The Parse

Parsing the stupidity

Media: Thanks to Obama, Iraq War Ends

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One of the many absurd fictions that the elite media let Obama get away with is the notion that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is happening because Obama promised it would.  Not only do Obama’s press allies let him get away with this lie, they actively take part in pushing it and always make sure to point out that The One’s rise to power was in large part due to his opposition to the war in Iraq and his dedication to ending it.

The reality, of course, is almost completely the opposite of the Obama/Democrat media machine narrative.  Less than two weeks after Obamessiah’s election, the Bush administration and Iraq signed off on a Status of Forces Agreement that required U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009 and to be out of the country entirely by the end of 2011.  The withdrawal was required whether Obama rode his anti-Iraq war wave to power or not.  It was baked into the cake when Obama came into office.  For he and his PR press cohorts to try to pass off the withdrawal as some fulfillment of campaign promises is the height of absurdity.

What makes the narrative even more ridiculous is that Bush’s troop surge, which created the conditions that make the withdrawal possible, was opposed by Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton.  Of course, it was clear well before the 08 election that the surge had worked.  In a sane world, that alone should have ruined Obama’s chances of winning — he and his running mate were on the wrong side of the war, which had been the most contentious issue for at least the two preceding years.  But when you’re a Democrat in the midst of an “historic” campaign, facts and reality don’t matter.


Written by The Parse

August 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Branding the GZM

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Apparently a decision was made at the Washington Post to lend journalistic support to building the Ground Zero mosque.  Today the paper provides some branding advice to the mosque’s builders:

Calling the proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan a “Ground Zero mosque” stirs up a far more passionate response on either side of the issue than calling it “an Islamic cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan.” …

Doesn’t “Mosque at Ground Zero” sound more like the sort of thing that could get opponents like Newt Gingrich to declare the project “a political statement of radical islamist triumph”?

Politicians, revolutionaries, editors and advertisers have long understood the power of a single word to recast and reframe an issue to explosive effect.

And of course, in typical left wing media fashion, the story goes on to focus almost exclusively on examples of when conservatives have supposedly employed linguistic weaponry to shape issues and win debates.

By calling the estate tax the “death tax,” conservatives broadened a narrow debate over the obligations of wealthy families into a question of taxation for all. …

Is it fair to label someone who opposes abortion “pro-life” when doing so suggests that an opponent is “anti-life”?

These are the questions that biased journalists ask themselves when they’re sitting around the newsroom.  It apparently doesn’t occur to this particular writer whether or not it’s fair to label someone “pro-choice” when doing so suggests opponents are “anti-choice.”  In fact, the pro-abortion movement has probably been more successful in using language to shape the issue in part because “pro-choice” doesn’t itself allude to abortion.  Pro-choice about what?  The color of carpet you want in your living room?  The term comes across as some vague notion of liberty and autonomy — and who would be opposed to that?

The Post ironically notes that, “Journalists, at least the ones still obligated to neutrality, have tried to dance around loaded phrases for years. … Calling anything a ‘reform’ or ‘progressive’ initiative implies that the reform is necessary or that opponents are regressive.”

Yes, I’m sure the neutrality loving journos at the Post were constantly asking themselves whether they should use the word “reform” to describe Obamacare.

Written by The Parse

August 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Gays target Target

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The “controversy” over Target’s political donation to a group that supports a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate opposed to gay marriage has bubbled up to the Washington Post’s front page.  The short story is that after liberal and gay agenda groups found out about the donation, they quickly started pressuring Target with threats of boycotts and protests.

Unfortunately, Target — which apparently has fashioned itself as the leftist’s alternate to Wal-Mart — quickly caved.  Target’s CEO issued an apologetic letter and vowed that the company would more closely review future donations.

This episode is a sorry example of how the gay agenda machine has successfully whipped corporations in the same way that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton made a living shaking down companies who didn’t meet their definition of “diverse.”  The ridiculous thing about the Target situation is that most Americans don’t support gay marriage, as has been repeatedly revealed in state referenda on the issue as well as in opinion polls.  But because ordinary Americans generally aren’t as strident and well-organized as gay pressure groups and the left, companies like Target go scrambling out of fear that a tiny but vocal minority will drum up some bad press.

It’s too bad Target’s CEO didn’t show a little more backbone.  He should have flipped the gay smear groups the proverbial bird and stuck to his guns — and the law, which thanks to the Citizens United case decided earlier this year, allows companies to make such political donations.  The fact that Target chose to grovel before a very narrow, extremist pressure groups is a sad indictment of society’s condition.

Written by The Parse

August 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Subtle shifts

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Recently I’ve been thinking about how America shifts subtly over time in one ideological direction or the other.  It’s not something many people talk about, but Thomas Sowell is one of those few columnists who sees the big picture.  His most recent column touches on how the Obama administration is shifting our country to the left.

Despite widespread backlash to The One’s policies, it’s hard to imagine the country not being further to the left the day Obama leaves office than on the day he came in.  Sowell says that Obama is doing this by changing our fundamental values in creating a class of people who expect others (i.e., “the rich”) to pay for their stuff.  There was a time, Sowell says, when most Americans would be offended by the thought of having someone else pay their bills for them.  But now, under Obama, more people are looking for a handout.

