Memorial Day

“See, I had this theory once.  I believed in the politics of Saturday night.  I rated all governments and countries by how good or bad their Saturday nights were.  And I knew that Moscow and Peking had to be a stone drag at that time of the week.  So I was flying for a cause.  I was fighting to defend chicken barbecues, and weenie roasts, and Ray Charles songs, and drinking Southern Comfort ‘till you passed out behind the bar.”
—Mel Gibson as Gene Ryack in Air America
This is Memorial Day weekend.  There will be baseball games, backyard cookouts, and fireworks displays.  Somewhere in the Heartland we’ll burn thousands of gallons of gasoline and release untold volumes of greenhouse gases in an effort to see who can make 800 left turns in the shortest amount of time without crashing.  Then down South we’ll do it again, only with twice as many turns and cars that aren’t nearly as sexy.  We’ll fish, play golf, get sunburned, eat way too much processed meat, and drink vast amounts of beer.
Yes, we’ll have a grand old time of it.
I don’t begrudge anyone a three-day weekend, and I’m all for just about any excuse to drink beer.  But amidst all the revelry, we tend to lose sight of what Memorial Day is.
Memorial Day has its roots in the aftermath of the Civil War; its 625,000 dead accounted for over 90% of all American war dead to that point in our history.  As a way of coping with the enormity of that loss, various cities around the country began holding annual observances to remember their local war dead.  While the Southerner in me would like to denounce the practice as a Yankee abomination, the truth is that these observances were widespread in both the North and the South, and honored both Union and Confederate dead.  These various local traditions gradually consolidated into a single observance on May 30, a date chosen precisely because it did not coincide with the anniversary of any major battle, and thus could be separated from any kind of victor’s celebration and thus its core purpose preserved.  And over time the day has expanded from a Civil War remembrance to a time to commemorate all  of our war dead.
Congress, in its infinite wisdom, included Memorial Day in the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, officially moving Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May, thus creating the three-day weekend now familiar to us all.  But in so doing, the day—I won’t call it a “holiday,” because it isn’t holy or religious, and strictly speaking it isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a celebration—came unmoored from its original intent.  Hence, our present day lack of focus.
Memorial Day is the day on which we honor the sacrifice of those who gave it all for the cause of freedom and the defense of this country.  According to, approximately 1,319,475 men and women—a little over 5,500 every single year since 1776—have paid that price over the course of our history.  You may disagree all you want with the policymakers who sent them into battle, but you should not let that disagreement distract you from remembering and honoring them—they paid the bill for you to have that right to disagree.
By all means, tap that keg and pass the burgers.  But let’s remember why we’re here this weekend, and make sure your kids know why, too.  I’ll let President Reagan close with some excerpts from his remarks at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day, 1984:
Mr. President, General, the distinguished guests here with us today, my fellow citizens:
In America’s cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.
In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches.  Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion.  His remarks commemorating those who gave their ‘last full measure of devotion’ were long remembered.  But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage—not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.
I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country.  Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.
*  *  *
It’s not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well.  We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances.  We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us.
Our understanding must also extend to potential adversaries.  We must strive to speak of them not belligerently, but firmly and frankly.  And that’s why we must never fail to note, as frequently as necessary, the wide gulf between our codes of morality.  And that’s why we must never hesitate to acknowledge the irrefutable difference between our view of man as master of the state and their view of man as servant of the state.  Nor must we ever underestimate the seriousness of their aspirations to global expansion.  The risk is the very freedom that has been so dearly won.
*  *  *
Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time.  A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, ‘just the best darn kids in the world.’  Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life.  Well, they didn’t volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be: the values which make up what we call ‘civilization.’ And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.
As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation.  And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will ever have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.
Thank you, Mr. President. 
EDITOR’S NOTE:  Thanks again for those of you who have been keeping up, and especially those of you who return comments (even those who disagree).  I will be out on vacation next week, and posts may be few and far between until I return.

Hazardous Duty

“You talk about vengeance?  Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you, or my boy to me?  I forego the vengeance of my son.  But I have selfish reasons.  My youngest son was forced to leave this country because of this Solozzo business.  All right.  And I have to make arrangements to bring him back safely, cleared of all these false charges.  But I am a superstitious man.  And if some unlucky accident should befall him, if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he is struck by a bolt of lightning, then I am going to blame some of the people in this room.  And then I do not forgive.”
—Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather
I was aware when I began Chasing Jefferson nearly a year ago that I was taking a risk by speaking out.  I was reminded of that yesterday in a piece Michelle Malkin ran about the persistent personal attacks and persecution levied by some of the more fanatical on the Left against conservative bloggers who dare tell the truth.  She has called for a show of solidarity from the blogosphere on the Right, and while I have another piece planned for tomorrow so I can’t make her call for Friday, I’ll pre-emptively do that today with this link to her piece.
These are some of the bigger writers on the Right, so they draw more attention.  But it could happen to any of us, because this is how the Left operates: silence opposition by any means necessary.  We see that with the push to reinstitute the “fairness doctrine” to get Rush, Hannity, and Levin knocked off the air.  We see that with the bullying schoolteacher in North Carolina threatening her student with jail time for criticizing Obama.  And we see it with the personal attacks against conservative bloggers.  They count on intimidation to shut us up.  

I don’t have any sponsors, and I don’t run ads.  I don’t make a nickel off of this space.  But the Internet is open to all, and there is no telling when something I post here might attract the ire of the wrong person at the wrong time.  I am not afraid of that, and I fully intend to keep on doing what I do as my small part to try to inform, educate, and pull on the oars to try to save what’s left of this Republic.
I may not do this forever, but I won’t close this site without saying something.  If this site disappears or permanently ceases activity without some word from me, ask questions, because that alone will tell you something’s not right.

Speak up and speak out.  Only if we’re silent can they win.

