Thursday, July 8, 2010

Political Digest July 8, 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.

Stealth Jihad: Shariah law dictates worldwide conversion to Islam, whatever it takes.
Excerpt: For the first time in its history, the United States is trying to wage and win a war without accurately identifying the enemy or its motivations for seeking to destroy us. That oversight defies both common sense and past military experience, and it disarms us in what may be the most decisive theater of this conflict: the battle of ideas. Such a breakdown may seem incredible to veterans of past military conflicts. Imagine fighting World War II without clarity about Nazism and fascism, or the Cold War without an appreciation of Soviet communism and the threat it posed. Yet today, the civilian leaders of this country and their senior subordinates – responsible for the U.S. military, the intelligence community, homeland security and federal law enforcement – have systematically failed to fully realize that we once again face a totalitarian ideology bent on our destruction. That failure is the more worrisome since the current ideological menace is arguably more dangerous than any we have faced in the past, for two reasons. First, its adherents believe their mission of global conquest is divinely inspired. Second, they are here in the United States in significant numbers, not just a threat elsewhere around the world. What, then, is this ideology? It has been given many names in recent years, including political Islam, radical Islam, fundamentalist Islam, extremist Islam and Islamofascism. There is, however, a more accurate descriptor – the one its adherents use. They call it “Shariah.” Perhaps the most important thing to understand about Shariah is that it is authoritative Islam, which presents itself as a complete way of life – cultural, political, military, social and religious, all governed by the same doctrine. In other words, this comprehensive program is not simply the agenda of extremists hunkered down in caves in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Neither can its directives be attributed to deviants hijacking Islam.

NRA controversy flares up again over Harry Reid
We recently joined the NRA after taking a gun safety course, when they found half a body a stone’s throw from our condo. I e-mailed and said if they endorse Reid, mine will be the shortest membership in history. Excerpt: Following NRA head Wayne LaPierre's endorsement of extremist Leftwing Democrat Harry Reid in Nevada, the organization has been embroiled in a controversy that threatens its credibility and relevance. NRA members by the hundreds, if not thousands, have expressed outrage that the organization's leading spokesman would go out of his way to extol the virtues of Reid at a time when the nation faces its most dire Constitutional crisis since the Civil War. And now, the controversy has flared up again as organization insiders report that the NRA itself, in addition to LaPierre, will endorse Reid over patriot Sharron Angle, the Tea Party favorite, in the race for the U.S. Senate in Nevada. Conservative Examiner reported previously that Wayne LaPierre's endorsement of Reid is a signal that the NRA as an organization is on the same page. And unless NRA members inundate the central offices of the organization to protest the pending endorsement, then the thing is a done deal. An endorsement of Reid will lead directly to multi-thousands of NRA members dropping out of the organization and tearing up their membership cards for good. Many have done so already.

Military: U.S. soldier to be charged in leak of strike video
Where do I take a number to serve on the firing squad? Excerpt: The U.S. military said Tuesday it is pressing criminal charges against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, for allegedly transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. Manning of Potomac, Maryland, is suspected of leaking a classified 2007 video of an Apache helicopter strike that killed 12 civilians in Baghdad, including two journalists from the Reuters wire service, the military said. Manning was deployed with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, in Baghdad, Iraq, according to the military. According to, Manning leaked the video to the whistle-blower website, which posted the video in April. reported that Manning confessed to the leak in a series of online chats with a former computer hacker. He allegedly owned up to leaking other items to WikiLeaks, including a classified Army document assessing the threat level of the website, according to the article, as well as State Department cables.

Democrats vote to tax veterans for medical devices
Clever. IEDs as revenue-generators. Excerpt: On March 24 2010, Senate Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the healthcare bill. This amendment (SA 3644) would have prevented the medical device tax from hitting veterans covered by the Veterans Healthcare Program or TRICARE for Life. This amendment was rejected by a vote of 44-54. All but five Democrat senators voted in favor of retaining the tax for veterans.

Obama's America is Mexico's de facto penal colony
Excerpt: On the day following the holiday weekend on which Americans celebrated their nation's independence from a foreign country, Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona for daring to pass a law that protects innocent people from criminal aliens, terrorists and other malefactors who violate U.S. immigration laws and live in Arizona illegally. However, in spite of White House rhetoric -- and euphemisms -- and news media spin, most border state Americans know the truth about illegal immigration: That the Mexican government practically exports its poorest citizens to the United States for a number of reasons. First, it relieves Mexico's government of the responsibility of providing social and healthcare services for them. Second, it provides that country’s economy with an influx of US cash when these illegal workers send money they earn in the US back home. And third, it defuses problems with far-left groups who are usually successful in using the poor to advance their political agenda. But there is another benefit to the exportation of Mexicans into the US -- President Calderon saves money on his criminal justice system by exporting his criminal population to the United States. Thus, Mexico's crime problem becomes a U.S. crime problem; Mexico's prison problem becomes the U.S. taxpayers' prison problem. "As it stands today, the United States has become Mexico's penal colony. While their police and military officers supplement their incomes by providing protection for Mexican organized crime organizations, they actually aid illegal aliens with maps, water and other assistance," said former NYPD detective and military intelligence officer Sid Franes.

