Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pew: Palin Is The Most Popular Republican

By Don Surber

Pew: Palin is the most popular Republican. 73% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Gov. Sarah Palin (17% unfavorable) while only 57% have a favorable opinion (18% unfavorable) of Mitt Romney.

Now, I may not know much about presidential politics, but I am pretty certain that before one can get elected president, one has to win the party’s nomination first — a concept that Hillary Clinton had a difficult time grasping last year as she began her general election campaign in January instead of the traditional after-winning-the-nomination.

Which leads me to conclude that Mrs. Palin is in the driver’s seat with Gov. Romney riding shotgun.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press polled 1,502 adults on June 10-14. This was at the height of the David Letterman controversy, Letterman having told the Willow Palin joke on June 10. That may have skewed the poll. I don’t know. Also this was an all adults survey, rather than likely voters or even registered voters. That tends to skew the results.

Pew made a big deal about their overall favorable/unfavorable ratings among all voters. It is too early for that comparison. Among all adults, Palin is at 45/44 and Romney is at 40/28 — but by the time the election rolls around, any Republican gets beat up; she’s recovered from 42/48 just before the 2008 election.

Within the party, she is golden. In many ways, her popularity reminds me of Ronald Reagan. She is not as polished as a speaker or as a thinker. Reagan had a very clear — if unfashionable for the time — idea of what America is about in the Carter years. He was considered old and dumb and a good actor.

The 2012 election is way off. But Republicans are known to go with the guy who finished second last time. Is it Mitt Romney, who finished behind John McCain in the primaries? Or is it Sarah Palin, who almost carried McCain to the White House last fall? Republicans seem to be leaning toward Palin



Shift in Political Power Has Catapulted Fox News

Balanced News Channel Could Be Heading for Its Best Year Ever

Fox News is on track to have its most-watched year ever, showing significant ratings growth despite having just come off a highflying election year. With the second quarter coming to a close, Fox News averaged about the same number of viewers as the top three other cable news networks combined. And while rivals including CNN (-22%) and MSNBC (-18%) took hits following last quarter's inauguration-fueled boost, Fox News (-3%) remained nearly steady, Hollywood Reporter reports.

Compared with last year, Fox News (averaging 2.1 million viewers, 509,000 adults 25-54 quarter-to-date) is up 35% over last year in primetime viewers and 48% in the demo. CNN (805,000 viewers, 210,000 in demo) fell 16% in viewers and 29% in the demo. MSNBC (787,000 viewers, 259,000 in demo) climbed 15% in viewers and about on par, -3%, in the demo. And CNN Headline News (553,000, 201,000) showed very strong growth, up 39% and 37%, respectively, and is on track for its best second quarter, reports HR writer James Hibberd.

Earning double-digit growth after an election year is quite a feat for a news network. With Fox News best known for such right-leaning personalities as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, one might assume having a Democrat in the White House somehow helps boost viewership.

"I don't look at who occupies the White House, I just look at it as news," said Bill Shine, senior VP of programming at Fox News. "How well are you going to report on that news? And certainly, over the course of the last 10 years, we've done a better job at that than anybody else," he told HR. Still, Shine acknowledged that a Barack Obama presidency probably helps because viewers will "see some sides of an issue that they won't see elsewhere."



The Albany-Trenton-Sacramento Disease

How three liberal states got into deep trouble with 'progressive' ideas

President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It's hard to miss the irony that he's pitching this change in Washington even as the same governance model is imploding in three of the largest American states where it has been dominant for years -- California, New Jersey and New York.

A decade ago all three states were among America's most prosperous. California was the unrivaled technology center of the globe. New York was its financial capital. New Jersey is the third wealthiest state in the nation after Connecticut and Massachusetts. All three are now suffering from devastating budget deficits as the bills for years of tax-and-spend governance come due. These states have been models of "progressive" policies that are supposed to create wealth: high tax rates on the rich, lots of government "investments," heavy unionization and a large government role in health care.

Here's a rundown on the results: Government spending as economic stimulus. State-local spending per capita is $12,505 in New York (second highest after Alaska), $10,136 per person in California (fourth) and $9,574 in New Jersey (seventh).

