Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Presidents Clinton and Obama Still Don’t Get Tea Partiers’ Issues

17.04.2010 (11:37 pm) – Filed under: Liberalism,Politics ::

Former President Bill Clinton spent his Friday trying to tar Tea Partiers with the domestic terrorism brush, saying:

Before the bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever in America

Meanwhile, the fabric of American life had been unraveling.

Meanwhile, current President Barack Obama resorted to his typical smug, above-the-fray humor by mocking Tea Partiers’ concerns over his administration’s massive spending programs:

I’ve been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you.

What’s apparent in these veiled disparagements is that neither president is capable of or willing to acknowledge the legitimate issues that are driving the Tea Party movement. That’s understandable, for to address the real issues that the Tea Parties are about would be to put a spotlight on all that is wrong with Democratic politics.

Consider the federal budget as a prime example. While it’s undeniable that the Bush 43 administration was a fiscal disaster, the Obama administration has unleashed the full spending fury of a scorned generation of radical liberal spendthrifts. The result has been a tripling of the already massive budget deficit left by President Bush. This fact cannot be spun or denied; all that Mr. Obama can do to cover his record is mock the people who point out the fact that his economic policies are nakedly political and ill-advised.

By comparing Tea Partiers to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, President Clinton is shooting the messenger. What he must know, however, is that the message they’ve delivered is real: The American people want a balanced budget, a reduced welfare state, and a sustainable, healthy economy, something that can only happen in the absence of Democratic economic and social policies.

So, no, Mr. Obama, don’t expect the people to thank you for mortgaging their children’s futures by buying votes today using government largesse. Very few Americans believe that taxes will stay low under this president and with good reason. Democrats’ spending spree must be paid for and since government neither produces nor sells any useful goods or services, taxes must inevitably be raised to cover the difference. That will be the true legacy of this administration, along with its positively frightful arrogance.

Finally, it’s obvious that neither Democratic president accepts any responsibility whatever for the waves of discontent that swept the country during each of their administrations. That’s unfortunate, because if either man were truly honest we might be able to have a meaningful national dialog about the true cause of people’s dislike, even hatred, of Washington: confiscatory liberal policies that are designed to redistribute wealth by taking from those who produce and earn and give to those who do not in exchange for their votes.

Until the Democrats confront the effects of their policies and take responsibility for the unrest that they themselves have caused, I expect that every Democratic administration will be met by the kind of organized resistance that President Obama faces now. I certainly hope so, for if left to their own devices, liberal leaders would destroy all that’s left of the individualism that built this country.

Representation Without Taxation

13.04.2010 (9:49 pm) – Filed under: Liberalism,Politics ::

The Texas Rainmaker calls the fact 47% of U.S. households pay NO federal income taxes at all and 40% make an April profit "Representation without taxation". That’s a nice way of calling out those who effectively sell their votes in exchange for government handouts.

DemCare’s True Costs Already Showing

27.03.2010 (9:06 am) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism,Politics ::

American companies have responded to the Democrats’ new health care entitlement the only way they can – by anticipating how much it’s going to cost them to implement:

On top of AT&T’s $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.

President Obama and his Democratic cronies have been saying for more than a year that the plan will save Americans money while allowing them to keep their current coverages. Those claims have been bald-faced lies from the beginning and corporate America’s reaction to the program demonstrates the central fallacy that Democrats have been peddling: that we can get something – coverage for the poor – for nothing.

Now Democrats are hacked off at these companies for having the temerity to have done an economic analysis and revealing that the emperor has no clothes:

Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

Jennifer Rubin says it very well in response:

this is par for the course: a complete disregard for the consequences of their own handiwork, the bullying of private enterprise, and the determination to politicize what were once economic and legal judgments. One can see in the Democrats’ fury the desperate attempt to conceal the implications of their monstrous legislation, to maintain as long as possible the fiction that ObamaCare is a great cost-saver, and boon to employers. It’s going to be hard to keep up the charade, for as the editors note, ObamaCare “was such a shoddy, jerry-rigged piece of work that the damage is coming sooner than even some critics expected.”

We shouldn’t be surprised. Liberal Democrats were dead-set on passing healthcare reform – and I do mean dead set – for one reason: It is part of their agenda to create an all-encompassing welfare state, whether voters want it or not. So they did it, without regard to the economic consequences to the people and organizations that do the real work of making America go.

