Saturday, September 26, 2009

No Victory, Just Surrender

"We need to finish the fight in Afghanistan... George Bush and John McCain have been weak on terrorism. It's time to finish the fight in Afghanistan."
Barack Obama
2008 Presidential Campaigning
Barack Obama attacks George W. Bush and John McCain on not finishing the War in Afghanistan against America's real enemies.

Remember this in the days ahead as President Obama considers surrendering Afghanistan just like he did Iraq as a senator.
More... General McChrystal's Troop Request Shelved By Obama Administration
Hat Tip BG


"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."
Barack Obama
Speech to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
June 4, 2008
But, that was just a campaign speech.
He needed the Jewish vote.
Now President Obama is leading the charge to divide Jerusalem.
While Israel is instructed to give up tangible matter the Palestinians are simply urged to make a good effort.

The communique does not refer to Israel as a Jewish state.
Is it any wonder that only 4% of Israelis see Obama as pro-Israel?

Not Interested In Victory?

clipped from


clipped from
Exactly. You can also throw demographics in there. The US state with the highest life expectancy -- Hawaii at around 83 I believe -- also has the highest percentage of Asian Americans, who tend to live longer.

Norway and North Dakota, the state with the most Norwegian Americans, have almost identical life expectancy rates.

Personal Responsibility

Plainly demographics and cultural factors play a significant role. We also see this playing out within the U.S. Consider this data from Harvard researchers that found very different health outcomes for different demographics. Reasons for the discrepancies?
The differences were attributed to a combination of injuries and such preventable risk factors as smoking, alcohol, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diet and physical inactivity -- particularly among people from 15 years to 59 years of age. They were not due to income, insurance, infant mortality, AIDS or violence, said the study's lead investigator, Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health.
The best way to improve health outcomes is to improve behavior. But that not only undermines the life expectancy argument, but also demonstrates the need for personal responsibility rather than collectivist action.

Eight Americas

I found some further evidence of this today, with a study released three years ago concluding that the U.S. has what it terms "eight Americas" in terms of life expectancy. They are:
  • 1. 10.4 million Asians with a per capita income of $21,566 and an average life expectancy of 85.
  • 2. 3.6 million whites in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska, with a income of $17,758 and an average life expectancy of 79 .
  • 3. 214 million middle Americans, with a per capita income of $24,640 and an average life expectancy of 78.
  • 4. 16.6 million whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley with an income of $16,390 and a life expectancy of 75.
  • 7. 5.8 million southern low-income blacks with a per capita income of $10,463 and a life expectancy of 71.
  • 8. 7.5 million high-risk urban blacks, living in counties with a homicide risk that tops the 95th percentile of U.S. counties, with a per capita income of $14,800 and a life expectancy of 71.
  • Deep Fried Pizza

    Over the weekend I was talking to a Scottish guy and the subject of dietary habits came up (this was right after I bought him his very first Chick-fil-A sandwich). He said that Scots are notorious for their poor diet, which consists -- among other things -- of deep fried pizza, fried Mars bars and copious amounts of alcohol.

    Curious, I decided to do some research into life expectancy statistics within the United Kingdom. Turns out that Glasgow has among the lowest life expectancies in the country at a mere 69 years for males and 76 years for females. In comparison, the overall life expectancy for males in the U.K. is 76.5 years for males and 81.6 for females.

    Same health care system, different outcomes. Further proof that anyone who seeks to evaluate health care approaches based largely on life expectancy isn't worthy of being taken seriously.

    The Two Reasons...

    clipped from

    The Sept. 23 front-page article “For French, U.S. Health Debate Hard to Imagine” cited the longer life expectancy of the French compared with Americans as an indicator of superior health-care quality.

    Broad population metrics, such as life expectancy, are affected by behavior. Our lower life expectancy is not attributable to poor U.S. health care. It stems from the higher U.S. rate of homicides and the death rate from transportation accidents.

    In their book “The Business of Health,” Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider explain that the U.S. homicide rate of 7.3 per 100,000 population is eight times the rate in France. The U.S. death rate from transportation accidents is also higher than in other countries. When life expectancy data are adjusted for differences in homicide and transportation death rates, U.S. life expectancy is slightly higher than for all other countries.

    ... keeping the U.S. from having the world's highest life expectancy.

    One is owned by the Democrats. The Democrats own the inner cities and their violence. They have ruled the them almost uninterrupted for over 40 years. Like their pet method abortion, high homicide rates keeps down the population of the slaves on their plantation.

