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The left has finally proven itself to be beyond satire

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

You simply can’t do it anymore. You can’t come up with a hypothetical lefty law or regulation silly or outlandish enough for people to think, “Nah, that’s just ridiculous; that would never happen.” Evidence here.

Totalitarians.

Because apparently it’s too much effort for a person to have to pick up a box and turn it around to read the nutrition information.

Of course, the irony is totally lost on Sebelius (who, in her defense, is a rather dull woman): she’s worried about people’s health so — get this — let’s require less calorie expenditure to get to the nutritional information. Great idea, genius.

Furthermore, it doesn’t occur to Sebelius that people who don’t care enough about a food item’s nutrition content to turn it around to find it aren’t going to be any more interested in that information if it’s on the front of the box.

So what’s next? How do we make people care as much about what they eat as the bureaucratic totalitarians in Washington apparently do?

Easy. We hire nutrition-content readers at all grocery stores who would stand as health sentinels in every food aisle. When someone leaves the aisle with groceries in their carts, the reader would inspect the carts and read off each item’s nutrition information to the buyer. Then the reader, of course, would have to get verbal — perhaps even written? — confirmation from the buyer that he understood what was read to him.

As it turns out, I may have contradicted this post’s original premise by successfully satirizing Sebelius’s pathetic idea. But while my idea certainly is absurd, I can’t help but think if I shared it with Sebelius, she’d probably be intrigued.

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Frank Rich: Think I’m wrong? That I don’t have it all figured out? Then you’re a racist

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Pretty shocking that the threatening emails to and shooting-up of Eric Cantor’s office wasn’t mentioned in Frank Rich’s list of awful things people have done in response to this health-care bill. The NYT‘s editorial board is extremely demanding of those submitting guest op-eds, but apparently their own columnists get free reign over what they’ll mention — and conveniently leave out. Yeah, that inconsequential fact that the single most violent and threatening act perpetrated after the bill’s passage was against a Republican? Not even a passing mention was required of Rich. But this is kids’ stuff compared to my — to his — larger point.

Here’s the thing. A major columnist (probably better put: party hack) has boiled down opposition to this bill as nothing more/less than racism/bigotry, which you’ve seen some on the left do lately, sure, but which is going to get a lot worse as the media and Democrat politicians talk about this over the next year. This is the narrative they’ve been building since long before they passed the bill. And that makes it gut-check time for conservatives. Soon enough, all people will have to ask us, in order to determine whether or not we’re white supremacists, is whether we opposed Obamacare. How disgusting.

I can’t help but think this won’t work out for Dems in the long run, though. David Paul Kuhn wrote recently about how Obama’s biggest loss, demographically, since the election is white men. They’re tired of being vilified, held responsible for problems faced by people they’ve never met — and, keep in mind, these are liberal, or at least not conservative, white men who actually voted once for Obama and thus aren’t subject to charges of racism, according to the left’s definition of it (a racist, according to the left, is anyone who opposes any policy offered by the president, specifically, and policies offered by Democrats, generally).

At some point, even white folks on the left will likely soon wake up and decide, finally, that they’re tired of being held responsible for every ill that befalls minorities and being told that their opposition to a bad policy fix must mean they’re big fans of Nascar and a good country lynching. The problem is, regardless of whether whites flee en masse from the Democratic Party, Rich’s final point — about the shift of America’s demographics — might mean it won’t much matter, since very soon whites will be outnumbered by a coalition of minorities who’ve been told by the party they support that everything that’s wrong with society is the white man’s fault.

It’ll be interesting to see how, if it can be done at all, Dems will try to spin themselves out of their racism narrative once whites are eventually, technically, the minorities in this country.

Democrats oppose discomfort

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t know why I still find myself astounded at the lengths to which they’ll go to make sure no one — well, except the rich — experiences any discomfort, any at all, in this life:

The administration’s new push also seeks to more aggressively help borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, offering financial incentives for the first time to lenders to cut the loan balances of such distressed homeowners. Those who are still current on their mortgages could get the chance to refinance on better terms into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The problem of “underwater” borrowers has bedeviled earlier administration efforts to address the mortgage crisis as home prices plunged.

