Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, and Remedial Economics

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’m sure you know that the Supreme Court decided that a privately held corporation (defined as held by less than 5 people) can have religious beliefs. In fine it was decided that Hobby Lobby has the right not to provide, without cost 4 (out of 20) contraceptives. Their employees still can, of course, still obtain them, they just have to pay for them, as they have for twenty years. Those four act as abortifacients, which are defined as stopping a fertilized egg from implanting. It was a very narrow decision, not that you can tell from the absurd wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But what I really want to talk about today is economic theory. We are watching the greatest economic miracle in world history be subverted by a bunch of economic Luddites. I’m not at all sure that they are not full disciples of old Ned as long as they get to be the aristocracy. And that’s the difference as we’ll see here.

Let’s start with a superficial overview of world economic history. Here there really is a graph that looks like a hockey stick, unlike the charlatans of the ‘Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming’.

In case you missed it in the video, here is that graph again

Why then? Because of this

We’ve been hearing all our life how FDR saved the country in the Great Depression. He didn’t. He continued Hoover’s policies and even made them worse. What brought us out of the Great Depression was World War II, which you could make a pretty good case that the ‘great’ Progressive, Wilson, caused. Here:

Let’s bring it on down to now, and talk a bit about Obama’s policies

And do note that Bush played Hoover to Obama’s FDR quite well.

Just to bring us around the circle, here is what Dr. Sowell told us about Obamacare, even before it was passed.

Neville Obama and the # Hashtag War

Neville Chamberlain

Cover of Neville Chamberlain

“F*** the EU,” top State official Victoria Nuland said on a phone call.

This phone call had been covertly recorded by Russia and was then leaked to the press, which should have been a signal that Russia, at least, was taking this more seriously than Obama’s team was.

The F-bomb is deployed because Nuland’s frustrated that the EU isn’t doing more to pressure Viktor Yanukovych, the Putin-backed Ukrainian president whose recent deal with Moscow instigated the last few months of protests.

Why wasn’t the EU doing “more” to pressure Yanukovych, Putin’s choice for President?

Here’s the thing: Because the EU was thinking hard about the Ukraine and realistically about itself.

The EU didn’t want to force Yanukovych out of power, nor encourage the Maidan movement to force him out of power, because they knew that Russia would react as Russia has in fact reacted.

And the EU knew this about themselves: They were not prepared to do a damn thing about a Russian invasion.

via “F*** the EU,” Revisited.

There’s quite a bit more that you should read but, he’s right. And why weren’t they prepared to do anything about it? It comes down to a simple question. With what? Including US forces in Europe there are maybe 300,000 troops in Europe, including the UK.Some are superb like the US and UK, battle tested, and ready to go, most aren’t. And most are in Germany or England. That’s quite a road march, to get to Ukraine where there are supposedly 150,000 Russian troops waiting for them, and that leaves nothing for anything else in Europe, like the Baltics, or Poland.

Of course we have 400,000 people just at Ft Hood, in Texas, which is fine and good. We haven’t run that old exercise REFORGER (which you older guys might remember stood for Return of Forces to Germany) since the end of the cold war, and even then it presupposed prepositioned equipment there. Is it still there? I have no idea, if it is it’s 30 years old now, and it’s in the old West Germany still a much longer road march than either the Fulda Gap or the north German plain. See the plan was to take over nearly every civilian plane in the United States in the build up to war to ferry the troops to marry up with their equipment. Mostly it was always a command post exercise, because of the cost if nothing else.

Obama’s been called Neville Chamberlain a lot lately, in reference to the Munich Conference and appeasement. In fact Intelligence Squared ran a debate in London about it last year (I think I ran this once before, but here it is again)

I find the yeas quite persuasive here, especially Dr. Charmley’s point on the people not being ready to go to war. In fact, I think at Argentia Bay, in that famous church parade on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales, the American people were at about the same point as the British were at the time of Munich. And that’s a problem in a democracy, it doesn’t work well to have a divided people while you are trying to fight a war. I can’t be the only one to remember Vietnam. The other thing that bothers me in that video is that the nays are arguing completely from hindsight, and if we’re going to use history as a guide, that teleological stance makes your arguments useless, or worse. Simply because we only know what we know.

