Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stacy McCain reports Scozzafava out in NY23; Hoffman and Owens in dead heat

Just confirmed that Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava has quit the race. Speaking to supporters, Scozzafava broke down in tears.

UPDATE: Scozzafava, the hand-picked choice of the New York state GOP in the key 23rd District special election, reportedly will throw her support to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

Scozzafava's withdrawal came shortly after a new Siena College poll was released this morning, showing her in third place, with Hoffman neck-and-neck with Democrat Bill Owens.

UPDATE II: Steven Foley of 73Wire Campaign Trail is also on the story. Foley's crew is over at Starbucks, while I'm poaching the lobby computer at a hotel here in Lake Placid. I am the Poacher King.

Questions raised about pay czar's authority

The power to set compensation at large American businesses is especially subject to potential abuse, favoritism, arbitrariness, or political manipulation. It is no reflection on Kenneth Feinberg, who has a sterling reputation and who appears to have approached these sensitive duties with a spirit of commendable integrity, to say that the checks and balances of the Constitution should be scrupulously observed. They were not. Because he is not a properly appointed officer of the United States, Mr. Feinberg's executive compensation decisions were unconstitutional.

Thomas Sowell:Critics of Obama up against fan base heavily invested in his success

Here too, it seems as if so many people have invested so much hope and trust in Barack Obama that it is intolerable that anyone should come along and stir up any doubts that could threaten their house of cards.

Among the most pathetic letters and e-mails I receive are those from people who ask why I don't write more "positively" about Obama or "give him the benefit of the doubt."

No one-- not even the President of the United States-- has an entitlement to a "positive" response to his actions. The entitlement mentality has eroded the once common belief that you earned things, including respect, instead of being given them.

As for the benefit of the doubt, no one-- especially not the President of the United States-- is entitled to that, when his actions can jeopardize the rights of 300 million Americans domestically and the security of the nation in an international jungle, where nuclear weapons may soon be in the hands of people with suicidal fanaticism. Will it take a mushroom cloud over an American city to make that clear? Was 9/11 not enough?

When a President of the United States has begun the process of dismantling America from within, and exposing us to dangerous enemies outside, the time is long past for being concerned about his public image.

Internationally, Barack Obama has made every mistake that was made by the Western democracies in the 1930s, mistakes that put Hitler in a position to start World War II-- and come dangerously close to winning it.

At the heart of those mistakes was trying to mollify your enemies by throwing your friends to the wolves.

Peggy Noonan: America is governed by the lucky, unimaginative, stupid and callous

When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse?

I think I know part of the answer. It is that they've never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don't have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they're big on that word. But they're not really concerned. They think America is the goose that lays the golden egg. Why not? She laid it in their laps. She laid it in grandpa's lap.

They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally.

We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Even CBS admits stimulus claims "hard to believe"

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Obamanomics: tax your adversaries til they submit

The health care overhaul bill produced by House Democrats would impose an array of new taxes, fees and government mandates on major players in the health industry, including insurers, doctors and drugs and medical devices makers.

In most cases, the pain has been meted out with an eye toward raising the money needed to finance President Barack Obama's plan for reshaping the health system but also with careful regard for gaining the votes that will be needed to pass a final bill.

Democrats hope to vote next week on the measure, which would extend health coverage to tens of millions of Americans who don't have it, impose sweeping new restrictions on private insurers and create a government-run insurance plan to compete with them.

Among the industries targeted in the bill are medical device makers—one of the few that failed to cut an early behind-the-scenes deal with Obama and Democrats to help pay for an overhaul. The House added $20 billion in taxes on sales of medical devices like artificial hips and heart stents to the legislation Democratic leaders unveiled Thursday.

Impact of stimlulus is artifically stimlulated

With medicate going broke, feds eye new domains

If Medicare were a bank, federal regulators would be closing its doors, selling its operations, and sacking its managers. Thanks to soaring costs, the program is fast running out of money—even though it pays such low fees that many doctors refuse to take Medicare patients. Meanwhile, Medicare fraud costs taxpayers some $60 billion a year, according to a report by CBS's 60 Minutes, making it among the most profitable fields for felons.

That's our experience with government-run health insurance for the elderly. So what do congressional Democrats propose to do? Offer government-run health insurance to everyone else.

Like Donner party, Dems are "looking so yesterday"

It's starting to look like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are leading the Donner Party, the snowbound emigrants who bogged down in the Sierra Nevada winter in the 1840s and resorted to cannibalism to survive.

The betting is that with raw political muscle and procedural magic, the Congressional Democrats will pass something, call it reform and hand Barack Obama a "victory." Maybe, but I think what we are seeing with this massive legislation is that the Democrats in Washington have a bigger problem: Their party is looking so yesterday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

White House picks another fight with media

It is an odd, and we'd say regrettable, pattern of this White House that it lets itself get dragged down into fights with specific media outlets.


But in addition to Fox News, now The White House is going after highly-respected and influential car site

They're actually using The White House blog to dispute the site's analysis of Cash-For-Clunkers (via Detroit News).

The post is snarkily titled: "Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers"


The 3.5 percent upturn in GDP may not have actually happened; unseen events are at work

Here's a riddle: If a scientist or engineer is laid off, does it affect gross domestic product?

The third-quarter GDP figures, released on Oct. 29, showed the economy growing at a 3.5% annual pace, breaking a string of four consecutive negative quarters. The growth was driven mostly by a surge in the production of motor vehicles and other manufactured goods.

This number was greeted by many economists and journalists as confirmations that the recession is over. What's more, the rise in real GDP, combined with a sharp fall in employment in the third quarter, implies that productivity also soared during the period. Good news, right?

The trouble is that those GDP and productivity growth figures could be significantly overestimated—perhaps by one percentage point or even more.

That's because the official statistics are not designed to pick up cutbacks in "intangible investments" such as business spending on research and development, product design, and worker training. There's ample evidence to suggest that companies, to reduce costs and boost short-term profits, are slashing this kind of spending, which is essential for innovation. Without investment in intangibles, the U.S. can't compete in a knowledge-based global economy. Yet you won't see that plunge reflected in the GDP and productivity statistics, which are still too focused on more traditional sectors, such as motor vehicles and construction.

In effect, government statisticians are trying to track a 21st century bust with 20th century tools. Not only is that distorting the critical data that investors, policymakers, and corporate executives use to evaluate the economy, but it might also be creating a false sense of relief as Americans battle a brutal recession.

Obama sides with teachers union against kids in D.C.

When you are America's first mixed-race president, it has to be especially galling to flip on the news in America's majority-minority capital city and find commercials accusing you of failing to help the city's black children escape from substandard schools.

That's not the change people voted for.

But when President Obama tunes into Fox News, CNN, MSNBC or News Channel 8, the president hears his own words thrown in his face. "We're losing several generations of kids, and something has to be done," Mr. Obama says in the commercials.

The something that the president has done is cut off a scholarship program helping hundreds of students from the city's failing schools go to better private schools - a choice Washington's powerful and well-off liberal politicians often make for their own kids.

AP: White House exaggertes stimulus jobs

An early progress report on President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.

The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, or one in six, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

For example:

—A company working with the Federal Communications Commission reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when about 1,000 were produced.

