Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dems extol facts and science but act on ideology

President Obama recently fretted that our politics has become so rough-and-tumble that "facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day all the time." Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser just before the election, the president worried that Americans were so rattled by economic anxieties that they might lose their heads and choose Republicans over Democrats -- a fear that became a reality on Nov. 2.

But his larger point was that Democrats are guided by facts and science and argument while Republicans act on ideological or even irrational motives. As liberals and Democrats are fond of saying, they are part of the "reality-based community."

Except when they're not. In the course of the Obama administration we have seen examples of Democrats in the White House, Congress and across the government pursuing ideological goals that are not only not based on facts and science and argument but actually fly in the face of facts and science and argument. Some examples:

» Offshore oil drilling. Recently the inspector general of the Interior Department discovered that White House officials altered a report to claim that the administration's six-month moratorium on offshore oil drilling had the approval of the nation's foremost engineering experts. "The recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering," the administration declared. In fact, the experts had not reviewed, nor did they approve, the proposed drilling moratorium. The administration insists it was all a mistake.

» The "clean energy economy." President Obama speaks frequently about "accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy." Neither Obama's promises of breakthroughs in solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources -- which can supply only a tiny fraction of the nation's energy needs -- nor his claims that his policies will create hundreds of thousands of "green jobs" in a new clean energy world, are supported by solid economic analysis. Numerous studies found that the president's favored cap-and-trade program would not have led to economic growth, and the concept of "green jobs" is so fuzzy as to be almost useless.

"They are ignoring the fact that subsidized green jobs destroy jobs elsewhere and direct capital and resources away from their most efficient use," says Nick Loris, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "If these technologies were economically competitive and profitable, they wouldn't need the subsidies and mandates the administration is supporting."

» High-speed rail. The administration wants to build high-speed rail links in 13 densely populated areas around the country, at a price tag that could reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The president touted high-speed rail at no fewer than five campaign appearances in October. But there is virtually no hope that such projects, even if built exactly as the administration hopes, would bring the progress Obama claims. Recently Newsweek economic columnist Robert Samuelson concluded that the rail lines would not result in "any meaningful reduction in traffic congestion, greenhouse-gas emissions, air travel, or oil consumption and imports. Nada, zip."

The disregard of facts and science and argument when they contradict ideological goals is nothing new for some key figures in the Obama circle. For example, back in 1996, while an aide in the Clinton White House, Obama Supreme Court pick Elena Kagan rewrote the opinion of an expert board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on the subject of partial-birth abortion. The board found that it could "identify no circumstances under which this procedure ... would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman." But Kagan, eager to aid the White House fight against a partial-birth abortion ban, refashioned the experts' opinion, saying the procedure "may be the best or the most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstances to save the life or preserve the health of a woman." She just made it up.

During the Bush years, liberals and Democrats often accused the administration of ignoring science and expert opinion if it conflicted with conservative ideological goals. That would change, we were told, if rational, pragmatic Democratic leaders were given a chance to run the government.

Now we have had two years in which Democrats, with cherished ideological objectives of their own, have been fully in charge of Washington. Given what has taken place, can the president really claim that his is the party that values facts and science and argument above all?

SOURCE

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Big, evil industries funded… which party?

Now that election 2010 is over, let’s go back over to OpenSecrets and look at which evil corporations stole our democracy and bought Congress for the Republicans — the RepubliCorp!

First suspect: the military-industrial complex!

Defense Contractors: 55% Democrat, 44% Republican ($18 million)
Oh, really? Well, then, it must have been Wall Street! That’s it: Wall Street bought Congress for the GOP!

Securities & Investment: 53% Democrat, 46% Republican ($8.2 million)

Oh. Well, even if Wall Street as a whole preferred Democrats, it must have been the real bad guys, those risky Hedge funds and exotic investors…

Hedge Funds: 53% Democrat, 46% Republican ($6.8 million total)
Venture Capital: 64% Democrat, 36% Republican ($6.4 million)
Private Equity: 56% Democrat, 43% Republican ($4.6 million)

Huh. Well, then, it must have been the big health insurers and for-profit hospital corporations! They didn’t want reform! I know because I heard President Obama say so at least 64 times!

HMO/Health services: 58% Democrats, 40% Republicans ($9.4 million)
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: 51% Democrats, 48% Republicans ($10.4 million)

Medical Supply: 57% Democrats, 42% Republicans ($4.4 million)
Hospitals/Nursing Homes: 63% Democrat, 36% Republican ($14.9 million)

Huh. Well…then it must have been those evil lobbyists that President Obama has been fighting against ever since he got to Washington! That’s it!

Lobbyists: 65% Democrat, 34% Republican ($23.5 million)
What? You mean all that time I’ve spent watching Keith Olbermann hasn’t taught me any real facts???? You mean my head is now full of garbage and White House propaganda?

For good measure, here are a few industries that did, in fact, support Republicans (although most of them by narrow margins).

‘Tonsil Thieves‘ (Dentists): 37% Democrat, 62% Republican ($5.3 million)
Health professionals: 48% Democrat, 50% Republican ($55 million)
Credit/Finance: 48% Democrat, 52% Republican ($5.8 million)
Commercial Banks: 41% Democrat, 59% Republican ($15.4 million)
Insurance (Health, life and property): 48% Democrat, 52% Republican ($31.2 million)
Agribusiness: 41% Democrat, 58% Republican ($40 million)

The challenges I see ahead for the new GOP House will be (1) reining in Agribusiness subsidies and (2) forcing banks to live without hope of future bailouts. The first is probably the bigger challenge, at least in the short run.

SOURCE

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Time says Tea Party will cause hyperinflation

If hyperinflation arrives, Time Magazine wants its readers to know who the real culprits are. It won’t be the federal government that hiked annual spending by 38% in three years and began running trillion-dollar deficits. It won’t be the Congress that kept raising debt limits to allow for that spending spree. And it won’t be the Federal Reserve that, in desperation over the government’s spending and debt spree, began printing money to artificially keep interest rates low. No, the real culprit will be the political movement that opposes all of the above, according to The Curious Capitalist:
In a recent paper, called Temporarily Unstable Government Debt and Inflation, which can be downloaded from this website, Leeper has a chart that he unofficially calls the Tea Party shock graph, on page 25. Before the Tea Party, inflation is rising slowly. But in the first year the Tea Party or a group with similar views wins the Presidency or takes over Congress, whamm-o. Inflation doubles, and keeps going up. He wrote the paper in October, so he puts the potential date of Tea Party takeover as 2019, but after this election Leeper concedes Tea Party induced hyper-inflation could come much sooner than that. So is Palin riding the Hyper-Inflation Express? Maybe. Here’s why …

But here’s the trick. Leeper doesn’t just model actual tax policy. He is looking at tax expectations. You don’t actually have to lower taxes for inflation to rise. Nor do you have to raise taxes to get inflation to fall, for that matter. Leeper says as we get closer to the point that is looks like the government is unwilling to raise taxes people will get increasingly nervous about our debt. And that’s the problem with the Tea Party.

Now before you go claiming that Leeper’s research is a Liberal hit piece consider this: Leeper agrees that when governments have high levels of debt higher taxes do slow growth and cause massive inflation. But we’re not there yet. Currently, our US Federal Debt is equal to about 62% of annual GDP. That’s a lot, but not enough to make higher taxes a threat. According to Leeper’s calculations, at our current level of US Federal Debt higher taxes, even modestly higher taxes, tends to reduce inflation by three quarters of a percentage point. And the inflation fighting affect of higher taxes tends to grow as the level of debt rises closer to one. Inflation drops by about 1.3 percentage points when the US Federal deficit equals GDP. After that the equation shifts. When debt hits 120% of our annual debt, that’s when the trouble hits. At that point, higher taxes tends to make inflation rise, not fall. But even if Bush’s tax cuts are kept in place we are ten years or more from hitting that point.

Perhaps at some point, Mr. Curious (or Mr. Capitalist) can explain why we had runaway inflation in the 1970s even with a low debt-to-GDP ratio and a predilection for higher taxes. Curiously, when we started cutting taxes in the 1980s, that inflation disappeared, and remained under control during a long period of low tax rates, especially in the 1980s and in the last decade as well. Those years of low taxes, low inflation, and consistently high real growth in GDP would tend to argue that tax cuts don’t create inflation but actual growth — as well as confidence in both the economy and the currency.

