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December 2012 Archives

December 4, 2012

UK Brain Drain; Is US Next?

Britain is sending upwards of 350,000 citizens abroad each year to live and 89 percent of them are young people, not retirees looking for low cost living. Two thirds are single and many are professionals. Australia is the top destination.

The UK is expensive, taxes and government spending are high, opportunities becoming constrained again. Will the US after the next round of tax hikes and spending increases join the trend? How many people can relatively low tax countries take?

"Rich" Could be Redefined to $422,000

The left-of-center Center for American Progress has revealed its own tax plan. It does little, really, to reduce the budget deficit, but it does soak the rich while changing the definition of "rich" to protect the high income class of professionals who live in pricey cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Specifically, the new proposal for a definition of "rich" is $422,000.

Continue reading ""Rich" Could be Redefined to $422,000" »

December 6, 2012

Syria War Changes for "Better"

A civil war is usually regarded as the worst kind, and that is the cruel scene in Syria. It is not even clear that "our" side is one we in the West will be pleased with once it prevails. Regardless, it does seem to be progressing, as the ever-informed and insightful Michael Ledeen makes clear in a recent post. The Assad regime is being boosted by Iran, primarily, with assists from Russia and even China. Turkey and, one suspects, the Gulf States are helping the rebels, and so, in our fashion, is the US.

Continue reading "Syria War Changes for "Better"" »

December 7, 2012

Wohlstetter Has New Ally on Nuclear War

Discovery's John Wohlstetter, author of the Discovery Press book, Sleepwalking with the Bomb, is trying to stir up awareness that nuclear proliferation not only is imminent (Iran, notably), but also will change the nature of America's defense. Now comes The Second Nuclear Age by Paul Bracken (Henry Holt & Co., N.Y.) that makes a very similar case, though with some differences.

Continue reading "Wohlstetter Has New Ally on Nuclear War" »

Huntsman Logical Choice for Secretary of State

Huntsman.jpgPhoto Credit: China Daily

Jon Hunstman, Jr., the former Utah governor and Obama appointee as US Ambassador to China--and 2012 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination--has been cited in Washington Beltway gossip as a possible successor to Timothy Geitner as Secretary of the Treasury. Hunstman was at the University of Washington in Seattle this past Tuesday to speak to a audience of some five hundred students and townspeople gathered by the National Bureau of Asian Research, Discovery Institute and the World Affairs Council. In a private talk later Huntsman politely dodged a question about the Treasury post that Mr. Geitner is expected to vacate in the new year. "Laughable speculation," he termed it. However, he followed that with a version of the familiar assertion that every citizen should be prepared to serve his country when called upon.

Continue reading "Huntsman Logical Choice for Secretary of State" »

December 10, 2012

What's on the Other Side of the Cliff


Americans, even smart ones, are assuming that they have some sense of clarity about what awaits us on the other side of the "Fiscal Cliff," but hardly anyone does. I'd be grateful if Rep. Paul Ryan or someone else would have a hearing that C-Span might cover and just explain all the myriad ways that taxes already are set to go up January 1.

At this point, you probably are saying to yourself, well, at the last possible minute there will be a "fix" that both sides agree on and we'll go from there, so why fret now (besides its Christmas time and we're busy!). But the fixes that are being talked about are relatively minor. For example, all during the recent campaign the President argued that the rich aren't paying their fair share and they should pay "a little more".

Do you know all the ways the rich are slated to pay more already?

Continue reading "What's on the Other Side of the Cliff" »

December 11, 2012

What Everybody Knows

This article is buzzing around the Internet. Democrats as well as Republicans, along with private sector leaders, all agree privately that there is an economic reform program that can achieve not only a speedier recovery and relief from the suffocating debt problem, but also precipitate an enormous economic bonanza.

Tax simplification, lower rates as a result, closing loopholes, entitlement reform (raising eligibility ages in accord with increasing lifespans), encouraging energy development, immigration reform for high skilled foreigners, etc. What a deal could be put together if politics could be overcome. Right.

Sounds like the Romney campaign program.

Peter Singer, Princeton's Pride

It somehow is acceptable at Princeton and other universities to support infanticide. Wesley Smith reports.

December 12, 2012

Growing Scandal of Government Wages, Pensions

The debate about matters of government spending and taxes is proceeding with far too much emotion and far too little information being conveyed by conservatives. Facts are not always determinative of attitudes, but they help! has started a series that exposes the growing crisis in California and other states where public employee unions have teamed with lawmakers to continually ratchet up salaries and benefits to the point that they not only far exceed what is available in the private sector (where the taxes are raised to support government) but also are fast crowding out other government services.

In Wisconsin, the successful effort to prevent the union-organized recall of Governor Walker was helped by a telephone survey that showed voters had no idea how much state employees made relative to everyone else. When they found out, their support of the recall dropped precipitously.

Continue reading "Growing Scandal of Government Wages, Pensions" »

"Former Priest" Versus Current Pope

220px-Dr._Ayala.jpgKevin Phillips was a Republican Party activist and strategist about four decades ago. Then he moved left. By the early 1980s his views became good copy for liberal writers, since he could be presented as a "Republican strategist" who was saying negative things about the Republican Party.

