Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bad news for Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, latest polls show even if he wins the primary he could lose to democrat Alison Grimes, currently has only 1 pt. lead-Huffington Post

11/30/13, "Mitch McConnell: Republicans Need To 'Stand Up To' Conservatives 'Giving Conservatism A Bad Name', " The Huffington Post,  by Chris Gentilviso
"Should McConnell win the GOP primary, early polls show that he's headed for a heated fight with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. A compilation of 15 surveys updated earlier in November showed McConnell holding a narrow 40-39 percent lead." (end of article)


Like fellow tyrants FDR and Woodrow Wilson, Obama is implementing his vision of the world-David Mamet, Nov. 25, 2013

11/28/13, "Famous Hollywood Filmmaker David Mamet Slams Obama: 'He's a Tyrant'," NewsBusters, Scott Whitlock

"Famous Hollywood filmmaker David Mamet on Monday dared to oppose liberal orthodoxy, slamming Barack Obama as a "tyrant." Appearing on the Hugh Hewitt Show, the writer/director (The Untouchables, Wag the Dog, Ronin) decried the President's deal with Iran over nuclear production.

Mamet assailed, "He's a tyrant. And I give him great credit. He's always said that his idea was to reform the United States." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added, "And, you know, like many tyrants, like Wilson and like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he believes that his way is the right way and that he's going to implement his vision of the world." (In addition to attacking Obama, you don't see too many directors going after FDR.)"...

[Ed. note: As commenter notes, Obama said he would "transform" the US, not "reform" as Mamet is quoted saying.]

(continuing): "Just to make things totally clear, the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter quipped, "I just disagree with everything [Obama's] done."

Talking to Hewitt, Mamet described his own political views: "I'm a Jew. I'm for the Jewish people and I'm an American and I'm for the west and I'm for our allies. And Israel's been under attack for every day of its existence."

Since Mamet began speaking out with conservative views, he has been labeled "far right" by the New York Times. [Ed. note: The Times has apparently edited the article. The adjective 'far' has been removed].

In March of 2013, the Los Angeles Times theater critic railed:

"Mamet has been using the bully pulpit granted to him as an artist to broadcast the doctrines of loudmouth talk radio, that boisterous realm in which innuendo substitutes for evidence and fear-mongering replaces analysis. That's his prerogative as a citizen. But what a shame for progressives and conservatives alike that such a gifted dramatist has allowed his hotheaded dogmas to ruin his art."

A partial transcript of the November 25 Hugh Hewitt Show interview:

HUGH HEWITT: Iran and the United States entered into a deal. You are a supporter of the state of Israel. You are a new neo-con, a relatively recent vintage as we talked about when your work, The Secret Knowledge, came out. This is a terrible moment. It's actually a terrible moment in world history. What do you think of it?

DAVID MAMET: Well, I was born right after World War II and I'm a Jew. I'm a serious Jew. My grandparents didn't leave Poland. Got killed, half of them got killed by the Nazis. Half of them got killed by Stalin and it's clearly evident to me from the first that the left is going to make Israel do it's dirty work. It's going to turn its back on Israel until to save the west, Israel is going to have to strike at Iran and leave the cat sitting on the fence to say, "See, I told you so. Look at what them yits are up to this week."

HEWITT: And so, do you think that's going to happen now?


HEWITT: And will you be upset or will you cheer them when they act?

MAMET: Well, I cheer– you know, I'm a Jew. I'm for the Jewish people and I'm an American and I'm for the west and I'm for our allies. And Israel's been under attack for every day of its existence. 

HEWITT: Having said that, you're also a child of Hyde Park. You know these people who are around the President. You probably know the President's mind better than most. What is he doing?

MAMET: He's a tyrant. And I give him great credit. He's always said that his idea was to reform the United States. And, you know, like many tyrants, like Wilson and like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he believes that his way is the right way and that he's going to implement his vision of the world and many agree with him. And he's acting in concert with his conscience. And I applaud him for that. I just disagree with everything he's done."
Comment: I agree but credit the lack of a Republican Party for most of Obama's actions. He does what any radical leftist would do with no one to stop him. George Bush #1 and #2 deserve most credit for destroying the GOP. Rupert Murdoch is making sure it stays destroyed.
Two among comments to above at NewsBusters:
"2 days ago

"David Mamet has written about his conversion from "brain dead liberal" to conservative brilliantly. His book The Secret Knowledge should be required reading and I highly recommend buying it for all your liberal friends. His arguments are cogent, scholarly, and effective. His take down of modern liberalism is some of the best work out there. The man is a gifted writer and instead of snarking on him because he used to be *gasp* a Hollywood liberal, we should welcome him with open arms, especially if conservatives (i.e. classical liberals) are serious about making our voices heard in film/television/theatre, a medium that is so overwhelmingly progressively liberal that it takes real courage for anyone in that business to speak out against it. And judging by the comments from liberals in his field, his conversion has been a bitter pill for them to swallow."


2 days ago

3/11/2008, "David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal'," By David Mamet Tuesday, Mar 11 2008 [Excerpt below].

