Saturday, July 10, 2010

Political Digest July 10, 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.

Vacation
I’m on vacation this coming week, and may not have computer access or time for the Daily Political Digest. Will post when I can and leave a few things to post on the blog. You will not be charged for this week.

Must Read: Obama threatens to follow in FDR's economic missteps
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070804272.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline
Excerpt: President Obama may be about to repeat Franklin D. Roosevelt's mistakes -- but not the ones captured in this narrow discussion. By fixating on the debt and stimulus plans, Obama and Congress are overlooking challenges to the economy from taxes, employment and the entrepreneurial environment. President Roosevelt's great error was to ignore such factors -- and the result was that sickening double dip. Taxation is an obvious area the Obama administration ought to reconsider. Income taxes, the dividend tax and capital gains taxes are all set to rise as the Bush tax cuts expire. The Obama administration portrays these increases as necessary for budgetary and social reasons. A society in which the wealthy pay their share, the message goes, has a stronger economy. The administration and congressional Democrats are also striving to ensure that businesses pony up. The carried-interest provision in the tax extender bill seeks to raise rates on gains by private equity and hedge funds. If that were not enough, a so-called enterprise value tax would be levied on partnerships that sought to elude the new high taxes by selling their companies. Roosevelt, too, pursued the dual purposes of revenue and social good. In 1935 he signed legislation known as the "soak the rich" law. FDR, more radical than Obama in his class hostility, spoke explicitly of the need for "very high taxes." Roosevelt's tax trap was the undistributed-profits tax, which hit businesses that chose not to disgorge their cash as dividends or wages. The idea was to goad companies into action. The outcome was not what the New Dealers envisioned. Horrified by what they perceived as an existential threat, businesses stopped buying equipment and postponed expansion. They hired lawyers to find ways around the undistributed-profits tax. In May 1938, after months of unemployment rates in the high teens, the Democratic Congress cut back the detested tax. That bill became law without the president's signature. Then there is labor policy. Obama announced this year that the federal government would award contracts to firms with more generous pay and benefit packages. With its support of private- and public-sector unions -- recall its treatment of the automakers' unions in the 2009 bailout -- the administration generally wants wages or compensation to be high. Roosevelt's flamboyant pursuit of a similar goal cost the economy dearly.

Chicago Dems ask Treasury to use TARP funds to bring Illinois bank 'back to life'
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/107809-chicago-dems-seek-tarp-funds-for-community-bank
Like a drunk on a bender, the money feeding frenzy goes on. Luckily, there is no tomorrow to worry about. Grab what you can now. Schakowsky is my Congress Critter—why—I’m supporting her opponent. Excerpt: Chicago-area Democrats are urging the Treasury Department to help a troubled community bank with money from the $700 billion financial bailout fund. Four House members pushed the department in mid-June to provide federal money to ShoreBank, a prominent Illinois-based bank that serves low- and middle-income customers. High-profile Democrats, including President Bill Clinton, have praised the bank’s work. Republicans have criticized ShoreBank’s political connections and called for investigations into its application for federal help. The Treasury Department has yet to decide whether to grant an aid package, months after the bank first applied. ShoreBank raised roughly $150 million from other banks, nonprofits and philanthropies as part of its application for help under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The bank would be eligible for roughly $70 million in federal help, according to Brian Berg, a ShoreBank spokesman. Illinois Democratic Reps. Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Jan Schakowsky wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urging the department to help ShoreBank.

Gen. James Mattis: Petraeus's new boss boasts a salty mouth, keen mind
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2010/0708/Gen.-James-Mattis-Petraeus-s-new-boss-boasts-a-salty-mouth-keen-mind
Excerpt: The Pentagon opted for continuity Thursday in naming Marine Gen. James Mattis to take the reins of Central Command, the general who oversees US military operations and planning in crucial countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. If confirmed by the Senate, Mattis would replace Army Gen. David Petraeus, who stepped down from his post at Central Command to take direct control of the US war effort in Afghanistan after the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Mattis and Petraeus are the joint architects of how America now fights counterinsurgencies. Drawing extensively on their experiences as commanders during the earliest and most tumultuous period of the Iraq insurgency, Petraeus and Mattis wrote the military's primary manual on counterinsurgency. They are, in many ways, the twin pillars of modern American warfare – erudite, inventive, and allied in a conviction that defeating an insurgency requires a fundamental revision of how soldiers and marines fight. Yet unlike Petraeus, whose personality and bearing exude the soldier-scholar, Mattis comes with a mouth – and a mentality – often not far removed from the mess hall. Speaking of the Taliban, he said in 2005: "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you. I like brawling." To Iraqi military leaders in 2003, he said: ""I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you [expletive] with me, I'll kill you all." 9The quip about telling the troops when they meet an anti-war protester at home, to “shake his hand, then wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she’s dating a p—sy” has also been attributed to Mattis, among others.)