—A Georgia community college reported creating 280 jobs with recovery money, but none was created from stimulus spending.

—A Florida child care center said its stimulus money saved 129 jobs but used the money on raises for existing employees.

My take: The news here is not that the White House exaggerated the results of a laregly failed and wasteful  government project. The news is that the AP is actually checking and reporting on a largely failed government project.

Dems choose desecrated U.S. flag as finalist

One of the 20 finalists in health care video contest run by Barack Obama’s campaign arm features a mural of an America flag splattered with health care graffiti until it’s covered completely by black paint.

In the video – which is accompanied by the sound of a heart monitor pumping and then flat-lining – words such as “pre-existing conditions,” “homeless” and “death panel” ultimately obliterate the flag, which reappears on screen seconds later with the words “Health Will Bring Our Country Back to Life” on the blue field where the 50 stars usually are.

According to the Organizing for American Web site, the 20 finalists in the “Health Reform Video Challenge” were chosen by a panel of “qualified” Democratic National Committee “employee judges.”

Suicide tourism clinic closes in Switzerland; who will step up to fill this unmet need?

Switzerland announced plans yesterday to crack down on “suicide tourism”, signalling that it might close the Dignitas clinic that has helped hundreds of terminally ill people to take their lives.

The plans — in the form of two draft Bills that will be offered for public debate — are likely to set off a rush of patients from Britain and elsewhere in Europe since Switzerland has become the main destination for those seeking assisted suicide.

Using Islam as a cover for crime; imagine that

Yesterday afternoon, FBI agents raided a Dearbornistan warehouse and other locations and arrested several Muslim men whom they say were an organized Islamic terrorist cell.

While you might applaud that, here’s the skinny that might make you think otherwise. It’s all about lazy and politically correct priorities coupled with easy convictions and lots of great publicity.

The men were mostly Black ex-con converts to Islam, who were not involved in terrorism per se, but in criminal activity, like receiving and selling stolen merchandise (including energy drinks), the profits of which–the feds say–were going to go to terrorist activity. I doubt they can prove that, and the men haven’t been charged with any terror-related stuff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tax refugees fleeing from New York

An old saying goes that the time to live in New York is when you’re young and poor, or old and rich—otherwise, you’re better off somewhere else. That wisdom is getting an update this week from a study by the Empire Center for New York State Policy that shows middle-class people leaving the state in droves.

Between 2000 and 2008, the Empire State had a net domestic outflow of more than 1.5 million, the biggest exodus of any state, with most hailing from New York City. The departures also have perilous budget consequences, since they tend to include residents who are better off than those arriving. Statewide, departing families have income levels 13% higher than those moving in, while in New York County (home of Manhattan) the differential was even more severe. Those moving elsewhere had an average income of $93,264, some 28% higher than the $72,726 earned by those coming in.

In 2006 alone, that swap meant the state lost $4.3 billion in taxpayer income. Add that up from 2001 through 2008, and it translates into annual net income losses somewhere near $30 billion. That trend is part of a larger march for New York: In 1950 the state accounted for 19% of all Americans, but by 2000 that number had fallen to 7%. The city’s main saving grace has been its welcome mat for foreign immigrants, who have helped to replace some of those who flee.

How "the most nauseating giveaway in the history of the country" came about

When the historians finally finish sorting through the appalling decisions that have been made in the past two years, this one will probably be at the top of the heap.

Last fall, as AIG began to realize how screwed it was, it started negotiating with the counterparties to all the credit default swaps it had written. One of the AIG's goals was to persuade these counterparties--including Goldman Sachs--to accept buyouts as low as $0.40 cents on the dollar.

These sorts of negotiations are exactly what should happen when a company gets in trouble. It goes to its creditors and says, look, we can't pay you everything, so here's your choice: Take something, or take your chances in banktuptcy court. (And, in this case, this wouldn't have been much of a choice, given the standing of CDS holders in the liquidation line).

But then Tim Geithner, head of the New York Fed, stepped in.

A few weeks later, the counterparties--all of whom voluntarily did business with AIG and understood the risks--were bailed out at par: 100 cents on the dollar.

Thus began the most nauseating giveaway in the history of the country.

Campaigns against Fox News and for ACORN merge

With Congress getting ready to pass a continuing resolution that might -- or might not -- extend the ban on federal funds for ACORN, there's a new campaign urging lawmakers to restore federal funding for the community organizing group. The website DeFOX America, which is devoted both to attacking Fox News and defending ACORN, is asking readers to sign a petition urging Congress "to stand up to [Fox's] McCarthyite tactics by voting against any unconstitutional legislation that singles out specific organizations. This includes the continuing resolution that cuts off Federal support to the national anti-poverty group ACORN.

American Samoa was unprepared for devastating trusnami; $29 billion missing

Click on the headline for video report on another screwup by FEMA and U.S. government overseers.

Pravda deconstructs world history, sees U.S. groping for new direction

Obama’s decision not to build the Missile Defense System in Poland and the Czech Republic and his Nobel Prize have not yet been comprehended from a philosophical viewpoint. It’s time to do it.

The last turning point similar to the current one happened approximately 400 years ago. The Western European society discovered a new hierarchy of values. Feudalism that valued service and chivalry was replaced with capitalism. Wealth became the measure of success, and everyone was to care about his own pocket only. The cult of money replaced all other values, including religious.

Capitalism turned everything upside down and made people more excited about stuffing their bank accounts than anything else. This system turned out to be extremely efficient in terms of production of goods, services, and comfort. America benefited from the system the most, and decided that the rest of the world has to adopt it as well. If some underdeveloped countries are unable to appreciate the benefits of capitalism, they should be forced to do it.

Meanwhile, philosophers say that capitalism is driven not by hard cash, but rather, striving for hard cash. It’s driven not by the production of goods, but rather, striving for consumption of these goods.

If everyone had these values, the “dog-eat-dog” principal would be the major principal in the world history. But America failed to do it. There are plenty of “underdeveloped” people in the world who continue to cherish spiritual values. There are not that many chances left to force them into worshiping money since these “underdeveloped” people adopt western technology and become stronger. The appeal to adopt American values doesn’t work either. Why would we adopt the system if the system is in crisis? Pragmatic America realized that billions of people are not willing to live in the kingdom of hard cash and decided that it would be better off leaving this kingdom itself. Now the USA is talking about introducing elements of socialism.

What does Obama’s decision not to build the Eastern European Missile Defense System have to do with all of this? Well, it means that it’s not capitalism that’s undergoing the crisis, but the belief in its high efficiency. And this, in turn, means that America, the bulwark of capitalism, is no longer the boss of the world. And if it’s not the boss any more, it has to be friends with everybody, including Russia. And it’s America’s turn to offer Russia to push the reset button. Or maybe it’s just tired of imposing its rules on others and felt that friendship is more valuable than money and power? If this is the case, we will soon witness another turning point in the world history.

Libertarians holding steady; defining them is problematic

36 % believe global warming alarmists; 37 % in ghosts

...while only 36% of Americans believe the living and breathing can warm the planet, 37% believe the dead and gone can stick around and haunt houses. And what’s truly scary about these figures is the inverted lessons learned by the site reporting them.

