Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 9:30 am

My latest is up at Pajamas Media, a little change of pace on Stephen Hawking’s recent comments regarding the possibility that any space aliens we contact might be hostile.

It is an old debate in the SETI community - one I discuss in detail:

A sample:

Brin thinks that the active SETI proponents are being, if not irresponsible, then misguided in their efforts at this kind of interstellar outreach. In an article for Seed magazine, David Grinspoon quotes SETI pioneer John Billingham, a senior scientist at the private SETI Institute in California, as advocating that we adopt a Hippocratic Oath when it comes to reaching out to the cosmos: “First, do no harm.” Billingham believes that “[a]t the very least we ought to talk about it first, and not just SETI people. We have a responsibility to the future well-being and survival of humankind.”

And that’s the bottom line. Hawking, Brin, Billingham and others in the passive SETI community are upset that the active SETI proponents are refusing to even discuss their plans either at meetings or in the more formal setting of the IAA. They are dismissive of concerns about the nature of extra-solar intelligence and whether, as Hawking speculates, it may be hostile.

Incredibly, the major resistance to discussing the issue is coming is coming from a small group of Russian scientists who believe that it is perfectly logical to assume aliens would be benign due to their adherence to “universal altruism”:



Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 11:32 am

My latest at PJ Media is up. It’s on the smear against Lindsey Graham by ALIPAC’s William Gheen that Graham is gay and is being blackmailed by the pro-immigration reform to support them.

A sample:

While there has been speculation for years, no one has ever come forward to say they have proof that Graham is a homosexual. Graham denies it. And unlike other gay Republicans who are still in the closet who have been exposed by the professional “outers” in the Democratic Party, Graham has not been fingered.

Those “outers” include perhaps the most despicable character in American politics today. Mike Rogers of BlogActive said today on the Ed Schultz Show that he has “no evidence” that Graham is gay. What’s significant about this is that Rogers’ standards of “evidence” would make Joe Stalin’s show trials look like a model of fairness and impartiality by comparison. If Mike Rogers won’t say that Graham is gay, the fact that Gheen would give credence to the rumor is outrageous.

And that’s all it is — a rumor. Graham is an unmarried male in his 50s and for some troglodytes on the right, that’s enough “evidence” to smear the senator with a charge that they are well aware would do him great harm in conservative South Carolina. Certainly one can oppose Graham based on his positions and policies. In the past few months, several county Republican organizations have censured Graham for that reason.


Tea Partiers Epitomize the Tension Between the Individual and the State

Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 9:52 am

My latest at PJ Media is up. It’s about the tea party movement and the historic tension in American between individual rights and government power:

But regardless of what you think of the tea party people and movement, it should be recognized as being part of the classic American push-pull between the rights of the individual and the purported needs of the state.

Tea partiers are giving much thought to the notion that the rights of the individual supersede the rights of the state to act on behalf of everyone in the “community.” This, of course, is the essence of the health care bill and its individual mandate. Supporters of national health care take a decidedly utilitarian outlook, as they do for most other actions taken by the government that are supposed to help selected members of the community — even at the expense of individual rights.

Utilitarianism is at the core of liberal philosophy, and health care reform is a perfect example of its tenets. The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy defines a utilitarian act:

…if and only if its performance will be more productive of pleasure or happiness, or more preventive of pain or unhappiness, than any alternative. Instead of “pleasure” and “happiness” the word “welfare” is also apt: the value of the consequences of an action is determined solely by the welfare of individuals.

Note the plural “individuals.” The principle of utility has been used the past 60 years to create and expand the welfare state — many believe to the detriment of individual liberty. And the tea party movement has set itself up as something of a barrier to the notion that this can continue without reference to a debate on what such utilitarian actions mean for the first principle of our founding: the individual’s sacrosanct position in the constitutional hierarchy.

They have not only placed themselves athwart history with a sign yelling “Stop!” They also are becoming a sabot thrown into the machinery of government in order to slow it down long enough to have their concerns heard.

Read the whole thing.



Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 10:12 am

I have another report from New Orleans up on Pajamas Media.

