Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Obama said: "Joe Biden is an Asset"

"Folksy" Joe Biden is an asset, but to whom? Certainly at this time, when Republicans are taking the momentum off the Democrat's mad rush towards socialized heathcare and economically ruinous "tax charade" environmental protection, Biden's comments are a welcome distraction causing Democrats to lose their focus and to expose their lack of credibility.

In terms of credibility, how credible is the Obama Administration when it rushes to declare "Joe Biden is an asset" as once more his remarks cause them to make embarrassing denials and explanations?

Folksy Joe already said Democrats didn't understand how bad the economy was, and that even if they did everything right they had as equal a chance of failure as success.

Actually, this was one of the few times Folksy Joe got it right.

For a small compilation of Folksy Joe's dumb remarks, click on the "Joe Biden Dumb Remarks" label below (and find out why I nicknamed him "Folksy Joe")

Several months ago I posted this comment in reply to a comment from a Biden supporter. I enjoyed rereading it so much, that just had to add it to this latest:

The Main Stream Media overlooked one of Biden’s many “Dan Quayle” moments, when Biden didn’t know that his Democrat saint, FDR, was not president when the stock market crashed in 1929, and that television was still over a decade away.

What do you think? Isn’t Biden’s comment dumber than Dan Quayle not knowing that, unlike the plural “potatoes,” the singular has no silent “e”?

Democrats called Dick Cheney a "Chicken Hawk" because of five student deferments that kept him from being drafted. I wonder what Joe Biden will be called? He also had five student deferments, then was classified 1-Y (undraftable except in a national emergency) because of childhood asthma.

In "Promises to Keep," a memoir that was published last year and became an instant best-seller after he was tapped as Obama's running mate, Biden never mentions his asthma, recounting an active childhood, work as a lifeguard and football exploits in high school.

Isn't this the same Joe Biden who is so proud of his vitality?

With the political and military acumen that typifies Democrats, Joe Biden pronounced the “surge” a failure just as it was proving just the opposite. Joe Biden on the surge: "The surge isn't going to work either tactically or strategically,” Biden told the Boston Globe last summer. “Tactically it isn't going to work because ... our guys go in and secure a neighborhood, but because we don't have enough troops, we have to turn it over to the Iraqis, and they can't hold it or won't hold it."

More Democrat wishful thinking? They wanted the surge to fail in the worst way.

When asked by George Stephanopoulos if he had said “The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training,” concerning whether Obama was ready to be President, Joe Biden said one of the few things he has gotten right: "I think I stand by that statement."

I’ll bet he won’t stand by it today.

That was one of the few signs Joe Biden has shown of having any sense. While he was dumb enough to get caught for plagiarism, he was doubly dumb by plagiarizing an ineffective British Labour leader, Neil Kinnock. For those who protest that Biden’s plagiarism was accidental, we have voluminous evidence that Biden is a stranger to truth from his undergraduate days: "Within days, it was also discovered that as a first-year law student at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Though the dean of the law school in 1988 as well as Biden's former professor played down the incident of plagiarism, they did find that Biden drew 'chunks of heavy legal prose directly from' the article in question. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record.

Biden also released his undergraduate grades, which started off poorly and remained unexceptional. Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the 'top half' of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85), that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees. In fact he had received two majors, History and Political Science, and a single B.A., as well as a half scholarship based on financial need.

Note to Obama: Silence is Golden

The New York Times that wouldn’t let the Bush Administration keep classified information secret, now wants to give cover to an Obama Administration that can’t keep its mouths shut.

It starts at the top, of course. Obama put his foot in it when he stupidly said the Cambridge, Massachusetts cops “stupidly” arrested Gates. He not only put his foot in it, he then shot himself in the foot because he let all the air out he was trying to pump into creating socialized healthcare.

Just when he had everyone’s attention focused on healthcare, he made himself his own distraction.

Now a video just surfaced via the Drudge Report of Obama complaining to Randi Rhodes on “Air America” that the Bush Administration rushed legislation through before anyone had a chance to even read it, let alone debate it.

Talk about the “pot calling the kettle black.”

This cliché means that Obama is a hypocrite, and has nothing to do with race, quite unlike Obama’s remark about the Cambridge police officer.

The number one loose tongue, however, is and remains “Folksy” Joe Biden. Who can forget his “The government has to spend to keep from going bankrupt”? Liberal pundits were quick to come to his defense: “You know, it sounds funny, but the Vice President is right.”

