Saturday, February 28, 2009

Divorce Agreement

Divorce Agreement

This letter is making it way around the Web. Just in case you have not seen it, I repost it here:

Divorce agreement:

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al: We have stuck together since thelate 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made merealize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for manyyears for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationshiphas run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way. Here is a model separation agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes. We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greed y CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.

You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.

We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U. N., but we will no longer be paying the bill.

We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.

You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors. We'll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right. We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

We'll p ractice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.


John J. Wall Law Student and an American

P. S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Company

Good Company

It has been recommended to me that I buy the stock of a certain company. This is not in and of itself unusual, but this time I think I may invest in it. I never recommend stocks to others, but the very least I can say that I am excited by their product. Inca Designs, IDGI on the Pinksheets.

Obama the Fellated Angel?

Obama the Fellated Angel?

In a striking pose, a photo of a float in a parade in Dusseldorf, Germany, shows our president in a dress, with a halo over his head, and a smaller figure depicting Europe, behind and below him, apparently about to commence an act of fellatio. Personally, I think it is pretty funny.

But. Imagine that this float had some simulacrum of Mohamed, or any other Muslim character. How many people would be killed or maimed in the resulting uproar? How many beheadings would result?

The multi-cultis are in the process of handing Western Civilization over to Islam in the mistaken belief that all cultures are equal. They believe that we lack standing to discern between cultures at all, let alone declare ours superior to theirs. Yet here we have a clear example of the dichotomy between our two cultures - we have the ability to satirize ourselves. The Europeans make fun of themselves by being in the submissive pose in their float. Most Americans find the whole thing a trite joke. Yet who among us believes that we could satirize anything Islamic and not incite hatred and murder?

A few crass cartoons and literally thousands died. A statue of an extra dark Obama about to get blown by Miss Europe and we laugh, or perhaps some of us think of it as an artistic statement. There is clearly a superior culture here, and if we do not change course in our headlong rush to create a multicultural West, we will be living in a Muslim world. For the time being, I cherish my ability to publish these words.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Government Running Amok

Government Running Amok

Is there any limit to the reach of Obama's ambition to change the way we live? His proposals are so broadly cast, even breathtaking, that even reliable lefties are pulling to the side, trying to catch their breath.

The reliably left-of-center David Broder writes that “The size of the gambles that President Obama is taking every day is simply staggering” and adds that the agenda set forth in Obama's speech to congress is, in Broder's view "a dramatic reminder of the unbelievable stakes he has placed on the table in his first month in office, putting at risk the future well-being of the country and the Democratic Party's control of Washington.”

Obama talks the talk of fiscal restraint even as he sets into motion a $787 billion stimulus package, a $410 billion omnibus budget, and a $634 billion health care fund. He inherited, and promised to reduce, a budget deficit pegged at a half trillion dollars, yet what is it now? Even with Washington's legendary obfuscation techniques, it must be well north of two trillion by now. How will he pay for it? His tax increases on "the wealthy" are claimed to raise a mere 318 billion dollars over ten years, by reducing deductions on home interest and charitable deductions. What effect will this have on the levels of cash donated to food banks and other services that serve the poor?

Even power drunk democrats have to know that you can not pay for trillions of dollars of spending with one third of a trillion dollars. Do they think they can fool the electorate? Obama promised to not raise taxes on any American making under a quarter million dollars. What happens when we all feel the tax bite that will settle on us? Remember the rest of Obama's agenda? His "cap and trade" system will cause electric bills to skyrocket. Taxes on corporations will make everything we buy more expensive, and it will not all be invisible. Surcharges will be appearing on telephone and cable bills, taxi and bus rides, airline tickets will go through the roof, and on and on.

Overall, Obama showed a remarkable disdain for the truth in his speech, even for a politician. Not just getting the inventor of the automobile wrong, he larded his speech with lies and distortions throughout. That's not a good sign of what we can expect from him as this recession settles in.

Where will this all lead us? In two years we can guess at the electoral outcome, but I wonder what our nation will look like by then. I will never forget the picture of democrats, absolutely giddy with glee as Obama announced the breadth of his agenda Tuesday night. I wonder if they have gone mad, or is it that they have no shame? Their agenda has been bottled up since 1981 and the Reagan administration. Could it be that they have been anticipating this moment of power so long that they have taken leave of their senses? Only time will tell. As David Broder ends his piece, "When we elected Obama, we didn't know what a gambler we were getting."

Taxes Going Up

Taxes Going Up

Rare honesty from the New York Times. As they conclude:
Americans have made it clear that they want a certain kind of government, one that can field a strong military and also maintain popular programs like Medicare. Yet we are not paying nearly enough taxes to maintain those programs. Even major changes to the health care system — the single most important step for closing the budget gap — will not close it entirely. Taxes must rise, too.
They make a weak excuse:
Think of it this way: A tax increase isn’t so much a barrier to a society becoming richer as it is a result of a society becoming richer.
So there it is. Your taxes will definitely go up because democrats and their leader, Barry Obama, will make it happen, and they blame US for wanting the things they will push upon us. That simple.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Global Warming Advocates Making it Up Again

What with ten years with no warming, and a couple of years of cooling, the current apparent climate is providing nothing to help move the government to increase grants and Universities to expand their departments, so the AGW parasites have started to make things up. First they pretended that a mass of ice in Antarctica was missing, but they were forced to take it back. Now we have this in today's news
Antarctic glaciers are melting faster across a much wider area than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday — a development that could lead to an unprecedented rise in sea levels.

