Saturday, December 22, 2012

op ed review 12/23




THIS WEEK’S NEWS
Thursday night 13 conservative House Republicans defeated the Rule for the vote on Speaker Boehner’s highly controversial “Plan B.”
Larry Kudlow:  “I don’t blame John Boehner. His idea is the best compromise currently available. Or put another way, it’s the least-bad option out there. It was even backed by Paul Ryan and Grover Norquist.”

As Republicans sift through the wreckage of the presidential election and Democrats brace for the 2014 midterms, there is one clear point of agreement between them: Independent voters no longer decide elections. In 2012, Mitt Romney became the first presidential candidate in recent history to decisively win the independent vote — yet just as decisively lose the election. Pollsters and campaign strategists — particularly Republicans — are scrambling to understand what happened — and more important, what it means for future campaign strategies.

Abortion rights activists have reached a new level of depravity. Apparently, as everyone indulges in the holiday spirit, the pro-choice camp decided to create abortion ornaments – or ´abornaments´ – to be part of the commemoration of the birth of Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI has weighed in on a heated debate over gay marriage, criticizing new concepts of the traditional family and warning that mankind itself was at stake. "In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question," the Pope said in Italian during an end-of-year speech. He cited feminist gender theorist Simone de Beauvoir's view to the effect that one is not born a woman, but one becomes so – that sex was no longer an element of nature but a social role people chose for themselves.  "The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious," he said.  The defence of the family, the Pope said, "is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears."  On Monday, the Vatican's newspaper described laws on gay marriage as an attempt at a communist-like "utopia"….

Government announces GM 'exit strategy';... taxpayers to lose billions…..

Starting next month, Americans in 25 states will have Republican governors and Republicans in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They aren't all small states, either. They include about 53 percent of the nation's population. At the same time, Americans in 15 states will have Democratic governors and Democrats in control of both houses of the state legislatures. They include about 37 percent of the nation's population.

The number of young black men who cast a vote for the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 tripled that of 2008. Hearing this statistic, one commenter quipped, “Is this one of those situations where three times nothing is still nothing?” No. “Nearly 20 percent of black males under 30 voted for Romney, more than three times what McCain got.” That according to Ann Coulter, who gets her information from Pew Research. How? Why? Is there a growing number of young black conservatives?

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Monday that she will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to the Senate. Sen.-designate Scott, 47, will become the only African-American currently serving in the Senate and the first black Republican to serve in the upper chamber since the 1970s. He will also be the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. “Scott made sense for “….his ties to both the conservative base and the party establishment.”

The Obamacare abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization mandate gets a slapdown in Federal Court.

In examining documents made public by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), it becomes apparent that race plays a disturbingly large role in the medical student application process. White students applying to medical school with a GPA in the 3.40-3.59 range….had an 11.5% acceptance rate…..minority students with the same GPA..had a 42.6% acceptance rate.

The “hot dog guy” is getting new digs. Clinton Tarver, the owner of Clint’s Hot Dog Cart and Casual Catering, saw his small business thrust into the national spotlight when his supplies were destroyed at a pro-union protest against right-to-work legislation in Lansing, Mich. Violent demonstrators tore down a tent where Tarver was serving his dogs, he said, prompting a staff member for a local lawmaker to create an online fundraiser for the 63-year-old downtown fixture. As of Friday, more than $33,000 had been donated.

The next big issue in the national debate over guns - whether people have a right to be armed in public - is moving closer to Supreme Court review.

Socialized medicine:  A seriously ill baby was forced to wait in an Accident and Emergency ward for more than 12 hours because there were no suitable beds available anywhere in the UK.
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN
Cal Thomas  11/22

Conservatives have been dreaming that a political reincarnation of Ronald Reagan would lead them to an electoral promised land. I never put my faith in such a possibility, because the past is a dangerous place in which to live. Reagan never lived in the past, though he learned from it.  Yet among the contemporary political figures that closely represent the substance and style that made Ronald Reagan who he was is Senator Marco Rubio, Florida Republican.

At a fundraising event for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad last Saturday, Rubio touched all the Reagan bases and focused on solutions, not just a recitation of well-known problems. Probably his best line of the evening was, "The way to turn our economy around is not by making rich people poorer. It's by making poor people richer." In this, he resembled Reagan's favorite president, Calvin Coolidge, who said, "Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong."

Rubio also seemed to suggest that conservatism is larger than the Republican brand, which has become tainted in some minds. He said, "This is not about the Republican Party. This is about limited government conservatism." While he said the Republican Party "is the home of that movement," he seemed to suggest that it is not necessarily its permanent residence.

