Richard Cohen — Rick Perry Is Joe McCarthy Because He Is A Global Warming Skeptic

Seriously, Cohen believes Perry is a McCarthyite unqualified for president because he is an anthropomorphic global warming climate change skeptic:

Maybe more important, Perry waxed wrongly on global warming. He rejected the notion that it is at least partially a product of industrialization, asserting that “a substantial number of scientists have manipulated data” to make it appear that mankind — our cars, trains, automobiles, not to mention China’s belching steel mills — is the culprit. He said that an increasing number of scientists have challenged this notion and that, in conclusion, he stood with them — whoever they might be. In Appleton, Wis., Sen. Joe McCarthy’s skeleton rattled a bit.

In Cohen’s world, it is skepticism that is unscientific rather than models that are not falsifiable, and are inconsistent with observational data, rife with errors and manipulations, based on secret data, and ultimately faith-based. 

Remember, the conventional wisdom in scientific circles is often discredited.  Researchers have been trying to prove that coffee is an evil menace for generations, without avail.  Salt causes high blood pressure.  Oops, maybe not.  And so on.  Skepticism is a core value of scientific inquiry, and one that climate change dogmatics such as Cohen and the primary climate change proponents do not share.

Then note the quick switch here:

Perry’s quaint belief in the utter innocence of mankind when it comes to polluting our precious atmosphere might seem like an innocuous tick, a conviction without consequence.

I thought we were talking about whether man-made emissions were causing a demonstrable shift in climate, not about whether “mankind . . . [has been] polluting our precious atmosphere.”  Silly me.  Of course, sitting here in Los Angeles today, I cannot deny the former.  And I seriously doubt Perry does. 

What we both apparently doubt is that man-made emissions — and the carbon boogeyman in particular — are pushing us toward climate Armageddon.   And skeptics further doubt whether we should spend Trillions of dollars fighting a phantom menace we cannot even say — based on science — is a big problem, a little problem, or no problem.  Moreover, we cannot fight such a menace — assuming it is one — by crippling our economy while China and the rest of the developing world go about their carbon-emitting ways. 

The thing so annoying about columns such as Cohen’s is that he refuses to engage on the merits of an argument, and just declares his opinion to be correct and those who disagree with him to be unthinking idiots.  Mr. Cohen, that is ideology, not science.

Published in: on August 23, 2011 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  

On The Ground In Iowa

Robert Stacy McCain continues his reporting on the Republican contenders in Iowa here and at the American Spectator.  Check it out if you want to understand what’s happening without the desperately pro-Obama MSM filter.

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Who Are The Real Economic “Terrorists”?

Just a few days ago, columnist Froma Harrop was busy attacking Tea party activists and House Republicans associated with them in, shall we say, rather harsh terms:

The tea party Republicans have engaged in economic terrorism against the United States–threatening to blow up the economy if they don’t get what they want. And like the al-Qaida bombers, what they want is delusional: the dream of restoring some fantasy caliphate. . . .  That the Republican leadership couldn’t control a small group of ignoramuses in its ranks has brought disgrace on their party.

Today, Ms. Harrop laments the bankruptcy of a small town back East:

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — The stock market plunged over 500 points last Thursday, but no one seemed very perturbed about it in this tiny factory town. Three days before, Central Falls had filed for a Chapter 9 bankruptcy. These working-class folk see bottoms fall out on a regular basis.

* * *

If any U.S. city was destined to go bankrupt, it was this one — though Vallejo, Calif., beat it by three years. Like Vallejo, ruinous public-employee contracts sent Central Falls over the edge. Unlike the San Francisco suburb, Central Falls has a smaller, less economically diverse tax base. (The median household income is under $33,520 a year.) Its local government at the time of the bankruptcy filing was far more corrupt than Vallejo’s.

On this thin tax base, Central Falls faced an annual deficit of $5 million and unfunded pension obligations of $80 million. For a long time, its police and firefighters could retire on full pensions after only 20 years of service. So even though their monthly payouts were not princely, workers could start collecting them — and free health coverage for life — while in their 40s. Bankruptcy lets a city tear up union contracts and start over.

* * *

Being able to erase foolish spending decisions made in more prosperous times is a tempting proposition. Very few cities have tried bankruptcy so far, but many are considering it.

