"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


One of Salem Oregon's Unofficial Top 1000 Conservative Political Bloggers!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama to UN: I'm a Great Leap Forward for Human Rights in America


I had a dental appointment today, so not much blogging as I try to not chew a hole into the side of my cheek.

Check out this opinion piece in the Washington Examiner today. Obama has submitted a report to the UN declaring his administration to be a great leap forward for the United States. Ah yes, egotism-- the mark of a true humanitarian.

From the editorial:

"President Obama's administration recently submitted a report to the United Nations on human rights in America. The 29-page report shows the nation badly flawed but fortunate to have a Nobel Prize winner as its leader. The report is billed as 'a partial snapshot of the current human rights situation in the United States, including some of the areas where problems persist in our society.' Among the nation's shortcomings listed in the report:

[...]

"» It's too hard to form a union, the document says -- either that or unions have just become less relevant. But don't worry, 'there are several bills in our Congress that seek to strengthen workers' rights' -- bills like "card check," which will help institutionalize union intimidation and coercion by taking away a worker's right to a secret ballot.

"The report also notes that as bad as our human rights situation is, help is on the way -- all thanks to Obama:

"» America made 'great strides' in human rights when 'President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.' That's better known as Obamacare, the law that 60 percent of us want repealed.

[...]

"» The report mentions that in recent months, 'the Department of Justice has worked to strengthen enforcement of federal voting rights laws.' (So, just pretend, at least for a moment, that the New Black Panther case never happened.)

"You get the picture: This is a self-serving political document that portrays Obama policies as great leaps forward, and things he opposes as steps backward. In the Bush years, America ignored the UN High Commission on Human Rights because the panel too often gave voice and sometimes positions of leadership to such human rights beacons as Cuba and China. Now, under Obama, our government is producing propaganda for world consumption at the expense of the American people. In other words, Obama has not merely joined Cuba and China on the commission, he is imitating their leaders' tactics, too."

I just love how Obama is so quick to herald the passing of unpopular and economically fascist laws like ObamaCare as being progress toward human rights. Benito Mussolini, that great champion of human civil rights, would be so proud...

Monday, August 30, 2010

R.I.P. Satoshi Kon (1963 - 2010)


This weekend I heard the sad news that Japanese animator Satoshi Kon died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 24th. He was only 46.

Mr. Kon was an anime director of great renown and, more importantly, of great skill and artistic sensibility. As an animator the style of his drawings were unique, rooted in traditional anime but with a personal touch that was distinctly his own. I could always identify a Kon project within seconds by its look. As a filmmaker, his work was always unconventional and varied from the touching comedy of Tokyo Godfathers, to the stylized suspense of Perfect Blue (his first feature), to the fascinating exploration of the connection between dreams, reality, and the internet with Paprika (an acknowledged influence of the current film Inception).

As a fan of Kon's work, I found his films to be uniformly intelligent and thought-provoking. Beyond that, Kon's films demonstrated a great pathos and interest in the experience of being human. He courageously delved into metaphysical and epistemological questions with wit, honesty, and intellect. Yet, Kon never allowed his work to be swallowed up by its themes, to devolve into something meaninglessly abstract. And he always respected the intelligence of his audience, refusing to "dumb down" his films into something trite. Kon used his work to examine issues, not to editorialize them. He never gave in to the temptation to preach through his films and instead allowed the unforced plot, uncontrived characters, and contemplative themes to play out "naturally." Kon trusted that his work would speak for itself-- a hallmark of true artistry.

The world has lost a great artist. Satoshi Kon will be missed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10th Anniversary


My wife and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary today. I don't usually get very personal in such a specific way in my blog entries, but today is a special day for my wife and I.

Anyway, it's going to be a pleasantly busy weekend so I won't be back blogging until Monday. See you then.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cash for Clunkers: Subsidies for Raising the Price of Used Cars for Working Class Families


As the fallout from the "Cash for Clunkers" program has become more readily apparent, we are once again confronted with the fact that Obama and his economic advisory team really have no clue about what they're doing.


"With home prices falling, fewer people employed, and every economic indicator on the dashboard flashing red, deflation has started to become a big enough worry that the Fed has adjusted its monetary policy to account for it. There are no such worries in the used-car industry, however. Prices have jumped 10% overall and in some cases as much as a third for used cars, thanks not to demand as much as a restricted supply after the government destroyed billions of dollars in assets as part of its Cash for Clunkers program last year (via Instapundit):

"[quoting from edmunds Daily] 'Car buyers on average paid $1,800 more for a used vehicle in July than they paid a year ago at this time, according to Edmunds.com data. That’s a 10.3 percent increase, bringing the average cost of a 3-year-old vehicle to $19,248. The price of a Cadillac Escalade spiked nearly 36 percent. “A lack of confidence in the economy is driving more people to used cars, putting upward pricing pressure on a limited supply of vehicles,” said Joe Spina, a senior analyst for Edmunds. …'

"'Spina said that at this time last year, a troubled economy had consumers buying less- expensive fuel-efficient vehicles and trading in "gas guzzlers" through Cash for Clunkers (more formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System). "Now, those who need trucks and large SUVs are buying them and in many cases are turning to used vehicles as a way to save money," he said. "Prices are high because this demand comes at a time when inventory is low as a result of the current shortage of lease returns and trade-ins for vehicles of this type." And, he said, while prices are indeed very high now, last year’s prices were low, making the gains even more dramatic.'

