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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lord, You Must Be So Disappointed in Us

Physicists are now in general agreement that our Universe must have been designed; there are too many critical forces and relationships that are necessary for its creation and continued existence for it to have been an accident. Our Universe, our Solar System and our Planet contain many wonders, but for billions of years there was no-one to observe these wonders and contemplate them until the arrival of humans.

Still, at the present time, most other scientists profess to believe that life and its development was through a series of accidents. Increasingly, as the genomes of different life-forms are studied, this position becomes more and more untenable, but the scientific establishment continues strenuously to suppress all challenges, by threats, intimidation and ridicule.

Not until the Cambrian explosion were there creatures with eyes to see and brains to register the wonders of our surroundings, but it took the development of mankind for there to be life-forms that could realize, study and appreciate our world. That so many people still consider it all to be accidental must be a great disappointment to God, because it may be undoing the main reason for our presence here. Still, our concept of time is different from His.

From page 148-9 of the book, “Why Us?”, by James Le Fanu, Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 2009. This is definitely a book worth reading and re-reading.

“The strangest thing about the universe of which we are part is that there should be 'something rather than nothing'. The second strangest, that we humans are the only beings (as far as we can tell) to know both that it does exist, and the extraordinary events that brought it into being. Without that human presence, 'This moving and sublime spectacle of nature would be sad and mute: observed the eighteenth¬century French philosopher Denis Diderot. 'Everything would be a vast solitude, a phenomenon taking place obscurely, unobserved.'

This uniquely human capacity to know the universe exists is predicated on three separate events, each by itself almost as remarkable as the fact of there being 'something rather than nothing'. The first event was the emergence of 'life 3,500 million years ago, touched on in the preceding chapter, where the simplest of single-celled organisms is both an astonishingly complex chemical factory and an encyclopaedia of genetic information transmitting the necessary instructions for those chemical reactions from one generation to the next. The second event was the arrival of the earliest marine creatures, such as the trilobite, six hundred million years ago, with the capacity to see, and so be aware of the external world - thanks to the twin and simultaneous 'innovations' of both the seeing eye and a brain capable of interpreting the image that falls upon it.

That brain would, over time, become enormously more sophisticated and complex, but the universe would still not become 'knowable' till the third and final event, the emergence of humans, with the faculty of language that permits them to think, and then to think about those thoughts and discuss their significance by inserting them into the minds of others gathered around the campfire. Thus, the arrival of our species, witnessed so eloquently by the wondrous art and technology of our earliest ancestors, introduces a radically new element into the universe that had never existed before - the thoughts, values and understanding of what it might all mean.

And it does not end there, for that self-reflective human brain comprehends the world from the perspective of the individual to whom it belongs - so that brain must also acquire the sense of that inner person we know our¬selves to be, and to whom those thoughts belong. And further, that now reflective self must be free to prefer one thought over another, to argue one interpretation over another and recognise the sovereignty of some 'higher court' than its own immediate impressions: the notion of 'the truth', on which all discourse (whether around the campfire or in the university seminar room) depends - where agreeing with another individual is to acknowledge the truth of his argu¬ment, and to disagree is to reject it.

There is more, but the gist is clear enough. The privilege of our species in having a larger brain is by itself not sufficient to 'know' the universe. Man must also possess that perception of himself as an 'autonomous self, free to choose' - or, as the eighteenth-century philosopher Adam Smith put it, 'the impartial and well informed spectator' of himself and his thoughts:

When I endeavour to examine my own conduct. . . I divide myself as it were into two persons; and that I, the examiner and judge, represent a different character from the other I, the person whose conduct is examined into and judged of. The first is the spectator. . . the second is the agent, a person who I properly call myself, and on whose conduct I was endeavouring to form some opinion.

That sense of the autonomous self is more than just a property of the non-material mind, but has a distinctive character whose beliefs and attitudes may change over time but whose personality remains resolutely the same.”

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

William Shakespeare

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Some Images Reflecting Current Events

LEFT-CLICKING ENLARGES MOST IMAGES












If video doesn't load go here.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Most Surprising Editorial Ever in the NY Times

Along with all of the intelligence indicating the presence of WMD, another of the several stated reasons for our incursion into Iraq was to establish a democracy model in the midst of the Islamic countries of the Middle East – which were all run by dictators. It may be starting to pay off, although few liberal Democrats will accept this with an open mind.

A Column in the NY Times That Will Floor You

Gee Maybe Iraq DID Make a Difference

Winds of Change?

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN June 14, 2009 Op-Ed Columnist NY Times

Twenty years ago, I wrote a book about the Middle East, and recently I was thinking of updating it with a new introduction. It was going to be very simple — just one page, indeed just one line: “Nothing has changed.”

It took me two days covering the elections in Beirut to realize that I was dead wrong. No, something is going on in the Middle East today that is very new. Pull up a chair; this is going to be interesting.

What we saw in the Lebanese elections, where the pro-Western March 14 movement won a surprise victory over the pro-Iranian Hezbollah coalition, what we saw in the ferment for change exposed by the election campaign in Iran, and what we saw in the provincial elections in Iraq, where the big pro-Iranian party got trounced, is the product of four historical forces that have come together to crack open this ossified region.

First is the diffusion of technology. The Internet, blogs, YouTube and text messaging via cellphones, particularly among the young — 70 percent of Iranians are under 30 — is giving Middle Easterners cheap tools to communicate horizontally, to mobilize politically and to criticize their leaders acerbically, outside of state control. It is also enabling them to monitor vote-rigging by posting observers with cellphone cameras.

I knew something had changed when I sat down for coffee on Hamra Street in Beirut last week with my 80-year-old friend and mentor, Kemal Salibi, one of Lebanon’s greatest historians, and he told me about his Facebook group!

The evening of Lebanon’s election, I went to the Beirut home of Saad Hariri, the leader of the March 14 coalition, to interview him. In a big living room, he had a gigantic wall-size television broadcasting the results. And alongside the main TV were 16 smaller flat-screen TVs with electronic maps of Lebanon. Hariri’s own election experts were working on laptops and breaking down every vote from every religious community, village by village, and projecting them on the screens.

Second , for real politics to happen you need space. There are a million things to hate about President Bush’s costly and wrenching wars. But the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades. “Bush had a simple idea, that the Arabs could be democratic, and at that particular moment simple ideas were what was needed, even if he was disingenuous,” said Michael Young, the opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star. “It was bolstered by the presence of a U.S. Army in the center of the Middle East. It created a sense that change was possible, that things did not always have to be as they were.”

When I reported from Beirut in the 1970s and 1980s, I covered coups and wars. I never once stayed up late waiting for an election result. Elections in the Arab world were a joke — literally. They used to tell this story about Syria’s president, Hafez al-Assad. After a Syrian election, an aide came in and told Assad: “Mr. President, you won 99.8 percent of the votes. It means that only two-tenths of one percent of Syrians didn’t vote for you. What more could ask for?”
Assad answered: “Their names!”

Lebanese, by contrast, just waited up all night for their election results — no one knew what they’d be.

Third , the Bush team opened a hole in the wall of Arab autocracy but did a poor job following through. In the vacuum, the parties most organized to seize power were the Islamists — Hezbollah in Lebanon; pro-Al Qaeda forces among Iraqi Sunnis, and the pro-Iranian Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and Mahdi Army among Iraqi Shiites; the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan; Hamas in Gaza.

Fortunately, each one of these Islamist groups overplayed their hand by imposing religious lifestyles or by dragging their societies into confrontations the people didn’t want. This alienated and frightened more secular, mainstream Arabs and Muslims and has triggered an “awakening” backlash among moderates from Lebanon to Pakistan to Iran. The Times’s Robert Mackey reported that in Tehran “chants of ‘Death to America’ ” at rallies for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week were answered by chants of “Death to the Taliban — in Kabul and Tehran” at a rally for his opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi.

Finally , along came President Barack Hussein Obama. Arab and Muslim regimes found it very useful to run against George Bush. The Bush team demonized them, and they demonized the Bush team. Autocratic regimes, like Iran’s, drew energy and legitimacy from that confrontation, and it made it very easy for them to discredit anyone associated with America. Mr. Obama’s soft power has defused a lot of that. As result, “pro-American” is not such an insult anymore.

