Food Bunk (John Stossel)

Food Bunk – John Stossel

With America’s “fiscal cliff” approaching, pundits wring their hands over the supposed catastrophe that government spending cuts will bring. A scare newsletter called “Food Poisoning Bulletin” warns that if government reduces food inspections, “food will be less safe… (because) marginal companies… (will) cut corners.”

We’re going to die!

Most people believe that without government meat inspection, food would be filthy. We read “The Jungle,” Upton Sinclair’s depiction of the meatpacking business, and assume that the FDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service are all that stand between us and E. coli. Meatpacking conditions were disgusting. Government intervened. Now, we’re safe! A happy ending to a story of callous greed.

The scheming lawyers behind the “Food Poisoning Bulletin” argue that without regulation companies will “cut corners.” After all, they say, sanitation costs money, so lack of regulation “creates a competitive disadvantage for companies that want to produce quality products.”

But that’s bunk. It’s not government that keeps E. coli to a minimum. It’s competition. Tyson Foods, Perdue and McDonald’s have brands to maintain – and customers to lose. Ask Jack in the Box. It lost millions after a food-poisoning scandal.

Fear of getting a bad reputation makes food producers even more careful than government requires. Since the Eisenhower administration, our stodgy government has paid an army of union inspectors to eyeball chickens in every single processing plant. But bacteria are invisible!

Fortunately, food producers run much more sophisticated tests on their own. One employs 2,000 more safety inspectors than government requires: “To kill pathogens, beef carcasses are treated with rinses and a 185-degree steam vacuum,” an executive told me. She also asked that I not reveal the name of her company – it fears retaliation from regulators.

“Production facilities are checked for sanitation with microbiological testing. If anything is detected… we re-clean the equipment… Equipment is routinely taken completely apart to be swab-tested.”

None of that is required by government. Government regulation may help a little, but we are safe mostly because of competitive markets.

Competition protects us better than politicians.

But people don’t trust companies. So it is easy to scare people about food. And the news media know that finding “problems” makes reporters look like crusading journalists. Earlier this year, my old employer, ABC News, “alerted” the public to a new threat, ground beef made with “pink slime.”

It sounds awful! ABC’s reporting frightened most school systems so much that they stopped using that form of meat. The food company lost 80 percent of its business.

But the scare is bunk. What ABC calls “pink slime” is just as appetizing as other food.

“Bunk is the polite word,” Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center says. “ABC went on a crusade. Three nights in a row back in March, they pounded on this.”

Well, why shouldn’t they, if there’s something called “pink slime” in beef?

“Because it’s not pink slime. It’s ground beef.”

Then how did this all get started?

“A couple activists who used to work for the FDA didn’t like this really cool scientific process that separates the beef trimming so you get the remaining ground beef. So they coined this term deliberately to try to hurt this company.”

The company, Beef Products Inc., does something unique. It takes the last bit of trim meat off the bone by heating it slightly. That saves money and arguably helps the environment – not using that meat would waste 5,000 cows a day. In 20 years, there is no record of anybody being hurt by what ABC and its activists call “pink slime” – what the industry just calls “lean beef trimmings” or “finely textured beef.”

“Everybody constantly says, ‘You should eat leaner beef.’ So when we try to eat the leaner beef, then they take that away from us, too,” Gainor said. “The company… has received awards for how good a job they do for consumer safety. It was just one constant hit job.”

An effective one. After ABC’s reports, Beef Products Inc. closed three out of its four plants. Seven hundred workers lost jobs.

Scientifically illiterate, business-hating media will always do scare stories. Don’t believe them.

Most of them, anyway.

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Daily Benefactor Columnists – The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund For Progressives (Michelle Malkin) – More Op-Eds

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The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund For Progressives – Michelle Malkin

If you like how the Obama administration’s multibillion-dollar “investments” in bankrupt solar companies have turned out, you’ll love the latest federal loan program to nowhere. It’s the Obamacare loyalty rewards program for progressives.

To appease liberal Democrats pushing for the so-called “public option” (the full frontal government takeover of our health care system), the White House settled for the creation of a $6 billion network of nonprofit “CO-OPs” that will “compete” with private insurers. It’s socialized medicine through the side door. House Republicans sliced about $2 billion from the slush fund in last spring’s budget deal and proclaimed the program dead. Hardly.

On Wednesday, the White House trumpeted the release of nearly $700 million in taxpayer-funded low-interest loans for seven CO-OPs in eight states. Administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the fund will pour more money into CO-OP plans nationwide throughout the next year. In 2014, according to Washington bureaucrats, the plans will be offered on the federally approved and federally monitored state health exchange “marketplace.”

Some marketplace. Given how Team Obama has dispensed special Obamacare waivers to scores of campaign donors, it’s a sure bet the CO-OP/exchange mechanism will be brazenly rigged against non-subsidized, for-profit insurers. And against taxpayers. Obama health officials assure us that there will be an “early warning system” in place before loan recipients get into financial trouble. But we know from the half-billion-dollar Solyndra scam that when this administration sees red flags, it’s full speed ahead.