DemCare Set to Pass? Get Involved and Don’t Let That Happen!

21.03.2010 (12:16 pm) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism ::

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives seem to think they have the votes to ram a tweaked version of the Senate plan through, perhaps even today. That makes this afternoon perhaps the last opportunity for sanity to assert itself in the health care field for a generation.

The latest poll numbers show that more Americans oppose the DemCare plan than support it, but that opposition evidently doesn’t discourage Democrats and won’t stop them from pushing their agenda – something liberals have wanted for, in President Obama’s words, over a century – on the rest of us.

The premise, to the extent that liberals’ health care agenda can be said to have one, is that medical care is too expensive and that cost must be distributed to non-patients in order for patient care to be affordable under the guiding hand of the federal government.

Moreover, liberals assert, other western nations have embraced a nationalized system of medical care, therefore America should as well, regardless of cost and quality questions that abound in Canada, Britain, and elsewhere.

This is flawed thinking. First, the Democrats’ embrace of a need-based policy agenda is based on a false principle, namely that need should drive government action as a policy engine. This is incorrect. America’s national government exists for 2 reasons, to facilitate interstate commerce and to ensure national security. Obviously individual health care situations are not part of its mandate.

Second, the notion that the federal government can efficiently and without prejudice administer a national health care system is patently wrong. This is amply demonstrated by the existing Medicare, Social Security, and Veteran’s Health programs, none of which are shining examples of quality, balanced budgets, or low cost.

Third, liberals consistently refuse to examine the reasons behind the exploding cost of delivering health care in this country. This is because they are in large part responsible for cost increases because of the distorting effect programs like the aforementioned Medicare have on the market.

Root causes matter and beyond that warping of markets is a more insidious problem with liberal welfare programs: People paying for services with other people’s money have little or no incentive to be efficient.

The truth is that we’ve come to expect far too much in the way of medical services, to the point that we as a people seemingly cannot accept the fact that our bodies inevitably decline and fail, no matter how many resources are applied to keeping them alive. Yet we have to realize that medical science never saves lives – it merely prolongs them – and that there are real costs to doing so, costs that must be paid. Needless to say, paying is not the strong suit of liberalism.

The fact that other nations have embraced national health care systems is in itself not a recommendation given that citizens in those countries who can afford to often choose to come to the U.S. for their medical care because of timeliness and quality concerns at home.

Health care is and always will be a scarce commodity, one that’s rationed by one force or another. We know what Democrats want to do. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure that the rationing is done by efficient market forces rather than a bloated, under-performing federal government by raising hell with our representatives until they do the right thing.

President Obama says this about Congress and health care:

"This is one of those moments. This is one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself: ‘Doggone it, this is exactly why I came here.’"

If that’s really true, we’ve got the wrong people in Congress. And if that’s the case, the cure is 7 months away.

Poll: Americans Want Politicians With Principles

14.01.2010 (11:54 pm) – Filed under: Liberalism,Politics ::

Matt Corley of the ultra-liberal Think Progress blog was kind enough to bring this Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll into the news today in which 51% of Americans say they want politicians to “Make a stronger effort to stand up for principle, even if that risks increasing conflict with members of the opposing political party.”

Clearly Matt’s implication is that voters’ wish for more principled government demands left-of-center solidarity in Congress, thereby forcing moderates to approve the health care boondoggle liberals threatened the nation with lo these many months. But is that what American voters are really saying?

I refuse to believe it. The flaw in Corley’s interpretation of the poll is that he, like so many leftists, fails to understand the basic conflict between the liberal value system and the core principle on which this country was based.

(Reader, if you consider yourself a liberal there’s a good chance you’re angry right now and on the verge of dismissing this article with a click of your mouse, if it’s not already too late. But in the interest of truth – which should be our most pressing interest at all times in life – please don’t go. Not yet.)

You see, the bare-bones belief that is the skeleton on which modern liberalism has grown plainly says that it is both acceptable and desirable for the government, when run by the right sort of people (that is, the left), to forcibly take that which belongs to one person and give it to another – if doing so suits liberal purposes. That is liberalism at its most basic level, a philosophy of life based on the ethics of Robin Hood.

That this credo has taken control of this nation is a travesty of justice and wholly against principle. The American middle class is no Sheriff of Nottingham and our well-to-do no treasonous Prince John in need of a thrashing.