"In other words, there was real and rational demand for the cars that the Obama administration sent to the grinders. That demand hasn’t stopped, even if tainted with political incorrectness.

[...]

"As predicted last year, the people most hurt by the price increases are those who can least afford them. The used-car market usually attracts people who need transportation on a budget, who cannot afford to buy new. By destroying a quarter’s worth of trade-ins in three weeks and permanently taking them off the market, the Obama administration has forced an artificial inflation by supply restriction. Moreover, they did so by subsidizing new-car sales that would have occurred anyway, eating up three billion dollars in taxpayer money.

"In other words, the White House spent $3 billion to make used cars more expensive for working-class families. Nice work."


"That’s because money isn’t wealth. Money is at best a measure of wealth, which actually consists of goods. Money retains its value as long as there are goods to be traded for it. When the goods disappear, the economy grows poorer, regardless of how the money is shuffled around.

"And the payback isn’t long in coming — today’s used car prices are soaring owing to reduced supply. (This link gives even more dramatic numbers, but I’m less sure of them. h/t Radley Balko.)

"See how that works? You can’t get something for nothing. Cash for Clunkers turns out to have been a highly inefficient wealth-transfer program, that is, one that destroyed a bunch of wealth along the way. It gave wealth to those already relatively wealthy people who did the government’s bidding (that is, those who could afford to part with a used car and buy a new one). And now it’s taking wealth from those relatively poor people who need a used car today — in the form of higher prices.

[...]

"And this is what passes for a successful government program."

Don't worry though. It was all Bush's fault...

More Obama Deceit: The "Lives Touched" Stimulus Headcount


While putting an absurdly positive spin on the $787 billion economic "stimulus" package which saved us from the unemployment rate reaching 8%-- oh wait, I'm sorry it did and then some... but it was all Bush's fault-- the US Department of Energy (DOE) came up with a new term that will haunt us.

First there was "jobs created" by the stimulus, but then there didn't readily appear to be a whole lot of jobs created by the money. Next was "jobs created or saved" a wonderful bit of post-modernist thought which requires basically no proof for the numbers. After all, if only 10,000 jobs remained in the US, the Obama Administration could claim they were "saved" by the stimulus and it would've been worse without it. Yet, even that doesn't seem to be enough, so now the DOE have trotted out the new, touchy-feely sounding phrase "lives touched" by the stimulus.

Of course from the sound of it, every man, woman and child in the US is touched by the stimulus-- mostly with the feel of the stimulus going after their wallets. But wait, there is a definition of it. Rusty Weiss and NewsBusters.org has the details.

From Weiss' article:

"In late July, a Government Accountability Office report circulated which analyzed stimulus funding being spent by the Department of Energy. The main gist of that report involved the cost of each job being generated by the stimulus bill - a staggering $194,000. Tucked away in that report was a phrase that was new to most of us, a way to calculate jobs through a term called 'lives touched'.

"Last week it was confirmed that some departments being funded by the stimulus are indeed using the metric ‘lives touched' - a regression from the absurd ‘jobs saved or created', which was already a step down from the incalculable ‘jobs created'.

"A spokesperson from the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company explains:

"'Lives Touched' is a figure that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) uses to track the amount of people who have been positively affected by the Recovery Act funds. This total would include people who have been provided full time employment (i.e. saved and created jobs) through the Recovery Act and people who at some point have supported a project funded by the Recovery Act.'

"Essentially, the Obama administration had figured out another way to inflate job numbers to better fit their claims of success. And yet, the media has remained largely silent on this matter. Even as Vice-President Biden released a report on the Recovery Act yesterday, with a specific focus on the Department of Energy and job creation."

[...]

"The Biden report being cited, The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation, references several companies that have generated jobs through the Recovery Act. Each footnote in the report explains that the job estimates are from a company's own reports, which is the norm for reporting job results through the recovery website.

"Referring back to the CH2M company, we know that their reports include a directive to use numbers which estimate 'lives touched' by the stimulus. We not only know this from the spokesperson's explanation of the metric above, but by the reporting instructions provided to subcontractors which defines the phrase as '(the) total number of workers who have directly charged 1 or more hours of work time to a ... contract.'

