Saturday, November 30, 2013

Opportunity for pro-science pro-patent Republicans

Republicans ought to be able to make some hay out of the FDA's recent slap down of personal genetic testing pioneer 23andMe.  Some enterprising conservative House members ought to introduce legislation to rein in the FDA, doing so on the grounds of both individual liberty and scientific progress.
It's got all the right ingredients. A senseless governmental overreach... right in our wheelhouse. Target audience? Upper middle class suburbanites... a demographic we've struggled with of late.
A fix would be Pro-science! An issue certain people anti-associate with the GOP.  A fix would be pro-liberty, pro-individual determination.
Why shouldn’t people have the right to learn about their own DNA without the interference of an increasingly political health-care industrial complex?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

VA, NJ quick thoughts

Virginia

I'm not going to get into the blame game on Cuccinelli's loss, but when you have a viable candidate, you fight hard. You fight hard until the end because you never know what might happened. 

Exit question to those who say Cuccinelli "ran hard" on social issues: Did Cuccinelli do that, or did McAuliffe do that?

New Jersey

Chris Christie will not be the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016.

It's not so much the in-your-face attitude that gets me, its the in-MY-face attitude.  Christie snarled at fiscal conservatives who didn't want the Sandy relief bill to be too porked up.

So that's a strike on fiscal issues, which you can add to his Second Amendment problems.

Screw you too, buddy.


Monday, November 04, 2013

Word Watch: Substandard

The latest White House weasel word in defense of Obama "misspeaking" about folks keeping their insurance plans is "substandard".  As in, "You shouldn't want to keep your substandard plan anyway."

This is a rather slick tautology.  The plans are "sub-standard" in that they are below the legal standard -- the Obamacare standard.  So when people complain that they were kicked off their plan because it didn't meet the Obamacare criteria, it is a semantically null defense to say that the plan was "substandard".

Of course it is substandard.  Obamacare defined the standard, and that is the very thing about which people are complaining.

"Substandard" is particularly weaselly because in addition to having the precise meaning of being below the standard, it has a looser connotation of being of poor quality.  Not all substandard plans are of poor quality, but they'd like you to think so while repeating a technically accurate word.

And regarding idea that the POTUS "misspoke" (several dozen times), I think it's time the GOP bring back a word that was used effectively against Bush: "misled".

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The alternative to leeches

It's one of the oldest jokes there is.
Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
-Then don't do that!
Republicans will continue to be asked what their alternative to Obamacare is. And while I would encourage folks to continue to work on answering that question, it's terribly unfair if you think about it.
It's a little like asking about the Republican alternative to leeches and bloodletting. The answer is to not do those things. Yes, there are alternatives out there, but the important thing is to stop doing the stupid and counterproductive things first.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The “War Fatigue” Meme

I heard “war fatigue” probably ten times or so on the evening news tonight. The problem with this subtle piece of propaganda is that it blames the populace for their unwillingness to support Obama.

You see, it's not that Obama's plan to bomb Syria is a bad idea, it's just that you poor stupid bastards are too war weary to appreciate the infinite wisdom of the plan.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

War Powers and Syria

The War Powers Resolution is a tricky animal. There's a good argument that not all of it is constitutional, but it does represent a decent starting point for any discussion of the President's discretionary war powers.

A President probably has the authority to launch a one-off strike as we are currently considering with Syria, but this is really not the situation contemplated by the War Powers Resolution. This is not an emergency. There is ample time to consult with the Congress and obtain proper authority for the use of military force.

This is yet another example of Obama's disregard for the democratic process, which if allowed to proceed, would probably nix an attack.

Friday, August 23, 2013

To Defund

At some point, and soon, folks had better recognize that Obamacare is an existential threat.  An existential threat to the American way of life, and an individually existential threat to those whose care will inevitably be denied under the law.

In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Wolowitz is asked if his family has a history of heart disease.  His retort - "My family is the history of heart disease."

