Saturday, February 23, 2013

op ed review 2/24

The recession has caused new retirees to be worse off financially than their parents when they finally leave the workforce. It is the first time since the Depression in the 1930s that America´s elderly have less to look forward to than earlier generations.

Universal Orlando plans to stop offering medical insurance to part-time employees beginning next year, a move the resort says has been forced by Obamacare.

“Here´s a trend you´ll be reading more about: part-time "job sharing," across different businesses. It´s already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by Obamacare…..a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King to log another 20 hours..”

“You knew it was coming. Scientific American — which often pushes cultural agendas as much as scientific ideas — has an article informing us that polyamorous people have so much to teach the rest of us about life.”

The Obama administration outlined its argument on Friday why the U.S. Supreme Court should strike down a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and woman.
President Obama called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at approximately 10 p.m. on the night of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi…That was more than six hours after the attacks started…..about the same time that Clinton first released a statement linking the attacks to “inflammatory material posted on the Internet..”

Al Gore reached a new low at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock this week as he compared the U.S. building the Keystone pipeline to a junkie shooting up drugs. “Gore then told the audience that his speech was sponsored by the oil emirate of Qatar.”

“US tire boss mocks ‘crazy’ French unions.”  The head of US tire manufacturer Titan International told the French government Wednesday that his firm will not take over a loss-making Goodyear factory because the unions there are “crazy” and its employees “only work three hours a day”. “How stupid do you think we are?” “They get one hour for breaks and lunch, they talk for three and they work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!”

NBC and MSNBC announced that they hired President Obama´s senior strategist David Axelrod as a "senior political analyst" to appear exclusively on their networks.

Senator Marco Rubio recovers from the “catastrophic gaffe”.  “Sweating under the lights in a television studio, the darling of the party right suddenly bent down and reached over awkwardly to grab a bottle of water and take a desperate swig.”    But Rubio has now shown a canny political instinct in handling the crisis……After the speech was over he tweeted out a picture of the water bottle and then noted that he had attracted thousands of new followers…He poked fun at himself in interviews and even used the incident as a fundraising tool, offering to sell water bottles branded with his name for $25. "Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you … he hydrates you too."

A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

Firearms owners and gun rights advocates are heading to local coffee shops to celebrate “Gun Owners Support Starbucks Day.”

Teddy Turner wants Republican voters in South Carolina to know that it was actress Jane Fonda who turned his father, billionaire CNN founder Ted Turner, into a tree-hugging liberal. Turner, a 49-year-old high school economics teacher in Charleston, is currently running on a conservative platform for South Carolina´s 1st Congressional District.

Thomas Sowell  2/15
A nation's choice between spending on military defense and spending on civilian goods has often been posed as "guns versus butter." But understanding the choices of many nations' political leaders might be helped by examining the contrast between their runaway spending on pensions while skimping on military defense.

Huge pensions for retired government workers can be found from small municipalities to national governments on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a reason. For elected officials, pensions are virtually the ideal thing to spend money on, politically speaking. Many kinds of spending of the taxpayers' money win votes from the recipients. But raising taxes to pay for this spending loses votes from the taxpayers. Pensions offer a way out of this dilemma for politicians. Creating pensions that offer generous retirement benefits wins votes in the present by promising spending in the future. Promises cost nothing in the short run — and elections are held in the short run, long before the pensions are due.

By contrast, private insurance companies that sell annuities are forced by law to set aside enough assets to cover the cost of the annuities they have promised to pay. But nobody can force the government to do that — and most governments do not. This means that it is only a matter of time before pensions are due to be paid and there is not enough money set aside to pay for them. This applies to Social Security and other government pensions here, as well as to all sorts of pensions in other countries overseas.

Eventually, the truth will come out that there is just not enough money in the till to pay what retirees were promised. But eventually can be a long time. A politician can win quite a few elections between now and eventually — and be living in comfortable retirement by the time it is somebody else's problem to cope with the impossibility of paying retirees the pensions they were promised. Inflating the currency and paying pensions in dollars that won't buy as much is just one of the ways for the government to seem to be keeping its promises, while in fact welshing on the deal.

The politics of military spending are just the opposite of the politics of pensions. In the short run, politicians can always cut military spending without any immediate harm being visible, however catastrophic the consequences may turn out to be down the road. Despite the huge increase in government spending on domestic programs during Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration in the 1930s, FDR cut back on military spending. On the eve of the Second World War, the United States had the 16th largest army in the world, right behind Portugal. Even this small military force was so inadequately supplied with equipment that its training was skimped. American soldiers went on maneuvers using trucks with "tank" painted on their sides, since there were not enough real tanks to go around.

American warplanes were not updated to match the latest warplanes of Nazi Germany or imperial Japan. After World War II broke out, American soldiers stationed in the Philippines were fighting for their lives using rifles left over from the Spanish-American war, decades earlier. The hand grenades they threw at the Japanese invaders were so old that they often failed to explode. At the battle of Midway, of 82 Americans who flew into combat in obsolete torpedo planes, only 12 returned alive. In Europe, our best tanks were never as good as the Germans' best tanks, which destroyed several times as many American tanks as the Germans lost in tank battles.
Fortunately, the quality of American warplanes eventually caught up with and surpassed the best that the Germans and Japanese had. But a lot of American pilots lost their lives needlessly in outdated planes before that happened.

