Archives for: November 2012

WTF? Yet again.

Hey Kimpost, do you know this crazy bitch?

A woman in western Sweden who was arrested after police found skeletons in her apartment has now been charged for using the bones as sex toys, a hobby she claimed was motivated by an interest in history.

Hobby? Model trains, comic book collecting, board games. That’s a hobby. Riding the bone baloney, not so much.

Retailing

About this time last year I did a post on a couple a guys messing with Target employees, all in good fun of course. Here’s one from this year, only on the flip side;

Getting between a shopper and a bargain, I expected more bloodshed.

I also wonder why Target always gets pranked. With all the self-flagellation over Walmart and their predatory practices, why not Jones them every once and a while.

And for those that stayed home this Black Friday {raising hand} here is what you missed over at a women’s underwear store. Now remember, this isn’t already worn underwear from a VS model (if that was the case, I could see getting all worked up) this is like new stuff. Nice roller derby flying elbow, all for a push up bra.

I love the Holidays.

The Norqmonster

It would seem that the Left is preparing to move on from the Koch Brothers as their bette noire. Their rage seems to have found a new target: Grover Norquist. Norquist, as you know, is the man behind the pledge that most Republicans have signed promising not to raise taxes. Many see this an impediment to a Grand Bargain.

It’s fine to see his pledge as a problem. What’s not fine is how the “new tone” media who are always wailing and gnashing teeth over the “demonization” of Barack Obama are referring to him:

David Horsey, Los Angeles Times:

Grover Norquist, GOP ayatollah, is losing his grip on the party […]

Ayatollahs seem to just appoint themselves and then start enforcing their own brand of orthodoxy. Grover Norquist has been doing that in the Republican Party for years.

Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, on Twitter:

Honecker, Ceaucescu, Mubarak.. Norquist

Frank Bruni, New York Times:

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Representative Peter King of New York…stressed that the country’s current fiscal woes trumped vows made in less debt-ridden times, and over on “Fox News Sunday,” Senator John McCain signaled a receptiveness to new revenue, another dagger to Norquist’s dark heart. […]

It’s as if some spell has at long last been broken, and the formerly bewitched villagers are rising up to defy their evil overlord and insist on the possibility of life and even mirth without a deduction for corporate jets.

Christopher Moraff, Philadelphia magazine:

The Rise and Fall of Anti-Tax Terrorist Grover Norquist

Daryl Rowland, Huffington Post:

In the same way that McCarthyism now largely overshadows the early days of the Eisenhower administration, the W. Bush and Obama years will be seen as the stage on which Grover Norquist’s domination of domestic policy took place. […]

McCarthy was of course a public figure, while Norquist has been largely a stealth tyrant, in the glorious tradition of figures like Cardinal Richelieu or Rasputin.

It may seem odd for me to defend Norquist, since I disagree with him. I’ve said that taxes probably need to go up if and only if we get statutory changes to Medicare and Social Security in the bargain. And I agree with what Matt Welch says in the linked Reason article: the pledge has given Republicans a way to prove their conservative bonafides by opposing tax increases without doing the really hard work of cutting spending.

But I hate it when I see someone attacked unfairly. And the attacks on Norquist cross me as massively unfair. The man believes that we should not raise taxes ever, that this is the only way to keep the size of government in check. I disagree with this as I believe that “starve the beast” has only served to increase the size of government by making spending painless to 98% of us. But it is not an unreasonable point of view. And when I’ve seen Norquist speak, he does not cross me a crazy demagogue. He crosses me as someone with a very firm but not ridiculous point of view.

You’re going to compare that to a bunch of murderers and tyrants? You’re going to say that opposing tax hikes is the same as exercising absolute power over a nation? And then you’re going to turn around and tell me that it’s our side that has a problem maintaining perspective?

OK.

Here’s the thing: if Grover Norquist was the worst thing in American conservatism, the GOP would be in great shape. He is a vociferous supporter of free markets and, a Muslim himself having married into a Muslim family, has been trying to build bridges to the Islamic community in America. He’s a member of GOProud and has moderate views on immigration. He has supported getting out of foreign wars. His views on these issues caused some to brand him as a terrorist supporter and for World Net Daily to brand him a minion of Satan (no, I’m not exaggerating). He also has a sense of humor about himself. When a joke came out that the deal on the fiscal cliff had removed the provision to punch Norquist in the dick, he expressed relief. When a graphic was circulated with him as the Wizard of Oz and the Republicans paying homage to him, he asked for a copy for his mother. You couldn’t swing a dead cat in Washington DC and not hit five people who are worse than Grover Norquist.

