Monday, February 7, 2011

Political Digest for February 7, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Short blog today
I’m putting together Sunday afternoon, but little traffic on the net. Must be something going on.

Worth Reading: Sunday Reflection: Does America have a lawyer problem, or a law problem?
Excerpt: "The Greek economy is riddled with distortions -- the number of trucking licenses has remained unchanged in Greece since 1971, for example, and the country is among the world's leaders in lawyers per capita. It has one lawyer for every 250 people, compared with about one for 272 in the United States. The effect on Greek competitiveness could not be more pernicious."….. In particular, he notes that in America, pretty much all judges (except for a few justices of the Peace and such) are lawyers. And, after examining the work of judges in a number of different areas, he concludes that judges systematically rule in ways that favor lawyers, and that make the legal system more complex. (And legislators, mostly lawyers themselves, aren't much better). Barton tells me that his thesis gets two very different reactions depending on the audience: Non-lawyers find it painfully obvious, while most lawyers and legal academics find it shocking and offensive.

January's Unemployment Report Was a Snow Job
Excerpt: The January employment report was a complete snow job. Abominable winter blizzards across the country caused 886,000 workers to report “not at work due to bad weather,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is 600,000 more than the normal 300,000 not at work for the average January of the past decade. So the bad weather has distorted the numbers. The actual 36,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls and the 50,000 gain in private payrolls really don’t have a snowball’s chance at being accurate. The 1 million people in January who wanted a job but didn’t look for one because of “other” reasons hints again at the bad-weather distortion. So does the 4.9 million jump in the part-time workforce. As for the 9 percent unemployment rate, it’s not likely to last as more people are recorded reentering the labor force in the months ahead. The household employment survey (on which the unemployment rate is based) increased 117,000 in January, following a near 300,000 gain in December.

"Hi, I'm California, and I'm Addicted to Spending
Excerpt: What a magnificent confession this would be, if only we could hear it collectively from our 31st state. Imagine -California emerges from its’ state of denial, and admits that it is addicted to government spending. And then, after acknowledging its’ addiction, envision the government of California coming to believe that a power greater than itself (the private sector) could restore its’ sanity, and then turning itself over to the care of that greater power, and, in so doing, checking itself into “rehab.” Psychobabble and twelve-step metaphors can only go so far. But in all seriousness, our “friend” California has a very severe problem with spending, yet remains in denial. And there’s no indication that California will stop “using” anytime soon.

You Say Shah, I Say Sharia
Excerpt: By the way, just an aside here—but what’s the deal with President Barack Obama not supporting the people protesting in the streets of Tehran a while back, yet now supporting those in Egypt? Does he have a blind spot when it comes to Islamic states and a bias toward potential new ones? The other relevant story from history happened in early march of 1917, when the city of Petrograd (the name had been changed from St. Petersburg in 1914), then the capital of the Russian empire, was in very much the same kind of turmoil as what is going on now in Cairo. Hungry people took to the streets demanding bread and demonstrating their overall contempt for the authoritarian Tsar, Nicholas II. The autocrat ordered his troops to suppress the strikers, but they soon turned to the side of the protestors and Nicky’s days were quickly numbered. Within in a few days the Tsar ordered the Duma (a largely benign parliamentary body) to suspend sessions. But remarkably, the Duma muscled up and refused. Cue the music.

America the Conservative?
Excerpt: About one-third of Americans say they fall in the middle of the road. But "a very large portion of the people who tell pollsters they are 'moderates' are in fact loyal, partisan Democrats who view their own party as representing moderate views," writes Olsen in the journal National Affairs. "These voters are clearly not open to persuasion by the right or center-right, and they constitute a hidden 'liberal' component of the electorate that traditional poll questions tend to overlook." Not only that, but when people say they are conservative, they don't mean they subscribe to the philosophical tenets of the intellectual right. This is particularly true of white, working-class voters, whom Olsen credits for the Republican House sweep. As a rule, they don't like taxes or deficits, but they value public schools and Social Security. They resent welfare dependency but want a government safety net. These are common sentiments. Even after the GOP surge in November, Americans are not itching to dismantle big government. Hoover Institution pollster Douglas Rivers reports that in 15 of 16 areas of federal spending, most people want spending to stay the same or increase. The only program they would cut is foreign aid -- which is 1 percent of the budget. (When I was a state senator, every year I’d put an “issues” poll in the local newspapers, voters could clip and send to me. It was totally unscientific, mainly a PR gimmick, and heavily biased towards my more conservative supporters. I would ask, “What is the worst problem facing Massachusetts?” Of the alternatives listed, “Spending and Taxes” always led by a wide margin. Then I’d ask, “Should the Commonwealth spend more, less or the same in the following areas?” In every area except welfare, large margins said “more” or “the same.” They’d say “less” for welfare, but more for “helping children in poverty.” Of those who listed taxes and spending as the biggest problem, 70% listed at least one area they wanted more spending in, and 50% listed two or more areas where the government should spend more. I concluded that what the people wanted were lower taxes and higher spending. Politicians of both parties trying to give them that is why we are facing a fiscal collapse. ~Bob.)

