Thursday, July 1, 2010

Political Digest July 1, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

11 Reasons to vote for Democrats in November
Great video of their own words. Pass it on.

Political Contributions
Here’s my plan. I’m going to invest $100 in the elections. I plan to send a $5 contribution to each of the twenty statists I’d most like to see defeated, who have a serious opponent—one with a fair chance. The way modern fundraising works, that will get me on the list, and each of them will spend at least $100 each in postage, printing and staff time sending me requests for more money. So my $100 will have the impact of $2,000 on these campaigns.

Why Israel Is Suspicious Of The United Nations?
I have not verified the “facts” on this list, but they sound correct. For what it’s worth.

“A Pattern of Socialist Associations” – Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee, Elena Kagan (the Early Years)
BO was sold as a “moderate,” which to the Leftstream Media means anyone who shares their statist views. Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme court, Elena Kagan, has been sold to the public as a “moderate” – yes, a little liberal leaning, but moderate none the less.

Obama: Promoting the Negative, Discouraging the Positive,_discouraging_the_positive
Excerpt: National anger at corruption and incompetence in Washington centers increasingly on a peculiar, profoundly maddening quirk of the Obama administration: its consistent, irrational impulse to reward bad behavior and to punish constructive conduct. The now powerful Tea Party movement began with an on-air rant in February, 2009 by Rick Santelli of CNBC, who complained of a costly new program to protect homeowners who had recklessly committed themselves to unaffordable mortgages; he suggested a “Chicago Tea Party” as a means of protest. Despite the indignation Santelli ignited, various Obama programs continue to tax Americans who’ve never missed a mortgage and send the money to rescue or subsidize their neighbors who made risky, irresponsible decisions at the height of the housing bubble. In a similar spirit, the Obamacare health reforms will provide subsidized insurance or Medicaid benefits for millions of families who previously declined to insure themselves, while bringing higher taxes and rising premiums to those who previously sacrificed to pay for their own protection. The immigration issue provokes explosive rage because of the same sense that government plans to reward those who entered the country illegally, giving them special advantages over law-abiding newcomers who patiently played by the rules. For most people, the underlying problem isn’t the immigrants themselves, but the fear that Washington’s misguided compassion will encourage more unauthorized new arrivals. A revealing CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll in May found overwhelming support for Arizona’s tough immigration law, with 71% of respondents who want “more crackdowns on employers who hire illegal immigrants.” At the same time, a startling 80% say they would back a program “to allow illegal immigrants already in the U.S. to stay here and apply for legal residency if they had a job and paid back taxes.” In other words, the public objects to rewarding bad conduct but shows overwhelming support for policies that bestow benefits for a constructive course of action.

If You Believe America Has Lousy Health Care, Here's Why,_heres_why
Excerpt: If you believe that Americans have lousy health care, it is probably not because you have experienced inferior heath care. It is probably because you were told America has lousy health care. Last week, major news media featured these headlines: Reuters: "U.S. scores dead last again in healthcare study" Los Angeles Times: "U.S. is No. 1 in a key area of healthcare. Guess which one ..." NPR: "US Spends The Most On Health Care, Yet Gets Least" The Week: "US health care system: Worst in the world?" Now let's delve into this widely reported headline as written by Reuters. For those readers who rely on a headline to get news -- and we all do that sometimes -- the issue is clear: America is rated as having the worst health care "again." For those who read the first sentence or two, an even more common practice, the Reuters report begins this way: "Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday. The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries -- Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found." For those reading further, the claim of the headline and of the first two sentences is reinforced. The third sentence offers commentary on the study by the head of the group that conducted it: "'As an American it just bothers me that with all of our know-how, all of our wealth, that we are not assuring that people who need healthcare can get it,' Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told reporters ..." Only later in the report does the discerning reader have a clue as to how agenda-driven this report and this study are. The otherwise unidentified Karen Davis, president of the never-identified Commonwealth Fund, is quoted as saying how important it was that America pass President Obama's health care bill. Could it be that Ms. Davis and the Commonwealth are leftwing? They sure are, though Reuters, which is also on the Left, never lets you know. Here's how the Commonwealth Fund's 2009 Report from the president begins: "The Commonwealth Fund marshaled its resources this year to produce timely and rigorous work that helped lay the groundwork for the historic Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010." As for Davis, she served as deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Jimmy Carter administration all four years of the Carter presidency. And in 1993, in speaking to new members of Congress, she advocated a single-payer approach to health care. I could not find any mainstream news report about this story that identified the politics of Karen Davis or the Commonwealth Fund. If they had, the headlines would have looked something like this: "Liberal think tank, headed by single-payer advocate, ObamaCare activist, and former Carter official, says America has worst health care" Conversely, imagine if a conservative think tank had released a study showing that, in general, Americans had the best health care in the world. Two questions: Would the media have reported it? And if they did, would they have neglected to report that the think tank was conservative? The answer is no to both.