A sample:

Indeed, Steele can thank Palin for sucking the oxygen out of any other storyline at the conference. And that includes the retirement of Justice Stevens; not one speaker has mentioned that yet. The atmosphere in the Grand Ballroom prior to Palin’s entrance was thick with anticipation and excitement. She followed Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, whose speech proved that while cultural issues like abortion may have been downgraded by some — or, more accurately, de-emphasized by some of the more pragmatic Republicans — the pro-life issue is still near and dear to the hearts of most in the GOP. Perkins received a prolonged standing ovation for his rousing defense of the pro-life position. Some Republicans may wish the issue to merge into the background, but that wouldn’t be the choice of most attendees at this conference.

Palin seemed at times to rush her address a little, stepping on applause lines so that the flow of her speech was a little choppy. But she made up for it with some real zingers tossed at President Obama, including a sarcastic response to the president’s dismissal of her knowledge regarding nuclear weapons:

“And President Obama, with all that vast nuclear expertise he acquired as a community organizer, a part-time senator, and a candidate for president, has accomplished nothing to date with Iran or North Korea,” she said.

Read the whole thing.



Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 1:32 pm

They actually have me working this time - no slumming allowed.

I’ve had a few posting at PJM that you may not have seen. First, a preview of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference:

The dizzying progression of scandals, charges of misuse of party funds, personnel changes, and high-profile calls for Steele to step down threaten to take the focus off what should be the conference’s main purpose: to rally the troops and send them off to the midterm wars with confidence and enthusiasm. Instead, they have the chairman of their party basically accusing them of racism for questioning his job performance, a national organization in painful disarray, and the entire party waiting for the next scandal or embarrassment to drop. Although there have been a few calls for Steele to step down, most of the national committee seems to be solidly behind him, so there is little chance they can force him out. But it won’t take much for that to change. Steele has been given just about all the rope he is going to get, and with midterms approaching, the absolute last thing the party needs is this kind of turmoil at the top.

What kind of reception can Chairman Steele expect on Saturday? The chairman has never been very popular with the rank and file, but the attendees will mostly be leadership types who look for results. And when the organization you head can raise $11.4 million in March, you’re not doing half bad. Steele will be greeted politely but not enthusiastically.

Actually, the Steele thing is not quite as bit an undercurrent today what with Palin speaking. I summarized Thursday night’s proceedings here:

[T]he attendees at the SRLC appear to be in no mood to dwell on the past. The first general session last night was marked by enthusiasm and excitement at the prospects for victory in November’s midterm elections. For comparison, I attended the 2009 CPAC event and can report that the difference in mood between the two confabs is astonishing. There was much defensiveness at that CPAC conference as well as a subdued atmosphere that reflected Obama’s recent ascension to the presidency. The contrast with the eagerness for combat expressed by the speakers and attendees here in New Orleans is striking.

That combativeness was best illustrated by two of last night’s speakers: Liz Cheney and Newt Gingrich.

Ms. Cheney gave a speech that took the Obama administration to task for its foreign policy retreats. At times, her criticisms were a direct challenge to the Democrats’ narrative of her father’s tenure as vice president. Her biggest applause lines came when she defended the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques by the CIA, saying that “foreign terrorists do not have constitutional rights.” She also skewered Attorney General Holder for going after interrogators of the terrorists while dithering about setting up the new interrogation regime at the Justice Department.

But Cheney saved her harshest criticisms for the administration’s Israeli policy:

And I liveblogged Sarah Palin’s speech this afternoon:


A good, workmanlike effort. I’ve seen her do better as recently as Wednesday when she brought down the house in her appearance with Michele Bachmann. She did seem a little rushed, even running out of breath at a couple of points. Her timing was a bit off as well as she stepped on her applause lines regularly.

I’m sitting next to a Bloomberg photographer. He got a shot of Palin’s hand with “who dat” written on the palm, as well as what appeared to be a cryptic French name. No doubt you’ll see it on lefty blogs tomorrow.

But her message was very well received by attendees, which is all that’s important.

Going out tonight to sample the nightlife. Can’t be too rambunctious because I have to work tomorrow too. But I guarantee I will have as good a time as one can have without ending up arrested and manhandled by New Orlean’s finest.



Filed under: PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:07 am

My latest at PJ Media is up. It examines President Obama’s new offshore drilling policy.

A sample:

In fact, what Obama giveth with one hand, he taketh away with another. Some leases already in motion have been canceled while potentially huge deposits of oil and natural gas are still off-limits, including the entire Pacific coastline of the United States from the Mexican border to Canada. In addition, in order to expand drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the president must get the authorization of Congress. This would have been a snap when gas was $4 a gallon, but is much less a certainty today.

