September 23, 2009

‘Turning Japanese I Think We’re Turning Japanese…’

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 6:12 pm

…”I really think so” (c’mon you know the words)!

(The Vapors for those of you thinking “who sang that song?”)

Anyway, I thought this was an excellent article from The New American:

Will the US Learn from Japan?
Written by John F. McManus
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 08:00

“Imagine a team of doctors who think more poison is the solution to poisoning.” That’s the attention-getting opening sentence leading off an invitation to attend a conference exploring the disaster known as the Obama administration. Good analogy! The team of experts currently running this nation has been administering its own type of poison to combat our nation’s economic downturn. Predictably, the recession isn’t ending. Instead, the nation wallows in a self-imposed and deepening quagmire.

…On August 30, Japan’s voters finally said they’d had enough of the ruling political party’s 55 years of almost uninterrupted domination. In a monumentally historic rout, voters awarded the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) 308 of the 480 seats in the Lower House. DPJ already has control of the Upper House via a coalition and is now assured of complete control. The victorious party’s leader, Yukio Hatoyama, will form a completely new government. Defeated Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader, Prime Minister Taro Aso, saw his Lower House representation shrink by almost two-thirds in the August 30 avalanche.

…Japan’s defeated leaders insist they tried everything. And they really did except for the one solution needed above all: get the government out of the way and let the people solve the problem. Japan’s central bank lowered interest rates, increased the money supply, and issued loans to businesses. The government created massive public works programs. There were bailouts for companies and banks, and some were nationalized. And on top of all of this, stimulus packages shoveled money at the people. But after 17 years of all of this governmental action, Japan’s long stagnation continues.

It’s all there for anyone to see. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner could see it if he cared to look. So could the president’s Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers and the Chairman of the Economic Recovery Board Paul Volcker. And we can be certain that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke knows what happened in Japan. These key advisers to President Obama aren’t stupid and aren’t denied access to factual information.

Yet, look at what America’s experts have done in response to our nation’s recession. In every detail, they did exactly what Japan has been doing for 17 years. They cut interest rates, launched public works programs, handed out business loans and bailouts, and created stimulus packages, while the Fed manufactured trillions out of thin air. The result: our nation remains mired in our own slowdown. What happened in Japan is being repeated here.

Read the whole thing here …oh, and good luck NOT getting that song stuck in your head all day.
(Confession: it has just been added to my iPod).

______________________________________

Supplement from Tom: The really sad thing is that Japan itself hasn’t learned from its own experience. The party that took control did some of the same hopey-changey stuff the Democrats did in 2008, but now, as has been the case here, we’re learning that the cure is even worse than the disease, amounting to the “more poison” prescription McManus referred to (from a Sept. 16 WSJ op-ed):

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his newly appointed cabinet have one major task: to pull Japan out of its absolute and relative structural economic decline. The good news is that the Democratic Party of Japan’s landslide victory has given the new ruling party a mandate and a parliamentary majority so strong that policies can be passed quickly. The bad news is that the new leadership team is populated with antireformers, socialists and union leaders who combine an open hostility to free markets, deregulation and entrepreneurship with a romantic longing for a somehow simpler, fairer economic and social system.

The line-up of Mr. Hatoyama’s first cabinet, announced yesterday, leaves little doubt that Japan is about to take a giant economic step backward in both economic and financial policy.

IL High School Engages in Obama Speech Indoctrination (UPDATE: Malkin Links, and Another Example)

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:13 pm

ObamaWorshipTOPSIDE UPDATE: Belated thanks to Michelle Malkin for linking; she has a truly troubling vid at her own post guaranteed to shake up any parent who wants their kids to grow up thinking for themselves.

Michelle also gets a hat tip for linking to a Smart Girl Nation post about a high school teacher’s state-run health care indoctrination. Go to SGN, look at the quiz, and ask yourself, “What do you think the teacher believed is the answer to Question 6? Then compare it to the truth even the apparatchik Associated Press has been forced to acknowledge.

___________________________________

(begin original post)

When Barack Obama made his September 8 speech to America’s schoolchildren, those of us who objected were ridiculed and accused of hypocrisy because Ronald Reagan had given a similar speech in November 1988, even though his successor had already been chosen. Obama’s defenders also conveniently “forgot” that Democrats shrilly objected to a school speech by Bush 41 in 1991, even holding hearings.