Officials said the new initiatives will take effect over the next six months and be funded out of $50 billion previously allocated for foreclosure relief in the emergency bailout program for the financial system. No new taxpayer funds will be needed, the officials said.

“Cut the balances,” huh? This really is a wonderful, revolutionary concept. I can get just about everything I own for free, after the fact, retroactively, if I’m as smart about it as Obama.

I’ll start with the 4Runner we bought two years ago for $22,000. We owe $13-14,000 on that, but according to Edmunds.com, I’m “underwater” because its current market value is about $12,700. Don’t you think I deserve that difference back from Toyota? Because if no one in America should owe more for their homes than they’re worth, shouldn’t no one in America owe more than their cars are worth? Perhaps I can rinse and repeat and get away with this every six months until I get it most of my money back from those usurious capitalist bastards who sold it to me — knowing full well it was going to decrease in value, too! Oh, the humanity!

Why should I owe them what the car used to be worth when I signed that contract — “contract”: just another nefarious, rightwinger concept! — two years ago, if the Kelly Blue Book value today is far lower?

All this seems perfectly fair to me — which, according to the left, is what this life is all about: fairness defined down to mean never having to experience so much as a modicum of discomfort or stress from either (1) the consequences of your own poor decision-making or (2) the fact that sometimes things work out nicely and sometimes they simply don’t.

“What if senators represented people by income or race, not by state?”

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

This column from today’s Washington Post highlights perfectly the prism through which the left sees the world. According to them, people are nothing more or less than economic animals, defined solely by their income — or, more important than absolute income, by how much people earn relative to everyone else. And their government’s success or failure hinges largely on how effectively it takes stuff from those who earn more and distributes it to those who earn less — or not even that: how it distributes this income to those we want to have it for reasons altogether unrelated to economics. Maybe we just feel bad for what people in a protected group have suffered, so hey, take someone else’s money and give it to ’em.

The author argues that there might be a better way to elect senators, if our goal — as she suggests — is to more effectively redistribute wealth and protect rights (or create them out of thin air, such as the right not only to an abortion, which is defensible, but to an abortion paid for by someone else, which most certainly is not). Her idea, whether offered sincerely or as a clever commentary, is, no matter how she meant it, pure nonsense and would undoubtedly accelerate America’s decline.

This is an important read for those looking for a window into the facile mind of today’s American liberal. Because it’s liberals, folks — not conservatives — who see the world in color, who judge and categorize and stereotype. Liberals — not conservatives — see people of this nation as an unfortunately bound federation of some sort … not of states, but of primal tribes: everyone defined not by the humanity he shares with his neighbor, but instead by that which makes him and his neighbor different. You’re black? Stand over there — those are the people who will protect you, and these are the policies you’ll support. And you — you’re a woman? You’ll stand over here — these are your defenders, and here’s the list of policies you’ll support. You’re black and rich? Over there, sorta, but behind the poor blacks — those are your kind. You’re Mexican, poor and gay? Over here, but not so close — somewhere between here and there. (Yes, our tribes are shaping up nicely!) You’re Asian, gay, rich, and Mormon? Hmm. Let’s see where we put this poor, white Jewish atheist first; then we’ll know what to do with you.

It’s sick; it’s wrong; it’s primal; it’s tribal; it’s barbaric. It’s all these things. But always — always — remember it comes from the mind of a liberal, not the mind of a conservative. Anyway, here’s the most brilliant article on how to divide this nation further:

What if senators represented people by income or race, not by state?
By Annie Lowrey
Sunday, February 7, 2010; B05

On Wednesday, President Obama joined Senate Democrats at their retreat, urging them to “finish the job” on health-care reform “even though it’s hard.”

That crowd knows how hard it can be. To get the 60 votes needed to pass the health-care bill last Christmas Eve, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid worked furiously. The final holdout was Ben Nelson, a centrist Democrat from Nebraska. With time running out, Reid offered to have the federal government pay for the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program in perpetuity — and Nelson signed on to the bill.

