Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's Sunday in America


"I feel confident that I could persuade a millionaire on a Friday to subsidize a revolution for Saturday out of which he would make a huge profit on Sunday even though he was certain to be executed [by the revolution he financed] on Monday."
          Saul Alinsky


Here's the good news as we pass the baton from 2014 to 2015:  The stock market is at record highs.  GDP finally grew at a healthy rate of five percent in the third quarter of 2014.  Cheap labor is flooding across our borders.  Oil is historically cheap.  Unemployment has reached normal levels.  Quantitative Easing has eased (but has not been reversed).  The US dollar is on a tear.  Tax revenues are at all-time highs. Interest rates remain at all-time lows.  Corporate profits are at record highs.  Banks are flush with cash and profits.  High-end real estate is fetching record prices.  In short: good times for Alinsky's "millionaires".  

If there's one thing Barack Obama has proven in his time on the national stage it's that, more than anything else, he is a committed disciple of Saul Alinsky's.  It is precisely this steadfast adherence to Alinsky tactics which explains Barack Obama's ability to both implement his agenda and confound his detractors at every turn.   No quote of Alinsky's explains as much as the one above when it comes to where we are today.

Why did the private insurance industry support Obamacare,  even though Obama and the Democrats had publicly proclaimed that their ultimate goal was a "single-payer" system, which would eventually eliminate the private insurance industry altogether?  Why does the Republican establishment support Obama's executive amnesty, even though the majority flooding our borders will absolutely vote Democrat amounting to the demographic end of the Republican party?  Why won't Republicans defund Obamacare even though they know there are better free-market based solutions for the health of all Americans, and that big government entitlements like Obamacare will always inure to the benefit of Democrats?  Why do big corporations and big banks give far more money to Democrats and Obama despite their support for radical violent movements like Occupy Wall Street that seek their demise?  Why does Hollywood, which relies on the first amendment,  almost unanimously support Barack Obama with its vast wealth and personal attention when he actually jailed the maker of a YouTube video he didn't agree with, and effectively denounced the first amendment in a speech at the UN?        

One need look no further than the above Alinsky quote.  Indeed, it is Sunday in America.

Happy New Year!  

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Palin Tax Cut

In 2008 Sarah Palin made waves during a debate with Joe Biden by prominently repeating the Republican  chant, "Drill, baby, drill!".  Biden was mocking the idea that increased oil supply could lower prices and make us more energy independent.  In doing so he misquoted the slogan saying, "drill, drill, drill".  Palin corrected him, "The chant is ""drill, baby, drill", and that's what we hear all across this country..." Her supporters loved the comeback.

Fast forward after six years of "drill, baby, drill" and we are now under $60 a barrel, are enjoying virtual energy independence, and taxpayers are enjoying the equivalent of a $60 billion tax cut.  None of this is thanks to the federal government.  All the new supply is coming from private land where it is being extracted under state laws that allow advanced techniques like horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and steam injection.

Sarah Palin may not have won the election, but she was right about the economics of oil, and she should be credited for shepherding this massive tax cut.

          
Here's Palin explaining the policy and leading the chant in 2008:


And here's some typical mockery of the policy from the left:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler (yes, I'm going there)

The overall economy may only be growing by about 2% under Barack Obama, but the race industry is blossoming like never before.   If race is an industry, just what is it that this industry produces?  Political power.  Not power earned through consensus, reality, truth, or any public good.  Rather it is power earned through division, incoherence, lies, polarization, violence, fantasy, deception, and evil.  I hate to go all "Godwin" on y'all, but this is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.   It doesn't lead to anything good.

(Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies states that any heated online discussion will eventually lead to someone making a Nazi analogy.)  

Consider the incoherence of the current racism uprisings (Kristallnacht, anyone?)  emanating from the two cases, Michael Brown and Eric Garner:

  • The President, his administration, and the bulk of the Democrat Party have called these incidents evidence of rampant racism among the American people, the police, and the judicial system.  
  • There is zero evidence of racism being a factor in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or either grand jury decision.
  • Both men were resisting arrest and had just committed crimes against minority victims.  (Brown had stolen from and assaulted a minority shop keeper, and Garner had been interfering with minority owned businesses who complained to police.)  
  • "Hands Up, Don't Shoot!" is a proven myth unsupported by the forensic evidence and refuted by numerous credible black eyewitnesses.
  • Two black alleged eyewitnesses have been murdered since the grand jury decision, allegedly because they testified and corroborated the officers account.  The media has not reported these murders and the alleged retribution connection.   (Presumably they will if the connection is confirmed, but I wouldn't hold my breath.)
  • Garner's arrest was overseen by a black female Sergeant and approved by a black male Chief of Police.  
  • It was Garner's 32nd arrest.  31 others had occurred without him dying.  
  • Both grand juries had representative minority members. 
  • Eric Garners own wife and daughter have stated that they believe his death had nothing to do with racism. 
  • Clearly Garner died due to police errors, but the only people who heard all the testimony ruled it was not a crime, not due to racism, and not worth indicting.   

None of this matters because political power is at stake.  The race industry and the Democrat Party, along with CEO Barack Obama, need division, passion, anger, hatred, and the threat of violence to continue enacting their agenda. 

Consider the following quotes:  

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.
All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by... distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.
Hate is more lasting than dislike.
It is not truth that matters, but victory.
Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
Great liars are also great magicians.
The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.
Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.
All of the above quotes are often attributed to Adolf Hitler.

No, I'm not suggesting Barack Obama is about to annex territory, build gas chambers, or launch a World War like Hitler.   But looking back on his embrace of the politics of deception and division as personified by ACORN, Alinsky Community Organizing, Occupy Wall Street, disingenuously crying racism,  stirring hatred and violence, etc., it is hard to discern any tactical differences.   

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Racism

OK, now we have another case of "white cop kills unarmed black man" without an indictment.  Did the police make errors?  Most people would agree they did, especially in the Garner case. Were criminal acts committed by the police?  In both cases the only people who heard all the evidence said no.  Say what you will about whether or not justice was done, there is zero evidence that these two deaths were the result of racism.  In both cases there is evidence of resisting arrest, which means both these men would be alive today if they had obeyed the police.  Nevermind.  Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo are all convinced these two cases are evidence of racism on the part of the police and the judicial system.

It would be helpful for the state of NY to release the grand jury transcripts as was done in the Brown case.  But that will not change the minds of the opportunists who are committed to the racism narrative.  Anyone wondering how this could possibly happen in the age of Barack Obama, our first black president who promised to unite us, should pick up copies of Saul Alinsky's books and read them carefully.

Charging racism in these cases is political opportunism, and it's a very dangerous game.

(UPDATE:  The arrest of Eric Garner was overseen by a black female sergeant.)            

Monday, November 24, 2014

Obama's three strikes on Ferguson



On 8/15/14, after Barack Obama made his first comments in the wake of the Ferguson riots, I wrote:
I have no idea what happened in Ferguson, MO, and neither do you.  And we all agree any unnecessary death is a tragedy.  But we have a judicial system to deal with bad cops, if that turns out to be the case.  Rioting, looting, Molotov cocktails, death threats, and the like, should be singled-out as inexcusable no matter what the facts turn out to be.  Justice can only be served through our judicial system and that takes time, patience, civility, and wisdom.  Instead of making that case convincingly and emphatically, as a president should,  Barack Obama spoke to the nation in bland platitudes and equivocated.
America, we have a problem.
Four days later, after he commented again, I wrote:
Obama spoke to the nation again yesterday (8/18) and again equivocated.  If he wanted to avoid further violence, looting, anger, and hate, he could have explained to those calling for "death to Darren Wilson!" that we have a judicial system and that the facts will come out as they do in every public case, especially when there are dozens of eye witnesses as there are in this case.  But this case should not be tried on TV, or in the streets,  or from the pulpit, or with molotov cocktails.  Instead he drew a moral equivalence between our judicial system and looting rioters.  Think about this America -- The President of the United States, for political reasons, does not want to prevent further violence, looting, anger, and hate.
Tonight , 11/24/14, the grand jury spoke and the case is now closed.   The officer, Darren Wilson, was not charged with any crime because the jury believed he acted with justifiable use of force.

