Saturday, February 22, 2014

op ed review 2/23



THIS WEEK’S NEWS
Obamaville homeless camps spring up, this one in Baltimore.

The marketable debt of the U.S. government has more than doubled while President Barack Obama has been in office.
With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for sharply increased spending and an end to the “era of austerity.”
President Obama’s stimulus may have boosted the economy when it passed in 2009, but it’s now beginning to take a toll and will soon begin to leave the economy worse off than if it had never passed, according to a new report Friday by the Congressional Budget Office.

“The FCC is planning to send government contractors into the nation's newsrooms to determine whether journalists are producing information that meets the public's "critical information needs." Those "needs" will be defined by the administration, and news outlets that do not comply with the government's standards could face an uncertain future.”
After outrage, “FCC backs off newsroom study”
Billionaire leftist George Soros has his hands in this, funding a study to develop criteria for what information is "critical" for Americans to have.

In a watershed moment and a huge victory over environmentalists, General Electric has agreed to stop projects that are designed solely for the purpose of carbon dioxide reductions to please those who lobby for climate change concessions.

Four United States Senators have a written a letter to FBI director James Comey about the indictment of author and filmmaker Dinesh D´Souza. Senators Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee are the four senators, all Republicans, to have signed the letter. The letter quotes Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz as saying, "I can´t help but think that [D´Souza´s] politics have something to do with it. ... It smacks of selective prosecution."

Michelle Obama: “Young People Are Knuckleheads,' Which Is Why They Need Obamacare”
Obama: Raising the minimum wage…will help those who want to "work less”.
“Obama’s Celebrity Pal Beyonce Has A Half-Brother On Food Stamps, Even Though She’s Worth $350 Million”

The new Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:  is a “Democrat Political Asset”

Pandora Knows How You'll Vote, and It's Not Keeping Your Secret.  The online music service is telling campaigns what music you listen to, which they say gives away your party affiliation.

Soon coming to Washington State?  Feds worry that drug cartels are moving into Colo. An ongoing federal investigation is raising questions about the Colorado marijuana industry's ties to Colombian drug cartels using the front of legal marijuana to make money illegally.

“The United Auto Workers union suffered a crushing defeat, failing to win a majority of the 1,550 hourly workers at Volkswagen AG ’s plant in Chattanooga,Tenn….One cannot overemphasize the magnitude of this loss. What it clearly spells out is the irrelevance of the old industrial unions in today’s world.”
Kaus:  “No wonder they wanted card check”

Remington Arms Company, Inc., founded in 1816 in upstate New York, announced they will build their new factory in Alabama and not the Empire state. Since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) signed the SAFE Gun Control Act, multiple gun companies have left the state.

Kathleen Willey, the former volunteer aide to Bill Clinton who says she was sexually harassed by the president in the 1990s, is now sounding the alarm about the potential danger of Hillary Clinton becoming president. “Hillary Clinton IS the war on women, and that’s what needs to be exposed here.”

Conservative Breitbart News is launching new news agencies, "Breitbart London" and "Breitbart Texas"—that are the first steps in a multi-year expansion effort that will bridge the gap between global and regional news at a time when the rise of anti-establishment forces in politics and new media are threatening the old political and media order. James Delingpole, will lead Breitbart London, which will have a staff of 10 with 100 contributors already lined up to grow the site. Breitbart´s Brandon Darby will lead Breitbart Texas.

The Department of Homeland Security wants a private company to provide a national license-plate tracking system that would give the agency access to vast amounts of information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers.

In 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758), and the black children killed comprised 42.4% of the total number of abortions in the Big Apple.
“Somewhere, eugenicist Margaret Sanger -- founder of Planned Parenthood and a staunch proponent of the forced sterilization and abortions of black and minority children -- is smiling.”

A former Planned Parenthood worker has opened up to a diocesan newspaper in a gripping tell-all interview, saying she was shocked at the horrors she witnessed during the two years she worked in Indiana’s largest abortion facility. “It was a money-grubbing, evil, very sad, sad place to work”
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN
Rube Goldberg Democrats
Dan Henninger, WSJ, 2/19

As American voters watch ObamaCare continue its Godzilla-like rampage across the national health-care landscape, it's worth considering the collateral damage this political monster may be doing to the Democratic brand itself. What if ObamaCare's problems become a metaphor for the modern Democratic Party? Two portents emerged the past week.

The United Auto Workers suffered a humiliating defeat at Volkswagen VOW3.XE -1.54% in Tennessee. And days before that loss, voters in San Diego elected Republican Kevin Faulconer mayor after he teed up his opponent as a captive of the city's public unions. Two big constituencies sacked in a week.