A report by thousands of scientists for the 2007-2008 International Polar Year concluded that the western part of the continent is warming up, not just the Antarctic Peninsula.
Sounds bad, right? But this report does not pass the smell test. their major finding is
The biggest west Antarctic glacier, the Pine Island Glacier, is moving 40 percent faster than it was in the 1970s, discharging water and ice more rapidly into the ocean, Summerhayes said. The Smith Glacier, also in west Antarctica, is moving 83 percent faster than it did in 1992, he said.
But where do they get those "1970s" and "1992" numbers when the GPS technology to measure this has only recently been deployed? But even liars such as these have some respect for the truth, so they say things like
"There's some people who fear that this is the first signs of an incipient collapse of the west Antarctic ice sheet," Summerhayes said.
The "first signs" of "incipient." That's redundant, and therefore meaningless. They admit that temperatures in Antarctica average 50 degrees below zero, so global warming could not be the cause of whatever it is that is happening there. Then they like to say things like this:
Antarctica's average annual temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius) since 1957, but is still 50 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 degrees Celsius) below zero, according to a recent study by Eric Steig of the University of Washington.
and this:
Summerhayes said sea levels will rise faster than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group set up by the United Nations.
But he never mentions that global sea levels have risen by exactly zero so far, and the 1990 IPCC report models had sea levels rising by quite a bit by now, and that hasn't happened either.

So they go down to the South Pole every year, spending money doled out to them for previous gloomy scenarios, and they find more doom and gloom to report. The glaciers are moving faster, they say, but they have no idea why. They figure that it must be due to lower snowfall, since temperature is not really down enough to make any difference. We are expected to merely read the headlines, and pray that the geniuses in congress will bail us out of this terrible catastrophe in the making.

In other words, business as usual in the ECO global warming fraud.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reality on Afghanistan

Reality on Afghanistan

I love Afghanistan and its people, I really do, but I love my own country more. We need to get realistic about what can and what can not be accomplished there. We are currently engaged in a conflict that we can not win, in fact we do not even know what victory might look like if we achieved it. We certainly have been offered no strategic vision of what the end game might be.

The ever reliable Ralph Peters describes the options we have before us in Afghanistan, and his suggestion of which to pursue, in today's USA Today. The options, as Peters sees them:
Ranked from best to worst, here are our four basic options going forward:

Best. Instead of increasing the U.S. military "footprint," reduce our forces and those of NATO by two-thirds, maintaining a "mother ship" at Bagram Air Base and a few satellite bases from which special operations troops, aircraft and drones, and lean conventional forces would strike terrorists and support Afghan factions with whom we share common enemies. All resupply for our military could be done by air, if necessary.

Stop pretending Afghanistan's a real state. Freeze development efforts. Ignore the opium. Kill the fanatics.

Good. Leave entirely. Strike terrorist targets from over the horizon and launch punitive raids when necessary. Instead of facing another Vietnam ourselves, let Afghanistan become a Vietnam for Iran and Pakistan. Rebuild our military at home, renewing our strategic capabilities.

Poor. Continue to muddle through as is, accepting that achieving any meaningful change in Afghanistan is a generational commitment. Surge troops for specific missions, but not permanently.

Worst. Augment our forces endlessly and increase aid in the absence of a strategy. Lie to ourselves that good things might just happen. Let U.S. troops and Afghans continue to die for empty rhetoric, while Pakistan decays into a vast terrorist refuge.
For the rest, read the whole thing. Note that Peters offers no advice to the president on how to accomplish this strategic realignment. Obama campaigned on ending the war in Iraq and beefing up the effort in Afghanistan. The Iraq occupation is resolving itself, but Afghanistan will offer the president no such easy option. The peace-at-any-cost crowd will be behind any military retrenchment, especially in Afghanistan. The left side of his party is already making noise about how he should pull out, so the republicans will make quite a noise if he appears to accede to their wishes. He would be accused of claiming to buttress our effort in Afghanistan as a campaign ploy that he finds disposable.

Obama is learning that campaign mode, where he could conform his message to his audience, does not work when in office, where any decision is clear for all to see. This is not an easy job, being president, and it will not get easier for him. Difficult choices must be made, but no matter what he does in Afghanistan, he will be wrong in the eyes of a tremendous number of Americans. But even doing nothing is a decision to be made. Whatever he does, it is better done sooner rather than later.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Entrepreneurs Beware

Entrepreneurs Beware

The effect of democrat control of two thirds of our government are becoming more clear, as we can now compare their campaign promises to their actions in office. They clearly want to give "workers" more and "the rich" less. This is the class envy game writ large. Before these were ideas they argued for in their attempt to achieve power during the campaign. But these actions have already taken effect in some areas, thus the result of these policies are predictable. Detroit has already lost half its population. And if you think unions are bad, just wait and see what happens if democrats put through their "living wage" proposal. I am surprised they did not put it into the fraudulus already.

Democrats clearly value entrepreneurship so low since they assume that economic activity is a zero sum game - less for "the rich" will mean more for "the people" as if overall economic activity will remain the same when entrepreneurs are rewarded at a lower rate. They downplay the element of risk, and the willingness top take risk, in the formation of capital and companies.

It is not supply/demand that creates companies, it is risk/reward. If demand is there but entrepreneurial achievement is less likely, then a few giant bureaucrat-friendly companies will do all the business and the rest will go out of business. Many niche demands will not be met, but what the heck, democrats do not look that far into the future anyway. And who needs so many brands of bread or cars anyway?