In responding to West, Iran stresses its naval abilities in Persian Gulf
Excerpt: Iran has threatened for years to choke off the Hormuz Strait, the narrow passage at the entrance to the gulf through which a daily caravan of tankers transports nearly 30 percent of the world's oil and gas. Recently, though, current and retired military officers have been touting what they call an overhaul of military doctrine with respect to the Persian Gulf: preparing the naval arm of the Revolutionary Guard to carry out the kind of unconventional attacks known as asymmetrical warfare. In 2007, command over the strategic body of water was given to the Guard, and the regular navy was banished to the open seas. At the same time, the country has invested heavily in an ever-growing fleet of small, high-speed vessels armed with missiles and torpedoes and capable of laying mines and even semi-submerging, according to a fall 2009 report by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence. "They're doing things differently than 10 or 15 years ago," said a U.S. intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He noted that, in addition to upgraded speedboats and more aggressive training exercises, Iran has "a cruise missile capability that certainly is a threat to any ship in the gulf." (This is only one leg of the triad the Iranians can bring to bear. Their air and missile defense of the Strait is also formidable; and having a continuous shoreline for many miles has to provide many places to launch from. Easy to defend, hard to attack successfully. God bless our troops. Ron P.)

Mark Levin: Obama Admin lawsuit against Arizona is a ‘political essay dressed up as a lawsuit’
Excerpt: Levin spent the entire afternoon reading through the Arizona lawsuit and explains why he says this lawsuit is so weak it’s pathetic:

Think About It!
Excerpt: 1. Some vice presidential wisdom: most might now think it to be safer to go hunting with Dick Cheney than to be in a hotel room with Al Gore. 2. Not since the era of Earl Butz and James Watt have cabinet members been as intemperately spoken as the present bunch: Eric Holder (“nation of cowards”), Hilda Solis (“documented or not”), Janet Napolitano (“man-caused disasters”), Ken Salazar (“boot on their neck”), or a Steven Chu (“no more agriculture in California”). 3. For much of his long life, a man like the now canonized late Sen. Robert Byrd made the early lives of men like Justice Clarence Thomas miserable. Contrast the present eulogies for Byrd with the past Senate hearings over Thomas. 4. President Obama gave a long, rambling speech on illegal immigration and did not mention the Mexican government once. In fact, the word “Mexico” appeared one time — in connection with a human interest story about an immigrant success story. A man from Mars might have thought the problem was as much Canadian as Mexican. 5. The federal reaction to the BP spill — weeks of initial inaction characterized by shunning offers of international help, coupled with a blanket moratorium on drilling, including the safer sorts quite unlike the BP well — will eventually cost trillions of dollars in costs that will dwarf the financial toll of Katrina. 6. We know now there is no shelf life to “Bush Did It.” If unemployment hits 12% two years from now, we will be told we are lucky to have Obama saving us from the 20% rate that would have otherwise followed from the Bush legacy. It will be as if in 2006 Bush was still blaming Clinton for eight years of appeasement that led to 9/11. It will never cease; we accept that now. In 1944, FDR was still running on the Hoover depression of 1929. So it shall be again.

Democrats digging harder than ever for dirt on Republicans
Smacks of desperation. The politics of personal destruction trump bi-partisan cooperation. My criteria for this type of thing are is it true and is it relevant. Excerpt: The Democratic Party is moving faster and more aggressively than in previous election years to dig up unflattering details about Republican challengers. In House races from New Jersey to Ohio to California, Democratic operatives are seizing on evidence of GOP candidates' unpaid income taxes, property tax breaks and ties to financial firms that received taxpayer bailout money.

Unions outspending corporations on campaign ads despite court ruling
Excerpt: Labor unions have dominated spending on independent campaign ads so far this election season, despite a recent Supreme Court decision that freed spending by corporations, a Washington Post analysis shows. The findings are an indication that corporate money is not flooding into campaigns as many predicted would happen after the landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Healthcare: Democrats up ante
Excerpt: Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doubling down on healthcare reform, betting that it will do Democrats more good than harm in November’s elections. She and her leadership team have seized on new polls that suggest healthcare overhaul’s popularity is rising, and they are urging members of Congress to use this week’s recess to tout the new law.

Tea Party = Republican party?
Excerpt: The scads of media coverage about the burgeoning "tea party" effort has focused heavily on the idea that those who identify themselves as part of the movement are political free agents -- dismissive of both parties and Washington in general. New data out of Gallup suggests that premise isn't right, as nearly seven in 10 tea party supporters describe themselves as "conservative Republicans." All told, nearly 80 percent of tea party supporters describe themselves as Republicans, while 15 percent say they are Democrats and just six percent are, in their own minds, "pure independents." The numbers between tea party supporters and conservative Republicans also track closely on other measures, including the image ratings of President Obama. Fifteen percent of tea party backers have a favorable view of the president, while 11 percent of conservative Republicans say the same. Those numbers are strikingly dissimilar from the poll of all Americans -- 53 percent of whom view Obama favorably. Asked whether they would support a generic Republican or a generic Democrat for Congress this fall, 80 percent of tea party supporters chose the GOP candidate, while 15 percent opted for the Democrat. While the loyalty of tea party supporters to Republican candidates is lower than that of self-identified "conservative Republicans" -- 95 percent of whom back the GOP candidate in the generic ballot -- it is still heavily weighted toward candidates of a certain ideological proclivity.

