Hospitals are icky places because that's where people take their infections and diseases to dispose of them. Every nook in a hospital has hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial soap, just in case you weren't aware there were germs all over the place. A friend told me the other day that using anti-bacterial soaps leads to the development of 'super germs.' I got a mental picture of my hands serving as a petri dish* for bacterial evolution. ewwwww.

And then, as often happens, the words and thoughts began to tumble.

anti-bacterial ... anti-biotic ... anti-life? ... petri dish ... evolution ... revolution? ... disease ... sickness ... resistance?

"The economy is very sick," Obama told reporters.
Do you get the feeling that President Obama is throwing the bones to determine the proper course of action for curing the economy? In his February 9th campaign stop ... err, press conference, he said:

It is absolutely true that we can't depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector. But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs.

Did you notice him playing both sides? It "must be" the role of the private sector, but "only government" can solve the problem. That's an old witch doctor/fortune teller trick ... play both sides so you can't be wrong. He also conveniently fails to mention that the "resources" that the government will use originally belonged to individuals. That's a witch doctor trick, too. The only power he really has is what has been given to him by his victim, er, patient.

Oh no. Wait. I apologize. Please forgive me. I've just realized what a racist thing I've done ... comparing the President to a witch doctor. Let me try another analogy.

For nearly 2,000 years blood-letting was the preferred treatment for all sorts of fevers, infections and diseases. The theory was that you needed to get rid of the 'bad blood'. Sometimes they even transfused blood from a healthy sheep. George Washington was bled of an amazing five pints of blood during his final illness.

So perhaps Obama is an 18th century physician, instead of a witch doctor, convinced that blood-letting is the proper course of treatment. He's getting rid of the bad, evil, dirty money that people earned on their own, and is replacing it with nice, pure, clean money freshly laundered through the tax process. If centuries of examples about the non-efficacy of blood-letting didn't deter doctors from continuing to use it, a hundred years demonstrating the failure of socialism isn't that hard to rationalize or ignore.

It's unlikely, however, that Obama would subscribe to any of the beliefs or principles of our founding fathers. He once said:

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page of the policies of the past.
I have it now. Obama is practicing alternative medicine on our economy. It's a 'natural' medicine, more about philosophy and feelings than science. The root cause of economic woes are, perhaps, a blocked qi ( c'hi ? ) caused by greed, so all possibility of financial success must be removed to put us in balance. Maybe the infrastructure projects, since the details are still being worked out, will have pyramids and crystal arches to help direct a positive energy flow across the landscape. Maybe the new schools will have yoga classes so kids can learn chakra balancing instead of engineering.

No, that analogy is still not quite right. I realize the New Age folks are probably in Obama's demographic, I'm just thinking he's got a little too much Chicago politics in him to be truly invested in that touchy-feely stuff.

Okay. This time, I'm sure I have it.

Everyday Americans can see that the economy is sick, but they also intuitively know that organic systems have amazing healing and recuperative powers. A little sunshine (instead of doom and gloom) ... some rest (instead of constant intervention) ... add some healthy fluids (cut the corporate, capital gains and income tax rates to improve liquidity) ... plus a little physical activity (lose the labor union weight and the stress of regulation) ... and the economy would be back on it's feet in no time.

Instead, Dr. Obama has admitted us to the ICU, in the permanently germy federal government hospital. He's pumping us full of anti-biotics, determined to rid us of a nasty infection of capitalism and individual freedom that we've had since we were born. He doesn't realize it's not an infection; they are the germs we depend on to live. Fortunately, it's a resistant strain. While we still have some strength, we need to make our desire for a second opinion known.

* Dutch researchers are trying to grow pork in petri dishes and give new meaning to the phrase Mystery Meat. "We're trying to make meat without having to kill animals," Bernard Roelen, a veterinary science professor at Utrecht University, said in an interview.


Just Say It

One of my many nieces updated her facebook status with:

... is excited about watching The Bachelor tonight...yeah I said it...:)

And I heard Mark Levin call Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd 'socialists and criminals that should be prosecuted', or words to that effect. He followed it up with:

That's right! I said it!