"One hour of work and your life has been touched.

"Additionally, the instructions state that, 'The lives touched headcount will remain the same or increase over time as new workers become involved with ARRA contracts. The total headcount will never decrease.'

"In other words, a temporary, part-time, or seasonal worker can come into a project, work no more than one hour on said project, and that person will continue to appear in the headcount with each report. They will not be removed upon their departure from the project."

[...]

"When these numbers are presented publicly and then parroted through the mainstream media who have clearly not done their homework, as was the case with yesterday's Biden report, the result is deceit. The administration provided job estimates while failing to provide any context or explanation as to how the numbers were derived.

"An example of this can be seen in an April News Flash provided by the Office of Environmental Management. The chart on the right tallies up the total headcount or ‘lives touched' as 20,249. A statement on the left claims that 'EM Recovery Act funding has employed over 20,000 workers on stimulus projects in 12 states.'

"Which is it, employed or touched?

"A contract award summary for the National Opinion Research Center speaks volumes of the disparity. In their ‘description of jobs created' section, they explain how the numbers are derived:

"'...the total headcount, (the number of "lives touched" or, the number of people who have labor hours funded by stimulus funds, not distinguishing between part-time and full-time, or the length of the job, as of June 30th is a combined total of 480 staff members hired/retained as of the end of the quarter.'

"The summary then goes on to explain that only 2 of the 480 jobs being discussed were newly created positions. Two jobs, but a grand total of 480 are being reported. That's a markup up of 24,000%.

"It would be funny, if it weren't so sad.

"It's all part of the overall deception, however. The White House continues to throw out random numbers in their quest to convince the public that their behemoth stimulus bill is saving jobs at a massive rate [emphasis mine]."

Way to pad those numbers, boys. Too bad none of this actually creates jobs, but then the Obama Administration has always been all about simple appearances-- from inauthentic apologies, to bows to foreign nobility. No wonder Obama polls so well in Hollywood.

Battling the Claims of Islamaphobia, and the Left's Fickle Favors

Check out Jonah Goldberg's short piece at the National Review Online (h/t Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative).

From Goldberg's article:

"According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims increased by a staggering 1,600 percent in 2001. That sounds serious! But wait, the increase is a math mirage. There were 28 anti-Islamic incidents in 2000. That number climbed to 481 the year a bunch of Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans in the name of Islam on Sept. 11.

"Regardless, 2001 was the zenith or, looked at through the prism of our national shame, the nadir of the much-discussed anti-Muslim backlash in the United States — and civil libertarians and Muslim activists insisted it was 1930s Germany all over again. The following year, the number of anti-Islamic hate-crime incidents (overwhelmingly, nonviolent vandalism and nasty words) dropped to 155. In 2003, there were 149 such incidents. And the number has hovered around the mid-100s or lower ever since.

"Sure, even one hate crime is too many. But does that sound like an anti-Muslim backlash to you?

"Let’s put this in even sharper focus. America is, outside of Israel, probably the most receptive and tolerant country in the world to Jews. And yet, in every year since 9/11, more Jews have been hate-crime victims than Muslims. A lot more.

"In 2001, there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as there were anti-Muslim, according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim incidents by at least 6 to 1. Why aren’t we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America?

"Because there isn’t one. And there isn’t an anti-Muslim climate either. Yes, there’s a lot of heated rhetoric on the Internet. Absolutely, some Americans don’t like Muslims. But if you watch TV or movies, or read, say, the op-ed page of the New York Times — never mind left-wing blogs — you’ll hear much more open bigotry toward evangelical Christians (in blogspeak, the 'Taliban wing of the Republican party') than you will toward Muslims [emphasis mine]."

Not a bad bit of work from Goldberg. However I have to add that America doesn't talk about an anti-Jewish climate in the US because there is no political gain in it for the Democrats and the Left-friendly portions of the media.

The Left champions those they perceive as victims. Marxism, a theory inextricably based on class conflict and revolution, requires such a narrow oppressed/oppressor focus. The watered down theory of Marxism, mainstream Socialism, retains its oppressed/oppressor and revolutionist nature. Succeeding therefore disqualifies a people, however arbitrarily perceived and projected upon by the Left, from the Left's good graces.

During the formation of Israel, Jews enjoyed wide support by the American Left. The Jewish people had been devastated, in the truest sense of the word, by the Holocaust and were poster children for the Left's good graces. Yet, as Israel succeeded in defending itself from the Arab nations surrounding it, as it established itself as a viable and prosperous country, the Left's view changed. Suddenly the terrorist activities of the PLO became understandable to the Left, perversely evolving into legitimate and laudable.

