Saturday, December 31, 2011

op ed review 1/1/12

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

Speaking from her $4 million Hawaii vacation, Mrs. Obama wants to know: Do any of President Obama’s supporters have $3 to spare for his reelection? The obscene juxtaposition of the first lady on a $4 million vacation while asking what would have to be middle to low income earners for three bucks – is yet another example of lack of perspective the Obamas seem to be gaining while in power. And they blow $4 million – mostly taxpayers’ money – on a vacation, while wondering if the small people can come up with $3.

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/12/30/4m-vacation-michelle-seeks-3-backers/

Well what else would one wear on a $4m break? From $2,000 dress to $1,000 skirt, Michelle Obama's lavish Hawaii wardrobe revealed

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2079588/Well-wear-4m-break-From-2-000-dress-1-000-skirt-Michelle-Obamas-lavish-Hawaii-wardrobe-revealed.html

The Obama’s invited Associated Press photographers along capture their trip to Target and stage photo ops at PetSmart and Best Buy. Then the press was shooed away so they could enjoy a $260 meal at one of Honolulu’s best restaurants.

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/12/29/middle-class-warriors-dine-260/

It takes three cars to collect Prince Philip after major heart surgery, it takes forty cars to take President Obama to golf.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/8978739/The-Duke-of-Edinburgh-leaves-hospital.html

Just 55.3 percent of Americans between 16 and 29 have jobs.

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/30/have-the-youth-given-up-on-obama/

Is this what President Obama means by “spread the wealth around”? Your home value may be down, but “Delinquent borrowers facing foreclosure are learning that they can stay in their homes for years, as long as they're willing to put up a fight….the average time it takes to process a foreclosure has climbed to 674 days from 253 days just four years ago…”

http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/28/real_estate/foreclosure/index.htm

When asked an open-ended question by Gallup about which man living in the world today they admire most and whom their second choice would be, 32 percent of Americans surveyed this month would not name anyone, thus falling into a category that Gallup describes as "None/No opinion." President Barack Obama came in second to "None/No opinion" with 17 percent.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/none-beats-obama-gallup-s-most-admired-survey?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

La Pierre: “Obama administration officials are deliberately keeping gun owners in the dark about the president’s gun-control agenda as we head into next year’s national election, because administration officials know that when NRA members and gun owners show up at the polls en masse, anti-gun candidates lose. The Obama campaign’s strategy goes like this: Neutralize gun owners and NRA members as a political force in the upcoming national election by pretending to be pro-gun or at least not focused on pushing a gun-control agenda.”

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/12/the-obama-administration-is-planning-a-second-term-attack-on-gun-rights/

Democrats on Tuesday lamented Sen. Ben Nelson's decision to retire rather than seek a third term in Nebraska, fearing the move could give Republicans a crucial victory in their effort to reclaim control of the chamber next year.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2079232/GOp-poised-regain-control-Senate-Democrat-Ben-Nelson-retires.html#ixzz1hnQkprdY

According to a new book, Four-star general-turned-CIA director David Petraeus almost resigned as Afghanistan war commander over President Barack Obama's decision to quickly draw down surge forces. Petraeus decided that resigning would be a "selfish, grandstanding move with huge political ramifications"

http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111229/NEWS/111229644

Washington State’s minimum wage is the highest in nation.

http://oregonbusinessreport.com/2011/12/chart-or-wa-minimum-wage-boost-leads-nation/

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Dr. Milton Wolf (President Obama’s cousin) 12/28

There’s something profoundly tragic about the failed presidency of Barack Obama. He was supposed to be a new kind of president, a man who embodied hope and would transcend petty politics and even race. Instead, we’re left with a downgraded America that is stagnating under the weight of its bloated government. As tragic as that alone is, even this is but a mere symptom of Mr. Obama’s larger fundamental failure: He simply does not trust the Americans who entrusted him with the presidency.

Most presidents, we believe, ascend to the Oval Office, but for the 44th president, the reverse seems true. Whatever majesty the White House can muster must rise to the grandiosity of Barack Obama. “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” said the man who writes autobiographies and later would claim to control the rise of the oceans.

As recently as this month, the food-stamp president of 13 million unemployed Americans declared himself the fourth-most-accomplished president in the history of the United States, eclipsing, in his own mind, President Reagan and even our nation’s father, George Washington. That in only three years. Barack the Magnificent won’t allow trivialities like $15 trillion debts or historic national credit downgrades dissuade him. Mr. Obama may care deeply for America, but he believes in only one thing: Barack Obama. And you are not Barack Obama.

Where once the American flag was hailed universally as the ultimate symbol of freedom, we who live under it have slowly but surely surrendered our liberties to an insatiable government. Consider our decline in just the past two generations. Our grandfathers, who stood against evil and shed their blood to stop it, never would have tolerated their own government becoming so totalitarian that it would dictate to them what car they should drive, what (if any) health insurance they should choose or even what light bulb they should buy.

Has our generation been worthy of earlier Americans’ sacrifices? Or have we surrendered their hard-fought victories in return for false promises of a big-government utopia that never materializes? Look no further than the politicians we elect. We have chosen as our president a man who believes we are unworthy, not of the previous generations’ sacrifices, but rather unworthy of freedom itself.

The sum total of Mr. Obama’s political philosophy, the unifying theme of his presidency, amounts to this: You cannot be trusted to live as a free American.

President Obama’s first major legislative action, the failed $787 stimulus, revealed his fundamental distrust of free Americans. A president who actually trusts his people would stand aside as they freely chose how to invest their capital and their labor. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, simply doesn’t believe you are smart enough to know what’s best for you. He commandeered nearly $1 trillion dollars from the taxpayers and redirected it as he saw fit. That he squandered billions on crony boondoggles such as the Solyndra solar-panel company or laughable efforts to measure the malt-liquor habits of Buffalonians and the like is evidence merely of his incompetence. That he trusted only himself to allocate taxpayers’ money in the first place - even if he had had the capacity to do so brilliantly - is evidence of a much larger offense: This president distrusts his subjects.

Obamacare is a modern-day monument to government arrogance. So untrustworthy are Americans that they cannot be allowed to decide for themselves whether to purchase health insurance or, if so, how much. Likewise, physicians are too untrustworthy to provide you with care without first consulting the government’s “best practices” guidelines. Obamacare would solve both.

Untrustworthy bankers would become angelic under the restrictions of Dodd-Frank. Untrustworthy bloggers would fall in line under the Stop Online Piracy Act. Untrustworthy manufacturers would create the only jobs worth having under the dictates of the National Labor Relations Board. And untrustworthy energy consumers would act responsibly only under the restrictions of “cap and trade” or at least a dictatorial Environmental Protection Agency.

For statists like Mr. Obama, no matter how bloated our government has become, America is forever just one legislative act away from utopia, if only those untrustworthy Americans would just get in line. The man who ran on hope has instead embraced a tragic pessimism that views all free Americans with disdain as either incompetent rubes in need of his salvation or unrighteous villains in need of his rules. Either way, Mr. Obama embraces a command-and-control government and rejects American freedom.

