The Obama economy

If you doubt that the things the left does and claims to do to help us are having the exact opposite result, check out ZeroHedge’s post. In one month the country lost 523K full time jobs, which were replaced with almost 800K part time jobs. Do I need to mention what signature Obama progressive policies are behind this shift, or is it sinking in for people that think if government says it is free, someone else still pays for it? Next time some propagandist for the left tells you unemployment is heading in the right direction kick them in the proverbial balls (in my experience proggy women feel they have bigger balls than the proggy dudes anyway) and tell them that’s the direction we are heading in.

Video Monday: Takei and Hobby Lobby

I bookmarked these two video over the weekend. The first is a TED talk from George Takei. While I’m not fond of TED talks — they often cross me as smug and overly confident in their points — this one explains why George Takei still loves the country that interred him during the war:

(I’ve found this embed tends to hang. If someone has a better link, I’ll update the post.)

This comes close to my view of America. The United States, like all human institutions, is flawed and capable of doing awful things. But the principles on which our nation is founded are a beacon to humanity. And I would take the achievements of America, its role in the world and its history over any other nation on Earth. Takei’s story sounds familiar to me — and probably to many of you as well. Both of my paternal grandparents fled the “Jewish crescent” of Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. Despite the virulent anti-semitism they encountered — they vividly remembered the Leo Frank lynching — they still believed there was nowhere else in the world they would rather be.

The second I couldn’t resist. Takei is calling for a boycott of Hobby after the Supreme Court’s narrow decision last week. This completely useless gesture would accomplish little except making liberals feel better (how many liberals actually go to Hobby Lobby?) Reason, by contrast, proposes some changes to the law that would actually do some good:

The amazing thing about Obamacare is that many liberals believed — many still believe — that Obama “stood up” to the special interests and the healthcare industry. This could not be more false. He “stood up” to the insurance industry by forcing everyone to buy their product, outlawing the cheaper versions of their product and refusing to break the intra-state cartels. He “stood up” to healthcare providers by mandating coverage of expensive procedures and not even considering obvious cost-reducing measure like making birth control available over the counter.

All three of Reasons’s suggestions would be diametrically opposed by the healthcare industry lobbyists who wrote and campaigned for Obamacare. Insurance companies don’t want to offer cheap catastrophic plans. They certainly don’t want to compete across state lines. And providers don’t want more competition And so we can expect the liberal wing to “stand up for the little guy” by continuing to acquiesce to every demand of the industry they supposedly hate.

Born on the Fifth of July

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So, yesterday, we celebrated Independence Day, recognizing the birth of out great nation and the courage of the men who took on the world’s greatest empire to be free of oppression. Despite my general curmudgeonliness about many things, I do love the Fourth. I read the Declaration of Independence each Fourth of July and spent the hour before the fireworks talking to Sal 11000 Beta about our history and what it all really means (the iPad was out of juice).

Today is the Fifth of July. And on the fifth of July, we clear away the beer cans and fireworks and return to a nation that is doing far more to us than George III ever imagined.

For example, we live in a nation in which 80,000 SWAT raids are launched every year, only 7% of which involve an active shooter or similar situation. One- to two-thirds of these raids turn up no contraband of any kind. If you’re thinking that statistic sounds a bit murky, you’re right: hundreds of police agencies told the ACLU they were no under obligation to even reveal the number of SWAT raids they launch every year. Some of them have put these raids under the command of a private agency and declared information about them to be “trade secrets”. These raids can result in things like blowing holes in two-year old children.

We live in a nation where the Administration, when pressed to explain how they can claim the authority to drone strike Americans in foreign countries who might be terrorists, release a heavily redacted memo to justify their actions. That justification essentially amounts to “because terrorism”.

We live in a country where the NSA has now admitted that it shares an unknown amount of information with the FBI. The nature of this data is not clear but it is unlikely that it all involves counter-terrorism. And we know that the DEA has used similar information to bring drug charges and then lied about where they got the information from.

These are just a few examples of what is going on in the Land of the Free. I have chosen them because they are so far outside the pale — military raids on civilians, military attacks on Americans and universal surveillance. But would anyone doubt that our federal government has also “refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good”? That it has “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance”? That our government, when its agents do wrong, goes about “protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States”?

The thing is, we don’t have to fight a long and brutal war to change this. We still have the power of the vote and, more importantly, we still have the power of our voice. We have shown, in recent years, that we can be powerful when we try. Over the last few years, we curbed runaway spending, stopped SOPA and have turned the tide in the War on Drug (although the dark forces behind all three are relentless, and they will keep pushing until they get more spending, less internet freedom and more drug raids).

