Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Democrats in the pockets of the lawyers again

Congress is taking up legislation this week that will wipe out arbitration provisions in hundreds of millions of consumer contracts -- for everything from credit-card agreements to cell phones to health-insurance policies, even a contract for the purchase of a kitchen sink. The bill is so sweeping that it wouldn't apply just to contracts consumers may sign in the future. It will cancel arbitration agreements agreed to in the past.

The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007, sponsored in the Senate by Russ Feingold (D., Wis.) and in the House by Hank Johnson (D., Ga.), is scheduled to be marked up by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow and could be taken up by the full committee on Wednesday.

This legislation is a top priority of plaintiffs' lawyers, since arbitration keeps big-dollar disputes out of the courtroom. But it's a bad deal for consumers. The law will not make arbitration "fairer"; it will make it go away, because it is very difficult to get two sides of a dispute to agree to much of anything once a dispute has started. That inconvenient reality is one that some of our lawmakers are simply ignoring.....

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Four years ago, Democrats couldn't laud military service -- especially that of their presidential standard-bearer -- highly enough. John Kerry's short stint in Vietnam was repeatedly invoked as evidence of his character and fitness for leadership. "If you have any question about what John Kerry's made of," his running mate John Edwards would say, "just spend three minutes with the men who served with him 30 years ago." At the Democratic National Convention in Boston, photographs of Kerry's Navy days abounded -- Kerry posing with his officer class, Kerry on the Mekong Delta, Kerry receiving a medal. One of the convention's speakers was a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who praised Kerry's "bravery and great distinction" as a naval officer, describing him as someone who "knows from experience a commander's responsibility to his troops."....

Given that effusive show of respect for military experience in 2004, you would think no Democrat this year could even contemplate disparaging John McCain's far more extensive military career. The presumptive Republican nominee, after all, spent 22 years as a naval aviator; flew 23 combat missions over North Vietnam; earned numerous combat decorations, including the Silver Star and Legion of Merit; and demonstrated courage and self-sacrifice during 5« years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. And yet in recent months, one Democrat after another has gone out of his way to diminish or criticize McCain's war record. ...

Much attention was focused on retired General Wesley Clark's comments that McCain "hasn't held executive responsibility" and that "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down" is no qualification for the Oval Office. Far more obnoxious was the claim by an informal Obama adviser, Rand Beers, that McCain's national security experience is "sadly limited" because he was a POW. "He was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil" of the antiwar movement," said Beers, "or the challenges" faced by those who went ashore in Vietnam.

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The Democrats are now the party of the rich

Democratic Party was born. This new party has four critical constituencies: the post-industrial new class, African-Americans, young "net-roots" activists, and, finally, the elites of the information age. The Democrats will be running against a far weaker Republican Party than they did in the 1990s. For Senator Obama, the biggest danger comes not from the right but from his own base, whose predilections may over time limit his appeal and stunt the party's gains.

Like all classes, the new post-industrial constituency and its leaders have their own agenda. They may not be above pandering to the traditional working and middle class, but they do not have their same priorities. Fundamentally, the Obamaized Democratic Party is less about bread-and-butter issues-trade, energy prices, and competitiveness-than that of the Clintons.

Throughout the primaries, Senator Obama did best with voters, outside of African-Americans, who were themselves doing relatively well. Generally speaking, the wealthier the constituency, the better he did. Also, since the new class for the most part has little connection to the military, they are less likely to be overly concerned with national security issues (something Senator Clinton, in particular, worked hard to develop credibility on).

In contrast, Obama Democrats tend to be energized either by an antiwar message or by cultural issues-abortion, affirmative action, gay rights. Perhaps more critical for many of these voters, and interests, may be the environmental issue. Although this has not been a major topic in the primaries, the key Obama constituency among educated young voters tends to be the most fervent on issues such as global warming.

How to deal with the environment may be a critical area of conflict between the interests of the traditional middle class and the postindustrial new class. By its very nature, people working in the key institutions of the information economy-software firms, entertainment, Wall Street-are not unduly harmed by attempts to regulate reduction of carbon emissions.

In contrast, workers in transportation, wholesaling, and manufacturing sit on the carbon front lines. Radical steps to curb carbon emissions, particularly if not imposed on major competitors like India, China, and Brazil, will hurt miners in Montana, oil workers in Texas, factory workers in Michigan, and dockworkers in California far more than university professors, San Francisco graphic artists, and New York investment bankers. What's more, most middle- and working-class voters cannot afford to buy indulgences in the form of "offsets," such as purchasing parcels of rain forests. Indeed, in some ways, the current approach on carbon emissions parallels how liberals in the 1960s shifted the burden of achieving long-overdue racial integration by imposing busing or affirmative action plans on primarily working- and middle-class Americans.....

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A German in Baghdad: "The most remarkable aspect about the German economics minister's trip to Baghdad Saturday was how unremarkable it was. The "surprise visit" by Michael Glos to Iraq, which only last year was deemed irrevocably lost, hardly made the front pages even in his own country. "The security situation has improved," Mr. Glos said, "and democracy is progressing." This good news is no thanks to Germany, which under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder fiercely opposed the war that toppled Saddam Hussein. Angela Merkel did away with her predecessor's anti-American rhetoric, improving relations with both Washington and Baghdad. But her government's support for Iraq's fledgling democracy didn't go much beyond the humanitarian aid and training of police forces already in place under Mr. Schroeder."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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