Monday, April 18, 2011

Political Digest for April 18, 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.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Herman Cain to tea party rally: ‘Stupid people are ruining this country’
You want a businessman for the GOP? Forget Trump--here's the guy. ~Bob. Excerpt: Georgia Republican Herman Cain said today that one of the nation’s most pressing national security threats is China, whose economy is outpacing the United States’ partly because taxes are too high here. Herman Cain, a probable presidential candidate, speaks with the media Saturday, April 16, 2011, during an Iowa tea party rally on the west lawn of the Iowa Capitol. (Mary Chind/The Register) “If we don’t begin to grow with the potential that we have in this country, we will have another national security crisis and that national security crisis is that China will be as big as we are,” said Cain, a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. “They’ll start to develop a military as big and as good as ours and they’ve got a billion more people and they’re holding 26 percent of our debt. And you think we’re going to be able to sing Kumbaya with them?”

Eurosceptic Populism Invades Finnish Election
Excerpt: The Finnish general election is on Sunday 17 April. The election results are expected to be announced around midnight. These two items are about the only thing that can be said with certainty before this election. The advance of the anti-immigrant and eurosceptic populist True Finns Party, along with the crisis in the euro countries, has shaken up the country's political patterns. As a rule, the difference in the traditional parties' electoral support has been a few percentage points at the most. Now the opinion polls are showing something quite different. Until now the True Finns have always been classed as a small party with the support of a few percent (about four in the last election). In the run-up to the coming election support for the party is almost as much as 20 percent. The state of affairs between the opinion polls and reality is still a great mystery, but it seems certain that the True Finns will win a large victory of some kind. And that means, above all, that electoral support for the three traditional largest parties - the Centre Party, the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats - will decrease. In the run-up to Sunday's election it seems like there will be four parties in Finland which all have about 20 per cent support.

Finns Vote as Nationalist Right Poised to Surge
 Excerpt: The populist, anti-immigration, right-wing party has largely shaped the campaign debate with its calls to flatly reject EU bailouts to debt-ridden member states and to abandon the euro, a message which resonated with many people from other parties as well. Hari Nordling, a 58-year-old salesman, said he would vote for the Swedish People's Party but largely supported the True Finns' stance on the EU. "All we have here is more and more expenses. We pay more than we get (from the EU). Those countries ... use the money of our taxpayers to help other people," he told AFP shortly after polls opened at 9:00 am (0600 GMT) in a sunny Helsinki. Media reported that "brisk" early-morning voting picked up even more by midday in Finland's major cities, and observers predicted turnout well above the 67.9 percent in 2007 due to the controversy surrounding the True Finns.

Moscow Police Find 'Underground Town' of Migrant Workers
Excerpt: Moscow police have raided an old bomb shelter that illegal migrants working at a secret defense industry plant have turned into an underground village, complete with a shop and a mosque. The shelter was located on the premises of the plant, not far from Mozhaiskoye Shosse in the city's west, reported Thursday. The place housed more than 110 people despite having an area of only 200 square meters, unidentified police officers who participated in the raid told the tabloid.

UK: "I just grabbed the geezer": Hero squaddie seizes top Taliban leader after desert FIST FIGHT
 Excerpt: Face to face with a Taliban bomber after a high-speed desert chase, Private Lee Stephens acted on instinct and adrenalin. With no time to consider his own safety, he leapt unarmed from his Warrior armoured vehicle, dragged the insurgent from his motorcycle and laid into him with his fists. Gunner Pte Stephens, 30, from Solihull, did not have time to get his gun. He said: ‘I jumped out and I grabbed the geezer. ‘It was mark one left, mark two right fists. That was it. No weapons, just my hands.’ It was only afterwards that the full significance of his heroics became clear. His prey turned out to be the highest-ranking Taliban captured by regular British forces in Afghanistan, a long-wanted bomb-making expert.

