Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Political Digest September 21, 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.

Interesting: How Tea Party Organizes Without Leaders
Excerpt: Though headless, the tea party movement is not mindless. Its collective brain meets every Monday night. More than 200 leaders of local tea parties -- coordinators, as they usually call themselves -- join a conference call every week organized by an umbrella group called the Tea Party Patriots, the largest national tea party organization. On one Monday recently, three national coordinators begin the session with a rundown on plans for upcoming rallies. The events are expensive; does anyone have a problem with a search for $1,000 donors? (No one does.) An organizer has put together a manual on what to ask candidates at town hall events. ("That will go to the entire e-mail list.") The group is polled on whether to hold a second round of house parties throughout the country. (Yes.) A coordinator gives an update on an iPhone app for tea partiers who will be going door to door this fall to talk to voters. (It will use Global Positioning System technology to download walking lists and upload voter data in real time -- cutting-edge stuff.) The floor is then opened. Local leaders propose ideas, announce new tea party groups, float queries, and offer tips. (How can we maximize free publicity? Lawn signs, movie events, and digiprint postcards are cheap and effective.) A newcomer introduces a start-up tea party in Winfield, Ind. A coordinator in nearby South Bend offers a welcome. ("I know all these folks. I want to get you connected with them.")… By conventional measures such as staff and budget, then, the Tea Party Patriots is minuscule. Viewed another way, however, it is, to use Martin's expression, "gi-normous." Lacking dues or bylaws, the network's closest thing to a membership roll is the list of groups that have registered with its website, now approaching 3,000 and spanning the country. The website, teapartypatriots.org, lists almost 200 tea parties in California alone. (I find the Tea Party a very unusual political phenomenon. Despite leftists using it as attacks on my blog, I have never been to a Tea Party rally and don’t belong to any Tea Party group, though I may be registered on some websites where I’ve signed up to reply to comments about “I’m Tired.” The Democrats response to the Tea Party (Call them racist. Call them tools of the rich. Call them dirty names like “teabagger,” after a gay sexual practice. Call them crazy.) do not seem to be working. To me, the Tea Party seems to be at Stage Three of Gandhi’s famous quote: “First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Important: Principles for Economic Revival
Excerpt: America's financial crisis, deep recession and anemic recovery have largely been driven by economic policies that have deviated from proven fact-based principles. To return to prosperity we must get back to these principles. The most fundamental starting point is that people respond to incentives and disincentives. Tax rates are a great example because the data are so clear and the results so powerful. A wealth of evidence shows that high tax rates reduce work effort, retard investment and lower productivity growth. Raise taxes, and living standards stagnate. Nobel Prize-winning economist Edward Prescott examined international labor market data and showed that changes in tax rates on labor are associated with changes in employment and hours worked. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the effective tax rate on work increased by an average of 28% in Germany, France and Italy. Over that same period, work hours fell by an average of 22% in those three countries. When higher taxes reduce the reward for work, you get less of it. (Unfortunately, as long as Democrats can get votes through class warfare by promising to soak the rich, they don’t care that those policies actually hurt the poor and the average guy. ~Bob.)

As November nears, voters turn backs on both parties
Excerpt: What happens if they hold an election in which voters don't like either of their choices? We'll find out in 43 days, as poll after poll shows that both national parties are deeply unpopular with an electorate looking for something new and different. Democrats have suffered from being the majority party for the past 20 months - in control of political Washington and expected to do more by voters who elected President Obama to change the culture in the nation's capital. But Republicans are not offering much that will earn them credit in the eyes of most voters, either. In an Associated Press poll released last week, 38 percent of respondents approved of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, while 60 percent disapproved - not exactly where any party wants to be this close to an election. The ratings for Republicans in Congress, however, were even worse, with 31 percent approving and 68 percent disapproving. A New York Times/CBS News survey released last week also showed congressional Democrats' approval rating at a measly 30 percent, while congressional Republicans' sat at a ghastly 20 percent. And in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this month, voters expressed a distinct desire not to reelect incumbents in either party. Just 34 percent said Democrats deserved reelection, while 31 percent said Republicans did. The deep unpopularity of the GOP brand is one of the last vestiges of hope for Democrats seeking to retain their majorities in the House and Senate in what - if history is any guide - is shaping up to be a difficult midterm election season for the party.

The Oregon Health Plan: A "Bold Experiment" that Failed
Excerpt: The Oregon Health Plan has been called a "bold experiment" designed to expand health insurance to Oregon's low income residents. It sought simultaneously to expand coverage, control costs and foster provider participation. However the plan has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the United States as a whole, says Eric Fruits, president of Oregon-based consulting firm Economics International Corp. and adjunct professor at Portland State University.

Key Dem senators not ruling out yes votes on DREAM Act
Excerpt: Senate Democrats who blocked an immigration bill in 2007 say they are undecided on how to vote on the measure this week. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to attach the controversial DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill. But it’s unclear if it can attract 60 votes. The DREAM Act, introduced by Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), would grant U.S. citizenship to certain children of illegal immigrants who came to the country before the age of 16. Democrats helped block the bill three years ago when it fell eight votes short on a procedural motion. While some Republicans supported that motion, eight Democrats voted no, including the late Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.) and Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.). (Post-birth anchor babies. ~Bob.)

Despite Media Mythmaking, the DREAM Act is for Adults
Excerpt: These media outlets – and many others – are full of writers who are either uninformed or willfully misleading the public. As far as the age requirement goes, under the DREAM Act an illegal alien simply must claim that he or she entered the United States sometime before reaching the age of 16; the standard of proof required by the government is unclear and it should raise concerns of fraud as most illegal aliens enter clandestinely and off the record. The only other age requirement is that an applicant must not have reached the age of 35 at the time of the bill's enactment. It is also unclear how the government will deal with fraud regarding this age requirement. Illegal aliens do not have U.S. birth certificates. Will DHS, the agency tasked with coming up with the regulations, require faxed copies of foreign birth certificates as evidence of age? If so, does this mean that the administrative accuracy of the DREAM Act will be dependent on the accuracy of bookkeeping in foreign nations (many of which have a vested interest in keeping their citizens permanently in the United States)?