In the long-term, what Obama is doing will only collapse because, as the saying goes, socialism doesn’t work because you eventually run out of other people’s money.  But in the near- to medium-term, we seem to be headed for greater division and rancor between people who pay their own way and a growing class — urged on by Obama — that doesn’t.

Written by The Parse

August 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Health care scarcity by design

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Buried in a NYT story on rising violence in hospitals and poor health care in China is this gem of an economics lesson:

Some experts fear that the newly opened spigot of government insurance money will inspire further excesses, rather than reduce the financial risk of illness for most Chinese.

Wait…health insurance (specifically, government-funded health insurance) leads to excesses?  In this case excesses refers to people utilizing health care resources far beyond what they actually need to get well.

Primary care is scarce, so public hospitals — notorious for excessive fees — are typically patients’ first stop in cities, even for minor ailments. One survey estimated that a fifth of hospital patients suffer from no more than a cold or flu. Chinese health experts estimate that a third to a half of patients are hospitalized for no good reason.

Primary care is becoming increasingly scarce in the U.S., and thanks to Obamacare, millions more people will be pushed into the system without a reciprocal increase in health care providers — doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc.  This is a simple increase in demand with no offsetting increase in supply.  For those of you with a basic understanding of economics, such scenarios, regardless of where they occur in the economy, result in higher costs and higher prices.

Part of the reason health care costs (and, thus, prices) have continued to increase in the U.S. is because of health insurance.  Insurance works to insulate individuals from the costs of risks.  In the case of health insurance, it also  insulates people against the cost of using a good or service.  We are all more likely to use a good or service if we don’t really feel like we’re paying for it.  When health insurance premiums come out of our paychecks, we’re less aware that we’re actually paying for something.  Then when we go to a doctor or buy prescription drugs, we only have to plop down a $10 or $20 copay, assuming any deductible has been met.  Our insurance picks up the rest.  This buffer between individuals and the cost of health care leads to more people using more and more goods and services, which pushes up the prices.  There are only two possible solutions to change this dynamic: make people feel more of the burden of having to pay for health care, thus forcing them to make wiser choices; or, have some other entity (say, government) make these choices for us.  Guess which way we’re headed?

My prediction: Obamacare will result in more people clamoring for fewer health care resources, which will push up prices and increase insurance premiums.  Democrats will then complain about the “excess profits” of health insurance companies and force them to lower their prices, even while their costs continue to increase.  (Actually Medicare already uses price controls and Obamacare makes them even more draconian.)  Soon enough being in the health insurance business won’t make sense to anyone who actually wants to put food on their table.  So who will step in?  Why, government, of course.  The “public option” will live to see another day.  And all of this is by design.

Written by The Parse

August 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

Shirking responsibility

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From the NYT:

During the great housing boom, homeowners nationwide borrowed a trillion dollars from banks, using the soaring value of their houses as security. Now the money has been spent and struggling borrowers are unable or unwilling to pay it back. …

Lenders say they are trying to recover some of that money but their success has been limited, in part because so many borrowers threaten bankruptcy and because the value of the homes, the collateral backing the loans, has often disappeared.

The result is one of the paradoxes of the recession: the more money you borrowed, the less likely you will have to pay up. …

…the borrowers argue that they are simply rebuilding their ravaged lives. Many also say that the banks were predatory, or at least indiscriminate, in making loans, and nevertheless were bailed out by the federal government. Finally, they point to their trump card: they say will declare bankruptcy if a settlement is not on favorable terms.

Ah, yes, it’s the increasingly American way: I’m a victim so I’m not responsible.  Although “the federal government” bailed out the banks, all of us are on the hook for it in terms of higher taxes and greater national debt down the road.

This is part of the reason I was and am still opposed to the panicked bailouts of 2008.  They essentially rewarded irresponsibility by lenders, borrowers and the government (i.e., Fannie and Freddie).  And now human nature makes its natural response: If my poor decisions are going to be covered by the rest of society, I’ll just keep shirking responsibility.   How does the administration respond?  More handouts.  All of this because somewhere along the way, it was decided that increasing home ownership was a governmental responsibility.

Written by The Parse

August 13, 2010 at 9:17 am

Ellie Light… Obama’s Armstrong Williams?

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Remember Armstrong Williams?  He was the columnist and radio host allegedly paid by the Bush administration’s Education Department to write columns in support of No Child Left Behind legislation.  Other columnists were also found to be getting paid to support Bush admin policies.

Is Ellie Light Barack Obama’s Armstrong Williams?  Light has gotten letters to the editor published in papers across the country recently that slavishly spout Obama propaganda.  Is she getting paid to do this by the Obama administration?  At the very least, this episode shows the laziness of reporters and editors across America who are so willing to print pro-Obama talking points they don’t even care to verify who’s writing them.

Written by The Parse

January 23, 2010 at 11:06 am