Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Political Digest for March 1, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Anxiety on all sides of upcoming House hearing on radicalization of U.S. Muslims
Excerpt: In some ways, Zuhdi Jasser doesn't match the profile of the typical Muslim American. He's an active Republican who has supported the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is an advocate for Israel and says his faith harbors "an insidious supremacism."
Yet the Scottsdale, Ariz., doctor will be the face of American Islam for a Capitol Hill moment. Other than members of Congress, Jasser is the only witness that Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) has identified so far for his upcoming hearings on radicalization of American Muslims. (Watch for even King to soft-peddle the hearings, with constant genuflections to “a Great Religion of Peace,” proving terror works. Don’t believe it? When “artist” Andres Serrano produced the taxpayer-funded artwork” “Piss Christ” in 1987 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ), there was outrage—but no one died. When Newsweek, ever eager to discredit the Bush administration and America without checking facts, erroneously reported in 2005 that a Qur’an had been flushed down a toilet at Gitmo, there were riots throughout the world, and at least 15 people were reported killed. Suppose an “Artist” exhibited a picture of a statue of Mohammad in a jar of urine? Suppose this was done with a US Government Grant? You know the result—many people would die. Say, did you hear that Newsweek uses toilet paper with Suras from the Holy Qur’an printed on them in their office building? Pass it on. ~Bob.)

I suggest you read the entire piece—it’s not long. ~Bob. Excerpt: I have not been able to determine how you pronounce the acronym for Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Is it ā´ ko? Or ā´ so? Or ăh so´, as in Charlie Chan movies? What about ĕ´ ko, as in a canyon? Or simply ick, with a silent o? Anyway, this is not a trivial matter because you are likely to be in an ACO at some point in the future and it’s probably going to happen sooner than you think. In Massachusetts, stakeholders are already meeting to develop a plan to push everyone with commercial insurance into an ACO. [Can you guess who doesn’t count as a “stakeholder?" If you live in Massachusetts and you weren’t invited to the meeting, that’s a clue.] Nationwide, Medicare will start paying fees to ACOs, beginning next year. Eventually, the Obama administration would like to see everyone in an ACO. But if no one had any previous interest in forming ACOs, let alone joining them, what is going to cause us all to change our minds? Money. Insurers won’t be able to get premium increases unless they adopt ACO plans. Doctors and hospitals will be paid less if they don’t join. Eventually doctors will find they are ineligible to treat Medicare patients or patients insured in the newly-created health insurance exchanges if they are not practicing in ACOs. As for the patients, there won’t be any plans to join other than ACO plans. Oh, and did I forget to mention it? Eventually ACOs will almost certainly have global budgets — a fixed sum of money, used to meet enrollees’ medical needs. If all needs can’t be met with that sum, they will have to be prioritized. At this blog we don’t shy away from the “R” word (rationing). We do tend to avoid the “D_____ P_____” term, however. We call it “end-of-life counseling.” I don’t know any advocates of ACOs who are not also advocates of global budgets. See if your experience is the same as mine. Why is that important to know? Because that is the most important thing ACOs are about.

Worth Reading: The Truth About U.S. Manufacturing
Excerpt: But while it's true that the U.S. has lost more than seven million manufacturing jobs since the late 1970s, our manufacturing output has continued to expand. I don't deny that the transition to this new economy can be a rough one for displaced workers. But turning back the clock to a less efficient economy is not the answer. International data compiled by the United Nations on global output from 1970-2009 show this success story. Excluding recession-related decreases in 2001 and 2008-09, America's manufacturing output has continued to increase since 1970. In every year since 2004, manufacturing output has exceeded $2 trillion (in constant 2005 dollars), twice the output produced in America's factories in the early 1970s. Taken on its own, U.S. manufacturing would rank today as the sixth largest economy in the world, just behind France and ahead of the United Kingdom, Italy and Brazil. In 2009, the most recent full year for which international data are available, our manufacturing output was $2.155 trillion (including mining and utilities). That's more than 45% higher than China's, the country we're supposedly losing ground to. Despite recent gains in China and elsewhere, the U.S. still produced more than 20% of global manufacturing output in 2009. The truth is that America still makes a lot of stuff, and we're making more of it than ever before. We're merely able to do it with a fraction of the workers needed in the past.