By succeeding and prospering, Israel managed to price themselves right out of the Left's good graces. And by extension, real or not, American Jews are no longer favored by the Left's media and Jewish hate crimes are not hidden away, but are considered to be not a big a deal. After all, the thought goes, Israel brings such actions upon Jews by oppressing the Palestinians. Should the Palestinian leadership succeed in their bid to wipe Israel from the face of the map, I'm sure the Left would suddenly be very sympathetic to the plight of the Jews. After all, the Jewish people could then be used to, once again, demonstrate how compassionate and charitable the Left is.

Goldberg should also be commended for devoting the right amount of time to the accusations. The American Left has used the strategy of crying "racist" to control an issue (see the infamous Journolist for some of the most blatant examples). By forcing conservatives to sputter and defend themselves from the charge, the Left takes control of the debate. Goldberg briefly smacks down Time and the Left's strategic but still atrocious accusation, and then moves on. That's the correct response.

Obama Stimulus: $787 Billion-- Total Cost of Iraqi War $709 Billion


So the stimulus cost more than the entire Iraqi War...

Check out this Washington Examiner op/ed by Mark Tapscott (h/t Instapundit):

"Expect to hear a lot about how much the Iraq war cost in the days ahead from Democrats worried about voter wrath against their unprecedented spending excesses.

"The meme is simple: The economy is in a shambles because of Bush's economic policies and his war in Iraq. As American Thinker's Randall Hoven points out, that's the message being peddled by lefties as diverse as former Clinton political strategist James Carville, economist Joseph Stiglitz, and The Nation's Washington editor, Christopher Hayes.

"The key point in the mantra is an alleged $3 trillion cost for the war. Well, it was expensive to be sure, in both blood and treasure, but, as Hoven notes, the CBO puts the total cost at $709 billion. To put that figure in the proper context of overall spending since the war began in 2003[.]"

And what did the stimulus accomplish again? Oh right, it kept unemployment under 8%-- wait, no it didn't. It "saved" millions of jobs, or so Obama, Pelosi, Reid keep desperately repeating. I suppose that they want us to believe that without it, unemployment would be hovering around 25% or there about, and all because of Bush and Cheney and greed... or something.

Here's some other facts from the CBO report via Tapscott quoting Randall Hoven:

Obama's stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War -- more than $100 billion (15%) more.

Just the first two years of Obama's stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.

During Bush's Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)

And those numbers are simply from the "stimulus." This does not count the $1 trillion+ costs from ObamaCare, nor any other government programs that Obama et al have been pushing or have already passed.

Don't worry though, Obama and the Dems will fix it all by blaming Bush and Cheney. Now don't thank them all at once.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scared Dems Essentially Admit ObamaCare Won't Reduce Deficit

Yes, I'm late with this, but better late then never. Right?

The Dems have abandoned pitching ObamaCare as a cost-saving measure. Go figure... And now their strategy is to tell sob stories...um, I mean... personal narratives and to promise to change the legislation in the future. Hope and Change, this time in desperation...

From the Politico.com article by Ben Smith:

"Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit and instead stressing a promise to 'improve it.'

[...]

"The presentation [a PowerPoint presentation organized by FamiliesUSA] concedes that groups typically supportive of Democratic causes — people under 40, non-college-educated women and Hispanic voters — have not been won over by the plan. Indeed, it stresses repeatedly, many are unaware that the legislation has passed, an astonishing shortcoming in the White House's all-out communications effort.

[...]

"The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House's first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed.

"'Many don’t believe health care reform will help the economy,' says one slide.

"The presentation's final page of 'Don'ts' counsels against claiming 'the law will reduce costs and [the] deficit.'

"The presentation advises, instead, sales pitches that play on personal narratives and promises to change the legislation.

"'People can be moved from initial skepticism and support for repeal of the law to favorable feelings and resisting repeal,' it says. 'Use personal stories — coupled with clear, simple descriptions of how the law benefits people at the individual level — to convey critical benefits of reform.'

"The presentation also counsels against the kind of grand claims of change that accompanied the legislation's passage.

"'Keep claims small and credible; don’t overpromise or "spin" what the law delivers,' it says, suggesting supporters say, 'The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we’ll work to improve it.'

"The Herndon Alliance, which presented the research, is a low-profile group that coordinated liberal messaging in favor of the public option in health care. Its 'partners' include health care legislation's heavyweight supporters: AARP, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Health Care for America Now, MoveOn and La Raza, among many others."

Can you believe this is a political strategy? "The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we’ll work to improve it?" After 2000+ pages of legislation were passed as law, now we'll work to improve it? How? Maybe with another 4000 pages? Come on.

Americans didn't want this badly written, economically fascist law jammed down their throats and now we're angry about it. Trying to weasel out of the responsibility by saying "Sure we said it was perfect, but now we admit we're wrong and now just trust us and we'll improve it," isn't going to work anymore then ObamaCare itself will work.

