Saturday, December 29, 2012


“Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” Wordsworth. A line of poetry that stuck in my head years ago and now seems the only phrase to describe my feelings on this Tuesday night of November 6, 2012. The news arrives around 11pm. Obama wins Ohio. It's over. Obama has been reelected. We are now, as Mark Steyn puts it, “in the suicide phase of advanced western society.” Europe has been in this phase for some time, and with this election, we have joined them.

It is the end of America. Beforehand, when I tried to imagine the possibility Obama would win, that was my conclusion. Realistically, now that it has happened, there's no reason to think otherwise. The America I believed in, that I assumed would always be there, is gone. Something happened while we weren't paying attention. Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” and mine (the Baby Boomers) is the generation that lost it. We didn't pass the meaning of freedom on to our children, or at least not to enough of them, and now the end has come.

Nothing now would stop the implementation of Obamacare, so what could be done? My life expectancy was suddenly a bit shorter. A few minutes before the news came, I had owned my knees, my colon, my pancreas, my prostate, my hips---all the things that go wrong as a guy gets older. Something on that list would, more than likely, kill me someday. But at least I owned them! Now a person I didn't know, somewhere in the federal government, would decide what was to be done with them. Cancer treatment? Well, maybe. Depends on your age, of course. What kind of value do you bring to the table with your remaining years? A new knee? Well, how cost-effective would that really be, for America? You may want a new knee, Mr. Kubacki, but let's be realistic. Where's the “value-add” for the rest of us?

Sam and Bella and Gabriel and Max were in the house, representing the “youth,” I suppose. They were pleased. They had all voted for Obama. Later, it would be revealed that those under thirty had voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Another sign of the apocalypse. They are the ones who will be victimized the most when we are all impoverished, when America's streets become so very dangerous, when jobs cannot be found, when all the doctors come from Lahore rather than Johns Hopkins, when money no longer can be depended upon to hold its value, when no one can afford to retire except the favored few at GE and Goldman Sachs and Google, or those who work in academia or government.

Since 1965, under LBJ, the Left has claimed not only that government can take care of us but that government should take care of us. Have they found enough believers and indoctrinated enough schoolchildren so the philosophical battle is now irretrievably lost? Maybe. That's the way it seems, in any event. As we see from Europe, government control of medicine is a huge step in the process. Once citizens no longer own their own bodies, the relation between man and government is changed, and there's no obvious way back. Once a sufficient quantity of the populace buys into the cocoon of dependency, it's not a matter of politics anymore. Adopting Leftism is a moral choice, not a political one, and when enough people make that leap from independence and self-sufficiency, the fundamental values of society change. Everything changes. As we have seen in Europe, people stop going to church. They stop having children. They stop taking care of the old and the infirm. That's too much trouble, or it's the government's job, or it interferes too much with your Starbucks time.


For weeks before the election, I was predicting a Romney victory, largely on the basis of Obama's weakness as an incumbent. When first-term presidents run for reelection, I confidently pointed out, one of two things happens: either he gets more votes than he did the first time or he loses the election. It had never happened in America that a sitting president got fewer votes the second time around, but squeaked by. Never.

There are reasons for this. Every election is different, but elections in which there is an incumbent president tend to be about the incumbent. If the citizenry is generally pleased with his performance, there will be new supporters and more votes (e.g., George Bush, Bill Clinton). If the people are disappointed, some folks who voted for the guy the first time around will not vote, or will even vote for his opponent. The opponent is not exactly irrelevant, but he is of secondary importance. As the wise guys put it, an election like this is a referendum on the incumbent.

And if that is true, then Obama was rejected. After all, he got about four million fewer votes in 2012 than he did four years ago.

But that's not how it works, of course. We can and we will argue about the meaning of the numbers and the extent of Obama's “mandate,” but in a two-party system there's only two guys who have any chance to win and one of them wins and the other one doesn't. None of us should kid ourselves about what happened. Obama won. Obamacare prevailed. Joe Biden will remain a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

And Mitt Romney was a stone loser. He's a nice guy and he has many fine qualities, but even though America didn't like Obama quite as much this time around, Romney still lost. Obama was rejected, and Romney still lost. And he deserved to.