Mr. Obama’s distrust of Americans is his fatal flaw, and Republicans would be wise to exploit it fully. The GOP should resist the temptation simply to become a cleverer version of autocrats who pull the same powerful levers of government but in different directions. Instead, they should become the party that embraces liberty. If the 2012 election is between Republicans and Democrats or even between conservatives and liberals, Republicans might win. But if the election is instead between a bloated, ineffectual government that distrusts its subjects and Americans who still yearn to breathe free, Republicans will win. Only then will voters have a dramatic choice between a party that trusts Americans to be free and a party that does not.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/28/in-obama-he-trusts/

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ISLAM

Turns out the Santa killer in Texas was a Muslim.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/12/27/3619671/dads-text-message-referred-to.html

An Iranian woman whose sentence of death by stoning for adultery provoked an international outcry could be executed by hanging instead, the country's judicial authorities have indicated.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/26/sakineh-mohammadi-ashtiani-hang-iran?intcmp=239

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BOOKS

“Throw them all Out” by Peter Schweizer “….also offers a complete rundown of the actual extent of Barack Obama's "stimulus" program, which he characterizes as the biggest political payoff since the heyday of Boss Tweed. Reading this will make your blood boil. It should be a major topic of discussion in next year's campaign”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/throw_em_all_outand_good_riddance.html#ixzz1hqYBwuDz

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LEFTIST WATCH

In a Christmas break message to his party, Communist Party USA vice chair Jarvis Tyner has confirmed the vital importance of the build up to the 2012 elections to “set the stage for a new progressive era and for a socialist transformation.” Tyner draws clear right/left battle lines and the communist’s commitment to Party ‘friend’ President Barack Obama and to the Democratic Party cause.

http://biggovernment.com/tloudon/2011/12/28/us-communist-leader-progressive-change-is-closer-than-we-think/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BigGovernment+%28Big+Government%29

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GLOBALONEY

Long viewed as a remedy for the world's dependence on fossil fuels, the solar industry is dimming as makers of panels used to harness the sun continue to fall by the wayside.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204552304577117140511996840.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird

Seattle City Light's current residential marginal rate (its highest) is $0.0956 / kWh. Your $600 solar unit generates $4.78 worth of electricity a year.. Your $600 solar unit will pay for itself in only 125 years (sustainably today!)

http://soundpolitics.com/archives/015194.html

“The Obama administration defended its (Solyndra)actions based on an ideological attachment to “green energy,” a liberal faith bordering on mania. The administration pleaded not guilty by reason of sincerity; the environmental cause is so pressing, so dire, that its well-intentioned failure should be excused.”

-Washington Times

Seattle has banned plastic shopping bags to save the planet. “Reusable grocery bags can be a breeding ground for dangerous food-borne bacteria and pose a serious risk to public health, according to a joint food-safety research report issued today by the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California.”

http://www.uanews.org/node/32521

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THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

This election cycle has been very challenging for conservatives. Those of us on the political right would like to see the country move in the conservative direction. The citizens will be better off if it does. History proves this. It would be very disappointing if the political gains made by the Tea Party movement did not continue. But there are forces within the conservative movement itself which could hinder progress. If the Republican candidates spend all of their time tearing each other down, they will be using their energy for counterproductive purposes.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/m-the_forgotten_11th_commandment.html

Michelle Bachman: “Should I be fortunate enough to be elected by the American people to serve as president of the United States, I will have an ambitious agenda in the first 100 days that will send a signal to our country’s job creators and to the world that the days of socialist policies are over, that our free market is once again open for business and that we will once again lead the world as the true exceptional nation….My first act as president will be to repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. No two pieces of legislation represent socialism and big government more than those, and both have greatly hindered the creation of jobs and capital necessary for economic recovery……I also will get government spending….In the first 100 days, I will submit legislation to repeal laws establishing the Departments of Education, Commerce and Energy and the Environmental Protection….I will honor the Constitution and send Congress a balanced budget in my first 100 days. If Congress passes an unbalanced budget, I will veto it.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/29/little-time-to-save-america/

Must read by Ann coulter:: “…..Only Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney aren't trying to sneak through amnesty for illegal aliens…..That leaves us with Romney and Bachmann as the candidates with the strongest, most conservative positions on illegal immigration. As wonderful as Michele Bachmann is, 2012 isn't the year to be trying to make a congresswoman the first woman president.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=48423

Mitt Romney has now jumped to his biggest lead ever over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. It’s also the biggest lead a named Republican candidate has held over the incumbent in Rasmussen Reports surveying to date. The latest national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the former Massachusetts governor, while 39% prefer the president.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/2012_presidential_matchups

In the Republican primary struggle to define the most reliably conservative presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has put his money where his mouth is. Romney has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Massachusetts conservative groups and to core Washington-based conservative think-tanks and publications, among them the Heritage Foundation research institute, the Federal Society legal interest group and a gala dinner for the National Review magazine website

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/romney-charity-used-for-1271078.html

Long-time supporters of National Review, the venerable conservative publication founded by the late William F. Buckley, have grown increasingly worried the outlet is becoming the house organ of the Republican establishment.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/23/inside-game/

Jonah Goldberg: Shrink from the left, shift to the right, in the fratricidal conservative fight. I’ve made a disturbing discovery: I am a member of the conservative “establishment.” I feel like Michael Douglas at the end of Falling Down: “I’m the bad guy?”

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/286697/establishment-moves-rightward-jonah-goldberg

The 2012 presidential race will be decided in a dozen swing states, and President Obama faces a hard road to victory in many of them.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/25/dozen-states-will-prive-pivotal-in-race-to-white-h/

The debates, coupled with the way cable TV and the Internet have amplified the distribution of information, have scrambled the race, fueled an unprecedented volatility and altered the attributes on which candidates are judged. One veteran Republican activist calls it a political version of American Idol.

http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2011-12-27-campaign27_CV_U.htm?loc=interstitialskip

“7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney's Electability Is A Myth”

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2011/12/27/7_reasons_why_mitt_romneys_electability_is_a_myth/page/full/

Krauthammer: "Embarrassing Candidates" Making Obama Look Presidential

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/28/krauthammer_embarrassing_candidates_making_obama_look_presidential.html

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ARTICLES

If the individual states of our nation are a laboratory of democracy, then the states of Europe are the laboratory of socialism. What we are witness to in Greece, and eventually in Spain, Italy, and possibly France, is the painful death of the welfare state…..One of the first organs to fail is the socialized health care program. No matter its stated merits, a serious and impactful socialized medicine program is simply too expensive for any state to long sustain. The lesson here is for our nation to rid ourselves of ObamaCare entirely before it becomes embedded into the fabric of society, because it too will be rooted out by the forces of economics. It is easier to throw out the seed than uproot the plant, so the sooner this is done, the better. Anything less is a form a gross medical malpractice.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/european_health_care_economic_malpractice.html#ixzz1i8GQ5i6z

Chris Christie: "Let's be real clear. President Barack Obama came out to Iowa three years ago, and he talked to you about hope and change. Well, let me tell you, after three years of Obama, we are hopeless and changeless, and we need Mitt Romney to bring us back, to bring America back," Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said in Iowa today at a Romney rally.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/30/christie_after_three_years_of_obama_we_are_hopeless_and_changeless.html

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

Must see video, explains all.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100126299/occupy-are-not-the-solution-they-embody-the-problem/

D’oh! “Stunned Scottish couple unearth '800-year-old' stone head in their garden... and it looks like Homer Simpson.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077626/Doh-Stunned-couple-unearth-800-year-old-stone-head-garden--looks-like-HOMER-SIMPSON.html#ixzz1hZjvoHAl

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HUMOR

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WISE WORDS

"There are two places only where socialism will work; In Heaven, where it is not needed, and in Hell, where they already have it."

