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.
Thank you note
Think the Obamas are ungrateful and don’t appreciate the American people? Read This.
Gulf oil rig explodes off La. Coast
Hopefully this will not produce another leak or there will be serious implications for oil, traditional energy and the economy. ~Bob. Excerpt: An offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, west of the site of the April blast that caused the massive oil spill. A commercial helicopter company reported the blast around 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel said. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats were en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast. The Coast Guard said initial reports indicated all 13 crew members from the rig were in the water. One was injured, but there were no deaths. The platform owned by Mariner Energy is in about 2,500 feet of water, the Coast Guard said, and was not currently producing.
Worth Reading: A classic act of provocation Sudanese immigrant's view of the Ground Zero
Excerpt: Like others who call this great nation home, I am troubled by the plans to build a mosque next to Ground Zero. As one who immigrated from Sudan, I have plenty of reasons to be. Let me tell you why. In 1983, the government of Sudan imposed Shariah law on the entire country, including the Christians of southern Sudan. Soon I, a southern Sudanese Christian, began to see the effects, including the confiscation of land, destruction of churches, forced conversion to Islam, raping of women and severing of limbs for violating Shariah's dictates. For my part in a student demonstration opposing the regime, I was later arrested and tortured. In 1988, I fled Sudan for this country. A year later, a military coup in Khartoum brought the most extremist, pro-Iranian forces to power. In the years that followed, the radical Islamist regime unleashed a full-scale jihad against South Sudan. It killed more than 2 million southern Sudanese and drove several million more from their homes. Its leaders encouraged the revival of the African slave trade. Countless women and children were herded into cattle cars and shipped north for brutal lives of slavery across the Middle East. I formed Operation Nehemiah Missions to provide aid to southern Sudanese refugees who were living in camps in Uganda and Kenya. In 2005, by God's grace and with America's help, a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) was signed between South Sudan and Khartoum, ending the Islamist terror from which the south is still recovering. Do those wanting to build the mosque at Ground Zero support oppressive Shariah law? Unfortunately, the imam of the proposed mosque, who claims America is somehow responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, supports the Shariah-compliant movement. Make no mistake: To support Shariah's supremacy in America is to support the overthrow of the U.S. Constitution and its freedoms. Ironically, the Constitution is being invoked by those wanting its demise. For Sudan, the imposition of Shariah was the latest step in a process begun more than a millennium ago, when Islamic forces destroyed the Nubian Christian kingdoms and replaced the churches they destroyed with mosques. The building of mosques near sites of Islamic conquests or successful military actions later became common throughout much of the world, including Cordoba, Spain, for which the proposed Ground Zero Mosque project is named. They became unmistakable portraits of victory and of the domination and control exercised by the victors, who plundered cities and converted captives at the point of a sword. In 1683, the whole of Europe was threatened until the king of Poland came to its aid at Vienna's gates. That happened on Sept. 11, a date al Qaeda chose in striking America nine years ago.
Obama Is Not A Muslim
Excerpt: The nonsense about President Obama being a Muslim has got to stop. I rise to defend him from this absurd accusation by pointing out that he is obviously an atheist. Leave aside Obama's fanatical opposition to allowing Illinois hospitals to save the lives of babies with God-given souls inadvertently born alive during abortions. Also leave aside the fact that neither of his parents were Christians. And leave aside his current crop of "spiritual advisers," which is a collection of Mother Earth worshippers, polytheists and other nonbelievers. Now rest from all that "leaving aside." The only evidence for Obama's Christianity is that he faithfully attended the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years. Yes, the guy bellowing "God damn America!" is the one vouching for Obama's Christianity. That's like saying you got sober with the help of your A.A. sponsor Lindsay Lohan. It is a fact that any non-retarded person (thank you, Rahm Emanuel!) sitting in the Rev. Wright's church for 20 minutes, much less 20 years, does not believe in God. Even stepping inside Wright's church for a moment to get out of the rain is borderline racist. (Well, I’ve been saying that Obama was a secular humanist, but I guess that’s just an atheist with an agenda. As with Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, there are decent, moral atheists, and immoral atheists. The problem with secular humanist atheists is they think they have the right to impost a statiest, coercive system on the rest of us. And, yes, they are immoral because they pave the way for monsters—Hayek was right. ~Bob)
A Black Man Goes To Glenn Beck's Rally
Excerpt: To hear the mainstream media tell the story, you would have thought that I, a black man, had walked into a hornet’s nest of racists when I decided to attend Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally. In reality, my experience was the complete opposite. Instead of hooded Klansman frothing with hate and venom, I made dozens of new Facebook friends and gained a hundred Twitter followers. One lady from New Jersey asked me if I was "afraid" because I was one of the "few blacks in attendance?" I looked at her square in the eye and said, "Ma'am, the only thing I'm afraid of is that if I don't hurry, I'm not going to make it to the restroom in time." We spoke of family, laughed, shared and she wept as she embraced me with hugs and kisses while thanking me for being there. (What a complete bigot, that lady!) Beck's rally was meant to restore faith hope and charity in America. And that was the spirit of the day. To be sure, I was one of the few blacks there that historic day. I'm sure to many I stuck out like a sore thumb. Or, perhaps more aptly, like a chocolate chip smack dab in the middle of a giant sugar cookie. Perhaps that's why I was interviewed by at several news outlets. When asked how long I had been waiting for the event to begin, I turned all three interviewers' faces to stone when I replied, "about 24 hours." I'm sure they thought I was kidding, but I wasn't. Like most Americans, I've had enough with this administration's policies. I was fed up and fired up. I am even more so in the wake of the most moving gathering I've ever been privileged to be a part of. At one point, some of the people attending the Rev. Al Sharpton's "counter rally," coined "Reclaiming King," stopped me. I guess they must have been judging me by the color of my skin not the content of my character, because they asked if I was going to come join them.
