Friday, September 24, 2010
Cutbacks in Britain!
British Conservatives set an example for America
One hundred and seventy-seven taxpayer-funded bodies are to be abolished under Coalition plans seen by The Daily Telegraph.
A further 94 are still under threat of being scrapped, four will be privatised and 129 will be merged, according to a Cabinet Office list compiled this week, while 350 other bodies have won a reprieve.
The list discloses for the first time the extent of David Cameron’s plans for the “bonfire of the quangos”, designed to save the taxpayer billions of pounds. Thousands of jobs will go as part of the reforms.
The biggest cuts concern the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with more than 50 bodies to be abolished, and the Department of Health, where about 30 bodies will be cut or have their functions transferred back to the department. These include the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Health Protection Agency and the Commission for Rural Communities.
As already announced, the Audit Commission and UK Film Council will be scrapped along with eight regional development agencies, the list shows. The Commission for Integrated Transport, the School Food Trust and the Sustainable Development Commission are to be abolished.
The BBC World Service, the British Council and the Environment Agency are among the 94 publicly funded bodies whose fate has yet to be decided.
Some things the mass media "forgot" to tell you
By Oliver North, in Afghanistan
On Sept. 18, the Afghan people went to the polls to elect a new national parliament. It was similar to the kind of legislative election we will hold in less than six weeks -- with the same portent for political change. Yet most U.S. media coverage of Afghanistan's experiment in representative government focused on insurgent attacks aimed at disrupting the vote. Newspaper and television reports claimed "low voter interest" and highlighted "Taliban attacks aimed at reducing turnout." But, as we learned once we arrived here, those stories were simply wrong.
There were insurgent attacks -- but one-third fewer than during last year's presidential elections. According to international observers, fewer than 1 percent of polling stations had any violence at all. And those same monitors reported voter turnout -- an estimated 3.6 million, or about 40 percent of those eligible -- was actually higher than it was in the 2009 election.
Set aside for a moment that most Afghan voters had to ignore the risk of violence, walk to their local polling stations and wait in long lines -- and that turnout was higher than it is in most of our "off-year" elections. Ask instead how those who reported this story managed to get it so wrong. The answer, of course, is that there is an agenda in many of our media. Those who "shape the news" have a predisposition for the negative and make a conscious choice to ignore "good news" that contradicts their bias.
Therefore, "news" from here tends to spotlight corruption in the Karzai government, the tribulations caused by pervasive opium production and American military losses. Reports datelined "Kabul" and stories filed from Kandahar and Herat frequently cite the ineffectiveness of the Afghan National Security Forces. Yet when Gen. David Petraeus commended the ANSF after the recent elections for "safeguarding a weapon with greater potential than any other: the people's right to vote," he was all but ignored.
Thank goodness few of the warriors we are covering here in Afghanistan are even aware of the intrigues swirling in Washington or the negative news so fascinating to our media elites. The troops here are too busy fighting America's real enemies.
America In Decline
Early in his administration, President Reagan confidently asserted that "America's best days lie ahead." At the time it was true, but noted economist Thomas Sowell thinks it's no longer the case.
In his new book, "Dismantling America," Sowell argues that this nation is becoming one that many Americans no longer recognize as the country they grew up in or expected to pass on to their children and grandchildren. Rather, like Rome, America may be entering a prolonged period of decline.
Sowell sat down with IBD recently to discuss the political, social and economic forces that are leading to this decline and what, if anything, can reverse it.
IBD: What are the markers of national decline? What characteristics are different from a few decades ago that if they don't improve will lead to this country falling apart?
Sowell: One of the most serious current signs is the governing style of this administration, which is to impose as many things as possible on the public from the top down, without even letting them know what's going on.
Huge bills that fundamentally change the way the economy op erates have been rushed through Congress without hearings, without debate, and so fast that not even the members of Congress have a chance to read them. That's circumventing the notion of a constitutional government, and that's really at the heart of what the country is. The only analogy I can think of from history is when the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French for an English-speaking nation. The utter arrogance — you're not even to know what the laws are until it is too late.
Reckless spending is another. The deficit and the national debt, as a percentage of GNP, is higher now than it was during any time except World War II. Moreover, once World War II was over we stopped the spending and started paying off the existing debt. We're going in exactly the opposite direction.
Of course, the one that trumps them all is on the international scene. That's where Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons. I'm just staggered at how little attention is being paid to that compared to frivolous things. If a nation with a record of sponsoring international terrorism gets nuclear weapons, that changes everything and it changes it forever.
Someday historians may wonder what were we thinking about when you look at the imbalance of power between the U.S. and Iran, and we sat there with folded hands and watched this happen, going through just enough motions at the United Nations to lull the public to sleep. That, I think, is the biggest threat.
Much more HERE
If this weren’t so sad it would be funny: full-page ads in The New Yorker urge businesses to re-locate to Canada. The ads offer the lowest corporate taxes on job-creating businesses in the G-7, the lowest government debt (2.7 percent of GDP target for 2011), and “a dynamic free-market environment.”