This is not socialism, it is fascism. The fascist state finds it more convenient to deal with a few huge corporations instead of all these little greedy entrepreneurs. Look at California today - it is a harbinger of the future democrat/fascist Amerika. We the People get less and less even as Nancy gets a bigger jet and The Won keeps his office at eighty degrees - it is happening already.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rat Board Cometh, Politics Trumps Ethics

Rat Board Cometh, Politics Trumps Ethics

President Obama has revealed himself once again, by forcing inclusion of the "Rat Board," or the "Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board" into his fraudulus bill. The purpose of this new institution is to give Obama control over investigations instituted by Inspectors general. In the words of Byron York the new chief political correspondent of the DC Examiner:
Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.” If the inspector general doesn’t want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he’ll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.
I am especially concerned with that "or refrain from conducting" bit. How in the world would refraining from an investigation enforce transparency? Why would the administration demand the midnight inclusion of such a travesty into his "stimulus?"

Only Nixon would have demanded such power. Obama has no shame. It is up to us to hold his feet to the fire. This board is now the law. We need to make noise until this bald faced power grab is repealed.

Patton Boggs

Patton Boggs

Patton Boggs is an international law firm concentrating in global business and trade since 1962. Their website is here.

Here is the link to their "Patton Boggs Economic Stimulus Analysis". It analyzes the fraudulus bill, in very specific and technical, detailed terms. This is the best explanation of the entire bill I have seen yet (.pdf)

They have committed to keep this analysis and other efforts by the Obama administration to destroy individual liberty current. That's a big job. After all, a trillion dollar bill of a thousand pages represents one billion dollars per page. That takes a lot of analysis!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Little Bit of Climate Fact

A Little Bit of Climate Fact

In the rush to lock in budgets and restrictions on human activities before the fraud is obvious to all, Greenies meet and discuss their cherry picked "facts" about global climate. In an essay by Dutch journalist Karel Beckman called 'Confessions of a Climate Doubter' that has been published in the 'European Energy Review' the following facts are discussed:
The Prime Minister of the Pacific Island of Tuvalu calls global warming a ‘slow and insidious form of terrorism against us’, but you would not know from going to a COP conference that sea levels at Tuvalu have not risen for at least 35 years. You would not know that according to the Swedish sea level specialist Nils-Axel Mörner, there is no long-term trend in global sea level whatsoever, or that according to generally accepted research, there has been no accelerated rise in sea levels as a result of global warming. You would not know that the number of droughts has decreased rather than increased in the world over the past century. You would not know that coastlines are not shrinking; that Antarctic ice is not melting; that some glaciers are melting but others are advancing; that the number and strength of hurricanes has not increased; that polar bears are not being threatened; that sub- Saharan Africa has been subject to droughts for many centuries and it is hard to find any trends in the occurrence of droughts there; that more people die because of cold winters than of hot summers; that climate is not a factor in the spread of malaria; etcetera, etcetera. Indeed, you would not know that on December 11, 2008, the one but last day of the Poznan conference, the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee put out a report announcing that ‘more than 650 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims’, including some highly respected scientists from prestigious institutions. Those are the inconvenient truths that the climate change advocates prefer to ignore.
Zero Base thinkers do not ignore inconvenient facts. They consider the evidence as it becomes available, and they change their beliefs when new facts make former "truth" to be incorrect. There are far too few zero base thinkers in the world of climate hysteria.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gaming the Climate Change Bureaucracy

Gaming the Climate Change Bureaucracy

In an article from Associated Press, no slacker when it comes to fanning climate change hysteria, it is revealed that Chinese authorities are gaming the system set up to transfer funds from European polluters to third world developers. A taste or the article:
Similar stories are repeated across China and elsewhere around the world, as hundreds of hydro projects line up for carbon credits, at a potential cost of billions to Europeans, Japanese and soon perhaps Americans, in a trading system a new U.S. government review concludes has "uncertain effects" on greenhouse-gas emissions.

One American expert is more blunt.

"The CDM" — the 4-year-old, U.N.-managed Clean Development Mechanism — "is an excessive subsidy that represents a massive waste of developed world resources," says Stanford University's Michael Wara.
It seems that projects that have been on the books for years are being represented as new carbon efforts in order to tap into the generous guilt-amelioration program. Clearly things are getting out of hand if even climate alarmists see the flaws in parts of the system. Soon we may see the bloom come off this rose, as the evidence of this massive fraud become too great to sweep under the rug.

A great video from Fred Thompson, who might have made a good president. At the very least he would have given The Won more of a run for his money.

Anyway, watch the video. It is funny in a scary sort of way, and will provide food for thought.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Understanding Americanism

Understanding Americanism

A video that purports to be informative, but ends up being disturbing, describes the system of government we have, and the pitfalls we are facing. Nothing more I can say, other than to recommend that you watch it.

The video quotes Benjamin Franklin at the very end: "we can keep our republic, or we we will inevitably end up with an oligarchy, a tyranny of the elite".

Friday, February 13, 2009

True Cost of the Fraudulus

True Cost of the Fraudulus

Heritage has posted a writeup of the House-Senate compromise on the Fraudulus bill and it is a shocker:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) asked the Congressional Budget Office to estimate the impact of permanently extending the 20 most popular provisions of the stimulus bill. What did the CBO find? As you can see from the table below, the true 10 year cost of the stimulus bill $2.527 trillion in spending with another $744 billion cost in debt servicing. Total bill for the Generational Theft Act: $3.27 trillion
I am speechless, not at the fraud of the congress and Obama, but at the media for keeping this hidden. This has passed insane and gone into criminal. I don’t know how to express in words how enraged I am. I’m having a hard time not personally blaming everyone I know who voted for Obama. This is inexcusable. This is disgusting.

And, for those who like to read the label on the rope before the hangman pulls the lever, the text of the conference report on the Generational Theft Act is finally available.

