Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Political Digest May 18, 2010

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. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with them. I have to say all this to give some of my critics the benefit of the doubt, assuming they are thick, rather than deliberately taking things the wrong way.

Newt calls out Kagan, Harvard on Military, Saudi money
This is exactly right. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was not the Military’s policy. It was Clinton’s policy the military was required to follow.

Iran to ship uranium to Turkey in nuclear deal
Excerpt: Iran agreed Monday to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey in a nuclear fuel swap deal that could ease the international standoff over the country's disputed nuclear program, just as pressure mounts for tougher sanctions. The deal was reached in talks with Brazil and Turkey, elevating a new group of mediators for the first time in the dispute over Iran's nuclear activities. "It was agreed during the trilateral meeting of Iranian, Turkish and Brazilian leaders that Turkey will be the venue for swapping" Iran's stocks of enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods to power a medical research reactor, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on state TV Monday. The deal would deprive Iran - at least temporarily - of the stocks of enriched uranium that it could process to the higher levels of enrichment needed in weapons production.

Iran agrees to exchange of nuclear material
Excerpt: Reporting from Beirut: In what could be a stunning breakthrough in the years-long diplomatic deadlock over Iran's nuclear program, Tehran has agreed to send the bulk of its nuclear material to Turkey as part of an exchange meant to ease international concerns about the Islamic Republic's aims and provide fuel for an ailing medical reactor, the spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry told state television Monday morning. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told state television that a letter describing the deal would be sent to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency within a week. "After a final agreement is signed between Iran and the Vienna group, our fuel will be shipped to Turkey under the supervision of Iran and the IAEA," he told journalists on the sidelines of a conference of developing nations. "Then we will dispatch 1,200 kilograms [2,640 pounds] of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms [264 pounds] of 20% enriched uranium from the Vienna group."

Public Opinion at the Time of the Vote on Health Care Reform
Excerpt: On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed a major health care reform law, about which public opinion was generally reported to be sharply divided. We undertook a comprehensive review of findings from 33 independent polls conducted before and immediately after Congress voted on the legislation and the President signed it, in order to examine the state of public opinion at the time it was enacted and to explore the possible implications for public support over the course of its implementation phase (see Opinion Polls on Health Care Reform). Specifically, we examined the overall public support just before enactment; public support at that time for particular elements of the legislation, including elements that were debated but ultimately excluded; Americans’ perceptions of the law’s anticipated impact on the country and their own families; public opinion shortly after the President signed it into law; and possible implications of the vote on this legislation for the November 2010 congressional elections. Table 1 shows the level of overall public support for the legislation in the weeks immediately before enactment. In none of the 10 polls did a majority favor the proposed legislation. However, these polls presented three different pictures: nearly equal proportions favoring and opposing the legislation (ABC, February; KFF, March; AP); a plurality expressing opposition (Newsweek; Ipsos–McClatchy, February; Pew, March; CBS, March 18 to 21; NBC–WSJ); and a majority expressing opposition (CNN, March 19 to 21; Fox, March). These variations may have been caused by several factors, such as the context in which the question was asked and the way the legislation was described. The variation in results is important to recognize, since news organizations, political figures, and ultimately historians may present different pictures of the legislation’s popularity depending on which poll informs their judgment.

Lawyers lining up for class-action suits over oil spill
Surprise! Excerpt: On April 21, with the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig still in flames, John W. Degravelles and a group of other lawyers sued for damages. In the first of at least 88 suits filed since the disaster, they were seeking compensation for the widow of a Transocean worker who went missing and is presumed dead.

Palin calls Fiorina and other Republican candidates 'mama grizzlies'
Excerpt: Sarah Palin appears to be building a pack of "mama grizzlies" in the 2010 elections that could send a powerful political message if she decides to run for president in 2012. In the past 10 days, Palin has thrown her endorsement behind former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina, who is running for the Republican Senate nomination in California; state Rep. Nikki Haley, a candidate for governor in South Carolina; and Susana Martinez, the Dona Ana County district attorney seeking the GOP nod in the New Mexico governor's race. "This year will be remembered as the year that common-sense conservative women get things done for our country," the former Alaska governor said Friday in a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List, a political group opposed to abortion. "The mama grizzlies, they rise up."