Christian fashion show angers Muslims
Shari’a Law, coming soon to a tolerant country near you. Excerpt: A fashion show held in the Christian village of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, has been condemned by Muslims in the area. The fashion parade, which was permitted by the Palestinian Authority has drawn strong opinions from Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Top Hamas political figures in the West Bank, have condemned the show as immoral and said it never should have happened in an area under Israeli occupation. Saying the parade had violated Islamic values and laws, local Hamas officials said that such events were considered by Islam to be a fahisha, or major sin. President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were strongly criticised "for supporting the fashion show, and spreading moral corruption in the West Bank." The Palestinian Authority was represented at the fashion show to honour fashion designers who were graduating. Late last year, the PA called off a Miss Palestine beauty contest following strong protests from Hamas and many Palestinians.

Innocent couple died 'after wrong house was fire-bombed in bungled honour killing'
Sounds like the paper thinks the intended victims had it coming, that they were not “innocent.” Note that the victims were Muslims too. Just as black folks in the US are the most frequent victims of black thugs, so too are Muslims the most frequent victims of murderous Muslims. Excerpt: An innocent couple died in a house fire at the hands of assailants who got the wrong address in a botched honour killing, a court heard today. Abdullah Mohammed, 41, and his wife, Aysha Mohammed, 39, were overcome by smoke and fumes after an accelerant was poured through their letterbox and set alight. Their killers were ordered by another man to avenge his family's honour but instead of firebombing 135 London Road in Blackburn, Lancashire, they started the blaze at 175 London Road, the court heard. Mr Mohammed was found unconscious in his bedroom along with his wife and two of their three children in the early hours of October 21 last year. He died the same night while his wife died a week later. Their 14-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son survived.

US and UK failing to take Iraq's gay pogrom seriously
While I think we should do everything possible to prevent Muslim violence against Gays (or Christian violence against Gays for that matter), seems to me that the blame here falls on the Muslims and their adherence to 7th century teachings and Shari’a Law that is mostly to blame. Excerpt: Last week, 12 Iraqi police officers burst into a house in Karbala, beat up and blindfolded the six occupants and bundled them off in three vans, taking the computers they found with them. The house was then burned down by unknown people. The house was a new "emergency shelter" run by the Iraqi LGBT organisation. Two days later, one of the men turned up in hospital with a throat wound saying he'd been tortured. Iraqi LGBT has ordered those in its other two safe houses to move immediately. The group says the police action is consistent with other state attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Iraq. It has information that the other five – two gay men, one lesbian and two transgender people – have been transported 100 miles north to the interior ministry in Baghdad, where they'll be interrogated (ie tortured) to find out more about the group. Then, going on past experience, they'll probably be handed to militias loyal to Shi'a clerics Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and Muqtada al-Sadr (both of whom have called for homosexuals to be put to death) and their mutilated bodies will turn up later.

Why Obamacare scares this cardiologist
Excerpt: I recently visited my cardiologist. It was a routine follow up after a heart attack a year ago. I enjoy our relationship. As a token of my regard, I came bearing a gift. It was a copy of my book Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform. I knew he had qualms about Obamacare. He expressed doubts about the health reform bill’s merits. The bill will roll out over the next ten years. The big budget items covering the uninsured will start in 2014. He did not think Obama is close enough to the doctor-patient relationship to grasp the bill’s implications. He feels the bill tampers with that relationship. It raises costs of care while discouraging bright young Americans from becoming doctors. One target of the bill, in his view, are specialists like himself. They care for sick Medicare recipients.

An Entourage Surpassing the Queen’s
Excerpt: With the pending implosion of our economy, P BO isn’t feeling the effects, so how should we expect him to handle the problem correctly? On his recent trip to the G-20 summit, he got noticed for more than just his amazing speaking ability. It was the entourage that caught everyone’s attention. Obama arrived with 500 staff in tow and 4 speech writers and 12 teleprompters! That should make other countries like us better…way to go Mr. President!