I always thought Mamet's conversion came before November of 2008."...
Mamet: "I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind. 
As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart. These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life.....The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that
  • the chief executive will work to be king,
  • the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware,
  • and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches.
So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.... 
Do I speak as a member of the "privileged class"? If you willbut classes in the United States are mobile, not static, which is the Marxist view....What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow....I recognized that I held those two views of America (politics, government, corporations, the military)....
*One was of a state where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other—the world in which I actually functioned day to day—was made up of people, most of whom were reasonably trying to maximize their comfort by getting along with each other (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, on the freeway, even at the school-board meeting)."....
WSJ follow up on Mamet Village Voice piece:
3/20/2008, Excerpt from "David Mamet's Revision," Wall St. Journal column by Daniel Henninger, which is now subscription:
"Hollywood does a good job of policing the public political activities and statements of its workforce.
Step out of its left line, the man comes and take you away. It helps the policers that 
Playwrights, by contrast, have total control over what their scripts say. 
This, one suspects, affects the two trades' habits of thinking."...

1/28/2013, "Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm," David Mamet, Daily Beast

"Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death. 

For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”...

Rule by bureaucrats and functionaries is an example of the first part of the Marxist equation: that the Government shall determine the individual’s abilities."...


5/27/2011, "David Mamet Explains His Shift to the Right," NY Times, Andrew Goldman


3/29/13, "The problem with David Mamet," LA Times, Theater critic Charles McNulty

"Some might argue that Mamet is providing a useful service, challenging articles of liberal faith from inside the elitist stronghold. But his contrarian streak, once the source of his independent vision, has become all too predictable. There's nothing especially radical in siding with power over those seeking restitution for their lack of it....

Writing at the highest level requires an "incandescent" imagination, one unencumbered by too much anger or bitterness, as Virginia Woolf argues in "A Room of One's Own" — a book not likely to be among his dog-eared college favorites.

Mamet has been using the bully pulpit granted to him as an artist to broadcast the doctrines of loudmouth talk radio, that boisterous realm in which innuendo substitutes for evidence and fear-mongering replaces analysis. That's his prerogative as a citizen. But what a shame for progressives and conservatives alike that such a gifted dramatist has allowed his hotheaded dogmas to ruin his art." (end of article)

"Syria will prolong the problem of jihadi terrorism in Europe by 20 years. Probably more jihadists have gone there than to all the other previous destinations combined." BBC

11/29/13, "Europe could feel the backlash from jihadist conflicts," BBC, Frank Gardner

"This week Britain's House of Commons was told that a terrorist attack in Europe by jihadist fighters returning from Syria is "almost inevitable but may not happen for some time".

The warning came from a leading terrorism expert and author on al-Qaeda, Dr Thomas Hegghammer from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. 

He told a House of Commons seminar that at least 1,200 volunteers had now departed from various European countries to join extremist groups fighting in Syria.

For some time now counter-terrorism officials here have been on the lookout for what they call "blowback" - returning fighters getting involved in militancy back home, if they survive the battlefield.

A senior Whitehall official told the BBC: "We operate on the basis that terrorist groups in Syria have the intent to attack us. Their strategic direction is an important factor but individuals can also have their own reasons for wanting to plan an attack."

To many, this will sound needlessly alarmist. When US and other Western forces were in Iraq between 2003-2010, European government officials frequently warned of the dangers of blowback from that conflict.

Yet despite incidents of related terrorism inspired by the Iraq war, like the 2007 Glasgow airport attack when an Iraqi doctor working in the UK drove a burning jeep with canisters into the airport, the threatened blowback phenomenon of dangerous returning militants never really materialised.

But with the Syrian conflict now approaching its fourth year and the death toll passing 100,000, attention is focusing on what the long-term risks are to the rest of the world.

Extensive studies have been carried out by Dr Hegghammer and the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) as well as by others.

Between 200-400 fighters - each from Britain, France and Germany - are thought to have gone to Syria, with the highest proportion per capita leaving from Bosnia.

Dr Hegghammer said that, historically, one in nine volunteers who went overseas to fight then returned and became involved with militant groups.

But he added there was usually a time lag of some years between the start of a conflict and a blowback attack back home becoming a reality - four years in the case of Afghanistan, three years in the case of Yemen.

Most jihadists leave home with no intention of returning, hoping to die a martyr's death for what they see as a holy cause.

One British fighter who was contacted in Syria recently by Skype from his family home in Portsmouth said Britain's security service "did not need to worry about him" as he was not planning on returning.

While the fighting in Syria rages, that will probably remain the norm.

To date, no one has yet been convicted in Britain of a Syria-related terrorism offence. But with no side emerging there as the clear winner, and with no prospect of an end in sight, Syria has become home to an estimated 1,600-2,000 fighting groups, of which the largest and most powerful anti-government bodies are the jihadist Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 

Both have links to al-Qaeda.

Many jihadists in Syria believe that the West's reluctance to get drawn into the fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is part of some secret pact with the regime to keep him in power.

