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Contract from America, plus a translation from Keith Olbermann

The various Tea Party organizers have put forward a Contract From America which was voted on over the last few months by over 400,000 tea partiers (no clue if there were repeat votes. Not really important here).

The Dude thinks its a good list. Its concise and straightforward and easy to understand and really doesn’t require much to interpret. One would think. So, I asked my good friend Keith Olbermann (or a fake but accurate facsimile thereof) what he thought about it and he said that he’d need to translate this for his viewers. Here was our exchange. ‘DWK’ are comments from me. KERMOOTO are comments from Keith ‘Edward R. Murrow of Our Time‘ Olbermann.

DWK: Keith! Thanks for stopping by. How are things?

KERMOOTO: They are going great, though I’m still not sure who you are. My secretary says you’re not important enough to be considered the Worst Person in the World, so consider this just my gift to the common man. The racist common man that is. Anyway, I’m doing great. My ratings are through the roof. I have my own army of dittoheads just like that fat deaf guy Rush Limbaugh. And they still let me on Football Night in America to pretend that I was once a moderately entertaining sports news reader. I bet THAT really pisses off Rush. Couldn’t be better.

DWK: Well, that’s great man, though its possible you are reading the latest Nielsens upside down. Anyway, you are a fan of the Tea Party, right? You want to offer your thoughts on the Tea Party’s ‘Contract from America’?

KERMOOTO: Absolutely. Its all I can talk about when not reminding America that Sarah Palin is just another dumb broad. I was thinking I’d offer my own translation from the original German it was written in. You know, so that its easily understandable by the moderate silent majority that reside in such middle American places like upper Manhattan and northern California.

DWK: German? Ah, I get it. The Tea Party is fascist?

KERMOOTO: Yes. I figured if I spoke slowly, you’d figure it out. I thought about saying the ‘original Klingon’ but I figured your readers would take that as meaning I liked people with dark skin, which might kill my credibility with your readers, assuming they can read words with more than one syllable.

DWK: OK then. I’ll turn it over to you. Each number is the original Contract From America bullet point and Keith’s insightful translation.

1. Protect the Constitution

Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

KERMOOTO: Bring back Whites-only water fountains and bathrooms. For starters.

2. Reject Cap & Trade

Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)

KERMOOTO: A coal burning power plant for every school and more arsenic in your ice water. And Hummers for everyone. Sadly, I was not able to fit the obvious Sarah Palin joke with that last one. I save those for my show. Please tune in. MSNBC at 8pm New York time. Week nights. I have to say ‘please’ because Congress has yet to outlaw Fox News.

3. Demand a Balanced Budget

Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)

KERMOOTO: Well, OK. The poor won’t get Hummers. They’ll be starved to death because conservatives skip the “help thy neighbor” portion of the Bibles they use to block out the real world they live in.

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

KERMOOTO: Give more of society’s money to the filthy rich who are out golfing while sticking it to the little guy who can’t afford to buy the cable package with MSNBC so they can hear the truth dispensed on my show.

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning. (63.37%)

KERMOOTO: Bring back the glory days of segregation with states rights!

6. End Runaway Government Spending

Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

KERMOOTO: Less welfare. More Enron’s and Haliburtons.

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care

Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)

KERMOOTO: Give your first born to the Insurance Companies.

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy

Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)

KERMOOTO: Explore whether or not dead minorities and foreigners constitute a renewable energy source.

9. Stop the Pork

Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

KERMOOTO: Pork is an obvious reference to barbecue which is a code word for black people. So, this obviously means Stop the Black People.

10. Stop the Tax Hikes

Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)

KERMOOTO: Outlaw homosexuality, MSNBC, Abortion, the Huffington Post, minorities and anyone who refuses to name their second born George, Dick or Sarah.

DWK: It must be tough being Keith Olbermann, what with your ability to interpret the exact meaning of what the Tea Partiers really mean. I hear ’small government’, ‘low taxes’ and ‘founding principles’ but you hear ’screw black people.’ Your power is not unlike the kid from ‘Sixth Sense’. Your political talk show career seems to be on the same trend line as that kid’s acting career too. How do you sleep at night with such knowledge?

KERMOOTO: I sleep well knowing only white liberals like myself are best qualified to see that racism lurks in the hearts of so many uneducated Americans. I have the support of a thriving network and hundreds of loyal fans who know the real truth that Hitler came to power talking about low taxes, small decentralized government, fiscal responsibility, freedom of religion, gun rights and free markets. We don’t want that history to be repeated here by letting inexperienced chicks who are barely qualified for a casting call for ‘Fargo’ and all the other bigots from fly-over country hold elected jobs. If they want to work in Government, that’s why we have the post office. Ivy Leaguers have been running this country for all my life and they are what make this country great. Now I have to prepare for my show. Tonight we’re going to expose the stupidity of the Tea Partiers who apparently believe the moon landing was faked. Please tune in. MSNBC at 8:00 pm New York City time. Please, please tune in. Our advertisers are getting antsy.

