Thursday, June 10, 2010

Israel Update...And The End

As I pondered what to do for my last post, I decided that it really should be the thing I considered the single most important issue going on in the world today. Environmentalism, illegal immigration, overspending, expansion of government...most of the many political hot buttons floating around now are basically just different slices of the pie of liberalism. The basic tenets of the founding of our nation are fundamentally different from that liberalism, and that fundamental difference is what causes so many conflicts in this nation. It is a question that must be resolved if America is to remain free and prosperous. While there are many issues that are more than worthy of your consideration, however, I believe there is none more critical than that of Israel and the Middle East. First, let's check in on the latest events. (h/t to Melekiop for several of these links - thanks!)

Iran is now sending some ships to Gaza this week with 'relief'. Right. This kind of 'relief' would be like the relief your mouth would get from eating glass. In reality, this is probably just the next step in the radical Islamists' efforts to provoke Israel into international isolation (made all the more possible by Obama's lack of support for Israel after Turkey's flotilla). Watch for more problems and conflict to come.

Someone really needs to clue in our Secretary of State, who clearly hasn't followed these events over the past few days, and thinks that Iran might try something fishy. Way to be on top of it, Hil.

Of course, someone in Israel has not only a sharp sense of political awareness, but also a sense of humorous irony:

Student Union chairman Boaz Torporovsky, who has been leading the reverse flotilla charge, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, “Hundreds of people have volunteered for the flotilla, and many more are contacting us all the time for ways they can help.

“Our plan is to deliver much-needed humanitarian assistance to the Kurds of Turkey, who by the way outnumber Israelis and Palestinians combined,” he said…

Another sea-bound venture is being organized in an effort to draw attention to Turkey’s own controversial policies – this time to Cyprus, to “call for an end to the Turkish occupation” of the island’s northern half – and is being organized by Meretz activist Pinchas Har-Zahav, and his son Haim, who has also signed on for the voyage…

Har-Zahav added that the ship’s passengers were not looking for a violent confrontation and if told to turn back, they would.

“But we feel that it’s important for us to show and remind the world that Turkey is not a righteous country, but a near-rogue state, and that we, the Israeli people, are not suckers.”

Sweet! Well played!

Still, perhaps the most unfortunate thing about this series of events is that Barack Obama is using them to revise American policy on Israel, and not in a way that will improve relations or Israeli security.

Kyle-Anne Shiver offers some words of encouragement with which I heartily agree:
I must now ask whether Barack Obama is signaling to the entire Muslim world that Israel is theirs for the taking, that America will stand aside and twiddle our collective thumbs while Iran and her Muslim neighbors finally get to carry out Holocaust II.

The only thing I can add is that I now declare myself, a devout Catholic, Jewish too. And it would seem the only moral thing any of us can do is to proclaim this as loudly and as furiously as we can.
Amen! Regardless of the official position, you and I can boldly proclaim support and love for Israel, and do our small parts to stand with them. On that note...

The bottom line is that we need to understand the dangers from radical Islam. The pope apparently does, which is a very good thing. Unfortunately, the Obama administration does not. Politically speaking, the Middle East is a powder keg that is likely to explode due to the simple fact of diametrically opposed ideologies. For example, Hamas' official charter explicitly professes the extermination of Israel and the Jewish people as its reason for existence; much of the radical Islamic world agrees. There's simply no negotiation possible with that mindset. As long as the Middle East exists, there will be conflict, and as long as the U.S. is a major world leader, the politics of the Middle East will affect us, if nothing else but for the simple demographics of it.

But I believe there's even more to it than that.

Even more critical is to understand the role of Israel in the world. Let me recap a bit on my understanding of things. Based on my Christian beliefs, I obviously hold Israel in a special place in my heart, and I believe that it is God's chosen land for His chosen people. The Bible is mostly a story about Israel and the Jewish people, and the rest of the world is only brought into their blessings and inheritance after Jesus Christ graced this world. Make no mistake: we are all included, if we accept His gift of salvation. But, Israel and the Jewish people are the primetime, and I believe there is a reason that the Middle East is flush with critical natural guarantee that that part of the world remains prominent, and becomes more so as our time on this planet comes to an end.

Thanks to the theology of smart people like Joel C. Rosenberg and Dr. David Jeremiah (and their study of the events written about in Ezekiel 38-39), I believe that we're careening toward another world war, called the War of Gog and Magog; on one side will be a coalition of Russia, Iran, and a bunch of Arab nations, and on the other side will be Israel. Of more concern to us, perhaps, is the fact that there is absolutely no mention in the Biblical record of a powerful nation to the West (us) helping Israel once this war is fully joined...they will be completely on their own. The Bible is silent on exactly why the U.S. is a non-player, but it's not too much of a stretch to see any number of scenarios that might play into current events:

1. the U.S. chooses not to participate --- given the Obama administration's pullback from our long-time ally, this is certainly plausible
2. the U.S. is unable to participate because...
...a collapsed economy destroys our ability to do anything
...a devastating terrorist attack renders us unable to do anything
...some combination of those, or some unknown circumstance

For whatever reason, we don't help Israel. But God does, and Israel wins a decisive victory that triggers the sprint to the end of the world as we know it and the return of Christ.

For a vastly more comprehensive set of details on this whole thing, check out the Rosenberg and Jeremiah links above. The nuts and bolts of the situation is that while we don't know the exact timing of these events, the Bible does give us a series of general road signs that we will pass leading up to this climax. While the exact timing and precision of details are subjects for much debate, it seems plain to me that we are seeing a whole lot of those general road signs nowadays, so it would be wise if every one of us investigated these prophecies and takes them seriously.

Why do I bring this up? To scare you? To predict gloom and doom? To get all preachy on you?

No, that is not my intent. My intent is to encourage you to think. You know I've always been a proponent of looking at the evidence and making up your own mind on things, and that hasn't changed with this subject. If you're familiar with these topics and have come to your own conclusions on them (and thus, how you should live your life in relation to those conclusions), I applaud you. If not, then now's a great time to start. Don't dismiss this as mere religious hocus-pocus...I think that if you'll take but a small amount of time to objectively examine the facts first, then the prophetic clues, suggestions, and predictions made by the likes of Rosenberg and Jeremiah suddenly become immeasurably more plausible and worthy of serious consideration that could have major ramifications for your life.

