Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post: A Pair of Threes

A Pair of Threes, I Suppose I Shouldn't Gamble
From Morning Jolt . . . with Jim Geraghty
Posted with permission
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A lot of readers seemed to enjoy yesterday's assessment of the three inviolate principles of the modern Democratic party (I posted the relevant portion on Campaign Spot here). I realized there's probably another side of the coin, what Republicans think.

Of course, upon further review (as they used to say when instant replay was brought to the NFL), it became clear that there are unwritten, but widely believed principles that Republicans probably ought to hold dear and ones that they probably could leave behind. So, to begin:

Three things I fear Republicans believe:

The media controls everything. Republicans have a legitimate and well-documented complaint about a leftward bias in almost all mainstream media institutions. But somewhere along the line "media bias" became an all-purpose explanation or excuse every time events don't turn out the way a Republican would like. Rarely if ever do you hear a GOP voter say, "Our guys just didn't get the job done. They weren't persuasive. They didn't come up with compelling arguments. They didn't win over the voters' trust, and they made too many mistakes to win the fight." It's strange -- somehow the media bias is all-powerful in years such as 1992, 1998, 2006, and 2008, and some years the media bias suddenly loses all of its power against the GOP, such as in 1980, 1994, 2004, and 2010.

The government wastes a lot of money on other people, but what it spends on me is different. Everybody loves cutting foreign aid, because the folks who get the money are foreigners. Unsurprisingly there's less desire to see government spend less when some of those dollars end up in our own pockets or those of our friends. Some farm-state Republicans talk a good game about economic conservatism until it comes to ethanol and agricultural subsidies. Some elderly Republicans want the government to spend less, but not to reduce anything associated with Social Security. Hawks argue as if we were certain that every penny that goes to the Pentagon is well-spent. Heck, I've even seen self-proclaimed conservatives argue that the benefits of foreign-language education programs outweigh the costs. Er, wait, forget that last one.

One size fits all. Successful conservative governance is going to look different in Louisiana than it does in New Jersey, different in Virginia than it will look in South Carolina, and different in Maine than in Texas. If you're a coastal state lawmaker contemplating offshore oil drilling after the BP oil spill, is it somehow un-conservative to decide that the risk to existing coastal jobs from a spill -- tourism, fishing, etc. -- outweighs the potential jobs created by offshore drilling? Is it so bad to see some states pursuing a more libertarian course and others enacting more socially conservative policies? Wouldn't federalism allow for the most experimentation and result in the most satisfied people?

Three things Republicans should believe (and I think most of them do).

Be skeptical of every new task proposed before government. Do I even have to explain this one? Government does not do many tasks well. Efforts to help people often have unintended consequences. Left alone, most folks will turn out okay.

The government can't legislate morality, but the culture can reinforce it. "Compassionate conservatism" turned out to be more expensive and less effective in practice than on paper, and the world is full of examples of disastrous, even tyrannical attempts by governments to make people do the right thing. But just because government is the wrong tool, it doesn't mean the concern is illegitimate. Right now, I think our culture celebrates some of the worst of human behavior, and this piece from 2009 lays out the case against reality television as culturally corrosive:

We've seen Balloon Boy's dad bring the state of Colorado to a shrieking halt with the false report that his son was in grave danger in a helium balloon thousands of feet above the ground; the use of a woman's womb to produce a litter of eight babies when she already had six children and was living on public assistance; and the break-up of a marriage in slow motion on Jon and Kate Plus Eight (eight children desperately in need of state protective services, that is). Preceding them, MTV offered the spoiled brats of My Super Sweet 16, whose crass greed and ostentatious materialism could turn the most ardent free-marketeer into a Bolshevik revolutionary, and a contestant on CBS's Big Brother held a knife to a housemate's throat. It's enough to make one yearn for the good old days when we watched people eat worms.  

With depressing regularity, we hear of Americans who ought to know better behaving outrageously, obnoxiously, recklessly, and sometimes criminally in an effort to become famous. We're increasingly besieged by narcissists. "Amen, James Wolcott," are not words heard often in this jurisdiction, but as the acerbic lefty critic declares in Vanity Fair, "the ruinous effects of Reality TV have reached street level and invaded the behavioral bloodstream, goading attention junkies to act as if we're all extras in their vanity production.  

I don't want government to ban those programs; I want the culture to "push back" by criticizing and mocking this behavior as foolish and not to be emulated.

The most effective national-security policy is some variation of, "If you try to hurt Americans, we will beat the @#*(% out of you." As mentioned yesterday, the daily weather forecast in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia now includes "cloudy with a chance of hellfire missiles from Predator drones," and no one in the world objects. We know that in a dangerous world, we probably can't prevent every attack forever. But we can avenge every single attempt. I find it fascinating that anyone would object to "an eye for an eye" thinking in response to a war started by a blind sheik and Mullah Omar.