This law must be repealed. No compromises.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cleveland's Green Snitch Trashcans


Great... This article from the Cleveland Dealer (h/t Michelle Malkin) relates the latest efforts to invade your privacy and garner fines for not recycling.

From the article by Mark Gillispie:

"It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders' trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling -- and fine them $100 if they don't.

"The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

"The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

"Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard.

"City Council on Wednesday approved spending $2.5 million on high-tech carts for 25,000 households across the city, expanding a pilot program that began in 2007 with 15,000 households.

"The expansion will continue at 25,000 households a year until nearly all of the city's 150,000 residences are included. Existing carts might be retrofitted with the microchips."

Electronic snitches in your front yard. And perhaps it's coming to your neighborhood soon...

"The chip-embedded carts are just starting to catch on elsewhere. The Washington, D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va., earlier this year announced it would issue carts to check whether people are recycling."

And what's the next step? Hard to say but...

"Some cities in England have used the high-tech trash carts for several years to weigh how much garbage people throw out. People are charged extra for exceeding allotted limits."

As the government (federal, state, and local) begin to run out of money to spend, what are the odds that new "green" regulations and hefty fines will be wheeled out to fill those coffers-- or rather to stave off insolvency for another year or so.

"The city stepped up enforcement of ordinances governing trash collection last year by issuing 2,900 tickets, nearly five times more tickets than in 2008. Those infractions include citations for people who put out their trash too early or fail to bring in their garbage cans from the curb in a timely manner.

"The Division of Waste Collection is on track to meet its goal of issuing 4,000 citations this year, Owens said."

Yup. Right on goal to collect $400,000 (at least) for the city. So let's review. Cleveland is now issuing snitch trashcans in their ongoing effort to issue trash citations and collect money-- with goals and everything.

And nearly hidden in the bottom middle of the article is this wonderful news for landlords:

"The new law also prohibits people from setting out excessive amounts of trash on tree lawns, which officials say has been an ongoing problem. Fines for excessive trash will range from $250 to $500 depending on the amount.

"In either case, the property owner receives the citation. Landlords are responsible for making sure their tenants follow the law."

Hmm. Well, at least those poor old tenants who are using their lawns to store trash won't be fined. There's an adage that one should never, never, never, sue poor people. Do you think Cleveland City Council's taken that idea to heart?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ray Bradbury's "Dark" Thoughts: "We've got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people."


The L.A. Times (h/t Drudge Report) had a brief write-up on Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite writers. Bradbury's work has consistently espoused individual freedom-- especially in the book Fahrenheit 451 where the thoughtful individual Guy Montag found himself confronting a politically correct (an often ignored aspect of the book) and vapid totalitarian society.

Taking into account his work, it's not too much of a surprise that Bradbury isn't a fan of Obama and company's hard-Left agendas. Susan King of the LAT seemed rather surprised, however.


"Ray Bradbury is mad at President Obama, but it's not about the economy, the war or the plan to a construct a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

"'He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,' says the iconic author, whose 90th birthday on Aug. 22 will be marked in Los Angeles with more than week's worth of Bradbury film and TV screenings, tributes and other events. 'We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.'"

"The man who wrote 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'Something Wicked This Way Comes,' 'The Martian Chronicles,' 'Dandelion Wine' and 'The Illustrated Man' has been called one of America's great dreamers, but his imagination takes him to some dark places when it comes to contemporary politics.

"'I think our country is in need of a revolution,' Bradbury said. 'There is too much government today. We've got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.'"

So espousing a belief in limited government, and a government that is employed by and answerable to the American people comes from dark places in the imagination according to King? Hmm. I seem to remember the whole "Hope and Change" idea being tied to a revolution, as well. But that was uplifting, inspirational, etc. and not the product of a dark imagination.

Monday, August 16, 2010

North Korea Rattles Saber Once Again


North Korea is, once again, playing tough with more warnings of dire consequences for joint South Korean/American war game exercises.

From the AFP story:

"North Korea's military threatened Sunday to launch the 'severest punishment' against South Korea for staging massive joint war games with the United States this week.

"The North's army and people will 'deal a merciless counterblow' to the allies 'as it had already resolved and declared at home and abroad', a spokesman for the country's army General Staff said in a statement published by state media.

"'The military counteraction of (North Korea) will be the severest punishment no one has ever met in the world,' he said.

"The warning came a day before US and South Korean troops begin the 10-day computerised war games called 'Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG)'."

[...]

"This week's exercise is one of a series planned by the South -- either alone or jointly with the United States -- in the aftermath of the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.
The North has angrily denied responsibility for the sinking, which killed 46 sailors and sharply raised tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"Last month South Korea and the United States held a massive joint naval and air drill in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), which were opposed by Beijing.

"A week ago South Korea ended its largest-ever anti-submarine drill including live-fire training near the disputed Yellow Sea border.