Not only does Mr. Curious fail to take that into account, he also fails to use accurate accounting of our debt. With a projected GDP growth rate this year of 2.5%, we can estimate the final GDP for 2010 at around $14.48 trillion, rounding up a little generously. According to the Treasury’s own debt calculations, our national debt stands at $13.73 trillion as of November 9th, which would put our debt-to-GDP ratio at 94.8% of our GDP even if we didn’t add a single dollar from now until the end of the year. By this measure, the ratio was 55.9% in 2001, and 65.6% by the end of 2007. In 1995, it was 67.3%. The rate now is significantly worse than any time in the last 60 years.

Time Magazine gets to 62% by ignoring intragovernmental holdings, which are IOUs held by such trivial creditors as, say, the Social Security Administration (and that’s actually 63%, not 62%). So our debt ratio is only 63% if one is inclined to believe that the government will simply eliminate Social Security and default on its debt to other governmental trust funds, rendering them defunct. The CBO leaves out intragovernmental holdings because, technically, Congress isn’t committed to honoring those IOUs until it approves the expenditures in each annual budget. That debt is just as real as the “public” debt, though, with perhaps even bigger political and economic consequences for defaults.

By the way, when we last experienced hyperinflation at the end of the 1970s, our debt-to-GDP ratio was … 33.4%, one of the lowest levels of debt we have experienced in that same period.

Uncontrolled inflation doesn’t get created from tax cuts; it arises from bad monetary policy, ill-advised government interventions, and a serious lack of confidence in the currency. Tax cuts uncoupled from spending cuts can certainly make for bad policy and set the stage for inflation, but all one has to do is look at the last nine years of stable tax rates and the runaway rate of spending increases in Washington to determine where the actual problem lies. It’s not the tax rates that kept changing, nor is it a decline in revenue that created the massive deficits. For most of the last ten years, revenues have increased, with the exception of the last two years of deep recession; the deficit problem resulted from spending increases that have far outstripped the revenue increases.

Finally, the Tea Party may be philosophically inclined to low taxes (seeing how well they worked in the 1980s and in the early 2000s in stimulating growth), but that’s not the issue on the table. Democrats in Congress want to raise taxes on the employer class, not cut taxes for everyone else. The Tea Party and Sarah Palin want to cut spending instead and shrink government, a strategy that has worked to restore economic growth in this country when it was tried in the 1960s, the 1980s, and in 2001-3, and in none of those cases created runaway inflation. Perhaps Time needs a little more intellectual curiosity.

SOURCE

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How Republicans Can Break Obamacare Before They Repeal It

Opponents of Obamacare should stay focused on two tracks: first, show why Obamacare fails to address the fundamental health-care problems afflicting the nation while spending trillions on a new health-care entitlement; second, make moderate voters comfortable with their own health-care reform agenda. Here's how they can do it.

Earlier this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., committed an infamous gaffe when she said: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." House Republicans should help this process along and hold hearings to examine all the unintended consequences that have resulted (and will result) from Obamacare: Companies like McDonald's and other employers threatening to drop coverage; rate increases for private insurers due to new insurance regulations; and hundreds of billions of dollars in uncounted implementation costs for the legislation. Worst of all, 16 million Americans will be forced into the broken Medicaid program - and then struggle to find doctors and specialists who accept the program's low payments and cumbersome bureaucracy.

Republicans should also highlight how Obamacare is unaffordable. The president promised that health-care reform would "bend the curve" of health-care costs, but independent observers, from the Medicare Actuary to the Lewin Group, estimate that it will increase U.S. health-care spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Rather than reducing federal health-care spending, Obamacare will create new entitlements that we can't afford while sapping hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes and fees from the private sector to pay for it.

Republicans should bring a parade of governors to testify to Congress. States led successful welfare-reform efforts in the 1990s, and states should take the lead in health-care reform now.

Instead, Obamacare dictates health-care reform from the top down and inflicts new costs on state governments--from expanding Medicaid eligibility to the start-up costs associated with running new state insurance exchanges. Republicans should give governors a platform to voice their concerns and highlight the efforts of state leaders like Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind., to create more affordable health-care options for low-income Americans.

Finally, Republicans should push legislation that will attract bipartisan support and dare the president to veto it. Proposals could include using targeted defunding efforts to kill unpopular parts of the legislation--like the Independent Payment Advisory Board for Medicare; creating a national, interstate market for health insurance; enacting tort reform to rein in junk lawsuits against doctors; and killing the 1099 IRS reporting requirement for suppliers that will drown small businesses in paperwork.

By fighting smarter now, Obamacare's critics can improve the situation in the short term--and perhaps even lay the groundwork for repeal in 2012, when the president will have to defend his choices directly to the American people.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Friday, November 12, 2010

A very influential book

It isn't often that a book -- any book, even a popular, bestselling book like Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto -- can be said to have changed the course of American politics and history. The phenomenon is rare, extremely rare, usually taking both the country and even the author by surprise.

Yet Levin's book has done just that, saluted by Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in an exclusive talk with The American Spectator as "providing [the] intellectual balance and foundation" of the Tea Party movement. A movement that stands triumphant this week in the wake of the conservative landslide that Levin himself believes can revitalize the conservative cause that Ronald Reagan once led to the White House.

The results of the 2010 revolt against the Obama Era are staggering. The success of the Tea Party; the defeat of over 60 of Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats; the election of a half dozen U.S. senators, ten governors and almost 700 state legislators.

What startles even more is that one campaign after another focused on the issues Levin featured in his book -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, statism, the dangers of a powerful central government. Campaigns "motivated and inspired" specifically, says Bachmann, by Levin's Liberty and Tyranny.

Levin himself emerged as an unlikely rock star in the cause of the Constitution, the author literally besieged at book signings as thousands waited hours for a seconds-long meeting and signed copy. This video posted by a Levin fan of a book signing at Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside a rainy Washington, D.C., illustrates a fraction of the Liberty and Tyranny phenomenon that was sweeping the country.

Liberty and Tyranny's red, white, and blue flag-and-flame cover bearing Levin's bearded visage was waved aloft at Tea Party rallies. Bachmann marvels that "it's difficult to educate a nation" but says Tea Partiers made a point to "take copies of the book to town hall meetings" to grill House and Senate members on their knowledge of the Constitution they had taken an oath to obey.

The book's cover itself appeared in poster form. One memorable photo captured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally seated next to a soldier, the Levin book clearly visible in her lap.

Another Liberty and Tyranny fan went to work mocking Obama's famous 2008 campaign poster, replacing Obama's image with an iconic rendering of Levin, the caption changed from "Hope and Change" to read simply: "The Great One." Inevitably, there was a bumper sticker with a simple message: Mark Levin: President 2012.

In 1960 Barry Goldwater, then a rising spokesman of the fledgling modern conservative movement as the U.S. Senator from Arizona, wrote The Conscience of a Conservative. The book, adapted from Goldwater's speeches by Brent Bozell, an editor at William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review (and the father of today's Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center), was an unexpected sensation. It explained what Goldwater called "the conservative philosophy" and "spelled out conservative principles in everyday language" -- challenging head on the then-consensus view that the liberal agenda was a stellar political gift to mankind.

Daring to ask questions that liberals of the day sought to portray as extremist and out of the mainstream -- just as they still do today -- the book had a first printing of a mere ten thousand. Eventually, it sold more than 4 million hardcover and paperback copies, helping to build the foundation for what became the modern conservative movement. It also helped Goldwater to the 1964 Republican presidential nomination while making possible Ronald Reagan's 1980 election and the Reagan Revolution that followed.

When Mark Levin decided -- in 2008 -- that it was time to write a book about the importance of what he saw as "the modern liberal assault on Constitution-based values" no one, Levin included, could see what was coming.

LEVIN IS, FAMOUSLY, a considerable talk radio star, ranked number four in the nation with eight and a half million listeners. He is as well the longtime head of the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation. A former Reagan aide, Justice Department lawyer (serving as chief of staff to Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese III, among other positions in the government) and conservative activist who began his march on liberalism as a precocious 13-year old, Levin is no recent entry into discussions of law, politics, or conservative principles.

More HERE

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Of Course Sarah Palin's 'Unfit': She's a Republican

How much of the "Sarah Palin is not ready for prime time" criticism is sincere? When the harping comes from the left, it's difficult to take it seriously. Try to follow the bouncing standards.

Barbara Walters gushed over John F. Kennedy Jr. and foresaw a political future for him. Never mind that the young man had flunked the New York bar exam -- twice.

