Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Running Joke on the Taxpayer

In the run-up to tonight's State of the Union speech, the media have been reporting that President Obama will call for a "spending freeze" on discretionary spending. In plain English, this means that Obama will call for "freezing" the spending of the portion of the budget that Congress has not already committed to spend (e.g., defense, education, transportation), while allowing entitlement spending (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare) to continue to grow at unsustainable rates.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Age of Obama: Krauthammer on Obama's Foreign Policy:

On Tuesday, Charles Krauthammer spoke at length on the President's inept and dangerous foreign policy. I blogged in September on a vaguely similar line--"The War President"--but Krauthammer discussed those issues and more in greater depth and with much greater insight and eloquence than I could ever muster.

Video from Heritage

Text (slightly edited)

On a personal note, I was surprised to see him in a wheelchair. I was unaware that his health had deteriorated. His mind certainly hasn't.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Orwell's Dictionary (American edition)

Washington is a strange place that can be very deceptive to the politically inexperienced. At the risk of offending or angering those who are less cynical than me, I offer the following as a rudimentary guide for translating Washingtonspeak, which is closely related to newspeak.

Words in Washingtonspeak often have the opposite meaning of the same word in English. In a similar vein, I have found it generally safe to assume--unless conclusively proven otherwise--that any apparently clear statement by a politician means the opposite and that any legislative bill will produce the opposite effect of the purpose claimed in its name (e.g., the most recent stimulus bill).

One caution: politicians and government officials will routinely mix Washingtonspeak with English to hide their real meaning from the voters.

clean: an inefficient process, which often leads to more pollution than it allegedly prevents.
consensus (in the context of climate change and global warming): a political compromise camouflaged as a scientific "fact." 
dialog: 1. a "conversation" with yes-men or gagged opponents; 2. a conversation among participants on one side of a debate.
divisive: 1. anything exhibiting independent thinking; 2. expressing conservative views. See Power Line, "What's Divisive?" 
green: adjective or prefix used to make something inefficient or useless seem productive.
inclusive: including only supporters. 
jobs bill: government expansion bill.
government mandate: tax, e.g., the individual health care mandate and penalty.
smart: an adjective or prefix used make something foolish or ill-advised to appear wise.
special interest: any group out of favor with the speaker or that can serve as a convenient scapegoat.
transparent: secret or private. "There has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who's served here's experience." --Speaker of the House Pelosi's response to CSPAN request to broadcast the closed-door negotiations on the health care bill. See James Taranto (under "Private Party" subhead).
unilateral: a foreign policy that involves multiple U.S. allies, e.g., claims that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was unilateral.

This list may be revised and expanded as circumstances and my mood dictate. "Health care reform" is one obvious candidate, but the definition is unclear to me at this point, except that it has little to do with providing quality health care to the masses.


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