Sunday, April 3, 2011

op ed review 4/3


President Obama’s approval rating and prospects for reelection have plunged to all-time lows in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Half of the registered voters surveyed for the poll think that the president does not deserve a second term in office.

When questioned by an illegal alien student who showed him a deportation letter, President Barack Obama said he did not want to deport illegal alien students, he wanted them to succeed.

An auditor at the Government Accountability Office, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the federal government can actually prevent or stop illegal entries into the United States along only 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.--Mexico border.

The media has buried the “worst scandal since Abu Ghraib” because it would embarrass the Obama administration. “Now that our former "cowboy president" has given way to our "international out-reach artist," nothing which might end up in the minus column of Barack Obama's presidential ledger will be given remotely the same treatment.”

With anxiety growing as their electoral successes have not translated into major legislative gains, tea party leaders and their allies in Congress are warning lawmakers of all stripes that political penalties will result if they avoid making the tough decisions needed to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path.

The French Presidential elections are about one year away, but there is plenty of news that has the European political establishment quaking. Leading in the polls is Marine Le Pen of the National Front, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Her message is direct and simple: multiculturalism has failed France. And continued efforts down that path will lead to a replay of the Balkans and Lebanon, only this time with a French accent.

Though Democrats tout the auto bailout as a success, recent reports illustrate the taxpayer cost of the GM auto bailout was substantially larger than the Obama administration and a Congressional Oversight report has owned up to. A March 16 Congressional Oversight report, estimates taxpayers will be out of $25 billion. And that's only the beginning. Both the White House and the Congressional Oversight report omit the fact that during its bankruptcy, GM got a $45 billion tax break.

Ready for another cash for clunkers program? It looks like General Motors is attempting to replace it's own consumer incentives with tax payer money.

Wisconsin Democrats and their organized labor overlords are pouring enormous resources into recall efforts against eight Senate Republicans. Similar campaigns against fleebagger Democrats have narrowed from eight to just three because conservatives are getting out-hustled on the ground, perhaps lulled into complacency by their recent legislative triumph:,_and_how_the_left_could_win

The cash-strapped New York Metro Transit Authority may soon put welfare recipients to work scrubbing and cleaning New York subways.

As the price of gas heads for $4/gallon, more than two-thirds of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico are sitting idle, neither producing oil and gas, nor being actively explored by the companies who hold the leases.

Are Barack Obama's energy policies influenced by George Soros? “…the Obama administration is clamping down on oil and gas development in America (both onshore and offshore) but is hell-bent on helping other nation's tap their resources….such help is being showered specifically in New Guinea, of all places….Soros stands to massively benefit if New Guinea becomes an energy power, especially if the American taxpayer subsidizes this development…”

Four branches of the military have begun sending training material to 2.2 million active and reserve troops as a prelude to opening the ranks to gays, with instructions on, for example, what to do if an officer sees two male Marines kissing in a shopping mall.

U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie performs better in a head-to-head match up with President Obama in 2012 than most of the rumored field of Republican presidential hopefuls, according to a new poll.




If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida's ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York's….

Now it is certainly true that many states have not typically been home to traditional manufacturing operations. Iowa and Nebraska are farm states, for example. But in those states, there are at least five times more government workers than farmers. West Virginia is the mining capital of the world, yet it has at least three times more government workers than miners. New York is the financial capital of the world—at least for now. That sector employs roughly 670,000 New Yorkers. That's less than half of the state's 1.48 million government employees.

Don't expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren't willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The employment trends described here are explained in part by hugely beneficial productivity improvements in such traditional industries as farming, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. These produce far more output per worker than in the past. The typical farmer, for example, is today at least three times more productive than in 1950.

Where are the productivity gains in government? Consider a core function of state and local governments: schools. Over the period 1970-2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores were flat. Over roughly that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. That is what economists call negative productivity.

But education is an industry where we measure performance backwards: We gauge school performance not by outputs, but by inputs. If quality falls, we say we didn't pay teachers enough or we need smaller class sizes or newer schools. If education had undergone the same productivity revolution that manufacturing has, we would have half as many educators, smaller school budgets, and higher graduation rates and test scores.

The same is true of almost all other government services. Mass transit spends more and more every year and yet a much smaller share of Americans use trains and buses today than in past decades. One way that private companies spur productivity is by firing underperforming employees and rewarding excellence. In government employment, tenure for teachers and near lifetime employment for other civil servants shields workers from this basic system of reward and punishment. It is a system that breeds mediocrity, which is what we've gotten.

Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services.

President Obama says we have to retool our economy to "win the future." The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Edited from a longer column, read it here:



"Economic lunacy abounds, and often the most learned, including Nobel Laureates, are its primary victims. The most recent example of economic lunacy is found in a Huffington Post article titled 'The Silver Lining of Japan's Quake' written by Nathan Gardels, editor of New Perspectives Quarterly.... Mr. Gardels says, 'No one ... would minimize the grief, suffering and disruption caused by Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami. But if one can look past the devastation, there is a silver lining. The need to rebuild a large swath of Japan will create huge opportunities for domestic economic growth, particularly in energy-efficient technologies, while also stimulating global demand and hastening the integration of East Asia. ... By taking Japan's mature economy down a notch, Mother Nature has accomplished what fiscal policy and the central bank could not.' ... It's not just disasters in Japan. After Florida's devastating 2004 hurricane, newspapers carried headlines such as 'Storms create lucrative times.' and 'Economic growth from hurricanes could outweigh costs.' ... Why might Japan's and Florida's devastation be seen as 'pluses'? French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) explained it in his pamphlet 'What is Seen and What is Not Seen,' saying, 'There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.' ... Do a simple smell test on these examples of economic lunacy. Would the Japanese economy face even greater opportunities for economic growth had the earthquake and tsunami also struck Tokyo, Hiroshima, Yokohama and other major cities? Would the 9-11 terrorists have done us an even bigger economic favor had they destroyed buildings in other cities? The belief that society benefits from destruction is lunacy."

-Walter E. Williams

"[P]rognostication is a skill few journalists, politicians, diplomats, and intelligence officials have demonstrated consistently over time. So while it's clear that the Muslim world is in the throes of a major transformation, let's not pretend we know how this story ends. It's possible we're seeing an Arab spring, a democratic awakening -- uprisings that will bring freedom to societies that have known only oppression. But it's equally possible that one form of oppression will simply replace another"

-Cliff May

"When you have Islamic jihadists going toe-to-toe with a mass-murdering thug and his followers, humanitarianism is in dangerously short supply. So, apparently, is sanity. If Colonel Cuckoo wins, we have the makings of a terrorist-led pariah state that hates the West in general, and the United States in particular. If the rebels win, we have the makings of a terrorist-led pariah state which hates the West in general, and the United States in particular. Is there clarity in redundancy?"

-Arnold Ahlert

"The real warriors ... all say the same thing: spend my life if you must, but don't waste it. A bond of trust based on that contract must exist between a president and the troops. If the president is willing to risk their lives in the absence of a compelling need to defeat a threat to America, that trust is violated. President Obama violated that trust by entering the Libyan civil war in the absence of any compelling and urgent American interest. He risks the future of our all-volunteer military by, without good cause, risking the lives of U.S. pilots and those who support them in combat."

-Jed Babbin



“Atlas Shrugged is a movie that speaks to the issues of today. And, just as importantly, it is a faithful adaptation of the novel that Americans surveyed describe as the second most influential novel in their lives (after the Bible).”

You might think that given the abysmal box office record of left-wing movies about the Iraq war that "Fair Game," a highly distorted version of the tired controversy surrounding former CIA non-agent Valerie Plame Wilson, would never have been made. Of course, since Hollywood is dominated by leftists, economic sanity did not prevail. Economic reality did prevail, though, as "Fair Game" ended up being a total bomb.

With movie theater attendance in the U.S. and Canada down a whopping 20% so far this year compared with 2010, cinema operators and some studio chiefs surprisingly agree on at least one cause: The movies haven't been very good.,0,3640208,full.story



The far left has attempted to portray their elderly hero, Frances Fox Piven, as a lonely shut-in who spends her time knitting mittens and eating Werther’s Originals in her New York apartment. But the truth is that age has not dampened Piven’s appetite for radical socialist political activities. Piven, an academic who is still on the board of ACORN-partner Project Vote, has announced that she will be co-hosting a 1960s-style “teach-in” April 5th, and she’s bringing in some heavy hitters.

For the second time in less than eighteen months, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers admitted he wrote Barack Obama's book "Dreams From My Father."

President Obama's point man on U.S. development and humanitarian missions testified before Congress this week that a budget plan House Republicans passed last month would lead to 70,000 kids dying.