Mission Attrition (The furor over SB 1070)
http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/07/mission-attrition
Excerpt: In Mexico City this May, hundreds marched outside the U.S. embassy to voice their disapproval of a newly enacted Arizona law designed to crack down on illegal immigration. Some waved banners saying, "Stop police repression in Arizona" and "Not too many migrants, too many racists." One woman protesting told the BBC that President Barack Obama should sign an executive order banning deportations until the United States Congress reformed -- i.e., liberalized -- the nation's immigration laws. Over the past four years, it has become an annual spring ritual to hold a heated public debate over illegal immigration. This custom began in 2006, when President George W. Bush -- with a little help from a bipartisan gaggle of friends in the Senate -- made good on his promise to unveil "comprehensive immigration reform." By May Day, the streets of major American cities were filled with protesters carrying signs (and in some cases, Mexican flags) as they demanded a path to citizenship for the 10 to 20 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. Some illegals walked off their jobs to demonstrate their importance to the American economy. By the time Labor Day passed, however, comprehensive immigration reform was as unfashionable as wearing white. What the Bush administration called "reform" a majority of the American people regarded as amnesty, a reward for lawbreakers that would overwhelm any accompanying improvements to border security by incentivizing further illegal immigration. After all, they had been through this before with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, signed into law by Ronald Reagan: the amnesty took place but the promised enforcement never materialized.

R.I. troopers embrace firm immigration role
http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2010/07/06/ri_troopers_embrace_firm_immigration_role/?page=full
In contrast to Mass., they report all who are present illegally
http://www.boston.com/video/viral_page/?/services/player/bcpid19067533001&bctid=91407294001
Will BO sue Democrat-run RI? Excerpt: Rhode Island State Trooper Nuno Vasconcelos was patrolling Interstate 95 a few months ago when he came upon a two-car accident in heavy traffic. The trooper pulled up, stepped out of his cruiser, and asked one of the drivers for his license. The man said he did not have a license, and under questioning, confessed that he was here illegally from Guatemala. If the accident had happened 15 miles north in Massachusetts, the man would probably have been arrested for driving without a license, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and 10 days in jail, then released pending an appearance in district court. But in Rhode Island, illegal immigrants face a far greater penalty: deportation. From Woonsocket to Westerly, the troopers patrolling the nation’s smallest state are reporting all illegal immigrants they encounter, even on routine stops such as speeding, to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE. “There are police chiefs throughout New England who hide from the issue . . . and I’m not hiding from it,’’ said Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the towering commander of the Rhode Island State Police. “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.’’

United States v. Arizona — How 'Bout United States v. Rhode Island?
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NjkzMmNjMjIxMjIxYWNmODA0OGI3ZTU5MmIyZGUyMjg=
Excerpt: Well whaddya know? It turns out that Rhode Island has long been carrying out the procedures at issue in the Arizona immigration statute: As a matter of routine, RI state police check immigration status at traffic stops whenever there is reasonable suspicion to do so, and they report all illegals to the feds for deportation. Besides the usual profiling blather, critics have trotted out the now familiar saw that such procedures hamstring police because they make immigrants afraid to cooperate. But it turns out that it’s the Rhode Island police who insist on enforcing the law. As Cornell law prof William Jacobson details at Legal Insurrection, Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the state police commander, “refuses to hide from the issue,” explaining, ”I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.” If, as President Obama and Attorney General Holder claim, there is a federal preemption issue, why hasn’t the administration sued Rhode Island already? After all, Rhode Island is actually enforcing these procedures, while the Arizona law hasn’t even gone into effect yet. Could it be because — as we’ve discussed here before — the Supreme Court in Muehler v. Mena has already held that police do not need any reason (not probable cause, not reasonable suspicion) to ask a person about his immigration status?

Border police bait & switch
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/border_police_bait_switch_9avLj7QlaBxEbIWapnRF1H
Excerpt: President Obama is suing Arizona for having its cops identify and round up illegal aliens -- even though he's also deputizing them to do the same thing. That's right: Under a little-known federal program called ICE 287(g), the administration has continued to enlist at least eight Arizona state law-enforcement agencies to carry out the procedures at issue in the new Arizona law, which goes into effect July 29. The program dates to a 1995 law signed by President Bill Clinton, which allows US immigration officials to train local law-enforcement officers and authorize them to ID and detain illegals. After 9/11, the Homeland Security Department entered into official partnership agreements with various police departments, allowing them to search federal databases for illegals. The program spread across the country, including to Arizona. It now involves 71 state and local police agencies. Indeed, Homeland Security has even conscripted Arizona state troopers to help it enforce federal immigration rules. Obama's Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, OK'd that agreement and another deal with a second state law-enforcement agency when she was Arizona's governor.

Obama v. Arizona
http://weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-administration-files-lawsuit-against-arizona-over-immigration-law
Excerpt: Certainly no one would dispute that the federal government is the "preeminent" architect of the nation's immigration policy. But it is quite another thing to say that federal law, through the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, preempts S.B. 1070. In U.S. v. Arizona, the administration will have to prove the latter point – and that will be no small task. The administration's primary obstacle is De Canas v. Bica (1976), in which the Supreme Court emphatically declared that federal immigration laws did not prohibit the states from enforcing the policies embodied by those federal immigration laws. (In that case, the state law was a California prohibition against the employment of illegal aliens.) The Court reviewed the text and history of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, and found no indication that "Congress intended to preclude even harmonious state regulation touching on aliens in general, or the employment of illegal aliens in particular." According to the Court, states may enforce laws consistent with federal immigration laws, so long as the state does not "impose additional burdens not contemplated by Congress." Arizona drafted its laws with De Canas firmly in mind, as S.B. 1070's architect, law professor Kris Kobach, explained in a recent interview. In fact, Arizona's recent brief in a separate lawsuit makes this very point. Last month, Arizona moved to dismiss Friendly House v. Whiting, a class action lawsuit brought against S.B. 1070 by the ACLU and other groups. Responding in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit that was based on arguments that S.B. 1070 improperly regulates immigration, Arizona drew De Canas's crucial distinction: The ACLU is "confusing enforcement of federal immigration regulations (which SB 1070 seeks to accomplish) with enactment of Arizona-specific 'regulation of immigration' (which federal law would preempt)."

