Saturday, June 30, 2012

What were we tweeting (yesterday)?


A continuation of a running series reflecting on what was on our mind when it came to social media.


Oh boy. First day after ObamaCare Obamatax SCOTUS decision was rendered and things were highly active. Some of our thoughts as transmitted on Twitter:

Tweet: Socializing the cost and privtzng the profits. How did left get bckd into bizarro world corner that they support wht they despise?

Seriously. The left needs to explain to us just why it is they fought tooth and nail for a completely illiberal piece of legislation that was written by the lobbyists of Big Health behind closed doors and which will only serve to lock-in the already unholy alliance between the government and the health insurance industry while lining the pockets of the health insurance companies.

Tweet: #Obamatax silver linings? That's akin to being re-assured by O's signing statement on detentions and wacks in #ADAA.

There's some wishful thinking amongst some conservative circles out there that Robert's was going long game by clipping the powers by which Congress could wield the commerce clause to do its bidding. Mmmm... not buying it. We had to have this battle to win the War. Oh, we may still win but this was akin to getting repelled at Normandy. In that context, we just tacked on 3-4 more years and 100,000 or more lives.

And like Obama's reassurances that he won't indefinitely detain Americans without due cause nor assassinate Americans without due process because he issued a signing statement or something... it doesn't matter. Obamacare Obamatax is the law of the land and no long-term strategery regarding the flippin' commerce clause is going to change that fact.

Tweet: After Thursday, we're obligated to know what you are doing and who you are doing it with. #Obamatax

Sorry, gang. Now that we have skin in everybody else's game, we're all nanny-staters now. On the upside, we cannot imagine how much fun it's going to be being such insufferable cranks to our liberal friends who smoke. Cannot. Wait. Starting. Today.

follow us @deanriehm


Friday, June 29, 2012

Radio KBwD is on the air


Time's a wastin', so let's get to it, shall we?


Here's Elvis Costello performing "New Amsterdam" off his 1980 album Get Happy.



Video clip of the day


Fast becoming one of our favorite commentators, here's Bill Whittle on why ObamaCare Obamatax just won't work.

When we make a commodity into a right, their will be consequences.

If housing and food are right, you are under no obligation to do anything for it in return.

Whittle makes the point that we have for years here: making commodities a right will necessarily entail the involuntary confiscation of time, resources and wealth of others. If housing is a right, well, then we guess that contracting firm will be doing your house for free would be a gentler way of looking at it. And kindly add back deck off the master bedroom, would you, please?

Another point made we've been banging on our dinner plate: We don't care what the hell piss-pour life-style choices you make. Well, at least we used to not care. If we are now socializing the cost of healthcare, it suddenly becomes our business to know exactly what you are doing and who you are doing it with. Nothing better illustrated this than that dog and pony show congressional hearing a couple months back involving the 30 yr. old Georgetown Law School student, Sandra Fluke, making a heartfelt appeal for free birth control.

A matter that was once the exclusive domain of the consenting participants was reduced to glorified pan-handling. We take that back. More like pan-handling at gun-point.

Vietnam vet. Going to have sex tonight. Fork it over. God bless.

The entire liberal ideology pretty much imploded on itself at that point.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

ObamaCare SCOTUS ruling round-up (UPDATED)


(please scroll to bottom of post for update)

Well, despite having some queasy feelings about it as recently as yesterday (when we put a hundy down at The Double Standard getting 5/2 odds that the mandate would be upheld) we certainly did not see this coming...

Via Sir Charles at Doo Doo Economics:

From the National Journal:

The Supreme Court upheld the health care reform law on Thursday in a ruling in which conservative Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing and spelled out ways to keep the highly controversial law within the bounds of the Constitution. The ruling vindicates President Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative, even if it doesn’t stop the political debate over the sweeping Affordable Care Act.

The 5-4 ruling lets stand the mandate – the requirement that just about everyone carry health insurance or pay a fine. But the ruling calls the fine a tax, allowing the law to escape arguments that it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

And here we thought it was Justice Kennedy, who voted with the dissenters that would be the swing vote.

Some thoughts:

The short take-away: The Supreme Court has granted the federal government the power to do whatever the hell it wants as long as it can be called a tax. But, remember, the President, in selling the legislation insisted the penalty for not complying with the mandate was not a tax.

Remember, this guy?:

We actually thought it a penalty instead of a tax as well.

The irony, as we see it, is that ObamaCare was saved by what many on the right insisted it was all along (a tax) and which the President and the rest of the Democrats insisted that it wasn't in order to grease the legislative skids. Let's face it: Roberts bailed them out.

And now that the honor and integrity of the Supreme Court has been restored, we're curious as to what the left is going to whine about now? Oh, that's right: all that money in politics.

Our favorite moral scold, KT, responded to the ruling in precisely the manner we expected (there is much to be said for consistency):

So What's The Big Deal?

If you're hoping that 9 guys in robes are going to save you from your own feckless greed and laziness, you've got some serious problems. With the Supreme Court decision upholding ObamaCare, the culture of demanding what you have not earned rolls on.

And "lee" in the comments:

I was really hoping just five guys in robes were gonna save me from some other clowns' feckless greed and laziness. And I know in November, I will vote, and I will vote for people who CLAIM they will undo this evil, but it's Washington, and it's a monster that makes the creature in "Aliens" seem as cute as a beagle puppy eating a cupcake.

I got twenty more years before they hand me the pamphlet, "So You Want to Die and Leave More Room and All Your Limited Access to Healthcare to Someone Younger Who Deserves It More Than You, You Old Goat," before I shove off down the Soylent Green Highway....

Both valid points.

Here's Leslie at Temple of Mut:

Basically, the US Supreme Court has said: “If you like your death panel, you can keep your death panel”. I cannot understate how disappointing it is to see that Chief Justice John Roberts decided to side with the big-government oriented justices, and merely amend the poorly written law developed by both houses of Congress. However, Roberts did leave us one clue on how we citizens can still fight back, as controlling healthcare is merely a front for controlling every other aspect of our lives. His decision includes this passage:

The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does so today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people.

drozz over at The Double Standard had these thoughts:

Double Standard Industries pays Dean over at Beers With Demo 375 (100 investment + 275 payout) internet dollars. Congratulations.

Hey I correctly interpreted Kennedy's vote (who cares).

Ginsberg, like all liberal judges argues that the mandate is necessary so it's proper in her separate concurring opinion. Her opinion is garbage based on the line that the mandate "solves an economic and social problem" (see Ginsber's opinion at p.12). Bullshit, it solves an economic problem.

Another promise made by Napoleon regarding of Obamatax has been broken.
Know who loves having their taxes raised? Young adults, small businesses, the middle class. And I hope they reward Napoleon by voting in November.

Ann Althouse's opinion of the verdict "President Romney".

Snark aside, this is a huge loss. The opportunity to reign in federal power was there, and now it's gone.

Roberts drew a clear line for Congressional power under the Commerce Clause. Then gave them a loophole to get around it.

Where do we go from here? Well, I'd say the Tea Party hornet nest was just stirred. My hope is that others wake up and realize what exactly just happened.

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know just how we feel about this ruling. We've been covering all manner of things related to ObamaCare and this ruling is indeed hugely disappointing as we're not sure what limiting powers the federal government via Congress now has. Again, the majority logic appears to be, if you can attach a tax to it, then Congress can mandate it.
Will this now extend to GM cars and Solyndra solar panels?