(You notice my work often comes in threes? Three Martini Lunch, three items most days in the Morning Jolt, and so on. I could say that it's a subtle allusion to the significance of the number three -- the Holy Trinity, third time's the charm, the Three Amigos -- but some might conclude it's because I can't count to four.)

Political Digest for November 30, 2011

Time to do your Christmas shopping. What better gift for your friends who hope to have a future than my book. You can educate them and support wounded troops by buying a copy. And not a penny goes to SSgt Grinch here.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans. E-Book available at Smash Words:
Please forward and post where possible.

Too busy to OWS

Compromise as a Positive Value in Political Economy: Rope-a-Dope on Debt, Deficits and the Size of Government by Samuel L. Skogstad, Ph.D.
Guest Column by a Marine turned economist. Worth Reading. ~Bob.

Best and Worst Run States in America — An Analysis Of All 50
Excerpt: Despite these differences, states can do a great deal to control their fate. Well-run states have a great deal in common with well-run corporations. Books are kept balanced. Investment is prudent. Debt is sustainable. Innovation is prized. Workers are well-chosen and well-trained. Executives, including elected and appointed officials, are retained based on merit and not politics. (Wisconsin is 16th, Illinois 49th. Thank god for California, 50th. ~Bob.

Worth Reading: Gingrich and Immigration by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The purpose of American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants. The purpose of immigration laws and policies is to serve the national interest of this country. … At one time, immigrants came to America to become Americans. Today, the apostles of multiculturalism and grievance-mongering have done their best to keep foreigners foreign and, if possible, feeling aggrieved. Our own schools and colleges teach grievances.

Another Sowell! Lessons of History? by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Senator Goldwater was not crazy enough to start a nuclear war. But the way he talked sometimes made it seem as if he were. Ronald Reagan would later be elected and re-elected taking positions essentially the same as those on which Barry Goldwater lost big time. Reagan was simply a lot better at articulating his beliefs.

Sign of the Times - by Mark Steyn
Excerpt: If I've sounded a wee bit overwrought in recent columns, it's because America is seizing up before our eyes. And I'm a little bewildered by how many Americans can't see it. I think about that chap at LaGuardia with "Don't Tread on Me" on his chest, and government bureaucrats in his pants. And I wonder if America's exceptional attitudinal swagger isn't providing a discreet cover for the shriveling of liberty. Sometimes an in-your-face attitude blinds you to what's going on under your nose.

What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One-Percenters - by John Tamny, Forbes
Excerpt: People who should know better bemoan the economic means possessed by the 1 percent, but rarely do they consider the gargantuan efforts required by those at the top to get there in the first place. To show why this is true it’s useful to reference an opinion piece written by Thomas Sowell long, long ago. Having witnessed a caricature artist draw a willing individual, when the artist collected his payment after services rendered he was dismayed to hear the customer complain about the “high” cost of something which took five minutes to draw. But as the artist correctly pointed out, the customer didn’t see the 25 years of hard work and practice that preceded his ability to sketch an individual in five minutes.

Fed “Secrecy” Slowly Falls…
Will make you want to join OWS, of they weren’t smelly socialists wanting more of the government that created the bust and aided the looters. ~Bob.

Reid bill might block state immigration laws
Democrats in Congress have proposed a new racial profiling ban that could thwart state and local laws on immigration enforcement, such as the controversial Arizona law currently tied up in federal court, by withholding federal funding for state and local law enforcement agencies engaged in "racial profiling" and empowering the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file lawsuits against state and local governments. (Throw open the borders and let the colonists in to destroy our culture. As long as it means votes for Democrats in the short term. ~Bob.)

No room at the inn for persecuted Christians
Muslim immigrants are resettled posthaste throughout the West, with or without proper ID (there is a famous one in DC). Yet, persecuted Christians, the most threatened and desperately needy group by far, are denied entry in our post-American world. Perhaps we shouldn't even call it America any more, you know, when things come down to this abysmal state of affairs. --Don Hank

Regulatory Analysis and Regulatory Reform
Excerpt: Congress and the executive branch have attempted to improve the quality of regulatory decisions by adopting several laws and executive orders. These laws and orders require agencies to follow a system of decision-making that is meant to optimize policies and ensure that they will address their tailored problems, all while minimizing costs: identify the root cause of a problem, define the goal to be achieved, establish a list of possible means of attaining the goal, assess the benefits and costs of each option, and select the policy that maximizes benefits over costs. Yet, despite the logical coherence of this process and its ability to bring about sound regulatory policy, federal agencies have consistently ignored this call and circumvented this system, say Jerry Ellig and Sherzod Abdukadirov of the Mercatus Center.

