Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: May 2011


Why Romney and Gingrich can never be President

Or perhaps I should caveat that by saying “should” never be President, given the current occupant who also “should” never have been President.

Romney gave his major health care speech yesterday in which he sounded like he was running as Obama’s VP.  It was totally unconvincing.  As Avik Roy says at NRO:

Mitt Romney just gave a more articulate defense of Obamacare than President Obama ever has. He continues to believe that the individual mandate is a good idea, despite the fact that the “free-rider” problem is a myth. His effort to make a distinction between Romneycare and Obamacare was not persuasive: If anything, he convincingly made the opposite case, that Romneycare and Obamacare are based on the same fundamental concept.

For him to have any credibility with the right and GOP voters, he had a simple mission: tell them why he signed RomneyCare into law in MA, why it was a mistake and why he was going to fight to repeal ObamaCare.

He did none of those things and thus became, at least in my eyes, an unviable candidate.  He obviously has absolutely no problem with the level of government interference in the health care market and certainly isn’t going to be a champion of backing government out of it if elected.  In fact, of all sources, the New York Times nails the problem (albeit coming at it from a different direction than me):

Tearing it down [RomneyCare] might help him politically, he said, but “it wouldn’t be honest.” He said he did what he “thought would be right for the people of my state.” A mandate to buy insurance, he said, makes sense to prevent people from becoming free riders, getting emergency care at enormous cost to everyone else.

Where he went off the rails, however, was in not acknowledging that that same logic applies to the nation. Mr. Romney tried desperately to pivot from praising his handiwork in Massachusetts to trashing the very same idea as adapted by Mr. Obama. His was an efficient and effective state policy; Mr. Obama’s was “a power grab by the federal government.”

He tried to justify this with a history lesson on federalism and state experimentation, but, in fact, he said nothing about what makes Massachusetts different from its neighbors or any other state. And why would he immediately repeal the Obama mandate if elected president? Because Mr. Obama wants a “government takeover of health care,” while all he wanted was to insure the uninsured.

That distinction makes no sense, and the disconnect undermines the foundation of Mr. Romney’s candidacy.

I absolutely agree.  In fact, the problem isn’t federalism and state experimentation, it is a principle – government, at any level, doesn’t have the right to compel a person to buy something if they choose not too.  One of the nasty little problems with big government types is that freedom allows too many choices and Romney is no different than those on the left who’d like to pare those choices down for their convenience and to extend the power and control of government (and their central planning efforts).

Newt Gingrich, who recently joined the run for the presidency, is no different than Romney as his record tells us and don’t let him try to fool you into thinking otherwise.  Huffington Post gives a partial list of the times Gingrich has touted health insurance mandates or attempted to argue in their favor from a moral perspective:

At an Alegent Health event in Omaha in 2008, Gingrich said it was "fundamentally immoral" for a person to go without coverage, show up at an emergency room and demand free care.

During the keynote address to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council’s annual Health Trends Conference in April 2006, Gingrich said he would require Americans earning above a certain income level to buy health insurance or post a bond, the Detroit Free Press reported.

In a June 2007 op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Gingrich wrote, "Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it." An "individual mandate," he added, should be applied "when the larger health-care system has been fundamentally changed."

And in several of his many policy and politics-focused books, Gingrich offered much the same.

In 2008′s "Real Change," he wrote, "Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond). Meanwhile, we should provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor."

In 2005′s "Winning the Future," he expanded on the idea in more detail: "You have the right to be part of the lowest-cost insurance pool and you have a responsibility to buy insurance. … We need some significant changes to ensure that every American is insured, but we should make it clear that a 21st Century Intelligent System requires everyone to participate in the insurance system."

"People whose income is too low should receive Medicaid vouchers and tax credits to buy insurance," he continued. "Large risk pools (association health plans are one model) should be established so low-income people can buy insurance as inexpensively as large corporations. Furthermore, it should be possible to buy your health insurance on-line to lower the cost as much as possible."

Show me the difference between Gingrich and Obama (or Romney) on their desire to use the power of government to mandate insurance coverage.  The fact that Gingrich draws a line at a particular level of income doesn’t change the fact that in principal he agrees that government should have that power.

Just as serious a problem, at least for me, is Gingrich’s stance on global warming.  Gingrich appeared in a commercial for the “We initiative” with Nancy Pelosi.  The We Initiative is sponsored by Al Gore’s “Alliance for Climate Protection”. 

This alone is reason enough, in my book, to totally dismiss a Gingrich run.