We can stop this leviathan of a state without a shot being fired. But we need to focus on fighting it instead of each other. When politicians see the Tea Party and Occupy attacking each other instead of their common foe, they laugh. We have to stop caring whether the person agitating about a bad government policy is a Republican, a Democrat, a libertarian, a communist or a crypto-monarchist. If “our side” supports a bad policy, we still have to oppose it. And if “the other side” opposes a bad policy, we should make alliance with them, at least on that issue. We can wash our hands after the threat to freedom is squashed.

Let July 4 remain a celebration. But let July 5 be a day we push harder to regain our essential freedoms. Let the rest of the year be a commitment to re-establishing our independence.

Skip The Secret Sauce

That mistreated, discriminated and misunderstood segment of society, the one that is totally under reported and ignored by the Hollywood crowd, is getting it’s own Whopper from Burger King, I suspect it will come with fabulous fries;

Burger King has concocted yet another way to have it your way: a gay pride burger.

The Proud Whopper, as it’s called, comes wrapped in a rainbow colored wrapper with this inscription: “We are all the same inside.” It will be sold through Thursday at one Burger King restaurant on San Francisco’s Market Street, that was at the heart of the route for last weekend’s 44th annual San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade.

Since Commerce is my middle name (maybe it’s profits, I forget) I am all for anything that will feed the bottom line. Although if they are smart they will charge double for this “mouthful”, making a political statement should cost you, and gays can afford it, look at how they dress.

I suspect that the sandwich will come pre assembled, so you can insert the meat between the two buns yourself. My mind is all a flutter over the possibilities for straw variants, some could come uncircumcised.

“We are all the same inside”,ummm, some of us have less semen in our butt holes than others, but I guess they are right.

Yes, we can have a little good natured fun with this, but what isn’t so funny is that some companies are threatening their employees with some very classic group think, a little political intimidation to motivate the workers to beliefs more in line with their viewpoint;

A second source has confirmed that JP Morgan Chase has asked each of its employees whether they are “an ally of the LGBT community,” which employees have taken as a veiled threat.
Each year JP Morgan Chase sends its employees a survey asking questions related to management and other non-controversial issues. A longtime Chase employee told Professor Robert George of Princeton that the survey this year included the following questions for the first time:
Are you:
1) A person with disabilities;
2) A person with children with disabilities;
3) A person with a spouse/domestic partner with disabilities;
4) A member of the LGBT community.
5) An ally of the LGBT community, but not personally identifying as LGBT.

Diversity of thought will not be tolerated if it deviates from our ideology.

The School to Prison Pipeline Becomes Literal

Eh, what?

We’ve received reports that yesterday, a Belleville school teacher was locked in a bathroom at the High School due to the RFID system malfunctioning. Since school policy is to not allow the use of cell phones, no one knew where she was, or what happened to her until they went looking for her. Luckily, the teacher was carrying her purse, with her phone inside. When her co-workers retrieved their phones to try to call her, they found that she had been frantically trying to call and text people to come help her.

By the way, this is the same RFID system that the Board of Education pushed through as part of their controversial surveillance system, installed and managed by Clarity Technologies Group, at a cost of $2 million.

Even worse, when they actually discovered that she was locked in the bathroom, they could not open the door by swiping with their own RFID cards because the system had malfunctioned. Apparently someone had to come and pry open the door to finally get her out.

So … let me get this straight. In an effort, presumably, to protect schoolchildren from being abducted by aliens or something, this school spent $2 million — remember how our schools are supposedly strapped for cash? — to build an RFID system. This system is so awesome that it apparently doesn’t include a panic bar on the inside of locked room so that can people can get out in case of malfunction, loss of card or a damned fire?! We are literally locking kids into rooms they may not be able to get out of in the name of safety?

I honestly hope this report turns out to be garbled. Because I can not believe a school system could be that dumb.

Wait a minute. Yes, I can.

Day After Thoughts on Hobby Lobby

So I’ve had a few days to digest the Hobby Lobby decision and wanted to put up some further thoughts.

First, a lot of Leftists are claiming that this decision “proves” that we need single payer to make all these issues go away. Of course, the Left saw yesterday’s World Cup game as proof we need single payer. But the argument from the Hobby Lobby case is so poor that even Ezra Klein sees right through it:

At the core of the case is the fact that Obamacare had to decide which health-care services absolutely needed to be covered and which services didn’t. One of the services Obamacare deemed essential was contraception. That’s what led to the Hobby Lobby case: prior to Obamacare, there was no federal law forcing employers who offered insurance to cover contraceptive care, and so no need for employers to seek exemptions to that law.