Scientist's Firing After 36 Years Fuels 'PC' Debate at UCLA
Excerpt: Enstrom, an epidemiologist at UCLA's School of Public Health, has a history of running against the grain. In 2003 he wrote a study, published in the British Medical Journal, in which he found no causal relationship between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related death – a conclusion that drew fire both because it was contrary to popular scientific belief and because it was funded by Philip Morris. Now Enstrom says his studies show no causal link between diesel soot and death in California – findings that once again set him far apart from the pack and put him in direct conflict with the California Air Resources Board, which says its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025 and will reduce health care costs by as much as $68 billion in the state. The expected benefits of the new standards have been used to justify their estimated $5.5 billion price tag, which opponents say will cripple the California trucking industry at a time when the state can least afford it. The new standards, the critics warn, also could set the stage for national regulations. Enstrom questions the science behind the new emissions standards, and he has raised concerns about the two key reports on which they were based – exposing the author of one study as having faked his credentials and the panel that issued the other study as having violated its term limits. (What happened to all that "Academic Freedom" liberal professors are always talking about? A lesson from climate/environmental science that applies here: If the data are correct and honest, it doesn't matter who paid for the project; conversely, if the data are wrong, it STILL doesn't matter who paid for the study. It only matters that the data are correct or not. Ron P. Well, having read Kicking the Scared Cow, I’m aware that science has always been political and territorial. I doubt that half the people in “Cow” are right, but they deserve a chance to make their cases. ~Bob)
Cahill committee didn’t pay state tax
Excerpt: State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill acknowledged last night that his campaign committee failed to pay an estimated $15,000 in state income taxes over the past decade, as required by law. Cahill’s campaign made the admission in an unusual written statement following a Globe inquiry yesterday afternoon about why there was no record of checks to the state to cover taxes on interest the campaign committee’s account has earned from investments it made in certificates of deposit. Cahill, who was evidently caught off-guard by the lapse, vowed to pay the taxes immediately. But the delinquency is a source of embarrassment for the two-term treasurer, who has sought to promote an image as a prudent watchdog of public dollars and guardian of the public Treasury. A former Democrat who left the party last year to run for governor as an independent, Cahill has built his gubernatorial campaign around his embrace of fiscally conservative positions, attacking Governor Deval Patrick for raising taxes and accusing him of mismanaging state government and freely spending taxpayers’ money. (Given the Globe's open and notorious preference for Democrats and all things liberal, oops, progressive (like that is somehow better), I have to wonder if Cahill could have avoided this problem had he run as a Democrat instead of an independent. Ron P.)
Dead suspect may be linked to 4 slayings in Calif.
Excerpt: A California murder suspect who led officers on a high-speed chase with his dead girlfriend in the passenger seat is a central figure in the investigation of at least four killings, authorities said Wednesday. Efren Valdemoro, 38, was shot and killed by California Highway Patrol officers Tuesday night after refusing to drop a large knife when the chase ended in a Richmond strip mall, police said. He was wanted in the death of a 73-year-old man last weekend. In the passenger seat of the car, officers found the body of Valdemoro's girlfriend, said CHP spokesman Sgt. Trent Cross. The woman, whose identity has not been released, had suffered "pretty serious head and neck injuries," Cross said.
