Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Bailout, Decision '08, Ethics, Government, Politics, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 11:23 am

In baseball, there are times when no matter how good a hitter is, a pitcher paints the corner with three straight unhittable curve balls for strikes. It is at that point that the hitter tips his cap to the pitcher and walks dejectedly back to the dugout, secure in the knowledge that there was nothing he could do to beat the pitcher at that at bat.

I am in a similar mindset when reading Ezra Klein and Matthew Ygelsias this morning. The have taken spectacularly bad jobs numbers and put such a sweet spin on them that there really is nothing to do but tip your hat to the way they have made sweet potato pie out of horse manure.


Another 143,000 census positions expired, contributing to a total public sector job loss of more than 200,000 jobs. But the private sector continued to recover, adding 71,000 jobs — its best performance since April, and its third-best number this year.


So you can look at the bottom line one of two ways: Either we lost 131,000 jobs, or if you ignore the census jobs, we gained about 10,000. The good news? The 71,000 jobs we did gain came from the right place, and the jobs we lost are job losses we can prevent if Congress finds the will and the votes.

You can also look at it as 71,000 jobs representing about half the total number of jobs that need to be created every single month just to keep pace with new people entering the work force in the private sector. The idea that the private sector is “recovering” is pure spin. If business is only creating half the jobs necessary to take up the slack in new hires, how in God’s name is it going to replace the 8 million jobs lost in this recession? The numbers show we are falling behind, that the recovery is worse than anemic, and that the policies of this president and his party are directly responsible for it.

Last year at this time - 8 months after Obama took office - discouraged workers who stopped looking for work stood at 368,000. Today, that number has climbed to 1.2 million. This did not happen on George Bush’s watch. It is a direct result of the Democrats taking their eye off the ball and pushing national health insurance at the expense of dealing with the jobs situation. While Democrats were arguing with themselves whether or not a public option was needed and how much they should screw over insurance companies, big pharma, and big medicine, the jobs picture went from bad, to worse, to catastrophic.

It was obvious by last summer that the stimulus bill - sold by the president as something that had to be passed immediately and without due consideration because it would help create jobs in the near future - was oversold and a gigantic waste of money at a time the Democratic congress was smashing every deficit record in history. Instead of dropping the health insurance chimera and turning their attention to Americans who were desperate for work, the Democrats pursued the illusion of national health insurance reform, thus condemning this nation to what the Administration is calling “Recovery Summer” - perhaps the most inapt characterization of economic conditions since Roosevelt made “Happy Days are Here Again” his party’s anthem when unemployment was at 25%.

And the idea that the $26 billion passed by the senate and awaiting action in the Democratic House will make things all better in the public sector is either ignorance on Klein’s part or disingenuousness. The 143,000 census jobs are not coming back no matter how many tens of billions you throw into the laps of Democratic interest groups.

As for the teachers, the question arises how long Uncle Sam is going to keep bailing out his nephews? It’s the same question asked of those who have already gotten 100 weeks or more of unemployment payments. There are people out there who are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet, despite being eligible for the extended unemployment benefits. They don’t want to do it. They find no pleasure in it. They would probably be incensed that I am using them as examples. The point is that there are alternatives out there besides Congress, in essence, giving some people an excuse not to take what job or jobs they can.

If Klein was brilliant in spinning the numbers, Yglesias throws up a strawman that would make Ray Bolger proud:

The losses came from the public sector. And they were foreseeable. And they were foreseen by the President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and the majority of House members and a majority of Senators. And the President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and the majority of House members and a majority of Senators voted for bills that would have prevented that. But because in the Senate a minority of members can get their way, action wasn’t taken. Consequently, we have a horrible jobs number. Which would be bad enough, but the way the American political system works, the minority party that prevented the majority from addressing the crisis will accrue massive political benefits as a result of the collapse.

Conservatives won’t admit it today, but what we’re looking at is a major breakdown of the logic of the American political system.

Of course they were foreseeable. Nearly 75% of the public sector job losses resulted from the end of the census taking process. Those jobs were not permanent, were not meant to be permanent, and were always going to end. To make the unbelievable claim that it is the GOP’s fault that the public sector lost 53,000 permanent jobs - many of which the result of state budget cuts outside of the education sector - is illogical.

Maybe Yglesias should start by repairing that “breakdown in logic” in his own head.