A Western counter-terrorism official warned this week: "Our worry is that they (the extremist groups in Syria) will switch their attention to Europe.

"Our concern is anyone who comes back with training and experience and then starts up a militant network, perhaps with links back to al-Qaeda in Syria. Or they could simply be very psychologically damaged from what they have seen".

Blowback to Europe from conflict arenas is not inevitable everywhere. Dr Hegghammer points out that while there have been many instances of it from Afghanistan and Pakistan there have been very few from Somalia, a battlefield from which most European volunteer fighters never return.

But he offers this grim prognosis: "Syria will prolong the problem of jihadi terrorism in Europe by 20 years. Probably more jihadists have gone there than to all the other previous destinations combined.

"Even if the blowback rate is very low, so many people are going there to fight that the absolute number of (eventual) attacks will be substantial.""


Nearly 1000 record low temperatures in US Nov. 21-28, 2013

11/29/13, "Almost 1000 record low max temps vs 17 record high temps,"

"Let’s face it. The idea of human-caused global warming is a con job.

Records in the last 7 days:

205 snowfall records.
969 Low Max. 203 Low temps.
17 High Temp.
61 High minimum.

Yes, those are snowfall records in Texas. And yes, it is still Fall.,mintemp,snow,lowma x,highmin,

Thanks to Ralph Fato for this link
“I must have missed this,” says Ralph. “Was this on the news?”"


Moves by Obama and democrats to pause implementation of ObamaCare were once denounced as 'extremist'-NY Post Editorial Board

11/29/13, "Obama embraces Cruz?" NY Post Editorial Board

"Maybe Ted Cruz and Barack Obama are not as far apart on ObamaCare as we thought.

Before the government shut down, the Texas senator and his Republican allies in the House were denounced as extremists for wanting ObamaCare repealed in exchange for keeping the government going. Yet now it’s the president and his Democratic allies who want to delay, indefinitely,
key parts of this law."...

[Ed. note: Senator Cruz and others do advocate repeal but repeal wasn't in question in the so-called gov. shutdown. The suggestion was that ObamaCare not be funded or not implemented.]

(continuing): "If the Democrats get their way, we have to wonder: What’s the difference between repealing the law and not implementing it?

In July, the administration put off the employer mandate for a year. A few weeks ago, the president said insurance companies could hold off canceling their old policies. And now he’s pushed back next year’s enrollment period so that it will run from November 15, 2014, to January 15, 2015. Not only does this extend the time on the back end, it conveniently moves the start date until after the mid-term elections.

These are the latest of various deadline extenders and policy waivers on the part of Team Obama.

And we can expect even more postponements, given the administration’s estimate that 78 million more Americans could lose their existing, employer-based health coverage because of ObamaCare.

At least with regard to the law taking force, these White House moves now leave the president in largely the same place as Sen. Cruz. The big difference seems to be that while Cruz wants to get rid of ObamaCare altogether and all at once, the president seems to want piecemeal measures to delay it from taking effect." image from NY Post


June 2013 Delta Airlines letter details $100 million in extra costs due to ObamaCare, reduction in employee benefits, $63 per person tax to fund navigators

Erick Erickson obtained a copy of the June 2013 Delta letter about ObamaCare.
8/21/13, "Delta Airlines and the $100 Million Costs of Obamacare," Erick Erickson, RedState

"Republicans in the United States House of Representatives and Senate claim they will vote to defund Obamacare, but they won’t actually fight for it. What they want to fight for is just a delay of the individual mandate. That’s it. But there is so much more that is so much more onerous about Obamacare. Delta Airlines, in a letter it prepared back in June, outlined just how onerous Obamacare would be to the airline.

In the past twenty-four hours, during my radio show in Atlanta, numerous Delta employees called in to tell me Delta is now telling its employees their healthcare will be radically changed because of Obamacare. A handful of them said the June 2013 letter from Delta to the Obama Administration is being circulated among employees.

The letter is stunning. According to Delta, in 2014 Obamacare will cost the company at least $38 million in direct costs and that is only the beginning. With added medical inflation, Delta claims “the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100,000,000 next year.” A $100 million increase thanks in large part to Obamacare and ancillary cost increases derived therefrom. Yes, I have the letter. From the letter:
The ACA requires large employers to pay an annual fee of $63 per covered participant in 2014. For Delta’s roughly 160,000 enrolled active and retired employees and their family members, this represents more than $10 million added to the cost of providing health care next year. As we discussed, this fee, which is meant to help stabilize the state exchanges as they get started, provides absolutely zero direct benefit to our participants. It is, essentially, a direct subsidy from us and our employees to those who participate in the exchanges.
Delta also notes that because adults can be left on their parents’ insurance until they are 18, Delta is already incurring an additional $14 million per year. The company notes that under Obamacare, “We are required to charge the same for these children as we do for any other children covered by our plan. However, our experience shows that, on average, these children are consuming considerably more health care than other children we cover.”

Because of the individual mandate, Delta estimates more of its employees coming onto insurance who have otherwise declined it. That will increase their costs $14 million too. The company notes that it does not plan to reduce hours for workers to under thirty hours, but is aware that other employers will.