Again the president spoke and again mistook his role for that of agitator.  He accused the judicial system of racism.  He made no mention of the fact that Michael Brown would be alive today if he had obeyed officer Wilson.  He made no mention of his faith in the grand jury or the public servants who worked this case according to the law.  He made no mention of the officer whose life has also been upended by Michael Brown's belligerence.  He made no mention of the fact that moments before the incident officer Wilson had helped save the life of an infant.  And finally, he made only bland equivocal calls for peace and non-violence.

It's a shame this isn't baseball, because on Ferguson alone I count three strikes.

(I put the images at the top of the page together because you will not see them in the pop media.  But they are real and should be part of the record.  What they mean is up to you to decide.  Of note: neither was raised by his father, and all seem to have issues with authority.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dictator



You probably don’t think of Barack Obama as a dictator.  He was democratically elected to be the president of a constitutional republic after all, so he cannot be a totalitarian dictator, right?   But consider this:  there are two ways a country can end up with a dictator:  a leader or faction can seize totalitarian power by force, or the people can grant totalitarian power to an individual or faction.  For all intents and purposes, Barack Obama has been granted totalitarian dictatorial powers by the latter route.  In fact, he is arguably the most powerful dictator the world has ever known. 

Think about it:  Barack Obama is commander-in-chief of the worlds most powerful military, and is uniquely able to wage war without congressional approval or opposition from pacifists; he has carte blanche to selectively enforce laws;  he has carte blanche to create and modify laws;  he dissolves borders unilaterally; he creates treaties unilaterally; he has weaponized every tentacle of the federal government to persecute his enemies; he is politically untouchable and unimpeachable;  he lies to the country with impunity; his deputies have been found in contempt of congress without repercussion; his policies have failed without repercussion.  And…his dictatorship has been granted almost complete support from the news media, academia, and pop culture.

The world has never seen a dictator with this much power and latitude.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Must see Grubergate video compilation...

This is really hitting home for me since I just received notice of a 20% premium increase and some mandatory changes to the plan I liked, but can no longer keep.  Period.




(Thanks to AmericanCommitment for compiling this, and hat tip to those spreading it around like HotAir.com,  John Ekdahl of Ace of Spades HQ, etc.)  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why impeachment should be the first item in the new congress...

I keep hearing GOP leaders and strategist announcing that impeachment is not an option.  The reasoning goes something like this:  "Yes, Obama has certainly committed numerous impeachable offenses, but impeachment is a political maneuver, it never works, and it will certainly backfire on the GOP, especially with this historic president."  Fair enough.  But what about doing your job?  Is it not the job of congress to impeach if warranted?  At what point does impeachment become the right thing to do for the future of constitutional governance in the US regardless of the consequences?  Is there ever a point where doing the right thing trumps doing the politically expedient thing?

(As far as what the articles of impeachment should be, that is beyond the scope of this post.  Suffice it to say there are books on the subject.  Two good examples are Aaron Klein's and Andrew McCarthy's.)  

A similar refrain repeats itself when talking about defunding.  Excuse me if I missed something, but the GOP just won an historical election AFTER the supposed embarrassment of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and a few others doing the right thing on Obamacare in 2013.  Where is the evidence that they did anything but long-term good for their party?  Who else stood for what was right at the time, and now turns out to be even more right in light of the recently exposed "Grubering" of the American people?

Remember, Bush beat Gore AFTER the Clinton impeachment.  Then he won again.

    

Monday, November 10, 2014

You can't spell Democrat without the letters COMRADE


Behold as Jonathan Gruber, one of the key architects of Obamacare, explains the deceptions at the heart of the Affordable Care Act - deceptions which were necessary to overcome "the stupidity of the American voter".

This is not the first time Democrats have deceived the American people in order to pursue a major redistribution of wealth.  The last time something like this happened was in the 1990s when Democrats under Bill Clinton began something called the Affordable Housing Initiative (there's that word "affordable" again).  Deception was the key to the whole thing as mortgage credit was made available to those who could not afford mortgages, while the default risk was deceptively redistributed to taxpayers via Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FDIC, US Treasury, private banks, and other tentacles of the federal government.  The scheme eventually blew-up in 2008 and nearly took the global banking system down with it.  Oops.

Nevermind, the deceptions worked.  To this day if you ask the average voter what collapsed the financial system in 2008 they will dutifully recite that it was "greedy bankers, deregulation, and George W Bush".

One thing Democrats have learned from their comrades is the power of propaganda.  
     

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An Election about American Exceptionalism

As I write this, the 2014 midterm election has yet to be decided, and though predictions are as thick as molasses in January, I trust that no outcome is assured.  But there is one thing I do know about this election and the direction of our country, it’s just another twist in a long road leading away from American exceptionalism.

We’ve heard a lot about “American exceptionalism” lately, but most of it misses the point.  Barack Obama was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism early in his presidency.  “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism”, he replied.    Subsequently he amended that view on numerous occasions, only to reveal that he continues to completely misunderstand the meaning of the term. 

Just last week, the president stood in front of a group of healthcare workers who had recently returned from Ebola stricken Africa.  “That’s American exceptionalism!”, the constitutional scholar informed us, which was ironic because many of the care givers present were members of a French organization known as Medecines Sans Frontieres, known here as Doctors Without Borders.  Oops, maybe he meant French exceptionalism.

No doubt, any person who goes to Africa to treat Ebola patients is an exceptional human being, but that has nothing to do with American exceptionalism.  American exceptionalism refers to our founding principles; never before in human history had a nation been formed with the central principle being the supremacy of individual rights along with deliberate limits on the powers of the state.  It made us an EXCEPTION among nations.  And it made us great. 

But those days are gone, and probably forever regardless of who controls the senate after this election.  We’ve been traveling down this road for a century, in fits and starts, progressing away from American exceptionalism and towards reversion to the mean.  This is the essence of progressivism: progressing towards average.  Americans see the rest of the world and want to emulate it because the grass is always greener, right?  Americans want "free" government healthcare like they have in other countries.  They want "free" secondary education like they have in other countries. They want a government that controls every aspect of the economy like they have in other countries.  They want a government that provides them with every want and need in life.  They want an all-powerful government, just like they have in other countries.  In other words, Americans have turned away from the idea of being exceptional; they want to be just like all the other un-exceptional nations.  They want to be average. 

No president has embodied this zeitgeist more than Barack Obama.  He has openly denigrated the concept of limited government as laid out in our constitution, calling it a “charter of negative liberties”.  Ummmm, yes it is from the perspective of the all-powerful state.  But from the perspective of the ultimate minority – the individual - our exceptional form of government, with its emphasis on individual rights, amounts to an emancipation proclamation.  This is the key to this election; will voters make the final turn towards a post-exceptional America, or will they once again turn, albeit temporarily, in the direction of American exceptionalism?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

About that virus that ends in "a"...

