Thursday, January 27, 2011

Political Digest for January 27, 2011

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.

State of the Union
I’ll skip most of the spin from both sides. Actions matter, not words. Like presidential campaign debates, SOTU speeches are exercises only in avoiding the killer gaffe. I did think BO’s renewing his 2008 broken earmark promise was interesting, because if he lied again about this, it will bite him in 2012. This pledge was wrung from him by the voters at the polls in 2010. The speech wasn’t wasted time for me, though. The old B&W Topper movie—on at the same time—was great.

Obama vows in State of the Union to veto any bill with earmarks
An indictment of voters whose memory is so short that a politician thinks—probably correctly—that he can score political points by renewing a pledge he broke two years ago. ~Bob. Excerpt: The promise repeats a pledge Obama made during the campaign but ignored after the Democratic Congress in 2009 sent him legislation laden with $8 billion in earmarks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested he did not take the pledge seriously. When asked about it in advance of the speech, Reid dismissed it as “pretty talk” that would cede too much authority to a president who has “enough power already.”

Illinois Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal of Emanuel ballot decision
The Illinois Supreme Court said Tuesday it would hear Rahm Emanuel's appeal of a court ruling that booted him off the Chicago mayor's ballot. On Monday, the state Appellate Court overturned a lower court's ruling that said the former White House chief of staff met Chicago's residency requirements to run for mayor. Lawyers for Emanuel's mayoral campaign filed a stay motion and then an appeal petition to the Illinois Supreme Court, hoping the latter would agree to hear the case. (Even though President Hu was only in Chicago for two days, by the Rahm Emanuel standard, he was able to establish residency and can now run for mayor of Chicago. --Jay Leno)

Excerpt: I never rule out miracles, but as a surgeon of over 30 years, I‘m inclined to first credit the talented doctors and other medical personnel who called on their extensive expertise and knowledge of today’s incredible medical technology to play whatever their role was in the saving of Mr. Chikos. The truth is that in America, miracles like these happen almost every day. This is because we have the best health care system in the world. But it won’t last if we’re not careful. Less than a year after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, we have reason to believe that American patients — especially seniors with Medicare — will experience an alarming reduction in the quality and accessibility of medical care.

Worth Reading: Greener Than Thou: The Tyranny Of Eco-Sanctimony
Who cares about tens of thousands of dead black, brown and yellow kids if liberals get to feel good about themselves for saving birds? ~Bob. Excerpt: The beginning of the environmental movement is conventionally associated with a virtual flood of reaction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring after it first appeared in 1963. The book called attention to the thinning of eggshells among certain bird species, which threatened their existence, along with alleged toxic problems throughout the food chain attributed to crop spraying of the pesticide DDT. These claims are clearly credited with a prohibition against DDT use in the U.S. since 1972, and a similar ban in Europe. The U.S. DDT prohibition was issued in a decision by then EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus following a long hearing on risks and benefits of the material. But after calling 125 witnesses and reviewing 9,362 pages of testimony, Judge Edmund Sweeney, the appointed hearing examiner, had actually concluded that alarm was unwarranted: First, DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man; second, DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man; and third, the use of DDT under the registrations involved does not have a deleterious effect on fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife. The World Health Organization pleaded at the EPA hearings that DDT was very beneficial in fighting malaria in many parts of the world and should not be banned, stating that withdrawal of its use would be "... a major tragedy in the chapter of human health." Still, due to threatened European trade restrictions against countries that used the chemical, African nations terminated use of the effective mosquito pesticide for malaria control. Since that time death rates from the disease have increased dramatically, and are now estimated to be between 155,000 and 310,000 annually, according to data collected at 41 African sites from 1997 to 2002. The vast majority of these victims are desperately poor, including large numbers of young children and elderly who are especially vulnerable.

European carbon market suspended over fraud fears
Thank you Al Gore. ~Bob. Excerpt: The suspension follows allegations that 475,000 carbon credits worth €7m were stolen in a hacking attack on the Czech carbon register. It appears that the intangible allowances were bounced between eastern European countries before disappearing without a trace. France's Bluenext exchange was the first to close its platform, while Austria, Poland, Estonia and Greece also shut their registries for trade. This is not the first challenge to the credibility of the €90bn annual market in carbon allowances. Under the flagship scheme, companies need permits to emit carbon dioxide as part of the global fight against climate change and polluters are granted a certain number of emissions allowances that can be traded. But it has been plagued by fraud, with Europol estimating that carbon trading criminals trying to play the system may have accounted for up to 90pc of all market activity in some European countries during 2009. Fraudulent traders mainly from Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland pocketed an estimated €5bn.

