Sunday, September 27, 2009

Archive time

My spouse and I are going scuba diving in Indonesia for a couple of weeks. While we're gone, you might want to poke around in my archives. I've focused on enduring issues and tried to provide enduring ways of handling yourself in verbal tussles when those issues are being discussed.

Scuba diving helps with all this, BTW. Divers who panic tend to die, but on the other hand if you don't die you'll get lots of practice in overcoming panic (for some reason there's always a little part of your brain screaming "I can't breathe water! Get out of here!" every second you're diving), so it helps one's mental discipline as long as you remember that it's not a safe thing to do and use a certain amount of caution.

But neither does it have to be wildly dangerous. It's like skiing--you can stick to the marine equivalent of bunny slopes and be pretty darn safe.

And our hobby has taken us to many exotic (for us) destinations, where, as divers, we interact with the locals to a depth (so to speak) not known by the folks under the beach umbrellas at the resorts.

This helps give me perspective when dealing with domestic political issues.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fun Fact about Afghanistan

It has come out recently that around $200,000,000 of the Taliban's budget comes from American taxpayers. We spend around $1B/year on development projects. The Taliban skims off about 20% of that through protection rackets. The local Afghans who carry out those development projects build in an added 20% to their pricing to make the payoffs.

Nothing like paying people to kill you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Start immigration arguments with verifiable facts

Whether you favor or oppose illegal immigration, you must admit the truth of the following facts:

1. Mexico's population in 1940 was around 20 million.

2. Mexico's population in 2000 was over 100 million.

3. Mexico's population growth has not come from immigration to Mexico--it has come from Mexicans having many, many babies. Mexico's dominant religion is Roman Catholicism. The Catholic church fiercely opposes the use of any form of birth control device or drug, including condoms. Catholic social policy dominates Mexico.

4. America's Latino population in 1940 was 1/2 of 1%. Which means, among other things, that the American Southwest was not populated by Mexicans when the Americans arrived. It was populated by American Indians, such as Navaho, Hopi, Puelo, Plains Indians etc.--for whom the few Mexicans there were no more or less than foreign invaders.

5. America's Latino population today is over 14%--more than self-identified blacks at this point. Much of that huge increase stems from two previous amnesties, which at the time were presented as the last amnesty ever, because new enforcement provisions would prevent further illegal immigration. In each case what ensued was real amnesty coupled with fake enforcement. The last such amnesty was in 1986.

6. America is in the depths of its worst recession since the Great Depression.

7. Unemployment for American unskilled laborers is over 20%, and promises to remain so for the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for Hispanics who are American citizens is 13%; for blacks, 15%; for teenagers, 26%. Most Mexican illegal immigrants are unskilled laborers. Liberal economist Paul Krugman states that large unskilled immigrant populations always drive down wages for unskilled labor--by around 5-25% today, depending on job and location.

8. Over the last decade Californians had a chance to vote on several initiative measures that sought to restrict government benefits to illegal aliens and make English California's official language. California has a substantial majority of Democrats (i.e. relative liberals). Yet these measures passed, and exit polls indicated that they had the support of around a quarter of Hispanic Americans as well as about 40% of Democrats.

Those are the facts, all of which can be verified independently. And they show that many assertions about illegal immigration are canards. Starting with the so-called American "job magnet."

Mexicans want to move to America because there are too many Mexicans. Mexicans weren't sneaking into America in 1950, despite a booming American economy, because there weren't yet too many Mexicans for Mexico's economy to accommodate. Few people want to leave their town, their country, their culture for a foreign one.

Of course now they don't have to. California has become Mexifornia. For example, the most-watched TV station in Los Angeles (American's second-largest city) only broadcasts in Spanish. Nearly all legal materials, signs, commercial customer support phone systems etc. are delivered in Spanish as well as English. Many storefront signs are in Spanish only. You can live your whole life in Mexifornia without having to speak a word of English. And of course, by law, all ballots are delivered in Spanish as well as English. Many radio and TV stations broadcast only in Spanish.
And from being a miniscule minority in California in 1940, Mexicans with American citizenship will be a majority of the state's population by 2050, as long as it continues to increase at the present rate.

Now it's one thing to welcome in thousands or even millions of people from one foreign country/culture. It's another for one of those foreign immigrant groups to become the majority in your state, making everyone else, combined, a minority.

