Thursday, December 2, 2010

Political Digest for December 2, 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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Important: Can Republicans Talk?: Part II by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Guess who said the following: "It is incredible that a system of taxation which permits a man with an income of $1,000,000 a year to pay not one cent to his Government should remain unaltered." Franklin D. Roosevelt? Ted Kennedy? Nancy Pelosi? Not even close. It was Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury under conservative Republican President Calvin Coolidge. What was Mellon's point? That high tax rates do not necessarily result in high tax revenues to the government. "It is time to face the facts," he said. Merely having high tax rates on large incomes will not bring in more tax revenues to the treasury, because of "the flight of capital away from taxable investments." This was all said in 1924, in Mellon's book, "Taxation: The People's Business." Yet here we are, more than 80 years later, still not facing those facts. It is not just a question of what Andrew Mellon said. It is a question of hard facts, easily checked in official documents available to all -- and ignored all these years.

Commission's final deficit report preserves controversial spending cuts; panel to vote Friday on whether to endorse plan
Unleash the lobbyists! ~Bob. Excerpt: The leaders of President Obama's fiscal commission released a final report Wednesday that is full of political dynamite, including sharp cuts in military spending, a higher retirement age and tax reforms that could cost the average taxpayer an extra $1,700 a year.

Ireland’s Reality Is Our Reality
Politicians get elected by buying votes with our grandkids money, and trying always to kick the can—the painfully reality—beyond the next election. That may no longer be possible—certainly not for much longer. ~Bob. Excerpt: As the government of Ireland undergoes scrutiny and criticism for its poorly mismanaged fiscal house, the media risks missing the primary lesson. Poor public sector incentives drive politicians to enact policies that defy the laws of economics. There is no such thing as a free lunch—not even a Keynesian lunch of government issued corn beef and newly minted cabbage. The political process centers around the delusion that government spending amounts to something other than a zero sum—and more often negative sum—game. Markets, private property, and economic liberty are the engines of growth. No government can achieve what a spontaneous order of freely trading people can produce. The reality is clearly visible in Ireland’s own history. Unleashing markets via economic freedom enhancing policies led to remarkable growth rates of 5-9% in Ireland’s economy in the 1990s. During that period, working class Irish improved their lot dramatically. In 1986, Ireland’s GDP per capita was only 63% of the U.K.’s. By 1999 it exceeded per capita GDP in both the U.K. and Germany. The rapid growth experienced by the Irish in the 1990s came with low taxes. As low taxes encouraged investment and growth, revenue came rolling into the coffers. The incentives facing politicians encouraged excessive public spending. Government continued to expand—growing out of proportion to the private market. Public sending took to new levels and the Leviathan was unconstrained despite the insufficient tax revenue to feed the insatiable appetite of the state.

Excerpt: Medicare, the government's health plan for seniors, has observed a ritual that's as regular and anticipated as the presidential pardon of a Thanksgiving turkey. It's called the “Doc Fix” and it's been enacted and reenacted 11 times in the last eight years….. Yet there is a simple short-term solution to the dilemma faced by Medicare, its beneficiaries, and its providers. It's no substitute for the sort of comprehensive entitlement reform that is badly needed, but it's a good first step. Let Medicare providers set their own fees, and end the ban on what's known as "balance billing." Prior to the institution of government price controls in the 1980s, Medicare would pay a provider based upon a predetermined fee schedule. Providers were free to bill the patients for the unpaid balance of their fees. Assume, for example, that Medicare would pay $80 for an office visit. A doctor could accept that in full or charge $100 or $120 or whatever to his patients. 

Illinois malpractice policies drive physicians out of state
Excerpt: Half of the graduating medical students or fellows trained in Illinois are leaving the state to practice medicine elsewhere, frequently in bordering states, according to a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. The 2010 Illinois New Physician Workforce Study questioned 561 graduating students and fellows, and found that 49% intended to leave the state to practice. While the primary reason given was “overall practice opportunities,” the malpractice liability environment was frequently cited as a problem with Illinois. Early this year, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that caps on malpractice damages were unconstitutional and struck down laws limiting malpractice awards. As a result, malpractice insurance rates have increased in the state, and health care practitioners perceive Illinois to be a hostile malpractice environment. Survey respondents were asked if they were familiar with the Supreme Court decision, and to what extent it affected their decision as to where to practice. “The majority who were planning to practice outside of Illinois indicated that the decision affirms their decision to leave the state and reinforces the negative environment they believe exists due to a lack of tort reform, high medical malpractice premiums, a litigious environment and what they perceive to be a state legal profession that is anti-physician,” the researchers wrote. (One can only hope that an Illinois Supreme Court judge or trial lawyer will need a neurosurgeon and find there are none to be had. That’s the only way to stop the lawyers’ rampage. ~Bob.)