Point Person: NCPA's John Goodman on Health Care
Excerpt: You say that the White House and leaders of both parties offer little more than sound bites. Why do you think that? There has been no real attempt by either party's leaders to explain to Americans what this bill really does. From the White House, we hear only about the benefits. You hear nothing about the costs. From the critics, you hear about the costs, but nothing about the benefits.

Union Pensions at Risk
Congress will continue buying votes until they run out of paper to print money on. ~Bob. Excerpt: Congress, with the support of some private firms, is considering bailing out the underfunded multiemployer pension plans, at a potential cost of $165 billion to the taxpayer, but this would be a mistake, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth, senior fellow with the Hudson Institute. The advertised benefits of joining a union sound appealing, but what unions do not tell prospective recruits is that collectively bargained defined benefit pension plans perform poorly when compared to plans sponsored unilaterally by single employers for nonunion employees. And pensions sponsored by unions that cover multiple employers (multiemployer plans) fare even worse than pensions offered by a single employer under a collective bargaining agreement with a union. Consider: Only 59 percent of union funds had 80 percent or more of the assets needed to pay expected costs. By contrast, 86 percent of nonunion funds did.

More House Democrats stressing independence from Pelosi, Obama
But as Pelosi knows, “Blue Dogs” make great lap dogs. Look at Blue Dog independent rep. Bart Gordon, a staunch opponent of Obamacare. Then he looked at the polls, decided he couldn’t win, announced his retirement and switched to vote for it. But voters are, alas, easily fooled. ~Bob. Excerpt: Little more than two years after she touted him for the vice presidential nomination, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cannot count on the support of Rep. Chet Edwards. Edwards, a conservative Democrat trying win an 11th term representing this area southwest of Dallas, said he has not made up his mind whether he would support Pelosi (D-Calif.) for another term as speaker, as he comes under fire back home for his close ties to the Democratic leader.

GOP will unveil new 'Contract' on Thursday in Virginia
Excerpt: Republicans will unveil their new "Contract with America" in Virginia on Thursday, less than two months before election day. The GOP, which appears poised to win back the House this fall according to several independent projections, is culling the list of election-year agenda items from its "America Speaking Out" program. A spokesman for that project confirmed House and Senate GOP leaders will introduce the new contract on Thursday. The new contract, modeled after the 1994 "Contract with America," is intended to highlight what the Republican party would stand for if it returns to power in Congress. For much of the last two years, Republicans have won points from voters chiefly by opposing the Obama administration's agenda. GOP leaders have already hinted at some of the ideas that could be included. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), for instance, has called for a two-year freeze in tax rates and a reduction in spending to 2008 levels. President Obama and Democratic leaders want to extend most tax cuts, but would raise taxes on families with incomes above $250,000 and individuals who earn more than $200,000.

The Guns & Butter Song

GOP Primed to Take Back Pennsylvania
Excerpt: Just ahead of redistricting, Republicans are in prime position to win the governor’s mansion and both chambers in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Additionally, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey appears to be on the verge of boosting GOP gains in the Keystone State. Political prognosticator Charlie Cook currently rates the governor’s race in which GOP nominee Tom Corbett has mounted a stellar campaign, as “Lean Republican.” Several polls indicate that Corbett has opened a wide lead over his opponent. In the state Senate, Republicans control 30 of the 50 seats, leaving that majority safely in the GOP’s hands. The House is closely split with 104 Democrats and 99 Republicans, meaning a pick-up of three seats will change the balance of power in the lower chamber. The result of such a change “could bring sweeping policy changes to a state that can't seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be blue or red,” reports The Associated Press. “[T]he outcome of legislative races could largely determine what the state does about its multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, the funding crisis for public-sector pensions and redistricting — not to mention the thousands of bills lawmakers will introduce during the coming two-year session.” According to political scientist Terry Madonna, “public opinion research shows an enthusiasm gap, with Republican voters more likely to vote this fall, and independents leaning Republican.” This factor clearly favors Republicans, who “are salivating at the chance to parlay a favorable national political climate into a return after four years to majority status.” Further, Rep. Dave Reed, the GOP’s point man on House campaigns said, “‘We've got a menu of seats we can win from.’”

A Democrat Rebellion in West Virginia
Excerpt: Yet thriving is tough in this economy. Just ask Shannon DeLaunden, who has been out of work for over a year. A health-care worker who voted for the first time in 2008, when she supported President Barack Obama, she voices one of the problems Democrats now face: “I won’t vote this November.” Although still inspired by the charm and promise of Obama, she can’t think of a way she has benefited from his policies. That’s a problem the president may face in another election year. But right now, it is exactly why Gov. Joe Manchin, a very popular West Virginia Democrat, faces a tough election for U.S. Senate against Republican businessman John Raese. A recent survey by Rasmussen Reports shows Manchin up only six points, 48 percent to 42 percent, heading toward November's special election to fill the late Robert Byrd's Senate term. A month earlier, Manchin was at 51 percent, Raese at 35.

Will our children be better off than we are?
Excerpt: A full two-thirds of people answering a recent poll said they are no longer confident that “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us.” In commenting on this question both Gary Becker and Richard Posner rejected the concern. Pointing out that real per capital income growth has averaged 2% per year over the past two centuries, Becker concludes that each generation has averaged about 60% more income than the previous generation. Even a 1% growth rate would produce 30% higher incomes. So unless economic growth comes to a screeching halt, the answer to our titular question would seem to be “yes.” I want to play the role of devil’s advocate here, arguing that even if measured income is higher in future years, people may still not be better off. The reason: two sectors that we have compared before and for which normal market forces have been systematically suppressed: health care and education. (My answer is “nope!’ Hard to see economic growth continuing if the country falls apart from debt-induced economic collapse, and the pressure of illegal immigration and Islamists—not to mention China. ~Bob.)

