Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rules changing in favour of the GOP?

Jonah Goldberg

For nearly a century now, the rules have said that tough economic times make big government more popular. For more than 40 years it has been a rule that environmental disasters -- and scares over alleged ones -- help environmentalists push tighter regulations. According to the rules, Americans never want to let go of an entitlement once they have it. According to the rules, populism is a force for getting the government to do more, not less. According to the rules, Americans don't care about the deficit during a recession.

And yet none of these rules seem to be applying; at least not too strongly. Big government seems more unpopular today than ever. The Gulf oil spill should be a Gaiasend for environmentalists, and yet three quarters of the American people oppose Obama's drilling ban. Sixty percent of likely voters want their newly minted right to health care repealed. Unlike Europe, where protestors take to the streets to save their cushy perks and protect a large welfare state, the Tea Party protestors have been taking to the streets to trim back government.

But even on the continent the rules are changing. European governments have turned into deficit hawks to the point where the American president feels the need to lecture them on their stinginess.

Of course, he increasingly feels the same need here at home as our out-of-control debt is becoming a live issue, despite the fact that voters should be clamoring -- according to the rules -- for more taxpayer-funded jobs.

Barack Obama recently recruited Bill Clinton to stump for the Democrats as a surrogate because the former president is more popular than the current one. It's ironic because candidate Obama had once disparaged the Clinton presidency as not ambitious enough. Obama wanted to be a liberal Reagan who would reverse the rising conservative tide in American politics (just as he would reverse the rise of the oceans), not be the sort of president who accepted the tide and merely navigated its currents.

But is it really so outlandish to imagine that Bill Clinton, a creature spawned from politics like a golem from clay, had a better sense of political reality than the ivory tower intellectual currently occupying the White House? Clinton proclaimed the era of Big Government was over, and left office quite popular.

Barack Obama said, in effect, "Oh no it's not" and his presidency and his party are in freefall, despite an economic climate that, according to the rules, says he should be not only running the table but be popular for it.

As a conservative, I'm very reluctant to believe that the rules change easily or often. And there's no end of explanations for the political climate that would leave the rules intact. But it's just becoming harder and harder to shake the feeling that something bigger than politics as usual is at work.



Voting fraud is real and can make a difference

Senator Al Franken likely owes his Senate victory to felons. With a razor thin victory over Senator Norm Coleman in 2008 of just 312 votes, felons convicted of crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults may have given Democrats the filibuster proof sixtieth vote that allowed Obamacare to be passed. Americans have good reason to ask how this could happen. Consider this:

--A conservative watchdog group Minnesota Majority has gone through voting records reportedly finding that at least 341 convicted felons voted illegally in just two of Minnesota's 87 counties during the 2008 general election. Undoubtedly other felons voted illegally in other counties.

-- After culling through 500 initial allegations of felons illegally voting, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office told The Minneapolis Star Tribune Monday that they are seriously investigating about 180 cases. Another 28 felons have already been charged. Hennepin county, which includes Minneapolis, winnowed 451 initial cases down to 216 that they are still looking at. Some other felons have already been charged. Both the Ramsey and Hennepin county attorneys are Democrats.

Whether one believes that those two counties account for 341 or possibly well over 400 felons illegally voting, the 2008 Senate vote was so close and research finds that felons vote so overwhelmingly for Democrats that the odds are quite likely that felons from those two counties gave Al Franken the election.

Even if no other felons voted in any other county, 341 votes and 96 percent of felons voting for Democrats would have given Franken the election. In fact, more than 96 percent of felons probably vote for Democrats (see here).

How can so many felons break Minnesota's law and vote? The problem is that voter registration lists are a mess. States are mandated under Section 8 of the "Motor Voter" law to periodically purge voter rolls -- to remove dead people, felons, illegal voters and those who have moved out of state.

But many states, including Minnesota, have refused to check these rolls, making it easy for felons to vote and for other vote fraud to occur.

The Bush administration had tried to force states to address these concerns. In 2005, one-third of Missouri counties refused to purge voter roles, leaving more registered voters than voting age residents.

The Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan refused to enforce the federal law, and the Bush administration sued. Yet, in March 2009, the Obama administration dropped the case and it has not brought any others.

Worse, there is some evidence that the Obama administration doesn't want to stop voter fraud. J. Christian Adams, a former career Justice Department lawyer, told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week that Obama's Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes ordered Justice Department lawyers to drop all these cases. According to Adams, on November 30 last year Fernandes told 40 Justice Department lawyers: "We're not interested in those kind of cases. What do they have to do with helping increase minority access and turnout? We want to increase access to the ballot, not limit it."

For those who claim that vote fraud isn't a problem, Al Franken's election to the Senate demonstrates not only that vote fraud exists but also that it can alter elections and indeed the laws of the country.

Murderers, rapists, and robbers may not be the people we want providing the crucial votes that determine what America's laws should be.




Health insurance premiums to rocket: "The White House on Wednesday issued new rules requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for dozens of screenings, laboratory tests and other types of preventive care. The rules will eliminate co-payments, deductibles and other charges for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests; many cancer screenings; routine vaccinations; prenatal care; and regular wellness visits for infants and children. Other services that must be offered at no charge include counseling to help people stop smoking; screening and counseling for obesity; and tests for infection with the virus that causes AIDS."

