Saturday, February 19, 2011

op ed review 2/20


While other states have proposed bills curtailing labor rights, Wisconsin's measure is the boldest step by a new Republican governor and Legislature to solve budget problems by confronting organized labor. It would end collective bargaining for all state, county and local workers except for police, firefighters and the state patrol.

Democratic lawmakers fled Wisconsin Thursday in an effort to torpedo a closely watched vote on what would be the nation's first major overhaul of union laws in years. President Obama’s reelection organization was helping mobilize protesters.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, trying to close a $3.6 billion budget gap, fired back at President Obama, who accused the Republican governor of unleashing "an assault" on unions . "I think we're focused on balancing our budget. It would be wise for the president and others in Washington to focus on balancing their budget, which they're a long ways from doing," Walker told Fox News.

A prominent Tea Party group has announced that it will stage a counter-protest in Wisconsin on Saturday aimed at supporting a measure in that state to revoke public employee unions' collective bargaining rights and to force them to pay a slightly larger amount into their own health and pension plans.

The House voted Thursday to dethrone nine White House “czars.” Republicans successfully added an amendment to the continuing resolution that would leave President Barack Obama’s senior advisers on policy issues including health care, energy and others out of a job.

Republicans launched this week the first of what they vow will be a series of attempts to use their control of the House of Representatives to defund the health-care overhaul law.

The House also passed an amendment that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from using any funding to implement the network-neutrality order it approved in December.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) is seeking to pass a measure that would ban the federal government from using funds to challenge Arizona's new immigration law.

The House approved Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. The vote was 240-185 with 11 Democrats voting for the amendment, and seven Republicans voting against.

A former director and eight-year employee of Planned Parenthood has left the organization to join one of its chief nemeses — pro-life group Live Action. Live Action announced Wednesday that Abby Johnson would be coming aboard in the role of chief research strategist. The announcement comes after a series of video exposés, released by Live Action, showed Planned Parenthood staffers aiding pimps in the sex trafficking of under-aged girls.

President Obama‘s budget projects that 2011 will see the biggest one-year debt jump in history, or nearly $2 trillion, to reach $15.476 trillion by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. That would be 102.6 percent of GDP — the first time since World War II that dubious figure has been reached.

In fiscal 2011, President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services alone is bigger than President Lyndon Johnson’s entire federal government.

Hundreds of millions of dollars from President Obama’s economic stimulus package are paying for television ads telling people to eat more veggies, quit cigarettes, lift dumbbells, and drink less soda. (This is money borrowed from China.)

The last three states to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses -- Washington, New Mexico and Utah -- are now steeped in battles to revise their laws as a federal deadline approaches for all 50 states to issue identity cards that meet a new national standard.

Arizona lawmakers are trying to widen the state's illegal immigration crackdown with a proposal to require hospitals to confirm whether patients are in the country legally.

Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he is open to the possibility of running for the seat of retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) in 2012.

Switzerland has rejected tighter gun controls and will continue to allow citizens to keep army-issued weapons at home.,,14840041,00.html?maca=en-swissinfo_europe-3016-xml-mrss



Washington Times, 2/18

Message to Wisconsin taxpayers: President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have declared war on you. Message to other states: You're next.

The political unrest in Wisconsin, billed as some kind of grass-roots uprising, is being organized and directed by Barack Obama's Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee. This development is consistent with Mr. Obama's instructions for supporters to "get in the face" of those who oppose them, but in this case, they are seeking to derail a lawful legislative process.

On Thursday, 14 Democratic state lawmakers fled Wisconsin's capital to prevent the legislature from conducting official business. Dan Grandone, state director for the president's campaign apparatus, accused Gov. Scott Walker of "ignoring Wisconsin voices today and asking for the power to drown them out permanently tomorrow." It is important to note that the voices of which Mr. Grandone speaks are not those of the public at large. Voters sent an unmistakable message in November by taking solid majorities in the state Assembly and Senate away from Democrats and handing even greater control to Republicans. Mr. Walker, a Republican, won by six points.