UK: We too should ban the burka
 Excerpt: How did we end up with a school in the East Midlands where the door opens to release the children into the spring sunshine and out flaps a flock of crows? Young girls my daughter’s age clad from head to toe in inky black, a sight both alien and intimidating. “It’s their own choice,” runs the argument, so it must be tolerated by our liberal society. Exactly what choice does an 11-year-old girl have when her designated school uniform is a magician’s black cloth that conceals her from the world and never brings her back? Think of the paranoia that shroud breeds not just in the child who wears it but also in those who look upon her and turn away in dislike. At what point does tolerating the intolerant become intolerable? Well, the French have had enough. This week, they banned the burka, imposing a fine of £130 [$230] on any woman who appears veiled in public. I like President Sarkozy’s bracing assertion of France’s values: “We cannot have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity. That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.”

UK: Hands Up! Moment a Sham Wedding Groom was Seized at Altar After Officers Hid in Church Vestry
Excerpt: Father Codling caught out one couple because when he asked the bride to repeat the vows, he began reading out train station names and she repeated them. He said: ‘I was asking the bride to repeat the vows and I just knew something wasn’t right. ‘So I started calling out the names of stations on the c2c rail line – Pitsea, Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea – and the bride started saying them back to me. ‘She clearly couldn’t understand anything I was saying – I don’t think she even knew why she was in the church.’ He said fraudsters were targeting his church because of its growing ethnic diversity and good train links with London.

Skokie, Illinois: Muslim Teenage Bride-to-Be Disappears
Excerpt: This TV news story from Skokie, Illinois is unusual for an MSM production — it discusses Pakistani marriage practices fairly honestly, and even refers to the possibility that the missing girl may be at risk of — or presumably already dead from — an “honor killing”. If a Pakistani-American family were to do away with a reluctant teenage bride — one who has the temerity to resist marrying one of her cousins in Pakistan — it’s quite plausible that a younger sister would be delegated the task of covering for the family by issuing a public “appeal” … According to Ron Synovitz with the Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, there are reports of more than 4,000 honor killings across Pakistan since 1998. (4,000 dead girls and women in just one country. And a defining silence from feminists. ~Bob.)

Muslim Council: women cannot debate wearing veil
See, it's all about a woman's "choice." ~Bob. Excerpt: The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that not covering the face is a "shortcoming" and suggested that any Muslims who advocate being uncovered could be guilty of rejecting Islam. In a statement published on its website the MCB, warns: "We advise all Muslims to exercise extreme caution on this issue, since denying any part of Islam may lead to disbelief. "Not practising something enjoined by Allah and his Messenger… is a shortcoming. Denying it is much more serious."

When is a Hate Crime Not a Hate Crime?
Excerpt: Tennesseans may remember the resulting hysteria when a defaced Koran was foundon a doorstep by a Somali Muslim on June 24th, 2005 in Nashville. The entire Muslim community was up in arms and complained vehemently that the police didn’t respond quickly enough, though what they could have done under the circumstances is unclear. Police promptly investigated the incident specifically as a hate crime and consulted the FBI. ... The Somali man, 22 year old Abdi Suleiman Shakur, continued walking slowly past the front of Mr. Brown’s truck when he saw the large (1ft x 2ft) American flag magnet on the hood. At the sight of the flag, Shakur lunged at the vehicle and began beating on the hood, chanting and praising Allah as he did so. Then he grew even more violent and pulled the flag magnet from the hood and tore it in pieces, spitting on it and cursing. At this point, Mr. Brown dialed 911 and with the 911 operator on the line, got out of his truck to confront Shakur. ... Brown then noticed about 20 or 30 other young Somali Muslims gathering around laughing and taking pictures with their cell phones. Fearing he was being set up, he retreated into his truck to await police. With that, Shakur grew even more threatening, still chanting praise Allah and taunting, “I work for Bin Laden. I take you down! Where is your help?” Then Shakur reaching inside Mr. Brown’s truck and grabbed a small American flag from the passenger side visor and ripped it into pieces, spit on it, and crushed it into the ground with his foot.