Both these prominent ex-members of Journolist appear not to have missed a beat in shilling for the White House.


Jesus Lord how did I miss this eye-popper from Benen:

For quite a while, Democrats have said the government needed to intervene to prevent the job losses we’re seeing now. Republicans refused. To be sure, the job market would need to be stronger in either case, but the GOP is entirely responsible for holding the job market’s head below water — and yet, they’re also the ones gloating. It’s maddening.

Um…no. “For quite a while” the Democrats have been saying that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8% and that a million green jobs would be created, and that we had to save the jobs of state workers (and we have to do it again and probably again after that), and that unemployment benefits were good for the economy, and any month now, the Democrat’s policies would bear fruit and we’ll all live happily ever after.

And does Bennen realize people are laughing at him when he blames Republicans for this? With a spread of 59-41 in the senate and a 40 seat majority in the House, the problem is not GOP obstructionism but the rank incompetence of Democratic leaders who not only can’t convince one lousy RINO to jump to their side on anything, but can’t even keep their own caucus together. Reagan regularly convinced several dozen Democrats to vote for his policies. All Harry Reid has to do is to keep his hands from jumping ship and convince Olympia Snowe that the New York Times will give her favorable mention if she votes his way.

All last year we heard the same refrain from the Democrats; you have to give the stimulus time to work and then…you’ll see. Things will be right as rain. This despite the fact, as I mention above, Obama looked the American people in the eye and said the crisis was so dire that members of Congress shouldn’t have to read the bill, just vote yes on it so that jobs can be created immediately.

Now that the stim bill has proved to be a spectacular failure, the Democrats have switched their talking points, pretending they knew all along that the stim bill wasn’t enough and we need to spend more, and more again to get the economy rolling. Reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s description of a test pilot going down in The Right Stuff: “I’ve tried A! I’ve tried B! I’ve tried C! Tell me what else I can try!”

Try the truth. That would be novel.


Filed under: Ethics, Government, Politics, health care reform — Rick Moran @ 7:07 am

I like optimists. Their sunny dispositions and can-do attitude work like a tonic on old curmudgeons like me who always seem to find that the glass is half empty.

Ordinarily, we want optimists in government. Not only does it make the behemoth more pleasant to deal with but optimistic people also tend to be more competent than sourpusses.

That said, there is a huge difference between optimism and bat guano crazy, pie in the sky fantasy. Case in point - the Medicare and Social Security Trustees who issued a report on the fiscal health of those funds that was so fantastically optimistic, one wonders if they made their observations from the vantage point of an alternate universe.

An eye-opening editorial from Investors Business Daily:

ObamaCare extends Medicare’s trust fund by 12 years to 2029, administration officials said Thursday in the annual report on Social Security and Medicare, ignoring that the extra savings and taxes are already earmarked for the new health law’s major expansion of insurance coverage.Those savings assume much slower growth in health care costs to an extent that Medicare’s chief actuary says may be unlikely. Meanwhile, Social Security’s cash-flow woes worsened and its disability trust fund will run dry by 2018.

“The report seems rosier, but really what has happened is a shift of resources away from Medicare toward Medicaid and the new health care subsidies,” said Bob Bixby, executive director of the fiscal watchdog Concord Coalition.

Still, the report does hold out the longer-term hope that ObamaCare might slow runaway health spending - if all of its provisions are enacted and work exactly as planned.

That is an assumption which carries “great uncertainty,” cautioned chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster in an accompanying report.

Foster characterized the report as “an illustration of the very favorable financial outcomes” possible if higher medical productivity gains are achieved in the long run.

“Actual future costs for Medicare are likely to exceed those shown by the current-law projections,” he wrote.

The trustees - all Obama administration officials - also noted that the cost projections factored in a 30% cut in fees paid to Medicare physicians, something the administration intends to avert.

So lets get this straight. This rosey report is based on the idea that health care costs will rise slower than in the past - despite the fact this has never happened, budget cuts no one intends to make, and the perfect implementation of the extraordinarily flawed and imprudent Obamacare.

Got ya.

Liberals are already crowing about these overcooked, overripe numbers. Former WaPo blogger Dan Froomkin, writing at HuffPo, can hardly contain his glee:

The new health care law has significantly improved the prognosis for Medicare, extending the life of its trust fund by 12 years until 2029, and thereby delaying any need for dramatic changes in benefits or revenues, according to a new report.

