Saturday, August 29, 2009

op ed review 8/30

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

The Obama administration has appointed a federal prosecutor to look into CIA abuse allegations after a report revealed agency interrogators used “aggressive methods” on terrorist suspects right after 9/11.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/26/cia-probe-reignites-partisan-battle-spy-agencys-activities/

Among the unconscionable abuses: blowing second hand cigar smoke in their faces.

http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/article/53088

“The global war on terror takes a back seat to terrorizing some of America's most selfless warriors.”

http://www.ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=336005488181276

Pat Buchanan: "Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell's truth comes to mind as one reads that Eric Holder has named a special prosecutor to go after the "rough men" who, to keep us sleeping peacefully at night, went too far in frightening Khalid Sheik Muhammad, the engineer of the September massacres.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/08/28/the_rough_men_at_the_cia.html

"Endangering America on behalf of international human rights is the ultimate form of leftist dissent."

http://townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2009/08/26/aclu_spying_for_americas_enemies?page=full

Shouting, shoving and talking. That was the scene as people gathered in Lakewood Tuesday night for a health care town hall hosted by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.

http://www.king5.com/topstories/stories/NW_082509WAB-smith-health-town-hall-TP.118496fbc.html

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched an urgent effort to raise $100,000 by Monday to help combat what she calls GOP "smears" about health care reform. Pelosi and Democrats are clearly worried that they've lost momentum on health care reform this month, and many in her caucus have been crushed by opposition at town hall events.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/26512.html

“Faced with a souring public mood on health care reform, Democrats and their supporters are launching a national grassroots push to show lawmakers that the majority of Americans still support overhauling the system. Reform supporters are planning to hold more than 500 events between Wednesday and when lawmakers return to Washington Sept. 8, ranging from neighborhood organized phone banks to professionally staffed rallies with hundreds of people.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0809/26409.html

“In the rhetorical battle over health care, the forces backing President Barack Obama’s overhaul have spent years polling and using focus groups to find the precise language that would win over voters — an effort that doesn’t at the moment appear to be working.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/08/25/rhetoric-fails-to-sway-voters-on-health/

The Obama White House is behind a cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of leftist celebration and statist idolatry…..The plan is to turn a "day of fear" that helps Republicans into a day of activism called the National Day of Service that helps the left.

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/08/24/obamas-plan-to-desecrate-911

President Obama's nominee for the Labor Department's top law enforcement job created a first-of-its-kind program in New York that deputized unions and advocacy groups to visit private businesses and report wage violations to the government. The state labor agency in New York actually referred to the union and group participants as "enforcers,"

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/28/wage-initiative-stymies-labor-nominee/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_more_news_carousel

When normal people happen to "find" their own money, it might mean a twenty left in a winter coat, or discovering change beneath the sofa cushions. But if you're Charlie Rangel, it means doubling your net worth. Earlier this month the Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee "amended" his 2007 financial disclosure form—to the tune of more than a half-million dollars in previously unreported assets and income.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574376720192072820.html

On Friday, the Tea Party Express set off on a bus tour starting in Sacramento, California, and winding down in Washington on September 12. At that point, the group notes, a three-day march on the nation's Capitol will take place to protest health care reform and what they see as big government.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/28/tea.party.express/index.html

Here’s the website for the 9.12.09 March on Washington.

http://912dc.org/

The Obama administration on Tuesday acknowledged that Obamanomics, the dismal science of spending other people's money as fast as possible, honed with ward bosses and union kingpins on Chicago's South Side, has failed. They did so, not in so many words and probably without knowing it, officially announcing that the federal budget deficit next year will be nearly 20% more than in their first forecast made just last May.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/its_official_obamanomics_has_f.html

FactCheck.org says the National Right to Life Committee is correct concerning abortion provisions in ObamaCare.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=657860

A Christian homeschool girl in New Hampshire has been ordered into government-run public school for having "sincerely held" religious beliefs. The court acknowledged that the girl in question is doing well socially and academically, but determined that the girl's Christian faith was a "bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews."

