of the LRA.
The left says that "war is not the answer" except, apparently, when the left is in power.

The distinction between advocate and activist

Former Enron-adviser and current New York Times columnist Paul Krugman explains why he is not in the park with the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters:
Some readers have been asking me to go make a speech at one of the OWS demonstrations. If you think about it, however, you’ll see why I can’t.

I’ve been granted the enormous privilege of expounding my own views twice a week in the world’s greatest newspaper. I try to make the best use of that privilege, doing all I can to get the truth across and also advocating for what I believe to be the right policies. There are, however, some restrictions that come with the privilege; one of them is not crossing the line between advocate and activist. And there are good reasons for drawing that line. [Emph. added]

I suppose that one of those "good reasons" is that, if he was in the park chanting slogans, we would see him for who he really is rather than who he and the NY Times would like to pretend that he is.

I would find the mainstream media more credible if they were, at the minimum, honest about who they were instead of hiding behind meaningless distinctions and false pretenses. One of the better features of new-media reporting is the honesty. When, for example, Prof. Althouse reported on the Wisconsin protests, blog readers already knew who she was and what here biases were. That makes it easy to interpret, evaluate, and appreciate her reports. Mainstream media reporters also have opinions and biases but, by hiding them under the pretense of "objectivity," readers are left to guess where the reporters blindspots are.

In other news, the New York Times is again cutting newsroom staff under pressure from weakening revenue.

Hat tip: Newsbusters.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do lobbyists oppose lobbying?

At the Washington Examiner, Timothy P. Carney reports:

The campaign of Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, just sent out a fundraising email with her typical scourge-of-the-special-interest stuff:

As one of Elizabeth Warren's earliest supporters, you know she's a tireless fighter for working families. She's gone toe-to-toe with the big banks and armies of corporate lobbyists -- and won -- and she'll do it again as Massachusetts' next United States Senator.

The sender? Corporate lobbyist Doug Rubin, who's also a senior advisor to Warren's campaign. Rubin founded the Beacon Hill lobbying firm Northwind Strategies, which represents Deepwater Wind, GTECH Corporation, Equity Office Properties, and the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.

Separately, Elizabeth Warren is famous for her "nobody in this country ... got rich on his own" rant.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of liberal hypocrisy:
Minimum wage and hypocrisy
UN humanitarian hypocrisy
Eco-hypocrisy at the UN Climate Change conference
Dems, taxes, and hypocrisy
Eco-hypocrite of the day: movie director James Cameron
Liberal gay bashing
Poster child hypocrisy
Eco-hypocrisy: Supermodel Gisele and Prince Charles
Eco-hypocrisy: Barack Obama
Eco-hypocrisy: Nancy Pelosi
The ever-increasing energy use of Al Gore's mansion
With five private jets, Travolta still lectures on global warming
Edwards' hypocrisy on the poor
HuffPost blogger projects enviro-hypocrisy

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Obama Admin defunds a piece of Obamacare

The Obama administration has killed the CLASS program, one of the many financially-unsustainable pieces of Obamacare. The Wall Street Journal writes:
The Health and Human Services Department recently shut down a government insurance program for long-term care, known by the acronym Class. HHS also released a statement claiming that reports that HHS is shutting down Class are "not accurate." All HHS did was suspend Class policy planning, told Senate Democrats to zero out Class funding for 2012, reassigned Class's career staffers to other projects and pink-slipped the program's chief actuary.
With a bipartisan-consensus that Class is a fiscal disaster, will Congress repeal Class? The Wall Street Journal says probably not:
All of this would seem to make repealing Class an easy vote for Congress, but, this being Washington, it isn't. Since the CBO says Class's front-loaded collections cut the deficit to the tune of that $86 billion, HHS has to pretend that the program is still alive to preserve these phantom savings.

Some Republicans are also nervous about repealing Class because, under CBO's perverse scoring, they'll be adding $86 billion to the deficit.

Read the whole thing.

Crony capitalism: Obama ignored warnings

The Obama administration ignored multiple warnings in the days preceding Pres. Obama's trip to tout Solyndra, as today's Wall Street Journal reports:
Just days ahead of the president's 2010 visit, an email from one OMB staffer to another indicated growing worry about the political risks. "I am increasingly worried that this visit could prove embarrassing to the Administration in the not too distant future, given 1) what we just heard today from DOE that Solyndra is delaying their IPO at least until the end of the year, and 2) what the auditors said about Solyndra making it through the year absent new financing," the email said.

Another OMB staffer wrote, "Hope doesn't default before" Mr. Obama's May 26 visit.

Two days before the visit, Steve Westly, a California venture capitalist who raised funds for Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, emailed Ms. Jarrett to express concern about the visit, saying it could "haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc."

Separately, another Obama-backed "green" energy company is in trouble, as the New York Times reports (hat tip: GatewayPundit):
In a remote desert spot in northern Nevada, there is a geothermal plant run by a politically connected clean energy start-up that has relied heavily on an Obama administration loan guarantee and is now facing financial turmoil.

The company is Nevada Geothermal Power, which like Solyndra, the now-famous California solar company, is struggling with debt after encountering problems at its only operating plant.

The amount of money the federal government has at stake with Nevada Geothermal — a loan guarantee of $79 million plus at least $66 million in grants. . . . [Emph. added]

Governments should not be venture capitalists.  They are just not good at it.
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