-Winston Churchill

Saturday, December 24, 2011

op ed review 12/25

A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

President Obama will be a one-term president, said nearly half of registered voters polled by The Hill. When it comes to grading his first term, 51 percent of polled voters said Obama was either a failure (37 percent) or not very successful (14 percent),

http://thehill.com/polls/200183-the-hill-poll-obama-more-likely-to-lose-than-win-again-say-voters

Now, 91 congressmen have ‘no confidence’ in Attorney General Eric Holder and believe he should quit

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/20/now-90-congressmen-have-no-confidence-in-holder-or-believe-he-should-quit/#ixzz1hDmA8qCh

President Obama thinks he’s the fourth best president, ever.

http://www.indecisionforever.com/2011/12/20/barack-obama-is-the-fourth-best-president-ever-according-to-barack-obama/

Mr Obama and his family travelled separately to a 17 day vacation in Hawaii because he wanted to resolve the payroll tax cut issue before leaving Washington – and first lady Michelle didn't want to hang around waiting. The Hawaii Reporter estimates that the cost of travel in total is $3,629,622.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2075958/With-days-separate-travel-price-Obama-s-Hawaiian-holiday-soars.html

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are leading the pack in Iowa with just two weeks to go until Caucus Day. But large numbers of voters remain uncommitted and lots could change between now and January 3.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/iowa/2012_iowa_republican_caucus

House Republicans back down on a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut without extracting additional concessions from Democrats. “CBS Team Laughs at House GOP 'Cave,' ABC Plays Up Republican Defeat”

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brad-wilmouth/2011/12/23/cbs-team-laughs-house-gop-cave-abc-plays-republican-defeat

Washington Post: “The agreement represented a remarkable capitulation on the part of House Republicans, who had two days earlier rejected such a deal with Democrats as the kind of half-measure that their new majority was elected to thwart…..a Christmas gift for President Obama..”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/boehner-2-month-tax-cut-would-hurt-small-businesses/2011/12/22/gIQA5ClZBP_story.html

You tax dollars at work: Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to a new analysis. “(the) analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.

http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/16192

BP has decided to draw the curtains on its solar business after 40 years, shutting down what was once earmarked as a key division in its quest to develop greener sources of energy. "We've tried and struggled to make money from it…"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204464404577112892260821850.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

Another Wall Street genius runs a business aground and can't remember what happened to over a billion dollars of investor money. Forget that he was a U.S. Senator (D-N.J.) and governor of the great state of New Jersey.

http://www2.hernandotoday.com/news/hernando-news/2011/dec/18/haopino1-case-of-the-vanishing-billion-ar-335993/

It's been 30 years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family budget. The typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45727242

The 63-foot official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree's base that uses the word “Christmas,” or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/us-capitol-christmas-tree-pays-homage-obama-not-jesus

In a Sept. 14 policy memorandum, the chief of staff of Walter Reed National Medical Center, banned family members from bringing Bibles and other "religious items" when visiting wounded military personnel at the facility. After conservative groups got a copy of the memo and shared it with members of Congress, the military issued a statement saying it was rewriting the policy because it was “incorrect.”

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/walter-reed-banned-family-members-bringing-bibles-wounded-warriors

As many as 5,000 attended a rally in a small Texas community to show their support for a Nativity scene under attack by a Wisconsin-based atheist group.

http://nation.foxnews.com/war-christmas/2011/12/19/thousands-rally-save-nativity

A Massachusetts school system banned Santa Claus from visiting schools this year over “religious” concerns.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/12/it-begins-school-bans-santa-over-religious-concerns/

Apparently, the FAA didn’t received the memo. Safety inspectors have cleared the reindeer-powered sleigh known as 'Santa One' to fly on Christmas Eve so Santa Claus can deliver presents to children around the world”, the FAA announced on Thursday. “The satellite-based technology the elves have installed on Santa One will ensure that Santa stays safe and reaches all of his rooftops on time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/faa-clears-santas-sleigh-fuel-efficient-christmas-eve-take

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn released his annual "Wastebook" highlighting what he's labeled some of the government's most wasteful spending items, including $113,000 for a video game preservation center and $765,000 to subsidize "pancakes for yuppies" in Washington. Coburn, a Republican who is known around Washington as "Dr. No" for his opposition to excess spending, said in a press release Tuesday that his "Wastebook 2011" details the "most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted" -- items he claims total more than $6.5 billion in "unnecessary" spending.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/20/coburn-releases-wastebook-detailing-more-than-65-billion-in-unnecessary/#ixzz1h7KIRmJu

Statistics show that Americans worry less about inequality than they used to. In a Dec. 16 Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans called the rich-poor gap “an acceptable part of our economic system.” Only 45 percent said it “needs to be fixed.” This is the precise opposite of what Gallup found in 1998, the last time it asked the question, when 52 percent wanted to “fix” inequality. “In short, the public wants fairness but retains a healthy skepticism about the federal government’s ability to achieve it…..Gallup’s numbers do not bode well for President Obama’s effort to win reelection as a soak-the-rich populist.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-simplistic-view-of-income-inequality/2011/12/19/gIQAeVmR5O_story.html?hpid=z4

An actress and former international beauty pageant queen had a heated run-in with actor Sean Penn at LAX. I said 'You're a communist a**hole.’" She added that she later regretted using profanity, but is not sorry. Alonso's criticism of Penn stems from comments he made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in which he praised Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

http://wmal.com/Article.asp?id=2357687

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Capitalism and the Right to Rise: In freedom lies the risk of failure. But in statism lies the certainty of stagnation.

By JEB BUSH

Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: "The right to rise."

Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn't seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself. Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."

As Florida's governor for eight years, I was asked to "do something" almost every day. Many times I resisted through vetoes but many times I succumbed. And I wasn't alone. Mayors, county chairs, governors and presidents never think their laws will harm the free market. But cumulatively, they do, and we have now imperiled the right to rise.

Woe to the elected leader who fails to deliver a multipoint plan for economic success, driven by specific government action. "Trust in the dynamism of the market" is not a phrase in today's political lexicon. Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?

The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation. In Washington, D.C., rules are going in the opposite direction. They are exploding in reach and complexity. They are created under a cloud of uncertainty, and years after their passage nobody really knows how they will work.

We either can go down the road we are on, a road where the individual is allowed to succeed only so much before being punished with ruinous taxation, where commerce ignores government action at its own peril, and where the state decides how a massive share of the economy's resources should be spent. Or we can return to the road we once knew and which has served us well: a road where individuals acting freely and with little restraint are able to pursue fortune and prosperity as they see fit, a road where the government's role is not to shape the marketplace but to help prepare its citizens to prosper from it.

