Archive for December, 2009

With Eyes Finally Wide-Open, Reconsider Why The Economy Collapsed In The First Place

December 31, 2009

We are now able to see that from the very beginning of the Obama administration, the Republican Party has again and again demonstrated that they were completely right and Democrats were completely wrong.  Whether you look at the stimulus, cap-and-trade, bogus climate change claims, health care, or terrorism, Americans now solidly agree that Republicans were represent the people; and that Democrats do NOT represent the people.

Right now, a solid plurality of Americans thinks the stimulus (that 99% of Republicans voted against) harmed the economy.  And the people are starting to realize what an ideological partisan slush fund the stimulus was (also predicted by Republicans).

When Obama was elected, unemployment was at 6.6%.  He promised that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from reaching 8%.  And now it’s at 10%, and it’s going to get higher.

Obama demagogued Bush’s spending.  But Bush deficits -bad as they were – were only 2-3% of GDP.  Obama’s deficits are 12.8% of GDP – which is five to six times higher.

Now that your eyes are finally beginning to open wide and see Obama and the Democrats for who and what they truly are, let me point out a few things about the past collapse.

What Americans – and particularly Americans who actually vote – need to realize is that Democrats were trying to do this kind of crap and play these kind of games all along.  They were trying to do it throughout the Bush years, when George Bush tried 17 times to regulate the out of control and Fannie-Mac-and-Freddie-Mae-dominated housing mortgage markets – and Democrats thwarted him over and over again.

Why do I mention the Government Supported Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Because they were at the very heart of the mortgage meltdown.

The LA Times writes on May 31, 1999 that:

Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities; that provides lenders the funds to lend more. . . .

LaVaughn M. Henry, Ph.D. Director, U.S. Economic Analysis The PMI Group, Inc. December 9, 2008, pointed out:

The Role of the GSEs is to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. Step 1 Banks lend money to Households to purchase and refinance home mortgages Step 2 The GSEs purchase these mortgage from the banks Step 3 GSEs bundle the mortgages into mortgage-backed securities Step 4 GSEs sell mortgage-backed and debt securities to domestic and international capital investors Step 5 Investors pay GSEs for purchase of debt and securities Step 6 GSEs return funds to banks to lend out again for the issuance of new mortgage loans.

It was steps 3-5 that messed us up.  Fannie and Freddie bought mortgages – including many mortgages that poor and minority homeowners couldn’t begin to afford under the mandate of the Community Reinvestment Act – bundled them such that no one could assess their risk, and then sold them to private companies such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.  Fannie and Freddie were exempt from SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulations.   The GSEs could bundle up mortgages, which would then be rated AAA, with no requirement to make clear what was in the bundle.  Private companies believed that the bundled securities were guaranteed, since they were essentially being sold by the federal government.

But there were many who predicted that this system – created and maintained by Democrats – could explode.

From the New York Times in September 30, 1999:

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.“

”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,”
said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.” . . .

And that is precisely what happened.  There was a downturn (and there will ALWAYS be downturns, won’t there?), and Fannie and Freddie were so leveraged that they collapsed and caused the collapse of the entire industry.  Financial experts anxiously pointed out that a decline of only 1.3% would bankrupt Fannie and Freddie because they were leveraged to the tune of 60%? to 78%.

Democrats were the priests and acolytes of the GSE system.  They protected it, and they were the ones who pressed all the buttons and pulled all the levers.

Keven Hasset concludes an article titled, “How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis“, concludes by saying:

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons.  Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices.  Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

Watch this video showing how Goerge Bush and John McCain repeatedly warned of the economic collapse (length=4 min):

Watch this video of Democrats protecting and covering for Fannie Mae (length=8 min):

Here’s a video entitled “Burning Down the House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?” (length=11 min)

And then we find that Barack Obama was in bed with Fannie and Freddie and their shockingly risky policies:

Who really exploded the economy in 2008, liberals or conservatives? Who do you think?  The liberal mainstream media allowed Democrats to blame George Bush simply because he was president at the time, never mentioning that the Democrats who controlled both the House and the Senate relentlessly opposed everything Bush tried to do; and it allowed Democrats to not have to account for the fact that they’d been in complete control of both the House and the Senate.  But remember that the economy went from outstanding to collapsed during the two years (2006-2008) that the Congress was under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  The unemployment rate was 4.4% when Republicans last ran Congress.  What is it now, three years of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid later?

Few people understand how huge Fannie and Freddie are, or how deeply burrowed they are in the mortgage industry.  But let me put it to you this way: the federal government now underwrites 9 out of 10 residential mortgages.

John McCain tried to warn us in 2006:

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

But he was ignored.

When George Bush first tried to regulate an already out-of-control liberal bastion of Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank led the united Democrat opposition and said:

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

And just before Fannie and Freddie collapsed and brought down the entire housing mortgage industry with it creating the economic meltdown, Barney Frank – continuing to stop any regulation of Fannie and Freddie – said this:

REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went completely bankrupt, and had to be bailed out by the government.  It had been Fannie and Freddie which had the sole authority to buy mortgages, bundle them into the mortgage-backed securities which ultimately exploded, and sell those securities to private companies (as I have already shown).  Just as it was Fannie and Freddie which had been the seller of subprime loans.

Democrats demonized and demagogued Republicans by blaming them for a mess that DEMOCRATS created.  And Republicans were to blame primarily because they didn’t do enough to stand up and courageously oppose the disaster that Democrats had created

A couple weeks ago the New York Times reported that Fannie and Freddie would get a whopping $800 billion to cover losses incurred under the Obama administration (and see another article on this $800 billion fiasco here):

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy and resell mortgages, have used $112 billion — including $15 billion for Fannie in November — of a total $400 billion pledge from the Treasury. Now, according to people close to the talks, officials are discussing the possibility of increasing that commitment, possibly to $400 billion for each company, by year-end, after which the Treasury would need Congressional approval to extend it. Company and government officials declined to comment.

But it turned out that that was wrong.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren’t going to get $800 billion.  That won’t be nearly enough.  They are going to get an unlimited amount of funding (potentially in the trillions):

From the Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009:

The Obama administration’s decision to cover an unlimited amount of losses at the mortgage-finance giants Fannie MaeFreddie Mac over the next three years and stirred controversy over the holiday.

A Newsbuster article, entitled, “Relief Without Limits,” provides an excellent resource of facts and commentary on this incredible and terrifying development.

Remember the righteous outrage of Democrats and the Obama administration over the compensation of CEOs of private banks?  The Democrats don’t seem to mind when Fannie and Freddie execs get huge compensation packages.

The monster rises yet again, and larger and uglier and more dangerous than it has ever been before.  And just like the first time it collapsed, Democrats are in total control of it.  Fannie and Freddie stock went up significantly as the news was announced.  Watch it dwindle back to zero by the end of 2010.

We’re facing another tsunami of foreclosures in 2010.  And three mortgages get worse for every single one that improves.

And even uber-liberal sources like the Huffington Post are acknowledging that Obama’s policies have utterly failed:

Anatomy of a Failed Foreclosure Program (dated 12-07-09)

Just how badly is President Obama’s $75 billion foreclosure program working out? Consider these newly-released numbers: Out of every 100 homeowners who came to JPMorgan Chase for help under the program, just 15 have or will likely receive a permanent payment reduction.

What happened to the other 85? For every 100 trial plans initiated from April through September 2009 under the Home Affordable Modification Program:

  • 29 borrowers did not make all required payments under their trial plan;
  • 20 borrowers did not submit all documents required for underwriting;
  • 31 borrowers submitted all required documents but the documents did not meet HAMP underwriting standards, due to such things as missing signatures or nonstandard formats;
  • 4 borrowers were or are likely to be rejected for undisclosed reasons;
  • 1 borrower will not or is not likely to get their payment lowered.

The data comes from the prepared remarks bank officials plan to make Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony was posted Monday on the committee’s website.

It adds up to a brutal illustration of just how the HAMP program, which is supposed to reduce troubled homeowners’ monthly payments to 31 percent of their income, is failing.

Failing.  As in “failing grade.”  As in failed Obama presidency.

You still don’t know the half of it.  Obama’s $75 billion mortgage modification bailout is costing taxpayers an average of $870,967 PER HOUSE when the average house is worth only $177,900.