America's Approaching Debt Disaster
Excerpt: When the Greek economy melted down recently its citizens rioted in the streets. Some have called it "the death-spiral of a welfare state" -- too much borrowing for too many social programs for too long. Eventually, the bottom falls out. But if you don't think the economic chaos in Greece can come to America, economists say think again. America is on a fiscal course economists warn is unsustainable - racking up debts we will not be able to repay. This nation, they warn, is already on the path to economic ruin.

Yes, Free Trade Has Its Deadlines
Excerpt: The Obama administration has contented itself with talking a good game on free trade pacts and then doing nothing, citing "glitches." In reality, de facto deadlines lie ahead that will cost it big if this goes on. President Obama's failure to go to bat for three pending free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea is becoming a problem. Sixteen months into his presidency, he has paid lip service to free trade but kept the pacts on ice, in deference to Big Labor. This weight given to one interest group has driven much of Obama's Cabinet and now Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry into a revolt of sorts, given the importance of these pacts to U.S. interests. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week made an impassioned plea at the Council of the Americas for Colombia to hang on just a bit longer for its pact, assuring Bogota of the U.S. "commitment" even as the trade deals have languished for nearly four years. She tried to convince Colombia's foreign minister that the White House wants free trade deals passed and acknowledged how far the Colombians had bent over backward to accommodate Democrats. (When Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley bill, collapsing international trade, it locked in the Great Depression. But they never learn.)

Detroit Shrinks Itself, Historic Homes and All
The future of most cities under welfare socialism. Excerpt: Wrecking crews are preparing to tear down a landmark 5,000-square-foot house in the posh neighborhood of Palmer Woods in the coming weeks, a sign that Detroit is finally getting serious about razing thousands of vacant and abandoned structures across the city. In leveling 1860 Balmoral Drive, the boyhood home of one-time presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Detroit is losing a small piece of its history. But the project is part of a demolition effort that is just now gaining momentum and could help define the city's future. Detroit is finally chipping away at a glut of abandoned homes that has been piling up for decades, and intends to take advantage of warm weather and new federal funding to demolish some 3,000 buildings by the end of September. Mayor Dave Bing has pledged to knock down 10,000 structures in his first term as part of a nascent plan to "right-size" Detroit, or reconfigure the city to reflect its shrinking population. When it's all over, said Karla Henderson, director of the Detroit Building Department, "There's going to be a lot of empty space." Mr. Bing hasn't yet fully articulated his ultimate vision for what comes after demolition, but he has said entire areas will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. For now, his plan calls for the tracts to be converted to other uses, such as parks or farms.

Beach House Bailout??!!
Excerpt: The latest Washington bailout is one of the most ridiculous yet. It's a bailout that we'll all be forced to pay for to rebuild luxury beach houses in Florida (and possibly California) and take reckless state governments off the fiscal hook. Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) wants us to pay for the Homeowner's Defense Act (H.R. 2555), which would make federal taxpayers pick up the tab for a disastrous state-run insurance program for Florida's hurricane-prone beaches. The House may vote as soon as next week on this legislation. Click here to tell Congress to vote NO on the beach house bailout! Florida has set up a government-run insurance program that promises far more in benefits than they actually can afford to pay. Because of this reckless program, one bad storm could break the state of Florida. So Ron Klein and his Democratic allies are turning to the federal government to bail out Florida and force all of us to pick up the tab.

How Fighting Health Fraud Is Like Playing Whack-A-Mole
Excerpt: Health care fraud bilks taxpayers and the government out of $65 billion — with a "B" — a year. And no wonder. Lots of money makes a ripe target. And a combination of private and public payers makes for a convoluted system that's easy to game, despite plenty of people looking to combat crime. But even as federal officials today tout the recovery of $2.5 billion in Medicare overpayments last year, they are also looking at parts of the new health law designed to make criminals think twice about padding Medicare bills or just flat-out charging for care never provided. The law provides $300 million over the next 10 years for stricter enforcement of health fraud and allows the Department of Health and Human Services greater latitude to investigate companies — using fingerprinting, site visits and even criminal background checks — before they start billing Medicare or Medicaid. Last fiscal year, officials opened more than 1,000 new health care fraud investigations. The changes come as schemes to defraud the system get bolder.

