Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Political Digest for January 18, 2012

Best older posts for new blog readers

Blocked Copy?
Some publications, e.g. the WSJ, sometimes give you only a teaser unless you are a subscriber. I only included links to articles where I was able to read the full copy. But if you find one blocked—no, I don’t know why it only does it sometimes—you can cut and paste the title into your browser and usually find a full copy on the Net. ~Bob.

Congressman Pete Sessions hobnobbing with famous blogger

Material Omissions in Regulatory Analyses of the Affordable Care Act
Excerpt: The primary complaint levied against the regulatory agencies responsible for these provisions is that their cost-benefit analysis was incomplete and superficial. …The cursory work that was done in regulatory analysis exhibits an attempt to exaggerate benefits and disguise costs. (Gee, what a surprise. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: An Ignored 'Disparity' By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: With all the talk about "disparities" in innumerable contexts, there is one very important disparity that gets remarkably little attention -- disparities in the ability to create wealth. People who are preoccupied, or even obsessed, with disparities in income are seldom interested much, or at all, in the disparities in the ability to create wealth, which are often the reasons for the disparities in income. In a market economy, people pay us for benefiting them in some way -- whether we are sweeping their floors, selling them diamonds or anything in between.

Excerpt: Humane treatment of the enemy dead and of prisoners are ideals for every army, and in the case of the American essential and most often followed — but not always. Read E.B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed, especially his horrifying chapter on Okinawa, for what the Japanese did to American corpses, and for occasional Americans (condemned by Sledge) disfiguring or looting of Japanese corpses. 

Resource Windfalls, Political Regimes, and Political Stability
Excerpt: We study theoretically and empirically whether natural resource windfalls affect political regimes. We document the following regularities. Natural resource windfalls have no effect on the political system when they occur in democracies. However, windfalls have significant political consequences in autocracies. In particular, when an autocratic country receives a positive shock to its flow of resource rents it responds by becoming even more autocratic.

More Firms Enjoy Tax-Free Status
Excerpt: Over the past several decades, a growing number of American businesses have been able to avoid having to pay anything toward federal corporate income taxes. These firms don't employ an army of accountants to shield profits in complex tax shelters. Their enviable tax position is perfectly legal and has been encouraged by Congress and state governments. Known as pass-throughs, these firms have been granted legal immunity from the tax liability in increasing numbers, says the Wall Street Journal. The percentage of U.S. corporations organized as nontaxable businesses has grown from about 24 percent in 1986 to about 69 percent as of 2008, according to the latest-available Internal Revenue Service data. By some estimates, more than 60 percent of U.S. businesses with profits of $1 million are structured as pass-throughs, the highest rate among developed countries. The popularity of tax-exempt status is one big reason why federal corporate tax collections amounted to just 1.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, compared with 2.7 percent in 2006 and 6.1 percent in 1952. Businesses have increasingly lobbied for broader exceptions to the corporate income tax, while others restructure in order to fit their companies into preexisting exceptions. Congress has been more or less compliant in this process, gradually creating more classes of corporations that qualify. All of this pressure is likely brought to bear because businesses are so keen to avoid the 35 percent corporate tax rate, one of the highest in the world. (Big government types never get that higher taxes often decrease government revenue. ~Bob.)

Airlines pocket windfall profits on fares to Europe, study says
The Greenies monkey with the economy, the average guy gets screwed. Every time. ~Bob. Excerpt: The study, found in the latest edition of the research publication the Journal of Air Transport Management, says that the airlines could profit by up to $2.6 billion over the next decade by raising prices more than necessary to pay the costs of the European Union's emissions trading scheme.

Worth Reading: How Stimulus Spending Ruined Buffalo By Steven Malanga
Excerpt: This is an old story for Buffalo. Ever since the city began losing its manufacturing base in the 1950s and gradually declined into one of America's poorest cities (the poverty rate today is nearly 29%), the federal and state governments have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into subsidized redevelopment schemes that have yielded few tangible benefits. Buffalo may be the paradigmatic example of why expensive government revitalization efforts often fail.