That's the conquering of one country by another--a (mostly) unarmed invasion.

And it makes any American supporting this invasion...well, what do you call someone who works to help a foreign country conquer one's own country?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is it all about race?

It's not racism pure and simple. It's racism impure and complex. If it were, say, Al Gore pushing the same agenda, there would be protests and anger, just as there are now. And if it were General Powell in the Oval Office pushing, say, the same agenda as John McCain, there would be left wing protests and anger, but only racial to the degree of calling Powell an Uncle Tom, which is different than racism, though it still reflects a kind of bias.

However, all that said, there is obviously a racial component in the protests today. Not in all, not in everyone. I know many conservatives personally, and few if any of them are racists. But I don't live in the South or in a culturally backwards area. People who do live in such places report a strong racist component in the opposition to Obama, augmented by his perceived foreignness--last name, father being a foreigner, Islamic middle name, time spent abroad, long attendance in a racialist church, and politics considered by far right wingers to be unAmerican.

So when lefties claim it's pure racism, they're wrong, and in saying so they legitimize conservatives' desire to dismiss complaints about the protests.

And when righties claim there's no race involved whatsoever, it's purely about Obama's policies, and Pelosi and Reid are white anyway...they're also wrong.

I think this Obama-as-snob poster epitomizes what I call the New Racism. To someone who isn't a racist himself, this is just criticizing Obama for being smart--a crime to millions of Americans; hence Bush's Jim-Bob act on the campaign trail. But to a fellow racist, this poster says that Obama is worst kind of knee-grow: an uppity one. And that's probably the most intolerable way to be black for these people.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Tea Party protestors:

The deluded,
attacking those trying to rescue them,
in defense of those preying on them,
led by the pundits & politicians who work for America's Aristocrats, who,
at their own tea parties,

are laughing at them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You Lie!

There are several different issues involved in l'affair Joe Wilson:

(1) Is it OK for congressmen to heckle the President of the United States when he's addressing Congress?

(2) Was President Obama lying about whether "Obamacare" gives illegals new health bennies?

(3) Are Liberals the Spawn of Satan & Conservatives the Defenders of America...or vice versa?

(1)--OK to heckle the prez?

The only possible opinion an actual conservative could have is to oppose violations of decorum in such circumstances, because conservatives believe in decorum, in established order, in respect for the office.

But also--the only possible opinion an actual liberal could have is to support letting the other side have its say. That's the essence of liberality.Not trying to shout him down and silence him, as liberals do to consersative speakers on campus regularly.

So when Republicans heckled Obama and when Democrats heckled Bush earlier in similar circumstances, both were violating their own principles in heckling their president.

And in both cases, what the hecklers actually reveal is that they're tribalists, just as primitive as members of some tribe living in the Amazon jungles. "My tribe good--because it's my tribe. Your tribe bad--because it's your tribe." Truth has nothing to do with it.

Simplest proof of whether you're a primitive tribalist: you excuse your side doing exactly what you condemn the other side doing.

(2): Was Obama, in fact, lying?

Don't go looking for fact checking on right wing websites. That appears to be where most right wing ranters got their "information." Along with the radio voices, of course.

But I'm not recommending left wing websites either. Whirly eyes--Left and Right--are united in their disregard for objective truth.

Both extremes use faith-based thinking, deriving their view of reality from their ideas, instead of deriving their ideas from reality.

Instead, try looking at nonpartisan, knowledgeable, fact-checking sites like and

I've been following these sites for a while, and I've found that they criticize both parties' pronouncements and marketing whenever they find lies and spin.

So I looked up Obama's speech. According to these factchecking sites, which use sizable staffs to track down every claim, Obama generally told the truth--though not the whole truth.

Specifically, as regards the source of Wilson's outburst, Obama correctly stated that the current bills exclude illegal aliens from benefits.

However, the factchecking sites also noted that in their current state the bills lack new enforcement mechanisms [update: as of 9/15/9, enforcement mechanisms are being added].

So if the Demos enact healthcare reform with either the House or Senate bills as is, illegals will be no more or less able to purchase health insurance as they are now. They will receive no more benefits than they do now. It will be the status quo. They won't get any new free benefits.

However, enforcement mechanisms are often added to bills after the main outlines have been hashed out. So in this case, many on this forum are talking about a work in progress as if it's the final bill.

