For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.
Occupy Harvard Yard
Scum: Occupying St. Paul’s: A centuries-old building is rendered useless by demonstrators.
Excerpt: British history has been punctuated by stories of turbulent priests more often than by stories of recalcitrant congregations. As Thomas à Becket discovered to his detriment, it is usually the clergy — and not their flock — who find themselves in danger of being ousted. As of October 16, London’s famous St. Paul’s cathedral sits squarely in this tradition, with its dean, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, now publicly regretting the leniency he initially showed the camped-out members of “Occupy London Stock Exchange” — the British franchise of the now-global “Occupy” brigade. If Dean Knowles had expected to be afforded the same respect by OLSX that he has become accustomed to from his parishioners, he was sorely mistaken. Since their free pass was issued, the people-in-tents have made it blindingly obvious that they are not merely differently dressed members of the City of London’s laity, but, literally, occupiers intent on holding the fort at all costs. And there are costs. When the first protesters arrived, the cathedral’s authorities turned the other cheek, accepting the imposition of the protest camp with alacrity. St. Paul’s even took the unusual step of instructing London’s police to leave the protesters where they were. In doing so, an unfortunate precedent was set. As the crowd has grown to 2,000 strong, access to the landmark has been gradually blocked, forcing St. Paul’s to close its doors for the first time since 1940, when German bombs rained indiscriminately down on the city during the Blitz and an unexploded incendiary forced evacuation for a few days while the device was removed. “We have done this with a very heavy heart,” the Right Reverend Knowles announced at a press conference, “but it is simply not possible to fulfill our day-to-day obligations to worshippers, visitors, and pilgrims.” Reluctantly, the dean has now asked the protesters to leave, which they have predictably refused to do. Clearly, “we’ll stay here as long as we have to” is a common refrain on both sides of the Atlantic. (You cannot be nice and kind to people with a socialist's respect for property and human rights. they will destroy you, smug in their self-righteousness, believing whatever their “cause” of the moment, it gives them the right to trample others. ~Bob.)
Morici: Obama Mortgage Plan to Spark Credit Crisis
Excerpt: President Barack Obama's plan to allow homeowners owing more than their houses are worth to refinance will create a credit crisis down the road, says Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Obama’s Misplaced Mideast Optimism http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/281118/obama-s-misplaced-mideast-optimism-daniel-pipes
Excerpt: Confidently commenting on the execution of Libya’s long-time dictator, Barack Obama stated that “the death of Moammar Qaddafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do.” About his own decision to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq in two months’ time, Obama asserted that “in Iraq, we’ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war.” He then drew triumphalist conclusions from these developments, bragging that they show “the tide of war is receding” and “we’ve renewed American leadership in the world.” How handy: As Obama’s disliked domestic policies (especially concerning health care and employment) sink his popularity, he now claims foreign-policy successes. Democratic Party flacks tout his international achievements: “Terrorists and dictators,” says one, “lacking the filibuster, have no effective defense against Barack Obama.”
But the Middle East teaches caution; much will probably go wrong in Libya and Iraq. Obama, I predict, will rue his rash boasts.
State Department Buys $70K Worth Of Obama Books
Excerpt: The U.S. Department of State has bought more than $70,000 worth of books authored by President Obama, sending out copies as Christmas gratuities and stocking “key libraries” around the world with “Dreams from My Father” more than a decade after its release. The U.S. embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama’s bestselling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order with the same book seller, Kalemat Arabia, for more than $9,000 for copies of the same book, federal purchasing records show. (Heh. Be cheaper and more to the point to buy copies of my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. And the royalties would go to help wounded vets, now a Chicago political millionaire. ~Bob.)