"Dumb" former President George W. Bush, caricatured as a slacker in an Oliver Stone movie, made better grades in college than did Al Gore, his opponent in 2000. Gore dropped out of divinity school after earning five F's. Then he entered law school and dropped out. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-global warming crusade, and his documentary won an Academy Award, but Gore got a D in science at Harvard. Bush also scored higher on his verbal SAT than did Rhodes scholar and "brainy" presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

"Dumb" former President Ronald Reagan majored in economics. But the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who ran for the presidency, got expelled from Harvard for hiring someone to take a Spanish test.

"Dumb" Republican former President Gerald Ford was ridiculed as a bumbling doofus by Chevy Chase on "Saturday Night Live." Democratic former President Lyndon Baines Johnson famously quipped that Ford, who played football for the University of Michigan, "spent too much time playing football without a helmet." But Ford graduated from Yale Law School, the same school that produced Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The worldly and literate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who ran for president in 2004, didn't exactly kill on his military aptitude test. He got half the questions right and half the questions wrong -- dead average. He explained his poor showing by insisting, "I must have been drinking the night before."

Vice President Joe Biden's 1988 quest for the presidency evaporated when he plagiarized a speech by a British politician. When someone questioned his academic credentials at a campaign stop, the offended Biden claimed that he had a full academic scholarship at law school and graduated in the top half of his class. In fact, he had a need-based half-scholarship and graduated near the bottom -- 76th out of 85.

Biden, in his political career, has stacked up enough gaffes for a dozen politicians. Where to start? How about the time, during a 2008 campaign rally, when Biden stood at the podium and implored a local lawmaker to "stand up." The man in question was in a wheelchair. Or at a campaign rally when he said the opponent's plan would do nothing about "a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."

Biden opposed the first Gulf war, the "good" one. He voted for the Iraq War and co-authored a Washington Post op-ed piece in which he warned that our involvement would take a decade and urged the nation to show patience. When the war went south, along with public opinion, Biden suggested breaking Iraq into three parts. Then Biden reversed his support, said he regretted his vote, and opposed Bush's successful "surge."

Former CBS reporter Dan Rather tried to prove -- based on documents that turned out to be fraudulent -- that Bush received preferential treatment in getting into the Texas Air National Guard. Former President Bill Clinton, on the other hand, used familial political and social connections to deliberately delay issuance of his draft notice until after he began his first year at Oxford.

Ordered to report for induction the next summer, Clinton again used connections -- including the approval of Arkansas Selective Service director Willard Hawkins -- to join the University of Arkansas ROTC while he attended law school, getting him a reservist deferment and nullifying his draft notice.

Palin, if she decides to run, faces a grueling series of challenges -- just like the other candidates. Except she'll not benefit from the selective standard that liberals apply when evaluating "their own."

More HERE

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The Fed Trashes the Dollar

Pat Buchanan

If it is the first responsibility of the Federal Reserve to protect the dollars that Americans earn and save, is it not dereliction of duty for the Fed to pursue a policy to bleed value from those dollars? For that is what Chairman Ben Bernanke is up to with his QE2, or "quantitative easing."

Translation: The Fed is committed to buy $600 billion in bonds from banks and pay for them by printing money that will then be deposited in those banks. The more dollars that flood into the economy, the less every one of them is worth.

Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation.

He is reducing the value of the dollar to make U.S. exports more competitive and imports more expensive, so that we will consume fewer imports. He is trying to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit by treating the once universally respected dollar like the peso of a banana republic.

Sarah Palin has nailed cold what Bernanke is about:

"We shouldn't be playing around with inflation. It's not for nothing Reagan called it 'as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.'

"The Fed's pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed's proposals 'clueless.' When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it's time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist.

"We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings."

Egging Ben on is the Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Fed policy is too timid, says Krugman.

When Bernanke said we are not "going to try to raise inflation to a super-normal level," he blew it, says Krugman, and "there goes the best chance the Fed's plan might actually work."

What the Fed should do, he says, is change expectations "by leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation ... which would reduce the incentive to sit on cash."

But "sit on cash" is a definition of saving. Is saving bad? Once, Americans were taught that saving was a good thing.

Not to Krugman. He wants to panic the public into believing the money they have put into savings accounts and CDs will be rapidly eaten up by Fed-created inflation, so they will run out and spend that money now to get the economy moving again.

Whatever the economics of this, the morality of it is appalling.

More HERE

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Obamacare Hits the Most Vulnerable

Mona Charen

Everyone agrees that the burden of dealing with escalating health care costs should not fall on the most vulnerable, right? Democrats in particular are always at pains to convince us that they are sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate. Yet among the many new taxes Obamacare will impose is one that hits wounded veterans and sick children especially hard -- the 2.3 percent annual tax on medical device manufacturers set to begin in 2013.

All of those fantastic prosthetic limbs, powered wheelchairs, stents, pacemakers, artificial hips, and other miraculous technologies that improve the lives of maimed soldiers will now be more expensive. Some estimates suggest that the tax will amount to 17 percent of profits for the industry.

As Ed Morrissey reported last May, Massachusetts medical device companies have already begun to plan layoffs to cope with the new tax. According to the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, "(A)bout 90 percent of the 100 medical-device firms said they would reduce costs due to the new tax tucked into the recently passed health-care reform bill."

Almost certainly, this will mean reductions in research and development. As the maxim goes: If you want less of something, tax it. If you want more of something, subsidize it. By taxing medical devices, Obamacare has probably postponed the day my 17-year-old Type I diabetic son is most looking forward to -- the invention and marketing of an artificial pancreas.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Obama’s Labor Department again pushes forced unionism: "You are at work one day and a couple of police vehicles pull up. They go into the administrative office area and the next thing you know, your CEO is escorted out in handcuffs. While the local news crews are capturing the moment permanently, a buzz quickly circulates through the company that the union had him arrested for egregious corporate corruption. The ‘perp walk’ is reserved for hardened criminals in order to give our law enforcement agencies an opportunity to showcase their abilities to protect the public.”

NASA’s Webb Telescope in money trouble : "NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the long-anticipated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is in serious financial trouble, according to a project review panel. The culprits: bad management and flawed budgets from managers, the panel concludes — not hardware challenges or a tightfisted Congress. Overall, the telescope’s cradle-to-grave budget, currently pegged at $5 billion, will need another $1.5 billion to live up to its scientific promise, the review panel estimated in a report released late Wednesday afternoon.”

Typical British government data security: "The British Ministry of Defence is investigating how an army officer’s laptop containing sensitive military data was bought on eBay for less than £20 ($32). The Toshiba Satellite A30 laptop computer, which is now held by the MoD, contained details of every police command post in a town in Helmand in Afghanistan, along with photos of each post and a list of the men, their ammunition, patrols and weapons. The files were not encrypted or password sensitive. It also contained details on those who had joined the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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A very influential book

It isn't often that a book -- any book, even a popular, bestselling book like Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto -- can be said to have changed the course of American politics and history. The phenomenon is rare, extremely rare, usually taking both the country and even the author by surprise.

Yet Levin's book has done just that, saluted by Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in an exclusive talk with The American Spectator as "providing [the] intellectual balance and foundation" of the Tea Party movement. A movement that stands triumphant this week in the wake of the conservative landslide that Levin himself believes can revitalize the conservative cause that Ronald Reagan once led to the White House.

The results of the 2010 revolt against the Obama Era are staggering. The success of the Tea Party; the defeat of over 60 of Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats; the election of a half dozen U.S. senators, ten governors and almost 700 state legislators.

What startles even more is that one campaign after another focused on the issues Levin featured in his book -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, statism, the dangers of a powerful central government. Campaigns "motivated and inspired" specifically, says Bachmann, by Levin's Liberty and Tyranny.

Levin himself emerged as an unlikely rock star in the cause of the Constitution, the author literally besieged at book signings as thousands waited hours for a seconds-long meeting and signed copy. This video posted by a Levin fan of a book signing at Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside a rainy Washington, D.C., illustrates a fraction of the Liberty and Tyranny phenomenon that was sweeping the country.

Liberty and Tyranny's red, white, and blue flag-and-flame cover bearing Levin's bearded visage was waved aloft at Tea Party rallies. Bachmann marvels that "it's difficult to educate a nation" but says Tea Partiers made a point to "take copies of the book to town hall meetings" to grill House and Senate members on their knowledge of the Constitution they had taken an oath to obey.

The book's cover itself appeared in poster form. One memorable photo captured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally seated next to a soldier, the Levin book clearly visible in her lap.

Another Liberty and Tyranny fan went to work mocking Obama's famous 2008 campaign poster, replacing Obama's image with an iconic rendering of Levin, the caption changed from "Hope and Change" to read simply: "The Great One." Inevitably, there was a bumper sticker with a simple message: Mark Levin: President 2012.