I don’t know how all this shakes out; the forces against change in this region are very powerful — see Iran — and ruthless. But for the first time in a long time, the forces for decency, democracy and pluralism have a little wind at their backs. Good for them.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Can Life Be Initiated Randomly In Nature?

Although most scientific organizations and bureaucracies have yet to recognize this, many discoveries involving DNA and gene research of the last 60 years have confirmed some of Darwin’s theories, (microevolution, all living things are related), while other aspects of Darwin’s theories have been disproved or called into serious question (macroevolution, single tree of life). My opinion of the main reason for the resistance of the scientific community is that the most recent genetic research has also shown how little we know, rather than how much we know, about where the information comes from to construct a living being. When DNA was discovered, science assumed that soon everything would become clear. Just the opposite has happened, and science doesn’t like that.

One question that Darwinists have never been able to confront, much less answer, is how life was first created. One has to laugh at the answer famously given to Ben Stein in his movie, “Expelled”, by the most prominent Darwinist of our time, Richard Dawkins, when he said a possibility was that a superior race had seeded life on earth (then where did the superior race come from?).

Can Life Be Initiated Randomly In Nature?

Dr. Zvi Shkedi, January 2009

The author is a retired aerospace engineer, with a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

A note for those who are not mathematically oriented: In this article we show large numbers using "to the power of " notation. 102 means 10 to the power of 2 which is 100. 103=1000. 109=1,000,000,000 etc. 10-3 means 1 divided by 103 which is 0.001 ; 10-6=0.000001 etc. The symbol ^ is an alternative notation which also means "to the power of ". 10^3=103=1000 etc.
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The first, most primitive, RNA or DNA sequence had to be encoded correctly with the ability to absorb food from its lifeless surroundings, metabolize it, and repeatedly reproduce itself, or else, it would not survive. Such a complicated initial encoding is not something that can happen by chance. It can also not develop and improve itself to gain this ability over time because, prior to gaining this ability, it would be nothing but lifeless organic matter. Self-replicating molecules may be able to replicate themselves through chemical reactions. Such lifeless molecules, however, do not contain the information necessary to support and reproduce life. Such molecules have been synthesized through an investment of energy and intelligence by people in the lab. They did not make themselves. No such molecules were ever found in nature.

To understand the probability of encoding survivable DNA by chance, let's look at the following example. We will not ask how long it will take a monkey with a typewriter to produce all the writings of Shakespeare. Instead, we will ask how long will it take a monkey to randomly type the first 12 letters of the ABC in the correct order. At a typing rate of one letter per second without external guidance, the probability is once in 3 billion years! And, if we want to produce all the 26 letters of the ABC in the correct order, how many monkeys will it take, and how long will it take them? Without external guidance, the probability is that 400 trillion monkeys might do it once in 400 trillion years! The orderliness in RNA and DNA is much higher than the 26 letters of the ABC. It takes hundreds or thousands of genes to encode survivable DNA. The rate of biological changes in large quantities of matter is much slower than one per second. So, the probability of getting it right, without external guidance, is many orders of magnitude lower. The wildest most imaginative theories cannot explain such a high degree of orderliness without external guidance.

Some imaginative theories propose that life was not initiated on earth. The first DNA was carried to earth on a meteorite from outer space. How exactly would such living organisms survive the glowing-white temperatures experienced by meteorites during their travel through the atmosphere?

In the 1920's and 1930's, Oparin and Haldane proposed another theory as if life in nature started in a Primordial Soup pond. According to this theory, lifeless chemicals in this pond turned into living organisms by lightning strikes or some other source of energy. This theory has been presented to students, academics, and the general public as if it were an irrefutable scientific fact. Let's calculate what is the minimum possible quantity of materials necessary to initiate a living organism in such a pond. Then, we will compare this quantity to the size of planet earth. This thought experiment is about an attempt to initiate the very first independently survivable DNA, before any other life processes have a chance to begin. It is not about an attempt to change or improve an existing form of life.

All DNA is encoded with four nucleotide bases which serve as the coding building blocks. In the following analysis we will ignore the resources required to complete the biochemical reactions necessary to compose and duplicate the nucleotide base molecules. We will also ignore the mechanisms by which nucleotide bases join other molecules in a survivable sequence to form the DNA structure. The following analysis will focus only on the probability and quantity of organic materials necessary to initiate the information contents carried by the DNA in the first living organism.

Each gene coding location contains one of the four possible bases. Each gene is composed of hundreds or thousands of such bases. The number of genes in most living organisms is between about 1000 and 40,000. Therefore, the probability of randomly composing a survivable DNA is much less than 10-1000 (less than 1 chance out of 101000 possibilities). Now let's imagine an attempt to create the minimal possible variations of genetic codes with the hope of discovering and initiating the very first one which is capable of absorbing food, metabolizing it, repeatedly reproducing itself, and surviving.

The cell-size of most independently survivable living organisms is between 1 micron and a few hundred microns. (Viruses are smaller, however they are symbiotic organisms - unable to survive on their own without a host. In the absence of live hosts, symbiotic organisms could not have been the first ones to appear. Organisms which depend on food produced by other organisms could also not have been the first ones to appear.) Let's attempt to create the smallest imaginable non-symbiotic organism at a size of 0.1 microns. This size is less than any known non-symbiotic organism in nature and less than the smallest theoretically possible size of 0.2 microns. Using this size in the calculation, will give us a lower limit of the total volume of materials necessary to find at least one survivable organism.

We can minimize the number of experimental cells by requiring only 200 nucleotide bases in the entire DNA of each cell. There are no known living organisms and there are no theories which predict the possibility of living organisms with such a small number of bases. Such a short genetic code cannot support even the most primitive form of a living organism. It is not known how many additional bases will be required before at least one of the permutations will produce a survivable living organism. This number is probably in the thousands. However, using only 200 bases in the calculation will give us a lower limit of the total number of experimental cells necessary to find at least one independently survivable organism.

200 base locations will yield 4200 possible permutations which is 10120. Multiplying 4200 by the volume of a 0.1 micron cell yields a volume of 1099 cubic meters as the lower-limit volume of materials in this over-simplified experiment. The volume of planet earth is 1021 cubic meters. Therefore, the lower-limit volume of materials necessary to randomly produce a living organism is 1078 times the volume of planet earth.

This analysis shows that even if such a short genetic code could somehow create a living organism, and even if this organism could be as small as 0.1 microns, getting it randomly initiated in nature would still need a volume of organic matter which is 78 orders of magnitude larger than the total volume of planet earth
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This experiment and all possible DNA permutations do not need to be constructed all at once. Let's investigate a hypothesis as if the attempt to randomly initiate life on planet earth lasted a period of 3 billion years, as some theories propose. If we allocate one day for each step in the experiment, and divide the lower-limit volume of necessary experimental organisms (1099 cubic meters) by the number of days in 3 billion years, we obtain a necessary daily volume of 1066 times the volume of planet earth for each step in the experiment. If we allocate just one second for each step, the volume of organisms during each such step still needs to be more than 1061 times the volume of planet earth. Some chemical reactions can occur as fast as one picosecond. If we allocate one picosecond for each step in the experiment, the lower-limit volume of experimental organisms during each such step would still be more than 1049 times the volume of planet earth. The volume of space taken up by the Milky Way galaxy is of the order of 1061 cubic meters. Therefore, the minimum necessary volume of experimental organisms during each one-picosecond step is larger than 109 times the total volume of the Milky Way galaxy.

In summary, the lower-limit quantity of organic matter needed to randomly initiate the smallest and most primitive form of life in nature, compared to the size of planet earth, demonstrates how futile such an attempt would be. It proves that random initiation of life in nature is absolutely impossible. Therefore, the Primordial Soup theory proposed by Oparin and Haldane and all other similar theories are nothing but human imagination. DNA as the carrier of genetic codes was not yet discovered at their times. Had they known about the complex structure of DNA, they would not have proposed such a theory.

The English Professor Anthony Flew was, for half a century, the world's leading authority on atheism. When he learned, in 2004, about the breaking of the genetic code in DNA, he changed his mind and announced that he believes in God as a first cause. The structure of DNA, he explained, was so awesomely complex that it could not have just evolved. It must have been designed and created by God.