As Christians, we are called to understand our faith, to live it out, to be in prayer for Israel, and to rest confidently in the anticipation of Christ's ultimate victory over all evil in the world. In reality, the exact unfolding of the end times -- both the ways and the timing -- is irrelevant, because if we do what we're supposed to do, then we're standing with God's people, and with God Himself. And really, if you're on God's side, what else matters?

It's time to bring it to a close. No matter how dark the days get, remember who ultimately wins this battle. Always strive to conduct yourself as if you represent God...because you do. When you're bone-weary of the struggle and you wonder why you should bother to keep going, just remember the words of Galations 6:9:
"And let us not get tired of well-doing; for at the right time we will get in the grain, if we do not give way to weariness."
In closing, I wanted to post something that really captured this message, both in an overarching sense and in the sense of how we in the West need to recover our roots. I could think of none better than this clip of one of my favorite movie franchises, from a moment when the heroes are surrounded and outnumbered, and facing obliteration at the hands of their enemies:

It's just a movie, but that spirit is very real, and one that we should live with each day.

It's been a tremendous journey...thank you for making it with me.

There's my two cents.

Ireland Vs. Greece (And Obama's America)

This is an excellent observation at Politico:

...if the Obama economic team really believes budget deficits provide “fiscal stimulus” to an economy, why aren’t they advising Greece to run bigger budget deficits?

Though Greek deficits and debts have dominated the news lately, Ireland’s fiscal crisis was widely considered at least as dangerous to the euro late last year. Ireland is in the worst trouble of all the eurozone countries, the International Monetary Fund then reported. Ireland’s budget deficit was as large as that of Greece in 2008, and the Irish economy had shrunk 9 percent in 2009.

But we don’t hear much about Ireland today. Why not? Because that country successfully repeated what it had done so boldly in the late 1980s — slash spending on payrolls and benefits, subsidies and transfer payments.

Here's how they did it:

Ireland’s public service salaries, for example, were reduced last year by 5 percent to 15 percent. Unlike Portugal, Ireland did not adopt damaging tax increases. Unlike Greece, which is getting ever deeper in debt to its neighbors by begging for a bailout, Ireland is now lending 1.3 billion euros to Greece.

On the other hand...

The Greek national debt amounts to 125 percent of the economy’s annual gross domestic product, compared with 60 percent for U.S. debt.

Were spending to keep rising as it has during the Bush-Obama years, however, the U.S. debt could easily exceed 90 percent of GDP by 2020. At that level, the idea of the U.S. facing a crisis of Greek proportions is no joke.

So, how do we follow in the footsteps of Ireland? It's simple, really (emphasis mine):

That requires making the correct choices sooner rather than later. From the experience of other countries — including Ireland — we know that means getting spending under control, not raising tax rates.

In a study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Harvard economists Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna examined how 21 leading economies addressed government spending and taxes from 1970 to 2007. When it came to cutting budget deficits, they found that “fiscal adjustments, those based upon spending cuts and no tax increases, are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over GDP ratios than those based upon tax increases. In addition, adjustments on the spending side rather than on the tax side are less likely to create recessions.”

Successful deficit reduction plans — ones that cut the deficit without hurting economic growth — are “completely based on spending cuts accompanied by modest tax cuts,” the authors found. Spending was cut by about 2 percent of GDP, with entitlement reductions accounting for half that.

Ireland, for example, first became a “Celtic tiger” by slashing government spending 6.9 percent from 1987 to 1989. Those spending cuts facilitated the celebrated 12.5 percent tax on corporate profits, plus substantial cuts in rates for personal income taxes, payroll taxes and consumption taxes.

The Irish economy suddenly switched from a 0.2 percent rate of economic growth in the early 1980s to annual real GDP growth of 7.2 percent from 1989 to 2001. It slowed only slightly, to 5.3 percent, from 2002 to 2007. With GDP nearly doubling each decade, the ratio of Ireland’s government debt to GDP dropped from 125 percent of to 25 percent by 2007.

If that's not a roaring economy, I don't know what is!

But what happened in 2008 when the global economy tanked? They hung fast to what brought them out of the hole:

In 2008-09, however, Ireland suffered one of the world’s worst housing and banking crises. But the government nonetheless avoided “fiscal stimulus” schemes. Instead, it cut spending by more than 6 percent.

One important result was to preserve the government’s credit rating. The European Central Bank reports that the yield on 10-year Irish government bonds was 4.76 percent in April, compared with yields for Greece of 7.83 percent — and close to 15 percent at times.

Unlike Greece, the Irish economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery. Manufacturing increased strongly in March and April, and consumer confidence and retail sales are also up.

Bottom line: the Irish formula of spending cuts and tax cuts
worked. Every time. Even in the toughest of situations. Unlike everyone else, who spent so much that drunken sailors got envious, and who are still trying to limp their way to anything resembling a genuine recovery. Ireland has the correct answer figured out, and it has nothing to do with their famed luck...just intelligence guided by experience, and willpower to stick to it when it really counts.

Do we?

Not while Barack Obama and the spending-addicts in Congress remain in charge.

There's my two cents.

Recommendation: The 5,000 Year Leap - The Miracle That Changed The World By W. Cleon Skousen

If you want to learn the real story behind the founding of America, I can't imagine a better book than "The 5,000 Year Leap: The Miracle That Changed The World". I cannot recommend this highly enough to you, and every day you do not read this is another day you live in obliviousness under the woefully inadequate incompetence of the American educational system.

Skousen's purpose was to pull together the essence of the Founders' intentions, their struggles, and their motivations as they did something no one else in human history had done before them: create a government of the people, by the people, and for the people specifically designed to value individual liberty above all else.

As you read through this book, you'll come to realize just how much of a miracle our nation truly is. I can't help but think what a fortuitous circumstance -- one might even say divinely directed -- it was that so many truly brilliant political, legal, and moral minds came together in one time and place to institute a government based on individual liberties and freedom, and do it in a way that still maintained stability.

