Monthly Archives: April 2011

“Bullet Train to Bankruptcy”

There is is absolutely no doubt who should be the next President of the United States. Absolutely none. I present:

Steyn: Ending America as we know it

Ending America as We Know It

by Mark Steyn, April 9, 2011 4:00 A.M.

Hey, it’s the weekend, and everyone’s singing the same maddeningly catchy refrain! Rebecca Black’s “Friday”? Nah, that was last week’s moronic singalong. This week’s is even perkier! “Paul Ryan proposes to end Medicare as we know it,” sings former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. “It would end Medicare as we know it,” sings Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. “It’s going to end Medicare as we know it,” sings Nadeam Elshami, communications director for Nancy Pelosi. “It does end Medicare as we know it,” sings Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa. I drove all night to watch Paul Ryan e-e-end Me-edi-ica-a-are as we-e kno-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-w it, sing all 24 semi-finalists on the Céline Dion round of “American Idol.”

Sadly, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, incoming chair of the Democratic National Committee, lost the sheet music and was forced to improvise. “This plan would literally be a death trap for seniors,” she ululated. Close enough!

Ending Medicare as we know it? Say it ain’t so! Medicare, we hardly knew ye! It’s an open question whether Americans will fall for one more chorus of the same old song from Baucus, Harkin, Podesta, and the other members of America’s wrinkliest boy band. But, if this is the level on which the feckless patronizing spendaholics of the permanent governing class want to conduct the debate, bring it on:

Paul Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know it.”

The Democrats’ “plan” — business as usual — will end America as we know it.

Literally, as Representative Wasserman-Schultz would say. One way or another, Medicare as we know it is going to end. So, if you think an unsustainable 1960s welfare program is as permanent a feature as the earth and sky, you’re in for a shock. It’s just a question of whether, after the shock, what’s left looks like Japan or looks like Haiti.

My comrade Jonah Goldberg compares America’s present situation to that of a plane with one engine out belching smoke. But, if anything, he understates the crisis. Air America doesn’t need a busted engine, because it’s pre-programmed to crash. Our biggest problem is Medicare and other “entitlements”: They’re the automatic pilot of Big Government. Whoever’s in the captain’s seat makes no difference: The flight is pre-programmed to hit the iceberg, if you’ll forgive me switching mass-transit metaphors in mid-stream.

For some reason, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Harkin, & Co. don’t seem to mind this. If you recall the smile on the face of Airplane!’s “automatic pilot” as he’s being inflated, that’s pretty much the Democrats’ attitude to binge spending as a permanent fact of life.

For a sense of Democrat insouciance to American decline, let us turn to the president himself. The other day, Barack Obama was in the oddly apt town of Fairless Hills, Pa., at what the White House billed as one of those ersatz “town hall” discussions into which republican government has degenerated. He was asked a question by a citizen of the United States. The cost of a gallon of gas has doubled on Obama’s watch, and this gentleman asked, “Is there a chance of the price being lowered again?”

As the Associated Press reported it, the president responded “laughingly”: “I know some of these big guys, they’re all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything. . . . If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon — (laughter) . . . ”

That’s how the official White House transcript reported it: Laughter. Big yuks. “So, like I said, if you’re getting eight miles a gallon you may want to think about a trade-in. You can get a great deal.”

Hey, thanks! You’ve been a great audience. I’ll be here all year. Don’t forget to tip your Democrat hat-check girl on the way out: At four bucks a gallon, it’s getting harder for volunteers to drive elderly voters from the cemetery to the polling station. Relax, I’m just jerking your crank, buddy! And it’s not four bucks per, it’s only three-ninety-eight. That’s change you can believe in!

Message: It’s your fault. The same day as the president was doing his moribund-economy shtick, my hairdresser told me that she’d bought her mid-size sedan second-hand in 2004. She’d also like to ask the president if there’s a chance of gas prices being lowered again. But he’d have the same answer: Buy a hybrid. Wait till the high-speed rail-link is built between Dead Skunk Junction and Hickburg Falls. Climb into the fishnets and the come-hither smile and hitch.

America, 2011: A man gets driven in a motorcade to sneer at a man who has to drive himself to work. A guy who has never generated a dime of wealth, never had to make payroll, never worked at any job other than his own tireless self-promotion literally cannot comprehend that out there beyond the far fringes of the motorcade outriders are people who drive a long distance to jobs whose economic viability is greatly diminished when getting there costs twice as much as the buck-eighty-per-gallon it cost back at the dawn of the Hopeychangey Era.

So what? Your fault. Should have gone to Columbia and Harvard and become a community organizer.

