WaPo reports that the Arab League today "called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya." This is significant because "NATO has said that an Arab endorsement of the no-fly zone was a precondition for taking such action."
The White House responded:
We welcome this important step by the Arab League, which strengthens the international pressure on Gaddafi and support for the Libyan people. The international community is unified in sending a clear message that the violence in Libya must stop, and that the Gaddafi regime must be held accountable. The United States will continue to advance our efforts to pressure Gaddafi, to support the Libyan opposition, and to prepare for all contingencies, in close coordination with our international partners.
Note the common theme highlighted by the bold words. I'm an international law attorney - I like international cooperation. But the President of the United States is the Leader of the Free World. Foreign countries (free and oppressed) and the White House itself are treating America as an inconsequential player in a game above its class.
In Egypt, Obama waited for a victor to emerge before taking sides in the conflict. In Libya, he is waiting for others to lead. Cooperating with the international community does not require indecision and submissiveness. Nations are calling upon the UN and NATO because the US has ceded authority to the UN - which has proved itself, again and again, incapable of responding to war and genocide. Obama is submerging America within misguided interpretations of internationalism and egalitarianism. He is degrading our leadership in the world.
P.S. The New York Times has a more complimentary view of Obama's "pragmatism in the Middle East."
Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has harsh (but righteous) words of welcome for the prodigal Democratic senators.
Today, the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin are going to pat themselves on the back and smile for the cameras. They're going to pretend they're heroes for taking a three week vacation.
It is an absolute insult to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who are struggling to find a job, much less one they can run away from and go down to Illinois -- with pay.
Their appearance at the Capitol today is in direct violation of the contempt order issued by the state Senate earlier this month, and it proves their absolute disregard for the institution of the Senate and the constitution they took an oath of office to serve.
But the people of Wisconsin won't forget what they were really doing these past few weeks.
Sen. Tim Cullen refused to come back to save 1,500 jobs.
Sen. Mark Miller refused to come back even to make sure his own staff were safe in the Capitol he abandoned.
Sen. Fred Risser refused to come back out of respect for the institution and dignity of the state Senate.
Sen. Bob Jauch refused to come back even though our side was negotiating in good faith to try to find a reasonable compromise.
Sens. Jon Erpenbach, Chris Larson and Lena Taylor were all too happy to pat themselves on the back and smile for the cameras in Illinois, never mind their constituents here in Wisconsin.
And Sens. Dave Hansen, Kathleen Vinehout, Tim Carpenter, Spencer Coggs, Jim Holperin, and Julie Lassa refused to come back to actually do the job they were elected to do.
To the Senate Democrats: When you smile for the cameras today and pretend you're heroes, I hope you look at that beautiful Capitol building you insulted. And I hope you're embarrassed to call yourselves senators.
H/t: Power Line
In the wake of mob violence, government shut-downs, absconding Democratic senators, death threats against Republicans and a breakdown of the democratic process in Wisconsin, a detached President Obama's only response was an endorsement of unions.
"I owe these unions," the President once confessed. How far would he be willing to go on union behalf, and how deep is his pro-union conviction? What other policies might have a union motive? Consider this report from Der Spiegel:
A crippling strike by train drivers in a dispute over wages caused havoc across Germany during rush hour on Thursday morning, with countless delays and cancellations. Around 800 drivers walked off the job for six hours between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., leaving thousands of commuters struggling to get to work--and the dispute is threatening to become a long-term nightmare for travelers.
Communal transportation which leaves the public dependent upon (unionized) government workers surely empowers public employee unions. Conservatives have been pondering the motive for Obama's stubborn insistence on America's adoption of an inefficient, expensive and unwanted high-speed rail system. Perhaps Germany provides a clue.
H/t: James Taranto
During the Bush administration, those who leaked classified information were hailed as heroes "speaking truth to power" by a haughty left which dared Bush to attempt prosecution. The New York Times and others aided and abetted those who wished to publish America's secrets with the impunity guaranteed by certainty they would vilify Bush if he brought charges against those breaking the law (including the NY Times). Slate sums up a politico story on the radically different situation now that Obama is in charge.
