Saturday, January 4, 2014

op ed review 1/5



THIS WEEK’S NEWS
40,000 new laws take effect in 2014

Eleven GOP attorneys general say the Obama administration is breaking the law by repeatedly making changes to ObamaCare without going through Congress
Obamacare confusion reigns as frustrated patients walk out of hospitals without treatment.  'They had no idea if my insurance was active or not!'
Even Howard Dean now gets it:  “The individual mandate……is going to hurt the Democrats because people don’t like to be told what to do by the government no matter what party they’re in.”
On the last day of 2013 four different federal appeals courts issued temporary injunctions against enforcement of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.
Obamacare may have promised health insurance for the masses. But on its first day, it’s left more Americans without coverage than before the law was passed.
Massachusetts, the model for Obamacare, has highest health costs in the United States

Supporters of President Obama’s health care law had predicted that expanding insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits because people would go to primary care doctors instead. But a rigorous new experiment in Oregon has raised questions about that assumption, finding that newly insured people actually went to the emergency room a good deal more often.

A new scholarly study reveals that most convicts in jail register as Democrats. 

Colorado is the first state allowing stores to sell marijuana for recreational use.  Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., said Colorado and Washington State are "canaries in the coal mine." "There are a lot of ´unintended consequences´... that will make them ponder whether this was the right decision," Kennedy said, predicting more traffic accidents, increased school truancy, higher drop-out rates and a general decrease in public health.

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president of Poland, Lech Walesa:  “….the Obama administration has been a dangerous disappointment”

“Sen. Rand Paul to Lead Class-Action Lawsuit Against Obama over NSA Spying”

Viewers who are “not prepared” to be critical about what they are seeing on screen were more likely to experience a “leftward shift” in attitudes when watching Hollywood movies with an underlying liberal message.

How political correctness humiliated Navy SEALs who caught Qaeda killer…….”no shots were fired, but the SEALs faced another kind of ambush: a humiliating, baffling, infuriating struggle with the military-justice system……because the man those SEALs captured somehow sustained a bloody lip on the night of his capture”

New York Times helping Hillary out by whitewashing Benghazi:  “Al-Qaeda had no direct involvement in the September 2012 attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi”
Sources who were on the ground that night in Benghazi say the NYT report is “completely false.”

Regal R&R: Obamas live like royalty on lavish Hawaiian holiday

According to a detailed report, Kim Jong Un fed his Uncle Jang Song Thaek to a pack of hungry dogs, a deviation from the traditional method of execution by firing squad. "Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called "quan jue", or execution by dogs."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says “if more citizens were armed, criminals would think twice about attacking them.”  Urban police chiefs are typically in favor of gun control or reluctant to discuss the issue, but Craig on Thursday was candid about how he’s changed his mind.
Liberals who like guns have started their own organization: the Liberal Gun Club.

The nanny state:  In the UK, authorities are removing overweight children from their families “who overfeed them”.
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN
Walter Williams 12/18
The Pope and Capitalism

Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that "economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world" and concluding that "this opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts." He went on to label unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny." Let's look at the pope's tragic vision.

First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.

Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A couple of examples would be J.D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. Both Ford's and Rockefeller's personal benefits pale in comparison with that received by the common man by having cheaper kerosene and cheaper transportation. There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind's life has been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here's my question to you: Are people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person -- and became wealthy in the process -- deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals, politicians and now the pope?

Let's examine the role of profits but first put it in perspective in terms of magnitude. Between 1960 and 2012, after-tax corporate profit averaged a bit over 6 percent of the gross domestic product, while wages averaged 47 percent of the GDP. Far more important than simple statistics about the magnitude of profits is its role in guiding resources to their highest-valued uses and satisfying people. Try polling people with a few questions. Ask them what services they are more satisfied with and what they are less satisfied with. On the "more satisfied" list would be profit-making enterprises, such as supermarkets, theaters, clothing stores and computer stores. They'd find less satisfaction with services provided by nonprofit government organizations, such as public schools, post offices and departments of motor vehicles.

Profits force entrepreneurs to find ways to please people in the most efficient ways or go out of business. Of course, they can mess up and stay in business if they can get government to bail them out or give them protection against competition. Nonprofits have an easier time of it. Public schools, for example, continue to operate whether they do a good job or not and whether they please parents or not. That's because politicians provide their compensation through coercive property taxes. I'm sure that we'd be less satisfied with supermarkets if they, too, had the power to take our money through taxes, as opposed to being forced to find ways to get us to voluntarily give them our earnings.