Skousen starts by explaining the two basic positions that the Founders had to balance: tyranny and anarchy. Think of it as a spectrum, with one extremity being tyranny (what they called Ruler's Law, like complete control by a single monarch) and the other extremity being no rule of law at all (what they called No Law). They strove to create and keep America in the middle of that spectrum, and their genius system of checks and balances is concrete evidence of their painstaking attempts to maintain that middle in all possible circumstances. They reasoned that the single best way to maintain this middle was to allow the people of the nation to guide the nation's ultimate course. Their wisdom has been borne out over the past 230+ years.

The Founders then based our government on 28 core principles. These are things upon which they all agreed, and which can be found inextricably woven through the entire fabric of our government. A few of these include:

- The Genius of Natural Law
- Virtuous and Moral Leaders
- The Role of Religion and the Creator
- Equal Rights, Not Equal Things
- Free-market Economics
- The Separation of Powers
- Majority Rule, Minority Rights
- Peace Through Strength
- Manifest Destiny

This is the red meat of the book. Skousen goes into detail on each of these 28 principles, explaining how the Founders debated the various sides of the issue, including some of the best quotes that I've ever read explaining what they truly believed about the issues. If only we would have been taught this stuff in school, our nation would be an entirely different place!

I'll just summarize a couple of sections to give you a sample of the goodness here.

1st Principle: The Genius of Natural Law

As I understand it, Natural Law is the concept that there is a universal set of 'right and wrong' laid down by a Creator, and that humanity is capable of moral and rational thought sufficient to discover that set of rules and live according to it. By extension, man's laws should rightfully mirror the Creator's laws, and be subject to them. The Left would have us believe that the Founders were indifferent to religion, or perhaps even atheist, but that is simply not true. These men were extremely well-read and well-versed on political theory, theology, and philosophy, and the concept of Natural Law was one to which they all adhered. The 2nd Principle expounded upon this one: a free people cannot survive unless they remain virtuous and morally strong. The primary purpose in the Founders' desire to create a public education system was to raise young Americans who had mastered 'reading, writing, ciphering, history, geography, and Bible study'. The Founders went out of their way to write explicitly and repeatedly how integral God and religion were to be in the fabric of American society. All in all, many of these founding principles are based at least in part on the very same religious concepts that the Left viciously rejects today.

7th Principle: Equal Rights, Not Equal Things

The Founders recognized that true equality should be measured on the basis of opportunity rather than outcome. Every person is different, comes from different circumstances, and has different talents and resources available to him or her. Thus, the only way to truly ensure equality was to ensure an equal opportunity to succeed, and leave the actual results up to the individual. This bears out in the fact that true 'rights' can be guaranteed to any given citizen without taking something from any other given citizen. Free speech, a speedy trial, voting, and so on...all of those can be guaranteed for all citizens without penalizing any others. On the other hand, for example, a 'right' to free health care can only be provided by taking resources from one citizen (doctors, taxpayers, etc.) and giving them to other citizens (those receiving the 'free' health care). The Founders considered such actions to be 'legal crimes', and took great pains to prevent them.

This is but a sampling; this book is a treasure trove on how our government was set up, why it was set up that way, and the thought behind all of it. I was particularly interested in the chapters on separation of powers, the burden of debt (which the Founders considered to be a grave moral evil), property rights, and free market economics. Mind-blowing stuff for the typical American in 2010.

If you want to understand the Founders, their motivations, their intentions, and their struggles as they formed what has been proven to be a miracle that changed the world, this book is like no other I've seen.

I'll finish this recommendation with a few of my favorite quotes:

Ben Franklin: The very fame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for 'tis a wise and true saying, that "One sword often keeps another in the scabbard." The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent.

Samuel Adams: "Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness."

James Madison: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

George Washington: "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."

Thomas Jefferson: "I, however, place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared."

James Madison: "Happily for America, happily we trust for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of a great Confederacy, which it is incumbent on their successors to improve and perpetuate."

Samuel Adams: "But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."

George Washington: "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

Alexander Hamilton: "This balance between the national and state governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights, they wil find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits, by certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them."

James Madison: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."

John Adams: "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

James Madison:
"The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it."

Thomas Jefferson: "I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast... would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it."

Thomas Jefferson: "Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves."

John Adams said it was his aspiration "to see rising in America an empire of liberty, and the prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them."

The Final Linkage

So it's packed...

Cap-N-Trade Tax Update ***UPDATE***

So, the last of the pillars of the radical Leftist takeover -- the energy sector -- is now under assault, with a vote coming in the Senate before too long. We'll get to that in a moment. First, let's recap some of the most wonderful tenets of the enviro-wacko movement that is pushing this energy takeover.

These lovable folks are the very same ones who endorse the enforcement of limits to the number of children any family can have, too. What happens if you accidentally get pregnant with more? Well, don't think too hard about that.

Naturally, Green High Priest Al Gore is so concerned about the rising waters due to the melting ice caps due to *ahem* man-made global warming that he just dropped $9 million on a new vacation home...overlooking the ocean, of course. Never mind the fact that only 1/3 of U.S. meteorologists actually believe that humanity is the cause of global warming. You're also supposed to ignore the fact that this planet is not, in fact, running out of oil, which provides cheap, reliable, and safe energy to everyone.
But for those of us who lack a personal fortune with 7 or more digits, the costs of energy legislation like this will be crippling.

Interestingly, one of the primary alternatives to this horrible use of oil is wind power. Aside from the rather obvious fact that the wind doesn't always blow everywhere, people live close to windmills always seem to find them objectionable. Shucks, that's too bad.

The bottom line is that the environmentalist movement has been exposed as a bunch of suckers who've been taken in by a hoax and a lie, and simply refuse to acknowledge reality in their quest to serve their self-appointed cause. In fact, it won't be long until they declare food to be hazardous to your health. Oh wait...they've already done that.