Fuel Efficiency Standards Will Be Expensive
Sticking it to the average guy so rich, elite liberals can feel green and fuzzy, like month old meat in the fridge. ~Bob. Excerpt: Doubling fuel-efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025 won't be cheap -- and it will require the government to consider other implications, says the Detroit News. The Obama administration finally unveiled the price tag to the auto industry for its proposed 2017-2025 fuel economy regulations earlier this month: $157.3 billion. In total, the proposed regulations will supposedly save drivers $1.7 trillion at the pump. But the administration said the savings at the pump will wipe out about $50 billion in gas tax revenue -- and the government will have to find another way to fund road repairs. It's one of the most expensive -- if not the most expensive -- regulation in U.S. history.

Retirements hit Dem aspirations for a House takeover in 2012
Excerpt: Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-Mass.) announcement Monday that he won’t seek reelection — coming on the heels of Rep. Charles Gonzalez’s (D-Texas) weekend announcement to the same effect — threw another stumbling block in the way of Democrats as they struggle to take back control of the House.

Key question in scandal: Why?
Excerpt: Confusion surrounds the murderously destructive Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scandal mostly for one very big reason: None of the Washington, D.C., planners of the federal plan to trace weapons purchased in Arizona to the drug cartels of Mexico have articulated how they expected to accomplish that feat. It is the great, enduring mystery of Fast and Furious. (From the left leaning Arizona Republic. ~Bob.)

Gingrich Wields History, Seeking to Add Chapter
Excerpt: Newt Gingrich is a historian. He earned a Ph.D. in history. If you’ve forgotten, he’ll remind you. (My problems with Newt aside, all else being equal, I’d far rather have a historian in the White House than a lawyer. Or Community Organizer. ~Bob.)

Decorated Marine Sues Contractor.
Excerpt: Two months ago, Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama for his service in Afghanistan, the military's most prestigious award. On Monday, Sgt. Meyer alleged that a defense contractor has called him mentally unstable and a problem drinker, ruining his chances for a job in the defense industry. Sgt. Dakota Meyer alleges BAE Systems blocked him from a defense-industry job by claiming he is mentally unstable and has a drinking problem. (This is a guy who told the WH he couldn’t take a call from Obama at 10am because he had to work. They better settle. ~Bob.)

Along Mexican border, US ranchers say they live in fear
Excerpt: "I'm a citizen of the United States. This is supposedly sovereign soil, but right now it's anybody's who happens to be crossing here," he said. "I'm a little nervous being here right now. Definitely don’t come down here after dark."

How the EPA May Cost You Thousands
Excerpt: Brace yourself. The cost of a new car in America is set to explode, skyrocketing by thousands of dollars, all thanks to a new regulation proposed by President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Government’s back door censorship
Excerpt: If you are censored and told what you may or may not say, it probably will not be the result of government action. The government still has First Amendment considerations to contend with, making censorship politically difficult. If the government decides to censor you, it will leave the dirty work of doing so to an NGE. What is an NGE, you ask?
Excerpt: If just watching from the sidelines counted for leadership then the President had a great week last week—because that just about sums-up the White House response to the most critical foreign policy front at the moment—the Middle East. The Arab Spring is long gone, but the tumult that has spread throughout the region is far from over. If anything, the situation may be more unsettled now than it was when the Spring sprung.

Neurosurgeon Dishes on Obamacare 'Death Panels', Administration Calls Patients 'Units' -

Stalin's daughter Svetlana dies in Wisconsin
Good news for the Stalinists who want to “Recall Walker” to build a soviet style all powerful state in Wisconsin. ~Bob. Excerpt: The only daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Svetlana Peters, who denounced communism after a Cold War defection worthy of a novel, has died in Wisconsin, authorities said on Monday.

Ugly way to win
Excerpt: You could almost hear the hands rubbing together in glee in President Obama’s political shop at the failure of the congressional supercommittee. How the president’s politicos must welcome a new count in the indictment against the “do-nothing Congress.” The phrase famously originates from the 1948 presidential election, when Harry Truman used it to lambaste a just-elected GOP Congress and claw his way to an upset re-election victory.

Worth Reading from NYT: The Future of the Obama Coalition by Thomas B. Edsall
Excerpt: For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

Worth Reading: The New Deal: 1932-2011.
Excerpt: The goal is to re-elect President Obama – which is something that poor African-American and rich liberal voters both wish to do – and if that is accomplished, then anything else is extra. Which is just as well, because nobody really expects Obama to have much in the way of coat-tails this go-round.

Advice Column: Is Obama's Presidency So Divisive as to Sever Old Friendships?
Excerpt: Jane talks of the president incessantly, referring to him at every possible conversational turn. She calls Republicans “the clowns.” She’s lived in academia her entire adult life and has contempt for those who don’t share her politics. Throughout our decades of friendship, I never disclosed my political views to her.

