June 23, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson: ‘This Is The Moment’

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:17 am

It’s redundant to refer to a Victor Davis Hanson piece while suggesting that you “read the whole thing,” but …. read the whole thing.

Here’s a small snip:

So why speak out louder? (Does not Obama see that the world has been given a rare chance, thanks to brave Iranians—as if the German people had risen up in 1938 in fear of what was on the horizon)

1) It is the moral and right thing to do to support the brave and idealistic (the Congressional Democrats mostly get this. And, after a week of embarrassment, the “I worship whoever runs the White House” pundits are not far behind and scrambling to retract and revise last week’s obsequious columns.). The dissidents in fact can win in this new age of private instant communications, in which global news is not predicated on elite correspondents and news desks editors, but can flow globally and instantaneously, unfiltered, with unforeseen consequences.

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UPDATE: This AP report, notably from Cairo (“Iran stiffens stance against protesters”; time-stamped June 23 at 10:18 ET when seen), has little encouraging content.

Lucid Links (062309, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:09 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

Not a lot scares Chuck Norris. But, as is the case with Lou “God Bless Him” Pritchett, Barack Obama does (also at WND, HT Oxpecker).

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Larry Kudlow (HT Instapundit) engages in what I hope is not premature e-celebration while making a strong point — “It looks like President Obama’s big-bang health-care reform is going down to defeat. This is good. But my question is why do we need it at all? According to a recent ABC News/USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health care. That could mean up to 250 million people are happy. So why is it that we need Obama’s big-bang health-care overhaul in the first place?”

Because, of course, it’s not about happiness, or better service delivery, or any of that other self-evident blather easily exposed as nonsense when looking at the experience of other countries. It’s about control.

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More posturing economic sludge – “Obama wants new council to help auto industry.”

Haven’t you guys tired of ruining the auto industry and the rest of the economy yet? This is simply more bureaucracy that will pretend to deal with the problems created by the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy a year ago.

As I said in my Pajamas Media column, posted at BizzyBlog earlier this morning, “…. they (and their party) sowed the seeds of a serious economic decline. Now they, and sadly we, are reaping the whirlwind.”

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I’m finding the self-congratulatory “revolution is being televised, YouTubed, and Twittered” observations being made in various quarters more than a little hard to take.

Of course, it’s important that images, video and on-the-street reports are escaping from Iran. But it’s incredible that alleged leaders, and some pundits who should know better, seem to actually be thinking that the exposure will be enough to topple an evil regime, and excuses them from their moral obligation to speak out and act.

Maybe “the whole world is watching” so-called “strategy” will be enough this time. But if so, it will only be due to extraordinary luck. It didn’t exactly work at Tiananmen, did it? Though there were fewer tools 20 years ago, there were enough of them to matter; we saw and knew what was happening.

Michael Ledeen has it right when he sadly observes (at PJM’s home page) that “the brave Iranian people are right to believe nobody in the outside world will help them. They’re on their own,” and concludes his column by noting that it “is indeed a great pity, and a terrible stain on our national virtue.” In 1981, Poland wasn’t on its own (HT Mark Levin).

We had a virtuous leader then; the jury’s deliberating on the current one, and it’s not looking good.

Joe Biden Explains It All

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:44 am

BidenConfused0609.jpgNote: This item originally appeared on Sunday at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog that same day.

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The VP in effect admits that his Party risked the economy to pander for votes.

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Vice President Joe Biden broke form and did everyone a favor during his June 14 “Meet the Press” interview when he told the country that “No one realized how bad the economy was” in the run-up to February’s passage of the so-called “economic stimulus” package that nobody read.

The former presidential candidate and proven serial plagiarizer (far beyond the infamous Neil Kinnock incident) is still the best reason for hoping that President Barack Obama, for all his very considerable faults, has an ever-vigilant Secret Service detail.

As long as Obama’s protection is in place, Biden can continue to be the gaffe-prone politician who has almost surely piled up more flubs and follies since his August 2008 selection as VP than the thirty Dan Quayle allegedly accumulated in four years. At least Quayle could count to four (Biden has shown that he can’t) and knows the difference between a plus sign and a minus sign (Biden doesn’t, at least when talking about Louisiana). As long as the president is safe, we can relax knowing that Biden’s ego-aggrandizing rewrites of history will be of no significance beyond their entertainment value.