And I've recently discovered a smartass southern author, Celia Rivenbark. "That's right, I said it" is implied in the title of most of her books:

"We're Just Like You, Only Prettier"
"Stop Dressing Your Six Year Old Like a Skank"
and soon to be released ...
"You Can't Drink All Day If You Don't Start in the Morning"

I like that attitude. It's refreshing. It's brash and confident and courageous. It's John Wayne saying, when told everything isn't black and white, "Why the hell not?" It's an American kind of attitude ... straightforward, sincere, unapologetic ... and we need more of it. It's in that spirit that I offer the following:

The so-called "stimulus" package is more about political payback and entrenching the Democrat party than it is about doing the right thing for the country.

If it takes a TV commercial to convince you to "ask your doctor" about a prescription drug, you probably aren't sick.

If you are poor, unemployed or economically disadvantaged and you vote for Democrats, you should add stupid to your list of problems because big government is not your friend.

The only things that work well in public education are the athletic programs because coaches are paid well, they actually get to coach and if they can't coach they are fired. Teachers should be treated the same way.

Everyone should own a gun and know how to use it.

U2. Not that great.

That's right. I said it.


One of the Millions

iowahawk: with apologies to margaret bourke-white

Recently President Obama said:

... if there's anyone out there who still doesn't believe this constitutes a full-blown crisis, I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside-down ...

Being recently laid off, or "resource actioned" in the parlance of my employer, I am qualified to be counted as one of the millions and, unfortunately, Obama's right. I believe this is a "full blown crisis" ... I just don't believe it's an economic one. That probably makes me somewhat unique among the millions ... or billions if we're using Pelosi-nomics.

Potential employers say "we are postponing any hiring decisions" and I whisper to myself, "gee. thanks obama." Without his fear mongering and catastrophic predictions perhaps employers would be looking to expand instead of retrench. Instead of energizing the economic engine, Obama is purposefully yanking the brake and over-hyping the crisis to improve his political position. He's not being honest; he's being manipulative.

The headlines read 'Wall Street Anticipates Stimulus Passage' or 'Markets Slide on Lack of Treasury Plan Details', attempting to explain the ups and downs of the Dow-Jones, but to me it's just another chance to say "gee. thanks obama." Volatility in the market is almost always caused by uncertainty. Is he a centrist? Will there be enough pork to go around? How far is the step between capping executive pay and controlling profits? Will they nationalize the banks? Will 'green' initiatives retard the necessary infrastructure growth? Can corporations afford an American, unionized work force? What, exactly, is "the plan?" Companies don't layoff workers based on last year's results; they layoff based on the upcoming forecast. When you have a leader with no clear plan, no track record and no discernible principles it's impossible to forecast positive results. No wonder the layoffs are mounting.

And then we have this gem. Obama said, "It is only government that can break the vicious cycle" of lost jobs, less spending and more layoffs. The message is subtle, but it's in there. On the surface he's making the case for huge government intervention in the economy. The underlying message, however, is "be passive. we'll take care of you. we'll protect you from the evil capitalists. step into my parlor." Dress it up however you like ... compassion, patriotism, progress, "change" ... it's still ends up as central planning and a loss of individual freedoms. Is that what Americans want, or what Obama wants?

At least the message within the message is generally consistent when he promotes the 'government is your friend' idea. What's more irritating are the blatant inconsistencies between words and actions. I'm not seeing a lot of transparency in the 'stimulus' legislation process and Tom Daschle alone was enough to torpedo two of Obama's campaign mantras ... the "highest ethical standards ever" and "no lobbyists" regarding administration appointments. My personal favorite is contrasting his famous
America is not and never has been just a collection of red states and blue states, but rather the UNITED STATES
with his recent catty comments along the lines of 'We won. The American people have spoken. The opposition needs to get over it. I have a mandate.' And of course executives with corporate jets are bad and wasteful, but congressional junkets and campaigning for legislation using Air Force One is 'doing the people's business.' So much for 'we are all in this together'. So much for inclusiveness. We're not red and blue anymore, just 'the ruling elite' and 'the woeful masses.'

This is a full-blown crisis alright, but it's leadership, not economics, that is at issue.


Why On Earth

My friend Kristina, lamenting about turning into a political scientist, asks one of her hallmark tough questions in her blog. She writes:

I was sitting there, Ian's dad was driving and Ian was in the front seat, and they were listening to Rush Limbaugh (or someone equally as awful) talking about the bailout. And Rush, Ian, and Ian's dad were all commenting on how bad an idea it is, and how if the big companies are getting bailed out then why can't we all get a check, and how the free market is really the best way to handle everything. I always stay quiet during these sorts of commentaries, because it just really never turns out well, but all of a sudden, I bust out with . . .

