Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jeff Jacoby: A proposal for affordable health care

Why in the hell wasn't Bush working on things like this, when he had a Congressional majority?

Even if the Demunists would have demogagued it, the Republicans could have tied such a reform to the new Medicare prescription drug entitlement they went along with--the spoonful of entitlement sugar to make the real health care medicine go down, so to speak.

The gist of Jacoby's insighful column follows:

Why does it matter whether Americans pay for medical care directly or let insurers cover their bills? Because thrift and price awareness usually go out the window when we're spending other people's money. Under the present setup, most Americans have little incentive to be economical consumers of health care. As a result, health care expenditures — and insurance premiums — have been racing ahead at three and four times the rate of inflation.
All of this is due to a quirk in tax policy dating to World War II, when employers looking for a way to enhance workers' salaries without running afoul of federal wage controls hit on the idea of providing medical benefits. When the IRS agreed not to treat such benefits as taxable income, it triggered a far-reaching change in the way Americans paid for health care.

What had been a relatively free market in medical services, with patients transacting directly with doctors and hospitals, gave way to a third-party system, in which employers paid the insurance companies, and insurance companies paid the bills. Americans increasingly used insurance to cover routine medical expenses, not just major unexpected costs like hospitalization or surgery. Imagine what automobile insurance would cost, writes Gratzer, "if people insisted on plans that had [low] deductibles . . . or policies that included not just major body work, but also oil changes and gas."

To properly disentangle this snarl, Congress ought to end the tax exclusion that causes it. Employers don't generally provide workers with homeowner's or auto insurance, or for that matter with food, clothing, or housing. Ideally, medical treatment would be handled no differently, and Americans would benefit from a far more robust and competitive healthcare market than they do now.

But after 60 years, it's probably infeasible to simply eliminate the tax deduction altogether, so the president has proposed a second-best alternative: eliminating the bias for employer-provided health insurance by giving every family with health insurance a $15,000 deduction ($7,500 for individuals) — no matter where their insurance comes from or how little it costs. Employer-sponsored insurance would become taxable income — but since most insurance policies cost less than $15,000, most employees would enjoy a significant tax break.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Is Hollywood too timid for the war on terror? Or too treasonous?

Andrew Klavan writes a great column, in the Left Angeles Slimes of all places!

But unfortunately, he can't bring himself to the full conclusion:

"...at the movies, all we're getting is home-front angst and the occasional "Syriana," in which "moderate" Islam is thwarted by evil American interests. But the notion that this war is about our moral failings is comfort fantasy, pure and simple. It soothes us with the false idea that, if we but mend ourselves, the scary people will leave us alone.

The real world is both darker than that and lighted brighter in places by surprising fires of nobility. It's darker because our enemies were not created by the peccadilloes of free people and will not melt away before a moral perfection that we, in any case, can never achieve. It's brighter because there are heroes like the FBI, the military and the cop on the corner who will give up everything, even their lives, to stop these madmen.

That kind of rousing story seems tailor-made for films. So why aren't they telling it? It's not just about left and right, blue and red; it really isn't."

Oh, but IT IS, Andrew! IT IS!!! The Hollyleftists used to apologize for the communists; now they apologize for the Islamunists. The "anti-anti-communism" that apologized for the Viet Cong and then the Sandinistas has now reared its ugly head again. Commiewood really hasn't changed, it just "morphed".

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

George Will almost gets it, as does Barney Frank

George Will had an interesting article where he describes Barney Frank, a lefty liberal Will would otherwise bitterly oppose, as being smart and shrewd:

(Frank) thinks he discerns cultural contradictions of conservatism: Some conservative policies — free trade and tax and other policies that (he thinks) widen income inequalities — undermine support for other conservative policies. When capitalism's "creative destruction," intensified by globalization, churns the labor market and deepens the insecurities of millions of families, conservatives should not be surprised by the collapse of public support for free trade and an immigration policy adequate to the economy's needs.

That is why, in spite of an economy that has been doing phenomenally well for the last few years (especially when you take the burdens of high oil prices and the global threat of terrorism into account), so many Americans are STILL edgy and anxious about financial matters. Sure unemployment is low, but changing jobs every few years and no longer having pensions and a certain career path IS very stressful.

Moreover, I have to admit much as I often loathe Barney Frank, when it comes to foreign trade policy, Barney Frank DOES have a point:

Frank's solution, "fair trade," is to use the threat of denying access to the American market to force less developed countries to adopt "minimal standards of civility," meaning more expansive — more American — labor rights and environmental protections. This is an economic version of George W. Bush's foreign policy. Bush's Wilsonian goal is "ending tyranny in our world." Frank's trade policy is "Wilsonianism without weapons."

Why DOESN'T the Bush Administration approach trade with potential adversaries like Red China the way it approaches military action against nations like Iran, anyway?

However, in his choice of words, George Will indicates that he clearly doesn't get it either.

An immigration policy "adequate to the country's needs"???

You mean one that imports an underclass of people who overwhelm the public hospitals and schools, lower the wages for the native born people who are just trying to get by in construction and service sectors, and bleed us dry in welfare payments, George?

Just so you can have a cheap labor force to remodel your estate, cut your grass and dig out your new swimming pool, George?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mel Martinez, you just don't get it either

I ran across this from the AP. Sadly, the GOP, as personified by Chairman Mel Martinez, just doesn't get it:

Martinez Vows To Use GOP Post For Hispanic Outreach

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mel Martinez of Orlando became the new face of the Republican Party on Friday, pledging to attract more Hispanic voters and heal the party's rift over illegal immigration.

"The fact that a boy at age 15 can come here from another country, with nothing, not even speaking the language of this country, and stand before you today as a leader of our great party and a United States senator is a miracle that could only happen in America," said Martinez, who immigrated to Florida from Cuba.