Report: Uninsured Emergency Room Use Greatly Exaggerated
Excerpt: A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the nation’s chief health statistics agency, suggests the longstanding perception uninsured patients are clogging the nation’s emergency rooms (ERs) is a myth. There is a widespread perception uninsured patients are a leading source of unnecessary ER visits because they lack a primary care provider, a perception echoed by President Obama and other political leaders as a rationale for their recently passed health care legislation. The report finds ER use is more closely associated with Medicaid enrollment Patients covered by Medicaid seek care in the ER more frequently than both the uninsured and those covered by private insurance. According to the report, released in May, nearly one-third (32 percent) of Medicaid enrollees used the ER at least once during a 12-month period in 2007. Individuals with private health coverage were only about half as likely (17 percent) to visit an ER, and a similar proportion—one in five—of individuals without health coverage did so. Medicaid enrollees were three times as likely (15 percent vs. 5 percent) as the privately insured, and twice as likely as the uninsured (15 percent vs. 7 percent), to have visited an ER twice in the previous year.

Ask George W. Bush How to Avert a Double Dip
Excerpt: As the jobless recovery continues, President Barack Obama and his liberal supporters argue that the U.S. needs another stimulus or risks a double-dip recession. A look behind the numbers suggests that liberal policies will hand us a double dip whether we get a stimulus or not. A major reason for the revival of sour economic news is the looming expiration of George W. Bush's tax cuts. The top marginal income-tax rate is set to increase on the first day of 2011 to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. The phase-out of itemized deductions will lift that, effectively, to 40.8 percent. In 2013, the 3.8 percent Obama health-care tax on investment income will kick in, making the top rate 44.6 percent. This tax hike will push us into double-dip territory for two reasons. First, it will hurt small businesses. In fact, it's already having that effect. While some of the income in the top bracket is wage and salary income of high earners, a big chunk of the money is the profit of small businesses. If you lift the top rate, you depress small-business activity, which in good times is often the engine of job growth.

You get what you pay for: A Plague of Lobbyists
Well, Obama created jobs in DC at least. Excerpt: When one-sixth of the American economy is up for grabs, don’t be surprised if corporations and professional organizations scramble to hire as many lobbyists as they can afford. As Congress debated health care reform, the industry’s representatives invaded Capitol Hill. Some got into the game to protect their interests against redistribution; others were digging for special subsidies, tax breaks, and regulations at the expense of their competitors. The nonprofit Center for Public Integrity reported in March that an “analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows that more than 1,750 companies and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists—eight for each member of Congress—to influence health reform bills in 2009.” Lobbyists for unions opposed taxes on gold-plated health insurance plans; lobbyists for doctors opposed cuts in Medicare reimbursements; a lobbyist for Dunkin Donuts opposed a soda tax to pay for health care reform; and a Cigar Association lobbyist fought a tobacco tax. The Center for Public Integrity noted that “2009 was a boom year for influence peddling overall with business and advocacy groups shelling out $3.47 billion for lobbyists.” Although it is hard to quantify the exact amount spent on trying to influence health care legislation, the groups lobbying the issue spent about $1.2 billion.

Health and Debt: The Commission, Part II
Excerpt: The International Monetary Fund is warning that the U.S. national debt will exceed 100% of GDP within the next five years, and economists both here and abroad are expressing alarm. The debt problem is mainly an entitlements problem and the entitlements problem is mainly a health care problem. How serious is it? President Obama has appointed a commission on the federal debt (National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform), mainly focused on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. To signal his seriousness about this venture, the president has even gone so far as to put the newly passed health reform bill on the negotiating table — although the ink on the new law is barely dry. As I explained at The Health Care Blog the other day, here’s the bottom line: Our entitlement problems all stem from the fact that these programs are run like Bernie Madoff chain letters. Since payroll tax revenues are spent rather than invested, workers are accumulating benefits that are not paid for. Implicitly, we are creating huge obligations for generations not yet born — people who never agreed to be part of the scheme and who will surely be worse off if they participate.

