CONTENTS: We the govt; Hannity – Boomtown; Kill the Const; BO buried idealism; In fraud we trust; Rand Paul – Jihadists; Malkin – core education; Ledeen – food/fascism; UK to leave EU?; Debt ceiling stall; Lottery privatization; $40K to legislators; Guzzardi – union dues; Guns & Docs; Sheriffs refuse; Sowell – gun control; Hillary/Benghazi; Netanyahu won; Hillary talks today; Announcements
“Immediately following her amazing VP nomination acceptance speech, the media/the left went crazy consumed with hatred and a desperate desire to destroy her. Why? Palin was a beautiful, smart, articulate and strong woman who boldly touted traditional values and a love for God, family and country – all of which are anathemas to the left.”
1849: Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to receive a medical degree.
1855: The first permanent bridge over the Mississippi River opened in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1957: The Wham-O toy company began manufacturing aerodynamic plastic discs, now known as Frisbees.
1964: The Twenty-fourth Amendment, barring the poll tax in federal elections, was ratified.
1973: President Nixon announced an accord has been reached to end the Vietnam War. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)
WSJ: “We the Government”
“President Obama’s second inaugural address won’t be remembered for stirring lines, but then its purpose seemed to be more political than inspirational. Mr. Obama was laying down a marker that he has no intention of letting debt or deficits or lagging economic growth slow his plans for activist, expansive government.
“Inaugurals usually include calls for national unity and appeals to our founding principles, which is part of their charm. With the election long over, swearing in a President is a moment for celebrating larger national purposes. But Mr. Obama’s speech was notable for invoking the founding principles less to unify than to justify what he called ‘collective action.’ The President borrowed the Constitution’s opening words of “we the people” numerous times, but his main theme was that the people are fundamentally defined through government action, and his government is here to help you. . .”
Breitbart: “Sean Hannity Special—‘Boomtown: Washington, the Imperial City’”
“Fox News on Tuesday announced a “Sean Hannity Special—’Boomtown: Washington, the Imperial City,'” scheduled to air on Friday, January 25th at 9 PM EST.
“Boomtown: Washington, The Imperial City” reveals how Washington’s power elite leverage their crony connections to vacuum taxpayer wallets, bankrolling their lifestyles of luxury and opulence—all under the guise of what’s best for America.
“Boomtown” promises to be a hard-hitting exposé of an area we believe needs to be fully explored—the cronyism rampant in Washington.
Jeffrey Lord, American Spectator: “From Kill Romney to Kill the Constitution”
“Yesterday’s declaration by President Obama, signaling with his inaugural address that he intends to turn America around and march it backwards to the glory days of failed leftism — making of America one gigantic society of beggars — raises the central and obvious point.
“It’s the damage, stupid.
“So how much damage can the American left do over the next four years?
“How much damage can the far-left-wing do with a re-elected Obama presidency?
“A lot. When one hears the President of the United States use his inaugural address to favorably cite the most infamous phrase associated with the disastrous Neville Chamberlain — that would be “peace in our time” — there can only be trouble ahead.
“The mechanics for this march backwards to failure are already in place. . .”
Michael Gerson, WaPo: “Obama shoves idealism into its grave”
And failed to mention foreign affairs or the economy while making promises to the unions, blacks, climate speculators, immigrants, single mothers, and educators . . .
“President Obama set an unobjectionable goal: ‘a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.’ He asserted that this objective can only be achieved ‘together, as one nation, and one people.’ But he proceeded to define an agenda, in some detail, that could have been taken from any campaign speech of the 2012 election. It involves the building of roads and research labs, promoting clean-energy technology, protecting entitlements from significant change, passing equal-pay legislation and immigration reform.
“Those who oppose this agenda, in Obama’s view, are not a very admirable lot. They evidently don’t want our wives, mothers and daughters to ‘earn a living equal to their efforts.’ They would cause some citizens ‘to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.’ They mistake ‘absolutism for principle’ and ‘substitute spectacle for politics’ and ‘treat name-calling as reasoned debate.’ They would have people’s ‘twilight years . . . spent in poverty’ and ensure that the parents of disabled children have ‘nowhere to turn.’ They would reserve freedom ‘for the lucky’ and believe that Medicare and Social Security ‘sap our initiative,’ and they see this as ‘a nation of takers.’ They ‘deny the overwhelming judgment of science’ on climate change, don’t want love to be ‘equal’ and apparently contemplate ‘perpetual war.’