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=659638

Conservative members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are considering options after the denomination decided on Friday to allow non-celibate homosexuals and lesbians to be pastors.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Church/Default.aspx?id=656178

Labor officials and Democratic members of the US Senate have given up on “card check”, but are rumored to be working on “card-check-lite”

http://tiny.cc/kNu9x

Glenn Beck goes over 3 million viewers, beats O’Reilly.

http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/08/27/big-beck-goes-over-3-million-viewers-beats-oreilly-in-demo-cable-news-ratings-for-wednesday-august-26-2009/25541

The owner of a store in Michigan is being sued by a man who was shot while robbing the store at knifepoint. The robber’s attorney said his client suffered “mental anguish, anxiety and emotional distress and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.”

http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2009/08/28/news/cops_and_courts/doc4a97a70622185219277908.txt

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Victor Davis Hanson 8/27

Obama and ‘Redistributive Change’

The first seven months of the Obama administration seemingly make no sense. Why squander public approval by running up astronomical deficits in a time of pre-existing staggering national debt? Why polarize opponents after promising bipartisan transcendence? Why create vast new programs when the efficacy of big government is already seen as dubious? But that is exactly the wrong way to look at these first seven months of Obamist policy-making…..….the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good — every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency.

Individual compensation is now seen as arbitrary and, by extension, inherently unfair. A high income is now rationalized as having less to do with market-driven needs, acquired skills, a higher level of education, innate intelligence, inheritance, hard work, or accepting risk. Rather income is seen more as luck-driven, cruelly capricious, unfair — even immoral, in that some are rewarded arbitrarily on the basis of race, class, and gender advantages, others for their overweening greed and ambition, and still more for their quasi-criminality. “Patriotic” federal healers must then step in to “spread the wealth.” Through redistributive tax rates, they can “treat” the illness that the private sector has caused. After all, there is no intrinsic reason why an auto fabricator makes $60 in hourly wages and benefits, while a young investment banker finagles $500.

……in the president’s own language, the government must equalize the circumstances of the “waitress” with those of the “lucky.” It is thus a fitting and proper role of the new federal government to rectify imbalances of compensation — at least for those outside the anointed Guardian class. In a 2001 interview Obama in fact outlined the desirable political circumstances that would lead government to enforce equality of results when he elaborated on what he called an “actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”…….We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administration’s recent policy initiatives….. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves….We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.

None of this equality-of-results thinking is new. When radical leaders over the last 2,500 years have sought to enforce equality of results, their prescriptions were usually predictable: redistribution of property; cancellation of debts; incentives to bring out the vote and increase political participation among the poor; stigmatizing of the wealthy,…use of the court system to even the playing field by targeting the more prominent citizens; radical growth in government and government employment; the use of state employees as defenders of the egalitarian faith; bread-and-circus entitlements; inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital; and radical sloganeering about reactionary enemies of the new state.

The modern versions of much of the above already seem to be guiding the Obama administration — evident each time we hear of another proposal to make it easier to renounce personal debt; federal action to curtail property or water rights; efforts to make voter registration and vote casting easier; radically higher taxes on the top 5 percent; takeover of private business; expansion of the federal government and an increase in government employees; or massive inflationary borrowing. The current class-warfare “them/us” rhetoric was predictable.

Usually such ideologies do not take hold in America, given its tradition of liberty, frontier self-reliance, and emphasis on personal freedom rather than mandated fraternity and egalitarianism. At times, however, the stars line up, when a national catastrophe, like war or depression, coincides with the appearance of an unusually gifted, highly polished, and eloquent populist. But the anointed one must be savvy enough to run first as a centrist in order later to govern as a statist.

Given the September 2008 financial meltdown, the unhappiness over the war, the ongoing recession, and Barack Obama’s postracial claims and singular hope-and-change rhetoric, we found ourselves in just such a situation. For one of the rare times in American history, statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left.

That goal is the touchstone that explains the seemingly inexplicable — and explains also why, when Obama is losing independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans, his anxious base nevertheless keeps pushing him to become even more partisan, more left-wing, angrier, and more in a hurry to rush things through. They understand the unpopularity of the agenda and the brief shelf life of the president’s charm. One term may be enough to establish lasting institutional change…..