And, just in case you are not depressed enough, here is more from Tom Coburn's website:

Wasteful and Non-Stimulative Spending in the House-Senate Conference Report (Note: Many of these items are typically debated and funded through the regular budget process. Including these items in an emergency “stimulus” spending bill plays an Enron-style shell game with taxpayer dollars. We’re borrowing from the next generation to avoid tough budget choices today.)
• $8 billion for high-speed railway (including an earmark for an Los Angeles to Las Vegas MagLev)
• $1 billion for the “FutureGen” not-ready-for-primetime near zero emission plant in Illinois
• $53.6 billion for the “state stabilization” slush fund
• $1.3 billion for Amtrak
• $24 million for USDA buildings and rent
• $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
• $290 million for flood prevention activities
• $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
• $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
• $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp program
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
• $650 million for the DTV converter box coupon program
• $360 million for construction of NIST buildings
• $830 million for NOAA research and facilities
• $2 billion for Byrne JAG program
• $10 million to combat Mexican gunrunners
• $125 million for rural communities to combat drug crimes
• $1 billion for the COPS program
• $1 billion for NASA
• $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums
• $400 million for equipment and facilities at the NSF
• $3.7 billion to conduct "green" renovations on military bases
• $375 million for Mississippi River projects
• $10 million for urban canals
• $5 billion for weatherizing buildings
• $2 billion to develop advanced batteries for hybrid cars
• $3.4 billion for fossil energy research (possibly including an earmark for FutureGen)
• $5.1 billion for environmental cleanup around military bases
• $5.5 billion for "green" federal buildings
• $300 million for "green" cars for federal employees
• $20 million for IT upgrades at the Small Business Administration
• $200 million to design and furnish DHS headquarters
• $210 million for State and local fire stations
• $125 million to restore trails and abandoned mines
• $146 million for trail maintenance at National Park Service sites
• $140 million for volcano monitoring systems
• $600 million for the EPA Superfund environmental cleanup program
• $200 million to clean up leaking underground storage tanks
• $500 million for forest health and wildfire prevention
• $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution
• $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
• $1.2 billion for "youth activities" (for "youth" up to 24 years old)
• $500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
• $1 billion for Head Start
• $32 million for home-delivered nutrition services
• $160 million for volunteer programs at the Corporation for National and Community Service
• $500 million earmark for the SSA National Computer Center in MD
• $220 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kerry On Taxes

Kerry On Taxes

Senator Jim DeMint has captured the essence of John Kerry and, presumably, the rest of the democrats explaining how much he believes the American people are too stupid to know how to spend their own money. There is no guarantee, he says, that we will invest the government's money in the right things. Under a minute, this should not be missed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

About Bernie, and the Rush to Judgement

About Bernie, and the Rush to Judgement

I am always amazed when people I consider intelligent accept a prosecution side of a story without even considering that the defense has yet to be heard from. The only words you have heard from Bernie Madoff come from a prosecutor's office, which is imbued, as all prosecutors offices are, with an overpowering urge to win. Any lawyer's argument will be convincing. That is why we must presume some amount of innocence is possible in every case, at least until we hear the other side.

No doubt Bernie is guilty of something here, but exactly what happened and why, we do not know. He clearly did not steal the money, since he does not have it. We think we know that he lost it, and failed to notify his investors of that. Beyond that, you do not really know anything much at all. All we can do is surmise.

Before you make pronouncements of guilt you need to at least hear the other side. Otherwise, you are only passing along accusations. If that is the purpose of our debate, you should label it as such.

Beyond that, there has been little examination of the culpability of those who invest millions of dollars in a single fund, with the promise of very high and regular returns. My grandmother told me that we should never invest all our hopes in a single basket. Those who do have failed in their fiduciary responsibilities.

More Reasons to Hate the Fraudulus Bill

More Reasons to Hate the Fraudulus Bill

The more we read, the more reasons we find to hate this monstrous bill. On Bloomberg today, Betsey McCaughey writes about one of the health provisions of the bill. This small piece of the proposed law places much of the pain we all will have to bear on the elderly. Give it a few years, and that will include me. The references to Tom Daschle in the piece refers to his book, that is apparently the genesis of this proposed provision. A sample:
Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

Hidden Provisions

If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”
Read the whole thing.

Similarly, another piece of this puzzle rolls back Clinton's welfare reform, by removing the work requirement from AFDC payments. The New York Times especially likes this. This will return us to the day when government paid any woman who had a child out of wedlock, whether she had a job or not. I can well remember what the ghetto looked like back then. Why in the world would American blacks do not cry out for this provision to be left out is beyond my ken.

All we citizens can do is sign the online petition to stop the bill from passage. It is the least we can do, and we can all do it. If you have not already done so, do it now.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Obama's Drug Policy

Obama's Drug Policy

President Obama made statements during the campaign about states with legal medical marijuana provisions. He said these states should be allowed to pursue their medical policy unimpeded by federal interference. So far his DEA has continued to raid legal clinics, particularly in California. Maybe his dope cops have not gotten the message yet, but that remains to be seen, especially since he has already broken so many of his campaign promises in the first few weeks of his nascent presidency. But beyond merely leaving decision making to others, maybe "The Won" should reexamine feseral drug policy in general.

Back to basics - a zero base examination of the drug situation in the U.S.A.

There needs to be a dichotomy in the way we perceive and deal with the issue of drug use. We need to discern between the two effects of drug laws, the first being the consequences of drug use upon individuals, and the other being the consequences of public policy toward substance distribution and use. Tobacco, alcohol, heroin, cannabis, and other substances have both good and bad effects on people, and create social and health sequelae on users and their associates. Harm reduction efforts should be undertaken where appropriate.

But laws have consequences as well as the substances themselves, mostly in the areas of driving up the price and the need for incarceration. Is there any doubt that criminal gangs garner their income directly from the prohibition of the substances? Where taxed, a substance provides money to government. Where prohibited, a substance provides profit to black market providers and exact costs on government. The fact of prohibition itself creates the price so high, the profit margins and therefore the excesses of the drug cartels so massive, that their murderous carnage becomes so much a part of the way they do business.