That the protesters speak in a different voice can be seen in the signs they carry. Many compare Mr. Walker to Hitler, Mussolini or Hosni Mubarak. One placard had the slogan "Repeal Walker" with the governor's head in sniperscope cross hairs. This is the symbolism that Democrats recently denounced as "hate-filled rhetoric," and it is far from the voice of the public. It is rather the voice of an entitled class that seeks by any means to stop its free ride from coming to an end.

The public educators engaged in the demonstrations, many of whom earn more than $100,000 in salary and benefits, seem to think the normal rules of professional conduct do not apply to them. Many falsely called in sick to engage in self-serving political activism, apparently without fear of being disciplined. A group of Madison East High School students engaged in what a union organizer called an "unplanned walkoff" of the school grounds, but that the students said was organized truancy instigated by their teachers.

These demonstrations may be dramatic and TV-friendly, but White House operatives and their union cronies are on the wrong side of history. The American people are fed up with a sense of entitlement, waste and abuse in government service. Americans in the private sector have lost jobs, been forced to take pay cuts to continue working and have reduced spending just to make ends meet. Government workers face no such jeopardy and instead enjoy automatic raises, regardless of performance. The measures causing all the ruckus in Wisconsin would require public-sector employees (excluding police and firefighters) to contribute half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health care costs, which is a better deal than most Americans get. The public sector employees also would lose collective bargaining rights for anything other than pay. These are reasonable sacrifices to make in a time of fiscal crisis, and by resisting them, the demonstrators expose themselves as selfish and unreasonable.

The White House and its allies have backed similar demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, and more may be planned for other states. One can reasonably ask why Mr. Obama is spending his time seeking to undermine democratic processes in U.S. state legislatures and ignoring the pleas of Iranians trying to throw off the shackles of Islamic rule.

More good reading on this subject:

Larry Kudlow “The Democratic/government-union days of rage in Madison, Wis., are a disgrace. Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan calls it Cairo coming to Madison. But the protesters in Egypt were pro-democracy. The government-union protesters in Madison are anti-democracy; they are trying to prevent a vote in the legislature. In fact, Democratic legislators themselves are fleeing the state so as not to vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cuts.”

Jack Curtis, American Thinker “A careless airline pilot, a lazy waitress, a crash-prone cabdriver, an unproductive salesman, an innumerate cashier will all have to find other work. Poor teachers keep teaching and receiving raises as years go by and kids don't learn. Of course; they, with their unions, run the show…….Public schools are administered as though all teachers were similarly productive, an approach heavily reinforced by the unions….”



"It is difficult to explain to a culture rapidly forgetting its foundation why that foundation matters. While churches and schools have left instruction in Western Civilization behind, the recipients of its strong underpinnings float aimlessly trying to redefine the definite and ignore the irrefutable. And here it is: Western Civilization in general and America in particular was built on Judeo-Christian values. Those values shaped every area of life from government to finance to family. They brought order to all three. Government was no longer top-down, but of the people. People were free to 'pursue happiness' in part by choosing their own work. Judeo-Christian teaching taught them to work hard, make and keep contracts, treat employees fairly, pay an honest day's wage, and keep their word. Prosperity followed from those foundational principles."

-Sandy Rios

"It may be too late for Britain, as it may be too late for France and Germany. It isn't too late for the United States, though it is getting close. Too many American leaders suffer from the same weak-kneed syndrome that has gripped Britain. Who will tell immigrants to America that the days of multiculturalism are over and if they want to come to America, they must do so legally and expect to become Americans with no hyphens, no allegiance to another country, and no agenda other than the improvement of the United States?"