 

 

Add in his support for an individual mandate for health insurance and his candidacy is DOA as far as I’m concerned. And Romney? On life support with a poor prognosis for the future.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


As if on cue–AGW group doctors sea-level numbers

After the story this morning about the alarmist scientist turned skeptic  this story comes as the cherry on top of the AGW sundae:

Faced with the embarrassing fact that sea level is not rising nearly as much as has been predicted, the University of Colorado’s NASA-funded Sea Level Research Group has announced it will begin adding a nonexistent 0.3 millimeters per year to its Global Mean Sea Level Time Series. As a result, alarmists will be able to present sea level charts asserting an accelerating rise in sea level that is not occurring in the real world.

Human civilization readily adapted to the seven inches of sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. Alarmists, however, claim global warming will cause sea level to rise much more rapidly during the present century. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) computer models project approximately 15 inches of sea level rise during the 21st century. That’s more than double the sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. A more “mainstream” prediction among alarmists is 3 feet of sea level rise this century. Some alarmists have even projected 20 feet of global sea level rise this century.

Satellite measurements, however, show global sea level rose merely 0.83 inches during the first decade of the 21st century (a pace of just 8 inches for the entire century), and has barely risen at all since 2006. This puts alarmists in the embarrassing position of defending predictions that are not coming true in the real world.

So, as with temperature and other data that has been used in this scam, they decided to doctor the numbers.

The NASA-funded group claims glacial melt is removing weight that had been pressing down on land masses, which in turn is causing land mass to rise. This welcome news mitigates sea-level rise from melting glacial ice, meaning sea level will rise less than previously thought. However, it is very inconvenient for alarmist sea level predictions. Therefore, instead of reporting the amount by which sea level is rising in the real world, the Sea Level Research Group has begun adding 0.3 millimeters per year of fictitious sea level rise to “compensate” for rising land mass.

The extra 0.3 millimeters of fictitious sea level rise will add up to 1.2 inches over the course of the 21st century. While this is not monumental in and of itself, it will allow alarmists to paint a dramatically different picture of sea level rise than is occurring in the real world. For example, the current pace of 8 inches of sea level rise for the present century is essentially no different than the 7 inches of sea level rise that occurred last century. However, with an artificially enhanced 9.2 inches of sea level rise, alarmists can claim sea level is rising 31 percent faster than it did last century.

Ye gods.

All I hope is Guam doesn’t tip over because of all of this.

If there’s anyone out there that still believes the “science” involved here is valid much less settled, you might want to buy some ocean front property in Idaho.

It’s becoming laughable, isn’t it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Resetting history–the real history of the politics of race in the US

I’ve been an adamant myth buster all my life when it comes to the history of race and racism in our country trying, for years, to clarify which party it was that was on the side of racism and oppression.  If one just takes the time to research it, it is there for all to find. Instead, we ended up with a myth.

It appalls me that for years the myth of the right’s racism has gained such purchase in “conventional wisdom” and particularly among American blacks. The belief that it was the Republicans who were against civil rights legislation and were the roadblock to full equality for our black citizens, when in fact it was the Democrats, seems almost accepted as fact now.  But I lived and grew up in the South during that time. I know better.

The good news is this video helps to begin the process of dispelling the myth.  Pay close attention because it gives you the ground truth of the matter – something, unfortunately, that is very rare these days when it comes to this subject:

 

 

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Anthropogenic Global Warming is false science former "alarmist" scientist says

David Evans is a scientist.  He also has worked in the heart of the AGW machine and consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products.  He has six university degrees, including a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.  The other day he said:

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic.

And with that he begins a demolition of the theories and methods by which the AGW scare has been foisted on the public.  The politics:

The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

He makes clear he understands that CO2 is indeed a "greenhouse gas", and makes the point that if all else was equal then yes, more CO2 in the air should and would mean a warmer planet. But that’s where the current "science" goes off the tracks.

The science:

But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.

Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet’s temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.

The disagreement comes about what happens next.

The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas. [emphasis mine]

But it didn’t increase the height of the moist air around the planet as subsequent studies have shown since that time. However, that theory or premise became the heart of the modeling that was done by the alarmist crowd:

This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three — so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.

That’s the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.

What did they find when they tried to prove this theory?

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

Evans is not the first to come to these conclusions.  Earlier this year, in a post I highlighted, Richard Lindzen said the very same thing.

