Pan Am 103

Anyone surprised?
A Foreign Office minister sent Libyan officials detailed legal advice on how to use Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s cancer diagnosis to ensure he was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.

The Duke of York is also said to have played a behind-the-scenes role in encouraging the terrorist’s release.

The Libyans closely followed the advice which led to the controversial release of Megrahi – who was convicted of the murder of 270 passengers on Pan Am Flight 103 – within months of the Foreign Office’s secret intervention.

The disclosure seriously undermines British Government claims that is was not complicit in the release of al-Megrahi, and that the decision to free the convicted terrorist was taken by the Scottish Executive alone.
One of my classmates at college was on the plane.

Non sequitur

From the debate in Wisconsin to require a photo ID for voting:
He added it is easy to commit voter fraud, while difficult for poll workers, law enforcement and prosecutors to identify fraudulent votes.

However, studies from Van Hollen’s office about past votes have found low percentages of voter fraud. In the 2004 presidential election, only 18 out of 3 million votes were fraudulent.
In other words: not having to show ID means it's hard to tell if people are committing voter fraud, but we know they're not, so no big deal! (The person making the statement does thing an ID requirement is a good idea, just not really necessary.)

New post on Square Dots

I have a new post up on Square Dots.

Maybe a kitchen table would be safer

The grand jury report said that one look at the place would have detected the problems, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health hadn’t inspected the place since 1993. Here’s the grand jury report, in surprisingly strong language:
The Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.
One of the big arguments for legalized abortion has always been to prevent women from having to get abortions in kitchens and in unsafe environments...

Party power

A great quote that underpins the shifting bases of the Democrats and Republicans:

[I]t’s true that rich individuals can do a lot more to rig government policy in their favor than can poor individuals. The straightforward implication is that the more power the government has to pick winners and losers, the more power rich people will have relative to poor people. - Will Wilkinson

The Republicans used to represent the corporate establishment and businesses, but as more and more decisions are being made at the government, not company, level, those businesses have migrated toward the party of government: the Democrats. The Democrats, in turn, love the nice symbiosis between corporate and government power. They especially love to get the money that flows from businesses towards their party, and the nice way that the elite among the party can easily slip between government and corporate jobs.

As long as the above statement is true, Democrats are the party of business and of the rich.

Steve: You are spot-on. Crony capitalsim marches on.

Uh huh.

Representitive James Clyburn (D-SC):

Clyburn complained that "we've had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else"

Snow Again

I thought moving south would mean no more snow.

Kind of glad I was wrong.

First moves

Here's what the Republican Congress should do right off the bat:

1) Pass a clean health care repeal bill. Sure, it will die in the Senate, but so what.

2) Pass a friend-of-the-court resolution backing the states that are suing to fight Obamacare, with details of where the legislators believe the law is unconstitutional. Don't leave it for the states and the courts--get a dog in the legal hunt.

3) Pass a bill removing the waivers from health care bill. The waivers are corruption waiting to happen--or not waiting at all. It leaves the administration with the power to choose to help political allies and thrash opponents. Pass it while saying that everyone should be treated equally under the law, regardless of the skill of their lobbyists. Would the Senate be so quick to reject that? I'm not so sure.

4) Pass a corporate tax bill along the same grounds: remove all loopholes and special tax breaks. Every company should be treated equally by the government. Better yet, start the flat-tax movement at the corporate level. Make the corporate taxes a simple one-page form with a nice flat rate--and make the rate in-line with other developed countries, or lower. Imagine all of the money that would flow away from accountants and tax lawyers to research, development, expansion, marketing, etc. Even without cutting taxes, it would unleash a big chunk of money that businesses currently waste complying with the tax laws. Secondly, it would be great to sell to the public: you want to diminish the power of lobbyists in Washington? then take away much of what they are lobbying for. Much of corporate lobbying goes into the tax code, the rest into regulations.

5) Pass a bill to kill grants and government money currently flowing to companies--yes, even those that are pursuing "green" projects. Again, it is ripe for corruption, as the government gets to choose winners and losers, and the side with the most-connected lobbyists wins! It would be easy to sell to the public too, as an end to real corporate welfare.

6) Completely kill farm subsidies. Again, most of the subsidies go to corporate farms. We should stress efficiency over some quaint and outdated view of the family farmer getting up every morning to milk the cows by hand and reap his hay with a scythe. Agriculture is big business. It shouldn't be subsidized--that goes double for ethanol.

7) Defund, or refuse to fund this coming year the NEA, NEH, CPB, and a host of other alphabet agencies that have no business existing when the whole of their budgets are basically borrowed from China. This country shouldn't be funding the arts when we can't pay to keep the lights on.

8) Pass a hiring freeze on the federal government. No new employees--we have plenty of bureaucrats already. Let workers shift from one job to another, one agency to another, but no new total hires.

9) Pass a law requiring massive fines for any employer found employing illegal aliens. An employer can avoid the fines by simply showing that they have cleared the employee through eVerify. The fines should be great enough to threaten the existence of the company.

10) Pass a repeal of the stupid bills that have made it into law lately, such as light bulb bans, or the water cut-off in California's central valley.

Then, next month...