Majority Oppose Justice Department’s Decision to Challenge Arizona’s New Immigration Law
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/69162
Excerpt: A majority of the nation's “likely voters" oppose the Justice Department’s recent decision to challenge Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law in federal court, according to a poll According released Thursday by Rasmussen Reports. When respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the move to challenge the legality of Arizona’s new law against illegal immigration, 56 percent of “likely voters” were opposed to the Justice Department's decision. Twenty-eight percent agreed that the DOJ should challenge the law. Sixteen percent said they were not sure. While most respondents opposed the DOJ lawsuit, they also implied that immigration policy is the job of the federal government. Supporters, according to Rasmussen, called Arizona’s law necessary because the federal government is not enforcing immigration policy and because of the strain that illegal immigrants put on state budgets and safety.

Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah may follow Arizona's lead on immigration law
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/07/AR2010070703017.html?wpisrc=nl_headline
Excerpt: Attention is focused on Arizona and the federal government's challenge to the state's strict new immigration law, but three other states could adopt similar legislation next year. Lawmakers in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah, which have already taken steps against illegal immigration, say that Arizona-style measures have a realistic chance of passing when their legislatures reconvene in 2011.

APNewsBreak: $500K donated to Ariz. to defend law
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070900509.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline
Excerpt: Retirees and other residents from all over the country were among those who donated nearly $500,000 to help Arizona defend its immigration enforcement law, with most chipping in $100 or less, according to an analysis of documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. The donations, 88 percent of which came through the Arizona defense fund's website, surged this week after the federal government sued Tuesday to challenge the law. A document from Gov. Jan Brewer's office showed that 7,008 of the 9,057 online contributions submitted by Thursday morning were made in the days following the government's filing. Website contributions came from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including nearly 2,000 from Arizona. Donations ranged from $5 to $2,000, with the vast majority between $10 and $100. The AP examined about a quarter of the fund's total contributions, and found only two that came from businesses. (Meanwhile, the Feds started a fund as well. So far, they have collected almost 200 Pesos.)

Church tells Supreme Court funeral protests are protected
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-westboro-funeral-protests-20100707,0,1389093.story
Excerpt: The fundamentalist church that picketed the funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq with anti-gay signs argued Wednesday that its actions were protected by the First Amendment. An attorney for the Westboro Baptist Church submitted a 75-page brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in a lawsuit against the church this fall. Albert Snyder of York, Pa., claims that the church's free-speech rights did not trump his right to peacefully assemble for his son's funeral.... The Supreme Court agreed in March to take the case, and the justices will hear arguments during the court's next term, which begins in October. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia submitted a brief in support of Snyder. The states argued they have a compelling interest in protecting the sanctity of funerals.

Stinky environmental politics
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/08/stinky-environmental-politics/#more-21608
Excerpt: From Jo Nova: Tyranny: How to destroy a business with environmental red tape [Note: I {Anthony Watts} visited with the Thompsons at their farm during my visit to Narrogin. While time did not permit me to do the full scale story that Jo Nova does, I'll point out that I grew up in farm country of the Midwest, I milked cows when I was 11. I also cleaned toilets at the county fair at 14 (a job nobody else would do but it paid $100 for the week, a fortune for me then). I know what smells and how. And, I’ll point out that the rest of the (older, still operating) Thompson feedlot didn't smell when I visited, and I was upwind, downwind, and in-wind. It didn't smell because it was well waste managed.- Anthony] Matt and Janet Thompson are at the end of the rope Did you know in Australia it’s possible to ruin a business if you don’t like the way it smells? This is a heartbreaking story — that a government could effectively ruin a family by slowly strangling them in red tape, and that they would have apparently no protection from the courts or the ombudsman. It eats away at our sense of justice. Can we speak freely? Are we all treated equally under the law, or are some laws only enforced according to a capricious whim? This is the price we pay for vague laws where business people can run ventures, do everything to the letter of the law, with best-practice procedures, winning customers and contracts, yet go broke despite all that because of onerous, impossible-to-meet conditions, that are unmeasurable, and change suddenly, with the added bonus of inordinately long delays. At the moment, Janet and Matts farm, Narrogin Beef Producers, lies empty, unstocked, while debts accrue by the minute. This is also a story of sovereign risk. Investors in Australian industry beware. (At first glance, this seems an amazing case study. In reality, it happens right here in the good ol' USA, daily. I'll spare you the recitation of paper companies that have gone out of business (or at least out of the country), and other industries similarly impacted and point at just one thing that we all know: tobacco use. Back in the early 1970s, one of the physicians working in Leominster, Mass started a chapter of the Group Against Smoking Pollution (GASP--catchy acronym, eh?). I smoked then, and was incensed when my then wife joined the group. She dragged me to a meeting. The only topics of conversation during the one hour meeting were about ten minutes on how horrible the effects of second-hand smoke were alleged to be, and fifty minutes about how awful the stuff smelled. I don't believe for even a second that more than one quarter of the people there--mostly spouses or adult children of smokers--really cared much about the health aspects; I KNOW they all cared about the foul stench. "You can say you are allergic to tobacco smoke," they were told. And, so they did. Smokers, along with the overweight, are now among the few minorities that can be discriminated against with no fear of legal reprisal. Indeed, smokers can be discriminated against in the workplace, and can't even form private clubs that permit in-door smoking in Massachusetts. New York City wants to outlaw smoking inside people's homes. But, the government sure likes those tax dollars. Beware of nannies with political power; they know best what is good for you, and you don't. Ron P. I’m publishing my buddy Ron’s comment. On the other hand, as a non-smoker with a lung disease [IPF] that they suspect second hand smoke contributes to, I can see the point of being free from breathing other folks’ smoke.)