For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn’t and this means that something is wrong with the data. It is well known that above about 2 km altitude, the tropical temperatures are pretty homogeneous in the horizontal so that sampling is not a problem. Below two km (roughly the height of what is referred to as the trade wind inversion), there is much more horizontal variability, and, therefore, there is a profound sampling problem. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the problem resides in the surface data, and that the actual trend at the surface is about 60% too large. Even the claimed trend is larger than what models would have projected but for the inclusion of an arbitrary fudge factor due to aerosol cooling. The discrepancy was reported by Lindzen (2007) and by Douglass et al (2007). Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data.

Evans reaches the natural conclusion – the same conclusion Lindzen reached:

At this point, official “climate science” stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

And why will it continue?  Again, follow the money:

We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government — how exciting for the political class!

Indeed.  How extraordinarily unexciting for the proletariat who will be the ones stuck with the bill if these governments ever succeed in finding a way to pass the taxes they hope to impose and extend even more government’s control over energy.

While  you’re listening to the CEOs of American oil companies being grilled by Congress today, remember all of this.  They’re going to try to punish an industry that is vital to our economy and national security, and much of the desire to do that is based on this false “science” that has been ginned up by government itself as an excuse to control more of our energy sector and to pick winners and losers.  All based on something which is now demonstrably false.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The hidden premise–what’s missing in this parody meant to shame us?

It’s there for all to see if they will.  While the parody is clever as it can be, one huge and salient fact is missing and thus makes it all a giant FAIL!

Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mastermind of some of the most devastating attacks on the Galactic Empire and the most hunted man in the galaxy, was killed in a firefight with Imperial forces near Alderaan, Darth Vader announced on Sunday.

Hint: At what were Obi-Wan’s “most devastating attacks” aimed?  And OBL’s?

More false moral equivalency.

Aside: I thought Dick Cheney was Darth Vader?  My how times change, no?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Rooting against the home team: Democrats and administration attack job creators

The other day I was on a conference call with representatives of ExxonMobil as they tried to explain why the upcoming attempt to remove certain tax breaks was a bad idea.  I was struck by a statement one of the representatives made:

The thing that tends to get lost is we’re the home team here. And you have two – if the government is looking, U.S. government is looking to raise revenue and they’re looking at our industry, they really have – it’s coming down to two choices, it appears. They’re looking at, right now, singularly focused on increasing tax, our taxes, as a way to increase revenue coming into the government. But study after study show that if you increase access, increase business opportunity for our industry, give us access to more resources to go explore and develop, give equal treatment to downstream investments, that by increasing access, you will increase revenue.

And by – and you will increase revenue by magnitudes more than by focusing just on raising taxes. And by giving us – the industry more opportunity to explore, develop, refine, what have you, that increases jobs. And jobs increases overall social welfare. [emphasis mine]

ExxonMobil employs about 84,000 people directly world wide (the oil industry in the US, both directly and indirectly is responsible for over 9 million jobs).  In the US, that part of the total is 35,000.  Now imagine if, instead of doing everything in their power to stand in ExxonMobil’s way, the government actually did what the ExxonMobil representative lays out?  The result would be as he concludes – more jobs, more revenue for government, and more opportunities in the works for both in the near future.  Right here. 

Instead of that, however, we see government doing everything in its power to hurt the “home team”.  I asked, given the situation here and the fact that ExxonMobil derives much of its income from outside the US (~75%), whether the sort of shenanigans now being attempted by Congress and the administration would have an effect on corporate planning:

Well, we approach our investments on a global basis, and obviously it’s – the money that we’re investing is our – it’s money – it’s not our money; it’s our shareholders’ money. And we’re looking to make investments that are safe; they are going to make consistent returns over a long period of time, given the nature of our business; and obviously, government policy and the consistency of government policy is an important criteria for us as we look at projects that are competing for our investment dollars around the world.

So to the extent that United States policy makes an investment, for example, in a U.S.refinery less attractive than an investment in a similar operation outside the United States, is that something we will consider? The answer’s yes, of course we’ll consider it.

You can’t ask for a clearer answer.  What is it the Democrats in Congress are doing?  Well they’re playing politics with American jobs.  In essence they’re trying to repeal tax breaks , but only for the oil industry.  Specifically (thanks Neo):

Intangible Drilling Costs – Companies which engage purely in energy exploration and discovery can recover their costs related to exploration at tax time at a rate of 100%. This lessens the burden on energy providers for the number of “dry holes” which may be found in the process. Integrated companies (i.e. “big oil”) can recover these exploration costs at 70%.