These were among the many prices paid for skimping on military spending in the years leading up to World War II. But, politically, the path of least resistance is to cut military spending in the short run and let the long run take care of itself. In a nuclear age, we may not have time to recover from our short-sighted policies, as we did in World War II.


“Here's what we know: The Congress and the President are incapable of cutting anything from any program, ever. If the only way to reduce spending is by instituting automatic cuts, then I am for allowing the sequester to take effect and see what happens."
                          -Rich Galen

"[T]he emotional heart of the State of the Union comprised three issues: immigration reform, climate change and gun control. ... How can it be springtime for liberalism when liberalism's top priorities aren't the public's top priorities? The remainder of Obama's agenda was fairly pathetic boilerplate. Hike the minimum wage! Redesign America's schools! Manufacturing hubs! Make-work programs! This is supposed to be liberalism reborn? Lame ideas cribbed from a playbook with 60 years of dust on it? Slogans hatched by pols who needed a few more nouns to round out Obama's sentences? Legislative initiatives that will cost Democrats seats in 2014 and beyond? Obama's State of the Union had the lowest ratings in 13 years for a reason -- and it's not that America is excited for a new golden age of liberalism. The momentum Obama feels is the pull of gravity, as he starts his fall."
                              -Jonah Goldberg

“Zero Dark Thirty,” the best- reviewed film of 2012, has probably lost out on an Oscar because of a political backlash in left-leaning Hollywood over its depiction of torture in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

"Argo" claims to be a broadly accurate retelling of real events in the Iranian hostage crisis. But it´s historic revisionism masquerading as revelation. And that revisionism, carried out by Democrat activists Ben Affleck and co-producer George Clooney, conveniently makes the Democrat laughingstock of the crisis, former President Carter, look good. The more we learn about the project, the more it smells like a bad Hollywood plot to rehab Carter´s legacy as one of the worst presidents in history. It turns out that Carter quietly collaborated on the film…..

What kind of person would want to do harm to America? Well, besides Islamists there are people that believe that "The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States." That quote is from George Soros, who is using his billions to create a global "open society" (more correctly called a global Marxist police state). But Soros is just one of many who hold the same negative beliefs about America…..These utopianists, more commonly known today as progressives, who have been active in both of our two major political parties, are really just renamed Marxists who seek to weaken America in every possible way in order to hasten its collapse, and some of them have infiltrated our government at the highest levels.
Environmental groups gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Sunday and marched on the White House for a climate change rally largely aimed at pressuring President Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.  They picked a day when the wind chill in Wash DC was 16F.
The liberal media has mounted a campaign to destroy Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). He’s a high priority target because he goes against everything the media has said about the Tea Party, and conservatism in general. For all the talk about the Tea Party’s anti-intellectualism, Cruz received his B.A. at Princeton University, and his Juris Doctor at Harvard University. He also clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. As George Will wrote back in June of 2011, “By the time Ted Cruz was 13, he was winning speech contests sponsored by a Houston free-enterprise group that gave contestants assigned readings by Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. In his early teens he traveled around Texas and out of state giving speeches. At Princeton, he finished first in the 1992 U.S. National Debate Championship and North American Debate Championship….”
Apparently, the Washington Post and New York Times don’t like the idea of a non-white U.S. Senator acting all uppity.  It’s fine for the lily-white Elizabeth Warren to immediately come out guns blazing, but over the past couple of days both news outlets ripped into in Texas Senator Ted Cruz for not knowing his place.

´I am a Socialist,´ Hitler told Otto Strasser in 1930, ´and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow´. No one at the time would have regarded it as a controversial statement. The Nazis could hardly have been more open in their socialism, describing themselves with the same terminology as our own SWP….Almost everyone in those days accepted that fascism had emerged from the revolutionary Left.

The case for Carson:   The buzz surrounding Dr. Ben Carson is loud and growing...but is it merited? (Short answer, yes!)

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey delivered the opening keynote address for the International Students for Liberty Conference this weekend. Mackey stressed that capitalism has the power to eradicate poverty in the next century, expressed concern over capitalism’s “branding problem”, and maintained that “self-interest” alone is an insufficient moral foundation for the system. “Business Has Been Hated by the Intellectuals and Elites for All Time”

VDH:  There are not just the rich and poor any more, but now the “good rich” (e.g., athletes, rappers, Hollywood stars, Silicon Valley grandees, Democratic senators, liberal philanthropists, etc.) and the “bad rich” (e.g., oil companies, CEOs, doctors, the Koch brothers, etc.). The correct-thinking nomenklatura and the dutiful apparat versus the kulaks and enemies of the people. The president in his State of the Union damns the “billionaires with high-powered accountants,” as a friendly Facebook pays no state or federal taxes, as a George Soros walks away with $1.2B in speculation profits (in three months, no less!) by betting against the Japanese yen, and as Jesse Jackson, Jr. gets caught stealing from a campaign fund to buy a $43,000 Rolex. I thought Soros at his age knew when he had made enough money? We shrug at all this. A president who thunders to the nation that we must be on guard against the “well-off and well-connected” heads south to Palm Beach to meet his $1,000-an-hour golf pro, while Michelle and the family go west to hit the slopes at Aspen, where no one accepts that they’ve reached a point where they’ve made enough money, or that there was any time when it was not good to profit. Something strange has insidiously happened to the old notion of hypocrisy. Does it even exist any longer?