Obama administration warns the left: You will not like our budget
Excerpt: Top White House officials are warning liberal and labor leaders to brace themselves for President Obama’s budget proposal. (To win the GOP nomination, you must run far to the right, where the money, primary votes and activists are. Huntsman, who some pundits think is more conservative than Romney, forgot this, tried to run as a centrist in the primaries. To win the Democrat nomination, you must run far to the left, where, again, the money, activists and primary votes are. Then both candidates must at least pretend to be centrists, as they scramble for the middle, lying about what they said to get nominated. [See Clinton, Slick Willie.] Elections are won in the middle, decided by voters with short attention spans who pay little attention most of the time, and often can’t name their US Senators. Obama, with no nomination challenge, has the advantage this time of pretending to be a centrist now to build support in the middle, secure in the knowledge that the hard left will hardly sit home and let any Republican be elected without voting against him. Thus Obama’s sudden concern for small business, streamlining the government—without actually firing any Democrat union members—and cutting the bloated budget by a tiny, but understandable amount. As H. L. Mencken said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” ~Bob.)

‘Epic Battles’ Will Seal Senate’s Fate
Excerpt: When one party has 23 Senate seats up for grabs and the other party has just 10, the side with more than twice as much exposure starts off with an enormous disadvantage. Nobody envies the predicament that Senate Democrats are in—clinging to a narrow 53-47 majority and defending seven open seats, while Republicans are defending just two. The Cook Political Report’s Senate expert, Jennifer Duffy, defines four critical races as “epic battles.” The outcome of this foursome will determine whether Senate Democrats will just have a bad night in November, holding their majority by the narrowest of margins, or a disastrous one, losing their majority before polls are even closed in some states.

US and Iran inch closer to military conflict
Excerpt: The likelihood of military conflict between the United States and Iran is higher now than at any time in more than two decades, military analysts say, as tensions continue to escalate over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and blustery rhetoric. While full-blown war might not be on the immediate horizon, the conditions for military skirmishes are as ripe as they’ve been since 1988, when Iran laid mines against U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf and the United States destroyed Iranian oil platforms in response. (Obama will want to push to get Iran to shoot first, but delay military action until about July or August. A Splendid Little War will help him in November. ~Bob.)

Does God Care Who Wins Football Games? by Fran Tarkenton
Excerpt: Tim Tebow is not unique. Even on his own team, there are notably devout players like safety Brian Dawkins. In fact, the NFL has had a number of players who were outspoken in their faith.

South Carolinians Have a Right to Work
Excerpt: This week, all eyes are on South Carolina as the Palmetto State votes on Saturday in the next Republican presidential primary contest. Jobs and the economy are rightly being debated by the entire political spectrum. It's not the first time in the past year that South Carolina has been center stage when it comes to jobs in a country struggling to get back on its feet. Last year, the Obama Administration took aim at Boeing when the Seattle-based company sought to build a new assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina, in order to produce the 787 Dreamliner.

Eric Holder, Voter ID, and the
Chicago Way
Excerpt: As Eric Holder — the brains behind both the Fast and Furious gun-running scam and the decision to vacate a conviction of Black Panthers who stood at a Philadelphia polling place harassing white voters — would tell you, South Carolina is not interested in safeguarding the integrity of the franchise. Those southerners are just trying to prevent minorities from voting. The hard-won battle over the Voting Rights Act is being overturned. (Since several states already have voter ID laws, and at least some of those states have a large Democrat presence—Rhode Island, for example, where Democrats control both legislative houses and the governorship—this isn’t a purely partisan issue. The only reason to oppose these laws is that fraud is ALREADY planned. Here in Massachusetts, as in Chicago, voter fraud may well be the automatic default plan. In a close election, even a mere few hundred votes could determine who gets seated. Ron P. Between 2004 and 2008, Indiana instituted voter ID—and voter turnout went up. It’s not very effective at “suppressing the vote.” ~Bob.)

Vietnam's navy unveils first home-made warship
Excerpt: Vietnam's navy has taken delivery of its first locally-made warship, equipped with artillery and missile systems, local media report. The Hong Ha shipbuilding company started building the model in 2009 and tested the warship last year.