The United States was founded on the principles of liberty, private property, and individual initiative and responsibility. Nothing less could have tamed this continent. Nothing less could have won two European wars. And nothing less could have stared down the despicable Soviet regime that ravaged Russia and Eastern Europe for decades, killing tens of millions inside its collectivist realm.

Moreover, these feats were not accomplished by the milquetoasts on the left but rather by the patriots who understood that the principles defined in the Constitution were worth shedding blood for. Foremost among those principles is that which is earned by and belongs to a man is his property, of which he is not to be deprived.

If Americans truly want to be governed by leaders who understand the basic principles of this land and who make laws accordingly, I say “Bring it on!”, because such an electoral result would truly bring the change that we’ve been waiting for. Not the change of Barack Obama, which is more of what’s wrong with the mob-rule leftist mentality, but the change of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, men who understood that government is by its nature the oppressor of its citizens unless continually constrained by respect for their rights.

Liberals Moan Over Right-wing Book Sales

10.11.2009 (8:01 am) – Filed under: Conservatism,Liberalism,Literature ::

Don Surber says that the lefties are getting their knickers in a twist because conservative authors such as Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, and others are selling too many books.

What’s wrong with writing something that people actually want to read?

…the left is wetting itself over this.

The Huffington Post asked: “Should The New York Times create a separate bestseller list for conservative blockbusters? Think of the history: we have a children’s bestseller list because of “Harry Potter” — Harry was knocking adult books off the top spots on the hardcover fiction list so publishers complained. The same thing must be true for Beck, Palin, Cheney, Bush (George W. and Laura), Malkin and others.”

So typical of the losers on the left. They can’t compete straight up, logic for logic, idea for idea, book for book. One can almost hear the red-faced panting of their failed efforts as they wheeze, unable to keep up with their betters.

“Not. Fair. Can’t. Do. It. Must redefine playing field so we can compete.”

That axiom, so central to the heart of leftist thinking, is the definitive hallmark of failure.

You want to sell some liberal pulp in book form? Write something that people actually care about instead of the self-indulgent drivel that passes for free thinking. Tropic of Cancer, anyone?

Cold Showers and How Sometimes Liberal Guilt is Hilarious

29.10.2009 (12:53 pm) – Filed under: Environment,Liberalism,Stupidity ::

The overblown, self-important angst of some liberals is so stupid it’s painfully funny to watch.  The cold shower to this humor is the knowledge that such people will occasionally act on their feelings, motivated by their self-inflicted guilt, and attempt to force their conclusions on the rest of us.

 The latest case in point comes from Slate’s Nina Shen Rastogi, who wonders about her daily bathing habit.

I know that taking long, hot showers is an environmental no-no. But now that the weather’s getting colder, I just can’t face the day without one. Exactly how much damage am I doing to the planet?

Good grief!  Am I supposed to take a cold shower in the middle of winter to assuage Nina’s conscience?  The answer to her question is a resounding “Who cares?!”

Happily the bulk of the rest of Nina’s article focuses on the costs of heating water, flow rates, water temperatures, and the like – good, practical issues that homeowners should consider.

The reason they’re worth thinking about isn’t Nina and other liberals’ indulgent guilt, it’s because they are pocketbook issues.  Like so many other issues, that’s the only reason Americans should consider the duration of their morning ritual in the shower – the economics of the event.

Civil War of Words

01.10.2009 (9:59 pm) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism,Politics ::

Liberal intellectuals Patrick Kennedy and Bette Midler made headlines this week by claiming that right-wing opposition to Democrats’ plans to create a government-run health care plan is, in the words of young Mr. Kennedy, “dangerous to the fabric of our country”.

Congressman Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, went on to say:

It’s very, very dangerous,” Kennedy said in the interview. “We put a lot of people in jail around the world for threatening our country’s security. But this atmosphere of attack that doesn’t attack the issue, but attacks the people, is very disruptive to the institution of democracy, which relies on a respect for the opposition. … George Wallace didn’t need a gun to pull a trigger.”