Other leases that had been approved in Alaska have also been canceled for further environmental study. Of course, the president didn’t even bother to mention the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — sacred calving grounds of the porcupine caribou — which would yield as many barrels of oil as all the areas the president opened for drilling combined. And the slow motion approval process guarantees that I will be retired and getting to and from our little grocery store here in Streator, Illinois, riding a donkey before a drop of that East Coast oil makes it to market.

What is the point of this welcome but ultimately less-than-half measure to expand our domestic oil production? Note the word “drill” used in just about every headline in the media about this story. The president is sending a signal to the American people that he has heard their cries of “drill, baby drill” and has deigned to respond favorably. Citizens will think better of him for it, despite the fact that it will not increase domestic oil production until the president is long out of office and considered an elder statesmen. Perhaps he will have been elected president of the world by then, but if we’re still in Afghanistan I wouldn’t bet on it.

I should have written the article to reflect the fact that both parties are to blame for our current energy situation. The government has massively failed over the past 30 years to address the pressing matter of dependence on foreign oil as well as our refining capacity, and the future of energy in America.

I don’t care if its green energy or clean coal or natural gas and neither should anyone else. We need every erg of energy that can be squeezed out of our domestic supplies and a plan for the future that reflects the reality of Peak Oil and the necessity to find cleaner ways of powering our society.

We have gotten little leadership over the years - just grand plans and a lot of talk. Obama has made a good start with a solid plan for alternative energy sources, nuclear, and a clean coal. I wish he would have seriously looked at expanding this offshore drilling plan that doesn’t do near enough to exploit the resources of our own country.

But beyond that, Obama needs to lead. Let’s see how far he gets in pushing his energy agenda.



Filed under: Decision '08, PJ Media, Politics, health care reform — Rick Moran @ 9:02 am

My latest column is up at Pajamas Media and in it, I go through the reasons why Obamacare will probably not be repealed, nor declared unconstitutional in its entirety:

A sample:

Considering the fact that Democrats have deluded themselves into believing that ObamaCare is the nirvana all Americans have been pining for, it would be impolite not to join them in their self-deception.

This, the GOP has apparently taken to heart with talk of repealing ObamaCare. While an excellent idea with much merit, the obstacles that stand in the way of realizing this mirage are insurmountable. Consider:

1. In order to make repeal a reality, the GOP would have to win back both houses of Congress with considerable room to spare, capturing 2/3 of the seats in each chamber. This is because unless Barack Obama has a “road to Damascus” moment about liberty, the Constitution, the free market, and first principles, it is more than likely he will veto said repeal legislation just as quickly as they can load the teleprompter with his remarks on how he is saving “the children.”

2. An alternative to repeal, one that would have the same effect, would be to defund the measure by repealing parts of the bill. This path has the virtue of not needing a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, because the tax credits and Medicaid expansion could be dealt with through the reconciliation process. Before getting too excited, you might want to think of the effect of cutting off subsidies to millions of poor people who have insurance only because the government pays for it. Making yourself an easy target for liberal demonizing is not a sound political strategy.

3. I hate bringing up history at a time like this, but no entitlement program once enacted has ever been repealed. “There’s a first time for everything” might be a tempting battle cry to employ, until you realize that the reason history is not on our side is because constituencies rapidly grow up around entitlements, making them as politically indestructible as the pyramids. The yowls of pain from beneficiaries of any entitlement that is under threat of major overhaul or repeal resonate with that significant portion of the electorate who gets all weepy at the thought of any American suffering for any reason. It is a major source of our strength as a nation - and it might be the death of us in the end.

Apropos my comment earlier in the week about the GOP eventually embracing national health insurance (which I shamelessly repeated in this piece), Senator Chuck Grassley has already made noises about fixing Obamacare rather than repealing it. And I think “repeal and replace” a far more intelligent political strategy than simple “repeal.”

But when you can’t move the mountain, isn’t it smarter to figure out ways to deal with it where it is? I would love to see Obamacare repealed but its never happened before and there is absolutely nothing about this situation that would make me think differently. Unless there is a total, unmitigated financial disaster before November, or unemployment skies, or inflation starts to really bite, the GOP will not win back control of the Senate, and taking over the House is also a problematic question.

