Saturday, December 3, 2011

op ed review 12/4


President Obama's slow ride down Gallup's daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history.

Suddenly, President Obama is inserting a stark new tone of drama and urgency into his campaign speeches to loyalists at political fundraisers.

The Obama administration has slashed spending on border fencing, infrastructure and technology, cutting it by more than half since it peaked under President George W. Bush in fiscal 2008, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

President Obama will soon be off to Hawaii for a 17 day vacation, his 10th this year. Beachfront rental: $3500 per day.

You may not have seen the online soap opera “Diary of a Single Mom” but your tax dollars helped pay for it with stimulus cash.

Cover-up? The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

Newt Gingrich has opened a sizable lead over Mitt Romney in the first national poll in the GOP presidential race taken since the former Speaker of the House earned the key endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Newt leads Mitt by more than 20 points in the important early-voting state of Florida, according to a new Insider Advantage poll.

The Newt Gingrich surge has moved him to the top of the polls in Iowa, and now a two-point edge over President Obama in a hypothetical general election match-up.

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, a prominent 16-term liberal Democrat and arch-enemy of political conservatives nationwide, announced he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012,

Unfortunately for the banking sector, the next Democrat in line to succeed Frank as the committee's ranking member is none other than Rep. Maxine Waters, the controversial California congresswoman best known for her questionable ethics and apparent lack of understanding about how the U.S. financial system works.

The U.S. Senate voted to approve a defense authorization bill which not only included a repeal of the military ban on sodomy, but also repealed the ban on bestiality.

A state initiative filed in California offers amnesty to 1 million illegal immigrants.

Britain's banks and embassies have been told to prepare for the end of the euro.

Former Soviet satellites and republics still pay homage to Ronald Reagan



Lessons of History? By Thomas Sowell

It used to be common for people to urge us to learn "the lessons of history." But history gets much less attention these days and, if there are any lessons that we are offered, they are more likely to be the lessons from current polls or the lessons of political correctness.

Even among those who still invoke the lessons of history, some read those lessons very differently from others.

Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."

But just when did Ronald Reagan, with his two landslide election victories, "seize the center"? For that matter, when did Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a record four consecutive presidential election victories, "seize the center"?

There have been a long string of Republican presidential candidates who seized the center -- and lost elections. Thomas E. Dewey, for example, seized the center against Harry Truman in 1948. Even though Truman was so unpopular at the outset that the "New Republic" magazine urged him not to run, and polls consistently had Dewey ahead, Truman clearly stood for something -- and for months he battled for what he stood for.

That turned out to be enough to beat Dewey, who simply stood in the center.

It is very doubtful that most of the people who voted for Harry Truman agreed with him on all the things he stood for. But they knew he stood for something, and they agreed with enough of it to put him back in the White House.

It is equally doubtful that most of the people who voted for Ronald Reagan in his two landslide victories agreed with all his positions. But they agreed with enough of them to put him in the White House to replace Jimmy Carter, who stood in the center, even if it was only a center of confusion.

President Gerald Ford, after narrowly beating off a rare challenge by Ronald Reagan to a sitting president of his own party, seized the center in the general election -- and lost to an initially almost totally unknown governor from Georgia.

President George H.W. Bush, after initially winning election by coming across as another Ronald Reagan, with his "Read my lips, no new taxes" speech, turned "kinder and gentler" -- to everyone except the taxpayers -- once he was in office. In other ways as well, he seized the center. And lost to another unknown governor.

More recently, we have seen two more Republican candidates who seized the center -- Senators Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008 -- go down to defeat, McCain at the hands of a man that most people had never even heard of, just three years earlier.

Michael Medved, however, reads history differently. To him, Barry Goldwater got clobbered in the 1964 elections because of his strong conservatism. But did his opponent, Lyndon Johnson, seize the center? Johnson was at least as far to the left as Goldwater was to the right. And Goldwater scared the daylights out of people with the way he expressed himself, especially on foreign policy, where he came across as reckless. On a personal note, I wrote a two-line verse that year, titled "The Goldwater Administration:"

Fifteen minutes of laissez-faire,
While the Russian missiles are in the air.

Senator Goldwater was not crazy enough to start a nuclear war. But the way he talked sometimes made it seem as if he were. Ronald Reagan would later be elected and re-elected taking positions essentially the same as those on which Barry Goldwater lost big time. Reagan was simply a lot better at articulating his beliefs.

Michael Medved uses the 2010 defeat of tea party candidates for the Senate, in three states where Democrats were vulnerable, as another argument against those who do not court the center. But these were candidates whose political ineptness was the problem, not conservatism. Candidates should certainly reach out to a broad electorate. But the question is whether they reach out by promoting their own principles to others or by trying to be all things to all people.