    The other is a product of geography and the politics of public goods. More driving miles means more deaths statistically, a product of both geography and affluence. But if the roads were privatized, liability would likely lead to more stringent standards for driver's licenses and safeguards against drunk driving.

    Alarmingly Apparent

    clipped from

    Right – because, as pointed out 8 days ago, the reason the missile defense shield was pulled, per the VP of the US, was because the US considered Iran a much diminished threat. So obviously this is “new” information which has profoundly changed the game and required the US to completely rethink its policy since it has emerged.


    @markknoller US officials say Obama first told of Iran secret nuclear plant during the transition — as President-elect. 9/25 10:28 A.M.

    WTF? Mark Knoller of CBS says this was something the administration has known for almost a year? So what was all this nonsense about a diminished Iranian threat as a reason to pull the promised missile shield that the administration had promised the Poles and Czechs a mere 6 months before?

    Asks NRO:

    Astonishingly incompetent, perilously naive, or deliberately dishonest? Which is it?

    I’d suggest all three. And I think that will become alarmingly apparent as this crisis continues to unfold.


    One of the few surprises to come out of the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh this week was the sudden emphasis in the group statement on ending "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies." At first glance, this doesn't appear to be a big deal. I mean, who would be for inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, other than the oil and gas industry?

    Second, many of these tax breaks stem from fundamental flaws in our tax code. The U.S. is one of the few developed countries that taxes its corporations on the profits they make overseas, making its system of taxation "worldwide" rather than "territorial."
    I'm saying that corporate income taxes are too high; that our system of taxation is too burdensome; and that many of the "breaks" in our tax code were put there to let American businesses stay competitive. When you hear Obama talk about ending subsidies for fossil fuels, you should understand that he's really talking about raising taxes on energy.

    Iran To O: I Fart In Your General Direction

    clipped from

    Bloody Americans

    According to Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis, in a letter correcting the Wall Street Journal, it was a Turkish general, speaking shortly after Turkey joined NATO, who said:

    "The problem with having the Americans as your allies is that you never know when they'll turn around and stab themselves in the back."

    Lewis has merely dined out on this quotation, for more than half his life. (He is now 93.)

    The remark itself is better than a column in describing the horrible night that is descending upon Honduras, where a totalitarian maniac -- Manuel Zelaya -- is being manoeuvred back into power by the international Left.

    The Grey Won

    I was speaking at an academic conference in Toronto recently with an old friend who, for his sins, was made UN ambassador for his Central European country. He was telling me, I suppose mostly off the record, about the surrealist or "dada" environment of that day job. He'd noticed that conventional diplomats were perfectly aware that others of their colleagues are, quite literally, insane. "You can't help but notice the symptoms, when you get close to them."

    And yet, in every public statement, our diplomats speak as if they did not know, did not even suspect, what they freely acknowledge privately.
    Somewhere in the grey area are those who think the U.N. is a world legislature, whose members propose to negotiate peace agreements with madmen, who make concessions before the negotiations even start, and apply crude public pressure, but only to their allies. The current U.S. president is in that grey area.

    Ambassador From Earth

    Obama scored a major coup at the UN, chairing a security Council meeting that declared by a 15-0 vote that nuclear weapons are a Bad Thing.  The Security Council achieved unanimity in their resolution by clever diplomatic maneuvering which sidestepped the divisive question of whether Obama's "dream" should be achieved through reliance on Magic Ponies or by means of the Care Bear Stare.

    Nicholas Sarkozy, Ambassador from Earth, had other thoughts:

    French President
    Nicolas Sarkozy took a tougher line, telling reporters that the
    international community had to hold Iran and North Korea accountable
    for ignoring U.N. demands to curb their nuclear programs, which the
    United States and other Security Council members believe are aimed at
    producing nuclear weapons.

    “President Obama himself has said, ‘I dream of a world in which there
    would be no nuclear weapon,’ yet right in front of us two countries are
    doing exactly the opposite,” Sarkozy said.

    You know it's bad when the French look like the warmongers.

    President Pantywaist Update

    clipped from

    “SMART DIPLOMACY.” I don’t think it’s a good sign that British papers are calling him President Pantywaist. “Obama has done more to restore Russia’s hegemonial potential in Eastern and Central Europe than even Vladimir Putin. . . . If the word is out that America is in retreat, it will soon find it has no friends.”