The Obama administration's pursuit of federal officials who leak classified information has been so extensive that it has shocked legal experts and transparency advocates, who say these kinds of efforts end up quieting whistleblowers. The moves are particularly surprising considering that Obama promised to usher in a period of unparalleled openness in the White House. Instead, prosecutors have "filed criminal charges in five separate cases involving unauthorized distribution of classified national security information to the media," reports Politico. Over the last 40 years, "the U.S. government brought such cases on three occasions."
The article is revealing in a very "you shall know them by their works" sort of way. Obama defended his investigations by insisting they are "only pursuing individuals who act with reckless disregard for national security." George W. Bush wouldn't have said it any better.
Obama, of course, is correct to relentlessly pursue leaks and plug them by stuffing the leakers in prison. The left is offended that Obama is not governing with "transparency," which is to say, without the government discretion required to wage war and conduct diplomacy. But this insurrection can be laid at Obama's feet - he made these unrealistic promises during his anti-all-things-Bush campaign.
Obama's intensity in prosecuting leaks is a decision liable to interpretation. Either he believed the media would give their favored son a pass, or his Chicago-forged ego is so sensitive that he cannot abide the betrayal he praised when directed against others (consider his vendetta against Fox News).
In sum, Obama is doing the right thing - perhaps with slightly flawed motives - and is therefore causing the left to murmur in discontent. Perhaps the left can be forgiven, though - things haven't been going their way lately.
Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald on why talks with the Democrats broke down:
This afternoon, following a week and a half of line-by-line negotiation, Sen. Miller sent me a letter that offered three options: 1) keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 2) take our counter-offer, which would keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 3) or stop talking altogether.
No word on weather the negotiations were to have taken place in East or West Egg.
Robert Reich opens a fascinating window into the enraged Lefty mind in a recent post complaining of the recent "coup d'etat" in Wisconsin.
It is fascinating in a few ways. In the middle of the post, Reich expresses his fear that the protestors will get out of hand, giving a public relations victory to the Republicans. Reich even goes so far as to say that "Walker would like nothing better than disorder to break out in Madison"--a vicious charge that says more about Reich than about Walker. Reich worries that his fellow Lefties won't keep their protests civil.
That leads to the strange ending of Reich's post: "The American public may be divided over many things but we stand united behind our democratic process and the rule of law. And we reject coups in whatever form they occur."
Wisconsin worked well within the confines of the democratic process. Changing the rules that govern government unions is hardly regime change. How is that a coup?
Governor Walker was willing to negotiate with the Democrats on several issues, but not on the matter of making the payment of union dues voluntary, and making the re-certification of unions by the members a regularly recurring thing. As some Lefties have noted, such a law takes dead aim at a major source of Democratic power. Hence they regard it as cynical. But why is that the case? The rules of the game, before the law passed, tilted the playing field heavily to the Democrats. The Republicans are trying to tilt it back.
That's a coup d'etat if one believes that the current regime is not, simply, the American, federal, democratic-republic, but rather the broader regime of laws we have now (or at least until yesterday in Wisconsin). For Riech, the additions and changes that were made to the American republic in the 20th century are supposed to be permanent victories for his side, which he things is Progress. Hence making paying union dues voluntary is a coup-d'etat, and not simply politics as usual. In his view, one side is Progress, and the other side is Reaction. The philosophy of History makes that point of view posible. The right of people who work for the government to organize and to bargain collectively is on a par with the right of the individual to the fruit of his labors. The idea of Progress masks a power-play by the Left.
If, however, one believes that there are no permanent victories in politics, the world looks rather different. What looks to a Progressive like an assault on rights looks to somone with a more classic liberal view as a mere argument about how to calibrate labor regulations in the republic.
It's not the first time that the failure of the world to change has frustrated and confused men of the Left. It also suggests that many Democrats who are over 40 or so still have not gotten over 1994. From their perspective Congress is supposed to be a Democratic house, and, beyond that, policy changes are supposed to be those the Left wants. Making laws that not only undo or limit some bits of Progressive legislation, but that go after some of the roots that made the American establishment Democratic is, from Reich's perspective, a coup. Once the Democrats fix the rules of the game, Republicans are not supposed to change them, even decades later.