On shutdown, more voters would blame Dems
This—and the results in 1995—show how ignorant the voters are about the budgeting process. Of course, the correct answer to who is to blame for shutting down the government is “both parties,” as either party can avoid a shutdown by giving in to the other party. The correct question should be, “should the Democrats/Republicans give in to the other party on spending to avoid a temporary government shutdown?” ~Bob. Excerpt: Twenty-nine percent of likely voters would blame Democrats for a government shutdown, compared to 23 percent who would hold Republicans responsible, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill. The results are surprising because most people blamed the GOP for the last government shutdown, which occurred during President Clinton’s first term. A week before the 1995 shuttering, polls showed the public blamed Republicans by a two-to-one-margin.

Last US veteran of WWI dies in W. Va. at age 110
How’d that “War to End War” and to “Make the World Safe for Democracy” thing work out for you? (Only the dead have seen the end of war. --George Santayana) ~Bob. Excerpt: Frank Buckles enlisted for World War I at 16 after lying about his age. He made it home again and ultimately became that war's last surviving U.S. veteran, campaigning for greater recognition for his comrades-in-arms before dying at 110. Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died of natural causes Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said. He was 110. Buckles had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of the Great War in the nation's capital and asked about its progress weekly, sometimes daily.

America Spends More on Education, Gets Worse Outcomes
What is the solution? They claim we spend more for healthcare, get worse results—which I don’t believe—but that justifies a government takeover of healthcare. But government already took over education a long time ago—and gets worse results. ~Bob. Excerpt: While students in many developed nations have been learning more and more over time, American 15-year-olds are stuck in the middle of the pack in many fundamental areas, including reading and math. This is according to the recently released Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment scores that measures educational achievement in 65 countries. This is despite the fact that the United States is near the top in education spending, says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. With the exception of Switzerland, the United States spends the most in the world on education, an average of $91,700 per student in the nine years between the ages of six and 15. But the results do not correlate: For instance, we spend one-third more per student than Finland, which consistently ranks near the top in science, reading and math. Naturally, the OECD's report has sparked calls for more spending. But throwing more money at poorly performing schools has not moved the needle on performance, says de Rugy. During the last 40 years, the federal government has spent $1.8 trillion on education, and spending per pupil in the United States has tripled in real terms. Government at all levels spent an average of $149,000 on the 13-year education of a high school senior who graduated in 2009, compared to $50,000 (in 2009 dollars) for a 1970 graduate. Despite the dramatic increase in spending, there has been no notable change in student outcomes.

Letting the Cream Rise
Excerpt: For Princetonians, the senior thesis is a high hurdle before graduation. For Wendy Kopp, class of 1989, it became a career devoted to transforming primary and secondary education. What began as an idea for a teacher corps for hard-to-staff schools, urban and rural, became Teach for America. At first it was merely a leavening ingredient in education; it has become a template for transformation. Back then, Kopp's generation was stigmatized by journalistic sociology as "the 'me' generation" composed of materialists eager to be recruited into careers of quick self-enrichment. She thought the problem was not her peers but the recruiters. So she became one. This academic year, 16 percent of Princeton's seniors and 18 percent of Harvard's applied to join Teach for America, of which Kopp is CEO. TFA is the largest employer of recent graduates from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Eight percent of seniors at the University of Michigan (undergraduate enrollment: 26,830) applied last year for TFA's two-year commitments. More than 5 percent of graduating seniors at 130 colleges are applicants.

Learning from Experience: How the States Used Article V Applications in America's First Century
Excerpt: In the face of growing federal power and mounting deficits, some want states to call for a convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would rein in the federal government. Article V of the Constitution authorizes states to initiate amendments with a convention. Critics claim no one really knows how the process works and calling a convention would open the door to mischief by Congress, the courts, and convention delegates. But states frequently applied for an amendments convention between 1789 and 1913. A study of that history reveals much about how states can - and cannot - use the Article V process today.

Despite overseas turmoil, Obama's focus is on economy and the budget
Excerpt: The capital of Libya was on fire, Egypt was still smoldering and Somali pirates killed four American hostages. But at the time, last Tuesday morning, President Obama was on his way to Cleveland for a “winning the future” forum about small business.
Aides kept Obama abreast of the violent world events, but that morning’s focus was 9 percent national unemployment and a domestic economic recovery that had slowed or even stalled.

