Thursday, March 29, 2012

Propaganda: Obama vs. Stalin

This bit about Stalin has been worded in different ways by different people over the years:
Stalin was like God for us. We just believed he was an absolutely perfect individual, and he lived somewhere in the Kremlin, a light always in his window, and he was thinking about us, about each of us...For example, someone told me that Stalin could be the best surgeon. He could perform a brain operation better than anyone else, and I believed it. --Pavel Litvinov
Focusing on the "a light always in his window, and he was thinking about us, about each of us" bit, take a gander at the first two sentences of an email Shikha Dalmia received from Michelle Obama (use this link to see her response):
Shikha --

Every night in the White House, I see Barack up late poring over briefings, reading your letters, and writing notes to people he's met.

He's doing that for you -- working hard every day to make sure we can finish what we all started together.

This week, I need you to have his back.

Will you donate $3 or more to support Barack before Saturday's critical fundraising deadline?

Thank you.

As for the rest, Stalin did not need to raise cash for reelection campaigns, a situation that Obama has indicated he prefers too:
Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, “No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.”
It is quite interesting that the Obama regime is so steeped in Socialist hero worship that nearly everything they say or do can be walked back to some National or International Socialist.

Obamacare: All Unfunded Mandates are not Created Equal

A followup to this post here:
Again, Republican ≠ Conservative

Back in my days as a resource manager in the defense industry, I got to hear some of the worst excuses ever contrived by people who just did not want to do what they were supposed to do.  One of them was the unfunded mandate objection, as if it were some sort of automatic absolution of responsibility.

This is not to say that unfunded mandates are always proper or fair, not in the slightest.  However, the way that federal bureaucrats use the term stands the concept on its head.

One incident was in the Information Technology field where the Congress had proscribed that the whole government would begin keeping better track of all systems that it had, all of the systems that the Congress funded needed to be tracked.  With that came system certifications and compliance measures, along with the requirement that some human being actually check off the blocks on electronic forms certifying that indeed the systems under their domain were in compliance.  To those of us paying the bills, this sounds perfectly reasonable, yes?

Not to one of the bureaucrats.  The powers that be in her directorate had her designated as the "block checker" for certification of a substantial number of systems. I was the next person in the line to certify her work, which she never did, claiming that it was an "unfunded mandate."  This situation went on for at least two years while I was dealing with that stuff and I heard it continued long after I moved onto another project.

Changing duties and responsibilities within a job one is already being paid for can be called many things, but an unfunded mandate it ain't.  If the load becomes too great you can always move on to better conditions or just quit.

This brings me to the latest federal debacle that had potential to be correctly labeled an unfunded mandate (by those who stretch the term), but somehow has escaped that label: Free-riders in the healthcare system.

The Leftist script has gone in generally the same direction for 100 years, beginning with Progressive Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 proposing a national healthcare system based on the German national model and the proposal was continually rejected until Obamacare came along.  This is not to say that bits and pieces were not adopted, and each of them were accompanied with a new list of demands.

In the years leading to the passage of Obamacare, the Left's complaint was that everybody did not have access to healthcare.  The list of victims were the usual: poor, minorities, women hardest hit.  That complaint did not last long when it was revealed that poor minorities were filling up emergency rooms across the country and quite a few of them were uninsured.

As Leftists are want to do, they morphed that complaint into a different lie: Emergency rooms are forced to treat people without insurance, so we need a law to make everybody buy insurance.  As reasonable as that complaint sounds, and the evidence is not a complete lie, it is only a partial truth, rarely does anybody stop to ask who is forcing hospitals to take uninsured patients?

That answer is, of course, the federal government.  Under the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) of 1986, all hospitals that participate in Medicare must take all emergency patients regardless of means to pay.  The case for this being an unfunded mandate would revolve around the issue of how Congress moved the goalposts on what hospitals are required to do to get Medicare funds, decades after the program began.  The case against: No federal requirement to take Medicare patients or Medicare money.

Many States, like Tennessee, have State hospitals that are open to anybody who shows up and everybody receives the same care, regardless of means.  From personal experience I can tell you that if you show up in their emergency room, they will indeed care for you.  If you give them insurance information, the bill goes to the insurance company.  If you do not have insurance, the bill goes to your house.  I do not know how they handle a failure to pay, but feel free to research that one on your own.

So, where is the problem?  According to the Leftists there was a crisis caused by people who could not afford healthcare getting free healthcare and the hospitals were unfairly burdened with the costs, or passed those losses onto other patients.  (Whenever you see that last bit in a story, it is a rare acknowledgement that business do pass on costs that fails to get factored into any other business.)