Good article: Poverty just ain't what it used to be
Excerpt: My local newspaper ran the headline "Nation's Poverty Rate Rises to 14.3 percent." The article claimed 3.7 million more Americans slipped below the "federal poverty line" in 2009 and that a total of 43.6 million Americans now live in poverty. The easy talk-show point here is to ridicule the Obama "spread the wealth around" effort as the failure that it is – and that any spread the wealth around effort always is. When government spreads the wealth around, everyone gets poorer. The other easy point to make is the failure of the federal 40-year "War on Poverty." Since the 1960s, the U.S. government has spent more than twice as much fighting poverty than it spent (in constant dollars) to win World War II – and "poverty" apparently won. But there is a deeper point. Poverty just ain't what it used to be. Remember the young man who took a picture of Michelle Obama with his cell phone while waiting in line for the free soup she was ladling out? It used to be that poverty meant not having a place to stay, food to eat or many clothes to wear. Not anymore. Government reports, cited by the Heritage Foundation, indicate that: 43 percent of the "poor" own their own homes. 80 percent of "poor" households have air conditioning. More than 67 percent of "poor" households have two or more rooms per person. The average poor American has more living space than the average resident of any major European city. "Poor" American children eat more meat than higher-income American children and average protein intake 100 percent above the recommended levels. Obesity is the predominant health hazard to America's "poor" children. "Poor" children in this country grow up to be on average one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the average G.I. who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

America: Love it or (if you're rich enough) leave it?
Excerpt: Glen Esnard, a Newport Beach executive for real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis, went to bat in the Wall Street Journal last week for high-income-earners who believe it’s unfair that their tax rates should rise on Jan. 1, as President Obama proposes.
Esnard also suggested that the answer might be for the better-heeled to find a new country. In a letter to the newspaper, Esnard wrote that although he includes himself in the population earning more than $250,000 a year: My family isn't wealthy. I have no funded retirement plan save Social Security, if it is there when I need it. I have no guarantee of permanent health care. I am paying off school loans for our three children. A meaningful number of my friends have lost their jobs, and all who are still employed, including my family, have taken significant pay reductions. . . . This is a classless recession, at least in my experience. It is hitting everyone. Yet those of us who make $250,000 or more are vilified and held accountable for solving our government's penchant for spending more than it takes in so that politicians can buy votes. We already pay more in taxes than 98% of the population, particularly the nearly 50% of eligible voters who pay no federal income tax. The president wants us to pay more, and he frames it in a way that casts us as not yet carrying our fair share of the burden. He then goes on to say that the $250K+ class might just vote with their feet: Apparently our president thinks that living in America is so wonderful that we will never leave, despite being directly attacked and held responsible for the political class's inability to constrain its desire to buy votes with our money. He should think again. (Duh. If the more well to do leave, we lose all their tax dollars, plus their investment in the economy. ~Bob.)

Moron President Rewrites American History
Excerpt: Some may say it was an accident that he left out “Creator”. But… and this is important, people… by ignoring that our unalienable rights come from Our Creator, he completely misses the mark on what makes America great! Before 1776, rights were seen to have been granted by Man (Kings, Queens, etc.) Our Founding Fathers’ brilliance was that they put a new stake in the ground of mankind. Obama, our President, is a complete dope. I guess they forgot to teach the Declaration of Independence to him in his prep schools in Indonesia and at Harvard. Let’s help him out a bit. (Can’t be a Muslim—wouldn’t have left out Allah! ~Bob.)

Obama Leaves "By their Creator" Out of Declaration of Independence at Hispanic Caucus Speech
Not only did Obama drop the Creator from the Declaration of Independence (so is he a Muslim, a Christian or a Marxist?) but he claimed there were Mexicans in America before the Declaration — an improbable feat since Mexico was itself created in 1821. –DH. History, like the Constitution, says just what BO wants it to say at any given time. ~Bob.

UK Proposes All Paychecks Go to the State First
Don’t laugh—I’m sure there are people in the White House and Congress who will think this is a GREAT idea. ~Bob. Excerpt: The UK's tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer. The proposal by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stresses the need for employers to provide real-time information to the government so that it can monitor all payments and make a better assessment of whether the correct tax is being paid. Currently employers withhold tax and pay the government, providing information at the end of the year, a system known as Pay as You Earn (PAYE). There is no option for those employees to refuse withholding and individually file a tax return at the end of the year.

U.S. Shifts Afghan Graft Plan
Excerpt: The U.S. is planning a concerted campaign against lower-level corruption in Afghanistan thought to be directly feeding the insurgency and is ceding more control to Afghans of the higher-level investigations that soured relations with President Hamid Karzai. The Obama administration has made the battle against government corruption a key part of its Afghanistan war strategy for the past year, arguing that graft and fraud within Mr. Karzai's inner circle fuel public support for the Taliban. Now some top officials say corruption further down the food chain has a bigger impact on the insurgency's strength. The shift could help the administration manage its difficult partnership with Mr. Karzai. U.S.-backed corruption investigations—and Mr. Karzai's rejection of them as infringements on Afghan sovereignty—have raised tensions between Washington and Kabul.

