Convention-speak

September 4, 2012

In case logic gets a little lost this week during part two of the major political parties’ conventions (assuming it was ever there), it might be useful to provide a little primer for those less familiar with political rhetoric. This may help sort through the nonsense (which was always there).

First, notice the use of the word “access.” It’s one of the most used political catchphrases these days. When Party 2 says that Party 1 wants to deny Person X “access” to B, what that means in actuality is that Party 1 has no problem with Person X buying their own B, but it does not want to make a law forcing Persons Y and Z to pay for Person X’s  B.

Second, if a politician says they favor “investing” in this or that government program, they really mean they want to spend more money (money the government really doesn’t have these days). When they do not favor the program, they’ll actually call it spending – but maybe add the adjective “wasteful” in front of it for the effect.

Third, watch out when Party 2 says all of our problems are the results of Party 1’s policies, or vice-versa. That is seldom ever really the case. There is plenty of blame to go around to indict both parties.

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Obama: Americans are Scared, Dumb

October 21, 2010

Why is this election cycle so controversial and heated? President Obama, in his infinite wisdom, has an answer:

Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country’s scared.

Translation for us lowly voters: We’re dumb. This, unfortunately, is an all-too-often excuse for failure used by those who still believe they are wiser than most other people. It’s also a fairly common sentiment from progressives with a lot of formal education and little real-world experience.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obama+fundraiser&iid=9954900″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9954900/president-barack-obama/president-barack-obama.jpg?size=500&imageId=9954900″ width=”234″ height=”176″ /]Imagine the type of arrogance it takes to claim that those who oppose you oppose you because their mental faculties are essentially compromised; they don’t want to listen to facts and science. If only they were to be guided by your rational arguments and adherence to facts, they would support you and your wise policies.

Professor Obama went on to note that the job of his political party was to “break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling.” Another translation: We need to make them comes to their senses.

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Secret, ‘Special’ Interests

October 17, 2010

The latest tactic progressives are attempting is to scare voters into thinking that behind every conservative, Tea Party or Republican candidate or group are secret, foreign corporations and individuals propping them up with funding. The implication is that these ‘special’ interests represent a threat to our system of democracy. 

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obama+mtv&iid=9952373″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9952373/obama-participates-mtv-bet/obama-participates-mtv-bet.jpg?size=500&imageId=9952373″ width=”234″ height=”136″ /]Part of the issue stems from a recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, in which the majority of the justices ruled that corporations have free speech rights in respect to their ability to fund political opinion. Many Democrats and progressives, including Obama, have at many times railed against the decision.

One group under attack is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Recently, there has been an effort to insinuate that the Chamber is backed by foreign special interests, despite little evidence to prove it. The Chamber’s head of government affairs has even asserted that the push to disclose donor information may be an attempt by the Obama administration to intimidate those who fund the organization. Other conservative-leaning groups, like Americans for Prosperity, have also come under fire from Obama and other Democrats desperately hoping to find a way to minimize the severity of their predicted election losses next month.

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Exemptions from ‘Reform’?

October 10, 2010

Certain companies have been exempted from part of the new health-care ‘reform’ law that requires minimum benefit levels for insurance policies. It seems that, maybe at some point, even the Obama administration has to acknowledge the reality of economics.

A recent Bloomberg news article reports the following:

Thirty companies and organizations, including Jack in the Box Inc., won’t be required to raise the minimum annual benefit included in low-cost health plans often used to cover part-time or low-wage employees. The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided a list of exemptions, said it granted waivers in late September so workers with such plans wouldn’t lose coverage from employers who might choose instead to drop their health insurance altogether. Without the waivers, companies would have had to provide a minimum of $750,000 in coverage next year, increasing to $1.25 million in 2012, $2 million in 2013, and unlimited coverage in 2014.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=sebelius&iid=9839083″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9839083/sebelius-democratic/sebelius-democratic.jpg?size=500&imageId=9839083″ width=”234″ height=”158″ /]This was just one of the many mandates imposed under the new law — many of which predictably have and will lead to unintended consequences. The most obvious consequence is that many employers are now faced with not being able to afford providing coverage to their employees due to the cost of these well-intentioned (at least, we think) yet misguided attempts at ‘reform.’

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Political Attempts to Ignore Economics in Health-care ‘Reform’

September 28, 2010

Politicians are experts at ignoring economics. One of their favorite activities is to mandate price and service requirements from private companies and just expect that, like magic, all will be fixed. They seldom acknowledge the perhaps unintended, but yet inevitable, consequences of their wishful mandating.

The most pertinent example is the list of nice-sounding mandates on insurance carriers included in the new health-care ‘reform’ law. Many of them took effect this week.

The list includes, among others, the following requirements:

  • Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions
  • Insurers can no longer put lifetime caps on benefits
  • Preventive services are now free
  • Kids can stay on a their parents’ plan until 26

All of these, of course, will add to the overall costs of insurance policies. There is a difference between “price” (how much is directly charged a consumer for a service) and “cost” (the amount of money required to provide the service).

