Thursday, February 9, 2012

Political Digest for February 10, 2012

Random Thoughts
In case you missed this month’s collection. ~Bob

George Will
Was the keynote speaker at the conference I’m attending. He was terrific; I wish everyone in America could have heard it. Too long to replicate, but lots of great points and pointed quips, like, “Expanding government dependency is not a by-product of Obama’s policies, it’s the agenda.” He laid out the fiscal challenges much as I did in Collapse, but is optimistic about the future—that’s what they pay keynotes for. He told this story: “In a 2008 "Meet the Press" interview, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels."
He also told the story in his 2010 column, below, of the immigrant tailor who was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $100 fine, big money in 1934, for charging five cents too little for pressing men’s suits, a price cutting crime against the Roosevelt Administration. Worth reading:

A victim of busy-beaver government
Excerpt: With his responsibilities as a father of four, Maged should have shunned a life of crime. Instead, he advertised his criminal activity with a placard in his shop window, promising to press men's suits for 35 cents. This he did, even though President Franklin Roosevelt's New Dealers, who knew an amazing number of things -- his economic aides were not called a "Brain Trust" for nothing -- knew that the proper price for pressing a man's suit was 40 cents. … Maged, suitably broken to the saddle of government, removed from his shop window the placard advertising 35-cent pressings and replaced it with a Blue Eagle. "Maged," reported the Times, "if not quite so ruggedly individualistic as formerly, was a free man once more." So that is freedom -- embracing, under coercion, a government propaganda symbol.

Excerpt: After days of agonizing negotiations, Greek politicians have reached a deal to make a series of spending cuts in hopes of securing a new international bailout and help the debt-ridden nation avoid default, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos’s office said on Thursday. (Amazing feat, ladies and gentlemen. The can is kicked a little down the road yet again. Of course, they are working with a net—we aren’t. ~Bob.)

Important: “Buffett Rule” Will Boost Top Dividend Rate to Over 62%, Highest in OECD by Scott A. Hodge
Excerpt: Capital is the most mobile factor in the global economy and highly sensitive to tax rates. The Buffet Rule would surely make the U.S. a less attractive place for investment and undermine our competitiveness. Other nations will gladly accept the capital that is unwelcome in the U.S. (The Obama Administration is focused like a laser on creating jobs. In other countries. By driving capital out of the US. ~Bob.)

Important: Costs and Consequences: America’s Misguided Energy Policies
Excerpt: During the 2008 campaign, then Senator Obama admitted in one interview that saving the planet would hit American families hard. “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” So have gasoline prices, unemployment, and lost opportunity.

"It may be halftime in America, but China's got the ball and we're down by $15 trillion!" --comedian Jay Leno

Path to a Brokered GOP Convention Emerges
Excerpt: For many conservative Republicans, the dream outcome of the primary season is a brokered convention. Disappointed in the four remaining choices, they hope to change horses in August, and draft their preferred candidate, be it Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, or Paul Ryan.

Iran 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 by Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: The result of Obama's Iran 2.0 policy? Failure on every front. The Iranians sped up work on the bomb. They snubbed every deadline we issued. They increased weapons shipments to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. The Russians aided rather than blocked Iranian nuclear efforts.

Official: 10 states get ed waiver
Excerpt: President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, giving leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, The Associated Press has learned.

At the Pentagon and in Israel, plans show the difficulties of an Iran strike
Excerpt: If you are not prepared to go to war, you cannot threaten that “nothing is off the table” as you search for diplomatic solutions. Thus there are completed plans, updated daily, at Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv and at the Pentagon for carrying out attacks on Iranian facilities in a last-ditch effort to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

It's Time to Bypass Iran's 'Supreme Leader' The Revolutionary Guard, with its economic interests and sensitivity to sanctions, is more inclined to strike a deal on the nuclear issue. By Mehdi Khalaji
Excerpt: Since President Obama came to office, unconditional engagement with Iran has been official U.S. policy and total rejection of engagement has been official Iranian policy. The president has sent several letters to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, proposing various types of engagement, but all these ideas have been rebuffed.

National Anthem at the Super Bowl - an editorial
Not sure of the date or origins of this good piece. ~Bob.

Girl fights off kidnapper at Walmart
Excerpt: Surveillance cameras capture a man allegedly trying to snatch a 7-year-old from the toy aisle.