Let’s take a step back here. We are told that Norquist wanting Republicans to never raise taxes is unreasonable. I do this all the time, but it’s worth hammering home as much as possible: let’s review some the things that our media and political establishment think are “reasonable”: two million people in prison, two foreign wars with no clear objective, 90-year sentences for legal marijuana growers, $1 trillion in deficit spending, expensive private jets and motorcades for every jack-a-napes in Washington, half billion dollar stadiums for baseball teams.

Really? You’re going to tell me that Grover Norquist is the real threat to America?

What provoked me to defend Norquist was an extremely silly article today from John Dean that argues that not only is the Norquist pledge destructive, it is unconstitutional. After pointing out that the pledge in unenforceable and really just a campaign promise, he says:

The oaths for federal office (and state offices as well), which demand allegiance first and foremost to the Constitution, are absolutely incompatible with the Norquist pledge. Congress has the defined power to raise or lower taxes, not merely to lower them. Indeed, to give the central government the power to tax was one of the reasons the founders abandoned the Article of Confederation, and wrote a new constitution. The Norquist pledge prohibits the pledge-taker from raising taxes, and thus, it requires that the pledge-taker give something less than true faith and allegiance, without reservation, to our Constitution—as required by that Constitution. The Norquist pledge requires the signer to relinquish a Constitutional power.

Bullshit. There is nothing unconstitutional whatsoever about asking our Congress to not exercise one of their powers. Congressmen could take pledges to not start wars, even though Congress has that power. They could take pledges to fight the exercise of imminent domain, even though Congress has that power. If the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could outlaw abortion, would Dean think it “unconstitutional” for pro-choice politicians to promise never to exercise that power? If they ruled that Congress could censor speech (as they did early in the last century), would it be “unconstitutional” to pledge not to use that power? What if it said Congress could ignore habeas?

Congress has a lot of power; too much, in my opinion. Promising not to use that power is not unconstitutional; it’s admirable. And the entire exercise is just dumb. The Norquist pledge is, as Dean points out repeatedly, just a campaign promise. It is not legally binding. The Republicans do not have microchips implanted that prevent them from raising taxes. The only thing Norquist has threatened to do is to primary promise breakers, which happens all the time.

Look, we’re in a tough spot right now. We need to balance the budget. But we also know that the steps necessary will be painful and possibly hurt the economy. It’s a delicate dance. The pledge is a double-edge sword but, on balance, I think it’s helping. It means the Republicans will not give in on taxes unless they get tax reform or changes to entitlements, no meaningless “we’ll cut spending in 2017, honest” baloney. The only way they will survive breaking the pledge is to get something real and substantial in return. That’s not a bad thing.

This difficult process is not helped by turning on and demonizing the likes of Grover Norquist. And the turning on him is just another demonstration of how the reasonable, enlightened, non-name-calling Democrats will quickly turn on anyone they don’t like.

(*I knew the Dean article was swirling around the bowl when he started quoting the dictionary definition of “pledge”. Quoting definitions is always a sign of a desperate writer.)

Wherein I Call for Throwing Israel Under the Bus

We’re watching a typical fake truce in action in the Middle East right now. New rockets are on the way for Hamas and new Israeli settlements are being built further and further east. It’s only a matter of time before the next bloodletting begins.

All of this has led me to question why exactly it’s considered to be “conservative” to support Israel. Let’s acknowledge the fact that the Israelis are underdogs (they’re outnumbered in the Middle East anyway) and they’re pretty badass in their way. It’s certainly natural to respect them, but why in the world do we support them in such a knee-jerk fashion?

Bear with me here. This is an overdue conversation among American conservatives.

What are conservatives getting out of this relationship, specifically; and what is the US getting in general out of our special relationship with Israel? I notice that American conservatives always support Israel to the hilt and talk about what irredeemable monsters the Palestinians are, but it never seems to make a major difference in the Jewish vote. Why exactly do we care more about keeping Israel Jewish than….Jewish people do? Every time there’s an election in this country, American Jews overwhelmingly vote for the Democrat (who is generally less inclined to care about Israel than the Republican candidate). They don’t give a shit. Why do we persist?

As for the US’s interests, the unquestionable support that the US has for Israel is doing nothing much but pitting us against the Arab world (and increasingly, the Turks) for the sake of very little. Is this a good decision to make toward the national interest? Pissing off 400 million+ plus people who control a shitload of oil for the benefit of 6 million people who provide us with no vital resources or anything else, really?