In plain English, if Putin decides to move, Ukraine is doomed, nobody can get there in time to do anything, and even if we had started when the Crimea blew up, I doubt we could have dome much.

So, in a backhanded sort of way, I agree with Obama on this one. There is the caveat that if our intelligence agencies were good for anything but snooping on American citizens we might have had enough warning to accomplish something. But even then, I suspect we’d be dusting off our Tennyson, you know the one that begins “Into the valley of death, rode the 600.”

That said, if you can’t do anything about something, it is a very good idea to sit down and shut up. Not do stupid stuff like this

 

Unless, I suppose, you really do think international relations leading up to a war is like a girls’ junior high school.

But I suppose that is what we get when we elect and reelect a president that thinks words are deeds.

And the fact is that I don’t trust these juvenile amateurs to lead us to the outhouse, let alone to war.

Sorry, Ukraine, you should have known better than to trust Obama

As usual a poem comes to mind

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
 
            The barbarians are due here today.
 
 
Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.
 
 
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
            He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
            replete with titles, with imposing names.
 
 
Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
 
 
Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
 
            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.
 
 
Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?
 
            Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
            And some who have just returned from the border say
            there are no barbarians any longer.
 
 
And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution. 

C.P. Cavafy

 

 

 

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Assembly or Retreat

Caption: A Russian national flag (L) and partly seen flag of Russian airborne forces (R) fly above a former Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean capital Simferopol, on March 27, 2014. Ukraine asked today the UN General Assembly to deter the risk of any future Russian aggression by adopting a resolution denouncing its annexation of Crimea. AFP PHOTO/ DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV (Photo credit should read DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Well, have you noticed we live in interesting times. Yep, I live out here where the US Cavalry used to prowl. You remember them, right. The guys who ran away from Sitting Bull died with their boots on at the Little Big Horn. Wasn’t the smartest fight we ever got in, but they did their best and the general was right there with them.

Lke Tom Clancy said, “If you’ve ever seen a classic John Ford western, you know who the cavalry are. They are the ones who hold the line on the lawless frontier. They are the soldiers who come to the rescue.”


 

Times have changed, Bill Kristol writing in Time put it this way, as his indictment

The message is clear. The problem is its content. Obama certainly isn’t sending the message that Colin Powell, after the Cold War, wanted America to send: “Superpower lives here.” Obama’s message, by contrast, is: “Superpower once lived here. No forwarding address.”

Putin understands Obama’s message. He knows he’s won Crimea. The question is whether he’ll win Ukraine.

He thinks he will. He’s dealing with the Obama administration, after all. He looks at the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, he witnesses the failure to enforce the red line in Syria and the subsequent successes of his friend Assad, he chortles at the relaxation of the sanctions on Iran and the desperate desire to cut a nuclear deal, and he sees Obama’s defense cuts. And he reads the New York Times, where David Sanger reports, “Mr. Obama acknowledges, at least in private, that he is managing an era of American retrenchment.”

So Putin sees retrenchment. Putin sees retreat. And Putin sees that Obama is unlikely to reverse course.

Pretty much what I see as well. And it doesn’t make for a peaceful forecast. To be fair, Obama is correct, Russia is a regional power. The problem is, that region is Europe, and that’s where the game is being played. Russia isn’t trying to invade Canada.

The other day, I defined a superpower, here. The definition of a regional power is one that can exert great power over a short distance. Russia, perhaps alone in Europe, qualifies. The only other contender is the United Kingdom. And they, like we, run into the rule that nuclear powers can’t fight each other, simply because it can get out of hand too easily. That’s what won the cold war, it’s also why Cuba is still communist, everybody recognized the rule.

Given that, Poland, and the Balts are likely safe, although it’s a thin cover. In military terms I’d call it concealment, not cover. But it’s worked before, at least for a while.