Bain v. Empty Set

“Nice try, kid, but I think you just brought a knife . . . to a gunfight.”
—Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Continuing what is clearly going to be his “us vs. the evil rich people” campaign theme, Obama last week ran ads criticizing Governor Romney’s past work as the CEO of Bain Capital as that of a vampire.  Just another installment of Romney as the out-of-touch 1%-er, a rich bastard who has made millions by looting it from the little people.  But don’t worry, Obama isn’t engaging in class warfare.  He’s the Great Uniter, don’t you know?
I don’t want to debunk the ad here.  The Wall Street Journal ran an excellent piece detailing its errors, notably that the steel company at the center of it didn’t go bankrupt until two years after Romney left Bain, that it was already heading down the drain when Bain bought it, and that it would have gone out of business eight years earlier but for Bain’s investment in it.  I want instead to make the larger point that if this is the arena in which Obama chooses to engage, there’s ground to be gained.  In short, if he wants to play the Bain game, I think Romney should take him up on it.
Let’s start by acknowledging some truths about Romney and Bain.
Mitt Romney is wealthy.  I get it.  No real secret there.  So are/were Bill Clinton (law, real estate—Whitewater, anyone?), both Bushes (business, inheritance), Ronald Reagan (acting, endorsements), Jimmy Carter (inheritance, commercial farming, real estate), Gerald Ford (real estate, books, corporate board service), Richard Nixon (law, real estate), LBJ (real estate, media), John Kennedy (family trust funded by bootlegging), etc.; it takes a lot of money and rich friends these days to run for President.  Romney has made millions running successful businesses like Bain Capital, and this should be a good narrative for him to showcase his management skills and understanding of markets.
Bain Capital was and is a venture capital enterprise, not a pirate ship.  It provides operating funds for startups and other businesses in exchange for a stake in the profits.  Put a different way, it collects money to invest in other enterprises that employ people to create products and provide services.  Yes, in some instances Bain’s investments failed; that’s the nature of business investing, as Obama has reminded us about Solyndra.  At least Bain was risking private money voluntarily contributed for that specific purpose, and managed by businesspeople who actually knew what they were doing (but that’s another post).  Yes, in some instances Bain bought businesses and shut them down to sell the assets.  Any economist this side of Paul Krugman will tell you that when a business’ assets are worth more than the value of the going concern—i.e., the capital is being employed towards a purpose society does not value—the more efficient use of that capital is to pull it out of the failing venture so it can be reallocated to something society values more.  Over time, everyone benefits.
But the point here is that Bain Capital and Mitt Romney didn’t make money by stealing it from others.  They employed people.  They provided capital so that other businesses could operate and employ still more people to provide goods and services still more people wanted to buy.  That’s how the economy works.  Bain Capital made profits by participating as a productive cog in the economy, to the benefit of its shareholders, the businesses in which it invested and their employees, and the consumers of those businesses’ goods and services.  That’show Mitt Romney made his money; it’s a success story in how the American free market system operates, and it’s one Romney should welcome the opportunity to tell.
But there’s a flip side to that story if Obama wants to cross swords on this ground, and it’s one that also works to Romney’s advantage if he’ll take it.  In fact, if he does it right it should be no contest.
Barack Obama is also wealthy.  Maybe he’s not in the same Forbes rank with Romney (or John Kerry, or Nancy Pelosi . . .), but he’s pretty flush.  Current estimates put his net worth upwards of $10 million.  I don’t have $10 million.  Do you?  Chances are overwhelming that you don’t.  That makes Obama also a member of this evil 1% economic super-elite he likes to demonize when he’s not hanging out in their parlors, skiing at their resorts, or tapping their wallets for campaign donations.  So how did he make his millions?
He wrote a book (OK, in fairness, he actually wrote twobooks).
About himself.
That’s it.  He didn’t employ anybody.  He didn’t provide a good or a service.  He didn’t supply capital fuel to the engines of commerce so that someone else could employ people to provide a good or service.  He didn’t otherwise do anything productive.  Obama’s sole economic contribution through which he has generated his considerable wealth was to tell the world he existed.  He did nothing more than engage in an audacious act of narcissism, and some people—for reasons that will forever pass understanding—bought it.  It is no wonder that his Presidency has been all about “look at me”; it is in fact all he knows how to do, because it’s all he’s ever done. 
I don’t care that Obama’s gotten wealthy.  If he can get people to buy an autobiography of a 30 year old with no significant accomplishments to his credit, more power to him.  But if he wants to hold up Bain Capital as a campaign issue, it seems to me it’s the perfect platform to highlight just how shallow and empty Obama is.  Consider the contrast on this issue alone.  With Romney and Bain Capital, we see a candidate who has had to manage people, marshal resources, generate results, and be accountable.  In other words, he’s actually had to do something in real life.  Obama, on the other hand, has done nothing but grab attention, claim credit for the work of others, and deflect blame and responsibility.  Present.
Oh, yeah, and operate Microsoft Word.
You want to talk about Bain Capital and real world experience, Mr. President?
Bring it.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Distractions

“Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy.”
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
This one’s for all the birthers, anti-gay marriage zealots, and neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists out there:
Stop it.
For the last two weeks there has been much hand-wringing over the whole gay marriage thing.  In fairness, that was more fueled by the Left falling all over itself with joy over Obama’s coming out, er, announcement of his support than it has been from the Right, but I see last Friday even Charles Krauthammer was still perpetuating the narrative.  Meanwhile, Breitbart, RedState, and Drudge are all aflutter over new evidence of Obama and his surrogates spending decades claiming he was actually born in Kenya, and although he claimed he was only pointing out that Obama has lied in the past when it was to his advantage to be thought of as an exotic foreigner, Hannity spent all afternoon Friday on the subject.  It’s also been brought to my attention that there are stories making the rounds on the internet about Obama preparing a Nazi-style Reichstag fire event—supposedly involving a staged assassination attempt that will be blamed on white supremacists and instigate widespread black rioting—that will enable him to institute martial law and postpone the election.
Gay marriage.  Kenya.  Reichstag.  Let’s take a deep breath and get ahold of ourselves. 
Look, I don’t like Obama any more than you do, and we can all agree that getting him out of office is jobs 1, 2, and 3.  But even if you’re right that he’s a gay-loving Kenyan neo-Nazi, this isn’t helping.
In baseball pitchers with a 0 ball, 2 strike count often throw a pitch or two in the dirt.  The idea is he loses nothing by doing so, and he may be able to entice the batter to offer at a pitch he can’t hit, thus gaining a cheap out when the hitter either misses it completely, or taps it weakly to a defender.  In other words, the pitcher is trying to advance his position while avoiding the risk of a direct confrontation in the substantive field of play.
We see the same tactic any number of places.  Magicians use “misdirection” to get you to look at an irrelevant show move and thus miss the key move in the sleight of hand.  Boxers feint” to get you to defend a false attack in one area, thus exposing yourself to the real one in another.  Mystery writers use “red herring” clues to hide the real ones.  In every instance the idea is the same: to get you to miss what’s important by focusing your attention on what isn’t.  As with the pitch in the dirt, they’re trying to sucker you into going somewhere other than where you should.
That’s what we let Obama do if we go after these issues.  If you’re talking about his birth certificate, or the Reichstag, or gays, he’s got you right where he wants you.  Not that he’s up 0-2 on us, but his home field advantage is in irrelevant non-issues like birth certificates, marriage licenses, and conspiracy theories.  In that way, he avoids substantive scrutiny of his actual record in office.
But here’s what I want you to understand:  even if you’re right about all these things about Obama, we’re not going to get him out of office on these issues.  We’re just not.  
Anyone for whom gay marriage is a deciding issue—whether for it or agin it—is already committed to one camp or the other.  If Obama is planning a Reichstag event, there’s no real way to stop it, and once it happens, the groundwork has already been laid to expose it for the BS that it is.  I agree he shows dictator-like tendencies, but it isn’t necessary to equate him with the greatest mass-murderer (or second, depending on how you come down on Stalin’s numbers) in history in order to make the point.  And it doesn’t matter whether Obama was born in Kenya—I don’t buy that anyway—because even if you’re right you’re never going to convince enough people of that for it to make a difference.  Independent voters in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—the people who will actually decide the election—don’t believe Obama was born in Kenya, and they don’t care. 
We’re not going to gain any traction by focusing on these things.  What we are doing is distracting from the real issues that matter and can actually turn the election:
1.  It’s the economy, Stupid.  Even the gerrymandered “official” unemployment rate remains above 8%, and the reality is that 22.5 million Americans—14.5%—are out of work, underemployed, or have simply given up.  Net job creation during the Obama administration has been zero.  More than half of all college graduates can’t find work.  Every breath we spend howling at the Kenyan moon is one we could have used to repeat this message.
2.  It’s the deficit/debt, Stupid.  Candidate Barack Obama chastised President Bush for being “irresponsible’ and “unpatriotic” to have accumulated $4 trillion in debt during his eight years in office.  Obama exceeded that figure in less than three.  Our total debt is north of $15.5 trillion—more than 100% of GDP—and climbing with no end in sight.  And even still he met over the weekend with European leaders to urge them to forego austerity in favor of continuing to join him in an unending orgy of governments spending money they do not have.  Yet Obama’s last two proposed budgets were so out of control that they failed to garner a single vote in either house.  That’s right, Obama’s last two budget proposals have failed in Congress by a combined 196-0 vote.  Even Democrats get this.  Surely it will resonate with Independents better than gay marriage.
3.  It’s national security, Stupid.  Obama can disingenuously claim personal credit for killing Osama bin Laden all he wants.  Everyone but the most die-hard of his sycophants sees through that.  The plain fact is his combination of naivete, anti-American apologism, and global conglomerate worldview is decidedly undermining our security.  His open-mic gaffe with outgoing Russian President Medvedev spoke volumes, as he all but promised to cave in on Russian demands concerning our European missile defense systems.  What else has he promised off-mic to give away in a second term that we just don’t know about yet?  Meanwhile, knowing it will see nothing more than empty finger-wagging from our spineless and impotent commander-in-chief, Iran has plodded doggedly ahead with its nuclear program.  We are likely 18 months or less away from a serious military crisis in the Middle East that could have been avoided with a more decisive peace-through-strength policy; this is far more realistic and dangerous than the prospect of a Reichstag event to cancel elections for the first time in our 223 year history.
4.  It’s the Constitution, Stupid.  If Obama is, as he claims, a former constitutional law professor, he has a funny way of showing it.  His administration is about to lose in the Supreme Court in its challenge to Arizona’s border defense law, and apparently lose big.  All indicators are that he’s likely to lose on the constitutionality of Obamacare, his signature achievement.  The administration lost in trying to enforce the Clean Water Act to stop private landowners from building a home on their own land.  The administration lost twice in federal court on its self-declared moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP Macondo fire.  And his personal record disregard for the boundaries set by the Constitution on the powers of his office is lengthy and well-documented.  This is a bigger deal and an easier sale than birth certificates and conspiracies.
These are the issues—not gays, or Kenya, or Nazi flashbacks—that will make a difference with the voters who will actually decide the election.  Not only is focusing on irrelevancies distracting from the real game-changing matters, it also gives Obama the necessary ammunition to cast the election dynamic as a choice between rational moderate adults on the one hand, and extreme, racist, bigoted, fanatical nutjobs on the other.  If Independents in swing states see this as the choice they face, they’ll vote Obama every day of the week and twice on Sunday (which, coincidentally, is how often Obama’s supporters will vote for him, too).  We have to resist the temptation to take that bait, and keep this election narrative focused on the substantive issues that not only matter, but that will make a difference.
Hall-of-Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, famous for his use of the illegal spitball (actually his lube of choice was K-Y, but who wants to throw a “K-Y ball”?), says he got a lot more mileage out of people worrying about him throwing spitballs than he ever did out of actually throwing them. 
Let’s try to keep our eye on the ball, people.

You Spent What?