    Get Wise

    clipped from

    The New Option #4

    clipped from

    According to Richard Rahn of the Cato Institute, the government has four options:

    1. To greatly increase taxes on middle- and lower-income groups (a political nonstarter).

    2. To "fund" all of the new spending by selling bonds to the private market at much higher interest rates (thus sucking out private capital and increasing the cost of homeownership, which will lead to slower growth and higher unemployment).

    3. To have the central bank (the Fed) buy the new debt (leading to higher rates of inflation, making everyone poorer).

    4. Or for the government to act responsibly and reduce spending.

    Since Option #4 is completely out of the question considering the ideology our kakistocracy, I suggest it be replaced with:

    4. To continue wasteful spending that exceeds our resources until the economy inevitably collapses, in accordance with the Cloward-Piven Strategy. Exploit the ensuing chaos as a crisis not to waste by imposing communism or something very close to it.

    WOTD: Kakistocracy

    clipped from
    kak·is·toc·ra·cy   (kăk'ĭ-stŏk'rə-sē, kä'kĭ-) pronunciation
    n., pl., -cies.

    Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

    You have been looking for this word, haven't you?

    Double Bubble II

    clipped from

    Just as it made sense to stay in the market while the booming mortgage market kept credit unnaturally cheap, it may make sense to do so while state intervention keeps credit unnaturally cheap. And when bonds and cash pay so little, raising the risks of inflation in the future, the rational response is to buy assets that generate more reliable cash flows, such as stocks; or that act as a hedge against inflation, such as commodities. On this logic, investors may as well heed Mr Odey and “enjoy the bubble”.

    David Bowers of Absolute Strategy Research in London, who has been bullish for a while and advises staying in stocks, says: “It’s the last game of pass the parcel. When the tech bubble burst, balance sheet problems were passed to the household sector [through mortgages]. This time they are being passed to the public sector [through governments’ assumption of banks’ debts]. There’s nobody left to pass it to in the future.”

    Double Bubble

    clipped from

    But Crispin Odey, one of London’s most respected hedge fund managers, was seeing things differently. He chose Wednesday, the day of the Fed’s pronouncement, to ruminate, both in a note to clients and in the Financial Times, that the rally was “entering a bubble phase”. The word “bubble” is highly emotive but Mr Odey could justify it. He argued that markets were being distorted by governments’ deliberate attempts to push down the price of money by buying bonds, a policy known as quantitative easing. “At some point the quantitative easing will have to come to an end,” he said, “but, until it does, this bull market is sponsored by [Her Majesty’s Government] and everyone should enjoy it.”

    The 2003 bounce came when stocks were not cheap – they traded at a multiple to cyclical earnings of about 21, according to Prof Shiller, when at the bottom of previous bear markets this multiple had fallen below 6. So it looks as though cheap money stopped markets taking all the medicine they needed.

    Get Ready

    clipped from

    New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods fell unexpectedly in August, dropping by their biggest margin in seven months, following a plunge in commercial aircraft orders, the government reported Friday.

    Why will we hit a double dip in the recession without government subsidies?  In part, it will come from the fact that the $787 billion stimulus and other government-subsidy programs don’t address the real problems of the recession.  Cash for Clunkers is a perfect demonstration of this, where massive government intervention gives the appearance of improvement for a very short period of time, but really only results in a transfer of sales from the future to the present, which creates a recessionary period later.

    The problem with the economy now is the drain of capital from the private markets, both now and especially in the future.
    Obama’s domestic agenda will only continue the malaise, and the illusion of recovery has already begun to peel away.  Get ready for the downward curve

    Hemorragic Noses

    It's all well and good for a "senior administration official" to tell us all that "Russia is pretty mad."

    I don't buy it one bit, not after what President Medvedev said today. Here is his quote:

    "I do not believe sanctions are the best way to achieve results. Sanctions were used on a number of occasions against Iran but we have doubts about the results. Nevertheless when all instruments have been used and failed, one can use international legal sanctions. That is common…I think we should continue to promote positive incentives for Iran and at the same time push it to make all its programs transparent and open. Should we fail in that case, we'll consider other options."

    Wow. He's really drawing a line in the sand, isn't he?

    Nice going Obama administration.

    Please remind me again...what did we get in return for our capitulation exactly?

    This administration is in so far above their heads, their noses are hemorrhaging.

    Now is the time for the Iranian Greens. Or it will soon be the time for the Israelis.