Roberts led Supreme Court through assertive term
But a bare majority of five justices believes that the constitution means what it says, while four believe it says whatever they want it to say. After all, once you declare that the preamble statement of “provide for the general welfare” is an enumerated power, then whatever you believe the general welfare is becomes constitutional. If BO is re-elected in 2012, the majority is likely to switch, and the last barrier to unlimited government coercive power will fall. Can he be re-elected? Certainly. Last year 47% of citizens paid no income taxes. Add to that government employees, and you have a majority that benefits from increased government and more spending. Excerpt: The Supreme Court began its decision-making this term with a groundbreaking campaign finance case and ended it with a landmark gun case. In between, it established itself as a confident group of justices willing to act boldly and speak independently. The court at times jumped without pause into ongoing controversies, sent blunt messages to Congress and the lower courts, and engaged in both bitter internal arguments and broad, big-picture agreements. The ideological differences that divide the court are unchanged -- new Justice Sonia Sotomayor fit comfortably into the liberal role vacated by Justice David H. Souter -- but took a back seat this year to more complicated picture of assertiveness.

CNN's Larry King says he'll retire as talk-show host
And declining ratings would be caused by what? Perhaps, despite leftist control of the universities, schools and the “mainstream” Media, a large number of folks want news without statist pabulum, though the story tries, as usual, to present him as a centrist. Excerpt: King lost nearly half his audience over the past year but said that did not persuade him to call it quits.

Wall Street conferees adopt changes after Republicans raise objections
Shouldn’t the headline be, “Senators work to craft bi-partisan Wall Street bill”? Excerpt: Democrats were forced to rewrite part of the Wall Street overhaul bill on Tuesday after objections from Republicans threatened to scuttle the legislation. Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) announcement that he would vote against the bill because of a provision imposing up to $19 billion in fees on large financial firms led to lawmakers reconvening a House-Senate conference on the legislation. Brown’s objections and concerns from Maine Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe cast doubt on whether Congress would be able to pass the bill and send it to President Barack Obama’s desk. The three Republicans had joined all but two Democrats to end debate on the Senate’s version of financial legislation in May. Without the support of Brown, Snowe and Collins, Democrats do not have the 60 votes necessary to clear the conference report through procedural hurdles in the Senate.

Daily Kos renounces pollster, threatens fraud suit
Snort, chuckle. Excerpt: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the founder of the Daily Kos blog, disavowed the results of all polls conducted for his site by the firm Research 2000, alleging that they were unreliable and possibly fraudulent. His accusation, posted on Daily Kos Tuesday: "We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it," Moulitsas wrote. He made the accusation based on a statistical analysis of the Research 2000 results that raised questions about their validity. Its conclusion: "We do not know exactly how the weekly R2K results were created, but we are confident they could not accurately describe random polls." Given that outcome, Moulitsas declined to stand by any Daily Kos blog posts based on Research 2000 polls. "I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else," he wrote. "I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we've written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling."

Mark Kirk tries to push the "reset" button
Kirk has served honorably in the military. Stupid that he felt the need to burnish that a bit, especially given that he’s running against the “Banker to the Mob” who never served. Excerpt: A month to the day after the first allegations surfaced about embellishments in his military resume, Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk (R) held a press conference in Chicago designed to re-start a Senate campaign that has gone badly off track. "I was not thinking," said Kirk at the Chicago presser when asked about various misstatements in his military background including that he was once named the Navy's intelligence officer of the year. (He wasn't.) "This was a carelessness that did not reflect well upon me and this is a high office," said Kirk, according to the Chicago Sun Times. "Going forward, you have to speak with great precision and detail." Kirk's political motives in calling the press conference are fairly transparent: end the story once and for all and, in so doing, put the spotlight in the race back on state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee. Whether the strategy will work or not is more difficult to analyze.