Apparently spooked by last week’s Pew report which revealed a decaying number of green-brainwashed eco-zombies roaming the land, Care2, a Liberal activist website, exhumed a 4 year old Gallup Poll that found more Americans believed then in haunted houses than do now that we’ve turned the planet into a frightening greenhouse.

And while most would recognize in this a condemnation of the evidence presented for anthropogenic climate change, Care2 instead sees a failure in media penetration. I kid you not.

Does this remind you of anyone who lives in the White House and is often on television?

The term "narcissistic rage" gets 26,000 citations in Google Scholar. It is a common feature of extreme or pathological narcissism.
While psychiatrists often say they can't do long-distance diagnosis, it really isn't that hard if you have a lot of information about a person and can watch how he operates from day to day. Intelligence agencies around the world have psychiatric staffs for exactly that purpose.

While most people are pretty hard to predict, extreme narcissists are comparatively simple. They constantly hunger for ego gratification, they are immature, constantly need to demonstrate their own superiority, often need endless sexual conquests (like Bill Clinton), are manipulative, constant liars, are completely cold about the human beings they harm (like John Edwards), and they deal with frustration by uncontrollable fits of rage.

I think that's what we saw last week with the White House lashing out at Fox News.

FEMA takes on Saturday Night Live and wins

Federal Emergency Management Agency deputy administrator Timothy Manning told a congressional panel today that his organization had spent $5 million during the last 18 months reviewing how it spent $29 billion since 2002, but still doesn't know what it got for the money.

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Emergency Communications subcommittee, Manning said he is confident the $29 billion was well-spent but "existing data tells us very little about the return on investment."

In response, subcommittee chairman Rep. Henry Ceullar, D-TX said: "Free advice: For $5 million, I think we can do better," according to Congress Daily's Terry Kivlan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Even free pizza won't rouse Virginia Democrats

This is one Mr. Deeds who apparently isn't going to town. The collapse of the Democratic campaign for governor of Virginia speaks volumes - chapters, anyway - about what the body politic is trying to tell Barack Obama's Democrats.

They're learning, painfully, that campaigning without George W. Bush is baffling, frustrating and scary. Worse, it offers a preview of what the congressional campaigning will be like next year. One Obama doorbell ringer, working neighborhoods in Northern Virginia for Creigh Deeds, says even the promise of free pizza can't lure faithful Democrats to a rally.

Thomas Sowell asks, "Does any of this sound like America?" The answeer is, "no"

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers-- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?

Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?

Does any of this sound like America?

Barack Obama, the first "post-gracious" president

Nine months after Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, his most adamant critics must concede he's delivered on "change." And we see it in our first post-gracious presidency.

The most visible manifestations of the new ungraciousness are the repeated digs the president and his senior staffers continue to make against George W. Bush. Recently, the administration has given us two fresh examples. The first is about Afghanistan, the other about the economy.

On Afghanistan, Mr. Obama's chief of staff went on CNN's "State of the Union" earlier this month to discuss the presidential decision on Afghanistan that everyone is waiting for. "It's clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that's adrift," said Rahm Emanuel. "That we're beginning at scratch, and just from the starting point, after eight years." Translation: If we screw up Afghanistan, blame Mr. Bush.

The other came from Mr. Obama himself, speaking at various Democratic fund-raisers last week. "I don't mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made," the president said. "That's what I signed up to do. But while I'm there mopping the floor, I don't want somebody standing there saying, 'You're not mopping fast enough.'"

This is a frequent Obama complaint. The logic is clear if curious: While it's OK to blame Mr. Bush for spending too much, it's not OK to point out that Mr. Obama is already well on track to spend much more.

A fearless prediction: Newt Gingrich will survive the NY 23 spat

McDonnell up by 17 points for VA governor

SurveyUSA, in a poll conducted Oct. 27, has McDonnell ahead by 58 percent to 41 percent. Public Policy Polling, in a survey conducted Oct .23-26, puts (Bob) McDonnell ahead 55 percent to 40 percent with 5 percent undecided.

The polls follow on the heels of a Washington Post survey conducted Oct. 22-25 that had McDonnell in front by 55 percent to 44 percent.

SurveyUSA said McDonnell gets a big boost from independents, who are backing him by 60 percent to 38 percent. McDonnell also has a commanding lead in Northern Virginia, where Democrats had been making gains and is a part of the state on which (Creigh) Deeds had been counting. PPP has McDonnell's margin among independents at 59 percent to 34 percent.

PPP says Deeds is suffering from the growing perception that he has lost the race, with the number of Democrats likely to vote falling from 37 percent a month ago to 31 percent. Also, Deeds' support among fellow Democrats is 84 percent, compared to the 94 percent backing McDonnell enjoys from Republicans.

Did Dems hire an Enron refugee to advise on Federal Reserve issues?

Double play: Video promises smaller carbon footprint, less smell for farm families

Click on the headline.

Hip-hop goes conservative

Monday, October 26, 2009

Health care overhaul losing ground; public sees it as assault on basic American values

Regardless of how President Barack Obama's health-care agenda plays out in Congress, it has not been a success in public opinion. Opposition to ObamaCare has risen all year.

According to the Gallup polling organization, the percentage of Americans who believe the cost of health care for their families will "get worse" under the proposed reforms rose to 49% from 42% in just the past month. The percentage saying it would "get better" stayed at 22%.

Many are searching for explanations. One popular notion is that demagogues in the media are stirring up falsehoods against what they say is a long-overdue solution to the country's health-care crisis.

Americans deserve more credit. They haven't been brainwashed, and they aren't upset merely over the budget-busting details. Rather, public resistance stems from the sense that the proposed reforms do violence to three core values of America's free enterprise culture: individual choice, personal accountability, and rewards for ambition.

First, Americans recoil at policies that strip choices from citizens and pass them to bureaucrats. ObamaCare systematically does so. The current proposals in Congress would effectively limit choice across the entire spectrum of health care: What kind of health insurance citizens can buy, what kind of doctors they can see, what kind of procedures their doctors will perform, what kind of drugs they can take, and what treatment options they may have.

$30 million in sstimulus went to firms under criminal investigation for government fraud

The Department of Defense awarded nearly $30 million in stimulus contracts to six companies while they were under federal criminal investigation on suspicion of defrauding the government.

According to Air Force documents, the companies claimed to be small, minority-owned businesses, which allowed them to gain special preference in bidding for government contracts. But investigators found that they were all part of a larger minority-owned enterprise in Southern California, making them ineligible for the contracts.

The Air Force and the Army awarded the companies 112 stimulus projects at U.S. military bases, federal contracting records show [2] (27MB Microsoft Excel File). It wasn’t until Sept. 23 – more than a year after the criminal investigation started – that the Air Force suspended the firms from receiving new government contracts.

Conservative Doug Hoffman surges to lead in NY23

A poll released today by the Club for Growth shows Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman surging into the lead in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district to replace John McHugh, the former congressman who recently became Secretary of the Army.