The Massachusetts Health-Care 'Train Wreck'
Excerpt: President Obama said earlier this year that the health-care bill that Congress passed three months ago is "essentially identical" to the Massachusetts universal coverage plan that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law in 2006. No one but Mr. Romney disagrees. As events are now unfolding, the Massachusetts plan couldn't be a more damning indictment of ObamaCare. The state's universal health-care prototype is growing more dysfunctional by the day, which is the inevitable result of a health system dominated by politics. In the first good news in months, a state appeals board has reversed some of the price controls on the insurance industry that Gov. Deval Patrick imposed earlier this year. Late last month, the panel ruled that the action had no legal basis and ignored "economic realties."…. In a new paper, Stanford economists John Cogan and Dan Kessler and Glenn Hubbard of Columbia find that the Massachusetts plan increased private employer-sponsored premiums by about 6%. Another study released last week by the state found that the number of people gaming the "individual mandate"—buying insurance only when they are about to incur major medical costs, then dumping coverage—has quadrupled since 2006. State regulators estimate that this amounts to a de facto 1% tax on insurance premiums for everyone else in the individual market and recommend a limited enrollment period to discourage such abuses. (This will be illegal under ObamaCare.) Liberals write off such consequences as unimportant under the revisionist history that the plan was never meant to reduce costs but only to cover the uninsured. Yet Mr. Romney wrote in these pages shortly after his plan became law that every resident "will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced." One junior senator from Illinois agreed. In a February 2006 interview on NBC, Mr. Obama praised the "bold initiative" in Massachusetts, arguing that it would "reduce costs and expand coverage." A Romney spokesman said at the time that "It's gratifying that national figures from both sides of the aisle recognize the potential of this plan to transform our health-care system." An entitlement sold as a way to reduce costs was bound to fundamentally change the system. The larger question—for Massachusetts, and now for the nation—is whether that was really the plan all along….. Meanwhile, Richard Moore, a state senator from Uxbridge and an architect of the 2006 plan, has introduced a new bill that will make physician participation in government health programs a condition of medical licensure. This would essentially convert all Massachusetts doctors into public employees. (Those who chose to stay in Massachusetts, that is. Should be a boon for states wanting more doctors.)

Wikileaks Fails “Due Diligence” Review
Is there a difference between “transparency” and “voyeurism”? Because we want government transparency, should we be able to see into the Obama’ bedroom? Excerpt: WikiLeaks says that it is dedicated to fighting censorship, so a casual observer might assume that it is more or less a conventional liberal enterprise committed to enlightened democratic policies. But on closer inspection that is not quite the case. In fact, WikiLeaks must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals. Last year, for example, WikiLeaks published the “secret ritual” of a college women’s sorority called Alpha Sigma Tau. Now Alpha Sigma Tau (like several other sororities “exposed” by WikiLeaks) is not known to have engaged in any form of misconduct, and WikiLeaks does not allege that it has. Rather, WikiLeaks chose to publish the group’s confidential ritual just because it could. This is not whistleblowing and it is not journalism. It is a kind of information vandalism. In fact, WikiLeaks routinely tramples on the privacy of non-governmental, non-corporate groups for no valid public policy reason. It has published private rites of Masons, Mormons and other groups that cultivate confidential relations among their members. Most or all of these groups are defenseless against WikiLeaks’ intrusions. The only weapon they have is public contempt for WikiLeaks’ ruthless violation of their freedom of association, and even that has mostly been swept away in a wave of uncritical and even adulatory reporting about the brave “open government,” “whistleblower” site. (....) Much could be forgiven to WikiLeaks if it were true that its activities were succeeding in transforming government information policy in favor of increased openness and accountability — as opposed to merely generating reams of publicity for itself. WikiLeaks supporter Glenn Greenwald of wrote that when it comes to combating government secrecy, “nobody is doing that as effectively as WikiLeaks.” But he neglected to spell out exactly what effect WikiLeaks has had. Which U.S. government programs have been cancelled as a result of WikiLeaks’ activities? Which government policies have been revised? How has public discourse shifted? (And, by the way, who has been injured by its work?) A less sympathetic observer might conclude that WikiLeaks has squandered much of the impact that it might have had. (Copy & paste describing this piece's author (from the site that referred me to this article): Steven Aftergood, the editor of Secrecy News, published by the Federation of American Scientists. Aftergood is an impassioned advocate of governmental transparency, and probably the best-informed student of secrecy in the country. WikiLeaks, he writes, “must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals.” ... Because Aftergood stands squarely on the liberal side of the political spectrum, his views are all the more important in shaping the emerging consensus, spanning Left and Right, that WikiLeaks is an assault on democratic governance.--Ron P.)

Preserving your Tea
Excerpt: To be sure, the Tea Party does NOT endorse these types of viewpoints. I know this for a fact as I have communicated directly with staff on the national circuit. Rather, it’s quite the opposite- these Jonesters, LaRouche-ites, and other tin-foil wearing folks latch onto the Tea Party movement because it’s easy to promote your scary world scenario to a bunch of unassuming people who want freedom. Tea Partiers desire to be free from this huge government selling out and pillaging the taxpayers. So, when a group comes along and “informs” them of a plot- with seemingly solid evidence- to take away that freedom, Tea Party people naturally want to fight against said plot. These theory junkies use simple reverse psychology to get folks to buy into theories by telling you to fact check them. They know you won’t, because they told you to do it. It is important to be able to tell these people apart from the rest of the group. Most- the vast majority- of Tea Partiers are genuine folks- patriots who want the government to stop taking their money and squandering it. Taxed Enough Already is just simply it. They’re just people who go to work for a living, raise families and are sick of worrying about their 401(k), and what Obama is going to do to screw up their IRA’s. (Often this is true in politics: “Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies.” ~ Voltaire)