The Dalai Lama hopes to relinquish political power as the head of Tibet's government-in-exile. He has asked the Tibetan parliament to amend the constitution and seeks the speedy election of a new prime minister to lead the country.
The reason for the alteration is likely the Dalai Lama's anticipation of death. When he dies, China will pounce on the opportunity to replace him (as they have attempted to usurp the Catholic church by installing their own bishops) and will pressure foreign countries which recognize the Dalai Lama to abandon Tibet in his absence. As proof, President Obama today announced that he will not meet with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Washington this week, and has postponed a scheduled meeting until after a summit with China next month. Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, is attempting to preserve the political existence of Tibet.
The last theocracy of Asia will thus soon vanish, leaving only the Holy See at Vatican City under the authority of the Pope in Europe and, arguably, several Middle Eastern and African Muslim nations as the world's remaining theocracies.
Michael Hayden, director of the CIA from 2006 - 2009, and Michael Mukasey, attorney general from 2007 to 2009, have penned a WaPo article arguing against the Obama administrations reversal on extending key provisions of the Patriot Act.
The net effect of imposing sunset provisions [which terminate roving wiretap, NSLs and "lone wolf" authority as of Dec. 31, 2013], changing presumptions and adding layers of review and other administrative and judicial burdens on use of these intelligence tools, absent evidence that any of them has been abused - and there has been none - is that intelligence professionals will regard these regimens as transitory. Confidence and initiative will be degraded. The wall between intelligence-gathering and criminal investigation, thought before Sept. 11 to have been required by statute or the Constitution, but realized afterward to have been unnecessary, will be rebuilt. If intelligence bureaucracies are taught that they incur only burdens and risk criticism by seeking to gather intelligence, they will revert to pre-Sept. 11 mode, and await the next cycle of criticism for failing to connect "dots" they have been discouraged from gathering. The existing procedures for obtaining even an "emergency" authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act already generate reams of documentation through several layers of bureaucracy; there is no need to find out how many more straws the camel's back can bear.
The Wisconsin GOP have extracted the small portions of the stalled bill which require a quorum and passed the remainder without Democratic participation. So, the stalemate is over and Republicans have won. GOP senate leader Scott Fitzgerald released a statement:
Before the election, the Democrats promised "adult leadership" in Madison. Then a month and a half into session, the Senate Democrats fled the state instead of doing their job.
In doing so, they have tarnished the very institution of the Wisconsin state Senate. This is unacceptable.
This afternoon, following a week and a half of line‐by‐line negotiation, Sen. Miller sent me a letter that offered three options: 1) keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 2) take our counter‐offer,which would keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 3) or stop talking altogether.
With that letter, I realized that we're dealing with someone who is stalling indefinitely, and doesn't have a plan or an intention to return. His idea of compromise is "give me everything I want," and the only negotiating he's doing is through the media.
Enough is enough.
The people of Wisconsin elected us to do a job. They elected us to stand up to the broken status quo, stop the constant expansion of government, balance the budget, create jobs and improve the economy. The longer the Democrats keep up this childish stunt, the longer the majority can't act on our agenda.
Tonight, the Senate will be passing the items in the budget repair bill that we can, with the 19 members who actually DO show up and do their jobs. Those items include the long‐overdue reform of collective bargaining needed to help local governments absorb these budget cuts, and the 12 percent health care premium and 5 percent pension contribution.
We have confirmed with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau that every item in tonight's bill follows the letter of the law.
The people of Wisconsin elected us to come to Madison and do a job. Just because the Senate Democrats won't do theirs, doesn't mean we won't do ours.
It's possible the GOP actually waited for the Democrats to return on hyper-ethical principles (hoping to involve them in a proper vote). Otherwise they conservatively hoped to avoid the potential stigma of a one-party vote, or daringly allowed the circus to continue in hopes of favorable poll results. I imagine a combination of all three.
Liberals are, naturally, unhappy. MoveOn decried the vote as "shameful, unprecedented, and probably illegal" before calling for the impeachment of the entire Republican senate. Union protestors in Madison yelled "You are cowards!" (Ironically, given their representatives are hiding in another state.) But it's hard to take seriously accusations of ethical wrong from those who have countenanced three weeks of truancy by the entire Democratic senate.