Famed analyst Meredith Whitney predicted that unemployment would rise to 13% or higher primarily due to the failure to contain the failure to deal with the mortgage industry:

Unemployment is likely to rise to 13 percent or higher and will weigh on the economy for several years, countering government efforts to stabilize the banking industry, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC. […]

“We underestimate how much the whole economy is dependent on the mortgage industry, and that has to change,” Whitney said. “This is what happens when you delay the inevitable. We’re buying time here, but we’re not restructuring the economy.”

Under the radar, and against the objections of Republicans that was primarily covered only by C-SPAN, Democrats implemented and then fiercely protected policies that were almost guaranteed to doom our economy.  When the meltdown finally occurred, the same Democrats who created the black hole in the first place flooded the airwaves and blamed George Bush – whom they had already vilified and brought down through unrelenting attacks using the Iraq War as their main foil.

The propaganda worked, and Barack Hussein Obama – a politician who is more beholden to corrupt and frankly un-American entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ACORN, and the SEIU than any president in history.

And now we’re truly paying for our stupidity.

Obama is taking the same policies that imploded our economy, and multiplied them by a factor of ten.  It’s only a matter of time before his policies create a rotten floor for our economy to plunge through all over again — only this time far, far worse than before.

Someone might say, “But look, Obama is rebuilding the economy.  He’s brought back the stock market, and things are getting better.”

First of all, they really aren’t getting better, and the Dow can drop a lot faster than it can rise (history lesson: there were several rises and crashes of the stock market during the Great Depression).  And second of all, if you loan me a few billion dollars to spread around, I can temporarily bring up the production of my local economy, too.

Just don’t expect either me or Barack Hussein to repay the loan when it comes due.

Obama has been compared – and has compared himself – to FDR.  We now know that for all of FDR’s popularity, his “reforms” during the Great Depression were massive failures which actually kept the United States in depression for seven years longer than if he’d done nothing at all.

Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, said in May 1939, after nearly seven years in office:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

In believing the propaganda and lies of the Democrats and Barack Obama, Americans may have well placed the nation in a hole that it very may well not be able to climb out of.

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For First Time, Plurality Of Americans Think Stimulus Hurt The Economy

December 30, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s the picture:

For what it’s worth, the $787 billion stimulus which Americans are increasingly agreeing was a dismal failure was in reality a $3.27 trillion porkulus package.  Which is to say, this was a FAR bigger and a FAR more dangerous waste of money which will do FAR more harm to our economic futures than most Americans understand.

Here’s what Rasmussen said under the title, “For First Time, Plurality Believes Stimulus Plan Hurt The Economy“:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38% believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.

The number who believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy rose from 28% in September, to 31% in October, and 34% in November before jumping to 38% this month. The week after the president signed the bill, 34% said it would help the economy, while 32% said it would hurt.

The Political Class has a much different view than the rest of the county. Ninety percent (90%) of the Political Class believes the stimulus plan helped the economy and not a single Political Class respondent says it has hurt. (See more on the Political Class).

The underlying reason for skepticism about the stimulus plan is that 50% of voters believe increasing government spending is bad for the economy. Just 28% believe that increased government spending helps the economy.

Men, by a 42% to 27% margin, believe the stimulus effort has hurt the economy. Women are evenly divided.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Democrats believe the stimulus plan has helped the economy while 47% of Republicans believe it has hurt. Among those not affiliated with either major political party, 52% believe the stimulus plan has had a negative impact.

Concerns about federal budget deficits also play a role in evaluating the stimulus spending. Voters continue to think that the president’s top budget priority should be cutting the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. But they see it as the goal the president is least likely to achieve.

Health care reform is second on the list of priorities for voters, but most oppose the health care plan working its way through Congress.

Not surprisingly, most Americans are opposed to a second stimulus plan. In fact, 51% of voters say more jobs would be created if the remaining ending planned in the first stimulus plan was cancelled right away.

Only 14% of American workers say their firms are hiring and 29% say their employers are laying people off. As a result, 67% expect that unemployment will be at 10% or higher a year from now.

Please allow me to supplement the above Rasmussen article describing the fact that a solid plurality of Americans now believe the stimulus was harmful with another article detailing what a whopping load of partisan corruption the stimulus has turned out to be:

Report: Democratic districts received nearly twice the amount of stimulus funds as GOP districts
By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
December 16, 2009

A new analysis of the $157 billion distributed by the American Reinvestment and Recovery act, popularly known as the stimulus bill, shows that the funds were distributed without regard for what states were most in need of jobs.

“You would think that if the stimulus money was actually spent to create jobs, there would be more stimulus money spent in high unemployment states,” said Veronique de Rugy, a scholar at the Mercatus Center who produced the analysis. “But we don’t find any correlation.”

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia is one of the nation’s most respected economic and regulatory think tanks and has a Nobel prize-winning economist on staff. The econometric analysis was done using data provided by Recovery.gov — the government website devoted to tracking the stimulus data — as well as a host of other government databases.

Additionally, Mercatus found that stimulus funds were not disbursed geographically with any special regard for low-income Americans. “We find no correlation between economic indicators and stimulus funding. Preliminary results find no statistically significant effect of unemployment, median income or mean income on stimulus funds allocation,” said the report.

The Mercatus Center analysis also found that Democratic congressional districts received on average almost double the funding of Republican congressional districts. Republican congressional districts received on average $232 million in stimulus funds while Democratic districts received $439 million on average.

“We found that there is a correlation [relating to the partisanship of congressional districts],” de Rugy said. Her regression analysis found that stimulus funds are expected to decrease by 24.19 percent if a district is represented by a Republican.

“During the appropriations process, you’re not surprised to see the Democrats are getting more money, but in this case a lot of the money we’re looking at is going through HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development], or Department of Education, Department of Transportation etc. and they’re following a formula,” she said. “But the correlation exists, and not only does it exist — when you look at how much money we’re talking about, it’s a pretty big deal.”

The analysis found that neither congressional leadership positions of local members nor presidential preference in 2008 were factors in stimulus allocation by congressional district.

Finally, the Mercatus analysis shows that a majority of the funds allocated went to public rather than private entities — nearly $88 billion to $69 billion. While some of the money given to public entities may eventually filter down to the private sector, it’s much less transparent how money given to public entities is spurring economic growth and job creation.

So, to repeat, the stimulus money isn’t being given out to low-income Americans or struggling geographic regions.  It is being given out to Democrats to use as political slush funds.

The Democrat Party is the party of corruption, partisanship, socialism, and big-government-as-God-substitute ideology.

And more and more Americans are coming to realize how dangerous they are to the American way of life.

Another way to look at this is that – from the very beginning of the Obama administration – the Republican Party has demonstrated that they were completely right and Democrats were completely wrong.  Whether you look at the stimulus, cap-and-trade, garbage climate change claims, health care, or terrorism, Americans now solidly agree that Republicans were right; Democrats were wrong.

The Heinous Failure Of The Obama Administration Against Terrorism

December 29, 2009

This essentially is the first time that Democrats have been in charge of the war on terror.  And – contrary to Obama’s “good solid B+” that he gave himself – Democrats have flunked hideously.

According to Rasmussen, 79% of Americans believe another terrorist attack is likely within the next year.  Which is a thirty point jump from the end of August.  That’s a profound lack of confidence in Barack Obama.

“The war on terror.”  The very phrase demonstrates the unforgivable incompetence of Barrack Hussein.  Because his people refused to use the word “terrorism” and tried to replace it with “overseas contingency operation” and “man-caused disaster” to deny the reality of terrorism through politically correct re-labelling.  But with terrorist attacks occurring on US soil, what’s the deal with the word “overseas”?  It’s right here.

After days of White House officials saying they did a smashing job, even Obama is now finally calling his own administration’s handling of this terror attack “totally unacceptable.”

“There was a mix of human and systemic failures that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security,” Obama [FINALLY] said today.

There have been over a dozen attempted terrorist attacks against the United States on American soil in 2009, and two of them have been successful.

“Brian Jenkins, who studies terrorism for the Rand Corporation, says there were more terror incidents (12), including thwarted plots, on U.S. soil in 2009 than in any year since 2001. The jihadists don’t seem to like Americans any better because we’re closing down Guantanamo.”

And they don’t like us any better because of Barack Hussein’s naivete, incompetence, and constant apologies denouncing his own country, either.