Warren Takes Credit For Occupy Wall Street
Excerpt: Elizabeth Warren is running for office in the most high-profile race in the country not involving Barack Obama. It’s a position that calls for some tact. So what does she think about the Occupy Wall Street protests that are roiling the country? “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” she says. “I support what they do.” Warren’s boast isn’t bluster: (…) No one else has Warren’s gift to send the right into a sputtering frenzy. She is, in the words of former Reagan operative Jeffrey Lord, “a guileless, fevered Marxist.” George Will put it more primly, but with the same sense of trepidation. Warren, he wrote, “clarifies the liberal project and the stakes of contemporary politics. The project is to dilute the concept of individualism.” Warren likely didn’t calm those fears by attending a fundraiser hosted by George Soros—the billionaire bogeyman of the right—in Manhattan last week. (Being a left-center media, Daily Beast takes a loving look at Warren. In truth, it isn’t so much Warren herself that fills Massachusetts Republicans with dread as it’s the machine behind her. Any Democrat running against Brown would almost automatically become the favorite just from the past history of voting here. In addition to the public, official Democrats, there are a host of ACORN-like organizations acting like “farm teams” for the official Democrats. Because most are officially “non-partisan,” they can—literally—walk voters into the polling booth and “interpret” or “assist” them in voting for “the best candidate,” at their request, of course. This is a large part of the voter identification fight currently going on here. In neighboring Rhode Island, the Democratic party has just as much of an advantage in registrations, but not so many of the farm teams. Thus, Rhode Island has approved a fairly good voter ID law which will benefit all parties and help ensure the validity of elections. Here, with the farm teams, any step in that direction is considered one step away from Jim Crow laws. Even twits like some of Warren’s primary opponents would be formidable candidates with that kind of machine backing. Does anyone really believe Rahm Emanuel was popular enough to win election as Chicago’s mayor without help from the machine? That’s what Brown is up against. Personally, I hope she ties herself to the OWS crowd so thoroughly she can’t get loose when that movement goes to hell. Then, we can beat her with it like a stick. Ron P. can we go to Warren for the OWS damages? She may find herself tied to something she doesn't want as they get violent. ~Bob.)
Occupy San Diego invents a new dog chew toy – the American flag
Excerpt: I wonder if the Occupy San Diego nutters will come out and claim that this person who used the American flag as a chew toy for his cute dog will claim that this doesn’t “represent” their views. I love dogs, and don’t blame the cute dog in this video, just the nut job “Occupier.” I saw this video over at Gateway Pundit, and can’t say I was surprised. The individual who uploaded this to Youtube was quite proud of the doggie’s new chew toy. He wrote: This is one of the best uses for a U.S. flag I’ve seen to date. I missed recording the best part where the dog and owner were really playing a fierce game of tug o’ war!
About that ‘Great Stagnation’ for the median American
Excerpt: Jim Sullivan of Notre Dame and and Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago just gave a terrific presentation about what has happened to the material well-being of the poor and middle class in the United States over the last three decades. Contrary to much received wisdom, the poor and middle class are significantly better off today. This slide is but one example from their presentation. (Nah, have to be worse off to justify more government programs, taxes, spending and employees. ~Bob.)
It’s libel – except when Mike does it
Excerpt: Mann insisted that Dr. Ball’s little joke was libelous and took him to court. Mann’s legal principal seems to be that libel is fine only when he and Hansen practice the craft, albeit with far less good humor than others display. More importantly, Dr. Ball does not live or work in the United States. US libel cases are governed by the First Amendment, “public figure” rules and other safeguards that ensure open, robust debate, and make it difficult and expensive to sue people over slights, affronts, insults, disagreements and jokes. Canada, unfortunately, has more limited free speech protections. So Dr. Mike sued Dr. Tim in Canada, assuming victory would be rapid and sweet. Surprise! Dr. Ball decided to slug it out. In Canada, the principal defenses against libel claims are that the alleged defamation constitutes “fair comment” or was in fact “the truth.” Ball chose the latter defense. Doing so means the penalty for losing could be higher than under “fair comment” rules. But arguing that his statement was based on truth allows Dr. Ball to seek “discovery” of evidence that Dr. Mann’s actions reflect a use of public funds to alter or falsify scientific data, present highly speculative results as solid facts, or otherwise engage in something that a reasonable person would conclude constitutes dishonest activity or criminal culpability, undertaken moreover through the use of taxpayer funds. Proving that will not be easy, especially since Mann has steadfastly refused to provide such potential evidence to anyone, including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. That evidence might include Climategate emails; computer codes and data used, misused or used selectively to generate global warming spikes in historical graphs.... (This could be interesting. I added emphasis. Ron P.)
