Links for 4-30-2012

  • Victor Davis Hanson describes a real anchor on the economy that economists fail to appreciate: “The net result is that those with capital, even if they are small businesses, do not believe that the Obama administration likes them. They feel that regulations will increase, that taxes will increase, that energy costs will increase, and that as they pay more to government and keep less, government will nevertheless become even more arrogant and inefficient — and they will become even more demonized. When people pay over 50 percent in payroll, federal, state, and local taxes and are still caricatured as ‘not paying their fair share,’ a sort of collective shrug follows and bodes ill for the economy at large. One need not be liked to make money, but the constant presidential harangues finally take their toll in insidious ways.”

  • Ron Paul supporters were elected to the chairman and co-chair positions in Alaska’s Republican party. In advance of this takeover, the outgoing leadership transferred $100K from the party’s bank account to a Republican organization in Juneau.

  • Travis County Commissioners are dictating a new minimum wage to Apple as part of a tax incentive deal.

  • A federal district court judge (appointed by George W., no less) enjoined Texas to continue funding Planned Parenthood while a lawsuit filed by the group works is considered by the court. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately appealed the decision.

  • A new book entitled The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign asserts that Obama has spent more time fundraising by this point in his presidency than Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 combined. I like Morgen Richmond’s conclusion: “If these figures are accurate, and apparently they are, I don’t know what is more contemptible: that the most ethical President ever has spent more time raising money than his 5 predecessors combined, or that virtually no one within the mainstream media has seen fit to track and report this.”

  • The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith of Texas, uncorked a blistering report on Attorney General Eric Holder. Odds that it will change anything at the Department of Justice: zilch. The full report is here.

  • Infamous EPA regional administrator Al Armendariz has resigned.

  • The U.S. military is under-reporting the number of green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan. “The U.S.-led coalition routinely reports each time an American or foreign solider is killed by an Afghan in uniform. But The Associated Press has learned it does not report insider attacks in which the Afghan wounds — or misses — his U.S. or allied target. It also does not report the wounding of troops who were attacked alongside those who were killed.”

  • There’s been a lot of noise in the blogosphere about F-22s deployed to the Persian Gulf, perhaps an early indication of an attack on Iran. If that was the U.S. Air Force’s intent, they didn’t try to hide it very well. The six planes spent four days in Spain on their way to the United Arab Emirates, where they were seen closely enough to identify them as block 30 aircraft that lack the latest upgrades for air-to-ground combat. Given the weak state of Iran’s air force, there would likely be little for them to do in a strictly air-to-air role.

  • Walter Russell Mead places the recent naval conflict between the Philippines and China, the Bo Xilai affair, and Chen Guangcheng’s flight to the U.S. embassy in the larger context of U.S./China relations.

Links for 4-29-2012

Links for 4-27-2012

Links for 4-26-2012

  • Judicial Watch used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents from the Secret Service and the Air Force on Michelle Obama’s sojourn in Spain. They calculated that Michelle’s vacation cost taxpayers $467,585.

  • Keith Hennessey wrote a good blog post on how conservatives surrender a lot of ground to liberals when they adopt liberal terminology. Obama talks constantly about “giving tax cuts” to the (hated) rich, when the federal government never gives anything — it either taxes more or it taxes less, but in any case it’s taking money from someone and redistributing it to someone else. The act of taking has its own costs, which Obama conveniently omits.

  • It didn’t occur to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeluis that her mandate that employers provide free contraception and abortifacients might be unconstitutional. She didn’t consult court decisions, she didn’t ask for a legal memo to be drafted, nothing. She did think to consult with Planned Parenthood, though.

  • And that “demonstration project” the Obama administration is planning to spend $8.3B on — to conceal ObamaCare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage, which seniors would learn about a few weeks before the November election — Sebeluis is going ahead on that despite objections by the Government Accountability Office.

  • Al Armendariz, the EPA regional administrator caught on video saying he wants to “crucify” oil and gas companies as an object lesson to the industry, issued a statement apologizing for his comments. A resignation letter would have been better.

  • The Labor Department backed down from issuing regulations that would have applied child labor laws to family farms.

  • The American Thinker published a good article by Michael Bargo Jr. on the “matricula consular,” the photo ID that’s issued by Mexican consulates in the U.S. Sanctuary cities and states accept these IDs as if they were state-issued, qualifying the bearer for welfare benefits. Most Mexican states don’t recognize it, nor do Mexican banks.

  • The U.S. and Japan agreed to move 9,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam and other bases in the Pacific. Japan is helping to pay the cost of moving the Marines.

  • Bo Xilai’s downfall may have had more to do with his widespread wiretapping — including voice and data communications among Communist Party leaders — than his wife’s alleged involvement in Neil Heywood’s murder.

Links for 4-25-2012

Links for 4-24-2012

Links for 4-23-2012

  • Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is considering a veto of the state’s voter ID bill, even as the Virginia State Police revealed a wide-ranging investigation into voter fraud during the 2008 election. The State Board of Elections forwarded more than 400 possible voter and election fraud cases to the police, which has resulted in charges against 38 people; twenty-six investigations still in progress.

  • ObamaCare cut reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage, a fact that senior citizens are likely to learn (if they didn’t know already) just before the November election, which is extremely inconvenient for the Obama administration. They propose to “fix” this by re-allocating $8.3B that was earmarked for “demonstration projects” to patching Medicare Advantage. The Government Accountability Office cried foul, saying this “demonstration project” dwarfs all previous Medicare pilot projects.

  • The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division filed suit against Jacksonville, Florida over its use of written exams for selecting firefighters for promotion. The DOJ claims Jacksonville is using the exams to discriminate against African Americans: “The United States’ complaint alleges that the examinations impact African-American candidates in two ways. First, African-American candidates for promotion to the four positions pass the examinations at significantly lower rates than white candidates. Second, even those African-Americans who pass the examinations are rarely promoted because the fire department selects candidates for promotion in descending rank-order based primarily upon each candidate’s written examination score and African-American candidates score significantly lower than whites.”

  • The U.S. is holding unofficial talks with the Chinese military regarding nuclear weapons strategy and doctrine. The article suggests that the point of the talks is not to establish mutual understanding to avoid a nuclear conflict, but to convince portions of the Department of Defense that China is not a nuclear threat: “An official who took part in past meetings of the nuclear dialogue with the Chinese said the talks are part of policy efforts by pro-China officials to try to convince U.S. military and defense officials that China is not a threatening nuclear-armed power.”

  • A book entitled Ces 600 Milliards Qui Manquent à la France appeared just in time for France’s presidential election. It alleges that Nicolas Sarkozy was an active participant in tax evasion schemes for France’s wealthy, and that his 2007 presidential campaign was illegally funded by Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L’Oreal fortune.

  • An interesting article on why there are so few tech startups in Norway.

  • Helena Bonham Carter would like you know that her friend David Cameron is not a conservative. Plus, he’s actually quite funny.