Saturday, December 29, 2012

op ed review 12/30



THIS WEEK’S NEWS
“During eulogy for war hero senator, Obama refers to himself 63 times...”

An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.

Socialist French President Hollande suffered a new setback when France's highest court threw out a plan to tax the ultrawealthy at a 75 percent rate, saying it was unfair.

On January 1, regardless of the outcome of fiscal cliff negotiations, Americans will be hit with a $1 trillion Obamacare tax hike.
Fathers disappear from households across America
In the UK, a 'dad' is the tenth most popular Christmas list request for children.

“Obama Claus Gives You 90 More Days To Collect Your $50,000 Reparations Check”

Sen. Feinstein: “All Gun Owners Should Be Registered, Fingerprinted”

A global activist group is targeting two large hotel chains because they give discounts to members of the National Rifle Association.. The group is pressuring "Wyndham Hotels Worldwide – which owns Ramada, Days Inn, Wingate and Super 8 – and Best Western" because both organizations are listed as "friends of the NRA" on the NRA´s website.

CNN anchor Piers Morgan isn’t benefiting from much Christmas cheer, at least according to one measure: The number of signers on a petition urging the White House to deport Morgan has skyrocketed by late Tuesday afternoon to nearly 66,000 names. The petition had 65,887 supporters around 5 P.M. Tuesday and is posted on the White House’s official petition site. It slams Morgan for comments he has made regarding gun control in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults.

“Blogger Creates Interactive Map of Employees Homes of Paper Which Published Names and Addresses
of Pistol Permit Holders”

“David Gregory and Piers Morgan have both met the Alinskyite Right, and progressives in positions of power should take note. Both men are the targets of digital petition drives aimed at holding them to their own standards, and ridiculing them, invoking Rules 4 and 5 from Rules for Radicals….This may be one of the first signs of the direction the conservative movement will take in President Obama's second term, and I take heart from the development.”
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/12/here_comes_the_alinskyite_right.html#ixzz2GGpFrS5N
“….even as Gregory mocked the NRA for the idea (to put armed guards in schools), he seems to see nothing wrong with sending his own kids to a school that has armed security guards each school day.
President Obama sends his kids to a school where armed guards are used as a matter of fact. Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has 11 security officers and is seeking to hire a new police officer as we speak. 
A New Jersey suburb is getting ready to station a full-time armed police officer in each of its nine schools come January 2. Marlboro Township will reportedly become the first district in the U.S. to have guns in every school

500th homicide in Chicago

The four officials supposedly out of jobs because of their blunders in the run-up to the deadly Benghazi terror attack remain on the State Department payroll — and will all be back to work soon, The Post has learned.
Boston Herald editorial, “The lying continues..”

Prospects for the revival of cap-and-trade legislation in the upcoming Congress as a tonic for global climate change appear to be going up in smoke. Democrats anticipate that some package addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s coal-fueled power plants will likely emerge next session. But getting any proposal through the Republican-controlled House is dubious and it’s extremely unlikely that lawmakers will specifically reconsider cap-and-trade.

Pope Benedict used his annual Christmas message to denounce gay marriage, saying that it destroyed the “essence of the human creature.” In one of his most important speeches of the year, the Pope stressed that a person’s gender identity is God-given and unchangeable. As a result, he sees gay marriage as a “manipulation of nature.”

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report. The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group. And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.
Three churches in the Austrian town of Amstetten (pop: 21,000) were burned this morning. All of the indications point to arson.
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN
PJ O’Rourke:  “Dear Mr. President”

…..the worst thing that you've done internationally is what you've done domestically. You sent a message to America in your re-election campaign…..The message is that we live in a zero-sum universe.

There is a fixed amount of good things. Life is a pizza. If some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box. You had no answer to Mitt Romney's argument for more pizza parlors baking more pizzas. The solution to our problems, you said, is redistribution of the pizzas we've got—with low-cost, government-subsidized pepperoni somehow materializing as the result of higher taxes on pizza-parlor owners.

In this zero-sum universe there is only so much happiness. The idea is that if we wipe the smile off the faces of people with prosperous businesses and successful careers, that will make the rest of us grin. There is only so much money. The people who have money are hogging it. The way for the rest of us to get money is to turn the hogs into bacon.

Mr. President, your entire campaign platform was redistribution. Take from the rich and give to the . . . Well, actually, you didn't mention the poor. What you talked and talked about was the middle class, something most well-off Americans consider themselves to be members of. So your plan is to take from the more rich and the more or less rich and give to the less rich, more or less. It is as if Robin Hood stole treasure from the Sheriff of Nottingham and bestowed it on the Deputy Sheriff.

But never mind. The evil of zero-sum thinking and redistributive politics has nothing to do with which things are taken or to whom those things are given or what the sum of zero things is supposed to be. The evil lies in denying people the right, the means, and, indeed, the duty to make more things.