He was overwhelmingly elected to a new position, general chairman, by members of the Republican National Committee. A handful of "no" votes came from representatives of border states who oppose his views on illegal immigration.

Martinez and President Bush are among Republicans who favor giving workers in the country illegally a path to citizenship. Opponents dismiss the plan as amnesty.

"I want to make sure we take [the] message to the broader Hispanic community, to the African-American community and to all communities that may never have believed that Republican ideals spoke to them," Martinez said.

Martinez offered a hint of how he intends to increase minority interest.

In a news conference, he answered a few questions from English-speaking reporters. Then he turned to a Spanish-speaking television reporter and said, "In the interest of diversity, let me take a pregunta en espanol."

Sigh. It saddens me. Mel Martinez is a Bush/Rove protege, and the Bushyrovies still don't get it. They just can't give up on the hopeless idea of winning a "Hispandering contest" with the Demunists. Never mind that the recent elections completely repudiated that false notion, and failed Hispandering almost lost 2000, and turned would could have been a landslide in 2004 into a more narrow victory.

The Hispandering sentiment comes from (1) immigration romantics, and (2) the greedheads who just want cheap labor no matter what. (Read the Wall Street Journal editorial pages for an idea of these mindsets).

Both ignore the real costs to excessive immigration (obviously illegal aliens but in some categories even legal immigration.)

A few Republicans who were "anti-immigration" did lose their seats in the recent elections, but those losses were due to perceptions of corruption, or other scandals, or Iraq war weariness. They lost despite being "anti-immigration", not because of it.

The Bushyrovies, romantics and greedheads just don't get it. You would think the massive pro-illegal alien demonstrations last year, on Communist May Day, no less, would have been a wake-up call to reality. Sadly, not.

Of course, the Republican Party should encourage that "talented tenth" of African American Republicans to run for office (or in the case of Mexican Americans, that talented one-third) but some Republicans need to get it through their thick elephantine skulls:

1. Republicans CAN'T out-pander "Dem-Masters Of Pandering", and to do so is political suicide. Those of us who regularly vote Republican do so on principle, not because we are being pandered to. In fact, lately, we have been ignored and even face-slapped, this illegal alien accommodation being the most recent case in point.

2. People who have been accustomed for generations to nanny-statism will only vote Democrat and hate Republicans anyway. One-third of Mexican Americans is about as good for Republicans as it will ever get, simple as that. When Republicans go "anti-immigration"? About 1/3. When they cave in to illegal aliens? Maybe a bit higher than 1/3. While alienating their entire base. Really smart move there, guys!

3. Race Relations are not a simple white / non-white dichotomy; black and brown and yellow often have frictions with each other too. When a caveman like Pat Buchanan received standing ovations in Koreatown, and when Pete Wilson (the last real Republican governor California had) TRIPLED the normal vote share Republicans get among African Americans because of his strong stance against illegal aliens, well, someone at the Republican Party should have been taking notes.

4. Even the terms "Latino" or "Hispanic" confuse matters. Mel Martinez, from what I know of him, is a staunch Republican on most issues, as are most Cuban Americans. But Mexican Americans or Puerto Ricans are quite different.

Anyway, unless the people running the party wise up, be prepared for bad political news for the next few election cycles.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"More unmarried the married": NYT stoops even lower

Michael Medved tore this apart, eloquently.

According to the most recent available US Census figures (from 2005), a clear majority (56%) of all women over the age of 20 are currently married.

Moreover, nearly all women in this country will get married at one time or another. Among those above the age of 50 (a group that includes the celebrated Baby Boomers of the famously revolutionary ‘60’s generation), an astonishing 94% have been married at one time or another and some 79% are either currently married or widowed.

Even including the younger, supposedly “post-marriage” generation, and considering all women above the age of 30, some 61% are currently married and another 12% are widowed. In other words, nearly three-fourths (73%, a crushing majority) of all women who have reached the tender age of 30 now occupy a traditional female role as either current wives or widows – avoiding the supposedly trendy status of divorced, separated, co-habiting or single.

How, then, could America’s “Journal of Record,” the New York Times, possibly peddle the ridiculously distorted story that most females now count as unattached?

It’s all based on a fundamentally dishonest decision that the author, lefty and homosexual activist, Sam Roberts,

....never acknowledges in the entire course of his lengthy article. It turns out that in his analysis he chose to count some 10,154,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 as “women.” It should come as no surprise that this vast group of teenagers (yes, teenagers, most of whom live at home) are officially classified as “single.” In fact, 97% of the 15 to 19 year olds identify themselves as “never married.” The Census Bureau, by the way, doesn’t call these youngsters “women” – it labels them “females” (a far more appropriate designation).

Yet even the ridiculous inclusion of his ten million unmarried teenagers couldn’t give Sam Roberts the story he wanted to report – that most American “women” are now unmarried. As a matter of fact, the Census Bureau shows that among all females above 15 the majority (51%!) are still classified as “married.”

So the New York Times required yet another sneaky distortion to shave off that last 2% from the married majority, though this bit of statistical sleight-of-hand Sam Roberts had the decency to acknowledge. “In a relatively small number of cases, the living arrangement is temporary, because the husbands are working out of town, are in the military, or are institutionalized,” he writes.

Nevertheless, I get worried when a lady friend of mine read this from the New York Times and took it as gospel. The liberal media can still play people for suckers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Index of economic freedom": USA 4th of 157

The United States maintains the fourth-freest economy in the world, so says the brand-new 2007 Index of Economic Freedom, a co-production of The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The methodology can be found here.

The overall message is undeniable: that governments which limit economic freedom--socialist governments, for example--limit the quality of life of their citizens. Likewise, those governments that get out of the way and allow free enterprise to flourish will see substantially more prosperity.