Maybe this is one place where our new cigarette smoking, coke sniffing, Wagyu Steak eating, pot smoking president can actually be effective. The first thing he can do is live up to his promise to stop federal law enforcement from overruling state law about medical marijuana. After that, if the lost "war" on drugs can be shifted towards a harm reduction paradigm from the current prohibition paradigm, the nation can shift untold resources toward real crime and away from the self perpetuating policies of the past.

Does No Earmarks Mean No Pork?

Does No Earmarks Mean No Pork?

Words have meaning. They must, or effective debate is impossible. But as all students of Newspeak know too well, words can be twisted to convey meanings that are not in evidence. Thus "The One" and his minions feel free to state that the fraudulus bill contains no "earmarks," and thus insinuate, and even claim, that it contains no pork. So we need to define our terms.

An earmark is an item in an appropriations bill (or law) that states exactly what money is to be spent on and who will get it, and how. In Wikipedia it is defined as "In US politics an earmark is a congressional provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects..."

Pork is money conveyed to favored constituents in an appropriations bill (or law). Again from Wikipedia "Spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support..."

See the difference? No? Well, these are terms of art, as strange as that shows the art to be. A discussion on NPR tries to make sense of the distinction, coming up with this:
When congressional leaders began to assemble the mammoth economic stimulus bill, top Democrats and the Obama administration decided that there would be no earmarks: no "special projects," no pork-barrel spending. In so doing, they gave up some control over how the money is spent, leaving the decision to public servants around the country.

"Someone has to decide how money gets spent. It's either going to be Congress or the executive branch or states or municipalities," says Fred Wertheimer of the congressional watchdog group Democracy 21.

Lawmakers had good reasons for stripping earmarks from the bill, Wertheimer says, because "they are simply going to become huge targets for attacking the credibility of the package, and they may very well end up as abusive earmarks."

It was a wise political decision, he says. But pulling earmarks out of the bill changes the balance of power in the government. If members of Congress aren't writing into the bill how the money will be spent, then someone else must make those decisions — or, in this case, a lot of people.

"Because there is so much money here, and in so many different forms, there is no single pathway for the money to go out to states and localities," says Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution.

'This Is An Emergency'

When this bill passes, a Niagara Falls of money will flow out of Washington and into the accounts of state highway commissioners, governors and legislatures, local school boards, county executives — even mayors, Binder says.

"It raises a whole host of questions about how efficiently money can be spent, how effectively it will be spent, how quickly money can be spent, just because there's no set process here for determining how money will get out the door to create jobs or, as the president said, to save jobs," she says.

U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn't like being asked about earmarks.

"We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill," he says. "And with all due respect, that's the least important question facing us on putting together this package."

Leaving out the earmarks does mean Congress will have less control over how the money is spent. But, Obey says, "So what? This is an emergency. We've got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that's what we're doing."

That doesn't mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

"The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. We are simply trying to build as many protections in as possible," Obey says.
Now we know. Not using earmarks, a decision which took "about three seconds," merely means that congress has less control over how the funds are being spent. So nameless and faceless bureaucrats are now in control of the uncountable "Niagara Falls" of cash. And this is a good thing?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Next Up: Regulating Salaries

Next Up: Regulating Salaries

Barney "Blowhard" Frank has revealed his leftist zeal and intent to control the means of production. In a Financial Week article reports that:
Congress will consider legislation to extend some of the curbs on executive pay that now apply only to those banks receiving federal assistance, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said.

“There’s deeply rooted anger on the part of the average American,” the Massachusetts Democrat said at a Washington news conference today.

He said the compensation restrictions would apply to all financial institutions and might be extended to include all U.S. companies.

The provision will be part of a broader package that would likely give the Federal Reserve the authority to monitor systemic risk in the economy and to shut down financial institutions that face too much exposure, Mr. Frank said.
While restricting tax deductibility of salary over, say, a half million per year, which Geithner said at his confirmation hearing he might do for bailed out financial firms, might make higher salaries more expensive for companies, may force some sort of profit-based dividend compensation scheme for these firms, Barney wants to ban higher compensation for all financial firms, and beyond.

Barney pushed lending institutions into making more high risk loans, and thus helped to create the difficulties we are currently in, but he is apparently not satisfied. Now he wants to use the real or imagined power of "The Won" to really get down to micro-managing companies on an unprecedented scale."Hope and Change" may soon turn into "Fear and Loathing." Just you wait.

Our new president has boldly stated that "We won - I will trump you on this." Compare that with Ronald Reagan's Initial Actions Project: “The election was not a bestowal of political power, but a stewardship opportunity for us to reconsider and restructure the political agenda for the next two decades. The public has sanctioned the search for a new public philosophy to govern America.” In other words, "we're going to need to argue for our program."

Obama seems to feel that the argument is over. He may soon find that the argument has barely begun.

Eco-fraud on Forests

Eco-fraud on Forests

Today's WaPo has an article on how the poor defenseless forests in The Amazon basin are being burned down by marauding farmers who want the land to selfishly produce food and shelter for the undeserving people of Brazil. Very sad story, all about how mere human hunger is allowed to destroy beautiful forests and drive innocent Beetle species into extinction. Nice.

But, just a few days ago the NYT reported on an amazing fact - that for each acre of forest destroyed worldwide, thirty acres of previously cleared land returns to the forest state. It seems that advances in agriculture and demographic changes are reducing pressure on forests everywhere.