Bill Kristol continues

In late 1979, with the seizure of American hostages by Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter was mugged by reality. Carter then tried, however haplessly, to change direction. But Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter. Will Obama increase defense spending, as Carter did? Is he likely to launch a military excursion, as Carter did, over the objection—and then resignation—of his dovish secretary of state?

Carter, whatever his problems, was more hawkish than most in his party. In this he followed in the footsteps of every other Democratic president in the past century. Until Barack Obama.

It’s been a bit bewildering, even disorienting, to watch Obama get mugged by reality and refuse to press charges. But of course he doesn’t want to press charges. He doesn’t believe in an international system in which the American role is to lead. Former Saudi intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal was asked by the Financial Times recently about Putin and Obama. He explained: “While the wolf is eating the sheep, there is no shepherd to come to the rescue of the pack. This is where we find ourselves today.”

[Emphasis mine]

And that’s all true as well.

Russia is hardly a juggernaut. It’s troops are conscripts, not the combat veteran volunteers we in America and Britain are accustomed to. But in the bad old days, NATO had a saying “Quantity has a quality of its own”. It’s still true. And that calculus, ain’t on our side. Great Satan’s girlfriend reminds us:

European powers in recent years have shelved entire divisions and weapons systems. The British Royal Navy doesn’t operate a proper aircraft carrier. The Netherlands in 2012 disbanded its heavy-armor division, and France and the U.K. each now field a mere 200 main battle tanks. France has cut its orders of Rafale combat jets to six a year from 11. This isn’t even a Maginot Line.

Most alliance members are also dangerously demobilized: Germany last year announced plans to cut its troops to no more than 180,000 from 545,000 at the end of the Cold War. The French military has shrunk to 213,000 from 548,000 in 1990. The U.K. now has 174,000 armed forces, down from 308,000 in 1990.

NATO countries have also been deferring maintenance of major equipment and cutting back weapons inventories. Such neglect, normally hidden, became apparent in 2011 when Britain and France ran out of precision-guided munitions during NATO’s Libya campaign.

Remember, we don’t have much of a committment to Ukraine, just an agreement to consult. Which is just as well, cause we’d have a devil of a time getting much there, and our supply line to Afghanistan goes through Russia. And Europe buys most of its natural gas from Russia as well.

But, supposedly we are leaving AFPAK, and a sensible energy policy would let us make up most of Europe’s shortfall in energy, but we have to decide. We know what the President believes but, the people of America are sovereign.

Should the bugler sound ‘assembly’ or ‘retreat’?

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Obama’s Unserious Foreign Policy And America’s Permanent War Footing

This is by Angelo Codevilla, and I find I have little to add to it. Other than that I agree. One might also consider how much it will cost in treasure (and lives) to restore the world to proper functioning. No one else can do it, and the world will be much worse if it is not done.

Ordinarily I tell you to enjoy these but in this case think very hard about the road ahead, and decide where you think we should be heading, and how to get there.

Obama’s address on the State Of The Union showed the lack of seriousness about international affairs by which his Administration has been making the world ever more dangerous for Americans. The passages on war and peace, like the rest of the speech, consisted of patent untruths loosely related to Administration programs – the former meant to justify the latter.

Whatever one might think of Obama’s domestic agenda, these couplets reflected a serious intent to advance it. Thus, because ”climate change” is the cause of Western drought and Eastern floods, Obama will impose new restrictions on the use of fossil fuels; and because “reform” of unemployment insurance will get people back to work, Congress must extend the term of current insurance for 1.6 million people. People with an interest in such things know to disregard the nonsense and to take the agenda as seriously as it is meant.

Continue reading Obama’s Unserious Foreign Policy And America’s Permanent War Footing.

 

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Lions, Bulldogs, and Men with Umbrellas

English: Barack Obama Deutsch: Barack Obama

English: Barack Obama Deutsch: Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Steven Hayward talked this morning on the Power Line blog about Uhlmann’s Razor which he defines as “When stupidity is a sufficient explanation, there’s no need to have recourse to any other.” He was talking about 404care, but it’s at least as valid in foreign affairs and defense.