“For Abraham Lincoln, even the gravest national crimes involved shared fault. For Obama, even the most commonplace policy disagreements indicate the bad faith of his opponents. . .”
Richard Fernandez, PJM: “In Fraud We Trust”
“ . . . Matthew J. Franck of the National Review, unlike Matthews understood Obama’s speech at once and directly apprehended the link between Obama’s inaugural and the reification of the volonté générale.
“But the most notable thing about the speech is not what it contains but what it lacks. The overwhelming impression one gets is that in Obama’s America, there is no civil society — no arena of private action, of voluntary responsibility, of free associations of citizens for solving the community’s problems. There are only the government (by default, the federal government, at that) and the individual. This is the “Life of Julia” campaign philosophy rendered in inaugural rhetoric: Without government’s aid in every aspect of our lives, we are lost, we are helpless, we are nothing. Every “we,” every “our,” every reference to “the nation” in this speech was a reference to a government solution to a “problem.” In this vision of America, no families, churches, charities, voluntary groups, or other institutions of civil society make any appearance at all. And when there are only the government and the individual, we know which one will be in charge.
“And once in charge government will us give us our bread, safety and free phones. How wonderful for Julia if it could really come true. But as Walter Russell Mead points out, they might get nothing at all as even the New York Times admits that people are fighting for the scraps of the collapsing blue model. Obama’s vision of the collective apparently has a very large menu and an exceedingly small kitchen.
“Dozens of city and state public employee pension plans are on the verge of bankruptcy—or are actually bankrupt—from Rhode Island to California; in 2010, a survey of 126 state and local plans showed assets of $2.7 trillion and liabilities of $3.5 trillion, an $800 billion shortfall. The national debt exceeds $16 trillion….
“In cities from Los Angeles to Chicago to Houston, African-Americans are competing with Hispanics and others for government jobs, good schools, good neighborhoods, political power and basic resources.
“Ironically people may have to fall back on churches, families, muskets and militias — what Leo Linbeck referred to as the “mediating institutions” to put food on the table. The great and omnipotent state cannot even pay its bills. Mead writes, “the reality of blue model decline is so obvious that nobody can ignore it any longer.” Nobody except maybe Julia and all her Facebook friends. . .”
LEADS . . .
Rand Paul, WND: “Obama in guns-to-jihadists cover-up?”
“Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised questions during a radio interview today about whether the Obama administration was smuggling guns to jihadist rebels in a possible ‘international Fast and Furious’ that the White House has tried to cover up.
“Speaking on ‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio’ on New York’s WABC Radio, Paul said the guns scheme could help explain the reason for the coordinated attacks against the U.S. special mission and CIA annex in Benghazi last September.
“Stated Paul: “There is also some concern about whether or not Libyan arms are being ferried through Turkey into Syrian rebels and whether or not that had something to do with the cover-up that came out of the administration when the administration was saying that, ‘Oh, this attack in Benghazi had something to do with a film.’
“Maybe that was to cover up that there was some kind of gun smuggling going on over there, some kind of international fast and furious was going on in Libya and that this was a cover-up,” Paul continued. ‘These are some of the questions that we are going to have for Hillary Clinton when she comes before our committee.’ . . .”
Michelle Malkin, NRO: Education – “Common Core Corrupts”
“America’s downfall doesn’t begin with the “low-information voter.” It starts with the no-knowledge student.
“For decades, collectivist agitators in our schools have chipped away at academic excellence in the name of fairness, diversity, and social justice. ‘Progressive’ reformers denounced Western-civilization requirements, the Founding Fathers, and the Great Books as racist. They attacked traditional grammar classes as irrelevant in modern life. They deemed grouping students by ability to be bad for self-esteem. They replaced time-tested rote techniques and standard algorithms with fuzzy math, inventive spelling, and multicultural claptrap.
“Under President Obama, these top-down mal-formers — empowered by Washington education bureaucrats and backed by misguided liberal philanthropists led by billionaire Bill Gates — are now presiding over a radical makeover of your children’s school curriculum. It’s being done in the name of federal “Common Core” standards that do anything but set the achievement bar high. . .”