European leaders head for financial summit with no solution in sight
Excerpt: German Chancellor Angela Merkel told her parliament ahead of a key vote on Wednesday that deep changes must be made to Europe’s economy if the euro is to hold together as currency. But she offered few concrete details about the steps she will take to protect it. The lingering uncertainty underlines the likelihood that a major summit planned in Brussels later on Wednesday will fall short of achieving the comprehensive plan that Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had promised earlier this month. (Europe’s fiscal solutions, like ours, are now very painful and politicians don’t get elected inflicting pain. Hold on to your IRAs—here we go again. ~Bob.)
Obama: From hope and change to change and hope for the best
Excerpt: President Obama’s campaign has gone from hope and change to change and hope. He wants to change the conversation to what the Republicans are saying and hope voters find him to be the lesser of two evils. David Axelrod and Obama’s Chicago team are working overtime to make this election a choice between Obama and the other guy. They couldn’t even wait for a nominee, and have already targeted GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in weekly conference calls.
Obama decision to send troops to Uganda comes under new scrutiny
Excerpt: President Obama’s decision to send 100 troops to Uganda is coming under new scrutiny now that soldiers are on their way to Africa. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle at a Tuesday hearing questioned the decision, with some suggesting it could draw the United Statesss into a long conflict.
In the Wake of the Bubble
Excerpt: Plenty of consumers around the world seem content to ignore a prevalent fact: though the financial collapse of 2008 is over, the fallout has not concluded. Even now, the largest players in the financial crisis continue to negotiate as the world's most notable economists, politicians and businessmen and women seek new solutions. Yet their strategies and public pronouncements ignore the lessons of Pollock's Law of Finance: loans that cannot be paid will not be paid. Through this lens, it becomes clear that current negotiations do not revolve around eliminating the baggage of the financial crisis, but rather passing off its burden to other actors. The losers in this situation, as is so often the case, are the taxpayers, says Alex J. Pollock, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Depositors in highly liquid holdings such as savings accounts and certificates of deposit, though ostensibly protected by the financial system, are actually among its current victims. Depositors benefit from an unmatched degree of security through federal deposit insurance, which offers a government-backed guarantee their savings. However, despite this notable benefit, depositors are among the greatest losers in the realm of public policy. The Federal Reserve Bank has pegged interest rates at near-zero levels in order to stimulate investment and encourage business expansion. However, this only allows businesses to prosper at the expense of consumers (particularly the retired), who are not receiving the rate of return on their savings that they expected. In a similar way, borrowers of fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages are also being made losers by current public policy. Though fixed-rate mortgages have been touted as a financing breakthrough that protects consumers from upward inflationary pressures, this view is myopic. In truth, the net benefit changes based on the economic climate. And in the current economic climate, fixed-rate mortgages have locked borrowers into rates that are no longer dictated by the market and payment levels that are leaving them underwater. The final loser of the economic crisis, though not made so by public policy, are economists and national planners. Though their knowledge of and power to manipulate the national economy has often been claimed, their ineptitude in alleviating the effects of the current crisis suggests otherwise. (Pollock’s Law applies to government debt as well. ~Bob.)
