Saturday, February 19, 2011

Political Digest for February 19, 2011

I post articles I think may be of interest to my readers. Posting an article does not mean that I agree—or disagree—with all or any of the contents.

Obama’s green power builds China’s red power
Liberals are not interested in actual outcomes for working folks, the economy or the country. They are only interested in feeling good because they have good intentions. ~Bob. Excerpt: Increasing the United States’ reliance on “clean” energy, as touted by President Obama yet again in this week’s budget proposal, would leave Americans just as dependent on unreliable foreign suppliers as we are now on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries‘ stranglehold on oil. Instead of a handful of mostly Middle Eastern states, we would be dependent on a single nation for critical energy supplies - China. The threat to both national security and the U.S. economy is obvious to anyone who isn’t blinded by environmentalist dogma. The president’s claim - that his program of subsidies, government grants and tax breaks for green-energy technologies will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and thus improve the United States’ national security - is wrong. Rather, the greater our embrace of green-energy technologies, the worse off the United States likely will become geopolitically. Key components of every green-energy technology, wind turbines, solar cells, energy-efficient lighting, high-tech batteries and other goods, are made from a small class of minerals known as rare-earth elements and other rare minerals. Despite their name, these elements are rather abundant, but at the moment and for the near future, they are found in economically exploitable concentrations only in the People's Republic of China. With 96 percent of the global market, China has a de facto monopoly on the trade in these rare elements.

New Health Care Law Will Have Negative Impact
Sure, it will be a disaster for healthcare, taxpayers and the economy. On the plus side, liberals will get to feel good about themselves because their intentions were good, and intentions, not outcomes, matter. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represents the most significant transformation of the American health care system since Medicare and Medicaid. It will fundamentally change nearly every aspect of health care, from insurance to the final delivery of care. The length and complexity of the legislation, combined with a debate that often generated more heat than light, has led to massive confusion about the law's likely impact. But it is now possible to analyze what is and is not in it, what it likely will and will not do, says Michael Tanner, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute. In particular, we now know that: While the new law will increase the number of Americans with insurance coverage, it falls significantly short of universal coverage -- by 2019, roughly 21 million Americans will still be uninsured. The legislation will cost far more than advertised -- more than $2.7 trillion over 10 years of full implementation, and will add more than $823 billion to the national debt over the program's first 10 years. The new law will increase taxes by more than $569 billion between now and 2019, and the burdens it places on business will significantly reduce economic growth and employment. While the law contains few direct provisions for rationing care, it nonetheless sets the stage for government rationing and interference with how doctors practice medicine. Millions of Americans who are happy with their current health insurance will not be able to keep it.

Want to Boost the Economy? Lower Corporate Tax Rates
Just because it would create jobs for working people, who would then pay taxes, is no reason for Democrats to help business, the Great Satan of American politics. But if you were starting a fungible business, would you start in a country that put you at a competitive disadvantage through high tax rates? ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama has reached out to the business community with talk of lowering the corporate tax rate and improving the tax treatment of profits earned abroad by American companies. That would certainly be an important improvement in our tax system. Unfortunately, his desire to use the elimination of "loopholes" to avoid any loss of corporate tax revenue means that he cannot possibly go far enough in reducing corporate tax rates. The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35% at the federal level and 39% when the average state corporate tax is included. The average rate in the other industrial countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is just 25%. Only Japan has as high a rate. Eliminating every loophole in the taxation of domestic corporate profits identified by the administration's own Office of Management and Budget would raise less than $60 billion of extra revenue in 2011, enough to lower the combined federal-state corporate rate to 35%. The U.S rate would still be higher than in every other country but Japan, and a full 10 percentage points higher than the average in other industrial OECD countries. This high corporate tax rate causes a misuse of our capital stock. More specifically, the high rate drives capital within the U.S. economy away from the corporate sector and into housing and other uses that do not increase productivity or raise real wages. And because interest payments by companies are deductible in calculating taxable profits, the high tax rate induces firms to use too much debt to finance their operations, increasing risks for them and the U.S. economy.