Similarly, I note that my family is the history of cancer.  My paternal grandmother had breast cancer twice before succumbing to melanoma.  My maternal grandfather died of lymphoma, as did one of his brothers.  His other brother died of liver cancer.  A great grandfather died of brain cancer.  Several of my dad's aunts died of various cancers. And my Dad is currently living with leukemia.

I'm sure I forgot a few, but you get the idea.

And who gets hit hardest by Obamacare?  Cancer patients! (h/t Mark Levin)

Guess who else gets hit? Insured spouses.  And wouldn't you know it, my cancer patient dad is insured through mom's workplace policy. Potential double whammy. 

So forgive me, but I'm taking this personally.

But beyond my family's horror story, and similar ones around the country, Obamacare promises to stifle the economy and strain the federal budget, most likely to the breaking point.  At what point do we stop treating Obamacare as a political game and take the most aggressive stance we can against it?

No, the polls don't favor "shutdown".  The polls don't favor Obamacare either.  Winners don't just read the polls, they influence them. And that is not just some partisan bravado, but a fact of life.  A poll is essentially incapable of capturing the potential for self-reinforcing trends. ("Reflexive" phenomena, to use George Soros' term.)  A poll can not look more than one or maybe two iterations ahead in a trend.  A poll can not predict a social tipping point.  And I say this as a big fan of polls, and a proponent of their proper use.

The most coherent opposition to the "defund" strategy is the percieved probability that the effort will eventually fail, and we will look weak for having tried and failed. But this is a self-fulfilling prophesy.  Navel-gazing Republicans are our worst enemies. By talking down the strategy, they diminish its probability of success.  And we need it to be a success. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

QOTD: Abortion Quotas

For anybody who happens to be a big fan of Planned Parenthood...

Daily Caller:

“The abortion lobby has said they want abortion to be safe, legal and rare,” Johnson told me. “But clearly we see that they’ve dropped the safe part and the rare part because they are trying to increase abortion.”
 [...]
Johnson told me that during her time with Planned Parenthood, staffers were given abortion quotas to meet. Workers could easily influence vulnerable women into choosing an abortion, not necessarily for the benefit of the woman, but to meet the monthly quotas set by management.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Unintended Consequences of Foreign Aid

I'm not so naive as to think we can just cut all foreign aid and all will be well, but the current mess in Egypt has exposed a significant unintended consequence of foreign aid.

Brit Hume made an excellent point on Fox News Sunday, which is that whether US policy makers decide to continue or to cut aid to the Egyptian military, the decision isn't whether or not to exercise US influence, but how to exercise US influence. "Two sides of the same coin", as Hume said.

Again, there is a good argument for continuing aid in this case, which is the preservation of peace between Egypt and Israel by placating the Egyptian military.  But make no mistake, we find ourselves being forced --one way or the other-- to exercise what some might describe as imperial power due to a policy of significant and seemingly perpetual foreign aid.

Perhaps we should remember this dilemma when considering our other foreign aid commitments.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dan Pfeiffer and the Law

It’s a ready-made Drudge headline. In reference to the recent IRS scandal, Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer said, "The law is irrelevant".

The utterance launched numerous tweets and re-tweets, and, predictably, a backlash against an out-of-context quote.

Let me charitably re-phrase what Pfeiffer was probably trying to say — That, regardless of the whether the IRS actions were technically illegal, they were definitely wrong, and the Obama administration will be working to rectify the problem.

That’s about as generous as I can be.  But it’s still a problematic and revealing statement.  The administration’s broad strategy is to direct the media away from inquiries about illegality.  You know, because it almost certainly was illegal.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Monday, April 08, 2013

They lie because they can

The gun control lies are coming so, um, Fast and Furious -- so to speak -- that it's rather difficult to keep up with all of them.

The most abused falsehood is the blurring of the distinction between semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic ones.  Gabby GiffordsObama referring to NewtownBloomberg, as a general statement.