And as Captain Ed over at Hot Air pointed out: Hey, Lefties, you realize that this tax, though imposed by the feds, will be going directly to the private insurance companies. Let's alter that slightly for full effect: that tax money will be lining the pockets of for-profit private health insurers. Your welcome.

Silver lining?: We didn't have the courts do our heavy lifting in the fight for freedom and liberty. No? Well, then, we suppose we've got some work to do ahead of November 6.

(UPDATE #1): B-Daddy of Liberator Today fame finds some cheer from his parsing of the decision:

But here are my reasons why this isn't the full-fledged disaster I might have thought.

1.The ruling didn't expand the power of the commerce clause to infinity. From the WSJ: "The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular transactions," the chief justice wrote.

2.Most conservatives had always felt that had the mandate been honestly labeled as a tax, it would have never been challenged. Even though J.E. Dyer at HotAir asks what limit there is on the power to tax, the fact is, there has never really been a limit, so the ruling changes nothing.

3.I always thought the mandate's financial penalty was too weak to force compliance.

4.The mandate has no criminal enforcement provision, including asset forfeiture in the portion of the tax code in which it resides.
5.Because the mandate is a tax, it's repeal can't be filibustered in the Senate, where the rules on filibuster do not apply to spending bills.

6.The ruling on the Medicaid portion is likely to be more substantive. From Volokh: the federal government may deny the states additional Medicaid funds if they refuse to comply with the coverage expansion requirement, but may not take away their preexisting Medicaid funds. The states may then opt out of the expanded coverage, without risk to their current Medicaid funding. In the long run, this may kill the whole scheme. I am encouraged that seven justices accepted a states' rights argument.

7.The Chief Justice worked to protect the reputation of the court. I disagree with the way he did it, but understand the concern. The court should give deference to the legislative branch. The court's failure to interfere here may buy it good will in the future with Americans less invested in right vs left politics.

8.This is likely to help Romney, who is making the argument that the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to get rid of Obama. Supposedly, $1 million has rolled in since the decision.

9.The court has ruled officially that Obama has raised taxes on the middle class.

10.Ultimately the public got what it deserves for electing Democrats in such overwhelming numbers, including the 2008 nominee, who lacked the experience to inject any leadership into this miserable bill. We are reminded of why we need a tea party movement to restore government to constitutional limits because we, the people, demand it.

The last point, is something we related in a FaceBook post (yes, we realize that FB and politics don't miss, but...) as an appeal to all our friends be they liberal, middle-of-the-road or conservative. We're all stuck with this miserable thing for the time being and we need to come to grips with the fact that this cozy, corporatist relationship that exists between the government and the health insurance companies will do anything but bend downward the cost of healthcare. If we are going to get this thing repealed, it will take people across the political spectrum to act in good faith with the knowledge that ObamaCare is not reform rather a furthering of an already miserable status quo.


Quick links


We've been busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest of late but we did want to bring your attention to the following:

First, Leslie at Temple of Mut with this priceless quote which relates to a California Assembly bill that would require statewide initiative and referendum petition sign-ups to be in 11 different languages effectively choking out the entire process and which also relates to our pending fire season:

I guess we don’t have to wait for Santa Ana’s to destroy our way of life this year. Thanks Sacramento!

Please go to the link, here, for more information and follow-up links to your local elected reps contact info.

Here's Kevin Williamson channeling his inner P.J. O'Rourke and espousing on out-sourcing/off-shoring and global economic ignorance:

What’s interesting about this controversy to me is the naked xenophobia of the Left on display alongside the amusing ignorance. Liberals love a good talk about the value of learning from other cultures and other peoples, so long as those foreigners don’t mind staying poor. If they want to sell goods and services, they are the enemy. Asians are allowed to be airy gurus and quaint villagers, but the day one of them wants to set up a factory, Democrats have a fit. Mohandas Gandhi good, Ratan Tata evil. You want collective, coordinated global cooperation to solve the world’s most pressing problems? That doesn’t look like a working-group meeting at the United Nations; it looks like what Bain does. You want a display of backward, ignorant chauvinism? Put Obama in front of a union hall.

There’s a famous and probably apocryphal story about Milton Friedman being taken on a tour of a giant Chinese infrastructure project of some kind, in which the workers were using old-fashioned shovels and picks and wheelbarrows. Curious, Friedman asked his guide why they weren’t using bulldozers and other heavy machinery. The answer was: “We care about creating jobs for our people.” To which Friedman responded: “Then why not use spoons?” I wonder if Barack Obama could answer Milton Friedman’s question.

We're name-dropping O'Rourke and Williamson is name-dropping Friedman... what more can a person want..? go to the link!

And speaking of fire season, The Denver Post has a great photo essay of the wildfires that have been burning out of control in the Colorado Springs area. The following are just a couple of examples:




The President is supposed to be out in Colorado today to check in on things. We here in San Diego know a thing or two about wildfires so our thoughts and prayers go out to those folks in the great state of Colorado and, in particular, the men and women on the line trying to contain this beast.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Regardless of how things pan out on Thursday...


... remember, none of the jack-ass adults in this picture have a clue as to what was in this bill that was being signed into law... and they still don't.


Perhaps we can advise them as such come November.

And where Robert Reich has a conversation with a paleo-conservative stereotype


When he's not divvying up Porkulus or lecturing America on "the other", he's having imaginary conversations with people and writing about them. Well, maybe he is having actual conversations but not with an actual person, but rather, in Presidential book-writing parlance, "composites". Here's Reich, Bill Clinton's former Labor Secretary yesterday in Business Insider:

Recently I publicly debated* a regressive Republican who said Arizona and every other state should use whatever means necessary to keep out illegal immigrants. He also wants English to be spoken in every classroom in the nation, and the pledge of allegiance recited every morning. “We have to preserve and protect America,” he said. “That’s the meaning of patriotism.”

We're not going to debate the finer and varied points of border control and immigration policy but is Reich aware of this concept of English immersion which became the law in the state of California about some 15 years ago and has been found to work quite well. And what does Reich have against saying the Pledge every morning before class? He never explains.

Back to the article:

To my debating partner and other regressives, patriotism is about securing the nation from outsiders eager to overrun us. That’s why they also want to restore every dollar of the $500 billion in defense cuts scheduled to start in January.

Yet many of these same regressives have no interest in preserving or protecting our system of government. To the contrary, they show every sign of wanting to be rid of it.

In fact, regressives in Congress have substituted partisanship for patriotism, placing party loyalty above loyalty to America.

The GOP’s highest-ranking member of Congress has said his “number one aim” is to unseat President Obama. For more than three years congressional Republicans have marched in lockstep, determined to do just that. They have brooked no compromise.

Funny. We remember a Democrat in the Oval Office and solid Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate in 2009/2010 and as is their right that had been granted to them electorally, we don't recall a whole lot of compromising and to show for it we got a big fat $800 billion political payback in Porkulus and an unpopular overhaul of the healthcare system that puts even more regulatory burdens on the health insurance companies and with no real way to pay for it.

The American public thought so much of these accomplishments, the Democrats were swepped out of power in the House by historic margins. True story. We aren't making this up. Republicans were sent to D.C. with a mandate from the public to stop the statist expansion of the federal government and Reich is bitching about gridlock? You all brought it upon yourselves, you nitwit.