Freedom Movement Faces Dire Threats From Within
Excerpt: After more than forty years as an activist in the fight to restore the American Republic, I have never been more positive that the goal could now actually be achievable. The Tea Party movement represents the awakening of the great American sleeping giant of freedom. It is the most exciting change to take place in the last 100 years. Politicians are shuttering in its wake. Political strategists are trying to figure how to deal with it. Bad policy has been stopped or slowed. And massive change from the ballot box appears on the horizon of the next election. However, some very dark clouds are gathering over the movement. The freedom fighters and their precious movement are being stalked by clandestine predators, quietly creating discord and suspicion among their ranks. If not exposed and stopped, the only result can be the destruction of the movement, the end of the burgeoning freedom revolution and the solidifying of the tyranny they seek to end. The great threat to the Freedom Movement comes from a group of political extremists who have been around the U.S. political scene for decades. These operatives have been perceived at various times to be on the right and/or on the left. They have tried to work through the Democratic and Republican parties. Now they are trying to infiltrate and manipulate the Tea Party movement. I am talking about the dangerous Lyndon LaRouche cult. It is a cult because of the fanatical devotion of LaRouche’s followers to his peculiar brand of Marxism, which sees the British – not the United States – as being behind economic catastrophes and world conflicts and wars. LaRouche followers can often be seen manning literature tables outside political events, including and especially 9/11 “truth” conferences.

President Obama to Make Recess Appointment of CMS Administrator Republicans Attacking as 'Expert on Rationing'
Didn’t the Dems blast Bush for recess appointments? Excerpt: With Congress officially on recess, President Obama will on Wednesday use his ability to make recess appointments to name one of his more controversial nominees: Donald Berwick, nominee to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The April nomination of Berwick -- president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement -- was in trouble and might not have been able to meet Senate confirmation due to comments Berwick made in the past about rationing health care. Even if Berwick could have been confirmed by the Senate, Democrats have little appetite for another round of fighting about changes to the health care system, Democrats said. In an interview last year with Biotechnology Healthcare, Berwick said society makes decisions about rationing all the time, and that the "decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly." He has also praised the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which he said had "developed very good and very disciplined, scientifically grounded, policy-connected models for the evaluation of medical treatments from which we ought to learn."
Feingold faces unexpectedly tough race
Excerpt: Democrats started the election year anticipating that several Senate incumbents would be vulnerable, including Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Michael Bennet in Colorado. But few expected Feingold, Barbara Boxer in California or Patty Murray in Washington to confront serious challenges. All three face competitive contests. Republican victories in any or all of the three races would indicate a huge night for the GOP, perhaps big enough to take control of Senate. To do it, they must claim 10 seats from Democrats without losing any of their own — a tall order. At the least, more competitive races mean Democrats will have to spend money in places they didn’t think they needed it. That could mean less money for persuading and motivating voters in other must-win states.

'Second Wave' of Independent Border-Watchers Target Arizona
Excerpt: Three thousand, five hundred feet above Arizona's Huachuca Mountains, a man peers down from a single-engine Cessna TU206 and spots a spider web-like network of trails. "For us to see a trail up here, it's well worn. That means it's active," says the man, a Vietnam veteran in his 60s who created, a website that publishes photographs of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Frustrated with federal efforts to combat illegal immigration, as well as human and drug trafficking, he is one of a growing number of independent border-watchers bent on exposing what they say is a worsening climate along the 372-mile Arizona-Mexico border. He declined to be identified due to threats he's received since launching his website in late 2008. Someone, he says, even placed a map in his mailbox that marked his residence with an "X." "In other words, we know where you are," he said. "I'm always alert and I'm always armed. There's nothing else I can do." In the plane's cockpit is Glenn Spencer, president and founder of American Border Patrol. Headquartered in Hereford, an unincorporated community just north of the border, it bills itself as the only non-governmental organization that monitors America's southwest border on a regular basis, generally by air. Spencer, 73, has been acting as a watchdog of U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 2003.

The NASA (non) feeding frenzy
Excerpt: If you were to receive your news from any one of these outlets, or even all of them together, and you heard about some sort of controversy involving the Obama administration redefining the space agency’s mission to feature outreach to Muslim countries, your response would be, “Huh?” Among all the news these distinguished outlets have seen fit to cover in recent days, the NASA story has not made the cut.

Former DOJ Attorney: A DOJ Mandate No Prosecuting Blacks with White Victims of Voter Intimidation
Excerpt: Megyn Kelly today aired the second portion of an interview with J. Christian Adams, a former Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney. Adams says a mandate within the DOJ requires no charges will be made against blacks with a white victim accuses them of voter intimidation. The DOJ’s answer to Adams’ charges is simply that Adams is a Conservative. When does voter intimidation hinge on a political persuasion? You’ll remember that the New Black Panthers stood outside a Philadelphia polling place in November 2008, one with a nightstick. A poll minder who served as Robert Kennedy’s campaign aide was there and says there was definitely intimidation going on, and others said the same. From Adam’s resignation letter, we learn that these men threatened the attorneys inside DOJ.