In fact, the Obamacare CO-OP overseers already predict a nearly 40 percent default rate for the loans, according to Kaiser Health. Welcome to the Chicago-on-the-Potomac reverse rule of holes: When you’re in one, keep digging.

So, who are the lucky winners of the Obamacare slush fund lottery? Freelancers CO-OP of New Jersey, New Mexico Health Connections, Midwest Members Health in Iowa and Nebraska, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, Freelancers CO-OP of Oregon, Montana Health Cooperative, and Freelancers Health Service Corporation in New York.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the Freelancers Union – the largest CO-OP loan beneficiary to date, with a total $341 million subsidy – is a left-wing outfit founded by a self-described “labor entrepreneur” and MacArthur “genius.” Sara Horowitz has already snagged countless grants from the city and state of New York, the liberal Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Horowitz and Obama served together, along with former green jobs czar Van Jones, as advisers for the progressive think tank Demos – which in turn partnered with fraud-ridden community organizers ACORN and Project Vote. She also runs a political action committee called “Working Today” that crusades for an expanded government safety net. Crowing about the CO-OP loan from her fellow progressive warrior, Horowitz exulted: “It’s like venture capital for health care.” Or more accurately, to borrow South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint’s phrase, venture socialism.

While Horowitz plots to rope in 200,000 new clients, existing customers protested in The New York Times over lousy customer service and abrupt changes that resulted in “higher premiums, higher deductibles and more holes than their current plans.” Horowitz is more preoccupied with ensuring that the “social-purpose company” meets social and environmental justice goals than with customer needs.

Another of the Obamacare slush fund winners, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, scooped up a $56.4 million federal loan. The group describes itself as a “coalition of religious groups and other organizations.” Its pedigree is much more radical than that. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, Common Ground “is the Milwaukee affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded in 1940 by Saul Alinsky, a famed community organizer and author of ‘Rules for Radicals.’ The organization, based in Chicago, bills itself as the oldest and largest community organizing network.”

The Industrial Areas Foundation was funded largely by the Gamaliel Foundation, which employed Obama in Chicago. As I first reported in 2009, Gamaliel’s Gregory Galluzzo wrote that he “met with Barack on a regular basis,” that Obama “acknowledged publicly that he had been the director of a Gamaliel affiliate,” and that “we are honored and blessed by the connection between Barack and Gamaliel.” No kidding. As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson put it: “These grants/loans reek of political payola.”

Cronies reap. Taxpayers weep.

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Why Apologize To Afghanistan? – Andrew C. McCarthy

We have officially lost our minds.

The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president – “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident… I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages.

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The Perversion Of Rights – Mark Steyn

CNN’s John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers:

“Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?”

To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of the Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about “the Obama administration’s dictate that religious employers provide health-care plans that cover contraceptives.” Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen’s response for the Age of Obama:

“I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.”

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The ‘Fairness’ Fraud – Thomas Sowell

During a recent Fox News Channel debate about the Obama administration’s tax policies, Democrat Bob Beckel raised the issue of “fairness.”

He pointed out that a child born to a poor woman in the Bronx enters the world with far worse prospects than a child born to an affluent couple in Connecticut.

No one can deny that. The relevant question, however, is: How does allowing politicians to take more money in taxes from successful people, to squander in ways that will improve their own reelection prospects, make anything more “fair” for others?

Even if additional tax revenue all went to poor single mothers – which it will not – the multiple problems of children raised by poor single mothers would not be cured by throwing money at them.

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Algae, European Gas Prices, And Born In The U.S.A. – Victor Davis Hanson

As gas nears $5-a-gallon out west, the president, who has cancelled a key pipeline and frozen federal leases from Alaska to the East Coast, teaches us about American algae potential, in the way he used to emphasize the importance of tire pressure and “tune-ups.” He castigates the opposition for making political hay out of bad news, in the way he routinely did as a senator in compiling the most partisan voting record in the Senate. Energy Secretary Chu cannot and will not say a word about soaring gas prices, since he is on record not so long ago hoping that they might double – that is, get to $8- to 10-a-gallon as they are in Europe. The Energy Department can do almost everything Americans don’t want, but not the single thing they do want.

The more Afghans kill Americans, the more the president seems to apologize for our troops disposing of confiscated Korans, desecrated by Muslim-terrorist detainees. Would that Obama talk so deferentially to Americans instead of serially emphasizing their laziness, their nativism, and their past transgressions in the Middle East.

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I Tried To Open A Lemonade Stand – John Stossel

Want to open a business in America? It isn’t easy.

In Midway, Ga., a 14-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister sold lemonade from their front yard. Two police officers bought some. But the next day, different officers ordered them to close their stand.