Is it about supporting democracy? Because democracy is essentially bullshit, you know. I’ve never understood why promoting and defending democracy overseas is such a priority for some conservatives. Democracy has made a royal fucking wreck out of the US, after all.

Are we worried about a human rights disaster if Israel is wiped out? That’s a nice moral concern, but the US does a fine job of ignoring such things in countries where the people don’t look like us. Why is any of this our job, anyway? The Palestinians aren’t our enemies or even our problem. Even Hamas isn’t a particular threat to the US. This instinctive desire to root for Israel and curse the Palestinians makes less and less sense to me with every rocket fired and bomb dropped.

Now I’m not going all anti-Zionist here. Israel has every right to exist as a Jewish state. What I can’t wrap my head around is why we think it’s our job to defend them and demand their protection regardless of what (sometimes brutal) steps they take to maintain that status. That Israeli lobbying cash that keeps our elected representatives in thrall isn’t lining any of my pockets. How about you? I think our “leaders” are duping us, truthfully.

Simply put, I’m tired of defending Israel when the rewards are clearly diminishing, if there are any at all. Demographics and political developments among Israel’s neighbors give me a bad feeling that we’re supporting the losing side for no good reason.

It’s perfectly appropriate for us to admire a romantic and embattled people. It’s another thing entirely–and arguably not conservative–to place the ambitions of such a nation above the long-term interests of the United States. I think it’s time for American conservatives to break up this bad romance.

Thanks for the votes…

Now bend over and take it real good:

Sorry, college students. President Obama has cut your access to Pell Grants by 33%; he just forgot to mention it before Election Day.

During the recent campaign, President Obama claimed credit for increasing funding to the Pell Grant program, which provides college funds, free from repayment, to millions of students. However, an email sent out Tuesday to some Dallas college students is revealing a detail the President forgot to mention: the time a student can receive a Pell Grant has been cut, by as much as three years. With Pell Grants for the fall semester now dispersed, colleges are informing students of their options, bringing the cuts to light.

The email, sent out by the Dallas County Community College District, informed students of the changes to the Pell Grant program. It revealed that the number of semesters a student could receive a Pell Grant had been cut from 18 semesters down to 12. It is a detail likely unknown to most students; in fact, the cut in grants has gone largely unreported by the media.

SAY IT AIN’T SO!

Not only did Obama not point out this was going to happen while lying about raising Pell grants; the LSM kept mum about it! Not true you say?

This cut in eligibility was never mentioned by President Obama during the campaign, and when he boasted about increasing funding to the Pell Grant program, CNN fact-checked his claim as true. While the amount of government funding to the program is going up in future years, CNN failed miserably by not pointing out the cuts in eligibility to students. The cuts could be a rude awakening to students who thought President Obama was expanding their educational opportunities.

It is almost as if the LSM was in on the fix for this guy……

But hey, there is no bias in the media. If the LSM did their job demcorats would automatically lose between 5 and 25% of their usual votes depending on location, and never again win any serious elections other than in the usual urban cesspools that all are doing so well because of decades of undesputed total democrat control.

Karma baby! Like I pointed out, the people hardest hit by the stupid from the left are those that were most eager to vote for these crooks. It’s a pitty those of us that knew better also have to suffer along with these morons.

Democrats think they will win no matter how bad the consequences to America

I now believe that we are going to go over the fiscal cliff, not because a deal can’t be reached, but because democrats now believe they have far more to gain from not getting a deal and having the cuts go live. You think I am crazy for thinking they feel this way? Well, hear me out, then think about it.

First off, the democrats know that no matter who junks this deal, they can count on the LSM to blame the republicans. The sad thing is most people will believe them too. Think I am way off or exaggerating? Well, check out how the NYT is reporting on the current deal on the table. And what is the current deal? Here is what the NYT has to say;

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.

So we get $1.6 trillion in new taxes, $50 billion in immediate stimulus – that’s money for democrats and their friends – some undefinded mortgage refinancing scheme that is sure to be loaded with social engineering nonsense, and thus, going to cause more pain down the road, and basically an end to any control on how much these fuckers just borrow. That last one is a doozy too.

As the first line in the second paragraph points out: the democrats’ “concessions” is basically their Christmas list – which by fiat then means more government vote buying schemes, and by default more spending – and nothing else. There are no cuts, as I pointed out in my previous posts, just promises some cuts will happen 10 to 20 years out. Anyone pretending there are cuts is lying or stupid and to be laughed at. But hang on you say! The NYT points out I am wrong, because there are some upfront cuts that were proposed.