Obamacare begins — in Idaho: "When the Regime sets prices, this is called ‘applied compassion.’ When producers organize to complain about price controls, and then freely decide not to offer their services at the artificially low price, this is called ‘a criminal conspiracy to fix prices.’ This is the central claim of the ‘consent decree’ inflicted, at gunpoint, on a group of Idaho orthopedic surgeons by the Obama Regime — with the eager collaboration of the Idaho State Attorney General. Under the terms of that extorted agreement, it would be tantamount to a criminal offense for a doctor to complain to his peers about regulatory actions that may drive accomplished medical specialists out of business.”

Dems Have Lost Voters' Policy Support: "The Democrats got an earful from voters over the long Fourth of July recess, reinforcing internal party polls showing they have lost the nation's support for their big spending, welfare-state agenda. The boiling point came last Tuesday in a closed-door party caucus meeting of House Democrats in the Capitol, where rank-and-file members vented their anger toward a White House that seemed to be doing nothing to defend them and their "walk the plank" votes on everything from a failed trillion-dollar stimulus, Obamacare and energy taxes to excessive financial regulation reform."

Majority math: "Ok, so I’m hearing a lot of noise from people on the right and libertarian side of the aisles that ‘the dems are going to lose everything this election and we can undo everything Obama has destroyed yaaaay!!!!’ Yeah … No. Not Gonna Happen.”

Obamaland pension meltdown update: "And so it was prophesied: Illinois is headed into a public-pension death spiral even sooner than predicted. The Land of Obama leads the way. The state of Illinois — broke, overleveraged, and still refusing to get its accounts in order — is up to something interesting: selling bonds to meet its pension obligations.”

Pathetic spies: "Some of the commentary on the Russian agents recently captured by the FBI has centered on the fact that Moscow was spying on the United States while President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev celebrated their nuclear and diplomatic partnership at Ray’s Hell Burger, or on the evolving focus of Russia’s intelligence services. But all of this misses the real point: how much the mediocrity of the spy ring reveals about the decadence of present-day Russia.”

How about a triple-dip recession: "The politicians think they have discovered the magic cure. It’s called quantitative easing, or just plain printing money, but it’s the same the world over. When the economy looks bad, create more of those greenbacks. Whip your interest rates down. Then suddenly, instead of being strapped for cash, everyone’s wallowing in the stuff, and the low interest rates make it cheap to borrow for that new home, that new machine or factory, and indeed just to go on a shopping trip. The trouble is that, before long, people begin to realise that this is all just funny money. As the spending boom goes on, shopkeepers, property sellers and equipment manufacturers all put up their prices, so the big spenders are no longer any better off. They’re just deeper in debt. So then you dip down again, and off we go.”

Wards of the state: "The best book on Obama’s America has already been written. The president has two more years in office, six if he’s lucky, but already we know enough about the contours of his mind, his governing instincts, to predict that the volume in question will not be bettered. This is a large claim for a book that never once mentions Obama or America or the gushing wells of oil and words that seem to be, so far, his chief gift to us. Written in 1912 by Hilaire Belloc, an Anglo-Frenchman whose true home was the Middle Ages, The Servile State is an unlikely vade mecum for 21st-century Washington. Yet men with French names have a way of understanding the inner life of this country.”

Shocking the bourgeoisie: "Marx invented a world-historical role for them, Flaubert set out to disconcert them, and Matthew Arnold denounced them as the ‘Philistine class.’ They were the perfect foil for wit, exuberance, and iconoclasm, and for a hundred years following The Communist Manifesto of 1848 they filled an evident dramatic need. For the bohemian artist the bourgeoisie were visible, shockable, and obviously bad. They justified art as no class before had justified it, by being the defenseless target of abuse and satire. For the last 50 years, however, the bourgeoisie have been slipping quietly away.”

Terrorist-loving Leftist lawyer gets 10 years: "Radical lawyer Lynn Stewart is to be sentenced to 10 years and a month in prison — a new penalty that could keep her behind bars until she turns 80, a judge said Thursday. Stewart, 70, wiped tears and her supporters in Manhattan Federal Court started sobbing as the judge made his annoucement ahead of the formal sentence expected later Thursday. The controversial civil rights attorney was convicted in 2005 of helping bomb plotter Omar Abdel Rahman pass messages from prison to his terror cohorts in Egypt.”

In defense of payday lenders and their customers: "Almost 40 years ago Walter Block wrote a fun little book called Defending the Undefendable. In it he explicated the libertarian arguments in defense of all sorts of people and practices that most observers would find objectionable: drug dealers, pimps, and the like. One such group he defended was loan sharks, who charge high interest rates, normally on short-term loans.”

FTC wants to eliminate competition with government courts: "Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission staff issued a report declaring the nation’s debt collection system ‘broken.’ The staff concluded this because ‘consumers are not adequately protected in either debt collection litigation or arbitration.’ The staff is particularly down on arbitration, which is understandable. Arbitration competes with government-run courts, and the last thing the FTC — the agency charged with protecting and promoting competition — would want is to promote competition for the resolution of consumer credit disputes.”

NBC, CBS Reject Anti-Ground Zero Mosque Ad: "CBS and NBC have refused to air a provocative ad from the confrontational, well-funded National Republican Trust PAC that calls on Americans to oppose the building of a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The ad — which has about 100,000 views on YouTube — intersperses some of the most horrifying images from the Sept. 11 attacks with the sounds of Muslim prayer and images of Muslim militants. It focuses on what’s become a divisive — and partisan — issue in New York state, the erection of a Muslim cultural center on Park Place, in the neighborhood near the fallen towers."


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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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