Their father went to city hall to try to find out why. The clerk laughed and said she didn’t know. Eventually, Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained, “We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade and of what the lemonade was made with.”

Give me a break. If she doesn’t know, so what? But kids trying their first experiment with entrepreneurship are being shut down all over America. Officials in Hazelwood, Ill., ordered little girls to stop selling Girl Scout cookies.

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Math Matters – Walter Williams

If one manages to graduate from high school without the rudiments of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, there are certain relatively high-paying careers probably off-limits for life – such as careers in architecture, chemistry, computer programming, engineering, medicine and certain technical fields. For example, one might meet all of the physical requirements to be a fighter pilot, but he’s grounded if he doesn’t have enough math to understand physics, aerodynamics and navigation. Mathematical ability helps provide the disciplined structure that helps people to think, speak and write more clearly. In general, mathematics is an excellent foundation and prerequisite for study in all areas of science and engineering. So where do U.S. youngsters stand in math?

Drs. Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson, senior fellows at the Hoover Institution, looked at the performance of our youngsters compared with their counterparts in other nations, in their Newsweek article, “Why Can’t American Students Compete?” (Aug. 28, 2011), reprinted under the title “Math Matters” in the Hoover Digest (2012).

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Daily Benefactor Columnists – Next Time, Use FedEx (Ann Coulter) – More Op-Eds

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Next Time, Use FedEx – Ann Coulter

The CIA stepped up the search for Osama bin Laden last week after becoming as sick of royal wedding coverage as the rest of us.

American intelligence operations located Osama by following his trusted couriers, whose names were given up by al-Qaida members during harsh interrogations at CIA black sites under President Bush.

Yes, the same interrogations endlessly denounced by the entire Democratic Party (save Joe Lieberman), the mainstream media, and an especially indignant Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.

The most-wanted terrorist in the world was living in a moldy, million-dollar mansion in a gated community just outside of Islamabad. It took the CIA five years to figure out the four-digit code to get in.

One important missed clue was that Osama was living at 72 Virgins Way. He might still be alive today if only he hadn’t borrowed his neighbor’s shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and never returned it.

Our mighty Navy SEALs not only put a bullet through Osama’s head, but carried off his computers, disks and hard drives. So far, all they’ve revealed is that Osama had multiple Netflix rentals of “Rendition,” “In the Valley of Elah,” “Fahrenheit 9/11″ and “Love Actually.”

Can you imagine what’s on Osama’s hard drives? I mean besides the goat pornography. Pants are wetting throughout Pakistan’s military establishment.

The New York Times reports that the raid that killed Osama is being bitterly denounced on Pakistani TV as a breach of that country’s sovereignty. Osama, our dear allies say, was not a terrorist, nor has al-Qaida ever been unfriendly to Pakistan – unlike the United States, which they call “an enemy of Pakistan and Muslims.”

(Also, bin Laden’s entire video crew is in line at the Islamabad unemployment office today. Thanks, Barack.)

The one Islamic country that openly cheered our taking out bin Laden is Iraq. According to reports from inside the country, TV stations are treating the raid as a great victory for Iraq – the final battle in a war that was mostly fought by Iraqis on Iraqi soil. They view bin Laden’s killing as their own personal triumph in the war against Islamic terrorism.

Similarly, when there was an explosion of violence throughout the Muslim world in response to some Danish cartoons in 2006, guess which Islamic nation was nothing but placid contentment? Again: our plucky Iraq. (Having U.S. Marines in your midst apparently has some sort of calming influence.)

It’s great that we got bin Laden, but if the last Democratic administration had been doing its job, there would have been no Osama bin Laden and no 9/11 attack to begin with.

Democratic presidents are always too busy feverishly redistributing wealth at home to devote serious attention to our national interests abroad.

Obama gets to reap the rewards of Bush-era terrorism policies – policies that he, his fellow Democrats and Jane Mayer hysterically denounced at the time – while Reagan and Bush had to deal with the consequences of Carter’s Iranian policy and Clinton’s bin Laden policy.

According to Michael Scheuer, who ran the bin Laden unit at the CIA for many years, President Clinton was given eight to 10 chances to kill or capture bin Laden but refused to act, despite bin Laden’s having publicly declared war on the United States and launched various terrorist attacks against us, murdering hundreds of Americans.

(If only one of those opportunities had presented itself on the day of Clinton’s scheduled impeachment, instead of Clinton’s bombing Iraq, he might have postponed his problems at home by finally taking out bin Laden.)

Clinton’s CIA director, James Woolsey, never once met with Clinton in a one-on-one meeting. This is in contrast to Monica Lewinsky, who got about a dozen face-to-face – or face-to-something – meetings with the president.

That’s why Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser, was caught stealing documents from the National Archives during the 9/11 commission hearings. That’s also why Clinton blew a gasket and forced ABC to cancel the DVD release of the docudrama “The Path to 9/11″ – based on the commission’s report.