In 1960 Barry Goldwater, then a rising spokesman of the fledgling modern conservative movement as the U.S. Senator from Arizona, wrote The Conscience of a Conservative. The book, adapted from Goldwater's speeches by Brent Bozell, an editor at William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review (and the father of today's Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center), was an unexpected sensation. It explained what Goldwater called "the conservative philosophy" and "spelled out conservative principles in everyday language" -- challenging head on the then-consensus view that the liberal agenda was a stellar political gift to mankind.

Daring to ask questions that liberals of the day sought to portray as extremist and out of the mainstream -- just as they still do today -- the book had a first printing of a mere ten thousand. Eventually, it sold more than 4 million hardcover and paperback copies, helping to build the foundation for what became the modern conservative movement. It also helped Goldwater to the 1964 Republican presidential nomination while making possible Ronald Reagan's 1980 election and the Reagan Revolution that followed.

When Mark Levin decided -- in 2008 -- that it was time to write a book about the importance of what he saw as "the modern liberal assault on Constitution-based values" no one, Levin included, could see what was coming.

LEVIN IS, FAMOUSLY, a considerable talk radio star, ranked number four in the nation with eight and a half million listeners. He is as well the longtime head of the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation. A former Reagan aide, Justice Department lawyer (serving as chief of staff to Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese III, among other positions in the government) and conservative activist who began his march on liberalism as a precocious 13-year old, Levin is no recent entry into discussions of law, politics, or conservative principles.

More HERE

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Of Course Sarah Palin's 'Unfit': She's a Republican

How much of the "Sarah Palin is not ready for prime time" criticism is sincere? When the harping comes from the left, it's difficult to take it seriously. Try to follow the bouncing standards.

Barbara Walters gushed over John F. Kennedy Jr. and foresaw a political future for him. Never mind that the young man had flunked the New York bar exam -- twice.

"Dumb" former President George W. Bush, caricatured as a slacker in an Oliver Stone movie, made better grades in college than did Al Gore, his opponent in 2000. Gore dropped out of divinity school after earning five F's. Then he entered law school and dropped out. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-global warming crusade, and his documentary won an Academy Award, but Gore got a D in science at Harvard. Bush also scored higher on his verbal SAT than did Rhodes scholar and "brainy" presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

"Dumb" former President Ronald Reagan majored in economics. But the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who ran for the presidency, got expelled from Harvard for hiring someone to take a Spanish test.

"Dumb" Republican former President Gerald Ford was ridiculed as a bumbling doofus by Chevy Chase on "Saturday Night Live." Democratic former President Lyndon Baines Johnson famously quipped that Ford, who played football for the University of Michigan, "spent too much time playing football without a helmet." But Ford graduated from Yale Law School, the same school that produced Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The worldly and literate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who ran for president in 2004, didn't exactly kill on his military aptitude test. He got half the questions right and half the questions wrong -- dead average. He explained his poor showing by insisting, "I must have been drinking the night before."

Vice President Joe Biden's 1988 quest for the presidency evaporated when he plagiarized a speech by a British politician. When someone questioned his academic credentials at a campaign stop, the offended Biden claimed that he had a full academic scholarship at law school and graduated in the top half of his class. In fact, he had a need-based half-scholarship and graduated near the bottom -- 76th out of 85.

Biden, in his political career, has stacked up enough gaffes for a dozen politicians. Where to start? How about the time, during a 2008 campaign rally, when Biden stood at the podium and implored a local lawmaker to "stand up." The man in question was in a wheelchair. Or at a campaign rally when he said the opponent's plan would do nothing about "a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."

Biden opposed the first Gulf war, the "good" one. He voted for the Iraq War and co-authored a Washington Post op-ed piece in which he warned that our involvement would take a decade and urged the nation to show patience. When the war went south, along with public opinion, Biden suggested breaking Iraq into three parts. Then Biden reversed his support, said he regretted his vote, and opposed Bush's successful "surge."

Former CBS reporter Dan Rather tried to prove -- based on documents that turned out to be fraudulent -- that Bush received preferential treatment in getting into the Texas Air National Guard. Former President Bill Clinton, on the other hand, used familial political and social connections to deliberately delay issuance of his draft notice until after he began his first year at Oxford.

Ordered to report for induction the next summer, Clinton again used connections -- including the approval of Arkansas Selective Service director Willard Hawkins -- to join the University of Arkansas ROTC while he attended law school, getting him a reservist deferment and nullifying his draft notice.

Palin, if she decides to run, faces a grueling series of challenges -- just like the other candidates. Except she'll not benefit from the selective standard that liberals apply when evaluating "their own."

More HERE

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The Fed Trashes the Dollar

Pat Buchanan

If it is the first responsibility of the Federal Reserve to protect the dollars that Americans earn and save, is it not dereliction of duty for the Fed to pursue a policy to bleed value from those dollars? For that is what Chairman Ben Bernanke is up to with his QE2, or "quantitative easing."

Translation: The Fed is committed to buy $600 billion in bonds from banks and pay for them by printing money that will then be deposited in those banks. The more dollars that flood into the economy, the less every one of them is worth.

Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation.

He is reducing the value of the dollar to make U.S. exports more competitive and imports more expensive, so that we will consume fewer imports. He is trying to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit by treating the once universally respected dollar like the peso of a banana republic.

Sarah Palin has nailed cold what Bernanke is about:

"We shouldn't be playing around with inflation. It's not for nothing Reagan called it 'as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.'

"The Fed's pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed's proposals 'clueless.' When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it's time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist.

"We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings."

Egging Ben on is the Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Fed policy is too timid, says Krugman.

When Bernanke said we are not "going to try to raise inflation to a super-normal level," he blew it, says Krugman, and "there goes the best chance the Fed's plan might actually work."

What the Fed should do, he says, is change expectations "by leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation ... which would reduce the incentive to sit on cash."

But "sit on cash" is a definition of saving. Is saving bad? Once, Americans were taught that saving was a good thing.

Not to Krugman. He wants to panic the public into believing the money they have put into savings accounts and CDs will be rapidly eaten up by Fed-created inflation, so they will run out and spend that money now to get the economy moving again.

Whatever the economics of this, the morality of it is appalling.

More HERE

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Obamacare Hits the Most Vulnerable

Mona Charen

Everyone agrees that the burden of dealing with escalating health care costs should not fall on the most vulnerable, right? Democrats in particular are always at pains to convince us that they are sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate. Yet among the many new taxes Obamacare will impose is one that hits wounded veterans and sick children especially hard -- the 2.3 percent annual tax on medical device manufacturers set to begin in 2013.

All of those fantastic prosthetic limbs, powered wheelchairs, stents, pacemakers, artificial hips, and other miraculous technologies that improve the lives of maimed soldiers will now be more expensive. Some estimates suggest that the tax will amount to 17 percent of profits for the industry.

As Ed Morrissey reported last May, Massachusetts medical device companies have already begun to plan layoffs to cope with the new tax. According to the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, "(A)bout 90 percent of the 100 medical-device firms said they would reduce costs due to the new tax tucked into the recently passed health-care reform bill."

Almost certainly, this will mean reductions in research and development. As the maxim goes: If you want less of something, tax it. If you want more of something, subsidize it. By taxing medical devices, Obamacare has probably postponed the day my 17-year-old Type I diabetic son is most looking forward to -- the invention and marketing of an artificial pancreas.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

Obama’s Labor Department again pushes forced unionism: "You are at work one day and a couple of police vehicles pull up. They go into the administrative office area and the next thing you know, your CEO is escorted out in handcuffs. While the local news crews are capturing the moment permanently, a buzz quickly circulates through the company that the union had him arrested for egregious corporate corruption. The ‘perp walk’ is reserved for hardened criminals in order to give our law enforcement agencies an opportunity to showcase their abilities to protect the public.”

NASA’s Webb Telescope in money trouble : "NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the long-anticipated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is in serious financial trouble, according to a project review panel. The culprits: bad management and flawed budgets from managers, the panel concludes — not hardware challenges or a tightfisted Congress. Overall, the telescope’s cradle-to-grave budget, currently pegged at $5 billion, will need another $1.5 billion to live up to its scientific promise, the review panel estimated in a report released late Wednesday afternoon.”