A single-payer system heightens the stakes on this kind of decision. The assumption behind some of the Hobby Lobby-based arguments for single payer is that a single-payer system would cover contraception and that would mean everyone’s insurance covers contraception. But a Republican-led government could decide that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be going to cover contraception at all, and then a single-payer system means no one’s insurance covers contraception.

An example comes from one America’s current single-payer systems: Medicaid. While Medicaid does cover contraception, Congress decreed years ago that it can’t, under any circumstances, pay for abortions. So while people buying private insurance can choose a plan that covers abortion if they want (and, in fact, about two-thirds of private health-insurance plans cover abortions), people in the Medicaid system have no option to choose a plan that covers abortion.

Ding! It boggles my mind that people can claim single payer will “take the politics” out of healthcare decisions. I have to believe that the “this supports single payer” claimants really mean something else: with single payer, Obama will be able to force a liberal vision of health insurance on the rest of the nation. That’s fine … as long as he’s President. But what will they say when President Santorum strips out birth control coverage and mandates coverage for gay conversion therapy? This is what conservatives and libertarians warned about from day one: the further you involve the government in healthcare, the more politicized healthcare decisions will become.

I oppose encroachments of government power. I oppose them even when I like the guy in office. The reason, as Lee pointed out endlessly, is because I know that he will not be in office forever. Eventually, someone I don’t like will be in. And he’ll have all the power we gave the last guy and take even more. See: Obama, Barack and Surveillance State.

Second, I am amazed at just how silly some of the commentary has gotten. Many commentators have clearly not read the decision or even vaguely familiar with its contents. Megan McArdle deals with some of the silliest talking points here. Eugene Volokh explains the narrowness of the ruling and why it was a statutory not Constitutional decision here. I’m hoping Ann Althouse, who has read the entire decision and is an expert on Constitutional Law and religion, will do some more blog posts on it. One of her first posts is this one, taking on the talking point that businesses can now do anything if they say it’s in the name of religion:

Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, when the federal government imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion, it must justify that burden by showing that it is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling governmental interest. In Hobby Lobby, the compelling governmental interest is comprehensive preventive health care for women, and the majority said that requiring the employer to include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives in its health care plan was not the least restrictive way to to serve that interest. There are other ways the government could get the cost of contraceptives covered, ways that wouldn’t rope in the employer.

So the government’s interest could be served without imposing the burden on religion.

But when the government bans race discrimination, it is serving a compelling interest in banning race discrimination and there is no alternative way to achieve that end.

Exactly. The RFRA is designed to apply a common-sense limitation on government action where religion is concerned. It’s not a blanket that can allow human sacrifice or a refusal to pay taxes. In this particular case, the Court decided that the government can make sure women have access to birth control without requiring religious people to compromise their beliefs. And that was all it could rule on at this time.

Importantly, the Court did not decree that “corporations are people” or give them First Amendment rights (although they do have First Amendment rights in the context of free speech). They ruled that the people running closely-held businesses have First Amendment rights and that the RFRA requires the government to respect that. Don’t like it? All you have to do is revise the RFRA. Good luck with that.

Third, what’s amazing about the commentary is the number of catch-22’s the liberal intelligentsia places the Court in. When the Court ruled that birth control coverage could be refused for religious reasons, they started screaming, “Well, what about blood transfusions! What about psychiatry? What about gelatin? Huh? Huh? Huh?” But when the Court declined to specifically address those issues — because they can’t — the liberals then accused the Court of foisting their own religion on the country and ignoring everyone else’s.

They accused the Court of scientific illiteracy when they ruled on the methods Hobby Lobby believes are abortifacients (although, having poked around, I don’t the case that they aren’t is as ironclad as claimed). But when the Court clarified that coverage for all methods of contraception could be declined, they went ape again that the ruling was overly broad.

(I also must keep harping on this point: insurance-provided birth control is not “free”. You pay for it with your work. And you pay for it specifically with money your boss gives to the insurance company instead of you. Mother Jones — always a good source of mathematical garbage — put up a calculator showing how much birth control will cost a woman over her reproductive life. But she’s going to pay that price whether she is insured or not. In fact, there are good reasons to believe she will pay more by getting it through her insurance. What happens is that people get birth control through their employer’s insurance … and then wonder why their insurance premiums went up $50 a month.)

The one idea I keep returning to, however, is this: the Left should not be angry. Miffed a bit, sure. But they shouldn’t really be angry.

They should be ecstatic.