Midler, whose political qualifications are unknown to this writer, went further, comparing the controversial Glen Beck to perpetrators of Rwandan genocide:

“If you look around at the rest of the world and what this kind of behavior has done, like in Rwanda, where the demagogues got on the radio and fomented all that hate between the Tutsis and the Hutus and the devastation that happened from that, I mean, it’s terrifying. … And that could happen, you know… I’m not for censorship. But I also feel like, be a human being.”

What these and other liberal thinkers fail to consider is the true nature of cause and effect in this situation, one that I think they are greatly exaggerating the danger of in order to make political hay.

Consider a chemical solution that is in a stable state.  Pick it up, swirl it around, and nothing happens.  It is inert until a catalyst of some sort is introduced into the solution.  Then all hell can break loose.  If that happens, what is to blame, the stable solution or the catalyst?

In fact, American society was in a state of relative stasis prior to Democrats embarking on a reckless, unjustified spending spree, threatening to spend hundreds to billions more on a massive health care boondoggle, and blustering about crippling the nation’s economy via Cap-and-Trade legislation.  That stasis was upset by Democrats’ non-stop liberalization of Congressional policies.  Who then is responsible for the acrimony that now dominates the political debate?

Now consider the abhorrent nature of the liberals’ own rhetoric.  Rookie Congressman Alan Grayson’s despicable speech on the floor of the House of Representatives is just one example of Democrat’s desperate, violent rhetoric:

If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this:  Die quickly.  That’s right.  The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.  Remember, the Republican plan: Don’t get sick.  And if you do get sick, die quickly.

I call upon all of us to do our jobs for the sake of America, for the sake of those dying people and their families.  I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this Holocaust in America.

Grayson also repeated the oft-repeated Democratic falsehood that there are 40 million Americans without access to health care benefits, a number that liberals have ginned up by tripling most reasonable estimates that acknowledge the millions who already benefit from government programs or simply don’t care about insurance (the people President Obama accused of shirking their responsibilities by not buying insurance they do not need or want).

Moreover, a Grayson aide wrote this charming missive to a constituent with the official blessing of the congressman:

As you know, we do support the health care plan and feel failure to act is similar to murdering the uninsured. On the other hand, we respect differences of opinion and I will let him know how you feel.

Refusing to submit to a government-run health plan is murder?  Somehow I fail to see the respect in the Grayson camp’s response.

Let me be perfectly clear:  Liberal Democrats like Alan Grayson are the catalyst in the current scenario.  As such, they are primarily to blame for any negative repercussions created as a result of their actions. 

Yes, rash, violent acts by those opposed to the Democratic spending agenda would be both unfortunate and inexcusable.  For example, the jerk who created the Obama Assassination poll on Facebook deserves no respect from or defense by civilized people.

Nevertheless, it must be understood that such negative reactions do not occur in a political vacuum.  In fact they are being provoked by liberal politicians and activists who are pursuing a radical agenda of government expansion that runs counter to the will of many, many mainstream Americans.  In their absence, there would be no confrontation.

Given the opportunity, health care reform would inevitably work itself out through the natural processes of the American system.  All that is needed to lower health care costs is for the government to absent itself from the improper role of cost controller it has taken on and focus instead on dismantling the legislative obstacles it has imposed on competition in the medical marketplace.

Rather than leap headlong into another welfare program disaster, Democrats should ask the obvious questions.  Why can’t insurance companies freely offer services in every state in the country?  Why do employees have so few choices, if any, if they want to receive employer money?  Why are health insurance benefits linked to employers?  Why can’t people invest in health care savings plans without restriction?

For many on the left, the answer to these questions is that they simply don’t care.  Rather, they mistakenly believe that they have the right to tax others to obtain health care benefits they didn’t earn and that the taxed have no right to object.  They want what they want and, like a spoiled toddler after a sweet treat, it doesn’t matter what they have to do to get it – even if that means slandering recalcitrant taxees as murderers to shame them into obedience.

As with the liberal movement of the 1960s, the modern far left is attempting to short-circuit the evolutionary processes of American government by fomenting social revolution in the guise of an imagined public right to health care services, a right that – unlike black Americans’ righteous desire for civil equality 50 years ago – does not exist.

In fact, virtually everything liberals say and do is predicated on the unspoken assumption that the federal government, when controlled by the left, is entitled to tax the people and do what it wants to with the money, whether the citizenry approves or not. 

This is not true.  It has never been true and it never will be.  Small wonder that a highly motivated opposition has materialized and galvanized itself for a long, bitter fight.