More troubling, Delta notes it designed a specific insurance plan for its pilots. But because of “cadillac tax” rules, Delta is going to have to scrap that plan because, though it meets the needs of Delta’s pilots, it runs afoul of government regulations relating to the extravagance of plans. My friend George Will, back in 2002, noted that the airline industry historically, “may not have netted a nickel since the Wright brothers. It certainly had net losses 1945-94. After the brief boom of the late 1990s, it was hemorrhaging money even before terrorists attacked the United States through the industry.”

In 2012, Delta had $1 billion in profits, but with a profit margin of less than ten percent. Liberals may say Delta should not then worry about its profits, but a $100 million expense in one line item is significant for any business and more so for one with a low profit margin. Only a few years ago, though, Delta saw net losses of $9 billion. The airline industry is notoriously fickle with very tight margins.

Republicans have an opportunity to shut it all down. But instead, they’ll work with the Democrats to delay the individual mandate while the rest of the machinery of Obamacare keeps on keeping on. You, me, and everyone else will pay the price in higher medical costs, higher airfare, lower wages, and high unemployment.


8/22/13, "Delta warns Obamacare will cost it $100 million in 2014,", Jacques Couret

"Delta Air Lines Inc. expects Obamacare will cost it $100 million in 2014 and warned the law will “provide real challenges for both our company and our employees,” according to a letter it sent in June to the Obama Administration.

Radio host Erick Erickson posted the letter online Thursday, saying “numerous” Delta employees called his show in Atlanta Wednesday to let them know the memo had been circulating. Also yesterday, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) planned to drop 15,000 spouses from its medical plan due to Obamacare. The story went viral and was picked up by Drudge Report.

According to Delta’s letter, the Affordable Care Act is “anything but business as usual.” Due to Obamacare regulations, Atlanta-based Delta (NYSE: DAL) said it faces $10 million in new reinsurance fees, $14 million to cover employees’ children until age 26, $14 million related to the individual mandate provisions and other costs.

“...make no mistake -- the costs imposed on Delta and our employees are very real and they are escalating,” the letter reads. “The costs mentioned above, when combined with normal medical inflation and the end of the ERRP program mean that the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100 million next year. Delta will have to absorb the vast majority of that increase in costs so that we continue providing a high value, quality health plan, but some of it will have to be shared with our employees as well. And of course, the balance that the company pays simply means less left over for other investments that make our business stronger.”

Read the full letter here."...


Proposed Dodd-Frank mortgage changes still invite abuse of consumers-NY Times Editorial Board

Lenders still able "to introduce last-minute changes at the closing table." Forms omit "the cost of title insurance and some other closing charges....New disclosures are weaker than the earlier proposal in other ways."

11/29/13, "What You Don’t Know About Mortgages," NY Times Editorial Board

"Thanks largely to new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, taking out a mortgage is not the risky business it was during the bubble. But it is still the largest and most complex financial transaction in the lives of most people. And it still involves inherent imbalances in expertise between lenders and borrowers, including the use of intermediaries who may or may not be trustworthy. In short, conditions for abuse still exist

That is why the bureau’s new and long-awaited mortgage disclosure forms are important. It is also why they are disappointing. Required by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the new forms use an easy-to-read format to disclose complex terms; in addition to clear entries of principal, interest and closing costs, there is information on prepayment penalties and other complicated loan features. But the forms fall short in the crucial task of helping consumers assess and compare the total cost of various loans. Without that information, it is difficult for borrowers to know whether they are getting the best deal. 

What’s needed, as the National Consumer Law Center has pointed out, is prominent display of the loan’s full annual percentage rate, a single measure of the cost of credit that incorporates the interest rate, closing costs and other fees. On the new forms, that number is not reported until Page 3. Worse, it is calculated in a way that understates the loan’s cost, because it omits the cost of title insurance and some other closing charges. 

Both the bureau and the Federal Reserve had earlier proposed to include all closing costs in the annual percentage rate. The bureau says it changed its mind because including all costs might reduce the availability of certain kinds of loans. That may be true, but the loans it would restrict, in general, would be higher-priced loans, which would be subject to more regulation than lower priced ones. So lenders who resist regulation may resist offering them — which is as it should be. Better disclosure in itself does not restrict access to credit and, in fact, has been linked to reductions in the cost of credit because transparency fosters competition among lenders. 

The new disclosures are weaker than the earlier proposal in other ways. The agency had proposed that lenders be required to give borrowers a three-day review period whenever the loan terms were changed. The aim was to ensure that lenders would not spring new loan terms on borrowers at the last minute. The final rule limits but does not eliminate the lenders’ ability to introduce last-minute changes at the closing table. That’s too lenient. Lenders must be held to their promises. 

The bureau has stumbled on this one. The agency should act quickly to fix the flaws before the new rules and forms take effect, in 2015."