And the fleebagger 14 haven't promised to return anytime soon. They fear that their return could permit a vote on the original bill. A nefarious mind would suggest the Republicans continue with their (non-quorum-dependent) agenda while the Dems continue thinking it over.
The left's strategy will seek to move the battle from the legislature to the courts (the Wisconsin Supreme Court is up for grabs in April) and to recall (impeach) GOP senators and Scott Walker. More interestingly, there is already talk of general strikes - which could easily backfire on the unions.
National attention will soon shift to Indiana and Ohio - and possibly onward from there, if the process begins to ease with repetition.
Robert Samuelson reminds us that Social Security is not a pension system. It is a welfare system supporting people who are in their mid-sixties and older. The U.S. government, however, has been more than happy to make current taxpayers think that they are paying for their own retirements.
Michaels Cannon objects to this letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services by twenty governors - including conservative stalwarts like Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker. The letter requests that states should be able to offer market-oriented alternatives to Medicaid and be allowed to use the new exchanges to offer HSA/catastrophic coverage health insurance. If states were granted this leeway it would go a long way toward undermining Obamacare's model of pushing virtually everyone into government mandated comprehensive prepayment of health care (whether through the government or through private "insurers.") Cannon quotes John R. Graham to the effect that Mitch Daniels (and by extension the other conservative governors) are "extending the hand of peace . . . when Obamacare has been mortally wounded in the courts and the U.S. House of Representatives" I think this deeply mistaken for several reasons.
1. I don't see how Obamacare has been mortally wounded in the courts. There is a live controversy about whether the Supreme Court would find the individual insurance purchase mandate constitutional. This part of the controversy is now in the heads of Anthony Kennedy and the other four Supreme Court Justices who might conceivably vote against the constitutionality of the mandate and the rest of the law. They might strike down the whole law. Fine. They might leave the whole law in place or only strike down the individual mandate while leaving the insurance coverage mandates, the new government subsidies, guaranteed issue, and community rating in place. We're going to need a plan in case Anthony Kennedy gets it wrong - because it wouldn't be the first time.
2 I think Cannon is mistaken about the political dynamics of reforming health care in a more market-oriented direction within the public opinion and institutional constraints of American politics. Cannon argues that seeking the kind of significant but incremental reforms laid out in the governors' letter undermines public support for repealing Obamacare. Pushing for incremental and substantive conservative health care reforms complements and strengthens the case for repealing Obamacare. Obama's HHS now faces a choice. They can refuse the twenty requesting states the leeway to implement more market-oriented reforms and be seen as rigid. Or they can grant the requests and watch as Obamacare's model of comprehensive health care prepayment is undermined by more and more people going on consumer-driven health care plans. Incremental conservative reform at the state-level is not the enemy of national-level reform. Incremental state-level reforms make alternative conservative policies real and showcase their benefits to the public. The state-level welfare reforms of the early 1990s (which were only possible because of HHS waivers) made it easier to pass a federal welfare reform bill. The state-level reforms showed that reformist policies could reduce welfare rolls and impose behavioral conditions without producing the horrible consequences predicted by many liberals.
Cannon writes that if Obama's HHS okays the governors' requests, Obama will be able to say:
"Mitch, all your talk about repeal is just cynical politics. Your health-care plan is not that different from mine. You expanded Medicaid to people with higher incomes than my plan requires. You are implementing my plan in your state right now. I'm even willing to make some of the changes you want so it will work better for Indiana."
Well he could try that. It wouldn't be the first untrue thing to come out of his mouth. Of course Daniels could always respond:
"Well Mr. President, the facts say your government-centered approach couldn't be more different from our patient-centered approach. You are trying to legally force people to pay too much for health insurance and then you give some of them one year exemptions and say 'Look how reasonable we are.' Well that's not reasonable. That's crazy. No one should have to beg a bureaucrat to get permission to buy better and cheaper health care coverage.