Healthcare Reform Law Requires New IRS Army Of 1,054
Democrats do create jobs—for lawyers, accountants and bureaucrats. The tanning salon tax was a clever way to tax white folks—they are the only ones dumb enough to go to tanning salons. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Internal Revenue Service says it will need an battalion of 1,054 new auditors and staffers and new facilities at a cost to taxpayers of more than $359 million in fiscal 2012 just to watch over the initial implementation of President Obama's healthcare reforms. Among the new corps will be 81 workers assigned to make sure tanning salons pay a new 10 percent excise tax. Their cost: $11.5 million. "The ACA [Affordable Care Act] will require additional resources to build new IT systems; modify existing tax processing systems; provide taxpayer outreach and assistance services; make enhancements to notices, collections, and case management systems to address and resolve taxpayer issues timely and accurately; and conduct focused examinations to encourage compliance," said the newly released IRS budget.

Shrinking government
European-style “entitlement riots” are already starting, and will only worsen. ~Bob. Excerpt: The president is proposing that the government spend more than $3.7 trillion (his budget "cuts" also contain many spending increases). The terms reckless, irresponsible and mad are inadequate descriptions of what he is proposing. There is evidence that once a government lets its debt/GDP ratio rise more than 90 percent, the economy begins to seriously weaken and government spending starts to spiral out of control as the interest payments on the debt grow faster than the economy. The United States will probably hit the 90 percent threshold within a year (the current level is 68 percent, up from 37 percent in 2008). Up to now, foreigners have been willing to buy U.S. debt, but as inflation heats up (which it is now doing globally), domestic and foreign lenders will insist on higher interest to compensate for the expected inflation. The United States has been able to finance its debt with very low interest rates over the past few years, with the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" programs - that is, they have been buying debt with money they just print. We are probably close to the endgame with this particular racket, which cannot go on forever. Greece has already shown the world what happens when the debt/GDP ratio reaches critical levels.

Athens in Mad Town
Excerpt: For Americans who don't think the welfare state riots of France or Greece can happen here, we recommend a look at the union and Democratic Party spectacle now unfolding in Wisconsin. Over the past few days, thousands have swarmed the state capital and airwaves to intimidate lawmakers and disrupt Governor Scott Walker's plan to level the playing field between taxpayers and government unions. Mr. Walker's very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. If those numbers don't sound outrageous, you probably work in the private economy. The comparable nationwide employee health-care contribution is 20% for private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average employee contribution from take-home pay for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

Are the Wisconsin protests good for Republicans or Democrats?
Walker and the Republicans are destroyed if they give in—their voters are not at the protests, they are at work. And the protesters can only escalate. Madison may be the start of the “entitlement riots,” which I expected first in California. ~Bob. Excerpt: For the past four days, thousands of public employees and their supporters have gathered in and around the Wisconsin state capitol to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget cuts. Walker, who has only been governor for the past six weeks, is pushing a proposal that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers and make them pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage. The changes amount to about a seven percent salary cut. Democrats insist the move is a political power play and that Walker created the budget gap with his own tax cuts. Republicans counter that voters asked for change when they kicked out Democrats in November. For months, they have been holding up public employees as prime examples of government waste. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) compared the situation to Egypt. "[Walker is] basically saying I want you public workers to pay half of what our private sector counter parts are, and he's getting riots," Ryan told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "Rather than shouting down those in office who speak honestly about the challenges we face, the president and his advisers should lead. Until they do, they are not focusing on jobs, and they are not listening to the American people who put them in power," said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement.

Obama joins Wisconsin's budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill
You think the Pinkertons were breaking heads and Walker was hanging Joe Hill in the morning. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals. Obama accused Scott Walker, the state's new Republican governor, of unleashing an "assault" on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers. The president's political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals. Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.

