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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm In Good Company

I've stated on these pages in the past my belief that our governments (state and federal) could - and should - adopt new budgeting rules based on a simple principle:

Spend this year that which you took in last year.

No budget shortfalls. No "rainy day funds." No gimmicks. No shenanigans. No red ink. No national debt.

What??!! We can't do that! What if ...! What about ...! Calamity! Katrina! Stimulus! War! Pestilence!

Stop your whining and do it.

Now you know why I don't run for public office. I don't whine and I don't countenance those who do. Especially while they're on my payroll.

But get this. There is a politician, one with some serious cred, who agrees with me. A Californian, no less. And check out his bio, as provided by columnist George Will:
He has a Harvard law degree and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago, where his faculty adviser was Milton Friedman. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White. Working in the Reagan administration in 1983, in the wake of a severe recession, he assumed Reagan would lose in 1984 ... and accepted a professorship at Stanford's law school. He represented Silicon Valley in Congress for five terms.
His name, so you know, is Tom Campbell. And he's running for governor of California.

Here's the point:

"He favors resetting the budget cycle so that the state would accumulate one year's revenue to be spent the following year, when precise knowledge would replace wishful thinking about available revenue."

Among other really sound ideas.

"But we can't do that!! Calamity!! Katrina!! Swine flu!! Jock itch!!"

Be My Guest

New York Times to Washington Democrats: Walk that plank.

From on High to Democrats: Please. Make my day:

"If the Democrats want to enact health care reform this year, they appear to have little choice but to adopt a high-risk, go-it-alone, majority-rules strategy."

Yeah, adopt that strategy. Put that loaded .45 to your skull and pull the trigger. What could possibly go wrong?

Come to think of it, we'd all be better off if the Democrats did adopt that "strategy."

There are your marching orders, fellas. Bye bye.

We Come Full Circle

I've often stated (and I'm not alone in doing so) my belief that the left in this country is actually the reactionary extreme, regardless what Katie Couric and other deep thinkers like her would have you believe.

There is no better example to prove the point than this:
Supreme Court to Revisit ‘Hillary’ Documentary
By Adam Liptak, New York Times

Washington — The Supreme Court will cut short its summer break in early September to hear a new argument in a momentous case that could transform the way political campaigns are conducted.

At issue is whether the court should overrule a 1990 decision, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its usual allies are on opposite sides, with the civil rights group fighting shoulder to shoulder with the National Rifle Association to support the corporation that made the film.

To the dismay of many of his liberal friends and clients, Floyd Abrams, the celebrated First Amendment lawyer, is representing Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, a longtime foe of campaign finance laws.

“Criminalizing a movie about Hillary Clinton is a constitutional desecration,” Mr. Abrams said.

At the first Supreme Court argument in March, a government lawyer, answering a hypothetical question, said the government could also make it a crime to distribute books advocating the election or defeat of political candidates so long as they were paid for by corporations and not their political action committees.

That position seemed to astound several of the more conservative justices, and there were gasps in the courtroom.

“That’s pretty incredible,” said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The discussion of book banning may have helped prompt the request for re-argument. In addition, some of the broader issues implicated by the case were only glancingly discussed in the first round of briefs, and some justices may have felt reluctant to take a major step without fuller consideration.

In an interview, [Fred] Wertheimer seemed reluctant to answer questions about the government regulation of books. Pressed, Mr. Wertheimer finally said, “A campaign document in the form of a book can be banned.” [link]
“A campaign document in the form of a book can be banned.”

Books must be burned. It's for the greater good. So say most of America's liberals (the ACLU being the notable exception).

My God.

"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."*
-- Heinrich Heine

* Written the year Die Säuberung, The Cleansing, which included the ritual burning of books by the Nazis, took place.
* Written ten years before the Nazis started burning human beings.

Our Future, Our Regret

Obama says he wants to reduce health care costs and improve health care delivery. And he intends to have government step in and achieve both goals.

This was not from a late-night stand-up comedy routine. By all accounts, he was serious when he said it.