In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203893404577100330414585006.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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FROM OTHER COLUMNS

"One of the oldest economic maxims, 'if you subsidize something, you get more of it' has created the next trillion dollar-plus bubble for which American taxpayers will be on the hook. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education discovered that published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, while median family income rose 147 percent. What is driving those costs? The idea that every high school graduate should attend college, and that government -- meaning taxpayers -- will guarantee loans made to those students. ... [A]s college tuition costs increase, the government makes more funding available to students to pay for them. The more funding available -- guaranteed by the taxpayers, so that colleges never face the possibility of a loan default -- the more they can raise their tuition costs without ever having to worry about getting stiffed. ... If college tuition, aided and abetted by government subsidies, continues to almost triple relative to family income, at some point the amount of debt incurred to obtain a college degree will surpass the additional income one may derive from it. Considering that any attempt to reign in government's role in facilitating these runaway costs is inevitably characterized as 'depriving needy students of critically needed funds,' the trend is likely to continue. Or at least it will until the bubble pops, exactly like the government-abetted housing bubble did. Are Americans ready for another trillion dollar bailout precipitated by irresponsible government?"

-Arnold Ahlert

"There's a basic rule in business: If you tell people that a product is free, they treat it like it has no value. We've spent the last 70 years in this country telling our poor that money and property are free. Of course, they don't attribute any value to money or property, then. Of course, they treat others' property as though it's valueless, to be stolen or taken at whim. The liberalism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and President Obama hasn't turned thieves into sudden lovers of big-band swing. It's turned more and more Americans into thieves. Don't blame poverty. Blame morality. And blame a government and a society that have abandoned the notion of responsibility for juvenile delinquency."

-Ben Shapiro

"It's a shame Kim Jong-Il died before Obama ever got a chance to bow down to him or to even apologize to him. It's the one guy that Obama didn't get to apologize to or bow down to. How did our State Department ever let that happen? ... Obama did promise -- I'm not making this up -- Obama did promise that he would meet with Kim Jong-Il during one of the 2008 debates. Maybe Kim died holding his breath waiting for that to happen."

-Rush Limbaugh

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ISLAM

A British court on Wednesday apparently made legal history -- ordering an out-of-wedlock Muslim baby adopted out to prevent it from suffering an "honor killing."

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/12/british_court_orders_baby_adopted_to_prevent_honor_killing.html

Vice President Biden says the Taliban is not our enemy “per se”.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-taliban-se-not-our-enemy_613579.html

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BOOKS

“Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV” by Ben Shapiro. The inside story of how the most powerful medium of mass communication in human history has become a propaganda tool for the Left The story—told in their own words—of how television has been used over the past sixty years by Hollywood writers, producers, actors, and executives to promote their liberal ideals, to push the envelope on social and political issues, and to shape America in their own leftist image.

http://www.amazon.com/Primetime-Propaganda-True-Hollywood-Story/dp/0061934771/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324666338&sr=8-1

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LEFTIST WATCH

With a record 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps and rampant abuse resulting in what the Wall Street Journal calls a “food stamp crime wave,” Nation reporter Lizzie Ratner believes that “deep racism” is “at the heart of conservative food stamp critiques”

http://biggovernment.com/whall/2011/12/19/nation-reporter-deep-racism-at-the-heart-of-food-stamp-reform/

Frances Fox Piven, one of the co-authors of the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the state with millions of additional welfare claimants, has published an article in the Nation calling for the Occupy Wall Street movement to re-invigorate itself by recruiting the poor. In a telling admission that Occupy does not, in fact, represent the poor, Piven criticizes both liberals and unions for their repeated use of the term “middle class” in their political campaigns.

http://biggovernment.com/tag/cloward-piven-strategy/

Seattle City Council Bans Plastic Shopping Bags (again)

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017051358_plasticbag20m.html

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent a letter to the mayor of Warren, Mich., threatening legal action against the city unless the mayor allows an “equal time” anti-religion sign next to a nativity scene in the city hall lobby.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/21/atheist-group-threatens-to-sue-if-city-fails-to-put-up-an-anti-religion-sign/

Although he later made it clear he was joking, CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel said Sunday, "If [Tim] Tebow had more class he’d just kill dogs or get drunk and run over somebody and maybe end their life." Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Doyel also said of the Denver Broncos quarterback, "He's got a lot of nerve talking about some higher power in his life"

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/12/18/cbs-sportswriter-if-tebow-had-more-class-he-d-just-kill-dogs-or-get-d#ixzz1gzdAIW00

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GLOBALONEY

Ronald Reagan was right. Well, nearly. One of the former US president's most ridiculed statements was that acid rain came from trees. Up to half the acidity in rainfall over the US in summer does indeed come from volatile compounds given off by plants – just not the compounds Reagan was thinking of. New satellite data shows more than 100 million tonnes of formic acid is produced naturally each year – far more than thought and 10 times the total from all known sources.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21298-trees-do-bear-some-blame-for-acid-rain.html

I think most people would be surprised by the extent to which misguided local environmental regulations have become a major source of environmental damage in the United States.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2011/12/17/when_environmental_regulations_promote_ecological_devastation.html

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a new rule on power plant emissions, that lawmakers say could cost approximately 1.65 million jobs over an eight year period and threaten the reliability of the electric grid.

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/epa-releases-new-rule-threatens-165m-jobs/269721

The UN’s global warming unit, IPCC, is so discredited that “it is not clear how much additional benefit there is to having a huge bureaucratic scientific review effort under UN auspices” said Ken Caldeira in announcing that he is resigning as one of its leading authors on the next IPCC report.

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/48534

________________________________________________________________________

THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

A poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers released this week shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading with 25 percent support, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 20 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 17 percent.

http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/12/22/rasmussen-poll-romney-paul-gingrich-are-top-3-in-iowa/

Mitt Romney said he has no plans to reverse the Obama administration’s repeal of the pro-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the military.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/romney-not-planning-reversing-don-t-ask-don-t-tell

Requiring people to have health insurance is "conservative," GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told MSNBC on Wednesday, but only if states do it.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/politics-elections/200793-romney-doubles-down-on-argument-that-state-health-mandate-is-conservative

Mitt Romney needs a lot more of the headlines like the one he got in the Drudge Report yesterday: “Romney: I’d Deport Obama’s Uncle.” It made me feel pretty good, too, since I’m the one who asked (Mitt) the question on my radio show Wednesday afternoon. Think of it as my Christmas present to you, Mitt…..The fact that the president of the United States has not one, but two relatives who came into the country illegally tells you absolutely everything you need to know about Barack Obama….”

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1390641

Des Moines Register: “Sobriety, wisdom and judgment. Those are qualities Mitt Romney said he looks for in a leader. Those are qualities Romney himself has demonstrated in his career in business, public service and government. Those qualities help the former Massachusetts governor stand out as the most qualified Republican candidate competing in the Iowa caucuses.”

http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/12/17/23902/

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that he's "delighted" the Des Moines Register endorsed his opponent Mitt Romney. "The Manchester Union Leader, which is a reliably conservative newspaper, endorsed me," he told Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation." "The Des Moines Register, which is a solidly liberal newspaper did not endorse me." He said those endorsements indicate who the "real conservative" in the race is.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-live/2011/12/gingrich-on-dmr-romney-endorsement-delighted-107914.html

Rick Perry’s new Iowa television ad leans heavily on images of the military, church crosses, flags, the candidate himself – and a flash to former President George Bush. The 60-second spot, entitled “President of Honor,” will appear on broadcast and cable stations throughout the Christmas holiday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypXu2IU68CU

Texas Gov. Perry vowed that if he is elected president he will only appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who support the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/12/19/perry-in-iowa-i-will-only-appoint-pro-gun-judges-to-u-s-supreme-court/