Normally, when I borrow an idea I will credit the originator.  In this case the originator deleted his tweet, and so shall remain anonymous.  The original was somewhat more provocative than my version...  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why does Obama hate Fox News so much?

Yesterday Obama again singled out public enemy number one in a speech at Northwestern University.  No, not ISIS, terrorists, jihadists, Ebola, Putin, or the IRS abusing its power.  No, Obama singled out Fox News, of course, in front of a student audience.  In a country with a private media, a constitutional right to free speech, and a recent history of having government agencies persecute the president’s political foes, how can anyone let alone an auditorium full of young scholars tolerate that kind of abuse of power from the chief executive?  Not only did they tolerate it they applauded.

When I was growing up I always heard about totalitarian dictatorships and how they controlled their populations by controlling the media.  The Soviets were particularly known for this.  They had complete control of the media and could pretty much manipulate their people to believe whatever they wanted.  When I say media I’m not just referring to newspapers and TV news.  I’m referring to all sources of information in a society:  news, entertainment, and academia. 

Which brings us to Barack Obama.  You probably don’t think of Barack Obama as a dictator.  He was democratically elected to be the president of a constitutional republic after all, so he cannot be a totalitarian dictator.   But consider this:  there are two ways a country can end up with a dictator -  a leader or faction can seize totalitarian power by force, or the people can grant totalitarian power to an individual or faction.  For all intents and purposes Barack Obama has been granted totalitarian dictatorial powers by the latter route.  In fact he is arguably the most powerful dictator the world has ever known. 

Think about it.  Barack Obama is commander-in-chief of the worlds most powerful military, and is uniquely able to wage war without congressional votes or opposition from pacifists.  He has carte blanche to selectively enforce laws,  has carte blanche to write laws, dissolves borders unilaterally, creates treaties unilaterally,  has weaponized every tentacle of the federal government to persecute his enemies,  is politically untouchable and unimpeachable,  lies to the country with impunity, his deputies have been found in contempt of congress without repercussion, his policies have failed without repercussion.  And…he has been granted almost complete control of the media, with one BIG exception. 

That one exception is Fox News.  News Corporation and it’s flagship Fox News is the only large media institution standing in the way of Barack Obama’s complete editorial control of major media in the USA.  While there are significant opposition voices on the internet (this blog being but a miniscule one), all of them combined pale in comparison to the reach of ratings leader Fox News.  In Barack Obama’s world the constitutional protections of free speech, a long history of tolerance, respect for private industry, and a disdain for political interference all become subordinate to the Saul Alinsky tactical imperative of winning at any cost.  Rule-of-law, the constitution, and tradition be damned, there’s a revolution to be won, wealth to be redistributed, and a nation to be fundamentally transformed! 

Therefore Fox News must be stopped.  In accordance with the Saul Alinsky playbook Fox News must be mocked, ridiculed, disparaged, singled-out, personalized, and vilified.  Much like the Koch brothers who rank near #40 in political contributions but are enemy #1 in the Democrat pantheon of Alinsky targets, Fox News must be pounded and vilified non-stop.  And the useful idiots at Northwestern laughed and applauded.

Barack Obama is arguably the most powerful dictator the world has ever known – power willingly granted by the populace and popular media.  All that stands between him and complete totalitarian control, at least in his mind, is Fox News.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why The Secret Service Isn't Concerned About Obama's Safety

Have you seen the many references to the mortal danger President Obama is in from potential assassins? The latest piece appeared today in the UK Guardian . I’m not surprised we are seeing these stories because racist whackos could be an additional threat for Obama, but make no mistake about it, Presidents face danger as all modern ones have found out.  That said, Barack Obama is statistically much safer than even George W Bush was!

The tragic fact is that virtually every modern president has been the subject of some kind of assassination attempt. Every one. That’s not to excuse it, but to highlight that danger is part of the office. The job is not for the faint-of-heart. Some nut is going to try and fly a plane into your house (Nixon, Clinton, Bush 43), or blow you up (Kennedy, Bush 41, Bush 43), or just try to shoot you (Truman, Kennedy, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 43). And that is all of them post-WWII!

But, going back all the way, your chances of actually taking a bullet are almost twice as bad if you are a Republican. Five have been Republicans, (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Ford, Reagan) and three have been Democrats (Jackson, Truman, Kennedy).

As far as actual assassinations, three were Republicans (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley) and only one was a Democrat (Kennedy). In short, your chances of being killed are three times worse if you are a Republican! Moreover, Kennedy, the only Democrat was a tax-cutting supply-sider. If you look at it that way, Barack Obama will surely die in his bed as an old man.  Now, if he could only quit smoking…

(This was written in March 2010.  Hopefully Obama has quit smoking, but how would we know?)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Golf War II

Today we learned that President Obama has skipped about 60% if his daily intelligence briefings.  The Daily Caller goes on to compare Obama's golf time to his intelligence briefing time, and finds where the presidents true priorities lie.  All of which leads me to re-post this:

      









Saturday, September 27, 2014

Contract with America 2014

The Contract with America was a stroke of genius in 1994.  It was introduced a scant six weeks before the election, and it helped Republicans win big.  As a result, Bill Clinton was forced to “triangulate” for the remaining six years of his term.  He eventually backed lower taxes (yes, Clinton was ultimately a tax cutter!), reformed welfare, supported NAFTA, shrank the federal government (remember “The era of big government is over!”) and arguably was backed into a projected budget surplus.   The economy and markets took off the day after the election of 1994.

Unfortunately, lacking geniuses in today’s GOP, there is nothing similar happening this midterm.  I expect Republicans will lose their shot at Senate control, and they deserve to.  This was as close to a gimmee as you get in politics.  But remember, we are not that far past the scant six weeks it took in 1994! 

The argument against doing something like the Contract with America is that it would give the Democrats a target to shoot at.  But that argument is valid only if the proposals are controversial and specific.  By proposing items which are inarguable and non-specific, Democrats would be forced into a position of either arguing against inarguable proposals, or keeping quiet.  My hunch is they would not keep quiet, and would expose themselves and their anti-freedom agenda.     

With that in mind, here is my version of an ad-hoc 2014 Contract with America: 

Restoring the Constitution 2014
or
Freedom Agenda 2014

If Republicans are granted control of both houses of congress in the November election of 2014, we pledge to propose the following legislation within the first 100 days of taking office:

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free from being persecuted by the IRS, or any other agency of the federal bureaucracy, for political purposes. 

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free from being stonewalled by any branch of the federal government during an investigation of corruption, malfeasance, fraud, misuse of government resources, or other dereliction of duty.

  1. A law which strengthens the tenth amendment and strengthens the rights of citizens and states to be free from usurpation of their powers - “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free from stealth and hidden taxes.    

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free from taxation without representation. 

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free from foreign invasion across any border of The United States. 

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free from federal taxes that are levied for purposes other than the constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government. 

  1. A law which strengthens the  rights of citizens to be free from having any congress bind future congresses to its laws.

  1. A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free to purchase any lawful product.     

  1.  A law which strengthens the rights of citizens to be free to offer for sale any lawful product.   

Properly done these ten freedoms would shrink the federal government to its constitutional boundaries and put an end to:  nationalized health insurance (ObamaCare), IRS and other agency abuses, the uncompetitive corporate income tax (corporations can’t vote), all federal wealth redistribution (placing all redistribution at the state level, and ending the conflict of interest that arises from redistributing wealth at the level of government that also prints the money), the perpetuation of bad laws (each congress would need to approve existing law), open borders,  the executive branch stonewalling investigations by congress, and stealth taxes, to name just a few benefits.