South Park Plea Exposes Network of Homegrown Radicals
Excerpt: Many homegrown Islamist terrorists labeled as "lone wolves" may not have been so lone after all, court papers filed Thursday in Virginia show. Jesse Morton, a founder of the radical website Revolution Muslim, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and two counts related to communicating threats.

Senators Brown and Grassley Are Doing the Right Thing
Executive Director: The disgraced former executive director of the Chelsea Housing Authority Mike McLaughlin and the world of hurt he laid on the CHA are now under a microscope in Washington, DC where our Senator Scott Brown and Iowa Senator Charles Grassley are asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hard questions. They want to know what we want to know. How could the CHA have been praised for its efficiency and even win awards for how it was managed when McLaughlin was playing with apparently unaccountable federal funding used to bloat his salary?

 ‘It’s Your Fault’: U.S. Gets the Israel Treatment Over Iran
Excerpt: Israel is often in this position. Its enemies threaten it in unacceptable ways or commit acts of violence just under some unspoken-but-very-real threshold of tolerance (not Israel’s threshold, mind you, but that of the U.S., the UN or the EU). Corresponding Israeli action to protect its people is called “aggression” and Israel is blamed for any resulting damage. (…) The U.S. now finds itself in a similar situation, but the belief that America will be at fault if it antagonizes Iran comes at least in part from Americans. (Unfortunately, this is obvious to everyone except the administration and its “blame America first” supporters. Ron P.)

Excerpt: The Republican establishment, which has lined up heavily behind Romney, has tried to depict him as the “electable,” if not invincible, candidate in the general election this November. But it is hard to maintain an aura of invincibility after you have been beaten, especially in a month when pundits had suggested that Romney might build up an unstoppable momentum of victories.

Excerpt: One question that rarely arises about Greece is “where did all those hundreds of billions of Euros really go?” I think most visitors could easily answer that they were not all squandered on pensions and inflated government staffs and salaries.

Women are Great: They don't need quotas - by James Delingpole, Telegraph UK
Excerpt: And after years of close observation, here's what I've concluded: chicks are definitely the superior species. They're more intuitive, more versatile, more articulate, more competent. Plus, of course, they have breasts.

Homosexuality: What's Choice Got To Do With It?
Excerpt: The Pink Mafia’s tirelessly active activists recently upbraided former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon for insisting that her switch from a heterosexual lifestyle to a lesbian one was a matter of personal choice. Previously, Nixon had spent 15 years with a man. She even popped out two of his bambinos. But she recently got engaged to her longtime lesbian partner.

Facebook IPO will make Bono a billionaire. Wonder if he'll pay any tax on that? - Toby Young, Telegraph UK
Excerpt: It'll be interesting to see how much tax Bono pays on that windfall. If past form is anything to go by, it'll be the least he can get away with – the reason UK Uncut staged a protest during U2's appearance at Glastonbury last year. (Like Buffet, Bono lectures others while paying as little as possible himself. ~Bob.)

Obama's war on the Catholic Church isn't just insensitive -- it's Un-American - Tim Stanley, Telegraph UK
Excerpt: Since the 1960s, the US Church has embraced a variety of Social Gospel that prioritises filling stomachs over saving souls. Its liberalism has progressed to the point where some churches are barely even Catholic anymore. In Los Angeles, the only semi-orthodox Catholic church is the one surrounded by barbed wire on Mel Gibson’s estate.

The political transformation of Barack Obama By Jim VandeHei
Excerpt: The first is that every modern president in the fourth year of his presidency resorts to the cheap political stunts, broken promises and truth-fudging its takes to win to reelection in what has been and will be a 50-50 nation. The reason is simple: Politics is not clean-living; it’s survival. The second is that Barack Obama, for all his talk of moving beyond conventional political tricks, is doing just that, which wouldn’t be so glaring had it not been for his incessant call for a newer, cleaner and more transparent paradigm for American politics.