We have only to look at the last two attacks to see the casual disregard and the blatant incompetence the Obama administration has demonstrated in the war against terrorism.

During the November Fort Hood terrorist attack that killed thirteen soldiers and wounded dozens more, the Obama administration first denied any link to terrorism, then basically suppressed the investigation after scores of details began to emerge revealing what a shocking failure of the system had taken place under Obama’s watch.  Obama himself gave an incredibly weird speech just after the attack, in which he offered a “shout out” to a man whom he incorrectly identified as having received the Medal of Honor before spending mere moments acknowledging that more than a dozen US soldiers on a secure American base inside the United States had just been murdered by a jihadist.

And we’re now beginning to see a rather frightening disconnected pattern emerging as to how Obama deals with terrorism.

In any event, we just had a situation in which a terrorist very nearly detonated a device that probably would have brought the plane down – killing 290 – and possibly would have killed many more as it crashed into Detroit’s airport.  The words “Christmas miracle” are being used to describe the luck we had in so narrowly avoiding this disaster.

And what was the Obama response?  Well, at first, nothing.  The same fawning sycophants that Obama surrounded himself with – who awakened him immediately to notify him that he “won” the Nobel price – didn’t bother to tell him that the United States had just experienced a terrorist attack for three full hours.

Obama didn’t bother to respond (and interrupt his glorious Hawaiian vacation) even after he heard about it.  But his minions began running around.  Their initial blathering was that “the system has worked very, very smoothly.”

Apparently, Obama believed that the media would give him the same adoring propaganda that they gave him during the campaign (which Bernard Goldberg dubbed “A Slobbering Love Affair“).  The narrative was that since the attack didn’t succeed, Barack Obama must be a brilliant commander-in-chief.  But fortunately, that lie was almost immediately revealed as a lie and angrily refuted even by the mainstream media.

I mean, even the New York Times is saying Obama screwed this up terribly.

The same incompetent Obama official – Department of Homeland Security administrator Janet Napolitano – who claimed how well the system worked proceeded to acknowledge that the system was a failure the very next day.  “The system did not work in this instance,” she said by way of massive understatement.

So the system that worked very, very smoothly actually didn’t work.

Mind you, this was also the same Obama official who had previously refused to call terrorists “terrorists,” but had no problem calling our very own returning veterans who had fought such terrorists “rightwing extremists” while hiring a man who turned out to be an actual terrorist to explain how our soldiers were potential terrorists.

Then the Obama administration went back to their tried and true formula, and the only thing they are actually good at: they decided to blame Bush.

From the Washington Post:

“White House officials struggled to explain the complicated system of centralized terrorist data and watch lists, stressing that they were put in place years ago by the Bush administration.”

The problem with that thesis is that the Bush system actually worked.  Here was a kid (I say “kid” because he looks like he’s about 15 years old) whose name showed up on a terrorist watch list.  It’s not George Bush’s fault that the Obama administration ignored the list.  Or that they ignored the fact that the UK had refused to issue the kid a visa a few months back after catching the kid in a lie regarding his purpose for visiting the country.  Or that the kid had spent the last couple of months in terrorist-dreamland Yemen.  Or that the kid’s father had personally gone to the UN embassy and said his son had been radicalized.  Or that the kid had no passport to go to the United States.  Or that the kid suspiciously didn’t bother to check any luggage on an international flight.  Those things were Goerge Bush’s fault exactly HOW?

Like every other time Obama has pointed a demagoguing finger of blame at Bush, there were at least three fingers pointing right at him.

Now we’re finding out that the father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab actually met with the Central Intelligence Agency at the US embassy in Nigeria on November 19 and told them that his son was radicalized.   Basically, he couldn’t have done more without hiring a skywriter to scrawl, “Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a terrorist!” over the White House.

We’re now finding out that the CIA had been tracking this kid since August.

And it’s George Bush’s fault that this terrorist got through?

Realize that whenever Obama blames Bush, what he is really admitting is that he is a pathetically incompetent non-leader who will not take responsibility for his failures.

George Bush wouldn’t have said that his system was perfect.  He would have argued that it needed to be constantly updated.  But Barack Obama not only has failed to improve on the security protections put into place by George Bush; he has worked hard to tear those protections apart and leave this nation and its citizens dangerously exposed.

Stop and think about it: Shoe Bomber Richard Reid (aka Abdul Raheem and as Tariq Raja) attempted to blow up a plane with PETN back in December, 2oo1 – only a couple of months after 9/11.  Bush systematically implemented policies to keep us safe.  Obama tore those policies apart, and look what is happening.

We can blame George Bush for not recognizing that Barrack Hussein was a dangerous man, and sticking him in Gitmo before he had a chance to do more damage.  But other than that, no honest person would blame George Bush for Obama’s failure.

When Obama finally bothered to make his initial comment on the attack (in a short statement, taking no questions), he said that the attack had been committed by an “isolated extremist” (and please note the inherent contradiction within even his own statement!).  But by the time he said that, it was already obvious that the only thing “isolated” about this attack was the Obama White House.  The kid said he had been trained and sent by al Qaeda, and that there were some 25 more terrorists just like him ready to unleash hells of their own.  And it turned out that the PETN explosive had come from al Qaeda-base Yemen.  And al Qaeda acknowledged that this kid was one of theirs.

Steve Hayes called Obama’s “isolated extremist” remark “stunningly foolish.”  And even the liberal Washington Post pointed out “the disturbingly defensive reaction of the Obama administration.”

Obama also said that his administration was doing “everything in it’s power to keep you safe.”  And then he treats the terrorist who had just tried to murder hundreds and possibly thousands of Americans like a common criminal and allows him to lawyer up while doctors attend to the wounds he incurred trying to murder said Americans.  For what its worth, the Bush administration would have recognized that this terrorist wasn’t a “criminal” at all, but a perpetrator of an act of war against the United States of America, and an enemy of the state.  And the Bush administrator – rather than focusing on the kid’s “rights” – would have instead focused on the country’s right to find out who had sent this punk to murder its citizens and every detail of every aspect of leading up to the attack so that we could stomp out another nest of terrorists.

Allow me to quote Joe Wilson to respond to Barack Hussein: “You lie!”

This was a cascading leadership failure from top to bottom.  A lousy disgrace of a president picked a lousy disgrace of a Homeland Security Secretary.

Now for the idiotic and frankly immoral liberal devices to defend America in a war they won’t even acknowledge is a damn war.

The word “profiling” immediately comes to mind.

Mind you, it’s not that the Obama administration isn’t profiling, just that they are focusing on the wrong profile.  I mean, the terrorist in question wasn’t a returning combat veteran who’d recently come back from protecting this country from terrorists; he didn’t have any “tea bags” on him; he wasn’t an evangelical Christian; he wasn’t pro-life.  They just had the wrong profile, and need to adjust it to include actual terrorists.

Let us not forget that the terrorists are profiling us.

The Christmas terrorist attack was a naked attempt to murder as many Christians as possible during Christmas.  Obama Democrats shriek at the thought that we might profile a terrorist.  But the terrorists are sure as hell profiling us.

Then you add the fact that for the last eight years millions and millions of innocent and harmless Americans have been subjected to invasive and embarrassing procedures to make sure we’re not jihadist murderers, but this young Muslim male who attended madrases and came from Yemen and paid for his ticket in cash and didn’t have a passport gets aboard with his damned bomb?

That American grandma in the walker isn’t your terrorist, dumbasses.  And it is an affront to common sense and even sanity that you treat that Grandma the same as the 23 year old Muslim whose just come from Yemen.

A lot of liberals are now STILL saying that we don’t dare violate the civil liberties of Muslims, regardless of the fact that 99.9999999999998% of all the hundreds of thousands of terrorist attacks over the past 20 years have been committed by Muslims. They want us to use invasive and expensive scanning equipment that literally strips us naked and shows our boobies, our bottoms, and our hoo hoos, and tramples on everybody’s basic rights, rather than focus on the group that is perpetrating the terror attacks.  We need to violate the civil rights of 300 million Americans, rather than acknowledge that Muslim terrorists are all actually Muslims.

The craziest thing of all about the body scanners that liberals want might be this: Muslims apparently wouldn’t stand for submitting to such scans, and Obama liberals are such moral idiots that they would probably exempt Muslims from the scans used to detect explosives brought on planes by Muslims.