Much has been written about Obama's cynical campaign. The race-baiting (“Put y'all back in chains”), the exploitation of “low-information” women over contraception and abortion, the class warfare about Romney's business success. Certainly the Obama campaign was a disgrace, but in its own polite Republican way, the Romney campaign was every bit as cynical. With its relentless focus on “job creation,” the idea often seemed to be that Romney would (personally) get you a job or make you one or somehow place you at a desk or an assembly line or a delivery truck somewhere.

This strategy was always doomed. If you had a job, why would you vote for Romney? And if you didn't have a job and the bills were piling up and the collection calls were filling up your answering machine, who would give you the unemployment benefits and food stamps and welfare benefits to carry you through? Obama, of course! It's absurd for a Republican to base a campaign on what he can give voters because Republicans will NEVER win that battle against Democrats. As we have seen, there is literally no limit to the amount of public money Democrats will spend to buy votes. Obamaphones? Two years of unemployment checks? Millions of people added to the Social Security disability rolls? And none of this is really new. FDR pioneered the process, doubling the federal budget to put public works money in every state and almost every town in order to ensure his continued reelections. Today, Obama simply prints money to accomplish the same thing. And the Democrats have a monopoly on it. This is a playing field on which Republicans can never compete.

The reason we were given to vote for Romney was that a) he understood business and b) he was NOT Obama. But for Republicans to win, doesn't there have to be something more than that? Where was the soaring rhetoric? Where was the condemnation of the Left's push to make us all smaller while making the government bigger? Where was the rage at America's sudden support for the most backward and misogynist political philosophy to be found in the Middle East? Where was the demand, in the face of numerous scandals and cover-ups, that the rule of law be respected?

Maybe these are more complicated ideas than “I'll find YOU a job,” but they weren't that complicated. When a federal program winds up killing a US border agent and several hundred Mexican civilians, the story should be told. When financial laws are flouted so the vast assets of a car company can be seized and handed over to political allies of the president, Republicans must have the courage to object, and in no uncertain terms. There are principles at stake and they are principles that used to be regarded as important. In any event, these principles are the only weapons Republicans have to deploy in a political contest. The assumption that conveying a philosophy to the American people is impossible, that it's a sucker's game, was a fundamental error---conveying a philosophy, and being true to that philosophy, is all the Republicans have ever had.

Maybe Romney just couldn't do it because he is not a conservative and he doesn't understand the ideas and he cannot comfortably express them, but it had to be done. Presidential elections must be about bigger things. Even the Democratic campaign was about bigger things (e.g., collectivism). And though Obama has always been reluctant to outline his beliefs explicitly, there could be no mistake at this point about the direction he seeks.

From the beginning of the primaries, Romney was a candidate who refused to engage any of his opponents on the issues but instead attacked them personally. And one by one (Cain, Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum...), he picked them off. All of them were flawed, it is true, but as the Republican party turned to first one, then another, then another, the one thing that should have been clear is that very few Republicans actually wanted Romney. He was the proverbial child whose parents had to hang a pork chop around his neck so the family dog would play with him. And then he was the only one left and we all decided (me included) that, at least, he was better than the alternative.

His deficiencies as a candidate all seem so obvious now, but we ignored them because he was not Obama.

Even apart from his political views, or lack of them, was the problem that he was identified from the get-go with Massachusetts. Republicans cannot win a national election without the South, and Southerners find it almost impossible to view Northeastern effete types as serious human beings. This was one of John Kerry's problems, and it was also Mitt Romney's. Southerners can respect learning and do not really dislike the Harvard- or Yale-educated, but there is always a suspicion that they lack a certain necessary quantum of common sense and manliness. “Harvard boys have their uses,” Roy Blount, Jr. once said, “but you would never let them play in the Orange Bowl.”