DWK: Thanks for stopping by Keith. We’ll be sure to have you back for more of that biting truth telling that you do so well.

The Tea Party should not back Lou Dobbs

Lou Dobbs wants to rub elbows with the Tea Partiers.

But Lou Dobbs is a protectionist. Always has been. Its one thing to want to control the borders and prevent illegal immigration, which Dobbs is full bore supporter of. I am too. But I’m not sure Dobbs differentiates between illegal and legal immigration. Moreover, the other component of many anti-immigration folks is that they are also protectionist. They want to keep out legally distributed foreign goods just as much as they want to keep out illegal immigration. Protectionism is a form of intervention in the economy. It lowers competition and artificially inflates prices. It is a form of regulation where the government is trying to pick winners (domestic companies who otherwise do not wish to compete) and losers (foreign companies wishing to compete). And it hurts consumers.

And Lou Dobbs is a protectionist. Dobbs is not a friend of the Tea Party. Don’t let him fool you.

An easy bet…

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing we will hear less about this guy than we did about Jack Abramoff. And why do you say that? I mean this guy defrauded far more money than Abramoff. Was a top fundraiser for big hitter politicians. I mean, he’s from a private equity firm (cough, hedge fund, cough) and owed millions to many banks that are owners of many of the bailed out assets from our financial crisis. Seems like the makings of a 60 minutes episode, no? What’s this? Ah…he was a top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  I mean Abramoff worked for…Grover Norquist!!! That’s far more sinister.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

“That is something that might should be investigated”

First off, I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone that says “might should” or “might could.”

2nd, this pretty much nails it. Minor quibble, though. Those corporations who had to restate their future outlook based on the health care bill implications, were also following the law. The SEC requires it, especially due to some of the strict requirements put into place post Enron by congressmen like Mr. Waxman.

Here we go again

And the GOP begins its long march to nominating the loser from last time. And a Mitt Romney candidacy will all but remove health care reform as a big issue in 2012 since Obama will be more than glad to say he modeled his plans on Romney’s Massachusetts health care bill. Nominating someone new and cutting edge just isn’t the GOP’s style. For reasons that are baffling. Hell, even Reagan was a “loser” from last time. Sorry, I don’t see Romney as a Reagan clone. I hope I’m wrong of course.

Fiscal conservative is the new extremist!

Remember when being fiscally conservative was the marker for the moderate Republican while it was all those religious freaks taking over the party that was driving them away? Hmmm…someone even wrote a book about that I think. Well, the most consistent messages that come out of the tea party are a laser like focus on fiscal conservatism: lower taxes, less spending (a lot less) and shrinking of the scope of government. But, because they are protesting loudly and have a lot white faces, they are branded as extremist. As usual, the main purpose of the moderate Republican is to be used by the media to show that the GOP is being taken over by extremists, even if those supposed extremists fit squarely in the mainstream.

Define “Resolving the Palestine Issue”

My favorite Democrat, Mickey Kaus shows that liberal (and centrist realist) conventional wisdom is so strong that it infects even centrists with great BS detectors like Kaus:

Hegghammer soon retreats to the near-inarguable point that resolving the Palestinian issue would “likely” reduce recruitment [of terrorists to jihadist movements].

(Bold is me)

OK, I suppose that is a fair point as far as it goes, but it misses the obvious question: how do you define ‘resolving”. The Islamists see the resolution as the destruction of Israel. Nothing short of that will be worthy. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and that bought them exactly zero credit in the international community, particularly the Arab community. There has been relatively little Israeli / West Bank violence over the last 5 years (largely thanks to the wall and the death of Arafat). And yet, Israel is as big a bad guy as ever and getting worse thanks to our president’s treatment of it. So, recruitment will not go down on the Palestinian question, assuming that is a primary recruitment tool (I have my doubts on that), until Israel is destroyed. And if they succeed in THAT, I’d even bet that will INCREASE recruitment as that result will demonstrate their power.

Kaus is dead wrong here. Still, I’m rooting for him in his bid to unseat Boxer.