Obama/Media Fuel Wisconsin “Statist Uprising”
Excerpt: President Obama is calling it an “assault on unions.” ABC embraced a “Mutiny In America” and said “Cairo moved to Madison.” And NBC’s Brian Williams proclaimed that citizens are “rising up and saying no to some of the most extreme cuts in the nation.” All this in response to an effort by the Wisconsin governor to bridge a $3 billion budget shortfall by proposing modest cuts in healthcare and pension benefits to state employees. “This is a statist uprising that is being fueled by leftist politicians and the leftist media,” says Grassfire Nation’s Steve Elliott. “Wisconsin’s governor is proposing that state union workers should pay a little more of their health benefits (from 6% to 12%) and media calls this America’s Cairo moment? This is outrageous.”

Apocalypse Now: Wisconsin vs. Big Labor
Excerpt: As the free-market MacIver Institute in Wisconsin points out, the benefits concessions Walker is asking public union workers to make would still maintain their health insurance contribution rates at the second-lowest among Midwest states for family coverage. Moreover, a new analysis by benefits think tank HCTrends shows that the new rate "would also be less than the employee contributions required at 85 percent of large Milwaukee area employers." This modest call for shared sacrifice has triggered the wrath of the White House-Big Labor-Michael Moore axis. On Thursday, President Obama lamented the "assault on unions." AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union bosses dubbed Walker the "Mubarak of the Midwest" while their minions toted posters of Walker's face superimposed on Hitler's. Moore goaded thousands of striking union protesters to "shut down" the "new Cairo" while the state's Democratic legislators bailed on floor debate over the union reform package.

The American People Can’t Afford to Lose Wisconsin Union Showdown
Excerpt: Let no one be confused, the stakes in Wisconsin are high and the Badger state could turn into the crucial battle ground between progressivism and the new Tea Party majority in the country. Issues as important as public sector compensation, bulging state deficits, union power, federalism, education, federal entitlements as well as others are being fought over. That Wisconsin is the birthplace of American progressivism with a new conservative governor, new conservative majorities in both chambers, a new conservative U.S. senator and the bright new conservative chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, has made it ground zero for the left. President Barack Obama has federalized the issue, throwing the full weight of the White House, the Democratic National Committee, and his own Organizing for America operation behind government unions, with the assistance of the SEIU and AFSCME unions. This is a major new test for the new governor, Scott Walker. If conservatives lose in Wisconsin, reform might be stifled elsewhere.

Tea Party Plans Wisc. Protest to Counter Unions
Hard to turn out people for “no” like you can for “more,” so this will be interesting. ~Bob. Excerpt: A prominent Tea Party group has announced that it will stage a counter-protest in Wisconsin on Saturday aimed at supporting a measure in that state to revoke public employee unions' collective bargaining rights and to force them to pay a slightly larger amount into their own health and pension plans. That measure sparked large protests in Madison Thursday by union groups, and a walkout by Democratic legislators in a successful effort to deny the State Senate a voting quorum. On Saturday, the Tea Party will answer with some protest muscle of its own. American Majority, a Tea Party group that trains political activists, will hold an event in Madison billed as a response to liberal union groups. Headlining the event will be conservative activists and web gurus Andrew Breitbart and Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft.

The Jeb Bush primary
Excerpt: Given Bush's influence within the party, eyebrows were raised on Thursday when he was quoted singing the praises of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. "Mitch is the only one who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals," Bush told a group of business leaders in Jacksonville. "He would be the anti-Obama, at least socially. He's not good on a teleprompter, but if my theory is right, that could work well for him." It's not the first time Bush has sung Daniels' praises. In 2008 when Daniels was running for a second term as governor, Bush appeared at an event; at it, Bush said that he wished "we could clone Mitch and his style of leadership around the country".

Study: Doctors order tests out of fear of lawsuits
Trial Lawyers are major financial supporters of Democrats, so they will block tort reform and keep your healthcare costs high. ~Bob. Excerpt: CT scans, MRIs and other pricey imaging tests are often more for the doctor's benefit than the patient's, new research confirms. Roughly one-fifth of tests that bone and joint specialists order are because a doctor fears being sued, not because the patient needs them, a first-of-its-kind study in Pennsylvania suggests. The study comes a day after President Barack Obama began a push to overhaul state medical malpractice laws as a way to reduce unnecessary tests that drive up health care costs. "This study is a glimpse behind the curtain of what's happening in a doctor's mind," said its leader, Dr. John Flynn of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. If doctors sense you might second-guess them or cause trouble, "you could potentially be risking more tests being done."