The Elite Turn Against Obama
Too bad they didn’t get this in November of 2008, as I did. Excerpt: You’d think the well-heeled and enlightened eggheads at the Aspen Ideas Festival—which is running all week in this fashionable resort town with heady panel discussions and earnest disquisitions involving all manner of deep thinkers and do-gooders—would be receptive to an intellectually ambitious president with big ideas of his own. In a way, the folks attending this cerebral conclave pairing the Aspen Institute think tank with the Atlantic Monthly magazine might even be seen as President Obama’s natural base. Apparently not so much. “The real problem we have,” Mort Zuckerman said, “are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.” Obama’s top economic adviser, Larry Summers, and his departing budget director, Peter Orszag, can expect heavy weather when they land in Aspen later this week to make their case to this civic-minded clique of wealthy skeptics. “If you’re asking if the United States is about to become a socialist state, I’d say it’s actually about to become a European state, with the expansiveness of the welfare system and the progressive tax system like what we’ve already experienced in Western Europe,” Harvard business and history professor Niall Ferguson declared during Monday’s kickoff session, offering a withering critique of Obama’s economic policies, which he claimed were encouraging laziness. (....) The consensus was similar in an afternoon panel discussion on the decline of the American middle class. “He said jobs were going to be his No. 1 priority—there’s a huge disconnect between Washington and what’s going on out in the country,” nominal Obama supporter Arianna Huffington said. “The president’s economic team kept talking about a ‘cyclical’ problem. Larry Summers said jobs were a lagging economic indicator. All these things are simply wrong. The president put all his trust in the wrong economic team—an economic team that didn’t understand what was happening.”

Immigration emerging as 2010 issue?
Excerpt: The Obama administration's decision to move forward with a legal challenge to Arizona's stringent illegal immigration law will almost certainly elevate the issue on the campaign trail this fall. The Arizona measure, which was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in April, is a major political touchstone--of prime importance to Hispanics, the fastest growing demographic group in the country and a coveted electoral prize for both parties. Democratic strategists see the Arizona law as a key moment in the ongoing battle to win the loyalty of Hispanic voters. They believe that it will have a similar chilling effect for Republicans with Latinos as the passage of California's Proposition 187 did in the 1990s. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that Democrats are badly out of step with the American people on the immigration issue. They cite the Obama administration's aggressive approach to fighting the Arizona law is yet more evidence of that out-of-touchness. In that vein, nearly two dozen House Republicans sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday describing the legal challenge as the "height of irresponsibility and arrogance." Polling on the Arizona law specifically falls in Republicans' favor, although broader data suggests a public deeply divided on immigration.

Established Maine couple kicked out of US
Excerpt: Meanwhile no action against “undocumented workers.” Excerpt: A York county couple, originally from England, is about to be kicked out of the country. For a decade, Dean and Laura frank built up "Laura's Kitchen," a small, but popular local restaurant in Wells, now shuttered and for sale. That's because the "E-2" visa they'd legally had for years -- twice renewed with no problem-- was suddenly denied last year. The reason -- an immigration case worker in California reviewing their numbers declared their business "marginal," not profitable enough, even though they made enough to run the business, live virtually debt free and employ local people part-time. They are now in the country on a temporary tourist visa, trying to wrap up their affairs and sell their properties -- while desperately hoping for an unexpected reprieve.

Arizona suit imperils Western Dems
Excerpt: The Obama administration's lawsuit over the stringent Arizona border law might have just made the incline a little steeper for many Western Democrats, providing instant fodder to Republicans who are already optimistic about regaining ground lost over the last two election cycles. The dust from the Department of Justice lawsuit filed Tuesday is just starting to settle, but the reflexive sense among strategists on both sides is that it will be a net negative for Democrats this fall. The suit could, of course, help boost turnout among Hispanic voters in key areas across the West. And stridently anti-immigrant rhetoric could turn off independent voters. Yet many foresee a midterm electorate featuring an energized Republican base — for whom the immigration issue has emerged as a priority — prompting moderate white Western voters who are concerned about jobs to decamp to the GOP at least in the short term, political observers said. “This is a tough issue for Democrats,” said former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, a Democrat who is co-director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver. “Politically, I just can’t think of any place in the West where this is going to play well.”

Secret donors make Thomas's wife's group a tea party player
Headline makes it sound like something illegal. Excerpt: When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife announced in 2008 that she was going to help run Washington operations for a Michigan college once described as “a citadel of American conservatism,” she said the move was her “way of pulling away from politics” and the “safest place for me to be when it comes to conflicts” with her husband’s position on the court. But, less than two years later, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas has returned to partisan politics as a fully engaged opponent of President Barack Obama, whom she has described as “hard left” and steering the nation “for tyranny.” As founder and president of a think tank and advocacy group called Liberty Central, she quickly established herself in the tea party movement by drawing on her longstanding ties to Washington’s conservative establishment and by landing two big donations — one for $500,000 and another for $50,000 —that put her group on the map. The two donations are the only sources of money the group, which she established in November, reported to the Internal Revenue Service in 2009, according to a recently released report, which blocks out the donors’ names, as allowed by the section of the tax code under which the group is registered, 501(c)4. Yet, its size sets Liberty Central apart from other new tea party groups that have struggled to raise money from mostly small, grass-roots contributions.