And you just knew this was coming:

Regressives on the Supreme Court have opened the floodgates to unlimited money from billionaires and corporations overwhelming our democracy, on the bizarre theory that money is speech under the First Amendment and corporations are people.

Count on this being whine du jour from here until November and beyond if things continue to go south in opinion polls and elections later on this Fall. Again, all that money in politics wasn't necessarily a problem back in 2008 when Reich's guy turned down public financing of his campaign so he could crush McCain in fundraising which included record amounts of cash from Wall Street firms.


True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. Generations of Americans have risked their lives to preserve it. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve the U.S. government, not destroy it.

What? Generations of Americans did no such thing. Generations of Americans risked and sacrificed their lives in defense of this country and the Constitution, not its government. You may think it's a distinction without a difference but in the context of Reich's partisan attack piece, here, it's a convenient yet hopelessly false strawman. Reich's intellectual laziness is palpable

Reich, signing off:

But regressive Republicans loathe the government – and are doing everything they can to paralyze it, starve it, and make the public so cynical about it that it’s no longer capable of doing much of anything. Tea Partiers are out to gut it entirely. Norquist says he wants to shrink it down to a size it can be “drowned in a bathtub.”

Yep. We don't know why we aren't the slightest bit skeptical of our government these days. After all, it's not like the federal government was running guns across the border and into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels. It's not like they recently gave themselves the power to kill U.S. citizens overseas for alleged terrorism without due process or to detain, indefinitely, the same here on U.S. soil without due cause.

Why are we worried about the random exercise of power? It's not like we have an executive branch that is issuing executive orders that countermand written law with respect to immigration or simply stops enforcing written law when the Supreme Court hands down rulings that it doesn't agree with regarding the same. That sort of stuff never happens.

So, let's all turn that frown upside down and pick up the flag of the U.S. government for which so many have sacrificed, because, as you can see from the above, patriots, there is nothing to fear... they're from the government and they're here to help.

* An earlier online version of this article did not speak of a debate, only a "conversation".

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Letters from Barack

Well, emails, technically but letters sounds so much more intimate and idealized.

Desperation. Desperation is in the air when the Democrats are scaling back activities at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Convention no-show RSVPs keep mounting and you get emails like the one below which we received today and which starts off with the following:

Friend --

I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.

I'm not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups -- I'm talking about the Romney campaign itself. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem.

The Romney campaign raises more than we do, and the math isn't hard to understand: Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney's campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.

For a campaign that was down-right giddy over the prospects of potentially raising a billion dollars for their candidate as recently as 3 or 4 months ago, money in politics is suddenly a big problem again. And if they thought that they were getting to that figure on the backs of small donors, they're simply lying.


So, who was it that won the Cold War?


Reagan? Thatcher? Lech Walesa? The Pope..?

How about a glitzy prime-time soap opera from the 80s.

Nick Gillespie from explains how Dallas* = smart power:


We've related this story before but back in the mid-80s, when we were in high school, a Soviet TV crew came over here and filmed a documentary on poverty in the inner cities of the U.S. in order to show the people back home the true oppressive nature of capitalism.

Chaos ensued as the folks back home discovered they were just fine with the grinding wage-slave poverty of places like Detroit and Chicago as long as it came with Air Jordans and 27" color TVs.

* We successfully predicted Kristin, J.R.'s completely wack mistress, as the person who shot J.R. Just sayin'.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Link of the day


We're a little pressed for time this afternoon/evening but as not wanting to shortchange anything or anybody, drozz over at The Double Standard has a great wrap-up and break-down of the SCOTUS ruling on Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law, here.

Something for everybody in the decision.


SCOTUS ruling on ObamaCare set for Thursday. Stay tuned.


Image of the day


Image below, courtesy KT:

That from NARAL (the National Abortion Rights of America League or something or another)

tagline: Pro-choice America fights to protect the right to choose. Join us!

You would be pleased to know that without all that fighting, you have the choice on whether or not to have sex.

And also without all that fighting, you certainly have the choice to provide for your own birth control.

We find it the height of irony that NARAL, forever linked to the feminist movement, should fight to see women dependent upon an outside entity to provide for its constituent members' reproductive services.

All to show just how intellectually incoherent the broader movement really is.

Remember, these are the same people whose battle cry used to be "Keep your laws off my body!"

Twitter: #fortnight4freedom @deanriehm


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fast and Furious update


The two clips below might explain why it is the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department has been stonewalling, for over a year now, regarding what was his knowledge and involvement was in the highly successful federal gun-running scheme known as Fast and Furious.

First up, this clip:

There would appear to be some timeline discrepancies that the miserable hack has not yet cleared up.

Now, this clip which is actually quite fascinating. From March of 2009:

0:57 : (boom) "Project Gunrunner" (funded, in part, by Porkulus money, natch)

Back in May of 2011, we reported out on Project Gunrunner which was the public face for the internal Fast and Furious operation.

This is what we wrote:

The following is an article from NBC News from September of 2010 reporting on documents obtained from the Justice Department which detail how it is that the ATF was going to be cracking down on corrupt American gun dealers and going after high-value drug world figures.

U.S. law enforcement officials have devised an aggressive and potentially controversial new strategy to crack down on the illegal gun trade to Mexico by targeting cartel networks inside this country and "corrupt" U.S. firearms dealers, according to internal Justice Department documents obtained by NBC News.

The documents also state that the drug traffickers appear to have expanded efforts to acquire firepower in the U.S. by tapping well-developed supply networks beyond the Southwest border region in order to acquire high-powered assault rifles as well as components for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The new strategy was prepared in recent weeks by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)’s Office of Field Operations, in the wake of stinging criticism of current ATF efforts to stem the flow of weapons to the cartels by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Labeled “law enforcement sensitive,” it calls for ATF agents to put more emphasis on monitoring the activities of U.S. guns stores and other federally licensed firearms dealers who may be assisting or turning a blind eye to gun purchases by drug cartel operatives. The report describes such “corrupt” U.S. firearms dealers as “high value targets” -- a phrase that could rile gun rights groups and their supporters in Congress who charge ATF is already too aggressive in regulating the firearms industry.

The principal thrust of the revised strategy directs that ATF agents focus on taking down the operations of high-level gun traffickers working for specific Mexican cartels rather than simply trying to arrest low-level “straw buyers,” as they have often done in the past. It also calls on agents to use more sophisticated investigative methods, such as analyzing financial and telephone records, routinely used in terrorism and organized crime cases, and to work more closely with other federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The new strategy document, entitled “Project Gunrunner; A Cartel Focused Strategy,” appears designed in part to address criticisms of enforcement efforts contained in a recently circulated draft report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. That report reviewed the efforts of Gunrunner, an ATF initiative that involves dispatching teams of agents known as Gunrunner Impact Teams (or GRITs) to cities near the border that are believed to be primary sources of weapons for the cartels.
(bold, italics... it's all ours)

And later in the article:

The new strategy document lays out the dimensions of the problem in stark terms. While shying away from specific figures -- which have been the source of fierce debate -- it concludes that “a significant percentage” of all the weapons seized from the Mexican cartels are originating in the U.S.

/picking jaw up off of ground

OK, back to real time.

Project Gunrunner: take focus off the straw buyer and focus on the big cartels.

Fast and Furious: let straw buyers walk across border with guns to turn over to the big cartels.