Domestic Manufacturer’s Deduction (Section 199) – A deduction (not a credit) equal to 9% of income earned from manufacturing, producing, growing or extracting in the United States, is available to every single taxpayer who qualifies in the U.S. The oil and gas industry, and only the oil and gas industry, is limited to a 6% deduction.

Percentage Depletion – The percentage depletion deduction is a cost recovery method that allows taxpayers to recover their lease investment in a mineral interest through a percentage of gross income from a well. This depletion method is not available to companies that produce oil as well as refine and market it (i.e. “Big Oil”.) This is available to all extractive industries (gold, iron, clay, etc) in the US and is in no way unique to the oil and gas industry.

Note that none of these are “subsidies”, nor (other than intangible drilling costs) are they unique only to the oil industry (although the oil industry is the only industry that is limited in the Section 199 deductions).  We hear Democrats whine constantly about the loss of manufacturing jobs, yet here they are pushing for tax changes that will likely kill good high paying manufacturing jobs in a critical industry.  Not only that, but as API’s chief economist, John Felmy points out they will also hurt our economy in other areas and possibly lessen our energy security by driving future jobs off shore:

[T]he more we invest here, the more we produce, the more we have improved energy security and, really importantly, it reduces he trade deficit. And for every reduction in the trade deficit means that’s dollars that aren’t lowing abroad and can be spent here, and adds further to the U.S. economy that we desperately need.

Those are extremely important points, points that are being virtually ignored by the Democrats and the administration in this headlong rush to “punish” big oil for “excess profits” and more importantly, as a means of taking the political heat off themselves and their absurd and self-defeating economic policies.  Somehow, one assumes, they believe that if they tax the oil industry more, then gas will cost less – go figure.

Read the transcript of the call I’ve linked above.  Check the numbers out.  It is eye-opening.

And the oil business isn’t the only target of such nonsense.  Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, covers the NLRB/Boeing debacle in today’s WSJ – something I pointed out a week or so ago.  The National Labor Relations Board  (NLRB) has gone to war against another home team – Boeing.  Here’s a company doing precisely what you’d expect the administration would applaud if they at all believed their rhetoric about “jobs, jobs, jobs”:

Deep into the recent recession, Boeing decided to invest more than $1 billion in a new factory in South Carolina. Surging global demand for our innovative, new 787 Dreamliner exceeded what we could build on one production line and we needed to open another.

This was good news for Boeing and for the economy. The new jetliner assembly plant would be the first one built in the U.S. in 40 years. It would create new American jobs at a time when most employers are hunkered down. It would expand the domestic footprint of the nation’s leading exporter and make it more competitive against emerging plane makers from China, Russia and elsewhere. And it would bring hope to a state burdened by double-digit unemployment—with the construction phase alone estimated to create more than 9,000 total jobs.

Eighteen months later, a North Charleston swamp has been transformed into a state-of-the-art, green-energy powered, 1.2 million square-foot airplane assembly plant. One thousand new workers are hired and being trained to start building planes in July.

It is an American industrial success story by every measure. With 9% unemployment nationwide, we need more of them—and soon.

Pretty hard not to agree with that, right?  And, the administration and Democrats have told the America people repeatedly that their focus is on jobs.  But in the example above about the oil industry and this example about Boeing, the rhetoric does not come close to supporting reality  In reality, they’re at war with the job creators:

Yet the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) believes it was a mistake and that our actions were unlawful. It claims we improperly transferred existing work, and that our decision reflected "animus" and constituted "retaliation" against union-represented employees in Washington state. Its remedy: Reverse course, Boeing, and build the assembly line where we tell you to build it.

And, as with ExxonMobil, the government’s actions have consequences that it either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about.  McNerney lays them out for you in the cold light of economic reality and, as you’ll note, it’s not much different than ExxonMobil’s answer:

The world the NLRB wants to create with its complaint would effectively prevent all companies from placing new plants in right-to-work states if they have existing plants in unionized states. But as an unintended consequence, forward-thinking CEOs also would be reluctant to place new plants in unionized states—lest they be forever restricted from placing future plants elsewhere across the country.

U.S. tax and regulatory policies already make it more attractive for many companies to build new manufacturing capacity overseas. That’s something the administration has said it wants to change and is taking steps to address. It appears that message hasn’t made it to the front offices of the NLRB.

We are in some dire economic times right now, and we have an activist government that is saying one thing but doing another.  It is telling us how critical jobs are to our economy on the one hand while, in two very important examples, doing everything in their power to discourage large American companies from creating them.

