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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

Senator Mitch McConnell on that health care bill that passed committee yesterday:

"[W]hat we do know is that the bill written behind closed doors here in the Capitol will be another 1,000-page, trillion-dollar Washington takeover. We know it will slash a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, add new taxes and raise premiums. That’s not reform."

Oh, he also said this:

"The fact is, this proposal will never come before the Senate."

Let's hope sanity prevails.

Is This Just a Recession?

I guess what bothers me about the current state of the U.S. economy isn't the fact that it is in severe recession.  Because it may not be.  Recession is normally followed with growth.  But this time?

What if this isn't "recession" but decline?

Don't get me wrong.  This isn't about Obama.  Well, not completely.  It's about the path this country has been on for a long time now.  A path that leads inexorably downward.  The USA in descent.

There are the warning signs ...
The next big political issue? The U.S. dollar
By James Pethokoukis, Reuters

The aftershocks of the global financial crisis may now be propelling the dollar back to the political forefront. The greenback’s continuing slide makes it a handy metric that neatly encapsulates America’s current economic troubles and possible long-term decline.

And that’s the political problem for the Obama administration. Its benign neglect of the dollar is another example of an economic policy — along with TARP and the $787 billion stimulus — that the White House thinks is helping the economy, but many Americans find wrongheaded.

Former Clinton economic officials such as Robert Rubin and Roger Altman have been making the case that investor concern about budget deficits could lead them to abandon the dollar. As Altman argued in a Financial Times op-ed piece today: “The dismal deficit outlook poses a huge longer-term threat. Indeed, it is just a matter of time before global financial markets reject this fiscal trajectory. That could lead to a punishing dollar crisis.” [link]
A dollar crisis.  To go along with the mortgage / real estate crisis.  And the financial crisis.  And the manufacturing sector crisis.  And the deficit crisis.  And the unemployment crisis.  On and on.

This one, it seems to me, is different from recessions of the past.  To start with, General Motors filed bankruptcy.

GENERAL MOTORS, once the world's largest and best run corporation, America's shining star, FILED BANKRUPTCY.

Add to that the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are fleeing overseas.


And the ever-growing dependence of  an ever-growing percentage of Americans on a government that is beyond tapped out.

We dealt with recessions in the past.  Companies cut back on expenditures.  They scaled back on plans for expansion.  Temporarily.  They rode out the storm.

My fear is that this one is different.

And I'm not at all good with it.

Volvo Takes Another Hit

Anyone remember why those Volvo workers went on strike a couple of years ago?

The grievances were so piddling that I doubt even the union rank-and-file remember.

What's left of them:

Southwest Virginia's largest private employer ... well, now it's Wal-Mart. But it could have been Volvo. Where jobs were prized by everyone. At least by everyone who didn't work there.

Now it's a shell of its former self.

Too bad.

When The News People Make The News

First they scare the crap out of the citizenry.  And then they write about how scared those citizens are.

Ya gotta love those who spread fear for profit:

Of course, that wouldn't have anything to do with the daily headlines that blare:

"We Are All Going To Die!"

Good grief.


Onto The Trash Heap Of History

The San Francisco Chronicle's Debra J. Saunders on the end of "global warming":
"What happened to global warming?" read the headline - on BBC News on Oct. 9, no less. Consider it a cataclysmic event: Mainstream news organizations have begun reporting on scientific research that suggests that global warming may not be caused by man and may not be as dire and imminent as alarmists suggest.

Over the years, global warming alarmists have sought to stifle debate by arguing that there was no debate. They bullied dissenters and ex-communicated nonbelievers from their panels. In the name of science, disciples made it a virtue to not recognize the existence of scientists such as MIT's Richard Lindzen and Colorado State University's William Gray.

For a long time, that approach worked. But after 11 years without record temperatures that had the seas spilling over the Statue of Liberty's toes, they are going to have to change tactics.

They're going to have to rely on real data, not failed models and scare stories, and the Big Lie that everyone who counts agrees with them. [link]
It's time to end this thing.  Too much damage has already been done.

The Event Of a Lifetime

I've written here before that the most momentous event of my lifetime had to be the destruction of the Berlin Wall in October of 1989.  I remember laying in bed in some hotel room watching news footage coming out of Germany, watching with "shock and awe" the end of a political theory that had so affected the world that I had grown up in.

That theory?  Communism.

The exultation.  The exhilaration.  The feeling of triumph.  The sense of a dawning of a new era.

The world was changing before my eyes.

Now, 20 years later and what?

Matt Welch:
The Unknown War

On August 23, 1989, officials from the newly reformed and soon-to-be-renamed Communist Party of Hungary ceased policing the country’s militarized border with Austria. Some 13,000 East Germans, many of whom had been vacationing at nearby Lake Balaton, fled across the frontier to the free world. It was the largest breach of the Iron Curtain in a generation, and it kicked off a remarkable chain of events that ended 11 weeks later with the righteous citizen dismantling of the Berlin Wall.

Twenty years later, the anniversary of that historic border crossing was noted in exactly four American newspapers, according to the Nexis database, and all four mentions were in reprints of a single syndicated column. August anniversaries receiving more media play in the U.S. included the 400th anniversary of Galileo building his telescope, the 150th anniversary of the first oil well, and the 25th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A Google News search of “anniversary” and “freedom” on August 23, 2009, turned up scores of Woodstock references before the first mention of Hungary.

Get used to it, if you haven’t already. November 1989 was the most liberating month of arguably the most liberating year in human history, yet two decades later the country that led the Cold War coalition against communism seems less interested than ever in commemorating, let alone processing the lessons from, the collapse of its longtime foe.

There have been more Hollywood hagiographies of the revolutionary communist Che Guevara in the last five years than there have been studio pictures in the last two decades about the revolutionary anti-communists who dramatically toppled totalitarians from Tallin to Prague.

The consensus Year of Revolution for most of our lifetimes has been 1968, with its political assassinations, its Parisian protests, and a youth-culture rebellion that the baby boomers will never tire of telling us about. But as the preeminent modern Central European historian Timothy Garton Ash wrote in a 2008 essay, 1989 “ended communism in Europe, the Soviet empire, the division of Germany, and an ideological and geopolitical struggle…that had shaped world politics for half a century. It was, in its geopolitical results, as big as 1945 or 1914. By comparison, ’68 was a molehill.” [link]
For those not around at the time, this ABC News item captures that wonderful moment in time - as well as those events that sprang up across eastern Europe in the months that followed:

If only we were as supportive of freedom and liberty as were those who, for so many years, had been denied it.

If only we were to remember the day ...