Red Tide Rising
Excerpt: During the past decade, politicians, economists and military analysts calculated that Communist China might be able to deny access to the western Pacific by 2025. Their calculations were wrong. China threw down the gauntlet this summer and claimed sovereignty over the seas from Vietnam to the Philippines, and from their Leizhou Peninsula to oil rich Borneo. While the Pentagon makes plans to further weaken our navy, Pacific trade routes slip under Chinese control, Asian allies drift toward Beijing, and freedom of the seas fades as American seapower declines. As usual, the White House and the State Department have got it exactly wrong. Instead of building powerful peacekeeping forces, President Obama tried to buy off China by declaring the communists to be our “partners” and by offering military exchanges, visits by Chinese officers to sensitive facilities, and other gifts of military expertise and cooperation. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and the diversity-obsessed Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, cheerfully helped Beijing take full advantage of the White House policy of appeasement. The ultimate intentions of our “partner” were revealed on 29 July, when Beijing ordered naval exercises with a command to “…soundly prepare for combat,” and then announced China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the 1.3 million-square-mile South China Sea. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was undoubtedly shocked that Beijing was neither interested in her idea of a code of conduct, nor impressed by President Obama’s incomprehensible policy of “soft power.” Playing his role in those bizarre initiatives, Admiral Mullen said he was only “curious” about China’s growing armory of powerful ships, submarines, satellites, missiles and aircraft. These days, with analysts calculating the Chinese navy will surpass the U.S. Navy by 2015, he admits he may be “concerned.” Economists who viewed China as a Third World economy, dependent on exports and locked into buying ever more of the mountain of American debt, are now as befuddled as our politicians and admirals. China’s economy has surpassed Japan to become the world’s second largest, after the United States, and could be first by 2025. That should not be too difficult. With an annual growth rate topping 9% every year since 1978, compared to the sad efforts by the White House to lift U.S. growth back to 3%, China should blow past us long before then. Communists have less than transparent accounting systems, so the figures may be suspect, but what is not suspect is that China now uses more energy than any other nation in the world. They passed us four times faster than predicted. That means Chinese heavy industry and infrastructure are growing at breakneck speed, and will need to devour even more energy and raw materials. China is muscling up its military to be sure it gets what it wants, when it wants—no matter who objects. (On the plus side, about 2013, when the US defaults on its bonds, China will lose billions and not be able to pay its troops. Maybe Al Gore should go there and talk to them sternly about their carbon footprint? ~Bob.)

George Soros’ 8 Most Despicable Acts
Excerpt: Outraged by this Soros-sponsored interference, tireless champion of freedom (and fellow Sun writer) Ezra Levant slammed Soros in a newspaper column: To survive, George [Soros], then a teenager, collaborated with the Nazis. First he worked for the Judenrat. That was the Jewish council set up by the Nazis to do their dirty work for them. Instead of the Nazis rounding up Jews every day for the trains, they delegated that murderous task to Jews who were willing to do it to survive another day at the expense of their neighbors. Theodore [his father] hatched a better plan for his son. He bribed a non-Jewish official at the agriculture ministry to let George live with him. George helped the official confiscate property from Jews. (…) How does Soros feel about what he did as a teenager? Has it kept him up at night? Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes asked him that. Was it difficult? “Not at all,” Soros answered. “No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.” As you can see, Levant relied upon Soros’ own chilling words in a famous 60 Minutes interview, as well as upon research conducted by David Horowitz and even information included in Soros’ authorized biography. (What a biased report. My sister's boyfriend (now in his 80s) is one of the so-called "lost children" who escaped the atrocities of the Germans by being "adopted" as a Christian by folks who were paid to protect them during the war. There were many such children who survived by their wits. Many participated with their adopted parents in doing exactly what Soros reportedly did. The holocaust museum in Washington talks about them, their behaviors, and outcomes. Schindler (of Shindler's list) was a Christian who at least by all appearances saved Jews but also helped strip them of their possessions. It was a horrible time for all Jews. –LJR. This “LGR” comment is from an old friend of mine, a liberal of good humor and great intellect, who lacks the vicious gene seen in so many on either side—yes, some would say me. ~Bob.)

Along the Southern Border, the New York Times Is ‘Disconnected from Reality’
Excerpt: For the last 14 years as the elected Sheriff of Cochise County Arizona, which shares 83½ miles of border with Mexico, I have kept a listed phone number. For about the last 18 years or so the calls I receive at home, at night, would be infrequent and usually about a domestic squabble or some animal turned loose. Then, in 1998 that all changed. Now I don’t sleep, as my residents call each night sometimes panicky, sometimes resigned to this as a way of life, but always with a shaky voice: “they are at my door.” This is not a weekend activity. This is every single night. Cochise County is a gateway to tens of thousands of illegal aliens entering the U.S. to provide the rest of our country with drugs. If my deputies and I are prohibited from enforcing the law to stop these border jumpers, your families in Plainsville, Ohio, or Charlotte, North Carolina, are going to continue to be in harm’s way and see the percentage of crimes by illegal aliens rise.

Environmentalists back on defense
Excerpt: Environmentalists are bracing for a fight that would have seemed preposterous after the 2008 elections: a move to limit the government’s ability to curb greenhouses gases and global warming. Even the proposal’s sponsor — a Democrat — cuts against the story line that predicted the Democratic takeover of Washington would finally lead to action on climate change. But the push by West Virginia Sen. John Rockefeller to restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to force reductions in carbon dioxide emissions illustrates how dramatically the environmental community’s fortunes have fallen despite the rise of allies in the White House and Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised Rockefeller a fall floor vote on his plan to block EPA’s climate rules for two years. Green groups are monitoring that effort — and similar ones by Senate Republicans like Kit Bond of Missouri — in a constant struggle to stay one step ahead of agency opponents.

Helen Thomas receiving lifetime achievement award from CAIR
CAIR has been linked to Terrorist Organization Hamas so naturally they would give an award to Helen "Jews get the hell out of Palestine" Thomas.

Unfinished Business
Excerpt: Lester Tenney entered World War II as a strapping 21-year-old, weight 180 pounds. By the time he emerged from Japanese captivity in 1945, he was a shattered, emaciated cripple. His left arm and shoulder were partly paralyzed due to an accident in a coal mine where he'd been sent as a slave laborer. His overseers there -- civilian employees of the Mitsui Corp., not members of the Imperial Army -- had knocked out his teeth in repeated beatings with hammers and pickaxes. At war's end, he weighed in at 98 pounds. It took him a year in U.S. Army hospitals to regain something like a semblance of his old well-being.

China severs diplomatic contacts with Japan over detention of trawler captain
Excerpt: China yesterday broke off high-level government contacts with Japan over the extended detention of a fishing boat captain arrested near disputed islands. The rare move pushed already tense relations to a new low, and showed China's willingness to play hardball with its Asian rival on issues of territorial integrity. It came a day after anti-Japanese protests in China on the anniversary of the start of a brutal Japanese invasion in 1931.

