March 29, 2010

Foment This

The tired cries of foul concerning allegedly overheated rhetoric in opposition to the president’s agenda are so pathetic that in sensible times they wouldn’t be worth the effort to refute.

But these are clearly not sensible times. Thus what follows, which is based on items in an e-mail whose links check out, is necessary (with some editing and clean-up by yours truly):

Recent violence/threats against conservatives and others for their beliefs and/or societal roles:
- Anti-abortion Protester Shot Dead
- Military recruiter Shot Dead
- Pentagon Shooter: 911 Truther, Anti-Bush Loon & Registered Democrat
- Leftist Issues Death Threats to Palin & Family
- Leftist Death Threats Against Bush Link includes death threats on network TV and in award-winning plays. For extra added fun: a death threat issued by a Nobel Peace Prize laureate is documented.

Leftist Hate Crime Hoaxes:
- Here
- Here
- Here
- Here

Other threats and intemperance:
- Leftist Throws Tomatoes at Palin Of course, being a leftist, he couldn’t aim for sh*t & hit a cop instead.
- Montel Williams hopes for a violent death for Michelle Bachmann
- Vandals Strike Military Recruiting Center
- Leftists Attack UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Home

Leftists Vandalize Churches:
- Here
- And Harass Christians
- Even the NY Times Realizes it
- Leftists Bully an Old Woman over her Prop. 8 Contribution
- “Burn their f—ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers,”

Then there are the peace & love leftists who were going to use their peaceful molotov cocktails at the Republican National Convention (also noted at Powerline over the weekend).

We’ve got your Bush-as-Nazi here.

And, of course, when gov’t worker Bill Sparkman turned up dead with the word “FED” written on his chest, the MSM made the immediate assumption that it was anti-gov’t conservatives who murdered him. The guy killed himself. But he wanted to make it look like a homicide so his son could collect on his life insurance policy. It would have worked if it was the MSM and lefty bloggers investigating his death. Fortunately, the police aren’t as bigoted and let the evidence do the talking (Yours truly noted that the AP and others have never retracted their original reports — Ed.)

Over the weekend, Glen Reynolds did a great job mimicking a “hate-filled eliminationist rhetoric” theme
- Here
- Here
- Here
- Here

- Along with a small sampling of the double-standard two-step

- Ooooh, and some leftists are angry at Rep. Jean Schmidt, so they left a “polite” voice mail outlining their disagreements with her (along with threats of gun violence).

Now we have wire reports of use of the N-word reported despite total lack of evidence in the presence of numerous cameras, taping devices, and microphones, and a bogus claim of deliberate spitting that wasn’t (*). Spare me.

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(*) – If you want real, documented examples of spitting, which loony lefties still deny, go here. Remember that the loons’ standard of proof over Vietnam-era spitting was and apparently still is photographic evidence from an era when the only people who had video cameras rolling were in the press. Numerous testimonials from independent events and unrelated people mean nothing to deniers.

Earn More, End Up With Less, and Even Fork Over Your ‘Wealth’

IRSagentban-marriage-80x801ObamaCare’s “subsidy”-driven prescription for America, even more than its additional taxes and fees, contains powerful and destructive incentives against job creation, personal success — and marriage.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media (under the title “Should Grandma Get Divorced? ObamaCare Says So”), and was teased and extended here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

Additional Note: For those interested in more detail about where the numbers came from:
- See this comment I made at the Pajamas media column (#63, in case the link doesn’t take you straight there).
- Go to this online calculator at the Kaiser Family Foundation. As noted at my PJM comment, it’s useful at middle and higher income levels, but there are other factors that come into play at income levels just above Medicaid.

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It’s interesting, isn’t it, how the truth is coming out about ObamaCare now that the House has passed it and the president has signed it?

On Tuesday, Michigan Congressman John Dingell told WJR’s Paul W. Smith, in response to a question about why much of the legislation doesn’t kick in until 2014, that:

… when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.

