Sunday, November 7, 2010

Political Digest for November 7, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Veterans Entitlement Mentality
Guest Post.

Bankruptcy of US is "Mathematical Certainty"
About what I’ve been saying. We are fighting over the scraps of a failed system. ~Bob. Excerpt: “It reminds me very much of that story I told you about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae,” said Allison. “We were running the numbers, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae went bankrupt, and we got there. In 20 or 25 years, the United States goes bankrupt. “Now, countries don’t go bankrupt the way companies do,” said Allison. “They don’t file bankruptcy. They usually hyper-inflate. They print a bunch of paper money, or they become Third World economies like Argentina--unless we change direction. So, we absolutely have to change direction. And the irony of that is it requires an interesting combination. It requires both discipline, but it also requires a focus on growing our economy. And it means a fundamental philosophical change from where we are today, from the idea of redistributing wealth to the idea of creating wealth.”

Boehner under fire: First cut should be lawmakers' salaries
Excerpt: Soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) is being pressed by taxpayer groups to slash the salaries of House lawmakers. Cutting member pay would show voters the new GOP majority in the House is going to lead by example in their efforts to rein in spending and start with their own wallets, say officials with three prominent taxpayer advocacy groups in Washington, D.C. (Penny symbolism. Cut funding for the arts, for NPR, for farm subsidies 10% a year until gone, for all earmarks, for… well, you get the idea. ~Bob.)

Pelosi running for minority leader
Good, maybe she can lose 60 more Dem seats in 2012. ~Bob. Excerpt: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is running for House Democratic leader, rejecting calls from conservative party members that she step down in the wake of devastating midterm election losses. The Speaker announced her decision via Twitter, saying: “Driven by the urgency of creating jobs & protecting [healthcare reform, Wall Street reform], Social Security & Medicare, I am running for Dem Leader.”

Keith Olbermann suspended indefinitely for donation to Dem candidates
Excerpt: Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely from MSNBC for making campaign contributions to three Democrats. The statement from Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC: I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.

Put Department of Education in timeout
Excerpt: The U.S. Department of Education was created with the primary stated goal of increasing students' test scores, but test scores for 17-year-old American students have remained essentially flat since 1970. The department's budget has grown to a whopping $107 billion this year. Per pupil, taxpayer-financed education spending (adjusted for inflation) has risen by more than 200 percent since 1970 (and 150-plus percent since 1980). Clearly and unambiguously, the department deserves a grade of F.

A Primer on the Constitutionality of Health Reform
Excerpt: activity — not just trade or exchange, as the traditional definition of "commerce" would have it. The Court ruled that Congress could stop a farmer from growing wheat for personal consumption because if he did so, he would not need to purchase it, which would depress aggregate prices. The Court employed a similar analysis five years ago, when it held that the production of marijuana for personal use was an economic activity that Congress could regulate. Congress' power thus now extends to economic activities that substantially impact interstate commerce. While the Court has rejected nearly all Commerce Clause challenges since the New Deal, two such lawsuits have been successful. In 1995, the Court struck down a law prohibiting the possession of guns near schools because it was not "part of a larger regulation of economic activity, in which the regulatory scheme could be undercut unless the intrastate activities were regulated." Similarly, in 2000, the Court struck down the Violence Against Women Act because the gender-motivated violence it regulated had only an "attenuated" economic effect. The Court therefore recognizes that some activities are outside the Commerce Clause's scope. Although the individual mandate may seem like a small extension of federal power under existing doctrine, it is actually an unprecedented shift towards a government of unlimited powers. After all, even the outer limits of congressional power relate to activities, and always reflect regulations or proscriptions, never mandates. With the individual mandate, the government now argues that it can regulate citizens' inactivity — one's very existence becomes a regulatory trigger. In defending the Obamacare lawsuits, the government contends that the decision not to purchase health insurance is, in fact, an economic activity that is properly within Congress's regulatory sphere. The decision not to participate in commerce in effect is commerce — an "Alice in Wonderland" word game that effectively destroys future limits on congressional power, in that every decision is an economic one.