Bush had to deal with the ticking time bomb of Osama bin Laden left by Bill Clinton.

All presidents have had to deal with the ticking time bomb set by Carter’s passive acceptance of the Iranian revolution in 1979, giving Islamic lunacy its first nation-sponsor.

What ticking time bombs are being set around the globe by our current Democratic president?

Following the Democratic playbook, Obama’s overall approach to national security is to pointlessly fling our influence and military around the globe – in Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan – with no evident national security purpose.

Thanks to our feckless president, most of the Middle East is rapidly degenerating into a terrorist fever-swamp.

The Muslim Brotherhood is emerging as a power broker in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya. Meanwhile, the “democracy” movement in Syria seems likely to end with President Bashar al-Assad gaining a tighter grip on power, after he’s killed enough of his own people to remind them why he’s their president.

All of these countries are becoming worse than they were before. (On the plus side, Obama is set to announce the SEALs have just found Joe Biden.)

But George Bush’s legacy – Iraq – will be standing there, all on its own, the one point of light in a sea of Islamic darkness. And the media will coo about how reassuring it is that we now have a “thoughtful” president in the White House, instead of a cowboy.

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The First-Person Presidency – Victor Davis Hanson

Here are a few excerpts from President Obama’s speech on Sunday night about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“Tonight, I can report… And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta… I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden… I met repeatedly with my national security team… I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action… Today, at my direction… I’ve made clear… Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear… Tonight, I called President Zardari… and my team has also spoken… These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief… Finally, let me say to the families… I know that it has, at times, frayed….”

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Fed Up WEith The Fed? – Thomas Sowell

When people in Washington start creating fancy new phrases instead of using plain English, you know they are doing something they don’t want us to understand.

It was an act of war when we started bombing Libya. But the administration chose to call it “kinetic military action.” When the Federal Reserve System started creating hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, they called it “quantitative easing” of the money supply.

When that didn’t work, they created more money and called it “quantitative easing 2″ or “QE2,” instead of saying: “We are going to print more dollars – and hope it works this time.”

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Holder Vs. Holder – Andrew C. McCarthy

Why does the Obama Justice Department seem to have trouble mounting a full-throated, compelling legal defense of Osama bin Laden’s killing? The problem for Eric Holder the attorney general could be Eric Holder the private attorney.

In 2004, Mr. Holder chose to file an amicus brief on behalf of Jose Padilla, the al-Qaeda terrorist sent to our country by bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to carry out a post-9/11 second wave of attacks. In the brief, Holder argued that a commander-in-chief lacks the constitutional authority to do what his boss, the current commander-in-chief, has just done: determine the parameters of the battlefield.

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The Fog Of Fog – Michelle Malkin

The official White House account of Osama bin Laden’s demise has seen more slapdash cosmetic surgery over the past week than your average “Real Housewives” reality-show star. President Obama’s allies attribute the bungled “narrative” (their word, not mine) to the “Fog of War.” But each passing day – and each new set of hapless revisions – shows that what really ails the administration is the Fog of Fog.

Errors happen. Miscommunications happen. Confusing the name of which of bin Laden’s myriad sons died (Hamza, not Khalid), for example, is no biggie.

But the hourly revamping of key details of Sunday’s raid suggests something far beyond the usual realm of situational uncertainty that accompanies any military operation.

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Why Pakistan Knew It Could Hide Osama – Mark Steyn

As my old friends at The Spectator in London pointed out Monday morning, I scooped the entire planet in breaking the news of Osama bin Laden’s death: “Osama bin Laden is dead, says Mark Steyn.” This was in The Spectator’s edition of June 29, 2002, which turned out to be a wee bit premature. I jumped the gun, much like Osama’s missus in Abbottabad, but by nine years.

Nor, to be honest, was a teensy-weensy near-decade discrepancy in the date the only problem with my scoop. Much of that Spectator piece was preoccupied with the usual assumptions about Public Enemy Number One – caves, dialysis, remote wild Pakistani tribal lands where Western intelligence hasn’t a hope of penetrating unless you turn a cousin of the village headman, etc.

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Gasoline And Onions – John Stossel

The speculators are ripping us off!

“The skyrocketing price of gas and oil has nothing to do with the fundamentals of supply and demand, and has everything to do with Wall Street firms that are artificially jacking up the price of oil in the energy futures markets… (T)he same Wall Street speculators that caused the worst financial crisis since the 1930s through their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior are ripping off the American people again by gambling that the price of oil and gas will continue to go up.”

Here we go again. That quote was Sen. Bernie Sanders doing what some always do when the price of oil spikes: complain about speculators.