Coverage of Pew Prison Study Stinks
 Excerpt: The Pew study does not suggest saving money on prisons by cutting back on illegal immigration. It proposes cutting back on prisons, period. However, its rationale is questionable. It says, “This high price [spending on prisons and corrections] would be more than defensible had it yielded proportionate improvements in public safety.” This seems to suggest that the money has somehow been wasted. But it then goes on to say, “In fact, the crime rate has been falling since the early 1990s, and is now at its lowest level since 1968. Prison expansion certainly contributed to this trend.” So building more prisons and putting criminals in them has worked. But Pew seems determined to avoid this conclusion by then commenting, “The most sophisticated research gives prison growth credit for one-quarter to one-third of the crime drop during the 1990s.” (emphasis added).

Interesting column from October. ~Bob. Excerpt: Sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Cairo, I overheard an English businessman embroiled in a protracted telephone conversation. I surmised that the man's interlocutor did not share his sense of urgency. "I need it now." Pause. "Yes, now." Long pause. Then finally, in exasperation, "No, not inshallah, now." ... Defenders of Islam might protest that this is theoretical, and that we need hard facts. Well, just recently The Times printed a fact about Britain, and it is a hard fact to stomach: Religion emerges as a source of concern, especially in employment. Only 47 per cent of Muslim men are in employment, and only 24 per cent of women. Correction: "religion" is not a source of concern; Islam is. British Hindus, who are generally the same race as British Muslims, have one of the highest employment rates, along with Christians and "those of no religion".

Britain's Secret Slaves
Excerpt: Over 15,000 domestic workers leave their families to come to Britain every year. Charities claim that many are not only badly treated but that they are living as slaves. ... The programme also investigates claims that foreign diplomats are among the worst offenders in this flourishing form of modern slavery.

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue
Gung ho video. ~Bob.

Thank you, soldiers
A thank you to veterans from the third graders of Tussing Elementary, Colonial Heights , Virginia.

Fuqing fuel contract
Excerpt: China Jianzhong Nuclear Fuel Co (CJNF), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), has recently signed a contract with Fuqing Nuclear Power Co to supply 420 fuel assemblies for the Fuqing nuclear power plant currently under construction in Fujian province. Under the contract, 314 fuel assemblies will be delivered between November 2014 and June 2015 for use as first core fuel for Fuqing units 3 and 4. The other 106 assemblies will be delivered between July 2014 and March 2015 and will be used for refuelling units 1 and 2 at Fuqing. Construction of Fuqing units 1 and 2 started in November 2008 and June 2009, respectively. The units are scheduled to begin operating in October 2013 and August 2014. Construction of unit 3 began in July 2010, while work on unit 4 will start later this year. Those reactors are set to start up in July 2015 and May 2016, respectively. All four Fuqing units are CPR-1000 reactors. (This must be an incredibly large company. They have world-wide name recognition. The best reason I can think of to forbid them from manufacturing nuclear reactors is that all their tools get lost easily. You may have heard this yourself, if you’ve spent any time around tool-users. Every tool-user I’ve ever known has said, at least once, “Where are my Fuqing tools?” Possibly more important is the third brief story in the section: "Fuel loading begins again at Bushehr: The reloading of fuel assemblies into Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant has begun, Russia's AtomStroyExport has announced." Notice that according to the article, this reactor was originally designed in the middle 70s. While it will be well-engineered, it can't incorporate all the lessons learned in the intervening decades without modifications that may--or may not, like the original coolant pump mentioned in the article--work as designed. The best plans coupled with shoddy execution.... Then add in Stuxnet. Ron P.)