These days, Republican political professionals seem to feel rather like Mikhail Gorbachev did in 1983 when he toured farms in Canada two years before he would become premier of the Soviet Union. Stunned by how productive a certain agribusiness was, Gorbachev asked how many farmhands had brought in the crop. “None,” came the answer; the farm was entirely mechanized.  From this one conversation, Gorbachev instantly understood the depths of the Soviet crisis and the desperate need for a new approach. For Republicans, the November 2012 election proved their technical inferiority in exactly the same way — it all came home to them in one day, Nov. 6, as President Obama’s campaign demonstrated a degree of technological superiority above the GOP’s efforts as shocking in its way as the mechanized agribusiness was to the hidebound ways of Soviet agriculture.

“Karl Rove Dismisses Tea Party Backlash: We Need ‘Fewer Christine O’Donnells And More Rand Pauls’”

"I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states. This is the opposite of the Republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism. No one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations across the country. That is the system of Tammany Hall and the Chicago machine. It should be repugnant to every conservative and every Republican."
                           -Newt Gingrich, commenting on Karl Rove's new PAC

“There is in fact an argument for close examination of potential candidates to avoid another Akin -- that is, a candidate selected and supported by liberal Democrats for the sole purpose of undercutting the GOP. But that's not how Rove chose to put it. With his customary combination of perspicacity and class, he instead portrayed himself as the last man on the establishment ramparts, defending traditional blue-blazer Republicanism from the unwashed hordes in their NASCAR ballcaps. With his rhetoric, his posturing, and his choice of a media platform (that conservative stalwart the New York Times), Rove could not have done more to provoke the Republican rank and file. A political technician of good will would have reached out to the tea parties, called a conference, gone over the problem, and presented alternative solutions acceptable to all sides of the conservative coalition. Rove did none of those things in favor of something on the order of a nuclear first strike carried out with the help of left-wing media allies. Unfortunately for him, most of his missiles seem to have exploded in their silos.
Welcome to the scorched-earth phase of the Democrats’ “war on women” campaign, and the beginning of a ruthless offensive to hold their Senate majority, and possibly to retake the House, in 2014. Democrats have nearly perfected the following exercise in cynical electioneering: 1) introduce legislation; 2) title it something that appeals to the vast majority of Americans who have no interest in learning what is actually in the bill, e.g., the “Violence Against Women Act”; 3) make sure it is sufficiently noxious to the GOP that few Republicans will support it; 4) vote, and await headlines such as “[GOP Lawmaker] Votes No On Violence Against Women Act”; 5) clip and use headline in 30-second campaign ad; and 6) repeat.

Politico writers Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen are on to something with their feature published today about President Obama’s mastery of the mainstream media. Their conclusion that the president and his staff have broken new ground in manipulating journalists and shaping favorable coverage of the administration is so obvious that it is almost inarguable. As I have argued several times over the past four years, no president since John F. Kennedy has enjoyed the sort of advantage or lack of serious scrutiny that the president has received.

20 Of The Most Embarrassing Moments In The History Of The Democrat Party

Leno:  Over the weekend, President Obama played golf with Tiger Woods. Tiger said the president was a very good golfer for a guy who plays only five days a week…….Actually, you know what the president's handicap is? He doesn't understand economics…..Scientists at the University of Maryland say they have found a chemical that causes women to talk more than men. It's called red wine…….According to the new study, women talk almost three times as much as men. Well, you know why? Because they know men aren't listening the first two times.

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."
                            -Thomas Jefferson

"The more rules and regulations, the more thieves and robbers there will be."
 Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Saturday, February 16, 2013

op ed review 2/17

A Gallup poll shows that at the end of 2012, self-identified conservatives still outnumbered liberals in every state of the nation except for two -- Rhode Island  and Massachusetts.    But “..only four times in the last hundred years has a Republican campaigned as an unabashed conservative.  Coolidge won big in 1924.  Reagan won two landslides. Only Goldwater, running with a divided Republican Party one year after Kennedy was murdered, lost as a conservative.  As for Reagan, he won because he held conservative values and never apologized for them or watered them down.”

It's time for the State of the Union address, which means the president is pivoting back to jobs once more. It's an annual game where President Obama pretends to be focused on employment and many in the media pretend to believe him.   “Obama takes 57 vacation days since vowing he 'Will Not Rest Until Anyone' can find a GOOD job”
Obama’s State of the Union address was filled with pledges for new government spending, couched as investment in “broad-based growth”, from infrastructure development to Executive measures to combat climate change, designed to bypass Congressional opposition. There was no talk of tax cuts or freeing businesses from red tape and suffocating regulation. Not a word about advancing economic freedom, but acres of language about government intervention, in the economy, the workplace, education system, and practically every aspect of American life, plus a job-killing costly minimum wage hike.

Marco Rubio delivered the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union last night. Did he talk about the contracting economy, rising unemployment, immigration reform, spiraling debt, and what we can do about it? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And Yes. But thanks to a unique moment of having to take a sip of water while publicly speaking for a long stretch of time, the only thing talking heads are talking about today is Rubio “watering down the Republican message.” Get it?
Hypocrisy:  A Hispanic Republican senator drinks water on TV, and the media demolish him. A Hispanic Democratic senator is accused of having sex with underage prostitutes, and the media ignores it.