Is the Occupy Wall Street Movement Occupied?
Excerpt: Anti-Israel and Muslim-American advocacy groups in the United States are capitalizing on the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) to promote their own agendas.
The Occupy movement started in New York's Zuccotti Park Sept. 17, and spread to more than 100 cities, according to the movement's "unofficial" website.

UK To Tap Pension Funds to Help Economy
Excerpt: Britain unveiled plans on Monday to tap pension funds for the lion’s share of an investment of up to 30 billion pounds ($46.5 billion) in big building projects to help to revitalise a stagnant economy forecast to slip back into recession next year. The measures are the latest in a drip feed of government announcements ahead of Finance Minister George Osborne’s autumn statement on Tuesday when growth forecasts will be cut as the euro zone crisis bites. (The trouble with socialism is that in order for it to be instituted, people have got to be taught to trust the government. Now that we all see what that leads to, whom do we trust now? Like it or not, we will have to start trusting in God when the whole thing comes crashing down. There won't be anything else to trust. --Don Hank)

A Bailout Monstrosity
Excerpt: On Monday, after two years of efforts to pierce the veil of secrecy surrounding the largest bank bailout in history, revealed the true scope of the phrase, “too big to fail.” In short, the number is staggering: total loan guarantees and lending limits engineered by the Federal Reserve to rescue the financial system amounted to $7.77 trillion as of March 2009.

How we know they know they are lying
Excerpt: It is to some extent forgivable when people adopt extreme positions out of misapprehension or delusion. It is quite another matter if they mislead others by deliberate falsehood. Politicians, of course, treat the lie as part of their professional equipment. Indeed, in some circumstances they are obliged to use it (when, for example, telling the truth about the economy would cause a run on the currency). In science, up to recent times, there is no circumstance in which a deliberate falsehood is justifiable. It requires at a minimum being drummed out of one’s learned society. (I referred to this essay on the importance of scientific ethics and their relationship to practical politics the other day, but didn’t include the link. I think it one of the best essays of its type I’ve ever read. Ron P.)

Excerpt: The global economy is heading for a massive amount of trouble in the months ahead. Right now we are seeing the beginning of a credit crunch that is shaping up to be very reminiscent of what we saw back in 2008. Investors and big corporations are pulling huge amounts of money out of European banks and nobody wants to lend to those banks right now. (Yeah, I know. Another dismal report and many will think "there he goes again." I must admit something: I don’t feel all that dismal about the failure of the euro zone. And no, it's not Schadenfreude (ie, gloating). It is really a mixture of 2 things. My European friends hate the EU because it was foisted on them by stealth, it is costing them tons of money, it is hurting jobs, it is killing sovereignty, and bringing general angst. The people signed on to the EU because they were given to understand that it would not hurt national sovereignty and would basically boost the economies of all nations. All lies, as everyone now knows. I had been warning of the duplicity of the EU and their total disregard for national issues and people for a long time, even before this WND article: So my feeling about this is: 1--I am vindicated. I told you so. 2--The other shoe has dropped -- or is about to. After waiting for so long for an inevitable disaster to happen, it is sort of like a man on death row being told his time is up. At least you know it's over. But on the other hand, I am still optimistic because now the evil men who dreamed up this scam are flopping about like landed fish and haven't a clue or an excuse. They took others for fools and now they turn out to be the real fools. Once the majority see that they never had a clue and the whole thing was a scam from the get-go, there is at least hope that fragrant freedom will eventually rear its head again on the Old Continent. And hopefully that sweet smell will be wafted over the Great Pond. --Don Hank)

The Night Before Occupy Christmas
Funny parody. ~Bob.

Iranian hard-liners storm British Embassy, residential compound
Excerpt: Student hard-liners stormed the British Embassy compound on Tuesday to protest tough new sanctions against Iran, replacing the Union Jack with an Islamic flag and chanting “Death to England” as they hurled satellite dishes from the roof of a security building to the ground below. (Paging Jimmy Carter. ~Bob.)

Tehran Embassy: like 1979 all over again - by James Delingpole
Excerpt: What is happening now is happening for a very particular reason: because the West has lost its authority in the Middle East. By attempting to appease it it has shown the weakness which the Islamic world despises and which it is now exploiting with vicious glee. The rot set in, of course, with President Obama's infamous Cairo Surrender Monkey speech, in which, inter alia, he apologised for the crusades, pandered to the Islamist notion of the Ummah, referred to the 9/11 killers not as "terrorists" but "violent extremists", and gave the strong impression that it really wasn't any of America's business which crazed Islamist theocracies run by ravening lunatics hell bent on destroying the State of Israel had nuclear weapons and which ones didn't.

Washington Post Blogger Asks for Dirt About Newt
Excerpt: What would one expect from a newspaper that only five months ago called for readers to sift through former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's email messages?

