Sunday, June 17, 2012

op ed review 6/17


THIS WEEK’S NEWS
The next time President Obama hits the links, it will be his 100th round of golf since coming to the White House. That’s quite a milestone in just 3 1/2 years. As it takes him about six hours to drive to the greens and complete 18 holes, Mr. Obama has spent the equivalent of four months’ worth of work time golfing. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has been stuck in a sand trap.

President Obama’s statement Friday that the private sector is “doing fine” drew so much ridicule that he was forced to backtrack hours later. But it’s clear that Obama and many other Democrats see job problems — and solutions — starting and stopping with government employment. A quick look at payroll stats shows that’s not the case.

Americans’ wealth plummeted 40 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to the Federal Reserve.  That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were back in 1992.

The U.S. government posted a budget deficit of $125 billion in May, more than twice the level registered in the same month last year.

Vice President Biden Says the 'Great' Cities Are in China, Not America.

Two new polls out suggest that the road to reelection is getting tougher for President Obama. In the most significant, Gallup found that union member support for the president is getting weaker.

Democratic loyalists are beginning to panic about President Obama’s re-election prospects, according to this report in the Washington Post.

Romney gains momentum

A prominent conservative lawyer and high-ranking Republican national committeeman, is helping tea partyers influence the official GOP 2012 platform. Bopp, a former vice chairman of the RNC, is among those tasked with writing the platform and is using his expertise to advise FreedomWorks, a well-financed conservative advocacy organization that has taken on the tea party mantle. ...

The Senate Farm Bill should be renamed the Food Stamp bill. A document released by the Congressional Research Service, shows that a staggering 78 percent of the $995 billion of the bill's budget authority over 10 years is dedicated to food stamps and nutrition program spending.

The US Department of Justice announced Monday it will sue Florida to stop the state from purging ineligible voters from its voter rolls.

House Republicans released more documents that expose the collusion between the health-care industry and the White House that produced ObamaCare, and what a story of crony capitalism it is. If the trove of emails proves anything, it's that the Tea Party isn't angry enough.

The New York City Board of Education is defending a principal who banned the song “God Bless the USA” from being performed at a kindergarten graduation ceremony reportedly because “it might offend other cultures.”
Five classes spent months learning the patriotic song, which skyrocketed in popularity after the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags — which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.” But the principal marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said.  She told the teachers to drop the song from the program.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul broke ranks with his father's political army this week and endorsed Mitt Romney as the Republican Party presidential nominee, setting off a firestorm of outrage in the Ron Paul Universe.

Two studies released Sunday may act like brakes on popular social-science assertions that gay parents are the same as — or maybe better than — married mother-father parents. “The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus said in his study in Social Science Research. “[C]hildren appear most apt to succeed well as adults when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day,” he wrote.

Parents in a small Washington State community are infuriated after their 11-year-old children were given graphic descriptions of oral and anal sex during a sex education class led by an elementary school principal.

Lawmakers are working to block an unprecedented power grab by the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Water Act (CWA) and control land alongside ditches, gullies and other ephemeral spots by claiming the sources are part of navigable waterways.  “Never in the history of the CWA has federal regulation defined ditches and other upland features as waterways…”

Your tax dollars at work:  Senate Republicans are demanding to know why President Obama's acting budget director permitted health officials to sign a $20 million public relations contract to promote the glories of Obamacare.

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN
Investor’s Business Daily  6/11

An incoherent press conference and contradictory explanation show that if the president thinks the answer to job-killing federal policies is boosting state and local governments with borrowed money, we're really in trouble.

'Tone deaf" fails to describe President Obama's statement at Friday's press conference that "the private sector is doing fine," when median income is down 10% in three years, family net worth has plunged 39%, 23 million Americans are out of work and the official unemployment rate tops 8% for the 40th month in a row, the longest sustained period at that level since the Great Depression. Mitt Romney's charge that the president is "out of touch" might be more accurate, but we would prefer "clueless."

Then came the walk-back at a later press event: "It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That's why I had a press conference," Obama explained to those who were wondering, and as if the two statements did not contradict one another. Cognitive dissonance has been redefined. Lost in the commotion caused by the dueling teleprompters was the president's suggestion that, aside from job-killing ATMs, the economy was in the tank because state and local governments weren't big enough and spending enough.

He opined that the "weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in." In other words, they can't print money. Yet they really don't have to, since state and local revenues have gone up 6% in the past two years. What they have to do is rein in state spending by severing the incestuous relationship between public-sector unions and the government that feeds them at taxpayer expense.

That's what GOP Gov. Scott Walker did in Wisconsin and what voters in San Diego (the nation's eighth largest city) and San Jose (the 10th largest) tried to do when they overwhelmingly approved big cuts to city workers' retirement benefits.

The answer is not to borrow money from China and send it to states that have done their best to become America's Greece.