Energy Department Says It Has ‘Mandate’ to Force ‘Market Transformation’ for Household Appliances
Excerpt: Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Energy has a “mandate” to issue regulations to determine what household appliances are available to Americans in the future. Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the recently reestablished Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB), Zoi pointed to four tactics the Obama administration intended use to advance the “deployment of clean energy.” The first three were government subsidies for private-sector green energy projects, special tax incentives for green energy projects and low-interest government-backed loans for green energy projects. “The fourth one, which the secretary and I love,” said Zoi, “is where we have a mandate. Where we can actually just issue regulations and do market transformation.” Zoi was referring to authority the department has under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. That law gives the DOE the power to set efficiency standards for energy-consuming products. “That’s an existing statute that this department of energy is going to make work really hard,” Zoi said. “We’ve already issued appliance standards that are going to save the American public somewhere between $250 billion and $300 billion over the next 20 years just by getting the crummy stuff off the market.” (It seems American consumers have too many choices of household appliances. They don't understand that the public should make their purchases based on what government orders rather than basing decisions on their own budgets and needs. Can't have that. Ron P. The statists never give up, though managed economies always lead to poverty and despotism. ~Bob.)

A 132-Year Payback On The All-Electric Car
Excerpt: There are few examples where government interference in the economy is more pervasive than energy. Now, the term energy encompasses a plethora of technologies, and each attracts the gimlet eye of Big Brother. In recent years, environmental groups have been very successful in insinuating themselves into the halls of government so that today there is a revolving door between government and the environmental movement just like the revolving door between the government and other key industries, such as banking and the military-industrial complex. Government would have us believe that a new regulation is the result of some great, objective, and careful investigation. But mostly these regulations and spending programs are foisted upon us by the people who only yesterday were nothing more than lobbyists for some fervently held cause. There has been no new data, but yesterday’s lobbyist today carries the mantle of great authority and prestige as a high level government bureaucrat. We economists call such lobbying “rent seeking” and those who engage in it as “rent seekers.” Rather than seeking the cooperation of other men in the free market, a rent seeker lobbies government to impose some special privilege. The cost of the rent seeker’s efforts is greatly reduced, because he need convince only a few elected officials or government bureaucrats rather than the entire market. His job is made all the easier by the knowledge that the elected official or government bureaucrat can grant the privilege with no cost to himself. And when a rent seeker gets a job in government itself, well, the fox is in the henhouse. Officials move billions of dollars and coerce millions of people with no responsibility whatsoever. If a program fails to achieve its grand design, no government official suffers the consequences. Furthermore, failed regulations are seldom repealed, because, despite the net burden to the economy, a few new constituents do benefit and lobby mightily to keep them in place. (Does this mean our great-great-great-great-grandchild would break even on the car? No. It would doubtless have required some repairs in 6+ generations, which the economist omits as dead-horse flogging. And, if the car makes it the first 132 years, what's another 40 or 50 to break even on the repairs, too. Ron P.)

Wind Turbines Are Beautiful...but a tad expensive
Who’s going to pay for all those green jobs BO promised? Go look in the mirror. ~Bob. Excerpt: But according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), if one includes all the capital, operating, and fuel costs, electricity from wind still costs about 50 percent more than conventional coal and 100 percent more than natural gas. Proponents point out that the costs of turbines are coming down, but the costs for the considerable infrastructure needed to manage wind are still daunting. The wind, even at as favorable a site as Judith Gap, doesn’t always blow, so the facility produces power at about 38 percent of its actual capacity, or roughly about 51 megawatt-hours of electricity on average. This is actually well above the industry average. Fickle winds make supply management challenging. For example, according to NorthWestern Energy, the Judith Gap facility has ramped up from zero to 131 megawatts in 10 minutes and has ramped down from 121 megawatts to zero in a similar time period. The equipment is reliable—after five years of operation, Bacon notes that the turbines rarely break down; they are available 98 percent of the time to generate electricity. Their operational life is 20 years, but Bacon expects that they will actually continue to work for more than 40 years. But reliable equipment isn't enough to bring prices down to competitive levels.

Leaps of faith and Conjoined Science
Excerpt: Do something now, before it’s too late. The mantra of climate science™ and the IPCC. To believe that we must act now, there are several leaps of faith one must accept. Besides the basic and obvious physics, you first have to believe that CO2 causes a positive feedback in the atmosphere and therefore serious warming. All by a minuscule changes in trace CO2 levels. The feedback is a difficult and faithful leap when there is little ‘data’ to back it up. The second leap you must undertake is that which says warming is bad. Certainly there are plenty of stories about warmer weather which sound scary, but in general, warm weather is more pleasant and more livable. Things grow in warm weather and die off in cold. More warm, more things will live, biodiversity will expand, farmland will expand. Of course to assume that CO2 will cause these pleasant effects to happen requires the first leap of faith. But assuming that several degrees C will cause the massive problems predicted is very very much a leap of faith. There is a third leap, and this one is actually the hardest. The belief that somehow we can control the emission of CO2 through ‘green’ energy. That somehow we can just stop emitting CO2 worldwide and it will all be ok. Nobody starves, nobody dies, everyone just tightens up a bit and we’re good. Happy green people on happy cooler earth. Three leaps and you are almost home, but which ones are based on science(?) (Grammatically imperfect, this is nevertheless an excellent restatement of what the climate science argument is all about. Ron P.)

Why You're Bribing Brazilian Farmers
Excerpt: Voters want change. President Obama promised change. Tea party supporters demand change. Well, brace yourself. Change has come. The United States subsidizes the country's farmers, to the tune of $250 billion since 1995. That is not change. It has been a fact of life since the 1930s. More specifically, the United States subsidizes its cotton farmers, to the tune of $3.5 billion a year since 2000 (a figure equivalent to five-sixths of the value of U.S. cotton production over that time, according to the Congressional Research Service). Cotton subsidies, too, have been a fact of life since the 1930s. As of now, however, the United States also subsidizes Brazilian cotton farmers. This is something new. "If the average person at home realized what's happening with the cotton program, there would be outrage in the streets," says Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., a perennial farm-subsidy critic. "Instead of reforming the cotton program so it's less market- and trade-distorting, we're now creating a taxpayer subsidy to go to Brazilian cotton producers. It's beyond ridiculous." In 2002, Brazil filed a complaint against U.S. cotton subsidies with the World Trade Organization, of which the United States is a member. The international trade treaty allows signatories to subsidize farmers, and, in fact, they all do. The assistance, however, is supposed to be limited, and trade-distorting subsidies -- ones that either subsidize exports or encourage overproduction -- are subject to particularly tight limits.