We now live in a country where insurance coverage of contraception is mandated by law for all but a small segment of employers. And those will almost certainly be covered when Obama expands the compromise that the Court gave their assent to (although he will probably let women swing in the wind until after the election). The conservative wing of the Court did not dispute that the government can provide birth control coverage. Nor did they dispute that insuring women have access to birth control was a compelling interest of the government. Griswold is in no danger of being repealed. A slight wrinkle has been thrown out in how birth control is paid for. And there are some states where Republicans are attacking programs that help pay for birth control for poor women. But overall, women are in a far better position with respect to controlling their reproductive systems than they have ever been.

I know people want to see this in terms of absolutes: that women have an absolute right to birth control. But living in a country of 300 million people means none of us get everything we want. There are no absolute policies that will work for the entire country.

And yet, with a near complete victory — the provision of almost “free” birth control; a goal they have wanted for decades — they are in hysterics because it wasn’t a complete victory. They are angry because a compromise was reached for people who have a moral objection to certain types of birth control. They are angry because they didn’t get everything they wanted. 85% of employers covered birth control before Obamacare. Nearly 100% will now and the remainder will get it through some kind of compromise. You can be a bit disappointed that it’s not 100%. But proclaiming that SCOTUS has now imposed Sharia Law and made women second-class citizens? Seriously?

Damon Linker:

Where once the religious right sought to inject a unified ideology of traditionalist Judeo-Christianity into the nation’s politics, now it seeks merely to protect itself against a newly aggressive form of secular social liberalism. Sometimes that liberalism takes the relatively benign and amorphous form of an irreverent, sex-obsessed popular culture and public opinion that is unsympathetic to claims of religious truth. But at other times, it comes backed up by the coercive powers of government.

That’s how the Hobby Lobby case needs to be understood: as a defensive response to the government attempting to regulate areas of life that it never previously sought to control. Like, for instance, the precise range of health insurance benefits a business must provide to its employees under penalty of law. Hobby Lobby doesn’t oppose contraception as such, as some Catholic businesses do. It merely opposes four out of 20 forms of contraception that the Obama administration wants to force them to cover — because its owners believe those four to be abortifacients.

From advancing an ideological project to transform America into an explicitly Catholic-Christian nation to asking that a business run by devout Christians be given a partial exemption from a government regulation that would force it to violate its beliefs — that’s what the religious right has been reduced to in just 10 years.

Exactly. The Left Wing has been running up victory after victory in the Culture War. Gay marriage just became legal in fricking Kentucky. Colleges are so eager to make birth control available, they’ll shove it down throat if you sleep with your mouth open. Marijuana is legal in two states and the edifice of criminalization is imploding. Public prayer has been reduced to few non-denominational utterances. Their only conservative “wins” have been a few recent restrictions on abortion and public funding for birth control, policy changes that are likely to be short-lived.

For a long time the Left has claimed that they are the side that wants to compromise and it is conservatives who are intransigent. Yet what is this but rejecting a compromise? What is this but going to tired “war on women” rhetoric at the slightest provocation? No one is being denied birth control. No one’s boss is interfering with their birth control. This is ultimate result of the Hobby Lobby decision: the Federal government will have to make a deal to provide birth control coverage for employees of a small fraction of businesses..

That’s a War on Women? That’s treating corporations like people and women like second-class citizens?

I humbly suggest the rhetoric over this decision needs to be toned down. Because if the Left shout down the heavens for something like this, who’s going to be listening when a state tries to outlaw abortion? Or repeal sexual discrimination laws? Or place heavy restrictions on birth control?

When it comes to long political struggles, you have to choose your battlefields. As much as I oppose much of what the religious right is doing right now, this isn’t the field on which the banners should be unfurled. Accept the near complete victory and move on.

Another preview of Obamacare?

look at what the Obama administration is doing to medical professionals that warn about issues with illegal immigrants:

A government-contracted security force threatened to arrest doctors and nurses if they divulged any information about the contagion threat at a refugee camp housing illegal alien children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, sources say.

This is yet another example of what to expect from progressive healthcare. I am not kidding. The criminals in the Obama administration and the people they send out to do their dirty work have shown us, numerous times, that they aren’t just above the law, but that they have no compunction of abusing the law to force behavior they want. Lucky for us we have found out about these shenanigans, but that is because:

In spite of the threat, several former camp workers broke their confidentiality agreements and shared exclusive details with me about the dangerous conditions at the camp. They said taxpayers deserve to know about the contagious diseases and the risks the children pose to Americans. I have agreed to not to disclose their identities because they fear retaliation and prosecution.

Don’t worry. They will be punished for doing so. This administration is good at that. Aren’t we lucky?