The Democrats' problem is that we live in the brutal age of brand maintenance. Ask BlackBerry, Sony, Target or Lululemon.  The horror of falling off the curve is that, seemingly overnight, enthusiasm for one's brand can evaporate. There is no reason why a political party should be immune to this new imperative.

Out in the world beyond what Washington manufactures and spins, no one would get away with putting out a product as flawed as ObamaCare. Today's public won't accept that kind of performance. From the largest consumer-product companies down to the local sandwich shop, you've got to deliver the goods at a sustained level of competent execution. Not everyone deserves a gold badge from J.D. Power, but by and large it has become very difficult to sustain a shoddy product in the marketplace anymore. Except the government. And the Democratic Party is nothing if not the party whose identity is bound up with government services and the public unions that deliver those services.

Good enough for government work was once just a joke. Some years ago I sat with a roomful of people in lower Manhattan's federal Social Security office for a half hour with no discernible forward movement. The clerks seemed to have disappeared. Suddenly a frustrated lady shot up and screamed, "This place is worse than the department of motor vehicles!" To which the guard at the door responded: "Oh no, ma'am. They're still worse than we are."

For decades, voters have passed off this mediocrity as the sometimes maddening bureaucratic price for living in a large, complex country. No longer. With every new reboot of ObamaCare—glitches to the horizon, the constant revision of the law's rules, policies canceled and resurrected at higher cost—more of America's workaday Dilberts are seeing that the Democrats' performance benchmarks would get anyone else fired. Nowhere else could you get away with arguing a product like this is at least better than nothing.
And they won't even apologize! When the first ObamaCare problems erupted, its supporters said: It's the law, get over it. Even now, the smart alecks in the Obama administration responsible for ObamaCare, backed by a chorus of left-wing wonks in the media, make it sound as if you are too dense to comprehend the law's inevitable benefits.

The Democratic Party and especially the left have for years been demoting standards of performance for pretty much everything. Whether it's the work product of the public unions, the quality of Medicaid's medicine, admission criteria for colleges or even standards of personal behavior, measuring up has been devalued. It's no accident that one of the most used words of our time is, "Whatever."

Once public employees became unionized, the process was never accountable to anything. The inevitable weaknesses simply metastasized. Work rules and pension obligations proliferated under politicized collective-bargaining agreements until the system bogged down into an expensive morass that won't change and won't reform. But it changed the Democrats into a pure public-sector party.  Now even liberal Democrats have begun to distance themselves from this legacy. Last May in Los Angeles of all places, Democrat Eric Garcetti defeated Wendy Greuel for mayor by turning her union endorsements into a liability.

But for decades most Democrats have been floating through this low-performance public milieu, where standards of any sort can be diluted, if not wholly ignored. The idea that the $824 billion stimulus was for "shovel-ready" projects has become a butt of the government joke circuit. This sloppy mindset outputted ObamaCare, by acclamation the party's biggest product since Medicare. It looks like a Rube Goldberg machine.

The Rube Goldberg Democrats means that whether from laziness or arrogance, the party is now producing political contraptions that are monuments to inefficiency, incomprehension and unworkability. Before ObamaCare, it often went unnoticed. But the health-care law sits out in plain view, letting every voter connect the dots between political promise and nonperformance.  No quick patch is likely for a brand problem on this scale. Congressional Democrats Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona and Joe Garcia in Florida have produced ads saying they fought the glitches but now want to "fix" the contraption. Millions will be spent repositioning the party's image.

The GOP could still blow their historic opportunity this year. Brands collapse because consumers have good choices. It may be true that ObamaCare has exposed the Democrats as a party of bells, whistles and rotating pinwheels. But absent a better product, it will lumber forward.


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FROM OTHER COLUMNS
“Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich." From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a "snob" despite the millions she has spent on our city's homeless and mentally ill over the past decades. This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?”
                       Tom Perkins
(Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.)
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FILM
“Never before in history have liberal clichés about the evils and the rapacity of capitalism been combined so ironically as they are in The Lego Movie……All this in a film in which a character called President Business (also known as Lord Business) has totalitarian control over the moods and thoughts of every character and intends to destroy the world in a few days’ time.”
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LEFTIST WATCH
CNN presents "Uncle Joe Stalin" as a "notorious dictator," but also a loving family man who did remarkably good things for social justice.