So we move at breakneck speed in order not to miss this rare opportunity when the radical leadership of the Congress and the White House for a brief moment clinch the reins of power. By the time a shell-shocked public wakes up and realizes that the prescribed chemotherapy is far worse than the existing illness, it should be too late to revive the old-style American patient.

http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=ZWQ2NWJkN2M3ZmJjYWQwMDZlMWQyM2FjNWI4ZWJkNGI=

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FROM OTHER COLUMNS

"There is a lot one could say of Senator Kennedy -- positive from supporters, negative from critics. They say one should not speak ill of the dead. True. But I am of the view that one should not lie about the dead either."

-Bill Bennett

“As Teddy's biographer Adam Clymer wrote, Edward Kennedy's "achievements as a senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne." You can't make an omelet without breaking chicks, right? I don't know how many lives the senator changed – he certainly changed Mary Jo's – but you're struck less by the precise arithmetic than by the basic equation: How many changed lives justify leaving a human being struggling for breath for up to five hours pressed up against the window in a small, shrinking air pocket in Teddy's Oldsmobile? If the senator had managed to change the lives of even more Americans, would it have been OK to leave a couple more broads down there? Hey, why not? At the Huffington Post, Melissa Lafsky mused on what Mary Jo "would have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history … Who knows – maybe she'd feel it was worth it." What true-believing liberal lass wouldn't be honored to be dispatched by that death panel?”

-Mark Steyn

"[Ted] Kennedy left the scene of a fatal accident for which he was at least partly responsible. Then he used his extraordinary power to get off, spending the rest of his career in pseudo-remorse, playing the most liberal of Senators. It was always an act to me, even when I agreed with him politically. This was not a life well lived."

-Roger L. Simon

"The American people must regain the ability to distinguish between wants and needs and must shed the ridiculous notion that government exists to provide either. Our Constitution -- drafted by men well acquainted with the abusive capacities of a centralized government -- limited the roles and responsibilities of the federal government in order to allow the principle of self-government to flourish in the new nation. Government exists to preserve and protect the sphere of civil freedom within which we can work to meet our needs and our wants. Government does not exist to provide them."

-Ken Connor

"Barack Obama's escapes from his own past words, deeds and associations have been escapes worthy of Houdini. Like other magicians, Obama has chosen his distractions well. The insurance industry is currently his favorite distraction as scapegoats, after he has tried to demonize doctors without much success. ... Obama even gets away with saying things like having a system to 'keep insurance companies honest' -- and many people may not see the painful irony in politicians trying to keep other people honest."

-Thomas Sowell

"Eight years ago next month, Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists in two fuel-laden jetliners crashed into and collapsed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City….Nearly 3,000 men, women and children died. Many were incinerated and vaporized in the infernos. And the United States Department of Justice now is actively considering prosecuting CIA employees.. -- for scaring terrorist suspects… Attorney General Eric Holder, who would rather prosecute those defending America than, say, New Black Panther Party members intimidating voters with clubs in Philadelphia, vows that no information will be made public that would compromise the work of the CIA. There, don't you feel better? Never mind the chilling effect of prosecuting those who did the job they were charged to do….God help these fools. God help the U.S.A."

-Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"I know that everybody likes to poke fun at California -- but I can tell you right now that despite all of its problems, California remains one of the best places in the world to build a successful small business. All you have to do is start with a successful large business."

-Rep. Tom McClintock

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BOOKS

“Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies” by Michelle Malkin. “Never has an administration taken office with more inflated expectations of turning Washington around. Never have a media-anointed American Idol and his entourage fallen so fast and hard. In her latest investigative tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Malkin delivers a powerful, damning, and comprehensive indictment of the culture of corruption that surrounds Team Obama's brazen tax evaders, Wall Street cronies, petty crooks, slum lords, and business-as-usual influence peddlers.”

http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Corruption-Cheats-Crooks-Cronies/dp/1596981091/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251559948&sr=8-1

“The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties” by Jonathan Leaf. The author debunks much of the conventional wisdom regarding the decade, from the culture at play to the Vietnam War. What the Radical Left Doesn't Want You to Know About the 60's

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33254

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ARTICLES

Herb Meyer: “…the President has thrown his power and support behind those far-left ideologues -- in Congress and elsewhere -- who believe that the CIA is a bigger threat to our country than al Qaeda…..By launching this latest attack on the CIA, the President has done more than merely throw a bone to his base. He has removed all remaining doubt about how the US now plans to confront the global threat of radical Islam. Simply put, we have reached one of those hinges of history whose swings alter the course of world events….if President Bush and those of us who supported him are right -- that we are in the midst of a global war on whose outcome rests the survival of Western civilization….the forces of radical Islam will surge, our "allies" will cave in to pressure and cut deals with our mortal enemies, and at some point down the road -- seven years from now, three years from now, or perhaps next Tuesday -- something ghastly will happen.”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/what_the_presidents_attack_on.html

