Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Today's Example of Ridiculous Media Bias Against Israel

By Barry Rubin

Along Israel's border with Lebanon, east of Metulla, some bushes were pushing in on the border fence. The fence is set in slightly from the border precisely so that Israeli soldiers can work on it. The IDF called UNIFIL and informed the UN that this work was going to be done today so that they could tell the Lebanese army that there was no aggression going on but just routine maintenance. Soldiers from UNIFIL came to observe and can be seen standing next to Israeli soldiers in the photos. Photographers were also standing by to film the operation.

But Lebanese soldiers opened fire on the Israelis who were working and in no way acting aggressively. The fact that journalists were standing next to the Lebanese soldiers shows that they knew Israel was going to do this maintenance and were observing. After the Israeli soldiers were ambushed, they returned fire. One Israeli officer was killed, another seriously wounded; three Lebanese soldiers, and a Lebanese (?) journalist were killed.

So how did Reuters and Yahoo report this? By saying that Israeli soldiers had crossed into Lebanon and been fired on, thus implying the Lebanese army was acting in self-defense! Other news agencies merely reported: Israel says the soldiers were inside Israel; Lebanon says they were on Lebanese territory....



Another strange gap in Obama's history

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department has released passport records of Stanley Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother – but records for the years surrounding Obama's 1961 birth are missing.

The State Department claims a 1980s General Services Administration directive resulted in the destruction of many passport applications and other "non-vital" passport records, including Dunham's 1965 passport application and any other passports she may have applied for or held prior to 1965.

Destroyed, then, would also be any records shedding light on whether Dunham did or did not travel out of the country around the time of Barack Obama's birth.

The claim made in the FOIA response letter that many passport records were destroyed during the 1980s comes despite a statement on the State Department website that Passport Services maintains U.S. passport records for passports issued from 1925 to the present.



Tax: Ideology v. Reality

The dog days of summer are almost upon us, and as autumn approaches and the midterm elections loom, the American people have many important issues on their minds. One of the most important issues is whether Congress will elect to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which are due to expire on January 1, 2011. President Obama has made clear his opinion that the tax cuts should expire for families making over $250,000 a year. Some liberal economists and pundits go further, pointing to our skyrocketing deficits and budgetary woes as compelling reasons why none of the tax cuts should be extended. Thus, as a new year – and a new chapter in our nation's political and economic history – looms, Americans in every socioeconomic bracket face a potential tax hike.

Is a tax increase the answer to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? Is it the best way to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and renew confidence in the American dollar at home and abroad? How one answers these questions depends, fundamentally, on one's belief about the role of government and its relationship to and impact on the economy. Is government the greatest engine of economic growth and prosperity or should the fate of America's financial future be determined by the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people?

Clearly, President Obama and his allies in Congress believe that all social questions, be they economic or otherwise, are best addressed by government. This is the philosophy that has driven the various bailouts and stimuli of the past three years (a philosophy that, to many conservatives' chagrin, was shared in part by former President George W. Bush), and the philosophy that led Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to assert recently that unemployment benefits create jobs faster than any other kind of economic activity.

As with most of life's important questions, we can often find guidance and edification in the lessons of history. What kinds of economic policies (and what kind of governmental philosophy) have resulted in growth, prosperity, and financial strength, and what kind of approach has led to economic stagnation and deterioration? Writing for the Wall Street Journal in February 2009, Peter Ferrera, director of entitlement and budget policy for the Institute for Policy Innovation and former Reagan administration official, offered some historical insight:

"The best way to understand [President Obama's ideological approach to the economy] is to compare what's being proposed now with what Ronald Reagan accomplished. In 1980, amid a seriously dysfunctional economy, Reagan campaigned for president on an economic recovery program with four specific components. The first was across-the-board reductions in tax rates to provide incentives for saving, investment, entrepreneurship and work. The second component was deregulation to remove unnecessary costs on the economy. . . . Third was the control of government spending. . . . The fourth component of the Reagan recovery plan was tight, anti-inflation monetary policy, which was spectacularly successful. . . . We know such policies work because they turned around in just two years an economy far worse than today's. We were suffering from multiyear, double-digit inflation, double-digit unemployment, double-digit interest rates, declining incomes, and rising poverty. In fact, what we suffer with today is not the worst economy since the Great Depression, but the worst economy since Jimmy Carter – the last time liberals were dominant politically and intellectually. The Obama administration's economic policies do not include any of the four Reagan components. . . . This is why America seems so hopeless right now, and so depressed. We are stuck going in exactly the wrong direction on economic policy because of currently dominant ideological fashions."

Ferrera's concise reminder of the policies that led to great economic prosperity under President Reagan is worth considering as our representatives weigh the pros and cons of increasing taxes, particularly on the "rich." While it may seem counterintuitive to those without degrees in economics, the Reagan tax cuts actually increased tax revenues by stimulating economic activity that, in turn, increased economic output and growth. The government was collecting less in terms of percentage but more in terms of real dollars.

This economic history lesson thus begs the question of whether it is wise for President Obama – in the midst of a severe recession – to advocate for a policy that will, in effect, penalize economic success for the segment of American society most responsible for creating jobs – that is, America's small business owners. The only way that such an approach makes sense is if you believe that government is a wiser steward of the American people's money than the American people themselves – it only makes sense to those who prefer ideology over reality.