This is nothing more than political payback and cronyism.  At risk are the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Americans, put at risk to satisfy a political agenda.   The oil industry is not a favored industry of the left, so the administration and Democrats are doing their level best to drive it off, just when untold amounts of new fossil energy has been discovered (shale).  Boeing, on the other hand, isn’t serving a favored constituency as the administration and Democrats would prefer.  So they have attacked that company as well.

Both are extraordinarily bad precedents and symptomatic of a toxic political atmosphere in which the administration and Democrats are engaged in trying to pick winners and losers.  They are also engaged in serving favored constituencies rather than doing all that is necessary to encourage and invite domestic American industries (the home team) to create jobs.  Their actions border on the criminal and are inexcusable – especially in these tough economic times when Americans are suffering from the economic downturn.

These are actions that by government that must be stopped and stopped now.  And Democrats need to be put on notice that their ploy to punish the oil industry is transparent partisan politics and wholly unacceptable to the American people.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Lawfare v. Warfare: Bin Laden family uses a little “Alinsky” on US and Obama

One of the “Rules for Radicals” that Saul Alinsky touted was:

"Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

In a piece published by the New York Times, the “bin Laden family” condemns the attack on their father and demands that there be a reckoning:

If OBL has been killed in that operation as President of United States has claimed then we are just in questioning as per media reports that why an unarmed man was not arrested and tried in a court of law so that truth is revealed to the people of the world. If he has been summarily executed then, we question the propriety of such assassination where not only international law has been blatantly violated but USA has set a very different example whereby right to have a fair trial, and presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law has been sacrificed on which western society is built and is standing when a trial of OBL was possible for any wrongdoing as that of Iraqi President Sadam Hussein and Serbian President Slobodan Miloševic’. We maintain that arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems and crime’s adjudication as Justice must be seen to be done.

They’re also threatening to take the case to the International Criminal Court which would be an interesting turn of events.

The hidden premise, of course, is OBL was a criminal, not an unlawful combatant. The UN is also pushing that premise through its odious "Human Rights Council":

The United Nations (UN) affiliated human rights attorneys say the United States should release more details on the death of Osama Bin Laden during a military raid in Pakistan.They say in the statement that

actions taken by States in combating terrorism, especially in high profile cases, set precedents for the way in which the right to life will be treated in future instances.”

The statement, issued jointly by law professors Christof Heyns of South Africa’s University of Pretoria and Martin Scheinin of European University Institute in Florence, Italy, says that the “use of deadly force may be permissible” in certain circumstances “as a measure of last resort.” But they say that "the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially decided punishment.” These guidelines, the men say, are “international standards on the use of force. [emphasis mine]

The death of bin Laden is being described in some quarters as an “extrajudicial killing”.  In fact, bin Laden was always considered to be an “unlawful combatant” by us and as such had no such protections.  In warfare, the targeted killing of an enemy, in this case unlawful combatant, is quite legal.

So what you are seeing here are competing premises, one saying terrorism is simply a criminal act and therefore terrorists must be treated as common criminals would be treated as well as afforded various rights because of that.  The other says these are enemies who have declared war on the US, committed numerous acts of war and, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, are “unlawful combatants” and enemies whose targeted killing is an accepted practice of warfare.

Lawfare vs. warfare.

I think we’ve been pretty clear since the beginning, with the AUMF (which the Obama administration ironically used as the legal basis for its raid into Pakistan), that we’re at war (and yes, I also accept the AUMF as a declaration of war).

Second guessing by all the world’s hand wringers should simply be ignored.  This isn’t a criminal matter.  It is a military matter and it was executed as such.  The lesson it teaches other terrorists who’ve declared war on “the Great Satan” is we are relentless and remorseless.  Those are two good messages to send.

As for the bin Laden family – sorry about dear old dad.  Go float a wreath.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Education or indoctrination?

A former student of a course that sounded innocuous enough by its title turned out not to be as you’ll see when you read his lengthy expose.

In there are the usual blathering about “academic freedom” (the last resort, I think, of many a marginal teacher), etc.

Is it a question of academic freedom when instructors/teachers/professors clearly intend to do something other than impart knowledge which allows a student to make his or her own mind up? In the name of "academic freedom" are students and institutions to be held hostage to absurd distortions of its meaning?

Clearly, when you read through this, you’ll find yourself having difficulty categorizing what is presented as anything other than indoctrination – assuming you know what indoctrination means and can separate it from what academia is supposed to do to “educate”.

But apparently, the university takes the easy way out even with the evidence recorded and videoed.

