Saturday, July 30, 2011

op ed review 7/31

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

House GOP leaders won narrow approval of a plan to raise the federal debt limit Friday “after revising the measure to appeal to rebellious conservatives”, but it was quickly rejected by the Senate. The final measure included provisions for a balanced budget amendment. Sen. John McCain revealed something when he called the balanced-budget amendment “bizarro.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-gop-tries-to-rescue-debt-limit-plan-obama-to-make-statement/2011/07/29/gIQAH527gI_print.html

Ten things that happen if the Boehner bill gets through. (I like #9J:“The left will be demoralized. The left demanded a clean debt bill, railed against spending cuts, and pleaded for tax hikes. They will have failed, and Obama, by signing the Boehner bill, will be the object of their ire.”)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/ten-things-that-happen-if-the-boehner-bill-gets-through/2011/03/29/gIQA1nLLdI_blog.html

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said during an appearance at the National Press club Thursday that she was dead-set opposed to passing any legislation that would increase the debt limit. But the GOP presidential contender also said she expected her fellow Republicans to pass the Boehner proposal..

http://blogs.investors.com/capitalhill/index.php/home/35-politicsinvesting/2704-bachmann-opposes-boehner-plan-but-expects-it-to-pass

Thomas Sowell: “Boehner's Plan Is Not Perfect, But It Ain't Bad”

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/579618/201107271800/Boehners-Plan-Is-Not-Perfect-But-It-Aint-Bad.htm

Washington Post: “We don't yet know what the final deal to raise the debt ceiling will be. But now that Harry Reid is developing a proposal with $2.7 trillion in cuts and nothing in revenues, it's a safe bet that it won't include any tax increases. Which means that whether Republicans realize it or not, they've won.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/wonkbook-republicans-have-won-but-can-they-stop-there/2011/07/25/gIQAFHVIYI_blog.html

Obama approval rating hits all-time low, according to poll

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0711/60232.html#ixzz1TXO0E8rT

President Obama brought his debt battle to Twitter and he lost – more than 40,000 Twitter followers. “Not everyone is a fan of presidential spam.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/tech_guide/2011/07/29/2011-07-29_bams_spam_president_barack_obama_takes_debt_battle_to_twitter_loses_more_than_20.html#ixzz1TbGHReKp

A big movement among white voters:. In 2008 they were 51 to 40 percent Republican. In the first half of 2011 they were 56 to 35 percent Republican.The most noteworthy movement among whites has been among voters under 30, the so-called Millennial generation. Millennials voted 66 to 32 percent for Barack Obama in 2008 and identified as Democrats rather than Republicans by a 60 to 32 percent margin. But white Millennials have been moving away from the Democrats. The Democratic edge in party identification among white Millennials dropped from 7 points in 2008 to 3 points in 2009 to a 1-point Republican edge in 2010 and an 11-point Republican lead in 2011.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/07/under-obama-millennials-move-gop-column#ixzz1TIa0tYfR

John Kerry was introduced at the 2004 Democratic National Convention by Wade Sanders, a retired Navy Captain and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy who served as a Swift Boat officer in Vietnam. Like Kerry, Sanders was the recipient of a Silver Star. During the 2004 campaign, Sanders functioned as Kerry lead attack dog against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, repeatedly denouncing the veterans on the air as liars and comparing them to Nazi propagandists. Wade Sanders is now in Federal prison, serving a 37-month sentence for possessing child pornography. His Silver Star has also been revoked in an action which appears unrelated to the felony conviction. A Navy spokesman cited "subsequently determined facts and evidence surrounding both the incident for which the award was made and the processing of the award itself. "John Kerry has to be hoping this doesn't become a trend.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/07/kerry_spokesman_stripped_of_silver_star.html

At least 122 firearms from a botched U.S. undercover operation have been found at crime scenes in Mexico or intercepted en route to drug cartels there, a Republican congressional report issued on Tuesday said. Guns from the program, dubbed "Operation Fast and Furious," were also found at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the border state of Arizona last December.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/26/us-usa-guns-mexico-idUSTRE76P33T20110726

Despite denials, it looks like the White House and attorney general knew and approved of Operation Fast and Furious.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/579822/201107281902/ATF-The-White-House-Knew.aspx

A federal judge has ruled that a French-company can proceed with an extortion claim against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The SEIU, which has strong ties to the Obama administration, has been accused of using ties to the federal government to harass companies such as Sodexo.

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2011/07/28/racketeering_charges_against_seiu;_what_does_obama_know/page/full/

Great moments in socialized medicine: In the UK, hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money. “Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for "non-urgent" conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs..”