“It’s only m-m-m-money.”
—Bill Murray as Frank X. Cross in Scrooged
This is your federal government at work.
Recent news events have revealed the massive GSA—ironically, that’s the Government Services Administration, the agency charged with, among other things, overseeing federal spending to avoid waste and fraud—boondoggles in Vegas ($823,000 for 300 employees to attend a conference) and Hawaii (five employees stayed a week on the taxpayer dime for a one-hour groundbreaking ceremony).  Yesterday we learned that the District has been funding such critical projects as a study into erectile dysfunction, and whether people tell the truth in surveys about their sex habits.
And you thought Kinsey was dead.
These GSA binges and federally-funded prurient academic exercises are not isolated incidents.  They are indicators of a culture of entitlement that is endemic in the District.  The politicians and bureaucrats that make up the Beast have long come to view the federal taxpayer as an unlimited sugar daddy into whose pocket they may dip at their pleasure either for personal indulgences or for Scooby Snacks to dole out to their cronies.  Even the few half-decent that are left are forced to try to get as many federally-funded goodies as they can, simply to recapture for their constituents what they can of money that’s going to be spent somewhere no matter what.
But some of this is just inexplicably stupid.
Consider Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) annual  “Wastebook,” which chronicles some of the more egregious examples every year.  These are not necessarily the biggest-ticket items (although some are HUGE), but some of the more bizarre.  I’ve excerpted some of the 100 items from this year’s list below out of just three agencies (numbers in parentheses correspond to the spot on Coburn’s list).
Pakistan and Other Inexplicable Foreign Aid–USAID
Many of us wonder why, at a time when we borrow some 40 cents or more of every dollar we spend, we give hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign countries.  It’s not exactly buying us a lot of friends.  But look at some of the foolishness on which it’s spent:
The Mango Man (2)—The US Agency for International Development spent $30 million in 2011 to aid Pakistani mango farmers.  This stems from a four year $90 million program begun in 2009 to boost hiring and sales in five product areas.  By 2011, USAID had abandoned four: leather, livestock, textiles, and dates.  Instead it focused on the fifth product, mangoes, with a goal of boosting sales 20% by providing farmers with equipment to clean, freeze, and store the fruit.  But the one farmer who actually received the equipment couldn’t operate it due to defects, and now many farmers who undertook loans based on the promise of increased productivity are now facing default.  Thanks for the help.
Sesame Street (13)—USAID contributed $10 million to remake Sesame Street in Pakistan.  Like Elmo is going to stop some kid from joining Al Qaeda.
“Green” Pumps (35)—USAID spent $12 million in 2011 ($23 million over 3 years) in a failed effort to upgrade irrigation pumps with newer more energy efficient models, again in Pakistan.  The original plan was to replace 11,000 pumps, but current estimates are that only 1500 will be replaced by the end of the program.  Shockingly, despite a nearly 90% reduction in the program’s output, there will be no change in the final bill to the taxpayer.
Casualty Buyoffs (90)—USAID paid $15 million in 2011 ($52 million since 2007) to assist families of civilians killed in Afghanistan.  But inspectors have reported that the program is not on target to achieve its main goal, is failing to reach the most eligible recipients, and involves huge amounts of food that is rotting before it can be distributed.  Again, thanks for the help.
Drugs, Diversions, and Perversions–NIH
One of my favorite categories is that collection of expenditures devoted to the trivial and sometimes twisted study of sundry pastimes and behaviors.  Not only are all of these of dubious utility and almost certainly outside the proper bounds set under the Constitution, but many you just have to wonder who comes up with this?
Boob Tube (17)—The National Institutes of Health gave a $702,558 grant in 2011 ($1.3 million to date) for researchers at Penn State University to study the effect of TV on rural Vietnamese families.  These are people so remote and so poor that the researchers not only had to provide the TV sets, but gasoline generators to power them (so much for reducing carbon emissions).  In such locales one wonders what programming they can pick up; maybe they can get Bill Maher on HBO via satellite.
Birds ‘n Bees (23)—NIH gave another grant of $175,587 in 2011 ($356,933 to date) to the University of Kentucky to stuck the effect of cocaine on the sex habits of Japanese quail.  Really?  Query how they’re conducting this study with federal money, given that possession of the cocaine presumably needed to do it is a federal crime.
Smoking Hookahs (63)—NIH gave a $55,382 grant to Virginia Commonwealth University to study hookah smoking among Jordanian students.  Don’t we all sleep better knowing our government is on top of this?
Monkey See, Monkey Poo (91)—In my personal favorite, NIH contributed $592,527 for researchers in Atlanta to study the communications skills of chimpanzees who throw their feces.  Yep, what survey of wasteful government spending would be complete without an entry on your federal tax dollars being given to someone who wants to study shit-throwing monkeys? (Yes, I know they’re technically apes)
I ask again:  who comes up with this stuff?
Miscellaneous Stupidity–NSF
Then there’s the just plain silliness coming out of the National “Science” Foundation:
Dance The Night Away (66)— The National Science Foundation NSF spent $300,000 to create an interpretive dance presentation on the origins of matter.  I’m not even making that up.
Improving Government (80)—NSF gave a $425,642 grant for a study with the rather presumptuous goal of informing local politicians in India how to improve their own local elected officials.  How is this a National Science Foundation function?  [As an aside, Senator Coburn further points out that India, the world’s fifth-largest (and one of the fastest-growing) economy and a major sovereign holder of our debt, receives over $120 million in US aid annually.]
Thor’s Blankets (94)—NSF spent $338,998 as part of a multi-year grant to study the impact on Icelandic commerce of women’s work in textiles from 874 A.D. to 1800 A.D.  Who (outside of Iceland, if even there) gives a crap about ancient Icelandic commerce?  And again, how on earth is that a function of the National Science Foundation, much less the United States federal government?
Yes, folks, this is the District at work, and it shows you just how totally out of control it is.  True, there are much bigger-ticket items like the unconstitutional and totally dysfunctional Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs.  But you have to look at some of these line items and ask whether there’s anyone left on either side of the aisle minding the store?  Is there anything the District won’t fund?
I don’t care what your political persuasion is, if there isn’t at least one thing on this list that really, really pisses you off, then I can’t help you.