Obama Remembers Mumbai: What About Fort Hood, Sir?
Excerpt: President Obama began his 10-day, pre-holiday Asia vacation in Mumbai, India by memorializing the victims of the terrorist attacks from two years ago. In a somber and respectful tone, he declared, “We’ll never forget.” In making his remarks, the president delivered an appropriate message about the tragic events of November 26, 2008 which resulted in the deaths of 173 innocent people. All well and good. Unfortunately, the president’s staff must have forgotten an equally memorable terrorist attack, one that took place at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. Indeed, while Obama and his entourage were jetting off to India on what is believed to be a $200-million-a day junket, the president was silent about the one year anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting in which Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused of killing 13 Americans and injuring 30 others. Why did this president choose to ignore the victims of the Fort Hood massacre on the one-year anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings ever on an American military base? (Because to this administration, Ft. Hood wasn’t a terrorist attack, nothing to do with Jihad. It was “workplace violence,” like many shootings. The killer yelling “Allah Akbar” had nothing to do with his motives. ~Bob.)

Kate’s Blog in LA

In Texas, Hispanic Republicans Show The Way
Excerpt: Amid all the hot air being blown about how Harry Reid and other Democrats were saved by the Hispanic vote, little attention is being paid to the fact that some Hispanic Democrat incumbents were fired and replaced with Republicans. And in the case of Liberal Dem, Ciro Rodriguez of Texas CD23, who was looking for a sixth term and lost to Republican “Quico” Canseco, that firing was by a largely Hispanic constituency. Interestingly, according to Scott Stroud, writing at the San Antonio Express-News, Canseco made an issue of supporting the Arizona anti-illegal immigrant law and his 63% Hispanic voting population was obviously sympathetic. As someone who worked with the poor and elderly in San Antonio for several years, I had the misfortune to hear Rodriguez, a social worker by profession, address various groups on multiple occasions. Poor Ciro, he is one of few politicians whose stumbling public speaking skills could make George Bush sound like William Jennings Bryan. That being said, he did manage to stammer and stumble his way through repeated campaigns to victory. In fact, I was quite astounded that Canseco was able to unseat him. Canseco’s campaign should be examined closely and lessons learned should be taken to heart by Republican strategists in 2012.

Before Obama's fall
Excerpt: There may be no more deadly force in politics than hubris. It sneaks up on politicians at their weakest moments -- the height of their success -- and destroys them, sometimes slowly, sometimes spectacularly. President Obama is suffering from a case of hubris so far-reaching and debilitating, it will fascinate political epidemiologists for decades. His intellectual boosters egged him on. They greeted his election as the advent of, as Peter Beinart put it in Time magazine, "The New Liberal Order." Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times rushed to print a book called "The Death of Conservatism." It was all settled, then -- except of course it wasn't. "Public opinion is the lord of the universe," Thomas Jefferson said. The Obama Democrats governed in blatant defiance of it, and didn't care to notice the trends that should have been a flashing red light on their ambitions.

Iran bans weightlifter for life for standing next to Israeli at awards ceremony
Tolerant Islam. But these type stories are so common, no one is outraged as they are if someone threatens to burn a Qur’an. ~Bob.

Foreign militants train for anti-India Jihad in PoK
Obama needs to send them the “Islam is a Religion of Pace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Hundreds of university students, including foreigners, are being trained in militant camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to wage jihad against India, BBC Urdu Service has reported. After a lull, several militant outfits have increased their activities in and around Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK, and pro-Jihad slogans can be seen on the walls of the city, said the report.

Obama's security dog named 'Khan': Muslims irked
Excerpt: Muslims in Mumbai are up in arms against a United States military sniffer dog allegedly with name tag of 'Khan' that has landed in the city as part of President Barack Obama security arrangements. On Tuesday, the German Shepherd arrived in the Mumbai airport from a Hercules C130 transport plane. The German Shepherd allegedly had a tag around its neck which read 'MWD Khan.' MWD stands for Military Working Dog. Khan is alleged to be the name of the dog. Angry Muslims in the city and the state are threatening to protest this 'insult' to the community.

Convert to Islam, founder of pro-jihad website, dies in Taliban captivity
Excerpt: In the early years of Jihad Watch I linked to Jihad Unspun several times to illustrate jihadist perspectives on various matters. The site's founder, Khadija Abdul Qahaar, the former Beverly Giesbrecht, was a Canadian convert to Islam who, you guessed it, misunderstood her peaceful religion. And despite her open Islamic supremacism and agitation on behalf of the global jihad, jihadists in Pakistan still kidnapped her and threatened to behead her. Now she is apparently dead, in Taliban captivity. Whether or not she was murdered, she was clearly a victim of the murderous ideology to which she attached herself and did all she could to encourage.