Trial Lawyers Keep Quiet on Convention
Excerpt: What’s the American Association for Justice (AAJ) – formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America” – up to this time? Legal Newsline reported that a legal expert said that it's “suspicious that the American Association for Justice would impose a confidentiality agreement on members to attend the group's winter convention.” According to the agenda, last week at their winter convention, AAJ discussed litigation topics ranging from prescription drugs and medical devices to the Gulf oil spill. The confidentiality agreement, which was included in the convention’s registration materials, noted that violators of the agreement could be “ousted from the group.”

If you think this is funny, remember your tax dollars support the court system. ~Bob. Excerpt: A coupon-clipping New Jersey mom insists Century 21 short-changed her and is suing the famed department store to recoup a grand total of...80 cents.

11 Outrageous Taxes
Excerpt: If you needed any more proof that our state, local and federal budget spending is out of control, here it is. In an effort to get out from under record deficits and support their spending habits, politicians from Seattle to New York and everywhere in between have cooked up some outrageous taxes. Some of these taxes are already on the books, some are just up for debate, but all show you just how far politicians will go to put a little more of your money in their pockets. (Let’s hope California, Nevada, New York and Florida don’t hear of the new tax in Utah. And also hope it doesn’t apply to doctor’s offices or hospitals. Ron P.)

The Weather Isn't Getting Weirder
Excerpt: As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871." In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher…. Given the unknowns, it's possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change—as it always has.

Obama's Louis XV Budget
Excerpt: Five days before his inauguration, President-elect Obama told The Washington Post that entitlement reform could no longer be kicked down the road. He then spent the next two years kicking -- racking up $3 trillion in new debt along the way -- on the grounds that massive temporary deficit spending was necessary to prevent another Great Depression. To prove his bona fides, he later appointed a deficit reduction commission. It made its report last December, when the economy was well past recession, solemnly declaring that "the era of debt denial is over." That lasted all of two months. The president's first post-commission budget, submitted Monday, marks a return to obliviousness. Even Erskine Bowles, Obama's Democratic debt commission co-chair, says it goes "nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare." The budget touts a deficit reduction of $1.1 trillion over the next decade. Where to begin? Even if you buy this number, Obama's budget adds $7.2 trillion in new debt over that same decade. But there's a catch. The administration assumes economic growth levels higher than private economists and the Congressional Budget Office predict.

Decline Is in the Mind
Excerpt: For the conservative, the depressing symptoms are staggering debt, as in the Obama administration plans to equal all the red ink of all prior administrations in nearly five or six years of planned governance (at $1.6 trillion a year that is not a hard thing to do). Surely, the president’s legacy for the next quarter-century will be ubiquitous line graphs and pie charts proving in an eye blink that the Obama administration was the mother of all borrowers. There is more, of course. We awoke one morning and suddenly General Motors was analogous to the Postal Service, its suspect, now politically incorrect competitors the far better run Fed-Ex-like Toyota or Ford. Abroad the bows, the apologies, the euphemisms for terrorism, the realignment to embrace enemies and snub friends, the deer-in-the-headlights, make-it-up-as-you-go-along diplomacy — all that was the unfortunate result of a larger desire to take the U.S. down a needed peg or two in a new multilateral fashion. (…) But in the Obama vision, decline is the wrong word for necessary readjustment — analogous to the wondrous post-Churchillian socialization of Britain after the war, in which an aging imperialist air force and navy gave way to the new people’s National Health Service. As far as the staggering debt goes, massive red ink is a necessary reset policy, a long overdue method of fair redistribution. Both the borrowing and its eventual remedy will bring a much needed reality check to a cowboyish and inherently unjust “old” America. Ponder the politics of debt: more borrowing means more government (200,000 thousand new employees during Obama’s first two years alone), which in turn means good jobs for the deserving, a growing political progressive constituency of loyal and grateful public workers, and more watchdogs (cf. to monitor everything from fatty foods to breast pumps) that can spot racial, gender, and class bias and take the appropriate and long overdue federal action — create a bureau, hire federal watch- and attack-dogs, publicize private sector immorality, and then establish new fees and regulations to justify more bureaus. (We are not facing decline—we are facing collapse. ~Bob)