Editorial Note: Anthony Flew is not the only person to be shaken by the implications of the DNA code and by the unfolding knowledge of genes. Many scientists, who were atheists, have become believers – including Dr. Francis Collins, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in mapping the human genome. Dr. Collins famously said, “I have seen the mind of God”.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran’s Twitter Revolution

It’s true that most people and even 75% of Twitter members have no idea of Twitter’s power. I’ve tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to get most of my friends to join and use Twitter (a free service), but most don’t join, or else they join and don’t really use it. The problem is, it’s almost impossible to explain Twitter, because you have to join it and then you have to dig in and use some of its tools and add-ons to appreciate its power.

Iran’s Twitter Revolution

by Ross Kaminsky 06/18/2009 HumanEvents.com

What neither the U.N. nor the European Union have been able to do, what the Great Satan is too preoccupied with its finances to even try, may be accomplished by a social-networking internet site called Twitter.

Quasi-nuclear Iran, the principal sponsor of terrorism in the world, may be enjoying a revolt against the oppressive regime of the ayatollahs that is made possible by hitherto unavailable -- and convenient, cheap and nearly ublockable -- communications between protesters.

If you’re not posting to the #iranelection hashtag with your green-overlayed avatar, chances are you’re missing what is probably the single most important political use of technology in history: The Iranian “Twitter Revolution.”

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is essentially an enormous chat room but with a few very important modifications: Users can “follow” other users, getting each “tweet” those users send out -- you don’t have to see every message from every Twitter user. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so you never have to read long rants. You can reply or you can “retweet,” sending out a tweet you received so that your followers, who may be a different group than those you follow, can see something you think important. And, most importantly for the purposes of using Twitter as an effective informational and organizing tool, you can attach a “hashtag” (a pound sign “#” followed by letters and/or numbers) to a tweet and users can follow particular hashtags.

For example, the hashtag #tcot represents “Top Conservatives on Twitter,” a group with over 5,000 members, while #iphone and #teaparty are exactly what you think (unless you think the latter is about sitting down and drinking tea.) But the critical hashtag of the week is undoubtedly “#iranelection,” with tens of thousands of Twitter users -- most importantly in Iran -- communicating among each other and with the wider world 140 characters at a time.

Make no mistake: This is a huge threat to the Iranian regime -- a pro-liberty movement being fomented and organized in short sentences. And while we’ve talked about “mass communication” for decades, we’ve never truly seen communication for the masses until these past few days.

As I write this (Wednesday), I’m consistently seeing upwards of 40 tweets per minute coming through in the #iranelection category. Messages range from (most importantly) people in Iran reporting what’s going on in the streets (“All foreign news reporters in Iran locked down in their hotels,” “Rumors of Hamas helping Iran regime suppress dissent”), to Americans reflecting on what they’re learning (“Iran protesters, please keep it going. Help your kids!”), to tech-geek hints on how to help pro-Democracy Iranians circumvent their government’s attempts to stop them.

Another important aspect of Twitter is that its messages can be sent and received as cell phone text messages, making it an extremely powerful organizing tool. You may have heard, for example, about Twitter being used by the organizers of Tax Day Tea Parties in the U.S. But that -- and every prior use of Twitter and the internet, at least for politics -- pales in comparison to what is happening in Iran.

The impact of Twitter on events in Iran has been noticed by our usually dictator-compliant State Department, which risked insulting the ayatollahs by contacting Twitter to request they postpone a scheduled system maintenance down-time. Even al-Jazeera is commenting on the importance of technology, including Twitter, in what I hope is the Second Iranian Revolution.

Despite being old men with little exposure to leading-edge technology, Iran’s ruling Guardian Council understands the essential value of communication to freedom: If they can communicate freely, no people can be long enslaved.

The Iranian government has taken substantial steps to limit their citizens’ ability to use the internet. They have blocked most access to Facebook and other sites, have limited text messaging, and have cut the nation’s “bandwidth,” meaning the speed with which one can send information through the internet, but have stopped short of simply cutting of the nation’s internet connectivity (probably because they need it themselves.) However, with “tweets” of only 140 characters or less, bandwidth is a non-issue (as opposed to, for example, transmitting videos).

While it is impossible to prove, it appears the government is creating fictional Twitter users for their own purposes: trying to find, disrupt, and arrest pro-Democracy agitators and organizers, and trying to spread misinformation. Indeed, there is now at least one web page dedicated to weeding out and blocking “fake Iran election tweeters.” For example, Tuesday there were repeated “retweets” of a message saying the army was moving in to crush protests in Tehran. The tone of the note was suspicious, and although such an occurrence is not beyond possibility, it struck me as more likely a government agent trying to scare people away from joining the protests. News reports never confirmed the claim of the army’s movements.

But just as the Iranian regime infiltrates Twitter, users look for their own defenses, warning not to “retweet” messages from Iran and to look for confirmation before believing any claims of major importance. It’s an entirely new sort of battle, and one which the mullahs are not likely to win -- which is not to say that this battle will necessarily be decisive in Iran’s nascent revolution. For example, while the regime is busy trying to block Twitter and other sites directly, supporters of the Iranian protesters are setting up “proxies” outside Iran -- computers which Iranians can access and go through to get to Twitter and elsewhere. It’s only a matter of time until the regime finds and blocks a given proxy, but that time represents extra hours of pro-freedom communication and organizing for another ten or fifty or more courageous Iranians.

The Iranian government is reportedly stepping up their efforts to block Twitter and other forms of electronic communication. Some think the increased censorship was tied to Twitter messages to the Iranian soccer team, which was playing in Korea, urging the players to wear green wrist bands in solidarity with the protestors. Pictures of players on the field seem to show they did just that, though Photoshop makes almost any image possible to create. It was widely reported on Twitter (and then elsewhere) that the players removed the wristbands at halftime.

No wonder the mullahs are afraid of Twitter if it can not only help organize protests within their country but also stir up pro-freedom reactions thousands of miles away. It isn’t surprising that a CBS reporter says that all access to Twitter was blocked in Iran as of Wednesday morning. Well, until the young, tech-savvy population there finds a way around the mullah’s electronic muzzle.

I, like many others, was somewhat skeptical of Twitter but decided to get involved with it a few weeks ago after talking with conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. I asked her for her thoughts on the Twitter revolution in Iran: “I've tried to persuade friends for months that Twitter is much, much more than a celebrity vanity tool. The Iranian uprising has shattered that myth once and for all. In the hands of freedom-loving dissidents, the micro-blogging social network is a revolutionary samizdat -- undermining the mullah-cracy's information blockades one Tweet at a time.”

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Disaster Brewing on Healthcare

Another disaster is brewing as Obama seems to be winning the public perception battle regarding government-supplied healthcare. This is despite all the warnings about the failure of similar systems in places like Canada and England, and the absolute certainty that government healthcare will raise costs, and quickly lead to shortages of doctors and procedures, rationing and denials of treatments to certain patients. All this can be predicted, but Americans are not paying close attention.

Now we also have the model of the failure of the Massachusetts experiment in a government-mandated heathcare system to observe. Will it make any difference?

Massachusetts Miracle or Massachusetts Miserable: What the Failure of the "Massachusetts Model" Tells Us about Health Care Reform

Published on June 9, 2009 by Michael D. Tanner

Michael Tanner is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It (2007).

• Although the state has reduced the number of residents without health insurance, 200,000 people remain uninsured. Moreover, the increase in the number of insured is primarily due to the state's generous subsidies, not the celebrated individual mandate.

• Health care costs continue to rise much faster than the national average. Since 2006, total state health care spending has increased by 28 percent. Insurance premiums have increased by 8–10 percent per year, nearly double the national average.
• New regulations and bureaucracy are limiting consumer choice and adding to health care costs.

• Program costs have skyrocketed. Despite tax increases, the program faces huge deficits. The state is considering caps on insurance premiums, cuts in reimbursements to providers, and even the possibility of a "global budget" on health care spending—with its attendant rationing.

• A shortage of providers, combined with increased demand, is increasing waiting times to see a physician.

With the "Massachusetts model" frequently cited as a blueprint for health care reform, it is important to recognize that giving the government greater control over our health care system will have grave consequences for taxpayers, providers, and health care consumers. That is the lesson of the Massachusetts model.