Then California is in great shape because the California Legislature has spent like a New Jersey politician for the past decade. As California tax revenues went down, California public employment went up. Medi-Cal went up. Anything and all things Californians said they needed – except tax cuts – were funded and immediately became sacrosanct, never to be cut, let alone eliminated.

After being ridiculed for his remarks about our economy, Folksy Joe then brought ridicule on the economy that serves as a model for Democrats, Russian socialism.

“They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable," Biden said in the interview.

"I think we vastly underestimate the hand that we hold," he said in an interview to The Wall Street Journal published Saturday.

Biden said Russia's economic difficulties are likely to make the Kremlin more willing to cooperate with the United States on a range of national security issues.

Not any more, Folksy Joe.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blue Dogs are not Pelosi’s “Amen Choir”

(Click on this for a larger, although still completely unintelligible chart of the Democrat plan for Obama Care)

Democrat leaders want to do something that I would like them to do.

That’s usually not a good idea for Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, and the usual Liberal Democrat leadership suspects are frustrated that the “Blue Dogs” (conservative Democrats) on Waxman’s House Energy and Commerce Committee want to exercise their rights to shape the Obamacare Bill more to their liking. (Link here)

Democrat leaders are appalled they would do that. If the “Inner Nancy” were allowed to speak, she would say to the Blue Dogs: “You mutts are here to approve my legislation, so keep your paws off. Now ‘sit!’”

Queen Nancy knows she’s the power behind the throne, and so does Obama.

Fortunately for taxpayers, and recipients of the best healthcare in the World, the Blue Dogs know their constituents didn’t elect them to be Liberal lapdogs. They know that the Republicans they replaced will be replacing them soon if they support Pelosi’s Liberal San Francisco Democrat agenda.

Democrat leadership would like to bypass the Blue Dogs on Waxman’s committee and have their healthcare bill voted on by the whole House. I whole-heartedly endorse this Democrat strategy.

Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats will defeat Obamacare when the full House votes, resulting in a double ding against Democrat leadership: an embarrassing defeat for Obama and Pelosi, destroying their healthcare reform credentials, and total alienation of the Democrat’s conservative wing. The Blue Dogs will lose all trust in their leaders, but their constituents will wonder why they elected them instead of Republicans in the first place?

As Democrats do the same to the United States that they’ve already done to California, a lot more voters will be asking the same question.

Rebuttal of Physicians for National Health Program Myths

(Click on this chart of "Obama Care" to see what a bureaucratic jungle the Democrats are planning. It will be more costly - naturally, it's a government program! - with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the DMV.)

A friend and neighbor sent a "copy and paste" essay to our local weekly newspaper, The Independent Coast Observer (ICO). This week they published my rebuttal, which is not complete since, unlike the article I'm rebutting, I'm actually gathering facts and including links to their sources. The following is my rebuttal so far:

The ICO could have saved over 1,000 words by just printing this link instead of the Open Space “Facts about single-payer care” article which was provided word for word by the very biased Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). However, since the ICO promoted the PNHP position, fairness and balance would indicate allowing space to point out its egregious errors and omissions. Here are just a few:

Myth: 50 million Americans (16%) are uninsured. Truth: The Census Bureau (2005) reports the number is 47 million. Of the 47 million, approximately 10 million are illegal aliens. Even Michael Moore agrees that being “an American” matters to get health insurance. Discussing “Sicko” on ABC’s “Nightline” Moore said: “That’s the only preexisting condition that should exist. I am an American. That’s it.”

Another 17 million make more than $50,000 per year (well above the median household income of $46,326). Why are households with above the median income uninsured? Forty-five percent of the uninsured will only be that way for less than four months according to the Congressional Budget Office, and 60% say they are in excellent or very good health. (Link here)

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media report. Kaiser’s 8.2 million Americans (2.7%) chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more.

Myth: Private insurance administrative costs are high, and most are unnecessary. Truth: Medicare’s administrative costs are much higher than private insurance, and include far more unnecessary expenditures. (Link here) In 2005, Medicare's administrative costs were $509 per primary beneficiary, compared to private-sector administrative costs of $453.

Medicare’s costs are higher even though what the public plan advocates claim as Medicare costs do not even include enormous Medicare expenses, the largest of which is Medicare fraud and waste. Researchers at Dartmouth estimate that waste (including fraud) consumes about one-third of Medicare's costs. That is, to deliver $100 of frugal care, Medicare spends $150, $50 of which is for unnecessary use.