We're definetely betting men and we are betting that the documents that the Justice Department is holding out on will show the linkage between the front operation that was Project Gunrunner and the aggressive tactics it was to employ as a cover for what was really happening with Fast and Furious.

We're invoking Occam's razor here as it is the most plausible explanation for what is going on and for what the Justice Department is covering up.

A House contempt vote and a probable ruling on ObamaCare all coming up this next week. Buckle up.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Journalistic embarrassment


The image below represents the poll question that was asked of the San Diego Union-Tribune's web version readers this past Thursday:

The question is so vague as to be misleading that we aren't quite sure where to start.

First of all, please give us an operational definition of "family planning" which can cover a whole host of services depending upon the provider.

But the cynic in us knows that in this particular case, "family planning" is merely code for contraceptive and abortion services.

Now who would deny such a necessary and vital health service to "workers" (another lame descriptive)?

That's right! It would be those big meanies in the Catholic Church. Those pro-life zealots are the ones denying the pill and abortions to, you know, workers.

The meme framed here is that workers cannot access "family planning" anywhere but through Catholic Church-based health plans... which don't offer "family planning".

The workers are screwed! There ought to be a law!

The provision within ObamaCare that forces Catholic institutions to provide "family planning" (for free, we might add) is the ultimate in a solution looking for a problem.

When this provision was enacted via legislative fiat by the Obama regime, we were heretofore unaware that "family planning" was so tough to come by. We guess a 20 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride to the Planned Parenthood clinic up on College and El Cajon to receive, absolutely free, "family planning" services would somehow represent a breach of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. How little do we know.

Congrats to San Diego's mullet wrap of record for the worst-worded poll question we have seen so far this year.

And congrats to the Obama regime for picking this scrap. People are pissed. People are motivate and people are now willing to act to see this gross overreach of government authority into matters of faith, conscience and simple common sense absolutely crushed.

If you are down for the fight, get ye over to KT's hang at the Scratching Post who has got a blog roll going for like-minded freedom-loving Americans regardless of your religious affiliation.



Radio KBwD is on the air


Long before he was rolling around in the surf with supermodels, he was rockin' and rollin' with great numbers like the following.


Ladies and Gentlemen, from the California jewel that is Stockton, it's Chris Isaak, off his self-titled second album, performing "Blue Hotel".


Friday, June 22, 2012

Links of the week


First they came for the Catholics and I did not speak up because I was not a Catholic.

A prior commitment prevented us from attending but a gathering Wednesday of believers and non-believers alike at Mission San Diego de Alcala, kicked off the Fortnight for Freedom to protest the federal government's requirement via ObamaCare that religious institutions provide free contraceptive services and, in general, the government's assault on freedom, be it religious or otherwise.

Fellow SLOB W.C Varones filed his report here (and who also provided the picture above) which included this passage which was read during the event and which came from Prayer for Freedom and Protection from Evil:

In that freedom, Lord, we your people live our lives
In a way that advances your Kingdom of Life,
And we refuse to cooperate in what is evil.

At this moment, therefore, when our government has decided
To force us to cooperate in evil,
We pray for the grace to be faithful to you
And to oppose the unjust laws and mandates
That have been imposed upon us and our institutions.

And KT over at the Scratching Post who attended had this to say:

My wife and I attended the Fortnight for Religious Freedom event last night at the Mission San Diego de Alcala. The place was packed and the event moved me to tears. I felt like I was at one of the original organizing meetings of the Cristados. I've got lots more to blog about this later, but let me just add one more thing. The presence of non-Catholics there in the Mission, standing with us in support of our freedoms, was awesome.

Codified in the 1st amendment and seared into our American DNA, we can scarcely think of anything more important to a country that was founded, in large part, by religious dissidents who refused to submit to the powers that be.

We wish to participate in future Fortnight for Freedom events and we will be covering it here at Beers with Demo and we relish the opportunity to take this fight to our enemies.

They have a Facebook umbrella page: Fortnight for Freedom

Follow on Twitter: @fortnight4freedom


Thursday, June 21, 2012

What were we tweeting about today?


Here's White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today fielding questions about Fast and Furious and the events surrounding Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was killed back in December of 2010 at a site where Fast and Furious guns were found:



"We absolutely agree with the need to find out the truth about why Fast & Furious happened, why the tactic, again, was employed in the previous administration, in different operations and was stopped by this Attorney General, why it came about. And that's why the Attorney General referred it to Inspector General. That is why we have provided Congress every document that pertains to the operation itself that is at issue here when you talk about the family that you referred to," White House press secretary Jay Carney said at his briefing today.

"The Terry family," Carney said after ABC's Jake Tapper reminded him of the name.

Tweet: How can they be held responsible for #FastandFurious when they don't even know who it was F&F killed?

A gotcha moment? Perhaps, but with Fast and Furious now making itself comfortable in America's living room, how do you not know/remember the name of Brian Terry, let alone his last name? A sign of just how cavalier and/or out-of-touch these people are or should we cut Carney some slack as the assembled press corps, repesentative of the broader national media probably didn't know who the hell Brian Terry was before this week, either?

Anyway, shameful. Absolutely shameful.

And to think some reporter interrupting the President at a press conference lecture last week was deemed disrespectful.


Follow us: @deanriehm

Constitutional republics are, like, hard: the O > W edition

This is a re-post of a running series/theme we started around two years ago and which seems quite timely given the date on the calendar. Please feel free to share with your Bush-hating and/or undecided friends.


You've waited six long months for it, but we've finally got around to our running post that either makes Bush-hating liberals squirm or perhaps develop a severe case of amnesia regarding what they were saying about the man from about 2003 to the very early part of 2009.

First, however, a totally related Fast and Furious update:

Prior to the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department getting a Congressional Oversight committee contempt charge leveled at him (House floor vote coming next week) for stonewalling on the upper reaches of the Justice Department's knowledge and involvement in Fast and Furious, the federal government's (contrary to what the article below says) highly successful gun-running scheme, he was granted Executive Privilege from his BFF, the President (perhaps a little pay-back for the home-work assignment Holder was tasked after the President said it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that was on the books).

From the NY Times (whose article at the link may constitute more column-inches on F&F than all other articles they published on the same subject combined):

Republicans on the House oversight committee voted on Wednesday to recommend holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress in a dispute over internal Justice Department documents related to the botched gun trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

The 23-to-17 vote, which fell along party lines, came after President Obama invoked executive privilege to withhold the documents and communications among Justice Department officials last year as they grappled with the Congressional investigation into the case. As part of the operation, weapons bought in the United States were allowed to reach a Mexican drug cartel in an effort to build a bigger case.

It was the first time that Mr. Obama had asserted the privilege since taking office, and it sharpened the long-festering dispute between Mr. Holder and Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Democrats called for the panel to hold off voting on the contempt citation during an often acrimonious partisan debate, but Republicans pressed forward with it.

Now take a wild guess who wasn't too keen on Executive Privlege just a short 5 years ago? If you guessed the back-bench senator from the Land of Lincoln, take a seat at the head of the class.

You may have thought that the perfectly legal firing of political appointees to be somewhat unseemly but it's not even in the same ballpark when it comes to 2 dead federal agents, hundreds of dead Mexican officials and innocent civilians and scads of guns that are still un-accounted for.

