Friday, March 09, 2012

GOP to nominate Netanyahu as US presidential candidate

The Republican National Convention is expected to nominate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the party’s candidate for president of the United States at their August convention in Tampa, Florida, The Jerusalem Roast has learned.

With the candidacies of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former house speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas congressman Ron Paul all in peril due to the heavy in-fighting between them, senior officials have turned to Netanyahu as the only possible politician with a chance of beating US President Barack Obama in the November 6 elections.

“Netanyahu has it all,” a top GOP strategist said. “He has Romney’s economic credentials, Santorum’s conservative agenda, a kooky blonde third wife like Gingrich, and best of all, he just doesn’t like Obama.”

Born in Tel Aviv and raised in a Philadelphia suburb, Netanyahu is permitted to run after the US Senate, House of Representatives and State legislatures recently amended the constitution to waive the requirement for presidents to have been born in the US. Obama, whose own birthplace has been questioned, supported the change.

In an interview with the Roast, Netanyahu said if elected US president he would remain prime minister of Israel. He boasted that he would have no problem running both countries into the ground simultaneously.

“I already run a Jewish state with 7 million prime ministers,” he said, paraphrasing former prime minister Golda Meir. “How hard can it be to run a country of 300 million gentiles?” Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to the reports of Netanyahu’s impending selection by donating 1 billion Iranian Rials to Obama’s campaign, and by threatening to attack Republican strongholds in the American South on Election Day.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni announced that she would explore the possibility of running in the election as a third-party candidate, saying “I don’t want those poor Americans to be stuck with only Bibi or Barack.”


This is of course satire but, like all good satires, it has an element of truth in it. I think Bibi would indeed have a better chance than any of the actual GOP contenders


Secrecy and things that are hidden in plain sight

Alan Caruba

The fact that so much of what governments do is based on secrecy explains why billions are spent annually on intelligence gathering—spying—on each other. You need only read the teachings of Sun Tzu, written some 2,500 years ago, to learn how essential spying is to any government.

On a personal level, we have entered an era when there are virtually no secrets—as often as not because people share their secrets with friends who share them with friends who share them with friends. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner could write a book on the subject.

So far as governments are concerned, we are in a new era of disinformation—lies—to counter leaks. All this information pouring forth on the Internet has increasingly marginalized the role of the press.

For those who recall Watergate, a 1970s scandal that forced a president to resign, we looked to newspapers to expose wrong-doing, but today the facts are only a computer click away and, as often as not, the press, with exceptions, is actively suppressing information it does not want us to know.

Recently, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference to confirm that the birth certificate provided by the President of the United States is, in all likelihood, a forgery. There are serious questions about the legitimacy of his Social Security number, as well as data related to his passport.

The media, for the most part, ignored this story and that makes them part of what is surely the greatest conspiracy of the new century.

The larger question is why Sheriff Apaio’s information has not become the subject of a Congressional investigation. Why are so many Americans, elected representatives, law enforcement authorities, judges, willing to be complicit in a presidency that may have been acquired by deceit and, if so, whose exercise of power in implicitly criminal?

There may be no more secrets about Obama’s claim to hold the highest office in the land, but what good is it if nothing is done to end it? What good is it if the Democratic Party is permitted to put his name on its ballot once again?

Why do we have a Constitution? Why do we still call ourselves a nation of laws? This is how liberty dies. Through apathy and indifference.



The Struggle for Individual Liberty Never Ends

Politics may be a "team sport," but the battle for limited, constitutional government is not

For supporters of limited government who are closely following the 2012 presidential race, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is the "Cult of Obama" is dead.

A recent Reuters story explores the Obama campaign's marketing difficulties, and the headline says it all: "Obama's Slogan: Looking to Replace 'Hope and Change.' "

The article then delicately explained that "a new tagline will have to reflect a new reality."

The bloom is off the rose. Not long ago, Shepard Fairey, the aging graffiti artist who refashioned an AP photo into the iconic "HOPE" poster, told a reporter he wasn't going to vote for Obama: "Obama was the delivery device in theory. Now, I realize that he maybe is not the correct delivery device."