The World from The Hill: Muted outcry in Washington after deadly pirate attack
Because dealing with the problem would require violence and produce a political backlash. Better for politicians to live with economic disruption and dead Americans. ~Bob. Excerpt: Battling pirates was high on the agenda last Congress as seafaring Somali criminals haunted the shipping industry. But the outcry in Washington has been noticeably muted after Somali captors killed four Americans last week. The yacht of California couple Scott and Jean Adam was seized Feb. 18 in open waters between Mumbai and Djibouti. Two crew members, Phyllis Macay and Robert A. Riggle of Seattle, were also on board. On Monday, U.S. negotiations with the pirates went horribly awry and all four were killed. President Obama did not issue a statement on the tragedy. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the administration was "obviously outraged by the actions of the pirates."

Obama backtracks on health mandate, allows opt-out from start
The Dems are starting to realize they will be blamed for the disaster of an unworkable law. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama is backing a plan that would allow states to opt out earlier from one of the new healthcare reform law’s most unpopular elements. Speaking to nation’s governors Monday morning, Obama said states should be able to seek an earlier opt-out from the healthcare overhaul’s requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance. The law allows states to request a waiver for the requirement in 2017, but Obama said he will support moving the date up to 2014, when the so-called individual mandate goes into effect.

Low-Flow Toilets Causing a Stink in San Francisco
I’m from the government and I’m here to help you. ~Bob. Excerpt: San Francisco’s big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink. Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months. The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem. Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite — better known as bleach — to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city’s treated water before it’s dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water. That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year. Not everybody thinks it’s a good idea.

Good Newt and Bad Newt
Excerpt: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) continues to move ever-closer to a run for president in 2012, a bid that will almost certainly highlight his great gifts and equally large potential flaws. Party strategists who have long followed Gingrich's career tend to see two men in the Georgia Republican: Good Newt and the Bad Newt. Good Newt is, without question, one of the most talented politicians operating in the party today -- brilliant, brimming with ideas and charismatic. Bad Newt uses his rhetorical firepower -- and it is considerable -- too freely, falling off message and, in so doing, bringing trouble down on himself. "He always believes he is the smartest guy in the room," said one Republican consultant who has studied Gingrich's career closely. "And usually he is. The problem is, he knows it."

The true key states for Obama in '12
Excerpt: Will it be the playing field of 2004, in which a few large and traditionally competitive states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania decided the outcome? Or will it be the wider playing field of 2008, in which Obama used his financial and organizational advantage to cruise to a 365-electoral-vote victory? Much depends on the health of the economy as well as the relative strengths of the president and the eventual Republican nominee when voters start paying close attention. But in politics, past is often prologue, so it's worth comparing Sen. John Kerry's performance as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 with Obama's showing in 2008.

Obama Oil Policy Will Rob Consumers
Excerpt: President Barack Obama's eagerness to eliminate what he calls "costly tax cuts for oil companies" will make life much tougher for U.S. consumers, says the Manhattan Institute's Robert Bryce. The reason? The president's 2012 budget calls for eliminating a dozen tax incentives that benefit producers of coal, oil and natural gas. "Big Oil has long been a plump piñata for politicos and environmental groups, but a simple cost-benefit analysis shows that eliminating decades-old tax rules for oil and gas could be a lousy deal for consumers," Bryce writes in The Wall Street Journal. Moreover, the president also wants to "break our dependence on oil with biofuels," says Bryce, but using biofuels to displace oil requires massive subsidies. Last year, Bryce points out, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the cost to taxpayers of using corn ethanol to reduce gas consumption by one gallon is $1.78. “This year, the corn ethanol sector will produce about 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol, the energy equivalent of about 9.1 billion gallons of gasoline,” he says. “Using the CBO's numbers, that means the total cost to taxpayers this year for the ethanol boondoggle will be about $16.2 billion” as compared to the $4.4 billion in foregone tax revenue for oil and gas tax rules.