The poll of 300 likely voters, conducted October 24-25, 2009, shows Conservative Doug Hoffman at 31.3%, Democrat Bill Owens at 27.0%, Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7%, and 22% undecided. The poll's margin of error is +/- 5.66%. No information was provided about any of the candidates prior to the ballot question.

This is the third poll done for the Club for Growth in the NY-23 special election, and Doug Hoffman is the only candidate to show an increase in his support levels in each successive poll. The momentum in the race is clearly with Hoffman.

"Hoffman now has a wide lead among both Republicans and Independents, while Owens has a wide lead among Democrats. Dede Scozzafava's support continues to collapse, making this essentially a two-candidate race between Hoffman and Owens in the final week," concluded Basswood Research's pollster Jon Lerner, who conducted the poll for the Club.

A satirical look at the current success, challenges, and future prospects of Fox News

Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch revealed Monday that he is putting the finishing touches on a progressive nuclear option that he may deploy against the hostile Obama administration and its allies in the receding media.

In essence, his strategy rests on growing reliance on his most effective troops, the gorgeous and curvaceous blondes who look boldly into Fox cameras smf deliver the news with the clarity and simplicity of Dirty Harry. The formula grabs the attention of most men, and not a few women, resulting in Fox's dominance of television news.

Fox's conservative perspective has led to numerous critical reports on the leftist Obama administration, however, and the president has taken swipes at Fox.

If the sniping doesn't stop, Murdoch said, he willl take the following steps.

First, he will arrange for his blonde foot soldiers to raise their hemlines by one inch every week as long as the conflict persists. Bust llines will grow by one-half inch a week.

Ultimately, Bikinis are not out of the question.

Lipstick tones will become more bold. Words and phrases will grow more provocative. New blonde foot soldiers will take the stage on a regular basis.

"You will know that Fox has won," Murdoch said, when Bill Clinton admits that he never misses a Fox News broadcast."

Have the neocons been defeated?

After 40 years as a leading spokesman for the Neoconservative takeover of the conservative movement, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz admits in his new book Why Are Jews Liberals? that Neoconservatism has failed utterly at what would seem its most basic task: persuading Jews to vote Republican.

While Podhoretz recounts his role in key steps in the Neocon ascendancy over the GOP, such as helping drive former National Review stalwart Joe Sobran into penury ("to encourage the others") and organizing denunciations of then-National Review editor John O’Sullivan, he confesses that the Neocons’ growing power over the Republican Party has proven useless at converting Jews to the GOP.

According to Podhoretz’s numbers, in the 1928 Presidential election, Al Smith received 78 percent of the Jewish vote. Eighty years later, Barack Obama’s share of the Jewish vote was … 78 percent. I’ve graphed the data here:

Tom Bevan, of RealClearPolitics, summarizes recent poll results "Americans are simply fed up":

A poll of opinion polls shows Americans' attitudes are changing rapidly.

They are less and less thrilled about the country's direction and Congress, according to Tom Bevan, executive editor of national polling aggregator RealClearPolitics. He says independent voters are shifting away from the polices of the Obama administration and Democrats.

"Independents have flipped negative," warns Bevan. "That's not a good thing for any party."

The first gubernatorial races since Democrats took control of Washington, in New Jersey and Virginia, show voter angst and ire. Those races appear to be heading in different directions but are two sides of the same coin.

In Virginia -- which swung Democrat first in 2006 to Jim Webb in his Senate race, then further to Obama in 2008 -- Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds by widening margins.

In New Jersey -- which last went for a GOP presidential candidate in 1988 -- Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine averages about 40 percent. GOP challenger Chris Christie has fallen more than six points in two weeks. The beneficiary is independent Chris Daggett, winning double-digit support.

"What do these phenomena have in common? In two words: disillusionment and disgust," says Lara Brown, Villanova University political science professor.

Registered and likely voters, in particular, are disillusioned and disgusted with both parties and their candidates, who seem to over-promise, under-deliver, ask for too much and take advantage of their positions, explains Brown.

Americans are worn out by inflated rhetoric and Washington insiders who just months ago said they were outsiders.

Voters wonder what happened to candidates they elected to clean up Washington, stop partisan bickering and remove Wall Street titans who retained fat bonuses only because taxpayers bailed out their companies.

Americans are simply fed up:

George Will: Media ginning up comeback for public option in health care reform

George Will on Sunday accused the media of manufacturing the return of government mandated healthcare to the current reform debate.

Discussing the subject on the recent installment of ABC's "This Week," Will said it was highly unlikely Democrats actually have the votes for what they call a "public option," but the media are assisting them in "cleverly and skillfully manufacturing a sense of inevitability that they hope will be self-fulfilling."


GEORGE WILL, ABC: Arguably to a collaborative media. That is although they cannot identify a single Republican vote as Al [Hunt] demonstrated in his interview with Olympia Snowe, the Democratic leaders have said, "We've got the votes." Now that means they're gonna get the votes of Evan Bayh of Indiana, Ben Nelson of Florida, of Sen. Nelson of Nebraska, which is to say they're not going to lose a single, so-called moderate Democrat. I think there is, they're cleverly and skillfully manufacturing a sense of inevitability that they hope will be self-fulfilling. I'm still dubious.

White House took responsibility for swine flu but won't deliver vaccine on timely basis

President Obama's late-night declaration of a nationwide public health emergency last night shouldn't be allowed to obscure the most important lesson of the developing swine flu crisis - The same government that only weeks ago promised abundant supplies of swine flu vaccine by mid-October will be running your health care system under Obamacare.

On Sept. 13, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, told ABC's This Week program that the government was on schedule to deliver an "ample supply" of swine flu vaccine by mid-October:

"We're on track to have an ample supply rolling by the middle of October. But we may have some early vaccine as early as the first full week in October. We'll get the vaccine out the door as fast as it rolls off the production line."

But here we are five weeks later and news reports are coming in from across the nation of long waiting lines of people wanting the shot, but being turned away because of grossly inadequate supplies. The typical explanation from public health offiials is that the swine flu vaccine requires more time to be cultivated than seasonal flu vaccine.

That's no doubt true, but did federal public health officials just discover that fact?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Doug Hoffman, the conservative who hopes to upend the RINO in NY23, in his own words

The 23rd Congressional District in upstate New York is locked in an election battle that echoes far beyond Watertown. When the local Republican party nominated Assembly member Dede Scozzafava, some conservatives balked, objecting that her positions (on gay marriage, abortion and spending) are too liberal. Local businessman Doug Hoffman decided to run as the Conservative Party candidate to oppose both the Democrat, Bill Owens, and Scozzafava in the November election. Hoffman tells The Post why the Republican Party needs to return to its base.

At this time, three months ago, I was wrestling with a decision. A decision as to whether or not to run in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the new secretary of the Army, John McHugh. If you had told me 90 days later I would be penning an op-ed piece for the New York Post, I would have laughed in disbelief. I would have laughed even louder had you told me that I would be receiving endorsement and support from political leaders like Fred Thompson, former Majority Leader Dick Armey, or Sarah Palin. Or appearing on broadcast media with national audiences, as their hosts peppered me with questions about the future of the GOP and our nation.

