Sunday, May 01, 2011

Poll reveals regular internet users are less likely to respect the law

But who are those "regular internet users"? Easy. Leftist blogs tend to have huge readerships compared to conservative ones. Leftists need a lot of propping up for their counterfactual beliefs so are more likely to go online and visit sites that tell them what they want to hear.

So it immediately becomes clear why frequent internet users are less likely to respect the law or do volunteer work. Leftists hate the society the live in and they are "all heart" in words only. So they "felt it was very important to help those worse off than themselves" but were not in fact more likely to do so. An interesting picture of contemporary Leftism

FREQUENT internet users are less likely to respect the law, serve on a jury or do volunteer work, a study has found.

An Australian National University poll discovered that while regular web surfers were more politically engaged, they also had less deference for traditional societal values.

Only 38 per cent of respondents who logged on at least once a day felt it was important to obey laws and regulations, compared with 51 per cent of less regular cyberspace visitors.

“Frequent internet users were less willing than infrequent internet users to accept that traditional norms of citizenship such as obeying laws and regulations, serving on a jury if called and being active in voluntary organisations are very important in order to be a good citizen,” the report said.

Still, report researcher Juliet Pietsch said the internet wasn't causing people to withdraw from society. “In fact our research shows the opposite,” she said at the report launch today.

She cited a finding showing 70 per cent of regular web surfers felt it was very important to help those worse off than themselves. However, people who seldom visited the internet were just as likely to help the needy.

The internet was also found to be sparking political engagement, with one in four respondents visiting the websites of political parties and candidates. “Those who use the internet more frequently actually know more about politics in general,” Dr Pietsch said.

Almost nine in 10 respondents had internet access at home, with 82 per cent of people having broadband access. Some 68 per cent of poll participants used the internet at least once a day.

The Internet and Civil Society report was compiled in December 2010.



Obama's Pain at the Pump

Once again, oil and gasoline prices are on the march upwards, and conveniently, Barack Obama is waving the "speculators" card, promising to investigate nefarious investors he alleges are behind it all.

With average gasoline per gallon prices nationally at over $3.80 and rising rapidly, American motorists are taking note of the increases - and are asking why they're paying more.

"[A] lot of what's driving oil prices up right now is not the lack of supply. There's enough supply. There's enough oil out there for world demand," Obama said.

Pretty much, that part is true. Since 2009, global oil consumption has increased from 84.133 million barrels a day to 86.7 million in 2010, a 3 percent increase, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). Furthermore, the EIA projects a further consumption increase of 1.5 million barrels a day in 2011, bringing the total consumption rise from 2009 to 2011 to a total 4.8 percent increase.

Yet, prices have increased far more dramatically. Brent oil in January 2009 was trading at a low of about $40 a barrel, and Light Sweet Crude was at low of about $35 a barrel, to now over $120 a barrel and $110 a barrel, respectively. That's 200 percent and 214 percent increases each in price.

Oil supply is not the problem, because production has been relatively stable, increasing as consumption has increased without significant disruption each year.

Obama explained his view that "The problem is . speculators and people make various bets, and they say, you know what, we think that maybe there's a 20 percent chance that something might happen in the Middle East that might disrupt oil supply, so we're going to bet that oil is going to go up real high. And that spikes up prices significantly."

Certainly oil prices, like other commodities, are extremely volatile, meaning they are extremely susceptible to supply shocks. Except, today, as Obama notes, and is confirmed by Saudi Arabia - which is now cutting back production because of a lack of buyers - there is no actual supply shortage.

Instead, Obama attests that there is fear of a supply shortage because of conflict in the Middle East. Let's test the claim.

The Libyan conflict began in late February. By then, Brent crude had already surpassed $101 barrel, a 152 percent off its 2009 low, and Light Sweet Crude was about $87 a barrel, 148 percent above its low.

Even if one wanted to consider the revolution in Egypt, which climaxed on February 11 when Hosni Mubarak stepped down, and go back in time to before the tensions erupted there in late January, Brent was at about $97 a barrel and Light Sweet Crude was $87 a barrel, still 142 percent and 148 percent each off their lows.