Bill Clinton backing Romanoff
Better headline: “Hubby of Sec of State Disses BO!” Excerpt: Bill Clinton endorsed former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff's (D) Colorado Senate candidacy, a move that puts him squarely at odds with the White House, which is backing appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

Why Friedrich Hayek Is Making a Comeback
I recently read Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and recommend it. But don’t take it on as light reading! Excerpt: He was born in the 19th century, wrote his most influential book more than 65 years ago, and he's not quite as well known or beloved as the sexy Mexican actress who shares his last name. Yet somehow, Friedrich Hayek is on the rise. When Glenn Beck recently explored Hayek's classic, "The Road to Serfdom," on his TV show, the book went to No. 1 on Amazon and remains in the top 10. Hayek's persona co-starred with his old sparring partner John Maynard Keynes in a rap video "Fear the Boom and Bust" that has been viewed over 1.4 million times on YouTube and subtitled in 10 languages. Why the sudden interest in the ideas of a Vienna-born, Nobel Prize-winning economist largely forgotten by mainstream economists?

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem
Economic rap music!

As Europe laments welfare state, U.S. turns to it
Looks like Europe, in Thatcher’s phrase, is “running out of other people’s money” to spend on socialism. Our turn is coming—soon. Excerpt: As President Obama meets this weekend with the leaders of the G-20 nations in Toronto, it is increasingly apparent that the United States and the European countries are headed in diametrically opposite directions. The Obama administration has been racing to transform the U.S. into a copy of the European social-welfare system, while at the same time those countries are being forced to come to grips with the failure of that welfare state. Greece, Hungry and Portugal have received the most news media attention as their growing debt has threatened the viability of the euro. But all across the European Union, countries are discovering that they can no longer afford the massive cost of providing cradle-to-grave government benefits. France: The poster-child for euro-socialism is facing a national debt of 1.49 trillion euro, about 77% of its GDP. That doesn't count the unfunded liabilities of the country's state pension system, which may exceed 200% of GDP by themselves. Reforming the French welfare system has long been seen as politically impossible, but the fiscal facts have forced the French government to finally propose an increase in the retirement age. The French government is also selling off government-owned land and other property. And the French health care system has gradually been increasing co-payments and other forms of consumer cost-sharing.

Op-Ed: Health Care For Profit
Excerpt: I’ve noticed at The Health Care Blog quite a few people are obsessed with the role of profit in the health care system. Many apparently believe that for-profit entities have no legitimate role in an ideal world and that all organizations should be nonprofit.
My own view, interestingly enough, is the exact opposite. Were I a Health Care Czar, I would remove the nonprofit status from almost all health care organizations and force them to be for-profit under tax law. I would be willing to consider some exceptions here and there, and in special cases allow for-profits to set up nonprofit subsidiaries. But the vast majority of all patients in my ideal world would be dealing with for-profits — in getting health insurance and in getting medical care. And in return they would get lower-cost, higher-quality care.

Senate confirms Gen. Petraeus as new Afghan war commander
Let’s hope he creates the same disaster in Afghanistan all the Democrats now voting for him said he created in Iraq. Excerpt: Gen. David H. Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate Wednesday as the new Afghan war commander, replacing Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal after his ouster over controversial remarks in a Rolling Stone magazine article. The 99-0Senate vote followed a confirmation hearing Tuesday in which members of the Senate Armed Services Committee praised Petraeus's leadership of the war in Iraq and lauded him as the nation's premier warrior-diplomat. Petraeus told the committee members that the Afghan war, which he said is being waged against "an industrial-strength insurgency" is likely to get worse before it gets better. "My sense is that the tough fighting will continue," Petraeus said. "Indeed, it may get more intense." Petraeus said he would adhere to McChrystal's strategy of trying to avoid civilian deaths in Afghanistan, a keystone of the U.S. military's counterinsurgency approach. But in a nod to U.S. troops who have complained that McChrystal tied their hands by limiting tactics, Petraeus said he would "look very hard" at how directives issued by the former commander were being implemented. "I will continue the emphasis on reducing the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum in the course of military operations," Petraeus said, adding that the rules of engagement for U.S. troops are "fairly standard."

Obama: Our first female president
No comment. Excerpt: If Bill Clinton was our first black president, as Toni Morrison once proclaimed, then Barack Obama may be our first woman president. Phew. That was fun. Now, if you'll just keep those hatchets holstered and hear me out.

Arizona congressional candidate fires guns in ad
Note the obligatory Leftstream Media smear that anyone who likes guns is likely to be dangerous. Excerpt: Arizona voters who don't pull the lever for Republican congressional candidate Pamela Gorman have this to consider: She just might shoot them. Gorman, in a new ad, fires a machine gun and pistols scores of times as a goofy sounding announcer calls this year "our best shot at changing Congress. 'Course that all depends on the caliber of our candidates."