Worth Watching: Bedbugs at UN

Investigative spotlight turns on Army captain who helped bust counterfeiter
Sounds like retaliation of the corrupt. ~Bob. Excerpt: Army civilian police Capt. Andrew Poulos Jr. helped bust a counterfeiter last year who produced templates for federal law enforcement credentials and sold them over the Internet. Then he launched a second investigation, using the fake credentials and fraudulent badges to penetrate security at two federal courthouses, three state buildings and six military installations. The Army gave him a commendation and a cash bonus and published his findings in a terrorism bulletin to other federal agencies. "Keep up the great work to keep our Armed Forces safe and our posts secure," Denis P. McGowan of the Federal Protective Service, which is responsible for security at federal facilities, wrote in an e-mail.

Dallas Commissioner Explodes At Court Meeting
The new civility. ~Bob.

'The Quran Is Our Law; Jihad Is Our Way'
Excerpt: What's extraordinary about this maxim is the succinct way that it captures the political dimension of Islam. Even more extraordinary is the capacity of these five pillars of faith to attract true believers. But the most remarkable thing of all is the way the Brotherhood's motto seduces Western liberals. Readers of this paper are familiar with the genesis of the Muslim Brotherhood: its establishment in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna; its history of terrorism; its violent offshoots such as al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamait Islamiya, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and others across the Muslim world. Readers may also recall the brutal crackdowns on the Brothers by autocratic regimes in the Middle East—particularly in Egypt under Nasser and in Syria during the Hama massacre of 1982. As a result of these crackdowns, the Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s (after Nasser's regime executed the Islamist philosopher Sayyid Qutb in 1966) and started a gradual process to participate in conventional politics. This renunciation—and the Brotherhood's involvement in the Egyptian uprising, neither violent nor dominant—has prompted some commentators to encourage the American government to engage with the Brothers as legitimate partners in Middle Eastern affairs. Like a drug addict after years in rehab, the Brotherhood is now regarded as clean. Precisely because of its troubled past, so the argument goes, it can be counted on to help lead the people of Egypt into a new era of political reform.

Advice for my Granddaughter
Reposted on a website on building character.

House votes to overthrow 'czars'
Excerpt: Republicans successfully added an amendment to the continuing resolution that would leave President Barack Obama’s senior advisers on policy issues including health care, energy and others out of a job.

Saudi Arabia: Yemeni girl goes missing, believed to have been captured by genies
Excerpt: Laugh if you will, but there will be more and more of this in the West as the Muslim presence increases. The existence of jinn (genies) is taken for granted in the Qur'an, so they are an integral part of the worldview that is advancing steadily Westward. In The Caliph's House, Tahir Shah's marvelously entertaining account of his adventures moving his family to Morocco and buying and refurbishing a home in Casablanca, Shah is repeatedly amazed by the belief of the locals (including Westernized Moroccans whom he believes to be sophisticated) in the existence of jinn, the mischievous spirit beings who interfere in human affairs. And their invariable reply to his astonished inquiries is, "It's in the Qur'an."