Michael Ledeen, PJM: “Food, Fascism, and Obama Rules”
“John Mackey, the feisty CEO of Whole Foods, says Obamacare is “fascist economics” and he regrets having said it, even though he insists — correctly — that it’s a textbook case of Mussolini-style corporate statism. Private property continues to exist, but the state controls all business. That’s why the fascists called their totalitarian system a “third way” between unbridled capitalism and Soviet-style Communism.
“Back in the twenties and early thirties, before German National Socialism became the archetypal “fascist” doctrine, Mussolini’s call for a new kind of national economy intrigued many serious thinkers and leaders, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“Mr. Mackey was also right to regret using the term “fascist,” because it invokes so many passions and stereotypes that it hinders, rather than advances, understanding. But “fascism” was a very successful mass movement in Western Europe for an entire generation, and it flourishes in many countries today. It behooves us to understand why it was so popular, and how most of our politics differ from it. We have fascist economics, but certainly not fascist politics or foreign policy in America today, even though there are echoes of it every so often.
“There are many varieties of fascism . . .”
AWR Hawkins, Big Peace: “UK PM David Cameron to Let Citizens Vote to Leave EU”
“UK Prime Minister David Cameron is going to offer the British people a chance to vote on whether or not to remain within the European Union (EU).
“Cameron’s personal opinion appears to be that it’s best for Great Britain to remain, but with crumbling economies throughout the EU, even some members of Cameron’s own party think staying within the federation is a mistake.
“They think the high degree of centralization within the union all but guarantees that other economically-challenged EU countries will eventually pull the British economy down with them.
“Of course, there is a political element to this measure. Cameron is going to make it clear that the opportunity to vote on this issue is predicated on his re-election in 2015. The vote to leave the EU won’t even occur until “the end of the first half of the next Parliament,” which would be “late 2017.”
“This entire push is certain to be unsettling to investors, agents of trade, and nation’s within the EU who have buttressed their positions by leaning on the UK. . .”
Amy Butte, Bloomberg: “Debt Ceiling Delay Offers Chance to Fix Budget”
“Congressional Republicans’ proposal to extend the U.S. borrowing limit through May sets up yet another hair-raising deadline, complete with the threat of suspended pay for lawmakers if they fail to make the hard choices needed to fix the government’s finances.
“This time around, there’s no reason to turn the deadline into a market-rattling disaster. Much of the groundwork for a sound deficit-reduction deal has already been laid.
“In recent deals, lawmakers have enacted spending cuts worth about $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, and tax measures that will bring in $600 billion. That leaves only $1.2 trillion in further savings — net of interest payments — to get the federal budget deficit down to 3 percent of gross domestic product, the level needed to shrink the nation’s debt over the next decade.
“Finding $1.2 trillion will require tough, but not insurmountable, choices on both the spending and tax sides. In the interest of hastening a deal, here are several areas where lawmakers can look for the necessary savings. . .”
G. Terry Madonna & Michael L. Young, Politics PA: “Politically Uncorrected: A Bad Gamble”
“. . . Privatization never worked as well as its proponents argued. Outsourcing and downsizing bring as many problems as they solve. In fact, if we are ever to solve the modern problems of fiscal solvency, massive infrastructure needs, and unprecedented challenges to education, we won’t do it by zombie like application of yesterday’s techniques to today’s problems.
“It’s a cliche, but a good one–we must begin to think outside the box. And one way to do that is to solve problems in government as they are solved outside government– not inflexibly or bureaucratically, but with imagination and creativity. To the point: government and government created entries must become entrepreneurs.
“As it turns out, Camelot Global Services, now only a few short steps from managing the Pennsylvania lottery, offers us a virtual blue print for doing just that. Camelot is a British company, which operates Britain’s national lottery and advises lottery operations in Illinois and California.
“All of this is well known. Not so well known is the ownership of Camelot. They are owned by (we are not making this up) the Ontario Teachers’ Pension fund (emph added, jb), the largest plan of its kind in Canada with assets of 117 billion. Perhaps even more interesting, the Ontario Pension fund has numerous similar investments, owning similar corporate entities around the world.
“So, while here in Pennsylvania, we are worrying about the unfunded liabilities of our own “teachers’ pension plan” (as well as our own state employees plan), Canadian entities are making a healthy buck selling services to our own state lottery.