Democrats would have a very difficult time arguing against any of these proposals, and Republicans would win big without ever having to explain a single one in detail.  Their base would know exactly where they were going, and would support it with votes and contributions.    


But alas, no one’s home in GOP-ville. 

This post has been updated.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mobs are always right. Right?

The unedited version of this is making the rounds on social media today,  because as everyone knows, mobs are always right!  


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What To Do About ISIS? (bumped again)

What should we do about ISIS?  (Or as the president prefers, ISIL, which uses the French diplo-speak term "Levant" for the mideast, and after all who amongst us doesn’t get a tingle up their leg from using French diplo-speak?)  Whatever you call it, we should do everything we can here in the US to prevent domestic attacks from these extremely dangerous jihadists.  Overseas, we should retreat from areas where any jihadists may attack.  Beyond that we should probably just pray.

I realize this is a contrarian position.  There seems to be a bi-partisan consensus forming that the Obama administration must take bold and decisive action to fight ISIS “over there, so we don’t have to do it here”.  Never mind that this sentiment was once known as “The Bush Doctrine”, and that it’s repudiation is one of the core ideologies of our current president -- it only makes sense as national policy with a competent Commander in Chief.  Barack Hussein Obama is not and will never be that person. 

If you want to occupy the student union, Obama is your guy.  If you want to choose brackets for March Madness, Obama is your guy.  If you want to hear platitudes read off a teleprompter, Obama is your guy.   If you want to hear how this country is racist, guilty, flawed, corrupt, unfair, mean, nasty, sexist, and has a crappy constitution, Obama is your guy.  If you want to play golf, attend fundraisers, and do talk shows, Obama is your guy.  But if you want to communicate with deadly jihadists in the only language they understand, the language of force, I’d recommend anyone other than Barack Hussein Obama, and that includes my Labradoodle.  

So let’s prepare ourselves here and do everything we can to ensure the jihadists can't hurt us.   Beyond that, let's do nothing until we have a competent president.  Will there be chaos and mass casualties?  Perhaps.  But going to war with an incompetent commander would be like having open heart surgery performed by a comedian -- better to do nothing, pray, eat healthy, and get to the gym.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Evan Sayet's 9/11 Conversion

Evan Sayet tells his 9/11 story and explains his conversion from liberal to "9/13 conservative".



This is just a short clip from an hour long speech titled "How Modern Liberals Think".  Watch the whole speech here.

Ted Cruz is Awesome! IV

Ted Cruz has done it once again.  Exhibiting more "cohones" than the rest of the elected GOP combined, he spoke to a group of mostly Lebanese Arab Christians who call themselves "In Defense of Christians" (IDC) and said the following:

(From The Daily Caller)  
“Religious bigotry is a cancer with many manifestations,” he continued. “ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East. Sometimes we are told not to loop these groups together, that we have to understand their so called nuances and differences. But we shouldn’t try to parse different manifestations of evil that are on a murderous rampage through the region. Hate is hate, and murder is murder. Our purpose here tonight is to highlight a terrible injustice, a humanitarian crisis.”
“Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” he said, at which point members of the crowd began to yell “stop it” and booed him.
So they booed him, and then he said, "If you won't stand with Israel and the Jews, then I won't stand with you."  Then he walked off the stage.  Bravo.  

Here is a link to the leadership list of the IDC:  (Oops, they took down their leadership page!  And there's no history at the Wayback Machine either.  Suffice to say I went there yesterday and on the list was a who's who of Lebanese Americans.  Some, like Ray LaHood (Obama's former Transportation Sec'y and Lebanese), James Zogby (Arab political activist and Lebanese), and John Ashcroft (a Bush 43 Attorney General, and a rare non Lebanese) were from the political world.)

Heres the clip of Cruz being booed and walking off stage: (Hat Tip: EWTN News Nightly's Jason Calvi)  



See also:
Ted Cruz is Awesome!
Ted Cruz is Awesome! II
Ted Cruz is awesome! III

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What to do about ISIS?

(Bumped for the president's speech tonight)

What should we do about ISIS?  (Or as the president prefers, ISIL, which uses the French diplo-speak term Levant for the mideast, and after all who amongst us doesn’t get a tingle up their leg from using French diplo-speak?)  Whatever you call it, we should do everything we can at the local level, here in the US, to prevent domestic attacks from these extremely dangerous jihadists.  Overseas, we should retreat from areas where ISIS may attack.  Beyond that we should probably just pray.

I realize this is a contrarian position.  There seems to be a bi-partisan consensus forming that the Obama administration must take bold and decisive action to fight ISIS “over there, so we don’t have to do it here”.  Never mind that this sentiment was once known as “The Bush Doctrine”, and that it’s repudiation is one of the core ideologies of our current president -- it only makes sense as national policy with a competent Commander in Chief.  Barack Hussein Obama is not and will never be that person. 

If you want to occupy the student union, Obama is your guy.  If you want to choose brackets for March Madness, Obama is your guy.  If you want to hear platitudes read off a teleprompter, Obama is your guy.   If you want to hear how this country is racist, guilty, flawed, corrupt, unfair, mean, nasty, sexist, and has a crappy constitution, Obama is your guy.  If you want to play golf, attend fundraisers, and do talk shows, Obama is your guy.  But if you want to communicate with deadly radical jihadists in the only language they understand, the language of force, I’d recommend anyone other than Barack Hussein Obama, and that includes my Labradoodle.  

So let’s prepare ourselves here and do everything we can to ensure the jihadists can't hurt us.   Beyond that, let's do nothing until we have a competent president.  Will there be chaos and mass casualties?  Perhaps.  But going to war with an incompetent commander would be like having open heart surgery performed by a comedian -- better to do nothing, pray, eat healthy, and get to the gym.

Obama Blames Bush. Again.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

What to do about ISIS?

What should we do about ISIS?  (Or as the president prefers, ISIL, which uses the French diplo-speak term Levant for the mideast, and after all who amongst us doesn’t get a tingle up their leg from using French diplo-speak?)  Whatever you call it, we should do everything we can at the local level, here in the US, to prevent domestic attacks from these extremely dangerous jihadists.  Overseas, we should retreat from areas where ISIS may attack.  Beyond that we should probably pray.

I realize this is a contrarian position.  There seems to be a bi-partisan consensus forming that the Obama administration must take bold and decisive action to fight ISIS “over there, so we don’t have to do it here”.  Never mind that this sentiment was once known as “The Bush Doctrine”, and that it’s repudiation is one of the core ideologies of our current president -- it only makes sense as national policy with a competent Commander in Chief.  Barack Hussein Obama is not and will never be that person. 

If you want to occupy the student union, Obama is your guy.  If you want to choose brackets for March Madness, Obama is your guy.  If you want to hear platitudes read off a teleprompter, Obama is your guy.   If you want to hear how this country is racist, guilty, flawed, corrupt, unfair, mean, nasty, sexist, and has a crappy constitution, Obama is your guy.  If you want to play golf, attend fundraisers, and do talk shows, Obama is your guy.  But if you want to communicate with deadly radical jihadists in the only language they understand, the language of force, I’d recommend anyone other than Barack Hussein Obama, and that includes my Labradoodle.  

So let’s prepare ourselves here and do everything we can to ensure the jihadists can't hurt us.   Beyond that, let's do nothing until we have a competent president.  Will there be chaos and mass casualties?  Perhaps.  But going to war with an incompetent commander would be like having open heart surgery performed by a comedian -- better to do nothing, pray, eat healthy, and get to the gym.