USDA Announces $1.3B Fund for Female, Hispanic Farmers Claiming Discrimination
$1.3 B of your money will buy a lot of votes in 2012. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Obama administration plans to distribute $1.3 billion to female and Hispanic farmers who claim they were discriminated against by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a process for distributing the money Friday. The move comes after Congress approved a separate $4.6 billion settlement for black and Native American farmers who claimed discrimination. Though some lawmakers alleged the claims process for black farmers was rife with fraud, the administration has pushed to extend settlement money to other minority groups. "The Obama administration has made it a priority to resolve all claims of past discrimination at USDA, and we are committed to closing this sad chapter in USDA's history," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Friday. "Women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers who allege past discrimination can now come forward to participate in a claims process in which they have the opportunity to receive compensation." 

Cheap Spirits and the Spirit of Freedom
Excerpt: In Norway, all wine and spirits are sold in government-owned stores dedicated strictly to that purpose. The stores — which collectively are known by the cozy name vinmonopolet, or “the wine monopoly” — are open from 10 to 6 on weekdays and 10 to 3 on Saturdays. They’re closed on Sundays and on all sorts of holidays. Around Christmas and Easter they’re closed for days at a stretch. The number of stores is limited, determined not by market demand but, in good socialist fashion, by government fiat. In Oslo, a sprawling city with a population of over half a million, there are only 26 stores. And the prices — thanks to taxes designed to discourage potential customers and punish those who do buy — are the world’s highest. Norwegians go to Sweden to purchase cheaper intoxicants than they can get at home – and for the same reason Swedes go to Denmark, Danes to Germany, and Germans to Italy. Norwegians gripe about all this, but their political establishment is in no rush to overturn the system. On alcohol policy, Norway’s major parties, whether on the Christian right, left, far-left, or so-far-left-they’d-give-Castro-the-bends, have traditionally been very comfy bedmates. They all love control, because they’re all sure they know what’s good for Norwegians a lot better than Norwegians do. For the Christian right, demon rum threatens family values; for the left, drinking distracts citizens from their duties to the socialist state. (There are a host of states in this country that have the same or similar laws (New Hampshire and Virginia among them). Still other states regulate the alcohol content to some reduced level they consider “safer” than the standard—which simply means a drinker needs to drink more and faster to get drunk, if that’s the point—to protect the general populace. In 1966, the county of Georgia I was stationed in had a hard-fought election over whether or not to allow bars and restaurants to sell “mixed drinks” rather than selling customers all the makings and having the customer do the assembling (the main difference is customer convenience). Virtually every civic, religious, fraternal, and political organization took a position. The proposition lost in the election by nearly 2 to 1. 45 years later, I’m still trying to understand this result. Ron P. why we should legalize drugs, and have the government tax and sell them. The whole business would be so complex, over=regulated and confusing that usage would doubtless decline. ~Bob.)

Breaking: Iran Has Several Military Bases in Libya
Excerpt: In an interview today on the Al Arabyia news network, an informed source within the Revolutionary Guards Corps revealed that Iran has several military bases in Libya. The source, who requested anonymity due to his sensitive position within the Guards, elaborated further that the Iranian military bases are located mostly along Libya’s borders with the African countries of Chad and Niger. From there, he said, the Guards actively smuggle arms and supply logistical assistance to rebellious groups in the African countries. According to this source, Guards enter Libya under the guise of oil company employees. Most of these companies are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.

Gmail accidentally resetting accounts, years of correspondence vanish
Excerpt: If you've got a working Gmail account, you might want to back it up every so often -- as many as 500,000 Gmail users lost access to their inboxes this morn, and some of them are reporting (via Twitter and support forums) that years worth of messages, attachments and Google Chat logs had vanished by the time they were finally able to log on. While we haven't experienced the issue personally, we're hearing that the bug effectively reset some accounts, treating their owners as new users complete with welcome messages. For its part, Google says that the issue "affects less than .29% of the Google Mail userbase," engineers are working to fix the issue right now, and that missing messages will be restored as soon as possible. (Much better than “the dog ate my homework.” Ron P. G-Mail logged me out and gave me grief getting back in, but all my old e-mail seems to be there. I copy important stuff to disk. ~Bob.)