Pak film lauds 'death for blasphemy' in name of Islam reminiscent of Taseer's murder
Excerpt: It is “moderates” like this, not cartoonists, who defames Islam. ~Bob. Excerpt: An upcoming Pakistani movie lauds extra-judicial killings in the name of Islam, in a grim reminder of last month's killing of liberal Punjab Governor Salman Taseer by one of his own bodyguards because of his support for the release of Pakistani-Christian woman Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. Both Taseer’s assassin Malik Mumtaz Qadri and Tariq, the fictitious hero of Noor’s film, are thickset men with bushy beards and dark, round faces, hail from the province of Punjab, the conservative hinterland, and both achieve hero status after committing murder. Even the film’s tagline carries the same chilling message backed by Qadri and his supporters: “Punishment for Blasphemers: Decapitation.”… According to him, Noor’s reputation as a "moderate Muslim" gives his work more credibility.

Lahore: for Islamic fundamentalists, Raymond Davis is a blasphemer who must be beheaded,-Raymond-Davis-is-a-blasphemer-who-must-be-beheaded-20797.html
Excerpt: The US national, in prison for killing two Pakistanis, allegedly insulted the prison’s religious leader and other inmates who were praying. Pakistan’s extremist camp wants the American sentenced to death. It has announced demonstrations in case of his release. Fundamentalists want to see Asia Bibi as well as the US national, who claims diplomatic immunity, hanged.

One wishes the Obama Administration was as concerned with Muslims building nukes as with Jews building houses. ~Bob. Excerpt: The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal. But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familiar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama administration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council. 

Alfred E President
Excerpt: Barack Obama resembles, more and more, the hapless, clueless, sappily cheerful mascot of MAD Magazine, Alfred E. Neuman. Given the intellectual vacuity of his life so far, attending schools and working in "jobs" that did not require a single original thought, or even exercise in critical thinking, it is increasingly hard to determine whether our illustrious leader actually grasps the profound seriousness of civilized life today. Our national debt is exploding. Right now it is only a measly $45,000 per person, but it is growing fast. This does not just mean the federal government faces political problems with gigantic deficit "investment" appropriations, but it also means that no one wants to buy our government debt instruments any longer. Simply paying the interest on that federal debt is becoming harder. The value of the dollar and the credit of the government are both dropping precipitously. States cannot pay their "bills" (i.e. lawful obligations). When high unemployment rates are the way to control our porous borders and illegal immigration problem, then the long term prognosis for our nation is much grimmer than the calm demeanor of Alfred E President would suggest. Europe, the other half of our bastion of Western Civilization, faces a comparable unraveling. (Another commentary on the sad condition of..... all kinds of things. I really don't feel all that chipper when someone does a halfway decent job enumerating a bunch of the negative things going on in the world today. Yet the fact that a hell of a lot of Americans don't know or want to know any of this is pretty discouraging.... especially when some of those Americans are the ones supposedly in charge of running things in the country. --Del)

Fix the budget
Interesting. Note this is a NYT site. It assumes if you raise taxes you get more revenue, if you cut taxes you get less. But because people respond to incentives with changed behavior, that often isn’t true, as JFK showed with his tax cuts. ~Bob.

Jeff Bingaman to retire
Excerpt: New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced his retirement today, a move that further complicates his party's efforts to hold their Senate majority in 2012. "The end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to serve," Bingaman said at an Albuquerque news conference. "It is not easy to get elected to the Senate, and it is not easy to decide to leave the Senate." Bingaman had been mulling whether to run for a sixth term for months and, if he had, would have almost certainly been re-elected. His retirement, however, creates an open seat contest that both national parties will almost certainly target. Democrats should start the race with an edge, however, given President Obama's 15-point victory margin in the state in 2008.

Medicare Fraud Task Force arrests 111 doctors, nurses and executives in 'largest-ever' federal healthcare sweep
Excerpt: The federal government's Medicare Fraud Task Force brought criminal charges Thursday against doctors, nurses and healthcare company executives – in all, 111 people in nine cities – in what was billed as the nation's "largest-ever federal healthcare fraud takedown." The defendants, including five in Los Angeles and 11 in Chicago, allegedly cheated the government out of a total of more than $225 million in false billing schemes that included fraudulent claims, kickback operations, money laundering and identity theft.