The annual check-up from government actuaries overseeing the nation’s two central safety-net programs also found that Social Security continues to be much less of a problem than Medicare, and will remain in strong financial shape at least through 2037.

As I wrote above, I like optimists. Froomkin would have been great as a passenger on the Titanic. (”Just a scratch, folks. All is well.”) Note also that Dan fails to include the titanic caveats in the report, like Obamacare working to perfection and non-existent, never to be seen payment cuts to doctors becoming a reality.

Well, not on this planet anyway.

I think these Medicare trustees are in the wrong business. They should be weather forecasters. Never a cloudy day will be predicted if they take over the Weather Channel.

This blog post originally appeared on the American Thinker.



Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Homeland Security, IMMIGRATION REFORM — Rick Moran @ 7:09 am

I have another piece up at FrontPage.com, this one examines the administration’s failure to help Arizona law enforcement with stemming the human tide of illegal immigration.

A sample:

Federal statistics showing violent crime actually dropping in Arizona counties bordering Mexico are beside the point. The facts still show several disturbing trends that amnesty advocates fail to mention:

* That drop in crime is the result of a huge increase in the number of federal, county and state law enforcement personnel patrolling the state. Arizona is one of the most heavily policed states in the nation and residents have the tax rates to prove it.

* Despite violent crime going down, the Phoenix murder rate is still more than twice the national average.

* The good news: kidnappings in Phoenix were down 11% last year. The bad news: there is still more than one kidnapping every day.

* Violent attacks on border patrol agents are skyrocketing.

* 1/6 of the land area of Arizona is dangerous to travel, according to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM has posted signs along an 80 mile stretch of road encompassing I-8 warning against hiking or traveling along the southern side of the interstate. Pinal County Sherriff Paul Babeu, was quoted as saying, “We do not have control of this area.”

There seems to be a dispute in the comments over whether that “1/6 of the land area of AZ” is actually dangerous to travel.

You tell me what this sign put up by the Bureau of Land Management is saying:

Danger — Public Warning
Travel Not Recommended

* Active Drug and Human Smuggling Area
* Visitors May Encounter Armed Criminals and Smuggling Vehicles Traveling at High Rates of Speed
* Stay Away From Trash, Clothing, Backpacks and abandoned Vehicles
* If You See Suspicious Activity, Do Not Confront! Move Away and Call 911
* BLM Encourages Visitors To Use Public Lands North of Interstate 8

Public lands south of I-8 include not only the Sonoran National Monument park but large swaths of land in between populated areas. The bottom line: hiking or driving in the Arizona desert south of I-8 can be hazardous to your health.



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 4:18 pm

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Rich Baehr of the American Thinker, Silvio Canto, and Charlie Martin of PJM for a discussion of hot topics making news today.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio



Filed under: Decision '08, Government, History, Politics, The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 11:17 am

This is the first in a series of posts that will examine issues and themes that will not be discussed in the upcoming election.

At a time when America is questioning itself more than at any point that I can recall in my life, it occurs to me that the real issues that should be debated are not even being raised by candidates. Immigration, the deficit, Obama’s “socialism,” health care, and the class warfare being waged by both sides are so much chum to be churned by liberal and conservative ideologues until the frothy, bilious, smelly mess that is our politics today overflows with hatred and hysterical denunciations.

It is ridiculous to say one side is more at fault than the other, or that one side is worse than the other, or that one side started it. In the end, who cares? The result is a fantastically dangerous game played by the powerful who take advantage of the ennui engendered by this tiresome, depressing state of affairs to impose their idea of control on American citizens.

We have made trade-offs over the past half century, giving up some individual liberty for the good of the whole. In many cases, this has resulted in a fairer, more decent, more equal America. Some conservatives may disagree but in reality, this is close to the 18th century vision of the Founders. While recognizing the enormous power of government to do harm, they also recognized that government had a role to play in protecting minorities.

At that time, minorities were political, not racial or gender, or sexually oriented. Nevertheless, the concept that, if left unchecked, some Americans would deny the minority among them fundamental rights was well understood by the Founders and they created a government that would be strong enough to protect those rights.