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cataracts-hips-knees-and-tonsils-nhs-begins-rationing-operations-2327268.html

“NHS managers are deliberately delaying operations as they wait for patients either to die or go private in order to save money..”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8668906/NHS-delays-operations-as-it-waits-for-patients-to-die-or-go-private.html

A traditional-values law firm announced that it has filed a lawsuit to overturn New York state’s new same-sex marriage law, claiming the state used a “corrupt legislative process” on its way to becoming the sixth and largest state in the country to sanction gay marriage.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110725/BUSINESS05/307250030/New-wave-generic-drugs-unrivaled?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Last month, Home Depot allowed its logo to be changed in order to show support for gay activism. The Home Depot logo on a company truck door was altered to read "Homo Depot" for the 2011 Philadelphia Gay Pride parade.

http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=170033

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/09/29/250k-sign-pledge-boycott-homo-depot/

Acknowledging the support, gay organizations now sell “Homo Depot” tshirts:

http://www.rainbowdepot.com/Homo-Depot-T-Shirt-Ringer_p_3478.html

Staffers at Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group run by conservative activist Grover Norquist, evacuated their building Monday morning after a bomb threat was called in, according to authorities.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/07/25/americans-for-tax-reform-evacuated-after-bomb-threat/

Mexico's unemployment rate is now 4.9 percent, compared with 9.4 percent joblessness in the United States. “There are fewer undocumented immigrants in California…because many are now finding the American dream south of the border….It's now easier to buy homes on credit, find a job and access higher education in Mexico,”

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/28/3799513/improving-mexican-economy-draws.html#ixzz1TXNIcdH9

“Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor.

http://townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/2011/07/27/the_creepy_enablers_of_wu/page/full/

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

David Limbaugh 6/17

We could be seeing a paradigm shift in the way people view their social compact with government. More and more people believe that government exists not just to perform essential services as delimited in the Constitution, but as a grand equalizer of economic outcomes.

It's one thing to argue that those who earn more should pay a higher percentage of their earnings in income tax. But it's a completely different idea to suggest that the government should use the tax code and other legislative schemes not just to ensure sufficient revenues to operate the government, but to more equitably distribute people's remaining income — or, possibly, assets.

This is not just a matter of semantics. In this new paradigm, some contend that irrespective of the government's operating needs, it has a moral right — and a duty — to proactively intervene to redistribute income.

I observe this latter attitude with increasing frequency. It's not just President Obama indicting corporations and "obscene profits" by saying that the wealthy should spread the wealth around and that at some point, people have made enough money.

It's liberals I encounter who are constantly complaining about the "largest wealth gap in our history" and blaming it on George W. Bush and the evils of capitalism.

In their disappointingly simplistic view (articulated in an email I received), the Bush tax structure created this "gap" by "transferring money from the middle class to the rich ... and transferring our debts to our grandchildren."

But wait. Under the Bush tax rates, higher-income earners paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes. Any transfer of wealth was from higher-income earners to lower-income earners. Plus, almost half the people don't pay income taxes at all, and some 60 percent take more from the government than they pay in.

I told the emailer he was factually wrong and also misguided to believe it is government's function to proactively redistribute wealth. (We're talking more than safety nets here, by the way.) He replied, "Yeah, the CEO of Disney 'earned' $50 million last year without the help of government through the invisible hand of the market."

Note the palpable contempt. He and others convince themselves that government is greasing the skids for high-income earners, but what they're really angry about are the inherent disparities of outcomes under a free economic system. Whether or not they realize it, they don't much like capitalism, which is why they're always pushing us toward socialism.

These same people also seem to object to disparities of income between Americans and the rest of the world. They apparently believe it is morally wrong that we are more prosperous than other nations and consume more of the world's resources.

It only follows that we would detect a disturbing correlation between their anti-capitalist mindset and their attitude toward economic prosperity and even debt tolerance. Those who have a chip on their shoulder about capitalism and America's wealth don't seem to be nearly so anxious about the nation's growing debt crisis. They either naively assume it's not that bad or figure that even if it is, there's nothing wrong with America's getting its comeuppance. Maybe an economic meltdown would put us in our place — and in the meantime, it might cause us to draw down our evil "military-industrial complex" and our warmongering arsenal.