Knowing Americans are weak in math, advocates of a public plan assert that Medicare has administrative costs of 3 percent (or 6 to 8 percent if support from other government agencies is included), compared to 14 to 22 percent for private employer-sponsored health insurance (depending on which study is cited), or even more for individually purchased insurance. Why the difference? It’s simple math. Medicare patients are older and consume more expensive medical services than the average private insurance policy holder. When you divide the Medicare administrative cost numerator by the very large total cost denominator, you get a smaller administrative cost percentage, even if total administrative costs were identical for Medicare and private insurance.

This is compounded by Medicare not being charged or allocated costs that private insurers bear, such as state “premium taxes” that average two percent, and depreciation, maintenance and repairs, and utilities costs for offices in public buildings.Excluded Medicare administrative costs (from the American Medical Association Proposal for Reform) (Link here):

• Tax collection to fund Medicare—this is analogous to premium collection by private insurers, but whereas premium collection expenses of private insurers are rightly counted as administrative costs, tax collection expenses incurred by employers and the Internal Revenue Service do not appear in the official Medicare or NHE accounting systems and are overlooked
• Medicare program marketing, outreach and education
• Medicare program customer service
• Medicare program auditing by the Office of the Inspector General (which is costly but does little to eliminate the enormity of Medicare fraud)
• Medicare program contract negotiations
• Building costs of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) dedicated to the Medicare program• Staff salaries for CMS personnel with Medicare program responsibilities
• Congressional resources expended each year on setting Medicare payment rates for services

Myth: Medical bills contribute to half of all personal bank­ruptcies. Truth: Mortgage and rent payments, automobile payments, insurance, unemployment, over-exuberant credit card use, etc., “contribute” as much or more to personal bankruptcies than medical bills. (Link here) When other researchers analyzed the Harvard study that concluded half of all personal bankruptcies were related to medical bills, they found that only 17 percent were, and concluded that “medical debt is like any other debt -- a cause but not the most important cause of bankruptcy.”
(Medical bills - and fraud, waste, and abuse - have already contributed totally to one significant bankruptcy: Medicare.)

Myth: We pay for national health insurance, but don't get it. Truth: Workers pay 2.9 percent of their earnings into Medicare, which is already bankrupt (technically, not until 2017 when its mythical trust fund runs dry, but Medicare is already paying out more than it is taking in, even though the first Baby Boomer doesn’t start Medicare until 2011). The Medicare rate will have to be raised to 13.4 percent just to maintain promised benefits. (Link here)

After adding on the inadequate12.4 percent for Social Security, workers will have to pay 25.8 percent of their pay (not tax deductible) before paying income, property, and sales taxes, plus exorbitant energy taxes to fund the futile battle against natural climate change.

Myth: Despite spending far less per capita for health care, Canadians are healthier and have better measures of access to health care than Americans. Truth: The 2002-03 Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health concluded, on average, health status in Canada and the U.S. is approximately equal. However, Canadians suffer long waits for many surgical procedures.

The Canadian Supreme Court struck down Quebec's law that prohibited private medical insurance, finding against having to wait a year for hip-replacement surgery. In finding for the plaintiffs, Canada's high court said, "The evidence in this case shows that delays in the public healthcare system are widespread, and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public healthcare...(and endure)… physical and psychological suffering that meets a threshold test of seriousness. Many patients on non-urgent waiting lists are in pain and cannot fully enjoy any real quality of life. The right to life and to personal inviolability is therefore affected by the waiting times." (Link here)

The rest of the PNHP article was similarly replete with misinformation which I will expose in even greater depth on my website (I'm working on it!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Deficits for Dummies

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the government’s financial bailout programs, says that a series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion– a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.

Since the unfunded liability for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security is triple Mr. Barofsky’s bailout estimate – more than the entire World’s economic output for a year – it’s interesting how Democrats and their enablers in the Main Stream Media avoid mentioning it. On the contrary, faced with Mr. Barofsky’s report and enormous unfunded liabilities, the Democrats want to blow trillions more on healthcare and energy “reform.” Their logic is probably that since their hole is so big, no one will notice they are still digging.

Unfortunately for Obama and his Prosperity Thieves, we will notice when the Democrats’ borrowing and spending causes “stagflation” – the old Carter era word for a stagnant economy coupled with inflation. Our taxes will go up along with unemployment, while tax revenues drop as total income falls. Inflation will eat up our investment values and property values will stall or fall.