Sen. Conrad worries Democrats by calling to revisit the healthcare debate
Excerpt: Unshackled by the need to get reelected, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) suggested Thursday that Democrats reopen the bitter healthcare debate, arguing that the reform law’s provisions could yield opportunities to cut the federal deficit. But several Democratic colleagues rejected the idea — it did them enough damage in the last election cycle — over worries that those facing re-election in 2012 could be faced with a storm of negative political ads.

Lara Logan and the Media Rules
Excerpt: Anti-American Third World national, religious and ethnic groups are at the top of the victim food chain. They out-victim everyone else. After them come the Western victims: Racial minorities, women, homosexuals, children and animals. Israelis, Jews, Americans, white males and rich people are the predetermined perpetrators. No matter how badly they are victimized, brave reporters will go to heroic lengths to ignore, underplay or explain away their suffering. In cases when victim groups are attacked by victim groups – for instance when Iraqis were attacked by Saddam, or Palestinians are attacked by the PA, the media tend to ignore the story. When members of Western victim groups are attacked by Third World victims, the story can be reported, but with as little mention of the identity of the victim-perpetrators as possible. So it was with coverage of Logan and the rest of the foreign reporters assaulted in Egypt. They were attacked by invisible attackers with no identities, no barbaric values, no moral responsibility, and no criminal culpability. CBS went so far as to blur the faces of the men who surrounded Logan in the moments before she was attacked.

White House Science Advisor: Climate Change Skeptics Are ‘Heretics’
Excerpt: President Obama’s top science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, told a congressman asking about climate change skeptics that climate change is accepted science and that “there are always heretics” in the scientific community. “This is not the view of a few isolated scientists, this is the overwhelming view of scientists who study this matter around the world,” Holdren said, adding, “There are always skeptics, there are always heretics. That’s in the nature of science." (Since the warmists have claimed the legal term "settled" applies to science, perhaps we Heretics should try to modify and add another: Habeas Scientificus (Show us the science!) (I'm only half kidding). I am proud to be a Heretic, and will continue to scream my doubts at the top of my lungs even as they tie me to the stake. Thankfully, the testimony and questioning at the hearing makes it sound as if the administration may have a difficult time getting the increase in AGW research spending they want. Ron P. ‘there are always skeptics…” And they always must be silenced by the establishment. I recommend the book, Kicking the Sacred Cow about how science is as political as Congress. ~Bob.)

Iranian Warships Seek Suez Canal Passage En Route to Syria
Excerpt: Two Iranian naval vessels have submitted a request to transit the Suez Canal, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Israel has expressed concerns over the plans, labeling them a "provocation." Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Egyptian authorities have received the request to grant the vessels passage, while a Suez Canal official said the Defense Ministry would process the application.

The Auschwitz Album
Worth seeing. Refutes the deniers. If the Islamists establish their new Caliphate, it will happen again.

Is this Windermere's mysterious Bownessie monster?
Excerpt: A KAYAKER believes he may have caught Windermere’s mystery monster ‘Bownessie’ on camera. This atmospheric photograph, captured by IT graduate Tom Pickles, 24, reveals a strange humped shape gliding through the still waters of the lake. Tom said he thought it was a dog at first but soon realised it was the size of three cars. He and fellow kayaker Sarah Harrington, 23, were so frightened, they raced back to the safety of the shore. (After all these years, the Loch Ness monster finally has some serious competition. I actually saw this story yesterday but didn’t bother to read it because they didn’t mention the picture. While not definitive, the picture appears to be of a very large animal in motion. If alive, it’s off the beaten path of creatures we usually encounter. And, of course, it could be a hoax. --Ron P. A transparent attempt to lure tourists away from seeing the true beastie at loch Ness! ~Bob.)

Death by Phosphorous
If this is accurate—you know stuff on the Net!—I’m glad I wasn’t in that tank. Lots of anti-Israeli stuff on the web about their use of Willie Peter. ~Bob

1 comment:


    My take on some of the Wisconsin madness. I no longer live there- however it will always be home to me. No need to post this as a comment unless you wish to.I send it for your consideration. Still enjoy reading your posts. Jean