S&P downgrades Netherlands, recently violated European Commission deficit rules-Der Spiegel

11/29/13, "Weak Growth: Agency Strips Netherlands' AAA Rating," Der Spiegel

"The list of eurozone countries with immaculate credit ratings took another hit this week. On Friday morning, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) removed the Netherlands’ top rating, downgrading the country to AA+. This leaves only three countries in the common currency area with the best grade of AAA: Finland, Luxembourg and Germany. Two years ago, six countries still had that rating. … 

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also president of the Euro Group, recently announced that his country would violate the European Commission’s deficit rules despite an additional €6 billion ($8.16 billion) austerity package. … 

Like Germany, the Netherlands had long enjoyed a solid reputation for its stability in the euro crisis—an image that could take a hit as a result of the downgrade. France, meanwhile, lost its top rating a year ago and was further downgraded early this month by S&P."...via Free Rep.


Criticism of market liberalism by Pope Francis has 'excited anti-capitalists' around the world. Not mentioned is that 'states have something more dangerous than the most ruthless operator in a free market: coercion'-Williamson, NRO

"States have something more dangerous than even the most ruthless operator in a free market: coercion." Pope Francis, Nota Bene

11/29/13, "The Problem of Selfishness," NRO, Kevin D. Williamson
"Political self-interest is no less selfish than economic self-interest." 

"On the eve of Thanksgiving, the president (Obama), a guest of Magic Johnson’s, chided the nation on how “selfishly” it conducts its politics.... 

What could it possibly mean to be lectured on selfishness by a man whose entire career has been dedicated to no cause other than the cause of himself? “Selfishness” has been conflated with materialism and greed, but the literal meaning of the word is excessive devotion to one’s self and one’s interests. To be unselfish is to be ready to give up that which one holds most dear; for some men, that is money, but what is money to a president of the United States, who knows that in retirement he can support himself in ducal style with one day’s work a month at Bill Clinton rates, in princely style with two days’ work, and in imperial style with three? Money is an abstraction to a retired president. But the thing that he really cares about — power — Barack Obama guards in a fashion more miserly than that of any mythical dragon watching his horde....  

When you think like that, it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the public good and one’s own political good. In extreme form this is megalomania. In less extreme form, it leads to things like passing health-care bills either not knowing what they contain or knowing and not caring, on the theory that any shortcomings can be worked out post facto — which is, if you think about it, only another way of saying that the content of the law is not important, only the transference of power from the legislative to the executive branch, from the people’s house to the president. Put another way: This means that adding to presidential power is by definition in the public interest, so long as the president is Barack Obama. But to a man like our president, that does not look like selfishness; after all, he is not trying to make himself rich, and if he’s trying to make himself powerful, he has what he believes are impeccable reasons for doing so. At some point, though, he must, if he has not entirely lost the capacity for introspection, meditate upon the fact that he was forced to lie to the public and bribe his colleagues to get his health-care agenda passed. For a man with a more robust capacity for self-reflection, that would temper his belief in the identity of his own political good and the public good. 

The notion that the pursuit of power is somehow less selfish than the pursuit of money found its way into Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium, in which the pope rehearses some ancient Catholic criticisms of market liberalism that have excited anti-capitalists throughout the world, who are always eager for any scrap of economic encouragement from an institution and a man with views they otherwise detest utterly....

As the chief executive of the largest and most successful institution in human history, Pope Francis naturally takes an institutionalist view of things; like all of his predecessors, at least so far as I am aware, he fails to appreciate that the actual result of the free-market economy is not to transfer power away from states to corporations but from states and corporations to people. The “truly human purpose” he seeks may be found in many millions of households in poor countries, where bellies are more full and roofs more secure than they were a generation ago, owing mainly to the expansion of global trade. The pope writes that it is an error to believe that “economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” This is true. But then, neither will the building of churches, legislatures, or courthouses. People still have to be good. But it is easier to feed the Lord’s sheep where food is plentiful.

The pope is a very good man, and what very good men have in common with very bad men is that they tend to assume that the world is full of men who are similar to themselves. Thus, his rhetorical reliance upon “states, charged with vigilance for the common good,” an aspirational sentiment rather than a factual statement. States should act in the public good, but there is that problem of selfishness, which 

everybody sees in the market 
but overlooks in politics.

Political self-interest is no less selfish than is economic self-interest, and states have something more dangerous than even the most ruthless operator in a free market: coercion. Pope Francis might consider the case of President Obama, whose vision of the public good includes millions of federally subsidized abortions, and ask himself whether “vigilance for the common good” explains what politics is or what he wishes it were....

If ever the Church’s economic thinkers get over their 19th-century model of the relationship between state and market, they might appreciate that spontaneous orders and distributed economic forces could produce some truly radical outcomes in a world in which a billion or more people shared a vision of justice and mercy. The pope’s job in part is to supply that vision; unhappily, the default Catholic position seems to be delegating economic justice to the state, under the mistaken theory that its ministers are somehow less selfish than are the men who build and create and trade for a living rather than expropriate. Strange that a man who labored under the shadow of PerĂ³n has not come to that conclusion on his own." (end of article) via Free Rep.