The Sobering Reality

Gruber:          Theo, are we on schedule?
Theo:              One more to go, then it’s up to you.  And you’d better be right, because this one’s going to take a miracle.
Gruber:          It’s Christmas, Theo.  It’s the time of miracles!
—Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, and Clarence Gilyard, Jr. as Theo in Die Hard
OK, kids, take a deep breath and sit down.  While I hate to be the one to have to bring it up, as adults it’s time for us to face the unpleasant facts.
Like many of you, I’ve looked hopefully at the Gallup Polls showing Romney in a virtual dead heat with Obama.  I’ve been optimistic over job approval surveys continuing to show Obama netting below 50%, even as I’ve marveled that as many as 47% of this country still just doesn’t get it.  And last post I even suggested the possibility that Obama’s announcement of his support for gay marriage might decisively tip the scales in swing states where voters have repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected it.  “Surely,” I’ve thought to myself, “between these things we’ll be in good shape by November to get rid of Obama.”
The problem with all of this is most of it has been premised on voter polling, which examines the nationwide popular vote.  Unfortunately, it’s not the popular vote that matters, but the electoral college count, and—as promised—here’s the sobering reality of the electoral math:
It’s not gonna happen.
Despite the polls and approval rating, I’ve been worried for some time that the GOP had managed to squander away what should have been an un-loseable election.  Working on the last post forced me to focus on the electoral map for the first time, and that only confirmed my fears.  The electoral math simply isn’t going to work.  Let me show you why.
We’ll start with the states that are absolute locks both ways.  I measured this in the very scientific fashion of looking for those states that went Republican or Democrat in each of the last five elections (Clinton vs. Bush41 & Dole in 1992 and 1996, Bush43 vs. Gore & Kerry in 2000 and 2004, and Obama vs. McCain in 2008).  That map looks like this.
This has Romney starting out taking Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, for a total of 97 electoral votes.  But it also gives Obama California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, for a total of 242.  That’s only 28 electoral votes shy of the 270 needed to win. 
Notice, this historical view already takes supposed battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (and their 46 electoral votes) off the table.  Although all three states have some history of going Republican if you take it back to the 1970s, those votes consist almost entirely of getting swept up in the Nixon and Reagan landslides.  Recent history says they’re consistently Democrat, and I see little to suggest that they’ll buck that trend this time.  Wisconsin will have a massive union drive as part of the effort to oust Governor Scott Walker, and Michigan is all UAW.  I suppose Obama’s anti-coal stance gives a glimmer of hope in Pennsylvania—but I doubt it.  As for the others, if you have an argument that there is any realistic possibility of Romney taking them, I’d love to hear it.  I couldn’t come up with one.
From that starting point, it’s already clear that Romney has to win just about everything else.  I’ll indulge in the assumption that Obama won’t win any state this year that he lost last time, and that Nebraska won’t split its vote as it did in 2008.  With that assumption—and remember, that’s giving Romney the benefit of a reasonable doubt in states like Missouri and Tennessee—Romney picks up Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee, and West Virginia, boosting his total to 180.  He still needs 90 to Obama’s 28.
That leaves Colorado (9), Florida (29), Indiana (11), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), and Virginia (13), and a total of 116 electoral votes.  Obama could win by taking Florida alone, which is a distinct possibility; he carried the state in 2008, Clinton won it in 1996, and we all remember the debacle of 2000.  But let’s assume he doesn’t (and the absolute necessity of that assumption is a huge reason for Romney to consider putting Senator Marco Rubio or Colonel Allen West on the ticket).  Accepting the verrry shaky assumption that Romney wins Florida raises his electoral total to 209, leaving him still 61 votes short with only 87 left in play.  I don’t see him winning Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, or New Mexico, which puts 25 more electoral votes on Obama’s side of the ledger, yielding this map.
Obama 266, Romney 209, meaning Romney must win allof Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.  That’s on top of having to win in Florida to even make this scenario possible.  A Romney win in any one of those states is certainly conceivable, and indeed he may well win most of them. 
But the problem is he has to run the table.  And I’m sorry, but we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that he’s not going to do that.  Just as a matter of numbers, too many things have to break his way in too many places.  I think he’s likely to take Indiana and North Carolina, and unlikely to take Iowa.  Ohio and Virginia are tossups, and I’ll call it a split between the two.  Here’s how I see the likely final map.
That’s Obama 290, Romney 248, and we get four more years of hope and change.  Hoo-rah.
Could it break a little differently?  Sure.  Romney could squeeze out a win in New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, or maybe even all three.  Won’t be enough to make a difference.  Even winning Ohio—which he could do—won’t do it.  No, he needs a shocking big-ticket upset somewhere like Pennsylvania, or in both Wisconsin and Michigan, and even then he still has to win Florida and at least three of four in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.  That hasn’t happened since Bush won in 1988, and this time around, it’s simply asking too much; Obama isn’t Michael Dukakis (although one could argue that that would be an improvement), and Romney doesn’t have Reagan’s coattails to ride. 
I’m not sure this is really the GOP’s fault, nor do I think there’s much Romney can do about it.  This is just the way the electoral map plays out. 
Let’s just hope Christmas comes early.  

Why Is Obama Bucking Swing States On Gay Marriage?