I am not suggesting that leftists of this particular stripe wish economic harm on the nation, but I am saying they look admiringly at European socialism, with its perennial unemployment of 15 percent. I am saying that they believe the government should proactively redistribute wealth — to a much greater extent than it is doing now. I am saying that they are wholly unbothered by the obvious unfairness that almost 50 percent of the people pay no income taxes. And I am saying that most of them either don't understand that their prescriptions to equalize outcomes rather than opportunity inevitably result in less for everyone or don't care because they believe it's preferable for everyone to have much less than it is for some to have a great deal more than others under a free system.

This kind of thinking is dangerous to a free and prosperous society, and as 2012 approaches, conservatives have to address it and start remaking their moral case for capitalism and liberty. Under this ever-softer society, that's quite a tall order.

http://www.creators.com/conservative/david-limbaugh/a-new-paradigm-for-the-left.html

Another good read by Noemie Emery: “The intentions of Democrats are only the best. They want all of the old to have lavish retirements, all of the young to have scholarships, verse-penning cowboys to have festivals funded by government, and everyone to have access to all the best health care, at no cost to himself. In the face of a huge wave of debt swamping all western nations, this is the core of their argument: They want a fair society, and their critics do not; they want to help, and their opponents like to see people suffer; they want a world filled with love and caring, and their opponents want one of callous indifference, in which the helpless must fend for themselves. But in fact, everyone thinks that we “should” do this; the problem, in the face of the debt crisis, is finding a way that we can. It is about the “can” part that the left is now in denial: daintily picking its way through canaries six deep on the floor of the coal mine, and conflating a “good” with a “right.””

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/fling-welfare-state_576909.html?nopager=1

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FROM OTHER COLUMNS

“Those who cheered the bulldog way that ObamaCare became law now want the resurgent Republicans to "reach across the aisle," "set aside partisan rancor" and "put the country first." (on the budget deal).”

-Larry Elder

“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported earlier this year that the richest 20% of all taxpayers pay a record 86% of all income taxes. That’s more than they were paying when Ronald Reagan entered office (64%) and more than when George W. Bush took office (81%)….In fact, the poorest 40 percent of households now pay zero income taxes, and many actually receive checks from Washington on April 15….Anti-poverty expenditures rose from $190 billion in 1990 to $248 billion in 2000, soaring to $638 billion this year. Since 2000, food stamp expenditures grew by 229%, child care assistance by 89%, Medicaid by 80% and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by 470%. But suggest that the GROWTH of these and other programs can be slowed even a little bit, and the Democrats cry that would shred the safety net.”

-Don Lambro

“Seekers of a more progressive tax policy should answer two questions: If 86 percent of the income tax burden is not enough, how much should the top 20% of taxpayers pay? And if the bottom 40% paying no income tax is not sufficient, what is?”

-Brian Riedl, Heritage Foundation

"[R]egardless of how things turn out with the [debt] negotiations, what we are witnessing is the rollout of the Obama re-election campaign's theme: Obama is the pragmatic voice of reason holding the ideologues at bay. So it's worth asking, before this branding campaign gels into the conventional wisdom: Who is the real ideologue here? The president, we are told, is a pragmatist for wanting a 'fair and balanced' budget deal. What that means is tax increases must accompany spending cuts. Any significant spending cuts would be way in the future. The tax increases would begin right after Obama is re-elected. ... Obama says that Republicans are rigid ideologues because they won't put 'everything on the table.' Specifically, they won't consider tax hikes. ... But Obama hasn't put everything on the table either. He's walled off 'ObamaCare' and the rest of his 'winning the future' agenda. ... Republicans won a historic election last November campaigning against spending, borrowing, tax hikes and ObamaCare. Yet Obama's position is that the Republicans are deranged dogmatists because they don't want to raise taxes or borrow more money to pay for spending they opposed. And Obama is flexible because he refuses to revisit a program that has never been popular."

-Jonah Goldberg

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BOOKS, FILM

“Of Thee I Zing: America's Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots” “Now in an act of patriotic intervention the most-listened-to woman in talk radio casts her satirical eye upon all that ails American society. In this sharp-witted, comic romp, Laura Ingraham takes you on a guided tour through ten levels of our cultural hell.”

http://www.amazon.com/Thee-Zing-Americas-Cultural-Decline/dp/1451642040/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311980690&sr=1-1

Sarah Palin’s documentary has not been doing well at theaters and is heading for pay-per-view

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2011/07/25/2011-07-25_sarah_palins_the_undefeated_documentary_bombs_at_box_office_heads_for_payperview.html

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GLOBALONEY

“Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors” by James Delingpole. “The shocking story of how an unholy mix of junk science, green hype, corporate greed and political opportunism led to the biggest - and most expensive - outbreak of mass hysteria in history……At its very roots, argues Delingpole, climate change is an ideological battle, not a scientific one. Green on the outside, red on the inside, the liberty-loathing, humanity-hating "watermelons" of the modern environmental movement do not want to save the world. They want to rule it.”