USDA says soda tax would cut obesity
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/food-politics/usda-says-soda-tax-would-cut-o.html?hpid=sec-health
Excerpt: Politically, soda taxes have never taken off. A DC tax that would have funded more healthful school lunches was killed by the Council in May. Last week, New York legislators, who had pioneered the idea, caved in to the powerful beverage lobby. Yet, evidence continues to mount that taxing sugary beverages could help to stem or even reverse the American obesity epidemic. According to a study (PDF) released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, a 20 percent increase in the price of high-calorie, sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks, could result in a decrease in the daily calorie intake of beverages by 37 calories for an average adult and 43 calories for children. (If Paul Revere was alive and riding today, he'd be shouting: "The NANNIES are coming! The NANNIES are coming!" If they'll do this for 37 to 43 calories per person, how much will they tax us for pecan pie? Ron P.)

Petraeus reviews directive meant to limit Afghan civilian deaths
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070806219.html?wpisrc=nl_headline
An old problem in insurgent warfare. The terrorists use civilians as shields, then use their deaths as propaganda. The North Vietnamese Communists used to hide fighter jets and SAM Missiles next to schools and hospitals, knowing we wouldn’t hit them, at the same time using our media and anti-American leftists to claim we were bombing schools and hospitals. Israel faces the same problem. But the real moral responsibility for civilian deaths lies with the cowardly scum using them as shields. Excerpt: To the U.S. soldiers getting pounded with thunderous mortar rounds in their combat outpost near Kandahar, it seemed like a legitimate request: allow them to launch retaliatory mortar shells or summon an airstrike against their attackers. The incoming fire was landing perilously close to a guard station, and the soldiers, using a high-powered camera, could clearly see the insurgents shooting. The response from headquarters -- more than 20 miles away -- was terse. Permission denied. Battalion-level officers deemed the insurgents too close to a cluster of mud-brick houses, perhaps with civilians inside. Although the insurgents stopped firing before anybody was wounded, the troops were left seething. "This is not how you fight a war, at least not in Kandahar," said a soldier at the outpost who described the incident, which occurred last month, on the condition of anonymity. "We've been handcuffed by our chain of command."

U.S., Russia reach deal on exchanging spies
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070803476.html?wpisrc=nl_headline
Notice that the free countries are always asked to swap more bodies than their enemies. Israel is expected to swap hundreds of terrorists for one kidnapped Israeli soldier. They know we value life while they worship death. Excerpt: In a rapidly arranged spy swap reminiscent of Cold War intrigues, the U.S. government on Thursday agreed to expel 10 agents who had burrowed into American society and in return won the release of four Russians jailed for illegal contacts with the West. The spies pleaded guilty to acting as unregistered foreign agents for Russia, a charge well short of espionage. They had endured only a few days of jail time since their arrests in the United States last month; in prior cases, spies spent years behind bars before being exchanged.

The Real Tragedy of Persistent Unemployment
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=19556&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DPD
Excerpt: The longer it takes to understand and address these issues, the more likely the United States will get stuck in a protracted low growth/high unemployment trap. In addition to considering the welfare cost of substantial joblessness, policy makers should keep in mind the following four facts, says El-Erian: Persistently high unemployment erodes the skills of any labor force, especially when joblessness is a big problem among the young; this reduces future productivity and growth potential. A high rate of joblessness puts pressure on inadequate social safety nets like the unemployment benefit system; it also exacerbates the strain on government budgets already stretched at both the federal and state levels. Stubbornly high unemployment makes those who are employed more cautious; by spending less, they aggravate the economic slowdown. High unemployment has historically induced companies and countries to become more inwardly oriented; many firms have already moved to a "self-insurance" mode, including holding large cash balances rather than investing in equipment and hiring people.

A chart of unemployment since 1995
http://www.redstate.com/neil_stevens/2010/07/08/a-chart-of-unemployment-since-1995/
Very interesting.

Nine Danger Signs in Obamacare
http://www.heartland.org/healthpolicy-news.org/article/27718/Nine_Danger_Signs_in_Obamacare.html
Excerpt: Not a single one of its major programs has gotten started, and already the wheels are starting to come off of Obamacare. The administration’s own chief actuary has reported millions of people could lose their health insurance, health-care costs will rise faster than they would have if the law hadn’t passed, and the overhaul will mean people will have an increasingly tough time finding physicians to see them. The White House is trying to spin this April report from Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster as only half bad because it concludes that although costs will increase, only 23 million people will remain uninsured (instead of 24 million as previously estimated). But looking at the details of Foster’s report shows the many, many danger signs for Obamacare and how many of its promises will be broken. Here are nine big problems which stand out:

IRS Ombudsman Says ObamaCare Compliance to Impose "Significant" Burdens on Businesses
http://spectator.org/blog/2010/07/08/irs-ombudsman-says-obamacare-c
Excerpt: A new report by the National Taxpayer Advocate, who acts as an ombudsman within the Internal Revenue Service, has warned in a report to Congress that the agency is currently ill-equipped to handle the implementation of the new national health care law and that the legislation will place severe burdens on businesses. “I have no doubt the IRS is capable of administering social programs, including health care,” advocate Nina Olson said in a press release. “But Congress must provide sufficient funding and the IRS itself must recognize that the skills and training required to administer social benefit programs are very different from the skills and training that employees of an enforcement agency typically possess." To deal with this issue, the report goes on to suggest that the "IRS mission statement be revised to explicitly acknowledge the agency’s dual role as part tax collector and part benefits administrator." Yet another example of how more government begets more government.

