Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama loses his magic status

The Obamunist's umpteenth campaign speech (since he's been in office!) Wednesday night - this time about government-run healthcare (disguised as everything but government-run) was encouraging. Encouraging????  Yes. While I still have a concern that he will pull yet another fast one over most of the American people, it was pretty palpably obvious how full of crap he was, even to many liberal commentators.

On top of President Obama's remarkable skill for transforming fiction into fact, one can easily become paranoid not only by the media's incessantly cheering him on, but by their refusal to report any negative news about him. It's scary to think about, but if a person got his news solely from ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, and/or The Washington Post, he would have no idea that Obama had appointed a self-avowed communist to rule over green-related issues. ("Green-related issues" meaning just about every aspect of American life.)

So, before Wednesday night's performance, I kept worrying that President Obama would come up with a clever surprise to win back some of the independents who have come to realize that they were duped into voting for him. As it turned out, however, my fears were without merit. In a show of stunning arrogance, Obama apparently believed that he could once again spew out hollow hyperbole and bedazzle us ordinary folk. And when he did say anything even remotely specific, it was ... well ... as Orrin Hatch might delicately put it, "disingenuous."

What is most striking about his Wednesday night speech is that for all the breathless build-up by his slavish liberal media followers, he really didn't say anything to answer the main criticisms of the plan. For months now, he has been making three claims: (1) his plan will cover everybody; (2) there will not be significant rationing; and (3) his plan will not add significantly to the budget deficit, and--get this--will even save money. Last night, he merely repeated these same claims.

The problem is that those statements cannot be true. If we are giving everyone free health insurance, we will either see rationing, much higher taxes, or much higher deficits. That's just common sense. He can keep making these claims all he wants, but they're just not persuasive.

So despite all the fanfare, the president's speech was the same old same old broth with a bunch of red-meat rhetoric tossed in for the left. He brought no certainty or clarity to the debate. He didn't lay out any deadlines. He didn't even say whether he will veto a bill that does not contain a public option. And he certainly didn't respond to the serious concerns that have been raised by Republicans and others about the financial and economic consequences of this bill. Points that are not credible when made in a normal tone of voice are not made more credible in the louder tone of voice he used last night.

Of course the media savored the slaps at conservatives over "death panels" and the like. But the fact is that a health plan that insures younger people under Medicare, vastly increasing demand, and *then* lowers payments to doctors under Medicare, thus decreasing supply, means that existing senior citizens will be shafted. And a panel will have to determine which treatments can be covered under the plan and which cannot--in effect, who gets treated and who doesn't, given the age related nature of most treatments.

Just a few of the many items that caught my (and most everyone else's) attention:

--"I don't want to put insurance companies out of business. I just want to hold them accountable." Question: What, exactly, do you mean by "accountable?" Second question: Who are you to hold anyone or any company accountable for anything? Sorry, Barry, but the Constitution says that you are accountable to us.

--His bold but embarrassing statement that his plan won't increase the deficit. He's going to pay for all the additional healthcare simply by eliminating fraud and waste. Yeah, right. You do know how good government is at controlling fraud and waste, don't you? How does it feel to know that the president of the United States thinks you're an ignoramus?

--His claim that government health insurance won't cover abortions or illegal aliens. Sounds nice, but why, then, does he refuse to ask Congress to add amendments to the bill that makes these promises rock solid?

--His gratuitous mention of tort reform was vintage Obama - no details, no plan, no promise. Given Obamunist trial lawyer support, if anyone wants to wager on this one, I'm available to cover your bet.

--Finally, the nasty (real) side of the Duplicitous Despot came out. After numerous admonishments to Republicans for daring to question his plans, he threatened them with: "If you misrepresent what is in this plan, we will call you out." In other words, don't tell it like it is and tell the truth, and keep your mouths shut unless you want to be labeled an uncooperative troublemaker.

In short, my worries were for naught, because BHO's speech was an embarrassing bust. I believe it's now safe to say that the emperor has no clothes. BHO is, in fact, losing his touch. I think it's called "overexposure."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Pledge to Promote Global Warming Propaganda

This is truly sad. But this is what they are pushing in the schools.