College Has Been Oversold
Excerpt: Over the past 25 years the total number of students in college has increased by about 50%. But the number of students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (the so-called STEM fields) has been flat. Moreover, many of today's STEM graduates are foreign-born and taking their knowledge and skills back to their native countries. Consider computer technology. In 2009 the U.S. graduated 37,994 students with bachelor's degrees in computer and information science. This is not bad, but we graduated more students with computer science degrees 25 years ago. The story is the same in other technology fields. The United States graduated 5,036 chemical engineers in 2009, no more than we did 25 years ago. In mathematics and statistics there were 15,496 graduates in 2009, slightly more than the 15,009 graduates of 1985. Few fields have changed as much in recent years as microbiology, but in 2009 we graduated just 2,480 students with bachelor's degrees in microbiology — about the same number as 25 years ago. Who will solve the problem of antibiotic resistance? (You mean my Masters Degree in Peace Studies with a minor in theater doesn’t guarantee me a six-figure starting salary with six weeks vacation and full benefits? I’m going to Occupy Wall Street! ~Bob.)
Islam makes inroads through U.S. courts
Excerpt: Among the cases cited was one from New Jersey in which a wife sought a restraining order against her husband because of spousal abuse. "S.D. (wife) and M.J.R. (husband) were both Muslims and citizens of Morocco and both resided in New Jersey. After only three months of marriage, husband began physically abusing wife. The physical abuse administered by husband injured wife's entire body including her breasts and pubic area," the report said. "Additionally, husband forced himself on wife and had non-consensual sex with her on multiple occasions. Husband stated to wife that Islam allowed him to have sex with her at any time he wished. Wife asked the trial court to grant a restraining order against husband shortly after he verbally divorced her in front of their imam," the report said. "The trial court refused to issue a final restraining order against husband finding that, although husband had harassed and assaulted wife, husband believed it was his religious right to have non-consensual sex with his wife and that belief precluded any criminal intent on the part of husband," according to the report. "The New Jersey appellate court reversed the trial court and ordered that the trial court enter a final restraining order against husband. The New Jersey appellate court stated that the trial court erroneously allowed the husband's religious beliefs to excuse him from New Jersey’s criminal code and that husband knowingly engaged in non-consensual sex with wife," the report said. (When non-Muslims are accused (without proof) of wife abuse in US courts, the wife is almost invariably granted a restraining order and the husband must leave the home -- without a trial. Effective immediately. This judicial practice was introduced by radical feminist groups, who constantly beat the drums over the abusiveness of Christian males asserting rights over wives supposedly based on religious beliefs -- which these women insisted had to be eliminated from our culture. By contrast, now that the abuse is PROVABLE based on Islamic faith, and religion is the STATED cause of abuse, where are these women's groups when we really need them? There is no justice in America any more, not in the true sense of the word. –Don Hank.)
Excerpt: Three items in the recent news reveal a great deal about what is wrong with the labor market: Employers are hiring temporary workers, not permanent workers: Since 2007 there has been a net loss of 9.8 million full-time jobs, but a gain of 2.3 million part time jobs. Wal-Mart will no longer provide health insurance for part-time workers: None for those who work less than 24 hours a week and no dependent coverage for those who work from 24 to 33 hours a week. The federal government is cracking down on independent contract work: “20 to 35 percent of all employers have mistakenly or intentionally classified people as independent contractors when they really should be on staff.” If none of this sounds strange to you it’s only because you have been living for so long with labor market regulation that you have probably never bothered to ask what the world would look like without it. So let’s stop and imagine. In a free labor market:
Stupidity on Parade by Colonel Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)
Excerpt: The latest demonstrations are being embraced by the left as an example of the true feelings on the population. In many cases, they are being portrayed as the Tea Party of the left. If I recall, the Tea Party held demonstrations on weekends when working people could assemble and not lose time from their jobs. They had a specific message about limited government, lower taxes, and fewer regulations. When the demonstrations were over, they policed up the area. The current demonstrations much like other demonstrations from the left leave the areas in total disarray and require taxpayersto fund the bill to clean them up. There are messages, but they are confusing since just about every leftist group participates. (Col. Myers is the author of the excellent book, Leadership Defined. ~Bob.)