Why Not A Negative Income Tax With Cash Subsidies To The Poor?
Excerpt: As Republicans in power work to create a strong, affirmative agenda, they would do well to revisit a policy proposal devised by the late Milton Friedman. Liberals tend to dismiss Friedman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, as an extremist libertarian and an enemy of any kind of social help. This was always an absurd charge. In his 1962 book "Capitalism and Freedom," Friedman acknowledged that some form of welfare was necessary in capitalist societies; the trick was to improve it. What kind of program could help protect every citizen from destitution without granting excessive power to bureaucrats, creating disincentives to work and clogging up the free-market economy, as the modern welfare state had done? Friedman's answer was the negative income tax, or NIT.

U.S. budget deficit to reach $1.5 trillion, highest ever
Excerpt: "We estimate that if current laws remain unchanged, the budget deficit this year will be close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of [gross domestic product]. That would follow deficits of 10 percent of GDP last year and 8.9 percent in the previous year, the three largest deficits since 1945. As a result, debt held by the public will probably jump from 40 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2008 to nearly 70 percent at the end of fiscal year 2011."

Wal-mart caves in to government bullies
Excerpt: Michelle Obama and nutrition czar Sam Kass have taken the Food Police nationwide. Last week Wal-Mart announced that it is joining the first lady’s anti-obesity campaign by reducing the salt and sugar content of the food it sells. As perfectly staged as Thursday’s White House-Wal-Mart press conference was, it is clear that this is not Wal-Mart’s doing. Wal-Mart has been coerced into complying. I kept looking for the Wal-Mart spokesman to flash a silent “distress” signal during the press conference. Now, one of the largest companies in the world is the vehicle through which all American food and health policy will flow. As Wal-Mart begins to institute the five-year plan, aimed at reducing products that do not meet the first lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign’s “healthy” standards, the rest of the food industry will be forced to follow. Wal-Mart’s standards — read: the first lady’s standards — will now be the law of the land. Skip over that pesky Congress and the FDA and go for a new model: coerced corporate control. Even if you choose not to shop at Wal-Mart, this will affect you.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez sparks outrage from fellow Democrats with proposal to boot Giffords from Armed Services Committee
Excerpt: Behind closed doors, California Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez has proposed removing Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) until she recovers from injuries sustained after being shot in the head on Jan. 8 in Tucson, The Daily Caller has learned. The proposal sparked an outrage, according to those in the room — including from those in Sanchez’s own party. “It’s not appropriate,” Texas Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes told The Daily Caller, adding that there was outrage among some members in the room when Sanchez made the suggestion. “It’s bad for morale during her recovery period.” Reyes and Rep. Adam Smith of Washington put up most of the fight against Sanchez, and helped squash the idea. “From a woman who memorialized her cat, you’d think she’d show a little more compassion for a woman shot in the face,” said one GOP aide, referring to Sanchez’s 2010 Christmas card that paid tribute to her late cat, Gretzky.

Are Men Victims of Obnoxious Feminism?
Excerpt: Earlier this week I wrote that from cradle to grave, men are getting a raw deal. Men work longer hours, die earlier, but retire later than women. I also noted that while some say we should be less precious about light-hearted banter between the sexes, you can’t have it both ways. If sexism is wrong, the same standards apply to men and women. On the other hand, if you buy into the whole Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus theory of gender difference – with all its pseudo science - you can’t complain about inequalities of outcome that flow both ways from those essentially sexist distinctions. Take this, for example: one commentator recently complained that: 'High-flying women are programmed to go for high-flying men. Most men aren’t attracted to women who are more successful than they are.’ Can you imagine the outrage if such trite generalisations were made about women, or other minorities? Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.

Why they are silent no more
Excerpt: After the Rally on the Mall, the March begins, with the very front contingent of that whole enormous crowd being the women -- and men -- of the Silent No More movement. Those women with the black "I regret my abortion" signs are joined by men carrying black signs that say "Men regret lost fatherhood." These men are even more ignored by the media than the post-abortive women are. The whole abortion debate tends to focus on the mother and the child -- as if the man who did the impregnating doesn't even exist. In all the rhetoric about "choice," abortion advocates are scandalously silent about the fact that abortion is hardly ever what one would call a completely free "choice"; it is almost always done under pressure, real or perceived, from parents, bosses, and... the men involved. Some of these men come to regret having pressured their girlfriends/wives to abort. Some men, on the other hand, beg their girlfriends not to abort -- but since our warped legal system cuts the man completely out of it, the woman has the absolute legal right to kill the child that it took both of them to conceive. In still other cases, men do not even find out that their girlfriend was pregnant until after the child has already been killed.