Has all this public sector "investment" translated into jobs? Not quite. California had the nation's third highest jobless rate in May (11.5%). New Jersey and New York had below average unemployment rates in May compared to the national average of 9.4%, but one reason is that so many discouraged workers have left those states. From 1998-2007, which included two booms on Wall Street, New York and New Jersey ranked 36th and 31st in job creation. From 2000 to 2007, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association calculates that nine out of 10 new Garden State jobs were in the government.

Soak the rich. Mr. Obama plans to pay for his government investments through higher tax rates on the top 1% and 2% of taxpayers. Our troika of liberal states are champions at soaking the rich. The state-local income tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation, is the highest in the nation in New York, second highest in California and sixth in New Jersey. New York City boasts the highest business tax rate, 17.6%, according to a study by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Seven of the 10 highest property tax counties in America are located in New Jersey.

Instead of balanced budgets, these high taxes have produced record red ink. California's deficit for 2010 is projected at $33.9 billion, New Jersey's $7 billion and New York's $17.9 billion, despite multiple tax increases this decade. The Manhattan Institute finds that three-quarters of the loss in revenues this year in Albany is a result of reduced income tax payments by rich people even though the state keeps raising taxes on high earners.

California's debt burden has multiplied so fast that it now has the worst bond rating of any state, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators are pleading with Washington to command the other 49 states to pay off its IOUs. The interest rates on Golden State bonds have nearly tripled in the last two years.

Powerful unions. Mr. Obama believes union power is a ticket to the middle class. The middle class is getting creamed in all three of these "progressive" states, where organized labor is king. The unionized share of the workforce is 20% in California, 19% in New Jersey and 27% in New York compared to 13% across the country. All three are non-right-to-work states, have super-minimum wage requirements and provide among the nation's most generous public-employee pensions.

Workers in these paradises are indeed uniting -- by leaving. New York ranks first, California second and New Jersey third in moving vans leaving the state. A study by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research found that over the past decade these and other high-union states (mostly in the Northeast) had one-third the job growth of states with low union penetration.

Government health care. New York, New Jersey and California are among the leading states in government spending on and intervention into the medical market. A 2008 study by the Pacific Research Institute ranked the states on the basis of government regulation of health care and found that New York is most regulated, while New Jersey ranks sixth and California seventh. "New York," the report declares, "suffers from government health programs that are out of control, a grossly overregulated private insurance market and almost completely uncompetitive provider markets."

Have government controls and Medicaid expansions ("the public option") lowered costs? Here is what the American Health Insurance Plans found. For family coverage annual premiums in 2006-07, the national median cost was roughly $5,300; in California it was $5,884, in New Jersey $10,398, and in New York $12,254. New York's coverage mandates cause families to pay more than twice what they do in other states for insurance.

As a result, California and New York have more than one-third of their residents uninsured or in Medicaid -- much higher than the national average of 25%. More government involvement in health care in California, New Jersey and New York has raised costs and often reduced private coverage. That's hardly a model for the nation.

So goes the real-life experience of progressive governance, with heavy tax burdens financing huge welfare states, and state capitals dominated by public-employee unions. Formerly rich states, they are now known for job losses, booming deficits and debt, wage stagnation, out-migration and laughing-stock legislatures. At least Americans have the ability to flee these ill-governed states for places that still welcome wealth creators. The debate in Washington now is whether to spread this antigrowth model across the entire country.




Report: FEMA misspent $7 million: “The Federal Emergency Management Agency ignored the law and misused millions of dollars to build two warehouses after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to government investigators. Some of the money FEMA misused should have gone toward Katrina victims in Louisiana, according to a Homeland Security Inspector General report obtained by the Associated Press. The report is expected to be released today. ‘FEMA had no authority to use appropriated funds to construct the two buildings,’ the investigators said, adding that the agency violated a prohibition against agreeing to spend money without congressional authority.”

Spain reins in crusading judges: “For more than a decade, a drab, beige building in central Madrid has been the global destination of choice for anyone wanting to file allegations of genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. The Audiencia Nacional — National Criminal Court — has heard complaints of human-rights abuses as far afield as Guatemala, Rwanda, Chile, Tibet, Gaza and Guantanamo Bay. Currently, 10 cases from five continents are being investigated by Spanish judges, under the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction,’ which holds that some crimes are so grave that they can be tried anywhere, regardless of where the offences were committed. In a recent statement, almost 100 organisations collectively praised Spain’s ‘pioneering approach,’ gushing that the country ’should feel proud of itself’ for becoming a reference point for other nations. Except, Spain’s left-leaning government sees things rather differently.”