Typical British government data security: "The British Ministry of Defence is investigating how an army officer’s laptop containing sensitive military data was bought on eBay for less than £20 ($32). The Toshiba Satellite A30 laptop computer, which is now held by the MoD, contained details of every police command post in a town in Helmand in Afghanistan, along with photos of each post and a list of the men, their ammunition, patrols and weapons. The files were not encrypted or password sensitive. It also contained details on those who had joined the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Progressives don't really get progress, but the American people do

Progressives claim to have a monopoly on progress – designed by intellectuals who 'know better' and brought about by a big, beneficent government. But Americans voted in last week's elections that this brand of progress actually impoverishes, and that a free market is much smarter

By Donald J. Boudreaux

President Obama and other progressives attribute the Democrats’ electoral shellacking last week to their failure to communicate with ordinary Americans. The implication is that most Americans are too slow to appreciate the noble and courageous government programs that progressives enacted for the public good. Another implication is that progressives are unusually smart and visionary.

The very label “progressive” suggests a forward-looking intelligence – a desire to progress past present superstitions and misinformation into a future enlightened by ideas rather than benighted by ignorance.

And because, for progressives, progress is believed always to involve a larger role for the state, the hallmark of progressive thinking is the outpouring of ideas about what government can do. Anyone objecting to the implementation of these ideas is, therefore, a nonprogressive – someone content to allow past habits and irrational notions to interfere with big, bold, collectively imposed ideas for improving society.

Trouble is, progressives’ understanding of the source of progress is regressive. It reflects an outmoded belief that society advances only if it is consciously designed by well-meaning and smart intellectuals and steered by a beneficent and powerful government.

Free markets regulate themselves

No one more famously exposed the wrong-headedness of this belief than did Adam Smith way back in 1776. Leave individuals free to pursue their own goals as they each see fit, said Smith in effect, and the result will be an orderly, prosperous, and growing – a progressing! – economy that no one did or could design.

Since Smith, generations of economists have refined our understanding that a decentralized, free-market economy is far smarter than is even the best set of ideas concocted by the world’s most brilliant intellectuals.

When markets are free – when individuals are prohibited only from violating the property rights of others and from breaking their contractual promises – the economy swarms with countless ideas. Countless entrepreneurs generate creative ideas for supplying new goods and services that consumers will value; legions of engineers work to develop techniques for producing outputs more efficiently; armies of attorneys devise new ways for contracting parties to better reduce and share risks; bankers around the globe each work to improve methods of getting liquidity into the hands of borrowers who can use it most effectively.

These ideas, constantly bubbling up from millions of different minds, compete with each other. Each of these ideas is tested in the real world, but without being forced on anyone. Also, the feedback on these ideas’ usefulness comes not from seminar participants, but from millions of actual producers and consumers putting their own money on the line. Ideas that actually work survive. Ideas that don’t, don’t.

One size doesn't fit all

Here’s an even better part. In markets, one size does not fit all. Ideas that work for, say, consumers with traditional tastes will survive for the benefit of those consumers, but will not crowd out very different ideas that work for consumers with tastes that are avant-garde. A billion flowers bloom. And as Matt Ridley points out in his book “The Rational Optimist,” these many different ideas will often cross-pollinate with each other, giving birth to yet another generation of ideas – a generation that exists only because of the large and diverse number of ideas that preceded them.

Contrast the multitude of different market-generated and voluntarily adopted ideas with the ideas of progressives – for example, progressives’ idea that government must regulate the fat content of foods.

Each of us can decide how much we value, say, juicy burgers and double-dark chocolate ice cream compared to how much we value a trim waistline and longer life expectancy. And each of us values these benefits differently. The dietary choices that I make for myself are right for me, but I cannot know if they are right for anyone else. Progressives, in contrast, falsely assume there’s a single correct metric, for the whole country, that determines for everyone how to trade off the satisfaction of eating tasty but fatty foods for the benefit of being healthier.

It’s in this way that progressives’ ideas are indeed big and bold – for these ideas are about how millions of other individuals should live their lives. In practice, these are ideas about how one group of people (the politically successful) should engineer everyone else’s contracts, social relations, diets, and even moral sentiments.

'Big Ideas' are big mistakes

Progressives’ ideas, then, are about replacing the market’s unimaginably large multitude of diverse and competing ideas – each one individually chosen, practiced, assessed, and modified in light of what Austrian economist and free-market philosopher F.A. Hayek called “the particular circumstances of time and place” – with a relatively paltry set of Big Ideas. These Big Ideas are politically selected and centrally imposed. And they are enforced not by the natural give and take of the everyday interactions of millions of people but, rather, by political authority.

What’s worse, this political authority rests with those whose overriding “idea” is among the most simple-minded and antediluvian notions in history – namely, that those with the power of the sword are anointed to lord it over the rest of us.

In this respect, progressive attitudes aren’t limited to Democrats. Republicans have fallen prey to the notion that Americans would be better off if only the power of the big, federal government could be marshalled for conservative purposes. How else to explain Republican support for such policies as No Child Left Behind or government funding to promote “healthy marriage” and “responsible fatherhood”?

Far from paving a path to prosperity and progress, progressives’ ideas are a recipe for impoverishment and regression.

The good news is that voters in America seem to get that. As pollster Scott Rasmussen noted last week, “voters don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or even the center. They want someone in Washington who understands that the American people want to govern themselves.”

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Zogby Interactive: Obama Approval Slips to 42%: "President Barack Obama's approval rating among likely voters has slipped after the mid-term elections, and is now at 42% compared to the 45% approval a Zogby Interactive poll found on the day before elections. The President's approval rating held steady at 38% among independent voters, but fell six percentage points from Nov. 1 among Democrats, 87% to 81%. The poll conducted from Nov. 8-10, 2010 also found the percentage of voters saying the nation was on the wrong track increasing to 63%, compared to the 58% found on Nov. 1."

Iraq: Christians fear they could be wiped out: "In the flickering candlelight of Our Lady of Salvation Church, Nagam Riyadh sits against a pillar singing Ave Maria, her voice rising to the shrapnel-marked rafters. ‘We are singing the hymns we couldn’t finish on Sunday,’ says Ms. Riyadh, who was in the choir on Oct. 31 when gunmen stormed the church in an attack that has traumatized the Christian community here and raised questions about its future. On the first Sunday mass after the attack, Nov. 7, she’s one of hundred of survivors and mourners who have gathered here. They light candles in the shape of a cross on the marble floor next to the names of more than 50 dead. At the top are photographs of the two slain priests. ”

The injustice of domestic violence policies: "October was Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness month, but the flurry of articles, speeches, and calls for increased funding omitted crucial data. Current DV arrest policies are blatantly unjust and need to be reinvented. Every year, an estimated one million Americans are arrested on DV charges. Typically they spend several days in jail. According to the Criminal Justice Review, only 30.5 percent of those arrested are convicted.”

The 2010 union pension bailout bills: "Get ready to give some of your hard-earned cash — again — to the cronies of Congress who are pushing for yet another bailout. Two bills in Congress propose using taxpayer dollars to bailout private union pension funds. If either one becomes law Congress for the first time will allow the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) to use public funds — the money you earn and pay to the government — to shore up horribly mismanaged union pension plans. Estimates for the current shortfall go as high as $165 billion.”

Deficit panel offers “painful” program for US politicians: "The chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission on Wednesday outlined stark recommendations they say are necessary to secure the nation’s fiscal standing, including reforms of the tax code and entitlement programs that would likely spark opposition from lawmakers and interest groups. … Proposed changes to Social Security — the so-called ‘third rail’ of American politics — may be particularly challenging to enact. The draft proposal suggests raising the retirement age, altering the formula for cost-of-living increases, and raising the payroll tax threshold.”

Cut more spending!: "A draft from the Congressional Deficit Commission that Obama appointed came out today, and it actually has a lot to like. For instance: — Raising the retirement age …. reducing foreign aid by $4.6 billion — freezing federal salaries for three years — eliminating popular tax breaks, such as mortgage interest deduction — cuts in farm subsidies — cuts in the Pentagon’s budget … That sounds like a lot of spending cuts — and it would be a good start — but it’s still not nearly enough to get around Medicare’s $38 trillion unfunded liability. So the Deficit Commission also proposes tax increases.”

Iraq: PM to stay on as political deadlock ends: "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will return to power for another four-year term after Iraqi lawmakers working late into the night Wednesday agreed on a tentative deal to form a new government, lawmakers said. The deal breaks an eight-month impasse that paralyzed the government, encouraged insurgent attacks and rattled potential foreign investors.”

Dinner with the militia: "The story of a female grad student who aspires to do refugee work with children in war torn countries, who is a daughter, a girlfriend, a friend, and is also a member of the local militia, might sound strange to most. Once you understand the truth about militias, my life doesn’t seem strange at all. Militia members are normal everyday people. We are just like you, and some of us may be your neighbors, your friends, and your family.”