The United States of Obama cannot, I’m sorry to say, counter such advertisement. Now even Cuba is shedding government jobs and extricating itself from government ownership of business in grudging admission its ideology is a practical failure. Meanwhile, our president wages war against private enterprise, seeks dominion over entire industries, and moves toward unprecedented micro-managerial dictating to small businesses of almost every stripe. It took the Castro brothers a nearly interminable time to face their reality.
Fortunately, we still have real elections here. But it’s going to be awhile before we can again advertise the United States as offering a dynamic, free market, pro-business, pro-success environment.
GOP Pledge Is a Step in the Right Direction
You can read the pledge in full here. Caution: There's a lot of it
The Republicans' "Pledge to America" is an encouraging step on the road back to recapturing America. It's not enough for Republicans merely to stop Obama's disastrously destructive agenda in its tracks. This pledge is their acknowledgment that they have heard the grass roots, too -- that they are not exempt from scrutiny or accountability merely because they are the anti-Obamas.
Rep. Paul Ryan conceded as much in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos when he said that the Republicans have lost their way in the past and that with this pledge, they are embracing bold steps to get this nation back on track.
That said, Ryan made clear that Republicans are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, he said, "We are here trying to reclaim our country by rededicating ourselves to those timeless principles that made us exceptional." The pledge, he said, contains the basic building blocks to get us back on the right track.
Precisely correct. This is not rocket science. It's a matter of rolling back government, radically reducing spending, ensuring that taxes are not so high that they smother economic growth, repealing and replacing Obamacare, bolstering our national defense and embracing traditional values.
These are not complicated ideas, and they don't need to be. We just want to restore government to its intended role under the Constitution. These timeless principles -- not some gimmicky ideas designed by faux conservatives to appeal to "moderates" -- are what allowed America to be exceptional.
With their pledge, Republicans are reclaiming their commitment to the idea that Americans, unshackled by an oppressive government, are what made America great, not a proactive, intrusive government. This stands in sharp contrast to Obama's Democrats, who can no longer credibly deny they are the party of nearly unlimited government.
Obama makes Carter look good: "Liberals downgrade the Carter presidency as one short on transformative visions: It brought no New Deals, no New Frontiers. Instead, at its best, the Carter legacy was one of workaday reforms that made significant improvements in American life: cheaper travel and cheaper goods for the middle class. Ironically enough, the president you’d never want to have a beer with brought you better beer — and much else besides.”
The disgrace of the ruling class: "We now have confirmation that Barack Obama truly loves poor people. Because he is creating so many of them. The Census Bureau reports that America suffers with more people in poverty now than ever before in its history of reporting on poverty — 44 million. That’s up nearly 4 million in the last year alone, with the poverty rate shooting up to 14.3%. One in seven Americans now suffers in poverty.”
US Senate Republicans block campaign censorship bill again: "Republicans in the US Senate blocked for a second time Thursday a bill to toughen campaign finance rules, in a setback to President Barack Obama in the middle of a heated electoral season. Senators failed to muster the 60-vote supermajority required under Senate rules to end debate, with the roll call just short at 59 to 39. Obama had been pressing for the measure that would force special interest groups to disclose their donors when purchasing political ads.”
The pain begins: "Starting today parents will be able to keep their children on the parents’ insurance plan through age 25. But that doesn’t come for free. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that doing so will cost an estimated $3,380 a year per child. And since employers are balking at picking up the added cost, the parents themselves will have to foot the bill. Similarly, as of today, insurers can no longer impose lifetime or annual limits on benefits or refuse coverage to children with preexisting conditions. One can argue that these new rules are the best way to deal with thorny issues — but no one can claim that insurers will do these things out of the goodness of their hearts.”
The opportunity in Haiti: "Over the last 60 years the West has provided Haiti with massive foreign aid to build infrastructure, stimulate private investment and promote good governance. But Haiti has been the graveyard of every sort of notion about how wealthy countries can help poor countries. And now some Western development experts are actually saying that this disaster is really an opportunity; a clean slate and so a chance to ‘get it right.’ But what is the ‘it’ we are going to get right? What haven’t we tried?”
The perils of “reaching across the aisle”: "According to a poll published yesterday by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans admire political leaders who, rather than making compromises, ’stick to their positions,’ a result that arguably suggests a general desire for consistency and for principles. Though it isn’t at all clear what kinds of principles citizens suppose their nominal representatives ought to aspire to, it at least seems to be the case that the dissolute glad-handing euphemized as ‘compromise’ in the Beltway has grown repulsive to many if not most Americans.”
The decivilizing effects of government: "Ah for the days when the socialists believed in material progress! That is no longer the case. Now they propose poverty and advocate government regulations to bring it about — and expect us to be grateful for it. Whereas socialism could not actually work to bring about greater productivity, it can do what the ‘postmaterialist’ socialists desire. Socialistic means can work to bring about lower standards of living.”
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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)
Posted by JR at 11:04 PM