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‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Opposition About Freedom of Religion or Not?

September 12, 2010

In the ongoing debate over the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque,” those opposing it have often claimed that they are not arguing that government should have the ability to stop the construction of the site. They say that the other side’s constant criticism that the opposition to the mosque represents an attempt at restricting freedom of religion is false, because they are not advocating using government force — only persuasion — to prevent the construction.

But then came recent comments last week from one of the most vocal critics of the proposed construction, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:

 In a radio interview today, he said he wants the national government to step in and stop the developers from building the Islamic community center by whatever means necessary … And if that fails, he said, the state government should step in and use its considerable power to stymie the development. “The Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, could intervene because frankly he has the ability to slow it down for decades if he wants to.”

Government preventing the construction of a place of worship based primarily on the fact that a large group of citizens oppose that religion has no place under our system of government. It is becoming evident that several in the opposition to this construction are willing to use government force to prevent it. So much for that whole, “This is not about freedom of religion” thing.

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Government’s Duty to Provide “Good” Jobs?

September 6, 2010

In honor of Labor Day, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis came out with a nine-minute video touting the work the Obama administration and the Department of Labor have done on behalf of workers. Here is the video:

Most notable is a statement she makes at around 3:20 in the video claiming that the Department of Labor’s mission is “to provide good and safe jobs for everyone.” Now, let’s first naturally assume the obvious that by “everyone” she did not intend to include small children.

Given that, we are still left with a statement that it is the job of a department in the federal government to not only “provide” jobs for working-age Americans, but also make sure those jobs it provides are “good” and “safe.” In an effort to find such an expressly authorized constitutional statement noting such a power (which, as you know, is always needed to justify a power of the federal government under the 10th Amendment), I perused our “Supreme Law of the Land.” However, I was unable to find such a statement.

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Another Job Growth Plan = Selective Subsidization

September 4, 2010

If the history of political meddling in the economy teaches us anything, it is that people seldom come to a realization of basic economic realities. That’s why President Obama can come up with yet another plan to ‘stimulate’ our economy like this:

That’s why we need to take further steps to create jobs and keep the economy growing, including extending tax cuts for the middle class and investing in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest.

The simple fact lost on many is that all of this involves taking money we don’t have (which will mean increased debt and/or future devaluing of our currency) and spending it in ways that politicians deem appropriate. What it really, in effect, represents is government taking our money from us and deciding how to spend it for us.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obama+economy&iid=9647673″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9647673/president-obama-speaks-the/president-obama-speaks-the.jpg?size=500&imageId=9647673″ width=”234″ height=”167″ /]”Extending tax cuts for the middle class” implies that only that segment of income earners defined as “middle class” by politicians and deemed worthy of tax breaks will benefit from such a measure. The “investing” (which is government code for “spending”) in areas of the economy “where the potential for job growth is greatest” means government deciding what industries and individuals should be subsidized.

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‘Government Approved’

August 29, 2010

A little noticed effect of government regulation of industry is that it acts in ways to protect already established businesses from up-start competition, doing a disfavor to consumers. Part of the way it achieves this is through licensing and “seals of approval.”

A small section of a recent report on the current egg recall notes how the USDA issues such government approval:

A USDA official, though, told FoxNews.com that USDA agencies have had no involvement in food safety regulations over shell eggs. The official said USDA’s chief task was to send an official to the farms, including one involved in the latest outbreak, to grade the eggs — in other words, inspect them for thickness and cracks and other quality assurance factors in order to give them a USDA seal of approval.

“Quality” is here based on standards developed by a government bureaucracy. The story notes how such standards do not necessarily ensure safety:

That stamp, though, does not certify that an egg is salmonella-free.

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Religious Freedom … Just Not for Muslims

August 8, 2010

The so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” is a rather good test of our committment to religious freedom. It seems that under different circumstances, say a group of Christians wanting to build a church on property they owned, there would be little to no outcry. But it’s not Christians wanting to build a house of worship near the site where the Twin Towers once stood, it’s Muslims. And that’s clearly the crux of the matter. Despite secondary appeals to saving the present building there as a historic landmark, the real issue boiling the blood of many Americans is that the site will be used to house a mosque.

And in some sense they are rightfully justified in noting the seemingly insensitive desire to place a shrine to Islam so close to the spot where Islamic terrorists killed around 3,000 innocent Americans. The unsettling nature of it is evident.

But the crux of the issue is whether those opposing the mosque believe they should oppose it through protests or through government action. It’s clear that many opponents are pursuing the legal route.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=ground+zero+mosque&iid=8913490″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8913490/proposed-mosque-near/proposed-mosque-near.jpg?size=500&imageId=8913490″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative legal group connected with the Rev. Pat Robertson, has sought court action, basing its objections at least nominally on the process used to deny the site landmark status. But one can’t deny that behind these objections is a specific aversion to the creation of a large Muslim place of worship just blocks away from the 9/11 site. The rhetoric on cable news and talk radio is abuzz with anger over the plan to build a mosque — not the idea that the present building on the site should be preserved as some sort of landmark.

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