"If you thought Rep. Barney Frank was bad, his likely replacement is worse. Rep. Maxine Waters is Congress' most anti-bank member -- unless she owns stock in one, that is. ... When in 2003, the publicly created mortgage giants [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] became dangerously overleveraged with weak mortgages, Waters pushed them to underwrite even 'more products where you have no down payments.' She accused critics of the quotas of discriminating against minorities and the poor. ... She lobbied to exclude them and their government-mandated affordable housing charter from the 'sweeping financial reforms.' And she got her wish. She also got another wish: a provision exempting minority-owned banks from the new oversight. Quite interesting. Because at the same time she got that little gem added to the bill, she was under investigation for steering federal bailout money to a troubled minority-owned bank in which she and her husband held a large financial stake."

-Investor's Business Daily

"Under a new 893-page proposal unveiled last week, automakers must hit a fleet-wide fuel economy average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 -- double today's 27.3 standard. The government says it would cost automakers $8.5 billion per year to comply, which means a spike in sticker prices of at least $2,000 to $2,800, according to official projections. ... The Obama Administration is pointing to the supposed benefits of the new standards -- including a fuel savings of $1.7 trillion -- but as [Heritage Foundation's Diane] Katz writes, that number is 'pure speculation given that actual savings would depend on the price of gasoline,' which can't be predicted 14 years into the future, much less next summer. ... The EPA should not be in the business of picking and choosing what kind of cars and trucks Americans can drive, and neither should President Obama."

-Mike Brownfield

"It's the Democrats whose position is that the only problem in Washington, D.C., is the peasants aren't sending enough cash in for the king to spend."

-Grover Norquist

"If Democrats could balance the budget tomorrow and quadruple government spending, they'd refuse the deal unless they could also make Republicans break their tax pledge. That is their single-minded goal. But the media are trying to turn it around and say that it's Republicans who are crazy for refusing to consider raising taxes no matter how much they get in spending cuts."

-Ann Coulter

"Congressman Barney Frank accused some members of Congress of being vegetables. Is this wise? If Barney Frank accuses some members of Congress of being vegetables he opens himself up to the deduction that some members of Congress are fruits."

-Argus Hamilton

"Over the weekend, President Obama took his daughters to a bookstore. Barack bought Malia 'The Phantom Tollbooth,' while Malia bought Barack 'Economics for Dummies.'"

-Jimmy Fallon



"Bowing to Beijing" by Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett. Tony Blankley reviews: “will change forever the way you think about China….a strictly factual expose of the moral horror being brought down on the Chinese people by their ever-more-powerful Chinese leadership….Here is just one of hundreds of examples offered by the authors of the moral pit that China has become: "It is routine for children as young as 9 years old and for the mentally handicapped to be sold to sweatshops where they work around the clock in slave-like conditions. Tragically, child labor is most common in toy factories. Other workers initially take jobs voluntarily but then are padlocked in dormitories and forced to work up to 18 hours a day in a subhuman environment." Those cheap toys found on American shopping shelves come at a horribly high price…..will stiffen your resolve to be part of the struggle to never let such a malignancy spread to the rest of the world -- let alone to America.”



Andy Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union, says we should dump capitalism in favor of the China model: "China's Superior Economic Model."

This is how they think: "[U]nemployment insurance has been recognized by outside economists and by members of both parties as vital assistance to an economy to help it grow and create jobs."

-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney



Another defection from the gospel of renewable energy, and it's a biggie: no less than the head of the Brookings Institution's energy initiative. Brookings is the most prestigious of the liberal think tanks in Washington, and carries considerable weight in elite media and political circles.

Chevy Volt recall? Sure, why not. This electric Edsel (Motor Trend Car of the Year — awarded before even one was sold) is a bad idea being promoted to fix a non-existent problem (global warming is a farce and a lie) the wrong way (half the electricity in the USA comes from fossil fuels) by taking from the taxpayer and giving to the rich ($7,500 tax credits are given for cars whose average driver earns $175,000 annually).

Britain’s leading green activist research centre spent £15,000 on seminars for top BBC executives in an apparent bid to block climate change skeptics from the airwaves, a vast new cache of leaked ‘Climategate’ emails has revealed.

Is the global warming scare the greatest delusion in history?

Fred Singer: Things don't look promising for the perennial climate confab which convenes in Durban, South Africa today. There is little chance of extending the expiring 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Kyoto has turned into a giant international scam that has already wasted hundreds of billions, with little to show for it; in fact, the increase in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases has been accelerating.

Canada will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.

VDH: Given no noticeable heating of the planet during the last decade, and all sorts of questionable research on supposed problems like polar bear population declines and Himalayan glacier melting — not to mention the wind and solar debacles here and in Europe — the man-made-global-warming movement is about done for now. We sometimes forget that the fad gained its traction during the Bush years, fueled in large part by the myth that a Texas Bible-thumper was going to prevent wise technocrats from saving the planet from the neanderthals.