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Daily Benefactor Columnists – Cometh The Hour, Punteth The Man (Mark Steyn) – More Op-Eds

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Cometh The Hour, Punteth The Man – Mark Steyn

There’s something sad about a man so carelessly revealing himself as entirely inadequate to the moment. Government spending is an existential threat to the United States. Whether or not anyone at the White House knows this, the viziers decided to shove the sultan out on stage with a pitifully unserious speech retreating to all his lamest tropes – the usual whiny, petty, and unpresidential partisan snippiness, and the ponderous demolition of straw men even he barely bothered to pretend he believed in:

Politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse – that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices.

Yeah, right. Why don’t we start by eliminating whatever dope got paid to write that sentence?

This speech failed Rich’s “What’s yours?” test. In fact, it more or less declared to the world that this administration has no plan, and has no plan to plan on getting a plan anytime soon. But America is not Greece. There is no Germany to bail us out. Only we can do it. And the president just signaled to the world that that’s not going to happen. Here’s one example of his and his speechwriters’ hideous laziness:

If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them… South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science.

That last bit is true – but it’s nothing to do with money. According to the most recent OECD figures (2007), the Koreans spent $5,437 per primary-school pupil; we spent $10,229. For education as a whole, the Koreans spent $7,325 per pupil; we spent $14,269. They not only “outpace our kids in math and science”; they do it by only spending half as much.

That’s the problem, and whichever hack speechwriter put those ridiculous words in the president’s mouth surely knew it. As did the president. We spend more than anyone but the Swiss on education, and by any rational measure at least half of it is entirely wasted: That model is why this country is dying, and the president just went on TV and bragged to the world he has no plans to change it.

The whole speech was like that, a litany of brain-dead slapdash rhetorical questions that for sentient beings are no longer rhetorical: My fellow Americans, do we want an America where our most lethargic and mediocre youth are denied a leisurely half-decade acquiring a fraudulent six-figure credential in some worthless pseudo-discipline simply because we can’t afford it?

Well, it’d be a start.

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On This Aborted Fetus, Democrats Plant Their Flag – Ann Coulter

Back in February, Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, promoted the White House’s allegedly draconian budget cuts in The New York Times.

Saying Obama was going to cut the 2012 budget to the bone, Lew droned on about the “difficult” cuts to “important” programs and the “many tough choices and deep cuts” in the proposed budget.

All told, the White House’s brutal, Depression-era austerity plan would have snipped a couple of billion from our multi-trillion dollar federal budget.

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Welcome Budget-Cut Talk – John Stossel

Finally. A serious budget plan. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal has the head-in-the-sand crowd horrified. A Washington Post columnist called it “radical… irresponsible… extreme.”

Ryan’s plan offers some great things: less spending than President Obama wants; a path to a balanced budget; repeal of Obamacare; an end to corporate welfare. And it would make the social safety net sustainable rather than open-ended and going broke.

It even inspired President Obama to say he’d come out with his own deficit plan, although he reportedly “will not offer details,” just “goals.”

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The Razor’s Edge – Victor Davis Hanson

We calibrate California’s decline by its myriad of paradoxes. The nation’s highest bundle of gas, sales, and income taxes cannot close the nation’s largest annual deficit at $25 billion. Test scores are at the country’s near bottom; teachers’ salaries at the very top. Scores of the affluent are leaving each week; scores of the indigent are arriving.

The nation’s most richly endowed state is also the most regulated; the most liberal of our residents are also the most ready to practice apartheid in their Bel Air or Palo Alto enclaves.

We now see highway patrolmen and city police, in the manner of South American law enforcement, out in force.

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Eat The Rich – Walter Williams

I’ve often said that I wish there were some humane way to get rid of the rich. If you asked why, I’d answer that getting rid of the rich would save us from distraction by leftist hustlers promoting the politics of envy. Not having the rich to fret over might enable us to better focus our energies on what’s in the best interest of the 99.99 percent of the rest of us.

Let’s look at some facts about the rich laid out by Bill Whittle citing statistics on his RealClearPolitics video “Eat the Rich.”

This year, Congress will spend $3.7 trillion dollars. That turns out to be about $10 billion per day. Can we prey upon the rich to cough up the money?

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Make 70 The New 65 – Michelle Malkin

It’s time for a 21st-century retirement age. If 40 is the new 20 and 50 is the new 30, why shouldn’t 70 be the new 65?

The last time Washington politicians tinkered ever so gingerly with the government-sanctioned retirement age, Ronald Reagan was in office and Generation X-ers were all in diapers. Since then, American life expectancy has increased by half a decade and continues to rise – while the “traditional” retirement age (established eight decades ago) has only recently begun phasing up to 67 and the official “early” retirement age (established four decades ago) remains stuck at 62.

There is simply no good reason 21st-century workers should operate under obsolete 1930s-era expectations and 1970s rules.

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Taxes And Politics – Thomas Sowell

Someone once said that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. That may have been true when he said it, but today taxes are mostly the price we pay so that politicians can play Santa Claus and get reelected.

That’s not the worst of it. We may think of taxes as just a source of government revenue. But tax rates are a big political statement on the left, whether they bring in any revenue or not.