IRS: Obamacare Has Us Doing Things We're Not Remotely Qualified For
http://weeklystandard.com/blogs/irs-obamacare-has-us-doing-things-were-not-remotely-qualified-burdens-small-biz
Excerpt: The National Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent body within the IRS meant to iron out taxpayer problems with IRS systems, said in a report today that the new health care bill has charged the agency with doing things it's not prepared to do: Though the IRS's main mission is to collect taxes, it has been given a key role administering health insurance premium subsidies, tax credits for small businesses, assessments on employers and the mandate that beginning in 2014 everyone obtain insurance. "I have no doubt the IRS is capable of administering social programs, including health care," Olson said. "But Congress must provide sufficient funding and the IRS itself must recognize that the skills and training required to administer social benefit programs are very different from the skills and training that employees of an enforcement agency typically possess." The tension between enforcement and social service missions could affect the IRS's ability to administer health-care credits and penalties "in a fair and compassionate way," Olson said. I wonder if Olson means they'll need more money than the $10 billion provided for such training in the health-care bill itself. Because who's not a fan of forking over more than $10 billion to the IRS to enforce the health-care bill no one wanted during a down economy?

Is Health Insurance Moving Toward Oligopoly?
http://healthplans.hcpro.com/page-1/HEP-253238/Is-Health-Insurance-Moving-Toward-Oligopoly
Excerpt: Last week Michael Kleinman, vice president for investor relations at WellPoint, Inc., put a label on the insurance industry consolidation that has been underway for years. The market is becoming an 'oligopoly', dominated by just a few companies, and healthcare reform may accelerate the process, he was quoted as saying in a recent Businessweek article. “There are going to be smaller insurers that are not going to be able to survive in this marketplace," Kleinman said of the post-reform era. An analyst's report cited in the article predicts that the health reform overhaul could push 100 insurers with 200,000 members or less out of business, "as the plans are increasingly unable to invest in the infrastructure and technology to effectively manage care.” But that same report found that 12 health plans already cover two thirds of enrollment in the U.S. commercial market. While it's easy to point the finger at new federal regulations and price controls, the industry has been consolidating for years.

Taliban Video
http://shock.military.com/Shock/videos.do;jsessionid=EE211F4A0F59B0169A6DA2FD3038DF24?displayContent=217198&page=1
Don’t seem to have received the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo.

Britain Today
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h2XBZz88VE&feature=player_embedded

Muslim Enclaves U.S.A.
http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/09/munslim-enclaves-u-s-a/?utm_source=FrontPage+Magazine&utm_campaign=806d38e0e6-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email
Excerpt: It seems almost unthinkable, but Islamist groups are, as we speak, hard at work creating Muslim states-within-states in the U.S. Indeed, this process has been unfolding for a long time across the Western world, through the creation of isolated Muslim enclaves in both rural and urban areas, as well as through the designation of “no-go zones” where governments admit to having little authority over Muslims living there, essentially leaving them to function as autonomous regions. Daniel Pipes has tracked numerous examples since 2004 of Muslim groups working to create communities based solely on Islam and run by Sharia law. As discussed by David Kennedy Houck in 2006, “Although such concepts are antithetical to a free society, U.S. democracy allows the internal enclave to function beyond the established boundaries of our constitutional framework.” For example, one such community, Gwynn Oak, has been created in Baltimore, Maryland, consisting of Muslim immigrants and African-American converts. The project is led by John Yahya Cason, director of the Islamic Education and Community Development Initiative. Cason explained that the neighborhood is a response to the problem that “Muslim communities are ruled by Western societal tenets, many of which clash with Islamic norms.” In his opinion, there is a need for communities with “the totality of the essential components of Muslim social, economic, and political structure.” As such, the Gwynn Oak enclave follows specific moral rules based on Islam and people there speak Arabic. On September 13, 2009, the construction of its three-story mosque began. Approximately 400 Muslims now live in the vicinity. Another example involves the Islamic Center for Human Excellence, which receives funding from the United Arab Emirates. In August 2004, it was granted permission to build a Muslim neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas

Punjab soup kitchen forbidden to Christians
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Punjab-soup-kitchen-forbidden-to-Christians-18884.html
One of the Five Pillars of Islam is charity…to fellow Muslims. Excerpt: In Toba Tek Singh in Punjab, the local government forbids poor Christians from taking advantage of a meals service because of their faith. This is revealed by a survey Assist News Service, an agency of the Protestant community. Recently, the Punjab government decided to offer a free meal service called "dastar Khwan" for the poor, inviting entrepreneurs and philanthropists of every state to finance the project, built largely with public money. The authorities have opened canteens in different areas and villages in the province where every day from 13.00 to 15:00 lunch is served for poor people at a cost of only 9 cents. The initiative was a success all over the Punjab, but not in the district of Toba TAK Singh where many Christians were prevented from buying the meal token.

Ontario police set to charge Muslim extremist
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Ontario+police+charge+Muslim+extremist/3248088/story.html
Guess he didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Over the past three years, Salman Hossain has openly called for terrorist attacks in Canada, cheered the killing of Canadian troops in Afghanistan and urged fellow Muslims to “exterminate” Canada’s Jewish population.