Mere facts will not deter the Eco-fraudsters, however, probably due to the fact that theirs is a political movement, concerned chiefly with the attainment of power. Fooling their constituency, through placement of articles such as these, is merely the means to that power.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Federal Self-Stimulation

Federal Self-Stimulation

Today our fearless leader has posted an Op-Ed in the Wapo, claiming that the sky will fall if congress does not give him another trillion dollars immediately. Democrat chicken littles in the Senate have taken up this clarion call to decisive action. Apparently the reason for the brinksmanship is that more and more of We the People are deciding the bill is a bad idea every day. And with good reason.

In today's Wall Street Journal Daniel Henninger offers his take on the bill and its concentration on giving most of the money to themselves. A sample:
Check your PC's virus program, then pull down the nearly 700 pages of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Dive into its dank waters and what is most striking is how much "stimulus" money is being spent on the government's own infrastructure. This bill isn't economic stimulus. It's self-stimulus.

(All sums here include the disorienting zeros, as in the bill.)

Title VI, Financial Services and General Government, says that "not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be used for construction, repair, and alteration of Federal buildings." There's enough money there to name a building after every Member of Congress.

The Bureau of Land Management gets $325,000,000 to spend fixing federal land, including "trail repair" and "remediation of abandoned mines or well sites," no doubt left over from the 19th-century land rush.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are getting $462,000,000 for "equipment, construction, and renovation of facilities, including necessary repairs and improvements to leased laboratories."
The Opinion Journal Widget

The National Institute of Standards gets $357,000,000 for the "construction of research facilities." The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gets $427,000,000 for that. The country is in an economic meltdown and the federal government is redecorating.

The FBI gets $75,000,000 for "salaries and expenses." Inside the $6,200,000,000 Weatherization Assistance Program one finds "expenses" of $500,000,000. How many bureaucrats does it take to "expense" a half-billion dollars?

The current, Senate-amended version now lists "an additional amount to be deposited in the Federal Buildings Fund, $9,048,000,000." Of this, "not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be available for measures necessary to convert GSA facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings." High performance?

Sen. Tom Coburn is threatening to read the bill on the floor of the Senate. I have a better idea: Read it on "Saturday Night Live."
This is no laughing matter though. It is nothing less than a bald-faced plan to take an immense amount of power from us and empower the Faceless Federals, far beyond what the constitution allows and in a way that the founders most feared. These self serving myrmidons of power fully intend to get themselves past the tipping point, and make more than half the electorate directly beholden to them, with jobs or checks "refunding" taxes they never paid. Prior to the founding of this great nation philosophers debated the very idea of a large nation operating under a system of republican democracy, and some believed that no democracy could survive beyond the point that a majority found that it could vote itself largess from the treasury. We are at that point today. If this monstrous idea is enacted, if this bill passes in its present form, we will have passed that point.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

SCHIP Passes, Cigar Retailers Die

SCHIP Passes, Cigar Retailers Die

So our new president has violated another of his campaign promises. He promised to wait five days before signing any new legislation, so that We the People can review and comment. Another layer of the lies of "The One" has been revealed. Almost without notice, the cigar industry has been decimated.

Every cigar retailer must now pay tax on each cigar in inventory. Many smaller shops will be forced to close. This is without hope, but it is a significant change. The economy may be in trouble, but nowhere is it in more trouble than for families that depend on cigar sales as part of their income. The tax provision in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill will have devastating, unintended consequences.

No family-owned cigar-related business will be able to sell enough at the increased price to remain open, and their employees will become unemployed. The brutal tax burdens from SCHIP will crush the small cigar businesses and the roll-your-own cigarette businesses. Thousands of American jobs in the myriad of support businesses such as tobacco growing, tobacco processing, package manufacturing, transportation and sales operations will be lost. Bush vetoed the last iteration of this travesty, but Obama has no such concerns for the family owned businesses that will be affected by this new tax.

Hope and change, here we come!

The Future of the Turkish State

The Future of the Turkish State

A little discussed linchpin of the Middle East is Turkey, a nation your reporter knows well and remembers fondly. Standing between the West and the East, with a government subject to the shrouded power of its military, Turkey is a beacon to the larger Muslim world. The balance in Turkey between the secularists and the Islamists allows this economic and military powerhouse to be allied with Israel while maintaining its street cred with the Arab masses.

George Freidman of Stratfor has a piece on the geopolitics of the Turkish situation, reprinted here with permission. Friedman's take on the situation differs, as always, from the conventional wisdom, but, as usual, it makes much more sense.

Erdogan's Outburst and the Future of the Turkish State
By George Friedman

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan exploded during a public discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week. Erdogan did not blow up at Peres, but rather at the moderator, Washington Post columnist and associate editor David Ignatius, whom Erdogan accused of giving more time to Peres. Afterward, Erdogan said, “I did not target at all in any way the Israeli people, President Peres or the Jewish people. I am a prime minister, a leader who has expressly stated that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity.”

Nevertheless, the international press focused not on the finer points of Erdogan’s reasoning, but rather on his attacks on Israeli policy in Gaza and his angry exit, which many thought were directed at Peres and Israel. The confusion, we suspect, suited Erdogan quite well. Turkey is effectively an ally of Israel. Given this alliance, the recent events in Gaza put Erdogan in a difficult position. The Turkish prime minister needed to show his opposition to Israel’s policies to his followers in Turkey’s moderate Islamist community without alarming Turkey’s military that he was moving to rupture relations with Israel. Whether calculated or not, Erdogan’s explosion in Davos allowed him to appear to demonstrate vocal opposition to Israel — directly to Israel’s president, no le ss — without actually threatening ties with Israel.

It is important to understand the complexity of Erdogan’s political position. Ever since the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Turkey has had a secular government. The secularism of the government was guaranteed constitutionally by the military, whose role it was to protect the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk — the founder of modern, secular Turkey, who used the army as an instrument of nation-building. The Turkish public, in contrast, runs the gamut from ultrasecularists to radical Islamists.