Limbaugh’s incredible power

I can’t say that I’m the biggest Rush Limbaugh fan, but I really really envy his incredible power to get his political opponents to make fools of themselves:

By using the word “regime,” Limbaugh was doing something he does all the time: throwing the language of the opposition back in their faces. In the Bush years, we often heard the phrase “Bush regime” from some quarters of the left. So Limbaugh applied it to Obama.

Apparently some people didn’t get it. On MSNBC, Chris Matthews appeared deeply troubled by the word. “I’ve never seen language like this in the American press,” he said, “referring to an elected representative government, elected in a totally fair, democratic, American election — we will have another one in November, we’ll have another one for president in a couple years — fair, free, and wonderful democracy we have in this country…. We know that word, ‘regime.’ It was used by George Bush, ‘regime change.’ You go to war with regimes. Regimes are tyrannies. They’re juntas. They’re military coups. The use of the word ‘regime’ in American political parlance is unacceptable, and someone should tell the walrus [Limbaugh] to stop using it.”

Matthews didn’t stop there. “I never heard the word ‘regime,’ before, have you?” he said to NBC’s Chuck Todd. “I don’t even think Joe McCarthy ever called this government a ‘regime.’”

It appears that Matthews has suffered a major memory loss. I don’t have the facilities to search for every utterance of Joe McCarthy, but a look at more recent times reveals many, many, many examples of the phrase “Bush regime.” In fact, a search of the Nexis database for “Bush regime” yields 6,769 examples from January 20, 2001 to the present.

And you can bet who was one of the people who used the ‘Bush Regime’ as a phrase.

The initial cost of health care “reform”

Big companies are starting the write downs.

On top of AT&T’s $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.

And Henry Waxman has the nerve to bring up analysis of the cost savings of health care that these companies are supposedly ignoring.

Meanwhile, Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

These companies apparently got some explaining to do. Whose analysis? The kool-aid drinkers at this or that liberal think tank? Ah… it says “independent analyses”. Sort of like ACORN was considered non-partisan.

Venuzuela contiues its dissent toward full blown Leninism

Chavez’s crack down on criticism continues.

QUITO, Ecuador – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday defended the arrest of a major TV channel owner, calling him a criminal and denying the government is carrying out an assault on press freedom.

The back-to-back arrests this week of two government opponents — including the owner of Venezuela’s only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel — have drawn accusations that Chavez is growing increasingly intolerant and authoritarian as his popular support has slipped.

That Sean Penn and Oliver Stone think this Hugo Chavez is to be admired says nothing good about them. Hell, Penn even said Chavez should jail his critics. Oh well, Chavez said that the government is not assaulting press freedom. And he’s not totally wrong on that. The press in Venezuela is still free to write uncritical reports on Chavez after all.

I’m back

Hopefully posting a little more frequently. I’ve been out of the country two weeks out of the past month and am also slammed up against a deadline next week that I’m probably not going to hit. Ugh.

Anyway, I still have plenty to say, just less time to say it.

Sarah needs to take a break

I’m inclined to root for Sarah Palin but her show on Fox followed by a reality TV show just makes her that less serious of a political persona. That maybe unfair, but there it is.

Pointing out the uncomfortable facts

So, I’m with Dick Cheney that President Obama’s Afghanistan strategy seems to be good policy (even if the results have yet to bare fruit in terms of the country’s long term success). It appears that a joint raid with Pakistan yielded the number two guy in the Taliban. This is a big deal and kind of weird that its not bigger news.

Legal Insurrection asks the obvious question: “Did the U.S. deliberately not take possession of Baladar so as to avoid the now-thorny issue of Baradar’s right to counsel and to remain silent?” I think we know the answer. Its also why this administration, much like the last two presidents, didn’t want to give up the tool of rendition. Like it or not, we do hand over certain terrorists to other countries (Saudi Arabia for example) with the express knowledge of what they will do to extract information. There can be no doubt that this is the case here.

I admit that I’m a little uncomfortable with this policy (regardless of whose in office) but if this guy somehow yields Mullah Omar, or even Osama bin Laden, then the Obama administration will have scored a HUGE victory against the bad guys. And all the lefties who will be beating their chest that their guy did what Bush couldn’t do will happily ignore that it was Bush-like policies that may have delivered the goods.

Bottom line, this is good (if ethically uncomfortable) news but lets talk like adults and acknowledge that he’s in Pakistan and not an Afghanistan NATO base or in transit to Guantanamo because the Pakistanis are not concerned with Geneva. They are well aware that the western press only cares about torture, or any facsimile thereof, when its committed by Americans. This is the uncomfortable fact that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is learning first hand.