The experience of Vallejo offers some warnings on the dangers of going the bankruptcy route, however. Harrisburg, Pa., and others on the brink, take note.

Vallejo’s bankruptcy resulted in a $9.5 million legal bill and a black eye to its reputation. Bankruptcy is a booming announcement that the local government is dysfunctional. For some businesses, having the city’s name on the letterhead becomes an embarrassment. A lawyer and real estate broker recently moved out of Central Falls, not because he didn’t like the city, but because its name has become a stigma associated with failure.

But like other depressed factory towns, Central Falls retains its reputation as a nice place filled with nice working people. Less than an hour from Boston and loaded with some lovely housing now selling super-cheap, the city will rise. Its next generation, meanwhile, is playing soccer while the sun shines.

Central Falls may be a nice place full of nice people, but they spent too much money, made promises they could not keep, drove out businesses, and went broke.  Who are the “terrorists” — the ones who desroyed the economic viability of their own communities or the ones trying to clean it up?  It is amazing that people such as Harrop choose to attack the latter while giving the former a complete pass.

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  

“To Hell With You People”

Jonah Goldberg has a great rant up at NRO’s The Corner.  It is a must read.  Here’s a taste:

So flashforward to this week. Tom Friedman — who knows a bit about Hezbollah — calls the tea partiers the “Hezbollah faction” of the GOP bent on taking the country on a “suicide mission.” All over the place, conservative Republicans are “hostage takers” and “terrorists,” “terrorists” and “traitors.” They want to “end life as we know it on this planet,” says Nancy Pelosi. They are betraying the Founders, too. Chris Matthews all but signs up for the “Make an Ass of Yourself” contest at the State Fair. Joe Nocera writes today that “the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests.” Lord knows what Krugman and Olbermann have said.

Then last night, on the very day Gabby Giffords heroically returns to cast her first vote since that tragic attack seven months ago, the vice president of the United States calls the Republican party a bunch of terrorists.

No one cares. I hate the “if this were Bush” game so we’re in luck. Instead imagine if this was Dick Cheney calling the Progressive Caucus (or whatever they’re called) a “bunch of terrorists” on the day Giffords returned to the Congress. Would the mainstream media notice or care? Would Meet the Press debate whether this raises “troubling questions” about the White House’s sensitivity? Would Andrea Mitchell find some way to blame Sarah Palin for Dick Cheney’s viciousness? Would Keith Olbermann explode like a mouse subjected to the Ramone’s music in Rock and Roll High School? Something inside me hidden away shouts, “Hell yes they would!”

 That is because the whole civility issue was never about civility at all.  It was about trying to squelch dissent.  That is also what calling Tea Partiers racist terrorist jihadist suicide bombers is about.  The Democrats are losing the debate, so they want their adversaries to shut up.

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

The NYT Follows The Dems’ Lead

Not much of a surprise here.  Yesterday, Republicans and Tea Partiers were terrorists according to the Vice President and House Democrats.  Today, columnist Joe Nocera declares that “the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people.”  Nice.

Let’s see.  Spending under Obama has increased from under 20% of GDP to over 25% in just a couple of years.  Our federal debt has gone from $10.626 Trillion as of January 20, 2009 to $14.343 Trillion just 2 1/2 years later.  An increase of 35%.

What did we get for it?  Anemic growth and persistent unemployment.  So who, exactly, is waging war on the U.S. economy?  Where do these people think we are going to find the money for all of this spending?  Under the mattresses of “millionaires and billionaires”?  It is never going to happen.  Wealth is mobile.  If the government tries to confiscate wealth, those who create it — along with jobs for the rest of us — will take their money and our jobs elsewhere.

By the way, what happened to civility in political discourse?  We have Dems in Congress and the Vice President calling political opponents terrorists, NYT columnists calling them jihadists.  And at USA Today, it’s racist to oppose the President’s profligate spending, partisanship, or liberal agenda. 

Lovely people.

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Juan Williams — Too Black And Too Independent For NPR

That is the apparent conclusion outlined in Williams’ forthcoming book — Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate — about his tenure at and termination from NPR.   

As a regular listener of NPR, I am not surprised.  NPR is extremely well done, but supremely smug and reliably liberal in its point of view.  Lacking any diversity of opinion (and according to Williams also lacking in the skin color variety that liberals are obsessed about with respect to others), people at NPR simply don’t understand that reasonable people may hold and express views that differ sharply from theirs.