Rubio also displayed the self-deprecating humor that was a hallmark of Reagan when he said the reason he went to college in nearby Northwest Missouri is because no other college would allow him to play football. Were it not for his "lack of size, speed and talent," he said, he might have played in the National Football League.

Rubio spoke of the middle class, which President Obama constantly referred to during the campaign. He said a major reason why the poor are having difficulty moving into the middle class is because the economy has stagnated. That, he said, is due to the record debt, uncertainty that has kept businesses from hiring and a lack of skills needed in a global economy.

Some Republicans are again suggesting the party would perform better if it divorced itself from social conservatives and their issues. Rubio addressed that directly and rejected it: "The breakdown of the American family has a direct impact on our economic well-being. The social and moral well-being of (our) people is directly linked to their economic well-being. You can't separate the two."  While praising "heroic" single mothers, Rubio said, "They would be the first to tell you how difficult it is." He added, "A two-parent home gives kids advantages," and he said "the great gift my parents gave me" was staying together and loving him and his siblings.

Rubio was not judgmental, but merely appealed to a higher standard. He is not the angry moralist putting others down. He is a political evangelist showing there is a better way. The difference is subtle, but it is in contrast to Mitt Romney's remark about a nation in which 47 percent are "takers."

The way one delivers a message in the TV age is as important as the substance of that message. John Kennedy said, "We can do better." Like Kennedy and Reagan, Rubio is good at turning a phrase so you instantly remember it. Consider this one: "Big government doesn't help people who want to make it; it hurts them." Then there is his call to patriotism from an American born of Cuban immigrants who regularly expresses gratitude to a nation that offered him opportunity: "I can never do more for this country than what this country has done for me." It's followed by a warning: "If America declines there is nothing to take our place."

Rubio has the message the Republican Party needs. It's a long way to 2016 and there are many good potential presidential candidates, but Marco Rubio could be the one candidate conservatives have been waiting for: the second coming of Ronald Reagan.




Two more good reads:
Phyllis Schlafly:  “The notion that the main reason Hispanics vote Democratic is their support of amnesty for illegal aliens and their resentment against Republicans who oppose it is a big political lie. The reason Hispanics vote Democratic is that two-thirds of Mexican immigrant families, although they are hard workers, are in or near poverty, and 57 percent use at least one welfare program, which is twice the rate of native-born non-Hispanic households. That's not a constituency for whom promises of amnesty for more poor immigrants would persuade them to vote for the party that is branded as supporting tax cuts for the rich, limited government and spending reductions. Nor does it mean that Hispanics are a voting bloc eager to vote for a white Cuban, Marco Rubio, instead of the party that is offering them cash, health care and other benefits……”

Investor’s Business Daily:  The president says right-to-work laws mean "the right to work for less money." So how does he explain the fact that incomes are up in RTW states while forced unionism is a proven job killer?........looking at the hard numbers, becoming a right-to-work state is a direct line to the top. According to Michigan's Mackinac Center……private-sector, inflation-adjusted employee compensation in right-to-work states increased by 12% between 2001 and 2011 compared with just 3% over the same period in forced-unionization states…..Employment in right-to-work states expanded 2.4% over the same stretch vs. a 3.4% decline in non-right-to-work states. Ironically, Obama is taking credit for jobs created in RTW states……right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a RTW law in early 2012) "were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012." This is why people vote with their feet and move to these states….If unions satisfied workers, one would expect their membership to at least remain constant. But between 2000 and 2010, union membership declined by 9.5% in non-RTW states and 9.2% in RTW states. The only growth was in government unions. Michigan's right-to-work law is a positive blow for worker freedom and economic growth and an example, as in Wisconsin and Indiana, of how conservatives can win and are winning in states led by GOP governors.”
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FROM OTHER COLUMNS
"An industry devoted to serving the public's right to know gives twisted and evil men the means of becoming known. This problem is not obviously amenable to a solution, and it certainly is not amenable to a legal one. A regime of media regulation that would be both effective at preventing mass shootings and consistent with the American Constitution is no easier to imagine than a regime of gun regulation that would meet the same criteria."
                    -James Taranto