Modern, moderate Dubai gives cross-dresser three years in prison for offending Islam
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/modern-moderate-dubai-gives-cross-dresser-three-years-in-prison-for-offending-islam.html
Excerpt: Irony of ironies: if he had dressed in a burqa and blown himself up in a crowd of Infidels, he'd be hailed as a martyr of Islam.

Former terror inmate arrested
http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_550270.html
Don’t they read them the memo at Gitmo? Excerpt: PAKISTAN on Tuesday arrested a former Guantanamo Bay inmate, alleging that he had rejoined Taleban insurgents in the country's north-west, security officials said. They said Issa Khan, a homeopathic doctor who previously spent around four years in the notorious US military jail in Cuba, was arrested in Bannu town, about 180 kilometres south of Peshawar. 'We have arrested doctor Issa Khan. He was wanted on different terrorism charges,' Bannu city police chief Sajjad Khan told AFP by telephone.

Iran's Thug-In-Chief: Jews "only appear to be human," Iran working to "rescue the American people"
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/irans-thug-in-chief-jews-only-appear-to-be-human.html
Excerpt: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Over sixty years ago, by means of an artificial and false pretext, and by fabricating information and inventing stories, they gathered the filthiest, most criminal people, who only appear to be human, from all corners of the world. They organized and armed them, and provided them with media and military backing. Thus, they occupied the Palestinian lands, and displaced the Palestinian people.

Praise for Shiite Cleric Earns Criticism for Ambassador
http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/praise-for-shiite-cleric-mohammed-hussein-fadlallah-earns-criticism-for-british-diplomat-frances-guy/19548195?sms_ss=email
Excerpt: Speaking to Tel Aviv daily Yediot Ahronot, an unnamed Israeli government official condemned Ambassador Guy for her poor choice of words. "Between the phrase: 'Hezbollah spiritual leader' and 'decent' lies a moral and political ocean," the official said. "If Hezbollah was firing missiles at London and Glasgow, would this leader still be called 'decent'?" Fadlallah posed a puzzling figure for Western diplomats stationed in the tiny, troubled nation of Lebanon. He frequently spouted anti-U.S. rhetoric, endorsed suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and was linked to the 1983 suicide blast at the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, which left more than 240 American troops dead. But later in life, the firebrand cleric toned down his radical views. He condemned the 9/11 attacks, called for talks between Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and advocated greater rights for women.

Greenthink
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/greenthink/#more-9531
Excerpt: First there is no such thing as renewable energy, it’s kind of fitting that the very word greenies have coined is itself a lie. I say that because there are so many lies and exaggerations in the world of green energy that it makes ‘renewable’ a perfectly fitting term. The second law of thermodynamics makes sure that the energy we convert is extremely difficult to recover, in a perfectly efficient system you could convert your CO2 back into gasoline but of course it would take as much ‘work’ as you just got out of it. In reality, the energy you used to drive your car is already turned completely into heat within a two minutes of being turned into velocity (think how long it would take to coast to a stop if you shut off the engine). Alright, renewable is an intentional misnomer, so what.... Green energies such as wind, wave, solar electric, hydroelectric, and solar thermal, biofuel, etc. all have one thing in common. They are all forms of solar power. It takes energy from the sun to drive wind, wave and create plant fuels. Another form of solar power is oil and coal, they are a form of very inefficiently stored solar energy from millions of years ago. Nuclear fission is also a form of solar if you take it back to the stars believed to have created the heavy elements used in the fission process. However, both fossil fuels and Nuclear used energy from stars which has been stored in relatively convenient packages for release by the right equipment at a moments notice. I call the other forms of energy stored solar, whereas instant solar, which is now being incorrectly called renewable energy, trickles in at a low density per unit area which requires the construction of massive area consuming collection zones. The amount of area used with today’s horribly inefficient solar technologies, means that green energy or instant solar’s viability is determined by collection efficiency rather than cost alone. The reason is that if we were to use ‘corn’ to power our cars in the US, even basic calculations show that we would need more than all the land mass of the North American continent to be a producing viable corn field, and more sophisticated calculations show that we may be net loosing energy by corn ethanol. Basic calculations on algae biofuel produce equally ridiculous results like two land masses the size of Texas to drive all the US cars — only.

Moving past Climategate
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorials/1190935.html
Excerpt: CHANCES are the final review of the "Climategate" affair won’t succeed in cooling the rhetoric about global warming. Nor will it mark a fresh start in relations between skeptics and believers — although that would be the most desirable outcome. That’s because the investigation into the conduct of scientists at the world’s leading climate research body at the University of East Anglia in Britain has produced a report that allows both sides to claim some vindication. ... On the negative side, the CRU scientists were their own worst enemies. They were "unhelpful and defensive" when dealing with Freedom of Information requests from skeptical scientists who wanted to test their conclusions, and the report suggested there was "evidence that emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable, should a subsequent request be made for them." In short, a bunker mentality and a culture of secrecy had burgeoned at the university. (It has since taken steps to correct the problems.) The CRU scientists have been quick to claim complete exoneration, but the truth is they have done their profession a disservice.

Obama Campaign Supporter
"I hate white people. All of them! Every last iota of a cracker, I hate him! You want freedom? You're going to have to kill some crackers! You're going to have kill some of their babies." --"King Samir Shabazz," New Black Panther Philadelphia chapter leader -- whose charges of voter intimidation in the above-mentioned case were dropped by the new DoJ.