So if Wilson had yelled "You aren't telling the whole truth if the bill is passed and signed in its present form, though it wouldn't be any worse than it is now as regards illegal aliens getting benefits," that would have been factually defensible. "You lie!" is not.

(3): Which side is the Spawn of Satan?

Lefties and righties believe the world would OK if we could just make the other side go away. They're both wrong-o. We need both small "l" liberals & small "c" conservatives.

We always need to have some people urging caution and standing up for tradition, just as we always need some people eager to try new things, to experiment.

And we also need a third, pragmatic group to weigh what these two sides say.

All this should be obvious to anyone who doesn't treat politics as some kind of religion.

And to my fellow Democrats:

Don't get mad at stampeding cattle. Look for who's stampeding them.

And that would be the medical industrial complex, which has spent to date at least $370,000,000 to convince rank and file Republicans and Independents that Obama is an illegal alien teamed with a European Socialst Democrat Congress to steal our healthcare benefits and give them to bums and foreigners, then kill us off as soon as we get old.

The Republican Party leadership isn't conservative at all. It's just fronting for a small group of very, very wealthy people who plan to stay that way by hook or by crook.

They do it by stampeding the electorate, many if not most of whom lack the education and objectivity to see through all the fake conspiracies to the real one.

Oh, & part of their plan is to make sure Liberals and Conservatives hate each other. It keeps both sides' attention diverted from the ones who are exploiting us both.

And to my Republican friends:

The stampeding cattle I'm talking about don't include thoughtful Republicans, of whom there are many. They've just been shut out of the public debate by the...well, stampeding cattle. Just the way Colin Powell was shut out of the Bush inner circle (along with George Bush Sr., interestingly). Just the way President Eisenhower--a former brilliant general--is never mentioned, while President Reagan--a former B movie actor--is lionized.

To you I say--just because a political leader dresses like you and acts like you when the cameras are on him (or her) doesn't mean they're actually like you. Plenty of Democratic leaders have been caught with their pants down and/or their hands in the cookie jar. But plenty of Republican leader have, too, and if you think the hypocrite scale of personal conduct tilts Democratward, you're dreaming.

That's why I try to see what leaders actually do, not what they claim to believe. How many former Republican congressmen are now very highly-paid lobbyists for industries they favored while in Congress? How many have exhibited personal conduct that you wouldn't find acceptable in a business associate or brother in law?

Now I know what you're thinking right now. "Democrats do it." Yes they do. So? That makes it OK? You don't think so in your own life. Congressmen should be held to an even higher standard than you'd accept in a relative or business associate.

Instead, when the Republicans took command of the whole shooting match in 2000, they replaced Tax and Spend with Borrow and Spend. That's better how? And they did nothing to fix our healthcare system. Instead they said, and still say, that it's great, and 85% of Americans love it. Speaking of lies, that a whopper with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Americans are satisfied with their current healthcare system in direct proportion to how little they've had to use it, and in direct proportion to how unaware they are of how it's appropriated most of the raises they would have otherwise gotten in the past twenty years.

American satisfaction is also tied to how little they know about other wealthy democracies manage theirs. That's the only way the Republican leadership can have the gall to stand there and say, straightfaced, that ours is the best on Earth.

Not by standards like amount of administrative overhead and citizen life expectancy. And those are pretty important standards.

They also lie about rationing. Rationing is what we have now. Rationing is when your health insurance company cuts off payment just before you're due to have a kidney transplant because you didn't tell them you had gallstones you didn't know about before signing on. Rationing is when you lose your job and can't get insurance because you have a pre-existing condition, or when you can but at such a high price and with such a huge deductible that you can't afford it.
The Democrats' plans also involve rationing. But it's less rationing, and it's fairer than what we have now.

The healthcare crisis hasn't brought out the best in my former party.

There's a proper role for real conservatives to play with healthcare reform. But first you have to admit that it needs reform before healthcare comes to consume 40% of the economy, as it will in a few years if we don't reform it. Then you have to hold the Demos' feet to the fire on cost control and regulatory mechanisms to reduce waste and fraud. But you also have to face the fact that we can't reform it without moving the whole system from paying for procedures to paying for health care. That means putting doctors on salary, as they are at well-run private systems like Kaiser Permanente. And it means figuring out how to make general practice more attractive to med students. We have a shortage of them amidst plenty of specialists.