Dear Leader’s defenders said, “Hey, this isn’t politics. It’s just a pep talk with no agenda.”

Tell that to the parents of the freshman class at New Trier High School’s frosh-only Northfield Campus. On Friday, September 18, a day already cut short by a planned 12:20 p.m. dismissal, the “Leadership Team” decided to dedicate a 45-minute “extended adviser room” period, accompanied by “follow-up discussions in World History,” to “the significant messages inherent in his (Obama’s) speech.”

Parents were not informed on a timely basis as to what was going to happen, and were given no specific instructions on how to have their child opt out of the “discussions.”

A New Trier parent informed me in an e-mail that at a parent meeting on the evening of Monday, September 14 (bold is mine):

….our Principal, Jan Borja and Assistant Principal Paul Waechtler …. (did not) mention this political ploy, I mean upcoming event. Not a word! …. (Instead) they bravely waited for the cover of our computer screens to let us know their intention (via e-mail). To foist all this on us without mention of opting out only adds further insult to their maneuver.

This means that most parents probably did not learn of the district’s plans until Tuesday evening, giving them all of two business days to mount any kind of objection, thus virtually ensuring that the indoctrination enterprise would come off without a hitch.

Did I say “indoctrination”? Here’s the full text of the Obama-vapored e-mail New Trier sent to frosh parents on Tuesday, September 15 (bolds are mine):

Having watched President Obama’s Speech on Education, the Northfield Leadership Team has decided to take up the teachable moment and to discuss with our freshmen the significant messages inherent in his speech. In our attempt to educate the whole child, we talk often about responsibility, work ethic, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, goal setting, service learning, commitment, and a safe and respectful learning environment. To hear the President of the United States acknowledge these themes in education enhances what we are teaching at the Northfield campus. We believe that the freshman year is the perfect time to begin these conversations.

On Friday of this week the freshmen will have an extended adviser room of 45 minutes. At that time President Obama’s speech will be shown and a discussion, facilitated by the adviser, will take place. We are excited about creating a safe environment where multiple perspectives can be heard. There will also be follow-up discussions in World History classes on that day.

Possible discussion questions for the students on Friday are:

  • Why do you think President Obama listed the responsibilities of teachers, parents, and the government before discussing your responsibility for your education? What does this highlight for you, the audience?
  • What are you “good at” and what do you have “to offer” your family, friends, and community?
  • What could you do here at New Trier that will help you continue to do these things well?
  • At the beginning of freshman year, it is important to start thinking about what direction your life will take. How do President Obama’s words, “write your own destiny” and “make your own future” apply to you right now?
  • In the speech, President Obama spoke of some of the steps of Effective Effort. Identify them, using direct quotations from the text to support your assertions.
  • Respond to President Obama’s final questions for you: “What’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in 20 or 50 or 100 years say about what all of you did for this country?”

Thank you, in advance, for allowing us the opportunity to have these meaningful discussions. We would encourage you to continue these important conversations at home.

Jan Borja, Principal
Paul Waechtler, Assistant Principal

Another parent made the key point in her response to the e-mail that Barack Obama is, or at least should be, irrelevant to what the Leadership Team was supposedly trying to accomplish (bolds are mine):

…. it is with suspicion that I read your intentions to show President Obama’s speech. Is it the message or the messenger you wish to promote? I would agree that the message is a positive one but the messenger need not be a political figure. Why not save the valuable time of viewing the speech, spare yourselves the potential backlash from parents who have concerns regarding the political nature or “big brother” potential of the speeach itself, and focus on the message. It would be quite simple and probably more effective for the students to hear this message in a context more relevant to New Trier students. Have the teachers talk about how lucky the kids are to go to a school and live in a community that does value education. Talk about what their own role in that education might be. Such an approach would also foster a kind of school spirit and connectedness to the educational mission of New Trier.

If it is truly the message you want to impart, it would be very easy to rewrite your discussion questions without introducing Obama, or any political figure, at all. Neither he nor his speech are necessary components to this “teachable” moment you speak of.

As noted earlier, the school day ended at 12:20 p.m., meaning that a large portion of a potential half-day that could have been dedicated to real learning and skill-building was thrown away in the name of barely disguised hero worship.

The above proves that yours truly’s characterization of the speech several weeks ago as indoctrination has been in at least one case proven absolutely correct.