But let's address the current legislation, whether the latest cap-n-tax bill or the EPA regulations being kicked around (they both do essentially the same thing in the end). As with everything these radical Leftists are doing, beware...all is not as it seems. It's a full-blown legislative Trojan horse, in fact:
The basis of the EPA’s regulatory efforts is the agency’s finding that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” that supposedly “endangers” us by causing global warming. Once the EPA made this unprecedented and unsupported endangerment finding under the Clean Air Act, it put the enormous regulatory machinery of the federal government in gear to generate rules regulating CO2, rules that will damage every aspect of the U.S. economy. Thankfully, substantive legal challenges to the endangerment finding and the rules the EPA is generating have been filed.

One rule the agency has already issued, something known as the tailoring rule, seems, at first glance, different than its economy-stifling kin. The tailoring rule was supposedly designed to exempt smaller CO2 emitters from the new regulations until 2016. While the Clean Air Act itself states that pollutant emissions of 250 tons or more must be regulated, EPA’s tailoring regulation simply contradicts the law, stating that for now the agency will only regulate CO2 sources emitting 50,000 tons or more.

How, you may ask, can a federal agency just overturn a law by regulation? Good question. The reality is that the EPA is well aware that the tailoring regulation contradicts black-letter law; consequently, it knows legal challenges have high prospects for success. So why would an agency like the EPA that has no trouble flexing its regulatory muscles exempt tens of thousands of potential regulatory targets with such a rule? Quite simply, in addition to recognizing the regulation’s tenuous legal grounds, the EPA realizes that as the number of individuals aware of the pending regulatory burden grows, the stronger the backlash against its CO2 rules will be. Crafty bureaucrats also know that the biggest hurdle they now face is beginning the process of regulating CO2 — striking out against our national economy from the regulatory beachhead of the EPA’s very questionable endangerment finding.

The reality is that with or without the tailoring exemption, the Clean Air Act is already festooned with complex and expansive regulatory mechanisms. The EPA’s extension of its grip to CO2 will be another unparalleled regulatory bonanza for this government agency. Once done — like virtually every other federal regulatory effort — the scope of the agency’s CO2 powers will only continue to expand. While a small business, family farm, or ranch might escape the EPA’s direct regulatory burden and a particular permitting process with the tailoring rule (perhaps only temporarily), they will still suffer from this unlawful aggregation of power by a federal agency. At the end of the day, the enormous economic costs of job losses, reduced GDP, and dramatically higher energy prices from the impact of the EPA’s rules will punish all of us.
In fact, if you look objectively at the numbers, it's not only going to drastically increase costs of just about every good or service in the country, it's a proven job-killer. And, amazingly enough, as with all of these massive, unread, undebated, constructed-in-secret, freedom-destroying bills we've seen in the past year and a half, it's also a thinly disguised payoff to liberal Democrat special interests.

Another way to put it would be that it's an egregious power grab, but there's a chance to stop it:

The Senate will vote Thursday on Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski's S.J. Res. 26, which would forestall the EPA's efforts to give itself authority to impose sweeping new regulations on greenhouse gases. U.S. code lays out Congress's power to review new rules promulgated by federal agencies to enforce existing laws. Congress can overturn these rules by issuing a "joint resolution of disapproval."

In the Senate, such resolutions are privileged and thus not subject to filibuster. S.J. Res. 26 already has 41 cosponsors, including three Democrats. A fourth, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.V.) is heavily leaning toward supporting the measure. But even if the resolution gathers enough additional Democratic votes to pass and makes it to the president's desk, the Obama administration announced today that it will likely face a veto.

This latest wrinkle adds a level of boldness to the Executive's blatant attempt to circumvent separation of powers and legislate from the White House. Even if administration can't goad enough Democrats in Congress to yield their constitutional authority to the EPA; even if they cannot pass a version of Kerry-Lieberman, the White House will have its cap-and-trade. One way or another.

Of course, even if that resolution succeeds, the battle is not completely over:
We also shouldn't forget that the Democrats don't need Kerry-Lieberman to get the grab-bag of green subsidies and the new conservation mandates they want. The editors make the case today that the Democrats really don't need Kerry-Lieberman at all: They can pass the Bingaman bill — which contains all the new subsidies and mandates, but lacks cap-and-trade — and just let the EPA do the dirty work of rationing carbon. This is looking increasingly like their default strategy.
And things will be miserable along the design. Remember:

keeping in mind the fact that well over half of our nation's energy comes from coal:

The bottom line is that the radical Leftists in charge of the government right now will stop at nothing to gain control over every possible aspect of the nation in order to control as many people as possible. They don't care how badly they damage this nation, how much havoc they wreak, or how miserable they make life for peons like you and me during their greedy quest for power.

The only thing that will truly stop them is to force them out of the positions of authority that will allow them to dictate policy this way. Start by placing a call to your Senators today.

There's my two cents.

Related Reading:
Stopping the EPA's CO2 regulations
Window dressing cap-and-trade won't make the costs go away
Subsidized green jobs still destroy jobs elsewhere

The Senate voted Murkowski's bill down, 53-47. Some analysis to keep in mind:

Don’t cry too hard over the vote. For one thing, there was zero chance of it passing the House (although watching purple-district Democrats agonize over whether to vote for it would have been fun) and The One would have vetoed it even if it had. For another thing, consider this a trial run on the viability of cap-and-trade. If Reid can’t get 60 to agree that, yes indeed, carbon is very dangerous, he’s not getting 60 for a much broader regulatory regime like C&T. Nor, given the latest polling from Nevada, will he want to even try. Exit quotation from Dan Foster: “I don’t want to hear a liberal bemoan executive supremacy ever again. This is Congress abdicating its own authority because the Democrats know they can’t get the votes to pass cap-and-trade.”

Unfortunately, this allows the EPA to declare things like dirt and air to be deadly to your existence. Good luck with the coming cost increases...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Documented Proof That The Left Is A Bunch Of Economic Dunces

Veronique de Rugy reports and comments on a WSJ column by Dan Klein:

Which Political Party Understands Economics Best?

That's the question asked by George Mason University's Dan Klein in the Wall Street Journal this morning.

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country — liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Klein's results come from a survey of 4,835 respondents (all American adults) in which he asked them to answer eight survey questions about basic economics and then asked about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Read the details here. It's quite amazing. Notice that libertarians rocked this test:

The survey also asked about party affiliation. Those responding Democratic averaged 4.59 incorrect answers. Republicans averaged 1.61 incorrect, and Libertarians 1.26 incorrect.