I love this comment (click through the link above to the Politico interview) from NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher:

Christopher said NPR was not censoring him but enforcing its standards.

“Informed observation from our journalists is not only acceptable, it is valued; offering personal opinions is not,” Christopher said. “NPR’s standards are critical to our role as a responsible news organization and we expect our employees and contractors to abide by them.”

When, exactly, did Williams wish for a politician or his grandchildren to get AIDS as “retributive justice”?  Oh, right, that was long-time NPR contributor Nina Totenberg.

 

Published in: on July 21, 2011 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  

I Prefer The Original Title

Smitty sums up Contessa Brewer’s, er, blunder yesterday.  Watching her sputter after being whacked over the head with a polite response is quite entertaining.

The first rule of cross-examination is you’ve got to know, or not care, what the answer is to your questions.  Since journalism schools clearly don’t do much teaching about asking simple open-ended questions to elicit an answer instead of making a point, maybe they should try teaching at least the basics of adversarial questioning.

Published in: on July 21, 2011 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  

The Democrats’ Tax Increase Euphemisms

As this whole debt ceiling debate has intensified, so has the use of euphemisms for tax increases by the Democrats and Media (but I repeat myself, blah, blah, blah).  Four stand out.

First, is the revenue-switcheroo.  What used to be called increasing taxes is now called “raising revenue.”  Yes, I’ll admit that tax revenues is not a new term, but the Democrats act as is they will be having bake-sales instead of raising taxes to increase revenues.  They won’t be.  The federal has one main source of revenue — taxes.  And that is what they are talking about. 

The government does not produce and sell anything in exchange for revenue.  It levies taxes and collects them.  If the Democrats had an ounce of courage to support their conviction that increasing taxes is the solution, they should say so.  And a media with a backbone and no agenda would make them do it.

Second, is a “balanced approach.”  For president Obama and his cohorts, a balanced approach means actually increasing taxes while promising to look really hard at trying to maybe cut some spending somewhere (they’re looking at you, defense), while making “investments” in various industries and government programs. 

Which of these three do you think will happen?  Of course.  We’ll get lots of new taxes, plenty of new programs, and no meaningful cuts in government spending.  Then, in five years or so, we’ll be right back having this debate, with an even higher debt and deficit baseline, a more precarious position overall, and less time to fix it.

Third, is the term “tax expenditure.”  This is an accounting term that the Democrats have seized upon to support tax increases.  The tax code has certain exemptions and deductions, such as, for example, the mortgage interest deduction.  Those who take advantage of the deduction are not taxed on the income that goes toward paying mortgage interest, decreasing their tax burden. 

Since the taxpayer’s resulting tax bill is then less than it would be without that deduction, the Democrats use the term “tax expenditure” to imply that the taxpayer is being cut a check from the treasury.  They are not.  To the contrary, the taxpayers are simply able to keep more of the money they earned and the government takes a bit less of it.  That is not an expenditure from the treasury in any rational sense.

There is a circumstance where the term “tax expenditure” makes sense in the normal sense of the words (as opposed to accounting terms of art) — refundable tax credits. 

Normal deductions and tax credits may only be claimed to the extent that they offset tax liability. But a refundable credit is a tax credit that can result in money being redistributed to a taxpayer above and beyond any tax liability that it offsets.  For example, a taxpayer who would otherwise owe $1,000 in income taxes but claims $1,500 in refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit  and First-Time Home Buyer Credit, will pay no federal income taxes at all, and will receive a $500 check from Uncle Sam. 

That’s both a true tax expenditure and a welfare program.  Refundable tax credits should never — never- — be allowed to create negative tax liability, which means no income taxes are paid and a “refund” of other people’s money is redistributed.  Somehow, I don’t think this is the kind of expenditure the Democrats want eliminated.

Fourth, is a newly repurposed classic term, the “loophole.”  In the dark pre-Obama ages, a loophole was a technicality or ambiguity or simple mistake in the tax code that clever accountants and lawyers could creatively exploit to decrease their clients’ tax liability.  It was something that was put into the code for one purpose but had an unintended consequence that others could exploit.

Not so in the golden age of Obama.  Now, deductions, credits, or other goodies that Congress intentionally put into the tax laws — such as the private jet accelerated depreciation tax breaks included in Obama’s own stimulus plan — are derided as loopholes. 

