January 31, 2011

Lucid Links (013111, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:01 am

Non-shock of last week, from the UK Independent (“Russians name Muslim convert as prime suspect for airport bombing”; HT Atlas Shrugs):

Security sources have named an ethnic Russian Christian who converted to Islam as the prime suspect in Monday’s deadly suicide bombing at a Moscow airport.

Sources close to the investigation said that Vitaly Razdobudko, a 32-year-old from the southern Russian city of Stavropol, was being sought in connection with the attack, the Kommersant newspaper reported yesterday.

That would be “a former ethnic Russian Christian.”

Another non-shock — The Associated Press whitewashes the Islamist connection, as usual:

The respected newspaper Kommersant on Thursday reported that suspects in the airport bombing included a man identified as Vitaly Razdobudko, allegedly a member of an insurgent group in the Stavropol region of the Caucasus called the Nogai Brigade.

The AP apparently doesn’t want to make its Arab-state paymasters unhappy.

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Good news, via the Daily Telegraph — “A “BLACK Widow” suicide bomber who planned to detonate explosives in central Moscow was killed when a spam text message from her mobile-phone company set off the device early.”

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My instinct since Egypt erupted has been that Mubarak is no angel, but the alternatives appear to be worse. Some items supporting that instinct:

  • Bryan Preston — “ElBaradei: friend of the Muslim Brotherhood”
  • Claudia Rossett — “Egypt: Please, Not ElBaradei”
  • Caroline Glick — “The Pragmatic Fantasy” — “Elbaradei’s support for the Iranian ayatollahs is matched by his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.”
  • At the UK Telegraph — “US Secretly backs uprising in Egypt”
  • Update: Andy McCarthy — “Fear the Muslim Brotherhood”

In the final item, ”US” means “the Obama administration.” It has an eerie three-decade echo: “Carter administration backs Ayatollah over Shah.” That didn’t work out too well (Update: A stronger echo — “Cairo: Anger starting to focus on Israel, US”). Ron Radosh at Pajamas Media (“The New American Fans of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt”) already sees leftist useful-idiot apologists emerging.

Further Update (slightly revised on February 1): From Roger Kimball at PJM, is concerned about Obama advisor Bruce Reidel (“Alfred E. Neuman in the driver’s seat”). That characterization would appear to be an insult — to Mr. Newman. If a bunch of Reidels in the State Department and other influential positions end up having their way, it may end up being fair to say that Obama (and Hillary Clinton) lost Egypt.

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Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal:

Cap and Trade Returns From the Grave
The president’s plans for “clean energy standards” amount to carbon controls by other means.

… Mr. Obama has no intention of letting go of his carbon-free world. He instead went to plan B. Specifically, he called in his speech for the nation to “join” him in a “new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.” What the president was in essence calling for—in happier, fuzzier, broader language—is what policy wonks refer to as a “renewable portfolio standard.” This is a government mandate requiring that utilities produce annually a specific amount of their electricity from renewable sources—wind, solar, biofuels.

It’s also cap and trade by another name. Consider: The goal of cap and trade is to impose crushing taxes on fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas—thereby forcing utilities to switch to costly renewables. Under Mr. Obama’s new proposal, the government skips the tax part and outright requires the use of costly renewables. The result is the same: dramatically higher energy prices, from carbon-free sources.

This fits the Obama admin template for the next two years: Appear to govern moderately, regulate radically — in this case, in the name of a hoax. Oh, and if you think it’s bad now, wait until you see what he does as a lame-duck Executive Order-generating loser (if that’s what happens) in January 2013, or as a lame-duck two-termer (if it comes to that) in January 2017.

Meanwhile, from earlier this year (warning: pictures of naked bodies at a long distance are at link; I’m not kidding), there seems to a need for “a new kind of climate journalism” in Europe:

Climate activists have begun directing millions in funding into training programs for environmental journalists, with the goal of encouraging what’s known as “advocacy journalism.”

That’s not an issue in the U.S. We already have the Associated Press, the New York Times, and dozens of other outlets practicing climate-nonsense “advocacy journalism” on a daily basis.

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Only in Obamaland: “Rules? We Don’t Have Rules”

FCC seeks to dismiss net neutrality challenges

The Federal Communications Commission is asking a federal appeals court to dismiss two legal challenges to its new “network neutrality” regulations. Those rules, adopted by the agency last month, prohibit phone and cable companies from interfering with traffic on their broadband networks.

The rules are being challenged by Verizon Communications Inc. and Metro PCS Communications Inc., which argue that the FCC has exceeded its legal authority.

The FCC argues that Verizon and Metro PCS filed their challenges prematurely since the new rules have not yet been published in the federal register.

Sure, and they’ll get around to publishing them … oh, eventually … maybe in 2013 or so.

Publishing official rules gets in the way of what the net neutrality nannies will settle for if they can’t have their statist way outright: A regime of uncertainty that puts a freeze on full-blown tech advancement.

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Great unsolved mystery: Why Rob Portman or anyone else thinks that 1.4 million jobs are going to be generated by one provision in a bill described in this January 25 press release (HT Columbus Dispatch; full text of bill; bolds are mine) —

Today, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced the introduction of his first piece of legislation, the Job Creation Act of 2011. The Job Creation Act of 2011 would provide needed tax and regulatory relief to the private sector to help create new jobs and provide greater certainty for our economy at a time when it is badly needed.

… “We need to focus on pro-growth policies, like those included in the Job Creation Act, in order to create an environment that fosters job growth and gets Americans back to work. If passed, this legislation will create over 1.4 million jobs, provide nearly $240 billion in tax relief, reduce the deficit by $85 billion and eliminate some of the most burdensome mandates on job creators,” continued Portman.

Over the past two years, Washington has been making it harder, not easier, for companies of all sizes to create jobs. The Job Creation Act of 2011 is a significant step in the other direction which will immediately help companies grow, create jobs and invest in the future. Economists estimate the payroll tax section of the Job Creation Act alone would create more than 1.4 million jobs. The legislation would provide nearly $240 billion in tax relief to foster hiring and investment while reducing the deficit by $85 billion and ending job destroying mandates on job creators.

In case you’re wondering, the word “job” appears 23 times in about 350 words of the full release, its title.

The “payroll tax section” reduces the employer portion of Social Security and the self-employment tax by two percentage points (to 4.2% and 8.4%, respectively) — starting in the second quarter (“The amendments made by subsection (a)(1) shall not apply with respect to compensation paid during the first calendar quarter of 2011″). That means that very highly compensated employees and self-employed folks will get no break; because SocSec taxation stops at the $106,000 in earnings, by April 1 they will already have paid all they are going to pay, but at the higher rate.

Since it piggybacks last year’s last-minute legislation which kept the federal income tax from increasing for everyone (this was commonly referred to as “extending the Bush tax cuts”) and reduced the employee portion of Social Security for one year, Portman’s employer break would end on December 21, 2011.

I want to hear from one of the “economists” who can justify Portman’s from all appearances totally ridiculous estimate that this one-time, very temporary item alone would generate 1.4 million jobs. I’m a big supply-side econ fan, but this is not supply-side econ.

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1 Comment

  1. More on Egypt and Obama’s involvement:

    http://www.publiusforum.com/2011/02/01/the-next-iran/

    Of course shameless self promotion.

    Comment by dscott — February 1, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

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