Meanwhile, corruption within the "climate-change" industry is rampant. “Climategate” — the unauthorized 2009 release of private emails from the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom — revealed that many of the world’s top climate scientists were knee-deep in manipulating scientific evidence to support preconceived conclusions and personal agendas. Shrill warnings about everything from melting Himalayan glaciers to shrinking polar-bear populations turned out not to be supported--indeed, they were contradicted--by scientific facts.

It is also apparent that “green” industries are nothing but corporate welfare and crony socialism. Commonsense ideas like more windmills, solar panels, retro-fitted houses, and electric cars have all been in the news lately. But the common results are few jobs created and little competitively priced energy produced, but plenty of political donors who land hundreds of millions of dollars in low-interest loans from the government.

Even without the corruption and hypocrisy, sincere advocates of the theory of man-made global warming themselves overreached. At news that the planet has not heated up at all, and indeed has cooled, during the last ten years, “global warming” gave way to “climate change”. So now we are told that unseasonable cold or wet weather was just as man-caused as were the old specters of drought and scorching temperatures. Square that circle!

Then, when “climate change” was still not enough to frighten the public into action, yet a third term follows: “climate chaos.” Suddenly some “green experts” claim that even more terrifying disasters — from periodic hurricanes and tornadoes to volcanoes and earthquakes — could for the first time be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.

Current hard times also explain the demise of global-warming advocacy. With high unemployment and near-nonexistent economic growth, Americans do not want to shut down generating plants or pay new surcharges on their power bills. Most people worry first about having any car that runs — not whether it’s a more expensive green hybrid model.

Meanwhile, fossil-fuel exploration and recovery — especially horizontal drilling and fracking — have vastly increased the known American reserves of gas and oil. Modern efficient engines have meant that both can be consumed with little, if any, pollution — at a time when a struggling US economy is paying nearly half-a-trillion dollars for imported fossil fuels. The public apparently would prefer developing more of our own gas, oil, shale, tar sands, and coal as an alternative to going broke by either importing more fuels from abroad or subsidizing more inefficient windmills and solar panels at home.

We simply don’t know positively whether recent human activity has caused the planet to warm up to dangerous levels. But we do know that those who insist it has are disingenuous, statist control freaks, often profit-minded, and nearly always impractical.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Van Jones gone, but 30 odd commies to go

I think Barack Hussein Obama and his comrades in arms fully realize that the Democrats are going to lose a huge number of House and Senate seats in 2010, most of them by a landslide, if he keeps pushing hard left. So why does he continue his audacity in anointing communists and other radicals to posts that bypass the congressional vetting process? Because he knows that he has to get as much socialism as possible in place - people, programs, and laws - before he is faced with an unfriendly Congress.
Unfortunately for him, in his haste to install the most extreme anti-freedom radicals he can find in unvetted posts, he risks awakening the shrinking percentage of independents who still seem determined not to believe that an African-American president is an old-school radical. It's known as "white guilt," and there are some who will simply never get over it. Fortunately, a small but growing number of conservative and libertarian African-Americans are not among them.
In the case of Van Jones, everything would have been just fine had his ego not gotten the best of him. After all, his credentials were no problem. With timid Republicans not about to appear too harsh on a black guy, no one seemed to have an issue with Jones being a self-avowed communist who refers to the political opposition with all the tactfulness of a street thug.
But then Van Jones shot his mouth off one too many times.
And I will bet anything President Obama said something like this to his minions Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, "What the hell is this guy doing? Didn't he ever read Saul Alinsky? He's scaring all those Americans who are clinging to their bibles and guns - and scared people are more likely to resist servitude."
So, out came the Barack Obama bus - the same one he used for his pal "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright when Wright chose to shoot his mouth off. And you just know Barack Obama was thinking, for both people, "Sorry, pal. I appreciate the fact that you want to be a commie bigshot, but this revolution is bigger than you."
Poor Van Jones. Now he insists that he was the victim of a "vicious smear campaign" (read, telling people the truth about his radical views). He was so mesmerized by his leftist audiences' laughter that he didn't even notice the Obama bus pulling into position to run him over.
So now Van Jones is back out on the street, forced to look for lucrative employment. Unfortunately, he will probably find it in some campus, like commie Cornel West.