Will New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez be the next vice president? A conservative former prosecutor, Martinez is the most popular of the new Republican governors elected last fall, with an approval rating at or above 50 percent in a traditionally liberal state.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/22/martinez-mentum-popular-new-mexico-governor-could-be-on-vp-shortlist/#ixzz1hMGUuNRV

Yes, that Rice: Condi. She’s rested and ready - and buff. America’s first black female secretary of state is quietly positioning herself to be the top choice of the eventual Republican presidential nominee, ready to deliver bona fide foreign-policy credentials lacking among the candidates. The 56-year-old has recently raised her profile, releasing her memoir in November and embarking on a monthlong book tour.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/18/curl-one-president-please-with-a-side-of-rice/

Ann Coulter: “Every few years, heinous Democratic policies — abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, Hillarycare, Obamacare, to name a few — compel previously uninvolved Americans to leap into politics……Newly active right-wingers would do well to spend a little more time quietly reading up on Newt’s political career, and a little less time shaking their fists at some imaginary “Establishment” — which now apparently includes Michael Savage, Mark Steyn, Christine O’Donnell, Ramesh Ponnuru, Glenn Beck and me, all of whom oppose Newt’s candidacy. (By the way, guys, are we car-pooling to the next Trilateral Commission meeting?”

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/21/gingrich-is-as-unelectable-as-he-is-delusional/

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won a straw poll hosted by the Tea Party Patriots Sunday. The Tea Party Patriots announced the results Monday following a conference call held late Sunday when more than 23,000 supporters across the country voted on their selection for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/19/gingrich-wins-tea-party-patriots-straw-poll/

As gay Army soldier Bradley Manning’s treason trial continues at Fort Meade, Maryland, the support he has received from Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been curiously ignored by the major media. . Paul has called Manning, a crossdresser with acknowledged mental problems, a “hero” and “patriot” for stealing government secrets and providing them to WikiLeaks.

http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/43373

Dorothy Rabinowitz: “What Ron Paul thinks of America” There is among some supporters now drawn to Dr. Paul a tendency to look away from the candidate's reflexive way of assigning the blame for evil—the evil, in particular, of terrorism—to the United States. One devout libertarian told me recently that candidate Paul "believes in all the things I do about the menace of government control, and he's a defender of the Constitution—I just intend to take what I like about him……"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204552304577112761003972028.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

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ARTICLES

“America is by far the most charitable country on Earth. We give about 2% of our national income to charity; most other countries give 1% or much less..”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204464404577116710690931258.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_BelowLEFTSecond

Here’s the chart: numbers one thru four: USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand

https://www.cafonline.org/pdf/1057C_WorldGvingMap2011_131211.pdf

“Central Control Caused USSR's Collapse — And May Cause Ours” The biggest reason the communist empire fell was centralization. More than anything else, the Soviet Union of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era strove for central control. Gosplan in Moscow made the major decisions, and nearly every field of human endeavor was organized for the administrative convenience of these central planners. A single corporation owned every airplane, from jumbo jets to crop dusters. One massive plant manufactured almost every civilian automobile. A government ministry even told restaurants what recipes to use. In the decade before its collapse, the Soviet Union had the world's largest bank, the biggest newspaper and the largest hotel. And it didn't stop there.

http://news.investors.com/Article.aspx?id=595799&p=1

Stossel: “President Obama says his health care "reform" will be good for business. Business has learned the truth. Three successful businessmen explained to me how Obamacare is a reason that unemployment stays high. Its length and complexity make businessmen wary of expanding. Mike Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, which runs hotels and restaurants, said that when he asked his company's health insurance experts to summarize the impact of Obamacare, "the three of them kind of looked at each other and said, 'We've gone to seminar after seminar, and, Mike, we can't tell you.'

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnstossel/2011/12/21/creators_oped/page/full/

Obamacare and the Ratchet Theory of History “…the idea that history is like a great ratcheted wheel that the enlightened must painstakingly turn, notch by notch, in order to haul the ignorant masses up out of brutality and chaos is inherent in the liberal project…”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/m-obamacare_and_the_ratchet_theory_of_history.html

George Will on Sunday marvelously told liberal economist Robert Reich something that many conservatives have been dying to say for years. During a fascinating Right vs. Left debate on ABC's This Week, after Reich predictably pined for higher income tax rates to solve all that ails us, Will struck back with the line of the weekend, "You are a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen"

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/12/18/george-will-demolishes-robert-reich-you-are-pyromaniac-field-strawmen

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

Ronald Reagan Christmas address, 12/23/81

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0tuah-x7M

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Leading Liberals

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=48322

Bozell: Cultural Winners and Losers, 2011

http://townhall.com/columnists/brentbozell/2011/12/23/cultural_winners_and_losers_2011/page/full/

GOP presidential election endorsement tracker.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/endorsements-tracker-game-2012/

NORAD Santa tracker.

http://www.noradsanta.org/en/

The incredible tsunami of 'wave' clouds over Alabama that had all eyes on the skies

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2076755/Giant-tsunami-shaped-clouds-Alabama-Incredible-wave-clouds.html

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HUMOR

"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'"

-Dave Barry

"In a new HBO series, Jane Fonda will play a cable news CEO who manipulates news stories for her personal gain, no matter who gets hurt. Not very creative. She already did something like that back in '72."

-Fred Thompson

"The FDA is now warning people not to eat raw cookie dough this holiday season. Is that how fat we're getting in this country? Our ovens are too slow now?"

-Jay Leno

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WISE WORDS

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."

-Calvin Coolidge

“Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas.”

-Ronald Reagan

Saturday, December 17, 2011

op ed review 12/18

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

An overwhelming 64 percent of people surveyed said big government was the biggest threat to the country, a new Gallup poll shows.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70318.html#ixzz1gRZjGlHd

With thousands of families struggling to raise funds for Christmas, you would think the Obamas might manage a little thriftiness. But the first family has announced they will fly to their luxury Hawaii vacation on separate flights--at a cost of $100,000 to the taxpayer.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2075066/Obama-family-jet-Hawaii-separately-cost-100-000-taxpayer.html

Only last month: “Obama executive order seeks to cut unnecessary travel”

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/09/executive-order-promoting-efficient-spending

Obamacare will throw 100,000 people out of work come January as private insurers are ordered to trim their office staff by as much as a quarter. This comes at a time when federal mandates pile up, increasing the workload for companies.

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/47845

The real unemployment rate is 11 percent

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/wonkbook-the-real-unemployment-rate-is-11-percent/2011/12/12/gIQAuctPpO_blog.html

Child homelessness up 33% in 3 years

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-12-12/homeless-children-increase/51851146/1?loc=interstitialskip

President Obama trails in head-to-head match-ups against both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in 12 key swing states that he won in 2008, according to a USA Today-Gallup poll released on Tuesday.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/199031-poll-gop-rising-in-key-swing-states

Members of the House of Representatives have been told they can’t wish constituents a "Merry Christmas" if the mailing is paid for with tax dollars.

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/congressmen-cant-say-merry-christmas-mail/261466

Atheists put ads on Seattle buses for holiday season

http://www.nwcn.com/news/135574403.html

Senator John Kerry (D., Mass.) is in Egypt, meeting with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood — the Islamist organization whose goals are to destroy Israel, “conquer Europe” and “conquer America”

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/285730/john-kerry-reporting-duty-muslim-brotherhood-andrew-c-mccarthy

The number of arrests for illegal immigration by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are down 53% since Barack Obama was elected president.