"So people are acting pretty set on gun control, but all their ideas are things that do nothing but pester law abiding gun owners. ... So idea: Let's just pretend to pass gun control. The people who most want it won't know the difference between an actual law being passed and absolutely nothing being done, so can't we just say we passed a bunch of laws and pretend everyone is safer? We'll call it the 'Super Deadly Gun Ban Act' and it will ban fully-automatic bolt action shotguns and armor piercing hollow points and any magically enchanted guns. And then all the dumb people will cheer, 'We is safer!' So it's the same result as an 'assault weapon' ban, but no enforcement costs and no petty intrusions on liberty. If people want useless things done to make us all feel safer, can't we all just play along?"
                    -Frank J. Fleming
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BOOKS
“Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future”  by James Delingpole.   “….the part scientists disagree on is not the "forcing" effects of CO2-induced warming – but the "positive" or "negative" feedbacks which might arise from it. The alarmists, whose views have dominated the debate these last few decades, have long insisted that these feedbacks – mainly created by additional clouds and water vapor – have a "positive", amplifying effect.  New data shows there is no amplifying effect, no “tipping point.”
Energy: As the U.S. changes the balance of power by exporting some of its abundant natural gas resources, a Hollywood propaganda film debuts claiming the technology making it possible will poison America´s small towns. ´Promised Land," a film that does nothing to alter Hollywood´s stereotype of businessmen, particularly energy industry executives, as greedy plunderers of the planet, opens this week in selected theatres. The anti-fracking film is based on a not-true story about well contamination in a small Pennsylvania town with a healthy dose of junk science.
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LEFTIST WATCH
Liberals always say they don’t want to take away guns. But give them an awful tragedy like the Newtown, Conn. shooting and they get bolder and more honest.

Liberal activist and filmmaker Michael Moore says the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. is representative of “who we are” as Americans. “I hate to say it, but killing is our way. We began America w/ genocide, then built it w/ slaves. The shootings will continue-it´s who we are..”

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GLOBALONEY
Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change :  “Evidence points to a further rise of just 1°C by 2100. The net effect on the planet may actually be beneficial.”

Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius.
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CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTING
Charles Krauthammer:   “Every mass shooting has three elements: the killer, the weapon and the cultural climate. As soon as the shooting stops, partisans immediately pick their preferred root cause with corresponding pet panacea. Names are hurled, scapegoats paraded, prejudices vented. The argument goes nowhere…  Monsters shall always be with us, but in earlier days they did not roam free. As a psychiatrist in Massachusetts in the 1970s, I committed people — often right out of the emergency room — as a danger to themselves or to others. I never did so lightly, but I labored under none of the crushing bureaucratic and legal constraints that make involuntary commitment infinitely more difficult today.  Why do you think we have so many homeless? Destitution? Poverty has declined since the 1950s. The majority of those sleeping on grates are mentally ill. In the name of civil liberties, we let them die with their rights on……We live in an entertainment culture soaked in graphic, often sadistic, violence. Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence. And we profess shock when a small cadre of unstable, deeply deranged, dangerously isolated young men go out and enact the overlearned narrative.”

Thomas Sowell:  “Must every tragic mass shooting bring out the shrill ignorance of “gun control” advocates? The key fallacy of so-called gun control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available. If gun control zealots had any respect for facts, they would have discovered this long ago, because there have been too many factual studies over the years to leave any serious doubt about gun control laws being not merely futile but counterproductive.”

“….everything has been turned over and looked at every which way — except for one:  The question I find myself asking each time is: What the hell happened to fatherhood?........no amount of legislation is going to change what has gone wrong in the U.S. What is needed is a rebuilding of the cracked pillars on which a liberal society rests. But these pillars — personal responsibility and the celebration of the difference between men and women — have been on the chopping block for decades. This has been a boon to deadbeat dads. And unless it is rectified, the spate of senseless killings is bound to continue.

The official Chinese government news agency, Xinhua, has demanded the US immediately adopt stricter gun control measures to reduce the number of firearms the US populace is permitted to possess.

CNN´s Piers Morgan has been on a rabid anti-gun rant since July´s Aurora, Colorado, shootings that has gotten even more venomous after Friday´s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. On Tuesday, he rudely and disgracefully tore into guest Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, calling him "an unbelievably stupid man" who´s "dangerous," concluding the interview by saying, "You shame your country"

“We protect our Mayors with men with guns; we protect our Governors with men with guns; We protect the House and the Senate and President, with men with guns; We protect our courts, our banks, our jewelry stores, our sports arenas, and our pawn shops, all with men with guns....However, Our most precious possessions, our children we protect with a piece of paper and a sign(Gun Free Zone).”

“Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people.”

The head of the National Rifle Association said that armed guards in schools are needed to protect our children from the “genuine monsters” walking among us during a press conference interrupted twice by protesters. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre
The NRA has registered an average of 8,000 new members a day since the tragedy.

John Hinderaker demolishes the New York Times editorial calling for more gun control.  “The Times Embarrasses Itself on Guns–Again!”