It's Obama's public-sector political base that's doing just fine. As the Heritage Foundation notes, federal employment has grown nearly 12% since the end of 2007, and while the country suffers from 8.2% unemployment, the jobless rate for government employees is just 4.2%. What Obama proposes now is what the patron saint of cowboy poetry funding, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D—Nev., was pushing in a $35 billion bailout for state and local governments last fall. "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine," Reid argued.

Fact is, America succeeds when the private sector is unburdened by punitive taxes and regulations, when the successful are not demonized and when the public sector is as inconsequential in our lives as possible. It succeeds when the private sector picks winners and losers, and when the winners are allowed to keep and reinvest their profits, and the losers are allowed to fail.

It's no coincidence that the public sector and the unions that support it form a key part of Obama's dwindling political base. The federal Treasury and taxpayers' wallets, however, are not a bottomless campaign slush fund.
The private sector is not fine, Mr. President, largely because the behemoth government you've built and supported has sucked all the economic oxygen out of the room.


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FROM OTHER COLUMNS
"[N]ew federal data show the rate of business startups continues to fall in this recovery. According to the Census Bureau, the startup rate, measured as a share of all firms, has plunged to 7% from 9% in 2008 and from 11% in 2006. The pace, moreover, is almost half the 1980s' peak of 13%. Of all the negative trends tracking this administration, this may be the most disturbing…….Based on a ranking of regulations, it's now easier to start a business in Slovenia, Estonia and Hungary -- three former Iron Curtain countries -- than in America.
                   -Investor’s Business Daily

“They’re leaving us swiftly now, dying at the rate of 800 every day, the last of the 16 million men who put on the khaki to march to the sound of the guns. Not much notice of the day was taken this year. President Obama forgot to say anything about their heroics and sacrifice. Maybe he was too busy, flying off to Hollywood to crack suggestive smutty jokes about Michelle and Ellen DeGeneres, and collecting campaign cash from a party for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Leadership Council. Even Michelle, who has lately been talking a lot about helping military families, was busy raising money in New York City and Philadelphia. Homage to sacrificial courage has gone out of fashion in certain circles. The new World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, a favorite of veterans, their families and everyone else, is derided for its “triumphalism.” One critic likens it to something Mussolini could have built in Rome. Another sneers at the idea of preserving “the memory of something that ripped up half the planet, killed millions of people and took six years to run its course.” Not so long ago a triumph of American arms was something for everyone to celebrate. “America hates losers,” Gen. George S. Patton said in the dreary early days of the war when nothing was going right, “and that’s why we’re going to win this war.” Nothing was more important than triumph, and no triumph was more remarkable or more complete than the triumph of the allies on the five invasion beaches of Normandy.
                   -Wes Pruden
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BOOKS
If you're considering reading “Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity” by Michael Coren, you'll be well-suited to consider your personal biases. If you're a conservative and a Christian (and particularly if you're a Catholic), this book will go down like sweet, delicious candy. If you're a liberal and/or an atheist, on the other hand...well, it might feel rather like something else. The point of Heresy is as bitingly straightforward as Coren's writing style: the West is replete with innuendos, fabrications, and outright malicious lies about Christianity and Christians, and it's time to set the record straight.
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GLOBALONEY
Hilarious James Delingpole:  An open letter to the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter, on the subject of his foiled wind farm scheme”
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LEFTIST WATCH
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), “Everybody knows that government creates jobs.”

Joy Behar, Al Gore's new employee at Current TV, said Tuesday "I’d like to see (Ronmey’s) house burn, one of his millions of houses burning down."

The U.S. Military has revoked its approval of a series of military-themed Bibles, reportedly over trademark issues. Now, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is demanding that all remaining versions of the Bibles be removed from base exchanges — calling them a “threat to national security.”
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ELECTION
Job growth has stalled, the Democrats have been humiliated in Wisconsin, the attorney general is facing a contempt-of-Congress citation, talks with Pakistan have broken down, Bill Clinton is contradicting Obama, Mitt Romney is outraising him, Democrats and Republicans alike are complaining about a “cascade” of national-security leaks from his administration, and he is now on record as saying that the “private sector is doing fine.”  Could it get any worse?  Early Monday morning, Obama learned that it could. His aides delivered the news to him that his commerce secretary had been cited for a felony hit-and-run after allegedly crashing his car three times over the weekend. In one incident, the previously obscure Cabinet officer apparently rear-ended a Buick, spoke to the car’s occupants, then hit the vehicle again as he left.

President Obama is rapidly losing support among African-American voters in North Carolina, a new poll out today from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows.

Why Obama's coalition is unraveling:   In 2008, Barack Obama won by assembling what has been called an “Upstairs Downstairs” coalition. Wealthy whites and lower-income minority voters brought Obama first across the finish line. Four years later, Obama’s 2008 coalition does not appear to be holding. The question is whether it will implode by Election Day.