But somewhere along the way, we’ve gone off the rails. The power of government is being used not so much to guarantee rights as it is to effect control. Choices are limited, property expropriated, the will of one faction imposed on another - all this and more resulting in a significant loss of personal liberty; not in the name of “fairness” or “equality,” but simply because power elites have the ability to manipulate government to serve their own selfish ends. Corporations, Big Labor, organized pressure groups, - all claiming their machinations are for “the good of the people” or are necessary for a strong economy, or will save us from global warming/obesity/cancer/iron poor blood and any other societal ill that acts as a beard for someone’s idea of doing what is best for the rest of us.

We know this. We sense this is true. But we pretend we are powerless to stop it. It is this cynicism that is being used to destroy the foundations of personal liberty and turn the people into virtual serfs.

More importantly, the vision, the tradition, and the fundamental guiding principles of the republic have been subsumed by the desire of public and private  elites to milk the treasury or put the fix in on the system to advance their own personal or collective agendas, all the better to improve their own station in society at our expense.

It begs the question; are we still a nation where the consent of the governed is required for government to act? Have we ever been? It’s a trick question, in part because it is generally understood that citizens “give their consent” by voting for our representatives from the state house to the White House.  In this respect, we have a “representative democracy” based on the trust we place in our leaders to generally act in our interests when voting on legislation affecting the national or local interest.

But there is nothing in the Constitution that states the government needs our “consent” for anything. Indeed, the phrase itself is found in the Declaration of Independence - a glorious expression of American ideals without any force of law whatsoever. It is in our traditions as a republic and a foundational principle that the ideals that animated the revolution be carried over and incorporated into the governance of the country. But as far as a Constitutional construct, “consent of the governed” doesn’t exist.

Instead, we grant our consent to be governed not as a result of law, but of an implied “social contract” between the people and the government.  There is a grand philosophical tradition regarding this social contract in western political thought. Locke, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, and Oakshott, among others, believed that the legitimacy of government depended on keeping its end of the bargain. This could variously be defined as the notion that the people surrender some or all of their “sovereignty” in exchange for the rule of law which, ideally, will generate social order.

Implied in the American social contract is the concept of natural rights superseding, or being equal to civil rights. Again, the reliance on natural rights to help define our social contract is part of the Declaration of Independence, and only inferred in the Constitution. But tradition and the clear thinking by the Framers of the Constitution on the question of natural rights gives them a force beyond law.

So what does all this theorizing have to do with the practical political matter of citizens regaining control of their own government? The social contract is clearly inoperative. When the law is manipulated by those with the wealth and connections to twist its meanings so that it benefits only them, or a small number of elites, there is no “consent of the governed” as originally understood, nor can such be extrapolated in any way from the current state of affairs. If we understand the “rule of law” to mean equality under the law as well as the more translucent concept of equal justice under the law, those who join with political leaders to, for example, fix it so that they can loot the treasury if their financial skullduggery blows up in their faces, are complicit in an open violation of the social contract.

That which is not vouchsafed all should be allowed for none. Perhaps that’s a place to start when it comes to redefining our broken contract with the government. I frankly don’t know. I don’t pretend to have answers, only the desire to initiate debate. Whether that’s enough to save us all - right, left, liberal, conservative, moderate, or libertarian - from losing something very rare and precious and yes, exceptional, I don’t know.

Next: The Middle Class has been Disappeared

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice


Filed under: Ethics, FrontPage.Com, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 6:56 am

After a long hiatus, I have an article up at FrontPage.com about the Wikileaks intel purporting to break the news that Pakistan is supporting the Afghan Taliban.

For anyone who follows events in Pakistan, this is hardly news at all, although the New York Times and other outlets who published the Wikileak docs made it seem as if this were some kind of revelation. It’s not. In fact, the Wiki docs can’t be taken at face value given their provenance. Most of the intel comes from the Afghans - a nation at loggerheads with Pakistan and whose interest is served by promoting the idea that the Pakistani government - at the highest levels - is aware of and approves the Taliban’s actions against America and our Afghan allies.

This may be true, as I show in the article using independent sources:

This from the TimesOnline last month:

Pakistani support for the Taliban in Afghanistan runs far deeper than a few corrupt police officers, however. The Sunday Times can reveal that it is officially sanctioned at the highest levels of Pakistan’s government.

Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council — the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents.

The London School of Economics issued a report stating, ““Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude” in Afghanistan. The report’s author, Matt Waldman, continued:

As the provider of sanctuary and substantial financial, military and logistical support to the insurgency, the ISI appears to have strong strategic and operational influence — reinforced by coercion. There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign.