Thus, with Obama firmly ensconced in the presidency until at least 2012, it seems a fanciful notion to entertain thoughts of repeal until at least 2013 — and that’s assuming Obama loses and the GOP picks up enough senate seats to defeat any filibuster attempt.

It’s not impossible - just not very likely. And saying so doesn’t make me a “defeatist.” It makes me a realist. Wishful thinking in this matter is the sign of a weak mind, easily swayed by emotion rather than logic.

Perhaps it’s too much to ask that the rank emotionalism that characterized this debate be put away and strategy formed by reason, not hysteria. But the GOP leadership, having unleashed and in some ways, encouraged this anger, is now finding it hard to control. How much of this rage is real and how much is exaggerated we’ll never know. But it seems to me that cooler heads must lead the coming fight and that by relying on hyperbolic, exaggerated rhetoric to whip up support for the cause simply isn’t necessary. Just as it wasn’t - isn’t - necessary to lie or exaggerate the worst parts of Obamacare. The bill is bad enough that it should have been defeated on its imprudent, costly, and coercive demerits.

We’ll never know if that approach would have worked. Just like we’ll never know if the Democrats had limited their goals with the bill if any GOP lawmakers would have joined them. Both sides have made their excessively partisan beds and now must lie in them. For the Democrats, everytime someone is in a doctor’s waiting room for more than 2 hours, they will be blamed. Every time a medical outcome goes against a patient, they will be blamed. Every snafu, every bottleneck, everything that could possibly go wrong with an individual’s medical care, the Democrats will be blamed. They bought the health care system lock, stock, and barrel. That’s the price they are going to pay for failing to heed the calls for prudence, and rational reform.

For the GOP, they will have to take care that they don’t appear to favor repeal at the expense of the weakest members of society. This is where “replace” comes in and where the GOP better step up to the plate with a better idea than simply throwing 30 million people into Medicaid. I think they can do it, but they have to get the base to agree that there’s a problem with the health care system to begin with. Once that’s done, the Republicans could move forward aggressively with an alternative to Obamacare; cheaper, more realistic, and one that addresses the real problems that the GOP failed to address during the Bush years.

With an astonishing 55% of Americans wanting to repeal the bill already, it’s not like Republicans will be wandering in the wilderness. With so much of this bill based on coercion, the Democrats may yet discover that when it comes to being told what to do, a majority of American still say to hell with what the Europeans are doing, health care reform is inimical to the first principles of personal responsibility and individual liberty.



Filed under: PJ Media, Politics, health care reform — Rick Moran @ 10:21 am

My latest column is up at Pajamas Media and it is my response to the passage of Obamacare.

A sample:

Indeed, in a striking and ironic twist to the entire debate over nationalized health insurance, the president’s call for a bipartisan effort was met not by proponents of the bill, but by its enemies. The 34 Democrats who opposed the measure made the bill the president’s first success in creating a bipartisan coalition, although the fact that it almost derailed the effort to realize his dream of massive federal regulation of the insurance industry probably gives him little cheer.

What hath Congress wrought? The difference between what the president and congressional Democrats say the bill will do, and the likely effect the legislation will have on the lives of American citizens, is a chasm whose depth and girth is unknowable. What we know is that more people will have health insurance, and that those who currently have no insurance due to a pre-existing condition will be able to purchase policies. Beyond that, Democratic claims such as insurance that offers more benefits while costing less and no change in most citizens’ insurance plans are viewed with a jaundiced eye by serious analysts. If we didn’t know any better, we would accuse the Democrats of lying about this, except they wouldn’t lie about something as critically important as health insurance, would they?

It is written that doctors and hospitals will receive less in payments from the government for treating Medicare patients, but nobody believes that. It is written that the government will dutifully find hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare fraud, but no one believes they will find as much as they are saying they will. It is written that state Medicaid programs will be just fine with the sudden influx of 30 million new subscribers, although the balance between federal and state contributions to the program will not change and nobody believes the burden on states won’t skyrocket.

In short, despite the fact that no one believes some of the basic actuarial and fiscal assumptions that under-gird this legislation — no one who isn’t besotted with partisan fervor — it was rammed down the throats of the American people with as much cynicism, trickery, deliberate obfuscation, and budgetary tomfoolery as has ever been seen for a major piece of legislation in the history of the republic.