"The war manoeuvres including the UFG exercise 'represent the phase of practical actions aimed at a full-dressed military invasion', the North's spokesman said.
"'The more recklessly the warmongers persist in the war rackets as a result of wrong policy option, the faster and deeper they will fall into the grave of self-destruction,' he said."

This is pretty standard rhetoric by the overheated North Korean regime. Reading through the official North Korean news source in English (a sure way to depress yourself) while picking random dates (I kid you not) one finds pretty constant warnings of dire consequences for the provocations of the US, South Korea, and Japan.

Stories from two dates I randomly selected:

December 1st, 1999:

"On November 20 the U.S. pacific command made public the size of the U.S. forces to be quickly hurled into the Korean peninsula for a total war there and its 'timeframe.'

"This proves that the 'operation plan 5027,' a scenario for the second Korean war of aggression published by the U.S., is not a mere fiction that poses threat but it has been carried into practice in full swing.

"Now the double-dealing tactics of the U.S. reminiscent of both sides of a coin is becoming clearer.

"By nature, the DPRK has never reposed expectations in the 'appeasement policy' of the U.S. crying for 'improved relations.'

"Out of the stand to solve the Korean peninsula issue only through dialog and negotiations it Decided to have high-level talks with the U.S. It was generous enough to stop missile test-fire which belongs to the sovereignty, during the negotiations with the U.S.

"Contrary to the sincere efforts of the DPRK, the U.S. had one war confab after another in an attempt to invade the DPRK and made public what it calls 'timeframe' for the deployment of the U.S. forces in emergency on the Korean peninsula, stepping up war preparations.

"This stand taken by the U.S. behind the scene of the negotiations for the 'improvement of relations' clearly shows that its Korea policy still remains unchanged to stifle the DPRK by force of arms rather than to pursue a peaceful settlement of the Korean peninsula issue.

"It is clear to anyone that the U.S. seeks to unleash a war of aggression at any cost, while paying lip-service to 'dialogue' and 'engagement.' This compels the DPRK to think of the negotiations with the U.S. again.

"The U.S. moves to stifle the DPRK militarily forced the DPRK to increase its self-reliant national defence capabilities in every way.

"It is the fixed stand of the DPRK to return force for 'strength,' dialogue for dialogue.

"Reckless military threat and blackmail cannot frighten nor bring the DPRK to its knees at all."

July 26, 2000:

"Rodong Sinmun today in a signed article calls upon the Korean people to frustrate the Japanese reactionaries' moves to grab Tok Islet, a prelude to their reinvasion of Korea.

"The article assails the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for claiming in its 2000-year 'diplomatic bluebook' that Tok Islet is their 'proper territory.' This is a grave infringement upon the dignity and sovereignty of the Korean nation, the article says, and goes on: Tok Islet has been part of Korea's territory since olden times.

"According to historical materials and documents of Korea and Japan, Koreans discovered Tok Islet before 500 A.D. and have since used this as a fishing center.

"A state measure was taken to bring Tok Islet under the jurisdiction of Uljin Prefecture, Kangwon Province in 512 A.D.

"The Japanese reactionaries once again laid bare their true colors as savage plunderers who stoop to nothing to achieve their design for territorial expansion when they raised this claim.

"Japan's aim to grab Tok Islet is to loot natural resources abundant in the area surrounding the islet and build a military springboard on it from which to launch reinvasion of Korea.

"The Japanese reactionaries' moves to grab Tok Islet have reached a very grave stage.

"Recently the Japanese government took an administrative measure to apply Japanese census register to Tok Islet.

"The three services of the Japan 'Self-Defence Forces' secretly staged an 'exercise of taking over Tok Islet' in Iojima recently.

"They seek to let Japanese settle on the islet with their family registers and deploy 'SDF' there under the pretext of 'protecting' them.

"The Japanese militarists' comeback to Tok Islet is near at hand.

"Japan is keen on a war, not peace and watching for a chance for reinvasion of Korea.

"The Korean people will never pardon the Japanese reactionaries' moves to grab Tok Islet, part of their inviolable territory.

"The Japanese reactionaries should clearly understand the will of the Korean people and drop their absurd dream of grabbing Tok Islet. [emphasis mine]"

Did you know that the Japanese were planning to invade North Korea in 2000? No? Well welcome to the world of North Korean "news" reporting.


Related post: North Korea Shells South Korean Island

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sarah Palin Responds to Obama's Ground Zero Mosque Endorsement


I think Sarah Palin has come up with one of the best responses to Obama's endorsement of the Ground Zero Mosque.