Amber Lee Ettinger, the bikini-clad Obama Girl whose video "I Got a Crush on Obama" racked up over 16 million views on YouTube, has fallen out of love. She isn't sure now who she'll vote for come November 2012: "I want what this country wants. I want this country to be better. I want everyone to have jobs and for gas prices to go down." (Who doesn't?)

When Obama has lost the guy who made the HOPE poster—and Obama Girl—we've hit a tipping point. We've definitely passed "peak hope."

The bad news, of course, is the Republican field. It might tax even H.L. Mencken's cynicism to imagine an American public credulous enough to view Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich as paladins who can "renew America."

At the GOP debate in Phoenix two weeks ago, Santorum explained why he voted for No Child Left Behind: "Sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader..."

As the crowd began to boo, he continued: "You know, politics is a team sport, folks...and sometimes you've got to rally together!"


With Obama in the White House, Republicans are finally worried about the massive concentration of power in the executive. They've got plenty to worry about.

Among other things, with the waiver authority embedded in the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama Education Department has begun implementing federal curriculum standards in an area where the Constitution gives the federal government no authority whatsoever.

And, via the Clean Air Act, the administration has begun implementing comprehensive climate-change regulation, massively restructuring domestic energy use despite Congress's refusal to pass "cap and trade."

Most of the recent controversy over birth-control coverage under Obamacare has focused on whether Catholic hospitals will be required to provide contraception to their employees.

But even the concessions offered by the administration assume a staggering degree of presidential power. In the course of explaining the administration's compromise, an Obama official told the Washington Post that "insurance companies will be required to reach out to directly offer contraceptive care free of charge" without raising premiums—per the president's decision.

That is a disturbing amount of authority to put in one man's hands—whatever his party. And whether or not Obama is defeated come November, the problem of power will remain.

Elections matter, but the contest for individual liberty is a long game. As Friedrich Hayek put it in 1949:

"We need intellectual leaders who are willing to work for an ideal, however small may be the prospects of its early realization. They must be men who are willing to stick to principles and to fight for their full realization, however remote. The practical compromises they must leave to the politicians."

Politics may be a "team sport," but the battle for limited, constitutional government is not.



For the 99%, no recovery at all under Obama

James Pethokoukis writing at the AEI blog has a fascinating post up about income inequality and the recovery from the Great Recession. Basically, it is true that the 1% have received the lion's share of wealth that has been created for the last 20 years (actually going back to the 1970's). But under Obamanomics, the problem has gotten much worse and this can be seen in the unevenness of the recovery:

Liberal economist Emmanuel Saez produced a study on income inequality that showed the top 1% capturing 93% of the wealth created in the first year of the recovery. The figure was 65% during the Bush administration. James comments:
1. So this isn't exactly an endorsement of the Obama recovery is it? I mean, for 99 percent of Americans there has been no recovery, according to Saez. In other news, Wall Street paid its employees more than $40 billion in bonuses the past two years.

2. Saez embraces and promotes the back-to-the-1950s nostalgia economics of Obamanomics and modern liberalism: "A number of factors may help explain this increase in inequality, not only underlying technological changes but also the retreat of institutions developed during the New Deal and World War II--such as progressive tax policies, powerful unions, corporate provision of health and retirement benefits, and changing social norms regarding pay inequality." Indeed, Saez thinks the top marginal tax rate should more than double to 80 percent.

Economist Daren Acemoglu explains the forces driving inequality much differently and more persuasively: "One is that technology has become even more biased towards more skilled, higher earning workers than before. So, all else being equal, that will tend to increase inequality. Secondly, we've been going through a phase of globalisation. Things such as trading with China--where low-skill labour is much cheaper--are putting pressure on low wages. Third, and possibly most important, is that the U.S. education system has been failing terribly at some level."

But is income inequality avoidable? From a study done by the Federal Reserve bank of St. Louis in 2008:
It is important to understand that income inequality is a byproduct of a well-functioning capitalist economy.