U.K.: 3500 girls in London at risk for female genital mutilation each year
Excerpt: The elephant in the room here is the role of Islamic jurisprudence in perpetuating the practice: "Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna [commendable according to the word or example of Muhammad, but not obligatory], while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband." - Umdat al-Salik e4.3. The Shafi'i school of jurisprudence, which is present or dominant in many of the countries mentioned below, holds it to be obligatory.

Only 225 People Turn Up For Free Tickets To Obama Event In Pennsylvania - by Jammie
Excerpt: The failed president will be appearing in Joe Biden’s hometown tomorrow for another campaign appearance on the public dime, and in a sign how hugely unpopular he is only a couple hundred Obamatons lined up to get their free tickets. I guess they’ll have to bus in some unions goons to make it look as if he’s still got support.

Deputy A.G. behind 'Fast and Furious' met with President Obama four times during the height of the operation
Excerpt: Item 1: In March of 2011, President Obama denied knowledge of 'Operation Fast and Furious' -- the Justice Department program that sent thousands of murder weapons to Mexican drug cartels. (Where are White House Tapes when you need them? ~Bob.)

MPAC Proud to Host Radical Tunisian Leader
Excerpt: A radical Tunisian Islamist leader, denied an entry visa into the United States during the 1990s, is scheduled to make two appearances on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's Ennahda Party, will attend a forum on the Arab Spring at the Cannon Office Building, an announcement from the event's sponsor, the Muslim Public Affairs Council's (MPAC) said. He'll also attend a special dinner Tuesday evening. (The Germans could have won WWII if they had invented “Nazophobia” to intimidate us with. ~Bob.)

Who’s Blowing Up Iran?
Excerpt: Another week, another explosion at or near an Iranian military installation (or is it a nuclear research facility?). As usual, the regime doesn’t know what to say. The mullahcracy is so intensely divided that different “spokesmen” from different ministries/news outlets/cults/mafias put out different versions.

Gallup: Obama Tanking Among Independents
Excerpt: Obama's approval rating has decreased among all six partisan/ideology groups Gallup tracks on a regular basis since January, but it has dropped the most -- 10 percentage points, from 40% to 30% -- among pure independents. These are the roughly 14% of national adults who neither identify with one of the two major parties nor indicate a leaning.

‘Down Goes Willard’: Newt Gingrich storms South Carolina.
Excerpt: Newt Gingrich wowed hundreds of conservative voters in this sleepy coastal town on Monday, all of whom braved the rain to attend a town-hall meeting with the latest Republican frontrunner. “We will be back, we will rebuild the country we love,” Gingrich said near the end of his hour-long presentation. “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Donald Berwick Bows Out
Excerpt: Berwick was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his involvement in Tony Blair’s ill-fated efforts to improve Britain’s National Health Service. It was during this period that the NHS set up its notorious health-care-rationing board, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which routinely stymies the use of life-saving treatments in order to save money. … “Please don’t put your faith in market forces,” said Berwick. “It is a popular idea: that Adam Smith’s invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can do. I do not agree.

Excerpt: Given Climategate II, no noticeable heating of the planet during the last decade, and all sorts of questionable research on supposed problems like polar bear population declines and Himalayan glacier melting — not to mention the wind and solar debacles here and in Europe — the man-made-global-warming movement is about done for now. We sometimes forget that the fad gained its traction during the Bush years, fueled in large part by the myth that a Texas Bible-thumper was going to prevent wise technocrats from saving the planet from the Neanderthals.

Illinois GOP: 'divorce' Chicago, make 51st state
Excerpt: Two Republican state legislators from downstate Illinois filed a proposal to "divorce" Illinois from its traditional metropolis, arguing that Chicago should comprise its own state rather than overshadow the more conservative political positions held around Illinois. "At the end of this fiscal year we'll have $5 billion of unpaid Medicaid bills," State Rep. Bill Mitchell said during a press conference last week. "With the president's Obamacare coming down on the state of Illinois and expanding Medicaid further, it's going to put an additional $2 billion on the taxpayers of the state of Illinois . . . just like a divorce, there's irreconcilable differences between the state of Illinois and Cook County; [they] want to spend money we don't have."

Newt Gingrich - Exposes America's Cancer
On the courts. ~Bob.

The Iron Lady - by Daniel Hannan, Human Events
Excerpt: To understand the magnitude of Margaret Thatcher’s achievement, you have to recall the calamity that preceded it. It is difficult, these days, to convey the unremitting awfulness of 1970s Britain: the pessimism, the rancour, the double-digit inflation, the power cuts, the three-day working week, the regulation of prices and incomes, the IMF bailout. It felt as if we were finished as a country. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, we had been outperformed by every European economy.