“As naked an abuse of government power as could be imagined” : "Property rights were probably the last thing on President Barack Obama’s mind when he selected Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter. But that hasn’t stopped Sotomayor’s nomination from reigniting the long-simmering national debate over the use and abuse of eminent domain. The controversy centers on Sotomayor’s vote in a 2006 eminent domain case, Didden v. Village of Port Chester. New York entrepreneur Bart Didden says Port Chester condemned his land after he refused to pay $800,000 (or grant a 50 percent stake in his business) to a developer hired by the village. One day after Didden refused to pay those bribes, Port Chester began eminent domain proceedings against him. As University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein put it, ‘The case involved about as naked an abuse of government power as could be imagined.’ But that didn’t stop Judge Sotomayor and two of her colleagues on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals from upholding the district court decision that ruled in favor of the village.”

How not to help the poor : "People often talk about ‘a culture of poverty’ as if being mired in dependency and despair is a personal choice. But what if government contributes to that culture with counterproductive rules that keep struggling families down? Today, a special state commission will release a report that identifies bureaucratic barriers to climbing out of poverty — some familiar, some new — and recommends ways to correct them. The Massachusetts Asset Development Commission spent the past 18 months looking for ways that low-income people can build up financial cushions, becoming less dependent on state assistance and providing a better foundation for their children. ‘Assets’ can be something as simple as a used car for getting to work, a savings account, or a less tangible benefit such as an education or vocational skills. They are the keys to financial stability.”

Hope versus reality : “There is an element about public choice theory that economists do not emphasize often enough, namely, that the objectives of regulators are often very obscure, unclear, even contradictory. For example, governments often embark on historical preservation but at the same time they are supposed to make sure that building and other facilities are properly managed, kept safe, etc. But historical preservation mostly require keeping things in their original form, while the pursuit of safety involves making use of the most up to date technology and science. One can generalize this kind of conflict within government policies all over the place — which is what accounts for vigilant propaganda against smoking while tobacco farmers keep receiving government subsidies.”

Fueling controversy : “Gaza on the Mediterranean, with an offshore natural gas resource worth an estimated $4 billion and with Palestinian statehood believed an imminent proposition, should be looking at the brightest possible future. But still abject poverty and hopelessness rack Gaza and the standard explanation by many Arabs and Western media is to depict the Palestinians as in a permanent state of Israeli-inflicted victimhood. Gaza is the poster case of how radical Islamism, exemplified by Hamas, has such a difficulty to absorb modernity and Gaza’s problems surely must be related to the 2006 Hamas takeover and the ensuing low-level civil war between Hamas and Fatah that controls the West Bank. As such it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Palestinians are to a large extent responsible for their own misfortunes.”

Privatize the Post Office: “The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may be the next too-big thing if it continues on its present course. It stands to post $6 billion to $12 billion in losses by the end of the fiscal year. So far, USPS has depended on loans from the Federal Financing Bank to help make up the difference, but it’s fast approaching its $15 billion credit limit. Something has to give, says the Washington Post. The USPS has asked Congress to omit a rider on an annual appropriations bill that mandates six-day service, opening the possibility of five-day delivery as a cost-cutting measure. It has also requested a temporary relaxation of its pension program obligations, enabling it to put nearly $2 billion toward breaking even. Both these short-term fixes fail to address the challenges facing USPS.”

UK: Hackers recruited to help fight against cybercrime : “Reformed computer hackers are being recruited by the Government to defend Britain from international crime gangs and terrorists plotting cyber attacks on the country. With internet fraud costing billions of pounds a year and Whitehall computer systems facing repeated assaults from abroad, ministers are hiring hackers to protect state secrets. A new ‘cyber security operations centre’ at GCHQ in Cheltenham will monitor attempts, many orchestrated from abroad, to infiltrate the national computer network.”

Journalism and the British expenses scandal: “Sunday Telegraph editor Ian Macgregor was our guest at a power lunch in Westminster this week. His topic was ‘The importance of journalism in modern society.’ And of course, that’s a topic that Telegraph have earned a right to talk about in the last couple of months, with their brilliantly handled investigation into MPs expenses. There’s no question the story has been good for the Telegraph’s business, winning them many thousands of new readers. But I also think they have performed a genuine public service, by making people realize that you just can’t trust politicians to be responsible with taxpayers’ money.”


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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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