Spending Sanity
Excerpt: Budget Policy: We're glad to see House Republicans pushing the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which would trim $2.5 trillion from the budget over the next decade. It's a nice start, but not nearly enough. It's great to see so many undeserving, wasteful programs finally face the ax. But that's just what the Republicans' new plan to return the U.S. to fiscal responsibility would do. Want cuts? You get cuts. Like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, parent of NPR, that gets $445 million a year to shove liberal propaganda down Americans' throats. Or the proposed repeal of the racist Davis-Bacon Act, a gift to the unions that raises government costs $1 billion a year. Or prohibiting taxpayer-funded union activities by federal workers, saving $120 million a year. These are just a few of the 57 programs slated for major reductions or elimination. But by far the biggest is the $80 billion a year saved by stopping ObamaCare from taking effect. But that's not all. The GOP bill would lower spending on "non-defense, non-homeland security and non-veterans programs" to 2008 levels. That includes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bankrupt mortgage giants, which would no longer be under government control. The federal work force would be cut 15% through attrition, another major saving. All good, we say. But let's do the math. In the last two years alone, we've put up deficits of $2.7 trillion. In perspective, the proposed $2.5 trillion in cuts over a decade come to $250 billion a year. Our deficit will average $1.33 trillion a year for the next 10 years — $13.3 trillion, total, according to the Congressional Budget Office. So even with the GOP's cuts, we'll still have $1 trillion a year in deficits. Even with all this cutting, we come up well short.

Quotes from The Patriot Post (
"One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived." --Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

"Ain't it funny how many hundreds of thousands of soldiers we can recruit with nerve. But we just can't find one politician in a million with backbone." --American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Of the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S., 19 out of 20 vote Democratic. How much longer can the Dems continue the lie of representing the interests of the common man? What they represent is the interest of those who can take advantage of government in the most selfish manner." --columnist Bruce Bialosky

Worth Reading: Can Our Nation Be Saved? By Walter E. Williams
Excerpt: National debt is over $14 trillion, the federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion and, depending on whose estimates are used, the unfunded liability or indebtedness of the federal government (mostly in the form of obligations for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drugs) is estimated to be between $60 and $100 trillion. Those entitlements along with others account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls mandatory or non-discretionary spending. Then there's discretionary spending, half of which is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percent of the federal budget. The spending path that Congress has chosen for the last half-century is unsustainable and will end up with economic collapse but little or nothing can be done about it unless I'm grossly wrong about the American people. Americans who detest our country and those who love our country are hell-bent, wittingly or unwittingly, on destroying it.

The Biggest Lie in American Politics
Excerpt: For decades, liberals have used "big business" as a bugaboo. Leftists say corporations are mean, heartless and cruel -- and what's more, they're inherently capitalist and conservative. When the economy tanks, liberals blame right-wing corporations; when the regulatory state fails, liberals claim that corporations have perverted the system. In reality, corporations aren't conservative. They aren't capitalist. They're after the nearest buck. And when the nearest buck can be obtained simply by playing footsie with the federal government, big business becomes an emissary of the government.

We Need to Reverse Course Now
Excerpt: As a manufacturer for the last 31 years, I have learned to identify and attack the root cause of a problem, not spend my time addressing mere symptoms. Huge deficits, anemic economic activity, high unemployment, and woefully inadequate job creation are severe symptoms of the problem. They are not the root cause. The ever expanding size, scope, and cost of government is. This is what we must address. This is what I hope the President has come to realize. (I hope to win the lottery, too, and have a better chance for that, Senator, than BO understanding the big government is the problem. ~Bob.)