There solution to this 'problem' created by government was more government, more regulation (2,700 pages worth), and of course another tax.  In the name of paying for people who cannot afford to pay, who need free healthcare (you know, the people who already get free healthcare), a national socialist solution was struck whereby all Americans would be required to buy healthcare insurance.  And by all Americans, they mean only those who can afford to pay for it, those who cannot afford to pay are exempt.

Simpler version: some people could not afford to pay their emergency room and other healthcare bills in the past, so everybody else (even those who did not have medical bills, through their Medicare tax) covered those losses.  To solve this problem, a massive bureaucracy was created to make the people who can afford to pay for healthcare cover the bills of those who cannot pay.  Added bonus: All those people who paid for routine medical services in cash are now required to pay an insurance company.

Another added bonus: A mountain of actual unfunded mandates for the States.

The next time someone brings up the issue of "free-riders" in the healthcare market, ask them who created the free-rider system in the first place.  If they respond with anything besides EMTALA, direct them to the nearest internet connection for some self education.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More for the Zionology Collection

Soviet Zionology films.  If only I had a Russian translator.

If you were curious about where all this modern anti-Semitic tripe since 1967 came from, it came from the Soviet Union propaganda machine.  The Soviets got upset when their client states failed to shove all of the Jews in Israel into the sea and started this campaign that Leftists and fellow travelers have been repeating ever since.

And don't even try to claim "copyright" on a movie produced by a collectivist government that no longer exists.

Please excuse me for leaving out the anti-Semitic screed that accompanies this one on YouTube, save for this factual intro:

Covert and overt. The objectives and actions of the Zionists (цели и деяния сионистов)
This unique film was created in the early 70s on behalf of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee and with the assistance of the KGB. It had before it the documents and facts exposing a stunning force. The film was shown to members of the public - the scientific and creative intelligentsia, as well as the top party leaders.
This one appears 'legit,' although I  do not know enough Russian to know exactly what they are saying about Israel. It appears to go through the usual false accusations of Zionist conquest of land and finance, with an animated map of a whole middle-east takeover.
This appears to be a different version and the YouTube citation says it was "restored in 1999".  Comments indicate it may be a forgery.

Covert and overt. The objectives and actions of the Zionists. (1973 USSR)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nobody Reads the Los Angeles Times: French Jihad Edition

A bit of a followup to my previous post.

The life and death of French gunman Mohamed Merah
March 22, 2012 | 2:52 pm

At the LA Times link above, you will discover this and a lot more:

He tried to join the French Foreign Legion, but decided against it.

He threatened a girl with a sword after she came over to complain that he made her younger brother watch Al Qaeda videos.

His radicalization took place in a Salafist ideological group and appeared to have been firmed up by two journeys he made to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A fantastic bit of double-speak: Gueant said the Salafist group to which Merah belonged had no official name and had never given any indication of turning to criminal activity. - I suppose lawful jihad exists someplace, not sure where.

His trip to Iraq was arranged by his brother Abdelkader, known to French police and intelligence services as a member of an Islamist network based in the Toulouse area and suspected of having organized for "holy warriors" to travel to Iraq.

Two people familiar with the case said Mohammed Merah was on the U.S. no-fly list because in 2010 he had been in custody in Afghanistan, then sent back to France.

A French news video via the LA Times story:
This story is proceeding as expected, with the checklist outlined many times by the great Mark Steyn:

1) Blame "Right-wing" actors
2) Once outed as a Muslim extremist, call it the act of a "lone wolf." (the press is wrapping this phase up now)
3) Deny that this Islamic extremist has anything to do with Islam.
4) Brace for the "backlash" that never happens.

I used to think articles like the Times piece above were actual attempts at properly covering a story. Today I am convinced that the relevant details slip through by accident.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nobody Listens to NPR: French Neo-Nazis on Every Corner

Some interesting dry humor from All Things Considered - 19 March 2012

In a nation where anything associated with Jews requires a 24/7 security staff, to protect them primarily from Islamofascist arsonists and shooters. Let's listen in to Eleanor Beardsley as she reports from Toulouse, France and speculates on who could possibly be behind the latest murders of Jews and Soldiers:
To be fair, Beardsley did tack on the possibility of a "terrorist" at the end.  This is just more proof that the extreme Left believes their own propaganda.  They ignored the butchery of Stalin, Mao, and others while hoisting Hitler up as the poster boy for atrocities.  He certainly deserves a place there, but so do Stalin and Arafat.

In their twisted zeal to hate all things commercial, they embrace radical Islam as allies and provide cover for them at every turn.  Who was responsible for these murders? Mohammed Merah, Islamic Terrorist.