-Cal Thomas

"[B]ack in 1942, the Supreme Court said that because the federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce, the Department of Agriculture could tell a farmer how much wheat he could grow, even if the wheat never left his farm and was consumed there by his family and their farm animals. That case was a landmark, whose implications reached far beyond farming. ... ObamaCare is another piece of Congressional legislation for which there is no federal authority in the Constitution. But when someone asked Nancy Pelosi where in the Constitution there was any authority for passing such a law, her reply was 'Are you kidding?' Two federal courts have now said that they are not kidding. The ultimate question is whether the Supreme Court of the United States will back them up. That may depend on how soon the case reaches the Supreme court. If the issue wends its way slowly up through the Circuit Courts of Appeal, by the time it reaches the Supreme Court, Obama may have put more of his appointees there -- and, if so, they will probably rubberstamp anything he does. He would therefore have done a complete end-run around the Constitution and be well on his way to becoming the Hugo Chavez of North America."

-Thomas Sowell



“Two and a half years after I started my exploration of Barack Obama's life and letters, my book length treatment of the same goes on sale today, “Deconstructing Obama: the Life, Loves, and Letters of America's First Postmodern President.””

“We caught up with the inestimable Ann Coulter at CPAC before she took to the stage. And she didn’t disappoint. Coulter on Keith Olbermann’s departure: “Very sad not being able to watch that pompous, prissy, ridiculous fruitcake on TV every night.” Coulter on her latest book, which drops in June: “It will give you an all new way of thinking of liberals.” Coulter on the thousands of young people at CPAC: “Doesn’t this give you hope for the future? You look out over the sea of beautiful, young right-wingers.” Coulter on free markets: “We’re not pro-business; we’re pro-competition.”

"Someone who knows what it's like to work for himself, and not let others feed off the profits of his energy." So begins the trailer for the movie version of "Atlas Shrugged," based on the book by Ayn Rand. It's coming to theaters April 15.



Democrats are understandably obsessed with Darrell Issa — he’s built himself up as a one-man investigative machine aimed straight at the Obama presidency. But a handful of liberal political operatives in California — including a former Hillary Clinton hand — are taking their anti-Issa passion to a whole new level, launching a nonprofit group, a website and even paid media advertisements aimed at undermining and investigating the rabble-rousing chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Democrats have tapped the political operative known as “Dr. Death” to lead a character assassination operation against Issa.

Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Clarence Thomas and Allen West, among others, have already felt the wrath of the righteous left for shattering its, and the media's, stereotypes of women and minorities as docile sheep of a paternalistic government.The latest example of leftist vitriol has Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, current radio talk-show host and possible 2012 GOP presidential contender, as its target. After Cain's rousing speech at CPAC, in which he shredded the tenets of big government and extolled the benefits of the free market, a leftist sewer on the Web, AlterNet, attacked him in a way that would make the Ku Klux Klan blush. The site attacked Cain as "a monkey in the window," one of those "black conservatives fascinating not because of what they believe, but rather because of how they entertain and perform for their White Conservative Masters." The rhetoric gets worse, and we will not repeat it, but you get the idea….”



Iranian lawmakers denounced Monday's protests in Tehran and called for the execution of two opposition leaders for inciting the demonstrations.

Since 2006, Pakistan has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal from 30-60 atomic bombs to approximately 110. That makes Pakistan the world’s fifth largest nuclear power ahead of Britain and France.



Republicans who swept into power in state capitols this year with promises to cut spending and bolster the business climate now are beginning to usher in a new era of labor relations that could result in the largest reduction of power in decades for public employee unions. But as massive public protests and legislative boycotts in Wisconsin this week have shown, the Republican charge can be fraught with risk and unpredictable turns as politicians try to transform campaign ideas into action.

So where the heck are all the jobs? Eight-hundred billion in stimulus and $2 trillion in dollar-printing and all we got were a lousy 36,000 jobs last month. That's not even enough to absorb population growth.