VIDEO: "We Will Conquer The Netherlands"
Excerpt: On April 4, 2011, Sharia4Holland and Sharia4Belgium posted two videos threatening Geert Wilders. Or rather, according to the mujahid who gave the lecture, his statements were “warnings”. Even so, the example of Theo Van Gogh was invoked repeatedly as one that Mr. Wilders should remember. You’ll notice the striking resemblance between the unnamed Muslim in this video and the infamous Anjem Choudary. Since Sharia4Holland is a franchise of one of Mr. Choudary’s groups — now banned in the UK — perhaps the likeness is no accident. Our Dutch correspondent Penseur tells us that on the PVV website, a discussion about these videos include the following comment from a jihad expert (Penseur’s translation): The invitation to convert is, according to a jihad expert in the intelligence world, a serious indication that there are plans to attack the politician (Geert Wilders):

Excerpt: Hundreds of Muslims attacked the Christian village of Khokarki this morning a few miles from the city of Gujranwala (Punjab), forcing its inhabitants to flee. According to AsiaNews sources, anonymous for security reasons, the attack took place following a dispute between Christian Mushtag gill and some local Muslims, who had accused the man and his son of blasphemy. Mushtaq, 60, and his son, are accused of having desecrated the Koran. The police arrested them yesterday, after complaints of some Muslims who claim to have found torn pages of the Qu’ran in a bag hidden near the home of two Christians. ... According to data from the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church (NCJP), between 1986 to August 2009 at least 964 people were charged with desecrating the Qur’an or defaming the Prophet Muhammad. Among these, 479 were Muslims, 119 Christians, 340 Ahmadis, 14 Hindus and 10 from other religions. It also provides a pretext for attacks, personal vendettas or extra-judicial killings: 33 in all, carried out by individuals or angry crowds.

FBI Counter-Terror Official: Al Qaeda 'Thrives' After Dictators Fall
With the support of NATO. ~Bob. Excerpt: On the same day reports emerged of a new al Qaeda video that praised the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, one the U.S.'s top counter-terror officials warned the terror organization "thrives" in the political unrest that follows. "The governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have drastically changed in the last six months," FBI Assistant Director of Counter-Terrorism Mark Giuliano said Thursday. "They are now led by transitional or interim governments, military regimes, or democratic alliances with no established track record on counterterrorism efforts. Al Qaeda thrives in such conditions and countries of weak governance and political instability -- countries in which governments may be sympathetic to their campaign of violence."

Excerpt: Beatings and a strong penalty for the Christian Baptist Galina Shemetova from Tashkent who gave a Bible "for children" to a colleague.

Excerpt: This week President Barack Obama is offering his plan to solve America’s debt problem. The president’s approach will include tax increases. Republicans will huff that the Grand Old Party will never raise taxes. They will tell the president that they want to be like Ronald Reagan or Calvin Coolidge or Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932. Mellon, who cut income tax rates to 25% from 73% in the 1920s, is the tax- cutters’ deity. His anti-tax manifesto, “Taxation: The People’s Business,” is so hot that a first edition sells for $1,250. Yet several years into the Great Depression experts concerned with widening deficits went to the Treasury Department, demanding tax-rate increases, levies on autos and radios and even a creepy tax on checks. Did the legendary Treasury secretary tell those wonks to take a hike? He did not. Mellon duly trashed his own legacy and pushed the top tax rate right back up, to 63%. What caused Mellon’s humiliating surrender? Timing. By December 1931, it was too late for him to do anything else but raise taxes. Mellon was trapped by errors made in preceding years, at home and abroad. His own Republican Party had pushed through a nasty tariff, Smoot-Hawley. Investors had pushed stock prices too high. The US was on the gold standard, and people feared that gold and dollars would flow overseas if the deficit deepened too much.

Orange County Republican Linked to Offensive Obama 'Ape' Email
Stupid person helping Obama. ~Bob. Excerpt: An Orange County Republican Party official is under fire after sending an email with an altered photo depicting President Barack Obama as an ape. The email, sent Friday afternoon by party central committee member Marilyn Davenport, depicts a family portrait-style image of apes with Obama's face superimposed on one of them. The photo is accompanied by text that reads, "Now you know why no birth certificate."