Like Rubio, Bill Clinton was mulling a presidential run four years in the future when something far worse happened during a speech: He got booed off the stage of the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Somehow we didn't get TV news replaying that clip over 200 times, as the Daily Caller reports cable news did with Rubio's "Bottled Watergate." We didn't get CNN asking if Clinton's career was over, as it did with Rubio on Wednesday. "Bias" is not a strong enough word. America's powerful establishment media are ever-dependable shills…….And like the official press organ of a banana republic, they threaten — on a daily basis — our freedom, bought with blood, to choose our leaders while armed with accurate information.

The Fed’s Holdings of U.S. Gov't Debt Hit Record $1,696,691,000,000; Up 257% Under Obama……entities in Mainland China owned about $1,170,100,000,000 in U.S. government debt, making China the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.

China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports of goods, official figures from both countries show.

The U.S. Navy is unable to refuel the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) because of budget cuts.

After four years of Obama´s diplomatic ´leadership´ and billions of dollars in attempted friendship aid, a new public opinion poll reveals that 92% of Pakistanis now disapprove of the United States.

The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide “Obamaphones” to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven't proved they are eligible to receive them.

Should it be a federal crime for businesses to refuse to hire ex-convicts? Yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which recently released 20,000 convoluted words of regulatory "guidance" to direct businesses to hire more felons and other ex-offenders.

Four California high-school students were reportedly suspended for chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A!” and wearing American flag bandanas during a basketball game. While their punishment has since been rescinded, school administrators said “the incident is far from over.” principal Glenn Lipman felt that the students’ actions might “have had racist undertones since the schools have large Hispanic student populations.”

 “A peer-reviewed survey of 1077 geoscientists and engineers finds that "only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis." If there is a scientific consensus at all, it would have to be skepticism toward anthropogenic global warming. Yet President Obama in his State of the Union speech Tuesday cited the now-discredited notion of such a consensus as the foundation of his green agenda. It is bunk.”

A homicidal maniac blames racism in the Los Angeles Police Department for his killing rampage against cops and civilians and the New York Times responds, “You know, he just may have a point.”

“True to form, CNN, Reuters, and other media outlets used the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI´s retirement to dwell on ancient sex scandals, opposition to gay marriage, and a host of other things the media have never liked about a Pope who would not hew to whatever worldview the chattering classes embraced at the moment "


William Sullivan  2/10
Contrast can bring clarity. And I do not think that the two warring political ideologies in America have never been personified, juxtaposed, and as clearly defined as the contrast we witnessed at this week's National Prayer Breakfast.  Dr. Benjamin Carson, the famed director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, was given the unique opportunity to share his beliefs before a distinguished audience, including President Barack Obama. He did not waste the opportunity, and courageously expressed his beliefs with conviction, contrary though they are to those of the president.

Much has been made of Dr. Carson's alternative solution to make healthcare more efficient:….In two paragraphs, Ben Carson has offered a free market solution to create competition and reduce healthcare costs that is feasible, understandable, and compassionate. (And one that has already been tested -- it is very similar to the system used in Singapore. ) Its relative simplicity alone stands in stark contrast to Obama's healthcare solution pitch, the mechanics of which were so confusing that after two years of explaining it, Democrats entreated Americans to not even try to understand it. Just accept it and see what happens, as Nancy Pelosi suggested..

……..Dr. Carson went on to destroy the notion of the progressive income tax, arguing that "God has given us a system" that would work. He argued that because God requires tithing regardless of outcome:  “There must be something inherently fair in proportionality. If you make ten billion dollars, you put in one billion. If you make ten dollars, you put in one. Of course you gotta get rid of the loopholes. [Laughter] But, now some people say, "Well that's not fair, because it doesn't hurt the guy who made ten billion dollars as much as the guy who made ten." Where does it say you have to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot! We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs."”

Is it possible to say anything more contrary to Barack Obama's insistence on the moral imperative to take disproportionately more from the wealthy to redistribute among the collective?

And this is where the contrast between the two men becomes most apparent. Barack Obama rejects the notion of fairness presented by God, because his devotion to God, if it was ever a driving motivation in his life, has become supplanted by his devotion to the government administration of fairness. That much is abundantly clear. Consider that Dr. Carson carries himself with a pious humility, crediting God and family for giving him the strength of will to succeed. President Obama, whose name would rarely collide with humility in a sentence, insists that the government is responsible for people's success.

The revelation here is not that Barack Obama is a PC thug who intends to transform the fabric of America, or that he makes victims of women rather than empowering them, or that he subscribes to a Marxist's notion of fairness by coercion, or that his healthcare solution is a muddled, hopeless mess sold on Utopian dreams. We already knew all that.

No, the real revelation is that at this year's prayer breakfast, so often only a pious ritual, his exact opposite stood and spoke in sharp contrast to our president. And Dr. Ben Carson owns a legacy as an innovative pioneer of his field and philanthropist whose life and work have personally touched, and even saved, countless others. Barack Obama, on the other hand, despite all his celebrity, owns a legacy that amounts to little more than stirring fear and outrage on the premise that others are not doing enough to help people.

Which ideology has produced the more effective, positive outcome?


