Mike Gravel on Palin
Here is a rare moment for me, a politician with whom I can't disagree. Mike Gravel, the former Senator from Alaska was invited onto a Left-wing radio show. It seems clear that the hosts were hoping to use him to rip into Sarah Palin and they brought up numerous lies and distortions about Palin that the Left have been insidiously spreading around. Senator Gravel, of course, is intimately aware of Alaskan politics and he doesn't let them get away with it. While he makes it clear he would never endorse McCain/Palin he also makes it clear that lying about her just isn't right.
I've read so many distortions about Palin in the last few days I've lost track of them all. Sadly I've even seen friends who were taken in by some -- such as the list of books that Palin supposedly tried to have banned.
Where Gravel was excellent was the so-called Troopergate incident. A state trooper, who had been married to Palin's sister was fired and Palin was "blamed" for that. The way the Left portrays this she had him fired because he and her sister were divorcing. The fact is that the trooper was fired after a series of violent incidents by himself. He tasered his young stepson, he threatened various people with harm and/or death. He was a thug who deserved to be fired. And Gravel is shocked that these Lefties seem to be siding with the cop in question in spite of his violent record -- just so they can attack Palin.
George Bush (remember him?) Has a Good Economic Record
Successive speakers at the Democratic National Convention poured scorn on President Bush's economic record. The clear aim was to justify the party's call for "change," and to undermine support for Republican presidential nominee John McCain. His election would mean a "third Bush term," delegates groaned. Yet Democrats cited no good evidence for their claims that the administration has produced a stagnant economy, widening disparities of income and wealth, high unemployment, and a heavy burden of government debt (supposedly resulting from an unwise military intervention in Iraq).
How does the performance of the U.S. economy really compare with other advanced economies over the eight years of George Bush's presidency? Data published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the International Comparison Program (ICP) (a cooperative venture coordinated by the World Bank) and the U.S. Census Bureau allow a nonpartisan, factual assessment. Here are some of the findings:
- Economic growth. U.S. output has expanded faster than in most advanced economies since 2000. The IMF reports that real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 2.2% over the period 2001-2008 (including its forecast for the current year). President Bush will leave to his successor an economy 19% larger than the one he inherited from President Clinton. This U.S. expansion compares with 14% by France, 13% by Japan and just 8% by Italy and Germany over the same period. The latest ICP findings, published by the World Bank in its World Development Indicators 2008, also show that GDP per capita in the U.S. reached $41,813 (in purchasing power parity dollars) in 2005. This was a third higher than the United Kingdom's, 37% above Germany's and 38% more than Japan's.
- Household consumption. The ICP study found that the average per-capita consumption of the U.S. population (citizens and illegal immigrants combined) was second only to Luxembourg's, out of 146 countries covered in 2005. The U.S. average was $32,045. This was well above the levels in the UK ($25,155), Canada ($23,526), France ($23,027) and Germany ($21,742). China stood at $1,751.
- Health services. The U.S. spends easily the highest amount per capita ($6,657 in 2005) on health, more than double that in Britain. But because of private funding (55% of the total) the burden on the U.S. taxpayer (9.1% of GDP) is kept to similar levels as France and Germany. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 84.7% of the U.S. population was covered by health insurance in 2007, an increase of 3.6 million people over 2006. The uninsured can receive treatment in hospitals at the expense of private insurance holders. While life expectancy is influenced by lifestyles and not just access to health services, the World Bank nevertheless reports that average life expectancy in the U.S. rose to 78 years in 2006 (the same as Germany's), from 77 in 2000.
- Income and wealth distribution. The latest World Bank estimates show that the richest 20% of U.S. households had a 45.8% share of total income in 2000, similar to the levels in the U.K. (44.0%) and Israel (44.9%). In 65 other countries the richest quintile had a larger share than in the U.S....
- Employment. The U.S. employment rate, measured by the percentage of people of working age (16-65 years) in jobs, has remained high by international standards. The latest OECD figures show a rate of 71.7% in 2006. This was more than five percentage points above the average for the euro area. The U.S. unemployment rate averaged 4.7% from 2001-2007. This compares with a 5.2% average rate during President Clinton's term of office, and is well below the euro zone average of 8.3% since 2000.
The evidence shows that much of the Democratic Party's criticism of President Bush's economic record is wide of the mark. True, the economic slowdown now affecting most advanced countries will likely result in rising unemployment over the coming months. But thanks to sensible policies pursued by the Bush administration (not always with adequate support from a Democratic-controlled Congress), the U.S. economy is sufficiently flexible to keep unemployment below the 7.7% peak reached in the last postrecession year of 1992.
The main risk is that, if elected, Barack Obama will pursue a "social justice" strategy. This would encompass higher taxes on entrepreneurs, savers and investors, more direct government intervention in the economy, and protectionist policies (including revoking existing trade agreements) aimed at safeguarding the jobs of his union backers in "old" industries and public services. If so, the pain is likely to be more widespread and prolonged.
Super ignorant history professor Juan Cole (who thinks Iraq is on the Mediterranean and who does not know that a large part of the USA was once part of Mexico) has an article under the heading "What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick". Would YOU pay for your kid to be taught by someone so thick that he cannot tell the difference between Islam and Christianity?
There is a good and sympathetic background story about Sarah Palin's growing up in Alaska in a BRITISH paper. All that American papers seem to want to do is dig dirt on her. Don Surber is disgusted at that it takes a British paper to do such a story.
Fundraising: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's selection as McCain's running mate has lit up the Republican National Committee's online fundraising, creating a vibrant and fresh source of income to add to the party's already formidable big donor program. RNC officials said Internet donations have quadrupled since Palin joined the ticket."
Democrat deception: ""Congress returns... for an abbreviated session, with energy being the number one issue on the agenda. Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner, spent the August recess pushing for Congress to enact an `all of the above' package to increase energy supplies and lower gasoline prices, and they will continue to do so. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, clearly thrown off balance by public opinion polls showing that a decisive majority of the electorate agrees with the Republicans on drilling, have a different, irresponsible agenda: running out the clock and preventing a straight up-or-down vote on drilling. But to do this successfully, they will have to continue their strategy of pretending to support compromise, while loading up energy legislation with poison pills that will make expanded drilling impossible... In the House, the Democratic leadership will offer a `compromise' plan to allow drilling more than 100 miles from shore. (Which presumably means that if the next Prudhoe Bay is discovered 25 miles off the coast of Virginia or 50 miles from North Carolina, consumers should just shut up and be happy with oil from Mexico, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela instead.)"
A rare bit of sanity from the British government: ""Families in cramped homes are to benefit from a scheme to scrap planning permission for many extensions and loft conversions, the government has said. The regulations, effective in England from 1 October, will mean 80,000 fewer applications and save up to 50 million pounds, Housing Minister Caroline Flint said. She said families struggling to move due to the credit crunch would benefit."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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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)