Economically speaking, as long as he is kept away from serious future duties, Joe Biden will be best remembered as the alleged “friend of the little guy” who, as Senator from MBNA – er, I mean Delaware –supported 2005′s one-sided, creditor-financed, consumer-hostile effort known as bankruptcy “reform” that did virtually nothing to rein in abusive lender practices. At the time, columnist David Broder accurately noted that “the Senate…. shot down virtually every attempt to separate the sheep from the goats and carve out protections for the average family trapped by circumstances.”

But let’s get back to the Vice President’s “Meet the Press” comment. There’s a reason the White House didn’t appreciate how bad the economy was early this year, and it’s simply this: They didn’t realize how much damage they had done to it going back to June of last year.

At that time, in the name of electoral victory, and with the help of their party, the architects of what I have for the past year been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy –Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Harry Reid — deliberately took positions and actions that were destined to take down the economy, seriously underestimating the harm they would do to its fragile-but-decent condition.

They thought they could gain votes by promising, almost gleefully, to severely tax the nation’s most productive people, increasing their marginal tax rates by up to 17% (12.4% Social Security plus 4.6% federal income tax), so they could redistribute individual amounts that are relative pocket change to everyone else. Even as it became clear that the economy was struggling, Obama irresponsibly ramped up the rhetoric further. Days before the election, he accused those who opposed his tax increases of wanting “to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

They thought they could gain votes by repeatedly telling the electorate of their intent to dramatically reduce and ultimately abandon the use of fossil fuels, seemingly regardless of whether viable replacement energy sources exist. Obama shamelessly (or ignorantly?) peddled the absurd notion that “we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires.”

They thought they could gain votes by capitalizing on the housing and mortgage-lending mess when it came to a head in September, falsely framing the situation as a greed-based regulatory failure. Last time I checked with the eminent Thomas Sowell, “Lenders did not spontaneously begin to lend to people who would not have qualified for loans under the traditional criteria that had evolved out of years of experience in the market.” Instead, it was the Democrat-inspired collection of mandates, otherwise known as “regulations,” that had threatened or forced financial institutions into these unsustainable lending arrangements.

In sum, Team Obama underestimated in January 2009 how much they and their Democratic cohort’s pandering for electoral advantage trashed the economy during the final seven months of 2008. They underestimated how many businesspeople, entrepreneurs and investors engaged in anticipatory downsizing during the second half of 2008 as a result of the rhetorical horrors they witnessed from their country’s likely and then victorious leaders.

Well, Pelosi, Obama, and Reid got their precious votes. In the process, they sowed the seeds of a serious economic decline. Now they, and sadly we, are reaping the whirlwind.

After the election, it only got worse.

Democrats cheered in December when a lame-duck president expanded the bailout effort to the auto industry. It had Obama’s strong encouragement – never mind the “who’s next?” uncertainty it injected into the entire economy.

Once at the controls, with the serious recession they caused already going strong, Pelosi, Obama, and Reid ignored options to reverse it that have historically worked (tax cuts, opening up domestic exploration and drilling, etc.) in favor of an inherently time-delayed, ineffective “stimulus” plan that, like its predecessors in 1930s America and 1990s Japan, hasn’t stimulated anything, and is well on its way to becoming the Mother of All Boondoggles.

Thus, in the one-year anniversary month of the POR Economy, now the POR Recession as normal people define it, the carnage continues. The White House predicted that unemployment would peak at 8% if the stimulus plan passed, but it’s already at 9.4%. Obama has conceded that it will hit 10%. Odds are that once again he’s underestimating.

Positivity: Man, 83, Lands Plane on Expressway

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Miami, Florida:

Updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon, Jun 22, 2009

An 83-year-old pilot was forced to land on a busy expressway Sunday morning after experiencing engine trouble.

Ralph Squeglia, who has been flying since 1944, said he was careful to avoid moving cars as he landed the plane on a stretch of the Sawgrass Expressway, just north of Oakland Park Blvd.

“It was a perfect landing,” he said as he stood near the plane waiting for Federal Aviation Administration officials to arrive on the scene to conduct an investigation.

But it was not so perfect once he landed.

“I was rolling straight and my tail wing broke, causing me to veer right,” he said.

“Then the wing hit a light pole and I ended up here.”

The homemade single-engine Hummelbird plane ended up on the side of the expressway as shocked drivers looked on. Squeglia was not injured. ….

Go here for pictures and the rest of the story.