Ultimately, Romney lost both Florida and Virginia, and these were two of the states Obama won in 2008 that any Republican had to win in 2012. He probably lost those states not for any particular ideological reason, but because he was perceived as a silly guy from Cape Cod who didn't know a Dr. Pepper from a mint julep and had never tasted either one. As a general matter, this was Romney's problem across the country, and not merely in the South. He got more votes than McCain did, but in the wrong places. He lost all the Democratic strongholds by fewer votes, but he still lost them. This is what happens to a Republican moderate. They lose blue states by less, and they also lose some red states that a conservative could win. There are always too many voters who WILL NOT take a candidate like Romney seriously.


As I await the meltdown, with little hope that the country I grew up in will be recognizable even a few years from now, I find myself focusing on smaller issues, the sort of things that might matter if I am completely wrong about our immediately future. Voting, for example. If there are more elections to come in America, it would be nice if they were 1) honestly run, and 2) fairly reflected the views of individual citizens.

The fraud bothers me. It has always bothered me, but the difference in 2012 is that no one seems to be concerned about it. Cheating has become normal. In Philly, in 59 voting divisions, Romney got no votes, for a total of 19,605 to 0. In Chicago, 37 precincts voted only for Obama, with a total of 17,007 – 0. In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) there were 16 divisions that went 100% for Obama, for a total of 5439 – 0. There were 112 other divisions where Obama got more than 99% of the vote, with approximate totals of 50,000 to 295.

These numbers are impossible. Studies have shown that almost 2% of all ballots are spoiled. Accidental voting for the “wrong” candidate is one of the ways this can happen, and it happens regularly, everywhere. It is not possible that 19,605 votes in 59 Philly divisions were cast for Obama and none was cast for Romney. Even if everyone in those divisions had wanted to vote for Obama, Romney would have received several hundred mistaken, accidental votes. That he did not is proof that fraud was present, and is now embedded as an institutional aspect of our modern system of voting, at least in Democratic fiefdoms.

It is as if cheating were now an acceptable part of the process. The Left, simply because it was their partisans who perpetrated it, have no interest in discussing it. For Republicans, it is impolite to mention what happened in Philly and Cleveland and Chicago because the fraud cannot be disconnected from the black cities and neighborhoods where it occurred.

And though the numbers themselves demonstrate the cheating, the “defense” offered by local politicos is even more disgraceful. It is something along the lines of: “Black people will only vote for Obama, so these numbers are not surprising at all. We're amazed if somebody votes for the white guy.”

All of which begins to detail the more serious problem. While the 19,605 – 0 is proof of cheating, there is no reason to doubt the exit polls indicating that in 2008, 96% of black voters chose Obama and that 93% did in 2012. These numbers should fill all of us with a profound sadness. Is this really what black people in modern America have done with the right to vote, secured for them only with the blood of their ancestors? The Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, lynchings, the decades-long political fights over suffrage for black Americans---and this is what happens? Block voting for a man because of his skin color? Tribalism? The vote for Obama (and excuses for vote fraud that benefited him) are a stain on black Americans. Are black voters as a group so cowardly that they are unable to think (and vote) for themselves?

After all, it's not like 96% of black Americans agree with Obama, is it? A large majority of black voters in California voted against gay marriage four years ago, even as they were voting en masse for Obama. And they certainly don't agree with his (pro-infanticide) views on abortion. Since black women are five times as likely as white women to have an abortion, there is a political movement (which once included Jesse Jackson) that condemns abortion as genocide. Black voters are actually more anti-abortion than other demographic categories, yet they give 96% of their votes to the the most radical pro-abortion politician in American history?

More to the point, there is NO issue on which 96% of black people agree with Obama because 96% of black people in America do not agree on anything. For example, 96% of black people in America do not agree that Tupac is dead.


If it sounds like I have little hope for America's future, I suppose that is true. There is certainly nothing in the current debate over the “fiscal cliff,” in which both sides are studiously ignoring the real issue of spending and budget deficits, to provide any reason for optimism. More precisely, the problem for a guy like me is the inability to see past the coming meltdown and figure out what will be important and what I should worry about. That's the frightening bit. What will our piece of the world look like after the riots and after the defaults and after the money disappears and after the insurrections? When all of history converges on a singular point, there is no way to predict what will happen on the other side of that point. This is true even if we are looking backwards. What did the universe look like before the Big Bang occurred? No one knows. No one even knows how to begin to think about how one might go about attacking such an issue in a rational way. What America will look like on the other side of Obama is a question only for madmen.