Lame-duck Barney Frank Joins Effort to Repeal Obamacare Death Panels
Excerpt: Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank announced on Tuesday his support for the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a significant portion of President Obama’s health care overhaul. Frank, who announced Monday that he would retire at the end of his current term in office, became the 12th Democrat, and the 212th member of the House, to co-sponsor Tennessee Republican Rep. Phil Roe’s bill aimed at repealing the IPAB.

Gingrich Immigration Plan a Real, Workable Solution - by Robert Laurie
Excerpt: By denying illegal immigrants the right to vote, you acknowledge that they have broken the law by circumventing legal immigration procedures. By allowing them to stay in the country, with their family, you show compassion and take wind from the sails of the pro-illegal political movement. At the same time, you dash the hopes and dreams of cynical Democrats who see amnesty as the ultimate votes-for-citizenship quid pro quo. More importantly, you force liberals into the uncomfortable position of voting against the measure.

Orange-faced: Second Coaching Legend May Be Undone
Excerpt: [Syracuse head basketball coach Jim] Boeheim stood fast behind his old friend [assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine], but was forced into an embarrassing mea culpa over the weekend when ESPN aired an audio tape of a conversation between Davis and Fine’s wife, Laurie — a tape that ESPN had in its possession for almost a decade. In that conversation, which Davis recorded, Laurie Fine admitted to knowing that her husband had molested Davis while also revealing that she had sex with the former ballboy once he turned 18.

Former Business Partner: Ginger White Never Mentioned Herman Cain
Excerpt: The female bodybuilder who once ran a bicycle business with latest Herman Cain accuser Ginger White says the Atlanta woman never mentioned the Republican presidential candidate, who she says was her lover for 13 years. "His name has never come up," said Kimberly Vay, who told ABC News that she and White were former business partners.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Political Digest for November 29, 2011

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.

I was interested to see a comment from a Muhammad Azeem on the digest. Alas, turned out to be Span promoting commercial websites. People ask why I must approve comments. One reason is to keep Spam off the site. The other is to keep the occasional leftist from taking it over with long, foul-mouthed rants on every post. Have only had to block two or three people for this reason over three years, and as readers know, I allow most critical posts.

Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility
Excerpt: An explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan on Monday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, adding that the blast was heard in several parts of the city. According to reports, frightened residents called the fire department after the blast, forcing the city authorities to admit there had been an explosion.

Barney Frank to Announce He Won't Seek Re-Election
I’m not surprised, as he told me last year he thought this would be his last term. (A friend told him about my pulmonary fibrosis, and Barney called me, despite our philosophical differences.) Barney was in the Massachusetts House when I was in the State Senate. When the Pope required Congressman Robert Drinan, a Catholic Priest, to give up his seat in 1980, Barney ran. I gave about five minutes thought to running against him. Since Massachusetts was due to lose a seat, if I had won, I’d have been one and done—they would have put me in with Rep. Silvo Conte, a Republican from western Massachusetts who I couldn’t have beaten in a primary. (Barney was put in with Rep. Peg Heckler, a Republican, and beat her. He’s a very good campaigner.) I would have had to raise $250,000 to be competitive with the $500,000 Barney raised, and I hated the thought of that. The most I had ever raised for a senate race was $19,000 in 1974. Most of all, I no longer had the “fire in the belly,” and in fact decided not to run for reelection to the senate in 1982. So it wasn’t in the cards. Barney beat the GOP candidate, Dick Jones, a retired Army dentist, by about 52% to 48%, if memory serves, and Dick only raised about $70,000, so who knows what might have been? My district was about 25% of the Congressional district. But I have had no personal regrets about giving up my political career, or not running for Congress. Congressman John Olver, who came into the state senate the same year as I did, in the 1972 election, is also retiring, so I know longer will know any of the Congress Critters personally. Not that I had any influence on them, given our differing world views. ~Bob.

A mixed legacy for Barney Frank by Peter J. Wallison
Excerpt: In the end, he realized his mistake, telling Larry Kudlow in a 2010 interview: “I hope by next year we’ll have abolished Fannie and Freddie . . . it was a great mistake to push lower-income people into housing they couldn’t afford and couldn’t really handle once they had it.”

Excerpt: Wall Street executives already are bracing for the possibility that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will take over as the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Waters is in line for Frank’s spot and could become chairwoman of the panel if Democrats retake the House. The California liberal is seen as to the left of Frank, the architect of 2010’s Wall Street reform bill, on financial issues. (Well, maybe her ethics problem will take her out before she gets into this cookie jar. ~Bob.)

Democrat Maxine Waters threatens socializing oil companies

European debt crisis: Investors’ confidence shows signs of crumbling
Excerpt: European leaders will continue this week to slowly hammer out new structural measures to shore up the euro currency zone, but market confidence among investors already showed signs of crumbling late last week. One month after European leaders struck deals over a bailout fund and a debt restructuring for Greece, financial markets are again gripped with pessimism and impatiently looking for more. (The centre cannot hold. ~Bob.)