Why Are You Connected to Human Traffickers?
Excerpt: When it comes to your own personal beliefs about slavery, sex traffic, and the exploitation of children, do you realize that you are involved in those practices? These are the most revolting realities in existence today and you are playing a significant role in keeping them going. It doesn't matter if you call yourself conservative, liberal, progressive, atheist, or evangelical, YOU are playing a role in the fate of nearly 3,000 children in New York City and tens of thousands most other cities across the United States. You are keeping them enslaved. You are insuring the depression, emotional stuntedness, and in some cases early suicide that is present in so many of these otherwise innocent children. This was all brought home again this week in the release of five new undercover videos, each of which demonstrated that our tax dollars are being used to break the law by aiding and abetting traffickers. Worse yet the organization that you are funding receives upwards of $363 million dollars a year from you, and allows the full range of the services they provide to assist sex traffickers.

Excerpt: Times are tough all over — so how nice that city taxpayers are contributing to Arizona’s economy. That’s the upshot of the Bloomberg administration’s bizarre undercover sting at a Phoenix gun show last month. Complete with locally hired private investigators and hidden cameras, the project cost $100,000 — out of the NYPD budget — to demonstrate that it’s really, really easy to buy a gun in Arizona. Who’da thunk it? The sting also showed that the average person can purchase a high-capacity handgun magazine similar to that used in last month’s Tucson shooting that killed six people and grievously wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Again, this is such profound news that New Yorkers had to foot the bill to discover it?

Elitist Theories Show Lack of Common Sense
Excerpt: What's behind the Tea Party protests, low approval ratings for Congress, distrust of the media and unease with experts in the Obama administration? In short, a growing anger at the sermonizing and condescension by many of America's elites. We see this specifically, for example, in the debate over global warming, which a year ago was accepted as gospel. The high profile of prestigious scientists, former public officials like Al Gore and Van Jones, and the Obama administration all made impending cap-and-trade legislation seem likely. Skeptics were derided as "deniers" and virtual know-nothings. But then the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm. First, several high academic priests of global warming were discredited. Leaked e-mails at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom revealed doctored evidence, personal vendettas and cover-ups among scientists.
More recently, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it had relied on faulty information, leading it to make inflated claims on impending manmade warming disasters involving Himalayan glaciers.

China in business with drug cartels
Excerpt: Last week, Mexican authorities seized over 23 tons of ethyl phenylacetate, which is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The drug component was discovered at the Pacific port of Manzanillo, in a shipment from China. In April 2010, Mexican officials seized 80 tons of phenylacetic acid and its derivatives shipped from Shanghai, China. Imports of ethyl phenylacetate require authorization from the country’s health ministry, so the shipments are intentionally mis-labeled before leaving China.

Glenn Beck on the spread of Islamic supremacism worldwide
I don’t watch Beck, , or for that matter much TV, but this is interesting. ~Bob. Excerpt: I spent over three hours with one of Beck's producers a few days ago, providing information for this report on the caliphate dreams of Islamic supremacists worldwide, and how they're advancing country-by-country. So be sure to watch this -- Beck is really getting the nature and magnitude of the global jihad threat, and is working to wake up to America.

Phony Heroes
List of stories.

Find the felons in your neighborhood

NRA News: UN Doomsday Treaty With Ginny Simone
I must admit I found the extent of the international anti-gun effort to be amazing, and even more amazing is their focus (from foreigners living in foreign lands!) on trying to help install anti-gun policies for American citizens in America. If we tried to push some form of favored US legislation on other countries this hard and this publicly, the international community and US Progressives would be screaming at the top of their lungs. But apparently it's OK to have people from Canada, Australia, and other countries way more than ready to insert themselves in our internal affairs. NOT!!! --Del

Egypt may well go the route of Iran
If Egypt goes the way of Iran, we got big trouble. Or should I say, more big trouble! ~Bob. Excerpt: Americans must learn two concepts to better understand the political earthquake the United States is pushing as President Obama gives his nod to "the Arab street," predominantly organized, it seems, by the Muslim Brotherhood, to force out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Many on the right see in the anti-Mubarak movement vindication of President George W. Bush's Big Idea -- that ballot-box democracy would transform the umma into Jeffersonian, or, at least, pro-Western and anti-jihad republics. That this hasn't happened anywhere (and in spades) doesn't dampen their enthusiasm. In fact, citing Bush is in vogue. Writing in the Washington Post, Elliott Abrams quotes Bush, circa 2003, as saying: "Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? ... Are they alone never to know freedom. ...?" Jay Nordlinger at National Review quotes Bush, circa 2008, as saying: "The truth is that freedom is a universal right -- the Almighty's gift to every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth.” Such is "universalist" gospel. Universalists believe all peoples prefer freedom to its absence, which is probably true. But they also believe all peoples define "freedom" in the same way. Is that true? The answer -- and first simple concept -- is no. The entry on freedom, or hurriyya, in the Encyclopedia of Islam describes a state of divine enthrallment that bears no resemblance to any Western understanding of freedom as predicated on the workings of the individual conscience.

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