Older Americans should also take note of the many statements coming from Obama Administration members that Obamacare will largely be paid for by reducing and rationing health services and procedures to seniors on Medicare and on Medicaid. Tell your senior friends to let Congress know that we will not stand for this!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama Reveals True Nature by Smearing IG Walpin

If you think fired former Inspector General Gerald Walpin has become senile, as is now being alleged by Obama, view this video of him defending himself last week on Glen Beck’s show:

If video does not load, go here.

Cross-posted from HotAir.com:

Obama playing hardball on Walpin as key Dem calls foul

June 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama administration went into hardball mode in its quest to rid itself of a troublesome Inspector General and to protect a sweetheart deal for a political ally. The White House sent a letter to Congress last night that accused Gerald Walpin of senility in all but name, alleging that Walpin had been confused and disoriented at a key meeting. However, that hardly fits with the manner in which the Obama administration attempted to push Walpin out of his post:

“Mr. Walpin was removed after a review was unanimously requested by the bi-partisan Board of the Corporation,” Obama ethics counsel Norm Eisen wrote in a letter to senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.), with a copy directed to McCaskill. “The Board’s action was precipitated by a May 20, 2009 Board meeting at which Mr. Walpin was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the Board to question his capacity to serve.”

“We further learned that Mr. Walpin had been absent from the Corporation’s headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objections of the Corporation’s Board; that he had exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers; and that he had engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct,” Eisen wrote.

Reached at his home in New York Tuesday night, Walpin called the allegations in the Eisen letter “absolutely amazing.”

“Anybody who’s heard me speaking more than I’m used to speaking on radio and TV in recent days, obviously under great pressure from what happened would clearly know that I know what I’m saying and what I’m doing and I’m not incoherent,” Walpin told POLITICO. “There’s nothing confusing about malfeasance and there’s nothing confusing about what appears to be the fact that they terminated me because I was doing my job because the White House wanted to protect people who proclaim they are friends of the White House.”

Let’s unwind the timeline a bit to test this new allegation. Walpin pressed hard to prosecute Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson for defrauding the government over more than $400,000 in community service grants. Johnson, an Obama supporter, got a deal from the White House that allowed him to manage federal funds again and avoid paying back at least half of the grant money he used illegally. The White House cut Walpin out of those negotiations, and Walpin went to Congress about it.

At that point, the White House called Walpin and told him he had an hour to resign or be fired. Now, if the White House thought that Walpin was somehow incapacitated or disoriented, why bother to make that call at all? In fact, wouldn’t an employer with an ounce of empathy send the employee to a physician for diagnosis first? Even without the empathy, the proper course would have been to address the issue with Congress first instead of making an intimidation attempt to someone the White House now paints as all but senile.

This is nothing more than a bare-knuckled smear job, a despicable attempt to use allegations of mental illness to discredit someone who ran afoul of Barack Obama for taking the independence of his job seriously. That may play in Chicago, and it used to play in Moscow, but it shouldn’t play in Washington DC and America.

Senator Claire McCaskill became the first Democrat in Congress to demand a better explanation:

“The White House has failed to follow the proper procedure in notifying Congress as to the removal of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service. The legislation which was passed last year requires that the president give a reason for the removal. ‘Loss of confidence’ is not a sufficient reason. I’m hopeful the White House will provide a more substantive rationale, in writing, as quickly as possible,” McCaskill said.

They can’t provide the real reason, which is that Walpin went after a political ally of the President’s. That’s why they’re calling him senile instead. Let’s hope that a few more Democrats with principle stand up to the White House’s bullying and politicization of the Inspectors General.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nancy’s Press Conference and Human Frailty

It seems to be one of the unpleasant aspects of the character of some people to attack those who assume responsibility and take action in a crisis. When the crisis is over, people of mean dispositions and small minds ignore the previous circumstances and begin throwing bombs – sometimes even at the level of nit-picking. Perhaps this makes them feel better about their own inadequacies.

This was my reaction way back in the 1950’s to most of the charges from the right, led by Senator McCarthy and Roy Cohn, after many perceptive people saw in the Great Depression, with millions of Americans out of work and destitute, the failure and collapse of our free-market, capitalist system. Lots of people saw in communism and socialism an answer to our nation’s problems, and worked to bring such a system to power in the USA. They were wrong, but they were not criminals.

Another example of this phenomenon occurred in New Orleans after Katrina, when a doctor, Dr. Anna Pou, and two nurses were arrested and charged with murder after they attempted to ease the suffering of elderly, bedridden patients by putting them to sleep before they were drowned by Katrina flood waters. Fortunately, sober minds prevailed when the Grand Jury refused to indict them.

I see the same thing happening today, as the efforts of the Bush Administration seem to have been successful in warding off the efforts of the Islamists to kill Americans. Small-minded people with meanness in their character now want to punish those who took responsibility and acted. This is what is behind the efforts of those on the left to hurl cries of ‘torture’ and “lies” at the CIA and military personnel who protected us – and at the attorneys who decided that existing laws permitted a certain level of ‘rough questioning’.

I ran into that same mindset myself as I stepped into the breach when Hurricane Charley not only destroyed my condo, but overwhelmed the physical, emotional and mental health of some of the other Directors on the Board. None of the other owners knew what to do or was willing to step up, but after the crisis was over and the rebuilding was complete, the boo-birds started.

I was able to ignore them, but people with their lives and careers at stake can not. Let’s help them out by getting rid of their most despicable critic, Speaker of the House (and third in line of succession) Nancy Pelosi. Let’s not let Congress forget that bizarre press conference and her attempts to libel the CIA. Let’s urge Congress to end the recent silence on this matter and rise up to their responsibilities.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

After the Tea Parties By Quin Hillyer

A major problem facing true conservatives is not only that of reducing the influence of the RINOs who have led us down the path to defeat, but whether or not the Republican Party will ever stand for the principles and values that made this country the greatest in the world. Moving the party to embrace the policies of the Reagan years seems almost hopeless, but the record of third parties is not one laced with success either. Perhaps Quin Hillyer in the article below has the answer:

After the Tea Parties

By Quin Hillyer June, 2009 American Spectator (Excerpt)

"What do conservatives do after the Tea Parties? What do you do when the protests are over? How do you harness all that energy? How do you turn it into a permanent force?

When hundreds of thousands of people— by some counts, well over a half million—protested nationwide against big-government-gone-wild on April 15, the near-spontaneous passion of the “Tea Party” demonstrators gave a major boost to the spirits of more seasoned conservative activists. And even bigger, more organized Tea Parties are reportedly on tap for July 4. But it’s one thing to get people to voice their frustrations; it’s a much more difficult thing to channel those frustrations into something long-lastingly positive.

The good news is that even before anybody dreamed of the Tea Parties, a number of conservative grassroots organizations, almost completely divorced from Washington/New York direction, were mobilizing in the far-flung towns and cyberspace wikis of this great nation. Candidate recruitment and training, media and Internet entrepreneurial efforts, intellectual stimulation and policy innovation, all are getting jolts of energy and talent from new organizations. Even better, many of those organizations were well positioned to build directly on the Tea Party momentum while working to create the next generation of conservative political infrastructure. Indeed, one such organization, American Majority, almost immediately posted a new website called, yes, AfterTheTeaParty.com. “Run for local office,” says one sub-link at the site. “Be an activist,” says another. “Support Freedom!” says a third. American Majority’s main objective is to recruit and train candidates for local and state offices such as town councils, school boards, county commissions, and state legislators—or, if people just don’t want to run for office, to at least train them to be effective activists. “You have to move from protesting to becoming ‘implementers,’” said American Majority President Ned Ryun. “We are saying to people: We will empower you. If you want to be involved, we will give you the tools.”

Ryun continued: “We’re trying to stay very much on the cutting edge, to teach things like: How do you use Twitter, how do you use Facebook, Plurk, and Ning? How do you use social networking tools in campaigns or in building coalitions or in building communities of like-minded citizens? We’re really trying to stay on the cutting edge—and trying to professionalize as much as possible.”

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, OF COURSE, offer candidate training among their options—including the venerable Leadership Institute, which in its training of potential candidates, campaign managers, youth leaders, student journalists, campus organizers, and others remains one of conservatism’s greatest resources.