Market alternatives for food safety: "Most Americans go about their daily lives convinced that the Federal government, through the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, protects them from eating poisoned food. If not for the USDA or the Food and Drug Administration, they imagine, every food item on the store shelf would be suspect. Restaurateurs would unwittingly sell E. coli-infected meat and produce to their customers on a daily basis, and the simple act of eating would become like a game of Russian roulette. But what if that protection was largely an illusion? What if there were other simpler, quicker, and more efficient alternatives to food safety than the USDA?”

Joe Biden’s weak case for government meddling: "Joe Biden believes that government played a large role in the success of railroads in the 19th century. In this video, Don Boudreaux points out that that isn’t actually true. There were four transcontinental railroads. Three of them received subsidies. The fourth was the Great Northern Railway, founded by Canadian immigrant James J. Hill. He alone rejected any special government favors.”

The election’s over, so let’s get back to business: "President Obama recently warned that the current high unemployment could be ‘a new normal’ in the United States. If his administration doesn’t change course on policies, he may be right. Myriad policy options — from deregulating and cutting taxes to slashing the size of the federal government — remain untried. Add to that mix fostering entrepreneurship by letting foreign entrepreneurs come to the U.S.”

Congress should “shellack” the president’s executive orders: "‘Stroke of the pen, law of the land — kinda cool’ — that’s how Paul Begala described rule by executive order back in 1998, as his boss President Clinton prepared a passel of them, the better to bypass an uncooperative Congress. After last Tuesday’s ’shellacking,’ it’s a fair bet President Obama will find rule by decree kinda cool as well."

Besmirch and divert: "If Mr. Obama and his acolytes cannot produce anything that’s better than charges of racism and bigotry against their political or intellectual adversaries, they are in effect admitting that their viewpoint is bankrupt. No one with even a modicum of merit to his or her argument will resort to ad hominems. The arguments being advanced are supposed to carry the weight of the position and there would be no need for trying to discredit with smears those who oppose it.”

Big government’s final frontier: "It is time for conservatives to recognize that Apollo is over. We must recognize that Apollo was a centrally planned monopolistic government program for a few government employees, in the service of Cold War propaganda and was therefore itself an affront to American values. If we want to seriously explore, and potentially exploit space, we need to harness private enterprise, and push the technologies really needed to do so.”

Competitive trash pickup under fire: "It seems that Fountain Hills, AZ had competitive trash pickup, and the city council wanted to bid out trash pickup as a single-provider city service instead. The people of Fountain Hills reacted like a bunch of 1950’s anti-communists, calling it socialism and likening it to Obamacare. John Cole and his comment section went ape-shit, in the original post and follow-ups here and here. Quite a few commenters suggested that if we don’t have municipal trash collection, we’ll look like third-world countries where people just bury, burn, or leave their trash out on their property to rot. Strangely, I hadn’t heard a single report of uncollected trash in Fountain Hills leading to this change.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sarah hits the nail on the head

She sees how destructive is Obama's orgy of printing new money

"We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth brought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings," the former GOP Vice Presidential nominee said. "We want a stable dollar combined with real economic reform. It's the only way we can get our economy back on the right track."

Mrs. Palin's remarks may have the beneficial effect of bringing the dollar back to the center of the American political debate, not to mention of the GOP economic platform. Republican economic reformers of the 1970s and 1980s—especially Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp—understood the importance of stable money to U.S. prosperity.

On the other hand, the Bush Administration was clueless. Its succession of Treasury Secretaries promoted dollar devaluation little different from that of the current Administration, while the White House ignored or applauded an over-easy Fed policy that created the credit boom and housing bubble that led to financial panic.

Misguided monetary policy can ruin an Administration as thoroughly as higher taxes and destructive regulation, and the new GOP majority in the House and especially the next GOP President need to be alert to the dangers. Mrs. Palin is way ahead of her potential Presidential competitors on this policy point, and she shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand.

More HERE

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Political Judges

Thomas Sowell

The runaway arrogance that politicians get when they have huge majorities in Congress is a more or less common arrogance among federal judges with lifetime tenure or state judges who are seldom defeated in elections to confirm their appointments to the bench.

It was a surprise to many-- and a shock to media liberals-- when three judges on Iowa's Supreme Court were voted off that court in the same recent elections in which a lot of politicians were also sent packing.

These judges had taken it upon themselves to rule that the voters of Iowa did not have the right to block attempts to change the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples. Here again, the particular issue-- so-called "gay marriage"-- was not as fundamental as the question of depriving the voting public of their right to decide what kinds of laws they want to live under.

That is ultimately a question of deciding what kind of country this is to be-- one ruled by "we the people" or one where the notions of an arrogant elite are to be imposed, whether the people agree or not.

Those who believe in gay marriage are free to vote for it. But, when they lose that vote, it is not the role of judges to nullify the vote and legislate from the bench. Judges who become politicians in robes often lie like politicians as well, claiming that they are just applying the Constitution, when they are in fact exercising powers that the Constitution never gave them.

If they are going to act like politicians, then they should be voted out like politicians.

Media liberals, who like what liberal judges do, spring to their defense. The media spin is that judges were voted off the bench because of "unpopular" decisions and that this threatens judicial "independence."

Since this was the first time that a justice of the Iowa Supreme Court was voted off the bench in nearly half a century, it is very doubtful that there was never an "unpopular" court decision in all that time. The media spin about "unpopular" decisions sidesteps the far more important question of whether the judges usurped powers that were never given to them by the Constitution.

As for judicial "independence," that does not mean being independent of the laws. Being a judge does not mean being given arbitrary powers to enact the liberal agenda from the bench, which means depriving the citizens of their most basic rights that define a free and self-governing people.

While removing three state Supreme Court justices at one time in Iowa is news today, the very same thing happened in California back in the 1970s. Every single death penalty imposed by a trial court in California was overturned by the state Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Rose Bird voting 64 times in a row that there was something wrong with the way each trial had been conducted. That was world-class chutzpah.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Arizona does not have a right to require proof of citizenship before someone can vote. Where does it say that in the Constitution?

The time is long overdue to stop treating judges like sacred cows, especially when they have so much bull

More HERE

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No Illegal Alien Pilot Left Behind

Michelle Malkin

Chalk up another Code Red Elmo moment for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While Islamic terrorists groom suicide bombers starting in kindergarten, the grownups in charge of protecting America can't seem to reach an elementary level of competence.

More than nine years after the 9/11 jihadist attacks, untold numbers of high-risk flyers have been able to board, ride and pilot American planes -- some with Transportation Security Administration approval to boot.

Outside Boston, one shady flight school provided single-engine pilot lessons to at least 33 illegal immigrants from Brazil. But clear counter-terror rules ban illegal aliens from enrolling in U.S. flight schools. Clear counter-terror regulations require TSA to run foreign flight students' names against a plethora of terrorism, criminal and immigration databases. Head-scratching airport security officials were at a loss last week to explain how dozens of these illegal alien students eluded their radar screen when the agency "performs a thorough background check on each applicant at the time of application" and checks "for available disqualifying immigration information," the Boston Globe reported.

A cluebat for the Keystone Kops: No matter how DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano might spin it, the "system" is not "working" in any sense of either word.

Whistleblowers have warned for years about the gaping holes in both the TSA's and the Federal Aviation Administration's foreign pilot screening systems. In 2005, aviation safety inspector Edward H. Blount of the Alabama Flight Standards District Office sent a letter to the TSA warning of federal policies that were "fostering illegal flight training by foreign individuals" in the U.S. on improper visas. Blount reported that he and another investigator were told by a TSA official that the agency was "not going to look at the visa status" of pilot applicants.

In 2008, ABC News discovered that thousands of foreign nationals were able to enroll in flight schools despite the strict flight security rules. "Some of the very same conditions that allowed the 9-11 tragedy to happen in the first place are still very much in existence today," one regional TSA officer warned. "TSA's enforcement is basically nonexistent," former FAA inspector Bill McNease told the network. The matter was kicked upstairs to DHS higher-ups in Washington. And there it gathered dust.

Compounding those persistent gaps are the myriad ways the open-borders lobby has undermined secure identification. Homeland security officials were warned years ago about the use of bogus Mexican matricula consular cards by illegal aliens boarding planes. American banks have pandered to the pro-amnesty lobby in search of illegal alien customers; the financial industry championed the use of the matricula consular cards as identification despite widespread fraud, inability to verify validating documents and lack of any central database. Dozens of municipalities have incorporated consular cards as "valid" ID for illegal aliens, and three states still issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Open-borders ideologues populate every corner of the Obama administration, from DHS to the Department of Justice, where civil rights division head Thomas Perez has long crusaded for illegal alien licenses.