It’s a long article, but worth the read.  And frankly I could spend a day talking about many of the aspects of this argument, but, since mine is rushed today, I’ll leave it to you to do the heavy lifting in the comment section.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


With Osama bump fading, Obama faced with reality of bad economy

Osama bin Laden is dead and President Obama has received a bump in the polls for the successful operation that took him out.  That’s both deserved and expected.  But what’s unknown is how long that bump will last or whether or not the bump is really that important.

I’d say it won’t last long and that while it isn’t unimportant, it isn’t enough to carry him through 2012 and the election.  The most important issue Obama will have to overcome for re-election is the economy.  And right now, the economy sucks.   As a result, so do his poll numbers on the issue:

Just a third of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction; less than four in 10 approve of Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy; and nearly 70 percent think the economy will get worse or stay the same in the next year.

As we all know, the economy is a complex issue and opinions of how good it is often come down to how an individual is faring or how his friends and acquaintances are.  It comes down to basic pocket-book issues such as costs, wages, jobs.  If the unemployment rate still hovers around 9%, given the promise that they’d keep it under 8% with the stimulus, then the administration is going to have some hard questions to answer.

It’s still very early to make predictions about the presidential race, especially with the dearth of worthwhile candidates on the GOP side, but history has not been kind to incumbent presidents in office when there has been an economic downturn of any magnitude and length.  This particular one is one of the worst, and the “I inherited it” mantra has no traction anymore.

But as a baseline from which to compare where the numbers go in the future, the poll is useful:

Looking ahead to next year’s presidential election, 45 percent said they would probably vote for Obama (a two-point rise from April), versus 30 percent who would probably vote for the eventual Republican nominee (an eight-point decrease).

The GOP’s decrease is well-deserved given the emerging field.  It’s a signal guys – heed it.  As for Obama, the most he can muster, post Osama, is a 45% plurality, which would tell anyone he’s vulnerable.  But the GOP numbers say he’s only going to be vulnerable to a worthwhile candidate and so far voters aren’t seeing one.

The obvious issue for next year – well, are you better off today than you were four years ago?

Only 37 percent approve of the president’s handling of the economy, while 58 percent disapprove.

Also, just 31 percent believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared with 43 percent who think it will stay the same and another 25 percent who say it will get worse.

These economic numbers, GOP pollster McInturff says, underscore the “tremendous anchor the economy is to the president’s job standing.”

It’s not an “anchor” its an albatross.  While good marks on foreign policy, even if temporary, help Obama, the economy is the key.   And the GOP has all the ammunition in the world to keep that albatross around Obama’s neck.   But bottom line, or so it appears, no viable candidate, no presidency and so far the voters don’t at all seem impressed with the same old names that are joining the battle on the Republican side.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Here are a few questions for you …

Call it a little thought exercise.

If you are an industry that has gotten tax breaks related to the cost of your production since there’s been an IRS and those tax breaks are the same sort of tax breaks every other producer or manufacturer in the country gets (well, except in some cases they single your industry out for less of a break than the others) and now the Congress wants to selectively punish your industry (for whatever reason – oh, yeah, making too much money) and no other (we’re not talking across the board cuts – just “Big Oil”) by removing all such breaks, what would you do?

Linking two of the politically volatile issues of the moment, Senate Democrats say they will move forward this week with a plan that would eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies and divert the savings to offset the deficit.

Now, I’m on record for removing subsidies for all businesses, and it is argued by some that a tax break is a form of subsidy.  But only if you believe all money belongs to government.  Instead a tax break lets a company (or individual) keep more of the money it (he or she) has earned.  A subsidy, on the other hand, or at least as I define it, is a payment from government to a company (or individual) which has been taken in taxes from other companies (or individuals).  I.e. it isn’t earned.

So, back to the point – if you’re an oil company, like ExxonMobil, for instance, and you’re thinking about building a refinery, would an antagonistic government and their tax policy focused on only stripping your industry of tax breaks other industries get figure into your decision?

Well of course it would.  Why?  Because your job is to give the best possible return to your shareholders’ investment.  So you are obviously going to make a decision to build that refinery somewhere that will help fulfill that goal.  Most likely, all things being equal, tax rates, business climate and a non-hostile governmental atmosphere are going to factor heavily in that decision.

If you had the whole world from which to choose a location  – and for the most part ExxonMobil does – would you build it here given your primary goal and given the above nonsense from Congress?

I bring all this up now just to have you think about it a bit.  More – and more specifics about my point – later in the week.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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