But what American Majority does is to focus specifically at the grassroots, at the local level—and locates full-time staff in those local areas to build relationships, actively search for political talent, and convince activists that they may have a calling in local public office. In short, rather than waiting for potential leaders to self-select, American Majority goes out into the local communities and finds those leaders—and then teaches them not only how to run and win campaigns, but how to navigate the politics and policies of their new offices after they win.

“We’re trying to create that broad deep bench of future leaders who have a good perspective on the proper role of government and then give them the tools to implement those policy ideas,” Ryun said. To do that, American Majority unofficially partners with state-level conservative think tanks to create site-specific manuals about how to serve in office—what the jobs entail, what policies are at issue, how the system works. And its local staff stays in touch after their training sessions and serves as a sounding board and knowledge resource, as well as providing continued encouragement and “moral support.”

American Majority has chapters in six states so far—Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Texas—and expects to expand into two or three more by year’s end. On April 7, its training was put to the test in both Oklahoma and Kansas, with city council races in the former and school board and city council races in Kansas. In Kansas, candidates it trained won 23 of 54 races, and in Oklahoma the record was even better: 17 of 27. Of those 17, 16 were first-time candidates.

“What the American Majority people helped me to do was to define how I can give back by showing me that my unique perspective will matter and does matter,” said one of those winning candidates, new school board member Todd Biggs of Pittsburg, Kansas. “The American Majority let me know that I wasn’t alone and that my opinion counts.”

Not only that, he said, but when he faced a last-minute choice about whether to run for the four-year term he had intended, or to switch and run for an open two-year term against “a big-wig from the local university,” as he called him, it was to American Majority’s local chief, Dennis Wilson, that he turned for unofficial advice. Biggs ran for the two-year term, and endured his opponent bragging at a key public forum about how many people the opponent could call in Washington to get things done for the local schools.

Biggs, who runs a landscaping business and “gets [his] hands dirty every day,” said his American Majority training helped him keep his wits when he would otherwise have felt outclassed. “Folks,” he told the audience, “I can’t call a single person in Washington, D.C., for you, but the people of Pittsburg, Kansas, have my phone number and when you call, I’ll listen, and that’s what’s really important here.” Biggs won with 55 percent of the vote.

AMERICAN MAJORITY'S PRESIDENT, Ned Ryun, and his identical twin Drew, age 36, are both longtime conservative activists. Drew just left a top job at the conservative American Center for Law and Justice to return to oversee the American Majority efforts in Oklahoma and Texas; Ned was a co-founder of the Generation Joshua program that provides character- and civic-education for youths aged 11-19. (The Ryuns are sons of former international track world-record holder and later five-term U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun.) Their American Majority originally was conceived (but is organizationally independent from) the Sam Adams Alliance, which is another key, fairly new player on the grassroots conservative scene. Sam Adams, founded in December 2006, is particularly focused on training people how to use new media tools, especially “wikis” (as in Wikipedia), and using them as tools to “advance economic and individual liberty.”

“Our political system is dysfunctional,” said Eric O’Keefe, chairman of the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance. “Congress is unrepresentative; government is out of control and the political parties are part of the system, both of them. So I am working on supporting independent infrastructure so that citizens can be heard and be effective and support mission- based, principled organizations.”" American Spectator

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who’s the Fool Now, Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?



The attempts to marginalize Sarah Palin with insults, false charges and crude jokes are clearly because they fear her and they hate her. Yes, some left-wing pundits like Katie Couric were able to trip her up due to her lack of experience in the big leagues of talking heads and vicious, left-wing blogs and journalists, but let no-one forget that it was Joe Biden who made a fool of himself in his debate with Palin. During the debate, Biden made 17 documented errors of fact on the Consitution and on recent history, particularly in foreign affairs, while Sarah made none. In office now, VP Joe Biden makes at least one gaffe a day, and is taken seriously by no-one.

This is the video that the left particularly hates:

Everyone who watched the Republican convention saw a scene of unscripted beauty unfold that told a story of family love and big (little) sister devotion that brought tears to most of us. It told us more about the qualities of Sarah Palin than any speech or examination of her record could. It told us that a woman with five children successfully holding down one of the toughest jobs in the United States managed to raise a family that loves and respects one another. It showed us a little girl lovingly holding and grooming her baby brother. It showed us the soul of the Palin family.





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Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear David Letterman By Michelle Malkin

The left's and Letterman's obsession with Sarah Palin didn't just start the other night. They have been going after her in every way possible, from a succession of obscene jokes to a never-ending series of ethics complaints filed against her in Alaska and then dismissed. Teams of lawyers paid by the Democratic Party have been dispached to Alaska to pour through her garbage to find something, anything to get her on, and if they find nothing, they make up charges.

This is not the way we want to do things in America. If you haven't already, please complain about Letterman to CBS and/or to the sponsors of his show. Maybe we can put a stop to this nonsense. See this post.

Dear David Letterman

By Michelle Malkin June 12, 2009 RealClearPolitics

Will you teach your son to talk about women and girls the way you talk about Sarah Palin and her daughters?

You called the married 45-year-old mother, grandmother and Alaska governor a "slutty flight attendant" on your national TV talk show because she happens to be a tall, beautiful and dynamic public figure who doesn't look, walk or talk the way you think she should.

You joked on national television about Palin's teenage daughter "getting knocked up" by professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez or solicited by the prostitute-addicted former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer because it's acceptable in your social and professional circles to sneer at the children of politicians you despise.

You admitted that your attacks on Palin's family were in "poor taste," but cackled while acknowledging your sophomoric judgment.

You expressed moral indignation at being misconstrued, yet you purposely omitted the name of the daughter you were mocking.

Fourteen-year-old Willow Palin was the daughter who accompanied Gov. Palin on her trip this week, not 18-year-old Bristol Palin, whom you now claim was the target of your feckless smear -- a smear you still insist is perfectly defensible. Look at yourself, Dave. Look at how lame your excuse-making was on your Wednesday night show:

"These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don't think it's funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn't put it in a joke..."

Tell us, great comic genius, how tacking on four years to the target daughter makes it funny? We unenlightened dim bulbs who live outside of Manhattan's boundaries don't get the joke.

Will you be able to explain it to your son?

Face it: David Letterman, late-night entertainer turned partisan hack and hit man, has a deranged obsession with Palin and her family that has crossed into rank bigotry and hatred. If the CBS network cares about basic standards of decency on public airwaves and if it cares at all about bolstering its shrinking audience, the network honchos will get Letterman a therapist pronto.

Over the past year, Letterman has displayed his sexist, elitist stripes in jibe after jibe aimed at Palin. Taken cumulatively, Letterman's mockery is about much more than expressing contempt for the popular GOP governor. It's a handy device to deride a broad class of working-class and middle-class women he holds in contempt:

"You know, she reminds me, she looks like the flight attendant who won't give you a second can of Pepsi. No, you've had enough. We're landing. Looks like the waitress at the coffee shop who draws a little smiley face on your check. Have a nice day."

"She looks like the dip sample lady at Safeway. She looks like the nurse who weighs you and then makes you sit alone in your underwear for 20 minutes. She looks like the Olive Garden hostess who says, 'I'm sorry, your table isn't ready yet.' She looks like the infomercial lady who says she made $64,000 a month flipping condos."

"She looks like the lady at the bakery who yells out '44! 45!' She looks like a real estate agent whose picture you see on the bus stop bench. That's who she looks like. She looks like the lady who has a chain of cupcake stores."

In November 2008, Letterman told tanking CBS News anchor Katie Couric that he was "aroused" by Palin. In March 2009, Letterman attacked Bristol and snickered about her being "knocked up" again.

Letterman reminds me of the lecher at the school bus stop. Or the aging creep lurking in the dirty magazine section at the 7-Eleven.

Attention, CBS: Get him help now.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

In Case You Missed John Voight's Message

John Voight, one of the few Hollywood stars who has some connection to real life, has made several appearances on TV this week with a vital message, as presented in this speech to Republican organizations. He could not have said it better.

If this video doesn't load, go here.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More on the Disgusting Dave Letterman

This is a followup post to the article below that I published concerning the despicable filth coming out of the mouth of Dave Letterman aimed at Governor Palin and her family.

Statement by Governor Palin regarding Letterman’s disgusting jokes:

"Any 'jokes' about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too."