Arizona Now Has ‘Whopping 30’ National Guard Troops and 15 Billboard Signs
Excerpt: Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said requests by Arizona law enforcement personnel and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) for 3,000 National Guard troops along the state’s border with Mexico have been answered so far with 1 percent of that number deployed there this week. “We have a whopping 30 [National Guard troops] this week that are showing up,” Babeu told CNSNews.com. “It’s less than a half-hearted measure designed to fail.” But the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has placed 15 signs along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with Phoenix and Tucson warning travelers of drug cartels and human trafficking operations. “DANGER – PUBLIC WARNING, TRAVEL NOT RECOMMENDED,” read the signs placed along Interstate 8. “Visitors May Encounter Armed Criminals and Smuggling Vehicles Traveling at High Rates of Speed. Stay Away From Trash, Clothing, Backpacks, and Abandoned Vehicles.” “BLM Encourages Visitors To Use Public Land North of Interstate 8,” the signs say. (Americans warned to stay out of part of America due to….)
Can Social Security save Democrats this fall?
Excerpt: Democrats, faced with a worsening national political climate and daunting historical midterm election trends, are turning to Social Security as an issue where they believe they can score political points and set the stakes of what a Republican-controlled Congress would look like. At least a half-dozen Democratic House candidates as well as several Democratic Senators in tight re-election races have featured claims that the GOP wants to either privatize or eliminate the retirement plan entirely in new television ads, and party strategists promise there are far more commercials to come. (desperation scare tactics. The threat to Medicare and Social security is out of control spending, including ObamaCare. ~Bob)
Number of illegal immigrants in U.S. drops, report says
Excerpt: A deep recession and tougher border enforcement have led to a sharp decline in the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally in the past five years, contributing to the first significant reversal in the growth of their numbers in two decades, according to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center. The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States plunged by almost two-thirds between 2005 and 2009, a dramatic shift after years of growth in the population, according to the report. In the first half of the decade, an average of 850,000 people a year entered the United States without authorization, according to the report, released Wednesday. As the economy plunged into recession between 2007 and 2009, that number fell to 300,000.
AZ Ranchers Dispute Drop In Illegal Immigration
Excerpt: For years, ranchers south of Tucson have been waiting for good news. Many might think numbers released Wednesday from Pew Hispanic Center, indicating a substantial drop in the number of immigrants coming into the United States would be the silver lining… you would be wrong. "Those guys that live on the border have a different perspective from what this Pew report portrays," Arizona Cattleman’s Association spokesman Patrick Bray said. The study conducted from March of 2007 to March of 2009 showed the number of undocumented people in the U.S. went down almost 1 million. The analysis also suggested that these changes are caused by the U.S. economic recession and increased border enforcement. It could also be due to the unemployment rate for illegal immigrants, which was 10.4 percent in March, 2009, higher than the average unemployment rate of U.S. citizens, according to the study. Arizona Border patrol data from the Tucson sector, which is also the busiest in the country, showed apprehensions are down from 616,000 in 2000 to 241,000 in 2009. "The Pew report talks about people that are coming here looking for a better life, (but) what is occurring on our southern border is criminal activity and it’s people focused on their livelihoods bringing across drugs," Bray said. The Border Patrol also states assaults on agents are up from 281 last year to 348 this year and climbing. The U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona has also seen more violent offenders. Since 2008, the number of people prosecuted for crossing the border with drugs are up 91 percent. (The Pew Report doesn't pass the smell test, in my opinion. Numbers of illegal entries have always been based on apprehension numbers, using the theory that there are getaways. I've heard anything from 3 to 5 getaways per apprehension. There are reports from ranchers and others who live on the border, including some retired BP agents who say there are areas where there a lot of entries of both aliens and drugs which are not being patrolled because of the danger of causing an international incident. I for one would like to know the exact details about this. I don't believe that the agents are avoiding danger on their own...unless the character of the PI/PA has changed. If it is happening, then I would guess that it is coming from above. So, what do we have with the PEW [Pee-U] Report? Are these rigged figgers? You be the judge... –DH)
Feds sue Arizona sheriff in civil rights probe
Excerpt: The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics. The lawsuit calls Arpaio and his office's defiance "unprecedented," and said the federal government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminates against people with limited English skills.
Women's groups call out political sexism
Excerpt: The list includes the talk radio host who called a female senator a "prostitute" for cutting a deal to benefit her state, the male challenger who referred to his female rival "attractive" and "probably a good mother," and the TV host who noted that the candidate's wife looked like an angry woman.