The WSJ piece is based on research that Klein did a few months ago with his co-author, Columbia University psychologist Zeljka Buturovic. Among other things, they show that thinking like an economist is not correlated to going to college. They also find that it is the highest among those self-identifying as "conservative" and "libertarian," and descends through "moderate," "liberal," and "progressive." Other variables include party affiliation, religious participation, union membership, NASCAR fandom, and Walmart patronage. Their results were originally published here.

I reported on some of Klein's research here and here.

This doesn't really do anything but put concrete numbers to what we already anecdotally knew: liberals suck at economics.  Just look at history every time liberal run the show.  They've expanded government (thus taking away individual freedoms) in monstrous leaps, hammered the private sector, penalized success and prosperity through high taxation, and pulled just about every poor economic rabbit that exists out of their hat.

I don't think it's any coincidence, either, that it is liberals who tend to take sides on issues based purely on feelings rather than how things work in the world.  It's why I think they suck at just about every other policy area, too.  Illegal immigration?  They want to feel good about giving illegals a better life (never mind all the horrendous expenses, crime, health risks, or security problems).  Welfare?  They want to ease people's suffering and difficulty (never mind how much taxpayer money it costs, and how self-destructive a permanent entitlement mindset is).  War on Terror?  They think we just need to understand why those poor Muslims from those hot and dirty desert countries are so mad at us (never mind the fact that Islam itself repeatedly demands they kill or subjugate all non-Muslims).  Universal health care?  They want everyone to have everything they could ever wish for because anything less is unfair (never mind the realities of cost, supply and demand, research and development, or just how unfair their notion of 'fairness' is).

See how it works?  For liberals, it's never about the real world, but rather about how they feel about the real world.  It never ceases to amaze me how liberals never seem to think forward to their professed utopia.  What if they actually get what they want?  Will they actually be thrilled if America digresses into a pseudo-European nation that is only marginally prosperous, has a smothering level of taxation, little growth or innovation, no military to speak of, and a stagnant job market?  Those are the end results of the policies they're advocating (we can see most of them real-time in present day Europe), so is that what they genuinely want?  But no, they don't think that far ahead.  For liberals, there is nothing other than the feelings of the moment, and that means politically correct 'fairness', warm fuzzies, puppies, rainbows, and unicorns.

And now we have the numbers to prove it.

There's my two cents.

Who's Got Clout Again?

Remember how Barack Obama has endorsed four major state or national candidates (governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, Senatorial races in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania) over the past few months, thus dooming them to defeat?  In fact, it's gotten so bad that numerous other politicians have started *ahem* declining the President's endorsement and visits.  Well, I just thought you should know:

Some of Sarah Palin's riskiest endorsements scored major victories Tuesday for the former Alaska governor, showing off her power in Republican primaries. 

Palin had four primary endorsements in play – Carly Fiorina, Nikki Haley, Terry Branstad and Cecile Bledsoe – and three won or moved on to a runoff.


There's my two cents.

Seriously, You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

It just writes itself:

President Obama continues to take political cynicism to new heights, or new lows, with his now-habitual use of student graduation ceremonies to preach political pieties that he casually ignores.

A month ago, the president told University of Michigan graduates to embrace "a basic level of civility in our public debate." This from a president who is a master of division, as he demonstrated that very same week when he sleazed Republican senator Mitch McConnell as "cynical and deceptive" for claiming the administration's financial-regulation bill would allow more bailouts "when he knows that it would do just the opposite."

Yesterday, Obama was at it again at another southeast Michigan school. In a speech to Kalamazoo High School graduates, the president advised the Class of '10 not to "make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes, but for your failures as well. When you screw up…it's the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for someone to blame. We see it every day out in Washington, with folks calling each other names and making all sorts of accusations on TV."

The Senate GOP agreed, helpfully pointing out a few applicable headlines from recent months:


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "When I Showed Up After Inauguration, They Had Left A Big Mess On The Floor.  So I Got A Mop, And I Started Cleaning Up Their Mess." (President Obama, Remarks, Norfolk, VA, 10/27/09)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "By Any Measure, My Administration Inherited A Fiscal Disaster." (President Obama, Remarks, 3/4/09)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Now, If We Had Taken Office In Ordinary Times, I Would Have Liked Nothing More Than To Start Bringing Down The Deficit. But We Took Office Amid A Crisis." (President Obama, State Of The Union Address, 1/27/10)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "My Budget Does Not Attempt To Solve Every Problem Or Address Every Issue.  It Reflects The Stark Reality Of What We've Inherited – A Trillion Dollar Deficit, A Financial Crisis, And A Costly Recession." (President Obama, Remarks To A Joint Session Of Congress, 2/24/09)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Here's My Assessment Of Not Just The Vote In Massachusetts, But The Mood Around The Country… People Are Angry And They Are Frustrated. Not Just Because Of What's Happened In The Last Year Or Two Years, But What's Happened Over The Last Eight Years." ("Exclusive: President Obama Says Voter Anger, Frustration Key to Republican Victory in Massachusetts Senate," ABC News, 1/20/10)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Took Office, For Example, He Found A Minerals And Management Services Agency That Had Been Plagued By Corruption For Years ..." (President Obama, Remarks, 6/1/10)

 OBAMA: "The Habit [At MMS], Predating My Administration, Was You Just Automatically Gave The Environmental Waiver." (President Obama, Remarks, 5/27/10)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "We Had To Act Fast.  And Unfortunately We Didn't Have All The Tools That We Needed To Act Fast Because You Had A Previous Congress And A Previous Administration That Had Left A $1.3 Trillion Deficit Wrapped Up In A Bow That Turned Surpluses Into Deficits As A Consequence Of A Whole Host Of Irresponsible Policies." (President Obama, Remarks, 5/26/10)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Well, First Of All, During The Campaign I Did Not Say That Some Of That Loss Of Authority Was Inevitable. I Said It Was Traced To Very Specific Decisions That The Previous Administration Had Made That I Believed Had Lowered Our Standing In The World. And That Wasn't Simply My Opinion; That Was, It Turns Out, The Opinion Of Many People Around The World. I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world.  And although, as you know, I always mistrust polls, international polls seem to indicate that you're seeing people more hopeful about America's leadership." (President Obama, Press Conference, 4/2/09)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "And By The Way, I Don't Recall Any Of These Republicans Trying To Do Anything About Insurance Companies' Abuses During All The Years They Were In Charge." (President Obama, Remarks At St. Charles High School, St. Charles, MO, 3/10/10)