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/47877

The Obama presidential campaign is launching an effort to collect Republican email addresses by inviting its supporters to submit information about their Republican associates to the Obama 2012 website. ???

http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/12/14/obama-campaign-collecting-republican-emails/

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the Keystone XL oil pipeline project would “only” create five to six thousand jobs and that Republican efforts to force a vote on the project were just a “stick in the eye” to Democrats.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/hoyer-job-creating-keystone-pipeline-stick-eye-house-democrats

Congress has overturned the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/16/congress-overturns-incandescent-light-bulb-ban/

What a concept! In the UK, a new immigration rule requires people to be able to speak English before coming to Britain to live with their spouse.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2075061/Ban-immigrants-speak-English-legal-A-victory-common-sense.html

The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would decide whether Arizona's tough law cracking down on illegal immigrants can take effect, a case arising from the fierce national debate on immigration policy ahead of next year's presidential election.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/12/us-usa-immigration-arizona-idUSTRE7BB0XJ20111212

The signatures of Adolf Hitler and Mickey Mouse will be counted in the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, so long as they are properly dated and bear a Wisconsin address.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/14/signatures-of-hitler-mickey-mouse-acceptable-on-scott-walker-recall-petitions/

EU bureaucrats were mocked last month for ruling that drinking water does not prevent dehydration. Now they’ve ruled that prunes do not have a laxative effect.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8955046/Prunes-are-not-a-laxative-EU-rules.html

_______________________________________________________________________________

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Editors of National Review 12/14

The hard-fought presidential primary campaign is obscuring the uncharacteristic degree of unity within the Republican party. It has reached a conservative consensus on most of the pressing issues of the day. All of the leading candidates, and almost all of the lagging ones, support the right to life. All of them favor the repeal of Obamacare. Most of them support reforms to restrain the growth of entitlement spending. All of them favor reducing the corporate tax rate to levels that will make the U.S. a competitive location for investment. Almost all of them seem to understand the dangers of a precipitate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and of a defense policy driven by the need to protect social spending rather than the national interest. Conservatives may disagree among themselves about which candidate most deserves support, but all of us should take heart in this development — and none of us should exaggerate the programmatic differences within the field.

Just as heartening, the White House seems winnable next year, and with it a majority in both houses of Congress, so that much of this conservative consensus could actually become law. A conservative majority on the Supreme Court, a halt to the march of regulation, free-market health-care policies: All of them seem within our grasp. But none of them is assured, and the costs of failure — either a failure to win the election, or a failure to govern competently and purposefully afterward — are as large as the opportunity.

We fear that to nominate former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in the polls, would be to blow this opportunity. We say that mindful of his opponents’ imperfections — and of his own virtues, which have been on display during his amazing comeback. Very few people with a personal history like his — two divorces, two marriages to former mistresses — have ever tried running for president. Gingrich himself has never run for a statewide office, let alone a national one, and has not run for anything since 1998. That year he was kicked out by his colleagues, the most conservative ones especially, who had lost confidence in him. During his time as Speaker, he was one of the most unpopular figures in public life. Just a few months ago his campaign seemed dead after a series of gaffes and resignations. That Gingrich now tops the polls is a tribute to his perseverance, and to Republicans’ admiration for his intellectual fecundity.

Both qualities served conservatives well in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Gingrich, nearly alone, saw the potential for a Republican takeover of Congress and worked tirelessly to bring it about. Even before the takeover, Gingrich helped to solidify the party’s opposition to tax increases and helped to defeat the Clinton health-care plan. The victory of 1994 enabled the passage of welfare reform, the most successful social policy of recent decades.

Gingrich’s colleagues were, however, right to bring his tenure to an end. His character flaws — his impulsiveness, his grandiosity, his weakness for half-baked (and not especially conservative) ideas — made him a poor Speaker of the House. Again and again he combined incendiary rhetoric with irresolute action, bringing Republicans all the political costs of a hardline position without actually taking one. Again and again he put his own interests above those of the causes he championed in public.

He says, and his defenders say, that time, reflection, and religious conversion have conquered his dark side. If he is the nominee, a campaign that should be about whether the country will continue on the path to social democracy would inevitably become to a large extent a referendum on Gingrich instead. And there is reason to doubt that he has changed. Each week we see the same traits that weakened Republicans from 1995 through 1998: I’d vote for Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform; Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform is radical right-wing social engineering; I apologize for saying that, and no one should quote what I said because I was wrong; actually, what I said was right all along but nobody understood me. I helped defeat Communism; anyone who made money in the ’80s and ’90s owes me; I’m like Reagan and Thatcher. Local community boards should decide what to do with illegal immigrants. Freddie Mac paid me all that money to tell them how stupid they were. Enough. Gingrich has always said he wants to transform the country. He appears unable to transform, or even govern, himself. He should be an adviser to the Republican party, but not again its head.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/285787/winnowing-field-editors?pg=2

Tony Blankley has a different view: “….what kind of candidate is most likely to make sense of the terrible events and forces that weigh down our country; be capable of vividly describing our plight and what needs to be done; and convince the public that he or she has the intelligence, courage, experience and sheer willful capacity to force events favorably to America's historic interests and needs? As I have chosen to phrase that question, the question answers itself. It is the GOP candidate currently at the top of the polls -- my former boss, Newt Gingrich. But most Washington politicians don't see it that way. They see a conventional, close election -- not a bold, historic lunge by the voters to save the country. They suggest Mitt Romney may be better positioned to stitch together a safe campaign that noses out Obama by a point or two, or comes up short by a point or two. He might be that candidate. …Thus, Romney received the endorsement of the GOP political types -- congressmen and former congressmen. Now they are doubling down on their early bet and are out telling reporters that Gingrich was never much of a leader and never got much done.…Curious. I remember most of them enthusiastically following his leadership year after year as the Republican whip from 1989-1994. It was the most successful congressional opposition movement since Benjamin Disraeli formed the modern Conservative Party in Britain in the mid-19th century. And after the GOP took back the House for the first time in 40 years (and the Senate, too, by the way), Gingrich's four years as speaker proved to be the most productive, legislative congressional years since at least 1965 to 1967, and they were led by Lyndon B. Johnson from the White House. Working against -- and with -- Democratic President Bill Clinton, we passed into law most of the Contract with America, welfare reform, telecommunications reform (which ushered in the modern cell phone and Internet age), we had the first balanced budget since before the Vietnam War, we cut taxes and lowered unemployment to under 5 percent.

http://townhall.com/columnists/tonyblankley/2011/12/14/newts_past_and_future_leadership/page/2

Jonah Goldberg “Mitt Romney is still the sensible choice if you believe these are rough, but generally sensible, times. If, however, you think these are crazy and extraordinary times, then perhaps they call for a crazy, extraordinary — very high-risk, very high-reward — figure like Gingrich. This helps explain why Newtzilla is so formidable. In order to stop him, you need to explain to very anxious GOP voters that the times don't require him.”

