Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Democratic Flack

What’s New Today

Story # 1and #2 are our signs of desperation.  In the first we have a poll on which books are selling more (conservative or liberals) by state.  Romney is ahead.  #2 is a poll that shows the Republicans are ahead by 10 points on Medicare.  #3 asks the question, who killed Medicare as we know it.  #4 looks at the initial reaction to Paul Ryan’s being picked by Romney.  It appears both Republicans and Democrats were happy.  Who’s right?  #5 looks at what Obama has done and concludes he’s shrunk the stature of the Presidency.  #6 is an interesting article which is a confession of an ex-liberal.  #7 will let you read all about the shaming code.  #8 announces that on August 23 Romney will outline his energy plan.  

Today’s Thoughts

There have been 2,527 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees and co-conspirators convicted of corruption and other criminal misconduct since 2004, according to a federal auditor. 

One of the ironic parts of the Medicare debate is that none of this could have happened if Chief Justice Roberts hadn’t changed his vote and kept Obamacare the law.  The Republicans would not have been able to talk about the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare to fund Obamacare.  I believe the Democrats got a Pyrrhic victory with that ruling.  

The latest two national polls that are out have Obama up by 1% and 4%.  Looking at the demographics you find that Democrats have a 6% oversampling compared to the Republicans in both polls. 

Chicago Sun Times:  “After a summer with the wind at his back, President Barack Obama is seeing dark clouds forming over his re-election fortunes as bad economic news and political developments cast renewed doubt over his stewardship of the economy… …Mitt Romney appears to have turned away a barrage of Democratic smear tactics and shifted the campaign focus to the big-picture economic issues that favor him.”

Lie of the Day

Joe Biden’s hot streak continued today from Minneapolis, Minn., where he said that Republicans sound like “squealing pigs” objecting to the Democrats’ Wall Street regulations.  I don’t know if I should put this in the lie of the day, or start a new section just for Joe Biden.  Is it a lie if the person talking can’t tell the difference between a lie and what the voices in his head are telling him? 

1.  Signs of Desperation—Red or Blue Books

With the presidential election just over two months away online book seller Amazon has come up with a novel way to anticipate who will write the next chapter in America's political history.

The world's biggest bookseller has created a heat map to highlight whether Republican or Democrat slanted books are proving most popular in each of the country's 50 states.

In the map Democrat sales majorities are represented by the traditional blue colour with right wing Republican sales depicted in red - the stronger the colour the great the majority.
(AAA Amazon)

It reveals that in book sales at least Mitt Romney is proving the biggest page turner with Republican-skewed books outselling Democrat tomes in all but six U.S. states….

…Overall the best selling Republican book across the country is Edward Klein's The Amateur. The book is a critique of the way Obama has run the nation and describes the president as arrogant and incompetent.

Meanwhile topping the Democrat chart is Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States which tells the story of America's history through the eyes of women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor and immigrant labourers….

Just another sign that Obama and the Democrats are in big trouble. 

2.  Signs of Desperation part 2—GOP 10 points ahead of the Democrats in Medicare poll

…Adding credence to the GOP's case: Polls conducted in 28 battleground districts for the National Republican Congressional Committee, obtained by National Journal, which suggest Republicans aren't as vulnerable on the Medicare debate as the conventional wisdom suggests.  Their pollsters tested both the Republican message on Ryan's plan (Ryan's plan doesn't touch anyone over 55, preserves Medicare for future generations, invokes ObamaCare), and the Democratic message against it (end Medicare as we know it through voucher system, seniors pay more out of pocket, rates will go up).  When the results of all 28 polls were aggregated together, the GOP argument prevailed 46 to 36 percent….

The Democrats should be shaking in their shoes. 

3.  Who killed Medicare as we know it?

President Obama is criss-crossing the country, warning that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it.” Attention, New York’s 3 million seniors: Don’t be fooled. It’s the Obama health law that destroyed Medicare, though the impact will not be felt for another year or more.
Scientific evidence indicates that the changes made by ObamaCare will shorten the lives of some elderly hospital patients and make it hard for Medicare enrollees to get treated. The only thing left of Medicare is the membership card.

ObamaCare cuts future funding for Medicare by over half a trillion dollars in the next 10 years. Most cuts are made by slashing what hospitals, physicians, hospice care and dialysis centers will be paid. Doctors will get less to care for a senior than for a patient on Medicaid and only a third of what a doctor will be paid to care for a patient with private insurance. New York, the hospital capital of the nation, will be especially hard hit.

Last year, Richard Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, warned Congress that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors and institutions to accept Medicare. Doctors who do accept Medicare will not want to spend time doing procedures such as hip replacements, when the pay is so low. Yet the law bars them from providing the care you want for an extra fee. You’re trapped.

Foster also warned that within a decade, 40 percent of health-care institutions could be forced to operate at a loss. New York hospitals are bracing for the hit. 