Erdogan is an elected moderate Islamist. As such, he is held in suspicion by the army and severely circumscribed in how far he can go on religious matters. To his right politically are more hard-line Islamist parties, which are making inroads into Turkish public opinion. Erdogan must balance between these forces, avoiding the two extreme outcomes of military intervention and Islamist terrorism.

Meanwhile, from a geopolitical perspective, Turkey is always in an uncomfortable place. Asia Minor is the pivot of Eurasia. It is the land bridge between Asia and Europe, the northern frontier of the Arab world and the southern frontier of the Caucasus. Its influence spreads outward toward the Balkans, Russia, Central Asia, the Arab world and Iran. Alternatively, Turkey is the target of forces emanating from all of these directions. Add to this its control of the Bosporus, which makes Turkey the interface between the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and the complexity of Turkey’s position becomes clear: Turkey is always either under pressure from its neighbors or pressuring its neighbors. It is perpetually be ing drawn outward in multiple directions, even into the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey has two different paths for dealing with its geopolitical challenge.
Secular Isolationism

From the army’s point of view, the Ottoman Empire was a disaster that entangled Turkey into the catastrophe of Word War I. One of Ataturk’s solutions involved not only contracting Turkey after the war, but containing it in such a way that it could not be drawn into the extreme risk of imperial adventure.

In World War II, both Axis and Allies wooed and subverted Turkey. But the country managed — with difficulty — to maintain neutrality, thereby avoiding another national catastrophe.

During the Cold War, Turkey’s position was equally difficult. Facing Soviet pressure from the north, the Turks had to ally themselves with the United States and NATO. Turkey possessed something the Soviets desperately wanted: the Bosporus, which would have given the Soviet navy unimpeded access to the Mediterranean. Naturally, the Turks could not do anything about their geography, nor could they cede the Bosporus to the Soviets without sacrificing their independence. But neither could they protect it by themselves. Thus, left with only the choice of NATO membership, the Turks joined the Western alliance.

There was a high degree of national unity on this subject. Whatever the ideologies involved, the Soviets were viewed as a direct threat to Turkey. Therefore, using NATO and the United States to help guarantee Turkish territorial integrity was ultimately something around which a consensus could form. NATO membership, of course, led to complications, as these things always do.

To counter the American relationship with Turkey (and with Iran, which also blocked Soviet southward movement), the Soviets developed a strategy of alliances — and subversion — of Arab countries. First Egypt, then Syria, Iraq and other countries came under Soviet influence between the 1950s and 1970s. Turkey found itself in a vise between the Soviets and Iraq and Syria. And with Egypt — with its Soviet weapons and advisers — also in the Soviet orbit, Turkey’s southern frontier was seriously threatened.

Turkey had two possible responses to this situation. One was to build up its military and economy to take advantage of its mountainous geography and deter attack. For this, Turkey needed the United States. The second option was to create cooperative relations with other countries in the region that were hostile to both the Soviets and the left-wing Arab regimes. The two countries that fit this bill were Israel and pre-1979 Iran under the shah. Iran tied down Iraq. Israel tied down Syria and Egypt. In effect, these two countries neutralized the threat of Soviet pressure from the south.

Thus was born the Turkish relationship with Israel. Both countries belonged to the American anti-Soviet alliance system and therefore had a general common interest in conditions in the eastern Mediterranean. Both countries also had a common interest in containing Syria. From the standpoint of the Turkish army, and therefore the Turkish government, a close collaboration with Israel made perfect sense.
Islamist Internationalism

There is a second vision of Turkey, however: that of Turkey as a Muslim power with responsibilities beyond guaranteeing its own national security. This viewpoint would of course break the country’s relationship with Israel and the United States. In some sense, this is a minor consideration now. Israel is no longer indispensable for Turkish national security, and Turkey has outgrown outright dependence on the United States. (These days, the United States needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the United States.)

Under this second vision, Turkey would extend its power outward in support of Muslims. This vision, if pursued to the full, would involve Turkey in the Balkans in support of Albanians and Bosnians, for example. It would also see Turkey extend its influence southward to help shape Arab regimes. And it would cause Turkey to become deeply involved in Central Asia, where it has natural ties and influence. Ultimately, this vision also would return Turkey to maritime power status, influencing events in North Africa. It is at its heart a very expansionist vision, and one that would require the active support of a military that, at present, is somewhat squeamish about leaving home.

Along with Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran and Egypt, Turkey is one of only five major powers in the Islamic world with enough economic and military potential to affect anything beyond their immediate neighbors. Indonesia and Pakistan are internally fragmented and struggling to hold together; their potential is largely bottled up. Iran is in a long-term confrontation with the United States and must use all of its strength in dealing with that relationship, limiting its options for expansion. Egypt is internally crippled by its regime and economy, and without significant internal evolutions it cannot project power.

Turkey, on the other hand, is now the world’s 17th-largest economy. It boasts a gross domestic product (GDP) that is larger than that of every other Muslim country, including Saudi Arabia; larger than that of every EU country other than Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands; and nearly five times larger than that of Israel. In per capita GDP, Turkey ranks much lower on the global scale, but national power — the total weight a country can bring to bear on the international system — frequently depends more on the total size of the economy than on per capita income. (Consider China, which has a per capita income less than half that of Turkey’s.) Turkey is surrounded by instability in the Arab world, in the Caucasus and in the Balkans. But it is the most stable and dynamic economy in its region and, after Israel, has the most effective armed forces.