All the nonsense about granny dying and so-shul-ism and acting like we can't learn from any other country just makes Republicans sound like loons--and wastes time that could be spent on the real issues. Which are there.

Just ask yourself "What would Eisenhower do?"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obamacare = Mexicare?

The GOP claims that the Democratic healthcare reform bill in the works give a free medical ride to illegal aliens. One GOP congressman shouted "You lie!" during President Obama's address to Congress when he said nothing in the healthcare reform bills permitted illegals getting in on the gravy train.

Thank heavens for factfinding nonpartisan organizations like, which read the whole bill in its present form in both the House and the Senate.

They said the President was correct, and it was the GOP that's lying about this.


In its current form nothing in the bills includes any regulatory mechanism to prevent illegals from purchasing health insurance--private or, potentially, public--exactly the same as the status quo.

I note that the GOP did nothing to remedy this while they were in power. So while I want a regulatory mechanism in healthcare reform to exclude illegals (even when they have anchor babies), I see no reason to believe the GOP minds--except as a partisan ploy.

So we should disdain the lies the GOP is promoting--while at the same time urging our congressmen to add a regulatory mechanism to all social service legislation to exclude citizens of other countries who are here illegally.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Republicans may have lost Congress in 2006 and the Presidency in 2008--but the shade-seeking billionaires they work for didn't lose then, and they aren't losing now.

We'll have a corporatist Supreme Court for decades, no matter how many aging Court moderates Obama and future Democrat presidents maybe replace.

And the billionaires' club is pouring a fortune into ensuring that even a Democratic Congress gives them the healthcare reform they want: nothing--or, better yet, a paper-thin patina of "something" stretched around the same old nothing.

Their class war against 95% of America continues unabated, staunchly supported by the many millions of Americans who have been duped into believing that they have anything whatsoever in common with their oppressors--Stockholm Syndrome, anyone?--and the political party that they imagine represents them.

Of course most of these are the same people who believe Obama is an illegal alien, the Earth is 5,000 years old, and Saddam Hussein planned 9/11 in conjunction with Mossad.

Best of all, these people totally distrust the only entity with the slightest chance of protecting ordinary Americans from these shadowy oligarchs: our government.

Their ablest mouthpiece, Ronald Reagan, kicked off this brilliant campaign with an implication that I'd only heard from Communists before him: that the American government is our enemy.

And now, after 40 years of announcing, every day of the week, every hour of every day, that you can't trust government, the oligarchs reap the benefits every time Congress tries to constrain the oligarchs' greed with any kind of reform of any kind of business they run.

And their man in the White House put the last two men in the Supreme Court needed to get the five votes they needed to protect the oligarchs' interests from Democratic lawmakers until the GOP (Greed Over Principles party) gets Congress back.

And so America comes to resemble the demographic composition of Russia and Mexico, making us unique among the world's richest, most advanced nations.

You have to admire the perfection of their efforts, just as you have to admire the supreme efficiency of the AIDS virus, which mutates constantly to defeat our body's immune system, even as its goal never wavers.

Kudos to the oligarchs and their eager servants in our courts and Congress.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frankly, they honestly mean the opposite

How about a new word, "hypedar," to describe being able to tell when someone's trying to pull a fast one on you, using propaganda, know the drill.

For example, take "honestly" and "frankly." In normal conversation these words mean you're going to follow them by saying something that differs from or even contradicts your position on something--politics, your dignity...some sort of reversal.

But when politicians say "honestly" or "frankly," 99% of the time they follow up with a statement that's anything but honest or frank. It's almost always a direct attack on the other side.

They're entitled to attack the other side, of course. But in putting these words in front of an attack--it's bogus. They're pretending to hand you a personal--perhaps embarrassing--revelation. Not an embarrasing revelation about the other side.

Republicans and Democrats both do this, and they do it all the time.

And the next time you hear these words, see if I'm not right about what always follows.

And then you can show off your hypedar to your friends.

I only have one request: Don't spare your side. We want honest political debate, not tribal warfare.

Don't we?


Hypedar lesson #2:

"In fact," "in reality," "the truth is."