Unions vs. the Right to Work
Excerpt: How ironic that Wisconsin has become ground zero for the battle between taxpayers and public- employee labor unions. Wisconsin was the first state to allow collective bargaining for government workers (in 1959), following a tradition where it was the first to introduce a personal income tax (in 1911, before the introduction of the current form of individual income tax in 1913 by the federal government). Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions. An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on. From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty. In fact, labor unions were subject to U.S. antitrust laws in the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was first applied in 1894 to the American Railway Union. However, organized labor managed to obtain exemption from federal antitrust laws in subsequent legislation, notably the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. Remarkably, labor unions are not only immune from antitrust laws but can also negotiate a "union shop," which requires nonunion employees to join the union or pay nearly equivalent dues. Somehow, despite many attempts, organized labor has lacked the political power to repeal the key portion of the 1947 Taft Hartley Act that allowed states to pass right-to-work laws, which now prohibit the union shop in 22 states.

Gordon Hintz: "You Are F'n Dead!"
Excerpt: Last week, we heard that State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) had been busted in a prostitution sting.  State Rep. Gordon Hintz was issued a municipal citation in Appleton earlier this month for violating a city sexual misconduct ordinance. Appleton police said the citation was issued Feb. 10 in conjunction with an ongoing investigation of Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor,
342 W. Wisconsin Ave.
, in Appleton. Police searched the business and a nearby residence in the 1300 block of
North Division Street
Jan. 28, after investigators had staked out the properties for several days after receiving a tip. Last Friday.... after the Assembly voted to engross the Budget Repair Bill, Hintz turned to a female colleague, Rep. Michelle Litjens and said: "You are F***king dead!" New tone, indeed. Will he be held accountable?

Obama looks to Europe to take principal role in Libyan crisis
Excerpt: U.S. officials have been pushing European countries to take the lead in world powers' response to Gadhafi, arguing that the Europeans have closer ties and more leverage. U.S. officials also want to limit military involvement in what could be a protracted civil war, coming at a time when U.S. forces are overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan. "This is predominately a European problem, in the sense that they are the ones who have the most at stake," said a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive diplomacy.

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Womens’ Suffrage Movement Is a ‘Machination’ of the Enemies of Islam
To avoid appearing Islmophobic and to preserve our commitment to multiculturalism, I suppose we should repeal the 19th Amendment immediately? ~Bob. Excerpt: The issue, sisters, is on-going due to the machinations of the enemies of this community. They will spare no effort in bringing harm to us. They will spare no effort in dividing our side and dispersing our word. They will spare no effort in spreading fitna amongst us. Everything they promote under “womens’ rights” in these days is a kind of machination. You know that the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women” [Sahih al-Bukhari, "(The Book of) Marriage," No. 5096; Sahih Muslim, "(The Book of) Remembrance, Supplication, Repentance, and Seeking Forgiveness," No. 2740]. He (also) said (peace be upon him): “The world is sweet and green (alluring) and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act. So avoid (the allurement) of the world and women: verily, the first trial for the children of Israel was caused by women” [Sahih Muslim, "Book of Remembrance, Supplication, Repentance, and Seeking Forgiveness," No. 2742; Sunan al-Tirmithi, "The Trials," No. 2191; Sunan Ibn-Majih, "The Trials," No. 4000; Musnid Ahamd (3/19)].

East London Mosque keeps on lying
Excerpt: Mr Lateef is one of at least half a dozen homophobic preachers hosted or promoted by the East London Mosque, three of whom have been officially invited to deliver the Friday sermon. In 2007, as my Dispatches programme on the East London Mosque disclosed, a “Spot The Fag” contest was staged at the mosque. In recent years, there has been a sharp rise in homophobic hate crimes in Tower Hamlets – something which simply cannot be unconnected to the fact that hatred of gay people is allowed to be openly and regularly expressed inside one of the area’s most prominent institutions. The technique of saying one thing designed to appeal to white liberals, while in fact doing the exact opposite, has been brought to a fine pitch by Islamists generally, and the East London Mosque in particular. The mosque’s idea of “standing against hatred” involves hosting literally dozens of hate, extremist and terrorist preachers on its premises – most famously, the al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. It now claims to have banished hate preachers from its building – but, as this blog has documented, continues to welcome them almost every month. Why does the East London Mosque tell such obvious lies? Simply, because lies work. There is a part of liberal white society which would rather ignore or deny the problem of extremism, hatred and bigotry in some parts of some Muslim communities. The lies give them a form of permission to do so. (snookering liberals is pretty easy, because you are dealing with folks who don’t care about outcomes as long as their intentions are pure, and are always ready to believe that Che, Mao, Stalin and the Islamists are really good people, deep down, despite the heaps of dead. After all, anyone who hates America can’t be all bad. ~Bob.)