On occasion, Turkey goes beyond its borders. It has, for example, moved into Iraq in a combined air-ground operation to attack units of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish separatist group. But it is Turkey’s policy to avoid deep entanglements. From the Turkish Islamist point of view, however, a power of this magnitude under the control of an Islamist regime would be in a position to spread its influence dramatically. As mentioned, this is not what the army or the secularists want: They remember how the Ottoman Empire sapped Turkish strength, and they do not want a repeat.
Erdogan’s Challenge and Turkey’s Future

It is not fair to say that Turkey is a deeply divided society. Instead, Turkey has learned to blend discord. At the moment, Erdogan probably represents the center of the Turkish political spectrum. But he is stuck trying to balance three competing forces. The first is an economy that remains robust and is likely to grow further despite suffering setbacks (along with the rest of the world). The second is a capable military that does not want excessive foreign entanglements, and certainly not for religious reasons. And the third is an Islamist movement that wants to see Turkey as part of the Islamic world — and perhaps even the leader of that world.

Erdogan does not want to weaken the Turkish economy, and he sees radical Islamist ideas as endangering Turkey’s middle class. He wants to placate the army and keep it from acting politically. He also wants to placate the radical Islamists, who could draw the army out of the barracks, or worse, weaken the economy. Erdogan thus wants to keep business, the military and the religious sector happy simultaneously.

This is no easy task, and Erdogan was clearly furious at Israel for attacking Gaza and making that task harder. Turkey was crucial in developing the Israeli-Syrian dialogue. This means the wider world now views Turkey’s leadership as regionally engaged, something its risk-averse military is more than a little touchy about. Erdogan therefore saw Israel as endangering Turkey’s military-civilian power balance and squandering its tentative steps into the regional spotlight for what he considered a pointless operation in Gaza.

Still, Erdogan did not want to break with Israel. So he became furious with the moderator. Whether this was calculated or simply reflected his response to the situation he finds himself in is immaterial. The outburst allowed him to appear to break with Israel decisively without actually creating such a rupture. He thus deftly continued to walk his fine line.

The question is how long Erdogan can maintain the balance. The more chaotic the region around Turkey becomes and the stronger Turkey gets, the more irresistible will be the sheer geopolitical pressure on Turkey to fill the vacuum. Add to that an expansionist ideology — a Turkish Islamism — and a potent new force in the region could quickly emerge. The one thing that can restrain this process is Russia. If Moscow forces Georgia to submit and brings its forces back to the Turkish border in Armenia, the Turks will have to reorient their policy back to one of blocking the Russians. But regardless of what level Russian power returns to over the next few years, the longer-term growth of Turkish power is inevitable — and something that must be considered carefully.

For an alternate view of the event in Davos and what it means, check out Powerline's take on it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Not Ready for Rushmore

Not Ready for Rushmore

The heady early days of the Obama administration are already coming to a close. In the beginning, there was "The One," and he was going to save us all. He ran for president presenting himself as a personality, more like Brittney Spears than Abraham Lincoln or JFK. But as he transitions from candidate to executive his cult of personality is losing members by the day, yet he is only two weeks into the actual job we hired him for.

Before he was inaugurated it was suggested that he be carved into Mount Rushmore, beside George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt, or perhaps carve TR into a likeness of Obama. After all, went the story, he would certainly prove to be more important to that dead white guy.

OK, maybe those stories were exaggerated, or at least premature. But schools and streets have already been named after him, and Barack has become a very popular name for babies worldwide. All this over a man of little or no accomplishment, other than the mere fact of his election. That was no mean feat by itself, considering his meager beginnings, being the son of a Kenyan student and a young and apparently confused girl.

The sustaining power of the Obama euphoria is credited, in a piece by Peter Berkowitz in today's WSJ, to the obverse of Bush Derangement Syndrome, (BDS) in which:
At first glance, Bush hatred and Obama euphoria could not be more different. Hatred of Mr. Bush went well beyond the partisan broadsides typical of democratic politics. For years it disfigured its victims with open, indeed proud, loathing for the very manner in which Mr. Bush walked and talked. It compelled them to denounce the president and his policies as not merely foolish or wrong or contrary to the national interest, but as anathema to everything that made America great.

In contrast, the euphoria surrounding Mr. Obama's run for president conferred upon the candidate immunity from criticism despite his newness to national politics and lack of executive experience, and regardless of how empty his calls for change. At the same time, it inspired those in its grips, repeatedly bringing them tears of joy throughout the long election season. With Mr. Obama's victory in November and his inauguration last week, it suffused them with a sense that not only had the promise of America at last been redeemed but that the world could now be transfigured.

In fact, Bush hatred and Obama euphoria -- which tend to reveal more about those who feel them than the men at which they are directed -- are opposite sides of the same coin. Both represent the triumph of passion over reason.
Meanwhile, reality must intrude into the ruminations of those in thrall to this passion. Just as BDS will fade with time, Obama euphoria must yield to the facts and acts that are so much more persistent than campaign rhetoric. Indeed, Obama's poll numbers are already coming down to Earth. A mere two weeks in, two of the young president's top nominees have had to decline their designations, and Obama's "stimulus" plan has had to go back to the drawing board, as a less than compliant political class has revealed more than a little friction between Obama's leftist wish list and political reality.

In a campaign, it is possible to appear to be all things to all people. When faced with the realities and ambiguities of power, one must choose a side. Even in a political atmosphere as one-sided as obtained two weeks ago there are interests and proclivities that supersede mere love. Compromise in a political process can appear to some as indiscretion, or even betrayal. Not for nothing are awards for accomplishment made to wait for the aftermath. The president's poll numbers will continue to decline so long as fewer than one in five Americans approve of the way things are going. Obama himself has noted that he needs to succeed in banishing the economic storm we are sheltering from, or he could be facing a single term presidency. We shall see.