PRESIDENT OBAMA: "The Problem Of What To Do With Guantanamo Detainees Was Not Caused By My Decision To Close The Facility; The Problem Exists Because Of The Decision To Open Guantanamo In The First Place." (President Obama, Remarks On National Security, National Archives, Washington, D.C., 5/21/09)

Hot Air posts some video here if you want to see it, along with this commentary:

Stirring words, my friends, from a guy who, by Charles Krauthammer's account, had already blamed Bush by October last year for "the economy, global warming, the credit crisis, Middle East stalemate, the deficit, anti-Americanism abroad — everything but swine flu." In fact, it was only three weeks ago that Politico reported the Democrats' midterm campaign macro-strategy will be to run against — ta da — George Bush.

Ah yes, sometimes it just writes itself...

There's my two cents.

The Ultra-Competent Obama Administration Continues Showcasing Itself

Sometimes the competence just oozes off the page:

More fun from this morning’s exercise in ass-kicking on “Today”. Skip ahead to 2:36 for the key bit. The One’s logic, such as it is, is that it’s not worth talking to Tony Hayward because he’ll only end up giving him the runaround — a curious position coming from a guy who campaigned on the virtues of “dialogue” and who’s been locked in halting negotiations with Iran for fully 16 months. Even Lauer is openly incredulous. Captain Kickass has nothing to say to a guy who potentially holds the fate of his presidency in his hands? Even after yesterday’s hair-raising Times piece claiming that BP’s effort to cut the leaking riser may have actually increased the flow of oil many times over? I thought this was supposed to be the new, improved, “engaged” Hopenchange.

That’s the second half of the clip. I gave you an extra two minutes up front so that you can watch O once again throw himself a pity party over the “24-hour news cycle” (TV critic David Zurawik is pounding him for that today) before insisting that none of his critics seem to have any suggestions for what he should have done differently in the early days of the spill. Don’t they, though? Byron York highlights this bit from a recent NYT piece:

For example, it took the Department of Homeland Security more than a week to classify the spill as an event calling for the highest level of federal action. And when state officials in Louisiana tried over and over to win federal permission to build sand barriers to protect fragile coastal wetlands from the oil, they got nowhere. “For three weeks, as the giant slick crept closer to shore,” the Times reports, “officials from the White House, Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency debated the best approach.”

And here’s something hot off the presses from ABC:

A leading scientist following the BP oil spill said Monday that if the company or the government had made realistic estimates about the amounts flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, they could have had sufficient tanker space ready on the surface to hold the crude being pumped up through a make-shift collection device…

In an extensive interview with ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, [oceanographer Ian] MacDonald examined underwater video from the early days of the disaster and concluded that BP had been underestimating the scope of the spill, with little objection from the U.S Coast Guard or other federal agencies

Coast Guard officials told ABC News that BP refused to allow them to release the more startling images, arguing they were proprietary. But at the time, the agency was doing little to convey to the world what the images were showing. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry was sticking with estimates, calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which put the spill’s size at about 5,000 barrels a day for several weeks.

Don’t forget either that Bobby Jindal’s request for hard booms on May 2 was still woefully undermet three weeks later.
Video at the link above (I can't stand watching it, so I'm not going to post it here).

Moe Lane at RedState adds some supplementary information that really puts the flies on the turd:

Let me tell you a story (via Instapundit).

Once upon a time there was a owner of a packaging material factory in Maine who found out one day that there was a major oil leak disaster going on in the Gulf of Mexico. It turns out that a useful item for oil leak containment - known as ‘floating oil containment boom,’ or just ‘boom’ - was something that the owner’s factory could make; and since business was horrible anyway the owner decided to bring in extra workers and make all the boom that he could. The Governor of Louisiana was yelling for lots and lots of boom, and surely both British Petroleum and the federal government would be downright eager to buy up the boom as fast as the factory could make it.

Surely.So, what happened? Well, British Petroleum did… well, this:

Two weeks ago BP sent a quality control person to Maine, looked at the factory, and was impressed by what he saw. Packgen was feeling confident. That confidence has now turned to frustration. Packgen says BP controls who the boom suppliers are going to be — and they have yet to approve Packgen’s design.

And the federal government did… well, this:

…and the boom piles up in the warehouse.

Moe Lane

PS: That’s it. That’s the end. Boom in Maine; oil in Gulf; ping-bong balls in government beer.

Elections have consequences.

Oh yes, the showcase of competence is on.

There's my two cents.

Update On 2/3 Of The Radical Leftist's Roadmap To Taking Over America

First up is even more good news about DemCare:

Come September, a feature of the ACA will kick in that could spell the end of affordable "mini-med" coverage plans for low-income workers. Such plans typically provide access to a limited number of health-care providers and cap annual benefits payouts, but a provision in Obamacare bans insurance companies from doing the latter. That could spur massive spikes in premiums that put the mini-med plans beyond the reach of the very consumers for which they are designed.

And remember, the up to 1 million workers who will be affected by the provision won't have exchanges or subsidies to fall back on for years, thanks to the tax-and-regulate now, pay later structure of Obamacare.

Or, put another way:
Democrats will get their wish — but the employees won’t get their coverage. The law imposes the penalties for mini-med plans in three months, but the exchanges won’t start until 2014. That means more than three years of having no insurance at all for low-income workers who previously had it, even if Obama and Pelosi sniffed at the worth of the plans.
So why did they do it this way? Good question:
This was part of the “front-load” strategy of the Democrats, who wanted to implement what they thought would be the most popular components of ObamaCare immediately, in order to build support for its continuance. Instead, the mandates will mean that mini-med plans will either cost so much that the employees can’t afford it, or more likely, the insurers will drop the plans as money-losers. It’s a big indicator that the people who drafted the law had very little understanding of the insurance industry, or of the private sector.
NO...! I'm shocked SHOCKED that the Obama administration doesn't understand the private sector.