Obama decided that the GZM issue was a wonderful opportunity for him to lecture all of us on the concept of religious tolerance. Of course, this is a complete misreading of the issue since polls show that Americans are well aware of and strongly support religious freedom. This poll shows that "61 percent of voters think the Muslim group has the right to build a mosque in lower Manhattan" while at the same time "64 percent think it would be wrong to put a mosque there." In other words most people believe that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, et al. possess the right to build a mosque there, Americans just believe that they should not build it there.

It's rather telling that Obama's response seems to be unable to distinguish between legal rights and what is correct. Of course, many schools of thought on the Left (including socialism and Marxism) believe recognized legal rights to be the only legitimate morality in this world-- but that's probably best for another post.

On her Facebook page, Palin writes:

"Legitimate Questions for the President"

"Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade. If those who wish to build this Ground Zero mosque are sincerely interested in encouraging positive 'cross-cultural engagement' and dialogue to show a moderate and tolerant face of Islam, then why haven't they recognized that the decision to build a mosque at this particular location is doing just the opposite? Mr. President, why aren't you encouraging the mosque developers to accept Governor Paterson's generous offer of assistance in finding a new location for the mosque on state land if they move it away from Ground Zero? Why haven't they jumped at this offer? Why are they apparently so set on building a mosque steps from what you have described, in agreement with me, as 'hallowed ground'? I believe these are legitimate questions to ask."

Bravo! Palin, once again, really nail on the head with this response.

When will Obama and the Left learn to distinguish between what is legal to do and what ought to be done?

UPDATE: Obama has sought to backpeddle on-- uh, I mean, clarify his comments.

From FOXNews.com via the AP:

"President Obama on Saturday sought to clarify his comments supporting the building of a mosque near ground zero that have ignited a political firestorm ahead of a difficult election season for Democrats.

"During a trip to Florida for a family vacation, Obama said his comments from Friday night were only directed at the constitutional right of the mosque to be there, and whether preventing the mosque’s construction impinges on the right to freedom of religion.

"'I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,' he said in response to a reporter's question after he spoke about efforts to aid the Gulf Coast region. 'I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about.'"


So, let me get this all clear in my head-- Obama was not making an endorsement of the Ground Zero Mosque, but rather was very specifically responding to something that most Americans have not said. Hmm. And he just made it sound like he was endorsing the mosque. Got it? Sure...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sham Elections in Myanmar Scheduled for Nov. 7


The military junta ruling Myanmar has set a date for elections. Not surprisingly the whole thing is a ruse-- as the 2008 constitution that the junta dictated guarantees that 25% of the Parliaments' seats will go to the military. It's kind of hard for an election to be free when 25% of the outcome is already decided by law...


"Myanmar's ruling junta said the country's first election in two decades will be held Nov. 7, finally announcing a date Friday for long-awaited polls that critics have dismissed as a sham designed to cement military rule.

"Foreign governments have urged Myanmar to ensure the polls are open, fair and include the party of detained pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. But her party already had decided to boycott the vote, saying the junta imposed unfair rules including ones that effectively bar the Nobel Peace laureate from being a candidate.

"The junta's date for the elections came as yet another symbolic blow to Suu Kyi's chances of participating — they will fall just days before her latest term of house arrest is due to expire on Nov. 13.

"Suu Kyi's party won a landslide majority in the 1990 election. But the junta refused to honor the results and has kept her locked away mostly under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years, ignoring global pleas for her freedom."

[...]

"The elections are the final step in the junta's so-called 'roadmap to democracy,' a seven-step program for shifting from 50 years of military rule.

"Ahead of the polls, the government passed many laws criticized as undemocratic by Suu Kyi and the international community. The laws effectively bar Suu Kyi and other political prisoners — estimated at more than 2,000 — from taking part in the elections.

"Tight rules for campaigning bar parties from chanting, marching or saying anything at rallies that could tarnish the country's image."

[...]

"The leader of the Democratic Party said that the group complained Tuesday to the Election Commission that police are intimidating its members.

"A 2008 constitution adopted as part of the junta's roadmap to democracy stipulates that 25 percent of parliamentary seats go to the military. It stipulates that no amendments to the charter can be made without the consent of more than 75 percent of lawmakers."

So, there's no "tarnishing the country's image" while running a campaign against a military dictatorship that's ruled it for the past 50 years or so... That makes it a little rough for the opposition party to run a campaign, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Announcement: Will Be Back Blogging Soon

Just wanted to drop a little note. I've been very distracted the last week or so (nothing bad), but I should be back blogging soon.

Check out any of the blogs in the My Blog List. There's some good stuff is there.

Yukio Ngaby

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The 10 Broken Promises of ObamaCare


"Just words..." right?


"On March 21, after more than a year of contentious debate, Congressional Democrats finally passed their health care reform bill without a single Republican vote in either house. The president has challenged Republicans to run against his unpopular health care law—implying that they don’t have the political courage to do so. He may be right on that point; he may not—but the facts show that (a) many of the highest-profile selling points employed by the Left to drag Obamacare across the finish line were either incorrect or intentional distortions, (b) the consequences of not repealing this law are dire, and (c) the public’s enduring hostility toward Obamacare demonstrates a political appetite for repeal.