Then, to compound the agony, the best healthcare system in the World will be trashed, and our industries and lifestyles will be destroyed in a futile attempt to stop natural climate change. We'll be a little bit warmer as we stand in long lines waiting for rationed healthcare to deny us hip replacement surgery because while we were waiting we became too old or feeble to pass the bureaucratic approval standards: "If you had hip replacement surgery five years ago, you would be OK, but now your body has deteriorated so much because of physical inactivity that an operation would be waste of scarce Universal Healthcare dollars."

Don't tell me this won't happen. I've already seen it happen to my buddy Arthur in England. His scheduled hip replacement was rescheduled year after year because England's National Health Service ran out of funds each year for surgeries to correct "non-life threatening" conditions, until finally a hip replacement wouldn't do him any good because of muscular atrophy.

You're next.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Folksy Joe" Biden, Humorist

This was the Drudge Report headline link July 17, 2009 to “Folksy Joe” Biden: 'WE HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO KEEP FROM GOING BANKRUPT'

Here’s what Folksy Joe said at an AARP event in Alexandria, Va.:

“And folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable. It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially.”

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden said.

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”

Just above Folksy Joe’s headline, Drudge linked: CBO: Federal budget is on unsustainable path..., in which the Director of the Congressional Budget Office explained that current spending, and the resultant enormous increase in public debt, has put “…the federal budget … on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run.”

Just above the CBO Director’s report, Drudge linked: UPDATE: Senator quashes department's bid for cartoonist... The Treasury Department had wanted to hire a cartoonist to “… conduct two, 3-hour Humor in the Workplace programs that will discuss the power of humor in the workplace [and] the close relationship between humor and stress.”

The ad was cancelled when they found they didn’t need to hire a humorist, they could just have someone read Folksy Joe’s remarks at their meetings.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Good Ideas for Health Care Reform

There are a lot of good ideas for reforming health care.

Unfortunately, the Democrats don't know any.

Healthcare should be reformed to improve portability, affordability, and availability.

The Democrats, a wholly owned subsidiary of the labor unions, will never bite the bullet for real reform, which simply is to end the exemption of employer-provided healthcare from income taxation.

From my readings of taxation documentation, it is abundantly clear that all compensation is taxable, except that which is excluded by Congress. Why some is excluded has everything to do with politics, and nothing to do with tax equity. The same congress people that mount soapboxes and proclaim their progressive principles never give a thought that exempting employer-provided healthcare is the largest and one of the most regressive special interest tax breaks.

Employees who think they're getting a good deal by having their employers provide healthcare should think again. For example, I worked for Lockheed Corporation after retiring from the Air Force. As a military retiree, I had lifetime medical coverage for myself, my wife, and children until they completed college or turned 18 if they didn't go on to college. Lockheed also insisted on providing me and my family healthcare, and when I told them I was already covered and that they could just pay me what they would be paying for healthcare, they said they didn't work that way. So there I was, getting something of no value to me, getting no use from a "benefit" that had its cost deducted from my compensation. In essence, I was forced to pay hundreds of dollars a month for nothing.

Another example. A Lockheed co-worker had a great offer of employment with a Silicon Valley hi-tech company, but couldn’t take it because his wife had a medical condition that would make it impossible for him to get health insurance when he left Lockheed.

Just at Lockheed there were examples galore of employees not getting full value or control from their Lockheed-provided medical coverage.

Hoever, when you enter the world of the self-employed you find that employees provided health care by their employers don't have a lot to gripe about, since they get tax-subsidized healthcare, and the self-employed don't. To further rub it in, the self-employed also get to help subsidize the healthcare of others through their taxes and their higher healthcare premiums (since they don't have the clout with the insurers of the big employers).

As usual, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute have intensively studied this issue and proposed thoughtful solutions. The Cato proposal of Large Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) would be a perfect reform: it would be portable, flexible, only involve tweaking the existing HSA legislation, and would reintroduce market forces into healthcare to promote competition and affordability.

To learn more, go here for the Cato Institute analysis and proposal, and here for the Heritage Foundation.
You'll never get this information from Democrats or the Main Stream Media because they know that knowledge is power, and to them Americans' ignorance is bliss.

We Beat Global Warming!

"The Group of Eight industrialized nations joined with developing countries in agreeing Wednesday that average global temperatures shouldn't increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius in a significant new acknowledgement in the fight against global warming."