Venezuela: the Left´s favourite ´socialist paradise´ is sliding into poverty and dictatorship

Having successfully demonized Chris Christie over the closure of traffic lanes on a bridge, the leftist mainstream media are now targeting Scott Walker, another very promising potential GOP candidate for president.

The North Korean regime is committing systematic and widespread human rights abuses, including forcing mothers to drown their newborn babies and setting up secret prison camps, a United Nations report released Monday found. “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
So what is the UN human rights council working on?  “…the assistant secretary-general for human rights at the United Nations, has met with leaders from the Oneida Indian Nation to discuss their campaign against the Washington Redskins' mascot choice.”
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GLOBALONEY
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said global warming is as big a threat as terrorism, in a speech in Indonesia
Meanwhile it cost 12 metric tons of Carbon to send Kerry on his trip to Indonesia, so in one week, Kerry generated about two-thirds the carbon output of the average American in one year.

McNider and Christy: “Why Kerry Is Flat Wrong on Climate Change”  “It was the scientific skeptics who bucked the 'consensus' and said the Earth was round.  “We might forgive these modelers if their forecasts had not been so consistently and spectacularly wrong……The modelers insist that they are unlucky because natural temperature variability is masking the real warming. They might be right, but when a batter goes 0 for 10, he's better off questioning his swing than blaming the umpire.”

Bill Nye confuses South Pole with North Pole in 'Meet the Press' Climate Debate

It is a basic principle of psychological warfare that the side that controls the language of the argument controls the argument. Barack Obama´s own website is using this PsyWar technique by calling opponents of his cap and trade agenda "climate change deniers." So here’s our response:  global warming alarmists are “climate parasites”

“The carbon-trading schemes enacted with such fanfare just a few years ago have effectively ceased to operate amid collapsing prices. The sustainable-energy craze produced the expensive bankruptcies of solar-panel maker Solyndra, Fisker Automotive and battery maker A123 Systems, to name a few. Germany, which has taken its climate-change fetish further than any other major economy, is now coming to grips with a comprehensive fiasco of higher energy prices and higher carbon emissions. Who would have thought that when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow, people might still want to switch on the lights? It is now the dogma of the left that any hint of doubt when it comes to predictions of climate doom is evidence of greed, stupidity, moral turpitude or psychological derangement. "Climate denial" is intended to be the equivalent of Holocaust denial. And yet the only people who've predicted anything right so far are those who foresaw that the Kyoto Protocol would fail, that renewable energies didn't really work, and that climate bureaucrats accountable to nobody but their own sense of virtue and taste for profit were a danger to everyone.”

As all the world knows, climate buffoon Michael Mann is suing Mark Steyn, National Review and others for disagreeing with him about global warming–not just disagreeing, but doing so in colorful language. Steyn was unhappy with how the lawsuit was going, so he dismissed the lawyers that were representing him and National Review and is now pro se. Rather than engage in further procedural maneuvering, Mark wants to fight out what he sees as the central issue–free speech–in the court of public opinion. So yesterday another shoe dropped: Mark served an answer and counterclaim against Mann in which he requested damages from the discredited scientist. It is entertaining; it should be, Mark wrote it himself.

EPA Video Contest Teaches Budding Child Activists to Worry About ´Climate Change´
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ARTICLES
Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky warned his fellow Republicans that without change, the GOP would fail miserably in the upcoming White House contest — and that goes for the next few decades. “I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party…And it has to be a transformation, not a little tweaking at the edges.”
What Happened to the Antiwar Movement? Barack Obama owes his presidency largely to the Iraq war. It was Obama’s purity on the war–he opposed it when Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and others were voting for it–that endeared him to the Democratic Party’s base. Indeed, one could say that the contemporary American Left owes its vigor, if not its existence, to the Iraq war. Those who lived through the years from 2003 to 2008 won’t forget it–the online hysteria, the demonstrations, the wild charges, the assassination fantasies, the calls for impeachment…..

Next week the British parliament will vote on the thorny issue of titles for married gay partners. They will be asked to clear up laws dating as far back as 700 years. The changes are needed to ensure a gay married King could not style his husband Queen. Under the previous arrangements of Civil Partnerships gay partners were not allowed courtesy titles as their unions were not deemed full marriage. This is the reason Sir Elton John’s partner David Furnish is not entitled to the dubious honour of being known as “Lady John”.
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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES
“I am a Ukrianian…..We want to be free…..You can help us…..”

7 Amazing Reagan Quotes that Capture America´s Current Condition

The War On Men: 10 Ways Masculinity is Under Attack.  And why the elite, not women are to blame.


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