- Todd Palin

"Concerning Letterman's comments about my young daughter (and I doubt he'd ever dare make such comments about anyone else's daughter): 'Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands - that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone's daughter, contribute to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.'"

- Governor Sarah Palin

These are Dave Letterman’s sponsors:

TV.com
On The Border Restaurants
Best Western
Intel
CBSports.com
JohnFreida.com
DiTech
Lexus
Earn My Degree
True Credit by TransUnion
Lifelock
Bowflex
Mars Candy
Capitol One
LasikPlus
Embassy Suites
EBay

This is a link to CBS where you can send them a message.

This is a link to a website dedicated to exposing the viciousness of Letterman’s treatment of Governor Palin and her family.

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The Totally Disgusting Dave Letterman

It's long been no secret that comedian Dave Letterman is a vicious leftist who will do and say anything to tear down anyone with conservative leanings, and he has made it a point many times to attack with disgusting, vile jokes the character of Governor Sarah Palin. The left must really fear her and the traditional values she believes in and represents to keep focusing on her with so many attempts to destroy her reputation and character. From Alan Colmes and his charge that Sarah caused her son's Down Syndrome, to the many liberal talking heads and blogs that reported that Trig was really her grandson, we can add the rumour that Sarah's husband was having sex with their daughter. Lies were also spread by liberal Democrats that Sarah went after an Alaskan state trooper on a personal vendetta, as well as many ethics charges that were made against her.

All of these ridiculous charges have either been dismissed or were false on their face. Every decent person in this country should stand up for Sarah Palin and let these vipers know that this nonsense will not be tolerated and will gain them nothing. Please support her regardless of how you feel about her political future.

As for Dave Letterman, these videos show how nasty he can be. He is some piece of work.

If this video doesn't load, go here.


If this video doesn't load, go here.
Sarah Palin's daughter, Willow, is only 14 years old.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We Pay Such a Price for Ignoring Common Sense


A question for the ages is why the class of people we call the “intelligentsia” always seems to get the really big questions wrong. The three great movements that captured their attention: Freudianism, Marxism and Darwinism (and the present-day, “man-made global warming”) have now all been proven wrong by events or by scientific advances, but you would never know it from the positions of the organizations and bureaucracies that represent them, pushing on and trying to ridicule those calling attention to the events and to the science.

1. “Together with Marx and Freud, he (Darwin) is one of that triumvirate of imaginative thinkers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries whose assertion of the priority of the scientific view 'would occupy the centre stage of Western thought for so long.

'Darwin made theological and spiritual explanations of life superfluous'; Douglas Futuyma of the University of New York State observes. 'Together with Marx's theory of history and Freud's attribution of human behaviour to influences over which we have little control, the theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of materialist science.'

Each denied the reality of the self as an autonomous being 'free to choose', claiming rather that human action is determined by a powerful hidden force, whether economic, psychic or (loosely speaking) genetic - over which the individual has no control. Each saw himself as a materialist, and was hostile to religion, which for Marx was famously 'the opium of the people', and for Freud 'an infantile yearning for a powerful protective father', while Darwin confided in his cousin Francis Galton, 'I gave up religious belief almost independently of my own reflections'.

Darwin's contributing 'plank' to that 'platform of materialist science' alone endures - but for how much longer? It certainly seems surprising in retrospect that Marx's and Freud's self-evidently erroneous theories should have proved so persuasive to so many and for so long. Now it is the turn of Darwin, whose reputation can scarcely survive the devastating verdict of the findings of the recent past. Before long he must fill that vacant chair in heaven alongside Marx and Freud, at which point the triumvirate will be complete. As for ourselves, the eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope could not, it now appears, have put it more succinctly:

Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurled
the glory, jest and riddle of the world!”

1. From page 261 of the book, “Why Us?”, by James Le Fanu, Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 2009.

And from the American Spectator today:
Hazardous Times Ahead

By Tom Bethell June, 2009

I worry that by the time Obama is through with us, the U.S. will be a second-class country. A lot of people feel the same way. A similar concern has been in the back of my mind for years. In the Carter era I also worried about the fate of the country, but I have to say that the hazards seem far greater now.

After the Berlin Wall came down I thought the obvious lesson—that socialism doesn’t work—would penetrate the skulls of our domestic intelligentsia. But somehow it never did. They never regard a limit to government expansion as a desirable thing. Nothing seems to have been learned from the fall of Communism—the great history lesson of the 20th century.

Consider health care, much in the news. When I first came to America, people would inquire about Britain’s “socialized medicine.” Their tone was politely skeptical.

Was it really free? Well, no. You’re not charged when you go to the doctor, but everyone pays because taxes are much higher. The National Health Service was introduced in 1948 (it now employs more than 1.3 million people), and before that, if you went to the doctor, you paid for the service. To blunt the blow of misfortune there was private insurance, and doctors recognized a moral obligation of charity toward the indigent.

Today, almost everyone will acknowledge that America’s private health system delivers better services than the state does in Europe. (“Formerly private,” I should have said.) Don’t forget, the Soviet Union also had “free” medical care, and good luck if you went to a doctor in Leningrad.

Maybe things have improved now that it’s St. Petersburg again. Yet today, with little sense of déjà vu, America is moving toward nationalized health. Obama made “a promise” of “affordable high-quality care available to every American.” The thrust of politics will be to make health care much more expensive for the nation as a whole, and of lower quality—without intending any such decline
.


A few words about education: Until the 19th century, it too was something that the customer paid for. By the 1870s, however, all states were providing “free” elementary education. Today, private schooling has become a much more valuable good than it was 50 years ago, when government schools still functioned properly. They had not yet collapsed under the influence of teacher unions, progressive politics, and the decline of the family. So government schooling remained a viable alternative.

Even today, in the better suburbs vigilant parents have been able to maintain standards to some extent by keeping close track of what goes on in school. The true victims of public education are the inner-city poor, where all liberal reforms have worked to their disadvantage. A comparable trend may well reappear with universal health care.

I sometimes wonder whether progressive elites really care about education. My suspicions were aroused when I read in a book by Robert Conquest that Lenin said he didn’t care about the education of the Soviet masses, disavowing Communist propaganda on the issue. All Lenin cared about was whether the proles could understand and obey the Party’s instructions.

Do the liberals care about our chaotic urban schools today? No doubt some do. But effective action would mean challenging unions and the whole progressive mindset. As long as the unions keep delivering the votes, they will continue to exercise a major influence over the Democratic Party and will be allowed to run their own show—whether or not the inner-city kids learn to read or write. The recent shutdown of the voucher program in D.C. showed that the education of poor blacks is not an important consideration for the establishment.

Obama surely does understand that instructing inner-city blacks has become a big problem. But he will only be able to do something about it only if it becomes his top priority. That is not going to happen— other issues will always be more urgent. Instead he will preserve the comfortable fiction that education can be reformed by increasing the dollars appropriated for it.

Let me also say something about the energy madness that engulfs us. Here lies the real threat to America. The carefully stoked fears about “climate change” and “energy independence” have the potential to do real harm. Liberals really believe that oil and coal will have to make way for renewables, notably wind and solar, and they believe that this transformation can happen within a few years. They think goodwill can surmount all problems.

The potential for harm was increased when the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that carbon dioxide threatens our health and welfare. Before that a prudent delay had seemed likely, but the EPA may push Congress into something really foolish
.


I WAS FRUSTRATED BY GEORGE BUSH on the energy front. He failed to confront the bogus science of global warming and he tiptoed around nuclear power. He favored it, but quietly, as though hoping to avoid arousing the opposition. But you either confront the anti-nukes directly or they will defeat you. When irrational fears drive policy, only full-bore presidential power can turn things around.

The same was true of global warming. Bush never accepted that it was man-made, yet he didn’t confront it, even though the scientific support for the warmists’ claim is abysmal. It’s a house of cards that could have collapsed (and could still) with the right opposition. But Bush didn’t want to stick his neck out, and that meant the “warm-mongers” won.

Now we find ourselves in the murky waters of cap and trade. A bill that hits the manufacturing, oil, and coal-producing states with higher taxes will be resisted by lots of Democrats as well as Republicans. But the relevant congressional chairmen are leftist ideologues—Reps. Waxman and Markey and Sen. Boxer—determined to impose big penalties on CO2 emitters. No one knows how this will play out. I was cheered the other day when the president of the Cato Institute, Bill Niskanen, told me that cap and trade won’t pass the Senate. The Democrats just could end up hoist on their own petard.