Worth Reading: Obama Held Hostage To His Assumptions
Excerpt: The governing philosophy that leads our President to these sorts of proposals has been identified by many different names. Statism, Marxism, Socialism – the Obama agenda arguably contains elements of all of these philosophies, and more. But rather than trying to connect President Barack Obama to somebody else’s pre-established political philosophy, it’s useful to examine what appear to be the philosophical assumptions with which the President operates. Here are just a couple of the assumptions that currently seem to have engulfed the President:

Also well worth reading: The Anti-Reagan
Excerpt: He campaigns with poetry, he flounders and fails with remarkable frequency in prose. And in his most recent speech regarding the budget, Obama showed that he is — in every way — the opposite of Reagan, and showed why he is so dangerous for America. While a full study of the text of Obama’s budget speech can show multiple stark differences between Reagan and Obama, the overall tone and sentiment of the speech best explains the difference between freedom and bondage. Obama’s speech certainly did not inspire. It was not about the budget, deficits, or what he has personally done to exacerbate what ails America.... The “fair share” meme has proven itself to be code for wealth redistribution. The “fair share” meme is also a lie. The use of the term would make one think that all people pay something, for how else could two people pay a “fair share” if one person pays something and the other person pays nothing? Nearly 50% of Americans (in 2009) do not pay federal income taxes. Not everyone is sharing, and nothing about that is fair.

The Insurrection Is On, But the Masochists are Running the Government
Excerpt: You can barely see it in the popular press, but the global insurrection is going great guns, despite the fecklessness of the so-called Western world. And it’s going great guns in our enemies’ countries, not just in those of our (at least erstwhile) friends. In Syria, for example, the anti-Assad demonstrations are getting bigger and are explicitly calling for regime change. In Iran, there are ongoing strikes, violent anti-regime demonstrations in the oil regions in the west, adjoining Iraq (think Basra), and continued sabotage of the country’s gas pipelines. The destinies of the Damascus and Tehran tyrannies are closely linked, which is why the Iranians have been sending some of their top experts to Syria, to aid the Baathists in putting down the insurrection. The mullahs have delivered between 350 and 400 cameras that are hidden in traffic signals, in order to identify the activists, and more than 42 censors to shut down foreign radio and TV broadcasts. And there are many Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollahis in Damascus, along with Iranian-trained Arabs, nearly two thousand strong as of the 11th, to show the Syrian security forces how it’s done. In other words, it’s an attempt to replay the Iranian repression on Syrian soil. (…) So what does our government do, when faced with a splendid opportunity to advance the cause of freedom, strike a blow at the world’s leading supporter of terrorism, and perhaps even convince waverers around the world that American support is worth something after all? We tell the Syrian opposition to take a hike, that’s what. (This author, Michael Ledeen, seems to have the best sources within the insurgents in the Middle East. What he reports about our administration’s response should be sickening—but, instead is merely par for the course—to anyone who values individual freedom. Ron P. This might be a good time to buy stock in a company that makes guillotines. ~Bob.)

How a Blog Post Caused the Trial Against Geert Wilders to Be Dismissed & What it Reveals About the Left’s Pathology
Excerpt: The testimony as I found out later was needed because the court, to my opinion, could not imagine that the things Geert Wilders claimed to be in the Koran, were actually in the Koran. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to an old friend who you know for already nearly 40 years. Therefore I said ‘yes’. Indoors it is still allowed to think freely and say many things. I am always a little early, or rather right on time. It’s an old boorish habit of mine born from insecurity. The second guest who arrived was no body less than a man named MR. Tom Schalken. He greets me friendly and starts a conversation about Islam. Where do I know this man from? Suddenly I knew. He was one of the members of the Amsterdam court that ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders for hate mongering, discrimination and group offence. I asked him, if I could speak freely in his presence. The man had after all, ordered the prosecution of somebody else who spoke about Islam. This lead to indignation on the part of the legal expert. I told my host I would leave, it just doesn’t make sense to talk to somebody who has the power to lock you up if he does not like the things you say.

Top 9 Reasons California Sucks
Excerpt: You add up all the riches mentioned above, and you should have a thriving, prosperous heaven-on-earth. But if you add in one more ingredient – a preponderance of leftists – somehow the recipe falls flat. Disastrously flat. Anybody-with-a-brain-in-their-head-is-getting-the-heck-out flat. And that is exactly where we find ourselves today. California is like the most beautiful and gifted girl in the class (of 50 students!), who took up with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks (the Left) and ended up in a dilapidated trailer park puffing on a cigarette and chugging cheap whiskey.