"[Obama's] speech gave every indication that he remains a hostage to the superstition that we can spend our way to national prosperity... In reality, the state of our union is this: The United States is today $6 trillion deeper in debt than it was before Barack Obama was first sworn in as president……Out of every dollar the country owes in government debt, 36 cents was acquired under the Obama administration.  The state of our union is this: Today there are more than 4 million fewer Americans working than there were when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president -- not including those who have retired. ... The state of our union is this: Economic growth is weaker than it has been during any recovery in recent memory; in fact, the economy shrank in the last quarter. ... The state of our union is this: Incomes are lower today than they were when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president. ... He boasted that al-Qaeda is decimated, but that news has not reached Benghazi or most of North Africa. So the state of our union also is this: North Korea sets off nuclear weapons with impunity. Iran seeks them without fear. Islamists slaughter our diplomatic personnel while the president's national-defense team keeps bankers' hours. ... The president's confrontational, hectoring, and highly ideological speech ought to be a wake-up call to the country. The Republican majority in the House is the only real check on his power. Supplementing that check with a Republican majority in the Senate is imperative. Even through all of President Obama's obfuscations, that much is clear."
                             -National Review

Therein are the basic personality parameters of the entity known as the modern American left.
Membership in the American left is, thus, easily attained.  All one needs to do is believe and accept the following……(long list)……None of these character traits are dominant among the left in the many countries of Europe or elsewhere who have socialist leaning governments or citizenry.  Dependence on government is a common trait but the spoiled child approach to ideology and the opposition is not.  It appears to be the sole preserve of the American left.
“Occupy LA Honors Chris Dorner, Copkiller Who Killed Minority Officers”
“Chris Dorner: A Mass Shooter Leftists Can Love”

“Liberalism is what evil is masquerading as in our time. I won't go into the labyrinthine details of the matter here, but it was a life-changing epiphany that ultimately led to a transition from secular-conservative/libertarian to man of faith and walking, talking anachronism.  And it made me realize that liberals aren't just misguided, which they are -- they're also in bed with evil. This is apparent in much of what they do, and the support that murdering fugitive Christopher Dorner is receiving from the left is a good example.” ____________________________________________________________________________

An Egyptian court ordered a one-month ban on YouTube, after it said the video-sharing Web site had failed to remove an American-made anti-Islam video.

Out of the flurry of ambitious gun control proposals in the wake of December’s school shooting in Connecticut, expanded background checks on gun sales are fast emerging as the “sweet spot” — as one Senate Democratic leader put it — between what gun control advocates seek and what can actually attract bipartisan support in Congress.

Wayne LaPierre: “It seems so reasonable. In the minds of many, "universal background checks" for firearms transactions sounds like a good idea. But is it really? No. No idea is good if it doesn´t work. No legislation is reasonable if it fails to accomplish its purported goal — to prevent violent criminals and the mentally ill from acquiring firearms. Criminals won´t participate in a "universal" system. They´ll always steal or get their guns, and everything else they want, on the black market. Reasonable people know that criminals will never be part of the "universe."

In less than four weeks since President Obama proposed sweeping new gun control laws and a ban on assault-style weapons, the backlash from law enforcement groups that strongly support the Second Amendment has surged and now there are 10 state sheriffs associations opposed to the president. The Illinois Sheriffs Association became the last to join the growing crowd of police opposed to Obama, arguing this week that the president should instead be focused on mental health, not gun hardware.

A school board in western Colorado has decided to allow the district superintendent and a principal to carry firearms onto school grounds.

Hollywood action star Steven Seagal guided members of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer posse through a simulated school shooting. Members of the volunteer posse, some of them armed, began patrolling areas surrounding schools in Arizona’s most populous county. Seagal’s involvement was called a “mockery” by an Arizona state legislator (guess which party).  “Anybody who has criticized me or the sheriff for standing up to help the children, in my opinion, is an embarrassment to the human race.”

Every job has a minimum requirement. The absolute very least that anyone can do without being considered a complete and utter failure. The minimum requirement for a Commander-in-Chief is to stick around when an American diplomatic mission is under fire. Obama flunked even this minimal requirement by going to sleep and then flying off for a fundraiser in Vegas. The minimum requirement for a Secretary of State is to at least pretend to care why such an attack took place. Hillary Clinton failed that minimum requirement by declaring that it didn’t matter why the attack happened.

“It is difficult to say with certainty which of the many whoppers President Obama told tonight took the most crust to utter, but my money is going on this assertion, made a few minutes into the speech: “Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” I know “Orwellian” has now become rather hackneyed, but there is simply no other adjective that better describes this statement. It is not merely a lie. It is the precise opposite of the truth. It is just as absurd as “war is peace” or “freedom is slavery.”

While Barack Hussein Obama is firing 20,000 Marines as part of his massive purge of the United States military to “save money”, he’s also fighting to send $700 million to the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority.