If only he'd been studying when he was sucking cocaine up his nose:
Massachusetts' Obama-like Reforms Increase Health Costs, Wait Times
By Michael F. Cannon, Cato Institute

If you are curious about how President Barack Obama's health plan would affect your health care, look no farther than Massachusetts. In 2006, the Bay State enacted a slate of reforms that almost perfectly mirror the plan of Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those reforms reveal that the Obama plan would mean higher health insurance premiums for millions, would reduce choice by eliminating both low-cost and comprehensive health plans, would encourage insurers to avoid the sick and would reduce the quality of care.

Massachusetts reduced its uninsured population by two-thirds — yet the cost would be considered staggering, had state officials not done such a good job of hiding it. Finally, Massachusetts shows where "ObamaCare" would ultimately lead: Officials are already laying the groundwork for government rationing. [link]
Read the whole thing.

- Higher health insurance premiums for millions.

- Reduce choice.

- Encourage insurers to avoid the sick.

- Reduce the quality of care.

And it's worse than all that. The problems Massachusetts faces aren't simply those brought on by Mitt Romney's attempt at universal health care. They are, every day, being exacerbated by meddling do-gooder Democratic politicians who demand more and more from a seriously flawed system, and from the taxpayers. A system that is on its way to the breaking point.

You want universal care? Move to Massachusetts. And take your checkbook.

So Sure of Themselves, and Yet ...

Peter Foster on those who would rather (you) die than have their belief system regarding global warming questioned:
[O]nce you get people believing in “authority,” then you’re pretty much home and dry. Authority relieves us of the anxiety of uncertainty and the pain of thought. If the issue can also be portrayed as “moral” (millions of poor people dying from biblical droughts and floods!) then to question it is not merely cause for rejection but censure. Skeptics must be either crackpots or in the pay of Big Oil or Big Coal.

I recently had what I tried to make a level-headed exchange with somebody who was visibly agitated at my daring to quote science, facts and sources. This person — dredging up material from the conventional noosphere — finally told me that I was like “a holocaust denier,” or somebody who believed in UFOs! Their conviction ... was based on the fact that “Nobel prize winners” had declared that catastrophic global warming was a fact.

Now it’s certainly true that Al Gore has a Nobel, but it is equally certain that it isn’t for science. The nations of the world are currently involved — ahead of the next giant climate shindig in Copenhagen in December — in rancorous discussions about sharing the economic self-mutilations that are claimed to be needed as part of a successor to the egregiously-failed Kyoto Accord. No issue has more divided the rich and poor, and pitted the West against India and China.

In case you don’t remember, the Nobel that Al Gore shared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was for Peace. But mentioning that massive incongruity would probably cause people’s eyes to roll, or maybe even buildings to shake.
"Peter Foster: The man who doubted Al Gore," The National Post, August 28, 2009

This Pretty Much Sums It Up

Climate "science" is junk science. And yet so much more:
Climate alarmism is a runaway fire
By Professor Will Alexander

Climate alarmism is like a runaway fire. It started quietly with a genuine concern. It was like lighting a match beneath a pile of flammable material. The environmentalists and politicians took over. The fact that the basic science is demonstrably false is no longer an issue.

The welfare of nations is at risk. [source]
The welfare of nations is at risk, as exemplified by our government's attempt to pass cap-and-trade legislation that will, by all legitimate accounts, crush the American economy.

This is no longer amusing. These people must be stopped.

Cheney Smiles

As many of us knew would be the case, Dick Cheney's approach to dealing with terrorists, as it becomes known, proved to have been the proper one all along. So many lives saved, yet so few thanks:
Acknowledging the Obvious
By Stephen F. Hayes, The Weekly Standard

Is the mainstream media coming around?

The Washington Post has an important front-page story this morning, with matter-of-fact reporting on the importance of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as an intelligence source and the enhanced interrogation techniques that made him talk. The piece is headlined: "How a Detainee Became an Asset: September 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding."

One key source is former CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, who acknowledged that two of the CIA’s “most powerful” enhanced interrogation techniques “elicited a lot of information."

"Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information," he said in an interview with the Post. [link]
This should put to rest the argument that enhanced interrogation techniques never elicit positive results. Now those on the left will have to rely solely on the argument that forcing a murdering thug to listen to Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits is fundamentally a form of torture. Always a viable argument.

Anyway, Dick Cheney was right. Let's see the apologies.