When one realizes that his news appeal is mainly as a critic of one's own side the temptation is to let the inaccurate trope continue. And so Phillips did for decades, until eventually--after years of his attacking the GOP and defending Democrats, as if he were doing so for the first time--the media gave up the moniker and mostly stopped quoting him on this topic. Either Phillips finally pointed out the phony premise or reporters figured out that you can only keep a ruse going so long.

A very similar thing goes on with Dr. Francisco Ayala, a "former Dominican priest" who is an evolutionary biologist at UC Irvine. Over and over, he is cited in news stories, not so much as an authority on evolutionary theory but on the Catholic Church's views on same. In a story by Steve Lopez in the L.A. Times he once again deplores the idea of intelligent design. "'If we believe in God as the omnipotent and benevolent creator,' said Ayala, 'and that God designed human beings, he would have a lot to answer for.'"

Continue reading ""Former Priest" Versus Current Pope" »

December 17, 2012

Republicans Move Toward Expanded Base

Today's appointment to the U.S. Senate of Congressman Tim Scott of South Carolina raises the hopes of a Republican Party still wallowing in the recent election returns. Gov. Niki Haley made a choice that gives the GOP its first black Republican senator since the late Ed Brooke of Massachusetts--and someone likely to hold the seat in the 2014 election. Scott, a conservative, is also the first black Republican senator from the South since Reconstruction and the only African-American in the current Senate.

Continue reading "Republicans Move Toward Expanded Base" »

December 18, 2012

Indivisible on 2012 Best Seller List

Indivisible, by James Robison and Discovery senior fellow Jay Richards, made the Barnes & Noble Bestseller List for 2012. The book ranks 89, which is not bad, given the competition from fiction and non-fiction books alike and the difficulty of making a public policy and culture book appealing to a general audience.

Indivisible makes the case that social issues and economic issues go together, and it does so brilliantly. It also makes a very nice Christmas present, don't you think?

Best Conservative Films

National Review is running a series on the "best conservative films" in the past twenty five years. Our Wesley J. Smith has a nominee that is selected as number 20: Gattaca.

December 19, 2012

The Strange World of Philanthropoids

People who operate foundations or live off of grants from foundations (I admit to the latter distinction) sometimes have odd ideas about government. One of the oddest is that if a non-profit program is successful the government should take it over. The government has so much more money, you see. That the government (also made up of good people who nonetheless are often myopic) can suffocate a good idea with over-regulation and attempts at micro-management never seems to occur to them.

So, too, taxes.

Continue reading "The Strange World of Philanthropoids" »

December 20, 2012

Churchill's Lessons for the GOP


Each election harkens to another or to several. Thinking about the recent Obama defeat of Mitt Romney, however, it is hard to find a corollary in the USA. What does commend itself as an example to the Republican Party after its demoralizing defeat is the Conservative Party defeat in 1945's Parliamentary election. Part of the relevance is the way the Conservatives came back.

Continue reading "Churchill's Lessons for the GOP" »

December 21, 2012

Cruel Christmas of the Streets

Roots Screenshot.jpg

No one seems to have a number, but there are lots of young people living on the streets now. They are the new face of homelessness. The New York Times story today highlights Seattle, but it could be any of many cities.

Teen-agers have left home for many reasons, including dysfunctional adults in their families, drugs, insanity or even (hard as it is to imagine) the lure of the streets. But twenty-something young adults, some with college educations, are a different matter. They are not classifiable as runaways and they don't fit the pattern of hardbitten street people--the haggard forty and fifty year olds with various ailments and disorders. There should be work for these youth.

Continue reading "Cruel Christmas of the Streets" »

December 26, 2012

Burdening Americans with Hidden Taxes

Inflation, we all know, is a hidden tax, a way the government can spend more than it takes in and let the citizenry pay indirectly. But the government right now is spending far more than it is taking in and yet inflation remains a real, but modest, two percent. Our friend, Richard Rahn, economist, explains it well in a new column.

Continue reading "Burdening Americans with Hidden Taxes" »

December 27, 2012

Christians are Most Persecuted Religious Group

Christians are disappearing from the Middle East. Bethlehem was once majority-Christian, but now has a shrinking population of Christians to welcome visitors.

How has this happened?

Continue reading "Christians are Most Persecuted Religious Group" »

Non-Battle of Orleans

The school board of Orleans, Louisiana has chosen to prohibit the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in its schools. The vote was unanimous and the reasons offered were all religious--or, rather, anti-religious. We don't want that taught in schools. However, no evidence is offered that either creationism or ID actually are taught in Orleans. The rule seems rather to be a sly snub, a way of intimidating teachers from allowing any discussion of Darwin's theory of evolution to raise scientific criticisms.

The comments following an article on this subject are frustrating to read. On one side you have some angry religious people who think that the Bible should be in the science class. On the other you have angry secularists demanding that it be kept out.

Continue reading "Non-Battle of Orleans" »

December 30, 2012

New Years: The Fiscal Bluff

Discovery Institute's Scott Powell tries to put the big deal about the fiscal cliff in perspective--and he goes to Canada to do it. Some are saying that the debt problem is not as bad as people suppose. Powell says right, it's worse.

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