Individuals' earnings are directly related to their productivity. Wealthy people are not wealthy because they have more money; it is because they have greater productivity. Different incomes, thus, reflect different productivity levels. The unconstrained opportunity for individuals to create value for society, which is reflected by their income, encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Economic research has documented a positive correlation between entrepreneurship/innovation and overall economic growth. A wary eye should be cast on policies that aim to shrink the income distribution by redistributing income from the more productive to the less productive simply for the sake of "fairness." Redistribution of wealth would increase the costs of entrepreneurship and innovation, with the result being lower overall economic growth for everyone. Income inequality should not be vilified, and public policy should encourage people to move up the income distribution and not penalize them for having already done so.

"Income inequality should not be vilified..." It's obvious those Fed guys could not have foreseen a president of the United States demonizing the rich the way Obama has.



Walter Williams speaks some commonsense that needs to be a lot more common:

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 2011 manufacturing output grew by 11 percent, to nearly $5 trillion. Were our manufacturing sector considered a nation with its own gross domestic product, it would be the world's fourth-richest economy. Manufacturing productivity has doubled since 1987, and manufacturing output has risen by one-half. However, over the past two decades, manufacturing employment has fallen about 25 percent. For some people, that means our manufacturing sector is sick. By that criterion, our agriculture sector shares that "sickness," only worse and for a longer duration.

In 1790, 90 percent of Americans did agricultural work. Agriculture is now in "shambles" because only 2 percent of Americans have farm jobs. In 1970, the telecommunications industry employed 421,000 well-paid switchboard operators. Today "disaster" has hit the telecommunications industry, because there are fewer than 20,000 operators. That's a 95 percent job loss. The spectacular advances that have raised productivity in the telecommunications industry have made it possible for fewer operators to handle tens of billions of calls at a tiny fraction of the 1970 cost.

For the most part, rising worker productivity and advances in technology are the primary causes of reduced employment and higher output in the manufacturing, agriculture and telecommunications industries. My question is whether Congress should outlaw these productivity gains in the name of job creation. It would be easy. Just get rid of those John Deere harvesting machines that do in a day what used to take a thousand men a week, outlaw the robots and automation that eliminated many manufacturing jobs and bring back manually operated PBX telephone switchboards. By the way, if technological advances had not eliminated millions of jobs, where in the world would we have gotten the workers to produce all those goods and services that we now enjoy that weren't even thought of decades ago? The bottom line is that the health of an industry is measured by its output, not by the number of people it employs.

When Americans buy more goods from Canadians, Chinese and Mexicans than they buy from us, it's a problem. Or is it? Let's explore whether buying more from a person than he buys from you is a problem, and let me give a personal example. I buy more from my grocer than he buys from me. In turn, he buys more from his wholesaler than the wholesaler buys from him. But sticking to my grocer and me, let's see whether there's a problem -- what some people might call a trade deficit.

When I spend $100 at the grocery, my capital account (money) goes down by $100, but my goods account (groceries) increases by $100. My grocer's goods account decreases by $100, while his capital account increases by $100. There's a trade balance, whether my grocer is down the street, in another state or in another country.

Say Japan's Sony Corp. sells me a $1,000 television. My capital account goes down by $1,000, but my goods account rises by $1,000. Suppose Sony doesn't buy any wheat, corn, cotton or cars from Americans. People are tempted to say that there's a trade deficit. Not true. Instead of using that $1,000 to buy goods from us, Sony might purchase stocks and U.S. Treasury bonds from us -- in other words, invest in America. When Sony sells me a television, the corporation's goods account (called "current account" in international trade) goes down by $1,000, but its capital account (stocks and bonds) rises by $1,000. Lo and behold, again a balance of trade.




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1 comment: said...

I am a protectionist.

I only trade with businesses located in the USA.

I only trade with businesses located in Indiana, USA.

I only trade with businesses located in Indianpolis, Indiana, USA.

I only trade with businesses located in the Lockerbie Square neighborhood in Indianpolis, Indiana, USA.

I only trade with businesses located on my block in the Lockerbie Square neighborhood in Indianpolis, Indiana, USA.

I only trade with businesses located in my house on my block in the Lockerbie Square neighborhood in Indianpolis, Indiana, USA.