Rush:  “It Finally Hit Me: Barack Obama Will Never Be Held Responsible for Anything”

We heard many bad and tired ideas during last night’s State of the Union address, and one of them was the promise to raise the minimum wage, to $9 dollar an hour. While on the surface it may seem like a way to increase the standard of living for lower-income Americans, in reality the policy is likely to backfire. For instance, research by economists David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board, and Mark Schweitzer of the Cleveland Fed shows that that minimum wages increase poverty and hence poverty reduction

 “Contrast can bring clarity. And I do not think that the two warring political ideologies in America have never been personified, juxtaposed, and as clearly defined as the contrast we witnessed at this week´s National Prayer Breakfast……nearly everything Ben Carson said was a perfect contradiction of the values expressed by Barack Obama.
Liberals continue their hysteria over remarks made by Dr. Ben Carson at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. Carson, a prominent pediatric surgeon from Johns Hopkins University, dared to weigh in on healthcare — something he knows something about, and certainly knows better than Barack Obama. In the liberal mind, Carson committed a grave transgression; he had dared to disagree with Obama, and in Obama’s presence. In a discussion of Carson’s moral effrontery, Candy Crowley, host of CNN’s State of the Union, asked her panelists whether they were offended by Carson’s comments.
Wall Street Journal:  “Ben Carson for President.”
Here come the "Ben Carson for President" t-shirts
Dr. Ben Carson at the National Prayer Breakfast (27 min)

"Amnesty, amnesty, amnesty, the trap has been cleverly laid for us and the question is will we fall for it again."

With their attacks on tea party conservatives, Karl Rove and his cohorts have fired the first salvo in the Great GOP War of 2013. The strangest aspect of this is that even as Rove denounces conservatism in favor of his unique brand of watered-down compromise, he appears to be looking to capitalize on conservatism itself. While he may call his latest super PAC the “Conservative Victory Project,” Rove most decidedly does not wish for conservative victory. The aim of his group is to push moderate candidates while posturing as the savior of the embattled Republican Party.

Startling picture of lightning striking the Vatican - hours after Pope Benedict XVI´s bolt-from-the-blue resignation.

Musical leaf flute:

Leno:    President Obama wants Congress to increase the minimum wage. Believe me, when it comes to doing the minimum for their wage, Congress knows what it’s talking about.....

Argus Hamilton……..President Obama allowed his Jobs Council to expire without renewing its charter despite high unemployment and a contracting economy. The members never met anyway. The Jobs Council was only intended to save one job, and now its work is done.

"Any system that penalizes success and accomplishment is wrong. Any system that discourages work, discourages productivity, discourages economic progress, is wrong. If, on the other hand, you reduce tax rates and allow people to spend or save more of what they earn, they'll be more industrious; they'll have more incentive to work hard, and money they earn will add fuel to the great economic machine that energizes our national progress. The result: more prosperity for all -- and more revenue for government. A few economists call this principle supply-side economics. I just call it common sense."
                       -Ronald Reagan

"The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome fall.”
                       -Cicero, 55 B.C.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

op ed review 2/10

According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, President Obama was completely aloof from the events in Libya on September 11. He neither asked nor ordered anything. He did not respond to information sent to the White House. He was not involved at all, during the seven-plus-hour attack that resulted in the deaths of four American government employees, including an ambassador.
It would have been nice to know this before the election:   The president was not involved, and did not wish to be involved, in the communications and decision-making processes of that day.  An ongoing terrorist attack on his administration's diplomatic mission in a volatile region on the eleventh anniversary of September 11, 2001 was not considered worthy of his direct involvement.”

The idea that anyone who refuses to disclose his sources of income from foreign governments and organizations could be confirmed as Secretary of Defense is ludicrous, even in the surreal Age of Obama… of the reasons that President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”
There’s just something about Nancy Pelosi and Islam. As Front Page reported last year, Nancy Pelosi hired Faiz Shakir from Think Progress, despite his troubling past, which included aiding in fundraising for a terrorist front group, to be her senior adviser and Director of New Media. Now Pelosi has appointed Nadeam Elshami as her Chief of Staff.

Good news/bad news:  Obama Approval Sinks After Reelection, Hillary Clinton Is Most Popular National Figure,”

President Obama's health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest CBO estimates.
The Duke of Edinburgh is a climate skeptic and has invited Britain’s best-known global warming heretic to give a lecture at Buckingham Palace. Last month the BBC “froze him out” when he dismissed global warming as “poppycock”.

Prepare for this if you don’t get with the program:  “The Oregon attorney general’s office is investigating a bakery after a lesbian couple filed a complaint alleging that the owner discriminated against them when he declined to make a wedding cake for their same-sex “marriage.”

Bruce Willis says he's against new gun control laws that could infringe on Second Amendment rights.

 “The GOP would potentially be helping to give millions more Democratic-leaning Latinos the right to vote. A Pew Hispanic Center study last year showed there were 24 million eligible Hispanic voters in the United States and about 16 million Hispanic kids who will be eligible to vote when they turn 18.  Pew’s polling in October showed 70 percent of registered Hispanic voters identify or lean toward Democrats, while 22 percent favor the GOP — a 48-point Democratic advantage.”
Grover didn’t get that memo:  Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist says that large-scale immigration is good for America and the Republican Party — and that critics of easy immigration should get out of the way.
Donald Trump blasted GOP efforts to clear the way for 11 million illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens, mocking the party for thinking that its bipartisan effort will boost Hispanic support.
A new poll released by the Center for Immigration Studies shows the majority of likely voters simply want illegal immigrants to head back to their home countries. A new poll using neutral language — and avoiding the false choice of conditional legalization vs. mass deportations — finds that most Americans want illegal immigrants to return to their home counties, rather than be given legal status.