Though Adam Lanza may have committed one of the most heinous crimes in history, had he survived his rampage and been convicted in court, he would not have been sentenced to death. In April of 2012, Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) and the Democrat-led Connecticut legislature repealed the death penalty on a party-line vote.
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ARTICLES
Rich Lowry:  Listening to Democrats and the media, you could be forgiven for thinking the point of a deal over the looming “fiscal cliff” wouldn’t be to reduce the deficit so much as to reduce the influence of one man, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Known to one and all simply as Grover, he is the keeper of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge signed by almost all Republicans committing themselves not to raise taxes. For this offense, Grover is deemed the enemy of all that is right and just…..Grover has three insights that are absolutely correct: 1) Revenues from tax increases will almost invariably be spent…2) The typical structure of the Washington budget deal is tax increases now in exchange for promised spending cuts over time that don’t materialize. 3) The Republican brand is dependent on its status as the anti-tax party. These aren’t alien beliefs foisted on the Republican party, but represent GOP orthodoxy. Nonetheless, everyone acts as if Grover is the instrument of the party’s Babylonian captivity. If only the dastardly Norquist didn’t make Republicans say they won’t raise taxes — and put it in writing — the party could fulfill its role in the “good governing” of Washington, namely joining Democrats to raise taxes……whenever a Republican says he won’t abide by Grover’s pledge, the media act like a choir of angels celebrating another saved soul.

Stephen Moore:  “Republicans in need of encouraging signs for the new year need look no further than Tim Scott. He was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday to succeed Jim DeMint as U.S. senator from South Carolina. Mr. Scott is a charismatic and principled economic and social conservative from the Deep South. He owes his rapid political rise in part to the tea party movement. Oh, and he is black.”
The first black Republican senator in three decades will be a spokesman for Tea Party conservatism and a proud member of the party that was founded to fight slavery and made the civil rights revolution possible. Though he´ll inevitably be dismissed as a "token" or worse, Rep. Tim Scott, the next Republican senator from the former slave state of South Carolina, and the first black GOP senator since Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, shatters once again the stereotype of the GOP as a party of racists and sexists.

Must read:  “Obama has stated that he prioritizes "fairness" over growth (as he told Joe the Plumber), but it seems he is getting neither. Blue states with green regulations drive down the stock of affordable housing. The blue states' bluest cities, whose traffic he ties up when he flies in for fundraisers, have staggering chasms of income disparity, with the estates that are home to his donors in close proximity to ghettos and slums. Not so in the red states. Liberals are shocked at their lower level of benefits, but the people who are rushing to move there don't seem to mind it at all. It seems that they'd rather have jobs. Americans, who voted twice for Obama for president, have also voted with their feet against his agenda, fleeing California for places like Texas; vacating the states that give him huge margins for those that are purple or red. Mysteriously, Republicans have failed to tie these together. They have not explained that California is Obama's agenda, and that if his policies come through to fruition, California is what we will have. Republicans should run on the facts, and against the proven failures that Obama's ideas produce when put into effect.”

The truth being, as this column has often said, that present levels of public spending and government intervention in the US, Britain and Europe are unsustainable. The proportion of GDP which is now being spent by the governments of what used to be called the “free world” vastly exceeds what it is possible to raise through taxation without destroying any possibility of creating wealth, and therefore requires either an intolerable degree of national debt or the endless printing of progressively more meaningless money – or both.  How on earth did we get here? As every sane political leader knows by now, this is not just a temporary emergency created by a bizarre fit of reckless lending: the crash of 2008 simply blew the lid off the real scandal of western economic governance. Having won the Cold War and succeeded in settling the great ideological argument of the 20th century in favor of free-market economics, the nations of the West managed to bankrupt themselves by insisting that they could fund a lukewarm form of socialism with the proceeds of capitalism.
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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES
Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus

The highest resolution picture ever taken of Mount Everest, gigapixels, 360 degree view.
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LATE NITE
Leno:    As you know, the Mayans said the world will end tomorrow, and like everybody else, they blame Bush…..As we get closer to Christmas, these Christmas tree lots try to rip you off because they know you're desperate. They know you need a tree. I was at a lot last night. I went to buy a tree. Needles sold separately. I couldn't believe it……A Michigan lawyer has been arrested for manufacturing crystal meth in his office. I hope the fact that this guy's a lawyer doesn't send the message that somehow all meth dealers are sleaze balls…….Animal control officers have now shut down a rat-breeding business here in California due to animal neglect. That's when you know things are bad — when your business is too unsanitary for rats.

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