Religious Affiliation by State
Click on the link and see the different religions by state and elsewhere by holding your cursor over a state.

Obama Swing-State Visits Surpass Presidential Record
Your tax dollars at work. But you knew this, right? ~Bob.

Health-care case brings fight over which Supreme Court justices should decide it
Excerpt: Just a little more than an hour after some House Democrats recently demanded an inquiry into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s ethics, Senate Republicans stepped up the pressure on Justice Elena Kagan to take herself out of the court’s decision on the health-care reform act.

Dump the EPA
Excerpt: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently told University of Wisconsin-Madison students that she is proud to work for a President who will bypass Congress and create his own rules via executive order: ‘I’m proud to be part of an EPA that has mobilized science and the law to create modern and innovative protections for the health of the American people. I’m also proud to be working for a president who has said that “we can’t wait” on these issues.’ Jackson may think our President is a king. Yet the Constitution prohibits the President from making laws or delegating lawmaking to an extra-Congressional committee. (Even if EPA and all the other commissions, agencies, authorities, advisories, and whatever other names have been used were perfect in their conduct and results, never overstepping their bounds, winning approval from all citizens, they would STILL be extra-constitutional, and UN-constitutional when they proposed, promulgated, or enforced regulations with the force of law that hadn’t been specifically voted approval by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President. Even though our costs are increased, even though our economy is ravaged, because the fees aren’t called taxes, and the non-laws—even though you can go to jail for violating them—are called “regulations,” the courts have ruled it constitutional because Congress can stop a regulation from taking effect. How can they do that, you ask? Why by majority vote of BOTH houses and Presidential signature to FORBID the regulation. And, they generally have to accomplish this within 90 days. That seems likely, doesn’t it? In my opinion, we really need a constitutional amendment correcting this. “No regulation without representation!” makes a lousy protest sign, but pretty good policy. Ron P.)

In Euro Collapse Who's Better Prepared: Well Armed Swiss, Disarmed Brits
Excerpt: What made this conference remarkable was not the presentations, though they were generally quite interesting. The stunning part of the conference was learning – as part of casual conversation during breaks, meals, and other socializing time – how many rich people are planning for the eventual collapse of European society. Not stagnation. Not gradual decline. Collapse. (Makes the point you need to be armed and have plenty of ammo on stock! US could be next. –GBH. Maybe the author read Bob's book “Collapse?” There is a large break in the center of the article; it continues below the break. Ron P.)

Obama Keeps Turning His Back on Jobs
Excerpt: This week, President Obama is again set to make a pitch for his latest plan to stimulate the economy, but meanwhile he is turning his back on projects that would put tens or even hundreds of thousands Americans to work. And he's doing it all to appease his left-wing, environmentalist base at the expense of domestic energy production.

Will the Poor Be Able to Afford Obamacare?
Excerpt: In a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Cornell University professor Richard Burkhauser, Indiana University professor Kosali Simon, and Cornell PhD candidate Sean Lyons showed that in 2014, when the law will take full effect, 13 million low-income Americans may be unable to get subsidized health insurance through new state health care exchanges because one family member has employer-provided coverage for that person only.

GM offering loaner cars to worried Chevrolet Volt owners
Excerpt: General Motors is contacting every owner of a Chevrolet Volt to assure them the extended-range electric car is safe to allay fears it could catch fire after a crash. In addition, GM is going to give any owner who still has concerns another GM car while the federal investigation of Volt is underway. The offer came on a conference call with reporters this morning.

SWAT team's shooting of Marine causes outrage
Excerpt: Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons.

37% View Occupy Wall Street Protesters Very Unfavorably, 30% Feel That Way About Tea Party
Excerpt: Voters have only a slightly more favorable view of Tea Party activists compared to Occupy Wall Street protesters. But they’re also a bit more likely to link the Tea Party to Republicans than they are to see Democrats as supporters of those protesting on Wall Street and in other financial centers.

Race for Fastest Supercomputer
The demise of NASA is an example why we will probably fall behind in this critical technology, which will have a significant impact on remaining the worlds premier superpower. –GBH

GOP chairwoman of House Foreign Affairs Committee seeks ad ban over insurer's Nazi ties
Excerpt: During World War II, Allianz insured concentration camp facilities and sent money to the Nazis instead of rightful Jewish beneficiaries Company is sponsor of, among others, "A Prairie Home Companion," CNBC.

Bam’s bench bungle--Unqualified ‘diversity’ picks
Excerpt: Alas, according to the American Bar Association, empathy isn’t good enough. Last week, news leaked that the ABA has secretly informed the White House that it rated 14 out of a potential 185 nominees for federal judgeships “unqualified” — most of them women and minorities put forth in the name of “diversity.” Fourteen may not seem like many, but The New York Times (which broke the story) reports that it’s more than the combined number of judges the ABA “flunked” during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (who stopped submitting his nominations to the ABA).