Worth Reading: Is the Constitution for Everybody?
Excerpt: President Obama said last week, "What has frustrated people is that I have not been able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008. Well, you know it turns out that our founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes." This is the international critique of the Constitution to a T: the Constitution creates inefficient government that can't cover all your needs. Hand me power and all will be well. (In his defense, Australian Justice Kirby looks for guidance to other British Commonwealth countries rather than to the USA because we have a written Constitution and Bill of Rights that Commonwealth countries don’t have. The problem is that our Constitution is not self-enforcing. We (the people) must protect and defend it every day. In fact, fewer and fewer of us DO protect and defend it; we are now a clear minority. I’ll point out here that any of us who have served in the military or held any of many elective offices took an oath to do exactly that. There was no time limit or expiration date on that oath. Unfortunately, if one runs around making a fuss supporting the Constitution, the only result will be to get added to the domestic terrorist watch list as a potentially dangerous kook. Ron P. Funny a “Constitutional Law Professor is just finding out how the Constitution works. George Will said, “Gridlock is not an American Problem, it’s an American achievement.”

The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows
Excerpt: The world's greatest snow-capped peaks, which run in a chain from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, have lost no ice over the last decade, new research shows. The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.

Egyptian Presidential Candidate Says No Freedom in Islam
Excerpt: In a recent TV interview, Hazim Abu Ismail, a candidate for Egypt’s presidency with affiliations to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, made clear that the hijab, or veil for women, would be enforced under his leadership. More importantly, along the way, he exposed his views more generally—that there is little freedom under Islam. Especially telling is the military analogy he used: being a Muslim is like being a member of the military; you must obey all its dictates, including dress codes.

Aldi customer won't be charged in shooting
Excerpt: The Aldi customer who shot an armed robber in the store Monday won't face any criminal charges, prosecutors confirmed Friday. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said the law allows use of reasonable force in threatening situations, regardless of whether the shooter has a concealed-weapons permit, which the customer did.

Gulf Arab Leaders: Obama Admin. Is Biggest Threat to our Security by Barry Rubin
Excerpt: Let’s say an important and outspoken Gulf Arab gave a frank and thoughtful assessment of the region’s security problems. What would he say and what would that tell you? And how would that differ from the stereotypes of what Arabs — especially non-Islamist Arab leaders — think as presented by the Western media and academia?

The Real Issue Surrounding the Daily Caller Dinner with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn: Your Tax Dollars Helped the Illinois Council on the Humanities Sponsor It! by Ron Radosh
Excerpt: “The real issue surrounding the recent Sunday event in Chicago, in which former Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn hosted a dinner for Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson, Caller editor Jamie Weinstein, media mogul Andrew Breitbart, Weekly Standard writer Matt Labash, and a Caller reader, is the legitimization of Ayers and Dohrn. That was not the fault of those who attended the dinner, but of the Illinois Humanities Council, the state’s facilitator and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which is subsidized by your taxpayer dollars.” (I would decline to dine with traitors. ~Bob.)

Tester Takes Page Out of Scott Brown's Playbook
Excerpt: Massachusetts may be thousands of miles away from Montana, but Democratic Sen. Jon Tester is proposing something strikingly similar to an agreement Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown have struck, sending a letter to Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg on Wednesday that proposes curbing the influence of third party advertising in the Senate race. And from a strategic perspective, Tester's proposal is a smart play.

Excerpt: The recent Pew Research Center poll showing a formidable 9% change in party identification among American Jewish voters favoring the Republicans is only a harbinger of things to come. Party identification is not voting preference.

Understanding the Global Warming Debate
Excerpt: In a similar way, we need to ask ourselves what actual proposition do the 97% of climate scientists agree with. And, we need to understand what it is, exactly, that the deniers are denying. It turns out that the propositions that are “settled” and the propositions to which some like me are skeptical are NOT the same propositions. (This is a pretty good summary of the argument. What it glosses over is the nearly religious belief of the CAGW advocates. I call myself a heretic when discussing CAGW because while I agree some warming has occurred, I’m unconvinced that it’s a bad thing. Another degree or two might make New England and Midwestern weather more bearable, lengthen growing seasons, reduce heating costs, and generally make our lives easier rather than worse. Ron P (Heretic)

Excerpt: But please: if you want to speculate about this (and I'm looking at you, Nate Silver), please, please, call it a deadlocked convention. Not a brokered convention. One more time: there are no brokers.

1 comment:

  1. The current fuss over "reproductive rights" has me wondering: What would the world be like had contraceptives been freely available to Barack Obama's mother?