Unfortunately, too many  Americans have a bad habit of falling into the comfort zone after the smallest of victories.

Understand this, American patriots: Van Jones was just one of many cogs in the "progressive" (communist) Wheel of Servitude. Instead of congratulating ourselves on a job well done, we should be thinking "one down, thirty-something to go."
Among the remaining Obamunist advisers and czars:
--Cass Sunstein (the "regulation czar" who wants to reverse current law so that a person's organs can automatically be used for transplantation unless he or she has explicitly stated otherwise in writing, which brings to mind the old movie "Coma")
--John Holdren (the "science czar" who advocates, besides the man-made global warming fraud, forced abortions and sterilization of the general population by putting infertility drugs in the water supply)
--Mark Lloyd (the FCC "Chief Diversity Officer" who speaks with glowing admiration of Hugo Chavez's "incredible revolution" and wants to eliminate conservative talk radio and Fox News by forcing them to subsidize their competition)
And these guys are just the off-the-chart communists. How many more fellow travelers are there?

Conservatives, libertarians, and independents have to fight the tendency to prematurely celebrate a victory like forcing Obama to give a commie-clown like Van Jones the boot. Instead, they need to focus on stoking the protest fires in an effort to eliminate *all* of the "czars" and force Obama to get the "advice and consent" of the House and Senate before bringing anyone new on board. Further, the aim should be to reduce their powers to carrying out laws that have actually been passed by the Congress.

The good news is that "progressives" (Commiecrats) are just as inclined to prematurely celebrate as conservatives, libertarians, and independents. From the day they took control of all three branches of the government, they have been outwardly giddy and bold.
Remember, Jones was adored by Valerie Jarrett, whom Michelle Malkin has exposed as the main benefactor of, and most powerful advisor to, both Obamas. But Ms. Jarrett let one slip when she said about Jones, "We were watching him ... for as long as he's been active out in Oakland." So much for Obama not knowing about Van Jones' communist background.
Even the normally calm, cool, and collected Emanuel slipped early on when he spoke his infamous line, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
As a result of all these arrogant slips of the tongue, you can bet your life (actually, this is all about betting your life) that the Obamunist and his Che Guevara disciples guerillas will be very careful about what they say between now and November 2010. They'll probably all go back and reread Saul Alinksy's Rules for Radicals and be reminded that old Saul had no use for big mouths and showboaters. In fact, Saul Alinsky scornfully looked upon flag burners like Bill Ayers as "fools."
So look for a slicker, less threatening version of the power-holding "progressive" communists until, and if, they are in a position to slam the door shut on dissent. In the meantime, don't be fooled by their good behavior and allow yourself to get lulled back to sleep.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Underclass children will sink California

Months too late, California finally has a budget deal, through accounting maneuvers and budget cuts (including the release of convicted felons). But California's budget is toast—whether or not the economy turns around.

The cause: Millions of low-income, unskilled immigrants (and not just illegals) with lots of children have moved in. And lots of high- and middle-income Americans have moved out, even back to the states of their "Okie" and "Arkie" ancestors.

Immigration's highest cost is the public education of the immigrants' children. That falls on state and local taxpayers—not on federal taxpayers. Therefore, states with the largest number of poorer immigrant and poorer immigrant-descended students pay the most for over-immigration—although it is the result of failed federal policies.

In the fall, schools across America report average daily attendance (ADA) which is a measure of classroom hours of instruction. In the spring, schools collect data for students by race and ethnicity. The National Center for Educational Statistics data shows race and ethnicity as a percentage of students. For the tables below, ADA is multiplied by percentage of students by race and ethnicity:

Native Am

Overall, in twenty years, the increase in Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander children in the U.S. made up three quarters of the enrollment increase for U.S schools.

In California in the same period, enrollment of White and Black children declined by 1.4 million. But enrollment of Hispanic and Asian students increased by 2.5 million students. Therefore, the increase in Hispanic and Asian students in California made up 132 percent of California's enrollment increase (and an incredible 28 percent of the enrollment increase for the entire country).
Native Am

Now am I saying these Hispanic and Asian children are bad children? Not at all. However, most of the Hispanic and even a percentage of the Asian children (Hmongs, for example) are from an impoverished underclass background and will be net takers of public services.