"Recent polls reflect America’s zeal for repeal, as does an August ballot referendum in Missouri rebuking the individual mandate, which succeeded by a margin of 71-29. Throughout the lengthy public debate, President Obama and his surrogates consistently ridiculed and denounced critics of the bill as bad-faith, fear-mongering propaganda merchants.

"The facts now prove there was plenty to fear in good faith."

Read the entire article at the link above, but the ten broken promises and their bottom lines from the article are:

Promise #1: If you are satisfied with your existing health care arrangement, you can keep it.

"Despite what the president told us repeatedly, it’s quite possible you will not be permitted to keep your health care plan– no matter how much you may like it. Supporters of health care reform argue that government mandates for certain kinds of coverage will only change health care plans for the better, making them more comprehensive, so no one will be negatively impacted. This argument ignores the loss of both choice and money inflicted by government mandates, but even if it were true, that wasn’t the promise, was it?"

Promise #2: Reform will lower America’s health care spending.

"Obamacare supporters were wrong when they told the country the legislation would lower the nation’s health care costs. Ten years after its passage, health care will represent a larger percentage of GDP than the current projection."

Promise #3: Reform will lower Americans’ health care premiums.

"Contrary to the president’s commitments, your premiums could increase under Obamacare. Why? Just count the reasons. Or ask Dick Durbin."

Promise #4: Obamacare will not lead to a doctor shortage, or escalate the primary-care physician shortfall.

"Thanks to Obamacare, America’s doctor shortfall will accelerate and it will become more difficult to get quality, timely care from a doctor."

Promise #5: There will be no government rationing of medical care.

"Whether dressed up as “comparative effectiveness research” or described bluntly by Mr. Reich or Berwick, government rationing is a frightening and unavoidable byproduct of government-administered and –regulated health care."

Promise #6: “The firm pledge” – Ninety-five percent of Americans will not see any form of tax increase because of Obamacare (or anything else).

"Hold on to your wallets."

Promise #7: Health care reform won’t add “a single dime” to the deficit—and will actually cut it.

"The president’s bill won’t add a single dime to the deficit. It will pile trillions upon trillions of dimes atop an already mountainous debt."

Promise #8: Health care reform will help businesses—employers and employees, alike.

"Some House Democrats have since realized the folly of this anti-business imposition, and have offered a bill to repeal this part of Obamacare, but are balking at the loss of revenue. They say realizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Let’s hope they’re right, as even Democrats begin to relinquish the farce that this bill can be all things to all people and all paid for, all at the same time."

Promise #9: Obamacare will not allow for funding of abortions with taxpayer money.

"Were it not for watchful pro-life activists and the wide unpopularity of federally funding abortions, the bill would already be paying for them in at least one state."

Promise #10: Obamacare will not only satisfy each of the promises above, but satisfy all of them at the same time with virtually no downsides.

"In defense of the administration, it did start lowering expectations shortly after passage. On Obama’s post-passage p.r. push, he gave a speech in Iowa that included this decidedly un-lofty section:

"'Now, it’s going to take about four years to implement this entire plan — because we’ve got to do it responsibly and we need to do it right. So I just want to be clear: that means that health care costs won’t go down overnight; not all the changes are going to be in place; there are still going to be aspects of the health care system that are very frustrating over the next several years.'

"With all due respect to the president, we weren’t pitched “This’ll take four years of frustration but it won’t be as bad as Republicans say it is” for $2.5 trillion. We were pitched perfection.

"Every substantive criticism was met with charges of 'fear-mongering.' We were pitched a bill that expanded coverage and increased subsidies without increasing the deficit, mandated new levels of coverage without taxing citizens, that changed everything unless you didn’t want anything to change, that cut costs without rationing, and that enacted 2,500 pages of law without any unintended negative consequences."

This law must be repealed. No compromises.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Missouri Voters Overwhelmingly Reject ObamaCare

From the St. Louis Dispatch article by Tony Messenger:

"Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama's administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.

"'The citizens of the Show-Me State don't want Washington involved in their health care decisions,' said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.

"With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.

"'I've never seen anything like it,' Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. 'Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.'

"About 30 Proposition C supporters whooped it up loudly at 9 p.m. when the returns flashed on the television showing the measure passing with more than 70 percent of the vote [emphasis mine]."

Huh... winning with more than 70% of the vote. I wonder if Obama is still openly mocking calls for the repeal of ObamaCare?

Once again, I must remind everyone that ObamaCare is economic Fascism by definition. From the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:

"Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the 'national interest'—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions [emphasis mine]."