McInerney:    And you think you’re wrong?
Shepherd:      I don’t think you win elections by telling 59 percent of the people that they are.
—Martin Sheen as Chief of Staff A.J. McInerney, and Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in The American President
On Tuesday, North Carolina voters approved an amendment to their state constitution prohibiting legal recognition of same sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships.  Wednesday, immediately following that result—and under considerable pressure from gay rights groups after Vice President Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan came out earlier this week in favor of gay marriage—President Obama announced his thinking on the issue had evolved to the point that he was now publicly, officially, and in every other way in favor of gay marriage.
Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. President.  I was really wondering where you’d come down on that issue.
Now, I have my opinion on the subject, and you can probably guess what that is.  I’ll leave that for another day.  For now, let me say I think we have much bigger fish to fry.  For example, I’m wondering just how Obama has been able to give this matter due consideration given that he swore he was focused like a laser on the jobs issue, and “will not rest” until every American has a job—yet unemployment remains stuck above the 8% mark he swore we’d never hit in the first place.  I’m wondering why I keep seeing CNN and the New York Times report sensitive national security intelligence matters like the CIA having a double agent within al Qaeda providing critical information on current bombing capabilities and planning—guess that lead’s cold now, eh?  I’m wondering whether, despite the growing threat of a nuclear Iran, the Israelis sleep better at night now knowing that Obama is OK with gays being married.
Ultimately, as I’ve posted before, this is a state issue.  If states like California and New York want to recognize gay marriage, fine.  If states like Texas or North Carolina don’t, fine.  Neither is any of the President’s business.  The President’s job is to protect and defend the United States Constitution, and marriage—whether in word or in concept—just isn’t in there.
But what I want to focus on today is what I think is a potentially serious political mistake by the President in coming out with this position in a year when he faces an extremely tight re-election campaign.  Just as an initial point, he didn’t need to do this from a campaign perspective.  The only people he’s really going to get fired up by coming out in support of gay marriage are single-issue gay rights activists, and guess what:  those people were gonna vote for Obama anyway.  I don’t see what Obama perceives as his upside.
More importantly, however, is the electoral math on the gay marriage issue.  The message implicit in the timing of the President’s announcement is unmistakable: 
North Carolina, you’re wrong.
Consider, however, that North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes is a swing state.  Its voters approved the amendment by an overwhelming 61% to 39%—a staggering margin.  That’s a substantial majority of voters to whom the President has effectively just given the bird.
And North Carolina is not alone in either the fact of its opposition to what is now the President’s official position on gay marriage, or in the magnitude of that opposition.  North Carolina is now the 30th state to enact a ban against legal recognition of gay marriage in one form or another.  Since 1998, this issue has come before voters via referenda on proposals either to establish/expand or prohibit legal recognition of same-sex unions 33 times.  The pro-gay-union side has lost 31 of those contests, including losing twicein ultra-gay-pride California.  The two wins (Arizona in 2006, and Washington in 2009) were by razor-thin margins, and both require an asterisk (Arizona later passed a constitutional amendment banning recognition of gay marriage in 2008, and Washington’s 2009 referendum was only on expanding rights afforded under a civil union structure that already existed). 
Significantly, no state—not even California—has legally recognized gay marriage through a measure voted on by the public.  The six states that recognize same-sex marriages, and twelve that recognize civil unions, have all done so either by judicial decree or by legislative action.  Over that last 15 years, when presented to the electorate, gay marriage has lost 31 of 33 votes by a total of 47,646,382 to 28,976,321, or an overwhelming 62% to 38%–effectively identical to the margin in North Carolina.  In other words, not only has gay marriage been defeated at the polls over and over and over again, but it has been defeated by a nearly 2/3 majority. 
CNN can Gallup Poll this until the cows come home.  This is where the rubber meets the road.
But here’s where it really gets sticky for Obama if he continues to push this as a campaign issue.  Gay marriage has been repeatedly and resoundingly rejected when it’s put to the voters in critical swing states:
Florida (29 electoral votes)                 62% to 38% in 2008
Ohio (18 electoral votes)                     62% to 38% in 2006
North Carolina (15 electoral votes)     61% to 39% in 2012
Virginia (13 electoral votes)                57% to 43% in 2006
Missouri (10 electoral votes)               71% to 29% in 2004    
Even in blue-leaning but potentially in-play states like Michigan (16 electoral votes) and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), gay marriage was rejected by the voters by a decisive 59% to 41% margin (Michigan in 2004, Wisconsin in 2006).  In Iowa (7 electoral votes), when the state Supreme Court struck down a statute defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman, voters responded by removing all three justices out of office; the first time an Iowa supreme court justice had lost a retention bid since 1962.  Other key battleground states Indiana (11 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) also have statutes defining marriage as the union of a single man and woman, and Virginia (13 electoral votes) did it by constitutional amendment in 2007.
It seems to me the President is really sticking his neck out if he intends to push this issue.  He is staking out a position overwhelmingly rejected in five key swing states representing 85 electoral votes.  If you conclude that Michigan and Wisconsin are in play, that total moves up to 111.  Add in that the President’s position is contrary to statutes or constitutional amendments adopted in Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and it’s 162.  In other words, Obama has just come out against a position adopted by decided majorities or by legislative action in 10 swing states comprising well over half the number of electoral votes necessary to win.  I count a likely 181 electoral votes as solidly Republican at this point.  Obama’s stance on the gay marriage issue by itself could potentially pull as many as 78 to 91 more out of these swing states, yielding 259 to 272, and that’s still conceding Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 
270 wins.
Conversely, I don’t see Obama picking up any of these states by coming out in favor of gay marriage.  I can only assume that Obama’s hope is that Romney will feel compelled to stake out the opposite position, allowing Obama to paint Romney as an intolerant social extremist (as, apparently, are some two-thirds of Americans).  The trick for Romney is to not take that bait, and stick to the real issues.  Let Obama hang himself on this one by pointing out that all Obama is doing is trying to distract from his record by dividing us on a state issue where the vast majority of Americans have reached a position different than what he’s advocating.  Then go right back to the economy, Obamacare, the “green” debacle, Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia.
This is a time for focus.
EDITOR’S NOTE:  Coming soon, The Sobering Reality