Exit question before the roll call: If, as Holder has asserted, the President had no knowledge of Fast and Furious, how then does Executive Privilege apply?

And now, the O > W electric boogaloo (newbies set off by asteriks):

Closing Keeping open Gitmo.

Ending Formalizing the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists.

Ending Maintaining military tribunals.

Not letting unemployment get above 8 10.5 percent with a $800 billion stimulus package.

Discontinuing Continuing other Bush-era policies like rendition, Project Gunrunner and TARP.

Ending Throwing into warp drive the politicization of the Justice Department under the leadership of the biggest hack in the administration.

Engineering a bankruptcy cramdown of domestic auto companies that will most likely cost the U.S. tax-payers tens of billions of dollars.

Interpreting the Patriot Act to collect information on people via mobile phone geolocating

A crony capitalism that is disguised as a green jobs program.

Including Fisker, SunPower and Beacon Hill

Engaging in an act of war against a country that posed no threat whatsoever to the U.S. with without the consent of Congress.

Swift Painfully slow response to national disasters.

Ending Maintaining the practice of signing statements.

Subjecting our national security to an expensive green technology boondoggle that doubles down on the cronyism.

For you visual types, how about a federal government - Goldman Sachs Venn diagram? (thanks, W.C. )

Signing off on predator drone strikes for the ostensible purpose of assassinating a foreign head of state. And then doing so.

Using executive orders and administrative actions and generally subverting the role of Congress in order to enact his agenda.

Shutting down Operating a seeming revolving door between the White House and Wall Street and K Street.

Signing legislation that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge. Got 4th amendment? Not anymore, you don't.

Pushing through health care reform legislation in the sleaziest, most cynical, un-hopenchangey and business-as-usual manner possible.

Authorizing a program to assassinate American civilians.

Actually authorizing a drone strike hit that killed American-born Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan (from this point forward, we never... never want to hear a peep about water-boarding)

And adopting another Bush-like tendency in combating the war on terror: refusing to provide the legal justification for the killing of U.S. citizens.

*Forcing Catholic institutions to violate their faith conscience by not only mandating them to provide coverage for contraceptives but making it completely free of charge as well.*

*End-running Congress in order to make (totally not) in-recess appointments to the National Labor Review Board.*

*End-running Congress to install immigration policy that countermands the laws that are on the books after claiming just a few months ago that he could not do so because, correctly, that's not how our system works.*

Our system of checks and balances and separation of powers was set up this way to prevent acts of tyranny, a lesson this part-time Constitutional law lecturer didn't forget - he just never believed it in the first place.

Please let us know if there is anything about the above that does not make him absolutely power-mad and Bush a complete rank amateur in that department by comparison.

The more we think about it, the more we think this Bush/Obama mash-up does an extreme disservice to President Bush.

Share it. Share it, brothers and sisters with friends, family and particularly all those alleged Bush-hating Obama supporters to see who it is are the hypocrites in your life. Maybe they aren't hypocrites, however. Maybe they were just jealous that all that Costitution-shredding and amassing of executive power wasn't being done by their guy. Well, they're getting back in spades, now.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Image of the day

Via W.C. Varones:

We'll have much, much more on this tomorrow, but one of the most intriguing and satisfying things about the Executive Privilege that was granted to Holder and the House oversight committee contempt charge that was leveled upon him today, the press, after doing all they could to avoid covering Fast and Furious will be dragged kicking and screaming into covering it.* They'll have to - the President is now involved! It's on.

Hey, while you're in the neighborhood, check out W.C.'s excellent fisking of a Matt Yglesias article, here.

* Exceptions noted for Sheryl Attkisson of CBS News and to a lesser degree Richard Serrano of the L.A. Times.

What were we tweeting about today?


Second day in a row. A trend? Uh-oh.

Saw the following headline and the lede paragraphs below it from The Hill today:

HHS touts health law for creating jobs, expanding care

Federal health officials announced that new grants under the the healthcare reform law will expand clinic access to more than 1.25 million Americans and create roughly 5,640 jobs.

The grants were awarded Wednesday to 219 local health centers. They are worth $128.6 million, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Tweet: By this logic, not taking care of yourself and making crappy lifestyle choices will be great for the economy.

It just never appears to sink in withy the statist/Keynesian set that government spending does not "create" jobs. Spending in this manner is merely a wealth transfer. As we noted in the previous post, however, old habits don't die hard they just don't die.

Follow us on Twitter: @deanriehm


Don't expect a change any time soon


When the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act back in November of last year granting himself the power to indefinetely detain U.S. citizens here on American soil without cause, we're wondering if he had this lady in mind.

Sheryl Attkisson of CBS News has been one of the few members of the legacy media to cover Fast and Furious and now she will continue to be a thorn in the side of the administration as she gets into the failed and corrupt Department of Energy green energy loan program.

A123 Systems builds batteries for electric cars and they spent $1 million in lobbying efforts and for their trouble they received $249 million in federal stimulus funding. This allowed them to employ 1,000 people to make these batteries - one small problem, however, the batteries don't work.

Here's Attkisson's report:

Oh goody. They've still got $100 million of our money to blow through on a product/technology for which they did not receive the original grant money. Considering their success with the battery, what could possibly go wrong?

And as for the Fisker, perhaps the slow demand, aside from the fact that it doesn't work is due to the fact that the two models being produced (in Finland... with over $500 million of our money, no less) cost $97,000 and $57,400 a copy and, unfortunately, we currently have a shortage of rich, smug liberals.

As the subject of this post, suggests, no amount of these embarrassing failures are going to dissuade these rigid ideological extremists from behaving any diffently.

H/T: Hot Air


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What were we tweeting about today?


A regular and/or daily feature? Perhaps.

More good news coming out of the Arab Spring:

The Arab Spring of revolution has given rise to a new summer of concern in North Africa.

While Moammar Gadhafi is gone, the weapons used by the rebels who overthrew him are now a threat to the whole region, according to Amanda Dory, a top Defense Department policy official on Africa.

"The breakdown of security in Libya has generated a significant flow of militants and weapons and has decreased legitimate cross-border traffic at a time of great economic fragility and turbulence," said Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of defense on African affairs.

Many of those weapons, the Pentagon fears, are ending up with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) the branch of the terrorist network in North Africa, especially in Mali, which in recent months has seen a coup and a separatist effort.

Tweet: Whether here or abroad, Prez's policies letting guns into bad guys' hands. #fastandfurious #Libya

Follow us on Twitter @deanriehm


Constitutional republics are, like, hard (cont.)


After previously claiming that he could not just wave some sort of magic wand to get his manner of immigration reform put into place, the President is proving that he is to the rule of law what the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were to NFL success.

Here he is all the way back in 2011 at a National Council of La Raza meeting:

"I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. And believe me, right now, dealing with Congress right now -- the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. Not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works."

Until he says it doesn't.

Here's B-Daddy over at The Liberator Today with some points to ponder regarding the President's back door Dreamin' that apparently became the law of the land this past Friday:

•It violates the statute for granting work permits to aliens, undermining the rule of law.

•It can be rescinded by the next President.

•It could be a trap that would allow the identification of these aliens for deportation in the future.

•It could be a trap that would allow the identification of the aliens' parents for deportation in the future.

•It will increase the reported unemployment rate to the extent that the nonresident undocumented aliens seek work. (Yes, illegal immigrants, but I'm keeping to the legal language.)