Bomb, grenades hit two mosques in Pakistan; 70 dead
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A suicide bomber struck a mosque frequented by anti-Taliban tribal elders in northwestern Pakistan during afternoon prayers Friday, killing at least 67 people in one of the deadliest attacks this year. Later in the day, three grenade blasts killed three people at a mosque in another northwest area where an anti-Taliban militia was active. The blasts were the latest to hit religious gatherings and underscored the relentless security challenge in the US-allied nation, where Islamist militants have managed to strike at the state and citizens who work against them despite pressure from army offensives. In the first attack, the Sunni mosque’s roof collapsed as hundreds of worshippers were gathered inside for the most popular prayer session of the week, and many victims were trapped in the debris.

Citing health overhaul, AARP hikes employee costs,0,4760136.story
Excerpt: AARP's endorsement helped pass President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Now the seniors' lobby is telling employees their costs will go up as a result. In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs. And AARP says it is changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health plan; it's like an escape hatch from the tax. AARP officials said medical inflation is the main reason employee costs are rising. Its legislative affairs director, David Certner, says the health care law is "a small part."

If Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure, Does the MSM Make a Sound?
Excerpt: Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most stridently debated public policy controversies of the past 15 years. But it is dying a quiet death. In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced on Oct. 21 that it will be ending carbon trading — the only purpose for which it was founded — this year. Although the trading in carbon emissions credits was voluntary, the CCX was intended to be the hub of the mandatory carbon trading established by a cap-and-trade law, like the Waxman-Markey scheme passed by the House in June 2009. At its founding in November 2000, it was estimated that the size of CCX’s carbon trading market could reach $500 billion. That estimate ballooned over the years to $10 trillion. Al Capone tried to use Prohibition to muscle in on a piece of all the action in Chicago. The CCX’s backers wanted to use a new prohibition on carbon emissions to muscle in on a piece of, quite literally, all the action in the world. The CCX was the brainchild of Northwestern University business professor Richard Sandor, who used $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based left-wing Joyce Foundation to launch the CCX. For his efforts, Time named Sandor as one of its Heroes of the Planet in 2002 and one of its Heroes of the Environment in 2007. The CCX seemed to have a lock on success. Not only was a young Barack Obama a board member of the Joyce Foundation that funded the fledgling CCX, but over the years it attracted such big name climate investors as Goldman Sachs and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management. But a funny thing happened on the way to the CCX’s highly anticipated looting of taxpayers and consumers — cap-and-trade imploded following its high water mark of the House passage of the Waxman-Markey bill. With ongoing economic recession, Climategate, and the tea party movement, what once seemed like a certainty became anything but. (...) Incredibly (but not surprisingly), although thousands of news articles have been published about CCX by the lamestream media over the years, a Nexis search conducted a week after CCX’s announcement revealed no news articles published about its demise. Outside of a report in Crain’s Chicago Business and a soft-pedaled article in a small trade publication, the media has entirely ignored the demise of the only U.S. effort at carbon trading. Even Glenn Beck, who has dedicated quite a bit of Fox News airtime to exposing the CCX, has yet to mention the news.

Midterms 2010: Republicans 'must stand by Tea Party values'
Excerpt: "In the past, candidates ran against Washington calling it a cesspool and ended up thinking it was a hot tub," said Craig Shirley, a biographer of Ronald Reagan and lobbyist for conservative groups. "But the internet has changed everything. It used to be really hard to keep an eye on people in Congress before and these Tea Party groups are heavily invested in this." The notion that new members would be co-opted was out of date, he said. "The old 'go along to get along' attitude is over. I think now you will get along by sticking to your principles," he said. Democrats, as well as some Republicans, are convinced history will repeat itself and the Tea Party-backed members will lose their revolutionary edge and compromise in order to please the party leadership and win influential committee posts. Matt Bennett, an official in the Clinton White House, said: "Many insurgents have believed their rhetoric when running for office but when they get here realised they wanted to keep their jobs. "You grow to like being called Congressman or Madam Chairman and appearing on CNN. All of a sudden you know more people here than at home and you have gone Washington."

Nicaragua Cites Google Earth to Justify 'Invading" Costa Rica
Excerpt: Costa Rica and Nicaragua are in the midst of a highly tense standoff after Nicaraguan troops crossed into a contested border region and set up camp, taking down a Costa Rican flag. Costa Rica, which has no standing military, has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States. In a very 21st century twist, Costa Rica's La Nacion newspaper reports, it seems that a Google Maps glitch may be to blame. The Search Engine Land blog (which also created the composite image above) explains: La Nacion -- the largest newspaper in Costa Rica -- says the Nicaraguan commander, Eden Pastora, used Google Maps to "justify" the incursion even though the official maps used by both countries indicate the territory belongs to Costa Rica. Pastora blames Google Maps in the paper:

The World from Berlin: 'Obama Comes Across as Cold, Arrogant and Elitist',1518,727235,00.html
Ya think? ~Bob. Excerpt: It was a failure of historic proportions. With US President Barack Obama's Democrats having lost control of the House, there seems little hope for progress during his two remaining years, say German commentators. Obama himself, they say, bears much of the blame.