Hot Air points out that the massive unintended consequence here is that up to 1 million people could be kicked out of their health insurance by DemCare just a few weeks before the election. I'm pretty sure that's not going to do any favors for any Democrat on any ballot.

RedState thinks that not even the brainwashed, sycophantic media can cover over this one...but they'll give it another shot, anyway:

Why sell it when it does not go into effect for a few more years and it has already passed Congress? To improve Democrats’ chances in November, of course. Duh.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember that past performance is the best indication of future success. So you liberals shouldn’t expect this time will be any more successful than all the other times.

June 7, 2010: “Tomorrow, Democrats and the White House will hold more than 100 simultaneous events nationwide as President Obama plunges back into health reform, selling the historic plan all over again…” (Politico Playbook) “White House Mounts PR Blitz for Health Care Reform” (AOL News)

May 18, 2010: “White House seeks missing health bounce. The White House is aggressively touting the new healthcare law after failing to see an immediate bounce in polls from congressional approval of the legislation.” (The Hill)

May 11, 2010: “White House health-care campaign begins. The Obama administration’s campaign to sell the new health-care law to a skeptical public is beginning to take shape…” (The Washington Post)

May 8, 2010: “President Barack Obama on Saturday touted the benefits of his healthcare overhaul, renewing a bid to counter Republican criticism and ease public doubts more than a month after he signed reform into law.” (Reuters)

April 22, 2010: “Stephanie Cutter, the Democratic communications strategist who spearheaded the White House effort last year to win Senate confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, is returning to the Obama administration to help sell the newly passed health care bill.” (The New York Times)

March 24, 2010: “Clearly, inside the White House there is acknowledgement that Republicans outmaneuvered Democrats in the weeks after the stimulus bill passed and did a better job of defining for the public what was in that bill. … The White House is determined to learn from that experience. ‘Obama and the Democrats won’t make the same mistake,’ said Thomas Mann, who studies Congress for the Brookings Institution.” (CongressDaily)

And those are just the efforts to sell it after it was passed into law! Hit the link for many, many more.

The federal government is a bunch of radicalized, hippy slackers
DemCare starts squeezing the private sector

Now, on to the economy in general...

This morning White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and budget director Peter Orszag will release a memo directing all federal agency heads “to develop plans” to cut at least 5 percent from their budgets by “identifying programs that do little to advance their missions or President Obama’s agenda.” This spasm of fiscal responsibility can mean only one thing: the Obama administration is about to go on another wild spending binge. And sure enough Politico reports that while Blue Dogs in the House managed to whittle what was a $200 billion “jobs” bill down to $146 billion last month, the Senate is now larding it back up again with a $24 billion Medicaid bailout and a $23 billion teachers union bailout.

This spend-now/cut-later act has become a staple for the Obama administration.
It just doesn't work very well when you go overboard with the 'spend-now' part and never get around to the 'cut-later' part, which is exactly what Obama has done.

Of course, to be fair, overspending isn't solely an Obama problem. Washington in general has an overspending addiction that needs to be stopped immediately. Of course, you and I both know that the way to fix that problem is to STOP THE SPENDING, but the geniuses in Washington haven't quite figured that out yet.

Case in point:
On May 13, 2010, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 5297, TARP III. The bill is being promoted as necessary to increase the availability of credit for small businesses. TARP III would create a $30 billion lending fund and authorize the Treasury Secretary to make capital investments in banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

Another TARP?! What happened to the previous ones?? They failed, that's what. They did little to stimulate the economy, nor generate jobs or anything useful; all they did was to prop up some favored liberal constituent groups and lobbies. Now that the money is running out, the bribes must continue, so they're back to the spigot for more. The GOP points out several of the inconvenient problems with TARP 3:

Taxpayers Can't Afford Another Bailout: The original bailout bill, TARP I, was $700 billion. In 2009, the Democrats enacted a $1.138 trillion "stimulus" plan, including the cost of interest, a $410 billion FY09 omnibus appropriations bill and a $3.6 trillion FY2010 budget. The Democrats increased the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion, and the national debt now stands above $13 trillion. The taxpayers lost $145 billion by bailing out Fannie and Freddie, and the CBO expects the cost to approach $400 billion. Recently, the EU and the IMF pledged $145 billion to bail out the bankrupt nation of Greece. America's taxpayers are on the hook for $6.8 billion in loan guarantees from the IMF. The EU and IMF also announced a $1 trillion bailout plan that could put America's taxpayers on the hook for $50 billion in additional loan guarantees to bail out other financially irresponsible members of the EU. Yet, the Democrats continue to spend the nation into a financial abyss.

Creates Unnecessary Programs: Under the original TARP, Treasury created several programs to generate lending to small businesses. In addition, the federal government instituted federal guarantee programs through the FDIC and the Small Business Administration. The creation of a $32 billion TARP III program to do what the $700 billion TARP and other federal programs were intended to do is simply unnecessary. In fact, according to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, 8 percent of the small businesses surveyed cited a lack of credit as an immediate problem, but more than 50 percent cited a lack of sales as an immediate problem. In other words, small businesses are suffering due to a lack of jobs for consumers.

Lacks Proper Oversight: The TARP III program would not be subject to the effective oversight of the Special Inspector General for TARP. SIGTARP's Neil Barofsky, on February 19, 2010, sent a letter to Treasury's assistant secretary for financial stability, Herb Allison. In the letter, Barofsky, expressed concern regarding Treasury's decision to remove TARP III from SIGTARP's oversight and warned that such a move would be "terribly wasteful" and "could lead to significant exposure to waste, fraud and abuse."

Creates More Uncertainty: Like the original TARP program, the federal government will once again, at it discretion, be able to reach into the boardrooms and pocket-books of private sector firms and employees. The use of the original TARP by some banks begot the use of the Obama administration's pay czar and auto task force (which closed thousands of dealerships). Also, the use of the original TARP inspired the Democrats to pursue a "responsibility fee," another tax on financial firms. Through TARP III, many small and mid-size banks may soon find the federal government as their new senior partner.