•It will put more pressure on legal residents looking for work, because of added competition from this group.

•Did I mention that it undermines the rule of law?

•It encourages more illegal immigration, because parents want good for their children most of all. Getting their children eligible for work in the U.S. is a powerful incentive for further law breaking, given the miserable conditions in most of Latin America and especially Mexico; where the majority of illegal immigrants hail from.

We have to hand it to the guy: as far as shameless pandering to distract from an abjectly horrible economics and jobs scene, this one takes first prize.

However, be that as it may, being roughly the same age as this constitutional scholar, we'd be surprised if he was not exposed to some Saturday morning education, the likes of which far exceeds any that he is currently practicing.

So easy, a fourth-grader could understand it...

"It's not easy to become a law, is it?"

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Lie! (UPDATED... Again!!!)


(As promised, we are re-running this post from just over two years ago to remind everybody of just what an odious sham were the auto bailouts and in specific the manner in which the TARP funds (funds, by the way, that were never intended for the auto industry in the first place - remember, they were tabbed for the financial sector, only) were paid off. The thuggish history of this administration and its enablers needs to be recalled as often as possible prior to the November elections.)

(Please scroll to bottom for update)

So, General Motors and its folksy CEO, Ed Whitacre, have paid off GM's TARP bailout money? What an incredible turnaround. If by "turnaround", though, you mean paying off your Visa card debt with your Mastercard.

All evidence points to the fact that GM is using a separate TARP line of credit to pay off its primary TARP debt.

During an April 20 hearing on Capital Hill, Sen. Tom Carper, (D-Del.) asked some pointed questions of Neil Barofsky, the “special watch dog” on the Wall Street Bailout, aka, TARP.

It’s good news in that they’re reducing their debt,” Barofsky said of the accelerated GM payments, “but they’re doing it by taking other available TARP money.”…

“It sounds like it’s kind of like taking money out of one pocket and putting in the other,” said Carper, who got a nod of agreement from Barofsky.

“The way that payment is going to be made is by drawing down on an equity facility of other TARP money.”

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) went off on the Obama administration and the TARP shell game in a letter sent to two-time tax cheat and tax collector-in-chief, Tim Geithner using Barofsky's testimony to level the credible claim that GM was not using GM earnings to pay off TARP debt but rather TARP funds from an escrow account at Treasury to make the debt repayments.

From the letter:

When these criticisms were put to GM’s Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky in a television interview yesterday, he admitted that the criticisms were valid:

Question: Are you just paying the government back with government money?

Mr. Girsky: Well listen, that is in effect true, but a year ago nobody thought we’d be able to pay this back.

Unbelievable. Dude actually wants some sort of recognition that GM was able to pay off tax payer-funded debt with... tax payer funds.

This is the first acknowledgement that we are aware of a shadow TARP. As if the publicly-known TARP wasn't bad enough there is a subterranean TARP that is backing the initial TARP.

This simply re-enforces our sentiment that we will never in our lives purchase a GM or Chrysler product. These people are straight-up gangsters. There is no other word to describe them and their actions to deliberately deceive and forcibly misuse U.S. tax payer dollars.

We believe this instance provides sufficient cover to get your hate on.

H/T: Hot Air

(UPDATE #1): This time, we lie! Much like GM's false claim that they have paid off its TARP debt with actual earnings, there is no actual update.

We originally posted this over the weekend, when readership is down a bit but we wanted to resurrect it during the week to highlight the sheer audacity of General Motors. The federal government is entirely complicit in what we can only tag as gangster capitalism. The government takeover and bankruptcy proceedings that screwed over the secured creditors in favor of the labor unions was executed in a thuggish manner and now the GM/federal government partnership openly displays their contempt for the American public by running an ad during the NBA playoffs patting itself on the back for a job well done.

We may re-run this post again next week. And the week after that. Whatever we have to do to ensure that we never forget what little regard this administration has for your interests and your tax dollars.

Frank Rich, Paul Krugman and the rest of the intelligentsia of this country may disagree with the politics of those who have opposed the bailouts but that they cannot at least understand where this anger may be coming from, again, speaks to a widening disconnect in this country between the taste-makers and those who are actually footing the bill for this fiasco.

(UPDATE #2): Reason TV's Nick Gillespie takes about as much time to explain the shell game that is General Motor's "paying off" its TARP debt as the GM commercial.

Again, the sheer gall that Government Motors has in running this outright lie will compel us to update this regularly or repost from time to time whether or not there is an actual update.

(UPDATE #3): The nation's paper of record is now on the beat.

AS we inch closer to a clearer understanding of the products and practices that unleashed the credit crisis of 2008, it’s becoming apparent that those seeking the whole truth are still outnumbered by those aiming to obscure it. This is the case not only on Wall Street but also in Washington.

Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

G.M. trumpeted its escape from the program as evidence that it had turned the corner in its operations. “G.M. is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse,” boasted Edward E. Whitacre Jr., its chief executive.

G.M. also crowed about its loan repayment in a national television ad and the United States Treasury also marked the moment with a press release: “We are encouraged that G.M. has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary.

Taxpayers are naturally eager for news about bailout repayments. But what neither G.M. nor the Treasury disclosed was that the company simply used other funds held by the Treasury to pay off its original loan.

The CBO estimates we will lose about $30 billion on the GM bailout. And in the article, GM officials are outrageously outraged that anybody would suspect that they are doing anything untoward with taxpayer money. Not that they are specifically denying doing anything untoward.

Greg Martin, a G.M. spokesman, said the company had made no misrepresentations about its repayment. “The bottom line is, our strong business performance has put us in the position that we don’t need these funds,” he said, referring to the cash in the escrow account. “G.M. is performing much better than anyone expected and that does represent a significant milestone for the company.”

And Ron Bloom, senior adviser to Mr. Geithner, bristled at Mr. Grassley’s criticism. “The Treasury Department has tried to be as straight as humanly possible,” he said in an interview. “We have never not been clear about exactly what we paid, exactly the terms of the investment. I’m finding it hard to find anyone obfuscating about this.”

(italics, ours)

They don't need the (TARP) funds... except that they need the funds to pay off the TARP debt.

We'll spare you the righteous indignation this time around because it's all there in black and white. A nice big F-you from General Motors leadership to the U.S. taxpayers.

And you all thought Enron was bad.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The problem is...


... we just keep finding more of the stuff

From Zero Hedge:

The oil in the ground will run out some day. But as the discovery of proven reserves continues to significantly outpace the rate of extraction, the claims that we’re facing immediate shortages looks trashy.

Some may try to cast doubt on these figures, saying that BP are counting inaccessible reserves, and that we must accept that while there are huge quantities of shale oil in the ground, the era of cheap and readily accessible oil is over. They might cite the idea that oil prices are much higher than they were ten years ago. Yet this is mostly a monetary phenomenon resulting from excessive money creation beyond the economy’s productive capacity. Priced in gold, oil is still very cheap — almost as cheap as it has ever been:

So no. I’m not lying awake at night worrying about imminent peak oil. There’s plenty of extractable oil, and renewable energy will eventually supplement and replace it. But will politics get in the way of energy extraction? The United States has huge hydrocarbon reserves, yet regulation is preventing drilling and shipment, leaving America dependent on foreign oil. And the oil companies themselves are largely to blame — after Deepwater Horizon, should anyone be surprised that politicians and the public want to strangle the oil industry?