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg-stopnewt-20111213,0,3798874.column

_______________________________________________________________________________

FROM OTHER COLUMNS

“The only actual winner so far is Barack Obama, from the perch in the catbird seat reserved for incumbents. He has set out his campaign theme unmolested, wheeling the big artillery pieces into position for the coming class war between “us” and “them.” This is the kind of campaign we’ve never before had in America, setting the “rich” against the “poor,” but it’s the only way Mr. Obama can hope to win, and after that execute the grand scheme for making America an irreversible welfare state—Greece, Italy and Upper Slobbovia on the Potomac. The politics of resentment has never worked here, and maybe it won’t this time. But Mr. Obama intends to give it the old college try.”

-Wes Pruden, Washington Times

"In the first month of his presidency, Barack Obama averred that if in three years he hadn't alleviated the nation's economic pain, he'd be a 'one-term proposition.' When three-quarters of Americans think the country is on the 'wrong track' and even Bill Clinton calls the economy 'lousy,' how then to run for a second term? Traveling Tuesday to Osawatomie, Kan., site of a famous 1910 Teddy Roosevelt speech, Obama laid out the case. It seems that he and his policies have nothing to do with the current state of things. ... Responsibility, you see, lies with the rich. ... For Obama, these rich are the ones holding back the 99 percent. ... A country spending twice as much per capita on education as it did in 1970 with zero effect on test scores is not underinvesting in education. It's mis-investing. ... In Kansas, Obama lamented that millions 'are now forced to take their children to food banks.' You have to admire the audacity. That's the kind of damning observation the opposition brings up when you've been in office three years. Yet Obama summoned it to make the case for his reelection! Why? Because, you see, he bears no responsibility for the current economic distress. ... This is populism so crude that it channels not Teddy Roosevelt so much as Hugo Chavez."

-Charles Krauthammer

"Last week in Boston, a seven-year-old boy named Mark got into a fight with a bully. The bully put his hands around the boy's throat and began to squeeze. That's when Mark fought back; he kicked his aggressor right in the family jewels. In a normal society, we'd celebrate Mark. Throw him a ticker tape parade or something. ... But in Boston, Mark was charged with sexual assault. ...[The left] treat all violence as equal ... and so they recommend counseling and training, as though a little classroom instruction can solve boys' basic biological urge toward aggression......The fact is that males' aggressive instinct is good for the world, if channeled properly. Without it, Hitler goes unpunished. Without it, millions continue to starve in the Soviet Union. The key to the aggressive instinct is training it to act along proper moral lines, not eradicating it."

-Ben Shapiro

“America is in economic distress. The crisis threatens our national security because a nation that is weak economically cannot be strong in other ways. If only we had an untapped source of wealth, a nest egg we could crack and use to grow the economy, create jobs, raise Americans’ standard of living while providing the resources needed to defend the nation from its enemies. Oh wait: We do. Where is it? It’s is in the ground, under the seas, in our garbage and our agricultural waste.”

-Clifford May

"Ultimately, what voters must decide is this: Does a presidential candidate's personal flaws rise (or fall) to a level that inhibits his ability to do the job of president? Put another way, if you are about to have surgery, do you care if the doctor is a cad, or do you care more whether most of his patients are alive and well? With the multiple challenges Americans face and with the choices presented to us, if the country is to be made well, voters may just have to sacrifice the ideal for the pragmatic."

-Cal Thomas

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ISLAM

A Saudi Arabian woman was beheaded for "practicing witchcraft.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/woman-beheaded-saudi-arabia-practicing-witchcraft-report-article-1.990253

A jealous husband in Bangladesh chopped off his wife's fingers because she began studying for a degree without his permission.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2075435/Husband-chops-wifes-fingers-stop-studying-degree.html#ixzz1go4rClZd

Islamic militants in Pakistan have destroyed over 5000 schools in a five year period.

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=129692

Forty-five students, among them young children, were discovered held in chains in a basement when police raided an Islamic seminary in Pakistan. The male students, some said to be as young as 12 but appearing even younger, were found in what amounted to a dungeon. Led barefoot from their prison, captives told officers they had suffered regular beatings and been hung upside down as a form of punishment.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073562/Forty-students-held-basement-chains-police-raiding-Islamic-seminary-thought-Taliban-training-centre.html

A 26 year-old gunman screaming “Allahu Akbar” opened fire on random drivers yesterday in Hollywood until he was shot dead by police.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/12/sudden-jihad-syndrome-hollywood-edition-gunman-shoots-random-drivers-while-screaming-allahu-akbar-video/

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BOOKS

Suzanne Fields: These are difficult and perilous times for boys. A distorted culture has robbed them of virtue to measure themselves against. The good once associated with masculinity in a patriarchal society has been tossed out with the bad. This, alas, is the era of feminist ascendency. Bill Bennett’s new book, "The Book of Man," is an anthology of literary forces riding to the rescue of a culture in a "crisis of manliness."

http://townhall.com/columnists/suzannefields/2011/11/18/when_manly_virtue_died

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LEFTIST WATCH

For the low, low price of $2,500, one lucky bidder and five friends are set to have dinner cooked for them by Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. The auction was hosted by the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC), a non-profit founded — and still funded — by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Bidders at 32Auctions.com were invited to, “Enjoy an unforgettable and scintillating dinner for a party of six cooked by veteran activists and educators Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Fascinating conversation over a meal,” the website promises, “is the agenda for this special evening.”

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/11/dinner-with-terrorists-2500/

DNC Chair channels Baghdad Bob: “Unemployment Has Not Gone Up Under Obama”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/12/dnc_chair_denies_unemployment_has_gone_up_under_obama.html

"Occupy" A Media Creation Unworthy Of Time’s Person Of The Year” Unlike the far larger and more politically potent Tea Party movement, which Time often ignored, Occupy is the thin gruel of radicalism writ large by unwarranted media attention. It has no demands other than socialist utopia, has elected no one, has failed to draw support from middle Americans and has proven itself mainly a public nuisance. Had the media not showered Occupy with attention, it wouldn't be news at all.

http://news.investors.com/Article.aspx?id=595134&p=1

Police deployed stun grenades and pepper spray to disperse protesters at the Port of Seattle, where several hundred anti-corporate demonstrators briefly blockaded a major shipping terminal and then swarmed toward another.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/12/seattle-port-occupy-protests.html

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GLOBALONEY

SolyndraGate was no isolated case of corrupt government misspending. The U.S. Navy was just forced to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels from an Obama-connected firm at an outrageous $16 per gallon.

http://news.investors.com/Article/594703/201112131858/navy-biofuel-gate-latest-obama-green-scam.htm

Conferees at the climate talks in Durban, South Africa feared that they would close the conference with no deal, but on Sunday in the waning moments after a heated debate, they were able to stitch together a package that the chair said "saved tomorrow, today." That's lofty rhetoric for an arrangement that is less about preventing global warming than it is about redistributing global wealth.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/12/climate_change_debate_about_global_wealth_redistribution.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Canada on Monday became the first country to announce it would withdraw from the Kyoto protocol on climate change, dealing a symbolic blow to the already troubled global treaty.

http://articles.boston.com/2011-12-13/news/30512498_1_kyoto-commitments-climate-talks-climate-change

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THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

A few days ago, Newt Gingrich looked to be rolling to the nomination and Mitt Romney seemed headed for an inevitable loss. But the last debate before the Iowa caucus ended with the former speaker headed back to the pack. Gingrich had some strong moments in Sioux City but the beating he took on his consulting work for Freddie Mac from Michele Bachmann brought into focus the questions about his record that many Republicans have been ignoring in recent weeks. Mitt Romney recovered from his poor performance last Saturday and was back to the steady, confident debater