Friday, August 15, 2014

America, We Have a Problem



I have no idea what happened in Ferguson, MO, and neither do you.  And we all agree any unnecessary death is a tragedy.  But we have a judicial system to deal with bad cops, if that turns out to be the case.  Rioting, looting, Molotov cocktails, death threats, and the like, should be singled-out as inexcusable no matter what the facts turn out to be.  Justice can only be served through our judicial system and that takes time, patience, civility, and wisdom.  Instead of making that case convincingly and emphatically, as a president should,  Barack Obama spoke to the nation in bland platitudes and equivocated.  

America, we have a problem.

(Update:  Obama spoke to the nation again yesterday (8/18) and again equivocated.  If he wanted to avoid further violence, looting, anger, and hate, he could have explained to those calling for "death to Darren Wilson!" that we have a judicial system and that the facts will come out as they do in every public case, especially when there are dozens of eye witnesses as there are in this case.  But this case should not be tried on TV, or in the streets,  or from the pulpit, or with molotov cocktails.  Instead he drew a moral equivalence between our judicial system and looting rioters.  Think about this America --  The President of the United States, for political reasons, does not want to prevent further violence, looting, anger, and hate.)

Friday, August 8, 2014

#WhenMoronsVote

PEACE PRIZE PRESIDENT POUNDS ISIS!  Today Obama began the third Iraq war, which of course was completely avoidable had he not failed to keep a deterrent force in place.  We were no longer losing soldiers there on a regular basis, the peace was holding, the government was bad, but not as bad as Hussein, it was a nascent democracy that was free to elect new leaders, and it was costing us very little to be there and deter radicals like ISIS.  But no, Obama had a campaign promise to keep so we pulled out completely and left a vacuum.  In the last week alone, ISIS murdered some 3000 civilians in Iraq.  That's in one week.    

So now we are bombing from 30,000 feet, which of course is the preferred method for Peace Prize enthusiasts.  I'm sure Obama will use the Israeli system of dropping leaflets, making phone calls, and knocking first before bombing.  Hey, that's what he did in Libya, right?

In light of this, it's time to revisit the whole series of "Obama is Awesome!" cartoon videos.  Here they are in order:







 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Open Letter from Benjamin Netanyahu to The American People

Dear America,

I too share your desire for peace.  Like you, I am tired of the seemingly endless cycle of violence.  It gets to the point where no one can even tell you where it all began.  And certainly each side has its own version of history!  

I have a unique proposal that will once and for all put and end to this conflict.  Of course, some hard choices will have to be made.  I know I can trust the American people to hear me out, and give this some careful thought.  If we agree that peace is the desired outcome, and that neither side has been able to secure it yet, what choice do we have but to try something new?  Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity, right? 

Let’s look at some of the elements we can all agree on before getting into the specifics: 

  1. Both sides believe their positions are justified and worth fighting for. 
  2. One side has the military might, and the other suffers disproportionate casualties. 
  3. Both sides would like to exist and govern themselves in a manner to their liking. 
  4. The international community has put its faith in “land for peace” as an appropriate solution.

In light of the above, I do recommend swapping land to allow the nation-less to establish their own self-governed nation.  The new nation would be free to pursue all the freedoms enjoyed by nations everywhere:  they will be able to arm and defend themselves, they will be free to trade with other nations, they can make and produce all the things they currently produce and disseminate.  They would be free to establish Sharia Law if they please.  We may not agree with the things they produce, what they disseminate, or how they treat others, but it would be their country, ruled by them, sovereign, free, and independent. 

There are already examples of Muslims living peacefully with non-Muslims all over the world.  Several such examples are already right in your own country.  Dearborn, Michigan is sometimes referred to as “Dearbornistan” owing to its majority Muslim population.  There are similar examples throughout the US in numerous states.  Perhaps the best example is Illinois, which has more Muslims per capita than any other state, and no one thinks of Illinois as a terror state!

Once established, this new state would be a beacon for like-minded people to immigrate to and live in peace, free of the oppression they currently experience thanks to the endless conflict.  Bombings, raids, drone attacks, captures, prisons, -war itself - will no longer be an imperative!  I know this will not be easy, but it must be done and it must be done now!

Therefore, I believe Illinois would be the perfect place to establish the new state of “al Qaedastan”, or if you prefer, “ISIS” (Islamic State of Illinois and Syria”), a two-state solution, which will once-and-for-all end the violence.  Finally, America and al Qaeda, living side-by-side in peace.  Join me America, and stop this madness now! 

Sincerely,
Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister, Israel

P.S.  A majority of The UN has already endorsed this proposal.  This must be done at once if the US hopes to remain among the community of nations.

P.P.S.  I also believe that Khalid Sheik Muhammad, the political prisoner currently in your custody, should be freed like Nelson Mandela, and would likely rise to lead the new nation of al Qaedastan.  Furthermore, I have taken the liberty to nominate KSM to the Nobel Committee for consideration for the peace prize.  As expected, they are onboard 100%!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

USA vs. Europe

I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  Having just gotten back from a trip to Europe, my seventh in about a dozen years, I continue to be amazed by the visible and tangible evidence that Europe is kicking our butts in a number of economic areas.  Sure, I’m aware of the things we like to focus on when we poopoo Europe’s economic performance:  structural unemployment, highly socialized economies, bloated governments, frightening demography, etc.   Nevertheless, their stuff is just better than our stuff.  Just about everything that is manmade is of a higher quality, better maintained, and more functional in Europe than in the US.  And yet, I have always thought that big-government Europe could never compete with the US with its emphasis on individual liberty and limited government.  How can these bloated bureaucracies be kicking our butts when it comes to making and maintaining high quality stuff?   Apparently I need to rethink my premises.

First, some observations from my most recent trip.  The eye popping differences began with the flights.  As it happened, we flew Lufthansa over and United back.  No surprise: Lufthansa won hands down.  The Lufthansa Airbus A340-600 was new, staff was courteous (and gorgeous), food good, even in coach the silverware was metal, and alcohol, including good wine, was available without additional charge.  The United return was an aging Boeing 767 in bad need of an overhaul (as was the staff), alcohol was extra, and halfway through the flight the bathroom was out of toilet paper and remained so the rest of the flight. 

We flew into Munich where the escalators all worked, the luggage carousels purred, and the rental cars were all BMWs, Mercedes, Audis, and VWs in excellent condition.  When we landed back in Newark, somewhat depressed by the return flight experience, the first escalator we encountered was, appropriately, not working. 

Of course, tourists usually see the best of what a locale has to offer.  But the same can be said of where I live in the US.  I spend nearly all my time in areas that cater to tourists and are analogous to the areas I’ve visited in Europe.  ( I know, pinch me!)  That said, I am blown away by the level of construction and the quality of the properties in Europe.  You cannot even compare high-end construction in the US with the same level in Europe.  What we call the finest door or window in the US wouldn’t even qualify for a shed in prosperous parts of Europe.  The same can be said for just about every detail in high-end construction.  Europeans build for the long run.  In the US, most of what we build is disposable and reflects that. 

Infrastructure in Europe also wins hands-down over the US.  Trains throughout Europe are superior, even in the indebted countries like Italy and Spain.  They run on schedule, go fast, and can take you (and your bike and dog) just about anywhere.  Roads, funiculars, cog railways, and even hiking trails have been built and are maintained to an amazing degree in the most inhospitable of places.  Autobahns are plenty smooth at even 100mph.  You can hike for hours up just about any mountain in the Alps, and chance upon ancient Inns that are only accessible by foot (or now helicopter), and get a beer, a delicious meal, a hot cappuccino, and often a room. 