The American people must ask themselves these questions. They must decide which version of the past they want to guide our nation's future. Do we long for the malaise of the Carter years, or the prosperity and hope of the Reagan era? I, for one, believe that it's time for a new morning in America, and that the sooner the sun begins to rise, the better off we'll all be.



Electoral College bypassers should be careful what they wish for

Jeff Jacoby points out that Massachusetts legislators are about to approve a law that can only benefit Republicans!

IT IS ELECTION NIGHT, 2012. The polls have closed. State by state, the votes are being counted, and gradually it becomes clear, to the bottomless horror of some voters and the unbridled delight of others, that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican presidential nominee, has bested President Barack Obama in the popular vote nationwide.

In Massachusetts, where Obama crushed Palin by a landslide of 79 percent -- the most lopsidedly anti-Palin vote of any state -- "bottomless horror" doesn't begin to describe the political reaction. For in 2010, Massachusetts joined the National Popular Vote compact, making a commitment to cast all of its electoral votes for the presidential candidate receiving the most votes nationally, regardless of the results in Massachusetts. The compact took effect in December 2011, when California became the 15th state to join, thereby combining enough states to control a majority of the Electoral College. Now Massachusetts, the bluest of the blue states, must award its presidential electors to a candidate Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly opposed.

Well, that's one scenario. Maybe it won't be Sarah Palin, maybe it won't be 2012, but sooner or later a Republican is going to win the largest number of votes in a presidential election, and that Republican probably isn't going to carry Massachusetts. What will Bay State liberals and Democrats say when the National Popular Vote compact that so many of them endorsed requires Massachusetts electors to line up behind the Republican? Imagine if Massachusetts had been compelled to give its electoral votes in 1972 not to George McGovern, but to Richard Nixon. Or to the first George Bush in 1988, instead of Michael Dukakis. Or to Bush the Younger -- not John Kerry -- in 2004.

As the National Popular Vote bill was making its way through the state Legislature last month, the chairman of the Election Laws Committee, Senator Thomas Kennedy, warned opponents against trying to block it. "We're committed to this," he said. "It's the will of the people." The will of which people? Not the people of Massachusetts: The whole point of this scheme is to frustrate their will. From now on, anytime Massachusetts voters march to the beat of a different political drummer than most of their countrymen, the National Popular Vote compact will make sure their votes don't count.

Massachusetts is the sixth state to approve this end run around the Constitution, following Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington. It is no coincidence that all six are Democratic strongholds. This movement is fueled by lingering Democratic resentment of George W. Bush, and of the Electoral College system that made him president in 2000, even though Al Gore drew more popular votes. It is a comical irony that if the compact ever goes into effect, its only practical impact in these states will be to occasionally award their presidential electors to the Republican nominees their voters reject.

In 1972, Massachusetts was the only state to vote against the re-election of Richard Nixon. Should its electoral votes have gone to him anyway?

Democrats talk about 2000 as though it represented some colossal subversion of democracy. "Something happened in the 2000 presidential election that should never be permitted to happen again," writes Michael Dukakis in the Salem News. "The candidate who failed to win the popular vote became president of the United States."

But the national popular vote total has no constitutional significance and never has. American presidents are not elected in a single national plebiscite. They are elected by the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), each of which holds a democratic election to determine its vote in the Electoral College. In political scientist Matthew Franck's terminology, US presidential elections are federally democratic, not nationally democratic.

In the selection of presidents as in so many other areas -- from the equal representation of the states in the Senate to the supermajorities required to override vetoes -- the Framers of the Constitution rejected blind majority rule. For more than two centuries, the formula they devised has resulted in stable and peaceful governance. That is no small achievement in a nation as vast, diverse, and complicated as this one.

Can the Electoral College be improved on? Not with the National Popular Vote scheme, it can't. Most Americans will never accept a system that operates through the nullification of their vote. Today Massachusetts politicians may like the idea of awarding their state's electors to the most popular presidential candidate. Watch how fast they change their minds the first time that candidate is a Republican.



Former Australian Prime Minister went to a PRIVATE hospital for his procedure

Another Leftist hypocrite. Leftists routinely glorify socialized medicine -- but only for "the masses". Britain's "Red Queen" in the 60s was Barbara Castle, a minister in Harold Wilson's Labour government. She was famous for saying that it was "obscene" for anybody to "carve their way to a hospital bed with a chequebook". But what did she do when her son got sick? Being very well-paid as a government minister, she got him admitted to a private hospital, of course, under a false name. Rudd could hardly hide his identity, however

KEVIN RUDD spent a restless night after his release from hospital, his wife Therese Rein said yesterday. But at least the former prime minister was able to get prompt attention.

Nearly 50,000 people in Australia had their gall bladder removed last year and - apparently unlike Mr Rudd - most of them had to wait. The average time on a public hospital waiting list was 47 days, while one in 10 waited six months. In NSW, one in 50 endured intermittent symptoms for a year.

But Michael Bickford, a Melbourne surgeon who specialises in upper gastrointestinal conditions, said about 20 per cent of cases came on suddenly with severe pain that required urgent surgery - and such people were usually operated on promptly regardless of them having private health insurance....

The average hospital stay is 1.5 days in private hospitals and two days in the public system. Mr Rudd had exceeded this in his Thursday-to-Monday stay at the Mater Private Hospital in Brisbane.



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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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