Justice Dept. proposes lying, hiding existence of records under new FOIA rule
Excerpt: A proposed revision to Freedom of Information Act rules would allow federal agencies to lie to citizens and reporters seeking certain records, telling them the records don’t exist. The Justice Department has proposed the change as part of a large revision of FOIA rules for federal agencies. Specifically, the rule would direct government agencies who are denying a request under an established FOIA exemption to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist,” rather than citing the relevant exemption. The proposed rule has alarmed government transparency advocates across the political spectrum, who’ve called it “Orwellian” and say it will “twist” public access to government. The draft FOIA revisions were first published in March, but the Justice Department re-opened comment submissions in September after several open-government groups raised objections. (…) Upon taking office, President Obama released a memorandum declaring his administration was “committed to operating with an unprecedented level of openness. Specifically, he pledged to bolster the strength of the FOIA act, calling it “the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government.” (No doubt the administration is shocked by the level of criticism it’s getting over this proposal. After all, it worked for the FCC who just want to ensure fair and equal access to the internet by regulating its content. It has worked for the NLRB who just want to protect worker’s rights by voiding their right to a secret ballot to unionize or not. No, it appears we can’t trust them about anything. Fortunately, the courts will have a say in this, too. Ron P.)
Newt and the Next-in-Line Problem by Steve McCann
Excerpt: The Republican presidential nominating process must break out of its "next-in-line" syndrome. The party establishment, unable to comprehend the depth of voter angst, the desire for genuine change, and the true extent of America's current dire predicament, is still stuck in that rut as it continues its unenthusiastic but overt support for Mitt Romney, the current "next-in-line" candidate. This is not the United States of the past sixty years, wherein it mattered relatively little which party occupied the White House or dominated the Congress. While the most dramatic steps in setting the nation on the course that has brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy were launched during the years of total Democrat control, the Republican Party, with the exception of Ronald Reagan and the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives in 1995, has been content to simply slow down the statist policies of the Democratic Party without reversing the trajectory established by them.
Profits Are for People by Walter E. Williams
Excerpt: The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are demanding "people before profits" -- as if profit motivation were the source of mankind's troubles -- when it's often the absence of profit motivation that's the true villain. First, let's get both the definition and magnitude of profits out of the way. Profits represent the residual claim earned by entrepreneurs. They're what are left after other production costs -- such as wages, rent and interest -- have been paid. Profits are the payment for risk taking, innovation and decision-making. As such, they are a cost of business just as are wages, rent and interest. If those payments are not made, labor, land and capital will not offer their services. Similarly, if profit is not paid, entrepreneurs won't offer theirs. Historically, corporate profits range between 5 and 8 cents of each dollar, and wages range between 50 and 60 cents of each dollar. Far more important than simple statistics about the magnitude of profits is the role played by profits, namely that of forcing producers to cater to the wants and desires of the common man. When's the last time we've heard widespread complaints about our clothing stores, supermarkets, computer stores or appliance stores? We are far likelier to hear people complaining about services they receive from the post office, motor vehicle and police departments, boards of education and other government agencies. The fundamental difference between the areas of general satisfaction and dissatisfaction is the pursuit of profits is present in one and not the other.
Greek Pensions Insolvent by Mike Shedlock
Excerpt: I am attempting to figure out just how deep in the hole Greek pension plans are. I have not had any luck finding plans or asset holdings but there are a few things we know and some assumptions we can make. One of the things we do know is that Greek pension plans are one of the largest holders of Greek bonds. For the sake of argument, let's assume a 60% haircut on the value of those bonds although I believe that haircut will increase over time. The critical question is what percentage the pension plans hold Greek bonds, other sovereign bonds, Greek equities, and other equities. (Think of Greece as a snowball at the top of a mountain overloaded with unstable snow. At the bottom, but unable to run away, are you and your IRA/401K/Social Security check. ~Bob.)