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/12/16/debate-iowa-gingrich-romney-last-dance/#more-778077

Ann Coulter: “…of the available candidates, Romney is by far the most conservative, tied with Michele Bachmann. And he has the proven ability to win in a state like Massachusetts.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/13/coulter_romney_the_most_conservative_candidate_in_gop_field.html

George Will: Newt Gingrich provided on Monday redundant evidence for the proposition that he is the least conservative candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination: He faulted Mitt Romney for committing acts of capitalism

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/newt-gingrich-commits-a-capital-crime/2011/12/13/gIQAjvVhsO_story.html

Tea Party favorite Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina endorses Mitt. Romney, saying he is "someone who knows what it's like to lead and make a decision, not just to take a vote”

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/dec/16/report-sc-gov-haley-endorse-romney-today/

Brent Bozell: The media elite and the Republican Ruling Class are remarkably similar in their political projection for the coming year. Journalists spent the entire year savaging every fast-rising challenger to Mitt Romney. The GOP’s power pundits became equally agitated at the sniff of a conservative anywhere near the top of the GOP pack. It’s the odor of extremism that both the elites in the media and the GOP have detested – always. So here we are, on the cusp of the election year, and both these groups have one primary target: Newt Gingrich.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-bozell/2011/12/13/bozell-column-newt-vs-ruling-class

Rudy Giuliani says Gingrich could be 'stronger' than Romney.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/15/giuliani-gingrich-most-electable-best-connects-to-reagan-democrats-video/

A devastating video from 2002 has emerged showing Mitt Romney declaring himself as a non-partisan “moderate” and “progressive” candidate as he was courting the liberal Massachusetts electorate in 2002. “I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican. That I’m someone who is moderate and that my views are progressive and that I’m going to go to work for our senior citizens,"

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/mitt-%E2%80%98progressive%E2%80%99-%E2%80%98conservative%E2%80%99-27-months/254051

Newt Gingrich’s past endorsement of an individual mandate has drawn fire from conservatives. But that's not his only health care heresy. In 2008, Gingrich made the case for another idea that became part of Obamacare and, in due time, the focus of right-wing attacks. Worse still, at least from the standpoint of conservatives, he did so by writing an op-ed for The New York Times. Oh, and did I mention he had some help? Gingrich had a co-author: John Kerry, the Democratic senator and former presidential nominee.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/98507/newt-gingrich-health-care-comparative-effectiveness-rationing#.Tuir_lS9Gdw.twitter

Mitt Romney’s campaign dug into the video vault to replay Newt Gingrich’s moment on the couch with Nancy Pelosi, urging Americans to take global warming seriously.

http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/12/14/mitt-romney-replays-newt-and-nancy-sittin-on-a-couch/

MSNBC daytime anchor Thomas Roberts seizes on Mitt Romney's use of the phrase "Keep America American." The network claims the phrase plays homage to the Ku Klux Klan slogan of "Keep America American."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/14/msnbc_likens_romney_to_the_kkk_with_his_keep_america_american_slogan.html

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ARTICLES

Frank Miele: For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that the Tea Party represents the originalists of American history, the Founding Fathers, and that Occupy Wall Street represents the progressivists, the Rebellious Adolescents who think they have a better idea. For the Tea Party, the idea of “reform” means to restore the country to its original shape — to re-form that which has been distorted by manipulation, forgetfulness and good intentions gone wrong. To the Progressives, the idea of “reform” means literally to re-shape the nation into a new form altogether, to transform that which they believe has never worked in the first place. If you think that America and the Constitution never worked in the first place and need to be “re-shaped,” then you join Barack Obama, the Progressive Movement and Occupy Wall Street in their task of “fundamentally transforming” America. If, on the other hand, you think that the original concept of America as sculpted by our Founding Fathers has never been surpassed, then you should stand for the Constitution, stand with the Tea Party, and work to restore our fundamental greatness. It’s not too late.

http://www.dailyinterlake.com/opinion/columns/frank/article_7c43f68c-239d-11e1-b727-001871e3ce6c.html

Solyndra, Lightsquared, and now Solayzme are all companies that are closely connected to the Obama campaign and all got government money. While the Obama Administration has been attacking Republicans as "crony capitalists" and using an army of left-wing pseudo-journalists to make the attacks, the Obama Administration has been rewarding campaign friends with government contracts. In Barack Obama's America, he, not the marketplace, picks the winners and losers.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=48174

“Boeing Pays it’s Ransom:” The Obama administration was saved from yet another pre-election embarrassment late last week when the National Labor Relations Board dropped its suit against Boeing’s efforts to build an aircraft manufacturing plant in South Carolina….. Of course, Boeing in the end was held hostage until it ransomed its North Charleston plant by approving a new four-year contract with the Machinists in Washington State where the firm also promised to build a new version of the 737 aircraft. And, not surprisingly, the Machinists dropped their bogus charges……Anywhere else it would be called thuggery. But under this administration — with its every move favoring its organized union base — it’s called justice.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/editorials/view/2011_1212boeing_pays_its_ransom/

“Tim Tebow: God's Quarterback” He has led the Denver Broncos to one improbable victory after another—defying his critics and revealing the deep-seated anxieties in American society about the intertwining of religion and sports.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203413304577084770973155282.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop

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ACTIVISM

Columnist Dick Morris has several online petitions worth signing: Call for the resignation of Eric Holder and demand that Kagan recuse herself from the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/

Shop at Lowe’s. Lowe's Home Improvement has found itself facing a backlash after the retail giant pulled ads from a reality show about American Muslims. The retail giant stopped advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim" after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained, saying the program was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-lowes-threatened-with-boycott-for-yanking-ads-from-show-about-muslims-20111212,0,113957.story

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

Interesting chart, “Obama’s decline”

http://decoded.nationaljournal.com/2011/12/where-obama-has-slipped.php

Ninety floors... and counting: The breathtaking views from One World Trade Center (and there's still 14 stories to go)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2074825/Ninety-floors--counting-The-breathtaking-views-One-World-Trade-Center-theres-14-storeys-go.html#ixzz1giEHivy4

Bergdorf Goodman goes to the dogs for its annual holiday video. BG Films presents "Unleashed," starring some of New York's most charismatic characters who invade the store in search of perfect gifts for their owners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vb8kGLfhpM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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WISE WORDS

"Our properties within our own territories [should not] be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own."

-Thomas Jefferson

"There is just one condition on which men can secure employment and a living, nourishing, profitable wage, for whatever they contribute to the enterprise, be it labor or capital, and that condition is that some one make a profit by it. ... It cannot be done by law, it cannot be done by public ownership, it cannot be done by socialism. When you deny the right to a profit you deny the right of a reward for thrift and industry."

-Calvin Coolidge

"This spirit of love, as simple as a spoken greeting and as profound as a changed heart, seems so full that it ceaselessly looks for ways to express its power. We respond to it best when we share it with family, friend or stranger -- when we recognize that, under the sheltering evergreen branches of God's love, all are family and no one is a stranger. When we do these things, when we visit the lonely or help those in need, when a family is reconciled, Christmas is real and present, and that is truly what makes it 'the most wonderful time of the year.'"

-Ronald Reagan