Arthur C. Brooks, president at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "Who Really Cares," shows that Americans are the most generous people on the face of the earth. In fact, if you look for generosity around the world, you find virtually all of it in countries that are closer to the free market end of the economic spectrum than they are to the socialist or communist end. Seeing as Pope Francis sees charity as a key part of godliness, he ought to stop demonizing capitalism.


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FROM OTHER COLUMNS
"In our just concluded Christmas season, we recalled a different kind of Magi: wise men who came to worship and bring gifts to the Christ child. Now MAGI stands for Modified Adjusted Gross Income. How appropriate with a president who was called a messiah figure by some and to whom we are being forced to bring 'gifts' in increasing amounts to be misspent on bloated and dysfunctional government. There's only one way to fix this and it comes in the next two elections."
             -Cal Thomas
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LEFTIST WATCH
Socialist French President Hollande Gets Court Approval for 75% Millionaire Tax.

The palpable embarrassment of the Left over Obamacare has led to an odd and disturbing reaction. Following the creation of the now-infamous Pajama Boy tweet from Barackobama.com, embodying so much that is wrong with Obamacare and socialism in general - the infantilization of adults, the smirking know-it-all attitude of the nanny state, and the inappropriate intrusions in our private lives - conservatives erupted with a wave of hilarious mockery. The resulting sting obviously has psychologically wounded the Left. How else to explain this article?  "Pajama Boy´ Controversy Wrapped in Anti-Semitism."

“Perhaps the question has entered your mind. It’s entered mine many times: “Who are these people who think Thomas Friedman is smart?” Not to specifically pick on Thomas Friedman (not that this wouldn’t be richly deserved), but the question really has to do with a whole culture of generally left-wing people who gravitate around ideas, events and notions that can be shown to be quite empty when you really examine them…”

It used to be unacceptable for national news shows to broadcast race hatred as commentary. No longer. So extreme is the loathing of white Republicans that black commentators on two cable news channels have uttered patently ridiculous and shameful comments on a Romney family photo that shows the former presidential candidate with his black adoptive grandson on his knee…… race hatred trumps human feeling and the need to nurture the next generation.

We all knew we were in for something completely different when the inauguration of self-described “progressive” Bill de Blasio as New York’s mayor began with a keynote from pro-Communist activist Harry Belafonte. The 86-year-old singer has a history of extremism. He has been an infamous house guest of Fidel Castro, called Colin Powell and Condi Rice “house slaves” of the Bush administration, and last year compared the free-market Koch brothers to the Ku Klux Klan. “We will be no longer a divided city,” he proclaimed as he compared today’s New York to a “Dickensian” nightmare.

de Blasio has laid out an ambitious, far-left agenda as he begins what is destined to be a disastrous reign as New York’s 109th mayor. Leveling left-wingers, with their perverse obsession with income equality, are looking eagerly to the city in the hope that the new mayor will “morph New York City’s municipal machinery into a closely watched laboratory for populist theories of government that have never before been enacted on such a large scale,”
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ISLAM
“One of the (UK) Woolwich killers decided to convert to Islam after being inspired by a hate preacher who advocates killing gays and beating women, he has revealed in a letter. Michael Adebowale, 22, said that lectures posted online by notorious firebrand cleric Sheikh Khalid Yasin taught him the ‘purpose of life’.
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GLOBALONEY
HOW many global warming scientists does it take to get stuck in Antarctic ice?  “.......expedition trapped by record ice while trying to prove the east Antarctic ice sheet is melting.”
MSNBC:  "The right wing had a field day, pointing and laughing at the global warming believers, who just to be clear, are only a group of scientists risking their lives…to help save the planet…”
98% of mainstream media stories about the rescue ignore that the ice-bound ship was on global warming mission
Antarctic ice shelf melt ´lowest EVER recorded, global warming is NOT eroding it´

U.S. ushers in 2014 with record-low temps, snow
Winnipeg deep freeze as cold as uninhabited planet:  “Winnipeg's temperature as cold as surface of Mars”
Up to 30 inches of new snow for New England.
“Americans Spent $7.45B in 3 Years Helping Other Countries Deal With ‘Climate Change’” (global warming)

Malcolm Gladwell´s great book The Tipping Point presents the case that sudden seismic shifts in society can result from small events, if the right factors are present. Tipping points happen when momentum toward an idea builds and finally crosses a threshold where it is evident that a major cultural change has occurred. The global warming tipping point is coming, but not the one anticipated by climate change "experts."… Al Gore, the high priest of AGW theory, has closed all of his Alliance for Climate Protection field offices, and laid off 90% of his staff. Contributions have all but dried up.