It is also undeniable that English common law was and is the best foundation for economic freedom, as the nations with high economic freedom tend to overwhelmingly in the Anglosphere.

While the overall thrust of the Index may make sense, I find the rankings flawed in several ways:

1. No account of that subtle thing called personal freedom. Which is understandable, because it's hard to quantify, unlike tax rates, trade barriers, and property rights (although corruption, the WSJ and Heritage admit, is a difficult thing to quantify too). But I'm sorry, personal freedom does matter to me. Singapore (ranking #2) may be a wonderful place to invest, own property and make money, but it's still a place where you can't chew gum as you please. Singapore has nanny police statism, if not nanny high-tax big government statism. I wouldn't rate Singapore so high.

2. No accounting for Hong Kong's new status. While they have retained British common law and business policies, the threat of Red China pulling the rug out from under them is oh-so-palpable and ever present. If we are going to include Hong Kong in the rankings of "nations", then why not rate the various "Special Economic Zones" of Red China as well? And if Hong Kong merits ranking because of its Special Administrative Region status, where is Macao then?

3. I think a separate Index ranking for female business personnel is necessary, given the nature of Islamic barbarism. To their credit, Muslim nations that were former British colonies and have retained English Common Law retain a high degree of economic freedom. Still, if I were a female business executive, I'd rather do business in Mexico (ranking #49) or Italy (ranking #60) or Brazil (ranking #70), despite their higher taxes, high degree of corruption and poor contract law, than I would do business in Bahrain (ranking #39) or Malaysia (ranking #48) or Oman (ranking #54).

4. I suppose I could get nitpicky and argue that federal nations (USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada) need subranking for their state or provincial parts, but that's minor.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

First build the wall, then employer enforcement

"Employer Enforcement Better Than Border Security, Analyst Says."

WRONG. Without A border wall, more enforcement, means hiring more public servants to enforce, more money required to pay enforcement, higher taxes to businesses for enforcement, less profit because of higher taxes, lower starting wage, fewer candidates for lower paying job because of higher taxes, more illegals to fill lower paying jobs, dog chasing tail. Build the fence first.

It is EASILY cheaper for us to build a Great Wall from San Diego to Brownsville, stemming the flow of illegal aliens, than it is to hire THAT many ICE (formerly INS) agents and pay that large a bureaucracy staff to administer it all. Seriously.

When there is a hole in a boat, does it make sense to bail out water without fixing the leak? That is what is being done when we surrender on building the great wall/fence border security and focus on internal enforcement.

Building a wall reduces the flow, which in turn allows enforcement to be less overwhelmed and have a more focused effort.

When I read "If we had enforcement, we wouldn’t need a fence", I had to scream, because THE FENCE IS PART OF ENFORCEMENT. IT HELPS ENFORCEMENT. A simple "round ’em up and throw ’em out" mantra is truly DUMB and does not help. For starters, without a border wall, they are back within days after they are thrown out!

Mr. Gordon Hanson, although his heart and mind is in the Right place, is terribly self deluded. I would recommend reading the immigration analysis of another Mr. Hanson for a more realistic approach to this problem.

Actually, Mr. Gordon Hanson does sort of get it:

"If we wanted to have serious monitoring and enforcement of U.S. labor law, we probably have the technology to do it. It’s a question of whether we have the political will to do it," Hanson said.

But we don’t. If you think the political will and financing to build a wall/fence is hard enough to muster, it will take many times that political will, and yes, even many times that economic cost, to punish employers, round up illegals, deny them access to the hospital emergency rooms and the public schools, and kick them out.

Seriously, if you thought the liberal media sob stories were bad when Newt Gingrich tried to trim back the Federal Government, they will be many times worse here.

If getting the border wall/fence is proving difficult, how in the "If-You-See-Kay" does anyone think we will ever be able to muster up the kind of police state which would be necessary to do what Mr. Gordon Hanson is proposing??? That’s even harder.

Moreover, what Mr,. Gordon Hanson is proposing is a massive increase in the size of Big Government, which ought to make us conservatives and libertarians pause, right? Our "underground economy" is just too big, and to expose it to the light of day would require massive costs, a massive bureaucracy, massive law enforcement, and massive intrusion into private business matters, which a lot of us good libertarian and conservative Republicans ought to think twice about.

So what to do?

FIRST: Build the Great Wall of America. The flow of illegal aliens stops, or at least slows to a trickle (of visa overstayers, or perhaps really cleverly built cargo ship or plane or vehicle hiders)

SECOND: Tighten up law enforcement. With the flow of illegal aliens stopped or at least slowed to a trickle, overwhelmed law enforcement WILL BE ABLE TO BETTER ENFORCE LAWS. Has it ever occurred to anybody that the laws are not well enforced because law enforcement is OVERWHELMED? Yes, leftover commie groups like the ACLU and fifth columnist groups like La Raza are a big part of the problem too, but reducing the volume would go a long way to improving law enforcement.

THIRD: Incarcerate and then deport the illegal aliens who are criminal beyond merely border skipping. Heck, some of them like the MS-13 gang have committed crimes so heinous they need to be locked up for good if not executed, for the good of the people south of the border as well as for us!

FOURTH (and everybody take a deep breath here): Once the Great Wall is built and strengthened law enforcement will be able to track down the illegals in our country, we will have to consider some kind of amnesty for the otherwise law abiding (other than being illegal, of course) ones that are already here, now trapped north of the great wall, with financial penalties for their illegal entry.

NOTE: I am not talking about "comprehensive immigration reform"; those who advocate THAT are lying weasels full of "Ess-Aitch-Eye-Tee".