John Bolton Interview
Very dark horse. ~Bob. Excerpt: It's December 2010, so it must be 2012 campaign season. A number of possible Republican presidential candidates have suggested (perhaps to endear themselves to weary political reporters) that they won't announce -- at least formally -- for several months. But that's a dodge. The pre-announcement jockeying -- which looks an awful lot like campaigning -- is well underway. Rep. Mike Pence delivered a candidate-like speech in Detroit on Monday. And a day doesn't pass without an e-mail missive from Team Pawlenty. Here at Right Turn, we'll be looking at and talking to would-be contenders and assessing how they might stack up against the competition. Today: former United Nations ambassador John Bolton. There's been no harsher critic of the Obama administration's foreign policy than Bolton. Whether on START, the Iranian threat or "Russian reset," he makes no bones about his concern that President Obama is simply "in over his head" on national security, as he told me in a wide-ranging interview that touched on his own presidential aspirations and his criticisms of Obama. Bolton has begun to talk openly to conservative gatherings and media about his interest in a 2012 presidential run

American Narcissus - The Vanity Of Barack Obama
Excerpt: The story of Obama’s writing career is an object lesson in how our president’s view of himself shapes his interactions with the world around him. In 1990, Obama was wrapping up his second year at Harvard Law when the New York Times ran a profile of him on the occasion of his becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. A book agent in New York named Jane Dystel read the story and called up the young man, asking if he’d be interested in writing a book. Like any 29-year-old, he wasn’t about to turn down money. He promptly accepted a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Poseidon imprint—reportedly in the low six-figures—to write a book about race relations. Obama missed his deadline. No matter. His agent quickly secured him another contract, this time with Times Books. And a $40,000 advance. Not bad for an unknown author who had already blown one deal, writing about a noncommercial subject. By this point Obama had left law school, and academia was courting him. The University of Chicago Law School approached him; although they didn’t have any specific needs, they wanted to be in the Barack Obama business. As Douglas Baird, the head of Chicago’s appointments committee, would later explain, “You look at his background—Harvard Law Review president, magna cum laude, and he’s African American. This is a no-brainer hiring decision at the entry level of any law school in the country.” Chicago invited Obama to come in and teach just about anything he wanted. But Obama wasn’t interested in a professor’s life. Instead, he told them that he was writing a book—about voting rights. The university made him a fellow, giving him an office and a paycheck to keep him going while he worked on this important project. In case you’re keeping score at home, there was some confusion as to what book young Obama was writing. His publisher thought he was writing about race relations. His employer thought he was writing about voting rights law. But Obama seems to have never seriously considered either subject. Instead, he decided that his subject would be himself. The 32-year-old was writing a memoir.

New Jersey Man Serving 7 Years for Guns He Owned Legally
Don’t know the details of this one, but gangbangers and illegals walk the streets here in Blagobamaville armed. Only us non-criminal citizens have to go defenseless. ~Bob. Excerpt: EVERYTHING Brian Aitken was or had worked for was wiped away one winter afternoon after his mother called the police on him. Separated from his wife, the entrepreneur and media consultant, now 27, had moved back home to New Jersey from Colorado toward the end of 2008 to be closer to their young son. In between jobs, his well-oiled life was running ragged, and on Jan. 2, 2009, when his ex canceled his visit with their son, he became distraught, muttered something to his mother, and left his parents’ home in Mount Laurel, N.J. “He said something that scared her, things that a guy will only say to his mom, like . . . ‘Life’s not worth living anymore,’” said Larry Aitken, Brian’s father. Sue Aitken, a trained social worker, decided to play it safe and called police, but she hung up before the 9-1-1 dispatcher could answer. Police traced the call and showed up anyway, and found two handguns in the trunk of Brian’s car. And now Brian, her middle child, a graduate student with no prior criminal record, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for weapons charges. No one blames Sue Aitken for Brian’s arrest, except herself maybe, but his father and attorney claim that the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the former Superior Court judge who tried the case ignored evidence that proved Brian had the guns legally. The family has asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for clemency and has garnered a great deal of support on a “Free Brian Aitken” Facebook page and among gun-rights advocates.