Whether they like it or not. And remember, the pay czar will stick his nose in there, and many Dems actually believe that the government should set wages of everyone in every company in the country!

How are you liking the hope-n-change? Just'll get lots better, I'm sure.

There's my two cents.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oil Spill Wisdom

Democrat Or Communist? I Can't Tell...

I'm so glad The Daily Caller put this out before I wrap up this blog, because it's pretty much the bottom line on the current state of the Democrat party:

Comrades flocked to New York City two weeks ago for the 29th national convention of the Communist Party USA. While reviewing materials from the event, we had a sudden sense of déjà vu: the feeling that we had heard these talking points before. Maybe you have as well — they're espoused, in near identical form, by the president and his fellow Democrats. Take the quiz below, and try to determine which quotes were uttered by Democratic leadership, and which are excerpts from the communists' recent convention.

The point isn't that Obama's a communist (though it's amusing to watch Sam Webb, chairman of the CPUSA, deny such a charge while arguing with Glenn Beck about the redistribution of marshmallow peeps). It's useful, though, to compare the substance of Democratic and communist rhetoric, which differs mainly in degree. You may conclude — especially if you lean left — that the Communist Party USA is more moderate and mainstream than you thought. Or something.

TAKE THE QUIZ — Which quotes come from Democrats, and which from CPUSA?
(scroll down for answers)

1. "This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many."

2. "Rebuilding the social infrastructure will generate 11 million jobs. At least 3 million could be at work within 6 months — if the funds were available from Congress."

3. "Moving toward a productive green economy must be based on federal financing and a national industrial policy."

4. "Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy — where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending."

5. "For nearly half a century the nation's working people embraced and took comfort in the American dream — a dream whose promissory note read that if you work hard and do the right things, a good and secure life is attainable. I wouldn't say that dream is dead, but more and more people have less and less hope that it is within reach. Forces beyond their control have snatched it from them."

6. "While some have prospered beyond imagination in this global economy, middle-class Americans — as well as those working hard to become middle class — are seeing the American dream slip further and further away."

7. "Recent victories in Congress such as passage of Health Care Reform legislation with not a single Republican yes vote exposes the Republicans as the 'Party of NO.'"

8. "Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role that you'll play in writing the next great chapter in the American story."

9. "The Tea Party was birthed by media extremists and racist elements to break up the unity of 2008. They were able to change the debate and peel off some Democratic votes, but they were not able to stop the legislation."

10. "I think the American people have to make a judgment about the obstructionism of the Republican senators."

11. "Only majority movements can skin the rightwing cat, the neoliberal dog, and the globalizing rat."

Before presenting the answers, I think it's worth a moment's reflection on the fact that, as someone who has followed politics closely on a daily basis for several years, I can't tell which of these statements were made by genuine Commies and which were made by Democrats.  Can you?  I knew only one and guessed correctly on three others.


1. Obama said this during a speech in Berlin on July 24, 2008. Presumably, Europe's democratic socialists responded with a hearty, "Jawohl!"

2. Excerpted from the Communist Party USA's "21st Century Jobs Program," which aims to create 22 million jobs through direct government spending of $1 trillion per year on public services, including a five-year plan for rebuilding infrastructure. Communists advocating a five-year plan — what could possibly go wrong?

3. Excerpted from the Communist Party USA's "21st Century Jobs Program," although with Obama's focus on government subsidy for green jobs and weatherization, we don't blame you if you got this one wrong.

4. Obama said this on Jan. 8, 2009 while advocating for what would eventually become the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, or the Democrats' belated Valentine's Day gift to themselves.

5. Excerpted from remarks made by CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb at the recent national convention. Mr. Webb would have us know that while the American dream is fading, the Soviet dream remains as strong as ever.

6. Candidate Obama said this in November, 2008. Who could have known then that the biggest group prospering "beyond imagination" in 2010 would be government workers, who accounted for 95 percent of the job growth in May.

7. Excerpted from the resolution "All hands on deck for the 2010 midterm elections," adopted at the recent CPUSA convention. It's unclear how many hands the party has to call, but it does have over 3,000 Facebook fans.

8. Candidate Obama said this in a 2008 commencement address to Wesleyan University. No doubt the college's economics faculty appreciated hearing the self-interest of Adam Smith's invisible hand described as a "poverty of ambition."

9. Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA's Political Action Commission, made this remark during a speech titled "2010 elections — unity can win" at the recent national convention. The biggest question we have for Ms. Fishman is whether stumping for Democrats makes her a CINO — Communist In Name Only.

10. Pelosi said this in an interview with Rachel Maddow. It's easy to yell "obstructionism" when you're in power, but it requires more cajones to accuse concerned citizens of carrying swastikas. Pelosi did that too.

11. Democratic leaders (cough Joe Biden cough) have said some pretty absurd things, but nothing quite this bizarre. This quote is excerpted from remarks made by CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb at the recent national convention.

Isn't the plain fact that there is so little difference the big story here?  This is really all that needs to be said about today's Democrat party.  For all you Democrat voters out there, is this the kind of leadership you want?  Your party leadership is what it is, whether you understand who they are or not, and it's up to you to either accept it or clean house.  Just as the Rep base has the choice of re-electing big government, compromise-neutered hypocrites or a new batch of stalwart conservatives this November, you have the option of choosing who your leaders should be.

I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about the big difference between the Obama administration and the Clinton administration.  He said that while they believed largely the same things on an ideological level, the Clinton gang was merely a group of liberal Democrats.  They still acknowledged realities like tax cuts and balanced budgets being good for the economy, and they still followed along with what voters largely demanded of them.  The Obama gang, however, has a completely different make-up.  They're not liberal Democrats, they're radical Leftists with a hardcore agenda of anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism.  That's why they've plunged headlong into measure after measure that the American people have thoroughly rejected.  They're betting the farm -- and the Democrat party itself, in a way -- on the fact that they get enough of their agenda implemented in the first two years of Obama's first term that, even if they lose the next several elections, they'll have entrenched so much anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism that the nation will be permanently altered.

The question is: will the American people, and the representatives they elect (regardless of party) allow that to happen?  A small slice of the answer rests with you.

There's my two cents.