Climategate Taxpayer Fraud Investigation Draws Ideological Heat
Excerpt: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has used the power of government to seek documents from the University of Virginia regarding its former professor and Climategate figure of "hockey stick" fame, Michael Mann. Mr. Cuccinelli is investigating whether Professor Mann engaged in fraud to obtain taxpayer money to fund his research. The civil investigation is making some people sweat, and raised howls of protest from sources ranging from the liberal Washington Post to the libertarian Reason.... Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which should be investigating Climategate but isn't, chimed in: "One can only conclude that [Cuccinelli's] investigation is motivated by the desire to silence those with whom [he] disagree[s]." Mr. Moran, not known as a defender of the First Amendment, may want to be more circumspect lest he arouse suspicions that he doth protest too much. As Jason Zweig reports at The Wall Street Journal, congressional committee chairs such as Mr. Moran may use "insider information" garnered through their committee positions to direct their personal investments. That would be unlawful for you or me. The issue of global warming has already affected financial markets, making certain members of the political class very wealthy. (Like, say, Al Gore, who was reportedly worth $2M when he left office, $100M today. Global Warming has been very good to many.)

U.-Va. hires legal counsel as it prepares for possible fight over Cuccinelli subpoena
Excerpt: The University of Virginia has hired the big law firm Hogan Lovells to help the school evaluate its options in responding to a civil subpoena from the state attorney general seeking documents related to the work of a former professor. It's the strongest indication yet that the school is seriously considering fighting the subpoena in court, as various academic groups have urged. "The University and its Board of Visitors believe it is important to respond to this [civil information demand]," said John O. Wynne, the Rector of the university, in his first statement on the issue. "Research universities must defend the privilege of academic freedom in the creation of new knowledge. Hogan Lovells will help us to explore the appropriate options for a response." The university has until May 27 to decide whether to petition a court to intervene. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is seeking documents related to the work of global warming scientist Michael Mann, who worked at the university until 2005 and is now at Penn State. Cuccinelli, an outspoken global warming skeptic, has said he is investigating whether Mann defrauded taxpayers as he sought grant money for his research.

A cooling trend
Excerpt: The story of the scientists’ relationship is much more than a curiosity. The fact that these serious-minded colleagues and longtime friends disagree so vehemently highlights the immense difficulty of finding common ground on human-caused global warming. That’s because their disagreements are not just about interpretations of scientific data, but about how they assess the risks, amid the uncertainty over global warming’s future impact. Their divide mirrors a much larger political split, as the US Senate begins to debate a climate bill written in large part by Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry. All parties to the debate have the same evidence to draw on; their conclusions are another matter. Lindzen and Emanuel’s collision spotlights the ultimate sticking point: What steps should we take, and at what cost? That is: How much insurance against the possibility of catastrophe should a prudent planet buy?

Crony Capitalism
Excerpt: To understand the pertinence to America of events in Greece, notice General Motors' most recent misbehavior. A television commercial featuring CEO Ed Whitacre demonstrates the institutional murkiness and intellectual dishonesty that result when the line between public and private sectors disappears. In the commercial, Whitacre says GM has "repaid our government loan in full." Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., noted that GM used government funds to pay back the government: It "simply transferred $6.7 billion from one taxpayer-funded TARP account to another." The government still owns 60.8 percent of GM's common equity, and the Congressional Budget Office projects that the government will lose about $34 billion of the $82 billion of TARP funds dispersed to the automotive industry. When Ryan and two colleagues asked the Treasury Department for clarification, they got this careful reply: "Treasury has never suggested that the loan repayment represented a full return of all government assistance." A Treasury press release did say "GM Repays Treasury Loan in Full." The loan is, however, a small part of taxpayer exposure. Under crony capitalism, when government and corporate America merge, both dissemble. Now American taxpayers also own a little bit of a small nation. They provide the U.S. contribution of 17 percent of the assets of the International Monetary Fund, which is giving Greece $39 billion (the IMF also is contributing $321 billion to a "stabilization" fund for other eurozone nations with debt problems). So the U.S. government, which would borrow 42 cents of every dollar it spends under the president's 2011 budget, is borrowing to rescue Greece and others from the consequences of their borrowing. That nation, whose GDP is below that of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is "too big to fail," meaning too inconveniently connected to too many big banks. Bailing out Greece really rescues European banks that improvidently bought Greek bonds.