A Virginia appellate court ruled that a prison trampled on an inmate’s constitutional rights by refusing to pay for the felon’s sex change operation — a procedure costing about $20,000.
Looking for a free sex change operation? Enroll at Brown University. Come August, the school will offer coverage in its student health care plan for the procedure.

President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security care more about “special interests” in the Democratic campaign base than the lives of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, the ICE union boss told Congress.

In the strongest indication yet that the next member of the Bush dynasty is planning a 2016 presidential run, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Tuesday agreed to appear at the upcoming CPAC convention, long considered the first step to running for president.

The Boy Scouts of America have announced it will not make any decision on its membership policy until its annual meeting in May. One of those leading the charge to change the policy to allow homosexuals as leaders is AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “It is time for Stephenson to resign from the BSA board.”

The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has begun. On one side is the Tea Party. On the other side stand Karl Rove and his establishment team, posing as tacticians while quietly undermining conservatism. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the “biggest donors in the Republican Party” have joined forces with Karl Rove and Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, to create the Conservative Victory Project. The Times reports that this new group will dedicate itself to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts ..”
Rove´s American Crossroads has started a new group to make sure the 2014 Senate races produce zero Todd Akins. But it turns out some conservatives like Rove less than Akin.

Dennis Prager  1/8
On the last day of 2012, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen inadvertently clarified two huge matters regarding the left.

The first was the ignorance about conservatives and conservatism that permeates the left. The second was the primary reason decent people identify with the left: the effective caricaturing and demonizing of the right. Were it not for caricature and demonization, most otherwise intelligent and decent people would not be on the left.

This is what Cohen wrote in his column, "Republicans Adrift:" "It is conservatism that is both intellectually exhausted and nearly indefensible. It is the movement of the ideologically ossified, of gun zealots and homophobes, of the immigrant-phobic and the adamantly selfish. It insists that government must be small (an impossibility!), education must be local (a stupidity) and that debt, no matter what the reason, is immoral and reckless. The movement has lost its reliable monster. Godless communists have been replaced by the church ladies of Planned Parenthood. History giggles."

This caricature of conservatism was penned not by some anonymous contributor to the comments section of, but by a longtime liberal columnist of the Washington Post.  Let's begin:

"Intellectually exhausted and nearly indefensible. It is the movement of the ideologically ossified ... "
All one has to do to show how ignorant this description of conservatism is to cite the names of the two conservative columnists at Cohen's paper, the Washington Post: George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Are these men "intellectually exhausted" and "ideologically ossified"? Are their views really "nearly indefensible"? I mean no insult when I say that the intellectual gap between the columns of those two conservatives' and the columns of their liberal colleagues is quite substantial.

Even outside the Washington Post, where are the liberal Charles Krauthammers and George Wills? Or the liberal intellectual equivalents of Daniel Henninger and his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal; or Jonah Goldberg and his colleagues at National Review? And what about Commentary and the Weekly Standard? Are they, too, "intellectually exhausted"? And name one black liberal thinker who inhabits the same intellectual universe as Tom Sowell, Walter Williams, Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas or Larry Elder, just to name a few black intellectual giants of the right.

"... of gun zealots and homophobes, of the immigrant-phobic and the adamantly selfish."   I have never attended an NRA meeting, let alone been a member, but I happen to think that it is a good thing when good people are armed. Am I "gun zealot"? And if there are "gun zealots," are there not "anti-gun zealots"? Or is zealotry a conservative monopoly? That I suspect is exactly what Cohen believes -- just as he undoubtedly believes that there are religious zealots but no secular zealots.

As for "immigrant phobic," Cohen got carried away here, too. Virtually every prominent conservative voice wants an increase in immigration - of legal immigration, of people who can contribute to America's development. It is illegal immigration that conservatives oppose. Is that distinction too subtle for Cohen to appreciate?

"Adamantly selfish" may be Cohen's corker. Conservative Americans give more charity and volunteer more time than liberal Americans (controlling for income level). On what possible basis, then, does Cohen make the charge -- as false as it is defamatory -- that conservatives are "adamantly selfish?"

Conservatism "insists that government must be small (an impossibility!) ..." America has been great in large measure precisely because it has understood that the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. Moreover, the real "impossibility!" is not small government but the left's ever bigger government. It is neither economically nor morally sustainable, as we are seeing both in Europe and here in America.

"... and that debt, no matter what the reason, is immoral and reckless." This is just demagoguery. Conservatives have little problem with manageable debt: a level of debt that does not rob from future generations, and debt that does not jeopardize America's supremacy in the world. And "no matter what the reason" is almost a lie. It depends entirely on the reason. The last time we had the debt percentage of the GDP we have now was World War II -- and conservatives believe that was a fine reason to get into debt, just as the Cold War was.

"The movement has lost its reliable monster ... Godless communists."   What an admission by a leading liberal -- first, that communism was not a real evil, just a "reliable monster" for conservatives, on a par with "church ladies of Planned Parenthood." Second, that "Godless" is a joke, not a real threat to the moral foundations of society -- as if the death of Christianity in Europe didn't lead to Fascism, Nazism and Communism.

"History giggles."   This is pure leftism. Since Karl Marx, the left has believed with religious certitude that its views are inevitable. "Scientific socialism" Marx called it. Everything opposing the left will end up in the dustbin of history, said Lenin.

We'll see if history giggles at Cohen or Krauthammer.