Thirty years of NASA satellite measurement show that, as of June 2009, we are essentially back to the temperatures of 1979. For those wishing to dispute the satellite numbers, they come from the same NASA that gives us James Hansen, the Apostle of Man-Caused Global Warming.
This is wonderful news, since even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has steadily reduced their warming estimates: "In 1996 a new IPCC prediction was for an increase of 0.8 degrees to 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 - less than half the warming in twice the time."

This was followed by: "A U.S. government survey of the global climate model literature predicted even less warming - between 0.5 degrees and 2.0 degrees Celsius by 2100."

James Hansen, whose 1988 pronouncements started the clamor for action to prevent global warming, wrote in the 1998 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that "the forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with accuracy sufficient to define future climate change."

Now Hansen is even more forthright:

Urging caution regarding “implausible” and “unduly pessimistic” IPCC climate scenarios, NASA’s Hansen opts for observations to guide his forecasts of a 0.75ºC temperature rise by the year 2050.

NASA’s James Hansen, who is widely credited as being the “father of global warming” recently wrote that the climate change scenarios put forth in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) “may be unduly pessimistic,” and that the IPCC extreme scenarios are “implausible.” In fact, he argues, the observed trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations for the past several years fall below all IPCC scenarios, so consequently future temperature rise will most like be about 0.75ºC during the next 50 years.

Hansen makes these claims in articles including “Defusing the Global Warming Time Bomb,” which appeared in the March Scientific American. He bases his conclusions on simple empirical evidence that he considers more precise and reliable than model results “because it includes all the processes operating in the real world, even those we have not yet been smart enough to include in the models.”

Mr. Hansen, I'm sure you have his number, so would be so kind as to tell Mr. Gore all this so we can get on to solving real problems?

Like Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security unfunded liabilities of over $80 trillion, and they come due long before 2100.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Al Gore's Twenty Feet-In-Mouth Problem

Going shopping with Al.

Some things are so obvious they're hard to see.

For example, the most dramatic part of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was the scenes of flooded city streets and the ominous prediction of a 20-foot rise in sea levels by 2100. According to Al, this was the most damaging aspect of global warming, and the reason that "Something must be done, and it must be done now!"

Al continues to beat the panic drum, now comparing inaction on stopping global warming to inaction on stopping Nazi Germany. And the reason we must do it now, of course, is that awful flooding is eminent.

What else could make us join his march to save the world at great expense and loss of economic progress? The threat that the growing season will be longer? That crops will grow better and make better use of water resources? That the thundering herds that voted for global warming with their feet by moving south won't have to move as far now? That the world may become as warm as during the Holocene Climate Optimum of 5,000 to 9,000 years ago, when civilization began and thrived?

Maybe Al intends to rally us to the cry, "Turn back the Industrial Revolution!" He wants us to repudiate the mastery of energy that enabled us to transition from man power, t0 animal power, then wind and water power, and now to the unlimited, inexhaustible power of the atom.

To do that, Al knows that he has only one threat capable of generating unthinking panic. Just as in the Bible God sent The Deluge, Al has invoked The Sea Rise. And just as God had to get the deed done quickly - make it rain for forty days and forty nights - so Al too must make the future bleak, if not for ourselves then for our grandchildren.

A twenty-foot rise in a hundred years should do the trick.

However, Al has a problem, the snowline altitude.

The snowline altitude is the altitude of the lowest elevation interval in which minimum annual snow cover exceeds 50%. This ranges from about 5,500 metres above sea-level at the equator down to sea level at about 70° N&S latitude, depending on regional temperature amelioration effects. Permafrost then appears at sea level and extends deeper below sea level polewards.

As most of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lie above the snowline and/or base of the permafrost zone, they cannot melt in a timeframe much less than several millennia; therefore it is likely that they will not, through melting, contribute significantly to sea level rise in the coming century. They can, however, do so through acceleration in flow and enhanced iceberg calving.

The fact that the Antarctica and Greenland snowlines will prevent rapid ice cap melt for thousands of years is so obvious that it is easy to overlook. Right, Al?

Without the rapid and massive melting of these ice caps, sea level increases will largely be limited to the thermal expansion of the oceans. As any fool soon learns from comparing the volume of the oceans to the solar energy necessary to drive expansion, this too is a long, slow process.

This is not to deny that sea levels rise during warming, since it has been often mentioned in my previous blog posts that they have risen over 400 feet in the past 18,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age, an average of two feet per century. My point in constantly revisiting this is that previous greater warming of much greater ice sheets did not produce the sea level increases predicted by Apolcalyptic Al.

If not then, why now, Al?