For more than 80 years, the political Left has opposed what it calls “tax cuts for the rich.” But big cuts in very high tax rates ended up bringing in more revenue to the government in the Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush 43 administrations.

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Daily Benefactor Columnists – Hope, Change, And ‘Invest’ (Ann Coulter) – More Op-Eds

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Hope, Change, And ‘Invest’ – Ann Coulter

I missed the middle section of Obama’s State of the Union address when I took a break to read “War and Peace,” but I gather he never got around to what I was hoping he’d say, which is: “What was I thinking?”

The national debt is $14 trillion, the Democrats won’t stop spending, and President Nero gave us a long gaseous speech about his Stradivarius.

I feel so Southern whenever I watch a Democrat give a State of the Union address – and not just because it makes me want to secede. Consternating the rest of the family, my Kentucky mother always talked back to the TV. I do it only when a Democrat is giving a speech.

And if liberals didn’t like Samuel Alito mouthing the words “not true,” they should be really happy I wasn’t in the House chamber Tuesday night.

All I kept hearing was, “Ann pays more.” That’s all I ever I hear when Democrats start in with all that “investing.”

Apparently the government will be “investing” in education, “investing” in technology, “investing” in roads and “investing” in lots and lots of government workers. Ann pays more, Ann pays more, Ann pays more.

Obama compared “investing” in education to our sending a man to the moon after the Russians launched Sputnik. Say, who was the president who recently gutted spending on NASA? Oh yes, that was Obama.

So he reminded us of the glory days of the space program, but now he’s taking that money and funneling it to public school teachers. As the Democrats say: “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we hire another 10,000 public school teachers?”

Also, solar panels. Obama said the government was already “investing” in solar panels! That’s a total relief. This must be how the president who brought us “Recovery Summer” is going to dig us out of the second Great Depression.

But I do wonder why no private lender considered solar panels a wise investment, forcing solar panel manufacturers to turn to the government for loans, followed by endless tax credits just to break even.

I guess people who work for the government are just smarter. We’re so lucky to have them “investing” our money for us! Boy, egg must be on Warren Buffett’s face!

Remember how massive government “investments” gave rise to the telephone, the light bulb, the automobile, the airplane, the personal computer… OK, none of those.

But massive government expenditures did give us Amtrak and the TSA!

The only thing Obama vowed to cut were “earmarks.” Yippee! The guy with the ears is against earmarks. Yes, the same president who quadrupled our deficit by giving money away to his UAW pals, Wall Street cronies and government workers is now lecturing us about earmarks. This is a bit like being scolded by Charlie Sheen for ordering a second wine cooler.

You knew it was bad when John McCain leapt up and enthusiastically applauded. The last time I saw McCain applaud Obama like that was when he debated him.

Obama said, “We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook.”

And then the government outlawed Edison’s great invention, made the Wright brothers’ air travel insufferable, filed anti-trust charges against Microsoft and made cars too expensive to drive by prohibiting oil exploration, and right now – at this very minute – is desperately trying to regulate the Internet.

On the bright side, President Al Gore would have actually outlawed the cars in those driveways.

I especially enjoyed his pitch for high-speed trains where you “don’t have to receive pat-downs.” At least until one of those Muslims who is “part of our American family” blows one up – at which point they’ll be staffed with armies of genital-fondling, unionized TSA agents on the public dime.

Still, I can’t wait for Obama’s America. An America where I can use lightning-fast, high-speed Internet to file electronically for my unemployment benefits. Or better yet, I can ditch my old “oil-powered” car and take a “sunlight and water”-powered high-speed train to the unemployment office for a change.

And I hear CalTech is working on biofuels to power “Recovery Summer 2011.”

The big laugh line was when Nero said mockingly, “I heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about the health care law.” That’s called “60 percent of the American public.” It’s not a joke, and it’s not funny.

Here’s one: Hey, Obama! Guy walks into a bar in the Gaza Strip. The bartender says, “What’ll you have?” But the guy is killed instantly when an Iranian-made CT-28 missile strikes the bar, also killing a woman and small child next door. Get it, Obama? HA HA!

Synthesizing Karl Marx and Ronald Reagan, Obama said the government will soon be taking over every aspect of our lives, and Republicans can’t stop him – but gosh, isn’t America a great country! Teachers are great, we need to innovate, children are our future, we need paved roads, kids should do their homework, Labrador puppies are cute, I like apple pie, I (heart) Justin Bieber, and how about them Yankees! Now, here’s your 2011 tax bill – how would you like to pay for that?

Actually, I was glad to hear him say that “there isn’t a person here” – which presumably included Democrats – who would live anyplace else.

Then why are they always trying to turn us into Western Europe?

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Oh No, Not Another Unbiased BBC Documentary About ‘Climate Change’… – James Delingpole

The new president of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse has been crowing to the Guardian’s environment pages about how he bested me in a documentary for the BBC on Climate Change. This isn’t how I remember it.