Transcript of the above clip via NPR:
NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Toulouse and joins us now. And Eleanor, today's attack occurred just before classes started. The man arrived on a motorcycle. What more can you tell us about the attack and the victims?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: That's right, Robert. I went to the school today. I arrived here, you know, after the shooting, obviously. And there were still a lot of parents and students and just, you know, neighborhood people - the school was in a really nice, quiet neighborhood of Toulouse - still standing out the street. And I spoke with witnesses who actually saw it. And they said about 8 o'clock in the morning, you know, tons of students and their parents were out in front of the school because actually, it was a pickup point for a bus to another Jewish school, just for younger children. This was like, a middle school, and people would bring their smaller children to go to a - take a bus to a, you know, an elementary school. And so he pulled up and apparently, shot a rabbi, who was the teacher at the school; and his two children, who were ages 3 and 6; and then walked into the school. And there was a younger girl - 8 years old - and point-blank held the gun to her temple and shot her, and then calmly got on his motorcycle and left. People said he was dressed in black - and, you know, everything - his face was covered; but a few witnesses said he had very clear, green eyes. People were very shaken up; it was like a state of shock. And you could feel that the neighbors and people involved actually wanted to talk about it. They were all out there, It was just a scene, all day long.

SIEGEL: Now, this is the third attack on unarmed people in the region. Where were the previous attacks, and who was targeted in those?

BEARDSLEY: That's right. We've been hearing about those and those were kind of strange because, you know, paratroopers outside of military bases were attacked - again, by a guy on a motorcycle who pulled up, all in black, and had obviously - knew who he was going to go after because one report says he pushed an old man out of the way to shoot a guy. And there was a couple guys getting money out of, you know, an ATM machine outside of the base. So in two different attacks, he killed three other people. Now, police are saying it's the same - he left his cartridges everywhere on the ground, wasn't careful - it's the same gun. They've got the license plate of the scooter - it's the same - you know - moto, they're calling it. And we think it's the same person.

SIEGEL: And again, his victims in those prior shootings, while they were all in the military, the notion that these were racist killings - the connection here, I gather, is that they've been identified as having been either - three of them North African, and one West Indian.

BEARDSLEY: That's right. Three of the people targeted were Arab Muslims serving in the French military. And one was from the Antilles so he was, you know, dark - black. And then today, it was Jewish children. I mean, who kills soldiers and children? So it's a very strange mix. And people are very much on edge by someone who would go after these different, you know, kinds of people.

SIEGEL: And do we know anything about the search for the suspect?

BEARDSLEY: Well, they're talking about that - everyone is on edge because there's a manhunt going on in France. Yeah, people are saying, you know, they can't quite figure out who would kill these disparate people. But they're saying - the biggest theory is that it's some sort of racist, neo-Nazi person who targeted Muslims and Jews and Africans. And that's the biggest thing we're going on now. And everyone - you know, there's high-security. And they're saying he could be a terrorist or a serial killer, and he may strike again.

SIEGEL: Thank you, Eleanor.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you, Robert.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, speaking to us from Toulouse in France.
Update: Mark Steyn got to this before me. Click through and enjoy.

Lather, Rinse, and Repeat
By Mark Steyn
March 21, 2012 9:47 P.M.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fiction: The Fuel of Regulation

How Wired Magazine sees Love Canal
From Karl Marx to Upton Sinclair to Michael Brown, the tradition continues; If you want the government to run things, make up a scary story.

Who remembers the Love Canal story?  If you don't, the script went something like this: Evilcorp (Hooker chemical) dumped dangerous chemicals into a canal, covered it with dirt, built houses on it and sold it to poor people for corporate profit.

That is not a strawman, that is what you will hear from most Americans if you mention Love Canal.  Just look at the way Wired told the story in 2008. Thanks to the major media narrative, a work of fiction by Michael Brown (Laying Waste: The Poisoning of America by Toxic Chemicals), and the endless assaults on commerce by fellow travelers trying to spread the 'truth' of Marx, this is the story we are left with.  The tell us at every turn that the only reason anybody gets hurt is because someone did not care, or worse, some corporation did it to make a buck.

As usual, the truth is the opposite of what your caring, loving, Democrat party member neighbor/professor/news writer told you.  At Love Canal, the government injured and killed people despite ample warnings by Hooker Chemical.

In a nine page 1981 Reason magazine article by Eric Zuesse (The Truth Seeps Out), and other sources we learn that:
- The US Army and the City of Niagara Falls dumped waste into the canal, including Manhattan Project waste, before Hooker became sole owner of the site.

- Hooker Chemical (Electrochemical) was the first entity to seal the bottom of the canal with clay and treat it as a proper long-term hazardous waste disposal site.

- The City of Niagara Falls created all breeches in the canal, after they owned the property.