In most of the country, K-12 education is funded by local governments. But in California, K-12 education is funded directly by the state government. Reason: In 1978, voters passed Proposition 13 which capped assessed property values and limited the rate at which property taxes could rise. When a property sells, the assessed valuation rises to the sales price and the rate of growth is then capped again. This is not as much as a problem as opponents claim, because most properties have changed hands.

Of course, elite liberal opinion dislikes voters interfering in government's taxation plans . The London Economist reflected this consensus recently when it disparaged California's initiative system as "the crack cocaine of democracy".

But California voters, who are overwhelmingly homeowners, will never overturn the Proposition 13 initiative that capped property tax increases. And Proposition 13 is not the problem anyway. The state of California raises quite enough money through its increased income taxes. The tax burden that California imposes on its citizen is among the highest for the U.S. state governments. (Those interested in more detail can visit the website of the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C.)

California has a very high and progressive income tax, among states the highest in the nation. The top marginal income tax rate of 9.55% starts at incomes over $47,055, which is a very low level for a top margin by U.S. standards. (There is a higher tax bracket on incomes over $1 million, but it is dedicated only to mental health funding. An initiative to divert that to the state general fund failed in May.)

Government budgets are made up of revenue and expenditures, just like budgets for everyone else. If expenses are too high, that is a problem. On an individual level, we respond by trying to cut expenses to balance our budgets. Right now, California's expenses are indeed too high. It has to do the same. But it won't.

California needs a two-thirds legislative majority to increase taxes, which means the Republican minority can still block new taxes. But In 1988, California voters passed Proposition 98, which guarantees school funding at 40 percent of the state general fund. And, behind that, the powerful California Teachers Union stands ready to fight any and all any cuts in education spenders, a.k.a. teachers' future pensions.

As every parent knows, children are a joy (mostly) but they are very expensive. The same can be said for the public cost of educating them. We care about our kids, but educating them is very expensive. We cannot put them up for adoption to other states.

We could, however, stop importing impoverished ones from other countries.

So, how does this all work out in California?

In fiscal year 2007-2008—the latest available—income taxes ($55.7 billion) and sales taxes ($27.1 billion) made up 81 percent of the general fund tax revenue ($102 billion) in California. The state sales tax does not apply to food and services. As required by Proposition 98, 40 percent of expenditures went to K-12 education ($41.billion). (Governor Schwarzenegger tried to suspend Proposition 98 but failed. And that would only be "kicking the can down the road" as the Terminator likes to say, because the immigrant poverty population continues to grow.)

Tax revenue is down. But when (and if) it goes up, the problem will not be fixed—because new poor people (and their children) arrive every day.

Since 1986, California added almost two million students, all (and more than all) because of immigration—see above. State tax revenue did not raise enough to cover the costs of the added children. Consequently, the California state budget deficit is $26 billion.

Most immigrants (illegal and legal) simply do not pay enough in taxes to support their public costs.

Education is the poster student for this basic fiscal truth. But it extends to all transfer programs.

According to California Franchise Tax Board figures for 2005, California income tax-payers earning over $70,000 claimed only 31 percent of dependents but paid 85 percent of income taxes collected. ( The top 1 percent of taxpayers generated 47.5% of income taxes.

In contrast, the bottom 80% of taxpayers in California had 76% of all dependents but generated only 11.2% of state income tax revenue.

And that's not counting the many California residents with dependents who do not file taxes because their incomes are too low—or they are being paid off the books.

According to California state department of education figures, half (49.7%) of students participate in the federal lunch program. That means they are poor. Half (51.5%) of California students attend schools which get Compensatory Education funding (Federal Title 1 and State Impact Assistance Grant) for underachieving, low income students. Half of California's students are Hispanic and 11 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander. Of the English-language learners, 85 percent are Hispanic and of the Hispanic students 43% are non-English speaking.

But the legislators are talking only about tax revenues— not about all the poor immigrants.