India's Strategic Future
Excerpt: The problem for India's top strategists is not that they don't seek a grand bargain with the United States. It is about negotiating equitable terms. It is also about bringing along a political elite and bureaucracy that are adapting too slowly to the new imperatives of a stronger partnership with Washington. But make no mistake: Engagement with the United States has been the Indian establishment's highest foreign-policy priority over the last decade and a half. India's grand strategy has four broad objectives. In all four areas, strategic cooperation with the United States is critical. India's first objective is to pacify the northwestern part of the subcontinent, or the AfPak region, as it is known in Washington. All of India's great empire-states throughout the last 2,500 years, from the Mauryans to the British Raj, have had trouble controlling these turbulent lands across the Indus River that frame the subcontinent's western frontier. Indeed, ever since Alexander the Great and his army first arrived on the banks of the Indus, most foreign forces and alien ideologies have come to what is now India through the northwestern route. In the past, India managed to absorb the invaders and modify their ideologies. All it needed was sufficient time. But weakened by the subcontinent's partition in 1947 and faced with U.S. and Chinese support for Pakistan during the Cold War, India has had little time and space to manage the conflict with its troublesome sibling to the northwest.

The Germany That Said No
Excerpt: And now the consequences of Germany’s waywardness are clear. Germany’s growth in this year’s second quarter was 2.2 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis. That means it is growing at almost 9 percent a year. Its unemployment rate has fallen to 7.5 percent, below what it was at the start of the global financial crisis—indeed, the lowest in 18 years. The second-biggest Western economy appears to be handling this deep recession much more effectively than the biggest—and emerging from it much earlier. This means that something in our economic dogmas is probably false. Perhaps the policies of Keynesian stimulus favored by the Obama administration are simply misguided, and Germany is reaping the benefit of not pursuing them. Perhaps Germany is pursuing a stimulus, albeit in a lower-key and harder-to-measure way. Perhaps, when an economy is as globalized as ours now is, stimulus will not really work unless it is pursued uniformly across countries. All of these explanations are partially true. Even before the present financial crisis, Germany and the United States were thought of as embodying two opposite dispositions on matters of monetary policy and fiscal discipline. Both dispositions were the product of history. Germany was the archetypal inflation-fighting country. That is because, when it tried to inflate its way out of the reparations payments imposed on it after World War I, it lost control, as countries that print too much money usually do. The result was people carting around trillions of marks in wheelbarrows to buy a ham sandwich.

Barack Obama is Doomed -- Enter Mrs Clinton
Excerpt: I have talked in New York this week to prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton, and their view is clear: St Barack cannot win in 2012, unless the Republicans (and this cannot be ruled out) put up a divisive candidate against him. They want Mrs Clinton to resign as Secretary of State and announce that she will seek the nomination. This would not be unprecedented: Jimmy Carter, with whom Mr Obama is increasingly compared, was challenged by Ted Kennedy in 1980, despite being the incumbent president. Mr Kennedy lost – but so too, subsequently, did Mr Carter. It is a precedent influential Democrats want Mrs Clinton to follow. She has time on her side. A Clinton machine is still in place, nursed by her husband, who seems to remain the most popular man in America, despite everything. She can brood for another year or so if she wants, for if she chooses to take on St Barack she will always be the front-runner. That such things are being so widely discussed is the greatest sign of the mess Mr Obama is in. However, since he doesn’t seem to “get” what is upsetting the rest of his country, there is no reason why he should “get” what is upsetting his own party. This may yet turn ugly.

A Return to the Norm
Excerpt: This is not, however, a rejection of Democrats as a party. The center-left party as represented by Bill Clinton remains competitive in every cycle. (Which is why he was the most popular, sought-after Democrat in the current cycle.) The lesson of Tuesday is that the American game is played between the 40-yard lines. So long as Democrats don't repeat Obama's drive for the red zone, Democrats will cyclically prevail, just as Republicans do. Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people's proxy in saying no to Obama's overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn't an election so much as a restraining order. The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant. The president, however, remains clueless. In his next-day news conference, he had the right demeanor - subdued, his closest approximation of humility - but was uncomprehending about what just happened. The "folks" are apparently just "frustrated" that "progress" is just too slow. Asked three times whether popular rejection of his policy agenda might have had something to do with the shellacking he took, he looked as if he'd been asked whether the sun had risen in the West. Why, no, he said.