The ‘Elusive’ Truth About Elena Kagan
Excerpt: Kagan’s views are “elusive,” the media chant in unison. They all tried to evade Kagan’s vivid writing as a college student in the Daily Princetonian in 1980, about how she cried and got drunk when Ronald Reagan won and “ultraconservative” Al D’Amato defeated her candidate, ultraliberal Democrat Liz Holtzman. She wished that “our emotion-packed conclusion that the world had gone mad, that liberalism was dead and that there was no longer any place for the ideals we held or the beliefs we espoused” would be replaced by the hope that the Reagan era would be “marked by American disillusionment with conservative programs and solutions, and that a new, revitalized, perhaps more leftist left will once again come to the fore.” Unbelievably, our journalistic geniuses can read that and say Kagan’s political views are “elusive.” .... One TV reporter filed one story that broke the mold. On June 3, CBS legal reporter Jan Crawford said documents in Thurgood Marshall’s papers in the Library of Congress showed that, “Kagan stood shoulder to shoulder with the liberal left, including on the most controversial issue Supreme Court nominees ever confront: abortion.” The White House was furious that Crawford would dare tell the truth about such a thing. “Their reaction has been to push back so strongly on allegations, as they would put it, that she’s a liberal,” she revealed. “Like there’s something wrong with that, like it’s a smear to say their nominee is a liberal.”

The Obama Formula
Excerpt: There is something strange going on in American politics. Call it the belated triumph of George McGovern’s “Come home, America” campaign. While the secretary of defense works on plans to reduce spending on the military, his boss concocts plan after plan to increase spending on social programs. Even overseas interventions deemed important to national security are grudging, time-limited affairs—we might drop in for a while, but we are soon homeward bound. The American government’s power to influence foreign events is assumed to be extraordinarily limited. While increasingly threatening and intransigent enemies strut across the world stage in defiance of sanctions and pleadings of international institutions, America has cast its lot with those multilateral institutions, eschewing unilateralism even when vital overseas interests are involved, pursuing the approval of adversaries from the Arab Middle East to Russia, Asia, and Africa. Fast forward to domestic policy. Here government power is considered almost without limit. Fossil fuels create environmental and security problems, so government will order the invention of alternatives. The health care system is flawed, but rather than repair it we will transform it into one run largely by government. If Americans cannot be wooed to support these transformations, they are to be ignored by an administration and Congress that is far to their left, deploying a variety of parliamentary tricks. No wooing of support from Americans, from whom approval for domestic interventions is seen as less necessary than is the approval of the “international community” for our foreign policy.

W.H. quiet on Obama-Blago link
Excerpt: The White House was mum Tuesday after a union leader testified that Barack Obama personally asked him to approach then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich about appointing confidant Valerie Jarrett to his Illinois Senate seat – testimony Republicans say clearly contradicts the Obama team’s version of events. In testimony at Blagojevich’s federal corruption trial, Tom Balanoff said Obama — speaking a day before his Nov. 4, 2008 triumph in the presidential election – said that Jarrett wanted the job and was qualified, although he wanted her to join him in the White House. Defense lawyers – and now the GOP – have claimed that Balanoff’s version of events conflicts with Obama transition team lawyer Greg Craig’s report on his investigation into contacts between Obama’s inner circle and Blagojevich’s team.

Obama Administration Plays Down Fallout From Spy Case
Excerpt: The administration sought to dampen tensions, while the Russian government offered the conciliatory hope Tuesday that U.S. authorities would "show proper understanding, taking into account the positive character of the current stage of development of Russian-American relations." The White House response was notably restrained following the dramatic announcement that 11 people assigned a decade or more to illegally infiltrate American society had been arrested. They are accused of using fake names and claims of U.S. citizenship to burrow into U.S. society and ferret out intelligence as Russian "illegals" -- spies operating without diplomatic cover.

VA patients get letter of warning on dental work
Excerpt: The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning hundreds of veterans that they may have been exposed to viruses from dental work performed at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. The federal agency said it was mailing letters to 1,812 veterans treated during a 13-month period ending in March at the clinic at its John Cochran hospital. The letters say the risk of infection is low but offer free blood testing to screen for the hepatitis B virus, the hepatitis C virus and for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. The VA letter said that dental equipment "may not have been cleaned correctly." "We deeply regret that this situation occurred and we assure you that we are taking all the necessary steps to make certain that testing is offered quickly and results communicated timely," the letter reads. The letter adds, "We want you to know that the staff at the St. Louis VA Medical Center is doing everything possible to address this situation and prevent it from occurring again." (Almost all veterans were vaccinated against Hep A while on active duty and/or in basic training. It is unclear what protection--if any--that gives against other variants of hepatitus. Risks would be higher for dependants, of course. If you're at risk, see your primary care doctor. Ron P.)