http://www.amazon.com/Watermelons-Green-Movements-True-Colors/dp/0983347409/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311980445&sr=8-1

A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=14176759

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ISLAM

An AWOL Muslim American Army private arrested near Fort Hood told investigators that he wanted to attack fellow soldiers at the military base….. FBI agents discovered a bevy of potential bomb-making materials in Abdo's hotel room.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/07/28/fort.hood.arrest/

“Over the past several days there have been news stories here in Afghanistan about the Taliban strangling an 8-year-old boy. The reports say that his father refused to turn over a police vehicle to the enemy, and so they murdered his son.” Warning: graphic images.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/07/26/afghan-boy-reportedly-forced-by-taliban-to-step-on-bomb/#ixzz1TIXcOlLU

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip hanged a father and son at dawn Tuesday for collaborating with Israel. A human rights group condemned the hangings, saying the Palestinian judicial process was so flawed that it would have not been possible to conclusively prove the two men were involved in spying.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4100514,00.html

President Obama entered office promising a new dawn in America’s relations with Muslim nations. He reached out to the Muslim world, offering apologies and a warm embrace. The theory was that, by showing more understanding of Muslim grievances, they would respond in kind. It didn’t turn out that way. A recent Pew Research Center survey of opinions in the Muslim world shows America’s image there has not improved. In Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan - Muslim nations with which the U.S. maintains close relations - views are more negative today than a year ago.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/27/muslim-world-still-anti-western-despite-obama/

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LEFTIST WATCH

George Soros, the liberal left’s most prominent billionaire donor and activist, is winding down his career as a hedge-fund manager, citing new rules that would have required him to submit to more federal oversight. The move raised eyebrows in financial circles because Soros was an outspoken advocate for reforming Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/hero-to-liberals-soros-ends-hedge-fund-career-to-escape-regulations/2011/07/26/gIQApZ0hbI_story.html?wprss=rss_politics

"Millionaires and billionaires," President Obama says derisively, must make more "sacrifices" and live by the same rules the rest of America lives by. But that won’t include George Soros, who was provided a convenient loophole for “family run” funds.

http://townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/2011/07/29/obamas_exclusive_george_soros_waivers/page/full/

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ARTICLES

John Hawkins: “7 Promises I Make To Liberals”

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2011/07/26/7_promises_i_make_to_liberals/page/full/

In the weird world that is Washington, men and women say things daily, hourly, even minutely, that they know deep down are simply not true. Inside the Beltway, we all call those utterances “rhetoric.” But across the rest of the country, plain ol’ folk call ‘em lies. Bald-faced (even bold-faced) lies. Those folks have a tried-and-true way of determining a lie: If you know what you’re saying is patently false, then it’s a lie. Simple. And lately, the president has been lying so much that his pants could burst into flames at any moment.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/24/curl-is-obama-a-pathological-liar/

“I worked for the IRS and survived. I learned about taxpayers, but the really interesting part of it was learning about tax-takers. We all have this vague notion of people who don't pay taxes but receive money from Uncle Sam in what euphemistically is called a tax refund. That's what I had, a vague notion, until I was forced to close my business in 2010. I took a seasonal job with the Internal Revenue Service to get some household cash flow going. We "Timmy Geithner warriors" were appalled by what we learned. We generally knew that 47 percent of our population pays no income taxes whatsoever. However, we didn't know, and I suspect that very few of you know, how much of your tax money is actually given to non-taxpayers -- in a lump sum, to do with as they please. Over lunch we joked that half the tattoo parlors in America would go under without Uncle Sam's largesse. Only later I learned that was closer to the truth than a joke….”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/among_the_tax-takers.html

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LATE NITE

Leno: Iowa Congressman Steve King says that if the country falls into default, President Obama could be impeached. Obama could stop that with three words: “President Joe Biden.”…..We are $14 trillion in debt. To understand how much money that is, imagine grocery shopping at Whole Foods every day of the month.

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WISE WORDS

"[The Democratic Party leadership] tell us they have done the most that humanly could be done. They say that the United States has had its day in the sun; that our nation has passed its zenith. They expect you to tell your children that the American people no longer have the will to cope with their problems; that the future will be one of sacrifice and few opportunities. My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view. The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a better world for others by moving backwards ourselves.... [T]he American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust our nation's highest offices, and we stand united in our resolve to do something about it."

-Ronald Reagan

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

-Winston Churchill

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