Most in poll think Romney will clinch GOP nomination
Excerpt: Mitt Romney holds a strong lead nationally in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with a 2 to 1 advantage over his closest competitors, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Battle Hymn of the Republic
Need a pick up? ~Bob.

Former Muslim woman speaks about Islamic terrorism
Worth sharing. ~Bob.

Tourist’s brothers in arms--Saving USMC Private Ryan Jerome in NYC
Excerpt: They’re fighting to save Private Ryan — from jail. Marines across the country are rushing to the rescue of former fellow leatherneck Ryan Jerome, who is facing prison time after trying to check his Indiana-registered handgun at the Empire State Building on Sept. 27. In multiple blog and chat-group postings and letter-writing campaigns — some aimed directly at NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, a Marine Vietnam veteran — the Marines are urging that the charges be dropped against their “brother.” (So, stay the hell out of NYC, Chicago and other places that respect only the rights of thugs. Take your tourist dollars where you are respected. ~Bob.)

War in the Gulf - An Analysis
Excerpt: If a war begins in the neighborhood of the Persian Gulf, it will likely have less to do with a slugging match between Israel and Iran, than a simmering Sunni-Shiite war that is about to flare up into regional violence through a combination of factors dating back decades and recent events in the region.

Valerie Jarrett Uses Ebenezer Baptist Church To Give Political Speech

Holder decries states' efforts to restrict ease of voting
Excerpt: Speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday event in Columbia, Holder said some states had sued to challenge provisions of the Voting Rights Act and had approved new laws that would make it difficult for some minorities to register and vote this year, five decades after King and other civil rights leaders fought for access to the ballot box.

Political Humor from The Patriot Post
Some good cartoons. ~Bob.

Back With a Vengeance: The EU Debt Crisis By Arnold Ahlert
Excerpt: Greece is facing a must-make payment of $17.9 billion on its debt load on March 20th. In October, European leaders had agreed to a second bailout package for the beleaguered nation that required private bondholders to bear part of the burden. A 50 percent "haircut" on the value of those bonds is necessary in order to reduce Greece's overall debt load by $127 billion.

Can Real Liberalism and the Democratic Party Be Saved from the Radical Takeover?
Excerpt: The far left has at least temporarily won the battle of ideas in the United States and taken over institutions by pretending to be “liberal.” Meanwhile, actual traditional liberalism, which ruled those institutions for many decades, has vanished. Suddenly, we are supposed to believe that “class warfare,” anti-capitalism, hatred of America, Stalinist-style treatment of opponents, the glorification of the extremist Occupy movement, a mass media all too devoted to propaganda, and a betrayal of Enlightenment values are normative liberal ideas! (My answer is a loud, echoing “NO!” Almost no one remembers their history, not even from just a few years ago. As long as “liberals” control both the media and academia and both are dedicated to protecting their political power, our chance of success is small. Why bother to fight? Because even a small chance is better than no chance. Ron P. Churchill wrote, “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” ~Bob.)

Suicidal standards for America’s troops By Arthur Herman
Excerpt: Let’s stipulate three things about this video purportedly showing four Marines urinating on the bodies of their Taliban foes. … Second, if those Marines did do what it shows them doing, they brought dishonor on themselves and have unwittingly given aid and comfort to their enemies. Third, there are those who are consciously giving that aid and comfort by using the video to traduce the most civilized and humane fighting force in history.

Resigning Yourself to Romney: A Guide For the Disgruntled
Excerpt: A conservative who disdains Romney and refuses to vote for him is effectively voting for Obama. Anyone who thinks an unfettered Obama, governing without a care in the world about reelection, will not intensify his flagrant attack on the Constitution of the United States and won’t continue arrogantly to disregard the wishes of the American people on Obamacare is making a major mistake. The incumbent -- with his rejection of the spirit of our nation and its history; his bowing to the dictators of Saudi Arabia and China while insulting our most dependable allies; his egregious judgment on the economy, foreign policy, national security, defense, the judiciary, and the administration of justice; his adamant refusal to understand the threat posed by Iranian nuclear weapons, to mention only a fraction of his deficiencies -- will continue his unconscionable rampage against all that's precious to conservatives unless he is stopped. And the only man who stands a chance of stopping him is Willard Mitt Romney. Whatever Romney is, in his heart of hearts, here's what he isn't: he isn't Barack Obama.