On the technology front, again a mismatch.  I’m proud that much technology originated in the US, but Europe has adopted it as well as anywhere.  Smart phones, computers, and broadband internet are ubiquitous.  Some things however haven’t made it the other way across the pond.  Anyone who’s stayed in a European hotel knows that the key card must be inserted before the power goes on.  How many coal fired plants could we do without if we adopted this simple idea?  European waitstaff enter orders digitally and remotely, accept credit cards remotely, and hence can serve more tables more efficiently than we can with our centralized and more manual systems.  I believe this is a consequence of the European custom where the waitstaff works for the restaurant and is paid a salary, versus the US custom where the waitstaff largely works for the diner via tips (a system I prefer as a diner, btw).  Seems to me better efficiency would benefit restaurants and diners, but this technology has not been adopted in the US. 

Back when I first visited Europe in 1974, the rap on the old world was that you couldn’t find decent toilet paper and the commode would likely be a hole in the floor.  No more.  On this trip I encountered a public bathroom halfway up a mountain, in Italy no less, that practically wiped your bum for you.  Electronic toilets, electric doors, faucets that both washed and dried your hands, and door handles that changed color to indicate occupancy.  It was a level of technology and excellent design in a public restroom I’ve never seen anywhere in the US. 

So, how is Europe able to have bigger government, more redistribution, more regulation, hence less economic freedom, and at the same time produce tangible things that are superior to ours?  The answer is that they do not necessarily have less economic freedom.  Despite the best intentions of our founders, in many ways Europeans today are the economically freer people! 

For twenty years now The Heritage Foundation has published a ranking of countries based on economic freedom.  At current standing the US is #12.  Switzerland is #4.  Overall, four European countries beat the US:  Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, and Estonia.  Of the top twenty, ten are European.  And yet, I believe Heritage understates Europe’s economic freedom and overstates ours. 

Wherever you go in Europe you see things you would never see in the US.  Swimming pools have diving boards, hotels have trampolines, and in the Alps, parapenters (hang gliders) and squirrel suit flyers are everywhere.  Sometimes people die or are injured doing these things, but Europeans are free to take these risks, and businesses are free to offer these experiences.  A tort system that supports litigious actions effectively limits our freedom in the US without specific laws banning behavior.  I once tried to rent a mountain bike in NJ but was told insurance rates due to litigation made that impossible.  The result is a loss of freedom and economic freedom.  Heritage does not account for the effects of our tort system and our lawsuit culture on economic freedom. 

Also, remember how we were supposed to be the country specifically designed to have limited government and unprecedented liberty?  Remember how that was the thing that made us “exceptional”?  Well, according to my calculations, six European countries have more limited government than we do, and some of them are prosperity powerhouses:  Switzerland, Slovakia, Estonia, Poland, Ireland, and Norway (which is tied with the US).   Moreover, three more are within the margin of error:  Luxembourg, Czech Republic, and the industrial powerhouse of Europe, Germany. 
(*This is a larger list than the one Heritage arrives at.  See note at the end for a full explanation of the method I use versus the one Heritage uses.)

Sure, not everything in Europe is awesome.  There are slums in Europe just as there are in the US.  Having fast trains, nice buildings, great cars, and amazing infrastructure doesn’t create a classless society.  To do that you have to go full Socialist, or full Communist, and then you end up with none of the above, except of course the slums and a few grand palaces. 

Here’s the upshot: 

Europe is highly decentralized, being made-up of sovereign nations, often with semi-autonomous regions within those nations.  The US is now highly centralized with states that have fewer rights than ever in our history.  Decentralized systems are inherently more resilient.  Europe is a place where you can find limited government, reasonable regulation, democracy, human rights, personal accountability, prosperity, freedom, rule-of-law, etc. all in one place, though certainly not everywhere.  The US is a place where you cannot find all those things to that degree in a single place thanks to centralization.  Advantage Europe. 

Europe now does its redistribution in the right place thanks to the Euro - away from the political entity that prints most currency (The ECB).  The US redistributes at the federal level where it also prints it’s currency setting up a fatal conflict of interests.  National debt per capita is currently $30,504 in the Euro countries.  It is $55,228 in the US.  Advantage Europe. 

Europe is a place where citizens can drive as fast as they please, but they are accountable.  The US is a place where the federal government dictates driving speeds.  Europe is a place where public swimming pools have diving boards, hotels have trampolines, and citizens are accountable to use them responsibly.  The US is a place where its citizens are denied many freedoms due to a litigious tort system and centralized federal power.  Advantage Europe.

The US has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world along with a tax system that seeks to tax foreign earnings as well as domestic.  European countries only tax earnings in their own country, hence many US companies are doing"inversions" where they merge with smaller European companies and move their headquarters there.  Advantage Europe.

Europe produces better stuff, and in many ways, a better standard of living.  They just do.  Much of this is cultural, but the result is undeniable.  Advantage Europe.

I used to maintain that the US was a place with unmatched adherence to the rule of law, a constitution that protected our rights, limited government, economic freedom, and a future second to none.  Now I admire Europe. (With a caveat for demography, although ours isn’t looking too good either!)

(Update - Certainly one reason Europe produces better stuff is due to history; Europe, and especially Germany, have a highly evolved Guild System in place, which has been churning out the world's best tradesmen and craftsmen since before Columbus sailed to the New World!  But that does not diminish the role of economic freedom in determining the quality of goods in a nation.  All one need do is look at the examples of East and West Germany, or North and South Korea where similar cultures resulted in radically different outcomes due to freedom, both political and economic.

Also, whenever discussing economic history, particularly when comparing the US and Europe, the role of WWII must be acknowledged.  A major reason for US economic power in the post WWII world was due to the fact that we emerged the largest intact industrialized nation by far.  Europe and Japan were smoldering ruins, and China was still in loincloths.  Those days are long gone, yet we are still enjoying the fruits of that post WWII world with our dollar being the world's reserve currency.  Imagine how our $18 trillion debt will look if the dollar loses that status?)     


*Note on government spending:  My ranking of government spending differs from Heritage’s in two ways:  I compare government spending (all federal, state, and local) to just the private sector portion of GDP for all countries.  Heritage uses both the public and private part of GDP in the denominator, which is problematic especially in measuring the US, which has been on a money printing, borrowing, and stimulus binge.  To correct for this, I consider only the private portion of GDP (GDP less Government Spending) for all countries.   The Heritage formula is, Total Government Spending divided by GDP, and mine is Total Government Spending divided by (GDP less Government Spending). 

Also, Quantitative Easing is not specifically accounted for in Heritage’s government spending numbers.  I do include it because it is government spending. 
For a full explanation of my method see “The True Tax Rate is 70%!” 

All numbers come from the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) data.  (not all European countries participate in the OECD)




Friday, June 27, 2014

The Immaculate Recession

Two days ago, on June 25th 2014, the third update to GDP numbers was released for the first quarter of the year, and the latest numbers show a GDP change of -2.9%.  This is pretty amazing since the consensus opinion going into the quarter was for +2.5%, the advanced estimate in April was for +0.1%, the first revision in May was for -1%, and now the second revision in June is a whopping -2.9%!

Even in a business like economic forecasting and reporting, which is known for being particularly dodgy, this discrepancy is unusual.  But there may be a simple, though not comforting, explanation for this wild swing. 

Consider that the official definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.  Therefore, the lower the first quarter, the easier it will be to avoid the “R” word when the second quarter is reported.  For example:  if the first quarter had actually been -1.5% and the second quarter comes in again at -1.5%, that would ring the recession bell and the overall 2014 GDP would be -1.5%.  But if the GDP really is -1.5% after two quarters, and the first quarter is reported as -2.9%, then the second quarter can be reported as +1.4%, and no recession will have officially occurred!  Call it the immaculate recession. 