For more than a decade, passionate liberal activists have insisted that women scientists are victims of pervasive sex discrimination. In “Understanding Current Causes of Women’s Underrepresentation in Science,” Cornell professors Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams provide a thorough analysis and discussion of 20 years of data. Their conclusion: When it comes to job interviews, hiring, funding, and publishing, women are treated as well as men and sometimes better. As Williams told Nature, “There are constant and unsupportable allegations that women suffer discrimination in these arenas, and we show conclusively that women do not.” Put another way, the gender-bias empress has no clothes. “a systematic demolition of most of the studies that sustain the science wing of the gender-bias movement.”

Dennis Prager: “It was difficult to control my emotions -- specifically, my anger -- during my visit to Vietnam last week. The more I came to admire the Vietnamese people -- their intelligence, love of life, dignity and hard work -- the more rage I felt for the communists who brought them (and, of course, us Americans) so much suffering in the second half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, communists still rule the country. Yet, Vietnam today has embraced the only way that exists to escape poverty, let alone to produce prosperity: capitalism and the free market.”

The UK’s Iain Duncan Smith: “It's time to end this addiction to benefits The welfare state must have work at its heart, not endless hand-outs… Today, the Government will publish a Bill which will set a new course for the welfare state. The foundations for the welfare system we have today were laid more than 60 years ago on the back of overwhelming public demand for a fairer society. But in the intervening years, those ideals have failed to translate into reality. We have a system where people too often are rewarded for doing the wrong thing, and those who strive to do the best by their families are penalized…….”

Ann Coulter: “The Middle East is on fire again….The major new development is that NOW liberals want to get rid of a dictator in the Middle East! Where were they when we were taking out the guy with the rape rooms? Remember? The one who had gassed his own people, invaded his neighbors and was desperately seeking weapons of mass destruction?...”



Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) gave a speech to close this year's Conservative Political Action Conference that earned a more enthusiastic reaction from conservative activists than those given by most rumored 2012 presidential hopefuls over the past three days. The first-term congressman brought the audience to its feet several times late Saturday, repudiating President Obama's social and economic policies and promising "a new dawn in America."

Here’s the video:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Friday summoned frustrated Americans to join together in a broad coalition to set the nation on a healthier fiscal and economic course. But Daniels, a Republican quietly weighing a presidential candidacy, did so in a cerebral call-to-arms by also asking a select audience of conservatives to welcome non-ideologues into the tent.

Mitt Romney got in several jabs at President Obama and emphasized his business credentials in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and hinted he'll run for president in 2012.

The national Conservative Political Action Conference bestowed its 2011 Ronald Reagan Award on Tom McCabe of Olympia over the weekend. The award recognizes each year “a conservative leader fighting in the trenches for the principles embodied by Ronald Reagan,” the group said in a news release after its yearly Reagan banquet.

Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, won the 2011 Washington Times/CPAC Straw Poll of 3,742 activists.



Good organization, not afraid to challenge the teachers’ union.



Jay Leno: American kids who work more than 21 hours a week at a job are more likely to get bad grades. In China, they call a kid that works 21 hours a week “lazy.”…..First lady Michelle Obama told "Regis & Kelly" she was expecting jewelry on Valentine's Day. She said it wouldn't be anything extravagant because Barack tends to be responsible when he's spending his own money……..Facebook is looking into buying Twitter for around $10 billion. If all goes as planned, the company hopes to combine the two companies, creating the biggest waste of time the world has ever seen……. Health officials are investigating the Playboy mansion after more than 80 guests at a party became sick with some strain of Legionnaires disease. If you spend a night at the Playboy mansion and all you get is Legionnaires disease, consider yourself lucky.



“If the authority to which he is subject resides in the body corporate, the college, or university, of which he himself is a member, and in which the greater part of the other members are, like himself, persons who either are, or ought to be, teachers; they are likely to make a common cause, to be all very indulgent to one another, and every man to consent that his neighbor may neglect his duty, provided he himself is allowed to neglect his own.”

-Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

"We do have a rendezvous with destiny. Either we will preside over the great nightfall for all mankind, or we will accept the leadership that has been thrust upon us. I believe that is the obligation and responsibility of the Republican party today."

-Ronald Reagan

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