I personally dislike such special deals and think they are generally harmful to the economy.  There is no reason to favor certain industries and taxpayers over others, and I would greatly prefer to level the playing field and get the government’s thumb off the scale.  But call these things what they are — tax breaks intentionally given to favored special interests.

It is bad enough that the Democrats are trying to hide their goals through slippery language.  But it is far worse that the media, instead of challenging these euphemisms has simply adopted them right off the DNC playlist.

Published in: on July 21, 2011 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  

A Couple Of Years Ago, The Headline Would Be “Bush’s Economy Causes Grave Descration”

Disgusting: “Police are looking for some vandals who stole metal rods from a veterans’ cemetery, most likely for cash.  The thieves took at least 18 markers made of copper, bronze and brass from the graves of war heroes at Mount Vernon Cemetery.”

I absolutely hate thieves.  I especially hate thieves like this.

Published in: on July 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Murdoch v. Assange

Bret Stephens has a very interesting take on the News of the World hacking scandal that has absolutely consumed the media in recent days:

How does this year’s phone hacking scandal at the now-defunct British tabloid News of the World—owned, I hardly need add, by News Corp., the Journal’s parent company—compare with last year’s contretemps over the release of classified information by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks and his partners at the New York Times, the Guardian and other newspapers?

At bottom, they’re largely the same story.

* * *

Both, in short, are despicable instances of journalistic malpractice, for which some kind of price ought to be paid. So why is one a scandal, replete with arrests, resignations and parliamentary inquests, while the other is merely a controversy, with Mr. Assange’s name mooted in some quarters for a Nobel Peace Prize?

The answer is fairly obvious. 

Although he is mostly just a narcissistic jerk with anarchist tendencies who gets off on revealing government secrets, Julian Assange and his leftist media enablers believe that they — and only they — are capable of deciding what is right.  And by “right,” I mean the advancement of leftist causes, opinions, and goals.  Murdoch, on the other hand is viewed as a vile creature of the right who is responsible for that most vile of creations, FoxNews. 

As a result, the media see no contradiction in containing its otherwise perpetual outrage when it comes to WikiLeaks and the publishing of sensitive state secrets of western democracies while settling for nothing less than Murdoch’s head over the hacking of voicemails by his News of the World minions.  It has nothing to do with right and wrong — News of the World and WikiLeaks were both very much in the wrong — but the politics of the media that controls their narratives.

Published in: on July 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rudy Tip-Toes Toward Running

This would make Mrs. Hound very happy.  The problem is, his last attempt was equally half-assed.   Any Republican candidate faces a stiff media head-wind, so half-hearted attempts (see Rudy and Thompson ’08) are destined to fail.  Either run as hard as you can or don’t run at all.

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bachman Hysteria Overdrive

Michelle Bachman is apparently freaking the media out, like Palin did a couple of years ago.  So now they want to paint this mother of five and foster mother of 23 (!) as a religious nut-job based on her church.  Maybe she is; maybe she isn’t.  But I seem to recall someone named Rev. Wright we might want to revisit if one’s church is now considered to be a window into the soul.

Bring it, Ace.

BTW — I seriously doubt I would vote for Bachman in a primary, but not because of her religious tendencies.  In the general, I would vote for my dog — hell, even my cat! — over Obama.

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Wonder If Alcohol May Have Been Involved

A guy in Pueblo, Colorado decided to play Russian roulette, with predictable results.  No one should play with guns.  Stupid, and almost certainly drunk, people really should not play with guns.   Overall, the story is kind of dog-bites-man, but this description caught my attention:

“[Witnesses] said the man was playing Russian roulette and the gun went off and killed him.”

As usual, the media attempts to blame guns for human-caused events.  In this instance, where causation is pretty damn clear, they use the passive voice to absolve everyone of responsibility and blame it on the gun.  It just “went off and killed him.” 

No, what happened is that an idiot pulled the trigger while the gun was pointed at his own head.  This was not an accident.  It was suicide by 1-in-6 chance.

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  

A Tale Of Two Cities

The first of our cities is the Pentagon.  Its residents comprise the best military in the history of the world, and they planned an executed a beautiful raid into semi-hostile territory to kill and extract the leader of a sworn enemy with which we are at war.  Even after a mechanical failure the operation went off without a major hitch.  One head bad guy and three minions killed, and no Americans hurt.  A job well done.