Arrogant Washington Threatens Rick Perry and Texans’ Right To Govern Themselves
So much for the Constitution guaranteeing “equal protection under the law.” Excerpt: In one of the most outrageous displays of arrogance by Washington in recent memory - which is saying a lot, of course - the House Democrats have inserted specific language on top of $10 Billion in funding for education included in a War Supplemental bill targeted directly and solely at Texas - language that demands the money be spent in certain ways. According to the Houston Chronicle, “The proposal would allow the federal government to give money directly to school districts, provided Perry certifies that the federal support will not replace the state money. Perry must also agree not to proportionally cut education funding more than any other item in the next budget. While the measure includes $10 billion in education funding nationally, Texas is the only state that must make such a certification before receiving the federal funding.” The thing is, besides being an affront to federalism and our right to live free from far away know-it-alls in DC telling us what to do, Perry’s office makes the good point that, “[t]he House-passed version requires that the governor guarantee the Legislature will provide a certain level of state funding, which is prohibited by the Texas Constitution…”

The Caucasus Cauldron
Excerpt: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited some interesting spots over the July 4 weekend. Her itinerary included Poland and Ukraine, both intriguing choices in light of the recent Obama-Medvedev talks in Washington. But she also traveled to a region that has not been on the American radar screen much in the last two years — namely, the Caucasus — visiting Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The stop in Poland coincided with the signing of a new agreement on ballistic missile defense and was designed to sustain U.S.-Polish relations in the face of the German-Russian discussions we have discussed. The stop in Ukraine was meant simply to show the flag in a country rapidly moving into the Russian orbit. In both cases, the trip was about the Russians. Regardless of how warm the atmospherics are between the United States and Russia, the fact is that the Russians are continuing to rebuild their regional influence and are taking advantage of European disequilibrium to build new relationships there, too. The United States, still focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, has limited surplus capacity to apply to resisting the Russians. No amount of atmospherics can hide that fact, certainly not from the Poles or the Ukrainians. Therefore, if not a substantial contribution, the secretary of state’s visit was a symbolic one. But when there is little of substance, symbols matter. That the Poland and Ukraine stops so obviously were about the Russians makes the stops in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia all the more interesting. Clinton’s statements during the Caucasian leg of her visit were positive, as one would expect. She expressed her support for Georgia without committing the United States to any arms shipments for Georgia to resist the Russians, who currently are stationed inside Georgia’s northern secessionist regions. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, she called on both countries to settle the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region within western Azerbaijan proper. Armenia took control of the region by force following the Soviet collapse. For Azerbaijan, the return of Nagorno-Karabakh under a U.N. resolution is fundamental to its national security and political strategy. For Armenia, retreat is not politically possible. This means Clinton’s call for negotiations and her offer of U.S. help are not particularly significant, especially since the call was for Washington to help under the guise of international, not bilateral, negotiations. This is particularly true after Clinton seemed to indicate that the collapse in Turkish-Armenian talks was Turkey’s responsibility and that it was up to Turkey to make the next move. Given that her visit to the region seems on the surface to have achieved little — and indeed, little seems to have been intended — it is worth taking time to understand why she went there in the first place, and the region’s strategic significance.

Parasitic Tort Lawyers
Excerpt: Tort lawyers lie. They say their product liability suits are good for us. But their lawsuits rarely make our lives better. They make lawyers and a few of their clients better off -- but for the majority of us, they make life much worse. Years back, as one of America's first consumer reporters, I'd avenge harmed consumers by bringing cameras to the offending business and confronting the crooks. My work warned others about the dangers in the marketplace but didn't do much for the victims. So I thought about those personal injury lawyers. They could do more good -- they could sue bad companies, force them to change and get the victims money. I started referring hurt consumers to lawyers. Imagine my shock when consumers called to say their lawyers took most of the money! Even when the lawyers do help their clients, they hurt everyone else because fear of their lawsuits takes away many good things: Swimming pools, playgrounds and gymnastics programs close because liability insurance is so expensive. Kids lose their favorite places to hang out in the summer. More importantly, innovators dump potentially life-saving inventions. Companies that started work on a safer asbestos substitute, an AIDS vaccine and a Lyme disease vaccine gave up the research because any work in those areas risked stirring up the lawyers. The liability risk was too great.

The Founders' Vision Versus Ours
Excerpt: The celebration of our founders' 1776 revolt against King George III and the English Parliament is over. Let's reflect how the founders might judge today's Americans and how today's Americans might judge them. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees, James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." He later added, "(T)he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." Two hundred years later, at least two-thirds of a multi-trillion-dollar federal budget is spent on charity or "objects of benevolence." What would the founders think about our respect for democracy and majority rule? Here's what Thomas Jefferson said: "The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society." John Adams advised, "Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." The founders envisioned a republican form of government, but as Benjamin Franklin warned, "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." What would the founders think about the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo v. City of New London decision where the court sanctioned the taking of private property of one American to hand over to another American? John Adams explained: "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If 'Thou shalt not covet' and 'Thou shalt not steal' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free."