Many of us already knew that this has been the agenda all along; but now it’s out there, and they can’t take it back.

David Leonhardt, the propagandist who pretends to be a business reporter for the New York Times, let the redistributionist cat out of the bag in Wednesday ‘s paper in a piece entitled “In Health Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality.” Note: Not merely “income” inequality, “wealth” inequality. More on that in a bit.

Then on Thursday morning, as the Democrat-controlled Senate wrestled with Republican members over stripping certain language from the bill, the Associated Press’s Alan Fram confirmed the wire service’s status as the official propaganda arm of the Democratic Party when he sobbed that these maneuvers might prolong “what has been a politically painful ordeal for the party.” Zheesh.

Much has been written about the legislation’s onerous taxes, including items large and small. One of the biggies is a new 3.8% hit on capital gains, dividends, investment income, and rental income. One relatively small but especially annoying item that betrays the control-freak nature of the bill alongside Congress’s breathtaking economic ignorance is its 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services. One tanning salon owner predicts that 1,000 salons will close within 12 months after the tax goes into effect on July 1. Didn’t somebody say in his January State of the Union address that “jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010″?

Beyond the paramount moral issues relating to the quality and availability of medical care, anyone who believes that ObamaCare will only affect high-income earners and a few isolated industries is in for a rude shock if the legislation is not successfully repealed in time. How rude? ObamaCare’s worst financial provisions have nothing to do with taxes, but instead relate to its subsidies. When they take full effect, their impact will dramatically advance each of three goals described above: income and wealth redistribution, control, and the long-term political power of the far left.

The estimable Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation laid out the numbers on January 20. While Rector’s laudable primary goal was to demonstrate the destructive effect of the subsidy structure on couples’ willingness to get or stay married (which will become apparent without further comment), he also devastatingly detailed what happens to people — married or unmarried — if they simply try to financially advance themselves.

The following information from Tables 2 and 3 of Rector’s post, with boxes added by me, illustrates the overwhelming disincentives of ObamaCare’s subsidy structure. Per Rector, “The subsidies include Medicaid eligibility, insurance premium credits, and out-of-pocket health care expense credits as applicable.” The examples presented involve couples earning equal incomes who have no children.

Brace yourself:

ObamaCareSubsidyPhaseouts032610

The orange boxes represent examples where the subsidy decrease amounts to almost 80% or more than 80% of a couple’s $5,000 increase in combined or joint income. After adding another 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare taxes on top of the typical 15% (or higher) marginal federal income tax rate, the extra $5,000 earned will cost the couple more than $5,000 — even before considering state and local income taxes.

Then there are the purple boxes, where subsidy loss alone amounts to more than $5,000, including one case where it’s more than double that, before considering any other taxes.

The New York Times’s use of “wealth” in its headline for Leonhardt’s story was perhaps accidental, but in reality painfully accurate. People who advance themselves will not only in most cases be left with little or nothing additional to show for their efforts, they will in many situations have to pay for the privilege out of their own “wealth” — or if they don’t have any “wealth” laying around, by borrowing.

There’s a term for a state that penalizes additional earnings on a dollar-for-dollar basis, and it surely isn’t “representative democracy.” I don’t think anyone has yet coined a word describing a political philosophy that is okay with taking more than that. Perhaps it should be “Obamism.” Note that this is far more extreme than virtually anything Europe’s most brazen socialists have attempted since World War II.

Given the disincentives, many and probably most lower- and middle-income Americans will conclude that there’s no point in accepting promotions, working overtime, getting a second job, or attempting any other form of financial self-improvement (except perhaps under the table). They will thus end up stuck where they are. The remarkable income mobility which is so critical to long-term economic growth and prosperity and which has marked this great nation as so unique for centuries will become a distant memory.

Not coincidentally, the “haves” will remain the haves, which takes us back to Congressman Dingell’s statement about “control(ling) the population” and to the far left’s lust for a permanent perch in power without having to endure the “ordeal” of dissent. If ObamaCare is successfully installed, a demotivated population so dependent on government largesse for its very health and its mediocre but low-risk economic well-being will fiercely resist any attempt by those who love freedom and liberty to upset  things in any way.