There will be court challenges to Obamacare but I doubt if they will be entirely successful. I further find it unlikely that the GOP, if they achieve majority status again, will be able to repeal it. Perhaps a combination of the two but that may be the most unlikely scenario at all.

Prediction? In five years, the Republican party will be embracing Obamacare and will be running on a platform that boasts they are the best party to manage it efficiently.



Filed under: PJ Media, Politics, health care reform — Rick Moran @ 4:59 am

This is my PJ Media column from Friday that took the Democrats to task for trying to game the CBO numbers.

A sample:

It’s been known for many months that the cost of the health care bill has been phoney baloney budgetary gimmicks. Most of the costs of the bill won’t kick in until 2013, while the bulk of the costs would be picked up in the next six years. A true cost of this bill over the first ten years (2013-2023) is well into the trillions of dollars.

CBO makes no apologies for basing their projections on what they acknowledge is tomfoolery. Nor do they seem to see it as their job to highlight this legislative legerdemain.

I guess that’s why they’re “non-partisan.” They cooperate in hoodwinking the American people with both parties.


Sleight of hand, double counting, magical thinking — one would think we were talking about a Houdini memorabilia convention and not the most important piece of domestic legislation in more than a generation. But in service to saving Obama’s presidency, anything is allowable.

Besides, does anyone really believe the CBO has a handle on how much this Gargantua is going to cost? Or how much we’re going to save? Or how much it will cut the deficit 20 years from now?

History is an unforgiving vixen. What the past tells us about the future is that never in the history of entitlement spending have estimated costs ever come anywhere near the actual expenditures. And the further out the predictions, the more spectacularly inaccurate they become.

How proponents of Obamacare can justify their support based on this bill saving the US taxpayer money is incredibly disingenuous. Either that, or they, like the Democratic leadership up to and including our president, simply don’t care. I wouldn’t go so far as some on the right and claim that this is a conscious effort to control our lives - even though I believe that will be the ultimate result of the legislation once it becomes obvious that the only way to control costs is to try and control how people live. But I think that Democrats believe they can “fix” what’s massively wrong with the bill at a later date.

There is no case to be made for this bill to reduce health care costs, reduce federal expenditures on health care, help save Medicare, or do anything that makes insurance more affordable. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. What we have here is a case where the Democrats and their allies in the media know all this. The GOP knows it. Anyone who has been paying attention to what’s in this bill knows it. My pet cat Snowball knows it. And yet, one side is pretending that black is white, up is down, and that this bill will do most everything the proponents are claiming it will.

Ladies and gentlemen…the Reality Based Community.



Filed under: PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:32 am

My latest at PJ Media is up. It’s a recap of the Illinois primary races for governor and senator, with some analysis thrown in.

A sample:

Illinois held its primary on Tuesday and the usual run of rogues and rascals vied with each other for the opportunity to make their fame and fortune purloining the public purse. Since the opportunities for graft and corruption in the state are nearly endless, one wag suggested that instead of the winners posing for the traditional picture taken in victory, they should make things easy on the voter and get their mug shot picture taken at the same time.

The Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor is Scott Lee Cohen, a pawnbroker and cleaning supply distributor by trade who financed his campaign from his own personal fortune. Cohen was arrested in 2005 on domestic battery charges, which were thrown out when his accuser failed to show up in court. This upstanding citizen could be a heartbeat — or an impeachment inquiry — away from the governor’s office. Just ask current Governor Pat Quinn, who slipped into the top job from his lieutenant governor’s post when disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich was impeached for, among other things, trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Perhaps it is symptomatic of the times that both the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries ended the night too close to call. The fact is, there was not much excitement generated by any of the top-tier candidates for either governor or senator as evidenced by the paltry turnout of less than 30% of eligible voters. This compared to a usual primary turnout of more than 35%.

But if passions were at a low ebb, election night made up for it with some real nail-biters.

Another tidbit on Cohen; he apparently lied to everyone about the nature of the attack on his girlfriend - who was arrested and convicted of prostitution a few months prior to the attack. Cohen claims he never touched her.The police report says he held a knife to her throat.

Who ya gonna believe? The pawnbroker or the police? In this town, that’s a tough call.

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