5 Best and 5 Worst Places for Conservatives to Live
Excerpt: Here in the totally Democrat-run state of Illinois, a 66% income tax just hit our paychecks last week. As you can imagine, anyone with any sense has spent the last week discussing to which state we should flee. My friends and I have been fantasizing about a conservative commune where everyone showers, no one would starve (because we hunt) and there is no wife-swapping. It’s a fun exercise to think about. Several of us believe a solution to our partisan problems (before it descends into civil war) might just be to part ways with the American Left and set up traditional American government in the already conservative states. The first goal should be beefing up these already rational and taxpayer-friendly states with more like-minded citizens. Too many of us are separated and living in enemy territory, forced into an ideological closet from which we dare not exit for fear of public humiliation and shunning. Living in a solid blue state, it is nearly impossible not to have been accosted at a cocktail party while trying to enjoy some shrimp by a (literally) foaming at the mouth leftist who accidentally found out you voted for Bush.

UK: Electrician Colin Atkinson Faces Sack for Christian Cross on Van Dashboard
 Excerpt: But his bosses at publicly funded Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) in West Yorkshire – the fifth-biggest housing organisation in England – have demanded he remove the cross on the grounds it may offend people or suggest the organisation is Christian. Mr Atkinson’s union representative said he faces a full disciplinary hearing next month for gross misconduct, which could result in dismissal. The association strongly promotes ‘inclusive’ policies and allows employees to wear religious symbols at work. It has provided stalls at gay pride events, held ‘diversity days’ for travellers, and hosted a gender reassignment event entitled A World That Includes Transpeople. Mr Atkinson, who has an unblemished work record, said he had not been shown similar respect.

Fellowes, American Stationery Giant, Brought to its Knees in China
Excerpt: There are few paper shredders in the world that can rip an A4 piece of paper into 2,000 pieces, and come with functions like SilentShred, SafeSense, and “100% Jam Proof”—and most that do have the name “Fellowes” printed on top. But consumers may soon be able to buy, say, the deluxe Powershred C-480Cx, without the Fellowes brand, because the company’s entire business in China has been stolen by its joint venture partner. Over 1,600 workers at the joint venture facility in China turned up one day in August last year to find that the factory gates were locked, trucks had blockaded the entrances, and a group of rough-and-ready enforcers were telling them to move on. And some days later, in the dead of night, a truck entered the facility and stole some of the million-dollar manufacturing tools used to make the shredders, some of which weigh several tons. The joint venture partner “proceeded to destroy our business,” according to James Fellowes, the CEO, at a Congressional Hearing on March 31. Now on the Fellowes Inc. company website several of the personal shredders and all of the commercial shredders are accompanied by a “Limited Supply” icon, and a note by James Fellowes, CEO of the firm, humbly apologizing that the company “is unable to produce some of its shredders which are made in our primary manufacturing operation in China.”

Paul Ryan's America
Excerpt: The budget numbers, the spending numbers, the deficit numbers do not lie. There’s no longer a one-party media quasi-monopoly that makes it as easy to cover up reality as might have been the case 25 years ago. And Paul Ryan will defend himself in a way Robert Bork [at the time of his 1987 Supreme Court nomination] could not. Today’s conservatives will counterpunch in a way the late Reagan administration was unable to. It’s going to be a heck of a battle over the next year and a half. There will be twists and turns, progress and setbacks, differences in strategy and arguments over tactics among conservatives and Republicans. But we are confident in the outcome. Paul Ryan, the leader for now—and perhaps not just for now—of those arrayed against the forces of liberal distortion and slander, was 17 years old when Bork was denied a seat on the Supreme Court. The issues, the people, and the circumstances of the two eras are different. But perhaps those of us who are old enough to have seen close up the character assassination of Bork, and are still young enough to want to help fight those who are attempting to repeat the exercise against Paul Ryan and others, may be allowed to express with a sense of urgency the imperative: not again. No more victories for liberal demagoguery and fear-mongering. This is no longer Edward Kennedy’s America.