Nurse came to interview me at my home last summer, ostensibly – so his producer assured me – as a disinterested seeker-after-truth on a mission to discover why the public is losing its faith in scientists. “Not scientists,” I replied. “Just ‘climate scientists.'” But as is clear from the Horizon documentary Nurse had already made up his mind.

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My State Of The Union Address – John Stossel

President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty and gave his report on the state of the union last night. Here’s mine: We’re in deep trouble. You know why. Our debt has passed $14 trillion, and yet our current spending plans will make that worse. The U.S. debt will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.

But do not despair. If we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do.

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The ‘HealthStat’ Seduction – Jonah Goldberg

If professional writing were the guild it often appears to be, Atul Gawande would be a scab. A surgeon and professor, Gawande also writes beautifully for The New Yorker about health care. His latest article, “The Hot Spotters,” focuses on what Gawande claims is a revolutionary approach to health care.

In Camden, N.J. – hardly a garden spot in the Garden State – just 1 percent of the people who used the city’s medical facilities accounted for 30 percent of the costs. One patient had 324 hospital admissions in five years. Another single-handedly cost insurers $3.5 million.

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Can Our Nation Be Saved? – Walter Williams

National debt is over $14 trillion, the federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion and, depending on whose estimates are used, the unfunded liability or indebtedness of the federal government (mostly in the form of obligations for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drugs) is estimated to be between $60 and $100 trillion.

Those entitlements along with others account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls mandatory or non-discretionary spending. Then there’s discretionary spending, half of which is for national defense.

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Cash For Education Clunkers – Michelle Malkin

“We’re going to have to out-educate other countries,” President Obama urged this week. How? By out-spending them, of course! It’s the same old quack cure for America’s fat and failing government-run schools monopoly. The one-trick ponies at the White House call their academic improvement agenda “targeted investing” for “winning the future.”

Truth in advertising: Get ready to fork over more Cash for Education Clunkers. Our government already spends more per capita on education than any other of the 34 wealthiest countries in the world except for Switzerland, according to recent analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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New Heroes Vs. Old – Thomas Sowell

When I mention that my family used kerosene lamps when I was a small child in the South during the 1930s, that is usually taken as a sign of our poverty, though I never thought of us as poor at the time.

What is ironic is that kerosene lamps were a luxury of the rich in the 19th century, before John D. Rockefeller came along. With the high price of kerosene at that time, an ordinary working man could not afford to stay up at night, burning this expensive fuel for hours at a time.

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Daily Benefactor Columnists – The Philadelphia Horror: How Mass Murder Gets A Pass (Michelle Malkin) – More Op-Eds

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The Philadelphia Horror: How Mass Murder Gets A Pass – Michelle Malkin

Let’s give the “climate of hate” rhetoric a rest for a moment. It’s time to talk about the climate of death, in which the abortion industry thrives unchecked. Dehumanizing rhetoric, rationalizing language and a callous disregard for life have numbed America to its monstrous consequences. Consider the Philadelphia Horror.

In the City of Brotherly Love, hundreds of babies were murdered by a scissors-wielding monster over four decades. Whistleblowers informed public officials at all levels of the wanton killings of innocent life. But a parade of government health bureaucrats and advocates protecting the abortion racket looked the other way – until, that is, a Philadelphia grand jury finally exposed the infanticide factory run by abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., and a crew of unlicensed, untrained butchers masquerading as noble providers of women’s “choice.” Prosecutors charged Gosnell and his death squad with multiple counts of murder, infanticide, conspiracy, abuse of corpse, theft and other offenses.

The 281-page grand jury report released Wednesday provides a bone-chilling account of how Gosnell’s “Women’s Medical Society” systematically preyed on poor, minority pregnant women and their live, viable babies. The report’s introduction lays out the criminal enterprise that claimed the lives of untold numbers of babies – and mothers:

“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.”

Echoing the same kind of dark euphemisms plied by Planned Parenthood propagandists who refer to unborn life as “fetal and uterine material,” Gosnell referred to his deadly trade as “ensuring fetal demise.” Reminiscent of the word wizards who refer to the skull-crushing partial-birth abortion procedure as “intact dilation and evacuation” and “intrauterine cranial decompression,” Gosnell described his destruction of babies’ spinal cords as “snipping.” He rationalized his macabre habit of cutting off dead babies’ feet and saving them in rows and rows of specimen jars as “research.” His guilt-ridden employees then took photos of some of the victims before dumping them in shoeboxes, paper bags, one-gallon spring-water bottles and glass jars.

They weren’t the only ones who adopted a see-no-evil stance:

- The Pennsylvania Department of Health knew of clinic violations dating back decades, but did nothing.