However, once we get the fence/wall built and adequately manned, and our no longer overwhelmed law enforcement can better sanction employers and track down illegals, we will discover a partly wonderful and partly painful truth: that a good many, perhaps even most, of the illegal aliens trapped north of the Great Wall:

(1) will have been here for years and will have had children born and raised here, with home mortgages, steady jobs, and all the rest. (and fat chance getting a 14th Amendment Constitutional change on this matter, that’s harder than building a wall and making a employer sanctions police state combined),

(2) are, in fact, good honest, and hardworking people, the backbone labor force of certain industries, even if some of them have been seduced the the liberal Demunist Commiecrat welfare state enticements.

Deporting them, or "cutting off all benefits until they deport themselves", Is. Not. Going. To. Happen. Period. How does one cut off the public hospital emergency room?

The best we can do for them is have them pay a fine for "cutting in line and cheating" and for being a burden on our law enforcement and public services, etc.

I know, I know, they cut in line and cheated, they snuck in, but realistically, "rounding them up and kicking them out", no matter how much it may make you feel good and please the side of you that wants life to be fair....Is. Not. Going. To. Happen. Period. It would require police state levels of paramilitary law enforcement.

Moreover, that sentiment only fuels the bogus cries of "racism" from the treasonous Demunist Commiecrats and their ilk like the ACLU, La Raza, etc.

Of course we should vote to cut off social benefits to illegal aliens, and even legal immigrants for that matter, Prop 187 was wonderful, despite the lying Commiecrats and gutless or greedy Republicans who said otherwise.

BUT: the emergency rooms are NOT going to turn them away, nor will the K-12 school teachers run them out of school on a rail.

So butch up, nancies!!! We CAN do something about illegal aliens, but we have to be realistic.

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Califorina Poverty Increasing", no mention of illegal aliens

Dan Walters may be one of the few honest people left at the Sacramento Bee (Ess), but there are even limits to his honesty.

Los Angeles County has been the epicenter of California's socioeconomic transformation over the last couple of decades. The collapse of the aerospace industry sent hundreds of thousands of Angelenos fleeing to other states, while at least as many immigrants filled the gap, spectacularly altering the county's dynamics....4.7 million Californians lived in poverty in 1999 and a third of them lived in Los Angeles County, with Latinos by far the largest single poverty-stricken ethnic group. Latinos were a quarter of the Californians in poverty in 1969, a third in 1979, 44 percent in 1989 and more than 50 percent in 1999, reflecting both rapid growth in the state's Latino population and the simple fact that so many are immigrants with little education.

Oh sure, he mentions "Latinos" and "immigrants", but NEVER does the word ILLEGAL appear, even though that is the overriding reason for the rise in the state's poverty rate, from an estimated 11.1 percent in 1969 to 14.2 percent in 1999 to 17.7 percent now. Not only are they net takers of social and public services, they also have driven wages down in a good many economic sectors.

I think Mr. Walters knows this, but he dare not write it, given the editorial pages of the pro-illegal alien Sacramento Bee (Ess).

We want to reduce poverty? I have one simple solution: STOP IMPORTING IT!

Note I said simple, not easy. Because building the necessary barrier walls / fences, and beefing up border patrols, will be difficult. But it must be done.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dan Walters: Health plan hinges on 'tax' label

Says Dan Walters:

Asked directly about the issue, Schwarzenegger this week gave a roundabout response in which he decried the "hidden tax" being paid through shifting costs for caring for the uninsured, noted that doctors and hospitals would be getting more from the program than they were paying and added: "So therefore, when we talk about the 4 percent that the employers should pay on the wages, or hospitals should pay the 4 percent or the 2 percent that the doctors pay, it's not really a tax, because in the end they're all going to benefit."

There's a certain amount of logic to Schwarzenegger's position from a policy standpoint. Medical care providers would receive a multibillion-dollar net gain under the governor's scheme, even after paying the levies, and employers who don't provide health care are, in effect, being subsidized by taxpayers and employers who do cover workers. Extension of coverage to the uninsured would require someone to pay the tab. Schwarzenegger calls it "shared responsibility" that involves money from government, employers, health care providers, insurers and consumers.

Lately, there have been a series of nauseating radio ads about how "the uninsured kids can't get health care" and how it isn't fair to those of us who pay medical insurance because they wind up using very costly emergency rooms, implying that it would be cheaper to have state government mandated health insurance.

Nice try, but the fact is that as long as there is an illegal alien invasion, there will continue to be people overwhelming the emergency rooms! Unless you plan to sign up every illegal alien who crosses into the health care plan. And frankly at that point:

1. To enforce that, we would have such a degree of border control that illegal aliens COULDN'T get in....

2. Many illegals (and their employers) would probably prefer to get paid (or pay) in cash under the table and not pay the health care tax!

Columnist Debra Saunders outlines further why this is a disaster.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cat Stevens hedges for the savages

Sadly, I liked this guy's music once, and still do. But He's being followed by a Murdering Moon-God Shadow....

"For all your devotion to education and good deeds, government officials in various countries have tried to link you to extremist groups, including Hamas. What do you think of Hamas?

That's an extremely loaded question.

Can you try to answer it?

I have never supported a terrorist group or any group that did other than charity and good to humankind.

O.K., but many of us here in the States would like to see moderate Muslims make more of an effort to denounce the extremist fringe of the faith. Very few mainstream Muslims have publicly criticized their radical brethren.

If I am not an example of that, then tell me, Who is?

So would you say you have contempt for a terrorist group like Hamas?

I wouldn't put those words in my mouth. I wouldn't say anything on that issue. I'm here to talk about peace. I'm a man who does want peace for this world, and I don't think you will achieve that by putting people into corners and asking them very, very difficult questions about very contentious issues."

But one piece of the interview is revealing:

"It’s interesting that you became a convert to Islam, considering that your father was a Greek Cypriot who belonged to the Orthodox Church and presumably was not enamored of Muslims.

Yes, there was always enmity between the Greeks and the Turks. The reason for me coming to Islam was a long, winding road."