Attack by WikiLeaks
Killing this guy would do Obama’s image no end of good—precisely because he probably doesn’t have the courage to do it. (We need the Roman policy: "Oderint, dum metuant" - Seneca ) ~Bob. Excerpt: But that still leaves the Lincoln question of how to stop the likes of Mr. Assange? If he were exposing Chinese or Russian secrets, he would already have died at the hands of some unknown assailant. As a foreigner (Australian citizen) engaged in hostile acts against the U.S., Mr. Assange is certainly not protected from U.S. reprisal under the laws of war. Perhaps Lincoln would have considered him an "enemy combatant."

“I’m Tired” on Neil Boortz’s site

Opinion: Government Should Keep Its Hands Off the Internet
Excerpt: A couple of decades ago, who would have imagined that much of America's hope for an economy-boosting holiday shopping season would hinge on something called "Cyber Monday"? If ever we needed an example of what can happen when innovation, entrepreneurship and a marketplace are left unfettered, it is the phenomenal and transformational growth of the Internet and the commerce it's engendered. No central planner or government could possibly have anticipated or steered such an innovation in the many life-changing directions it has taken. And no "encouragement" or stimulus from the government could have possibly matched the vast economic benefits the Internet has produced -- not just here, but in virtually every corner of the world. It is no coincidence that this one element of our modern economy that has been uniquely left free of government interference has created equally unique growth and transformation. Yet, in the face of this obvious correlation between freedom and prosperity, there are those who want the government to step in, regulate and pick winners and losers in the management and control of the Web. (The author is the former Governor of New Mexico, a Republican, and someone I hope we hear more from. Every now and then, AOL News finds some good in us, purely by accident. Ron P.)

The Special Assistant for Reality
Excerpt: Because of the bubble, successful presidents have to walk into the presidency with an extremely strong sense of the reality of their country. In time, with the wear and tear of things, this sense of How Things Really Are may dissipate, disappear or remain stable, but it won't get stronger. It never gets stronger. High political office is like great affluence: It detaches you. It separates you from normal life. Once you're president, you're not going to be able to change the features on your famous face; you're not going to be able to escape security, grab a fishing rod, and go sit on the side of a river waiting for normal Americans to walk by, settle in, fish with you, and say normal American things, from which you will garner insights into what normal Americans think. What a president should ideally have, and what I think we all agree Mr. Obama badly needs, is an assistant whose sole job it is to explain and interpret the American people to him. Presidents already have special assistants for domestic policy, for congressional relations and national security. Why not a special assistant for reality? Someone to translate the views of the people, and explain how they think. An advocate for the average, a representative for the normal, to the extent America does normal.

Judge tosses challenge to Obama healthcare law
Excerpt: A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the landmark healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, upholding key provisions that require health insurance coverage.

Change Tea Party Goals?
Excerpt: Social and religious conservatives, like their Progressive counterparts on the left, have deluded themselves. They have fallen into the trap of believing that achieving the social outcome that they prefer trumps the need to build an electoral majority based on those issues that they embrace. They are trying to piggy-back their agenda on top of the successes of the Tea Parties, thus (in their worldview) gaining the ability to legislate changes in society which they feel are necessary. In this they are exactly like the Liberal/Progressive/Democrats. They are displaying a willingness to legislatively coerce the majority, because of their belief that they, and they alone, know what's best for all of us. The social and religious conservatives fail to recognize that it was just such an attitude that was a major cause of the disaster that hit the L/P/Ds on November 2nd.

'No Labels' - No Kidding
Excerpt: It was only after reading Joe Scarborough's angry, poison pen attack on Sarah Palin that I learned Morning Joe is part of a new organization for civility in politics called "No Labels..." Its founders and leaders include political fundraisers and consultants, David Frum, a Huffington Post blogger (oh, joyful day!), a ‘green' law professor, and the founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, an alternative to, among other things, the "conservative bid to simply dismantle government." I suppose he could start the civility process by no longer equating conservatives to anarchists. No Labels sounds like a Jaycees for professionals. Its motto is that we don't have to give up our political labels, but merely put them aside to do what's best for America. I'm not making this up. These are very smart people who think we can solve our problems by being very nice to the people who created the problems. I suppose I'd be all for that, but the people who caused the problems generally don't seem to respond to passive and nice. Sometimes they need to hear an angrier tone. [It is not possible to work in our gazillion-dollar college library because of the noise in there. I lost count of the number of times I was concentrating on a paper, only to be interrupted by the arrival next to me of two females who'd obviously come there for a good chin-wag. Many times I asked these women politely to be quiet, as is the normal way of doing things in a civilized society. Invariably the offenders (who seem to be clones) responded to my politeness, not only by shouting at me, but by shouting at me at length. I decided to try another approach: The minute the yappers sat down and started to yap, I would instantly shout, "SHUT UP!" as loudly as I could. That shut them up—a treat. But whatever way I played it, I was still on the animal level. I did my own survey around campus to see if other people had had this experience, and yes, they had. I no longer attempt to work in the 'library'. Thank you, taxpayers, for our big beautiful free internet cafe, but you know, you could get a lot more computers in there if you took out all those books. --KC]