What Congress and Obama have imposed must be utterly repudiated and totally repealed. An America whose population still believes in the values of its Founders would remove from office anyone who voted for this tyrannical monstrosity — if not in November’s elections, shortly thereafter through impeachment. The question is: Are we still that country?

Debbie Doubles Down: Schlussel’s Follow-up on Hannity, Freedom Concerts, and the Freedom Alliance

Filed under: Business Moves,Scams — Tom @ 8:00 am

I rejected a Blogad pushing Sean Hannity’s new book over the weekend. I would humbly suggest that other bloggers consider doing the same.

I believe that this nominal financial sacrifice is necessary because, sad to say, Debbie Schlussel’s follow-up post (“Big Business: Who Owns the Freedom Concerts?”) to her original (“Sean Hannity’s Freedom CONcert Scam”) has plenty of substance and many serious charges, well beyond what I observed about her original — much more than I have time or space to detail here.

If what she asserts about the relationship between the for-profit Freedom Concerts (FC) and the not-for-profit Freedom Alliance (FA) is true (“only a $4 surcharge on Freedom Concert tickets goes to Freedom Alliance”), I consider the enterprise to be seriously misleading at best.

If the FA is really only getting $4 for each concert attendee plus perhaps a percentage of the gross from merchandise sales, it is getting seriously shortchanged (which then raises questions about how FA raises the rest of its monies, and re-opens the issue of whether its 60%-plus program expense level is justifiable).

If FC’s events and the ancillary activities are also an undue personal enrichment and/or entertainment enterprise for those involved, something for which there appears to be considerable evidence, it’s a double shame.

If FC’s May 3, 2008 Las Vegas event was packaged to appear as another charitable benefit and really wasn’t, as Schlussel claims, that takes the potential deception to a whole new level.

What would Bob Hope say?

Here is perhaps the best indicator that Debbie has hit a bullseye: Her second post went up mid-Thursday afternoon. In the intervening 3-1/2 days, I have seen no attempt by any of those who defended Hannity after Debbie’s original post go to bat for him a second time. I don’t think it’s because they’re naive enough to believe they can ignore her work. I believe/hope it’s because they are leaving it to Hannity, FA, and FC to explain themselves — which they haven’t done, and badly need to do.

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UPDATE: Incoming … You didn’t expect the left not to capitalize, did you? Is that Debbie’s fault?

UPDATE 2: There’s a new March 24 Schlussel post devoted to Hannity’s book tour, further vindicating yours truly’s decision not to take Hannity’s ad. Ouch.

Positivity: Packers Loyalty Saved Man’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Racine, Wisconsin:

Updated: Monday, 15 Mar 2010, 12:48 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 15 Mar 2010, 12:48 PM EDT

Being a Green Bay Packers fan for more than six decades has given Jim Becker decades of excitement, heartache and may even have saved his life.

Becker, 79, of Racine, Wis., attended his first Packers game in 1941 when he was 11. He attended games every season from 1952 to 2008.

While watching Green Bay greats like Ray Nitschke and Bart Starr, he and his wife Patricia also raised 11 children – all Packers fans. Money was tight so instead of taking from the family budget to buy Packers season tickets, Becker would sell his blood for $15 a pint, according to the Packers Web site .

That just may have saved Becker’s life.

While filling out a questionnaire about his family history during a routine physical exam, the doctor noticed Becker had written that his father died at age 43 of hemochromatosis. Testing showed that Becker also had the condition, in which excessive amounts of iron are retained in the blood.

It turned out that the only way to remove the excess iron was to give blood. By that time Becker had donated some 145 pints of blood to pay for his season tickets.

“If he hadn’t, he very well may have died like his father. His love of the Packers saved his life. To this day he still donates three to four times a month,” reads a submission nominating Becker as the 12th member of the Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame. …

Go here for the rest of the story.