Or maybe you just find it easier to pursue a political policy of sneaking in America's back door, swiping a laptop, going around to the front door, ringing the bell, and announcing, "Free computer equipment for all school children!"

However, domestic politics aren't my first concern here. The question is whether you want to convince the international community that zero-sum is the American premise and redistribution is the logical conclusion.  I would argue that the world doesn't need more encouragement to think in zero-sum terms or act in redistributive ways. Western Europe has done such a good job redistributing its assets that the European Union now has a Spanish economy, a Swedish foreign policy, an Italian army, and Irish gigolos.

Redistributionist political ideologies, in decline since the fall of the Soviet bloc, are on the rise again. Will you help the neo-Marxists of Latin America redistribute stupidity to their continent?

The Janjaweed are trying to redistribute themselves in Darfur. The Serbs would like to do the same in Kosovo. The Chinese have already done it in Tibet. Al Qaeda offshoots are doing their best to redistribute violence to places that didn't have enough. And Russia and China would like the global balance of power to be redistributed. Since China has plenty of money to lend and Russia has plenty of oil to sell, your debt and energy policies should go a long way toward making the balance of power fairer for the Russians and Chinese.

While redistribution—or "plagiarism," as we writers call it—is a bad idea, zero-sum is even worse. Zero-sum assumptions mean that a country that doesn't pursue a policy of taking things from other countries is letting its citizens down. That's pretty much the story of all recorded history, none of which needs to be repeated. It has taken mankind millennia to learn that trade is more profitable than pillage. And we don't have to carry our plunder home in sacks and saddlebags when we're willing to accept a certified check.

The Chinese don't seem to understand this yet. They think trade is a one-way enterprise, the object of which is for China to have all the world's money. They've got most of ours already. Mr. President, validating China's economic notions isn't a good thing.

A zero-sum faith in getting what's wanted by taking it can extend to faith itself. In some places there is only one religion. If other people have a religion of their own they must be taking away from my religion. Give up that faith, infidels.

Speaking of infidel faiths, Mr. President, please consider the message of this Christmas week—a message of giving, not taking. And consider your prominent position as a messenger of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. When you embrace a belief in the zero-sum nature of what's under the Christmas tree and propose to redistribute everything that's in our Christmas stockings, you're asking the world to go sit on the Grinch's lap instead of Santa's.


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FROM OTHER COLUMNS
“Given the alternatives that are being bandied about in Washington, there can be no doubt that, from a policy perspective, going over the fiscal cliff is the far superior option. Temporary extensions of tax cuts don’t do much for the economy; temporary extension of unemployment benefits retards job-seeking; and the whole grab-bag of accounting gimmicks allows Congress to avoid owning up to the true scale of the budget deficit, a budget deficit that will get cut in half if we go over the cliff. The most common conservative rejoinder to these arguments is political: that Republicans will be blamed if we go over the cliff, and that will cost them in the next election. I don’t agree with that argument, as I’ve written previously, for two reasons: (1) the next election is as far away as an election can be; (2) Republicans will never be able to build a political case for less spending if most Americans are insulated from the cost of that spending……Americans cast their ballots for big government. Now it’s time to pay for it…..How can we expect people to care about the growth of government if it doesn’t cost them anything?”
                  -Avik Roy

Some Republicans are dead set against (raising taxes on anyone).  Some Republicans would be open to the change, but would only want to give up their position in return for serious spending concessions from the administration.  And some Republicans would be open to giving in on top-earner tax rates in order to get a deal done now, and worry about spending later. It appears that it is the last group, working with Democrats and the White House, that will prevail.   But the bottom line is that the fiscal cliff fight will not end happily for Republicans.  They will have given in on what was an article of faith — that taxes should not be raised on anybody, poor or rich — in return for essentially nothing.  All they will have is a plan to fight again, soon.”
                 -Byron York

“The decision of a newspaper in New York’s Westchester County to publish an interactive map that allowed readers to discover the names and addresses of owners of legal guns is generally being debated as one about whether the Gannett-owned Journal News showed good judgment. It didn’t, but the problem goes a lot deeper……..this was about the desire on the part of some in the liberal mainstream media to stigmatize legal gun ownership and to whip up sentiment for not just tighter controls but an eventual ban. This makes it easier to understand why the National Rifle Association fiercely resists even the most reasonable gun control measures. If even those who have jumped through the not inconsiderable hoops erected by the authorities to gain a legal gun permit in New York are now to be treated as if they were the moral equivalent of sex offenders, it’s clear the goal of the anti-gun media is not just to focus discussion on assault weapons and large ammunition clips but to ban individual gun ownership altogether. “
                      -Jonathan Tobin
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BOOKS
Michael Medved:  ‘Les Miz’ on Screen Sends Misleading Messages……The magnificent movie version of Victor Hugo’s classic novel exalts the spirit of revolution at the expense of the virtues of its hero, a hardworking middle-class small-town mayor. But as grand entertainment with a passionately personal focus, the movie version of Les Miserables almost entirely ignores historical context while glorifying the revolutionary inclination, regardless of results.
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LEFTIST WATCH
Sam Donaldson goes after the Tea Party. During a discussion about 2012's biggest game changers on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Donaldson said, "The greatest slogan that I hated during this last campaign was 'We want to take back our country.' Guys, it's not your country anymore - it's our country..”