"Our patient-centered approach has increased satisfaction with health insurance, saved the government money, increased use of preventative care, decreased use of emergency rooms, increased worker take home pay, and maintained or improved access to high quality health care. We can have those policies for the rest of the country too. The first step to getting those benefits to more people is repealing your plan that says we have to get special temporary permission to do the things that will make people's lives better"
Refine & Enlarge
NPR's CEO and president Vivian Schiller has resigned. NPR expressed "deep [and] genuine regret" over the resignation and professed "great respect" for Schiller's leadership - sentiments noticeably absent when Schiller had Juan Williams fired over the phone for expressing a mildly conservative opinion. Also absent was any regret for the actual scandal prompting the resignation - not a single word regarding the racial, elitist, degrading rant of NPR executives against Jews, conservatives, Republicans and "middle-America." There is no hint of contrition or an intent to reform. Rather, NPR laments this "traumatic period for NPR and the larger public radio community." Apparently, NPR is the victim.
All of this would just be repetition on a theme for conservatives if NPR were not a federally subsidized organization. Such funding forces the government to sponsor and patronize a particular viewpoint. Unlike the funding of faith-based charities, for example, which compete against secular institutions to provide for non-political social needs (which the government would otherwise perform less efficiently), public radio is not a government obligation and is inherently susceptible to political bias. When the bias is obvious, the taint upon government is so much more offensive.
A clean break would demonstrate a principled stance of non-partisanship on the part of government, and would cause only an insignificant financial loss to NPR (as they conceded on film). NPR may then join the deep ranks of liberal media outlets with abandon, untainted by unjust tax-payer subsidies.
UPDATE: Dana Davis Rehm, NPR's senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, has now stated: "We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for."
Refine & Enlarge
Today commences the 40-day Lenten season of fasting and penance preceding Easter. In a tradition dating at least to the 11th century, Christians will be marked by the ashes of last year's Palm Crosses to the exhortation: "Remember, O man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Tradition dictates that one give up a persistent vice. I mentioned last year that President Obama gave up capitalism. But the government could surely use a bit of fasting and abstinence this year - cutting back on pork even one day a week would be a good start!
The Civil War & Lincoln
I was interested in Michael Cannon's criticism of Mitch Daniels' health care policies. Cannon levels two kinds of criticism. The first is that Daniels' Healthy Indiana Plan increases government dependency. The second is that the effort by Daniels and other governors to get waivers from the Department of Health and Human Services undermines the effort to repeal Obamacare. I think both criticisms are mostly off target. I'll try to talk about the second criticism tomorrow.
First let's talk about the Healthy Indiana Plan. Cannon fairly describes HIP as "high-deductible coverage combined with a taxpayer-funded health savings account." Well, mostly fairly. Most HIP clients contribute to the funding of their Health Savings Account. The government contribution to the HSA is indexed to earnings so that people who earn at the high end of the eligible population (200 percent of the poverty level) provide most of the funding for their HSA.
Cannon writes that " Health savings accounts are supposed to reduce dependence on government. Daniels is using HSAs to expand dependence on government." Well Cannon is a little off there. The purpose of Health Savings Accounts is to change how people pay for and consume health care. Since people are paying for more of their routine health care costs out of pocket, they will be less likely to over consume and more likely to seek out cheaper and more productive providers. Providers will then respond to these cost conscious consumers by offering lower cost options. The combination of HSA's and catastrophic coverage might be offered by either the government or a private insurer depending on the population. The Daniels administration offered an HSA/catastrophic coverage to state employees. On one hand, the state employees are "dependent" on government for their health care . On the other hand, they are more empowered as consumers than many people with private employer-provided plans that cover first dollar health expenses.
So how well does this theory work? Well it depends. The HSA/catastrophic coverage plan for Indiana state employees has saved the government money, increased the take home pay of the workers and maintained their access to high quality health care. That is a win-win-win situation and it would be a great idea to expand that system to government employees at all levels and in every state. I'm less clear on how well consumer-driven health care will work for lower earning populations.