Maryland Sen. Currie indicted on charges of taking bribes from grocery chain
Another member of the Democrat Culture of Corruption, just down the food chain. ~Bob. Excerpt: Longtime Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie, one of the most powerful and popular figures in the General Assembly, was indicted Wednesday on charges that he took more than $245,000 in bribes to use his position and influence to do favors for a grocery chain. The 48-page indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, comes after a years-long FBI investigation into consulting work Currie (D-Prince George's) did for Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. Over six years, the indictment alleges, Currie took action to help Shoppers sell liquor at one store, save money in the construction of another store and buy land. Two former Shoppers officials also were indicted by the federal grand jury.
Capitalism, Democracy and Environmental Quality
Excerpt: Like many U.S. presidents, George W. Bush thought exporting democracy to developing countries was more important than exporting capitalism. Both capitalism and democracy improve a society's quality of life, measured by such things as infant mortality and literacy. Market-oriented economic policies improve human development by promoting entrepreneurship, encouraging competition and raising individual incomes by increasing the rate of economic growth. Democratic political rights contribute to human development by increasing the control of citizens over government allocation of resources, resulting in things such as law enforcement, public health and education. Interestingly, there are countries - such as Singapore and Hong Kong, which regularly rate as two of the most economically free - that have market-based economies, but are not very democratic. Suppose, however, that beyond improving the basic conditions of human life, the most important goal is to improve environmental quality. In that case, which should be more strongly encouraged in other countries: capitalism or democracy? In developing countries, modern agriculture and industrialization increase emissions of some air and water pollutants, but rising per capita incomes raise social demand for clean environments, eventually reducing pollution emissions rates. In fact, looking at atmospheric emissions and groundwater discharges of pollutants in developed democracies is revealing when controlling for cross-country differences like demographics and prevailing industry and government structures. Data on members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of developed countries, shows that additional income, or gross domestic product (GDP), is linked to lower emissions. Over the period 1985 to 1995 [see Figure I]:
ObamaCare and the Constitution
Excerpt: The new health care law, nicknamed ObamaCare, requires every American to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Supporters say this unprecedented requirement is permitted by the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which allows Congress “to regulate commerce…among the several states.” Is that a legitimate legal interpretation? reason asked Robert A. Levy, a distinguished legal scholar who chairs the Cato Institute board of directors. He gave three reasons why the individual mandate should not pass constitutional muster. The Commerce Clause was never intended, and has never been used, to compel the purchase of a private product. If Congress can force individuals to buy health insurance, then Congress can mandate the purchase of exercise equipment, diet foods, and on and on—extending the dominion of the federal government to all manner of human conduct, including nonconduct. The penalty for violating the mandate is not a tax. That means Congress’s power “to lay and collect taxes” does not apply. To justify the mandate, Congress expressly cited the Commerce Power but not the Taxing Power. The courts should be guided accordingly. Even if the penalty is deemed to be a tax, the Constitution does not authorize it. The Supreme Court has held that Congress cannot use its taxing power as a backdoor means of regulating, unless the regulation is authorized elsewhere in the Constitution. In this case, there is no other constitutional authorization.
Business Leaders Explain How to Create Jobs
Excerpt: Human Events and economics writer Donald Lambro asked America’s major business associations, many chief executive officers and top economic analysts to name the three best ways to create jobs and expand the U.S. economy. Here are their answers.
MBAs are for wusses
Excerpt: MANY Israeli start-ups should pay royalties to the army, says Edouard Cukierman, a venture capitalist in Tel Aviv. He is only half joking. Despite the recession, Israel’s technology exports grew by more than 5% last year. Mr Cukierman thinks military service deserves some of the credit. Israel’s army does not just train soldiers, he says; it nurtures entrepreneurs. Teenagers conscripted into high-tech units gain experience “akin to a bachelor’s degree in computer science”, says Ruvi Kitov, co-founder and chief executive of Tufin Technologies, an Israeli software firm. Almost all of Tufin’s employees in the country are, like Mr Kitov himself, veterans of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). One of the firm’s cash cows is software that finds spam servers and blocks their transmissions. It is based on IDF cyberwarfare technologies that developers first used as soldiers. Traditional armies drill unquestioning obedience into their grunts. Israel’s encourages creativity. An IDF spokesman says it is “highly acceptable” for soldiers to point out problems and pitch ideas to superiors. That is why veterans are snapped up by start-ups, says Alan Baker, president of the Israel-Canada Chamber of Commerce in Tel Aviv. They also do well raising money, he says, because investors assume the IDF has already weeded out the dishonest and irresponsible. In other countries, employers rely on the college-entry obstacle course to select the brightest and best. In Israel, thanks to conscription, most job applicants have tackled real obstacle courses.