Far from being violent radicals, the opposition to Democrats’ massive spending plans are as American as apple pie and want nothing more from their politicians than to be left alone, a solution in stasis.  No change agents need apply.

#memeorandum

More on Liberal Entitlement

26.09.2009 (3:09 pm) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism,Politics ::

Ron Lieber of the NY Times has a new piece up detailing Congress’ thoughts about halving the amount of pre-tax dollars that American families can set aside in their flexible spending accounts.

Most of the piece is devoted to running down the facts of the case, such as Max Baucus being the grinch behind the plan to take this benefit away from families, an outline of some of the problems with FSAs, etc.

It is true that most Americans would benefit much more from medical savings accounts than from the typical employer-sponsored FSA, primarily because savings accounts are not subject to the same inane year-end confiscation of unused funds as FSAs.  Any health reform bill Congress passes should result in the expansion of medical savings accounts; sadly, that doesn’t seem to be on the radar of anyone important.

Nevertheless, it’s frankly unconscionable that Congress would contemplate taking medical benefits away from American families, even the modestly important and hassle-filled FSA plans, in these difficult economic times.

But what’s even more galling – and revealing – about Lieber’s article is his final send-off to the issue, which I quote:

Use that tax break before you lose it, because many of you probably don’t deserve to have it in the first place.

Of all the pompous, arrogant, elitist horse manure I’ve ever read, this statement is one of the most egregious examples of liberal entitlement syndrome that I’ve seen.

The taxpayers don’t deserve a small tax break to pay for medical expenses?  Ridiculous.  What we deserve is to have every dollar of our earnings in our own pocket rather than funding the bloated, inefficient federal and state government entities and their massive set of welfare expenses.

Lieber’s asinine liberal non-think is an outrageous slap in the face to American taxpayers everywhere.  Left-wing politicians who think like he does – and there are a large number of them – need to be voted out of office before it’s too late.

Perfecting Man, the Impossible Dream

25.09.2009 (6:05 pm) – Filed under: Conservatism,Liberalism,Society ::

Thomas Sowell thinks the difference between conservatives and liberals has to do with their views about the perfectability of man.

Sowell argues that when it comes to the culture wars, each of us will be drawn to a specific trench not because of policies or parties but rather because of the vision we may hold of human beings and how they are constructed.

Michael van der Gailen agrees, to a point:

Liberals believe in the perfectibility of man, conservatives do not.

But I wonder whether it’s all as black and white as it appears – some conservatives may believe, for instance, that man can improve himself significantly but that there are (biological and spiritual) limits to this personal  evolution.

The same goes for society of course.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Thomas Sowell – he’s a brilliant guy who makes me look like an intellectual plodder.  And while I think that there are fundamental differences in the way libs and cons view mankind, I don’t think that Sowell has identified the right root cause behind those views.

In fact, liberalism is based not on the assumption of man’s perfectability but rather on the impossibility of human perfection.  Hence the emphasis on sharing of wealth, resources, and risk in the form of government programs and financial redistribution.  Liberalism is all about the collective at the expense of the individual, precisely because the core leftist belief is that men need to be helped into achieving satisfactory outcomes.  Moreover, those few individuals who do achieve greatly must be penalizing and forced into helping raise their beaten competitors to a higher plain of existence.

Conservatives, on the other hand, prize individual achievement much more than social equality and parity of outcomes.  I believe this is because right-wing thinkers have both more faith in a Creator and more faith in individuals’ ability to provide for their own needs, reach their goals, and achieve great things.  The evidence is everywhere in conservative thinking, starting with the tenet that individuals should be allowed to create their own wealth and, having earned it, to keep it for their own purposes.

Perhaps what Sowell means is that liberals believe in the perfectability of society as whole.  That is certainly true, as demonstrated by the left’s continued agitation for social change, regardless of of the actual negative effects their thinking and programs have had on western culture.

Laissez Faire capitalism is, in fact, the natural state of mankind in an environment in which basic personal safety is relatively assured.  Modern western political and social systems vary in their methods and levels of restricting unbridled competition; the essential question dividing liberal and conservative is to what degree capitalism should be constrained.  The answer each of us gives depends in large part on whether we believe society can engineer itself to a higher level or not.

The facts of the last 40 years speak plainly to me and say that the answer is, “No.”