- The Pennsylvania Department of State was “repeatedly confronted with evidence about Gosnell” – including the clinic’s unclean, unsterile conditions, unlicensed workers, unsupervised sedation, underage abortion patients and over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street – “and repeatedly chose to do nothing.”

- Philadelphia Department of Public Health officials who regularly visited Gosnell’s human waste-clogged offices did nothing.

- Nearby hospital officials who treated some of the pregnant mothers who suffered grave complications from Gosnell’s butchery did nothing.

- An unnamed evaluator with the National Abortion Federation, the leading association of abortion providers that is supposed to uphold strict health and legal standards, determined that Gosnell’s chamber of horrors was “the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected” – but did nothing.

Meanwhile, the death racketeers have launched a legislative and regulatory assault across the country on pro-life crisis pregnancy centers from New York City to Baltimore, Austin and Seattle that offer abortion alternatives, counseling and family services to mostly poor, vulnerable minority women.

Already, left-wing journalists and activists have rushed to explain that these abortion atrocities ignored for four decades by abortion radicals and rationalizers are not really about abortion. A Time magazine writer argued that the Philadelphia Horror was “about poverty, not Roe v. Wade.” A University of Minnesota professor declared: “This is not about abortion.”

But the grand jury itself pointed out that loosened oversight of abortion clinics enacted under pro-choice former GOP Gov. Tom Ridge enabled Gosnell’s criminal enterprise – and led to the heartless execution of hundreds of babies. Mass murder got a pass in the name of expanding “access” and appeasing abortion lobbyists.

As the report made clear: “With the change of administration from (pro-life Democratic) Gov. Casey to Gov. Ridge,” government health officials “concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”

Deadly indifference to protecting life isn’t tangential to the abortion industry’s existence – it’s at the core of it. The Philadelphia Horror is no anomaly. It’s the logical, bloodcurdling consequence of an evil, eugenics-rooted enterprise wrapped in feminist clothing.

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Printing The Party Line – Thomas Sowell

We all know not to take politicians’ rhetoric at face value. But not enough of us have yet learned not to take media rhetoric at face value, even when it appears in what looks like a “news” story, but is actually a disguised editorial on the front page.

For example, a front-page story in the January 14 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle began, “From Eureka’s waterfront to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, California’s redevelopment program has transformed polluted and blighted areas across the state into thriving destination spots and commercial districts for nearly 60 years.”

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Everything Starts With Repeal – Charles Krauthammer

Suppose someone – say, the president of United States – proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I’ve got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.

He’d be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats’ major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit – and therefore repeal raises it – by $230 billion.

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What Green MP Caroline Lucas Should Know About Liberal Fascism – James Delingpole

In today’s Guardian Britain’s first and (thank Gaia!) only Green MP Caroline Lucas tells us that climate change is “one of the greatest threats” to Britain since the Second World War. Her solution is for Britain to “mobilise as a nation in a way we haven’t seen since 1945?.”

What this means (as is clear from the new report – entitled The New Home Front – which she launched today at the Imperial War Museum) is government rationing of food and energy, bans on unnecessary journeys, the abolition of property rights, extensive Ministry of Information-style propaganda campaigns and massive wealth re-distribution.

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A Solution At Obama’s Fingertips – Jonah Goldberg

On Tuesday, the president will deliver his State of the Union message. The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama will continue his “move to the center.” The quotation marks are necessary because some people think he really is moving to the center, while others think he just wants to appear like he is.

Either way, this undoubtedly means Obama will try to seem as if he’s meeting Republicans halfway on their “reasonable” demands (quotation marks for the same reason as before) while drawing a stark line against their “unreasonable” ones. As much as I may enjoy it, this sort of strategizing leaves most Americans cold.

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Will The Republicans Really Cut This Time? – John Stossel

The Republicans promise less intrusive, less expensive government. But will they deliver? In the past, they have said they would shrink the state, but then they came into power and spent more. Consider George W. Bush’s eight horrendous years: The budget grew 89 percent – from $1.86 trillion to $3.52 trillion.

Two Republican House members, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, No. 2 on the budget committee, and Bill Huizenga, a freshman from Michigan, say that they really mean to cut. “I sure plan to,” Garrett said. I asked him to name three things he’d cut. He paused for a beat, then said, “We spend about a million dollars for mohair subsidies.”

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Right Must Fight Round 2 – Dick Morris

Now for the counteroffensive. The House Republicans are pushing to repeal ObamaCare. While they will doubtless succeed in the House and either fail in the Senate or face an Obama veto, their decision to raise and debate the issue is a crucial one. As happened when it passed last year, ObamaCare will ignite a national controversy.

But are conservatives prepared to win the debate? When ObamaCare was being pushed through Congress by the likes of Pelosi, Reid, Obama and Emanuel, the right was galvanized. Rallies, demonstrations, town-hall forums, television ads, letters to the editor, television commentary – all bombarded the nation, emphasizing the faults of the bill.

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