“You really would need to have a heart harder than the five-pence piece in the Christmas pud not to feel sorry at present for Professor Richard Dawkins. Christmas must be such a terrible trial for the planet’s most celebrated--and angriest--atheist. All that cheerfulness and pleasure associated with Christianity’s main celebration seems to drive him simply nuts. Indeed, just a few days ago he lunged into yet another wild denunciation of religious faith. This time, the Chief Inquisitor of Unbelief declared that raising a child as a Catholic was worse than subjecting it to sexual abuse”
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ARTICLES
Few things animate the ire of liberals more than the right to bear arms. Liberals loathe the Second Amendment and when horrific tragedies like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut rear their ugly head, they are quick on the draw to call for more gun control. But just don’t ask liberals to practice what they preach. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is readying legislation to re-introduce a ban on assault weapons. Yet, as Mark Levin pointed out, Feinstein owned a concealed firearm. She said, “If somebody tries to take me out I’m going to take them with me.” When NRA President Wayne LaPierre called for armed guards to be placed in schools late last week, an irate David Gregory derided the idea during his interrogation of LaPierre on Meet the Press. Yet Gregory’s children attend the same school in Washington, D.C. as President Obama’s daughters. And yes, Sidwell Friends, a Quaker school, employs armed guards.

For unbridled bias, ignorance and animus, this Reuters story on firearms has to be read to believed. Let’s start with the headline: Gun enthusiasts pack shows to buy assault weapons.  In case you’re slow on the uptake, the story contains no fewer than thirteen uses of the word “assault,” all of them used incorrectly. The idea is to get the reader to think that enraged gun nuts all across America are lining up to buy machine guns in order to “assault” a particular target of their ire.

Riveting article.  “I carried a gun in New York City for more than a decade -- back when there were thousands of murders a year and the Bronx led the nation in killings. On at least four occasions, that gun saved my life, and in a couple of instances, the lives of people who were with me at the time.”

Hugh Hewitt:  “President Obama used the six weeks after his election to remain in full campaign mode and attack the GOP relentlessly with the intent of marginalizing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as an effective leader of the Republican opposition. He succeeded. Decisively. And thus defined his second term as a bitter grind before it even began, just as he signaled to the Republicans that there is zero upside to negotiating with this most partisan president.”

“It's an old story by now, this venomous lashing-out at blacks and other minorities who embrace conservative or Republican values. It especially infuriates the Democratic left to see the enthusiasm black conservatives inspire among Republicans. Far from celebrating the fact that minorities can demonstrate appeal across the political spectrum, the left whips out the race card. The rise of black Republican leaders, they say, is just a thin disguise for GOP racism. Yet if Republicans oppose a black Democratic leader, they call that racism too.
Perhaps historical guilt feelings explain this reflexive racial demagoguery. For a very long time the Democratic Party was a bulwark of American racism – it was the party that defended slavery; that fought the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments; that founded the Ku Klux Klan; that enacted Jim Crow segregation; that opposed anti-lynching laws. Could it be the psychological weight of such a record that leads so many Democrats and their allies today to promiscuously impute racism to their political opponents? Above all, to their black political opponents? “

Story behind Mitt Romney loss:  Rich Beeson, the Romney political director…..said that only after the election did he realize what Obama was doing with so much manpower on the ground. Obama had more than 3,000 paid workers nationwide, compared with 500 for Romney, and hundreds of thousands of volunteers. “Now I know what they were doing with all the staffs and ­offices,” Beeson said. “They were literally creating a one-to-one contact with voters,” something that Romney did not have the staff to match. Republicans, as it happened, had lost track of their own winning formula. Democrats said they followed the trail blazed in 2004 by the Bush campaign which used an array of databases to “microtarget” voters and a sophis­ticated field organization to turn them out. Obama won in part by updating the GOP’s innovation. But losing seemed a remote and unlikely prospect when Romney gathered advisers in Boston and planned the campaign they all believed would put him in the White House.
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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES
Making it easy to understand:  “US budget for dummies”:

The authentic story of the redeeming power of the Christmas message is nowhere more vividly illustrated than in the incredible life of an English slaver named John Newton.
The lost churches of Russia: Haunting images of abandoned wooden buildings crumbling to dust in remote forests
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2252364/The-lost-churches-Russia-The-abandoned-wooden-buildings-left-forgotten-forests.html#ixzz2FtJBtv4i


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