    The, Er, End O Environmentalism

    clipped from

    Toilet paper consumes 5% of the trees harvested, a much lower percentage than shipping materials made from unrecycled paper, but it’s apparently seized most of the attention from environmentalists.  The Washington Post reports on a campaign to get toilet paper manufacturers to stop making the product as soft and to use recycled paper, which thus far has meant economic death for the producers.  One has to wonder whether this is really the time or the, er, place for activism:

    It is a fight over toilet paper: the kind that is blanket-fluffy and getting fluffier so fast that manufacturers are running out of synonyms for “soft” (Quilted Northern Ultra Plush is the first big brand to go three-ply and three-adjective).

    Until producers can emulate that with recycled material — or start mandating the elimination of consumer choice, which is the direction they’re going — Americans will not choose to be Europeans in the, er, end.

    Exactly Who They Are

    clipped from

    Mass. Judge rules in favor of Governor Patrick's assertion that Kennedy vacancy an "emergency", requiring immediate filling.

    UPDATE, and bumped (for gratuitous Troll bashing if you like, although most the wounds appear to be self-inflicted.): It's Official. Kirk deputized by "The Sheriff".

    Obama once again has his filibuster-proof Senate majority.

    It is important to not feel defeated by this ruling, by Obama's interference in State's issues by intervening on this, or by the Democrat's raw end-run of their own legislation.

    This is exactly who they are, and why they ultimately must always fail. Our modern neo-Liberal is nothing like the Liberals our Fathers knew and respected.

    Instead, they are the warmed-over, rebranded and reorganized rejects from the fringe-left movements our Fathers rejected.

    They must exceed the limits we, the people, have placed on them in order to aggregate their power to achieve their extreme goals.

    A Story

    clipped from

    I heard about this lady on NPR today. She is the winner of Ukraine's Got Talent for 2009. A sand artist, in this clip she tells the story of Ukraine's occupation by the Nazis from 1941 to 1945. An occupation in which 25% of the population was killed. I am not a super-sentimental person but I was almost in tears when it was over.

    Sure You'll Be Able To Keep Your Doctor, MmmHmm...

    clipped from

    Earlier this week, the Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee in the Senate, led by Sam Brownback (R-KS), gave American taxpayers an idea of what it would take to keep your current doctor in the ObamaCare system proposed by Max Baucus (D-MT) and Democrats in the Senate.  This flowchart may seem daunting at first, but think of it this way.  Could you get a tax return process into a single page and have the font be anything above microscopic?  Of course not.  Just suck it up, you taxpaying weenies — and don’t forget to hire H&R Block to represent you in the health-care process.  Click on the image to enlarge, if you actually want to read the text, though.

    There's at least a non-zero chance if you hire a lawyer. Say, was this supposed to be the lawyer's full employment act or a health care plan?

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Everyone Heard The Frog Scream!

    clipped from

    Did I Forget To Mention Death Panels?

    if a doctor authorizes expensive care, no matter how successfully, the government will punish him by scrimping on what already is a low reimbursement rate for treating Medicare patients. The incentive, therefore, is for the doctor always to provide less care for his patients for fear of having his payments docked. And because no doctor will know who falls in the top 10 percent until year's end, or what total average costs will break the 10 percent threshold, the pressure will be intense to withhold care, and withhold care again, and then withhold it some more. Or at least to prescribe cheaper care, no matter how much less effective, in order to avoid the penalties.

    This is certainly a form of rationing. And the editors of the Times don't exaggerate when they say that, while there are no formal death panels, the Democrats' bill will give us the functional equivalent, except that the accountants who serve as the "proxy" panel won't know whose deaths they are causing.

    This is the latest on the new Senate "health care" bill.

    Get busy practicing pushing up daisies...

    ACORN To The U.N.!

    clipped from

    The disintegration of ACORN continues, with new allegations that the group was using donor money to enrich itself in a “reverse Robin Hood” scheme. This follows the astonishing undercover work of Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and its intrepid young reporters, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who videotaped some legally flexible “community organizing” from the group. Before Big Government nailed them on video, the group was infamous for pushing the legislation, and irresponsible lending, that caused the subprime crisis, and widespread vote fraud operations. ACORN is one of the few enemies of the American taxpayer that wasn’t invited to speak before the United Nations on Wednesday.


    clipped from

    Reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a topic that's become its own catchphrase. This useful chart shows the top ten vendor nations in thousands of barrels per day as of this summer. Canada? Yes, Canada.

    Deplorable Distractions

    With important elections just six weeks away the Feds have arrested an alleged terrorist planning bomb attacks in New York City, arrested a Jordanian man attempting to bomb a Dallas skyscraper, and announced that Iran has a secret facility for making nuclear fuel.  [Let's not overlook a bomber in Chicago and a terrorist cell in North Carolina.]