With just a shortcut through rebellion against your father....

Ben Stein, lawyer, profesor, writer, and one of the few conservatives in Hollywierd, once wrote that he noticed, as a general rule, that many HollyLeftists he ran into had strained or even hostile relationships with their fathers, and their activism was a way to "act out" that. Conservatives, on the other hand, tended to really admire their fathers and want to please them. (There are execptions to every rule and your mileage may vary, but among my peers I do notice a pattern).

Once upon a time, he wasn't so coy....

The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ''I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.''

The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel ''The Satanic Verses.'' He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ''I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.''

''I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is,'' said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ann Coulter: The REAL Legacy of Gerald Ford

Ann Coulter notes the real legacy of the Gerald Ford years, and the real message of his passing.

Is she full of piss and vinegar? Sure. Sometimes reading her columns is like watching the political equivalent of Adam West's "Batman": BAP! POW! SOCK! OOF! But she is spot-on:

The passing of Gerald Ford should remind Americans that Democrats are always lying in wait, ready to force a humiliating defeat on America....fewer troops, different troops, "redeployment" — all the Democrats' peculiar little talking points are just a way of sounding busy. Who are they kidding? Democrats want to cut and run as fast as possible from Iraq, betraying the Iraqis who supported us and rewarding our enemies — exactly as they did to the South Vietnamese under Ford.

Liberals spent the Vietnam War rooting for the enemy and clamoring for America's defeat, a tradition they have brought back for the Iraq war.

They insisted on calling the Soviet-backed Vietcong "the National Liberation Front of Vietnam," just as they call Islamic fascists killing Americans in Iraq "insurgents." Ho Chi Minh was hailed as a "Jeffersonian Democrat," just as Michael Moore compares the Islamic fascists in Iraq to the Minute Men.

During the Vietnam War, New York Times scion Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger told his father that if an American soldier ran into a North Vietnamese soldier, he would prefer for the American to get shot. "It's the other guy's country," he explained.

Now, as publisher of the Times, Pinch does all he can to help the enemy currently shooting at American soldiers.

If Ann Coulter just has too much P&V for you, Brendan Miniter writes a more measured article that essentially says the very same thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ah-nold suggests universal health care

I suppose this wouldn't be so bad if there were market forces to keep costs in line and the onus was on the consumer, like it is with mandatory driver's vehicle insurance. But in reality, it's another damn employer mandate, in a state that has way too many to begin with.

Including illegal aliens.

"Fiscal conservative, social liberal", my ass.

Captain Ed sums it up well. His commenters also bring up good points on the effectiveness of Medical Savings Accounts.

Monday, January 08, 2007

They want "Domestic Partnerships" for straights, too

Remember how the gay activists asked rhetorically, "how does our marrying devalue your marriages?"

Well, THIS is how. For the Left's real endgame, you see, is simply to devalue the already beleaguered institution of marriage further. Lefty Carole Migden lets the proverbial cat out of the bag.

SB 11 (Migden, D-San Francisco), introduced this week, would give unmarried heterosexual couples of all ages the right to register as domestic partners. Senator Migden, a lesbian activist, has reportedly introduced SB 11 to respond to the “growing trend of couples raising children out of wedlock.”

“This is a very practical expansion that absolutely reflects the new family unit today,” Migden said. “We're trying to provide the proper benefits for the families that exist today.”

Migden’s remarks reflect an unhealthy view of public policy. Public policy should not encourage and promote something simply because it happens to exist. Rather, it should encourage and promote what is good for California and healthy for families.

SB 11 is yet another attempt to make marriage meaningless and to keep unmarried parents from entering a marriage covenant, pledging to take care of each other and stick with each other regardless of what may come.

“Children deserve to be raised in stable homes, with a mother and father who are committed to each other,” said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute. “We are dismayed that such wrong thinking about families – that a marriage commitment is irrelevant – permeates our society and threatens children. CRI is committed to working against harmful measures like SB 11.”

SB 11 would grant domestic partnership rights to couples regardless of whether or not they have children. “Eventually there would be no distinction between parents with kids, and those people who are simply roommates who file for financial advantages," said Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Orange County).

Columnist Debra Saunders, not exactly a red-blooded conservative, also sees the writing on the wall.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Dan Walters: A few big fish rule tax pool

Dan Walters, one of the few honest people left at the Sacramento Bee (Ess), tells the truth about who is paying the taxes in California:

When California's personal income tax revenues took a sudden jump last year, those who chart the state's fiscal affairs wondered why -- and it turned out to be mostly due to a payment by one very high-income taxpayer.

State tax officials, citing tax confidentiality laws, are very reluctant to provide any information about the person who sent in about $200 million in unpaid taxes, even the taxpayer's profession or business. It could be a Silicon Valley tycoon, a Hollywood entertainer, an athlete -- or someone else entirely.

The payment was in response to a state amnesty program aimed at settling outstanding tax disputes, but its sheer immensity implies that the income involved must have been about $2 billion. It indicates that amnesty has been a success, but more than anything, it underscores a tax system that makes it increasingly difficult for the state to balance its books because of its utter dependence on a relative handful of high-income taxpayers.

The Left claims that it wants a "progressive" tax system. Well, for income taxes, California has that in spades.

State and local governments, including schools, rely on three major taxes to finance their operations: property taxes, sales taxes and personal income taxes. But the three-legged stool of public finance has become unstable.

Property taxes are limited by Proposition 13, which voters passed in 1978, while taxable retail sales have flattened out due to demographic changes -- especially the aging of the state's economically dominant white population.

Over the last quarter-century, and especially in the last decade, personal income taxes have become, by far, the most important revenue source, and because California has a steeply progressive income tax system, the bulk of those revenues come from a relative handful of high-income taxpayers.