The face of Wall Street arrogance
Excerpt: Jon Corzine’s unbelievably swift fall is a classic story of Wall Street arrogance.
Just a few months ago, the Obama administration was considering Corzine as a possible successor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

More More More: How do you like Andrea True’s federal government? By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: But no doubt, as that looming deadline looms, the can of worms will be effortlessly kicked down the room another looming deadline or two. In return for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling (and, by the way, that’s the wrong way of looking at it: more accurately, we’re lowering the debt abyss), John Boehner bragged that he’d got a deal for “a real, enforceable cut” of supposedly $7 billion from fiscal year 2012. After running the numbers themselves, the Congressional Budget Office said it only cut $1 billion from FY 2012.

A Kettle of Hawks by Peggy Noonan
Excerpt: We have a projected deficit over the next 10 years of $44 trillion. A group of Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill were charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in cuts. Just 1.2 out of 44.

Why Not Pay Higher Taxes? By Victor davis Hanson
Excerpt: The 5% who pay nearly 60% of the taxes, while not monolithic, feel that they are pawns in a larger jaded chess game, in which the bishops and rooks have rigged the board: always higher taxes fuel bigger government, which fuels an expanding recipient class which pays homage by reelecting more big-government statists who further fuel government for sympathetic dependent voters. For the conservative, who sees dependencies and overregulation everywhere, each extra dime in taxes means more of what will turn us into a failed redistributive Greece. One group is expanding, the other shrinking in our Darwinian world of tax and spend.

Drug Delivery Is One Way Nanotech Will Live Up to Its Hype
Excerpt: Drug delivery is one way nanotech will, at last, begin to live up to its original hype. To describe what nanotech-enabled drug delivery will do in the short term, let’s talk about something that annoys and amuses us all about the pharmaceutical industry: Black Box warnings. You know, those bizarre monotone voice-overs you hear during TV commercials about all the horrible side-effects that go along with the drug.

Excerpt: A federal judge in New York has struck down a $285 million settlement that Citigroup reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing a need for truth about the financial markets. The deal would have imposed penalties on Citigroup even as it allowed the company to deny allegations that it misled investors on a complex mortgage investment. The SEC has accused the bank of betting against the investment in 2007 and making $160 million, while investors lost millions. (Citigroup is party of the gang of government/private thieves that ripped your IRA and home value apart in 2008. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The most striking take-away from the emails is how obsessed the climatologists seemed to be with media coverage – almost as if they were public relations associates as opposed to scientists. The extent of cooperation between the climate researchers and some friendly news outlets is also fascinating. … One New York Times writer, Andy Revkin, pops up numerous times in the emails. During the time the conversations took place, Revkin was a supposedly objective reporter on the environmental beat for the Times. (Surprise, surprise, surprise. ~Bob.)

BIAS: Wash Post Journalist Caught Briefing Senate Democrat Staffers
Surprise, sur…oh, never mind. ~Bob.

Kuwait cabinet resigns amid political crisis
For news like this, you will pay at the pump. ~Bob. Excerpt: Kuwait's cabinet has resigned after protesters and opposition deputies demanded that the prime minister step down over allegations of corruption, state-run television has reported.

The Brown Legacy of Socialism
Excerpt: The following article from Die Welt is a left-wing perspective on a historical fact that has been swept under the rug: the remnants of National Socialist ideology were kept alive by Communists and Socialists in postwar Europe.

Excerpt: Pot-meet-Kettle. You know solving the European debt crisis is hopeless when the current President of the United States Barack Obama, who has spent $4 trillion just in the past three years, ballooning the U.S. debt to over $15 trillion, making him the most spendy president in the history of our country, is lecturing the European Union about how to solve...their debt crisis.

Excerpt: We probably will not know the full extent of the latest border clash between coalition forces and the Pakistani army, and it may not matter even if we do, given that we all seem to accept the strange post-9/11 relationship with ally/neutral/enemy Pakistan. In all these widely publicized military flare-ups there is a disturbing pattern: When Pakistani-trained, -supplied, -subsidized, or -harbored terrorists kill American soldiers, we are to accept that the government in Islamabad has no control over its wild lands and regrets terrorist and insurgent violence as much as we do. When, on the other hand, Americans either accidentally or in frustration strike back, then the usual street protests, government smears, and litany of threats follow from Pakistan — which are supposedly to pacify the Pakistani street, and yet by back-channel assurances not endanger the stream of American dollars flowing into the coffers of the Pakistani government elite and military.

Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday he plans to move a massive omnibus spending bill in December, a move that will fire up opposition from Tea Party conservatives. Reid says he wants to avoid the prospect of the federal government running for another year on stopgap spending measures.