Canadian Oil Project Drifts Closer to China
Excerpt: Last week Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper demonstrated that he’s more than willing to do that which his counterpart in the White House is unable or unwilling to do: display a little backbone when dealing with radical environmentalists and their pet causes. Harper’s administration both commenced hearings on an alternative pipeline that would be used to ship Canadian crude to China, as well as putting the “green movement” on notice that extremism masquerading as environmentalism will no longer be tolerated in the Great White North.

Agenda Journalism
Excerpt: Reporters and news writers not only assume that they understand a story before it unfolds, they approach events with a cookie-cutter mentality, a prefabricated plot line. They come equipped with an entrenched political perspective that enables them to shape the news according to prior specification, a practice that has come to be known as “agenda journalism.”

No-kidding red lines: U.S. response to an Iranian nuke may be bluster, but Israel's won't be By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
Excerpt: "Don't do it." That is the message American officials, from President Obama on down, are delivering to their Israeli counterparts in the hope of dissuading the Jewish state from taking a fateful step: attacking Iran to prevent the mullahs' imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons.

House GOP pushes to rescind $100 billion IMF, Eurozone bailout fund By Matthew Boyle
Excerpt: Washington Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who has led the fight in Congress against providing a European bailout with U.S. taxpayer cash, told The Daily Caller that this $100 billion line of credit received some attention — but not nearly enough — when it was created in 2009.“It was attached to another bill and it was part of funding for defense,” McMorris Rodgers told The Daily Caller in a phone interview. “There were some concerns raised at the time, and every single Republican had voted against this authorization of an additional $100 billion for the line of credit.”

Gingrich and Juan Williams Food Stamp Exchange Brings Debate Crowd to Its Feet
Excerpt: You know, my daughter, Jackie, who’s sitting back there, Jackie Cushman, reminded me that her first job was at First Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia, doing janitorial work at 13. And she liked earning the money. She liked learning that if you worked, you got paid. She liked being in charge of her own money, and she thought it was a good start.

Greece Default Likely by Mike Shedlock
Excerpt: Greece sent senior officials to Washington on Monday for meetings with the International Monetary Fund as it raced against the clock to break a deadlock in debt swap talks that has raised fears of an unruly default. Barely a month after an injection of bailout funds helped avert bankruptcy, Greece is back at the centre of the euro zone crisis as fears of a default and a subsequent euro zone exit overshadow a mass credit downgrade of euro zone countries.

Egyptian Child Preacher Muhammad Osama Recounts Antisemitic Hadith: Jews Hide Behind the Gharqad Tree When Muslims Come to Kill Them on Judgment Day
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Muhammad Osama: Through the worship [of Allah], we shall gain victory over our enemies, strengthen our religion, and defeat the Jews. The Messenger of Allah said: "Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the trees and the stones, and then the trees and the stones will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the gharqad tree will not speak because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

Switzerland: Muslim hacks daughter to death with axe for dating a Christian
Excerpt: It is no accident or coincidence that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.

MLK on Jews and Israel

Growing use of Sharia by UK Muslims By Divya Talwar
Excerpt: Despite the growing demand for Sharia law in Britain, there is also increasing opposition by some groups who argue that the practice discriminates against women.
The Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO) is campaigning to bring an end to the practice. ''We have spoken to many women and all of them tell us the same story; Sharia law is not providing them with the justice they seek. The councils are dominated by men, who are making judgements in favour of men,'' said Diana Nammi. (But the Obama administration wants Shari’a honored here, with all it’s gender discrimination. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Now Perry's support has declined by 31 points, leaving him in 3rd place at 18%. Mitt Romney at 24% and Newt Gingrich at 23% lead the way with Rick Santorum at 15%, Ron Paul at 12%, and Buddy Roemer at 0% rounding out the field behind Perry.