“Not a bad gig.”
Eric Boehm, PA Independent: “Lame-duck lawmakers leave Capitol with some $40,000 in taxpayer money”
“HARRISBURG — Taxpayers gave a nice parting gift to five former members of the state House.
“The five members of the House beaten in April’s primary election padded their wallets with more than $40,000 between the passage of the state budget June 30 and their last day in the Legislature through travel per diem and reimbursements.
“Former state Rep. Joe Preston, D-Allegheny, led the way with more than $16,400 in per diem and payments for travel and lodging during his final five months as a lawmaker. A member of the state House since 1982, Preston lost to Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, in the primary.
“Former state Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair, was a close second. Geist scored more than $14,500 in travel and per diem payments between July 1 and Nov. 30.
Geist was in the state House since 1979 but lost to state Rep. John McGinnis, R-Blair, in the primary.
“The three other state lawmakers who lost in the primary — state Reps. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia; Kevin Murphy, D-Lackawanna; and Ken Smith, D-Lackawanna — collected between $1,320 and $5,760 in travel, lodging and per diem payments before the legislative session ended in November. . .”
Bob Guzzardi: Union Dues
County Executives and Commissioners and School Boards have the authority to negotiate issues of forced deduction of union dues from government workers’ paychecks. The Government is not a collection agent for a private organization. Individuals should not be forced to join a union in order to hold a job which provides essential government services to the public.
You can do something at local level.
This will be a key issue in 2014 Republican Primary. Governor Corbett has power to refuse to coercively collect union dues from government workers who do not want to belong to a union or don’t want to pay dues.
– Payroll deduction of Union dues is negotiable for all public employers under Act 195 of 1970.
– Forced Automatic Union dues deduction from government employees’ pay checks is a negotiable locally under Act 84 of 1988 for school and state employees.
– Forced Automatic Union dues deduction from government employees’ pay checks is negotiable under Act 15 of 1993 for local, municipal, & county employees.
(Acts 84 and 15 are practically identical laws).
County Commissioners, school board directors, township officials, (& notably the Executive Branch i.e. Governor) can all invoke these current laws to fight these issues in their area of government.
Please like Pennsylvanians for Union Reform https://www.facebook.com/paunionreform?fref=ts This is a 501(c)(4) and all contributions, individual or corporate, are anonymous.
James Brody, Obama Turns Docs into Fortune Tellers
Convenience sometimes drives confusion. It certainly builds superstitions, particularly when convenience lines up with our evolved instincts. (See “Pop Shop,” Dead Cats, http://wwwdeadcatsandclippings.com/?p=2385)
Docs for example, are linked to each other, to computerized diagnostics, and to networks of insurance companies. They are an obvious lens from the government into your gun closet. The problem arises when you ask a doc to predict your lethality. He/she can’t do it because half of them tend to be a little paranoid and others of them cannot judge social intentions.
We have to reach to psychophysics for an explanation.
Fechner and Weber looked for the equations that described human sensitivities to sound and light but failed for the same reason that your doc will fail.
First, our evolutionary history gave most males the capacity to be a killer, particularly over women. That is, some 91% of men and 84% of women have made detailed plans to shoot, cut, bludgeon, poison, or hang a competitor (Buss, 2005). Nearly all of us find it easy to plan, irresistible, and useful. (Women tend to be opposite and to spend a lot of time analyzing what the rest of us are up to. They also tend to become paranoid schizophrenics but that’s another story!)
A doc if questioned, therefore, should answer “yes” for everyone.
Second, Signal detection (SDT) research gives Obama a different but no more satisfactory answers.
Unlike traditional approaches, which treat observers as sensors, SDT recognizes that observers are both sensors and decision makers.
b) In making a decision regarding the occurrence of an event, an observer adopts a decision criterion that sets the minimum value of the evidence that is required for him or her to make a ‘yes’ response.
c) Signals, both in the environment and as represented in the brain, are always embedded in ‘noise,’ or random variation. In the environment this can take the form of acoustic noise (e.g., static) or any physical properties of stimuli that render the signal to be detected less salient. ‘Noise’ in the brain occurs as a result of on-going neural activity in the sensory and perceptual systems.