Rep. Michele Bachmann claims Obama's trip to India will cost the taxpayers $200 million a day
Excerpt: Cooper asked Bachmann how she came up with the number. "These are the numbers that have been coming out in the press," Bachmann said. Actually it's a figure that came from just one source, a news agency in India, relying on an anonymous source. It was then repeated thousands more times in the blogosphere and over conservative airwaves. The claim that the U.S. would be spending "a whopping $200 million per day" on Obama's visit to Mumbai, India, originated in a report from the news agency Press Trust of India. It was an estimate attributed anonymously to "a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit." Maharashtra is a state located in western India.

No, Pentagon says, Obama will not be guarded by 34 ships
Excerpt: President Barack Obama will not be protected by a vast armada of 34 US warships when he visits Mumbai this weekend, officials said, calling reports from India on security preparations "comical." The claim that many of the 288-ship US naval fleet would be deployed to waters off Mumbai was "absolutely absurd," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters on Thursday. US officials usually decline to discuss details about security precautions for the president, but the media accounts circulating out of India were so off the mark that press officers at the Pentagon and the White House said they felt compelled to speak up. "I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the president's trip to Asia," Morrell said. "That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done," he said.

Flight school students arrested: Concerns raised on antiterror net; 34 immigrants allegedly illegal
Excerpt: Officials at TSA and the Federal Aviation Administration, which issues pilot’s licenses, could not explain this week why alleged illegal immigrants were allowed to take classes and obtain pilot’s licenses in Stow. SA officials said they are conducting a review of the circumstances by which the immigrants obtained pilot’s licenses. Officials would not say how many students received clearance to fly and how many ultimately obtained pilots’ licenses. However, TSA officials said they check the backgrounds of all foreign flight students and routinely check pilot’s licenses against terrorism watch lists.

Step closer to Harry Potter's invisible cloak
Excerpt: The material, called "Metaflex", may in future provide a way of manufacturing fabrics that manipulate light. Metamaterials have already been developed that bend and channel light to render objects invisible at longer wavelengths. Visible light poses a greater challenge because its short wavelength means the metamaterial atoms have to be very small. So far such small light-bending atoms have only been produced on flat, hard surfaces unsuitable for use in clothing. But scientists at the University of St Andrews in Scotland believe they have overcome this problem. They have produced flexible metamaterial "membranes" using a new technique that frees the meta-atoms from the hard surface they are constructed on. (If they succeed, you may never hear of this material again. Think of the applications for covert ops of all sorts. Potentially a real game changer. Ron P.)

End Taxpayer-Funded Liberal Propaganda
Excerpt: The ultra-left-wing National Public Radio has a long and despicable history of government-funded left-wing craziness and political correctness. And now, NPR – backed with your tax dollars – has fired their longtime liberal journalist Juan Williams. Why? He honestly expressed feelings that our liberal overlords believed were offensive to Muslims – especially after the shadowy and suspicious Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded action by NPR. (Sign a petition to DEFUND NPR. Yeah, I know most of these "petitions" are ineffective. But, NPR has crossed one line too many for me. And, I doubt Townhall will sell our addresses to spammers. Ron P.)

States urge court to uphold Ariz. immigration law
Excerpt: The Supreme Court is to hear arguments next month on the 2007 Arizona law, which allows business licenses to be revoked or suspended when employers are found to have knowingly hired illegal immigrants. Similar laws are in place in several states. Businesses and civil rights groups have challenged the Arizona law by contending it infringes on federal immigration powers _ an argument rejected by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2008. A coalition led by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster released court documents Thursday arguing that states have long had the authority to license and regulate businesses. The states contend Congress specifically exempted state licensing laws in a 1986 federal law that prevents states from imposing civil or criminal penalties on businesses for illegal hirings. "Those state laws complement, rather than replace, federal enforcement" of immigration laws, Koster wrote in the document filed Oct. 28 with the Supreme Court. "Indeed, absent this complementary approach between federal and state law, a significant deterrent to employing `unauthorized aliens' would be missing."