Going Green or just faking it?
Excerpt: One of the most amusing, and frustrating, parts of the modern environmental alarmist movement is the obvious disconnect between what these elites say and what they do. Everyone knows dozens of examples, such as Al Gore's vast energy consuming mansions or the multiple plane flights, limousine trips and lavish parties of people claiming to be fighting for the very existence of man against the ravages of consumption, waste, and technology. What they say and do are rather distinctly opposed. Consider the most prominent and famous "green" spokesman Al Gore, who in addition to having a $9,000,000 home by the ocean he claims is going to soon raise and engulf it continually travels around in non-electric limousines, or celebrities such as Sting or Prince Charles who preach the "green" gospel, and fly about in carbon-belching private jets. Recently a man named Geoff Beattie, from the University of Manchester completed and published a study about environmentalism and attitudes. In it he looked at what people said about being "green" and what they actually believed and did. He found that many people who claim to be environmentally conscious and "green" are great at talking the talk, but hardly take a single step.

Drug lobby showers money on its hero Harry Reid
Excerpt: No scalp would be as treasured by Republicans this fall as that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And no incumbent is receiving as much air support from the drug industry as is Reid, who championed a health care bill that pads drug company profits. The drug lobby has begun a pro-Reid TV blitz in his home state of Nevada. One ad praises Reid for saving jobs and for understanding that "good jobs with good benefits [mean] a better future." The narrator then instructs viewers to "call Harry Reid today; tell him to keep fighting for Nevada families." But "Nevada families" didn't pay for the ad. The drug lobby did. And while the TV spot makes only passing reference to the health care bill passed in March, there's no doubt this ad buy -- and the rest of the drug industry's generosity toward Harry Reid -- is a big thank you for the corporate-welfare "reform" bill that Reid shepherded through the Senate.

Why liberals should love the Second Amendment
Excerpt: Liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies. They can talk about the intentions of the Founders. They can argue at length against the tyranny of the government. And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties. Except for one: the right to keep and bear arms. When it comes to discussing the Second Amendment, liberals check rational thought at the door. They dismiss approximately 40% of American households that own one or more guns, and those who fight to protect the Second Amendment, as "gun nuts." They argue for greater restrictions. And they pursue these policies at the risk of alienating voters who might otherwise vote for Democrats. And they do so in a way that is wholly inconsistent with their approach to all of our other civil liberties. Those who fight against Second Amendment rights cite statistics about gun violence, as if such numbers are evidence enough that our rights should be restricted. But Chicago and Washington DC, the two cities from which came the most recent Supreme Court decisions on Second Amendment rights, had some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, and also some of the highest rates of violent crime. Clearly, such restrictions do not correlate with preventing crime. So rather than continuing to fight for greater restrictions on Second Amendment rights, it is time for liberals to defend Second Amendment rights as vigorously as they fight to protect all of our other rights. Because it is by fighting to protect each right that we protect all rights.

Thieves could go free while victim faces jail time,0,231586.story
Excerpt: Admitted thieves are going free, while an elderly Wheat Ridge man is facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars, all, he says, for trying to defend his property and his life. 82-year-old Robert Wallace said in February that he looked out his window and saw two men hooking his flatbed trailer up to their pickup. He yelled at them to stop, but they sped away, stealing his trailer. He told police he fired two shots at the pickup. Minutes later, police say 32-year-old Damacio Torres dropped 28-year-old Alvaro Cardona off at a hospital emergency room with a gunshot wound to the face. Torres did not stay to talk with police, but they caught up with him later. According to court documents, he admitted he and Cardona stole the trailer. Wallace did not want to talk on camera, but when we asked him if the two men threatened him he said, "They almost ran me over." … Sources say Torres and Cardona are believed to be in the country illegally and both have an arrest record. Cardona's record includes public fighting and numerous traffic offenses like driving without a license or insurance. Torres's record includes agricultural trespassing as well as a 2005 arrest for aggravated motor vehicle theft for which he was given a plea bargain to a lesser crime. Sources say Torres is also under investigation for being part of a major auto theft ring. (This is the kind of thing that really drives people crazy. Yes, it can be argued that the old man did not have justification for shooting at the fleeing thieves, and should be charged with something, maybe reckless endangerment, leading to a fine and probation. Charging him with FOUR counts of attempted murder (2 shots fired towards 2 men is how they come up with that) is prosecutorial overkill like shooting at a mouse with an elephant gun. But not charging the admitted thieves with anything, when they have criminal records and appear to be illegals, is prosecutorial malfeasance. What a combination! Who in hell is the chief prosecutor in that town, Fidel Castro? This is how you continue to polarize people. –Del)


  1. "Thieves could go free while victim faces jail time"

    Scott Storey is the DA out here who decided to go after the old guy who shot at the illegals. This won't stand. One of the big radio talk show hosts out here is making way too big of a deal out of it.