The propaganda on behalf of “renewables” has been so misleading that most Americans—probably a sizable majority—have no idea how far we are from being able to replace coal, oil, and natural gas with politically correct power sources (which don’t include hydropower). Al Gore actually called for all of the nation’s electricity to come from wind and solar within a decade. Currently, only 1 percent does. Obama wants 10 percent of electricity to come from these sources by the end of his first term, but that too is a fantasy.

Late in the day, some journalists have begun drawing attention to problems with renewables. It was as though they had found out about them for the first time. Climate change advocate Juliet Eilperin reported on page one of the Washington Post that wind and solar projects “may carry costs for wildlife.” The land area needed for renewable energy is far greater than that required by traditional energy sources, she reported. If a nuclear power plant occupies one square mile, for example, 15 square miles would be needed to generate the same power by solar technology and 30 square miles for wind power (according to the Post).

Those ratios struck me as far too low, minimizing the problem. I checked with Howard Hayden, a physicist who puts out a newsletter called The Energy Advocate. For wind farms, he told me, the year-round average output “translates into 300 square miles per 1,000 megawatts, the size of a nuke.” So it seems the Post reduced this particular renewable problem (there are many others) by a factor of 10.

Just about everything we have been told about renewable energy is a fantasy, but that doesn’t mean the Democrats won’t try to cram it down our throats. So get ready for difficult times ahead, and pray for the country.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Who Is Foiling Immigration Enforcement?

For the second day in a row, a very perceptive editorial column appeared in the Providence Journal that explained a lot. Like most traditional and patriotic Americans I have been baffled by the difficulties we, as a nation, have in enforcing our borders. Although I understand that America-hating leftists want to destroy our harmony, it seems self-evident that we are not a sovereign nation if we can not pass and enforce laws that determine who we want to have enter our country and become citizens. It also seems self-evident that, except for political refugees, we want mostly to encourage the immigration of peoples who bring skills that we need into our country.

Why do we have such difficulty carrying out this fundamental concept? This article answers that question.

Interests foil immigration enforcement

JAMES C. SHEEHAN June 3, 2009 Providence Journal

LAWS, IN GENERAL, are intended to provide for the orderly regulation of society and protection of individual liberty. National laws are established for the common good through the democratic process by majority votes in Congress. One such law governs border control and immigration policy. While 72 percent of Americans believe it is “very important” to reduce illegal immigration and enforce the borders (Rasmussen, 2007), this law is not being effectively enforced. If Americans overwhelmingly support effective border control and controlling illegal immigration, why has our government not adequately enforced national immigration law? The answer is simple — an unusual collection of special interest groups have worked successfully to prevent the proper enforcement of immigration laws.

Some oppose the enforcement of immigration laws for altruistic reasons.

They believe that any person should have the opportunity to enter our country, legally or not, to seize their own piece of the American dream, reunite with family, and/or send wages back home. No matter the reason, over time, illegal immigrants become enmeshed in the fabric of their community, establishing strong bonds of friendship and family.

Once this occurs, community members are reluctant to let the lives of these semi-permanent residents be disrupted. Through various social, religious and political organizations, illegal immigrants and their friends and family have organized to prevent the enforcement of established immigration laws. Furthermore, these organizations have sought to normalize the status of illegal immigrants residing here.

One good example of this movement is the push to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants under the pretext of public safety.

A very powerful and well-funded special interest that works hard to combat the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is American business, as represented by state and local chambers of commerce and, by extension, perhaps, some in the Republican Party. These associations battle enforcement of laws such as E-verify, an effective tool requiring employers to verify the legal status of new hires, because they allege that the E-verify system is a burden to businesses. In fact, the E-verify system is cheap, relatively easy to implement, and very accurate. In truth, these groups fight enforcement of E-verify because they must hew to the wishes of numerous chapter members who undoubtedly employ illegal immigrants at below-market wages. In general, this unlawful practice also undermines years of hard-fought labor laws in the workplace.

Moreover, hiring illegal immigrants also denies low-skilled citizens and legal residents an opportunity to work at entry-level jobs, and provides businesses that exploit illegal workers an unfair advantage over their competitors who do not exploit illegals.

Ironically, even some union leaders now oppose the enforcement of America’s immigration laws. Illegal immigrants who are able to obtain false papers are readily hired in various sectors of the economy, such as the hospitality industry or construction. Legal or not, these workers are welcomed by unions because they help to revitalize waning union ranks with fresh dues-paying members. Of course, there is strength in numbers, and illegal workers give union leaders additional clout in negotiations. Interestingly, union leaders arguably can still offer management their services at a relative discount since many of their non-citizen members are probably willing to work for less than citizen workers.

Politically speaking, powerful members of the Democratic Party have a vested interest in illegal immigration, too, because they believe that illegal immigrants who benefit from longstanding Democratic mainstays — social-welfare programs — will vote to support the Democratic Party if they become lawful citizens of this nation. Of course, some claim that illegal immigrants already are voting in large numbers in this country because of weak election laws that often do not require positive identification to register to vote or to cast a vote.

While each of the aforementioned special interests derives some personal benefit from illegal immigration, the burden is shouldered squarely by a majority of lawful citizens. While illegal immigrants pay some taxes, research shows that they do not pay enough to offset the dollars paid out through federal and state government programs that support them. Illegal immigrants receive government-subsidized health care, social services and education that probably can be measured in the billions of dollars annually. Worse yet, illegal immigrants who violate the law are crowded into our nation’s prisons, costing countless millions more.

Our nation is in financial crisis and many states, including Rhode Island, are facing formidable deficits. The U.S. and Rhode Island can no longer afford a de-facto policy of open borders, especially when Rhode Island may be forced to cut aid to cities and towns, education, state worker pensions and health-care benefits to lawful citizens.

Still, it is the confluence of special interests that prevents proper enforcement of immigration laws. Until a majority of citizens take a stand on this issue, some elected representatives will continue to kowtow to the special interests that personally benefit from illegal immigration. After all, many politicians also personally benefit from illegal immigration by way of special-interest contributions and/or voter support at election time.

If you wish to know whose interests your elected officials represent on the issue of illegal immigration, please contact them by visiting: www.sec.state.ri.us/vic.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

I FEEL YOUR PAIN. NOT THEIRS. YOURS.

I FEEL YOUR PAIN. NOT THEIRS. YOURS.

by Ann Coulter May 27, 2009 AnnCoulter.com

God save us from liberal "empathy." After President Barack Obama announced his empathetic Supreme Court nominee this week, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, we found out that some people are more deserving of empathy than others.

For example, Judge Sotomayor apparently "empathized" more with New Haven, Conn., government officials than with white and Hispanic firefighters who were denied promotions by the city on the basis of their race.

Let's hope she's as empathetic to New Haven residents who die in fires fought by inferior firefighters as a result of her decision.

In the now-famous firefighters' case, Ricci v. DeStefano, the New Haven Fire Department administered a civil service exam to choose a new batch of lieutenants and captains. The city went so far as to hire an outside consultant to design the test in order to ensure that it was job-related and not racially biased. (You know, just like all written tests were pre-screened for racial bias back when we were in school.)

But when the results came in, only whites and Hispanics scored high enough to earn promotions.

Such results never entice Democrats to reconsider their undying devotion to the teachers' unions that routinely produce students who can't read, write or do basic math. Obviously, disadvantaged children from single-parent homes suffer the most from inadequate public schools -- and their tragic outcome bedevils the entire society for the rest of the students' lives.

Instead, Democrats hide the failure of government schools by punishing the high-scoring whites, Asians and Hispanics, who presumably learned everything they know at home. (If only successfully applying a condom were relevant to firefighting, public school graduates raised in single-parent homes would crush the home-learners!)

So naturally, New Haven city officials decided to scrap the exam results and promote no one.

Seventeen of the high-scoring whites and one high-scoring Hispanic sued the mayor, John DeStefano, and other city officials for denying them promotions solely because of their race.

The district court ruled that there was no race discrimination because the low-scoring blacks were not given promotions either -- citing the landmark case, One Bad Apple v. The Rest of the Barrel. (That's the sort of sophistry we're taught in law school.)