Now you might be saying, “that’s ridiculous , the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is a highly respected non-partisan government agency which would never manipulate official numbers to benefit incumbents during an election year!”  Yeah, tell that to the victims of the IRS, FDA, FBI, INS, DOJ, NLRB, NTSB, Fish and Wildlife, etc, etc, etc. 

Update: Oh, and remember this?  Census "faked" election 2012 jobs report.













Thursday, June 19, 2014

Oops, the IRS lost the email, sorry!

Having some fun in the face of tyranny...



Here's the raw photo.  Feel free to download and make your own meme!



Friday, June 6, 2014

Myth: Hey, this prisoner swap is the same thing Israel does!


One of the lies Obama likes to invoke is, "Hey, I'm not doing anything unusual here; everyone does it!"  Thus, when the Bergdahl fiasco blew-up in his face he invoked history saying, "Hey, this is what happens at the end of wars!"  Which of course is interesting because he skipped the signing of the treaty.  As far as I know there is still a violent jihad being waged against us by the very people Obama just released.  That makes this different from any such prisoner exchange in history.

Another lie we hear is, "Hey, the Israelis do this all the time, and they really know how to fight terrorists!"  What we have done has no relationship to what the Israelis do.  If you want some insight into what the Israelis are up to when they release prisoners, watch the movie "The Green Prince".  The eponymous prince in the movie is Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of Hamas. (The flag of Hamas is green, hence "Green Prince".)  Mosab Hassan Yousef was imprisoned by Israel for terrorist activity, but subsequently was released after being secretly flipped by a sophisticated and successful effort to infiltrate Hamas.  Israel knows what they are doing.  They are playing a long game in an endless struggle for survival.  


One may speculate that perhaps we have a similar program and one of these five Taliban generals has been flipped.  Really?  Does anyone reading this believe Barack Obama knows what he is doing and is operating a successful operation to flip Gitmo detainees and infiltrate the Taliban?  Remember, this president has taken virtually no prisoners and sought no new intelligence since taking office. 
      

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What’s All This Fuss About Vets and Healthcare?


As Emily Litella would say, "What's all this fuss about about vets and healthcare?"

I made one phone call yesterday and got an appointment with a top neurologist in under 24 hours.  That is incredible service by any standard.  Of course, in this case I paid cash, the provider was in private practice, and the doctor was the vet not the patient.  The patient is expected to make a full recovery and will soon be back to eating voraciously, running around, and wagging his tail.

To those like Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama who told us that vets had the best healthcare system available and it should be a model for the whole nation, I say they were looking at the wrong vet system.  Veterinarians are the only doctors working in a totally privatized system today.  Theirs is the best healthcare model in terms of quality and service in the US, and in fact on the entire planet. 

So while our military vets are dying on VA waitlists, while all citizens are now subject to the bureaucratic nightmare that is Obamacare, while the poor suffer on substandard Medicaid, and while the aged are herded into the socialized system that is Medicare, our pets are enjoying state-of-the-art medicine in the best private healthcare system in the world.  Heck-of-a-job America.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fed Up - A Movie Review


(Revised and abridged to coincide with the broader release of "Fed Up") 

“Fed Up” is a new documentary about diet, health, and the epidemic of obesity and its complications.  Made by executive producers Katie Couric and Laurie David, and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, the film chronicles the struggles of a handful of overweight kids and intersperses their stories with interviews of politicians, scientists, and practitioners explaining how we got here and how to fix it. 

If you have not heard of this film, you will soon.  “Fed Up” was one of the hardest tickets to get at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  Apparently food and diet are very potent topics.  And this film is potent.  It has all the right elements for a successful documentary:  a scary health story everyone can relate to, a big name narrator - Katie Couric, good production, plus all the right villains, heroes, and victims. 
  • Villains:  big sugar, big corporations, lobbyists, political villains (mostly Republicans), Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, George W Bush, etc. 
  •  Heroes:  concerned professionals - doctors, scientists, nutritionists, political heroes (almost all Democrats), Bill Clinton, Tom Harkin, George McGovern, etc.
  • Victims:  kids, minorities, the poor.
Unfortunately, “Fed Up” is deeply flawed.  While the movie does do a good job of telling the sugar story, it misses the carbohydrate forest for the sugar trees.  It also has an overt political agenda which blinds it from seeing the true culprits.  Along the way it glosses-over and misrepresents some key elements and ultimately alludes to the wrong solutions.  When all is said and done, “Fed Up” is the equivalent of a jumbo tub of popcorn ladled with salt and trans-fats -  you will enjoy it while it lasts, but it will leave you worse-off in the end.

Here’s the movie in summary: 
  • Too much sugar in our diets has led to an epidemic of obesity, which has led to a host of health problems, and ultimately will lead to premature death for millions.  Children are most at risk. 
  • Greedy big corporations and lobbyists threw money at venal politicians, and got them to conspire against our health interests, which caused it all. 
  • Therefore, the cure is for big government to step in and stop the greedy corporations from harming us for profit. 
According to the movie, a key turning-point which led to our obesity epidemic was a 1977 government report titled “Dietary Goals for the United States”, aka The McGovern Report.  This was the first time the federal government officially weighed-in on diet.  Here are the report’s six goals:


In the  “Fed Up” version of the story, The McGovern Report and subsequent government efforts had the science right, but big greedy corporations and their lobbyists twisted the findings, put pressure on weak politicians, and got them to water-down the government recommendations.    

It makes for a great story and a powerful documentary, but it is pure nonsense.  The government has never gotten the science right!  Ergo, the central premise of “Fed Up” is wrong:  Our obesity epidemic was not caused by greedy big corporations, but rather by big government hubris, mistaking consensus for science, and incompetently engineering the diets of three hundred million unique individuals.  This is the real story behind our obesity epidemic.   

Governments don’t do science, they do consensus.  In 1977 the biggest health issue of the day was thought to be heart disease.  A consensus had formed among health professionals that heart disease was largely due to a diet high in meat, eggs, and dairy.  Fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol were our main enemies, with sugar and salt bringing up the rear.  The government accepted the consensus and mistook it to be settled science. 

The late author Michael Crichton (“Jurassic Park”, “Andromeda Strain”, etc) had some choice words about the difference between consensus and science: 

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

When government mistakes consensus for science, it doesn’t just print a flawed report.  A cascade of bad decisions and policies result with untraceable negative consequences.  Subsidies, taxes, penalties, regulations, etc. all get employed to support the flawed  consensus, and real damage can result.

For instance, we now know that McGovern’s first goal – to increase carbohydrate – was a monumentally bad one.  Since the consensus was that we should eat less meat, eggs, and dairy - all sources of protein and fat - we therefore had to increase the only thing left - carbohydrates.  The text of the report stresses increasing primarily "complex carbohydrates like whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables”.  Sounds harmless right?  Eh, not so much.

We now know that many of the so-called complex carbohydrates, like the ones The McGovern Report told us to eat for 60% of our diet, are just as bad as sugar.  There is no metabolic difference between a modern whole-wheat bagel and a can of Coke.  In fact, according to William Davis, MD, author of  “Wheat Belly”, modern whole-wheat flour is more glycemic (blood sugar spiking) than even table sugar!

It turns out that overeating bad carbohydrates is what is making us obese.  It’s not sugar alone as “Fed Up” would have us believe!  Some of those bad carbohydrates are the very ones our government has been pushing on us for nearly forty years.    