Republican 22nd Congressional Candidate Allen West Statement on New Black Panther Party
http://gowestforallenwest.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/republican-22nd-congressional-candidate-allen-west-statement-on-new-black-panther-party/
Excerpt: “The recent decision by the Obama Justice Department to drop all charges of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party during the 2008 Election represents a sad day for all Americans. For an Administration that promised a new era in race relations, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have demonstrated that race will continually be exploited for political gain. It is outright hypocrisy that the Justice Department under Attorney General Holder is suing a sovereign American State, yet dismissing this heinous violation of our Constitution – the right to vote. Throughout history, the Democrat party has been the standard bearer of voter intimidation in America – only this time the once victim is now the perpetrator. The recent comments and actions of the New Black Panther Party are despicable, disgusting, and completely reprehensible. It is with no reservation that I make a formal condemnation of this racist and extremist group, which is anathema to the principles and values that make America a great Nation. For those who would define our country as a “nation of cowards,” or who feel the United States is neither great nor exceptional, and to any other racist and extremist groups, feel free to show yourselves the door. As a young black man who grew up in the inner city of Atlanta, my Mom and Dad taught me that which is presented in the Declaration of Independence – that all men are created equal. I was taught – and I have taught my children – that there is no such thing as an African American or Black American, only American. That there is only one true race – the Human race. That the only colors that matter in this country are Red, White and Blue. That, as a Constitutional Republic, the rule of law is paramount in binding us as a Nation.

How Obama Used an Army of Thugs to Steal the 2008 Democratic Party Nomination
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/25125
Excerpt: Think those billy club armed New Black Panther thugs in Philadelphia were the first time Obama used Stalinist tactics to intimidate voters and disenfranchise the American people? Think again. In testimony this week before Congress, former Justice Department Official J. Christian Adams revealed that not only were similar claims “pervasive”, but Obama activists committed the “same” crimes during the 2008 Democratic primary to help then Sen. Obama defeat Democratic heir apparent Hillary Clinton. Obama gamed the system in 2008 by not only allowing an army of young men station themselves outside polling locations in African American communities to prevent elderly women and others from voting for their chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, but he also trained thousands of willing accomplices—while I do not have confirmation, I do sense the presence of ACORN here—spread throughout the Democratic caucuses to commit voter fraud on a massive scale. The movie “We Will Not Be Silenced”, made by Democratic Party activist Gigi Gaston, produced by Bettina Sofia Viviano, and executive produced by former Clinton Campaign Regional Director John Siegel, documents how the unknown Senator from Illinois used “falsified delegate counts, falsified documents, and other violations” to beat the seemingly unbeatable Clinton machine and claim the Democratic nomination.

Whitewashing Black Racism
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/69171
Excerpt: Chanting “Black Power,” Minister Najee Muhammad, national field marshal for the New Black Panther Party, and Uhuru Shakur, local chairman of the Atlanta NBPP chapter, issued a pre-Election Day 2008 threat to “racists and other angry whites who are upset over an impending Barack Obama presidential victory.” Said Muhammad: “Most certainly, we cannot allow these racist forces to slaughter our babies or commit other acts of violence against the black population, nor our black president.” That’s rich, given that the only racists talking about slaughtering babies are the ones with New Black Panther Party patches on their puffed chests. If a Tea Party activist threatened to kill the babies of his political opponents, it wouldn’t just be front-page news. It would be the subject of Democrat-led congressional investigations, a series of terrified New York Times columns about the perilous “climate of hate,” a Justice Department probe by Attorney General Eric Holder, a domestic terror alert from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and another Important Teachable Moment Speech/Summit from Healer-in-Chief Barack Obama.

MO’s NAACP: Beaten Kenneth Gladney ‘not black enough’ to protect
http://commonamericanjournal.com/?p=16586
Excerpt: On May 5th, 2010 The Missouri NAACP hosted a press conference and rally on behalf of Perry Molens and Elston McCowan, demanding the county prosecutor drop assault charges stemming from an attack outside Russ Carnahan’s townhall in South St. Louis County on Health Care last August. Molens and McCowan were arrested after the staged Carnahan event in August after they beat, kicked and stomped on black vendor Kenneth Gladney. The two Russ Carnahan supporters and SEIU members also called Kenneth the n-word as they bashed him into the cement. This press conference in May was intended to drum up political pressure to prevent the jury trial of the two SEIU staff members arrested for attacking Kenneth Gladney in the presence of three witnesses.

Chicago Democrat Machine Throws Black Female Candidate Off the Ballot
http://commonamericanjournal.com/?p=16556
As we feared, the Chicago Democrat Machine reached into neighboring Will County and lined up a couple Democrat officials to throw Cedra Crenshaw, GOP candidate for the 43rd State Senate District, off the ballot. The Machine candidate in the district, A.J. Wilhelmi, is a legacy politician who was specially appointed to the Senate seat. The Democrat Machine would prefer a coronation, rather than a competition. The Election Board’s decision is below:

Loophole May Have Aided Theft of Classified Data
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/world/09breach.html?_r=3&th&emc=th
Excerpt: The soldier accused of downloading a huge trove of secret data from military computers in Iraq appears to have exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period. In at least one instance, according to those familiar with the inquiry, the soldier smuggled highly classified data out of his intelligence unit on a disc disguised as a music CD by Lady Gaga. Criminal charges were filed this week against the soldier, Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, who was accused of downloading more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, as well as secret videos and a PowerPoint presentation. Since his arrest in May, with initial accounts blaming him for leaking video of a deadly American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007, officials have sought to determine how he could have removed voluminous amounts of secret data without being caught.... Adrian Lamo, a well-known former hacker, had traded electronic messages in which Private Manning described his unhappiness with the Army — and, Mr. Lamo said, his activities downloading classified data. Mr. Lamo said Private Manning described how he had used compact discs capable of storing data, but tucked inside recognizable music CD cases, “to bring the data out of the secure room. He indicated he disguised one as a Lady Gaga CD,” Mr. Lamo said Thursday in a telephone interview. “He said he lip-synched to blend in.”