The Election's Done; Now What?
Excerpt: The Progressives finally understood the economic poverty of their statist policies; all it took was the economic collapses of the Soviet Union, China, and the European Union for it to dawn on them. In response, they have given up promising prosperity and offer genteel poverty instead -- less is more --- painted green so it looks nicer. The electorate is still figuring out that one, but the missing jobs are clear. Neither party can make the unemployment go away or restore the economy to previous levels. Both parties will continue deficits; stopping them will drop the economic roof on voters' heads. It will also unemploy too many members of those interest groups we mentioned, plus unions. Continuing the deficits until...later...will also drop the roof and add a hailstorm, but not now. An even bigger detail is the two interest groups whose opposition will have to be cleared away to wipe out residual Progressivism. The first is all those people who live off it, mentioned above: everybody with anything much to do with government. That's the smaller problem. The larger problem will be all the voters collecting or expecting to collect benefits -- the ones whose benefits can't be financed but who don't really accept that yet. A lot of those attend Tea Party rallies. A final detail, though not the only one left: even if there were no entrenched opposition, consider the sheer inertia that will have to be overcome if the entire thrust of the last hundred years of laws, careers, educations, books, and attitudes, and the beliefs of voters, politicians, bureaucrats, and activists, is to be shifted. Sisyphus had it easy! Of course, the longest journey begins with a single step. But it's hard to step through a closed door; it could take a lot of very disturbed folk to open this one. The sort of disturbance you might get, say, if the dollar collapsed or the benefits shut off. Even then, stepping through a door doesn't guarantee a journey's destination. So some politicians have been replaced, and Tea Parties are out warning every Middlesex village and farm that the red ink is attacking. That seems likely to produce more posturing than real change, at least until that roof caves. No bets, then. What there is now is only one of those green shoots of hope that this multi-generational undertaking is underway enough to carry through. It can grow into a full-fledged tree of prosperous liberty only with the devoted care of a lot of people for a long time.

This Was No Mere Election, It Was A Restraining Order[PIZ4510E]&rrid=307211301
Excerpt: Because of deadline pressures, I’m writing this Wednesday morning. We still don’t know all the election results. But what we do know is that an amazing change has taken place in the political landscape of America. Let me note the biggest of them all: In the world’s most important legislative body, the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans gained more than 60 seats. Come January, they will have a very comfortable majority. This is incredibly significant for several reasons. First, it means that nasty Nancy Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House of Representatives. Of all the results of yesterday’s elections that brought a huge smile to my face. That is the best news of all.

Response to GOP political slaughter
Excerpt: You can’t write this stuff in movies. During the obvious political and American backlash against the Obama and congressional dictatorship, we heard Pelosi saying the Democrats would keep the House, agendas and Health care would continue and Obama and the big vision were just fine. Wasn’t that optimism precious? She should consider becoming a fiction writer. She demonstrates a rare form of understanding with fantasy and creativity. Maybe she should consider a botox franchise. Then we have our aloof and ever so confident commander and chief talking rather curiously of the conservatives in the pre – political slaughter months. We were the ‘empire striking back’ ‘racists’ ‘just stressed and angry due to our pressures with the economy’ ‘Obama just had a ‘communication problem’ with the American people. It was the messaging strategy that was the problem. Not only has Obama and his wacky progressive (former) heads minimized every tanking poll and anger of the American people, Obama was said to have not even watched or paid attention to election night. I guess Mr. Coolness was above that or had a rock concert to go to. If any of you actually believe Obama didn’t track the elections on that fateful night, then ice cubes grow in hell and my name used to be Laurence.

The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
Excerpt: Now that the dust has settled on the 2010 midterm elections, it’s slowly becoming clear just how monumental the results really are. We saw an extreme left-wing agenda suffer a crushing defeat. At the ballot box, voters took Obamacare and the stimulus and wrapped them right around the necks of those same House members and senators who had arrogantly dismissed the concerns voiced in countless town halls and Tea Party rallies up and down the country. Voters sent commonsense conservatives a clear mandate to hold the line against the Obama agenda. Does that mean Republican candidates can look forward with greater confidence to the 2012 elections? Yes and no. Yes, objectively speaking the next electoral cycle should be even more favorable than the one that just ended. A large number of red-state Democratic senators will have to defend their seats; and since Obama will be at the top of the ballot that year, they won’t be able to hide from the fact that their party leader is a detached liberal with a destructive tax-and-spend agenda. Whether Republicans will do as well as they did in this cycle depends on whether they learn the lessons from the 2010 election.