The problem for the doc is not to detect the potential for lethality – it’s always there – but to predict how likely it is that you will become lethal. And the consequences for the doc from license boards, insurance companies, and federal investigators will bias him or her into saying “yes” when the evidence is unclear.
Solutions? Do the evasive things: Have your LPN give the patient a self-rating form, score it, and answer yes if the “score” is above or below the magic line. When the victim’s family takes you to court, also take the author of the test. . .
Buss, David (2005) The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill. NY: Penguin.
Szalma, JL & Peter Hancock, Signal Detection Theory.
Swets J, WP Tanner, & TG Birdsall (1955) Decision processes in perception. Psychological Review, 68: 301-340.
Welner’s Depravity Scale at https://depravityscale.org/depscale/survey.php
From Matt Drudge, 1/23/13
Also: Alison Peek, Examiner: 28 Utah Sheriffs pledge
Thomas Sowell, Town Hall: “Do Gun Control Laws Control Guns?”
“The gun control controversy is only the latest of many issues to be debated almost solely in terms of fixed preconceptions, with little or no examination of hard facts.
“Media discussions of gun control are dominated by two factors: the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment. But the over-riding factual question is whether gun control laws actually reduce gun crimes in general or murder rates in particular.
“If, as gun control advocates claim, gun control laws really do control guns and save lives, there is nothing to prevent repealing the Second Amendment, any more than there was anything to prevent repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that created Prohibition.
“But, if the hard facts show that gun control laws do not actually control guns, but instead lead to more armed robberies and higher murder rates after law-abiding citizens are disarmed, then gun control laws would be a bad idea, even if there were no Second Amendment and no National Rifle Association.
“The central issue boils down to the question: What are the facts? Yet there are many zealots who seem utterly unconcerned about facts or about their own lack of knowledge of facts. . .”
Matthew Cooper, National Journal: “Why Benghazi Hasn’t Brought Down Hillary Clinton–and Won’t”
“’Hillary’ — what other politician gets called by their first name, ‘Rahm?’ — has survived every “scandal” to come her way. The mysterious death of White House counsel Vince Foster in 1993? Ken Starr concluded it was a suicide. The Whitewater “scandal”? Whatever there was to it, it’s a memory now. Hard to imagine now that Washington was once consumed with how Mrs. Clinton made $100,000 on commodity futures.
“She’s endured it all — an exhausting journey from the election of her husband in 1992, the crash of her health care plan in 1993, the impeachment in 1998, the Senate election in 2000, a presidential bid in 2008 that came so close, and her becoming secretary of State in 2009. Four years and more than a million air miles after joining the team of rivals, she’s atop her game. The scandal mongers, like the coterie that suggested she might have faked her concussion to get out of the Benghazi hearings, grew quiet when she was hospitalized for a blood clot.
“It’s not that Clinton is blameless for the Benghazi disaster. . .”
Fox: “Netanyahu, allies narrowly cling to victory in Israeli election”
“JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-line allies fared far worse than expected in a parliamentary election Tuesday, likely forcing him to reach across the aisle to court a popular political newcomer to cobble together a new coalition.
“While Netanyahu appeared positioned to serve a third term as prime minister, the results marked a major setback for his policies and could force him to make new concessions to restart long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.
“More than 99 percent of the votes had been counted by Wednesday morning and results showed the hawkish and dovish blocs were split about evenly.
“Netanyahu’s most likely partner was Yesh Atid, or There is a Future, a party headed by political newcomer Yair Lapid that showed surprising strength. Lapid has said he would only join a government committed to sweeping economic changes and a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. . .”
John Solomon, Washington Guardian: Hillary Talks Today
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a farewell appearance before Congress to address questions about the Benghazi terror attack last Sept. 11, and likely will be confronted by the very warning her ambassador from Libya sent just hours before his death as well as the decision of her department to draw down, rather than increase, security inside the volatile country.”
Back to the White Board
Two legislators threatened impeachment and – overnight – “Executive Order” became “Executive Action.” I guess that someone was listening. Unfortunately, the new term meant “presidential assassination” in the ‘50s.
. . . to spring from urban areas whose residents disagree on nearly every important issue and cluster on the basis of gender, race, and social class. New Yorkers can’t conceive of power failures and not being able to feed themselves. Lots more in Uncivilization by Greg Copley. Also keep in mind that 30 states have Republican governors and 23 have two Republican chambers.