You see I’m not a professional politician; I’ve never sought elected office. I grew up poor in Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondacks. My siblings and I were raised in a single-parent household by our mother. We worked to help her pay the mortgage. But, like so many others in this great land, I worked hard, got a good education, did a six-year stint in the military, married, landed a good job with a “big eight” accounting firm and started living the American dream.

Hotair's Obamateurism of the Week

Newt Gingrich missteps in NY23

Californians debate, in a way, a ban on divorce

Obama weakens private citizens, builds government

Democrats can no longer remain in denial. And the reality is this: the worldview, “values,” and ideology that are apparently undergirding this presidency are a dramatic departure from those of most Americans. Likewise, the policies of this President weaken private citizens in a variety of different ways, while fortifying the agents of our government – namely, President Obama himself.

Washington’s current-day “values” and tactics may be a good fit in Obama’s Chicago, or in Pelosi’s San Francisco. But they are quickly beginning to alienate elsewhere in the country -even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has been complicit with the Obama agenda, is now suffering the consequences of his actions in his home state of Nevada.

On economic and fiscal issues, it is nearly impossible to believe any longer that President Obama is seeking to “create jobs” or “stimulate” the economy. He has, however, created more government dependence among private citizens. And as a result of his “corporate bailout” policies, he has created a scenario wherein he (Obama) is now an ad hoc C.E.O. of multiple American companies, including GM, Chrysler, and several banking institutions. And he is now determining the salaries of executives running those companies.

On basic human (and Constitutional) freedoms, Obama also provides a radical departure. Using the full force and authority of the presidency itself, Mr. Obama and members of his Administration have repeatedly sought to demonize and discredit multiple private American individuals and institutions who have dared to disagree with him. The list includes, among others, Rush Limbaugh, Executives with the AIG Insurance Corporation, the Fox Newschannel, private share holders of the Chrysler Corporation, Glenn Beck, the insurance industry, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

In profile of Minnesota's Michelle Bachman, George Will uncovers another link in Fox News conspiracy

Born in Iowa but a Minnesotan by age 12, Bachmann acquired what she calls "her family's Hubert Humphrey knee-jerk liberalism." She and her husband danced at Jimmy Carter's inauguration. Shortly thereafter, however, she was riding on a train and reading Gore Vidal's novel "Burr," which is suffused with that author's jaundiced view of America. "I set the book down on my lap, looked out the window and thought: That's not the America I know." She volunteered for Reagan in 1980.

Looking toward 2012, she is not drawn merely to Sarah Palin or other darlings of social conservatives. She certainly is one of those, but she knows that economic hardship and government elephantiasis now trump other issues.

When she was a teenager in Anoka, Minn., she was a nanny for a young girl named Gretchen Carlson. Today, Carlson, a Stanford honors graduate who studied at Oxford, is a host of "Fox & Friends," the morning show on -- wouldn't you know -- Fox News Channel. See how far ahead the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy plans?

Chattering about demoting the dollar is one thing; finding a substitute world currency is another

It is one thing to want to replace the dollar, quite another to find a suitable substitute. The renminbi cannot be the chosen currency so long as it is pegged to the dollar, for its value will move with the dollar. The rouble is not a candidate, since there is not enough of the currency around to handle the volume of world trade and, besides, it is not the sort of money on which you can rely to hold its value, especially if oil prices collapse. Which brings us to the euro.
As has been pointed out by Jean Pisani-Ferry, director of the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank, and Adam Posen, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington: “There is no sign of a move to the euro as a global currency. The share of dollars in global reserves remains almost three times that of the euro.”

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ths is the embarrassing video, regarding Friends of Angelo, referred to in the story

The House of Representatives, ever the rowdier and more populist of the two chambers of Congress, has been the scene of incessant partisan warfare in 2009, as each party appears to be in a near-constant state of outrage over the behavior of the other.

The picture got uglier this week when Democrats on a House committee changed the locks on a hearing room door in retaliation for an embarrassing video posted online by panel Republicans. What started as a dispute over an oversight probe blossomed into a mini-melodrama, with each side accusing the other of petty and childish behavior.

This latest blow to interparty relations started last week in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Last Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was set to hold a routine business meeting. Before the session, its ranking Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), made clear that he planned to call for the panel to subpoena Bank of America for documents related to Countrywide Financial Corp.’s infamous "Friends of Angelo" VIP mortgage program…

When Thursday’s committee meeting began, however, the Democrats were absent, and Republican members said they waited for more than half an hour before being told the session had been canceled because of scheduling conflicts. Democrats, meanwhile, were meeting in a private room behind the hearing room.

"Barack Obama hates businessmen...the entire profession...the evidence is overwhelming"

Okay, it’s time to finally admit it: Barack Obama hates businessmen. Not just certain businessmen, mind you, but the entire profession.

Of course President Obama will deny this. He told Businessweek magazine in a recent interview that he is not anti-business and that he believes in the private sector. But the evidence is overwhelming, and it helps explain why he is pursuing kamakazi-like economic policies that will damage the private sector in America.

Obama has demonized just about every business sector in America. Through the 2008 campaign to the present, he has gone after credit card companies, the coal industry, mortgage companies, real estate companies, steelmakers, utilities, drug companies, doctors, oil companies, Wall Street, defense contractors, and health insurance companies, just to name a few. In each case he has dinged them for greed, taking excessive profits, and failing to put people first. His criticisms have not been over minor matters but over their basic core functions, and their values or lack of them.

Obama demonstrates almost complete ignorance about the private sector and it’s no wonder: he has so little experience in it. He has spent his adult life in college, teaching college, and organizing communities. The one private sector job he has held, for a consulting firm in New York, he recounts as a terrible experience. In his memoirs he describes the experience as working for a private business “like a spy behind enemy lines.” He also recounts in his memoirs that the multinational corporations in the Indonesia of his youth were propelling the average worker “into deeper despair.” He likened the presence of corporations in his native Africa to a form of “neocolonialism.” Michelle Obama has beseeched young people, “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we are asking young people to do. Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers, work for the community, be a social worker, be a nurse….move out of the money-making industry, into the helping industry.”

Meanwhile, vast oil deposits lie undeveloped offshore and in North Dakota

Over the next three years, Americans will be required to replace nearly all their traditional light bulbs with cooler, more energy-efficient bulbs under a 2007 bill signed by President Bush.

But almost all of the 100 production lines needed to churn out new bulbs are expected to be built overseas. Similar scenarios are likely to play out for wind turbines, solar cells and other parts of the emerging global market for clean energy.

That's the gloomy prospect faced by federal officials and business leaders alike as they confront the twin challenges of combating climate change and trying to keep the U.S. competitive in the multitrillion-dollar race to develop and sell new energy systems.

My take: It is truly breathtaking to see and hear a government that bungles every task it assigns to itself now claim the wisdom to guide the gigantic American economy along the proper path to prosperity.

We are struggling through a government-made recession worsened by the waste of hundreds of billions of dollars on government-chosen make-work projects that produced few new jobs.

Now, in the name of creating a vital new industry, President Obama is pushing clean energy, which has done a marvelous job of creating new jobs in other countries.

The American public is turning thumbs down on the global warming alarmists. The cap and trade bill, which would impose new costs on American industry, is all but dead in the U.S. Senate.