He did propose some upfront cuts in programs like farm price supports, but did not specify an amount or any details. And senior Republican aides familiar with the offer said those initial spending cuts might be outweighed by spending increases, including at least $50 billion in infrastructure spending, mortgage relief, an extension of unemployment insurance and a deferral of automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare.

Heh, sure. At least even the author couldn’t pretend that these promises amount to much more than the usual “Sure, I will respect you in the morning” line, and they are so miniscule that the $50 billion the donkeys want immediately to shell out to their buddies and causes, is likely to be far more than any cuts they allow. In the end the balance sheet ends up with red. The NYT dutifully parrots the DNC talking points by then saying the following:

Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, said: “Right now, the only thing preventing us from reaching a deal that averts the fiscal cliff and avoids a tax hike on 98 percent of Americans is the refusal of Congressional Republicans to ask the very wealthiest individuals to pay higher tax rates. The president has already signed into law over $1 trillion in spending cuts and we remain willing to do tough things to compromise, and it’s time for Republicans in Washington to join the chorus of other voices — from the business community to middle-class Americans across the country — who support a balanced approach that asks more from the wealthiest Americans.”

It’s the fault of those intransigent republicans! And both the democrats and the NYT love this, as the following paragraph ending the DNC propaganda bit shows:

Senate Democratic leaders left their meeting with Mr. Geithner ecstatic. If the Republicans want additional spending cuts in that down payment, the onus is on them to put them on the table, said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.

And there you have it. While the LSM is doing gyrations to not have to point this out, it is obvious that all that the democrats want is higher taxes AND spending increases. That’s what the “stimulus” money is. And it won’t be a one time thing either. If the republicans want cuts, they have to propose them. That’s so we can then blame them for the cuts and score political points. If this sweetheart tax hiking deal doesn’t go through, the left plans to lay the blame at the foot of the republicans, regardless. Their choices and decisions are not about what is best for the country, but what is politically expedient for them. Period! They could care less how people are impacted. They smell blood and they think they are going to come out of this on top.

And have no doubt that now that the whole “Blame Boosh” thing has become stale that they are looking for new excuses to explain why their economy crushing policies have kept our economy in a coma. If they don’t get their tax & spending hikes, with zero cuts, plan to pass, they have an instant excuse for why the next 4 years are going to see an even gloomier economy. Get ready for the “Our awesome deal, sure to stop the seas from rising, while immediately eliminating the debt, dropping unemployment below 4%, and giving everyone an Obamaphone, was rebuffed by the evil republicans, to protect the rich of all reasons, and that is why the economy, which had been recovering and doing great, UNEXPECTEDLY went south” excuses.

The left thinks it can’t lose. That is why America and Americans are going to lose. In the mean time the useful idiots will keep pretending that this disgrace of a proposal is all a great deal, that the democrats care for the little people, that Obama is a genius, and that our problems are always caused by anyone but them.

At least some republicans realized how horrible this democrat proposal really is. At this point I am starting to believe that Krauthammer is right when he recommends republicans just walk away. They are going to be blamed anyway.

Hey Mr DJ: Brass Balls Edition

The GOP is in disarray!  Congressional Republicans are wavering on taxes as Speaker John Boehner’s eyes well up with tears at the sight of the oncoming fiscal cliff.

What happened?  Obama found his backbone with nothing left to lose now that he has four more years to party it up.  The polls favor his tax increases on the rich and he knows that his media allies will assure that the GOP takes the blame for the resulting tax raises on the middle class, the resulting recession, or both.

Never before has the GOP needed some balls more and yet found them in shorter supply.

A day may come, when the courage of conservatives fails.  When we forsake our oaths to Grover Norquist and break the fellowship of the Tea Party.  That day is not this day.  That day will probably come in December.

This week, we need to gather up and melt down some brass for John Boehner’s balls.  This will require:

1. Any track that uses brass instruments (e.g.: trumpets, saxophones, tubas, trombones)

2. Genres to consider include Big Band, Swing, Jazz, Ska, Blues, etc.

Predictable first selection is In the Mood by Glenn Miller

For last week’s smart shoppers:

pfluffy, who elbowed me in the ribs for that XBox*: Night Boat to Cairo by Madness

Iconoclast, who trampled over me at Best Buy* for the last Blu-Ray copy of The Complete Works of John Hughes Collection: Us and Them by Pink Floyd

Biggie G, who delivered a crippling kick to my kneecap and ran off with the iPad I wanted at the Apple Store*: Super Bad by James Brown

Mississippi Yankee…there I was at Toys R Us*, reaching for that super-cool Thomas the Train set. The second I touched it, MY emerged,  grabbed my hand, and bit it. He didn’t take the train set though.  Just wanted to share the pain. The true spirit of the holidays?  Green Hornet Theme by Al Hirt

*RTFLC thanks its corporate sponsors!