These comprehensive failures are partly attributable to incompetence, partly attributable to industry pressure and partly attributable to the intentional undermining of the very immigration laws Congress passed after 9/11 -- laws specifically designed to prevent future alien hijackers like the 9/11 monsters from so easily exploiting the homeland security lapses that allowed them to live and train here for years unencumbered even after their temporary visas had expired.

More HERE

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The media were not defeated by the mid-terms

Now Obama, Pelosi and their troops in the media are going to turn to the proposition that the House Republicans must be defeated. Oh, the irony. Weren't their knickers in the tightest of knots when Rush Limbaugh stated he wanted Obama to fail?

Trying to reduce our $3.5 trillion annual budget by $100 million, liberals now insist, is "impossible." So said morning host Harry Smith on CBS. But Team Obama adding $2.7 trillion to the deficit over the last two years was a piece of cake.

The insatiable left is defining as "realistic" anything that keeps the gravy train rolling, and trying to slow it down is utterly unthinkable. Smith wouldn't be caught dead reading a new study from the Heritage Foundation showing how to cut $343 billion per year in federal spending, or more than one-fourth of the 2010 deficit, as a down payment toward a balanced budget.

Despite controlling only one house of Congress, the GOP has been handed all the accountability for government spending by the press. In every interview, the media are pounding tea party politicians to announce where they're going to cut. Liberals are never challenged to put forth specifics when they genuflect at the altar of fiscal responsibility because everyone knows they really mean tax hikes.

So most Republicans are avoiding specifics like the Heritage plan because they know that for any spending cut they propose, the media will go hunting for potential victims of alleged Republican viciousness. They remember 1995, when ABC was doing stories on the brief government shutdown with tear-jerking lines about poor bureaucrats, like "Joe Skattleberry and his wife, Lisa, can't afford a Christmas tree."

It's as simple as this: Reporters don't want the budget to be cut. That's why a look at the Big Three network newscasts by the Media Research Center from Sept. 1 through Oct. 25 found the networks repeatedly telling the voters they faced a choice between reasonable Democrats and freakishly far-right Republicans.

There were 35 evening news stories that conveyed the message that conservative and tea party candidates were "extreme," "fringe," or "out of the mainstream." But there was not a single network story that spent one second of time to suggest that the conservatives asserted the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Democrats, responsible for the most radical legislative agenda in history, were "out of the mainstream."

When the voters went to the polls and rejected the Democrats, they were rejecting the Old Media as well.

Network reporters consistently implied or stated that Obama was already in the center of the political conversation, and the GOP was off-the-charts conservative. They applied 62 ideological labels, and 77 percent were aimed at conservatives, and only 23 percent were for liberals. Both Delaware's Christine O'Donnell and Alaska's Joe Miller were tagged as "ultraconservatives"; apparently, that's a synonym for the tea party, but no Democrat -- not one -- was ever branded an "ultraliberal."

In the Pennsylvania Senate race, CBS called Republican Pat Toomey "conservative," but Democrat Joe Sestak (American Conservative Union rating: zero) was not a "liberal." CBS stooped lowest by airing an entire story on loud-mouthed loser Alan Grayson (another ACU zero), but never called him a "liberal," despite his claim that the Republican health care motto was "Die Quickly." To the liberals in denial at CBS, Grayson wasn't "extreme" on anything, but they felt it necessary to tag his opponent Daniel Webster as "conservative."

More HERE

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The Bashing of American Exceptionalism

Daily Beast columnist Peter Beinart railed against the GOP's "lunatic notion" of America's exceptionalism. In particular, Beinart was infuriated by Senator-elect Marco Rubio's claim that "America is the single greatest nation in all of human history." Doesn't the Florida politician know, Beinart wonders, that China and Brazil are opening opportunities to their citizens too? According to Beinart, Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, is too ideologically blinkered to know that "the American dream of upward mobility is alive and well, just not in America."

What's bizarre about Beinart and Kinsley's rendition of American exceptionalism is that it hinges on the premise that the idea of American exceptionalism is an artifact of right-wing jingoism, xenophobia or ignorance. Even Obama flirts with this sort of thing every time he chalks up opposition to his agenda to the fear, bigotry or small-mindedness of the "bitter" souls "clinging" to their antiquarian beliefs.

Forget that every Fourth of July we celebrate the fact that we fought the Revolutionary War to become an exceptional nation. From their dismissive condescension, you'd think these three educated men didn't know that American exceptionalism has been a well-established notion among scholars for more than a century.

"The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in "Democracy in America," "and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one." Ever since, historians have argued that America's lack of a feudal past, its Puritan roots, the realism of its revolutionary ambitions and many other ingredients contributed to America's status as the "first new nation," to borrow a phrase from Seymour Martin Lipset, who spent his life writing about American exceptionalism....

Now that Europe has turned its back -- at least temporarily -- on lavish Keynesian spending, folks like Beinart must turn to developing countries such as China and Brazil for inspiration. Countries that pay millions of workers pennies a day are not normally role models for the left. But, hey, if it makes Republicans appear backward, they'll give it a shot.

Ultimately, it's not that liberals don't believe in American exceptionalism so much as they believe it is holding America back, which might explain why they're lashing out at the people who want to keep it exceptional. But that too is nothing new. "The Coolidge myth has been created by amazingly skillful propaganda," editorialized The Nation in 1924 about the unfathomable popularity of Calvin Coolidge. "The American people dearly love to be fooled."

For the record, I'm with Rubio. America is the greatest country in the world. That doesn't mean it's perfect. But it is, and remains, the last best hope of Earth.

But, by all means, Democrats, listen to the sophisticates who chortle at the idea that there's anything especially good about America. That will solve Obama's "communication problem."

More HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

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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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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

That old hatred of IQ again

It's seldom that I laugh out loud while reading a bit of Left-leaning, do-gooder nonsense but I have just had that experience.

I don't know how the editor of the Green/Left "New Scientist" (Roger Highfield) got to write for the generally conservative "Daily Telegraph" but it has happened -- but not in a good way. After a series of dogmatic and unreferenced assertions in which he pours out contempt and contumely on conventional IQ tests, he then says that there is a new type of test which is much better. He then however goes on to admit that he doesn't know if the new test works!
Dr Owen is part of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. With his colleague, Adam Hampshire, he has devised the ultimate intelligence test. Drawing on data from brain scans, his test – featuring a dozen tasks – triggers as much of the brain's anatomy as possible, combining the fewest tasks to cover the broadest range of cognitive skills.

For example, spot-the-difference puzzles boost activity in a range of areas at the back and bottom of the brain. Similarly, when you navigate your way around an unfamiliar supermarket, you rely on visuospatial working memory, which is linked to activity in the ventrolateral frontal cortex behind the eyes and the parietal lobe at the back and on top of the brain. However, as the questions become more complex, demanding more use of strategies and stored memories, broader regions of the frontal and parietal lobes become active – in particular, the large area behind the temples known as the dorsolateral frontal cortex.

Adrian and Adam regard this as the ultimate intelligence test – so all that is left is to find out whether it works. To that end, New Scientist has put it online, in a joint project with the Discovery Channel. If you have a half-hour to spare, and want to put your brain through its paces while advancing the cause of neuroscience, have a go here.

More HERE

Highfield has obviously drawn his conclusions before he has seen the evidence -- which is exactly the opposite of what scientists do. But that is just standard Leftist practice so we must not be at all surprised.

The only further comment I would make is that it is quite an absurd assumption to say that a good measure of intelligence should use as many areas of the brain as possible. The brain does many things and problem solving is only one of them. That problem solving ability should involve only a few parts of the brain would seem a much more reasonable expectation.

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Death panel convening already

Federal officials are conducting an unusual review to determine whether the government should pay for an expensive new vaccine for treating prostate cancer, rekindling debate over whether some therapies are too costly.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which dictate what treatments the massive federal health-insurance program for the elderly will cover, is running a "national coverage analysis" of Provenge, the first vaccine approved for treating any cancer. The treatment costs $93,000 a patient and has been shown to extend patients' lives by about four months.

Although Medicare is not supposed to take cost into consideration when making such rulings, the decision to launch a formal examination has raised concerns among cancer experts, drug companies, lawmakers, prostate cancer patients and advocacy groups.