Interpreting rules of religion rights
Excerpt: A more dangerous and disturbing story this week is titled, "Senior citizens told they can't pray before meals." In Port Wentworth, Ga., patrons of the Ed Young Senior Center, owned by the city of Port Wentworth but operated contractually by Senior Centers Inc., were told they could observe a moment of silence, but not pray aloud before eating their federally subsidized food. The folks at Senior Centers, Inc. interpreted the guidelines issued by the state Office on Aging to prohibit the free and open expression of faith simply because $5.45 worth of the $6 per plate meal is paid for with federal funds. No wonder Comedy Central thinks G0d is apathetic.

Mrs. Obama and Fat Government
Excerpt: "The closest thing to immortality on this Earth," Ronald Reagan once said, "is a federal government program." We still have a Rural Electrification Administration for Heaven's sake (though it's been renamed) -- FDR's program to bring electrical power to rural areas. No problem that the federal government undertakes to tackle can ever be recognized as solved because to do so would mean the dissolution of an agency. And if the federal program creates new problems, well, those are then excuses for new agencies. Consider the problem of obesity. Under the leadership of the first lady, the Obama administration has unveiled a series of proposals to combat obesity in children. Among the 70 recommendations: new federal subsidies for fruits and vegetables; taxes on sodas, candy, and junk food; and mandates on federally funded and private health programs to cover obesity-related problems. Mrs. Obama and her crack team of federal do-gooders did not consider that the federal government is also in the business of feeding a significant portion of the population. The scale of federal nutrition programs is actually quite staggering. One in eight adult Americans now receives food stamps, along with 25 percent of children. More than half of all American infants are on the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program. Sixty-two percent of American schoolchildren who eat school lunches are getting free or reduced-price meals. How in the world did programs intended to keep the neediest Americans from malnutrition end up feeding -- even overfeeding -- such a huge percentage of the population?

Barack Obama's FCC Information Police
Excerpt: To further corrupt the meaning of "balance," even after admitting that "no matter how the data is analyzed" conservative talk dominates "over and over again," the CAP report implied that talk radio balance means half conservative, half progressive programming. This is instructive. Although twice as many Americans self-identify as conservative versus liberal, the liberal meaning of balance mutates from allotment according to real-life proportions to equal market share. Armed with any redefinitions required, FCC Chief Diversity Officer Lloyd is now in a position to rebalance political talk radio. To understand how "balance" could be achieved, we refer again to President Obama's warning that Hampton graduates must avoid information that becomes distracting. Precisely how can one recognize distracting information? A clue lies in the CAP report's insistence that broadcast companies serve "the listening needs of all Americans." The key word is "needs." Liberals assume that people should need only the information that liberals want people to have. Other information constitutes "distraction." (People don’t like art? People don’t like progressive radio? Tough—taxpayers have to subsidize it so the elites can have what they like—bad art and bad philosophy.)

Carving Up Jerusalem
Excerpt: When I first heard Joe Biden going ballistic over Israel’s plans to build housing in Jerusalem, I thought I must be dreaming. But when Secretary of State Clinton voiced her own outrage, insisting that Israel’s making such an announcement while our vice president was in Israel, was an insult not only to Biden, but to the United States, I realized that not even in those dreams where I’m tall, good-looking and know how to play the piano, have I been so out of touch with reality. After all, these were the same two people who have been so careful not to insult Iran or any of the other gangster states in Africa or the Middle East, lowering the boom on an ally for doing something as benign as building housing for its citizens. Which, it seems to me, isn’t quite as bad as developing a nuclear bomb while vowing to annihilate one of its neighbors. It took New York’s Daniel Greenfield, who writes under the nom de blog of Sultan Knish, to bring some pertinent facts to light, for which I am in his debt. In 1990, it seems that Sen. Biden co-sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which resolved that Congress acknowledge that Jerusalem is and should remain the capital of Israel and remain an undivided city. In 1992, Biden also co-sponsored Senate Consecutive Resolution 113, which resolved that Congress congratulates the people of Israel on the 25th anniversary of the reunification of that historic city; that Congress believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city; and called upon the President and the Secretary of State to issue an unequivocal statement in support of those principles.

Has It Become a Sin To Be White?
Actually, they have controlled the debate so much that for asking this question, the Rabbi will be branded a racist. It’s funny to see all-white panels on MSNBC branding the tea parties as racist for being too white. Funny but scary. Excerpt: Over the past few months, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post and Democrat politicians, including former President Clinton and others, have questioned the legitimacy of the Tea Party movement because, as they say, it is “too white.” To them, such “whiteness” is evidence of “racism.” They are attempting to drumbeat into the American consciousness two principles: one, that political speech and positions vocalized primarily by white people is, basically, invalid; and, two, opinions emanating from non-liberal white people is motivated by racism. Throughout the entire healthcare debate, liberals assigned “racism” to those opposed to the massive overhaul. In fact, the opposition among the middle class had nothing to do with “hidden racism” but was a neutral and understandable desire to maintain for themselves the liberty to choose their own doctor, the fear of diminished quality care, the horror of being over-taxed to a degree that leaves little disposable income for working parents for their own family, and the bedrock, historic American belief of self-responsibility.

The Roots of the Tea Parties
Excerpt: The sight of middle-class Americans rallying to protest overtaxing, overspending, Wall Street bailouts, and government-directed health care scares the bejeezus out of a lot of people. The elite media are full of stories declaring the Tea Partiers to be racists, John Birchers, Glenn Beck zombies, and God knows what. So it’s a relief to read a sensible discussion (subscription required) by John Judis, the decidedly leftist but serious journalist-historian at the New Republic. Once the managing editor of the journal Socialist Revolution, Judis went on to write a biography of William F. Buckley Jr. and other books, so he knows something about ideological movements in the United States. Judis isn’t happy about the Tea Party movement, but he warns liberals not to dismiss it as fringe, AstroTurf, or a front group for the GOP: But the Tea Party movement is not inauthentic, and—contrary to the impression its rallies give off—it isn’t a fringe faction either. It is a genuine popular movement, one that has managed to unite a number of ideological strains from U.S. history—some recent, some older. These strains can be described as many things, but they cannot be dismissed as passing phenomena. Much as liberals would like to believe otherwise, there is good reason to think the Tea Party movement could exercise considerable influence over our politics in the coming years.

Pelosi: ObamaCare Helps Artists Avoid Hassle of Working
Excerpt: ObamaCare creates incentives not to climb the economic ladder. It also creates incentives not to work at all; able-bodied people can quit their jobs, safe in the knowledge that the working man will foot the bill for any health care they may need. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks that’s a not a bug, but a feature of the new law, at least if those able-bodied non-paycheck earners are artists.

Lessons From Venezuela’s 21st Century Socialism
Excerpt: The accomplishments of Venezuela’s “Socialism of the 21st Century” are looking very much like those of old-fashioned socialism with basic goods shortages, high inflation, negative growth, blackouts, water rationing, the persecution of Hugo Chávez’s critics, plus skyrocketing crime. Now Chávez is accusing his enemies of sabotaging his TV and Radio program, “Alo Presidente” because it suffers from continuous technical problems on the air, including sound interruptions and the loss of the satellite signal. An upset Chávez observes: ”The problems are very frequent here, almost every day. I don’t understand how you have so much equipment, so much technology…. By contrast, you see the private channels and that doesn’t happen…. And for me it’s almost every day that there is a problem here and there.” Chávez’s 21st century solution? He has ordered his military intelligence to investigate.

Taliban Hold Sway in Area Taken by U.S., Farmers Say
Excerpt: Farmers from the district of Marja, which since February has been the focus of the largest American-led military operation in Afghanistan, are fleeing the area, saying that the Taliban are terrorizing the population and that American troops cannot protect the civilians. The departure of the farmers is one of the most telling indications that Taliban fighters have found a way to resume their insurgency, three months after thousands of troops invaded this Taliban stronghold in the opening foray of a campaign to take control of southern Afghanistan. Militants have been infiltrating back into the area and the prospect of months of more fighting is undermining public morale, residents and officials said.

High Court: 'Sexually Dangerous' Can Be Kept in Prison
Excerpt: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered "sexually dangerous" after their prison terms are complete. The high court reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions of considered "sexually dangerous." "The statute is a 'necessary and proper' means of exercising the federal authority that permits Congress to create federal criminal laws, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned and to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned by who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others," said Justice Stephen Breyer, writing the majority opinion.

Public Corruption Index
Not too surprised at the low rankings of many Communist and Muslim countries. With Mexico in the middle, world must be in tough shape. The US is 19th, but if we could get rid of Chicago, Detroit and some other Democrat-run strongholds, we could move up in the list.

I missed when first published. A must read: Welcome to Rome
Excerpt: Sometimes you do live to see it. In my book America Alone, I point out that, to a five-year-old boy waving his flag as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession marched down the Mall in 1897, it would have been inconceivable that by the time of his 80th birthday the greatest empire the world had ever known would have shriveled to an economically moribund strike-bound socialist slough of despond, one in which (stop me if this sounds familiar) the government ran the hospitals, the automobile industry, and much of the housing stock, and, partly as a consequence thereof, had permanent high unemployment and confiscatory tax rates that drove its best talents to seek refuge abroad. A number of readers, disputing the relevance of this comparison, sent me mocking letters pointing out, for example, Britain’s balance of payments and other deteriorating economic indicators from the early 20th century on. True. Great powers do not decline for identical reasons and one would not expect Britain’s imperial overstretch to lead to the same consequences as America’s imperial understretch. Nonetheless, my correspondents are perhaps too sophisticated and nuanced to grasp the somewhat more basic point I was making. Perched on his uncle’s shoulders that day was a young lad who grew up to become the historian Arnold Toynbee. He recalled the mood of Her Majesty’s jubilee as follows: “There is, of course, a thing called history, but history is something unpleasant that happens to other people. We are comfortably outside all of that I am sure.” The end of history, 1897 version. Permanence is an illusion — and you would be surprised at how fast mighty nations can be entirely transformed. But, more important, national decline is psychological — and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline. Within two generations, for example, the German people became just as obnoxiously pacifist as they once were obnoxiously militarist, and as avowedly “European” as they once were menacingly nationalist. Well, who can blame ’em? You’d hardly be receptive to pitches for national greatness after half a century of Kaiser Bill, Weimar, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust….. Is America set for decline? It’s been a grand run. The country’s been the leading economic power since it overtook Britain in the 1880s. That’s impressive. Nevertheless, over the course of that century and a quarter, Detroit went from the world’s industrial powerhouse to an urban wasteland, and the once-golden state of California atrophied into a land of government run by the government for the government. What happens when the policies that brought ruin to Detroit and sclerosis to California become the basis for the nation at large? Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet. But what will ensure it is if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy. Is that so hard to imagine? Every time I retail the latest indignity imposed upon the “citizen” by some or other Continental apparatchik, I receive e-mails from the heartland pointing out, with much reference to the Second Amendment, that it couldn’t happen here because Americans aren’t Euro-weenies. But nor were Euro-weenies once upon a time. Hayek’s greatest insight in The Road to Serfdom is psychological: “There is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought,” he wrote with an immigrant’s eye on the Britain of 1944. “It is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel. The virtues possessed by Anglo-Saxons in a higher degree than most other people, excepting only a few of the smaller nations, like the Swiss and the Dutch, were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, noninterference with one’s neighbor and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.”

Must see political ad
This guy lays it all out there.

Report on terrorist illegal border crossers

CIA 'using smaller missiles against al-Qaeda to avoid civilian deaths'
Excerpt: The Central Intelligence Agency in the US has started using smaller missiles in its hunt for al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant leaders in Pakistan in the hope of minimising civilian casualties, according to a newspaper report. Citing unnamed current and former officials in the US and Pakistan, The Washington Post newspaper said the new technology had resulted in more accurate strikes that have provoked relatively little public outrage. According to the report, one such missile was used by the CIA last month in Miram Shah, a Pakistani town in the tribal province of South Waziristan.

Greece May Take Legal Steps Against U.S. Banks for Crisis, Papandreou Says
We bail out the banks. Then we bail out Greece. Then Greece sues the banks so we have to bail them out again. Then….Excerpt: Greece is considering taking legal action against U.S. investment banks that might have contributed to the country’s debt crisis, Prime Minister George Papandreou said. “I wouldn’t rule out that this may be a recourse,” Papandreou said, in response to questions about the role of U.S. banks in the crisis, in an interview on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” The program, scheduled for broadcast today, was taped on May 13. Neither Papandreou nor Zakaria mentioned any banks by name. U.S. stocks fell and the euro slumped on concern that Europe wouldn’t be able to contain the debt crisis stemming from Greece. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 1.9 percent May 14, while the euro fell below $1.24 for the first time since November 2008.

Feel good story of the day
Pakistani military kills 58 suspected militants
Excerpt: The military killed 58 suspected militants in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday with a mix of airstrikes and ground combat, the latest violence in a months-long campaign to rout Taliban fighters from a mountainous area near the Afghan border.

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