Independent Tim Cahill shakes up Massachusetts governor race
Excerpt: Tim Cahill never expected his name to come up in a White House meeting. The Massachusetts state treasurer had spent a lot of time warning about the dire condition of the Bay State’s finances. Of particular concern was Commonwealth Care, Massachusetts’ state-run health care system. Cahill claimed Commonwealth Care blew a massive hole in his state’s budget, and would have bankrupted the state if it weren’t for federal bailout funds. That didn’t sit well with the White House, which was then pushing for a national health care reform bill based on the Massachusetts experiment. “According to my source who was in the meeting with [David] Axelrod and [Rahm] Emanuel, I don’t know exactly how they described me, but basically my comments were giving Republicans their talking points,” Cahill told The Daily Caller. “The message got back to me: You’d better shut up. This is your president. This is your Party. And you’re going to ruin things as we work towards taking the Massachusetts model and making it work for the rest of the country,” he said. (I happen to be involved with this campaign. I think this article may be overemphasizing Cahill's "independence." Tim Cahill is currently spending vast amounts of money on TV ads; he is currently more visible on TV than either Baker or Patrick. The ads are even pretty good. Unfortunately for Cahill, over the 5 weeks or so the ads have been running, he has dropped in the polls from around 12% to about 6%. Charlie Baker, who I am volunteering for, has picked up the lion's share of the switchers and Patrick, the incumbent, has gotten the rest. Cahill started with a substantial warchest of campaign money as the incumbent state Treasurer, but a month of TV ads isn't cheap. So, where's the money coming from now? I also notice there is an "independent" candidate in the local Congressional District race. Another person no one ever heard of, running closely enough to the programs of the Republican candidate, Marty Lamb of barf-bag fame, to siphon off more of his votes than the incumbent Democrat's. This could be a coincidence, but Massachusetts has been a fief of Democrats for a long time, even though there are large areas of the state that lean Republican and think conservative thoughts. I seem to recall Massachusetts invented the gerrymander. Ron P. Massachusetts has a long history of incumbents “putting in” candidates who will help them. An Irish incumbent with an Italian opponent in the Democrat primary would find a couple of other guys with Italian names to run, to siphon off Italian votes. The incumbent I defeated in 1972, Sen. Joe Ward, put a candidate into the Republican primary against me. Guy was clueless, didn’t seem to know he was put up, but the rest of his family were strong Ward supporters. The idea was I’d have to spend money and effort to defeat him. I ignored him, concentrated on Ward, and when I crushed the guy in the primary, it gave me a boost and credibility in the press. It was one of three or four errors Ward made that resulted in my winning—by nine votes—a seat that was considered un-winnable for a Republican. ~Bob.)

Town Hall Questioner To Obama: "I'm Exhausted Of Defending You"
Excerpt: "I'm one of your middle class Americans. And quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for," a woman told President Obama at a town hall. "My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives, but, quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we're headed again, and, quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly. Is this my new reality?," she added. (Can’t even trust a hand picked audience anymore. ~Bob.)

CNBC Reports: Economic Recession Is Over
Please pass this good news on to your unemployed friends, in case they cannot afford cable anymore. ~Bob.

Obama to Senate: Stick that in your advice and consent clause
Excerpt: For all intents and purposes, Ms. Warren will be Treasury Secretary for all consumer lending. We would have thought a Harvard law professor would object to the extra-legality of this arrangement, but then this is also the crew that gave us ObamaCare via budget reconciliation and put Donald Berwick in charge of Medicare without a Senate debate. Remind us again why the tea party critique of Obama governance is crazy. The new bureau was already destined to be a bureaucratic rogue. When Members of Congress objected to it being "independent" in the way Ms. Warren hoped, Mr. Dodd and the Administration cooked up a plan to make it part of the Federal Reserve without actually answering to anyone there. The bureau has independent rule-making authority and can grant itself an annual budget up to $646 million. It will draw this money from the operations of the Fed, so the bureau needn't deal with the messy intrusions of Congressional appropriators and will therefore receive limited Congressional oversight. Ms. Warren's bureau will dictate how credit is allocated throughout the American economy—by banks and financial firms, and also by many small businesses that extend credit to consumers. The bureau's mandate under the new Dodd-Frank law is to ensure that "consumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination." If those terms sound vague and overbroad now, wait until Ms. Warren's hand-picked staff begins interpreting existing laws on fair lending and writes new rules. (The noose of state control of the economy tightens, comrades. ~Bob.)

Why "Scientific Consensus" Fails to Persuade
Excerpt: Suppose a close friend who is trying to figure out the facts about climate change asks whether you think a scientist who has written a book on the topic is a knowledgeable and trustworthy expert. You see from the dust jacket that the author received a Ph.D. in a pertinent field from a major university, is on the faculty at another one, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Would you advise your friend that the scientist seems like an "expert"? If you are like most people, the answer is likely to be, "it depends." What it depends on, a recent study found, is not whether the position that scientist takes is consistent with the one endorsed by a National Academy. Instead, it is likely to depend on whether the position the scientist takes is consistent with the one believed by most people who share your cultural values. (…) "We know from previous research," said Dan Kahan, "that people with individualistic values, who have a strong attachment to commerce and industry, tend to be skeptical of claimed environmental risks, while people with egalitarian values, who resent economic inequality, tend to believe that commerce and industry harms the environment." In the study, subjects with individualistic values were over 70 percentage points less likely than ones with egalitarian values to identify the scientist as an expert if he was depicted as describing climate change as an established risk. Likewise, egalitarian subjects were over 50 percentage points less likely than individualistic ones to see the scientist as an expert if he was described as believing evidence on climate change is unsettled. (This study "proves" nothing other than that people with leftist ideologies are likely to also hold strong environmentalist (anti-human) positions, too. Also, I'm skeptical about the ability of the National Science Foundation to produce unbiased public reports. Even so, this study may lead in a valid direction: that we all let our pre-conceived notions impact what conclusions we draw from ambiguous findings. I'll have to think about that. Then, there is the other small matter: science isn't decided by consensus, but by what theory explains the observed facts best and can be duplicated by others (else, we'd still believe the Earth was flat, as is observable by everyone). Personally, I'd vote for pi to equal 3 as it would simplify all sorts of things. Ron P. Teacher told me Pi R Square, but I know—Pie are round! ~Bob.)