Another question: Who developed the classroom materials and lesson plan? When I briefly spoke with Superintendent Linda Yonke last week, she told me that it was all put together in-house. Though I have no reason to doubt her, I don’t know what would be worse — stealth “suggestions” from a state or federal Department of Education, or a group of teachers so swept away by one man they may never have even met that they would voluntarily steal 90 minutes or so of precious classroom time to promote him.

How many other schools around the country have pulled or plan to pull similar stunts? I would suggest that concerned parents get a binding promise from their school boards that it’s not going to happen — not this fall, not this school year, not ever.

In a separate e-mail I received today, the first New Trier parent makes an important larger point (links added by me):

…. the New Trier example is further proof that we simply can’t turn our backs or let our guard down when we think we have won. Other examples- ACORN – Bertha Lewis responded to Chris Wallace’s question about an “independent auditor” this past Sunday by saying that “You will have that announcement on Monday”. Not happening–we learned Tuesday that they are doing an internal “investigation” with one of their own in charge. Look also to the NEA propaganda quid pro quo story. The White House gets caught, shuffles some employees and the White House said they would review phone protocol, as if the phone was the problem and not the people on the phone!

Major theme: Obama’s Chicago-style, act-with-impunity boldness. Here’s how it goes: 1) Try to get away with as much as possible. 2) When caught, back off and PRETEND to admit the error of your ways. 3) Go right back at it with a new approach when the public attention has moved on to the new scandal de jour.

Given the Obama worship present at “the other NEA” (National Education Association), parents can’t afford to stop paying attention to what their kids are being “taught.” As has been said by generations of authoritarians, “Get ‘em while they’re young.”

Cue the Pink Floyd encore, with revised lyrics:

We don’t need no indoctrination,
We don’t need no thought control,
No forced intrusion into our classrooms,
Obama, leave our kids alone …..
Hey, Obama! Leave our kids alone!
All in all you’re just a guy who’s ruining it all.
All in all you’re just a guy who’s ruining it all.

Are you Kidding Me?

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 12:48 pm

Creep-150x150

Given the Banana Republic he runs, you would think Barry would know by now that you cannot reason with a nutcase. Must be that “Hope” thing (eyeroll)…

From USA Today (notice how they label Iran’s government as “conservative”):

Ahmadinejad proud Holocaust denial angered the West

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday he was proud his denial of the Holocaust had enraged the West, as the controversial leader geared up for a United Nations trip to stress what he said would be a message of “peace and friendship.”

Ahmadinejad’s latest comment about the killing of millions of Jews during World War II comes as Iran is locked in a bitter dispute with the U.S. and other Western nations over its nuclear program. Even as that fight continues, his remarks were sure to earn the Iranian president an even more frigid reception when he heads to New York on Tuesday to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

…Ahmadinejad has repeatedly raised questions about the Holocaust. He has said it has been used as a pretext for Israel’s formation, and that Israel and Jewish groups are actively muzzling any attempt to link shame over the Nazi atrocities with the what many in the Muslim Middle East believe is the West’s bias for the Jewish state at their expense.

The comments have done little to bolster sympathy for Iran’s conservative government, which the U.S. and others believe is looking to enrich uranium with an eye to nuclear weapons production. Iranian officials deny the charge, saying the program is for purely peaceful purposes

…The U.S. administration has invited Iran to start a dialogue on its nuclear program and gave a vague September deadline for Tehran to take up the offer. The U.S. and five other world powers accepted an offer from Iran earlier this month to hold “comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive” talks on a range of security issues, including global nuclear disarmament.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Oct. 1 for talks on the nuclear issue.

They’re not “conservative” you morons, they’re tyrranical.

Sigh. This is exactly why you won’t see many articles from “US(must)pAy Today.”

Man-Up Already, Mitt…

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 9:37 am

The headline says it all…

Romney defends Bay State healthcare
Jim Brown – OneNewsNow – 9/20/2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is defending his Massachusetts healthcare plan from GOP critics, while decrying the government-run plan being promoted by President Obama.

In his address at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Romney touted Massachusetts’ version of healthcare reform. “Not every feature of our plan is perfect, but the lesson it teaches is this: We can get everyone insured, without breaking the bank and without a government option – there is no government insurance in my Massachusetts reform,” he declared.

“The right answer for healthcare is not more government, it’s less government.”

See how he does that? Ends with a strong, sweeping statement hoping that we will just forget the mess he left in Massachusetts. Is he seriously trying to tell us that there is less government since implementing “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts?