George Bush was like Winston Churchill in the war on terror; and Barack Obama is like Neville Chamberlain.  Chamberlain tried to compromise with terror, negotiate with it.  Winston Churchill, nearly alone among leaders (FDR included), realized that Nazism was so evil that it literally had to be fought to the death.

Obama Democrats believed George Bush viewed terrorism through an ideological prism, and saw nonexistent enemies everywhere.  The thing is that Obama Democrats ALSO view terrorism through an ideological prism, but see enemies NOWHERE.  And Obama’s ideology keeps biting him in the balls because both his ideology and his policies simply fail to correspond to reality.

Liberals Say Recession Behind Us While Small Businesses Go Belly Up

December 28, 2009

This is from the Liberal Angle Times, a.ka. the Los Angeles Times.  Hence, one needs to have a constant angle-straightener as one reads.

Small-business bankruptcies rise 81% in California
With credit tight and consumers still pinching their pennies, many business owners find they can’t go on. More prime mortgages default in 3rd quarter

By Nathan Olivarez-Giles
December 22, 2009

The Obama administration’s new plan to give a boost to small businesses reflects continued trouble in that sector, which is facing new failures even as much of the nation’s economy is stabilizing. [If you want to tak about a new failure, talk about Barack Obama, then everything else pretty much falls into place.  The problem with the “much of the economy is stabilizing” thesis is that 3/4ths of all jobs in this country come from small businesses, which are obviously getting hammered.  The liberal rationale that we are recovering is part of the reason that we will have a double-dip recession and a jobless recovery.  You can’t fix a problem if you don’t first acknowledge you genuinely have one].

As credit lines have shrunk and consumers have cut back on spending, thousands of small businesses have closed their doors over the last year. The plight of struggling firms has been aggravated by the reluctance of banks to lend money, said Brian Headd, an economist at the Small Business Administration’s office of advocacy
. [Obama demonizes banks even as he claims they have a responsibility.  Well, which is it?  Are they demons selfishly doing their own thing, or are they legitimate and important institutions that have performed an important role in society?  Furthermore, banks say they aren’t lending because Obama has tightened up on them way too much, such that they CAN’T lend.  Bottom line: Obama – through demonizing and regulating – has done nothing but make a bad situation far worse].

“While bankruptcies are up, overall, small-business closures are up even more,” Headd said. [Small businesses have been crying out in agony about everything Obama has done.  ObamaCare will punish them; raising taxes “on the rich” will punish them; cap-and-trade and various other energy taxes and measures will punish them; card check will punish them; hiking up the inheritance tax in 2011 will punish them.  Obama has done nothing to help these businesses and everything to hurt them.  And then we wonder why they’re going extinct].

California has been particularly hard hit. The latest data show small-business bankruptcies up 81% in the state for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year. Filings nationwide were up 44%, according to the credit analysis firm Equifax Inc. [We were told last year by Obama that this was the worst economy since the Great Depression.  And now small businesses bankruptcies have nearly DOUBLED under his management?  If we were facing the Great Depression last year when small business bankruptcies were up 44%, what are we facing now, when they are 81%].

The actual number of small businesses in trouble is probably higher, experts said, because many owners file for personal bankruptcy rather than seek protection for the business. [Well, that’s just great.  The actual numbers are even worse than twice as bad as they were last year.  Sounds to me like the economy must be doing fine].

Dennis McGoldrick, a bankruptcy lawyer in Torrance, said his clients are all stuck in similar situations — capital is hard to come by, customers are tough to attract and debt is piling up.  [Clearly, Obama’s first full year in office has been a rousing success.  But least these small businesses owners are becoming more like the federal government, with massive debt piling up.  It’s good to be more like the wonderful and marvelous Barack Obama, isn’t it?].

“We can’t keep up,” McGoldrick said. “There’s more people that want to come in every day than I can see.”
[Bankruptcy lawyers: jobs Obama has “created or saved.”].

Cecily McAlpine, who filed for bankruptcy protection for her Cold Stone Creamery franchise this spring, said the experience was humiliating but she had no choice.  [Plan to come back in 2012, Cecily.  Someone who isn’t just a clueless community organizer, and who has an actual idea how a functioning economy works, will be president then].

Receipts at the fledgling Compton ice cream shop plunged dramatically during the recession, and by late 2008 she was paying her employees out of her pocket.

“When the refrigerator died, that was it; I’d just had it,” McAlpine said. “That was the day I broke. I just started throwing stuff away.”

McAlpine recently withdrew her bankruptcy filing after selling all the store equipment and paying off her creditors. She is slowly paying off some back-rent and utility debt, and will officially dissolve her business in the next couple of weeks, she said.

“I still feel scarred and like a loser,” she said. “Even though I’m not in it anymore, it’s still there.” [Yes, but the liquidation companies have jobs that Obama “created or saved.”  And that’s the important thing].

Recognizing the problems of business owners like McAlpine, the Obama administration has proposed using federal stimulus money to help funnel more loans to small businesses. The White House has also asked Congress to eliminate capital gains taxes for one year on new investments in small-business stock, and called for a new tax incentive to encourage small businesses to hire more employees.  [I don’t know if Obama recognizes the problem or not.  What I do know is that funneling more money to the federal government in the form of the Small Business Administration is far from a solution to the problem.  Most small businesses avoid the SBA like a plague, due the political correctness, red tape, byzantine regulations, and DMV atmosphere of the place].

On Dec. 14, Obama called a meeting of executives of Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and nine other large banks, and told them that they owed it to the nation to make more loans to small businesses and help rebuild the economy.  [Obama owes it to the nation to resign and allow the economy to recover by itself.    Aside from that, a) calling in executives to stand hat-in-hand while Obama partly demonizes and partly lectures them is not going to solve anything, particularly when b)  it’s the small community banks that do most of the loaning to small business].

In California, the need is great.  [But the other 49 states are doing just dandy].

Over the last year, the Los Angeles, Riverside/San Bernardino and Sacramento metropolitan areas have led the nation in small-business bankruptcy filings, said Tim Klein, a spokesman for Equifax.  [And what’s really scary about that is that California generally leads the nation as the trendsetter.  And this isn’t a very good trend, is it?].

About 19,000 small businesses filed for bankruptcy in California during the 12 months ended Sept. 2009, up from 10,500 the previous year.  [Like I said, pretty much double under Obama.  I remember Obama promising that unemployment wouldn’t go over 8% if we passed his stimulus that had all these “shovel ready projects.”  But that’s done and gone; now I’m ready to buy Obama’s next lie].

During September alone, 2,229 small businesses filed for protection, up from 1,503 filings in September 2008, the firm reported.  [Well, that’s good.  At least the trend is getting worse.  You can look at the upward sloping bankruptcy graph and convince yourself that it means progress.  Or maybe you can look at it and pretend you’re a mountain climber].

Kathleen March, a bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles, said she often pushes her clients to file for personal bankruptcy instead of a business filing because it’s easier
.  [Oh, yeah.  I’d forgot that earlier part about, “The actual number of small businesses in trouble is probably higher, experts said, because many owners file for personal bankruptcy rather than seek protection for the business.”  Scratch that part about “pretty much double.”  It’s actually far worse than “pretty much double,” but we just don’t know how much worse it actually is.

Many people also close down their businesses thinking that will solve their problems, only to find their companies’ debt lives on, March said. [Obamanomics: the gift that keeps on giving and giving].

“The norm is if you’re running a small business, you will have to either cosign or personally guarantee the significant debts,” she said. “The business itself can shut down, but the people cosigned all the debts. So, the individuals are then saddled with these huge debts.” [Yes, but loan collectors count as jobs that have been “saved or created.”].

A client who owned a surf shop was paying for business expenses from the client’s own funds long before filing for personal bankruptcy, she said.

“In this economy, anything that isn’t a necessity is a tough business to be in,” March said. “And the majority of my clients have waited too long to file for bankruptcy and in the process made things worse on themselves financially as a result.” [Well, that’s just great, because we can count on a whole lot more small businesses going belly up as all those other clients who’ve waited start floating with their bellies up.  That’s change you can believe in].

What these business owners really need is a nice sharp tax increase to make them even more profitable.

There.  If the LA Times article comes preset with a sharp leftward angle, a good hard pull to the right ought to straighten it out.

Health Care Fascism

December 27, 2009

Americans will soon be forced by their government to give their money to private companies unless the American people massively rise up as one and shout them into backing down.