(as is often the case, original story came from the professor)

UPDATE: As usual, Andrew Sullivan has the blinders on. As I said, the lefties (and whatever Sullivan gets classified as) will ignore that torture was almost certainly involved if this guy gives up Osama or Mullah Omar.

The Government working to raise the value of GM?

Thanks to the government’s ownership of the GM, this question simply must be asked. When the government is basically saying not to drive Toyota over the recall, one must ask if they would do this if, you know, it was GM. Moreover, the expectation is that the government would have to be doing this as stockholders. Its in their (our?) best interest.

Of course, we all know its Honda whose the happiest about all this.

The Magic Wind Fairies

The magical wind power fairies fail, once again, to deliver on the promise.

Minnesota invested itself in alternative energy sources years ago, and so the revelation that the state spent $3.3 million on eleven wind turbines hardly qualifies as news. However, the fact that they don’t work in cold weather does. KSTP reports that none of the wind turbines work, prompting the Twin Cities ABC affiliate to dub them “no-spin zones.”

They apparently have a solution for this: heat the liquid that lubricates the turbine. One problem:

They’ll have to use either electricity or natural gas at each turbine to keep the mechanism lubricated. That will drastically reduce the net energy gain from each turbine, depending on how much heating the turbine fluid needs to stop congealing in the winter.

Once again, the lack of projected global warming screws with the poor frozen Minnesotans.

Message to the GOP: Don’t Bite

Simply ignore the Obama’s ending of “don’t ask don’t tell”. No good can come out of demagoguing it and a lot of bad: pissing off the independents who already think you need to move into this century, fairly or not.

You need a teleprompter to talk to 20 people?

President Obama, and the White House photographer, is apparently unaware of the absurdity of this. Really, he needs a teleprompter to talk to his Middle Class Task Force that looks like it may contain, like, 20 people. They sit at a cramped U-shaped table while he stands at the podium, flanked by Linus’s blanket his teleprompter. Do the people at the table feel looked down upon or has Obama and his teleprompter become so infamous that you actually feel a bit flattered that he feels meeting you is important enough that he requires a screen flashed speech writer prepared screed in order to talk to you? I don’t know. Larry Summers looks enraptured though.

State of the Union

I really hate, with the essence of my being, the advanced transcripts of the State of the Union. When did presidents (and their handlers) become so unaware of the concept of suspense? You want me to watch? Release the transcript afterward for the love of God. Same goes to you SOTU response guy.

Hoping like hell there is no other shoe to drop

Republican Scott Brown has won the Senate special election in Massachusetts. From what I can tell of this guy’s bio and what I’ve seen of him on this campaign: he seems like an exemplary fellow (or feller, as we say in these parts). Could he really be that good? To say I’m hoping he’s not a sex addict with an inability to delete text messages from mistresses, would be an understatement. I’ll say this: if he somehow manages to serve well and get RE-elected? As Republican in Massachusetts? Mark him down as a presidential contender no later than 2016.

Meanwhile, check out his victory speech. THAT is how you give a victory speech.

Hugo Chavez’s assault on basic economic theory continues apace

Hugo Chavez’s government devalued their currency by half at their whim. Of course, the market doesn’t work that easy. If you devalue the price of something, that doesn’t magically mean you paid less for it. Unless, you live in Venuzuela where the socialist utopia has magical snapping fingers that automatically makes things cost half as much. When he devalued the currency he commanded that businesses (who will have paid twice as much for the goods on their shelves) could not raise their prices. Well, apparently a foreign owned chain tried to maintain basic economic theory by adjusting prices accordingly to match the REAL cost they paid and thus charge the REAL price they needed to recover the costs (or God forbid, make a profit). The punishment for this perfectly logical behavior?  The government takes you over.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez ordered the expropriation of Hipermercado Exito stores after alleging that the retailer broke the law by raising prices and hoarding goods.

The South American country will change its laws if needed to take over the retailer owned by Casino Guichard Perrachon SA of Saint-Etienne, France and Almacenes Exito SA of Medellin, Colombia, Chavez said today on state television.

“I order that we develop a dossier and prepare a new law to take over the Exito chain,” Chavez said. “Repricing and hoarding, what is this? You have to respect our house.”

Chavez’s government closed four Exito outlets for a day because the company allegedly increased prices following a Jan. 11 currency devaluation.

I like the part about needing to “change the law if they have to”. Pesky laws are such a nuisance. The upside of being a dictator is you usually can do just that: change the law as you see fit. Clearly, Chavez doesn’t understand that supply gets created when the suppliers have an incentive.  Shortages in 5…4…3…2..