The Care and Feeding Of Progressives
Excerpt: I've had to ask readers of my blog to register in order to post comments. There are three reasons why: 1.Trolls 2.Trolls 3.Trolls (By the way, I often tell clients that there are three rules for dealing with the character disordered: "Boundaries, Boundaries, and Boundaries." Not surprisingly, the same can be said about extreme progressives.) When I started my little blog, it didn't occur to me that trolls would come out in droves. Why would leftists expend their energies on me? And why would they subject themselves to scrutiny by a licensed psychotherapist? But apparently, numerous trolls have been drawn to me, like venomous bees to honey. These trolls use the same weaponry of other extreme progressives: shame and degradation. They try to use ridicule as sort of stun gun, immobilizing the other. (Another interesting tidbit: People with character disorders do the very same thing. Coincidence?) (I’ve had the same thing on my blog from foul-mouthed, vicious leftists. I usually post their screeds, letting the world know them by their foolishness. I only block a couple who tried to take over the blog, posting long responses to every post. And I block commercial Spam when I can. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: A self-proclaimed "hacktivist" is apparently taking some credit for the Internet attacks that shut down many pages on today. The hacker, who goes by the name Jester, claims on his blog to have used distributed denial of service attacks to bring down websites in the past -- the same method WikiLeaks says it was hampered by on Sunday and today. Jester often claims responsibility for bringing down websites on his Twitter account using the phrase "tango down," which is used by the military to indicate that an enemy has been eliminated in a firefight.

CableGate: Obama's Katrina Times Ten
Excerpt: America's governing regime is trying to make us believe that the greatest threat to this country is a man by the name of Julian Assange. If you did not know, Julian Assange is not a spy or an agent of an enemy government. He is the founder of WikiLeaks, an internet outfit that has released a cache of confidential and secret cables from the State Department. Our government officials tell us that Assange's act somehow poses a threat to our national security by undermining America's foreign policy. One may as well ask: What foreign policy? The cables show something many have always known -- that most so-called leaders and politicians are liars, schemers, crooks, egomaniacs, and incompetents.

BREAKING NEWS: Interpol puts WikiLeaks Founder Assange on Most-Wanted List
Excerpt: Just in: Interpol has put WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on its most-wanted listed. The official reason is that Sweden asked Interpol to put a “red notice” on the radical leftist and enemy of the United States because he’s suspected of raping a Swedish citizen. The request came after a Swedish court issued an international arrest warrant for Assange on probable cause, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in August incidents.

2 House ethics attorneys suspended
Excerpt: Two attorneys for the House ethics committee have been placed on indefinite “paid administrative leave” stemming from serious problems within the secretive panel. Morgan Kim, the deputy chief counsel and the lead attorney on the case of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), is one of the attorneys placed on leave, said several sources familiar with the controversy. (Hope this doesn’t get Demo-corrupt Waters off.)

A Witness Lies, the Court Shrugs and Veterans Are Outraged
Excerpt: Elven J. Swisher wore a replica of a Purple Heart on the witness stand when he testified that the defendant had tried to hire him to kill three federal officials.
Asked about the medal, Mr. Swisher pulled a document from his pocket to show that he was entitled to it and many others for his service in combat in the Korean War.
Mr. Swisher said the defendant, David R. Hinkson, an armchair constitutionalist with eccentric views about the tax code, had asked him how many men he had killed. “Too many,” Mr. Swisher recalled saying. All lies. Mr. Swisher had never seen combat, had killed no one and had served without distinction. The document was a forgery. Mr. Swisher has since been convicted of lying to federal officials, wearing fake medals and defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs of benefits for combat injuries. But the jury knew none of this, and with Mr. Swisher’s testimony it convicted Mr. Hinkson of soliciting three murders. He was sentenced to 33 years for those crimes, along with 10 years for tax evasion, and he is serving his sentence in the maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo. ((Wow, another set of court rulings that make no sense at all. –Del I’m going to start wearing my National Defense Medal. When people ask how I won it, I’ll shrug modestly and say, “I don’t want to talk about it. It’s the guys who didn’t come back who are the real heroes.” ~Bob.)

