Saturday, December 17, 2011

op ed review 12/18


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

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.

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

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.

The real unemployment rate is 11 percent

Child homelessness up 33% in 3 years

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.

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.

Atheists put ads on Seattle buses for holiday season

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”

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

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. ???

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

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.

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.”,0,3798874.column



“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



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

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

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

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.

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



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."



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 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.”

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

"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.

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.



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.

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.

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.



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

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.”

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

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”

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.

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

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,"

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.

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.

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."



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.

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.

“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.

“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.



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.

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.",0,113957.story



Interesting chart, “Obama’s decline”

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

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.



"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

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