"The thing is, Rush Limbaugh isn't asking the right question."

They both give me blank stares.

"The real question isn't whether we should bailout the companies or not. The real question is, if we assume that you are correct and that laissez-faire free market policy is really the most efficient way to fix the problem, then why on earth would anyone propose a bailout plan in the first place?"

In context, Kristina was really just using this to make the point that studying political science has altered her ability to discuss 'real world' questions. Her question, however, of 'why on earth' is very interesting. Why would someone propose a plan that won't work, or at least won't work well?

First, I'm more than willing to assume that a free market policy is the most efficient way to fix economic problems, primarily because that's how I see it. If someone can show me where socialist polices actually work to "fix" any economy I'll reconsider my position, but for now we'll just go with the fact that free markets work.

Now, let's turn to the big question ... why propose a bailout, or to make it more current, a 'stimulus spending' program?

It could be that those proposing a spending solution are simply ignorant. To completely rule out ignorance you must also assume that they are actually trying to solve the problem, an admittedly big assumption, but perhaps they are just unaware that free market policies work. One would think that with unlimited access to intelligent resources and the well documented histories of economic catastrophes of all sorts that the decision makers would clearly see the correct solution. And even if they didn't, surely the opposition would desperately try to educate them. They shouldn't be able to claim ignorance, but that doesn't mean they aren't being intentionally obtuse.

So, if they aren't stupid, are they being malicious? I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone, but I don't see any reason to suspect that all of our leaders are The Manchurian Candidate. Individually a politician could act maliciously to subvert a rival or inhibit debate but it's hard to imagine a set of conditions where an entire course of action is taken simply to deal harm to another. Then again, just because it's difficult to conceive doesn't mean it can't happen.

So they might be ignorant, and they might be malicious. They might also simply be greedy bastards ... there might be something in it for them. That certainly fits with normal human behavior; we tend to be self-interested. It also fits with political behavior ... who cares about principles, constituencies must be happy to get re-elected! Self interest, just being greedy, sounds logical. Why propose an illogical or inefficient solution? Because it assures me of some power or status or security, which makes sense in almost everyone's world.

The greed isn't necessarily personal. Perhaps they are advocates, true believers, of an alternative, though inefficient, solution and feel that humanity will be best served in the long term by moving to this other, non-efficent method. The selfless warrior, fighting for the morally correct but logically flawed solution ... I've seen people operating in that mode. They might say, "I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this for future generations!" and see themselves as advancing the cause with pure motives, not those base motives of selfish profit and power.

If the question is 'why on earth would anyone propose a plan that won't work?' these are some credible explanations. They might be stupid or malicious though they are more likely to be greedy, either for themselves personally, or for some ideological cause. But a another question remains. People don't normally choose to be seen as stupid or mean or greedy. Why would they act in a manner that highlights these unattractive characteristics? The answer to that is simple ... they are arrogant.

Their arrogance prevents them from acknowledging alternative solutions to the problem; their ignorance is by choice. The maliciousness is disciplinary, not mean-spirited; they are the tough, but benevolent, parent. If it's personal greed, they deserve to be rewarded. If it's for "the cause" then they are making the sacrifice of service. It's inconceivable that they might be wrong which is the curse of being part of the academic, intellectual and moral elite. They are the girl you knew in junior high who was hot, and knew it. It is, no doubt, an incredible burden ... and one mere mortals can not possibly understand.

I'm not a political scientist (they intimidate me); I'm just an observer, and this is what I've seen. Liberals who propose socialist solutions rail against the stupidity of conservatives, the mean-spirited and cold-hearted individualists who oppose welfare and handouts and the greed driven profit motive of capitalist right-wingers and "Wall Street", whoever they are. I think they protest too much. I've noticed that what we complain about in others is often what we dislike about ourselves and I think their complaints are telling. I suppose I'll be forced to admit my own arrogance here, since that seems to be the thing that truly irritates me about the liberal elites, but like my sister used to tell me (when she was in junior high), "It's not that I'm conceited, it's just that I'm convinced."

Moving to Lipscomb, TX

President Obama is encouraging folks to get together and discuss the Economic Recovery ... he'd like to see "Economic Recovery House Meetings"

They even have a handy search tool, so you can find one in your neighborhood!

How thoughtful.

I'm moving to Lipscomb.