Bleeding America Dry – The Next Big Bailout
Excerpt: Brace yourself for the next big bailout: State government pensions. In fact, this one might make us long for the good old days when our fearless leaders tossed mere billions at clunkers and green light bulbs. Two years ago, Big Labor boss and president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Andy Stern, bragged, “We just won an election!” Stern and his ilk were on cloud nine after spending some $450 million to elect President Barack Obama and to install a bevy of Big Labor minions at all levels of state government. This was at a time when America was already bowing under the crushing weight of a bloated public sector workforce and its guaranteed pensions, health care and other taxpayer-funded goodies. Like leeches, government employees and their unions have attached themselves to the taxpayer trough and won’t let go. Fast-forward just two years and we’ve now reached full crisis mode. It is estimated that all states combined have as much as $3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities. Worse, voters in the biggest offending states recently chose to throw gasoline on their fire by electing Big Labor governors.

Are You a Victim of State Pensions?
Excerpt: Let’s look at California, the world’s 5th largest economy. They currently have a deficit of $28 billion. 80% of all CA spending goes towards pensions and benefits. The liberals that have controlled CA since prohibition are all about raising taxes to compensate. The fact of the matter is they cannot raise taxes high enough to make up the difference, and if they try too hard to do so, they will see even greater flight by white-collar workers from the Golden State. The only people immigrating to CA are illegal's from south of the border, and they don’t pay any taxes anyway.

Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy
Excerpt: Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal. Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells. In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies. And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains. (If you destroy an embryo that’s only half human, can you get abortion funding from the Feds? ~Bob.)

When Science Becomes Mad Science
Excerpt: Addressing the question of how the Holocaust could have happened in an advanced nation like Germany, he observed that the medical profession itself rather easily accepted the precepts of eugenics. Another panelist, Dr. John Hall of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, noted that eugenics had been hatched in England, developed in America, and then jumped back over the pond for devastating implementation in Germany. German doctors and nurses bought the idea that the “interests of the general public and of the state” took preference “over the interests” of the patient, Dr. Pellegrino noted, adding, “No doctor felt guilty of violating medical ethics” because the profession had radically changed to conform to National Socialism’s emphasis on the state over the individual. (For an excellent discussion of eugenics, the “scientific consensus” of its day, see this by Dr. Michael Crichton: “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous”

Nation's Oldest Living Medal of Honor Recipient Dies
Excerpt: Hajiro had been awarded three Distinguished Service Crosses by the Army while serving with a rifle company in the 442 Regimental Combat Team during World War II in Europe. One of those awards was upgraded to the Medal of Honor 46 years after the war ended at the urging of Sen. Daniel Akaka who authored congressional legislation requiring the Army to determine whether 22 Asian and Pacific Island Americans who received the Distinguished Service Cross had not been properly recognized because of the war's anti-Japanese sentiment. (Sadly, it's just one more example of how we as a nation fail to honor and recognize our true heroes until after they die. --MasterGuns)

Hamas imam: "Please, Allah, kill all the Jews"
Excerpt: Richard Millett watched a new two-hour anti-Israel documentary claiming that Israel targeted children in Gaza. The film is now being shown on college campuses. It included this lovely clip:

FBI Arrests Alleged Phony SF Colonel
Hope they send him to prison, where he can learn more about being a sex slave. ~Bob. Excerpt: A man who claimed to be a retired Green Beret colonel and an expert in the international sex-slave trade has been arrested in Maryland by the FBI. An FBI spokeswoman said William G. "Bill" Hillar was charged with mail fraud in connection with a scheme to use bogus military and academic credentials toward teaching and training employment. For years Hillar allegedly scammed universities, non-profit groups and law enforcement organizations by claiming his daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers in Asia and that he spent months in a failed effort to rescue her. He parlayed his “expertise” and faux Army Special Forces career into thousands of dollars in teaching and lecture fees.

Let Marines be Marines: Defense cuts that hobble amphibious landings are foolish. By Rep. Duncan Hunter
Excerpt: When the conversation about achieving budget savings within the Pentagon started gaining momentum about a year ago, there was no disagreement on the value of identifying efficiencies and redirecting dollars to modernization and development - where funding is needed most. The annual defense budget is by no means exempt from the spending debate, but Congress and the administration must exercise a certain degree of caution when agreeing to any cuts without first considering their implication. The renewed focus on finding budget savings and efficiencies is necessary and long overdue. For defense, the budget is not sacrosanct. It can be cut smartly and quickly, though that does not mean pursuing spending cuts that directly undermine our military and threaten the core capability of each service branch against current and future threat assessments. But this is exactly the case with the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), which Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates recently recommended for termination as part of more than $178 billion in proposed budget cuts. The EFV is all about maintaining the core competency of the Marine Corps: getting Marines from ship to shore. This is the trademark mission of the Marine Corps, differentiating it from the other service branches and defining it as both a land and sea force that is capable of undertaking any mission. Throughout history, the Marines have always been at the tip of the spear, leading our nation and military in combat, and much of the Corps' history centers on its unique amphibious assault capability. The Marine Corps last used amphibious vehicles in Lebanon for humanitarian reasons in 2006, while much of its attention was fixated on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although there has not been a full-on beach assault in quite some time, there is a strong likelihood that the ability to put large numbers of Marines on shore efficiently will be needed once again in a conventional setting. Even with China and North Korea modernizing militarily, there is a mindset emerging within the Pentagon that amphibious assaults are a thing of the past, just as these same critics consider the need to bolster domestic ship production equally unnecessary. (It's good that we have a veteran in office speaking on behalf of the Corps. S/F --Del)