William Briggs had this to say regarding how unconstitutional, unAmerican, dishonest, and incompetent the Democrats’ plan is:

The new health care tax–which isn’t yet honestly called a tax, but a “program”—will almost certainly pass the Senate. Part of this “program” is said to be an “individual mandate”, which will require, via the full majesty of the law, that individuals purchase health insurance, even if they do not want it.

That is, you will be forced by implied gunpoint to fork over your money to a private company. You can well imagine these companies’ new customer service messages. Listen carefully, for our options have recently changed: Press 1 for “Hahahahahahaha”!

This, incidentally, leads to our definition of mandate: comply, or be jailed, where you will be forced to comply.

The Los Angeles Times (D), was concerned that citizens would be confused about this mandate. It published a “Healthcare Q & A“, to explain to its readers why more of their money should be taken from them. Like all good Q & A’s, it is in the form of bullets.

  • “Why require everyone to buy insurance?” The truth is that the new government entitlement, like all entitlements before it, is a beast that must gorge on fresh money to survive. It needs to be fed often and copiously. The LAT’s confusing answer said that some people don’t have insurance, and that those who do will be “helping pay the costs of those without it.” This explanation would have been fine if the word helping was omitted.
  • “What benefit do I get from being required to buy insurance?” Probably less back pain: your wallet will be significantly lightened, thus relieving stress and strain. You also get to see a few companies, presumably those that have given generously to the reelection campaigns of certain politicians, receive our mandated largess. Surely they will spend our money wisely. The LAT says, “you will get coverage”.
  • “How can insurers afford to cover so many people who have expensive illnesses? Will my premium go up?” Excellent question. They cannot, so, yes, premiums must rise. The LAT said, “Gee, would ya look at the time?”
  • “Since young people don’t cost the system much, would they be allowed to buy less expensive plans?” No. They should be allowed not to buy and only pay for services as needed. Even the LAT had to admit that if that dangerous idea “were carried too far, however, it would defeat the purpose of an insurance plan.” The government’s plan, that is.

Inexplicably, the LAT’s Q & A stopped there. They forgot the most important questions.

  • If everybody is forced to buy insurance, it isn’t really insurance anymore, is it? No, it isn’t. Insurance is a bet between two parties, no different than a wager on a football game. It’s like buying a lottery ticket you hope won’t win. If everybody is forced to pay into a pool, whose monies will be used to fund health care expenses, then that is a tax.
  • People are a lot healthier now than twenty years ago, and people twenty years ago were a lot healthier than people forty years ago, and so on. So why is everybody calling our current state a “crisis”? Three things have gone wrong: politicians lie, exaggerates or are ill informed, the press lies, exaggerates or is ill informed, and the bulk of the public eats it up, cowers in fear or is ill informed.
  • After the Democrats pass the health care tax, what can I do? Grip your ankles, baby. It’ll be just like going to the doctor to have a “digital” exam, only this time without the Vaseline. Another option is to donate to the DNC and then form your own insurance company.

Update Reid invents new super-super majority:

The bill sets up a supermajority threshold of 67 votes to bring accountability to IMAB decisions, and the rule on being in or out of order can get waived at 60 votes. However, as this battle shows, even getting to 60 is almost an impossibility, let alone 67. Clearly Reid wants to put accountability out of reach with these radical propositions.

As to that last, you see a United States Senator attempting to – in blatantly unconstitutional fashion – dictate the actions and limit the behavior of a future Congress.  That’s “dictate,” as in “dictator.”

As to forcing Americans to purchase insurance, even the left says this insane move to force people to buy insurance from private companies is both stupid and immoral.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean recently said:

“This is a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG,” former Democratic National Committee chairman and medical doctor Howard Dean told “Good Morning America’s” George Stephanopoulos today. “A very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all, until 2014, if the bill works.

“This is an insurance company’s dream, this bill,” Dean continued. “This is the Washington scramble, and I think it’s ill-advised.”

Mind you, these very same liberals would have been cheering if Americans were being forced to buy the exact same kind of insurance from the government. It’s not that they are opposed to people being forced to make purchases that they don’t want to make.  After all, that would make them classical liberals rather than the liberal fascists that they are.  Rather, they are simply revealing how profoundly they hate private businesses rather than state ownership of the means of production.

But at least, both the right and the left are in agreement: the Democrats’ bill is a terrible and immoral idea.

That explains why the private insurance companies saw their stocks go up massively – hitting a 52-week high – on Friday as this plan was announced.  The first article I found is entitled, “Insurance company stocks “on fire” – they’re winning, we’re losing.”

Obama and Democrats have been falsely and maliciously demonizing private insurance companies for months.  We particularly saw that in Obama’s vicious attacks against Humana.  One blogger correctly saw the bottom line and said, “I hope you can see the writing on the wall here. The Obama administration wants to control private industry. They want to control their profits and they want to control what private industry can and cannot say.”  And now we see that the administration was using all that demagoguery and demonization to create the conditions for an offer that the insurance companies couldn’t refuse.

Let me put this development into context by first providing a definition:

Sheldon Richman (of the Foundation for Economic Education) provides the distinction in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics in his entry on “Fascism”:

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”–that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.

What we are seeing here is raw, naked fascism.

The insurance companies were first clubbed into submission, then offered something of a carrot in exchange for their compliance.  And the result is that they are doing exactly what the administration wants – and as long as they toe the Obama line, they’ll even be rewarded for doing what the administration wants.

We used to be governed by a Constitution in which this sort of thing would have been anathema.  Not anymore.  The Democrats running the country now could care less about the Constitution.

When Nancy Pelosi was asked where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance, Nancy Pelosi said: “Are You Serious?  Are you SERIOUS?” The Speaker of the House of Representatives couldn’t be bothered by such a question simply because she couldn’t care less.  Diane Feinstein took much the same view – and revealed what a threat to the Constitution these Democrats and their despicable health care bill truly is.

CNS News pointed out this little factoid:

In 1994, when the Clinton administration attempted to push a health care reform plan through a Democratic Congress that also mandated every American buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the government had never ordered Americans to buy anything.

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States,” the CBO analysis said. “An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

This is an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power.

Now we get to the term “Tea Party.”  Our founding fathers literally started a war when they were forced to pay what was actually a quite modest tax without representation.

We used to be a people who stood up and fought when our freedoms were challenged.   But over the last century, we have had piles on top of piles of unconstitutional “laws” that did precisely that.

Now we are being forced to pay massive taxes without any Constitutional authority, and clearly without the support of the people (see here and here).

Our founding fathers would have gone to war to stop this tyranny.

What will we do?  Allow this fiasco to pass?  Passively purchase our “insurance” and hope the price doesn’t keep going up higher and higher while our medical care sinks lower and lower?  Sit by and allow our parents and family members to die do to medical neglect from rationing?

Democrats Believe Their Power To Regulate Our Lives Has No Constitutional Limit

December 26, 2009

We can sing the below story to Nancy Pelosi’s famous tune, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” regarding whether she should give the faintest of consideration to the Constitution while she tries to regulate one-sixth of the US economy and force citizens to purchase insurance.

Sen. Feinstein ‘Assumes’ Commerce Clause Gives Congress Unlimited Authority to Mandate Health Insurance
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that Congress has the authority to mandate that people buy health insurance and that there is no constitutional limit on Congress’ power to enact such mandates, adding that this unlimited authority stemmed from the Commerce clause of the Constitution.

The health care bills in both the House and Senate require that every American purchase a health insurance policy. At the Capitol on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Sen. Feinstein: “Where in the Constitution does Congress get the authority for an individual health insurance mandate?”

Feinstein said: “Well, I would assume it would be in the Commerce clause of the Constitution. That’s how Congress legislates all kinds of various programs.”

CNSNews.com followed up by asking Sen. Feinstein whether this broad power had any limits: “If there’s a health insurance mandate, is there a limit to that authority? Is there something that can’t be mandated?”

Feinstein responded: “My own view is that there is not, within health insurance.”

The Commerce clause is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. It states the numerous powers authorized to Congress, including the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among several States, and with the Indian tribes.”

The Senate version of health reform imposes an historic mandate on all Americans, requiring them to have government-approved health insurance, either through an employer or individually. The mandate also can penalize people with a surtax ranging from $500 to nearly $1,500 per year if they do not have a health insurance policy.