2 Police Officers Kidnapped in Mexico Found Dead, 7 Others Missing
Coming soon to a sanctuary city near you. ~Bob. Excerpt: Gunmen kidnapped nine police officers investigating a death in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, and the bodies of two of the lawmen were found later, authorities said Saturday.

Has America gone mad?
From the UK: What on earth is going on? These days, a grounding in clinical psychology is probably of more use than a PhD in political science in determining the mood of the US voters ahead of November's mid-term elections. But whether or not the country is experiencing a collective nervous breakdown, last week's batch of primary results have established one thing beyond doubt – that America's electorate has never in modern times been angrier, more volatile and less predictable than now. The most spectacular proof came in the normally inconsequential state of Delaware, where Christine O'Donnell – spectacularly unqualified but blessed by the Tea Party and Saint Sarah and making all the right ultra-conservative noises – defeated Mike Castle, the state's highly popular former governor, in the Republican primary for the Senate seat long held by Vice-President Joe Biden. A month or two ago, such a result would have been unthinkable. But then came a Palin tweet on behalf of Ms O'Donnell, and the rest is history. She is the seventh outsider, no less, backed by the insurgent Tea Party movement to topple a Senate candidate endorsed by the Republican establishment in this tumultuous primary season. Ms O'Donnell has had run-ins with the tax man, failed to meet her mortgage payments and equates masturbation with adultery, and may be a bridge too far for the good citizens of Delaware in November's general election. But some of the Tea Party crowd will certainly win, in an election year shaping up as a rout for the Democrats.

Disruptor vs. Galacticus
Excerpt: Like a supervillain from Marvel Comics, a new threat to civilization has emerged. It is Climate Disruption, the result of a rebranding exercise announced by U.S. Science Czar John Holdren. George Orwell understood the importance of controlling the terms of political debate, and predicted this level of Newspeak long before John Holdren joined with Paul Ehrlich to demand the U.S. ‘de-develop,’ a Newspeak way of calling for a return to medieval life. But this one is a real beaut. Climate change, which morphed into ‘global warming’ for political reasons and later re-emerged after the globe stubbornly refused to warm fast enough, is now climate disruption. What this means is that any unusual event–or even usual events, like walruses showing up on Alaskan beaches, which they do every year–can be called climate disruption in action, and blamed on human activity. We are fulfilling Orwellian requirements in other respects as well: Cameras everywhere, recording everything (including dust devils that can inflate tornado statistics)? Check. Intrusive software following us around? Check. A devaluing of the English language to suit political objectives? Double check. (...) But ‘climate disruption’ is more dangerous–it is a potent political weapon. There are no terms of reference, there is a certainty that it will be misused and it will cheapen any attempt to objectively observe our climate and to accurately describe what is happening to it. (What's in a word? I wondered why the change in terminology. Now, it makes sense. Also, some interesting comments after the article. Ron P.)

Muslim-American Soldier Tells Al Jizzira: U.S. Army Training Is ‘Propaganda Against Islam’
Excerpt: Zachari Klawonn, a Muslim U.S. Army specialist stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, told the Arabic-language television network Al Jazeera in a recent interview that training he had undergone in the U.S. military was “propaganda against Islam.” Klawonn said he was subject to harassment from fellow soldiers and from the Army command itself. A spokesman for Fort Hood told CNSNews.com that, as an American, Klawonn had a right to express his views and that he had informed his commanding officer that he was going to appear on Al-Jazeera. (Will he get the same treatment any other soldier would get for attacking Army policy publicly? ~Bob.)

The Biggest Target is Liberalism http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/09/the_biggest_target_is_liberali.html
Excerpt: The 2010 election is not simply a campaign against Obama. It needs to be a campaign against liberalism as a whole. Obama remains the major target, and he deserves the honor. No president in my lifetime has been as incompetent, as obtuse, or as polarizing. There's a particular type of incompetence that involves applying serious energy and diligence to doing the wrong thing. Obama is the master of this style of governance. Sure, he passed his stimulus bill, his health care plan, his financial regulatory act -- all of which are loathed by the country at large and all of which, without exception, are guaranteed to make the problems they're designed to address worse. The stimulus stimulated nothing. Health care costs have risen 20% since O's grand triumph. The regulatory bill addresses precisely none of the problems that led to the recent slump. Obama's obtuseness is evident in the endless vacations, the bowing and scraping before assorted potentates, his leaping into events (the Gates imbroglio, the Ground Zero mosque, this latest sideshow act with the backwoods wrestler...uhh, pastor) that are none of his business, and his continual rhetorical fumbles. A week doesn't go by without a new addition to the list, his whining that his critics "talk about me like a dog" being only the latest. (Quick, hand me that newspaper...) A president must be a center of calm and poise amid the whirlwind of events. Obama is usually just another piece of flotsam. The word "polarizing" is generally limited to Republican presidents, though, in fact, it could be said to be part of the job description. But Obama has taken this to new heights -- presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush certainly aroused opposition, occasionally well-organized and well-funded. But they are nothing to compare with Obama, who has ignited a vast political movement of a depth unseen for well over a century. The Tea Parties are a unique phenomenon, potentially as powerful and earthshaking as the abolitionist movement in the 19th century. It's not often an individual acts as the trigger for such a movement. That may well be Obama's major contribution.