Roughly half of personal income taxes are collected from those reporting incomes of $200,000 a year or more, while they file just 3 percent of state tax returns. The roughly 3,000 (out of 14 million) California tax returns with incomes over $5 million a year pay a whopping 10 percent of all personal income taxes.

So the next time you hear one of the Caliphony Commiecrats tell you that s/he will only raise taxes on "the super rich", don't you believe it. There aren't enough of them to go around, and they can always pack up and leave, leaving you with the bills.

Remember the fable about the goose who laid the golden egg? If California politicians and the voters who support them think they can just keep on taxing the very high income taxpayer geese and not kill them off (or drive them out of state), they are sadly deluded.

From a populist standpoint, that's all to the good, but there's a downside that should bother everyone: Wealthy taxpayers tend to receive much of their income from capital gains, business profits and other non-salary sources.

Simply put, California's fiscal health -- its ability to pay for schools, colleges, medical care and other programs -- is very dependent on how well a few people do with their personal investments, and that's bothersome for several reasons.

First, the wealthy are mobile. Many could simply relocate their residences, at least for tax purposes, to Nevada or some other income tax-free venue. Second, they have at least some flexibility in the timing and other aspects of their income streams. Finally, their incomes are in large measure dependent on how well the stock market is doing.

It is, in practical effect, a triple whammy. Increasingly, revenues depend on a narrow base of taxpayers whose incomes are increasingly volatile while at the same time, the spending side of the public ledger is increasingly rigid, thanks to decrees by voters and politicians, and unable to adjust to the system's inevitable peaks and valleys.

So even if we keep taxes reasonable and don't choose to punish the high income in California, the volatile nature of their earnings means we should be VERY careful before undertaking any grandiose projects, even ones that will improve the state's infrastructure, although because of their long-term economic benefits, those are certainly must justifiable than any entitlements.

Thanks for going on a bond orgy, Ah-nold...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Panel calls for more flavored malt beverage taxes

Get ready for more nanny-statism, Cali voters, you asked for it:

Reversing a decision made a day earlier, the state's tax policy board on Wednesday voted to take the first steps toward hiking the tax on "alcopops" -- sweeter-tasting alcoholic drinks that a coalition of youth groups believes are targeted at teenagers.

Alcopops -- which refer to flavored malt beverages such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade -- are taxed at 20 cents per gallon, the rate for beer. The coalition wants the beverages taxed at $3.30 per gallon, the rate for distilled spirits, with the hope that the steeper price will make the drinks less accessible to minors.

Never mind that they have about the same alcohol content by percentage as most beer, and often even less. Moreover, flavored malt beverages have been around for decades, while most underage drinking still involves brew-skis and mixed drinks from hard liquor.

This reminds me of the Joe Camel hysteria a decade ago, where it was claimed that young smokers were more likely to smoke because of the character. And yet, if you look at any teenage smokers, what cigarettes are they almost always smoking? That's right--Marlboros!

Board member and state Controller Steve Westly, who made the motion for a second vote on Wednesday, disagreed (with keeping the malt beverage tax rate at the level of beer).

"There is no doubt that based on how they are marketing (the drinks) ... they're being targeted at the youth market," he said in an interview.

Oh really? What proof do you have of that? Has Steve Westly even SEEN a Mike's Hard Lemonade advertisement? The fact is that the Mike's Hard Lemonade ads feature older, thirtysomething men and women. Remember Anheuser Busch's Spuds McKenzie advertising campaign for Bud Light Beer? Now THAT was clearly aimed at college age people, many of whom were (and still are) 17-20 years of age and drinking illegally (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

The five votes on the Board of Equalization (excise taxes) member panel consist of three Democrats and two Republicans. Guess which two want to keep the hard lemonade tax at a reasonable beer-like level, precisely because it has a beer-like alcohol content?

Voting no were Bill Leonard, whose district includes the San Joaquin Valley, and Claude Parrish, who represents a Southern California district. (Parrish ran for State Treasurer, losing to Bill Lockyer). Both men worried the tax might place an undue hardship on beverage makers, distributors, retailers and restaurants. Some establishments, Leonard said in a statement, might not have the correct licenses to sell the drinks if they are reclassified.

"This is something (that will) kill a product, kill a business, and it sounds like it's predatory," Parrish said at Tuesday's hearing.

Indeed. Why do I get the feeling that the beer industry is behind raising the tax on a competing beverage?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tax cuts and the slant of the media

Here's an AP news article (never mind the local paper, just note the AP wire) that reveals the slant of the media:

The House moved Friday in only its second day under Democratic reign toward changing budget rules that allowed deficits to swell with lawmakers‘ pet projects and President Bush ‘s tax cuts.

How many times do we have to re-live the empirical history? Tax cuts, by stimulating the economy, boosted revenues, under JFK, Reagan, Bush the Younger, and yes, even under Clinton, who halved the capital gains tax rate (to his credit, and to Robert Rubin's credit for persuading Clinton to do so).

At some point we may reach the top of Laffer's Curve and tax cuts are no longer revenue boosting and in fact revenue detrimental, but we are not anywhere near there yet!

The key is holding the line on non-essential spending, which the Bushyrovies have simply NOT done. And I doubt the Demunists will, unless partisan "gridlock" helps slow spending.

As for these new budget rules? If they restrained spending, I'd be all for them. But sadly, I will bet anything that they will make it impossible to cut taxes for the forseeable future, as well as doom the 2010 tax cut renewal, as well as allow further entitlement growth through omissions and loopholes. I see a class-A disaster looming....

That's why the GOP needs to be championing BOTH tax cuts AND smaller government, using the revenue boosts ONLY to increase necessary defense spending and retire bond debt. If not, all we'll be doing is giving politicians more money to spend on crappy government programs.