The bill, which looks certain to pass the Senate sometime on Christmas Eve, is unpopular with the public, garnering the support of barely 40 percent of Americans, according to recent national polls. Those numbers led Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele to accuse Congress of “flipping the bird” to the American people.

“This is a bad bill, it is bad, certainly for individuals and enough is enough,” Steele said in a conference call on Monday. “I am tired of Congress thumbing its nose and flipping a bird to the American people. I’m tired of this Congress thinking it knows better than me and my family how to provide for our health care now and in the future. I’m tired of this Congress not listening to me and to the American people – to all of us.”

In 1994, when the Clinton administration attempted to push a health care reform plan through a Democratic Congress that also mandated every American buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the government had never ordered Americans to buy anything.

“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States,” the CBO analysis said. “An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

My own view is that California should elect a Senator who actually understands or even cares about the US Constitution.

If Feinstein’s “view” were true, then the congress has no constitutional limits whatsoever.  On anything.  If they can regulate private citizens’ behavior or purchases as “interstate commerce,” then they can “regulate” anything and anyone on anything they want.  And this gives them the precedent to do more and more.  The Democrats’ vision of health care “reform” makes the entire idea of constitutional limits null and void.

Let’s call this what it is: a naked power grab.

Fascism, Marxism, take your pick.  We’re getting a hybrid of both (they’re both quintessentially leftist and socialist and totalitarian systems, you know) shoved right down our throats.

The Commerce clause regulates commerce between states.  It has NEVER been used even ONCE in our history to regulated the behavior of individual citizens.

This is almost as appalling as liberal activist judges reading “penumbras and emanations” into the Constitution so they could pull abortion out of thin air.

Democrats have been telling us quite openly that this bill is a clear pathway and vehicle to a government-controlled single-payer system.  It is past time that we took them at their word and started to realize the ramifications of what the Democrats are trying to accomplish.

Democrats aren’t focused in transforming either the quality or the costs of health care coverage.  Their bill does nothing to improve either.  Rather, it lays the architecture for a future socialistic system which they believe that they will ultimately be able to control and use to their own political advantage.  They want power and control.  They want to be able to wield the levers of government and “take care” of everyone and everything – or punish everyone and everything that get in their way.  And when big government has the power to shape things, it shapes them in a way that always favors big government, and favors more and more accumulation of big government.  And Democrats are nothing if not the party of big government.

These people aren’t going to let a little nuisance like the US Constitution get in their way.  Even our own president has repeatedly said disparaging things about our Constitution as well as the men who wrote it.  The once sacred and sacrosanct Constitution has come to mean whatever liberals want it to mean.

Tragically, a look back at history should tell you that the system the Democrats want will hardly be a success.  The fact of the matter is that Democrats are making the same arguments (that health care is a right) and the same promises (that every American will be guaranteed health care) that the Soviets made.

The former Soviet propaganda mouthpiece Pravda is watching America fall into the same catastrophic mistakes Russia did and is laughing hysterically .

The Obama administration and Democrats can swear all they want that rationing won’t be a part of their system, but you sure wouldn’t know it by looking at Obama officials such as Cass Sunstein and Ezekiel Emanuel.  They will be all about rationing.

To summarize, this is a flagrantly unconstitutional power grab, packaged on lies, which can’t even in theory fulfill the pantheon of bogus promises it was sold on.

On Celebrating The Virgin Birth Of Jesus With Both Heart And Mind

December 25, 2009

I take my “Santa cap” off to the American Spectator – which is such a strong force for political conservatism – for providing articles such as this one.

There is more than health care, or cap-and-trade, or deficits, or any part of the ideological battle between Democrats and Republicans.  Because long before we were fighting any of those issues, we were celebrating Christ.  And we shall be celebrating Christ long after all of these other, lesser issues are gone.

The Case Against the Case Against the Virgin Birth

By Jeremy Lott on 12.22.09 @ 6:07AM

Every year at about this time, readers can count on a few Christmas-themed articles appearing in newspapers and magazines that question the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. It really is something to see the wide variety of people who get worked up over this ancient Christian belief.

Scientific reductionists — the Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins set — will tell us that it’s impossible. By definition, a virgin cannot be with child. Certain biblical scholars will be trotted out to poke holes in the dogma, by making points about the Bible passages in question that sound convincing to non-scholars. And moderate, embarrassed believers such as Newsweek editor Jon Meacham will try to smooth things over. The Virgin Birth, they will say, is symbolically but not historically or scientifically important. It’s about new life or specialness or some other non-offensive, wooly-headed thing.

The scholars will say that the verse in Isaiah (7:14) that prophesies a “virgin shall conceive and bear a son” is a mistranslation. “Virgin” could be “young woman,” you see. They will point out that only two of the four Gospels of the New Testament mention the Virgin Birth and that the Virgin Birth Gospels (Matthew and Luke) do not agree about many details. They will say that the earliest Gospel (Mark) leaves it out entirely.

Therefore: Who can say what really happened? The point of this exercise is to paint defenders of the virgin birth as narrow fundamentalists who cling to two tenuous, unscientific, conflicting scraps of the biblical text that rely on a questionable translation of Old Testament prophecy. There are perhaps a dozen problems with this approach. We’ll focus on three:

One, it manages to misrepresent all four Gospels at the same time. Matthew and Luke have miraculous conception and birth narratives. Mark and John are rooted in the first chapter of Genesis. That itself says something about Christ’s origin. According to the first chapter of John, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God.” In Jesus, “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

In fact, all four Gospels are rooted in Genesis. Modern audiences tend to focus on the creation narratives of the first few chapters and skip over the genealogies. To a first century Middle Eastern audience, those lists were far more important. Echoing this, both Matthew and Luke attempt to construct genealogies of Jesus, and in the process both books finger God as the father and Mary as the mother.

Two, in pointing out contradictions between Matthew and Luke, scholars and more progressive believers think that they are scoring points against literalism and fundamentalism. The supposed contradictions do present a problem for some believers, but they help make their case as well. Historians are trained to suspect collusion of sources: if two accounts line up too neatly, then one is likely based on the other and thus less valuable. It’s better to have two divergent accounts — even wildly divergent accounts — of the same event to serve as confirmation of the details where they agree.

The stories about Jesus’ conception and birth in Matthew and Luke are far enough apart — the “wise men,” the flight to Egypt, and the murder of innocents are in Matthew but not Luke; the census, the shepherds, the meeting between the mothers of the still unborn Jesus and John the Baptist are unique to Luke — that they must come from different sources. They both agree about the Virgin Birth.

Three, the case for a mistranslation of Isaiah is simply beside the point. Yes, the word in Hebrew could be rendered “young lady” but that’s irrelevant. When an angel tells Mary that she will have a child and she wonders, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) she’s not saying “since I am a young lady.” The Gospel writers, the popular early Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint, and the early church all understood it to mean “virgin,” and their understanding is what matters here.

None of this is indisputable proof for the Virgin Birth, nor is it meant to be. We can give evidence for miracles but cannot replicate the results in a laboratory, and the chasm between history and mystery is where faith comes in. However, the hostility of scientific reductionists to the idea does not make nearly as much sense as it used to. Now, with advances in reproductive technology, a woman who was biologically a virgin could in fact conceive a child. Experiments in animal DNA are showing that you can manipulate eggs in such a way that sperm is not necessary to create a whole new creature. If scientists in the 21st century can manage it, is it really such a stretch to say that God 2,000 years ago would have been up to the task?

You should go to the American Spectator site itself to read this, as there are some excellent and informative comments that follow the article.  But I have a few things to say, myself.

The Septuagint was the translation into Greek by Jewish scholars (it is often abbreviated as “LXX” because tradition holds that 70 scholars were involved in the translation), and was undertaken and completed between 300 and 200 BC.  It was not written by Christians.

It is, however, particularly noteworthy to Christians that the Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew word “almah” in Isaiah (which basically meant a young woman of marigiable age still under the protection of her family) as “parthenos,” which is the Greek word that clearly means “virgin.”

Some scholars rigidly maintain that the Hebrew word “almah” does not necessarily mean “virgin.”  But the fact of the matter is that in Hebrew culture/tradition, a young unmarried girl under her family’s protection was basically either a virgin, or else she was stoned to death as an adulteress.  When you add the fact that the LXX scholars – who clearly were more in touch with the understanding of the ancient Hebrew Bible than we are today – deliberately chose the word “parthenos,” you have a rather ironclad case that the Jews understood Isaiah 7:14 as prophesying a virgin birth (i.e. an immaculate conception).