The Palestinian Question

This was almost certainly done to punish Israel:

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution upgrading Palestine to a “non-member observer state,” from a “non-member observer entity.”

Before the vote and in front of the assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said this was the body’s “last chance to save the two-state solution.”

He said despite all the violence and Israeli “aggressions” and its “occupation,” Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority have insisted on harmony and have looked at the “U.N. as a beacon of hope.”

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel. Rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence and that is Palestine,” Abbas said.

Pretty words. But Hamas, who control the Gaza, do not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The main thing this does is give them access to the International Criminal Court. Does anyone want to be on how long it will before they deluge Israel with accusations of war crimes? About ten seconds? And does anyone doubt what the result of those investigations will be?

History Existed Before Bible Says Pat Robertson

Holiest of Shits!

Look, I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop [James] Ussher wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years. It just didn’t. You go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things and you’ve got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas.

They’re out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don’t try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That’s not the Bible.

Yeah.  Pat Robertson is, uh, totally right.  At long last, a major fundamentalist Christian leader has come forward on this stupidly needless and divisive topic.  The Bible isn’t a science book.  Anyone who has read it should know that.

For a long time, people misunderstood the concept that the Bible is the only book you really need to read.  In a way, that’s so.  The Bible (at least the parts in red letters) is about living in peace with our fellow human beings, practicing compassion, and other hippie stuff.   When Christianity went off the rails is when believers began pretending like it was the final authority on all things and the only book you should ever read.

I applaud Robertson for speaking up about this.  It’s a major crack in the wall, in my opinion.  At last: Science and Faith no longer have to be at war and the media won’t be able to make GOP politicians look like dumbasses by asking about the age of the Earth.

Bizarrely, we will have Pat Robertson to thank for beginning the change in thinking of those theological circles.

The UN’s Latest Power Grab

Sometimes I don’t know which is worse: their lust for power or their ignorance.

The ITU is supposed to meet soon to discuss how they want to assert control of the internet. Over at the WSJ, Crovitz points out that this isn’t just an assault on liberty, it’s stupid.

Having the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla. The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently delivering messages and other digital content among more than two billion people around the world, with some 500,000 new users a day.

Many of the engineers and developers who built and operate these networks belong to virtual committees and task forces coordinated by an international nonprofit called the Internet Society. The society is home to the Internet Engineering Task Force (the main provider of global technical standards) and other volunteer groups such as the Internet Architecture Board and the Internet Research Task Force. Another key nongovernmental group is Icann, which assigns Internet addresses and domain names.

The self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask for permission to launch a website, and no government can tell network operators how to do their jobs. The arrangement has made the Internet a rare place of permissionless innovation. As former Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard recently pointed out, 90% of cooperative “peering” agreements among networks are “made on a handshake,” adjusting informally as needs change.

Of course, this is precisely what the power-grabbers hate about the internet: that this amazing thing has arisen without them forcing everyone to do it or telling them what to do. Voluntary standards? Deals on a handshake? Information groups that do their job and nothing else? Jesus Christ, how are you going to create 700,000 regulatory jobs on such a thing? Won’t someone please think of the bureaucrats?

That unregulated and uncontrolled nature has, of course, made the internet very free. The international gangsters don’t like that either, of course. Whether it’s media companies wanting to stop piracy or governments wanting to silence critics, there is a massive cabal out there who want to control what people say and read on the internet. Today, we got a hint of what they envision.

It appears that the Syrian government may have just taken a drastic measure it has conspicuously avoided over the nearly two years of fighting: cutting itself off from the Internet. Renesys, a Web-monitoring service, reported Thursday morning that sweeping outages in Syria had shut down 92 percent of the country’s routed networks. Shortly after, it updated to report that the remaining IP address blocks had gone down, “effectively removing the country from the Internet.” The “Syrian Internet Is Off The Air,” it announced.

This is not unprecedented: Egypt and Libya did the same. But it’s crude. It cuts off the entire country instead of cutting off just those parts reporting things the Syrian government doesn’t want getting out.

Watch the ITU, friends. They may, in time, become one of the biggest threats to basic human liberty.