GOP to look at federal gun laws
Excerpt: Staffers from the House Judiciary Committee will meet with Obama administration officials Thursday to examine the effectiveness of federal laws designed to keep guns from the hands of the mentally ill, according to a Republican aide with the panel. The closed-door gathering will focus on whether a federal system of background checks is working to block gun sales to the mentally ill and others barred from owning firearms, the aide said Tuesday. Staffers from both parties will attend, as well as officials from the FBI and possibly from the Justice Department, the aide added.

Barriers aren't just for the border now
Excerpt: The landscape of saguaros, mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus here has a new feature - steel railroad rails welded into crisscrosses and connected by flat rails. This rusting structure is a vehicle barrier designed to stop drug and people smugglers who barrel across the desert in trucks. The barriers are common at the international line - there are more than 139 miles of them along Arizona's stretch of U.S.-Mexico border. But this isn't the border. This 1.3-mile stretch of "Normandy-style" vehicle barriers was recently erected 70 miles north of the border on the Bureau of Land Management's Sonoran Desert Monument, just south of Interstate 8 and southwest of Casa Grande. It is likely the first time border barriers have been used this far north, and the latest example of how managing public lands along the U.S.-Mexico border is now as much about dealing with trash and trails left behind by illegal border crossers as it is about monitoring endangered animals or watering holes.

Mexican police: Gunmen open fire at soccer game, 7 dead
Excerpt: A group of heavily armed men opened fire at a soccer match between two local teams in western Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, killing seven people and wounding two others, according to a municipal police spokesman. The soccer field is at a community center opened four months ago as part of a program to decrease drug violence in a city that has been racked by violence and killings linked to drug cartels. Police said Monday they had not determined a motive for the shooting. The dead from the shooting Sunday evening were males ranging in age from 19 to 26, police said. At least one was a soccer player -- an image from the scene showed the dead player face down on turf. Above him was a posted sign reading in Spanish, "Live Better" -- a slogan in Juarez's anti-violence campaign.

Snuck Into America
Video on illegal immigration.

Obama’s Portfolio
Excerpt: Compared to its slick prospectus, the Obama Fund is a dog, and its metrics — unemployment and growth — are stagnant and anemic, respectively. The Democrats promised that the $787 billion stimulus package would keep unemployment levels low — the best guaranteed return we’ve heard of since Bernie Madoff — but instead joblessness climbed from less than 8 percent to nearly 10 percent: a return of about negative 25 percent. And those shovel-ready stimulus projects turned out to be a lot like Madoff’s assets: fictional. After nearly a trillion bucks in “investment,” the most visible infrastructure improvement we have to show for it is a bunch of signs advertising the wonderfulness of the stimulus. If Obama were a rookie investment banker, would you give him a bonus for that performance? Probably not. Meanwhile, two years of unified Democratic management under Obama-Pelosi-Reid have left our national leverage ratio severely out of whack.

Artist defies 'bullies' over burka mural
Excerpt: In the latest incident last Sunday, a crowd of 50 activists hurled paint at the mural and then turned on police who had to call in reinforcements to restore order. Seven men were arrested and charged with offences including resisting police, assaulting police and destroying or damaging property. The charges will be heard in Newtown Local Court next month. Redegalli blames local left-wing groups, rather than Muslim activists, for the incident. The sculptor, who is a well-known figure in inner-suburban Newtown, says he has since been visited by local police who asked him to take down the mural after learning of a threat to fire-bomb it. He refuses to do so in the interests of free speech and public debate. "I'm not going to let the bullies win," Redegalli told The Australian yesterday. "I'm not doing it for pride (but because) I don't believe bullies have the right to stand over people and deny us our freedoms."