I spoke with Seema Verma who is a consultant with the state of Indiana. I had one question for her. Is HIP saving the government money versus traditional Medicaid (basically a government single-payer program for low-earners)? The answer I got was yes but... When you adjust for differing age and other demographic factors between the HIP population and the traditional Medicaid population (the HIP population skews older and older people consume more health care), HIP saves the government some money, but not much. These savings persist despite HIP reimbursing health care providers at a higher rate than Medicaid for costs to the client after the client has exhausted their Health Savings Account. HIP clients are more likely to get preventative care and less likely to visit the emergency room than before going on HIP. The worst that can be said of HIP vs. traditional Medicaid is that HIP seems to incentivize better use of health care resources, and offers better access to care at only slightly less cost to the government than traditional Medicaid. Verma told me that they are working on studies to examine the health outcomes of HIP clients vs. traditional Medicaid clients. I would be interested in seeing how the health outcomes for HIP clients compare to the notoriously lousy health outcomes for traditional Medicaid clients.
Indiana's two different HSA/catastrophic coverage programs have had somewhat different outcomes. The HSA/catastrophic coverage program for state workers had been much more successful in holding down government health costs than has HIP. I suspect that largely has to do with the differences between the two populations. The client population of HIP is disproportionately old and sick. No matter how smart they shop for their health care, many HIP clients are going to exhaust their Health Savings Accounts and need to have their catastrophic care paid for. There appears to be a real, but limited, immediate benefit to putting such clients on a consumer-driven plan like HIP. The direct benefit alone would probably be reason enough to try to move Medicaid in a more consumer-oriented direction, but there is more to think about than the savings of moving government employees and Medicaid clients toward consumer-oriented policies. The more people are on consumer-driven plans (along with some major regulatory changes), the more medical providers will fight for this market by fighting to reduce costs. The resulting business model innovation is our best hope for reducing the rate of medical inflation without imposing centralized rationing. I'm not sure that we have seen the best outcomes that consumer-driven health care has to offer. So far we have seen the kinds of benefits that come from improved decision making by fairly small populations (Indiana state government workers and the 62,000 or so on HIP.) I don't think those groups are large enough to have produced a system-wide effect on Indiana health care providers. If we can get a critical mass of people on consumer-driven policies, the long-term effect of liberalizing the health care market might save us even more money. It seems worth trying.
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center attacked Rep. King and the Homeland Security Committee's hearings on homegrown Islamic terrorism by offering that radical Islam isn't America's greatest threat. You'll never guess who is....
Well, I think it's not our biggest domestic terror threat. I think that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country.
Asked for an example, Potok cites the "so-called anti-government patriot movement," such as the "sovereign citizens' movement."
These are people who believe the government has no right to control them in any way, to pass laws that affect them, to require them to pay taxes, even to require things like driver's licenses and auto registrations.
Other than Wesley Snipes and a few leftist anarchists, do you know anyone (especially anyone on the right) who thinks the government can't collect taxes or pass laws? Have you ever heard of any such groups committing an act of terrorism, anywhere in the world? Now, can you recall any acts of terrorism, here or abroad, committed by an Islamic group?
It's not a point of disagreement between the left and right on this issue, it's a point of sanity. If the SPLC - which, in its desperate attempt to remain relevant recently included "pro-family" groups on their annual list of hate groups - truly believes the "sovereign citizens' movement" is a greater threat than Al Qaeda, they must be so consumed by hate or fear as to be pathologically deranged. The only other possibility is that they are utterly immune to the due shame which should accompany such a ludicrous lie.
My mother just called to let me know George W. Bush was on Oprah. I squirmed for a moment, wondering if it was worth sacrificing my ability to say "I've never watched Oprah" in order to hear the former president. But I only caught the latter half, so I can still claim not to have seen a full episode....
I note that President Bush has always conducted himself as a gentleman. Even as President Obama futilely continues to blame Bush for his every hardship and failure, his successor refuses to respond with an unkind word.
It's noteworthy that the Bush years were not plagued by any credible personal scandals. The inability to seize WMD's was an embarrassment, while revelations of enhanced interrogation techniques and the NSA wiretapping program caused a national controversy, but none of these were scandals in the sense that Bush had acted immorally or unethically in an objective sense. Liberals may not have liked his policies, but they were undertaken with good intentions and complied with established laws and norms (where such existed). The man did not act for personal gain, abuse his position or surrender his convictions. Those virtues will forever demonize him in the eyes of his adversaries, but I expect he sleeps well at night.