Members of both parties were vociferous in criticizing the “Cornhusker kickback,” as it came to be known. “That’s not change we can believe in!” crowed Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “That is the worst in politics.”

He’s right about one thing: That wasn’t change. It was a type of deal as old as the Senate itself. Back in the summer of 1787, the founders debated how to structure the legislature. James Madison, of the large state of Virginia, drafted a plan for a bicameral parliament, with both chambers apportioned by population. William Paterson, of the smaller state of New Jersey, called for a single house. In July, they compromised: two houses, one proportionate to population and one with two representatives per state.

The Great Compromise was intended to make sure the big states didn’t trample the little guys. But today, with 37 more states on the scene, the little ones wield disproportionate power. “Half of the population of the nation lives in 10 states, which have 20 senators. The other half lives in 40 states that have 80 senators,” says the official Senate historian, Donald Ritchie. Small states and states whose representatives might tip the balance on a key vote make out like bandits, as their senators demand outsize appropriations in return for their support. The Nelson fracas was nothing other than the Senate working exactly as it was designed to.

But what if the 100-member Senate were designed to mirror the overall U.S. population — and were based on statistics rather than state lines?

Imagine a chamber in which senators were elected by different income brackets — with two senators representing the poorest 2 percent of the electorate, two senators representing the richest 2 percent and so on.

Based on Census Bureau data, five senators would represent Americans earning between $100,000 and $1 million individually per year, with a single senator working on behalf of the millionaires (technically, it would be two-tenths of a senator). Eight senators would represent Americans with no income. Sixteen would represent Americans who make less than $10,000 a year, an amount well below the federal poverty line for families. The bulk of the senators would work on behalf of the middle class, with 34 representing Americans making $30,000 to $80,000 per year.

Imagine trying to convince someone — Michael Bloomberg, perhaps? — to be the lonely senator representing the richest percentile. And what if the senators were apportioned according to jobs figures? This year, the unemployed would have gained two seats. Think of the deals that would be made to attract that bloc!

Or how about if senators represented particular demographic groups, based on gender and race? White women would elect the biggest group of senators — 37 of them, though only 38 women have ever served in the Senate, with 17 currently in office. White men would have 36 seats. Black women, Hispanic women and Hispanic men would have six each; black men five; and Asian women and men two each. Women voters would control a steady and permanent majority — making, say, discriminatory health-care measures such as the Stupak Amendment and the horrible dearth of child-care options for working mothers seem untenable.

What about a Senate in which voters cast ballots for candidates campaigning to win over a certain age group? Thirteen senators would vie for 18-to-24-year-olds, who strongly support measures such as the cap-and-trade climate bill and marriage rights for gays. Nearly all of these senators would be Democrats. Americans over 65 would control 16 seats — and would be mostly Republicans interested in protecting Medicare and the broader status quo. The baby boomer bubble would be largely in the eldest category, though its stragglers would round out the segment of voters, probably split between the parties, that is edging up on retirement. Thirty-six senators would serve 25-to-44-year-olds, and 35 senators 45-to-64-year-olds — and would be likely to push the very issues now on the table, including health care, entitlement viability and tax breaks for the middle class.

However you slice it (or us), a new voting model would shake up the Senate’s agenda. A senator vying for the $60,000 bracket — filled with working parents concerned with putting children through school — might need to promise Pell Grant reform and improved school lunches. One can imagine a coalition of senators for the elderly and senators for 20-somethings working to loosen federal laws around medical marijuana.

These deals, of course, would be very different from the deal Ben Nelson cut for Nebraska. But they highlight a truth so obvious it isn’t often examined: Senators represent states. And states’ priorities can seem strange when viewed in a national light. The Great Compromise promised just the kind of last-minute deal that Nelson struck, ensuring that the needs of his small state were recognized in the nationwide initiative.

These days, people don’t much like the anti-democratic structure of the Senate and the bring-home-the-bacon politics it begets. Recent polls have shown that Americans despise the upper chamber — more than the House, more than the White House. But you can’t blame Nelson for doing exactly what the founders asked him to do.

annie.lowrey@foreignpolicy.com

Annie Lowrey is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.