Rising Religious Tide in China Overwhelms Atheist Doctrine
Excerpt: One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure. And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study. No more than 15 percent of adults in the world's most populous country are "real atheists." 85 percent of the Chinese either hold some religious beliefs or practice some kind of religion, according to the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey. Members of the Chinese Communist Party and Youth League are required to be atheists, yet 17 percent of them self-identified with a religion and 65 percent indicated they had engaged in religious practices in the last year, reported sociologist Fenggang Yang of Purdue University, a lead researcher in the project.

Lars Man Standing
Excerpt: The last time I used the headline “Lars Man Standing” was for a National Review post about Lars Hedegaard’s analysis of Europe’s Islamo-leftist alliance. Mr Hedegaard was my host in Copenhagen back in September, when the Danish Free Press Society presented me with its Sappho Award. Yesterday, I returned from a few weeks off the Internet-beaten track to find that he is yet again the Lars man standing – standing in the dock in Fredericksburg, charged with offending Islam. His is merely the latest in a long line of the western world’s new heresy trials - Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria, Geert Wilders and Gregorius Nekschot in the Netherlands, Michel Houllebecq in France, Michael Smith in Australia, Ezra Levant and me in Canada. As in Canada, as in the Netherlands, so in Denmark the defendants in such cases are informed that the truth is no defense. As Lars said in court yesterday: My counsel has instructed me that in cases brought under Article 266b, the only thing that determines whether one is convicted or not is a matter of the perceived insult whereas one is barred from proving the truth of the statement. The article deals with public statements whereby a group of people are "threatened, insulted or degraded". But as my lawyer has already noted, I have made no public statement. (The stealth Jihad’s efforts to crush criticism and freedom of speech. ~Bob.)

Fifteen special interest heavy hitters Democrats cannot ignore
Excerpts: These 15 individuals are among the most important power brokers with undeniable leverage to most shape campaigns, candidates and policies in the Democratic Party. There are other Democratic heavy hitters, to be sure, but these 15 are must-haves on any list of those who cannot be ignored.

Important: Time to get real about public-sector pensions
Saying “It’s Time” is probably naive. It’s probably too late to stave off fiscal disaster. ~Bob. Excerpt: Despite the dire financial condition of his state, and the fact that it was (and still is) a sovereign deadbeat that fails to pay its bills, Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn found room to cut a sweetheart deal with its public employee unions in September. They were guaranteed two years of cost-of-living increases and no layoffs. Quinn, in turn, got the union's endorsement and won his 2010 election by less than 1 percentage point. This provides a dramatic illustration of what has for years been political business as usual for liberals in public office. To save their own jobs, they cut deals with your money, offering premium benefits and exorbitant salaries to public workers. Much of the cost is deferred until these employees retire, and so the unfunded liabilities of public pensions have become enormous, threatening states and cities with imminent insolvency. By some estimates, state and municipal governments will have to come up with $3.5 trillion in new funds just to keep the pension checks going out. Things are so bad in California that state officials had to commission an independent Stanford University study just to get a handle on its pension liabilities, which turn out to be a staggering $535 billion. The true total of unfunded liabilities is not clear because many public pension systems -- including that of Illinois -- are not held to basic standards of transparency. To solve this problem, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., along with House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have reintroduced a novel solution first reported in these pages a month ago. The Public Pension Transparency Act would require states and municipalities to hand over complete information about their pension funds to the U.S. Treasury Department as a condition of receiving federal tax exemptions for the bonds they issue. Treasury will then make the information public, so that taxpayers and investors can see what's really going on with state and local government public pension systems.

Excerpt: Two political activists involved in the 2009 post-presidential election protest movement are hanged this morning. Iranian authorities have hanged 99 people in the past month, but the number of extrajudicial executions could be even higher.

Old rules won't determine GOP presidential candidate
Excerpt: The weakest part of our political system, by a considerable margin, is the presidential nominating process. It tends to exclude from consideration those with the greatest experience in what is uniquely the president's responsibility, foreign policy and military strategy. It tends less strongly to exclude members of Congress, particularly House members but also senators, whose extensive voting records inevitably contain material that is politically damaging at some point in the process. The process has become so lengthy that candidates often come up with strategies and programs that are rendered obsolete by the time of the next presidential inauguration. All that said, we are stuck with it -- or stuck with the version of the schedule that the national Democratic and Republican parties, acting for once in concert, and the various state parties and state legislatures can agree on.