Saudi cleric offers $100,000 to anyone who kidnaps Israeli soldiers
Excerpt: In 2004, Awad al-Qarni was one of 26 Islamic scholars who signed a statement encouraging jihadist attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, saying "A Muslim must not inflict harm on any resistance man or inform about them. Instead, they should be supported and protected." Now, on his Facebook page, he has said "any Palestinian who will jail an Israeli soldier and exchange him for prisoners will be rewarded with a $100,000 prize."
Again! Americans gagged from talking about this
Excerpt: For the second time in less than a week, a major U.S. hotel has canceled an agreement to host an event on radical Islam's threat to America's freedoms, due to threatening messages to management. The Preserving Freedom Conference, scheduled for Nov. 11 at the top-rated Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., features Robert Spencer, author of 10 books about Islam and director ofJihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, a WND columnist, editor of the blog Atlas Shrugs and author of the book "Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance." WND is a co-sponsor of the conference. Stephen Eckley, senior vice president of hotels for Amerimar Enterprises in Denver – the Hutton Hotel's managing corporation, told WND it was his decision to cancel the event. Eckley said he "wasn't exactly sure what the content of the program was," but he explained that he canceled it because of the threat of physical harm to people at the hotel. "They were veiled threats that there were going to be protests that could easily erupt into violence," he told WND in a telephone interview. (What value the First Amendment if you fear to speak? ~Bob.)
The Libyan Rebels’ Massacre by Arnold Ahlert
Excerpt: Barack Obama and his supporters are no doubt hoping the lion’s share of the credit for the deposing and killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi will go to the president, who himself expressed praise for the rebels back in September. “Today, the Libyan people are writing a new chapter in the life of their nation. After four decades of darkness, they can walk the streets, free from a tyrant,” Mr. Obama said at the time. They are indeed free from a tyrant. Whether they are free from tyranny is another matter. The final days of the fighting in and around the city of Sirte resulted in a massacre, with 53 people methodically executed at a hotel — apparently by a faction of the same rebels who have assumed control of the country. “We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “This requires the immediate attention of the Libyan authorities to investigate what happened and hold accountable those responsible.” The Libyan authority at the moment is the National Transitional Council (NTC) chaired by Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, and the likelihood of a competent investigation taking place is slim: on Monday volunteers were busy scrubbing the garden of the Mahari Hotel, where the alleged atrocity appears to have taken place.
Excerpt: There is a disturbing undercurrent to the current Occupy Wall Street movement. It isn’t merely its passionate denunciations of capitalism and excuses for corporatism. It isn’t merely its perverse love for a president who has received more Wall Street money than any candidate in American history, and its hatred for Wall Street itself. It’s anti-Semitism. Even as President Obama comes out in support of Occupy Wall Street, more and more Occupy rallies are laced with anti-Semitic signs, placards, and slogans. In New York, ralliers hold signs reading, “Google: (1) Wall Street Jews; (2) Jewish Billionaires; (3) Jews & Fed Rsrv Bank,” “Gaza Supports The Occupation of Wall Street,” and shouting ugly canards like “Jews control Wall Street.” The American Nazi Party is supporting OWS, with leader Rocky Suhayda stating, “Who holds the wealth and power in this country — the Judeo-Capitalists. Who is therefore the #1 enemy who makes all this filth happen — the Judeo-Capitalists.”
49% Waste: IG slams Hawaii Navy Project
It ain’t cheap, being Green. Why did they have these projects? PC pressure from the Greenie above. ~Bob. Excerpt: A damning report by the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense hits wasteful spending on solar energy projects on board Navy and Marine bases in Hawaii and California. The report, issued September 20, 2011 focuses on solar contracts let in 2009 but has obvious implications for alternative energy projects awarded in 2010 and for the $500M of DoD solar contracts hastily assigned last month for Pearl Harbor, Hickam and other military installations as part of a$1B solar contract to install photovoltaic systems on military facilities nationwide.