Another ten years of this, and large tracts of America will be Third World. Not Somalia-scale Third World, but certainly the more decrepit parts of Latin America. There will still be men with motorcades, but they’ll have heavier security and the compounds they shuttle between will be more heavily protected. For them and their cronies, the guys plugged in, the guys who still know who to call to figure out a workaround through the bureaucratic sclerosis, life will be manageable, and they’ll still be wondering why you loser schlubs are forever whining about gas prices, and electricity prices, and food prices.

What’s about to hit America is not a “shock.” It’s not an earthquake, it’s not a tsunami, it’s what Paul Ryan calls “the most predictable crisis in the history of our country.” It has one cause: spending. The spending of the class that laughs at the class that drives to work to maintain President Obama, Senator Reid, Senator Baucus, Senator Harkin, and Minority Leader Pelosi’s “communications director” in their comforts and complacency.

The Democrats’ solution to the problem is to deny there is one. Unsustainable binge spending is, as the computer wallahs say, not a bug but a feature: We’ll stimulate the economy with a stimulus grant for a Stimulus Grant-Writing Community Outreach Permit Coordinator regulated by the Federal Department of Community-Organizer Grant Applications. What’s to worry about?

I said the Democrats’ plan is to “end America as we know it,” but even that has been outsourced to others. The choice is between letting Paul Ryan end Medicare as we know it, or letting our foreign lenders determine the moment to end America as we know it. I would not presume to know Chinese or Russian or Saudi or even European inclinations in this respect, although certain shifts in the ratio between short-term and long-term debt holdings suggest foreign governments give more thought to the implications of U.S. government spending than the U.S. government does. But I do know their interests are not ours, and that there will come a day when Beijing and others, in the words of King Barack to his lowly subject, “may want to think about a trade-in.”

Now there’s a slogan for 2012.

Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2011 Mark Steyn.

Breaking: Tsunami warnings for Japan after 7.4 aftershock – now lifted…

Update at 11: 57 a.m. ET: NHK World TV reports that all tsunami alerts have been lifted.

[H/T Hotair] posted at 11:24 am on April 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As if Japan hadn’t suffered enough over the last few weeks. Another earthquake hit just off the northeastern coast of Honshu near the Miyagi prefecture, a 7.4 magnitude aftershock to last month’s 9.0 catastrophic quake.. Warnings have been issued for a potential six-foot tsunami in an area already battered by massive tsunamis and flooding, not to mention the nuclear crisis to the south:

Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning Thursday night nearly a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami flattened the northeastern coast. The Japan meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for a wave of up to 6 feet (two meters). The warning was issued for a coastal area already torn apart by last month’s tsunami, which is believed to have killed some 25,000 people and has sparked an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant.Officials say Thursday’s aftershock was a 7.4-magnitude and hit 25 miles (40 kilometers) under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The quake that preceded last month’s tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude.

Reports of damage are so far minimal, but all power was lost in Ichinoseki, and it’s not clear whether that was deliberate or the result of damage to power transmission systems. The government has already issued an evacuation order for the northeastern coast. This time, though, the tsunami is not expected to pose a threat to Hawaii or the US west coast region:

U.S. officials say a 7.4-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan is not expected to create a tsunami threat in Hawaii or the West Coast. Federal agencies say that area includes Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada.

Initial reports indicated that the government may have evacuated the already-critical Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but a later report backed away from that claim. We’ll keep our eyes on the story as it unfolds, but hopefully the damage will be limited by the earlier destruction.

Obama announces he likes public golf. Will play again in 2012

Yessiree, he wants to keep on, keeping on. Yes, we can, play more golf, spend more money, run down more American institutions, ignore more sections of the constitution, abuse more electoral processes, bankrupt more families, bankrupt more companies, raise more energy prices, foreclose more family homes. America, how’s that working out for you….?

Ignatieff promises major municipal infrastructure initiative.

Toronto (ET). Michael Ignatieff, speaking to the party faithful in the Toronto Liberal stronghold of St. Paul’s, announced a major sustainability and infrastructure initiative should the Liberals win the upcoming Federal election on May 2. “Our government will pledge 1.5 billion dollars to major water sustainability efforts for our large cities”, he said, emphasizing that good water stewardship was an important objective in the coming years, and since the federal government has oversight over Canada’s boundary waters, his government would lead the way in this major initiative.
Ignatieff promised that a Liberal government would ” provide funding for specific urban renewal projects like the retrofit of city fire hydrant systems to new low-flow designs that reduce the water wasted in fires”, and other municipal uses. He also announced that “grants would be provided for developers who installed the new low-flow hydrant systems in their subdivisions”.
When NDP leader Jack Layton was contacted for his perspective on Ignatieff’s announcement, Layton endorsed the idea as the “best thing he’d heard from Ignatieff to date in the campaign, and would be happy to sign on” with the Liberals in this initiative.