Added: Also from the article describing Obama's selfishness: "The man is mired in self, positively suffocating in self: self-importance, self-regard, self-aggrandizement." Perfect. This isn't to say Obama is unique among radical leftists. The radical left billionaires who've anointed and enabled him since his earliest days are the same.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dominican Republic newspaper reports small altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe has been built in the Beltway to pray for new US immigration deal-El Nuevo Diario

11/29/13, "Obama visit to activists on hunger strike calling for immigration reform," El Nuevo Diario, Dominican Republic, via Reuters, google translation

"President Barack Obama, today visited the activists are on hunger strike at the Mall in Washington to call for comprehensive immigration reform in the country and said he approved " proud "of them. Accompanied by his wife, Michelle Obama, the president moved in this morning from the White House to the Capitol where near PRODERECHOS migrant activists are camped without food since last 12th gardens.
Obama and first lady moved their support to Eliseo Medina, a member of the International Union of Service Workers (SEIU, in English), who has lost about 10 kilos and is visibly thinner than when you started, as well as Dae Joong Yoon , director of the National Consortium Korean American Service and Education....

In stores have accumulated messages of support, pictures of Gandhi and Cesar Chavez (American peasant leader) and have built a small altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe to pray and ask the politicians who work a few meters from the camp understand the importance of regularize the situation of separated families or people who work and are treated as second class citizens."...image above via El Nuevo Diario


'Illegal Mayors Against Guns,' numerous members of Bloomberg Mayors anti-gun group arrested on various charges including a handgun offsense as Bloomberg heads to sunset

11/29/13, "Illegal mayors against guns," NY Post Editorial

"They call themselves Mayors Against Illegal Guns. But apparently not all of them are against all illegal activity. MAIG was co-founded in 2006 by Michael Bloomberg and his counterpart in Boston, Thomas Menino.

But come January, the two men will be out of office. When they depart, attention will likely focus on some of their less well-known members — and that could be a problem.

The latest of the legally challenged is Mayor Gordon Jenkins of Monticello, NY. Last week, he was arrested for driving under the influence and for literally punching a police department clock, which forced cops to handcuff him to a chair.

He’s not alone. Over in Spring Valley, Mayor Noramie Jasmin was arrested for accepting bribes from an FBI informant in April. In Marcus Hook, Pa., Mayor James Schiliro was arrested for reckless endangerment after firing a handgun inside his home during a drunken argument.

Down in Gainesville, Fla., Mayor Craig Lowe was charged with a DUI after being found asleep at the scene of a car accident. Meanwhile, other MAIG members from Hartford to Detroit have found themselves facing prosecutors over charges that include  

felony corruption, 
assault and 
attempted sex crimes with a child.

Clearly MAIG needs tougher screening — or a more accurate name."


CNN poll finds Democrats have taken greater hit from ObamaCare fiasco than GOP did from gov. shutdown,10 pt. drop in congressional Democrat favorability in one month, Nov. 18-20 poll-Mead

"The poll was conducted November 18-20 for CNN by ORC International."
11/27/13, "Democrats Should Be Afraid, Very Afraid," Walter Russell Mead, American Interest

"Democrats have good reason to be skittish about the ACA. As CNN reports, Democratic strength in next year’s midterm elections has just taken a ten point hit:

"Democrats a month ago held a 50%–42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates. 

"That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%–47% edge."

This is big news. In 2010 the GOP trailed by six on the generic ballot question and picked up 60 seats, but now it holds a lead on the generic ballot. Democrats, in other words, have taken a greater hit from the health care fiasco than the GOP did from the government shutdown. Things could still turn around before November 2014, and in the meantime there will probably be various mini-surges in public support, website functionality, and other areas.

But the terrible first impression of the law has been deeply damaging, and Democrats will have a hard time putting it behind them. Part of what’s happening is that voters unhappy with the slow economic recovery are probably feeling the health care mess as a trigger event that finally convinces them that the Obama administration has been a disappointment. And there’s going to be enough noise from the continuing cancellations, doc shock, and rate shock—whether history ultimately considers them speed bumps or signs that the wheels were falling off—to sustain much of the anger the rollout has generated.

That anger could have two consequences next fall: upscale voters turn out more in midterms, and their turnout is going to be higher than usual because of the intensity of their feelings about health care. As the CNN poll notes, upscale voters are the ones least likely to be affected by good news about the uninsured who the law ends up helping, so the spikes and network restrictions affecting them directly could wind up being more determinative of their position on the ACA than whatever ends up happening with those previously uninsured.
Things change, but right now the outlook favors bad weather."


Comment: Mr. Mead says the CNN poll makes a conclusion about "upscale voters." If it can make such a conclusion, it's not evident in the poll questions

The only two income categories in the poll are "under $50K" and "over $50K" (page 4.) $55K before taxes doesn't mean you or your family are "upscale." Secondly, the poll uses uneven samples on the income question (page 4):

Democrat: Under $50,000, 55%, Over $50,000 39%
Republican: Under $50,000, 41%, Over $50,000 55%

Allegedly "upscale" $50K+ and therefore "unconcerned" persons (who also happen to be Republican) are sampled at a 16 point advantage in the CNN poll. Also on page 4, the "rural" sample is 60% Republican, 31% Democrat. I don't see how the poll proves these "rural" people are also rich.