Critics of Romney’s plan, which operates much like a health insurance exchange, call it “RomneyCare” and say it is basically “ObamaCare” without the public option — but Romney argues there is a vast difference between the two programs. At the same conference, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee denounced Romney’s healthcare program, saying it “bankrupted” Massachusetts and allows women to obtain $50 abortions at taxpayers’ expense.

Exactly.

Ya know, if Mitt Romney, the liberal over whom conservative women swoon, had just come out and said “We tried this in Massachusetts and it devastated the state,” he wouldn’t look like such a slimeball trying to sell stale snake oil.

Instead, his US deficit-sized ego insists “he” can make it work. Make no mistake, when it comes to self-adulation and superiority, Mitt Romney is the Republican Obama.

Read the whole thing if you can stomach the arrogant a$$.

Elderly Pro-Life Activist Attacked

Filed under: Activism,Life-Based News — Rose @ 9:28 am

Give me just 5 minutes with these low-life pieces of scum…

Ederly Pro-Life Activist Attacked

Ederly Pro-Life Activist Attacked

Elderly Pro-life Activist Attacked, Injured in Flagstaff

September 21, 2009

Operation Rescue urges Christians nationwide to never let pro-life activists stand alone

Flagstaff, AZ – Just a week after Jim Pouillon was shot and killed for his public stand against abortion, 69-year old Johnny Wallace was attacked by two women as he held two non-graphic, text-only signs protesting abortion in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Saturday.

Wallace was alone in front of City Hall on the busiest street in town at the time of the attack with signs that read, “Abortion kills more black Americans in four days than the Klan killed in 150 years,” and “Life begins at conception and ends at Planned Parenthood.” Wallace was known to protest at that location every day.

Wallace was approached from behind by two women, both 48, who began by yelling profanities at him. One then attempted to take way and destroy his sign. After Wallace was wrestled to the ground, the other woman joined the attack.
Paramedics were called and Wallace was treated for minor injuries. He suffered an elbow injury that has required additional treatment.
Both women were cited and released on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and criminal damage.

“Mr. Wallace was simply exercising his God-given rights as an American citizen when he was brutally assaulted because his attackers disagreed with his beliefs,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This attack is especially disturbing because the motivation for the attack on Mr. Wallace was the same motivation that caused Harlan Drake to murder Jim Pouillon.”

“Recently there has been an increasing attitude that it is okay to hurt pro-life people if one does not agree with them. This disturbing trend must stop,” said Newman. “We are thankful that Mr. Wallace was not hurt worse than he was, and pray that the violence against pro-life activists will come to an end.”

Operation Rescue has received hundreds of threats and suffered three acts of vandalism on their headquarters in recent months.

“We cannot depend on pro-abortion groups to rein in their supporters. It is incumbent on the Christian community to come alongside pro-life activists all over the country and stand with them. There truly is safety in numbers. Even Jesus sent out the disciples in groups of two,” said Newman. “We urge pro-life churches to take it upon their congregations to make sure that no pro-lifer stands on the street alone. Christians will find that this is an amazing ministry and evangelical opportunity that is spiritually energizing and satisfying.”

Positivity: Tens of thousands to begin 40 Days for Life campaign on Wednesday

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 8:15 am

From College Station, Texas:

Sep 23, 2009 / 03:29 am (CNA).- The 40 Days for Life autumn campaign will begin on Wednesday in 212 cities, starting efforts like prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, peaceful vigils outside abortion facilities, and grassroots community organizing.

The official effort is scheduled to last until November 1. David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life, said that “tens of thousands of faithful people” will participate in 45 American states, five Canadian provinces and Denmark.

The organization reports it has helped mobilize more than 215,000 people in its two years of work. Their efforts have reportedly saved 1,561 lives from abortion and have been endorsed by dozens of pro-life and pro-family groups.
Religious leaders, including more than 20 Catholic bishops, have also promoted the campaign.

The fall campaign will be the most widespread and longest coordinated pro-life mobilization in history, 40 Days for Life claims. It also alleges a “misinformation blitz” by pro-abortion partisans is trying to smear the campaign

Bereit said Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, was generating “inflammatory rhetoric.” The organization’s Houston affiliate has called on its supporters to “defend women’s health” from the “40 days of harassment.” A St. Louis affiliate has hung a huge “defend the truth” banner from the side of its building.