Obama Presses BP to Recover More Oil
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/us/09spill.html?_r=2&om_rid=Mqh-D0&om_mid=_BMNxQwB8OOfUXB
Excerpt: With a weeklong window of favorable weather opening in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is pressing BP to move quickly on two operations that could double the amount of oil captured from the gushing well. An oil recovery ship known as the Helix Producer, capable of capturing up to 25,000 barrels a day, has been waiting near the crippled well for more than a week, unable to connect to the well because of high winds and waves from Hurricane Alex. The weather has also delayed deployment of a new, tighter-fitting cap for the well that not only will be able to capture more of the spewing oil but could potentially shut down all oil releases from the well. Swapping the caps requires disconnecting the well from a recovery ship, the Discoverer Enterprise, potentially increasing the flow of oil by as much as 15,000 barrels a day for two to three days. The two operations were to have begun a week ago and take place in sequence. The administration now wants BP to move forward with both at the same time to take advantage of a period of seven or eight days of predicted calm weather. The administration sent BP a letter Thursday asking for details of how the company planned to proceed with attaching the Helix and replacing the cap while minimizing the unimpeded flow of oil during the changeover. The government wants to know how much of the oil BP can skim, burn or disperse during the swap. Government officials expect a quick answer and plan to decide by Friday how quickly to proceed. .... A top BP executive told The Wall Street Journal and NBC on Wednesday that under the most favorable conditions, the well could be killed by July 27, although he cautioned that the weather or technical problems could push that back. The original completion date was mid-August. A senior administration official dismissed the new date as probably overly optimistic. (Nothing quite like mixed messages from the top. – Ron P.)

Appeals court says no to Obama drilling moratorium
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-moratorium-20100709,0,132282.story
Excerpt: A federal appeals court Thursday rejected the Obama administration's request to keep a six-month moratorium on deep-water oil drilling in place while it mounts a legal defense of the ban. The decision, issued shortly after the three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a crowded New Orleans courtroom, was a second blow to one of the administration's key responses to the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and massive spill. Attorneys for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had urged the panel to leave the ban in effect while the administration appeals a lower court's rejection of the moratorium. The ban had halted exploratory drilling at 33 well sites in waters deeper than 500 feet. But the panel, in a 2-1 decision, said the administration had failed to show there would be "irreparable harm" if work resumed on the approved well sites in the Gulf of Mexico.

Will the Tea Party Usher In a More Limited View of Government?
http://weeklystandard.com/blogs/will-tea-party-move-culture-toward-more-limited-view-government
Excerpt: Former President George W. Bush recently gave a speech before a business group meeting in Houston, Texas. In the speech, he explained how he came to endorse bailouts for financial companies, auto companies, etc., toward the end of his term. He said that his personal inclination was to avoid bailouts – that if people or companies do imprudent things they need to suffer the consequences – including bankruptcy. He felt our system depended on that. Yet he saw it as a matter of business management. His two primary financial advisors, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Hank Paulson, secretary of Treasury, met with President Bush in the midst of the financial freeze-up and told him that he was on the verge of presiding over a new Great Depression. They said that the only hope of avoiding such a depression was to proceed with bailouts. To the president, the issue was clear because his advisors were unanimous and credible: Bernanke, the Princeton professor, who had done his thesis on the causes of the Great Depression, and Paulson, the practical businessperson, former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. As President Bush, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, explained it in his speech, good management requires you to select advisors whose advice you trust – and, when that advice is unanimous, take that advice. After all, if you don’t, it means those people weren’t respected or trusted enough and had no business being your advisers to begin with.

Race and gender employment quotas hidden in financial reform
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Race-and-gender-employment-quotas-hidden-in-financial-reform-98062949.html
Who would have guessed that the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, scheduled for a vote in the Senate when it returns from recess, imposes race and gender employment quotas on the financial industry -- at a time the job market is stalling and economic growth is slowing? Dodd-Frank's Section 342 states that race and gender employment ratios must be observed by all government agencies that regulate the financial sector, as well as private financial institutions that do business with the government.

Kitties Rescued by US Marine Soldiers in Afghanistan
http://commonamericanjournal.com/?p=16592
Excerpt: Three US marine soldiers, Brian Chambers, Chris Berry and Aaron Shaw, started a mission to help bring home the kittens they have befriended while serving in Afghanistan. With generous donations from cat lovers and help from Noward [sic] Dogs animal rescue, Kiki and Keykey, two lovely ginger kitties, have successfully made it home in the US.

Belgian undertakers plan to dissolve dead and flush them into sewage system
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/7876749/Belgian-undertakers-plan-to-dissolve-dead-and-flush-them-into-sewage-system.html
Things are going down the drain. Excerpt: Belgian undertakers have drawn up plans to dissolve the corpses of the dead in caustic solutions and flush them into the sewage system.

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