The Leaf-Blower Paradox and the Fundamental Fallacy of Obamanomics
This is brilliant, funny, and scary, all at the same time. Ron P. Excerpt: The neighbors would come back from their jobs at the end of the day, and see all the leaves on their lawns, and they’d call up their own gardeners who would proceed to do the exact same thing in reverse — blow all the same leaves back into my relative’s and adjacent neighbors’ yards. This cycle would go on across the entire tract, because the same leaf-shedding trees had been planted along every street: everyone would hire gardeners to blow the leaves back and forth from yard to yard. At the end of each week, exactly nothing had been achieved: all the leaves were back where they started.

Valerie Jarrett Getting Secret Service Protection?
Excerpt: In a story initially broken by WhiteHouseDossier reporter Keith Koffler, it appears controversial and highly influential senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has justified utilizing taxpayer funded Secret Service protection. Local reports of Jarrett’s recent visit to a church in Atlanta indicated the presence of Secret Service agents. Such a presence would be rather unusual for someone simply described as a presidential adviser: (Probably afraid of the Mensheviks. ~Bob.)

Obama channels Cheney By Iain Murray And David Bier
Excerpt: President Barack Obama came into office pledging to end such secrecy, saying, "The way to make government accountable is to make it transparent." On his own energy agenda, however, the president has been as opaque as Cheney, repeatedly holding closed-door meetings, anonymously courting lobbyists, dodging Freedom of Information Act requests, and ignoring subpoenas from Congress.

Update: Girl caught in crossfire after MLK parade in downtown Little Rock
Somebody didn’t get the “MLK is for non-violence” memo. ~Bob.

Christians, Muslims almost equal in numbers in Africa
Excerpt: Northern Africa is heavily Muslim and southern Africa is mostly Christian but where the two religions meet in a 4,000-mile belt from Somalia to Senegal has often turned violent, especially in Nigeria, where hundreds of Muslims and Christians have died since January fighting each other. At least 45 percent of the Christians surveyed in Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda and Chad - which topped the list at 70 percent - consider Muslims to be violent. Far smaller percentages of Muslims see Christians as violent … (Imagine that. Ask yourself this. Followers of which religion are most likely to be exterminated or driven out by followers of the other. Remembering that in living memory, Lebanon was a Christian-majority country. ~Bob.)

Newt Gingrich versus Ron Paul on Foreign Policy

Holder’s L.A. Times Lackey “Breaks” The ATF White Gun Story
Excerpt: But it is not his skill or work ethic as an investigative reporter which have endeared him to the left. Rather, it is the fact that, true to form, he managed to make the ATF, its Department of Justice bosses, and even disgraced former U.S Attorney Dennis Burke look good in the process. Serrano has been a “go-to” guy for the “approved” breaking of stories dealing with Eric Holder and the Department of Justice for years. In fact, their relationship goes all the way back to the days of Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing aftermath.

Valerie Jarrett Blasts Republicans – Threatens Layoffs of Teachers, Firefighters, and Police
Excerpt: Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett, once described as Barack Obama’s “brain”, went on the attack this morning during an MSNBC interview that saw the senior White House adviser defending her now infamous politically-motivated speech at an Atlanta church this past Sunday. Jarrett pointed a finger of blame directly on Republicans in Congress, declaring they were putting American jobs in jeopardy by not allowing full passage of the oft-spoken of ”Obama Jobs Plan” that even Democrats in the Senate have all but ignored due to its increases in deficit spending and little actual job creation – much like the first near trillion dollar Obama stimulus plan that was passed in 2009.

Your Internet at Stake: Important Notice on Craigslist re HR3261 (SOPA) and S968 (PIPA)
Excerpt: Corporate supporters of HR3261 (SOPA) and S968 (PIPA) demand the ability to take down any web site that affects their profits -- without due process or judicial oversight -- in the name of combating "online piracy." Hoping you won't notice or care, quite a few of our Public Servants want to give them that right.

Twin Marines welcomed home for Christmas.

Obama Admin Loses Fight to Persecute Pro-Life Activist
Excerpt: The Obama administration has lost one round of a legal battle it is waging in court against a Florida pro-life advocate — a battle that saw the administration unfairly seek to punish a peaceful sidewalk counselor under a law meant to stop violence and intimidation. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice had sought to levy thousands of dollars in fines against pro-life activist Mary Susan Pine as well as seeking a permanent injunction banning her from continuing her faithful 20-year ministry outside an abortion clinic in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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