“Ironically, the truth is something Planned Parenthood tries to hide,” said Bereit. “The truth is that the child in the womb is a human being, and that abortion takes the life of the child and can leave a devastating impact on the mother.”

40 Days for Life reported that 90 percent of the prayer vigil locations are at Planned Parenthood facilities.

The organization has also been part of the Stop the Abortion Mandate coalition, which is working to ensure abortion is explicitly excluded from any proposed health care reform bill. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.

Media Dozes While Social Security Is on the Verge of Negative Annual Cash Flow

SocSecBrokeCard0309Ed Morrissey at Hot Air had the catch of the day yesterday when he revealed, based on Congressional Budget Office internal projections distributed to Congress during the summer, that the Social Security system will spend more cash than it takes in during the government’s next fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Read about it there, or here, because you won’t see the establishment media acknowledge the existence of these revelations.

Morrissey isn’t clear as to when the report was prepared, but if it dates back to July or even early- mid-August, it’s possible that Social Security will show a measly positive cash flow of less than $10 billion when the dust settles on the current fiscal year that will end next week, compared to +$72 billion a year ago. That’s because the decay in Treasury’s cash collections during the current quarter has been that bad.

Here’s the relevant portion of the spreadsheet Morrissey obtained:

SocSec2008to2011perCBOSummer09

The green box shows cash inflows for fiscal 2009 through 2011, while the purple box has the cash outflows. The “Primary Surplus” figures in the red box represent positive (in 2009) or negative (in 2010 and 2011) cash flow.

The rest of CBO’s spreadsheet shows that the system will have tiny net positive cash flows from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2015 (never more than $20 billion), and will begin to go irretrievably negative after that, until by 2019 the cash hemorrhage amounts to $63 billion.

Morrissey points out that the report lays bare the fundamental incompetence and/or dishonesty earlier this year of Peter Orszag, President Obama’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget:

…. Democrats wanted analyses that allowed them to ignore the problems in Social Security, and Orszag was happy to supply them. Douglas Elmendorf has had to right the ship at CBO while Orszag continues to blow his predictions at OMB, most notably in overall deficit projections, which Orszag had to admit were off by more than 40% and $2.2 trillion over the next ten years.

Of course, they were helped along by a complacent media unwilling to do math, and a host of apologists for the Left.

…. The situation at Social Security is much worse than this administration and Democrats in Congress want to admit. They want to continue busting the deficit and creating new entitlements while the existing ones careen towards collapse.

The situation may be much worse than even the CBO portrays.

First, the current year’s projected postive “Primary Surplus” of $18 billion is itself be on shaky ground, because the current quarter has been horrible. Here are the collections of employment taxes, which include both Social Security and Medicare, in July and August of 2009 compared to July and August of 2008 (links are to respective Monthly Treasury Statements; information is at Table 3 of each report, and is the sum of “on budget” and “off budget” employment taxes, numbers are in millions):

July 2009 — $64,003; July 2008 — $65,277; year-over-year decrease of $1.3 billion, or 2.0%
August 2009 — $63,569; August 2008 — $65,440; year-over-year decrease of $1.8 billion, or 2.9%

Employment tax collections in September 2008 amounted to $71.307 billion, and were helped by the fact that there were five high-collection Mondays that month. Because this year has only four Mondays, a $10 billion negative year-over-year September decline in employment tax collections is not out of the question. That would mean a cumulative difference during the quarter of about $13 billion ($1.3 + $1.8 + $10). How much of that is Social Security and how much is Medicare cannot be determined.

Now let’s look at how bad September collections overall have thus far been:

USreceipts092109v092208

Social Security tax collections are part of the first and third line items above, and are more than likely a significant element of their combined shortfall of over $40 billion.

As to future year collections, Morrissey points to work by “steveegg” at No Runny Eggs showing that tweaking CBO’s rather optimistic assumptions of payroll tax growth downward by very small percentages in 2012 and 2013 would cause all future years to come in with a negative cash flow.

Given how poorly the economy is performing, and more to the point, how even the Obama administration has acknowledged that high unemployment rates will linger for quite some time, even the No Runny Eggs scenario may turn out to have been optimistic.

Separately, as to total collections for September, though I believe that $210 -$215 billion is a more likely result, I would not be surprised if this month’s grand total comes in at less than $200 billion. That would be a breathtaking year-over-year decline of well over 25% in one of the most important collections months of the year.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.