Only Jesus – in all of recorded human history – has been proclaimed as having been uniquely born of a virgin.  And the two largest religions in the world – Christianity and Islam – recognize and affirm that Jesus of Nazareth was born of a young Jewish virgin girl named Mary.

The passages presented in the New Testament then eradicate even the tiniest shred of remaining doubt.

The so-called “scientific reductionists” claim that the miracle of the virgin birth was impossible.  What is interesting is that a “virgin birth” is quite possible today, given our medical technology.  I bring this out just to say that these are philosophical atheists, who don’t believe in the virgin birth simply because they do not believe in God.  Otherwise, their view toward the virgin birth becomes asinine: they would literally be arguing that God the Creator of all matter, energy, space, and time would be unable to replicate a feat that humans today routinely perform.

As one who accepts the possibility of God, I have no problem whatsoever accepting the possibility of miracles.  Some atheistic thinkers have defined a “miracle” as “a violation of the laws of nature.”  But they are trying to load the issue and tilt it toward philosophical naturalism by doing so.

Let me explain it this way.  Suppose someone accidentally knocks my cup of coffee off the table and I catch it.  Is this a “miracle”?  After all, according to the law of gravity, that cup should have continued to fall and strike the ground – and that didn’t happen.  What did happen was a personal agent possessing sufficient power chose to intervene and change the outcome of natural laws by themselves.

A miracle is God – the all-powerful Creator and Sustainer of the universe – intentionally choosing to reach down and intervene in the affairs of men, usually by a means we our limited understanding cannot fully understand.

Please allow me to explain why Christmas is so important to me, by means of a series of declarations of faith:

I believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.

I believe that God supernaturally implanted into Mary’s womb (and specifically into one of her unfertilized eggs) a human baby possessing a perfect human nature, uncorrupted by the effects of the Fall.

I believe that this baby, Jesus, possessed every single property essential to human nature (flesh and bones, a human brain, etc.) such that He was 100% man.  Sin is not essential to human nature; God created both Adam and Eve without sin.

I believe that this baby, Jesus, simultaneously possessed every single property essential to Deity, particularly the Deity of The Word, the Second Person of the Triunity of the Godhead.  Such that He was 100% God.  As He grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52), He came to recognize His unique Christ-consciousness.  And specifically, He began to become aware that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6-7, and Micah 5:2 (among some 300 other unique and amazing prophecies).

I believe that when God created human beings in His image (the Imago Dei) in Genesis 1:27, He was in fact creating beings whose image and nature He Himself would one day assume.  He created Adam in His image so that He could ultimately assume Adam’s image and so save mankind from the Fall (Genesis 3).

I believe Jesus voluntarily restricted the use of His divine prerogatives prior to His assumption of human nature, such that He lived His life on earth as an ordinary human being who had to rely completely on the Holy Spirit for His power (just like every Christian since has had to do).  Please read Philippians 2:1-11.  And then read it again and again.

I believe He came to live a perfect life on earth as a human being so that He could fully and truly represent the human race.

I believe that He died in my place – and in the place of everyone who believes in Him – so that I could be fully restored with God the Father (Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45).  I believe that I am a sinner (Romans 3:23; 6:23), saved only by grace and by faith in the name of Jesus (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 5:1; 10:9).

I believe in the words of a simple poem,

He came to die on a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood (see John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17).

I believe that Jesus had to become a man to die in my place – or even (as God) to be able to experience death on my behalf – and that He had to be God to have the power to save me from my sins.  Only Jesus, as true God, and true Man, could save me (Hebrews 9:24-28).

And I believe that, because of His finished work of sacrifice in my place, that I will live forever with Him in heaven, celebrating an eternal life more magnificent and more exciting than anything I have ever begun to imagine.

And all of the wonder of God coming to His creation, all of the wonder of the most loving act in the history of the universe, all of the existential cries that are answered by God taking my place and saving me, are all answered in the birth of Jesus.

And so I read Job 19:25-27 and say with him, “For I know that my Redeemer lives…”

And so I read with tears of joy the words of Mary in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).

And so I recognize in that First Christmas not only joy to the world, but hope for the world.  And the source of that Christmas joy and hope is Christ.

Merry Christmas.

Differences Between Conservatives And Liberals

December 24, 2009

Like most people, a great deal of what I receive in my email is junk.  But every now and then there’s that nugget of gold.

I’m not much of a “fowarder”-type, simply because I’m usually annoyed with what gets forwarded to me.  Still, some emails deserve preservation.  Hope you enjoy this one:

Subject: CONSERVATIVE VS. LIBERAL…

TRUER WORDS WERE NEVER SPOKEN…

If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn`t buy one.

If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn`t eat meat.

If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.

A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.

If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.

Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.

A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.

Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.

A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

(Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.

A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.

If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he’s in labor and then sues.

I suppose this world, the things in it, and the treatment we receive in it, are all that matters to liberals because they have nothing beyond big government and their own egos to place their hopes in.

On Totalitarian Sentimentality: What It Is, And Why We Should Fight It

December 23, 2009

Mark Steyn, who frequently serves as a fill-in for Rush Limbaugh and recently has been filling-in for Sean Hannity on his television program, is a genuine treasure.  He manages to combine a riotous sense of humor with conservative wisdom and his own je ne sais quoi.

Today, on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, Steyn told a story about a funeral he recently attended in Europe at a church that had been built in the 11th century.

His party was in the vehicle immediately behind the hearse, so he couldn’t help but see a cart that looked to him like a shopping cart being wheeled up to the hearse.

He asked the pallbearers who were in the process of unloading the casket what the shopping cart was for.  And one of them answered and said, “It’s to bear the casket, mate.”

Steyn said, “I thought you were supposed to carry the casket in.”  He pointed to the handles and said, “Here are the handles.  You’re pallbearers.  You’re supposed to bear the pall.”

The pallbearer said, “Health Services regulations, mate.  We’re not allowed to carry the casket due to safety regulations.”

Steyn said, “Safety regulations?”

The pallbearer said, “The path is uneven.”

Mark Steyn then said, “This is a one thousand year-old church.  That same path has been uneven for a thousand years.  And now somebody decides its unsafe to carry a casket?”

The pallbearer repeated, “Safety regulations, mate.”  As though that was all the answer that was needed.

Mark Steyn and his brother decided that this wouldn’t do.  “We’ll carry the casket in ourselves.”

The pallbearers said, “You can’t.  You need to have a license from the state to be pallbearers.”

Steyn’s brother said, “What’s the point in becoming a licensed pallbearer if you’re not allowed to actually bear the pall?”

They argued about it for a little while, and finally decided that Steyn and his brother would assist the pallbearers in carrying the casket.

What’s the moral of this story?  Steyn said that this is just the way big government works in today’s modern Europeanized socialism.  It simply takes over everything with a gradual takeover of regulations.

And he pointed out that you have to fight against it in all the little things, because otherwise it will simply just keep regulating more and more little things and accumulating more and more power over every aspect of our lives.

Then he referenced an article entitled, “Totalitarian Sentimentality,” which I thought worthy of posting.

Totalitarian Sentimentality

By Roger Scruton from the December 2009-January 2010 issue

Conservatives recognize that social order is hard to achieve and easy to destroy, that it is held in place by discipline and sacrifice, and that the indulgence of criminality and vice is not an act of kindness but an injustice for which all of us will pay. Conservatives therefore maintain severe and — to many people — unattractive attitudes. They favor retributive punishment in the criminal law; they uphold traditional marriage and the sacrifices that it requires; they believe in discipline in schools and the value of hard work and military service. They believe in the family and think that the father is an essential part in it. They see welfare provisions as necessary, but also as a potential threat to genuine charity, and a way both of rewarding antisocial conduct and creating a culture of dependency. They value the hard-won legal and constitutional inheritance of their country and believe that immigrants must also value it if they are to be allowed to settle here. Conservatives do not think that war is caused by military strength, but on the contrary by military weakness, of a kind that tempts adventurers and tyrants. And a properly ordered society must be prepared to fight wars — even wars in foreign parts — if it is to enjoy a lasting peace in its homeland. In short conservatives are a hard and unfriendly bunch who, in the world in which we live, must steel themselves to be reviled and despised by all people who make compassion into the cornerstone of the moral life.