The second is Washington, D.C..  Its residents are rank amateurs with little real world experience who nonetheless consider themselves to be the finest communications operation ever conceived led by history’s greatest orator.  Their job was to give the order, which President Obama admirably got exactly right — send in the military, kill him, obtain proof of death and any intelligence available, then get out.  Kudos to you for ordering it, sir.

After that, all the Obama Administration had to do was announce the victory.  How’d they do?  Not so well.

FoxNews has the timeline of screw-ups, botched details, and misinformation that has emanated from the White House ever since the operation was completed.  I don’t fault anyone for not having all the details immediately.  War is messy, and this operation took place under cover of darkness a long way away. 

But you don’t commit to a narrative when you don’t have the facts.

You don’t claim police acted stupidly in an encounter with a professor when you don’t know the facts.  But Obama did.  You don’t claim that political discourse caused violence when you don’t have the facts.  But Obama did. 

And you really don’t make claims about a military operation that just took place on the other side of the globe when you don’t have the facts.  But wow, Obama sure did. 

This was not a case where fuzzy intelligence had to be sifted and judgments made as to what’s happening in a place where we can’t go take a look — say Iraq circa 2003.  The facts were available, but Obama and company were so desperate to recast Obama as a war hero — Obama’s entire announcement speech was a paean to himself — that they got ahead of the fats and botched the whole thing up: “From the first moments, a good number of the details about bin Laden’s killing, on points large and small, have been wrong.”

Was bin Laden taken in a firefight?  At first maybe, then yes, then no.

Did he hide behind his wife?  Yes, then no, now who knows?

Was bin Laden captured then killed, or shot immediately on sight?

And then, what about the photographs?  Reasonable people can disagree on what proof of death should be revealed, if any.  Mrs. Hound and I, in fact, sharply disagree.  I say release whatever we have.  She says it’s unnecessary and inappropriate.  Neither position is unreasonable.  So Obama’s ultimate decision is not especially monumental. 

But his dithering and incoherence is.  So too is his dismissal of those who think showing the proof would be helpful to our interests as wanting to “spike the ball” or somehow going against American values.  Maybe when the Obama Administration itself cannot make up its mind, Obama should be less dismissive of those who disagree with the ultimate decision. 

Anyway, this comment from Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about sums it up so far:

“Every day it seems like somebody is having to straighten out some fact,” he told the AJC. “You’d think that twenty-four hours after the fact, they’d be able to ferret things out a little more.” He told NJ, more sharply: “Twenty-four hours after it happened there should have been more clarification than what I heard coming out of Brennan.”

So does this from former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino:

“I am perplexed how they got so much wrong,” she added. “I don’t think it takes away from their achievement. I think that criticism will be relatively short-lived. However, for those people who might be critics of the administration, or have a little bit of distrust for the stories that are coming out of the White House, this will feed that. And it doesn’t help build credibility.”

I am not perplexed how they got so much wrong.  The President, to his eternal credit, ordered the operation and caused it to be up close and personal instead of lobbing in a few bunker-busters and waking up the whole neighborhood.  The military then did its duty with precision and skill. 

After that, we are simply seeing the overall incompetence of the Obama Administration in action.  As Jim Treacher said the other day, “Obama Administration takes victory lap in clown car.”

Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

As Obama Founders, The Race Card Is Coming To The Fore’

This evening, NPR and David Letterman finally went where the Media has been heading for some time now.  Both have decided that Trump’s questioning of Obama’s natural born citizenship is racist and said so today for the first time (that I know of) explicitly. 

It seems they have forgotten the things said about George W. Bush, whose intelligence and background were questioned and lampooned somewhat regularly.  Last time I checked, he was a white guy. 

They also seem to have forgotten that the Media had no qualms about questioning John McCain’s citizenship in 2008.  I could be mistaken, but I think he’s fairly pale in complexion too. 

So, what makes this issue different?  Rather obvious, isn’t it? 

Any challenge to Obama cannot be countenanced because he is an utter disaster as a president.  He is completely unequal to the task.  The only thing he has going for him — the only thing — is the Media.  They are, and have been, fully invested. 

And the time for them to double down is fast approaching.  It won’t be pretty.

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment