Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Political Digest August 31, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

GOP chances of winning House are rising as midterm election nears
Excerpt: The playing field of competitive House races has expanded substantially over the past two months, increasing the chances that Republicans will control the lower chamber next year. The news is good for Republicans, as many open seats are trending to the GOP while dozens of Democratic incumbents are scrambling to keep their jobs.
Democratic leaders are on the defensive, making the case they can still retain the majority in November while playing defense in districts they weren't expecting to be concerned about earlier in the cycle. As the election environment has worsened for Democrats amid troubling new economic and polling data, Republicans have become increasingly bullish in their projections of major House gains. (Let us not count these chickens until in the pot. Work now, celebrate afterwards. ~Bob)

In 2010, Obama's poll numbers less of an asset for congressional Democrats
Excerpt: Two years can change just about everything in politics. In the 2008 campaign, Democrats running for the Senate did anything - and everything - to associate themselves with then-Sen Barack Obama of Illinois. With about two months remaining in the 2010 campaign season, however, Obama's political fortunes have dipped in a handful of states holding competitive Senate races - complicating the winning math for Democratic candidates already struggling with a pessimistic electorate that remains deeply concerned about the country's direction. "In midterm elections, the presidential numbers serve like a weight on scale," said one senior Democratic consultant who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid about the playing field. "The heavier [or worse] the numbers, the harder it is for any person in the party to get back to even keel."

Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals
Excerpt: Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health-care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort.

Excellent, balanced essay: The Parent Model
Excerpt: During the first half of this year, German and American political leaders engaged in an epic debate. American leaders argued that the economic crisis was so bad, governments should borrow billions to stimulate growth. German leaders argued that a little short-term stimulus was sensible, but anything more was near-sighted. What was needed was not more debt, but measures to balance budgets and restore confidence. The debate got pointed. American economists accused German policy makers of risking a long depression. The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, countered, “Governments should not become addicted to borrowing as a quick fix to stimulate demand.” The two countries followed different policy paths. According to Gary Becker of the University of Chicago, the Americans borrowed an amount equal to 6 percent of G.D.P. in an attempt to stimulate growth. The Germans spent about 1.5 percent of G.D.P. on their stimulus. This divergence created a natural experiment. Who was right? The early returns suggest the Germans were. The American stimulus package was supposed to create a “summer of recovery,” according to Obama administration officials. Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month. Instead, the U.S. economy is scuffling along. The German economy, on the other hand, is growing at a sizzling (and obviously unsustainable) 9 percent annual rate. Unemployment in Germany has come down to pre-crisis levels.

Little-known fact: Obama's failed stimulus program cost more than the Iraq war
Excerpt: Expect to hear a lot about how much the Iraq war cost in the days ahead from Democrats worried about voter wrath against their unprecedented spending excesses.
The meme is simple: The economy is in a shambles because of Bush's economic policies and his war in Iraq. As American Thinker's Randall Hoven points out, that's the message being peddled by lefties as diverse as former Clinton political strategist James Carville, economist Joseph Stiglitz, and The Nation's Washington editor, Christopher Hayes.
The key point in the mantra is an alleged $3 trillion cost for the war. Well, it was expensive to be sure, in both blood and treasure, but, as Hoven notes, the CBO puts the total cost at $709 billion. To put that figure in the proper context of overall spending since the war began in 2003, Hoven provides this handy CBO chart showing the portion of the annual deficit attributable to the conflict:

FDR and the Lessons of the Depression
Excerpt: In 1937, after several years of partial recovery from the Great Depression, the U.S. economy fell into a sharp recession. The episode has become a lightning rod in the ongoing debate about whether the economy needs further increases in government spending to keep employment from declining even more. Christina Romer, the outgoing chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, started this debate last year in The Economist by drawing a parallel to 1937 for anyone getting cold feet about increased government spending and soaring deficits. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman chimed in by claiming that the economy will repeat the experience of the 1930s if government spending is not increased. The economy did not tank in 1937 because government spending declined. Increases in tax rates, particularly capital income tax rates, and the expansion of unions, were most likely responsible. Unfortunately, these same factors pose a similar threat today. Here are the facts: Real government spending, measured in 1937 dollars, declined by less than 0.7% of GDP between 1936 and 1937, and then rebounded in 1938. It is implausible that such a small and temporary decline reduced real GDP by nearly 3.5% in 1938 or reduced industrial production by about one-third. But in 1936, the Roosevelt administration pushed through a tax on corporate profits that were not distributed to shareholders. The sliding scale tax began at 7% if a company retained 1% of its net income, and went to 27% if a company retained 70% of net income. This tax significantly raised the cost of investment, as most investment is financed with a corporation's own retained earnings. The tax rate on dividends also rose to 15.98% in 1932 from 10.14% in 1929, and then doubled again by 1936. Research conducted last year by Ellen McGratten of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis suggests that these increases in capital income taxation can account for much of the 26% decline in business fixed investment that occurred in 1937-1938.

Doctors as Engineers
Excerpt: There are two fundamentally different ways of thinking about complex social systems: the economic approach and the engineering approach. The social engineer sees society as disorganized, unplanned and inefficient. Wherever he looks, he sees underperforming people in flawed organizations producing imperfect goods and services. The solution? Let experts study the problem, discover what should be produced and how to produce it, and then follow their advice. Social engineers invariably believe that a plan devised by people at the top can work, even though everyone at the bottom has a self interest in defeating it. Implicitly, they assume that incentives don’t matter. Or, if they do matter, they don’t matter very much. To the economist, by contrast, incentives are everything. Complex social systems display unpredictable spontaneous order, with all kinds of unintended consequences of purposeful action. To have the best chance of good social outcomes, people at the bottom must find that when they pursue their own interests they are meeting the needs of others. Perverse incentives almost always lead to perverse outcomes. In the 20th century, country after country and regime after regime tried to impose an engineering model on society as a whole. Most of those experiments have thankfully come to a close. By the century’s end, the vast majority of the world understood that the economic model, not the engineering model, is where our hopes should lie. Yet there are two fields that are still completely dominated by people who steadfastly resist the economic way of thinking. They are health care and education…..The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was heavily influenced by the engineering model. Who, but a social engineer, would think you can control health care costs by running “pilot programs”? What’s the purpose of a pilot program if not to find something that appears to work so that you can then order everybody else go copy it? Pilot programs are a prime example of the social engineer’s fool’s errand.

A consumer’s guide to the healthcare bill
Not intended to be political, just the facts. Excerpt: a consumer's guide to how the new health care overhaul works, in a question-and-answer format. You can also get a pamphlet version-- ideal for doctors' offices, clinics, work places and everywhere else that people meet and socialize.

"Fathom the odd hypocrisy that Obama wants every citizen to prove they are insured, but they don't have to prove they are citizens." ~ Ben Stein

GOP lawmaker warns U.S. faces 'lost decade' because of debt
Excerpt: The U.S. economy faces a “lost decade” like the one Japan suffered through in the 1990s if the government continues to spend and rack up debt, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Monday. Ryan, one of the GOP’s leading voices on the economy, said the White House and congressional Democrats have spent too much and pushed policies that have created too much uncertainty for the private sector. We are basically replicating the kinds of economics the Japanese did in the 1990s,” he said. “We are buying ourselves a lost decade” Japan's government in the 1990s tried to boost its country out of recession through infusions of public works spending, but its economy grew at relatively slow rates in those years compared to the 1980s, when Japan’s economy expanded to nearly the size of the United States's economy. China is now surpassing Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy.

Huge gap in world cancer survival
From the BBC. And remember that the lower life expectancy of Americans is due to poor health habits, accidents and violence, none of which will be addressed by ObamaCare. ~Bob. Excerpt: The study showed the US had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%. Japan came out best for male colon and rectal cancers, at 63% and 58.2% respectively, while France fared best for women with those cancers at 60.1% and 63.9%. The UK had 69.7% survival for breast cancer, just above 40% for colon and rectal cancer for both men and women and 51.1% for prostate cancer.

From a Marine I was with in Vietnam
August 30, 1146. Crossbow Ban Didn't Work Either. On this date in 1146, European leaders outlawed crossbows, intending to end war for all time -- thus proving crossbow bans don't work either.

Obama needs to relearn the art of politicking
Could it be that his policies are disastrous and are turning off Americans who get that? Nah, must be the Great Communicator has a communication problem. Excerpt: President Obama's address to the nation on Iraq this week underscores the agony of his presidency and its core political problem. Seen from the inside, the administration is an astonishing success. Obama has kept his principal promises and can take credit for achievements that eluded his Democratic predecessors.

Conservatives, Unlike Liberals, Keep Mall Clean After Rally
They could have heated Al Gore’s mansion by burning the trash from BO’s inauguration. Excerpt: Compare and contrast. The National Mall after Barack Obama's inauguration:

MSNBC Swears to Allah That Obama's Not a Muslim
Excerpt: MSNBC's Monday programming was dedicated to denouncing Sen. Mitch McConnell's response to a question about whether Obama is a Muslim. McConnell said: "We all have to rely on the word of (Barack Obama) -- something about as reliable as a credit default swap." No, I'm sorry, that's what The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan said about whether Trig Palin was really Sarah Palin's child. McConnell responded by demanding that Obama be fired -- or at least have his security clearance suspended. No, no -- wrong again: That was Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Chuck Schumer, respectively, not taking Karl Rove at his word when he said he had not released Valerie Plame's name to the press. (It turned out Rove was telling the truth; it was Richard Armitage, and it wasn't a crime.) What McConnell actually said in response to the Muslim question was: "The president says he's a Christian. I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute." Over at MSNBC, that's Republican code for: "He's a Muslim!"

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson violated rules, steered scholarships to relatives
Someone else Nancy needs to drain from the swamp. But won’t. ~Bob. Excerpt: Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes. The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district. Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so "unknowingly" and would work with the foundation to "rectify the financial situation." Initially, she said, "I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one." Had there been more "very worthy applicants in my district," she added, "then I probably wouldn't have given it" to the relatives.

This Is Why There Are No Jobs in America
Excerpt: I'd like to make you a business offer. Seriously. This is a real offer. In fact, you really can't turn me down, as you'll come to understand in a moment... Here's the deal. You're going to start a business or expand the one you've got now. It doesn't really matter what you do or what you're going to do. I'll partner with you no matter what business you're in – as long as it's legal. But I can't give you any capital – you have to come up with that on your own. I won't give you any labor – that's definitely up to you. What I will do, however, is demand you follow all sorts of rules about what products and services you can offer, how much (and how often) you pay your employees, and where and when you're allowed to operate your business. That's my role in the affair: to tell you what to do. Now in return for my rules, I'm going to take roughly half of whatever you make in the business each year. Half seems fair, doesn't it? I think so. Of course, that's half of your profits.

Eco-terrorists: Ready to Kill for Their Cause?
Excerpt: Bond is a member of an extremist group called the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). They are allied with a similar organization called the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). These groups were somewhat in the news a few years ago, but faded off the radar when it became apparent that public sympathies were rather with the business owners whose livelihoods were destroyed and workers who were injured — not the radicals who saw no moral dilemma in spiking trees or torching housing developments. So far, law enforcement has not focused heavily on organizations like the ALF or the ELF for a couple of reasons. First, because they’re hard to catch. They use an operational model called “leaderless resistance” in which small cells or individual operatives function underground without a command structure. They are in turn given some cover guidance by above-ground political organizations which are very careful not to do anything illegal. They also tend to get cover from a sympathetic media which, when they do report on it, will tend to decry the action and then proceed to talk about the horrors of animal testing. (For whatever it's worth, only the administration and media attitude toward this is news; the problem has been around a long time. One of Tom Clancy's novels (Rainbow 6) used eco-terrorism as its driving plot in 1998. People who are more ready to identify with animals they've never met (I'll grant a possible exception for pets) than fellow humans are traitors to their entire species. And should be dealt with as such. Ron P.)

Ten Fallacies About Web Privacy
Excerpt: Privacy on the Web is a constant issue for public discussion—and Congress is always considering more regulations on the use of information about people's habits, interests or preferences on the Internet. Unfortunately, these discussions lead to many misconceptions. Here are 10 of the most important: 1) Privacy is free. Many privacy advocates believe it is a free lunch—that is, consumers can obtain more privacy without giving up anything. Not so. There is a strong trade-off between privacy and information: The more privacy consumers have, the less information is available for use in the economy. Since information helps markets work better, the cost of privacy is less efficient markets. 2) If there are costs of privacy, they are borne by companies. Many who do admit that privacy regulations restricting the use of information about consumers have costs believe they are born entirely by firms. Yet consumers get tremendous benefits from the use of information. Think of all the free stuff on the Web: newspapers, search engines, stock prices, sports scores, maps and much more. Google alone lists more than 50 free services—all ultimately funded by targeted advertising based on the use of information. If revenues from advertising are reduced or if costs increase, then fewer such services will be provided.

Protest at military funeral ignites a test of free speech
Excerpt: Albert Snyder tears up, then turns angry as he recalls burying his Marine son while members of the anti-gay fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church picketed nearby. "I can remember being presented the flag at the graveyard. I can remember saluting the coffin," Snyder says of the unusually balmy day in March 2006 when the family memorialized Matthew, a lance corporal killed in Iraq. Yet, Snyder says, he can't separate such moments from the memory that his only son's funeral was picketed by fundamentalist pastor Fred Phelps and his followers with an inflammatory message that had nothing to do with Matthew. Disconnecting the death of his 20-year-old son from his reaction to the protests "became very difficult." Snyder, who sued Phelps for his distress, says he feels like he has been stabbed, and the wound will not heal. The case has grown beyond a single clash between a devastated father and an attention-seeking, fire-and-brimstone group into a major test of speech rights and of safeguards for the sanctity of military funerals. The Supreme Court will hear the case Oct. 6, a crucial First Amendment challenge against the poignant backdrop of war deaths, family suffering and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve — as long as their sexual orientation remains secret. (I am about as fervent a defender of Free Speech as anyone. You can say whatever you want, publicly, whenever you want. But the deliberate staging of your speech to disrupt a private ceremony and automatically inflict hurt upon the people taking part in it, goes well beyond simple free speech in my estimation. The intent to use someone else's private ceremony to promulgate your political or religious extremism at a cost of deep pain and suffering of those who attend the ceremony expecting privacy means you're not just exercising free speech, and you are fully responsible for the pain & suffering you cause. Let us all pray that the Supreme Court will for once make the right decision. --Del)

O's terror outrage
Excerpt: Americans are learning there's one minority group President Obama is never afraid to offend: families of victims of Islamist terror. First, Attorney General Eric Holder wanted to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attack, in lower Manhattan -- which nearly everyone, even Mayor Bloomberg (eventually), realized would be a standing insult to the memory of KSM's victims. Then came Obama's "I was for it before I was against it" stance on the Ground Zero mosque -- another slap at 9/11 victims' families. Now, last Friday, we learned that "no charges are either pending or contemplated" against one of the deadliest and most dangerous al Qaeda operatives, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, mastermind of the October 12, 2000, bombing of USS Cole that killed 17 sailors and officers and wounded dozens more.

How Sharron Angle can (still) win
Excerpt: There's little doubt that former Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle has stumbled -- badly and repeatedly -- since winning the GOP nomination on June 8. And, there's also no debate that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D) campaign against Angle has been flawless in its execution -- using Angle's many past misstatements to paint her as an extremist who is out of touch with average Nevadans. But -- and in politics there is almost always a "but" -- a recent independent poll in the race showed Reid at 45 percent to Angle's 44 percent -- a statistical dead heat that suggests that the Republican remains viable and could well even win this fall. (If Reid wins, and I hope he doesn’t, he should send the Tea Party a thank you note, for giving him Angle. ~Bob)

USS Stethem Holds Honorary Master Chief Frocking For Namesake
Excerpt: USS Stethem (DDG 63) honored the ship's namesake with a posthumous frocking ceremony Aug. 24. Steelworker (SW/DV) 2nd Class Robert Dean Stethem was frocked to the honorary rank of master chief petty officer, 25 years after he was killed during the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in June 1985. Stethem was singled out by Lebanese hijackers because of his military status and was badly beaten and ultimately murdered after their demands were not met. Throughout his ordeal Stethem did not yield. Instead, he acted with fortitude and courage and helped his fellow passengers to endure by his example. "The idea is simple," said Cmdr. Hank Adams, USS Stethem commanding officer. "If 'Robbie' had lived and stayed in the Navy, surely 25 years later, he would have risen through the ranks to become a master chief." (Unfortunately, he ran into adherents of the Religion of Peace, and was murdered. ~Bob)

From the Turkish flotilla to Israel
Excerpt: Erdinç Tekir, IHH operative wounded aboard the Mavi Marmara, participated in the 1996 terrorist attack on the Russian ferry Avrasya to bargain for the release Chechens from Russian prisons. Information indicates a past connection between IHH, and global jihad and Islamist terrorist networks, including Chechen Islamist separatists.

Socialism is like a dream. Sooner or later you wake up to reality. - Winston Churchill

Study: Heavy Boozers Outlive Abstainers
Who says the news is all bad? Excerpt: The new paper in "Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research" was picked up by Time, which earlier had another surprising finding about teetotalers: They tend to be more depressed than drinkers.

The items below were scheduled for last Thursday, but I was called away and unable to post them.

NY Rep. Rangel knocks Obama for 'dignity' remark
They both confuse pomposity with dignity. ~Bob. Excerpt: New York Rep. Charles Rangel has shot back at President Barack Obama's recent comment that he "end his career with dignity." Speaking at a candidate's forum Monday night in New York City, Rangel said the president hasn't "been around long enough to determine what my dignity is." The 80-year-old congressman said it was more likely he would protect Obama's dignity over the next two years. A House ethics panel has accused the 20-term Democrat from Harlem of ethics violation charges. Rangel has vowed to fight the charges and is refusing to resign. He says he is focusing on his re-election.

Justice Dept. Argued in Favor of Using Race As a Relevant Factor
Excerpt: In at least three court cases, President Obama’s Justice Department has argued in favor of federal law enforcement officers using race as a factor in determining whether to stop someone for a suspected immigration violation. It has done so despite the fact that the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that they do not engage in “racial profiling.” The Justice Department’s legal arguments in defense of federal law enforcement officers using race as one factor among others in making immigration stops are based on the 1975 Supreme Court decision, U.S. v. Brignoni-Ponce. In that case, the court held 9-0 that an officer making an immigration stop must be able to cite “specific articulable facts” that “reasonably warrant suspicion” that illegal aliens are present. (...) “Except at the border and its functional equivalents, officers on roving patrol may stop vehicles only if they are aware of specific articulable facts, together with rational inferences from those facts, that reasonably warrant suspicion that the vehicles contain aliens who may be illegally in the country,” the court ruled in Brignoni-Ponce. The Court said law enforcement officers could not stop a car merely because the occupants appeared to be of Mexican descent, but that they could consider such an appearance as one factor in making a determination that there was “reasonable suspicion” that illegal aliens were present. (I guess race can only be used as a factor when Holder approves of it. –Ron P. Maybe this was how they nailed Waters and Rangel? ~Bob)

Why Do Feminists Attack Sarah and Not Sharia?
Excerpt: Given Islam’s enslavement of women and the Sharia erection of the Cordoba Initiative’s chief con man, Abdul Rauf, you’d think N.O.W. and their ilk would now be raising more Cain about this Ground Zero Mosque than they are about Sarah Palin. Why should one think this? Well, it’s principally because Sharia kind of sha-whizzes on hard-won women’s rights, that’s sha-why. Duh. Yet we’re not hearing a whole heck of a lot from the fiery feminists regarding this Ground Zero affront and what it could entail for the girls among us. Yep, we’re hearing crickets from the virulent vixens of the lovely Left who vie for women’s rights. And Hollywood, where are the bra burners of Tinseltown? I figured they’d be on this topic of Muslim mama oppression like Clinton on a chunky intern, but alas … nada. Why the silence, pussycats? Does it not jive with your agenda? Y’know, the fact that some rapscallion like Rauf can actually table support for Sharia law and then go balls-to-the-wall with building a Mosque within spitting distance from where we were attacked on 9/11, and then you—the supposed champions of chicks everywhere—do not go Twisted Sister over this bloody BS is both odd and revealing.

Andy McCarthy: Inventing Moderate Islam
Excerpt: Writing in the National Review Online this morning, Andrew C. McCarthy offers that moderate Islam can’t be invented “without confronting mainstream Islam and its sharia agenda.” In other words, moderate Islam is a fiction created by Islamists and echoed by elitists, drones, and those hoping beyond reason that such a thing exists: The sad fact, the fact no one wants to deal with but which the Ground Zero mosque debate has forced to the fore, is that Qaradawi is a moderate. So is Feisal Rauf, who endorses the Qaradawi position — the mainstream Islamic position — that sharia is a nonnegotiable requirement. Rauf wins the coveted “moderate” designation because he strains, at least when speaking for Western consumption, to paper over the incompatibility between sharia societies and Western societies.
Qaradawi and Rauf are “moderates” because we’ve abandoned reason. Our opinion elites are happy to paper over the gulf between “reformist” Islam and the “reformist” approval of mass-murder attacks. That’s why it matters not a whit to them that Imam Rauf refuses to renounce Hamas: If you’re going to give a pass to Qaradawi, the guy who actively promotes Hamas terrorists, how can you complain about a guy who merely refuses to condemn the terrorists?

The 'end of the beginning' on Shariah?
Excerpt: As I looked out at the thousands of people assembled near Ground Zero on Sunday to oppose the construction of a megamosque there, I was reminded of Winston Churchill's famous line that enspirited Britain at the first sign the tide was turning in World War II: "Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." To be sure, the rally held two blocks from the World Trade Center was not a decisive defeat of the enemy like that dealt by the storied British "Desert Rats" to Hitler's Afrika Korps in November 1942. But there was something pivotal about the fact that throngs of ordinary Americans - many of them family or friends of those who died on 9/11 - had come together to stand for hours in an intermittent rain not just to contest the construction of a megamosque at a wholly inappropriate location, but in informed opposition to the impetus behind that mosque: shariah.

How Lisa Murkowski (might have) lost
Excerpt: The stunning news that developed over night in Alaska -- with 98 percent of precincts reporting, attorney Joe Miller (R) leads Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) 51 percent to 49 percent -- reveals the depth of anti-incumbent sentiment in the country, the power of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (and the tea party movement) and the perils of prognostication in low turnout intraparty fights. First, the numbers. With 429 of 438 precincts reporting, Miller stands at 45,909 votes while Murkowski has 43,949 votes. According to the Alaska Division of Elections, more than 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and fewer than half (7,600) had been returned as of Monday night. Absentees won't start to be counted for another six days and there are clearly enough outstanding votes for Murkowski to stage a comeback. If she was to lose, however, Murkowski would be the third Senator to fall in a party re-nomination contest this year. How did we get here?

Alan West new TV Ad available here

Sick of Lawsuits
Appears to be a new group. Excerpt from their e-mail: Ten percent of every dollar spent on health care can be attributed to the costs of liability and defensive medicine and yet, Congress is too afraid of personal injury lawyers to include meaningful medical malpractice reform in healthcare reform. Unemployment is soaring while small businesses pay over $105 billion each year to cover the cost of America's tort system -- money that could be used to hire additional workers. America needs more jobs, not more lawsuits.

Recovery in danger as firms, homebuyers cut back
The “Obama Recovery” in full swing. Time to blame Bush again. ~Bob. Excerpt: The economic recovery appears to be stalling as companies cut back last month on their investments in equipment and machines and Americans bought new homes at the weakest pace in decades. Overall orders for big-ticket manufactured goods increased 0.3 percent in July, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. But that was only because of a 76 percent jump in demand for commercial aircraft. Taking out the volatile transportation category, orders for durable goods fell at the steepest rate since January. And business orders for capital goods took their sharpest drop since January 2009, when the economy was stuck in the deepest recession in decades.
Separately, Commerce said new home sales fell 12.4 percent in July from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 276,600. That was the slowest pace on records dating back to 1963. Collectively, the past three months have been the worst on record for new home sales. The weak sales mean fewer jobs in the construction industry, which normally powers economic recoveries. Each new home built creates, on average, the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The two reports are likely to stoke fears that the economy is on the verge of slipping back into a recession. They follow Tuesday's report that showed sales of previously owned homes fell last month to the lowest level in decades. Unemployment remains near double digits and job growth in the private sector is slowing.

Venezuela, More Deadly Than Iraq, Wonders Why
Excerpt: Some here joke that they might be safer if they lived in Baghdad. The numbers bear them out. In Iraq, a country with about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,644 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year, the number of murders climbed above 16,000. Even Mexico’s infamous drug war has claimed fewer lives. Venezuelans have absorbed such grim statistics for years. Those with means have hidden their homes behind walls and hired foreign security experts to advise them on how to avoid kidnappings and killings. And rich and poor alike have resigned themselves to living with a murder rate that the opposition says remains low on the list of the government’s priorities. Then a front-page photograph in a leading independent newspaper — and the government’s reaction — shocked the nation, and rekindled public debate over violent crime. The photo in the paper, El Nacional, is unquestionably gory. It shows a dozen homicide victims strewn about the city’s largest morgue, just a sample of an unusually anarchic two-day stretch in this already perilous place. While many Venezuelans saw the picture as a sober reminder of their vulnerability and a chance to effect change, the government took a different stand. A court ordered the paper to stop publishing images of violence, as if that would quiet growing questions about why the government — despite proclaiming a revolution that heralds socialist values — has been unable to close the dangerous gap between rich and poor and make the country’s streets safer. (The violence in Hispanic countries is not the result of race but culture. Graft a culture where corruption makes Chicago look like a model of probity on to a socialist thugocracy and this is the result. But our time is coming as the inner city thug culture is growing stronger in the US. ~Bob)


  1. I really enjoyed your text I'm tired. It is extremely important to denounce the socialist clique that dominates US politics (and otherwise international). The only thing I didn't quite understood was your mention of Catholic killing your uncestors: Assuming they were scottish presbiterians was it not by contraries?
    (from Portugal)

  2. The crossbow ban must have been of much comfort to the French in 1346, when the English, armed with longbows, kicked their butts all over the field of Crecy.