Unfortunately, President Bush, for all his talk of tax cuts, has never been a champion of smaller government. I knew the Bushyrovies were going off the cliff when they signed onto a new Medicare prescription drug entitlement, with no means testing, based upon age only. And this was at a time when:

--Senior citizens are mostly quite well off, and the largest group of people in poverty are single mothers and their children.
--The "GI Generation" which could at least lay a World War Two legacy claim to entitlements, is dying off. The "Silent Generation" (born about 1926 to 1942) cannot really claim any such generational entitlement, and the "Baby Boomers" (born 1943 to about 1960) who will follow certainly can't.
--People are living longer, the age limits have not been raised, and thus will draw from age-based entitlements that much longer.

Perhaps the Bushyrovies were / are still scared by the ghost of Claude Pepper and other Demo dinosaurs who used to demonize Republicans about Social Security cuts. Still, a very bad and fiscally irresponsible move.

Meanwhile, remember how lib hacks like Paul Krugman berated the Bushyrovies for irresponsible spending and went on and on about how ending budget deficits and creating budget surpluses was important? Surprise! He didn't mean it...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Commiecrat Car Culture: A Lesson for the Governator

Again, thanks and Trackback to zombietime.

A continuation from the prior post, this photo has a political lesson in it for "moderate" or RINO Republicans, and the Governator in particular:

Never mind the crackpot claim that 9/11 was "an inside job", look at the "Recall Arnold" homemade window tag, and the "=" sticker, which is the demand that homosexual relationships deserve the EXACT same legal and social standing as marriages.

This is in spite of the fact the the Governator signed many of the bills the homosexual leftist Democrats sent to his desk, over overwhelming opposition from his fellow Republicans:

--AB 1160 Promoting Transsexuality to Jurors: This new law permits either side in a criminal trial or proceeding to request that the court instruct jurors not to allow their family values (i.e. their “bias”) based on “gender identity” (transsexuality and transvestitism) to be part of their mindset.

--AB 1207 Pro-Transsexual-Bisexual-Homosexual Campaign Pledge: This new law revises the voluntary candidate pledge, called the Code of Fair Campaign Practices, to prohibit a candidate’s “negative prejudice” against “gender identity” (transsexuality and transvestitism) and “sexual orientation” (homosexuality and bisexuality). Another brick in the First Amendment wall....

--AB 2560 Promoting Condoms and Birth Control Pills to Schoolchildren: This new law sets up a unit within the State Department of Health Services with the purpose of retaining and expanding school-based “health centers.” Unfortunately, these centers will distribute condoms, birth control pills, and refer for abortions, pro-homosexual counseling, and suicide counseling – all without parental knowledge or consent. Who raises your kid? You or the nanny state?

--AB 2920 Transsexual-Bisexual-Homosexual Agenda for Seniors: This new law force California’s Department of Aging (within the state’s Health and Human Services Agency) to support and promote the “unique needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors.”

--SB 1441 Threatening Religious Values of Christian Colleges: This new law awards homo- and trans-sexual activists a legal hammer to persecute religious colleges that accept Cal Grant students and religious daycare centers that accept CalWORKS childcare vouchers. SB 1441 prohibits “discrimination” on the basis of transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality in “any program or activity…that receives financial assistance from the state.” There is no religious exemption.

--SB 1827 Completing Counterfeit Marriage: This new law requires California’s income tax laws to equate homosexual partnerships with marriage between a husband and wife. Awarding homosexuals the last legal privilege of marriage under California law, SB 1827 requires registered “domestic partners” to file personal income tax returns as either “married filing joint” or “married filing separate,” setting up a direct conflict with federal law which recognizes marriage rights only for a man and a woman.

And yet, do the leftist homosexual activists like the Governator any better? NO!!!

I hear again and again from "moderates", "fiscal conservative, social liberals" (except when like Ahnold they go hog wild on irresponsible bond debt) and RINOs how Republicans can't stand for what is right, because we will alienate some interest group or another. Yet the overwhelming number of members of the interest groups named NEVER vote Republican anyway!

Repeat after me, RINOs, "They're only going to hate me anyway." Repeat until it sinks in. Then go do what, in your heart and on your principles, you know what is right. If you have any principles, that is....

Commiecrat Car Culture: A Concourse of Contradiction

Driving around NorCal, you see this kind of nonsense on car bumpers all the time.

Hat tip and Trackback to zombietime, and go there for the full gallery. Apparently license plate letters and numbers were blurred for legal reasons.

If Kim Jong-Il and/or the muslim terrorist savages detonate a nuke on our shores, let it be in San Francisco / Berkeley. I was a student there 15-20 years ago, and even the leftist slogans and bumper stickers back then weren't THIS stupid:
My personal favorite is "Stop Killing Children for Oil", after "Keep Abortion Legal", with the "progressive" (leftover communist) KPFA radio station in between. If you want to call KPFA and tell them about it, the number is 1-800-439-5732 (439-KPFA). It won't do you any good, but it's on their dime.

Let's see now, Saddam murdered how many thousands of Kurdish or Shia children? And US troops put a stop to that! But of course, murder is murder only if white people do it, in the Demunist, leftover communist, multi-communist and Politically Communist world.

I wonder what the reaction on the left would be if the U.S. got 5,000 barrels of crude for every partial birth abortion performed in the middle east, with the fetus used for stem cell research, on a Muslim woman.

Here's another Bolshevik "baby killer", with the SAME three sticker sentiments as the first, plus a whole lot more. Perhaps she is the more dominant or at least more sassy "domestic partner" of the lady above?

"How many Iraqi children did we kill today?" Well, if you count armed young male jihadists as "Children", hopefully a lot! And some of those "children" would like to kill you, "lady".