NJ Governor Chris Christie Blasts Teachers Unions Again in Washington DC Speech
Excerpt: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave the keynote speech at the Jeb Bush Excel in Education Annual Summit in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night. In his 50-minute speech on education reform – one of Christie’s most passionate topics – the governor left no room to question how he feels about teachers’ unions, most specifically the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). In short: he doesn’t like them. Hosted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the audience was comprised of a wide range of VIPs in the education world, state lawmakers, former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush.

The Littlest Victims of Obamacare
Excerpt: It's time for America's youth to buckle up and take a rough ride on
Reality Highway
. For the past two years, President Obama has promised our children the moon, stars, rainbows, unicorns and universal health care for all. But the White House Santa's cradle-to-grave entitlement mandates are a spectacularly predictable bust. Don't take it from me. Take it from Obamacare's own biggest cheerleaders. Late last month, the Service Employees International Union informed dues-paying members of its behemoth 1199 affiliate in New York that it was dropping its health care coverage for children. That's right. A radical leftist union, not an evil Republican corporation, is abandoning the young 'uns to cut costs.

Muslim girl killed for love affair with Hindu
Too bad for her dad didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A Muslim man has been arrested for killing his teenaged daughter who was in love with a Hindu youth from the same village, police said on Thursday. Mushtakeem, a resident of Mawaithakuran village, strangled his 18-year-old daughter Rehana Parveen after she insisted on marrying her lover Bhoora Prajapati, 21, police said.

Book Launch Exposes UN Climate Science in Another Scandal
Excerpt: Newly released science book revelation is set to heap further misery on UN global warming researchers. Will latest setback derail Cancun Climate conference? Authors of a new book ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ claim they have debunked the widely established greenhouse gas theory climate change. In the first of what they say will be a series of sensational statements to promote the launch of their book, they attack a cornerstone belief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - what is known as the “carbon isotope argument” (If true, this blows the IPCC completely out of the water, but there is some scientific disagreement about the validity of the physics. The book’s 24 authors are a mixed bag, some well known and respected, some not so much so. This link is to Climate Change Dispatch blog where the story first appeared. I suggest also seeing the coverage at Watts Up With That blog as Anthony Watts knows at least one of the authors. There is also a “Slaying the Sky Dragon” site, but it is purely advertising to sell copies of the book. Ron P. )

Obama, GOP negotiating deal on Bush-era tax cuts
Excerpt: The Obama administration is sending in high-ranking mediators in hopes of ending its stalemate with congressional Republicans over extending the Bush-era tax cuts. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew will meet with four lawmakers -- two each from the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats -- with the aim of striking a deal on how to extend tax cuts that are set to expire for all income levels on Dec. 31. The negotiations were proposed in a morning meeting between President Obama and Republican and Democratic lawmakers to discuss the agenda of the lame-duck session.

In Canada, the criminalization of free speech
Excerpt: But it has become clear in the past few years that democracy in Canada is seriously threatened, and it's time Americans spoke up. We had better, because Canadians can't. On Nov. 20, Canadian journalist Ezra Levant was ordered by an Ottawa judge to pay $25,000 for libeling Giacomo Vigna, a Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer. According to the judge, Levant "spoke in reckless disregard of the truth and for an ulterior purpose of denormalizing the Human Rights Commission across Canada." Despite the judge's ruling, not only is Levant right to "denormalize" these commissions -- they should be immediately abolished. (I’ve heard Levant speak and recommend his prophetically-named book, “Shakedown.” He’s one of the last free men in Canada, thus hated by the slaves of the state. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Faced with “almost terminal problems,” Dennis Gartman on Monday said the euro could soon unravel. “Eventually, the euro breaks apart into a northern euro and a southern euro,” said Gartman, explaining that the Continent’s many languages, religions and cultures are too diverse for the singular currency to work. Gartman said he thinks Europe’s debt troubles won’t stop with Ireland’s bailout and mounting concerns in Spain and Portugal. He thinks it’s a “rolling contagion from one country to the next,” which will likely claim Belgium next.

Foreclosure Help - NeighborWorks PSA - 'Clown.60'
What gets me is a “public service” ad run by Neighborhood Works and played as a community service ad re: refinancing mortgages. The customers are two well-dressed blacks. The mortgage officer is a white male dressed in clown shoes and short polka dot tie. He toots a little clown horn and asks for a contract and a woman in a kid’s car rolls in and hands him one, says they are out of toner, backs into the door and leaves. The black couples’ eyes bug out and they get up and walk out as the white male is tooting the horn telling them to “Sign here, sign here. Go on and sign.” If this were reversed and blacks were the clowns asking intelligent whites to sign, there would be action by the Panthers, NAACP, etc. This is racist. How can this get on the air as a “Public service”? –BM.

No comments:

Post a Comment