Occupy Toronto "This Man Was in my Tent Sniffing my Girlfriend’s Feet”
Now, before you point, er, fingers, remember all the toe-sniffers at the Tea Party Rallies!. Yeah, me neither. ~Bob. Excerpt: A man is arrested at Occupy Toronto after allegedly smelling a woman's feet and trying to get other protesters to drink urine.
Quote from The Patriot Post
"Wall Street protesters reported that thieves are stealing their cellphones and iPads and laptops and cash as they sit in the park. It was a lesson for the young protesters to learn. They were all for social justice until somebody poorer than them wanted their stuff." --comedian Argus Hamilton
The Serious Risks of the Russian Reset
Excerpt: President Obama may believe that America’s “reset” policy with Russia is the correct move to cover important foreign policy bases, but the policy is deeply flawed. It puts the United States at a disadvantage we can’t afford and forces us to lay aside fundamental American principles of human liberty. The “reset” concessions are simply not worth the exchange of empty promises from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is merely a talking head for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. As Heritage’s Ariel Cohen & Kim Holmes wrote recently in a memo on U.S.–Russia Relations, Putin would like nothing less than a “Soviet-like superpower prestige and status through forced nuclear equality with Washington.” The large “reset” payoff requires America put it all on the line by cutting U.S. strategic nuclear forces and engaging in missile defense talks with Russia, in addition to abandoning missile defense deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic and keeping quiet about political freedom violations running rampant throughout Russia. America may never have won the Cold War 22 years ago with policies such as these.
State-sponsored lawsuits are trial bar's new cash cow
Excerpt: America's plaintiffs' bar, which we at the Manhattan Institute have dubbed Trial Lawyers, Inc., has found a new cash cow in state-sponsored litigation parceled out by the nation's state attorneys general. Most state AGs are dependent on campaign cash -- 43 of the 50 states elect their attorneys general -- and they have increasingly turned to trial attorneys who profit handsomely by suing for the states. The funder list for the Democratic Attorneys General Association, which has spent more than $6 million in each of the last two election cycles, reads like a who's who for Trial Lawyers, Inc. The biggest donors to DAGA have included securities class-action firms Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann and Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff, as well as, in the 2008 election cycle, the former law firms of Mississippians Dickie Scruggs and Joey Langston, who funneled hundreds of thousands to help re-elect their state's attorney general, Jim Hood, before the two private attorneys were disbarred and imprisoned on federal charges stemming from an attempt to bribe a judge.
A most dubious declaration
Excerpt: Back in the 1960s, during the heated national debate over the Vietnam War, Sen. George Aiken of Vermont suggested that Washington simply declare victory and bring the troops home. This, essentially, is what President Obama is doing in Iraq. Yet, just as in Vietnam, no victory has been won. And, just as Aiken’s advice worked to the advantage of the Hanoi communists, Obama’s policy is creating a real strategic opening for the Iranian mullahs. Certainly Obama’s surprise announcement last Friday that all 40,000 remaining troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year wasn’t based on any strategic assessment. It was predicated solely on the failure of Washington and Baghdad to reach agreement on giving US troops immunity in order to keep them there after the expiration of the current US-Iraq deal.
Euro plunges on reported crisis talk deadlock
Excerpt: The euro is plunging against other currencies after European leaders and banks appeared deadlocked over how much of Greece's debt should be forgiven. European leaders are meeting in Brussels Wednesday about efforts to prop up banks, bail out Greece and prevent the debt crisis from spreading. Last week, they promised a detailed plan by Wednesday. That looks increasingly unlikely. The euro dove after news reports that European leaders and banks can't agree about how much of Greece's debt should be written off. Banks hold billions in Greek debt and could face massive losses on the bonds they hold.