Forget the Wikileaks. ISI support for the Taliban has been the worst kept secret in international affairs. Spengler, writing at the Asia Times, explains why grown-ups in the international community are playing “Let’s Pretend” when it comes to Pakistan’s double crossing government:

This raises the question: Who covered up a scandalous arrangement known to everyone with a casual acquaintance of the situation? The answer is the same as in Agatha Christie’s 1934 mystery about murder on the Orient Express, that is, everybody: former United States president George W Bush and vice president Dick Cheney, current US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, India, China and Iran. They are all terrified of facing a failed state with nuclear weapons, and prefer a functioning but treacherous one.

The importance of the Wikileaks intel on Pakistan is that it should force governments to stop playing “Pretend” and face up to the reality of the situation. Instead, President Zardari is none too thrilled with the leaks and the State Department has assured Pakistan they don’t believe the intel for a minute.

So the game continues. Meanwhile, the probability that the Pakistani government is working hand and glove with terrorists who are killing Americans in Afghanistan is ignored in the name of “realpolitik on steroids.”



Filed under: History, Politics — Rick Moran @ 2:13 am

My friend Stacy McCain has a very long, very thorough, and excellent post that details the FBI doc dump on historian Howard Zinn. In essence, J. Edgar was miffed at some pot shots Zinn took at the Bureau and, typical of Hoover’s paranoia and megalomania, ordered Zinn investigated.

Read all of Stacy’s post for an excellent analysis of why Zinn is one of the few on the left that I gladly refer to as “anti-American.” The FBI files reveal a man deeply committed to Communism and a shameless apologist for Stalin. As Stacy points out, Zinn joined the Communist Party USA after World War II - after the American left’s brief flirtation with Communism (until it came roaring back in the 1960’s) in the 30’s where it really seemed that capitalism had failed and socialism was the only viable model for some. At that time, many very naive, but loyal Americans joined the CPUSA believing as many on the left believe today, that there are shortcuts to a just society and that socialism is the wave of the future. Even after groups like the ADA had purged Communists from their midst, and Henry Wallace had been denounced by liberals like a young Hubert Humphrey, Zinn continued his association with the CPUSA, attending meetings 5 times a week and conducting seminars for initiates.

Clearly, Zinn was a big boy and threw in his lot with the Communists with his eyes wide open. So it is not surprising to find that Zinn was a card carrying Communist. The question is, does it matter?

For many of us who read A People’s History of the United States and were transfixed by the voices Zinn brought to life - the voices of the underclass, blacks, women, and others who had been silenced in American history textbooks - there was rush of insight not granted us previously . Social history had, until that time, been quite selective in which voices were heard. For example, the stories of people included in Arthur Schlesinger’s (senior) social histories (The Rise of the City is still considered one of the best social histories ever written) were inspirational and their activism was guided by a love of America and American ideals.

On the other hand, the raw emotionalism expressed by Zinn’s subjects was a splash of cold water on many reader’s sophomoric notions of America. People beat down by capitalism, racism, and sexism have lost hope and optimism and all that’s left is a cynical loathing that makes many of our pretentious twaddle about America ring quite hollow.

America is a good country that has done very bad things to many people and unless you can accept both of these schizophrenic realities, your understanding of American history is shallow and incomplete. There is no scale upon which you can balance this good and evil to judge America as you might decide a court case. Both exist - many times in the same place at the same time. They are inseparable parts of the same whole and recognizing the dual nature of our history is the first step to truly understanding our remarkable national story.

Zinn wasn’t much of an historian. Most Marxists aren’t. Not only was Zinn rightly accused of shoddy scholarship, but his deterministic view of of history ultimately warped his writing, making it banally predictable and ridiculously shallow. Human beings are not motivated by what the economic determinists believe, nor do they act the way that most historical materialsts conclude they should. It is a tragedy that Zinn himself is taken seriously by so many.

But since we knew Zinn was a radical, a determinist, and a devotee of historical materialism, does it lessen the respect we rightly feel for those who were previously left voiceless and invisible in our national narrative now that we know what we long suspected; that Zinn was a Communist?

I don’t see how it makes any difference except as it adds another strange footnote to the life of an American original who hated the very idea of America, despised her origins, dismissed her accomplishments, and spent his adult life apparently working to bring her to her knees.

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