Short-term insurance buyers drive up cost in Mass.
New costs coming soon to the other 49. Excerpt: The result is that insured residents of Massachusetts wind up paying more for health care, according to the report. “The active members subsidize some of the costs tied to those individuals who terminate within one year,’’ the report says. The report was released as state lawmakers consider proposals to make it harder for consumers to jump in and then dump their health insurance coverage. A bill sponsored by Senate President Therese Murray aims to close many of the loopholes by, among other things, allowing consumers buying their own insurance to do so during just one month per year, as is the case with many employer-sponsored health plans. The number of people engaging in this phenomenon — dumping their coverage within six months — jumped from 3,508 in 2006, when the law was passed, to 17,177 in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available. “We believe [Murray’s] fixes could effectively address the gaming in the system — which we believe is adding as much as $300 million dollars to the health care system in Massachusetts’’ each year, said Tara Murray, spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest insurer.

U.S. Finally Accepts International Assistance for Gulf Oil Spill
Been on it from day One, huh, Bammy? Excerpt: The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the State Department said Tuesday. The State Department said in a news release that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that's been accepted. More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The U.S. hasn't made a final decision on most of the offers. The United States rarely faces a disaster of such magnitude that it requires international aid, but the government did accept assistance after Hurricane Katrina. Most of the countries and groups have offered skimmers, boom or dispersant chemicals, according to a chart on the State Department's website. The chart indicated offers have been accepted from six countries -- Canada, Mexico, Croatia, Holland, Norway and Japan. Offers also were accepted from two groups -- the International Maritime Organization and the Monitoring and Information Center, which is operated by the European Commission.

Gun-Rights Groups Ready for Battle Against ‘Restrictive’ Regulations
Excerpt: Given the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Monday that the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals in the states, gun rights advocates are maneuvering to legally challenge and remove what they view as burdensome regulations on gun ownership and use. "We are already preparing to challenge other highly restrictive anti-gun laws across the country,” said Alan Gottlieb, vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, in a statement. “Our objective is to win back our firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time.” The Second Amendment Foundation was one of the legal co-sponsors for the plaintiff in the case, McDonald v. Chicago, for which the Supreme Court ruled in favor on Monday. Dave Workman, with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said he expects the "battlefield" over gun regulations to "expand to the states now," and that there will be numerous challenges to gun laws and regulations across the country. (This will be a long, hard, expensive, and thankless battle with no quarter given on either side. The nannies will insist only they know what is good for us and will invent reasons why it should be so; those of us who refuse to be nannied will fight bitterly. No matter who wins each battle, the rift in our society will be enlarged. Yet, if the battle is not fought, we lose a freedom vital to protecting all the others. This should have been clarified 100 years ago. Ron P.)

Crime, punishment and Climategate
Excerpt: Al Gore and his Climategate colleagues in the academy and the press are like the North Carolina police officers and prosecutors who put an honest man behind bars. Almost all of them began with open minds and the best intentions. At some point they honestly concluded that the Earth was in great peril. They began viewing evidence through this lens, accentuating data that bolstered their view, discounting findings at odds with the “truth.” As their investment in the idea of global warming increased—their careers, good names and sense of themselves—their minds closed. Dissension, debate and doubt became too dangerous. Members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change trumpeted faulty data, climate scientists stifled legitimate inquiry and influential journalists likened those who questioned global warming to Holocaust deniers in the name of truth. In a recent column, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal found it “amusing” that the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert had rejected the seriousness of the Climategate scandal in a recent podcast. “She sounds extremely defensive,” Taranto wrote, “as if she feels personally threatened by questions about global-warmist doctrine.” Of course she does. Kolbert has written numerous articles and a celebrated book, “Field Notes On a Catastrophe,” detailing the threat of global warming. Her investment in it is immense. It cannot be easy for her to even entertain the possibility that she—so smart, so accomplished—might have been duped, even a little bit.

