Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dr StrangeHair - How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Donald

I was admittedly more than a little annoyed to see how well Trump has been doing in early GOP primary polling.  But Trump is pretty much maxed out right now.  He's not going to get independent-minded folks, and he's not going to get ideologues like myself. Or anybody with tact, common sense, or an IQ notably over 100. When primary voters learn of his donations to key Democrats (like Ed Rendell and Rahm Emanuel, for starters), his continually shifting party registration, his rather undisciplined insane policy ramblings, and an abortion flip-flop so convenient it would make Mitt Romney blush, support for Trump will wither away.

In short, he's not going to win the Republican nomination. He's not a threat.

And if he's not a threat, perhaps he can do some good -- as an attack dog.  A good chunk of the population still clings bitterly to a personal admiration for Obama, even if many have soured on his policies and governance.  What Trump brings to the table is a shameless, vulgar willingness and ability to attack Obama personally.  What we know from three years of Obama media coverage is that anybody who criticizes Obama on anything other than the narrowest of policy grounds gets denounced as a racist.  (Actually, any criticism of Obama is declared racist, but the policy stuff is less so.)  Trump has shown an enthusiasm for criticizing Obama without any concern for how it might backfire onto Trump.

Yeah, the birther stuff was idiotic.  But it must be noted that the mainstream candidates all distanced themselves from the issue, and thus won't be burned by it.

I'm a little more interested in the academic records.  I'd like to know what sort of GPA our sooper-geenyus President was pulling at Oxy and Columbia. (I'm guessing it was pretty good, but short of great.  Remember, Dubya the dunce had a slightly higher GPA than Kerry.) I'd love to know what courses Obama took.  I'd consider sacrificing a pinkie toe to get a hold of some of his papers.  Again, none of the mainstream candidates need bother with this down-in-the mud stuff.  Trump can be the honey badger invading the beehive, unfazed by multiple stings from an angry swarm of media-types.

It's not that I oppose Obama because I think he might have had a less than stellar GPA, took a dozen courses on Marxism, or got a C-minus in basic economics.  It's that I think finding out such information might start to dispel the rainbow-farting-unicorn aura that surrounds the man. People need to like Obama less on a "personal" level.

So I've made my peace with the Trump quasi-candidacy.  Let him stir up the pot of Obama's history, then fade into political (if not media) obscurity after a while.  He really can't hurt anything.

Friday, April 22, 2011

NLRB And The Right To Say “No”

 In “The Godfather”, when Don Corleone says he's “gonna make him an offer he can't refuse”, it's generally understood that the Don isn't intending to engage in honest and meaningful negotiations. He's going to make a threat, backed by force.

The recent action by the National Labor Relations Board challenging Boeing's decision to build a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina has a similar bent. This move by Obama's NLRB is part of a continuing attempting to take away management's right to say “no” to unions in any meaningful sense of the word.

In every other facet of civilized society, meaningful consent is defined by the ability of one party to walk away. Why is employment – typically considered to be a “voluntary” arrangement – any different?

It should be noted that the South Carolina plant is a second line, and that no union worker will lose his or her job. Actually, more union jobs are being added in Puget Sound to support the South Carolina facility. All Boeing did was decide to build a plant in a place with favorable labor laws while being honest enough to say why.

This shouldn't come as any surprise to anybody who was paying attention in 2008. A visit to Obama's 2008 campaign website via the WayBack Machine shows that this recent behavior is part of a larger pattern. As far back as January of 2008, promoted the following policy:
Protect Striking Workers: Obama supports the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary. He will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods. 

A nearly identical statement incorporating Joe Biden's name persisted on the website through the election.

This statement, buried on the Obama campaign website, told you everything you need to know about Obama's governing philosophy.  "He will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers..."  Knowing that the union could never be broken even under the most dire circumstances, labor “negotiators” would be able to demand anything they wanted – literally making offers that management could not refuse.

But this privileged status only extends to union organizers, not to individual workers. Let's not forget EFCA, the absurdly named “Employee Free Choice Act” – a.k.a. “Card Check”. Though now seemingly on ice, EFCA would have effectively eliminated secret ballot union elections, and with it the meaningful right of refusal to join a union.

If the Obama administration had its way, workers could not refuse to join unions, management could not refuse to acquiesce to union demands, and businesses could not even build new facilities except where union “negotiators” stipulated.

If Big Labor and the administration think they can make people offers that others can't refuse, it's not going too far to suggest they are acting like gangsters.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Best Graphic Ever: Ted Kennedy on Windfarm Article

At FastCompany, which is a pretty good site, btw.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Difference is the Direction

Ezra Klein seems to have missed the point about Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare.

Klein's WaPo interview with some-time Ryan collaborator Alice Rivlin, who does not support the "Path to Prosperity" plan:
EK: Speaking of the Affordable Care Act, you’ve said before that the theory behind the exchanges in Ryan-Rivlin and the theory behind the exchanges in the Affordable Care Act are identical. That would mean Republicans who believe in Ryan’s model should be more optimistic about the Affordable Care Act. But Ryan has said the two of you simply disagree on how to build the exchanges. Can you explain to me the disagreement you have that would make Ryan-Rivlin different from the ACA?

AR: No. I can’t. I think he’s sort of backed himself into an intellectual corner here.

EK: When you would talk to him, did he seem to recognize that?

AR: Yes.

Sure, they're very similar.  The difference is the direction in which they are moving.

Medicare is currently a massively expensive single-payer plan with minimal market restraints. To attempt to save any money under the current Medicare system is necessarily an exercise in command-and-control planning.  The Ryan plan moves slightly away from that, and attempts to cap overall premium supports and let market participants figure out what to do with that money.

Obamacare goes in the opposite direction, moving from a system with significant (if insufficient) market-based checks, towards a system with more central control and higher levels of taxation and spending.

The lack of any frame of reference seems like an act of willful obfuscation. It would be like saying that one will experience hot weather when moving to Virginia.  Well, yes, it's hotter than Maine, but cooler than Texas.