"The key to the progressive 'ratchet,' as it is often, correctly, called, is that no step forward may ever be retraced. ... The key to the success of Western socialism's 'progress' is not the periodic lurches toward the abyss. It is the art of effective stalling. All of today's political and moral outrages will be rationalized with a shrug tomorrow: 'What difference -- at this point -- does it make?'"
                          -Daren Jonescu

"Not one of the past federal amnesties was associated with a decline in illegal immigration. Instead, the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has tripled since 1986. The total effect of the amnesties was even larger because relatives later joined amnesty recipients, and this number was multiplied by an unknown number of children born to amnesty recipients who then acquired automatic U.S. citizenship. ... You want 'comprehensive immigration reform'? Start with reliable adjudications, fully cleared backlogs, consistent interior enforcement, working background checks for the existing caseload, and efficient and effective deportation policies that punish law-breakers and do right by law-abiders."
                         -Michelle Malkin

The current debate over guns has revealed the National Rifle Association as an “insane organization,” New York Times economist Paul Krugman said on Sunday.

A Saudi preacher who tortured his five-year-old daughter to death has been released after agreeing to pay a ´blood money´ fine.

A Saudi cleric has called for all female babies to be fully covered by wearing the face veil, commonly known as the burka, “for their own protection”   “Burkas for babies”

Gun owners lampooned President Obama as Elmer Fudd after the White House released a photo — in the middle of a fierce national firearms debate — of the commander-in-chief shooting clay targets at Camp David over the summer. While the president’s shooting skills were being mocked, his own gun-control allies privately fretted that Obama risked being ridiculed as a phony for suddenly trying to portray himself as a friend of sportsmen and hunters.

“Seven Reasons Why it´s a Photoshop”

Media Follows Obama´s Orders to Mock Skeet-Gate Skeptics

The other day, I learned that President Obama has canceled our Mars Rover explorations, along with all other planetary missions. NASA´s science mission chief just quit in disgust, and who can blame him? Apparently, even robots´ lives are too precious for us to risk these days, so America is giving up the thrill of discovering space…..Here´s a quick list of some things we´re giving up these days, with little more than a shrug: Making babies (lowest birth rate since 1920). Saturday mail delivery. The Constitution. Hostess Twinkies (though there´s a ray of hope for them)…….”

Ann Coulter:  “Having just lost an election, many Republicans are anxious to remake our party in the image of Democrats. The theory seems to be that whatever we’re doing isn’t working, so we better change everything. But in fact, whatever Republicans did in 2012 — other than an overly long primary fight — worked amazingly well, given the circumstances. In a detailed analysis of the 2012 election, William A. Galston, a fellow with the liberal Brookings Institution, makes a number of fascinating observations that Republicans would do well to consider before embracing amnesty, abortion, gay marriage and Beyonce.  In my analysis of his analysis, the single most important factor in the election was simply that Obama was an incumbent. As Galston notes, beating an incumbent president is a feat that has happened only five times since the turn of the last century. Republicans have done it only once……(lots of data)…Last year, Republicans had to run against an incumbent with a unified party and a unified media 100 percent behind him, and they had to do it after waging their own bitter, endless primary fight, providing a wealth of sound bites for Obama TV ads. Still, Obama did worse than nearly any other incumbent who has won re-election. Indeed, had the election been held a week earlier, Obama probably would have lost.   Stop running scared, Republicans. It makes you look like Democrats.”

The crisis of conservatism on both sides of the pond.  The agony of the US Republicans, engulfed by an existential crisis since the second term victory of Barack Obama, reminds me so much of the UK Conservatives’ similar crisis after the accession of Tony Blair to power in 1997.  That victory ushered in a three-term Labour hegemony. The Tories, aghast at the inversion of the natural order by which they assumed they had a divine right to rule, looked in bewildered mortification upon the upstart Blair whom they found it impossible to dislodge -- and arrived at precisely the wrong conclusion about both conservatism and British society. It was a fundamental error that I believe the Conservative Party is still making – and if they aren’t careful, the US Republicans will fall into the same trap.”

Conspiracy corner:  “DHS Insider: Obama’s cyber warriors preparing for collapse”

Sunday, February 3, is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, which makes it the one hundredth birthday of the income tax. Americans for Tax Reform commemorated the occasion by publishing a few fun facts about the income tax. Among other interesting statistics, the initial top tax bracket was only 7 percent, and it didn’t kick in until income reached a whopping $11.6 million in 2013 dollars. Only 358,000 people had to fill out 1040 forms at first, because the standard family deduction was an adjusted $93,000.

Breathtaking photos of Earth from space:

Mock & load! Web jokers Photoshop Obama pic

The REAL face of Richard III: King who died in battle at 32 is brought back to life with reconstruction of 500-year-old skull found beneath council car park 

Leno:  The state of Washington is now looking for a marijuana consultant now that marijuana is legal up there. I think this is one of those green jobs President Obama is always talking about……. Some Democrats in Congress are now trying to change the marijuana laws, making it legal so it can be taxed and increase revenue. Is that what the government's come down to now? We're selling drugs to pay off our debts? When did Uncle Sam become Scarface?

Letterman: Women will be in combat now. Finally, someone in the tank who´ll stop and ask for directions.

"The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. ... It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing."
                           -Ronald Reagan

"The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye to the Bill of Rights.”
                           -H. L. Mencken

"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good."
                          -Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)