When hospitals run in the red, they can employ fewer nurses and buy less diagnostic equipment.
Cutting hospital payment rates has been tried before, with deadly results. When Medicare cut payments to hospitals in 1997, hospitals hit with the biggest cuts saw death rates for elderly heart-attack patients go up relative to higher-spending hospitals. A $1,000 reduction in what hospitals could spend on a heart-attack patient led to a 6 percent to 8 percent higher death rate, due to fewer nurses and other staff, according to a 2011 National Bureau of Economic Research paper… 

And the $716 billion cut is not all of it.  In 2014 the IPAB starts.  It is a 15 member board that will review reimbursements and cut those if more money is needed.  Obama has “solved” the Medicare problem in the worst possible way.  This may explain why the Republicans are 10 points ahead of the Democrats in the Medicare Poll.

4.  Who’s right?

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, conservatives and liberals seemed almost equally happy. To the right, the pick represented a bold decision to make a forthright case against President Obama’s vision for the country and to champion solutions to the problems that the president has only made worse. Romney had put his party’s best policy thinker and one of its best communicators on his ticket and was raring to make his case to voters. To the left, it seemed like a sop to conservatives that would force Romney to defend a policy vision the public would not buy. Romney had put his party’s most controversial budget cutter on his ticket and ran the risk of being tagged with Ryan’s parsimony.

They cannot both be right. But they do both think they are right, and look likely to act on that conviction. That very fact will tend to counteract the chief weakness of the Romney campaign thus far and to reinforce the chief weakness of the Obama campaign.

Romney now looks set to run a campaign built around a stark and specific critique of Obama’s economic failures hitched to a relatively vague but distinctly conservative alternative vision focused on enabling growth in the near term and reforming entitlements in the long term. Obama looks set to run a campaign built around a highly detailed critique of a few conservative ideas (not all of which his opponent has actually championed) and a slash-and-burn offensive against Romney and Ryan as individuals.

If the first week of the Romney-Ryan ticket was any indication, this is not going to work very well for the Democrats. The Ryan pick, and the ensuing liberal glee, almost immediately set off a debate about Medicare for which it soon became apparent that the Democrats were woefully unprepared…

Woefully unprepared. 

5.  Obama:  “Hey America, I shrunk the Presidency”

In its otherwise glorious history, the Oval Office has suffered its share of scoundrels. Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, to name just two, certainly left distinctive stains.

Yet Barack Obama’s conduct puts him in a class of one. Day in, day out, he diminishes the traditions of an office that, starting with George Washington, were created to keep the presidency above the soiling scrum of partisan politics.

No. 44 specializes in a small-mindedness fueled by arrogance and contempt. So much so that, if he loses this election, he’ll already have earned the title for his next book: “Honey, I Shrunk the Presidency.” Let us count the ways.

He has attended more fund-raisers than any president in history, turning Air Force One into a collection shuttle.

He stands behind the grand seal of the United States of America to level scurrilous attacks on his opponent, by name, and even names the opposing vice-presidential candidate. He’s more respectful when he talks of Iran’s mad mullahs.

He leaks classified information for political gain, then feigns shock over complaints.
Oh, and he lies virtually every time he appears in public.

All these offenses against decency are now in service to his campaign, an enterprise that turns grubbier by the minute. All were on display during his press conference Monday…

This is a pretty accurate portrayal of the man that was supposed to change everything.  Unfortunately he did, but not the way most of us anticipated he would. 

6.  Confessions of an Ex-Liberal

… Watching Obama's ascent within the Democratic Party was eye opening for me. I began to educate myself more than I normally would prior to an election. Because the mainstream media was in the tank for Obama, I started visiting conservative blogs. The more I read, the more I learned. And bit by bit, my preconceived notions about conservatives began to collapse while my view of liberals/progressives began to shift dramatically. Over time, I started to embrace core principles of conservatism. Along the way, however, I brought along one vestige of my liberal past: political activism.

In 2008, I worked tirelessly for the McCain/Palin ticket. Although I was no great fan of John McCain and cringed at how he ran his campaign, it was a no brainer that we had to stop Obama from gaining power.
Part of my activism involved going door to door, talking with voters. What I encountered time and again speaking with conservatives was a dreadful kind of apathy. Some were not going to vote. Those who were planning to vote were doing nothing more than that. It was a real shocker because on the left political activism is very common.

It's been thrilling to see the rise of the Tea Party and the proliferation of conservative blogs. It's inspiring to see many former-liberals-turned-conservatives become powerful voices on the right. Perhaps some of that is due to how new converts can be hyper zealous. Perhaps some due to the habit of activism they carried over from when they were on the left. 

In any case, this transformation from left to right triggers a question that haunts me: Why are some people able to take in opposing viewpoints? And perhaps more importantly, what are the necessary elements for that to occur?