That was then…

Yeah, that Video is Obama back when he was telling us to believe in big nanny state collectivist government. He and his donkey horde were going to fix all the shit evil Boosh and President Cheney had broken. As I predicted then, the exact opposite happened. Progressives, like little children are masters at undermining others running government and finding everything they feel is faulty, but when they are running the show, things really go south, and go south fast and bad. Six years into the Obama years I don’t think they can keep blaming Boosh with any legitimacy outside the regular circle jerk.

Let’s face it people, Obama took all you douchebags for the dunces you are, and then did exactly what every other donkey before him did: they fucked things up beyond recognition (FUBAR). Remember that this guy has a friendly media covering for him. Things are far, far worse than they seem, and they seem really fucked up.

There is a reason people like me know the scariest words in the English language are “We are from the government and we are here to help you”, and that is because government – especially progressive government – services its citizens like a bull services a cow.

Speaking of which…

The other day I walked into a bar and heard three real portly ladies talking with what I assumed was a Scottish accent. Always curious about other people and cultures, I greeted them with a cool “Pardon me you ladies, are you perhaps Scottish?”, only to be rebuffed. One of them looked at me with disdain, rolled her eyes, then told me in a nasty voice “It’s Whales you fool!”. Me always being a gentleman and not minding being corrected, apologized and asked them “Pardon me you whales, are you perhaps Scottish?”…..

Ah, the age of Obama.

It was a mistake! – just like the Learner IRS emails being eaten by her dog.. (UPDATED)

Make what you want of this – I know exactly what it means to me, but then again, I am not a cultists blinded by faith in AGW, and what it should mean to people that respect the scientific process – but if you suspect something is rotten in Denmark, you are on the right track.

According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in 2012, the “average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the warmest July and all-time warmest month on record for the nation in a period of record that dates back to 1895.”

“The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936, when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F,” NOAA said in 2012.

This statement by NOAA was still available on their website when checked by The Daily Caller News Foundation. But when meteorologist and climate blogger Anthony Watts went to check the NOAA data on Sunday he found that the science agency had quietly reinstated July 1936 as the hottest month on record in the U.S.

“Two years ago during the scorching summer of 2012, July 1936 lost its place on the leaderboard and July 2012 became the hottest month on record in the United States,” Watts wrote. “Now, as if by magic, and according to NOAA’s own data, July 1936 is now the hottest month on record again. The past, present, and future all seems to be ‘adjustable’ in NOAA’s world.”

Maybe the people that value science over the political agenda are taking over the reins of power, or maybe the cultists are just doing damage control so they can come out and tell us that they have never made up shit, whole cloth, to frighten people into agreeing with the collectivist cultist’s agenda. Who the fuck knows anymore with these clowns? Maybe they can use the same exuse hte IRS used and blame it on technical difficulties or the dog. Don’t expect anyone in the LSM to point this out for you BTW.

This myth can’t die a quick enough death for me so real scientific research can take place and we can find out what our options really are. And no, the option should never, ever, be an increase in government power, at the expense of our freedoms, coupled with more of our hard earned money being stolen from us by the nanny staters. No matter the crisis. I would rather humanity perish any other way than that way.

>UPDATE: The fact is that Government Data Show U.S. in Decade-Long Cooling according to the Forbes article:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.

Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor citing issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely cited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.

Of course, 10 years is hardly enough to establish a long-term trend. Nevertheless, the 10-year cooling period does present some interesting facts.

First, global warming is not so dramatic and uniform and alarmists claim. For example, prominent alarmist James Hansen claimed in 2010, “Global warming on decadal time scales is continuing without letup … effectively illustrat[ing] the monotonic and substantial warming that is occurring on decadal time scales.” The word monotonic means, according to Merriam-Webster Online, “having the property either of never increasing or of never decreasing as the values of the independent variable or the subscripts of the terms increase.” Well, either temperatures are decreasing by 0.4 degrees Celsius every decade or they are not monotonic.

Second, for those who may point out U.S. temperatures do not equate to global temperatures, the USCRN data are entirely consistent with – and indeed lend additional evidentiary support for – the global warming stagnation of the past 17-plus years. While objective temperature data show there has been no global warming since sometime last century, the USCRN data confirm this ongoing stagnation in the United States, also.

The facts don’t bear out. The predictions by the cultist’s models are stumped,over and over, and the desperate cultists are resorting to other scare tactics – like telling us that gingers will go extinct – to keep pushing the agenda. If these people cared about science, they would be going back to the drawing board. Instead they are threatening to do what they want by fiat, despite the damage and the fact that they are full of shit. They are reluctant to see this vehicle that has given them so much opportunity to steal from the productive and to grow their power on the masses go down in the flames it needs to.