Solar electricity is growing, promoted, and most importantly, heavily subsidized. The promoters of solar electricity claim that it is close to being competitive with conventional sources of electricity. That is a fantasy. Solar electricity is expensive and impractical. If it weren’t for government subsidies, some explicit and some disguised, the solar industry would collapse.
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ARTICLES
The prize for most provocative op-ed of the year goes to Pat Buchanan:  “Is Putin one of us?” Probably not, but it’s sure food for thought if you worry about the cultural decline of the West:
This generated some vigorous debate at Free Republic.

Must read:  “The Straight Dope on Homosexuality”  by Elizabeth McCaw

If you make $15/hr, ($34,000/year)  you would be in the world’s top 1 percent of wage earners.

“Back in the seventies when I was a lefty……we used to speak of “el enemigo principal,” the principal enemy. …..The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era…..”

Camille Paglia: “A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues”  Why ignoring the biological differences between men and women risks undermining Western civilization. 'What you're seeing is how a civilization commits suicide," says Camille Paglia. The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that's just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.
'There's no room for anything manly now': Paglia speaks out AGAINST the loss of masculine virtues and its negative impact on society.
"We will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period." (Barack Obama, June 15, 2009, with variants repeated many times since). Today, any American who isn´t willfully blind knows this "promise" is a very big lie. A lie which was deliberately told by fundamentally-dishonest pushers of Obamacare, because if the truth were widely known at that time the Affordable Care Act would never have become law.

The breathtaking ineptitude with which the Obama administration has implemented the Affordable Care Act provides the Republican Party a very real opportunity to make major gains in the upcoming midterm elections……According to a CNN/ORC survey released last week, the GOP has improved its standing among registered voters by 13 points…… This is good news indeed, but some of the commentary offered by pundits and conservative activists concerning this trend threaten to infect Republican politicians and donors with a deadly strain of overconfidence.

Obamacare faced a very tough year in 2013, but that could pale in comparison to what happens in 2014.  Here are the stories to watch:

GOP Establishment Remained Neutral on 'Duck Dynasty' Controversy

All things considered, it was a year without shame. It was the year that Miley Cyrus….made us yearn for the good taste and restraint of the era of Lady Gaga, not to mention the golden age of classic Britney Spears. It was the year the president of the United States posed in a selfie with other foreign leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. It was the year Anthony Weiner admitted in the midst of his New York City mayoral campaign that he had continued to sext after resigning from Congress for sexting. It was the year that Toronto mayor Rob Ford denied smoking crack, before admitting smoking crack — probably “in one of my drunken stupors.” It was the year Dennis Rodman nominated himself as goodwill ambassador to North Korea, touchingly pronouncing himself Kim Jong Un’s “friend for life.” It was the year Lance Armstrong confessed to cheating in every single one of his Tour de France victories, after attempting for years to destroy anyone who had blown the whistle on his doping. It was the year something truly outlandish happened on The Real Housewives of Somewhere or Other. It was the year Mob Wives got crazy. It was the year that 16 and Pregnant descended into moral chaos. They all made us remember a time when Jersey Shore represented a more decorous, elevated form of reality television.  So good riddance to a year of shamelessness. It is sure never to be excelled — except by 2014.
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REPUBLICAN CIVIL WAR
The establishment GOP in Washington hates the Tea Party and the conservative wing of the party more than they do the Democrats. They will make very clear that instead of riding a conservative wave to a landslide victory in the 2014 midterms, they will do everything in their power to sabotage conservative and Tea Party candidates for their own personal benefit.

David Limbaugh:  Establishment GOP Biting Its Feeding Hand?

Dick Morris:  House Speaker John Boehner would not be House Speaker John Boehner if it were not for the tea party and the other conservative groups he now criticizes. He says that they “lack all credibility” and accuses them of “using our members [Congressmen] and the American people for their own goals.”
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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES
The Five Biggest Myths About Income Inequality
5 Ways the Liberal Obsession With Income Inequality Hurts the Poor

The funniest thing you will see today:

These images of the Palouse Grasslands, in rural Washington State, were painstakingly harvested over a period of days, then overlaid on one another to give the sharpest and most stunning quality to the whole area of the image. Ms Wood….would drive for up to 12 hours to find the perfect vantage point for her images.
A new viral video showing an “amazing T-Rex illusion” has gone viral, achieving nearly 3.5-million YouTube views in the days since it was posted. Try as you might to avoid it, the video will mess with your mind.
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WISE WORDS
"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."
                   -Thomas Paine



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