All three false, but frequently repeated and widely believed propositions.

I can sort of forgive Gabby Giffords, as she has been made into an unfortunate puppet of her husband/handler. But I can't forgive her husband, who clearly knows better, nor the President, who actually "corrected" himself, nor Mike Bloomberg, who has made it his raison d'ĂȘtre to make as many legal guns illegal has he can afford to.

Yes, there are certainly circumstances of painfully obvious ignorance, but on the whole we are seeing a deliberate obfuscation of numerous gun control issues. And they will continue to lie, and they will do so because for the most part they can get away with it.  The media has already largely acquiesced to the change in language from "gun control legislation" to "gun violence legislation".  Frickin' Pravda, man.

Guns are an extremely emotional issue, and it pays for the Left to keep it that way.  As Jonathan Swift is credited as saying, It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

The subject of "universal background checks" is probably a close second to the auto/semi-auto obfuscation.  Sure, "90%" support universal checks, but it's unlikely that most of them have any idea what that would entail, including making it a felony to go on vacation without your guns for more than seven days if your roommate is still on the premises.

And yet, Nanny Bloomberg continues to run an absurd ad by some phoney-baloney gun "owner" where he breaks every safety rule ever invented while claiming to support gun rights.

I just shake my head in despair as I consider that people take Bloomberg and the gun control crowd seriously.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pre-K education is about day-care

Obama spoke about universal pre-K education in the SOTU.  Presumably this means something akin to Head Start.  Sadly, we know that the benefits of Head Start disappear within a few years, making it a colossal waste of resources and an empty promise to the underprivileged.

Whether Obama knows or believes this is almost irrelevant.  The important point for conservatives to understand is that the demand for pre-K is an appeal to two segments of the population:
  1. Parents in need of day-care
  2. Teacher unions

The first could conceivably be won by Republicans.  The second seems forever lost.

If Republicans are forced to offer an alternative to universal pre-K, we might consider day-care vouchers for 3-to-5 year-olds. 

It's not ideal, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper than pre-K, which would surely require certified teachers with bachelor's degrees and union memberships, not to mention the infrastructure building that would be necessary to cope with another year or two of schooling.

Day-care vouchers would avoid direct subsidies to hostile entities, save money while accomplishing the exact same goal, and introduce parents to the concept of voucher-based subsidy of goods and services, which might come in handy should anybody try to get far with K-12 education vouchers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Reveal the Trick

Perhaps the best way to heckle a magician is to reveal his tricks. "It's up his sleeve!"  "There's a false bottom!"

And so too do I think Republicans ought to reveal some of Obama's rhetorical slights of hand, particularly closing tax loopholes.

It should go a little something like this:
"You know, [name of reporter], it's a funny trick the President is playing now by talking about tax loopholes, because Republicans have been talking about closing loopholes for months in the context of comprehensive tax reform. At the time he seemed to dismiss the idea. [chuckle] We're glad he's coming around on that issue. We'd be happy to talk with the President about closing loopholes in a revenue neutral way as a part of comprehensive tax simplification so we can stop picking winners and losers in the tax code and free up this economy so we can finally get some real growth and job creation."

Monday, February 11, 2013

About Rove's Project

Karl Rove wants to get involved in GOP primaries, citing the Buckley rule.

There's actually something to be said for that idea. The biggest problem is who would be running the show, and that's Karl Rove.  I really don't trust Rove to fully understand how people misapply the Buckley rule, and from my point of view Rove is too old-school (think median voter theory) to pull this off, even if there weren't enormous backlash against him personally.

AFP might have a better chance at getting this right.  They have base-voter credibility.

Related: Matt Lewis recommends candidate training. I endorse this idea.

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I promised constructive ideas in my previous post.  You'll notice I haven't posted here since November.  That's because the most "constructive" thing I did was obtain my license to carry firearms, and that's not especially constructive.