The President calls himself an "all of the above" sort but his actions betray his words. He has committed himself fully to the business of picking winners and losers in his energy policy. An aggressive pursuit of crude and shale oil and natural gas would jump-start and sustain a robust economy that could then, with private capital, fund the fledgling green energy sector instead of throwing tens of billions of dollars at the politically connected and technology that, quite simply, is not yet market-ready.

And somewhat related if we're talking politics: Hey, that speech on the economy on Thursday was a big flopper. How about an extra-constitutional executive order on illegal immigration to distract everybody?

Here's Leslie at Temple of Mut:

Dear Readers: While I usually strive to put some humor into my posts, as it helps sustain our emotional balance during these turbulent times, I find little to joke about today. President Obama, in an exceedingly cynical and politically-motivated move, has forgotten the basic tenets of the US Constitution and legislated by executive order.

Leslie predicts Obama will move on to forgiving student loan debts and underwater mortgages via EO sometime prior to November. Markets would necessarily take a dump but when you are on a re-elect panderfest run like this guy is, anything is possible.


Enjoy your Father's Day, everybody. We'll see you tomorrow.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Video clip of the day


If you missed the President's big economic "re-framing" speech on Thursday, don't sweat it because repeats always wind up on TV Land eventually. Factoring in 16 minutes of commercials, however, expect an edited version of his 54-minute speech for a single one-hour program.

Or just catch this 3 minute video that captures the highlights of not just one but two big Obama economic speeches.

As we were saying about repeats...

0:35 - 1:45 : Recall the dust-up a few weeks back when the administration had inserted Obama talking points into the White House's official biographies of previous presidencies. Looks like he's going the opposite route here by adding in the histories of previous presidents into his own re-election narrative.


Radio KBwD is on the air


Our Pandora app has been such a blessing as it has drawn us back into a passion for music that we had drifted away from the past few years.

In particular, our Gram Parsons channel has re-acquainted us with the alt-country genre that remains more faithful to it's roots than what you hear spewing forth from the radio today and which we were lucky enough to stumble across in the discount CD bin 10-12 years ago.*

Ladies and Gentlemen, via Uncle Tupelo, its Wilco performing "Someday Soon".



* That Johnny Cash is on that CD speaks volumes in favor of our contention.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Who's against pension reform...?

... not these guys.


Pension reform is a big topic these days. Forces on both sides have lined up committed efforts to see their way through and contrary to popular belief, there is someone whom you previously didn't think that is also a big fan of pension reform.

This past Tuesday, we reported out on the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association finally getting the documents they requested so that they could move forward in their lawsuit against the federal government regarding what they felt was a shafting of non-union entities in the auto manufacturer bankruptcy cramdown (General Motors and Chrysler) back in 2009. It's a shame these rubes haven't read the writing on the wall, especially considering the election results in Wisconsin last Tuesday.

We reported some numbers, but there is a human element as well that is starting to get out regarding the impacts of these pension reforms.

The abused workers — most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states — had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.

John Berent of Marblehead, Ohio, lost one-third of his pension: “I worked as a salaried employee for GM (30 years) and Delphi (10 years). After 40 years of dedicated service, I was forced to retire. Then Delphi terminated my health care, life insurance, vision, dental, then terminated the pension plan. Everything I worked 40 years for was wiped out.”

Kelly Fabrizio of Franksville, Wis., saw her pension reduced by 55 percent after working 30 years at Delphi/GM: “I am truly scared for my future. Every day I wake up, shake my head and say out loud — This Is Not How It Was Supposed To Be.”

Roger Hoke of Columbus, Mich., and his wife were both longtime Delphi workers. His pension shrunk by more than 40 percent: “After 33 years with GM and another 10 with Delphi, what did I do wrong to deserve such a fate?”

Paul Dobosz of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association, which represents the pensioners and is suing the feds, recounts how they got screwed: The Auto Task Force hatched a plan to dump their pensions on the federally run Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which slashed their benefits. At the same time, the White House and Treasury officials devised “a clever way to make the UAW pensions whole using GM and TARP money to accomplish it. The scheme was documented in sworn depositions (that) revealed … that some groups of workers were more ‘politically sensitive’ and would be afforded special treatment (i.e. subsidy using TARP money) while others less politically worthy would be left out.” The PBGC, which had the fiduciary duty to represent the best interests of all the Delphi workers, helped sacrifice the non-union employees at the UAW altar.

The next time some fevered right-winger tries to tell you the Obama administration is against pension reform, please direct them to this case as if this doesn't represent the height of bold and leading edge reforming, then we don't know what winning the future is all about or something.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fast and Furious update


With the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department continuing to stonewall Congressional inquiry and tempting a contempt charge from that same entity, American Future Fund has released a video titled, "Fast and Furious". At just over a minute long, it provides a great primer for the uninitiated or willfully ignorant (which we count most of the legacy media among) as to this deadly scandal.

Cut'n'paste, Romney campaign, cut'n'paste.

Related: Props to CBS News and in particular, correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, who along with the L.A. Times (Richard Serrano) have been, to our knowledge, the only two legacy media outlets that have been consistently on the Fast and Furious case. CBS News won the Edward R. Murrow Award in the Video Investigative Category for their work on Fast and Furious.

Some advice from the son of a famous author


Commencement address of the year thus far given by English teacher, David McCullough Jr. at Wellesley High.

The highlights:

None of you is special

If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless

My, that was some damn fine smack.

We do, however, recall the closing lines from the address of our own high school proceedings, oh so many years ago and it went something like this:

Take your friendships seriously

Take your future studies seriously

Take your career seriously

Take the relationships with your family seriously

Take your recreational passions seriously

Take your marriage seriously

... but don't take life too seriously

Or words to that effect.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

25 years ago yesterday...


... Ronald Reagan made his famous "Tear down this wall" speech at Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin.

The full text of the speech is as follows:

Chancellor Kohl, Governing Mayor Diepgen, ladies and gentlemen: Twenty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin, speaking to the people of this city and the world at the City Hall. Well, since then two other presidents have come, each in his turn, to Berlin. And today I, myself, make my second visit to your city.

We come to Berlin, we American presidents, because it's our duty to speak, in this place, of freedom. But I must confess, we're drawn here by other things as well: by the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation; by the beauty of the Grunewald and the Tiergarten; most of all, by your courage and determination. Perhaps the composer Paul Lincke understood something about American presidents. You see, like so many presidents before me, I come here today because wherever I go, whatever I do: Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin. [I still have a suitcase in Berlin.]

Our gathering today is being broadcast throughout Western Europe and North America. I understand that it is being seen and heard as well in the East. To those listening throughout Eastern Europe, a special word: Although I cannot be with you, I address my remarks to you just as surely as to those standing here before me. For I join you, as I join your fellow countrymen in the West, in this firm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin. [There is only one Berlin.]

Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, south, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same--still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state. Yet it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.

President von Weizsacker has said, "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed." Today I say: As long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph.

In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation. Thousands of miles away, the people of the United States reached out to help. And in 1947 Secretary of State--as you've been told--George Marshall announced the creation of what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."