There's a wise old definition of a fanatic: a person who recoubles his seffort once he's lost sight of his objective.

Is the Not McCain Party being born in NY 23?

Some of the most prominent names in national Republican Party politics are lining up against the GOP nominee in a key upstate New York House special election, the latest being former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who weighed in Friday.

In endorsing Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman in the Nov. 3 contest, Santorum joined former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, all of whom announced their backing for the conservative third-party candidate this week.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty suggested Friday that he might be the next well-known Republican to break with the party establishment and support Hoffman. When asked about the race Friday during an interview with ABC, he expressed frustration with GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava and said he will “probably” endorse in the race.

Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman who supports gay marriage, abortion rights and has a close relationship with leading labor officials in her region, has been the target of sustained criticism from conservatives who claim that she is so liberal that they cannot in good conscience support her candidacy. As evidence, they point to her unofficial endorsement from the leading liberal blog Daily Kos.

What are they trying to hide?

Has the time come to sell Al Gore short?

This California speech, a summons to common sense, is applicable throughout the U.S.

Video of FT interview with George Soros

The big profits made by some of Wall Street’s leading banks are “hidden gifts” from the state, and taxpayer resentment of such companies is “justified”, George Soros, the fund manager, said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“Those earnings are not the achievement of risk-takers,” Mr Soros said. “These are gifts, hidden gifts, from the government, so I don’t think that those monies should be used to pay bonuses. There’s a resentment which I think is justified.”

To access video of this extraordinary Financial Times interview with George Soros, click on the headline of this post. While many of us recoil from his politics, Soros's grasp of the interplay between current events and economics is without peer. Here, he predicts that China will replace the United States as the engine of the world's economy, and this means the engine will be smaller and growth slower.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Peggy Noonan reminds Obama presidency is his

At a certain point, a president must own a presidency. For George W. Bush that point came eight months in, when 9/11 happened. From that point on, the presidency—all his decisions, all the credit and blame for them—was his. The American people didn't hold him responsible for what led up to 9/11, but they held him responsible for everything after it. This is part of the reason the image of him standing on the rubble of the twin towers, bullhorn in hand, on Sept.14, 2001, became an iconic one. It said: I'm owning it.

Mr. Bush surely knew from the moment he put the bullhorn down that he would be judged on everything that followed. And he has been. Early on, the American people rallied to his support, but Americans are practical people. They will support a leader when there is trouble, but there's an unspoken demand, or rather bargain: We're behind you, now fix this, it's yours.

President Obama, in office a month longer than Bush was when 9/11 hit, now owns his presidency. Does he know it? He too stands on rubble, figuratively speaking—a collapsed economy, high and growing unemployment, two wars. Everyone knows what he's standing on. You can almost see the smoke rising around him. He's got a bullhorn in his hand every day.

It's his now. He gets the credit and the blame. How do we know this? The American people are telling him. You can see it in the polls. That's what his falling poll numbers are about. "It's been almost a year, you own this. Fix it."

White House: What gubernatorial election in Virginia?

Two weeks out from Virginia’s election, the prospects for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds look so bad that the White House has bugged out early from Deeds’ side. The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration has become worried about how a Republican will make them look, and have begun leaking criticisms of the campaign. The leaks intend to pre-empt any analysis that uses Virginia as a measure of how Barack Obama’s power and popularity have weakened since his inauguration:

Sensing that victory in the race for Virginia governor is slipping away, Democrats at the national level are laying the groundwork to blame a loss in a key swing state on a weak candidate who ran a poor campaign that failed to fully embrace President Obama until days before the election.

Senior administration officials have expressed frustration with how Democrat R. Creigh Deeds has handled his campaign for governor, refusing early offers of strategic advice and failing to reach out to several key constituencies that helped Obama win Virginia in 2008, they say.

Sarah Palin splits from Republican pack, endorses conservative Hoffman for Congress in NY 23

THE WEEKLY STANDARD just received a statement from Sarah Palin endorsing conservative Doug Hoffman for Congress:

The people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York are ready to shake things up, and Doug Hoffman is coming on strong as Election Day approaches! He needs our help now.

The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it's important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York's 23rd Congressional district. It's my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law.

Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a "time for choosing."

The federal government borrows, spends, and prints too much money, while our national debt hits a record high. Government is growing while the private sector is shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. Doug Hoffman is committed to ending the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. and the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government. He is also fully committed to supporting our men and women in uniform as they seek to honorably complete their missions overseas.

And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.

Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.

Political parties must stand for something.

Jobless graph should give blue Dems red faces

Rasmussen: 73 % of GOPers say party out of touch

Just 15% of Republicans who plan to vote in 2012 state primaries say the party’s representatives in Congress have done a good job of representing Republican values.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 73% think Republicans in Congress have lost touch with GOP voters from throughout the nation. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided.

These numbers are basically unchanged from a survey in late April.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

Republican women are nearly twice as likely as men to say their representatives in Congress have done a good job of representing GOP values. Younger voters tend to be less critical than their elders.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of likely GOP primary voters rate economic issues as the priority in determining how they will vote, followed by 25% who see national security issues that way. Fiscal issues are most important for 15%, while 12% cite domestic issues and seven percent (7%) cultural issues.

India, China move to quiet global wartming alarmists

On October 22, an accord was signed by Xie Zhenhua, China's vice minister at the National Development and Reform Commission, and Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, in New Delhi. The memorandum provides an alternative framework to counter pressure from America and Europe to adopt mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions in a new UN treaty. The two Asian powers will collaborate on the development of renewable power projects and improved energy efficiency programs, while rejecting any outside mandates that would slow economic growth.

The United Nations has been holding forums around the world to build support for a new climate treaty to be drafted in Copenhagen in December to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto document did not require the developing countries to do anything about reducing emissions. The United States and European Union have been trying to find some formula that would persuade the developing countries to sign on to the new treaty. China and India, along with Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, have been adamant about staying out of any global requirement. By forming regional alignments that keep policy in the hands of national governments, the developing countries expect to be able to resist Western and UN pressure.

It is easier to stay independent of the climate paranoia if one does not believe the planet is in peril. Xiao Ziniu, director general of the Beijing Climate Centre, told the British Guardian newspaper recently that "There is no agreed conclusion about how much change is dangerous....Whether the climate turns warmer or cooler, there are both positive and negative effects....In Chinese history, there have been many periods warmer than today." He disputed the disaster warnings of the UNIPCC, saying, "The accuracy of the prediction is very low because the climate is affected by many mechanisms we do not fully understand."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gallup: Obama's sharp drop in polls is historic

Not much Hope but a whole lot of Change. ObamaCare plus stagnant unemployment plus dithering on Afghanistan makes for a magical brew indeed, my friends.

In fact, the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953. One president who was not elected to his first term — Harry Truman — had a 13-point drop between his second and third quarters in office in 1945 and 1946…

More generally, Obama’s 9-point slide between quarters ranks as one of the steepest for a president at any point in his first year in office. The highest is Truman’s 19-point drop between his third and fourth quarters, followed by a 15-point drop for Gerald Ford between his first and second quarters. The largest for an elected president in his first year is Bill Clinton’s 11-point slide between his first and second quarters.