Therefore, since 2009, even without the new wars in the Middle East, prices have still more than doubled. So, with no actual supply disruption and only a modest increase in demand, what else could be weighing on investors' minds?

Probably, inflation. And the sinking dollar. You see, besides supply shocks, the other thing the prices of commodities like oil are extremely susceptible to are dramatic monetary expansions and contractions.

After all, gold too has spiked, from a low of about $820 an ounce at that time to over $1,500 now, an 83 percent increase. So, perhaps a broader range of commodity price spikes indicates another problem unrelated to the oil market.

Since the last price shock, the oil bubble in 2008, which found both Brent oil and Light Sweet Crude peaking at about $145 a barrel in July 2008, the nation's monetary policy has been out of control. The Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, has increased its balance sheet from about $947 billion to over $2.73 trillion.

That was mostly to bail out the banks by buying $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities and prop up the U.S. Treasury with nearly $1 trillion in new loans to back up the gargantuan levels of government spending.

The Fed's net balance sheet expansion was a whopping 188 percent increase in the essential money supply since the last time oil prices spiked. Then, as now, politicians cried "speculators!" Of course, these same elected officials were nowhere to be found when the bubble popped and after prices crashed in a very short period of time.

As the financial crisis unfolded, and deleveraging ravaged institutional investors, money fled the markets - including the commodities markets - finally crashing at the end of 2008.

Since then, as noted above, both Brent and Light Sweet Crude have increased 200 and 214 percent off their lows. That's roughly the range of the Fed's 188 percent increase in the supply of dollars since July 2008. Importantly, since the dollar is the world's reserve currency, and global commodity markets trade in dollars, such a dramatic increase in the supply dollars will have a very predictable result.

In fact, it was predicted. In January 2009, I wrote, "the prediction is not for instant inflation, but that once market-based thawing does apparently begin to ensue, and all the excessive liquidity finds its way into the marketplace, demand will spike in one area or another and thus so will prices. There will be another asset bubble."

Can't say we didn't warn the politicians what would happen.

The late, great Milton Friedman once taught us that "[i]nflation is the result of too many dollars chasing too few goods." So, there is a supply problem. Just not with oil. There's too many dollars chasing the same amount of oil.

If there is to be any investigation, it should be into the government's inflationary spending and monetary policies. House Republicans ought to use their majority status to shed light on this growing inflation crisis.

So, when the American people head to pump in the coming months, with gasoline nearing $4 a gallon nationally, headed to $5, they ought to remember who to really thank for the pain at the pump. It's not the "speculators," whoever they may be. It is Fed head Ben Bernanke, and of course, the spender-in-chief, Barack Obama.



ObamaCare: When Patients Really Pay On The Back End

ObamaCare is supposed to force insurers and Medicare to provide preventive services at no charge to the patient. Colonoscopy is considered a preventive service, thus there should be no out-of-pocket costs for getting one. Turns out, though, that ObamaCare is having some unintended consequences:
(T)here’s a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars. That’s because once the doctor takes action, the colonoscopy morphs from a preventive test into a treatment procedure.

Talk about paying on the back end. As IBD pointed out back in March:
This is what happens when insurance pays for a lot of the up-front costs that we should be paying for out-of-pocket, such as physician visits, and minor procedures and tests. Thanks to the employer-based tax exclusion for health insurance and benefit mandates imposed by most state governments, insurance has paid for more and more up-front costs. But to make revenues meet expenses, insurers cut costs somewhere. That somewhere is on the back end, when patients are often the sickest and where politicians are less likely to focus legislative protections.

ObamaCare makes this worse by preventing insurers and Medicare from requiring any out-of-pocket costs for preventive care. In the case of colonoscopies, the effect is the cost-sharing is now being required of those people with polyps — i.e., those people most in need of colonoscopy.