That Giant Sucking Sound

Listen (shhhhh) to what the flower people say
Listen (shhhhh) it’s getting louder every day.
—Spinal Tap, (Listen to the) Flower People
I think Ross Perot just might have been right about that giant sucking sound south of the border, although this time it’s not NAFTA that’s causing it.
It’s not getting a ton of national run—yet—but an investigative report aired last week by WTHR 13 in Indianapolis attempts to shed light on a massive illegal alien tax scam.  At the core of the matter are refunds given out by the IRS under the Additional Child Tax Credit, which allows even families that pay zero in taxes to claim up to $1,000 per child; in cases where this results in a negative tax liability, the IRS actually sends the filer a check.  According to the WTHR report, huge numbers of illegal aliens are using this program to collect billions in federal dollars.
The problem itself isn’t new.  Back in 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report titled “Individuals Who Are Not Authorized To Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits.” 
The title alone says a mouthful, doesn’t it?
The data from the Inspector General’s report reveals that in 2010, of 3 million returns filed under an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number—a substitute for a Social Security number issued for tax filing purposes, and almost exclusively to illegals—less than a quarter paid any taxes, while over two-thirds claimed the ACTC credit.  $4 billion in ACTC credits were paid out, against $870 million in tax payments collected, for a net outgo of $3.13 billion.    
In 2010 alone.
That’s right, your federal government in 2010 took over $3 billion from you and just gave it away to illegal aliens.  This happens every year.  Between 2005 and 2010, over $7 billion in ACTC refunds was handed out to people who are in this country illegally.  And the problem is getting drastically worse, as ACTC payments to illegals have risen over 400% (from $927 million in 2005 to $400 billion in 2010) over that time.   The IRS has been made aware of the issue, and the Inspector General has made specific recommendations for dealing with it; yet the IRS simply shrugs and says “that’s just the way the law is, nothing we can do about it.”
Funny how that hasn’t seemed to stop the Obama administration in any other area.
Congressional Republicans have tried to do something about this problem with the law this spring, but have been blocked by the usual suspects.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says restricting these credits to citizens unfairly targets children of poor Hispanic workers, many of whom were born here and are therefore citizens, even if their parents are not.  Leticia Miranda, senior policy advisor for La Raza—always known as a staunch advocate of our Constitution and U.S. sovereignty—says it’s “outrageous and it’s crazy” to impose the burden of removing these credits from people making close to minimum wage and raising children in this country.
Well, that’s where the WTHR report gets interesting.  It seems that not all of these children about whom Senator Reid and Ms. Miranda are worried are actually in the U.S.  In fact, many of them aren’t even the children of the illegal aliens claiming tax credits for them.  According to the WTHR report, it is commonplace for those claiming ACTC credits under an ITIN to claim credits for children still in Mexico (or wherever their country of origin is), or for nieces and nephews.  The report cites one example where four different illegals filed returns claiming 20 children at a single trailer home address—all of whom are actually in Mexico, according to the illegal whose address it actually is—totaling $29,000 in tax refund payments.  In another example, an illegal says he received a $9,000 refund including tax credits for his children living in Indiana and four nieces and nephews still in Mexico.
This, of course, is what happens when you create an entitlement-welfare culture.  If the government is going to provide everything for free, people will come with their hands out.  When you combine that with the inefficiency and incompetency that is inherent in any government bureaucracy, and it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how to cheat the system.  We already provide food stamps, free public schools, and free hospital care for illegals.  Now we’re literally handing out free money for anyone bold enough to tell the lie.  Yet somehow it’s the wealthy who already pay the vast majority of the tab for all these freebies that are the villains. 
It’s outrageous and crazy, all right.  But there are a couple of additional nuggets in this tale that you might overlook.
First, these people are filing tax returns and receiving refund checks.  Those checks have to be sent somewhere.  What this means is the United States federal government—you know, the one so desperately insisting that the border is secure and that defending that border is its province alone—knows who and where these people are.  Yet it does absolutely nothing about it.  Nada.  It just keeps cutting the checks, redistributing (in many cases because of outright fraud) money it took from you by force to people who have no legal right to be here in the first place.
The other interesting tidbit here lay in the concept of the Individual Tax Identification Number.  Illegal aliens aren’t eligible for a Social Security number, yet are required to file income tax returns (let’s just leave aside the inherent nonsequitur in that).  To do that, they have to obtain this ITIN.
An I.D.
A freaking federal I.D.
Now, these are people who, almost by definition, are the poorest of the poor.  Bereft of resources.  Making close to minimum wage, according to La Raza’s Leticia Miranda.  Indeed, much of the justification for those who oppose reforming the system is the need created by these people’s abject poverty.  Yet when it is necessary for them to obtain a federal handout, they don’t seem to have any trouble obtaining the required I.D., even when to do so they have to—at least ostensibly—risk arrest and deportation.
Contrast this reality with the shrill hypothetical complaints many of these same people on the Left make that requiring a simple I.D. to vote is too onerous a burden to place on blacks and other minorities.  They can’t afford it.  They can’t get to the government office that gives them out.  Well, some 2 million illegal aliens a year manage to overcome those obstacles when it’s time to collect free money.
That giant sucking sound?  That’s your money heading south, and with it, your country.  Meanwhile, the voting conga line forms to the Left.

Listen (shhhh).

Random Musings

Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Julia
—The Beatles, Julia
I gave some thought to exploring the introduction of “Julia” on President Obama’s campaign website, which illustrates for all to see his cradle-to-grave vision of the role of government.  But by the time I saw it, it had already been beat to death in all the usual places.  Besides, I think John Lennon covered it quite nicely.
So instead, let me offer a few quick thoughts on a number of other matters, in no particular order.
Cinco de Mayo
Over the weekend, it seems the President attempted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the White House.  I’m not going to begrudge anyone who wants to take an opportunity to drink a beer or five.  But the political slicing and dicing is really tiresome.  Why does every conceivable subgroup have to be isolated and called out in an official White House capacity, in what is either a ridiculous display of political pandering, or an absurd extension of political correctness?  What’s funny is I guarantee you Obama and his people saw this as an opportunity to reach out to Hispanic voters, assuming—incorrectly—that it’s the celebration of Mexican Independence Day, rather than an invention of U.S. beer importers based on a minor Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla that isn’t even celebrated within Mexico itself.
French Elections
Somewhere in Manhattan, Paul Krugman is getting that tingly feeling up his leg.  The French, in their infinite wisdom, voted out incumbent President Nicolas Sarkosy in favor of Socialist Francois Hollande.  Apparently learning absolutely nothing from the situations in Greece (and Italy, and Spain, and . . . ), the French have opted to step away from the “austerity” of not spending money they don’t have, and towards a marked increase in government-funded “stimulus.”  I guess they weren’t circling the drain fast enough for their taste, and felt it necessary to pour in a huge vat of Liquid Plumber to help suck them right on down into the sewer.  How is it they can’t see that it’s decades of government promises to give out free stuff paid for with borrowed money that got most of Europe into its current mess in the first place?  Where is that money going to come from this time?  I’m not going to loan it to them.  The Chinese might, but they’re going to expect to be paid back—where is that money going to come from?
As what will soon be the last really viable economy—and only voices of economic reason—left in a Eurozone that just can’t kick the spending habit, I would think Germany would want to get out while it can.  But as the rest of Europe succumbs to their dependency, I don’t think they can let Germany go quietly.  I wonder if Angela Merkel is warming up the Luftwaffe yet. 
Destination America
In yet another spectacular demonstration of “green” failure in the real world, Discovery Networks is canceling their “Green Planet” network started not four years ago.  Who knew that there simply was no viable market for an endless supply of environmental propaganda, er, programming?  Once again, the free market attempts to teach the Left the lesson that you can’t just build it and they will come—they have to already be there asking for it before you build it.
What I find really interesting, however, is they’re replacing Green Planet with something they’re calling “Destination America.”  Supposedly this new channel will be offering programming about travel, food, and culture aimed at “middle America.”  Hot dogs, apple pie, Mom, and Chevrolet, right?
Well, take a look at the new network’s logo:

Look familiar?