I call all the bad carbohydrates GLUE.   Any carbohydrate is GLUE if it meets these criteria:

  •           GLycemic (blood sugar, and/or insulin spiking)
  •            Un-nutritious (low in nutrients)
  •            Energy-dense (highly caloric) 

GLUE includes all sugars and sweeteners, refined fruit and fruit juice, refined grains including anything made from flour, and refined starches.  (In general, the less a carbohydrate looks like its original form, the more likely it is GLUE.)     

This puts many so-called complex carbohydrates in the GLUE category, including pasta, crackers, bread, cereal, and some rice.  These are the things our government has been telling us to eat more of for nearly forty years!  Even if it says “whole-grain” on the label, it is likely GLUE.  "Fed Up" spends all of 30 seconds talking about carbs other than sugar!  All of the morbidly obese kids and families featured in the film are not just sugar addicts; they are carb and GLUE addicts, which is completely ignored by the film.

The second, third, and fourth goals of The McGovern Report were concerned with reducing fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.  We now know that fat does not make us fat, that saturated fat does not cause heart disease, and that ingested cholesterol does not raise our bad cholesterol (LDL), but does raise our good (HDL). We now know that the consensus was wrong about all this too. 

One of the unintended consequences of The McGovern Report, as the movie does point-out, was the substitution of sugar for fat in processed foods. Thanks to the report’s recommendation that fat be reduced, food companies responded by replacing the flavorful fat with sugar and other sweeteners like HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).  After all, sugar was the lesser of evils according to the report!  Moreover, HFCS was thought to be healthier then sugar according to the consensus.  Plus, it was cheaper thanks in part to corn subsidies and sugar import restrictions.  This made it economical to put HFCS in practically everything. Yay!  Thus the report shot itself in the foot - twice.

Another unintended consequence of the report was the substitution of trans-fats for saturated fats.  The report singled-out saturated fats, so corporations replaced them with man-made trans-fats.  We now know trans-fats are a proven health threat.  We also know that the generic recommendation to reduce saturated fat was irresponsible.  “Fed Up” does not mention this.  (See this from just the other day: "Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link")  

There never was a unanimous consensus on diet.  Dr. Robert Atkins, a NY cardiologist, became famous for popularizing the low carbohydrate diet.  His 1972 book, “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution” chronicled his observation that his patients did better eating low carbohydrate diets.  The modern consensus was dead wrong according to him and many others who came before him.  Carbohydrate was the culprit, not fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, or just sugar.  He went on to correlate the emergence of our obesity epidemic with the advent of a diet high in refined carbohydrate.  From the 1960’s, until his death in 2003, and continuing today, he is called a denier, ridiculed, ostracized, demonized, and was even sued. 


(Consensus sometimes behaves like religious fanatics - it burns its heretics at the stake.  Say, is that a torch-bearing mob coming my way?)

Now that the flaws in the consensus have been exposed and millions are dying, the clueless culprits and their apologists (like those who made this movie) are trying to pin the blame on their favorite scapegoats – greedy big corporations.

That’s not to say that corporations do not play a role.  They make our food after all.  But corporations only make the products we demand.  We were instructed by the consensus and our government to eat more carbohydrate first, avoid fat second, avoid saturated fat third, avoid cholesterol fourth, and finally to reduce sugar and salt.  We demanded that corporations supply us with foods meeting those priorities.  And that’s just what they did!  The fact that we went on to consume way too much of the sugary stuff is not their fault.  It’s our fault!  The movie gets this basic cause and effect backwards.

Overlooked entirely in the movie is the role of the 1992 FDA Food Pyramid, which doubled-down on the faulty consensus from The McGovern Report.  It’s hard to find a more recognizable and influential symbol of our dietary trend the last quarter century. Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta, all GLUE, were to be the very foundations of our diet.  Again we were told to eat the wrong things by our government.



Ironically, Bill Clinton is one of the film’s heroes and appears multiple times.  He was elected president the year the Food Pyramid debuted.  He along with his administration bought into the consensus and irresponsibly promoted The Food Pyramid for eight years. 

The federal government is still at it today.  As I’m writing this, I became aware that the USDA has published a children’s book and is urging grandparents to read it to their grandkids as a bedtime story.  The book features cute kittens explaining the current version of the Food Pyramid, which is called “My Plate”.  The first food group on My Plate, and the largest, is - “The Grains” – bread, crackers, rice, and noodles.  Big government is still mistaking consensus for science, still pedaling GLUE, and still puzzled by the ongoing obesity epidemic! 

Finally, there are the movie’s solutions. The main suggestion is to compare the diet caused epidemic to the smoking caused one, and learn from the successful campaign against smoking.   On this basic point I concur.  But the movie implies more. 

The good guys are all big government types:  Mike Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Tom Harkin, for example.   While the bad guys all lean (relatively) smaller government:  Sarah Palin, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush.  As I have shown, big government has largely caused and prolonged this epidemic.  How likely is it that even bigger government can solve it?

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a hero in the movie.  He famously banned salt, big sugary drinks, and trans-fats from restaurants and stores in New York City.  Not just for kids, but for adults too.  This is the problem with Bloomberg-ism, and the movie’s implications: we are all children in the eyes of the nanny state. 

In the most blatantly disingenuous edit of the movie, Sarah Palin is shown speaking about how parents should be responsible for feeding their own kids and not government.  In the very next clip she is seen sipping a Big Gulp.  The implication is clear:  government is the only entity which can be trusted to make good choices.  The edit is clearly designed to paint Palin as stupid and irresponsible.  The audience gasped at this edit both times I saw the movie with some muttering aloud, "What an idiot!"  Of course, the Big Gulp was a prop Palin employed during a speech in NY in defiance of Mike Bloomberg’s attempted ban on big sugary drinks.  Shamefully, the filmmakers don’t reveal that.  The courts agreed with Palin in the end.

Surely, government can play a role as it did with cigarettes and kids.  Advertising GLUE and unnatural food to kids could and should be barred, as should selling GLUE and unnatural foods to minors without adult permission.  But this has always failed because of the consensus definition of "junk food".  According to the "Fed Up" and consensus definition, a ban on junk food for kids would include such things as cheese, egg yolks, and a burger patty!        

If government wants us to change our eating habits, it should start by admitting the errors of the consensus for the last forty years.  The McGovern Report has been proven wrong about fats, meat, eggs, cholesterol, dairy, and now even salt.  Those are not the things that are killing us.  Too much GLUE and unnatural foods are what's killing us.  The government mistook a consensus for science, focused on the wrong culprits, and has been giving us bad advice for forty years. 

“Fed Up” misses this incredible story of government hubris, mistaking consensus for science, misinformation, and tragic unintended consequences.  Instead, it preaches more bogus consensus – corporations are evil and big government can save us. 


Further Reading
The real solution cannot come from a government prone to confusing consensus with science, nor from politicians who sell policy to the highest bidder (from any party).  It has to come from people educating themselves.  Many people have adopted low-carb, “paleo”, whole-food, and no grain eating habits without the government telling them to, and they are getting thinner and healthier. 
Here are some book suggestions which may help you:

Gary Taubes

Robb Wolf

Mark Sisson

Liz Wolfe, NTP

And of course, Dr. Robert Atkins

(*Many thanks to my lovely nutritionist wife Pam for her help in writing this piece, making me read these books, and for keeping me healthy despite myself.)

Originally published 4/2/14.  Reposted upon release of the film 5/9/14.  Revised and abridged 5/24/14.