The March blog post examined how some Medicare Advantage plans were reacting to the new laws on preventive care by charging co-pays for people under-going cancer treatment. The conclusion of that post, though, is just as relevant to colonoscopies:
The truly insidious thing about it is that politicians will be able to blame others for the problems they have created. They will get on their high horse and excoriate the heartless and cruel insurers . .. Politicians excel at obfuscation, making it difficult, as Thomas Sowell says, to trace their fingerprints back to the murder weapon.

But as long as ObamaCare remains law, get used to less and poorer-quality care for the sickest. The number of people who get seriously ill each year represent a sliver of voters compared to those who have minor illnesses or no illness at all and would just like a checkup or other test. Which group do you think politicians will cater to when it comes to health care policy?



Intolerant Left Strikes Again

On April 25, gay-rights advocates -- led by the Human Rights Campaign -- scored a victory after the HRC applied pressure on a law firm hired to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and woman and denies federal benefits to same-sex partners. The firm fired its client. There are two reasons you should be outraged, no matter what your position is on DOMA.

One: Lawyers aren't supposed to dump cases -- it's called abandonment -- especially because of political pressure.

Attorney Paul Clement, who was solicitor general under President George W. Bush, resigned from King & Spalding over its decision so that he could continue to defend the 1996 law. In his resignation letter, Clement cited his "firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do."

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has been a harsh critic of DOMA -- and he doesn't like what happened. "The irony is, you wouldn't want a lawyer whom you could pressure to drop a client," Turley told me.

In a statement, K&S Chairman Robert Hays had explained the firm's decision to ditch the case as the result of "inadequate" vetting of the contract.

UC Berkeley School of Law professor Jesse Choper finds that troubling. "If they didn't like the case, they shouldn't have taken it," Choper observed. But having taken the case, the firm had "a lawyer's obligation" to stick with it.

Two: In this country, everyone -- accused murderers, terrorists, you name it -- is entitled to representation in court. Unless, it now appears, you don't agree with the Human Rights Campaign.

When the news of the K&S contract came out, HRC boasted that it would send "informational letters" to K&S clients and to "top law schools informing them of K&S's decision to promote discrimination." The group's communications director, Fred Sainz, described the effort as an "educational" campaign in response to K&S's "business decision."

He was especially outraged because K&S had solicited a rating from the HRC for its record on LGBT issues. It's 95 out of 100 -- and still up on the K&S website. Sainz added that his group never expressed a judgment on the legal ethics of dropping a client, held "no hope" that its efforts would alter the firm's judgment and when the firm dropped the case, "it was a complete and total surprise to us."

Choper faulted gay-rights advocates for saying that opponents "don't have a right to litigate properly."

Sainz denies that charge. Yet he effectively admitted as much when he told me, "At the end of the day, I am fairly positive that law firms in the future will think twice before taking on these kinds of engagements because they know that we'll be watching."

Case closed. This is intimidation. This is intolerance.

It is important to understand why a private law firm took the case. In February, after defending the law for two years, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder decided that the law was unconstitutional. In a blog, they explained that homosexuals are a "politically powerless" minority. Hence, the Department of Justice no longer would defend the law against legal challenges.

Now Holder doesn't want to defend it. It doesn't matter that, like a majority of senators and House members, Vice President Joe Biden voted for the bill. Or that Holder's old boss Bill Clinton signed it. Or that Holder himself defended DOMA for two years.

Congress then had the option of defending the law. Over the objections of some Democrats, Committee on House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., signed a contract with Clement and his firm.

Thus began a campaign to discredit the deal as, in the words of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, a "legal boondoggle" that spends "half a million dollars of taxpayer money to defend discrimination." Now you know what Pelosi deems to be a waste of taxpayer money -- defending a law passed by the body she once represented as speaker.

Gay rights activists argue that DOMA is unconstitutional. If they're so sure, why are they trying to prevent good lawyers from defending the 1996 law?



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)


1 comment:

tillurdizzy said...

I wish someone would do a study on who the heck spends all their time writing computer viruses. Bet those are all leftists also. How much money is spent each year in virus protection, how much production lost, how much time wasted??? Probably ranks right up there with complying with the IRS.