- The property was sold to the government, after threats of condemnation and seizure under eminent domain, for $1, with ample information and warning of what was buried there and the accompanying hazards. From the deed:
Prior to the delivery of this instrument of conveyance, the grantee herein has been advised by the grantor that the premises above described have been filled, in whole or in part, to the present grade level thereof with waste products resulting from the manufacturing of chemicals by the grantor at its plant in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, and the grantee assumes all risk and liability incident to the use thereof. It is therefore understood and agreed that, as a part of the consideration for this conveyance and as a condition thereof, no claim, suit, action or demand of any nature whatsoever shall ever be made by the grantee, its successors or assigns, against the grantor, its successors or assigns, for injury to a person or persons, including death resulting therefrom, or loss of or damage to property caused by, in connection with or by reason of the presence of said industrial wastes. It is further agreed as a condition hereof that each subsequent conveyance of the aforesaid lands shall be made subject to the foregoing provisions and conditions.
So, the real story is: The government, from local to federal, was using a canal dug in 1890 as a waste pit. A chemical company came along in the 1950s and improved the area to a standard that exceeded government standards well into the 1980s.  The storage area that Hooker used remained intact until municipal government began digging willy-nilly through the hazardous waste repository after they owned it.

After the city discovered that Hooker Chemical's warnings were true, they sold the land at auction to the only sucker who would bid on it, and then proceeded to prevent him from improving the property at all through a flurry of regulations and permit requirements, none of which had anything to do with the hazardous waste in and around the site.

Eventually the property was sold a few more times and Niagara Falls, eager for tax revenue, approved a subdivision be built on the hazardous waste swamp created by that same local government.

If we had truly responsible government in the USA, every government official associated with Love Canal would be in jail and their property sold for restitution.  Even a casual examination of this case shows that Hooker Chemical was one of the only honest players in the disaster.  Of course, government made them the biggest victim.

As I indicated in the subtitle, this is not new.  Upton Sinclair wrote fiction, now quoted as canon whenever people talk about industrial regulation.  In The Jungle, Sinclair spun the yarn of a man ground to death in a packing plant, becoming part of the sausage produced there.  It made no difference that the event never happened, it was not even an exaggeration of a finger or leg amputation adapted to fiction, it was just fiction.

Worse than that, it was fiction designed to shove Americans toward Socialism that fell short of Sinclair's goal of a government owned and operated meat processing industry of the type he was fond of in Europe.  To Sinclair's disappointment, what the Progressive Teddy Roosevelt did was initiate the haphazard bombardment of the food industry with "inspectors" and regulations that, to this day, never solved a problem that never existed to begin with.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bill Maher on Progressive Codewords

Whipped up this little video of Bill Maher instructing Larry King on Progressive codewords. Added a few choice items for entertainment value.
Here is an earlier version:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Social Liberal, Fiscal Conservative

It is not every day that a news item comes up that illustrates how one can be socially liberal and fiscally conservative at the same time.  At least, not so many stories that lend to a narrative that even a Leftist can understand.  The Sandra Fluke story is just such a story.

The story I have heard from my Leftist friends over the years is that it is impossible to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.  Mind you, this impossibility comes mostly from those who disdain absolutes.  So it goes: "You cannot be socially liberal and fiscally conservative because paying for the social programs is a fiscal duty of government." I never heard a QED at the end of one of these mini-seminars, so apparently it is even more 'settled science' than 'Climate Change.'

Somewhere in the last few decades this perception that to be socially liberal means to be the happy giver of the wealth of others has grown to the point that today a law school student, attending a prestigious private Catholic school, can go before Congress and demand legislation for her choice in birth control to be included in her student healthcare plan.

This nonsense is on the order of me going to the legislature during my college days and demanding a daily supply of condoms, just in case I got lucky.  No, that is too mild.  It is more like a demand for lobster and caviar on the meal plan.

Mind you, nobody is trying to prevent Sandra Fluke from obtaining the birth control of her choice.  She is in Washington, DC with all of the resources of Planned Parenthood and similar organizations at her disposal.  No, she wants to fulfill her fetish of having the government to force an organization to do something that they don't want to do.  It is the perfect story to illustrate the tenant of libertarianism, that you should be free to do with your body what you will and the rest of us are free to abstain from participation.

As you may know, there is no end to this. If this demand is met, a new list of demands will be presented, and on and on.  If I take my Leftie friends at their word, a dicey proposition at best, then literally any proclivity, fetish, want or desire should be lumped into "social good."  Of course, under Communism this works out just fine, right?  Well, unless you are a homosexual in China who ends up in electroshock "therapy" or a woman who wants more than one baby.

Courtesy of Nancy Pelosi and the US Congress
The fact is, one can be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.  Milton Friedman advocated the legalization of heroine (as do I) but he never advocated it be dispensed from a free clinic.  Folks, socially liberal means we don't care and are not going to stop you from doing whatever you want to yourself, and/or consenting participants.  IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS TO PAY FOR YOUR PARTY!