But it gets even better. Check out the sticker in the corner:

Gee, her car is newer and nicer than mine, minus the obnoxious bumper stickers. She must not have earned it, she must have stolen it from me somehow! I shall have to track her down, overpower and beat her up, take her car, and leave her my old Jeep Cherokee. No, make that my even older Ford Festiva, I deserve better.

Here's a guilt-ridden Demunist dupe:
Now this statement sums up the leftover Demunist Commiecrat / multi-communist / Politically Communist mentality at it's finest: "5% of the world's people consume a third of its resources & make nearly half the waste. That 5% is US". Never mind that this 5% produces 2/3 of the worlds goods and services, and uses resources far more efficiently than such workers' paradises as Cuba or Soviet Russia ever did. Then again, if this Demunist feels so bad about it, s/he should walk the walk and off him/herself in order to eliminate a source of CO2, methane, and patchouli pollution. If I knew where s/he lived, I'd be tempted to do it for him/her. (Again, I kid, I kid...)

Here's a guy who shows his anti-materialism and environmentalism, even though the two are contradictory:

Check out this close-up sticker:

By driving this smog belching behemoth?
Another thing I've noticed is that the more pro-environment stickers there are on a car, the older the car, the bigger and fouler the cloud of smoke coming from its tailpipe, and the more likely the vehicle hasn't passed "Smog Check" and is operating illegally. Apparently tune-ups and cars built since the Carter Administration are all part of the right-wing conspiracy somehow.
If you really agree with the sarcastic sentiment of the right-hand sticker, wouldn't it be more honest to just get out of the car and walk?

In fairness, I have to admit that "Why did they put our oil under their soil?" is pretty darn funny. I'm tempted to go look for one for my car, even though as a rule I never put bumper stickers on, not even "evil" right-wing ones. (I am sure they don't have the decency and restraint to not vandalize my vehicle, unlike me with respect to theirs.) Maybe I can slip it on one of the mass transit vehicles I often ride when I commute downtown. Yes, I actually use mass transit, unlike the liberals who pay lip service to it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gay Mafia doesn't want science research

A frequent complaint about social conservatives, is that they are "antiscience" because in some cases (most notably embryonic stem cell research) they oppose scientific inquiry for moral reasons. But here, courtesy of the Times of London, is a case of social leftists who are antiscience for reasons of ends rather than means. That is, there are some things they do not think we should know:

Scientists are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of "gay" sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts the hormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are more inclined to mate with ewes.

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the "straightening" procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused an outcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who won Wimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners in Britain have called for the project to be abandoned.

Navratilova defended the "right" of sheep to be gay. She said: "How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?" She said gay men and lesbians would be "deeply offended" by the social implications of the tests.
Well, tough titty, Martina (yes, pun intended). You and your ilk started this. It is an article of dogma among "gay-rights" activists that sexual orientation is entirely biological in origin and that it is immutable. If one accepts these premises, it is harder to sustain the premise that homosexual conduct is immoral or that gays should not be protected by various antidiscrimination laws that are applied to racial or ethnic groups.

But what if science determines that there are elements of environment or even choice at play? Which, in the case described here, they are.

The "gay-rights" activists ought to think about alternative arguments rather than making their moral conclusions dependent on an empirical supposition that isn't true.

What has always amazed me is how those who claim that "sexual orientation is biological in origin and it is immutable" are the very same people who claim that "gender roles are entirely social constructs". Does anyone with half a brain see a problem here?

Monday, January 01, 2007

What we are up against in 2007:

Congrats to Pat Santy for flowcharting the Left's menace. When you see the Left's slant on any breaking news in the year that has now begun, keep this in mind:

Ever wonder why Leftists make common cause with Islamunist savages, even though the Islamunist savages would be only too happy to kill the often homosexual and feminist Leftists? This is why: because they still want to destroy America, and the old Marxist-Lenininst approach has failed, so now they are taking on new ones. Pat Santy explains:

We are dealing with an extremely subtle, but capable and sophisticated enemy; who is able to plot, manipulate, and develop a coherent and effective strategy to split and disarm the West. Our enemies know us very, very well--in fact, they appear to perfectly understand the excessively vulnerabile position of the West because of its acceptance and promulgation of multiculturalism and political correctness; and have analyzed how to use the contents of these belief systems against us while furthering their own religious objectives.

Observe how easily Islam has been able to subvert key Western values--such as freedom of speech and expression--with a degree of invincibility and outraged virtue, capitalizing on a tactical opportunity that they have never before had in history. And worse of all, many on the political left--particularly the remnants of utopian socialism-- are aiding and abetting the Islamofascists.

With that in mind, is it at all surprising that Islam is able to take maximum advantage of this Achilles heel within Western culture and use the vulnerability to optimize their own religious, political, psychological, and military objectives?

Multiculturalism and political correctness are two of the fundamental pseudo-intellectual, quasi-religious tenets-- along with a third: radical environmentalism--that have been widely disseminated by intellectuals unable to abandon socialism even after its crushing failures in the 20th century. These tenets have been slowly, but relentlessly absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last decade or so--but primarily since the end of the Cold War.

All three have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula and all other learning environments. They have been at the forefront of attempts by leading academics and academic institutions to rewrite most of history and undo thousands of years of Western cultural advancement. And further, as the culture has been completely saturated with this toxic brew, any attempt to question the tenets' validity or to contest their value is met with hysterical accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or--worse of all --intolerance or insensitivity.

It just so happens, that these tenets represent three of the four pillars that are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategy that the socialist remnants in the world have developed and are using to prevent their ideology from entering the dustbin of history.
And, what is most interesting is that, even as they encourage and enable Islam with the first three pillars; the Islamofascists are aiding and abetting them by using the fourth pillar- Terrorism. We can think of the four pillars as the reason for both the socialist revival (particularly in the western hemisphere recently) and the rapid advancement of the Islamic Jihad.