Mean streak: Obama is not as nice as he looks
Chicago politics do not produce "nice guys." ~Bob. Excerpt: But that may be changing. Recall that Obama invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to George Washington University to hear his Wednesday address on the federal government's dire fiscal situation. The speech was advertised by the White House as a major address in which the president would join the serious conversation initiated two weeks ago by Ryan in his detailed proposal for cutting spending. What Obama instead delivered, with Ryan sitting in the front row, was, in the Wall Street Journal's unsparing description, a "poison pen" speech dripping with mean-spirited partisanship, gross misrepresentations of fact, and sophistry of the lowest sort concerning Republicans' alleged desire to hurt old people, the poor and mentally challenged children. It was the sort of harangue one would expect from a rabidly devoted partisan hack, with no relation whatever to the thoughtful appeals to reason and common values that historically have characterized presidential leadership in this country. Obama then spent Thursday evening regaling an audience of Democratic donors with what he thought were off-the-record insider jabs about his recent budget negotiations with House Republicans, including this cheap shot at Ryan:

Spare us the hypocrisy, Mr. President
Excerpt: If the president is so appalled at the rich and their ability to hire accountants to take advantage of each and every deduction, why doesn't he simply take the standard deduction on his tax return, like most Americans? In 2009, he could have claimed an $11,400 standard deduction for married couples, as well as an additional $7,300 for his two daughters. Admittedly, that's a loss of more than $650,000 in deductions -- but at least he could avoid looking like a hypocrite by advocating one thing for everyone else and doing quite another himself.

Obama: despite law, I can do what I want on czars
Excerpt: In marked contrast to vows as a candidate not to use presidential signing statements as “an end run around Congress,” President Obama released a statement on the just-signed spending bill saying despite the law’s restrictions on “czars,” he will “construe” the law not to interfere with “presidential prerogatives.” The move is an aggressive power play by Obama to gain an added advantage from the deal struck a week ago between the president, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to narrowly avert government shutdown.

Voice of a Conservative Populist
Excerpt: [President of the Federal Reserve's regional bank in Kansis City, MO, Tom] Hoenig can see a liquidity-created bubble from where he sits. He sees farmland, the value of which is soaring throughout the Midwest, for several reasons. One is that food prices are increasing rapidly because the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians and others in emerging markets are eating more calories and more of them in meat produced by turning cereals into animal feed. But another reason is that extremely low interest rates and the rapid expansion of the money supply have caused lots of money to slosh around, seeking assets that will produce higher returns. The Fed's policy seems designed to pursue a very elastic interpretation of its mandate -- to manipulate the stock market. Since Bernanke's speech at Jackson Hole, Wyo., last August signaling another "quantitative easing" (printing another $600 billion), the Dow market is up more than 20 percent. In theory, with interest rates low and lots of liquidity, enough money will flow into equities to create a "wealth effect" stimulus: The expanding portfolios of the 20 percent of people who own 93 percent of equities will quicken their owners' animal spirits and acquisitiveness. Does Hoenig think there will be a "QE3"? "It's not," he says, "out of the question." He is proof that the phrase "conservative populist" is not quite an oxymoron: "One of the great tragedies of this era is that 'too big to fail' has been codified."

D.C. Voting Rights Proponents' Faith in Obama Sinks
Excerpt: Yet what distinguished Obama from his predecessors was the anticipation his arrival generated. In the past week, the same people who saw hope in Obama’s jaunts across the city just before his inauguration — remember that half-smoke he ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl? — have excoriated him for relegating the District to the status of bargaining chip in a broader budget game with House leaders. “John, I’ll give you D.C. abortion,” Obama reportedly told House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) before reaching a deal, effectively trading away the city’s right to fund abortions for low­ income women. The District’s political leadership was infuriated.

1 comment:

  1. you have some great resources here. it is funny to see the political climate is as hostile as here in the uk. it is a depressing time to be in business but even worse if you are young. but it will pass.