Voting for the National Interest, Not Self-Interest
Excerpt: It's a question that puzzles most liberals and bothers some conservatives. Why are so many modest-income white voters rejecting the Obama Democrats' policies of economic redistribution and embracing the small-government policies of the tea party movement? It's not supposed to work out that way, say the political scientists and New Deal historians. Politics is supposed to be about who gets how much when, and people with modest incomes should be eager to take as much from the rich as they can get.

Democrat Senator's absence to cost Wisconsin $165 Million
Excerpt: By choosing to pander to their public sector union supporters and financiers rather than serve the hard working taxpayers of Wisconsin, the 14 Democrat Senators who are cowering in the People’s Republic of Illinois will bear the responsibility for $165 million in additional debt service costs. Lost amid the well organized protests in Madison and dwarfed by rumors of crippling strikes in the wake of meaningful fiscal reform is today’s deadline for debt restructuring.

Energy costs up because that's Obama's policy
Excerpt: It's conventional wisdom in liberal Democratic precincts that gas prices in America are going up because of revolutionary uprisings throughout the Middle East. That's a convenient myth that obscures the truth about why Americans are and will be paying more at the pump and in their utility bills in the months ahead -- energy prices are going up because President Obama thinks that's a good thing. He was absolutely candid on this point during a discussion with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle during the 2008 presidential campaign. Not only would "utility rates necessarily skyrocket," Obama said paying more for energy would be a good thing because "if you can't persuade the American people that yes, there is going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage, changing lightbulbs, and more efficient appliance, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy, the economy would benefit. ... If we can't make that argument persuasively enough, you -- you, uh, can be Lyndon Johnson, you can be the master of Washington. You're not going to get that done." But not even "Landslide Lyndon" could make economic reality go away. Obama wants Americans to pay more for energy now both to make more expensive alternative energy sources acceptable and to help finance their development. But there are two fatal flaws in Obama's strategy.

Excerpt: If you remember, back in the summer of 2008, oil was spiking to over $100 per barrel and gasoline at retail was around $3.00 per gallon. We were bombarded on a daily basis with stories in the mainstream media of how the oil companies and the policies of George Bush, along with his cronies in the oil business at Halliburton, were conspiring to enrich the fat cats at energy companies at the expense of the American public. Democrats were outraged at the hardship these prices were creating. Hillary Clinton stated that if Democrats controlled the White House this wouldn't be happening. Keith Olbermann had an average of two on air strokes per weeks railing against this greed. This all added to the nation's discontent in the summer of 2008 and the media was more than happy to tell us about it in the months leading up to the Presidential election. Well, we now have a new President, and gasoline is once again around $3.00 per gallon. Have you noticed all the stories in the mainstream media now about the policies of President Obama causing the price of gasoline to go up? I didn't think so. Their silence is deafening. And indicting.

Obama's green subsidies attract do-gooder bandits
Can’t blame them. The saw Al Gore made $100M off Global Warming and think they should be in on the loot—which we all pay for. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama's green energy push is rapidly proving to be a crooked racket. It works like this: Revolving-door political hires rev up subsidy programs that enrich their former employers. Then they cash out themselves, pocketing taxpayer loot while turning out energy products that range from inefficient technologies to total failures. Faster than the turbine on a subsidized wind mill, the "clean-tech" revolving door spins out green bandits who get rich off the subsidies they helped craft. Cathy Zoi, an Al Gore acolyte, has left her job as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy to go to work for a new fund that invests in green energy. It was started by Democratic donor George Soros. Her former "special assistant," Peter Roehrig, joined DOE's renewable energy office from the U.S. Renewable Energy Group. The latter is a company founded by lobbyists who saw they could pocket taxpayer dollars by acting as cutouts for Chinese windmill barons trying to get their hands on stimulus money. There are plenty of revolving-door green bandits, but the paths of Zoi and Roehrig - both of whom passed through the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office, which was responsible for $16 billion in stimulus money - exemplify how Obama's stimulus and green-energy initiatives open the door for corruption and patronage.

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