Video: Laura Ingraham and Newt Gingrich explore the GOP's split personality

Fifty states were stimulated; only one added jobs

Seven months after being stimulated, Washington style, 49 of the 50 states have lost jobs. In other words, Washington it achieving its customary rate of success. With just one more stimulus measure the last state, North Dakota,  should fall into line. Click on the headline to see state by state results.

Video of SEIU pushing the Obama line

Is Obama attacking the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of his foot soldiers at the SEIU? They're certainly on the same page. Click on the healine to access the video.

GOP leads Dems by 5 points on generic ballot

The GOP advantage over Democrats increased from two points to five in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.

Support for Democrats dropped two points this week, while support for the GOP slightly increased.

Voters not affiliated with either party heavily favor the GOP, 40% to 23%.

Newspaper circulation falling to 1960 level

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Video: executive pay cuts at rescued firms

For video detailing some of the pay cuts at bailed out companies click on the headline of this post.

Government will limit executive pay at rescued firms

Government will lilmit pay of Responding to the growing furor over the paychecks of executives at companies that received billions of dollars in the government’s financial rescue, the Obama administration will order the companies that received the most aid to deeply slash the compensation to their highest paid executives, an official involved in the decision said on Wednesday.

Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Treasury Department's special appointee for executive compensation.

Under the plan, which will be announced in the next few days by the Treasury Department, the seven companies that received the most assistance will have to cut the annual salaries of their 25 best-paid executives by an average of about 90 percent from last year. Their total compensation — including bonuses and retirement contributions — will drop, on average, by about 50 percent. The companies are Citigroup [C 4.42 -0.01 (-0.23%) ], Bank of America [BAC 16.51 -0.50 (-2.94%) ], American International Group [AIG 38.96 -1.47 (-3.64%) ], General Motors, Chrysler and the financing arms of the two automakers.

At the financial products division of the insurance giant, A.I.G., the locus of problems that plagued the large insurer and forced its rescue with more than $180 billion in taxpayer assistance, no top executive will receive more than $200,000 in total compensation, a stunning decline from previous years in which the unit produced many wealthy executives and traders.

In contrast to previous years, an official said, executives in the financial products division will receive no other compensation, such as stocks or stock options.

My take: Obama will, unfortunately, get a bounce in the public opinion polls out of this. AMericans by and large don't like this kind of governmental interference in the marketkplace, but they like even less the ntion that failed executives have a right to stuff their pockets after mismanged companies have been salvaged with public money.

While you're at Harrod's anyway, why don't you pick up a pound of gold?

A remarkable piece of news came out of London last week. Harrods, one of Europe’s best-known department stores, has begun selling gold bullion.

This unprecedented move by the famous retailer reflects the rapidly growing appetite for investment-grade gold, which has been enjoying a bull run even as the world is bogged down in a global recession. Used as a hedge against currency weakness, especially the dollar, gold has been trading at record highs. Many analysts think this is no temporary spike, but a long-term surge that will continue as the word monetary system is pulled down by the mismanaged and collapsing dollar. (To be sure, there are those who question whether gold is a sound investment, even in inflationary times.)

Swiss-based financial newsletter Daily Bell puts it bluntly:

“We are in a bull market cycle for money metals because fiat money is all but dead, including most importantly the American dollar.”

Simone Wapler, the editor of MoneyWeek agrees:

“Gold is being re-monetized. All the world’s paper monies are losing value – and credibility. There’s a race to the bottom as they try to devalue their currencies.”

Until quite recently, money was backed by gold. That changed after World War II, when Western powers set up a monetary system with the dollar at its center. The dollar was partially backed by the metal until 1971 when President Richard Nixon took it off the gold standard altogether. At that point, the dollar became pure paper money.

But there was a major problem with the change. Politicians will always print more money than they should. How else to pay for the promises that got them elected? This excessive printing is known as currency debasement and it ultimately leads to inflation.

Why isn't tort reform in health care bill?

Breitbart and crew sting Philly ACORN

The two independent filmmakers who posed as a pimp and a prostitute and received advice from ACORN employees in five cities on how to skirt tax and immigration laws claim the community organizer group lied when it said the pair were shown the door without receiving assistance from staffers in its Philadelphia office.

James O'Keefe, 25, and Hannah Giles, 20, played a heavily-edited video on Wednesday depicting their visit to ACORN's Philadelphia office on July 24. Giles, clad in a fur coat and leather skirt, posed as a prostitute, while O'Keefe played the role of her pimp. The pair claim they were not "kicked out" of the office without assistance from ACORN employee Katherine Conway-Russell, as has been reported.

"At no point were we kicked out and at no point were we asked to leave," O'Keefe told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. "Why did the Philadelphia press report were we kicked out?"

Video of Tie Domi, better known for his fists, competing in Battle of the Blades on CBC

Battle of theBlades revisited. I foound this video on YouTube. Click on the headline of this post.

Strongly opinionated drop Obama near record low

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 27% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13. That’s just a point above the lowest level ever recorded for this President. It’s also the sixth straight day in negative double digits, matching the longest such streak (see trends).

Just 31% of voters believe that Congress has a good understanding of the health care proposal.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of Republicans have a favorable opinion of their party’s national chairman, Michael Steele.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates also available on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 47% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Senate committee's health care bill

Here's the U.S. Senate Finance Committee's Obamacare bill. Read it if you must. Click on the headline of this post.

Why the VAT would be a bad tax

Great headline

Gallup: Support for legalizing
marijuana at an all-time high

What would this year's federal deficit buy?

From truthers to birthers to oath keepers: saving America is steady work

In the brief age of Obama, we have had "truthers," "birthers," tea party activists and town-hall dissenters.

Comes now, the "Oath Keepers." And who might they be?

Writes Alan Maimon in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oath Keepers, depending on where one stands, are "either strident defenders of liberty or dangerous peddlers of paranoia."

Formed in March, they are ex-military and police who repledge themselves to defend the Constitution, even if it means disobeying orders. If the U.S. government ordered law enforcement agencies to violate Second Amendment rights by disarming the people, Oath Keepers will not obey.

"The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here," says founding father Stewart Rhodes, an ex-Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer. "My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can't do it without them.

"We say if the American people decide it's time for a revolution, we'll fight with you."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tie Domi, Claude Lemieux, and Craig Simpson - together again - on figure skates.

Time out from TheRightFieldLine's war of choice against America's debauched political class...

For hockey fans, I have astonishing news. Tie Domi, Claude Lemieux, Ron Duguay, Craig Simpson, Stephane Richer and Ken Daneyko are lacing up the skates once again.

Domi, the under-sized but worthy pugilist for the Toronto Maple Leafs...Simpson, the goalie screener for the shooters on Wayne Gretzky's Edmunton Oilers...Duguay, the helmetless, dashing forward for the Detroit Red Wings and other teams.

All of them played during the final years of the old NHL, before rules changes made helmeets universal and the on-ice action faster and less rough.

Now, they are back, all but Duguay on figure skates, all showing their softer side in a terrific new reality show, Battle of the Blades, on the CBC. I caught it by accident on Sunday night. I believe it's on again tonight from Newfoundland.