A disproportionate number of jihadi extremists seem to be living on benefits
Excerpt: Can you guess what they do for a living, the protestors who gathered outside the Old Bailey to support Roshonara Choudhry, sentenced to life earlier this week for trying to murder a Labour MP? That’s right: they’re on benefits, one claiming to suffer from chronic fatigue disorder. (Although he was evidently not too fatigued to spend the day bellowing “British troops must die!”) I’ve blogged before, in the context of Gaza, about how unconditional subventions can create an ideal terrorist habitat. The same phenomenon can be observed in Britain. The second set of Tube bombers were largely living on social security. Several inflammatory imams have no difficulty claiming cash from the state whose overthrow they preach: as Anjem Choudary, the benefits claimant who tried to organise an anti-troops demonstration in Wootton Basset put it, “the money belongs to Allah“. It was a similar story in Northern Ireland during the Troubles: a disproportionate number of loyalist and republican gunmen were on the dole. Perhaps, if the option of idle squalor were closed off, some of these alienated young men – who seem able enough – might become successful entrepreneurs instead of working themselves into a rage against the hand that feeds them.

Egyptians and Saudis Simulate War with Iran
Excerpt: Egypt and Saudi Arabia are preparing themselves for war with Iran. The two Arab countries just held their first joint military exercises called Tabuk-2 over a one-week period, simulating a scenario unofficially based on a potential conflict with the Iranians. The exercises took place in the northern Egyptian desert and included F-16 aircraft, helicopters, and artillery units. The forces practiced defending against an enemy offensive and counter-attacking with an invasion into the attacker’s territory. The Israeli intelligence website Debkafile accurately analyzes what this scenario means. They note that the commander of the Saudi forces in the exercise was Prince Khaled Bin Sultan of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation. His most recent experience was in leading the Saudi forces fighting the extremist Shiite Houthis in Yemen that spearheaded a proxy war waged by Iran. The Egyptians and Saudis are preparing to defend Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province from an Iranian assault. This province is about three-fourths Shiite and is the location of about 90 percent of the Saudi oil production. It is ripe for instability and Iranian-backed subversion. (This is coming and everyone seems to see it but us. Ron P.)

Competing Visions
Excerpt: The British monarch was astounded at news that Washington had resigned his commission: In London, George III questioned the American-born painter Benjamin West what Washington would do now he had won the war. “Oh,” said West, “they say he will return to his farm.” “If he does that,” said the king, “he will be the greatest man in the world.” What does it mean to be the “greatest man in the world” if does not mean to be a king? To George III, kingship was something to be desired above all else, yet even he realized there might actually be something greater. Sarah Palin may actually lack what it takes to be a successful president of the United States. She may not have what it takes to be a queen. But she has in abundance what Barack Obama, who styles himself a “community organizer,” notably lacks. Palin has the ability to generate leaders other than herself. That quality was in evidence in the recent campaign when she successfully encouraged others, some of whom had never been in public life before, to throw their hats in the ring and run for office. And many of them won. (...) “Anyone with the courage to throw his or her hat in the ring and stand up and be counted always has my respect.” But that would mean rivals. It would mean peers. It might even mean, God forbid, that someone else might be greater than yourself. So you will never hear Barack Obama say anything like this, at least not in earnest. On the contrary, he demonstrated, in the last campaign, a serene willingness to sacrifice every other leader on the altar of the vision — not the modest ambitions, the secret dreams of the common herd, but the unutterable vision vouchsafed to him “through the red soil of Africa.” Sarah Palin may never be president; nor fit to be. But that is irrelevant. The real difference between the two competing visions is what question they answer to. For most Democrats the 2012 elections will be about re-electing Barack Obama. For most members of the Tea Party it will be about taking back America. And while Palin might be never be the rockstar Obama is, her vision may be greater.

Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate; Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA Performed Strongly
Excerpt: Every election cycle has its winners and losers: not just the among the candidates, but also the pollsters. On Tuesday, polls conducted by the firm Rasmussen Reports — which released more than 100 surveys in the final three weeks of the campaign, including some commissioned under a subsidiary on behalf of Fox News — badly missed the margin in many states, and also exhibited a considerable bias toward Republican candidates. Other polling firms, like SurveyUSA and Quinnipiac University, produced more reliable results in Senate and gubernatorial races. A firm that conducts surveys by Internet, YouGov, also performed relatively well. What follows is a preliminary analysis of polls released to the public in the final 21 days of the campaign. Our process here is quite simple: we’ve taken all such polls in our database, and assessed how accurate they were, on average, in predicting the margin separating the two leading candidates in each race. For instance, a poll that had the Democrat winning by 2 percentage points in a race where the Republican actually won by 4 would have an error of 6 points.