Time to Cut off NPR
Excerpt: In an era of trillion-dollar deficits, how much longer are we going to pretend that it is an essential function of government to prop up the wholly unnecessary NPR to spew on the air the same warmed-over '60s bilge the OWS rabble spews on the streets? It's time for Congress to cut the umbilical cord and stop bankrolling this rogue political operation. (…) The former NPR news boss Ellen Weiss -- the one that hastily fired Juan Williams for his Fox News appearances -- had a husband who served on President Obama's advisory council on faith-based issues. The notion that NPR is attached at the hip to ultraliberal Democrats isn't just something you hear on the air. It's an attachment that includes marriages, deep friendships and long-standing quiet political alliances.
Record-Low 26% in U.S. Favor Handgun Ban
Excerpt: A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.
Singer’s letter to WaPo on BEST
Excerpt: Before you write off Bachmann, Cain, and Perry as cynical diehards, deniers, idiots, or whatever, [WashPost Oct 24] consider this: Why are you surprised by the results of the Berkeley Climate Project? They used data from the same weather stations as the Climategate people, but reported that one-third showed cooling — not warming. They covered the same land area – less than 30% of the Earth’s surface – with recording stations that are poorly distributed, mainly in US and Western Europe. They state that 70% of US stations are badly sited and don’t meet the standards set by government; the rest of the world is likely worse. Unlike the land surface, the atmosphere showed no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons. This indicates to me that there is something very wrong with the land surface data. And did you know that the climate models, run on super-computers, all show that the atmosphere must warm faster than the surface. What does this tell you? (Quoted from the bottom of the post [not part of the letter]: S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project. He is a Senior Fellow of the Heartland Institute and of the Independent Institute. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere.)
The Conservative’s Guide to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests
Excerpt: We decided to examine one such list of demands, and to give readers a sense of the conservative approach on the varied goals of the movement. To that end, we have gathered together a roundup of reactions from a number of Heritage experts on the demands put forth in one document, created by a collection of New York City protesters calling themselves “the Working Group on the 99% Declaration.”
Excerpt: “Europe is so close to explosion,” said the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, according to the Italian Corriere della Serra. His Prime Minister, François Fillon, agreed with the President: Europe is close to explosion. This is the mood in the European capitals a day before the European Summit in Brussels this week. Yet, Fillon tried to keep his composure by insisting that “we need to keep cool” and not panic. Unfortunately, there is every reason to panic. The EU summit has one main point on the agenda: The debt crisis. And the preliminary talks were supposed to start a day before the summit, at a special meeting between the financial ministers who were supposed to discuss the bail out package for Greece. But the meeting was cancelled today. Every financial minister knew what no one is willing to admit: There can be no solution to the debt crisis this side of the total collapse and disintegration of the European Union. The problem is simple, and it is not the debt of Greece or the deficits of the other nations of the PIIGS sty; it is the unwillingness of the European socialist politicians – which means ALL European politicians, of all political parties – to declare what common sense dictates, that the governments must stop spending. The populations under their control have been drugged into comfortable numbness by the promises of the European “social consensus.” Now the “consensus” fails to deliver on its promises. Now it is obvious that no government programs can beat reality.
Obama to Donors: Get Me Re-Elected or Face the Horror of Self-Reliance By Doug Powers
Excerpt: There are still a lot of people who believe that the notion of self reliance and limited government is a feature of America instead of a glitch, and they long to see a return to those founding principles. These are folks who understand that America didn’t declare independence because the King failed to provide the colonists with a health care plan (Georgecare), free lunches and a retirement fund. This is an optimistic breed who can see the inherent good in their fellow Americans and realize that a tempered centralized bureaucracy doesn’t automatically translate to individual misery and hardship in a land where faith and charity are the rule, not the exception. They also believe that “federally mandated compassion” has to a great degree turned out to be a cruel and expensive oxymoron.
Robert A. Hall