The defining moment in last year's presidential election was the battle over Sarah Palin. The minute Barack Obama won his party's nomination and delivered his victory speech, John McCain unveiled his surprise running mate... During the first news cycle, Palin won rave reviews — a true populist from humble origins who battled the oil interests and drove crooked politicians (including fellow Republicans) from office, she seemed straight out of Central Casting — a telegenic mom married to a rugged athlete with cute kids including a Down syndrome baby she refused to abort. The American public, like Alaska's voters, loved her story. A Palin boom quickly snuffed out Obama's post-nomination bump and, for the first time, McCain sailed ahead of Obama in the polls. Then the national media swung into action. If Palin was McCain's magic carpet to the White House, then Palin must be destroyed. What followed was one of the most tawdry and shameful episodes in American journalism….Now history is repeating itself. The defining moment of the Obama administration appears to be the health care debate. Instead of railroading its program through Congress, the White House is facing a popular uprising led by angry town hall protesters. And, again, Obama is sinking in the polls. But, instead of listening to the protesters, Obama's team (the Democratic Party and its communications arm, the media) are Palinizing them.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/08282009/polilee163518_32528.shtml

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has Lou Gehrig’s disease. In the 1960’s he had some severe health problems and required 24 hr nursing care. The British National Health Service refused to provide more than 7 hours of nursing per week. "Help arrived from an American foundation aware of Hawking's work and international reputation, which agreed to pay £50,000 a year toward the costs of nursing.”

http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=336265511242167

Want a preview of ObamaCare in action? Sneak a look at what has happened in Maine “….. yet another expensive, failed experiment in government-run health care, alongside similar fiascoes in Massachusetts and Tennessee.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574322401816501182.html

Why Obamacare Is Failing by Michael Gerson “A party-line, Democratic transformation of American health care in this environment -- in the midst of decisively losing a public argument -- would smack of power-hungry radicalism, more the liberalism of Robespierre than Jefferson.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/25/AR2009082502545.html

Conservative actor Jon Voight asks: “Is Obama creating a civil war in America?”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/21/inside-the-beltway-68484451/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_top_stories

Steve Forbes: The Obama Administration has successfully killed the fabulous F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft. What a blunder….. Administration officials and others take our superiority in the air for granted and thereby conclude we don't need to make big investments on future weapons systems to maintain that superiority. This is a classic mistake. There's a reason that U.S. ground forces haven't suffered a battlefield casualty from hostile aircraft since 1952, during the Korean War.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0907/opinions-steve-forbes-resurrect-the-raptor.html

Remember when the deficit was so bad that Democrats said we (or more accurately the Republicans) were placing a terrible burden on our grandchildren? That was several trillion dollars ago. Democrats now appear perfectly fine with extending the growing deficit and national debt to their great-grandchildren. Perhaps politicians think they will never be held accountable three generations from now because they won't be around to explain to those

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_13195788

It is now clearer than ever that plaintiffs' lawyers collectively are the political powerhouse running the health care show. A constituent…asked Mr. Moran the following question: "There is $200 billion of savings over 10 years if you have [lawsuit] reform, and nobody loses but the lawyers. Why isn't [lawsuit] reform in the bill?" On this question..Mr. Moran deferred to his guest, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, to provide a response. Mr. Dean's answer was candid: "The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth.... This bill has enough enemies. The more groups you take on, the more enemies you make."……To be blunt, this mollycoddling of lawyers is legislative malpractice.

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/27/health-care-run-by-trial-lawyers/

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

Victor Davis Hanson’s website:

http://www.victorhanson.com/

Best science visualization videos of 2009

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/visualizations/

The extreme pogo stick championships? “…jumpers clear heights of 8 feet, perform high-flying flips, and execute mind-blowing stunts.”

http://www.pogopalooza6.xpogo.com/

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WISE WORDS

"The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families. ... Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics."

-John Adams

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