New evidence has emerged that the Iranian government sees the current unrest in the Middle East as a signal that the Mahdi--or Islamic messiah--is about to appear. “…a new Islamic civilization is on it’s way.”

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan reiterated his defense of Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday, calling the embattled Libyan leader a friend and Muslim brother who's lent the movement $8 million over the years.

“The West is almost as in love with improving the world, as the Muslim world is with conquering it. These two contradictory impulses, the missionary and the warrior, intersect in the Clash of Civilizations. The Muslim world has two approaches to the West, underhanded deceit and outright terror. The former are considered moderates and the latter extremists…”



China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 - far earlier than expected. But this study shows that China, after displacing the UK as the world's second leading producer of research, could go on to overtake America in as little as two years' time. Chinese spending has grown by 20% per year since 1999, now reaching over $100bn, and as many as 1.5 million science and engineering students graduated from Chinese universities in 2006.



Some of the most disgruntled folks in Washington these days are conservative Republicans in Congress. They believe their party has abandoned the cause of deep spending cuts that spurred the Republican landslide in the 2010 midterm election. They say their leaders are needlessly settling for small, incremental cuts. Moreover, this demand for bigger cuts and defunding of liberal programs—immediately—comes from prominent members of the House, not just excitable freshmen. "This is our mice or men moment," according to Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

She will make a decision by June, but she behaves more like a candidate with each passing day. She has five children and long dark hair. She is prone to gaffes, but can she fire up a crowd. She appeals especially strongly to the conservative wing of her party, Tea Party types and born-again Christians alike. She's a terrific fundraiser, and is seriously considering a White House run. Oh, and one other thing. She's not Sarah Palin. In the thus-far lacklustre Republican contest to produce a challenger to Barack Obama next year, meet Michele Bachmann.

As night follows day, the appearance of conservative woman on the scene drives many of the liberal media to distraction and to hysteria. The Sarah Palin script is dusted off — the media have grown bored with her as a successful celebrity and an unlikely presidential aspirant — and pulled out for the next media juggernaut. Along comes Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — no whackier than Newt Gingrich, no more conservative than Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), no more a long shot than Rick Santorum, no more gaffe-prone than Joe Biden — and the left-leaning punditocracy goes into ridicule mode.

I wonder how many liberals would've voted for Barack Obama if he had stumped the nation with this campaign vow: "We're fighting two wars, but as president I pledge to change that policy by ordering up a third. And I will do so by exercising the prerogatives of the imperial presidency. George W. Bush felt it was necessary to get congressional authorization for the war in Iraq, but I will do him one better. When I launch our third intervention, I pledge to inform the members of Congress only when it's too late…”

John Stossel: “I went to Princeton in 1969, where they taught me that government could solve the world's problems. Put the smartest people in a room, give them enough taxpayer money, and they will fix most everything. During those years, I heard nothing about an alternative. How things have changed! I recently spent time with several hundred college-aged people at a Students for Liberty conference in Washington, D.C. Here were hundreds of students who actually understand that government creates many of the problems, and freedom—personal and economic liberty—makes things better."



Want to buy a used aircraft carrier? The UK is having a big sale.;pgid=MieqQ4wkQg8000ArvQ_8K1sp0000zkQXIpQ6?ProductUUID=eIDAqBIQIhQAAAEupZZcNt5o&CatalogCategoryID=VaLAqBELPagAAAED8GeasfoP&JumpTo=OfferList

How about a destroyer, for sale cheap!;pgid=MieqQ4wkQg8000ArvQ_8K1sp0000zkQXIpQ6?ProductUUID=1nXAqBIQc2AAAAEt_7zjB9i_&CatalogCategoryID=VaLAqBELPagAAAED8GeasfoP&JumpTo=OfferList

Cute twins:



Argus Hamilton: Hillary Clinton revealed Wednesday she will step down as Secretary of State after the first term ends. She said the job requires her to spend all her time away from home. That prompted Bill Clinton to call the president and volunteer to take her place.



"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

-Daniel Webster

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."

-Bertrand de Jouvenel

"Any organization is in actuality only the lengthened shadow of its members. A political party is a mechanical structure created to further a cause. The cause, not the mechanism, brings and holds the members together. And our cause must be to rediscover, reassert and reapply America's spiritual heritage to our national affairs. Then with God's help we shall indeed be as a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon us."

-Ronald Reagan

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