    Obviously this is just Rovian gamesmanship intended to create a climate of fear, turn the public's attention to national security issues, and distract us from the real issues of health care reform and the economy.  Karl Rove is using the same tired playbook he used to keep Bush in power, and who knew Rove's powers were so great?  I feel a poll question coming on!

    No More Klatura II

    clipped from

    I think the answer to Mancur Olson’s great question may be heaving itself into view. In The Logic Of Collective Action and later works, Olson developed the thesis that democratic politics must more or less inevitably degenerate into a mad scramble among interest groups seeking to corner ever-higher rents from their ability to swing votes; see my previous post Some Iron Laws of Political Economics for discussion. So, where does it end? Increasingly, it looks like the answer is “when the creditors of the resulting Ponzi scheme decide they’ve had enough”.

    Under today’s conditions, given who’s holding the biggest wad of T-bonds, that decision will probably be made in Peking.

    No More Klatura

    clipped from

    A few moments ago, I read a review of a new book, Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment, and the following sentences jumped out at me:

    This is less a story of dissidents, so-called civil society, than of the bankruptcy of a ruling class–communism’s establishment, or “uncivil society.” The Communists borrowed from the West like drunken sailors to buy mass consumer goods, then were unable to pay back the hard-currency debts and so borrowed even more. In Eastern Europe, communism came to resemble a Ponzi scheme, one whose implosion carries enduring lessons.

    I found myself wondering “And this differs from our political class…how?”

    The U.S.’s very own nomenklatura, our permanent political class and its parasitic allies, has been on a borrowing binge since the Great Society programs of the 1960s. Just like the pre-1989 Communist elites, they’ve been piling up debt in order to buy the consent of the governed with ever-more-generous entitlement programs.

    How's That Working Out?

    clipped from

    No matter what he says, Obama isn't upset about the existence of this facility, he's upset that it will 'distract' from his efforts to pretend to do something about Iran's nuclear ambitions while not actually doing anything about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    According to the BBC story, we've known about this facility for 'several months'. You know who was President during those 'several months'? Barack Husein Obama. Yet he launched his charm offensive all the same.

    This is much like the Iranians killing their citizens in the's not a deal breaker or vision changer for Obama. It's an annoyance that needs to be cleaned up so he doesn't look bad while pursuing the same ineffectual policies he has planned to all along.

    I thought Bush was the dogmatic fool who wasn't intellectually facile enough to change policies when conditions warranted. Meanwhile Obama and his immaculate pleats were open to new perspectives based on new facts.

    How's that working out?

    All You Need To Know About Iran And The Holocaust

    Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel attended the rally.
    The distinguished author and activist spoke out against the holocaust-denier Ahmadinejad today at the rally.

    Elie Wiesel is a Nazi concentration camp survivor.
    His parents and sister were murdered by the Nazis:
    In 1944 the Nazis deported the Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Elie's mother and a sister were murdered there; he and his father were sent to the attached work camp Auschwitz III Monowitz. In January 1945, the two were marched to Buchenwald, where his father died.
    Wiesel, pictured here in Buchenwald, is in second row, seventh from the left.

    Socialize Medicine Anyone?

    clipped from
    I feel happy!

    Who's that?

    Must be a King.

    Hasn't got sh*t all over 'im.

    "President" ImANutJob -- Both Of Them Are Actually

    clipped from

    Time magazine was sitting down with the tiny terrorist while Obama was making the announcement. I’m sensing the the fist is still clenched.

    Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has warned his U.S. counterpart not to press Tehran on new revelations about a uranium enrichment plant. “If I were [President] Obama’s adviser, I would definitely advise him to refrain making this statement because it is definitely a mistake,” Ahmedinejad told TIME in New York on Friday. “It would definitively be a mistake.”…

    But he seemed nonplussed by questions about the newly-revealed plant, which TIME informed him that Obama was revealing in Pittsburgh; Ahmadinejad’s response meandered from the defensive to the aggressive. “This does not mean we must inform Mr. Obama’s administration of every facility that we have,” he said. He warned that if Obama brings up the uranium facility, it “simply adds to the list of issues to which the United States owes the Iranian nation an apology over


    clipped from

    OUCH: “I was just thinking that Obama would have been so much better if he had made foreign policy the centerpiece of his presidency instead of perversely investing his reputation in complicated health care puzzles. Now, I’m thinking perhaps we’re better off that he’s gotten hopelessly distracted by insoluable insurance problems.”