Oh, what James O'Keefe has wrought.
Many years ago , blogs became the cutting edge of alternative news. The Drudge Report and others broke news to a conservative audience which would have otherwise been swept under the rug by the liberal MSM. Monica Lewinsky, of course, is the prime example. Power Line later exposed the fraudulent CBS documents relied upon by Dan Rather to smear George W. Bush's military service.
The use of camera phones has made citizen reporters a front line source of news. Whether posted on-line or picked up by the MSM, they provide behind the scenes images of stories beyond the lens of an MSM camera. Also, as in the case of Rep. Cleaver's claim that Tea Partiers had hurled racial vulgarities at him, cell phone videos revealed the absence of a claimed story.
Now, undercover sting operations have begun to revolutionize news. It began with ACORN, moved to Planned Parenthood and has now landed at NPR. Two actors pretending to be donors from the Muslim Brotherhood intent on spreading sharia law across America sit down for lunch with two senior NPR executives who reveal the sort of ideology pervading government-funded radio.
Just one example: "The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian - I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's this weird evangelical kind of move.... [They aren't] just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."
And there's plenty more on the media-controlling
Jews Zionists, anti-intellectual conservatives, the Muslim Brotherhood in America, etc. I'm sure this wasn't the sort of hate-filled, bigoted rhetoric the left had in mind when they called for a new civility - nor which NPR had in mind when they "proudly" fired Juan Williams for "expressing his opinion."
Men and Women
This means that by the time today's Chinese newborns reach adulthood, there will be a chronic shortage of potential spouses. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one in five young men will be brideless. Within the age group 20 to 39, there will be 22 million more men than women. Imagine 10 cities the size of Houston populated exclusively by young males.Ferguson draws upon economics and history--but most of all, on Hemingway--for examples of what might be on the horizon in an Asia without female influence. Interesting and important to contemplate? Yes. Appealing or cheering? Decidedly not.
Having won a presidential election by simply not being George W. Bush, its understandable that Obama sought to govern by the same principle. However, the realities of the job have often forced him to take the path formally trodden (i.e., warrantless domestic wire-tapping, military surges, rendition). Now, the WSJ reports:
The Obama administration on Monday lifted its freeze on new military trials at Guantanamo Bay and for the first time laid out its legal strategy to indefinitely detain prisoners who the government says can't be tried but are too dangerous to be freed.
So, Gitmo will not be shut down, those vilified trials will resume and some terrorists will be held indefinitely without trial. Watch for it - Obama is just around the corner from penning a memo allowing "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Of course, Obama's charisma was never going to prove sufficient to actually convince foreign countries to adopt our Gitmo clientele, and American states had long ago shown symptoms of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) Syndrome when asked to host trials in civilian courts. The result was indefinite detention. The solution, belatedly arrived upon, is ... the Bush doctrine!
Somewhere, two former presidents named George Bush are smiling.
To unions, workers are just the raw material used to create union power, just as iron ore is the raw material used by U.S. Steel and bauxite is the raw material used by the Aluminum Company of America.Sowell here demonstrates how so much of what unions have bargained for has not been quite what workers thought they were bargaining for. The important thing to remember about unions, Sowell argues, is that in themselves they don't create wealth. However productive the individual members of a union may be in their own work for a company, the union--as a separate entity--is only in the business of "siphoning off" the wealth workers and management produce for a company. Sowell notes that the reason private sector unions have been in decline in recent decades is because workers have seen the natural economic results of the long dominance of unions in various sectors of the economy. Unemployment resulting from the bankruptcy of a worker's industry--which, in many cases, can be correlated to the rise of the union in that industry--turns out to be just as frightful to workers as unemployment resulting from the whims of management.
Literature, Poetry, and Books
Men and Women
The world's largest family. Britian's Daily Mail reports on 1 man, 39 wives, 94 kids and 33 grandkids all stuffed into a 100 room "mansion" in India and living according to a strict, cultish order.
Do I smell a reality TV show...?