As far as I can tell, it seems there is often a seminal event that starts the process. For many it was 9/11. For others it was Obama's rise to power. At present, perhaps some who voted for Obama are beginning to wake up to the horrific impact he is having on this nation, and the world. (Emphasis on "perhaps" and "some.")

I don't know how the mind considers information that is contrary to a person's world view. Why do some people let such information in without instantaneous rejection? Why do some take a few moments to reflect on it, even though it flies in the face of everything they believe?...

This is an interesting look at the process of changing one’s viewpoint.  It’s not an easy journey.  From what I’ve seen Liberals have their self-worth wrapped up in their beliefs of moral superiority over conservatives and their acceptance by other liberals as being good human beings.  When you abandon that, what do your replace it with?

7.  The Shaming Code and the Left

Just about any gregarious conservative can register the same complaint: his friends of a liberal persuasion firmly believe in evolution, the hydrocarbon menace, technogenic global warming, and the virtues of green energy; they are convinced that racism is still rampant in America, that all the ills of inner-city schools can be cured by throwing more money at them, that criminals are actually victims of society, that voter fraud is a myth concocted by evil conservatives, that cheating at the polls is a sacred right of minorities, that illegal immigrants have committed no crime even though the word "illegal" is self-explanatory, that George Bush attacked Iraq at the behest of Halliburton to grab Iraqi oil.

In short, it is always the same mantra, demonstrably stupid and illogical, yet fervently espoused by all ardent liberals, irrespective of their social status or educational attainments…

… The estimable Lee Harris, in his wonderful book The Suicide of Reason (Basic Books, 2007), explores the concept of the shaming code developed by Thomas Huxley.  Huxley, widely known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his ferocious defense of evolutionary theory, thought long and hard  about the inherent contradiction between  man's "innate tendency to self-assertion ... as the condition of victory in the struggle for existence and the obvious fact that in the struggle for survival loners are losers and individuals who banded together increased their chances of survival."  Upon reflection, Huxley came to the conclusion that the glue that holds together individuals in a group is the collective shaming code.

"It is this code that makes the members of the group feel as one," writes Lee Harris.  "They are disgusted, angered, delighted and shamed by the same things. The unanimity of their visceral response is what provides the powerful sense of collective identity. It makes them feel and think as a tribal Us, in contrast to those tribes who are not disgusted by what disgusts us, or made angry by what makes us angry, and who feel no shame at what we think of as shameful[.] ... A tribe that shares a powerful visceral code that inhibits the natural tendency of the individual to self-assertion will present a united front against its enemies."

Therein lies the explanation of the total information blockade built around the highly dubious figure of Barack Obama by the left-leaning salons and the mainstream media, even including the respectable conservative media.  It doesn't take unusual intelligence to see that the 44th president is a patent mediocrity with a totally contrived past.  And yet, crickets.  In 1600, Sir John Harrington penned these immortal words: "Treason doth never prosper; what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."  In other words, treason attains respectability once it becomes a prevalent trait of the social mores, part and parcel of society's shaming code.  Today, it is the very same shaming code that causes polite society to rally around the "right-thinking" Obama and rebuff all attempts to expose him as the fraud that he is.  Even the late, utterly fearless Andrew Breitbart refused to wade into the controversy around Obama's birth certificate, advising his followers not to "go there," because he believed that it was unproductive and harmful to the conservative cause.  He understood the power of the shaming code….

The last two article stand together reinforcing each other.  The shaming code is at work beyond the left, but it certainly explains the left’s commonly held beliefs.  It also explains how they dismiss facts that violate their “code” and why they absolutely hate Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. 

8.  Romney to lay out Energy Plan

And about time, too! Mitt Romney told the audience at a fundraiser today that he plans to unveil his comprehensive energy platform on Thursday of this week, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be watching for it. As I’ve argued about a million times, there are fewer surefire methods of both boosting economic growth and government revenue, while simultaneously creating productive private-sector jobs and increasing our energy security, than ending our self-destructive quest to forcibly redesign the energy economy of the future.

Our self-destructive refusal to simply allow American entrepreneurship and ingenuity to tap into our own abundant energy resources, and meanwhile pour money we don’t have into energy technologies that fail the test of the market, while global demand soars is about as backwards a policy as it gets. I’d wager the issue will get even more potent if/when gas prices continue to rise, and a concrete pro-traditional (or at least not anti-traditional) energy platform compared to President Obama’s highly limiting approach could make a difference in swingier states like Ohio or Pennsylvania — and I am for it. The Hill reports:…

This is a no-brainer for the Republicans.  The Democrats all of the above strategy which is really all of the above after we outlaw most of the traditional ones, raises the price of energy, cost the taxpayer’s money and depletes the treasury while destroying jobs.  Going all out to utilize our energy resources does exactly what the author here states, boosts economic growth, boosts government revenue, creates jobs and increases our energy security.  It doesn’t however reward cronies. 

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