Manchester Union Leader: “This newspaper endorses Newt Gingrich in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year. We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing. He did so with the Contract with America. He did it in bringing in the first Republican House in 40 years and by forging balanced budgets and even a surplus despite the political challenge of dealing with a Democratic President. A lot of candidates say they're going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again….”

Krauthammer: Mitt Vs. Newt: A Fight Between Two Flawed Candidates

George Will doesn’t like either one.

Gingrich presidential run inspires fear and loathing in top GOP circles.

Dick Morris: Is Newt Electable? Hell yes.

Newt’s baggage reviewed: “Today we are being suckered into thinking that Gingrich could hold his own in the general election process against Obama. This is a fool's bet. If Gingrich is nominated, the (media) narrative will immediately shift back to the politics of personal destruction and never look back, quickly looking past his platform to his personal life. And there is a lot to talk about when it comes to Gingrich's personal and political baggage! The 2012 media narrative will unload every bit piece-by-piece starting with, at the age of eighteen; Newt was dating his high school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley.

Jed Babbin: When it comes to foreign policy, “Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that the only grownup in the room is Newt Gingrich. He has lectured at the National War College for about twenty years. He is the only one of the eight contenders who won't require on-the-job training on defense and national security…….So who do we want answering that 3 a.m. phone call to the White House? On defense and national security, Newt Gingrich is the candidate best prepared to do so…”

Newt Gingrich's most recent Positive Intensity Score of 20 in Gallup tracking conducted Nov. 14-27 is the highest of any Republican candidate, while Mitt Romney's current score of 9 is his lowest of the year by one percentage point. Gingrich and Romney are essentially tied as the front-runners on Gallup's latest trial-heat ballot measure, but their Positive Intensity Scores this year have followed substantially different patterns.

Gov. Rick Perry has come under fire from conservatives for some of his immigration policies, but with the endorsement of the infamous and conservative Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona, Perry told voters in New Hampshire he supports tough state laws that give local law enforcement new powers to combat illegal immigration.

For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class. All pretence of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

The Democratic National Committee released an ad that describes Mitt Romney as “two men trapped in one body.” The 30 second ad, titled “Trapped,” will play in six markets, including Albuquerque, Raleigh-Durham, Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Milwaukee. The DNC declined to specify how large of an ad buy this was or how much was spent on the spot. The DNC accuses Romney of being “Two Mitts willing to say anything,” a reference to his change in stance on abortion. In an extended version of the ad on the new website, the DNC edits together clips

Five months ago the Washington Post called for readers to sift through former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's email messages? Now they’re asking readers to send in dirt on Newt Gingrich.

Should Mitt Romney survive the Newtian Surge and fend off any other challenges from his rivals for the GOP nomination, a preview of what awaits him in the general election can be found in a new television ad crafted by the Democratic National Committee. The line of attack is no surprise: The ad—along with an accompanying website—pounces of Romney’s history of shifting positions rightward as he has pursued the presidency. The short spot “Trapped” is done in the style of a Hollywood teaser trailer, complete with a deep-tone voiceover and mocks the former Massachusetts governor as “two men trapped in one body.” The ad points viewers to a website, which features a video that highlights what the DNC says is Romney’s flip-flops on abortion, the economic stimulus package, healthcare, global warming, assault weapons and even the legacy of Ronald Reagan.,0,7402136.story



It’s a standard line in Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s stump speech. “We live in a world where only 53 percent of Americans pay federal income tax, 47 percent pay nothing,” the Minnesota congresswoman recently said in Iowa. Bachmann’s figures are roughly correct: By most estimates, 46 percent of American households had no federal income tax liability this year, either because they didn’t make enough money or their credits, exemptions and deductions exceeded their tax bill. Some filers without an income tax bill even got refund checks from Uncle Sam. Other Republicans and conservatives have echoed her concerns

What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters. It was presumably F. Scott Fitzgerald who once observed that “the rich are different from you and me.” Yes they are. The rich, or as they say today, the 1 percent, generally work a lot harder and smarter than do the rest of us, and for doing so, make all of our lives easier, cheaper, and more entertaining. What’s not said enough about the 1 percenters is how difficult were their paths, but perhaps even more to the point, how much easier and better our paths will be for what they did ahead of us. Rather than bemoan their wealth, it’s time we start thanking them.



Newt’s website:

If you are interested in keeping up with what Washington State government is doing to us:  a new website/journal:

Not Photoshopped: Beam of Light Shines on Fallen Soldier’s Miracle Dog

Becky Kelly asks a fair question in this Christmas music video.



"Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent."

-Adam Smith

"The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men."

-Alexander Hamilton

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