Debts, deficits and defense
Buy a burka for your granddaughter. Excerpt: In the fight over defense spending, the first round has been fought between Congress and the Pentagon. Congress won by a knockout. In a grudging response to calls from Republicans to bring the White House defense budget cuts to a vote, the Democrat majority allowed a House vote in early June. But it was only on a single item in the long list. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had dipped her toe in the water and allowed a vote to decide the fate of the “alternative engine” for the F-35 fighter. She assumed it was an obscure program with minimal support, and the easiest cut to pass. She was mistaken. As of now, Pratt & Whitney has a sole source contract that gives them a monopoly on building the engine for the aircraft that will be 95 percent of our jet fighter force. The F-35 is nothing less than the basis of future American air superiority. But, notwithstanding Pratt & Whitney’s sole source contract, General Electric and Rolls Royce were funded to develop a competitive engine the Government Accounting Office says will reduce costs by as much as 12 percent. Setting technical arguments aside, the issue came down to $485 million. The White House and Pentagon wanted to cancel the competition. When the smoke cleared, a solid majority of votes by both Democrats and Republicans insured the alternative engine program will continue. In the age of trillions, why was this vote over spending less than $500 million important? The Obama administration intends to slash the defense budget in order to pay for its riotous spending on bailouts, “stimulus bills,” their signature healthcare program, and massive pork bribes for votes from congressmen who hopefully will not survive this November’s balloting. To continue the spending spree, the White House plans to eliminate over a trillion defense dollars in the next ten years. Details of those proposed cuts were laid out by Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) Sustainable Defense Task Force in a 56 page report titled: Debt, Deficits, & Defense – A Way Forward. None of the service arms are spared.

Fake Marine Sentenced to Probation
“Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier.” –Samuel Johnson. Excerpt: A man who pretended to be a highly decorated Marine will serve three years of probation, including 120 hours of volunteer work, probably in the service of veterans. "I really admire the military," Angel Ocasio-Reyes, 49, said before he was sentenced today for three federal misdemeanor charges under the Stolen Valor Act. "I never meant to hurt anyone." Ocasio-Reyes, of Tampa, bought a beribboned Marine master gunnery sergeant uniform at an Army Navy surplus store in New York and paid a friend $25 for a DD Form 214, an official military discharge document, showing Navy service. He altered the form, typing in his address and a slew of medals and decorations, including the Navy Cross, making it appear as though he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was injured in combat.

Stop Chicago Corruption - Joel Pollak for Congress
My candidate in my district.

UN starts $5M cleanup of Agent Orange contamination at former US base in Vietnam,0,6856398.story
Excerpt: The United Nations has launched a $5 million project to clean up Agent Orange contamination at a former U.S military air base in Vietnam, the world body said Tuesday. The project will focus on dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa airport on the outskirts of southern Ho Chi Minh City. It is one of three former American air bases where U.S. forces mixed, stored and loaded the defoliant onto planes for spraying missions during the Vietnam War to destroy jungle hideouts of enemy Communist forces. (want to bet the Us Taxpayers are being ripped off for this? See: Agent Orange Fact Sheet

Podesta clan's close ties to Obama pay off big
Excerpt: John Podesta, chief executive officer of the liberal Center for American Progress, may be President Obama's closest confidant outside of the administration -- he ran the transition and has visited the White House at least 37 times according to visitor logs. Tony Podesta, John's brother, is a corporate lobbyist and a leading fundraiser for Democrats. On at least a handful of issues, John's CAP has advocated the same solutions Tony has lobbied for. On some of those issues, CAP has partnered with the companies that hire Tony as a lobbyist. Given Obama's anti-lobbyist rhetoric -- and the gaping holes in his lobbyist policies that have been repeatedly exposed -- it's worth examining where the work of the president's confidant, John, dovetails with the business of lobbyist and fundraiser, Tony.

Fannie-Freddie Bailout Could Cost Taxpayers $1 Trillion
No new financial regulation proposed here. Excerpt: For American taxpayers, now on the hook for some $145 billion in housing losses connected to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, that amount could be just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the losses could balloon to $400 billion. And if housing prices fall further, some experts caution, the cost to the taxpayer could hit as much as $1 trillion. Two things are clear: Taxpayers don’t want to foot the bill, and Fannie and Freddie, taken over by the government in 2008 to stanch the financial bloodletting, need a major overhaul. “Some of us who don’t even own homes are paying to support others and their home ownership, and they ask ‘why?’ said Robert J. Shiller, a Yale University economics professor and co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices…

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