Liberals are of course very different. They see criminals as victims of social hierarchy and unequal power, people who should be cured by kindness and not threatened with punishment. They wish all privileges to be shared by everyone, the privileges of marriage included. And if marriage can be reformed so as to remove the cost of it, so much the better. Children should be allowed to play and express their love of life; the last thing they need is discipline. Learning comes — didn’t Dewey prove as much? — from self-expression; and as for sex education, which gives the heebie-jeebies to social conservatives, no better way has ever been found of liberating children from the grip of the family and teaching them to enjoy their bodily rights. Immigrants are just migrants, victims of economic necessity, and if they are forced to come here illegally that only increases their claim on our compassion. Welfare provisions are not rewards to those who receive them, but costs to those who give — something that we owe to those less fortunate than ourselves. As for the legal and constitutional inheritance of the country, this is certainly to be respected — but it must “adapt” to new situations, so as to extend its protection to the new victim class. Wars are caused by military strength, by “boys with their toys,” who cannot resist the desire to flex their muscles, once they have acquired them. The way to peace is to get rid of the weapons, to reduce the army, and to educate children in the ways of soft power. In the world in which we live liberals are self-evidently lovable — emphasizing in all their words and gestures that, unlike the social conservatives, they are in every issue on the side of those who need protecting, and against the hierarchies that oppress them.

Those two portraits are familiar to everyone, and I have no doubt on which side the readers of this magazine will stand. What all conservatives know, however, is that it is they who are motivated by compassion, and that their cold-heartedness is only apparent. They are the ones who have taken up the cause of society, and who are prepared to pay the cost of upholding the principles on which we all — liberals included — depend. To be known as a social conservative is to lose all hope of an academic career; it is to be denied any chance of those prestigious prizes, from the MacArthur to the Nobel Peace Prize, which liberals confer only on each other. For an intellectual it is to throw away the prospect of a favorable review — or any review at all — in the New York Times or the New York Review of Books. Only someone with a conscience could possibly wish to expose himself to the inevitable vilification that attends such an “enemy of the people.” And this proves that the conservative conscience is governed not by self-interest but by a concern for the public good. Why else would anyone express it?

By contrast, as conservatives also know, the compassion displayed by the liberal is precisely that — compassion displayed, though not necessarily felt. The liberal knows in his heart that his “compassionating zeal,” as Rousseau described it, is a privilege for which he must thank the social order that sustains him. He knows that his emotion toward the victim class is (these days at least) more or less cost-free, that the few sacrifices he might have to make by way of proving his sincerity are nothing compared to the warm glow of approval by which he will be surrounded by declaring his sympathies. His compassion is a profoundly motivated state of mind, not the painful result of a conscience that will not be silenced, but the costless ticket to popular acclaim.

Why am I repeating those elementary truths, you ask? The answer is simple. The USA has descended from its special position as the principled guardian of Western civilization and joined the club of sentimentalists who have until now depended on American power. In the administration of President Obama we see the very same totalitarian sentimentality that has been at work in Europe, and which has replaced civil society with the state, the family with the adoption agency, work with welfare, and patriotic duty with universal “rights.” The lesson of postwar Europe is that it is easy to flaunt compassion, but harder to bear the cost of it. Far preferable to the hard life in which disciplined teaching, costly charity, and responsible attachment are the ruling principles is the life of sentimental display, in which others are encouraged to admire you for virtues you do not possess. This life of phony compassion is a life of transferred costs. Liberals who wax lyrical on the sufferings of the poor do not, on the whole, give their time and money to helping those less fortunate than themselves. On the contrary, they campaign for the state to assume the burden. The inevitable result of their sentimental approach to suffering is the expansion of the state and the increase in its power both to tax us and to control our lives.

As the state takes charge of our needs, and relieves people of the burdens that should rightly be theirs — the burdens that come from charity and neighborliness — serious feeling retreats. In place of it comes an aggressive sentimentality that seeks to dominate the public square. I call this sentimentality “totalitarian” since — like totalitarian government — it seeks out opposition and carefully extinguishes it, in all the places where opposition might form. Its goal is to “solve” our social problems, by imposing burdens on responsible citizens, and lifting burdens from the “victims,” who have a “right” to state support. The result is to replace old social problems, which might have been relieved by private charity, with the new and intransigent problems fostered by the state: for example, mass illegitimacy, the decline of the indigenous birthrate, and the emergence of the gang culture among the fatherless youth. We have seen this everywhere in Europe, whose situation is made worse by the pressure of mass immigration, subsidized by the state. The citizens whose taxes pay for the flood of incoming “victims” cannot protest, since the sentimentalists have succeeded in passing “hate speech” laws and in inventing crimes like “Islamophobia” which place their actions beyond discussion. This is just one example of a legislative tendency that can be observed in every area of social life: family, school, sexual relations, social initiatives, even the military — all are being deprived of their authority and brought under the control of the “soft power” that rules from above.

This is how we should understand the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. To his credit he has made clear that he does not deserve it — though I assume he deserves it every bit as much as Al Gore. The prize is an endorsement from the European elite, a sigh of collective relief that America has at last taken the decisive step toward the modern consensus, by exchanging real for fake emotion, hard power for soft power, and truth for lies. What matters in Europe is the great fiction that things will stay in place forever, that peace will be permanent and society stable, just so long as everybody is “nice.” Under President Bush (who was, of course, no exemplary president, and certainly not nice) America maintained its old image, of national self-confidence and belligerent assertion of the right to be successful. Bush was the voice of a property-owning democracy, in which hard work and family values still achieved a public endorsement. As a result he was hated by the European elites, and hated all the more because Europe needs America and knows that, without America, it will die. Obama is welcomed as a savior: the American president for whom the Europeans have been hoping — the one who will rescue them from the truth.

How America itself will respond to this, however, remains doubtful. I suspect, from my neighbors in rural Virginia, that totalitarian sentimentality has no great appeal to them, and that they will be prepared to resist a government that seeks to destroy their savings and their social capital, for the sake of a compassion that it does not really feel.

This is no newly realized idea.  Alexis de Tocqueville understood this well more than a century ago when he wrote:

“Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood; it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”

Whether it is health care “reform” that will create a superstructure that liberals will continue to build more and more socialist big government control forever after; whether it is cap-and-trade, which will send energy prices through the roof and lead to government control over everything that produces or consumes energy, or has anything to do with energy in it’s development; whether it is federal government bailouts of every industry or institution deemed “too big to fail”; whether it is outright government ownership of private industry (such as the car companies); whether it is sweetheart deals offered to one politician, one state, or one industry or institution that correspondingly imposes burdens on others; whether it is the series of sweeping new regulations that strangle businesses and keep banks unable to make loans; we have to fight this agenda with everything we have.

Democrats Increase Taxes And Debt Ceiling Simultaneously: They Really ARE the ‘Tax And Spend Party’

December 23, 2009

This was an excellent point:

Health care: Dems to vote to increase taxes and debt ceiling simultaneously

Published by Briggs at 6:01 pm under Politics

Some ill-informed persons out there actually had the temerity to accuse Democrats as the “tax and spend” party. A stereotype!

Whatever could have given them that idea?

Perhaps this: Democrats will—on Christmas eve, in a festive display of mono-partisanism—vote to raise taxes and increase the national debt limit. The old limit couldn’t properly account for their prodigious profligacy, you understand.

The government is bleeding money: it’s gushing from every bureaucratic orifice. Solution? Spend more!

The new health care tax–which isn’t yet honestly called a tax, but a “program”—will almost certainly pass the Senate. Part of this “program” is said to be an “individual mandate”, which will require, via the full majesty of the law, that individuals purchase health insurance, even if they do not want it.

That is, you will be forced by implied gunpoint to fork over your money to a private company.

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What else can you call a party that literally raises taxes and increases the debt limit on the very same day anything other than the “tax and spend” party?

These Democrats are so intellectually vacuous and morally insane that they continue to pretend to pay lip service to “fiscal responsibility” even as they spend more money more quickly than any human civilization that has ever occupied planet Earth.

And for the record, the government using its power of regulation and naked force to control private businesses, and then make sweetheart deals with the same businesses that they control, is naked fascism.