Concerned that Sotomayor's famed "empathy" might not shine through in cases such as Ricci v. DeStefano, the Democrats are claiming -- as Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said on MSNBC -- that she was merely applying "precedent" to decide the case. You know, just like conservatives say judges should.

This was an interesting claim, in the sense that it was the exact polar opposite of the truth.

To be sure, there is "precedent" for racial discrimination by the government, but Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education. If Sotomayor had another case in mind, she wasn't telling: The lower court's dismissal of the firefighters' case was upheld by Sotomayor and two other judges in an unsigned, unpublished opinion, titled, "Talk to the Hand
."


Not only that, but Sotomayor's fellow Clinton appointee, Jose Cabranes (who sounds like an "empathetic" fellow), issued a blistering dissent from the appellate court's denial of a rehearing specifically on the grounds that the case "raises important questions of first impression in our Circuit -- and indeed, in the nation."

A "case of first impression" means there's no precedent. If there were a precedent, it would be a case of, at least, "second impression."

If it were merely "empathy" that explained liberal judges' lawless opinions, one might expect some liberal judges to have empathy for the white and Hispanic firefighters being discriminated against today, and others to have empathy for the hypothetical black firefighters discriminated against in times past.

But all liberals only have empathy for the exact same victims -- always the ones that are represented by powerful liberal interest groups. As Joe Sobran says, it takes a lot of clout to be a victim.

Thus, the media and Democrats seem to find successful Hispanic attorney Sotomayor much more "empathetic" than successful Hispanic attorney Miguel Estrada.

After aggressively blocking Estrada's nomination to a federal appeals court during Bush's first term solely on the grounds that he is Hispanic and was likely headed for the Supreme Court -- according to Senate Democrat staff memos -- now Democrats have the audacity to rave that Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice!

If Sotomayor is not more empathetic than Estrada, liberals at least consider her more Hispanic -- an interesting conclusion inasmuch as Sotomayor was born in New York and Estrada was born in Honduras.

Forty-four of 48 Senate Democrats voted to filibuster Estrada's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, with congressman and professional Hispanic Raul Grijalva assuring them that just because "he happens to be named 'Estrada' does not give him a free ride."

The truth is liberals couldn't care less about Sotomayor being Hispanic. Indeed, liberals often have trouble telling Hispanic people apart, as James Carville illustrated on "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning when he kept confusing Miguel Estrada with Alberto Gonzales
.



"Empathy ," in Liberalspeak, is nothing but raw political power.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Presidential Approval Index Has Now Reached Zero

The country seems to be coming around to an understanding of what a dangerous demagogue Obama really is. Today's Rasmussen poll:

We are winning the fight to reveal who Obama really is faster than we ever could have hoped. Voters did not pay attention during the campaign, but they are now.

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Obama, Iran, and Israel

Neville Chamberlain taught the world, once and for all, that the way to peace is NOT to reward enemies and sacrifice friends. Would someone tell this to Obama?

Obama, Iran, and Israel
By Richard Baehr June 04, 2009 American Thinker

President Obama has in the past few days indicated that Iran certainly has reason to develop nuclear energy. After all, they are the world's second largest oil exporter. And he will not set any artificial time frames, by the end of which he seeks an Iranian response to his outreach efforts and attempt to dialogue with them. He has said he would like to see "progress" by the end of the year. That makes sense, I guess, since current estimates are that Iran will have completed all the steps to have a nuclear bomb by the end of the year.

The latest outreach effort is a notice sent to all our foreign embassies and consulate offices to invite Iranian officials to their hot dogs and hamburgers party on July 4th. So carrots and sticks for Iran: carrots in the form of pork hot dogs, sticks: well, none yet.

And then there is Israel: Obama and Clinton have laid down their markers: no settlement growth of any kind in the West Bank, and maybe in Jerusalem as well (the Obama administration has been a bit vaguer on this one), though it has stated that Jerusalem must become the capital of a Palestinian state.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, recently chosen as Israel's Prime Minister after a free election in the only democracy in the region, has said that Israel will continue to allow natural growth in existing settlements. Bibi has letters exchanged by former President Bush and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, suggesting that natural growth of settlements should not be a problem, since the US accepts in these letters that the 1949 armistice lines will not be the permanent boundaries of Israel if a peace settlement with the Palestinians, were to be achieved.

Of course Chrysler bondholders can tell Netanyahu how much respect the Obama administration has for such legalisms.

Obama has now indicated he expects an Israeli response to his demands on settlements, meaning they accept his terms (and his legitimacy as Israel's sovereign), in 4 to 6 weeks.

So too, the New York Times has hinted that the US may pressure Israel to accept its terms on settlements by withdrawing support at the United Nations, and no longer blocking resolutions that are unfair and dangerous to Israel. The last President who did this was Jimmy Carter.

Given some mild push-back from a few Jewish Democrats in Congress (this tells you they are hearing complaints from their constituents) -- Gary Ackerman, Anthony Weiner, Shelley Berkley, and even Obama lapdog Robert Wexler, Obama made a brief visit with Ehud Barak yesterday in Washington and even smiled, which is allowed in the presence of Israel's Labor party leader. Obama even reassured one Jewish group (the Jewish Council of Public Affairs) that all is still well in the US Israel relationship, and that US policy on settlements is consistent with the roadmap. There are of course many parts of the roadmap (some of which call for reciprocal steps by both Israel and the Palestinians) that the Palestinians have totally ignored and about which Obama seems unconcerned. To give Obama credit, he has asked the Palestinians to "reduce" their incitement level against Israel. That "demand" will be pretty easy to comply with (say a 2% reduction), all the better to then pressure Israel to meet Obama's total (100%) settlement freeze demand. But hey, I know and you know that Obama means well.

So what is behind this madness -- sleepwalking as Iran completes its nuclear bomb program, and treating Israel as the problem child in the neighborhood?

Increasingly, Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel appears to be masterminding the effort to force Israel's hand, or better yet, force Netanyahu from office, so as to get a more compliant and fearful Israeli leader into the prime minister's office, one who would be ready and willing to give away the store for nothing.

Rahm was part of the Clinton administration, which did not get along with Netanyahu in Bibi's first term as Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999. Rahm has said of Netanyahu recently, "He is a bullshitter". Respectful, at least. Of course, anyone with even a modest understanding of Rahm's take-no-prisoners history (how would he really feel about water-boarding Bibi?) should not be surprised at the new tough" love" for Israel. For this is the kind of regime change Obama favors -- certainly not getting rid of a mass murderer and enemy of America, (and Israel, and Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia) such as Saddam Hussein, but driving from office a freely elected leader of a once-strong ally.

I recall in the months after the 2008 election, receiving multiple copies of emails listing all the Jewish people with key roles or influence appointed by the new administration. Rahm Emanuel led the list. After listing all the names, the email asked: "Is this a Cabinet, or a minyan?" This is what counts as humor on the Jewish left. Of course, Rahm is not a Cabinet member. But to Jews who love to count the Jews in any audience, and feel better with lots of company, this line qualified as touching, heartwarming, and rip-snortingly funny.

In reality, Rahm gives cover to Obama's dramatic policy shift towards Israel. That new reality is that Israel is no longer an ally of the United States. It is, rather, an obstacle in the way of better relations with the Muslim world, and the Arab nations in particular. In essence, Obama has swallowed the message of "The Israel Lobby", the recent book by Professors Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer.

Dennis Ross, a key Obama supporter during the campaign (and also listed on the Jewish minyan email as an advisor on Iran today), has a new book coming out, which argues that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is not so central to all the problems America has in the Muslim world, and certainly is not the crux of the issue with Iran. But Rahm, told a few hundred AIPAC bill-fold heavies in DC last month that the two issues -- progress on Iran (fewer hot dogs will be served without meaningful progress) and progress on the Israeli Palestinian track -- are inextricably linked. And the Israeli Palestinian track comes first. And it is Israel that needs to offer the big concessions.

Obama has pulled back on Guantanamo, and on releasing torture photos, after meeting resistance, and reading the poll numbers on these issues. Obama remains popular personally. But many of his policies and new initiatives are not. Will he fold on Israel? I doubt it. And holding out hope that this will occur certainly tells you all you need to know about Obama and Israel.

Those who shilled for the great leader on his pro-Israel credentials during the campaign will have a lot to answer for.

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