ABC, Fox Top TV Ratings
Excerpt: Walt Disney Co.'s ABC averaged the most viewers among broadcast networks across its election-night telecast Tuesday, but didn't surpass the wave that cable's Fox News averaged in prime time, according to Nielsen Co. data released Thursday. ABC averaged 6.8 million viewers for its election-night show, which ran from 9:30 p.m. to 10:55 p.m. Eastern time., following an episode of "Dancing with the Stars" that averaged 16.9 million viewers. Meanwhile, data released Wednesday showed that Fox News drew an average of nearly seven million viewers at any point between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern time, the first time a cable-news network drew more election-night viewers than any of the broadcast networks, Fox News said. Both Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are owned by News Corp. ABC's overall average topped that for General Electric Co.'s NBC, which averaged 6.4 million viewers over its telecast, from 9 p.m. to 10:54 p.m. Eastern time. CBS Corp.'s CBS News averaged 5.9 million viewers for its 10 p.m. telecast, while Fox News's hour-long sister broadcast on Fox Broadcasting at 9 p.m. averaged 2.8 million viewers. Univision Communications Inc.'s Spanish-language coverage at 10 p.m. averaged 1.5 million viewers. The figures, which measure the average number of viewers watching at any point in an entire telecast, aren't precisely comparable because several networks began and ended their coverage at different times. Moreover, broadcast networks handed over time to local stations to broadcast local updates, which don't count in ratings, according to one network executive. Broadcast and cable comparisons can be difficult as well because some broadcast affiliates didn't air network coverage. Comparing just the 10 p.m. hour, Fox News averaged 6.9 million viewers; NBC averaged 6.3 million; CBS 5.9 million and ABC 5.5 million, Nielsen said. (There's something incredibly sad about "Dancing With the Stars" drawing nearly triple the audience of the top rated election coverage. Are we Americans really that disinterested in the process? If so, we're screwed. Ron P.)

The World Looks at Obama After the U.S. Midterm Election
Excerpt: The 2010 U.S. midterm elections were held, and the results were as expected: The Republicans took the House but did not take the Senate. The Democrats have such a small margin in the Senate, however, that they cannot impose cloture, which means the Republicans can block Obama administration initiatives in both houses of Congress. At the same time, the Republicans cannot override presidential vetoes alone, so they cannot legislate, either. The possible legislative outcomes are thus gridlock or significant compromises. U.S. President Barack Obama hopes that the Republicans prove rigidly ideological. In 1994, after the Republicans won a similar victory over Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich attempted to use the speakership to craft national policy. Clinton ran for re-election in 1996 against Gingrich rather than the actual Republican candidate, Bob Dole; Clinton made Gingrich the issue, and he won. Obama hopes for the same opportunity to recoup. The new speaker, John Boehner, already has indicated that he does not intend to play Gingrich but rather is prepared to find compromises. Since Tea Party members are not close to forming a majority of the Republican Party in the House, Boehner is likely to get his way. Another way to look at this is that the United States remains a predominantly right-of-center country. Obama won a substantial victory in 2008, but he did not change the architecture of American politics. Almost 48 percent of voters voted against him. Though he won a larger percentage than anyone since Ronald Reagan, he was not even close to the magnitude of Reagan’s victory. Reagan transformed the way American politics worked. Obama did not. In spite of his supporters’ excitement, his election did not signify a permanent national shift to the left. His attempt to govern from the left accordingly brought a predictable result: The public took away his ability to legislate on domestic affairs. Instead, they moved the country to a position where no one can legislate anything beyond the most carefully negotiated and neutral legislation.

Climate Change: The Keywords (Part 1 of 3)
Excerpt: In the not too distant future, it will likely be difficult to understand how so many educated people believed in and accepted uncritically for so long a scientifically unproven theory like the so-called Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Taken almost as a dogma, the AGW has been forcefully imposed by means of a barrage of scare stories and indoctrination that begins in the elementary school textbooks and is volleyed relentlessly upon us by the media and many scientific institutions (including some pseudo-scientific ones), while gullible or opportunistic politicians devise all possible means of inserting climate-motivated items into their power-seeking schemes. The threat allegedly posed by that supposed world emergency would justify the need of at least halving the human carbon emissions until mid-century, meaning a draconian reduction of the use of fossil fuels worldwide. Despite the drastic potential impact of such measures upon the living standards of all nations, the failure to do so and of establishing a “low-carbon economy,” we are told, would usher the environmental apocalypse in. Well, fortunately for Mankind it won’t. (Originally written in Portuguese and then translated, some of the word usage and grammar is a bit odd, but understandable. I'm looking forward to the next two parts from this geologist. So far, this seems solid. Truthfully, I'm also waiting for more comments from the climate professionals; so far, there are only three comments, all from guys like me who are interested, but not working in the field. Ron P.)

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