'Jews have $': Yeshiva thugs
Couldn’t be members of The Religion of Peace! ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: Armed bandits who invaded a yeshiva dormitory in Queens and forced eight students into a bedroom at gunpoint claimed to be Muslim and angrily barked to the victims, "Jews have money," sources said yesterday. The terrifying robbery occurred at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, when the two men knocked on the dormitory door at Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh in Far Rockaway, saying their car broke down, sources said. Then they stuck the gun against the neck of a student, Yisrooel Sterns, 19, and forced their way into the house on Mott Avenue house in the Bayswater section. "'You guys are bunch of Jewish kids. Where is everything?' " one thug snarled, Sterns said. Before they left, one thug reportedly said, "I have nothing against you guys. I'm religious, too. I'm Muslim."

Senegal arrests 7 Koranic teachers over child begging
Excerpt: Senegalese security forces have arrested seven Koranic teachers for forcing children to panhandle, a police official said on Friday, days after the West African state announced a crack down on public begging. The predominately Muslim country is under mounting international pressure to end the use of children by Koranic teachers to collect money, rice and sugar after a prominent rights group said the practice was similar to slavery. "We have arrested seven Koranic teachers who have sent children to the streets to beg," police spokesman Mbaye Sady Diop said. "They were handed over to the prosecutor to do his job." Parents in Senegal have been entrusting their children to traditional Muslim schools, called daaras, for centuries, expecting them to receive food, shelter and teachings from the Koran, and to work on communal farms. But forced begging began to emerge in the 1970s when crop failures led schools to move into cities and boarding students were called upon to panhandle to cover costs. Human Rights Watch said in April at least 50,000 children in the country of 12 million were living in conditions "akin to slavery", facing severe beatings from unscrupulous teachers if they did not collect enough money. (So, what’s the problem? Mohammad (PBUH) kept slaves, said Allah allowed forced sex with lave girls—“that which your right hand possess”—and he is the prefect example for Muslims to emulate. Just party of their culture that we have to accept. Even when they bring it here. ~Bob.)

Dem mailer includes West’s Social Security number; challenger claims ‘unprecedented new low’
Excerpt: The Florida Democratic Party sent out a mailer last week detailing Republican congressional challenger Allen West’s 2005 tax lien and court orders to pay delinquent credit card bills. West is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein. The mailer includes a reproduction of the $11,081 tax lien filed against West in Marion County, Indiana, and paid off four months later. The document, pulled from public records, includes a column titled “Identifying Number” that shows West’s nine-digit Social Security number. Although the number isn’t specifically identified as a Social Security number, West campaign manager Josh Grodin said there is no mistaking what the number is. (Racist Democrats wouldn’t have done this to a white candidate! ~Bob.)

Memo to GOP: Don't drop earmark ban
Excerpt: In March, House Republicans made an important move to restore their credibility as the party of fiscal discipline when every one of them voted to ban earmarks. "Now House Republicans are going to the American people and saying we want a clean break from the runaway spending in the past. And that's going to be quite a contrast from this Congress and the administration," House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence crowed. That was then. This is apparently now: "With their eyes on a House majority, Republicans are leaving the door open to allowing earmarks after a one-year party-imposed moratorium," reported Politico on Friday. Republican leaders such as House Minority Leader John Boehner and Whip Eric Cantor are suddenly hedging on the issue. Perhaps we need to remind the would-be House leadership why they should continue to steer clear of earmarks. Giving individual congressmen the power to apportion millions of dollars to recipients of their sole choosing breeds corruption. As a timely reminder, on Friday top Democratic lobbyist, Paul Magliocchetti pleaded guilty in a Virginia courtroom to making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign donations in exchange for earmarks for defense contractors obtained by his friend and mentor, the now-deceased Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. Earmarks also grease the wheels to pass expensive legislation regardless of its merits or demerits.

Fraudulent vote count keeps rising in 2008 Minnesota election
If you think that vote fraud doesn’t matter, remember that Al Franken (D-Ringling Brothers) is now a US Senate. ~Bob. Excerpt: Minnesota Majority’s report on fraudulent votes cast by ineligible felons in Minnesota’s 2008 General Election may be just the tip of the iceberg. A total of 39 cases of double-voting are currently under investigation in which it appears that an individual voted in both Minnesota and Wisconsin during in 2008. Two Wisconsin men have thus far been charged with voting twice – once in their hometown of Menomonie and once again in Minnesota. Voting more than once in an election is a felony. The prosecutions came about as a result of a Wisconsin law enforcement investigation that’s been underway for months. Minnesota authorities appear to be cooperating with Wisconsin officials in these cases, but no investigation of this type has been undertaken within Minnesota, despite repeated calls for such an investigation by Minnesota Majority over the past two years. The standard response from most Minnesota officials has been that there is no voter fraud in Minnesota and therefore no need to conduct an investigation. But the skeletons are now beginning to spill out of the closets. If there are cases of double voting between Wisconsin and Minnesota, what about other neighboring states? Following the 2008 election, over 30,000 postcards mailed to newly registered Minnesota voters were returned as undeliverable. These “Postal Verification Cards” (or PVCs) are often the only verification used to confirm the identity and residence of newly registered voters and only after a voter’s ballot has been cast and counted. Some of the returned PVCs are due to people moving right after the election (election mail is non-forwardable). But what about the others? Clearly some were the result of Wisconsin residents illegally voting in Minnesota. How many other cases of fraudulent voter registrations do we have in Minnesota? If government officials refuse to investigate, we will never know the answer to this question

Massive, nationwide vote fraud is the among the most rotten fruit of ACORN-type activism
Excerpt: Every two years for the past decade and more, reports of voter fraud have been on the increase during election campaigns around the country. That is not coincidental. Since passage in 1993 of the National Voter Registration Act - aka "Motor Voter" - by the Democratic Congress that led to the 1994 GOP takeover, ACORN and a bunch of other radical liberal activists groups, many financed by George Soros, have been steadily growing their ability to increase vote counts for their candidates by stuffing ballot boxes with illegal votes on election day. To get just a taste of how deeply devious the Left's tactics are in subverting elections, check out this report by Leo Vaquez, the Harris County, Texas, Voter Registrar. Here's a partial list from that report of the many ways one leftist group, Houston Votes, has tried to register thousands of illegal voters in recent months:

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