It's a tekoff on the traditional pairs competition for figure skaters, with the players paired with experienced female partners. Incredibly, the routines include the usual throws. More incredibly, there was no blood on the ice afterwards.

One of the judges is Dick Button, the one-time skater who has become a legendary commentator on figure skating competition. When one of the judges took a swipe at Duguay for competing on hockey skates, other judges counter-attacked, telling him to butt out.

It makes for a terrific show, and it's on again tonight at 8 p.m. The CBC web site is at

I now return to my war of choice

Sunday, October 18, 2009

David Axelrod: Fox News isn't really news,(unlike SNL skits}

Rahm Emanuel: Fox News dangerous enough to waste

D.C. dealing: I'll buy mandatory death at 70 if you give me insurance for illegal aliens

Three months before he was elected president, Barack Obama vowed not only to reform health care but also to pass the legislation in an unprecedented way.

"I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table," he said at an appearance in Chester, Va., repeating an assertion he made many times. He said the discussions would be "televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies."

But now, as a Senate vote on health-care legislation nears, those negotiations are occurring in a setting that is anything but revolutionary in Washington: Three senators are working on the bill behind closed doors.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) sits at the head of a wooden table at his office as he and Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) work to merge two competing versions of health-care legislation into one bill. The three men will be joined by top aides as well as by members of President Obama's health-care team, led by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The sessions started on Wednesday and could be completed this week.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Health care needs a series of specific surgeries, not Obama's monument building

President Barack Obama, who announced dramatically before the election that "the transnformation of America begins in five days," now argues, preposterously, that he is only cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor.

Troublle is, George Bush had no particularly troublesome role in health care, the issue that now dominates Washington's attention.

Obama and his Democrat allies point to two aspects of health care as most dire: the steadily rising cost and the absence of coverage for some 45 million people.

Instead of focusing on those aspects, however, Obama has expanded his to-do list to extend coverage to young people, who often rationally choose to forgo insurance. He is doing so to compel young and healthy people to subsidize health caree for everyone else.

Accused by Republicans of secretly planning to extend coverage to illegal alienss, Obama denied it, but then lowered the number of new people to be covered from 45,000 to 30,000, evidence that his original plan was to cover illegals.

Even in the absence of coverage under Obamacare, illegals can be expected to continue their current practice of going to hospital emergency rooms for treatment, where they can not be turned away.

The Obama administration also could attack the problem of rising health care costs directly by proposing tort reform. To protect themslves from potential lawsuits, doctors now practice defensive medicine, performing some tests and procedures largely to assemble a defense against trial lawyers seeking jackpot justice. Defensive medicine drives up health care costs.

But tort reform is unlikely to happen because the Democrat party relies heavily on substantial campaign contributions from trial lawyers. Obama, a lawyer, has shown no discernible interest in tort reform.

Obama has made health care the top priority of his admninistration, notwithstanding the fact that most insured paople are happy with their health care. Bush had little or nothing to do with the problems that Obama is tryng to fix.

Instead of tailoring modest fixes to specific problems, the president has opted for sweeping statements, describing as broken a health care system that patients from all over the world are patronizing in an atempt to get well.

For theatrics, Obama deserves a B+. For governanace, he gets an F.

Politics should be about dealing with real problems, not the building of legislative monuments to oneself.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Russia and India to collaborate on stealth, supersonic cruise missile system

From Sweetness & Light, via Russia’s Izvestia and Pravda:

Russia and India will start the development of a new supersonic missile nearly invincible to interception. No army in the world has anything similar to it. The sum of the investment has not been defined yet, but it can be expected to reach billions of dollars.

The missile is to become a successor of the supersonic missile BrahMos (known as Yahont in the Russian army) that is now installed on ships, land missile complexes and may soon be installed on Su-30 MKI fighter jets and submarines. This possibility was discussed on Tuesday at the meeting of an intergovernmental committee on military and technical collaboration that took place in Moscow and was chaired by Russian and Indian Defense Ministers, Anatoly Serdyukov and Arackaparambil Kurien Antony…

It is unique since it’s the only cruise missile in the world that can be launched both as a single unit and a group. Its highly intelligent operational system allows the missile to reach the speed of Mach 3.0, which is three times faster than the speed of the subsonic American Tomahawk cruise-missile). BrahMos can engage any sea target, and a group of these missiles can destroy an entire ship formation.

Is NFL Players Association using Rush Limbaugh to gain edge in contract talks?

We suspect Mr. Limbaugh during his broadcast yesterday put his finger exactly on what is going on here. He said that NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith was using Mr. Limbaugh's controversial status as leverage against the league owners in the union's difficult negotiations over a collective-bargaining agreement.

Earlier this year, the NFLPA's Mr. Smith and several player reps visited our offices and made clear their determination to win the negotiation with the league's owners. Fair enough. The group made a strong and businesslike case for their position. Mr. Smith was wrong, though, to send an email to the league's players earlier in the week, urging them to speak out on the Limbaugh bid, arguing that football "rejects discrimination and hatred."

After this, opposition to Mr. Limbaugh emerged from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and, most disappointing of all, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Mr. Goodell implied in a statement that Mr. Limbaugh's off-the-cuff comment in 2003 about quarterback Donovan McNabb (that the media wanted a black quarterback to do well) violated the league's "high standard."

We suspect Mr. Limbaugh would be happy to withdraw the 2003 remark, but to elevate it to racism, hatred and disqualification from doing business with the saintly NFL beggars belief. On the evidence, the NFL is the most forgiving league in sports. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, just for starters, must be thankful Mr. Goodell's "high standard" doesn't mean a lifetime ban from the NFL.

What happened here, and is happening elsewhere in American life, is that Mr. Limbaugh's outspoken political conservatism is being deemed sufficient reason to ostracize him from polite society. By contrast, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who fires off his own brand of high-velocity, left-wing political commentary but lacks Mr. Limbaugh's sense of humor, appears weekly as co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America." We haven't heard anyone on the right say Mr. Olbermann's nightly ad-hominem rants should disqualify him from hanging around the NFL. Al Franken made it all the way to the U.S. Senate on a river of political vitriol.

Stimulus in Michigan cost $156,171 for each job

StimulusMichigan received $3.7 billion is stimulus money, of which $620 million was to be used to "create and save" jobs, while the remainder will be used by Granholm to backfill the budget deficit that she has created with her overspending so that she doesn't have to make any substantial cuts before she leaves office. When she walks away, she will have lost more than 1,000,000 jobs in a state with a population of only 10 million. A few days ago, Granholm claimed that stimulus money "created or saved" 19,500 jobs (Enron accounting: Stimulus saved or created 19,500 jobs in Michigan). Turns out, the number is an utter fabrication, as I suspected when I wrote that prior post. Fact is, that $620 million "created or saved" 397 jobs.

Let's just do the math. $620 million divided by say 400 jobs = $1,550,000 per job! That is an outright waste of taxpayer dollars. Worse yet, the rest of the $3.7 billion is going to keep Michigan in perpetual deficit that will be even more painful to deal with since we have had an AWOL governor for 6 1/2 years running. From The Detroit Free Press: So far, stimulus contracts aren't big boost for Michigan jobs.