Mere coincidence?  Or is Discovery launching a stealth version of a 24-hour Obama channel?
Joe Biden
God bless him, Joe Biden just doesn’t get it.  He is completely oblivious to the fact that the only thing keeping him on the existing Democratic ticket is his being the Vice President provides the single best security measure President Obama has.  Over the weekend Biden was already laying groundwork for his own White House run in 2016.  Funnier, he told reporters—in fairness it’s unclear whether Biden was serious, but with him it’s hard to tell—he would be running with Hillary Clinton.
Out on the diplomatic trail, my guess is Ms. Rodham laughed her ass off when she got wind of that one.  (A) She’s said repeatedly she’s not going to run for office again.   (B)  She’ll be 69 years old in 2016—not prohibitively old to run for what Biden presumably (and more than a little presumptively) assumes would be Vice President, but it’s pushing it.  (C)  Most importantly, she’s far too smart, and the Clintons have been at this too long, to go anywhere near Joe Biden if she were to decide to run.
Take this to the bank, Joe:  If Hillary is in the 2016 race, it will be against you, not with you.
Ron Paul
My morning commute really hasn’t been the same for the last six months, as Mike Church turned his morning show on Sirius/XM into a non-stop campaign ad for Ron Paul.  King Dude does a 3 hour show on Patriot 125 every morning from 5-8 Central.  And no matter what time of morning I catch him, he literally doesn’t go more than about 60 seconds without mentioning Paul by name. 
Every.  Single.  Minute.
Every.  Single.  Day.
I understand the devotion to the ideas a certain candidate espouses.  And I get standing on principle.  But I would have thought at some point a certain pragmatic reality would set in.  Paul and his supporters have fought the good fight, but in the end he was never going to be the Republican nominee—he just wasn’t.  While he had some good things to say on some issues, there were too many areas where he dropped off the planet into Kookland.  I agree that Governor Romney isn’t an ideal standard-bearer for those of us of a conservative mindset.  But he’s what we have, and viewed next to the alternative in Obama, there is only one rational course of action.
Yet there Church was this morning, continuing to pimp for Paul.  Why?  The only thing a continuing Paul campaign accomplishes at this point is hinder Romney’s ability to defeat Obama.  This is really scary about Paul and his cadre of devotees—they’re so blinded that they’re willing to take the whole ship down if they can’t get 100% of their way.

Real And Present Danger

K:        We do not discharge our weapons in view of the public! 
J:         Man, we ain’t got time for this cover-up bullshit! I don’t know whether or not you’ve forgotten, but there’s an Arquillian Battle Cruiser that’s about to . . .
K:        There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do . . . not . . . KNOW ABOUT IT! 
           —Tommy Lee Jones as K, and Will Smith as J in Men In Black
This is going to shock some of you who are regular readers of this space, but I feel I must speak out on a matter of critical environmental concern.  While I am not normally a rabid Greenie, I do care for the Earth, and I fear that organizations like EPA and the Sierra Club have allowed themselves to become distracted with political issues to the point that they’re missing one of the gravest dangers of our time.  And we are all at risk.
For years now, those at the vanguard of the environmental movement have been crusading against greenhouse gases, among them CO2.  That’s carbon dioxide: you know, the stuff you exhale when you breathe, and that green plants use in photosynthesis (a critical byproduct of which is oxygen).  Never mind that the planet was under an endless cycle of warming and cooling for billions of years before humans arrived on the scene, that there are serious issues with fraudulent data, or that a significant number of scientists dissent from the Leftist party line that the planet is catastrophically warming and it’s all our fault.  Even giving them the benefit of the doubt, we’re talking about a threat that’s relatively abstract and long term.  I’m concerned with an immediate and concrete threat we face right now:
This dangerous compound is colorless and odorless.  It is 100% volatile, yet not biodegradable, meaning once present in the environment it exists forever in an endless cycle of evaporation into the atmosphere and condensation onto the surface.  This compound is widespread, and multi-faceted in the dangers it presents.  Among its evils:
—          Over 1.2 million people, mostly children, die each year from accidental inhalation;
—          Exposure to certain forms of the compound causes severe tissue damage, in some cases leading to infection, limb loss, and even death;
—          Contact under certain conditions can cause severe burns;
—          It has been known to be found in biopsies of cancerous lesions;
—          Can lead to hypothermia in some environments;
—          Ingestion in excessive quantities leads to unpleasant physical side effects, including bloating, weight gain, and increased urination;
—          Physical dependency can make withdrawal fatal within a matter of days;
—          Identified as a major contributing factor to certain forms of erosion;
—          Extremely corrosive, and can lead to mechanical and electrical failures;
—          Suspected by many scientists to be a key factor in violent weather phenomena such as hurricanes, and also a contributor to El Nino;
—          Responsible for millions in property damage annually.
Worse, this compound has become so widely used in our modern society that it is almost ubiquitous.  You have almost certainly been exposed to it at one time or another, and some studies have indicated that in the United States and other industrial nations it may be present in as much as 100% of the population.  It is used as an industrial solvent and coolant, in the development of weapons of mass destruction, and as a fire retardant.  It was an essential component in the Nazi death camps.  It is found in pesticides, known carcinogens like ethyl alcohol, and in caustic and explosive compounds such as sulfuric acid and nitroglycerine.  It is a major constituent of acid rain.  As I type, some scientists and prominent activists are already warning of dangerous, potentially catastrophic increases in levels of this compound in coastal areas.  
Why are we wasting time on what CO2 might do at some undefined point in the future, when dihydrogen monoxide is killing and harming so many and costing so much right now?  We must do what we can to get the engines of government focused on this urgent and life-threatening issue.  Please contact your congressman today and urge them to pressure EPA to quit spinning its wheels on CO2 and Big Oil, and start taking seriously the imminent dangers of dihydrogen monoxide before it’s too late.
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