Methodology on p. 3 states: "Among the entire 
sample, 31% described themselves as Democrats, 
23% described themselves as Republicans
and 46% described themselves as Independents
or members of another party. 
Crosstabs on the following pages only include results
for subgroups with enough unweighted cases to produce
a sampling error of +/-8.5 percentage points or less."


Added: "Upscale voters turn out more in midterms," per Mr. Mead. I'll remember his words the next time someone says only "extremists" vote in midterms.


11/26/13, "CNN/ORC poll: Democrats lose 2014 edge following Obamacare uproar," CNN, Political Ticker blog, Paul Steinhauser

"What a difference a month makes. A new CNN/ORC International poll indicates a dramatic turnaround in the battle for control of Congress in next year's midterm elections.

Democrats a month ago held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

That result came after congressional Republicans appeared to overplay their hand in the bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

But the Democratic lead has disappeared. A new CNN/ORC poll indicates the GOP now holds a 49%-47% edge.

The new survey was conducted last week and released Tuesday.

The 10-point swing follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of and controversy over insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.

The turnaround in the CNN/ORC poll follows similar shifts in recent national surveys from Quinnipiac University and Fox News.

At a news conference two weeks ago, President Barack Obama acknowledged that problems plaguing the startup of the new healthcare law could hurt Democrats.

"There is no doubt that our failure to rollout the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin," Obama said.

The CNN/ORC poll, released as the President makes a West Coast campaign fundraising swing on behalf of fellow Democrats, indicates both parties making gains within their base.

"It looks like the biggest shifts toward the Republicans came among white voters, higher-income Americans, and people who live in rural areas, while Democrats have gained strength in the past month among some of their natural constituencies, such as non-white voters and lower-income Americans," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"If those patterns persist into 2014, it may indicate that Obamacare is popular among those who it was designed to help the most, but unpopular among the larger group of voters who are personally less concerned about health insurance and health care," Holland said."...

[Ed. note: The CNN polling "expert" is dreaming. He concludes "white voters," "people who live in rural areas," and persons with "higher income" are less concerned "personally" about "health insurance" and "health care." A white person and rural persons don't care about insurance or health? What is "higher income?" He uses this label when many he's smearing are likely barely middle class, can't afford the insurance themselves and are slipping daily into poverty. The poll doesn't prove "upscale" or even $55,000 earners are also "rural." Lives of actual wealthy people aren't affected by the law. The CNN expert implies ObamaCare is about "health care" which it's not. At best it's about health insurance.]

(continuing): "Republicans currently have a 17-seat advantage in the U.S. House with the Democrats holding a 55-45 majority in the Senate.

While the generic ballot question is one of the most commonly used indicators when it comes to the battle for Congress, the poll results are a long way from predicting what will happen next November.

"There is just under a year to go before any votes are actually cast and the 'generic ballot' question is not necessarily a good predictor of the actual outcome of 435 separate elections," Holland cautions.

"A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a six-point lead on the generic ballot but the GOP wound up regaining control of the House in that election cycle, thanks to an historic 63-seat pickup," he said.

The poll was conducted November 18-20 for CNN by ORC International, with 843 adult Americans, including 749 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points."



Real divide in US isn't between red and blue states or rich and poor, it's between coastal elites and everyone else-Hanson

11/28/13, "America’s Coastal Royalty," "The real national divide isn’t between red and blue states." By Victor Davis Hanson,m NRO

"The densely populated coastal corridors from Boston to Washington and from San Diego to Berkeley are where most of America’s big decisions are made. 

People rise each morning in San Francisco and New York and count on plentiful food, fuel, and power. They expect service in elevators and limos that are mostly made elsewhere by people of the sort they seldom see and don’t really know — other than to influence through a cable-news show, a new rap song, the next federal health-care mandate, or more phone apps.

In California, whether farms receive contracted irrigation water, whether a billion board feet of burned timber will be salvaged from the recent Sierra Nevada forest fires, whether a high-speed-rail project obliterates thousands of acres of ancestral farms, whether gas will be fracked, or whether granite should be mined to make tony kitchen counters is all determined largely by coastal elites who take these plentiful resources for granted. Rarely, however, do they see how their own necessities are procured. Instead, they feel deeply ambivalent about the grubbier people and culture that made them.

In Kansas or Utah, people do not pay $1,000 per square foot for their homes as they do on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They do not gossip with the people who write their tax laws, as is common in the Georgetown area of Washington. Those in the empty northern third of California do not see Facebook or Oracle founders at the local Starbucks any more than they bump into the Kardashians at a hip bistro.

The problem is not just that the coasts determine how everyone else is to lead their lives, but that those living in our elite corridors have no idea about how life is lived just a short distance away in the interior — much less about the sometimes tragic consequences of their own therapeutic ideology on the distant, less influential majority.