In the Reichstag a few moments ago, I saw a display commemorating this 40th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. I was struck by the sign on a burnt-out, gutted structure that was being rebuilt. I understand that Berliners of my own generation can remember seeing signs like it dotted throughout the western sectors of the city. The sign read simply: "The Marshall Plan is helping here to strengthen the free world." A strong, free world in the West, that dream became real. Japan rose from ruin to become an economic giant. Italy, France, Belgium--virtually every nation in Western Europe saw political and economic rebirth; the European Community was founded.

In West Germany and here in Berlin, there took place an economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder. Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty--that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom. The German leaders reduced tariffs, expanded free trade, lowered taxes. From 1950 to 1960 alone, the standard of living in West Germany and Berlin doubled.

Where four decades ago there was rubble, today in West Berlin there is the greatest industrial output of any city in Germany--busy office blocks, fine homes and apartments, proud avenues, and the spreading lawns of parkland. Where a city's culture seemed to have been destroyed, today there are two great universities, orchestras and an opera, countless theaters, and museums. Where there was want, today there's abundance--food, clothing, automobiles--the wonderful goods of the Ku'damm. From devastation, from utter ruin, you Berliners have, in freedom, rebuilt a city that once again ranks as one of the greatest on earth. The Soviets may have had other plans. But my friends, there were a few things the Soviets didn't count on--Berliner Herz, Berliner Humor, ja, und Berliner Schnauze. [Berliner heart, Berliner humor, yes, and a Berliner Schnauze.]

In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: "We will bury you." But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind--too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.

And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict this continent-- and I pledge to you my country's efforts to help overcome these burdens. To be sure, we in the West must resist Soviet expansion. So we must maintain defenses of unassailable strength. Yet we seek peace; so we must strive to reduce arms on both sides.

Beginning 10 years ago, the Soviets challenged the Western alliance with a grave new threat, hundreds of new and more deadly SS-20 nuclear missiles, capable of striking every capital in Europe. The Western alliance responded by committing itself to a counter-deployment unless the Soviets agreed to negotiate a better solution; namely, the elimination of such weapons on both sides. For many months, the Soviets refused to bargain in earnestness. As the alliance, in turn, prepared to go forward with its counter-deployment, there were difficult days--days of protests like those during my 1982 visit to this city--and the Soviets later walked away from the table.

But through it all, the alliance held firm. And I invite those who protested then-- I invite those who protest today--to mark this fact: Because we remained strong, the Soviets came back to the table. And because we remained strong, today we have within reach the possibility, not merely of limiting the growth of arms, but of eliminating, for the first time, an entire class of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.

As I speak, NATO ministers are meeting in Iceland to review the progress of our proposals for eliminating these weapons. At the talks in Geneva, we have also proposed deep cuts in strategic offensive weapons. And the Western allies have likewise made far-reaching proposals to reduce the danger of conventional war and to place a total ban on chemical weapons.

While we pursue these arms reductions, I pledge to you that we will maintain the capacity to deter Soviet aggression at any level at which it might occur. And in cooperation with many of our allies, the United States is pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative--research to base deterrence not on the threat of offensive retaliation, but on defenses that truly defend; on systems, in short, that will not target populations, but shield them. By these means we seek to increase the safety of Europe and all the world. But we must remember a crucial fact: East and West do not mistrust each other because we are armed; we are armed because we mistrust each other. And our differences are not about weapons but about liberty. When President Kennedy spoke at the City Hall those 24 years ago, freedom was encircled, Berlin was under siege. And today, despite all the pressures upon this city, Berlin stands secure in its liberty. And freedom itself is transforming the globe.

In the Philippines, in South and Central America, democracy has been given a rebirth. Throughout the Pacific, free markets are working miracle after miracle of economic growth. In the industrialized nations, a technological revolution is taking place--a revolution marked by rapid, dramatic advances in computers and telecommunications.

In Europe, only one nation and those it controls refuse to join the community of freedom. Yet in this age of redoubled economic growth, of information and innovation, the Soviet Union faces a choice: It must make fundamental changes, or it will become obsolete.

Today thus represents a moment of hope. We in the West stand ready to cooperate with the East to promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safe, freer world. And surely there is no better place than Berlin, the meeting place of East and West, to make a start. Free people of Berlin: Today, as in the past, the United States stands for the strict observance and full implementation of all parts of the Four Power Agreement of 1971. Let us use this occasion, the 750th anniversary of this city, to usher in a new era, to seek a still fuller, richer life for the Berlin of the future. Together, let us maintain and develop the ties between the Federal Republic and the Western sectors of Berlin, which is permitted by the 1971 agreement.

And I invite Mr. Gorbachev: Let us work to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together, so that all the inhabitants of all Berlin can enjoy the benefits that come with life in one of the great cities of the world.

To open Berlin still further to all Europe, East and West, let us expand the vital air access to this city, finding ways of making commercial air service to Berlin more convenient, more comfortable, and more economical. We look to the day when West Berlin can become one of the chief aviation hubs in all central Europe.

With our French and British partners, the United States is prepared to help bring international meetings to Berlin. It would be only fitting for Berlin to serve as the site of United Nations meetings, or world conferences on human rights and arms control or other issues that call for international cooperation.

There is no better way to establish hope for the future than to enlighten young minds, and we would be honored to sponsor summer youth exchanges, cultural events, and other programs for young Berliners from the East. Our French and British friends, I'm certain, will do the same. And it's my hope that an authority can be found in East Berlin to sponsor visits from young people of the Western sectors.

One final proposal, one close to my heart: Sport represents a source of enjoyment and ennoblement, and you may have noted that the Republic of Korea--South Korea--has offered to permit certain events of the 1988 Olympics to take place in the North. International sports competitions of all kinds could take place in both parts of this city. And what better way to demonstrate to the world the openness of this city than to offer in some future year to hold the Olympic games here in Berlin, East and West? In these four decades, as I have said, you Berliners have built a great city. You've done so in spite of threats--the Soviet attempts to impose the East-mark, the blockade. Today the city thrives in spite of the challenges implicit in the very presence of this wall. What keeps you here? Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage. But I believe there's something deeper, something that involves Berlin's whole look and feel and way of life--not mere sentiment. No one could live long in Berlin without being completely disabused of illusions. Something instead, that has seen the difficulties of life in Berlin but chose to accept them, that continues to build this good and proud city in contrast to a surrounding totalitarian presence that refuses to release human energies or aspirations. Something that speaks with a powerful voice of affirmation, that says yes to this city, yes to the future, yes to freedom. In a word, I would submit that what keeps you in Berlin is love--love both profound and abiding.

Perhaps this gets to the root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction of all between East and West. The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront. Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexander Platz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower's one major flaw, treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere--that sphere that towers over all Berlin--the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed.

As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.

And I would like, before I close, to say one word. I have read, and I have been questioned since I've been here about certain demonstrations against my coming. And I would like to say just one thing, and to those who demonstrate so. I wonder if they have ever asked themselves that if they should have the kind of government they apparently seek, no one would ever be able to do what they're doing again.

Thank you and God bless you all.

What real hope and what real change looks and sounds like:

We are fans of hockey in the utmost casual manner but our favorite player has always been Jaromir Jagr who spent the bulk of his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jagr grew up in what was then Czechoslovakia in the 80s and as a lad carried around a folded-up picture of Reagan in his wallet such was his admiration for the man and what he represented.

It can be deduced, then, that Jagr's photo of Reagan would be today's polar opposite of some UC San Diego student's Che' t-shirt.