“Suddenly, Many Ways For Romney to Reach 270 Electoral Votes”

Nearly four years after enthusiastic younger voters poured into polling booths to help push Barack Obama over the finish line and into the Oval Office, their hope has turned to fear and pollster John Zogby says that they are ready to give up on politics.

Panic is setting in among the people who ran the Democratic Party prior to the miraculous arrival on the scene of Barack Hussein Obama and the perfect storm of events that propelled him into the White House….
1. Obama has energized his opposition. Despite throwing everything they could into the game, the turnout effort in Wisconsin was handily beaten by those Tea Party nobodies and an RNC head who is actually up to the job.
2. Obama has alienated hugely important constituencies.  Labor unions, utterly essentially to the ground game in November, feel betrayed, and are starting to focus more on their own survival than the success of the Obama re-election campaign. The antiwar left feels betrayed over Gitmo, drones, rendition, domestic surveillance, and a host of other issues. They turned out in San Francisco picketing his fundraisers, and spoke of not voting.  His Bain Capital attacks are verging into a repudiation of capitalism, so Wall Street and the finance sector are getting alarmed, and the essential flow of political contributions to Democrats from them is drying up.
3. The economy is a disaster, and Obama is doing all the wrong things. The administration is reduced to making implausible claims of spending moderation based on an internet post….
4. Obama is out for himself, and himself only. He has even thrown national security under the bus, allowing the leaking of critical information to the press about intelligence operations and cyber-warfare, and feigning outrage in Friday's presser over the idea that he would do such a thing….
5. A wave election is shaping up. Democrats could be swept out of office in Congress, and on down to statehouses, city halls, and dog pounds. With the left flank threatening to stay home, union funds and enthusiasm depleted, and Obama offering nothing but negativity, while Tea Partiers mobilize nationally as never before seen on the GOP side, the electorate will skew so far right that the GOP could end up as dominant in 2013 as the Democrats were in 2009. It's already leaking into the smarter corners of the media world: Obama is killing the Democratic Party. The tipping point is here.

But we should worry about this:  “On the sixth floor of a sleek office building here, more than 150 techies are quietly peeling back the layers of your life. They know what you read and where you shop, what kind of work you do and who you count as friends. They also know who your mother voted for in the last election. The depth and breadth of the Obama campaign’s 2012 digital operation — from data mining to online organizing — reaches so far beyond anything politics has ever seen, experts maintain, that it could impact the outcome of a close presidential election. …..Launched two weeks ago, Obama’s newest innovation is the much anticipated “Dashboard” , a sophisticated and highly interactive platform that gives supporters a blueprint for organizing, and communicating with each other and the campaign. In addition, by harnessing the growing power of Facebook and other online sources, the campaign is building what some see as an unprecedented data base to develop highly specific profiles of potential voters. This allows the campaign to tailor messages directly to them — depending on factors such as socio-economic level, age and interests. The data also allows the campaign to micro-target a range of dollar solicitations online depending on the recipient. In 2008, the campaign was the first to maximize online giving — raising hundreds of millions of dollars from small donors. This time, they are constantly experimenting and testing to expand the donor base.”
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ARTICLES
“President Obama: The Biggest Government Spender In World History”

In Wisconsin:  "The media wanted Norma Rae, and got On the Waterfront, instead."

“The Chinese Kleptocracy Is Like Nothing Ever Seen In Human History, And This Is How It Works”

Bozell:  “You'd think the largest legal action in American history in defense of religious liberty would be a major news story. But ABC, CBS and NBC don't judge news events by their inherent importance as relates to the future of our freedoms. They deliver the news according to a simple formula: Does it or doesn't it advance the re-election of Barack Obama?.... This is the worst example of shameless bias by omission I have seen in the quarter-century history of the Media Research Center…..This is not an honest mistake. It was not an editorial oversight by the broadcast networks. It did not occur too late for the evening deadline. This was a deliberate and insidious withholding of national news to protect the "Chosen One" who ABC, CBS and NBC have worked so hard to elect and for whom they are now abusing their journalistic influence.
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LATE NITE:
Leno:    In New Orleans, the daily newspaper has eliminated 84 newsroom jobs. But the publisher said those positions could be reinstated if this whole Internet thing turns out to be a fad…… The White House softball team played the pro-marijuana lobbyists' team and lost 25-3. Still no word yet on which side President Obama played for.... Pundits are saying that President Obama is starting to lose support among his own party. To give you an idea of how bad it's gotten, today Jimmy Carter compared him to Jimmy Carter….. Guantanamo Bay is getting millions and millions of dollars of upgrades and renovations. In fact, they're not even calling it a detention camp anymore. It's now a gated community…….Guantanamo Bay is now undergoing millions of dollars worth of renovations, including a new soccer field, cable TV, and better housing. Which is kind of ironic. The only people who say they're better off today than they were four years ago are the inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
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WISE WORDS
"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
                     -Thomas Jefferson

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