Provenge, which was approved for advanced prostate cancer in April, is the latest in a series of new high-priced cancer treatments that appear to eke out only a few more months of life, prompting alarm about their cost.

"This absolutely is the opening salvo in the drive to save money in the health-care system," said Skip Lockwood, who heads Zero - the Project to End Prostate Cancer, a Washington-based lobbying group. "If the cost wasn't a consideration, this wouldn't even be under discussion."

More HERE

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Barack Obama joined Muslim prayers at school, teacher says

AS a schoolboy in Jakarta, Barack Obama attended Muslim prayer sessions with his classmates against the wishes of his mother.

The US President's former grade three teacher said that Mr Obama - who was known as "Barry" when he attended the Menteng One school in Jakarta - studied the Koran and went to classes on Islam, despite the objections of Ann Dunham, a Catholic.

The teacher's recollections will add to speculation about Mr Obama's links to Islam during his much-anticipated visit to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, as part of his ten-day tour of Asia.

His middle name, Hussein, and the fact that his stepfather was a Muslim, have combined to perpetuate rumours about Mr Obama's religious leanings. The number of Americans who think that he is a Muslim has grown since his inauguration to one in five.

Mr Obama moved to Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, when he was 6, and lived there for four years. In his memoirs he recalled his time in the country as the "bounty of a young man's life" and there is affection and pride among Indonesians for the boy who ended up as President of the United States.

The teacher, Effendi, who taught at Menteng One for 29 years, remembers Mr Obama as a "fat, curly-haired, curious boy". The school had an international mix of pupils, including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

Mr Obama attended classes on Islam while the Christians attended classes on Christianity, said Effendi. Barry, he said, was alone among the pupils in that he insisted on attending both.

"His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said 'Why did you teach him the Koran?'" said Effendi. "But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam. He would also join the other pupils for Muslim prayers."

More HERE

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SIEU thugs again

Obama's "friends"

Two employees who voiced support for a rival union were wrongfully dismissed during contract negotiations with a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate, according to a complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

According to the complaint, the SEIU-affiliated Rochester Regional Joint Board of Workers United carried out unfair labor practices by “negotiating to insert new language in a labor contract that reduced the pay and work opportunities of the employees,” The Examiner reports. Both dismissed individuals were employees of Sodexo who worked in cafeteria and catering jobs in New York.
After an investigation, NLRB found there was enough evidence to support the employees’ allegations that Workers United engaged in illegal conduct against them in retaliation for their support of a rival union, Local 471-UNITE HERE. The NLRB complaint specifically alleges that during negotiations for a new contract in May 2010, Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, demanded new contract language that reduced the vacation pay of Rodrigue.

The SEIU affiliate reportedly also demanded that catering assignments be based on seniority, reducing the work opportunities and pay of one of the anti-union employees.
The NLRB alleges that the SEIU affiliate engaged in this illegal conduct to retaliate against [the two employees], who supported Local 471-UNITE HERE, and also “to discourage other employees from supporting” Local 471-UNITE HERE.

By this conduct, the union “has been restraining and coercing employees in the exercising of rights guaranteed” under federal labor laws, according to the complaint. As part of the remedy for the alleged unfair labor practices, the NLRB is seeking to have Workers United pay lost wages, with interest, to the affected workers.

The SEIU-affiliated union — not the Sodexo company — must answer to the complaint by Wednesday and an NLRB Administrative Law Judge will rule in a hearing on the complaint in January.

SOURCE

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Prosecutors who attended GOP election party dismissed from Dallas County DA's office

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins dismissed two prosecutors after they attended a party where Republican candidates and supporters were watching results on Election Day.

But the DA's office on Monday denied that the two were related. "The District Attorney's Office does not comment on personnel matters; however, your information is wrong," Watkins' spokeswoman Jamille Bradfield said in an e-mail. "It is not true that anyone was let go because they attended the Republican election night party."

After a bitter campaign, Watkins narrowly defeated Republican Danny Clancy on Nov. 2 to be elected to a second term. The Republicans, including Clancy, gathered at the Hotel Palomar at Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane to watch election results come in.

Grau and Nowak declined to comment about their dismissals but both said they are looking for other work. Nowak said he is "hopeful" he will find another job as a prosecutor. Grau, who marked 25 years as a Dallas County prosecutor last week, was the chief prosecutor in one of the felony courts. Grau is eligible for retirement later this month and may be able to take vacation days or sick time until then. Nowak, who joined the district attorney's office in 2005, was a child abuse prosecutor.

Clancy, a defense attorney and former judge and prosecutor, said he was "saddened" by the dismissals. "Dallas County has lost two great prosecutors," Clancy said. "I'm saddened that it appears as though their termination was directly linked to their showing of support for the Republican Party." ....

"She said, 'We all serve at the pleasure of the DA,' and I think that's right," Neerman said. "They're not protected under any kind of civil service" laws.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

What Republicans can — and can’t — do about ObamaCare: "So as Republicans celebrate and Democrats pick through the electoral rubble, what can we expect to happen next with health care? The new Republican House majority will undoubtedly schedule a quick vote on repealing the health care law, perhaps as early as January. It will pass the House quite easily; not only will every Republican vote for repeal, but there are still a dozen Democrats in the House who voted no last March. But that is as far as repeal is likely to go.”

The price of power: "The Tea Partiers are demanding drastic change in Washington. They want an immediate end to all wasteful federal spending. Let us all applaud this goal, and then lament its improbability. The fact is, the Republicans will never touch the majority of the federal budget.”

Election opens up a gaping divide: "This year’s tumultuous midterm election cycle cut deeply into the ranks of moderates on Capitol Hill, helping usher in a Congress that scholars say could produce the most partisan voting pattern since the Civil War era. The lack of moderate voices has led to fears that lawmakers will be deadlocked over an array of issues, even though a large swath of voters tell pollsters they want compromise — and progress. ‘It will be increasingly difficult because of the divided nature of Congress and the extreme polarization that exists between the two parties,’ said Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, a leading moderate Democrat who did not seek reelection. ‘There is also a complete lack of tolerance for any deviation from party orthodoxy on both sides.’"

Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians: What’s the difference?: "People sometimes ask what the differences are between liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. The primary differences are moral and philosophical. Libertarians believe that people should be free to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful.”

Obama’s radical agenda dead, for now: "Supporters of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and smaller government have something to celebrate after Tuesday’s GOP landslide. Republicans, who all too often do not fall into the above category, should start worrying. The American people have spoken loud and clear, again, that they want politicians who will stop spending money we don’t have and burdening our grandchildren with insurmountable debt. Americans have been demanding this for decades and the political class just can’t seem to understand.”

Who are the true exploiters?: "Was it the ‘free market’ that exploited Japanese Americans in World War II? Was it ‘capitalism’ that drafted thousands of young men to be sent off to Vietnam, with many to return in body bags? Is it the free market that implements mandatory wage and price controls, takes a third of each American’s income, and leeches money to politically connected corporations? Who is the true exploiter, free markets or government?”

GOP won on economy, so focus on it: "It always feels great to win an election. But the real job for fiscal conservatives and smaller-government advocates starts now.”

TSA is evil AND stupid: "Richard Reed tries to smuggle explosives in his shoes. The TSA, after hundreds of thousands of committee man-hours, finally grinds out a policy requring everyone to take off their shoes …. Someone (maybe) tries to smuggle liquids on planes. Hundreds more committee man-hours …. Someone straps explosives to his leg. … Someone smuggles explosives on a Fed Ex package. … I wonder how long it will be before someone in al Qaeda smuggles explosives onto a plane in his rectum — and deliberately lets himself get caught — so the entire civil aviation system will be effectively shut down by TSA’s new mandatory cavity searches for everyone.”

USDA puts fox in charge of guarding the hen house: "I’ve learned about some troubling new regulations on the livestock industry proposed by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). GIPSA may not be as sexy a regulator as PCABO or NHTSA, but this is one more example of obscure regulatory agencies run amok. What makes this particular proposal especially problematic is that the GIPSA Administrator, a former trial lawyer named J. Dudley Butler who made his bones suing poultry producers, seems to have intentionally introduced a level of vagueness into the rule that, in his own words, makes it a “plaintiff lawyer’s dream.”

Should Britain rediscover private toll roads?: "One result of the Comprehensive Spending Review is that there are more opportunities for private investment to provide what the government can no longer afford. One project to be cut is a proposed relief road in the Midlands, which was meant to ease pressure on a key artery linking the region with Felixtowe. However, the Department of Transport describes the scheme as unaffordable. Cue a sensible alternative — a private toll road.”

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)

****************************

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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