These aren't the sure signs of hype that "honestly" and "frankly" are. Sometimes a politician will follow up with an actual fact. But it's equally likely that they'll then make an assertion that they don't substantiate. This means what they've actually done is ask you to trust them, without saying so. When you say "in fact," state a supposed fact, and don't back it up--the only reason you have to believe them is their word, which they're implying is worth something.

Now I'm sure there are honest politicians out there. I've even seen a few that I thought were pretty honest--on both sides, too. That's why I'm saying that these catchprases aren't always hype.

Just most of the time.

Note that providing substantiation isn't good enough--the substantiation has to be an impartial authority.

Bogus authorities include, for the left, advocacy groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and La Raza. For the right, it's supposed think tanks that are actually advocacy groups, and polling organizations that are actually owned by someone with an axe to grind.


Hypedar lesson #3

"media bias" --Yes, there is media bias. However, far too often "media bias" means "someone who disagrees with me." The far right think the mainstream media is in the tank for the Democratic Party, and take as proof the fact that most reporters vote Democrat.

Amusingly enough, the far left think the mainstream media faithfully serves the interests of the multinational corporations who own the mainstream media.

Both sides are often totally unaware of what the other thinks about the mainstream media, because they never read or listen to or watch any source of information that differs from their own ideology.

And both sides generally lack the intellectual tools required to objectively assess the objectivity of a news source.


Hypedar lesson #4:

"The American people" --actually, this almost always means "whatever % of Americans agree with me; anyone who doesn't isn't really American, so they don't count." This is a version of flagwaving--trying to associate your side with America in the most tribal way possible. Because if they can make your allegiance tribal, you'll forgive all the nasty stuff they do to you, because otherwise you'd be supporting the other tribe.

Healthcare reform woes partly the Demos' fault

Across America many millions of Republicans await anxiously to see whether their champions in Congress can defeat what they see as the foreigner in the White House and his European Socialist cohorts in Congress trying to bankrupt them and then kill them when they're old and useless.

It's such an irony that it's their heroes who want to bankrupt them and then kill them (when they can't pay their premiums any more).

But it's not just the $1.4M/day the healthcare denial industry is spending to defeat any kind of reform that might reduce their profits. It's not just the Republican partisans whose loyalty is more tribal than principled.

It's also Obama's fault, and the Democratic Congress--they've let the other convince a majority of Americans of one central point: that the Democrats plan to transfer some of their healthcare to others--bums and foreigners mainly. They've allowed this to happen by harping on the need to help those without insurance. Yet most voters have insurance, which they'll have until they actually need it. And then they won't. But that's not now. Now they need to hear about what Obama is going to do for them. And how what most pay for their insurance has zoomed up, but mostly out of sight.

Time after time the Democratic Party manages to sound like it cares about every ethnicity on Earth except for European-Americans, to use a phrase they never use.

I voted for Obama to get healthcare reform, even though, like most Americans, I'm concerned about illegal immigration--especially since I live in the part of America that's being overrun, far from the Beltway.

What happened to the realistic Democrats who knew how to win back Congress and the White House? Did they think the Republican Party's paymasters would just go away quietly? There's waaay too much profit involved. And Democrats must remember that the Blue Dog Democrats are blue dogs because more liberal demos couldn't have gotten elected, and without them the Demos couldn't have taken back Congress, and if the Blue Dogs appear to lose faith with their constituents they won't get re-elected, and then the GOP (Greed Over Principle) party will regain Congress. Do you want that to happen?

You can't get in the ring wearing gloves and talking about altruism when the other guy's stepping in wearing brass knucks and talking about what the majority of Americans most care about--their own healthcare.

Whining about how dirty the Republican leadership fights won't help either. Of course they fight dirty. They've been fighting dirty at least since Reagan painted the government as all bad all the time--a long-term investment in deregulation that has paid off handsomely for the Angry Billionaire's Club. If they fought fair they'd lose. So they don't (see my definition of G.O.P.).

Obama doesn't have to lose his cool. But he does have to deal with the Republican Party he's got instead of the one he wants. And he has to face the fact that this is only going to work if doctors get paid salaries instead of for piecework (procedures); and if the insurance industry profits get scaled back to those of ordinary businesses--and if the pharmaceutical industry's profits go likewise.

Obama's getting the poked hornet's nest attack anyway, no matter what he does. Might as well try to actually accomplish something.

--As long as he keeps making it clear that his beef is with the Republican leadership and their padrones--not the Republican rank and file.