In a fantasy world, I would move Washington, D.C., to Kansas City, Mo. That transfer would not only make the capital more accessible to the American people and equalize travel requirements for our legislators, but also expose an out-of-touch government to a reality outside its Beltway.

I would transfer the United Nations to Salt Lake City, where foreign diplomats would live in a different sort of cocoon.

I would ask billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and the Koch Brothers to endow with their riches a few Midwestern or Southern universities. Perhaps we could create a new Ivy League in the nation’s center.

I would suggest to Facebook and Apple that they relocate operations to North Dakota to expose their geeky entrepreneurs to those who drive trucks and plow snow. Who knows — they might be able to afford a house, get married before 35, and have three rather than zero kids.

America is said to be divided by red and blue states, rich and poor, white and non-white, Christian and non-Christian, old and new.

I think the real divide is between those who make our decisions on the coasts and the anonymous others who live with the consequences somewhere else."



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Alleged Iran deal big payday for UN parasites who say more US taxpayer cash is needed to do 'inspections.' Billions of no strings US taxpayer dollars funneled yearly to UN parasites not enough, say 'extra work' investigating Iran nukes requires more 'funding'

"The head of the UN's nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, has warned it will "take some time" before work can begin on verifying whether Iran is complying with a deal on its nuclear programme....The BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna says that the stipulated six-month interim period will only begin once technical issues such as inspections have been worked out." 11/28/13, "Iran nuclear crisis: UN warns process will 'take time'," BBC


11/28/13, "IAEA may need more money to help implement Iran nuclear deal," Reuters, Fredrik Dahl, Vienna

"The U.N. nuclear watchdog will probably need more money to help it verify that Iran honours a deal with world powers to curb its nuclear programme, the agency's chief said on Thursday, and it would take some time to prepare for the task.

Yukiya Amano also said Iran had invited the agency to visit the Arak heavy-water production plant on Dec. 8, the first concrete step under a new cooperation pact aimed at clarifying concerns about the Islamic Republic's atomic activities.

Both agreements indicate how Iran is acting quickly to address fears about its nuclear project after the election in June of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as new president on a platform to smooth its troubled relations with the world.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will expand monitoring of Iran's uranium enrichment facilities and other sites under the Nov. 24 breakthrough deal reached after marathon talks in Geneva between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.

The IAEA can mobilise expertise and staff from within the organisation for an increased workload in checking whether Iran is complying with the interim accord, agency Director General Amano told a news conference.

But its budget is very tight, he added: "Naturally this requires a significant amount of money and manpower...I don't think we can cover everything by our own budget."

The Arak facility produces heavy water intended for use in a nearby research reactor that is under construction. The West is concerned that the reactor, which Iran has said could start up next year, could yield plutonium as fuel for atomic bombs once operational. Iran says it will make medical isotopes only.

As part of its agreement with the powers, Iran is to halt installation work at the reactor and stop making fuel for it.

The IAEA is studying how to put into practice the Geneva deal with respect to U.N. inspectors' role in verifying compliance and this would take some time, Amano said, adding it was a complicated task that needed preparations.

"I cannot tell when we will be ready," he said on the sidelines of a regular meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors. "We would like to do the job properly."

About 10 percent of its annual 121-million-euro ($164 million) budget for inspections is already devoted to Iran. The agency has two to four staff in Iran virtually every day of the year, with some 20 dedicated to inspector activity there.

Under the Geneva interim accord, there will be much "extra work and they will require extra resources to do it," a Western envoy said, with "the extremely complex and difficult implementation" expected to start in January.

The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Joseph Macmanus, said "there will be costs" but he expressed confidence that member states would provide the funding needed.


The agreement between Iran and the powers is designed to halt any further advances in Iran's nuclear campaign and buy time for talks on a final settlement of the decade-old dispute.

After years of confrontation, relations between Iran and the West have improved somewhat since the election of Rouhani on a pledge to end Tehran's isolation and win relief from sanctions that have battered the oil producer's economy.

But Western officials and experts caution that finding a permanent solution to the Iranian nuclear issue will probably prove an uphill struggle, with the two sides still far apart on the final scope and capacity of the Iranian nuclear programme.

The Islamic Republic says it is a peaceful energy programme but the United States and its allies suspect it has been aimed at developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran agreed on Sunday to stop its most sensitive nuclear work - uranium enrichment to a higher fissile concentration of 20 percent - and cap other parts of its activities in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Refined uranium can fuel nuclear power plants but also the fissile core of a bomb if processed to a high degree.

"The IAEA inspectors are able to give an early warning if Iran does not comply at these locations with its undertakings," former IAEA chief inspector Olli Heinonen said. "In verification work, the devil is in the detail."

The IAEA's visit in about 10 days' time to the heavy water production plant near the town of Arak is part of a separate agreement signed this month between the U.N. agency and Iran.

Inspectors have not been there since August 2011, despite repeated requests. But Iran agreed on Nov. 11 to grant access to this site and to a uranium mine within three months."