Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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.

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