Regarding the “fiscal cliff” and the impending tax increases (the largest in American history), it is tempting for us conservatives to demand Congress hold the line and fight Obama on taxes, especially since Republicans still control the House, the constitutional font of all revenue bills. The Republican record here, however, is nothing to be proud of. They could have refused to increase the debt ceiling, but they didn't. Boehner could have insisted on real cuts in spending, but he didn't want to or he got suckered but in any case it didn't happen. So why would anyone think the Republicans will get serious now? I certainly don't. They have already started to cave, in fact, and are negotiating against themselves. Obama is the President and the Senate is controlled by Democrats..Wouldn't the expectation be that these forces propose a plan for the “fiscal cliff” that the rest of us could consider? Instead, all the questions are put to the Republicans.

The better course, both fiscally and politically, is to let Obama have his way. Let the Obamacare taxes all go into effect and let him impose whatever tax rate he wants on the hated rich. Death taxes? Sure. Big Pharma? Outta here. Medical device companies? Crush them. Family farms? Seize them all for taxes. Since the Republicans in the House are unwilling to take a meaningful stand, there is much to be said for having them simply stand aside. The European economy is in a state of near-collapse, and the sooner we get there ourselves, the sooner we will be forced to face reality. The federal government now borrows $188 million per hour, so the end is certainly near. Why not let Obama have his way and have it all come crashing down now rather than six or seven years from now? When unemployment doubles, when benefit payments are cut, when our dollars are worth nothing---at that point, something will change. Life in America may have to get a lot worse before it gets better, but the abyss now seems inevitable, so let's jump.

Copyright 2012Michael Kubacki

Saturday, December 15, 2012


There's nothing, nothing
nothing, nothing, nothing, and
then there's Salt Lake City.

A while ago, I read that about 3% of the land in the United States has been developed. You don't really get a sense of the vast emptiness of America when you live in Philadelphia, with cheesesteak joints and taprooms on every corner, but an airplane ride from Philly to Salt Lake City, on a clear day, will straighten you out.

There's a lot of empty space even in Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, though from 35,000 feet, you can usually see some evidence of human activity. But once Ohio flattens out, (“flatter than piss on a plate,” is how many Michiganders describe Ohio), you hit America's vast central craton, and there are long, long stretches of nothing.

The craton continues for a while. I guess this was the bit that got ironed out by the glaciers a while back. At first, a lot of it is farmland divided into neat little boxes. Then it isn't even worth farming any more, and then you start seeing hills and bigger hills and mountains. You have entered the basin and range part of your journey, and then THAT is all you see---basin and range, basin and range, basin and range. Nobody lives there. Nobody farms there. Even roads are hard to find.

At this point, you begin to wonder about recycling. In particular, you ask: why? Flying from Philly to Salt Lake on a clear day, you see 73 million-bazillion square miles of free landfill. Why this obsession with recycling in America? Why do cities and states spend tens of billions of dollars every year processing trash it would far cheaper and easier (and often, more environmentally responsible), to throw away? We could throw stuff away for thousands of years without even noticing it. Why don't we?

The main reason is a guy named J. Winston Porter, an EPA bureaucrat who, in 1989, wrote a paper entitled “The Solid Waste Dilemma: Agenda For Action.” A year before, the garbage barge Mobro 4000 had wandered up and down the East Coast for a few months looking for a place to dump its garbage and was featured on the network news every night. With the barge in everyone's consciousness, Porter's article claimed the US was running out of landfill space AND WE HAD TO START RECYCLING MORE!!!!!

It was never true. It's not true now. We have never faced a shortage of landfill space, as you can verify for yourself by flying from Philly to Salt Lake City on a clear day.

The only major item of trash it makes any economic sense to recycle is aluminum, which means that beer cans would be recycled without any government help whatsoever. In fact, a pickup truck stops at my curb every week before the recycling truck arrives and grabs my cans. No government is necessary, thank you.

All the rest of it, recycling the paper and glass and plastic, is just a waste of money.