  1. I don't think Forbes can be trusted on DDT. They've got the story wrong on most counts. To wit:

    1. Rachel Carson's book was published in 1962, not 1963. In 1963, President Kennedy's President's Science Advisory Council said the book was very accurate.

    2. Carson said nothing about thinning eggshells. While research by the government had shown DDT killed birds since 1945, eggshell thinning was not established until the middle of the 1970s. Thinning eggshells answered the final question of how DDT was killing birds. When Carson wrote, it was clear that DDT poisoned chicks before they could hatch, or poisoned them so they could not survive as hatchlings. It was clear that DDT poisoned birds and other animals so that they could not survive stress situations. Eggshell thinning answered why the eggs were falling apart during gestation.

    3. Judge Edmund Sweeney, in the findings of fact from the nearly 10,000 pages of hearing record, found that DDT does indeed harm wildlife, is a long-lasting and virtually permanent poison, and is uncontrollable in its side effects, and bioaccumulates to increase doses over time and rising up the food chain.

    Sweeney's hearing record and decision do not exonerate DDT in any fashion. DDT was never banned because it was considered to threaten human health.

    4. Sweeney ruled that uses of DDT under the label proposed would not threaten wildlife. But we need to remember the proposal was to label DDT only for use indoors, and only to fight disease. That is, ultimately, what Ruckelshaus ruled -- the only difference being that under the Sweeney decision, DDT was still available over the counter for anyone to abuse. Ruckelshaus changed only that feature.

    5. The World Health Organization did not plead the case for DDT -- that's a whole cloth fiction. WHO had been forced to abandon its ambitious campaign to eradicate malaria in 1965, some seven years earlier, because abuse and overuse of DDT by agricultural interests in Africa had bred DDT-resistant and DDT-immune mosquitoes. More, WHO did not operate inside the U.S., and was not relying on U.S.-manufactured DDT. In point of fact, WHO is the agency that worked to ban DDT worldwide with the 2001 Stockholm Treaty. WHO only asked that research continue on alternatives. (The 2001 Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty allows DDT use by any nation, with only a letter from that nation required first.)

    Ruckelshaus ordered DDT use in the U.S. be stopped, but not manufacturing. This multiplied the supply of DDT to any nation using it to fight malaria or other vector-borne diseases.

    6. DDT has never been banned in Africa. Claims that commercial interests lobby against it have not been proven in any forum. The only formal action against DDT in Africa has been by Africans -- in Uganda, recently, tobacco growers sued to stop DDT use there. The European Union has never acted against any African product because of DDT contamination.

    DDT has been in constant use on the continent of Africa since 1946. If trade restrictions were intended to stop DDT use there, they have been particularly ineffective.

    7. Death rates for malaria are grossly understated, and the trend reversed, in the quote above. When DDT use was at its peak, in 1960, about 4 million people died from malaria, worldwide, each year. By 1972, when the U.S. banned DDT use on crops in the U.S., malaria deaths were about 2 million annually. Today, fewer than 900,000 people die from malaria annually, worldwide.

    So malaria deaths, though still too high, have been reduced by 75% since 1960, and by more than half since the U.S. ban on crop use of the pesticide -- largely without DDT use.

    DDT is not a panacea, is often ineffective against malaria, and is not as effective as bednets alone. No pesticide can defeat malaria, but the campaign to poison Africa discourages contributions to bednet campaigns, and unfairly and viciously maligns the scientists who fight for environmental protection and fight against malaria.

  2. How Big a Problem is Malaria?
    Malaria is very common. Each year, 300 to 500 million people develop malaria and 1.5 to 3 million–mostly children–die, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Countries in tropical Africa account for more than 90 percent of the cases and more than 6 percent occur in India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Colombia. Malaria control is difficult. A third of the world's population–1.78 billion–lives where malaria once was reduced or eliminated, but the disease has returned and its control is unstable or deteriorating, WHO reports. In some areas, severe malaria problems have occurred after major ecological or social changes, such as agricultural or other economic exploitation of jungles or socio¬political unrest.

    With Annual Deaths From Malaria On The Rise: Scientists Ask 'Where Is All The Money Going?'

    85% of (malaria) deaths in children under 5 years old

    Annual Deaths from Malaria
    Sub Sahara Africa
    1950 – 307,000
    1997 – 990,000