We’re hearing lots of stories about the administration’s disdain for and attempts to demoralize the military, you know the forced leadership retirements, and a bunch of other stories, including the one about the navy jack patch. Do we really think that Obama, who appears to live to be either making a speech, or on the golf course is really laying awake at night, dreaming up ways to hurt the military?

Obama hasn’t shown me any particular brilliance, of course I might have blinked, but as a Nebraskan I do know a bit more about SECDEF Hagel, common Nebraska opinion is that it would not take a large bag of hammers to be wiser than he is. Let’s try, while easily admitting these fools are driven by ideology, to remember they are not the smartest people in Washington D.C., let alone the universe.

Mostly what we see is what we would see in any organization if it was being run by a group of people who have no conception of leadership, stewardship, or any business sense. Let alone a smidgen of knowledge of how to plan a two car funeral.

That said, one of the areas where they are doing actual damage to the country is in foreign policy. Their weakness has been noted by every one in the world and they are acting accordingly. I don’t really see a way to fix it til 2017 but it is happening.

What we and the world are getting is a preview of what is going to happen if America leaves the stage as the leader of the free world. The last time a similar thing happened was after World War I when Britain was exhausted and America didn’t understand yet that we were the heir. It led to trouble, you’ll recall.

Along that line, Bill Whittle has something to say about that period as compared to ours as well.

Take Heed.

Maybe Pain Will Teach You Millenials Not To Vote For Your Own Serfdom

I don’t know if any of you know of Kurt Schlichter. I’ve followed him almost as long as I’ve had a twitter account. His trademark hashtag is #caring, and it’s pure snark. He also writes for Townhall which is rather amazing, as you’ll see here. Unfortunately, I suspect very few liberal millennials read here, if they did they’d either be whining or converted by now. But there is a lot of truth in Kurt’s article here, so enjoy. Actually, I hope that this is a fair prediction of the future, because otherwise it is likely to be worse.

You Millenials voted for Obama by a margin of 28 percent, which will make it a lot easier for me to accept the benefits you will be paying for. We warned you that liberalism was a scam designed to take the fruits of your labor and transfer it to us, the older, established generation. Oh, and also to the couch-dwelling, Democrat-voting losers who live off of food stamps and order junk from QVC with their Obamaphones.

You didn’t listen to us. Maybe you’ll listen to pain.

I have been told that being hard on you Millennials will turn you against conservatism, that I should offer you a positive, hopeful message that avoids the touchy problem of your manifest stupidity.

No. There’s no sugar-coating it – your votes for Democrats have ensured that you are the first generation in American history that will fail to exceed what their parents attained. Embracing liberalism was a stupid thing to do, done for the stupidest of reasons, and I will now let you subsidize my affluent lifestyle without a shred of guilt.

I’m a 48 year old trial lawyer living on the coast in California – I should have “Hope and Change” tattooed on my glutes. I’d have an excuse to be lib-curious, but you Millennials? Why do you support an ideology that pillages you to pay-off Democrat constituencies? Your time in the indoctrination factories of academia trained you in a form of “critical thinking” that is neither. Somehow, you came to embrace the bizarre notion that conservatives are psychotic Jesus freaks who want to Footloosisze America into a land of mandatory Sunday school and no dancing.

But liberals, in contrast, are nice. Obama is cool. You chose petty fascism with a smile. Not a lot of thought went into it. Facts, evidence – these were mere distractions from the feelings-based validation that came from rejecting us wicked conservatives.

What did you get? The chance to be forced to buy health insurance you don’t want at inflated rates so my rates can be lower. You get to pay more out of your monthly barista take – liberalism ensured that the tanked job market foreclosed a real career – so that I get to pay less out of my lawyer checks. Thanks, suckers.

Maybe Pain Will Teach You Millenials Not To Vote For Your Own Serfdom – Kurt Schlichter – Page full.

 

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