Karzai's brother calls for U.S. to shore up Kabul Bank as withdrawals accelerate
Too big to fail? US Taxpayers to the rescue. ~Bob. Excerpt: As depositors thronged branches of Afghanistan's biggest bank, Mahmoud Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a major shareholder in beleaguered Kabul Bank called on Thursday for intervention by the United States to head off a financial meltdown. "America should do something," said Karzai in a telephone interview, suggesting that the U.S. Treasury Department guarantee the funds of Kabul Bank's clients, who number about a million and have more than a billion dollars on deposits with the bank. Kabul Bank handles salary payments for soldiers, police and teachers. It has scores of branches across Afghanistan and holds the accounts of key Afghan government agencies. The collapse of the bank would likely spread panic throughout the country's fledgling financial sector and wipe out nine years of effort by the United States to establish a sound Afghan banking system, seen as essential to the establishment of a functioning economy.
Domestic Violence Fairytales Threaten Constitutional Protections
Excerpt: Kristin Ruggiero of New Hampshire figured it would be a slam dunk. The gambit worked like a charm during the divorce hearing; now she would bring the case to criminal court. Her husband Jeffrey, an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, was an incorrigible batterer, at least that’s what she led to the judge to believe. That got him convicted of criminal threatening, and she won custody of their 7-year-old daughter. But Kristin Ruggiero wasn’t finished. One day, the woman bragged to her startled ex, “I took all your money, I took your daughter, and now I’m going to take your career.” She went out and purchased a disposable cell phone and registered it in Jeffrey’s name. Then she sent herself a passel of threatening text messages. Apparently Kristin didn’t realize that in criminal court, allegations are subjected to a higher standard of proof. And all of a sudden the nefarious scheme to frame her ex-husband came crashing down. Last week Kristin Ruggiero was convicted on 12 counts of falsifying physical evidence and sentenced to 7-14 years in prison. This tale is not so much about a distraught woman sorely in need of psychological help. Rather, it’s a story of a police department, a prosecutor, and a judge that allowed themselves to be duped by a conniving perjurer. And it’s about a criminal justice system that has all but abandoned due process in a frenzied attempt to curb domestic violence. Like everything in the law, the problem begins with definitions. The Violence Against Women Act, passed during the first term of the Clinton administration, includes a definition of domestic violence that is so wide you could drive a Mack truck through it. States picked up on the loophole, and now most states include within their definitions of abuse, actions like making your partner “annoyed” or “distressed.” (Some people seem to have been born "annoyed," uncountable numbers of people are "ignored," and everyone, without exception, is "distressed" at least from time to time. One of my former wives had an annoyance threshold so low merely saying "good morning" could ruin her day, except on the days when it was ruined by NOT saying it. Spousal abuse is bad, but to be charged with "abuse," it seems to me there ought to be at least some overt threat of actual physical harm; less may be valid grounds for separation but doesn't constitute "abuse." By these standards, we are ALL victims; why should some be special because of their gender? Would it still be fair if the genders were reversed? --Ron P. I get distressed watching the evening news. Can I file a complaint against Congress? ~Bob.)
The Glenn Beck Rule: How to Out a Racist
Excerpt: Editors Note: Some language in this column may be offensive. How does one discredit the massive back-to-the-values-that-made-this-country-great rally in Washington at the National Mall? Easy. Call Glenn Beck, the leader and organizer of the rally, a "racist" -- as does former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean. What makes Beck a racist? The question presupposes the need for a reason. Ever heard of Journolist? Apparently, neither have network news anchors Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Brian Williams -- none of whom saw fit to spend one second reporting on this astonishing story. Journolist was a confidential Listserv of 400 members of the media. It included people from Time, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The New Republic, The Nation and other outlets. No Journolist member was a conservative. (Liberals would give a confidential Listserv of conservative media a somewhat different name: The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.) Journolist was founded and run by a Washington Post blogger. It was exposed by The Daily Caller and written about on NewsBusters.org and by Andrew Breitbart, who offered $100,000 for a complete Journolist archive. Shortly after this exposure, Journolist was shut down. What was the purpose of Journolist? The most innocuous explanation -- offered by a writer for the left-wing New Republic -- is that it was a mere "chat room" where people would yak about stuff like the NBA finals or where a Journolister working on a piece could solicit suggestions for an expert. Big deal. The most sinister explanation is that it served as a forum/echo chamber for liberals to strategize with other liberals on how to advance their agenda, craft arguments and discredit conservatives. Paranoia, you say? Recall that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama's candidacy was rocked by YouTube videos of his unhinged, America-denouncing, whitey-condemning, anti-Semitic pastor of 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Several Journolist members cried Mayday! and traded e-mails on how to control the damage. Spencer Ackerman's Huffington Post bio describes his position with The Washington Independent as "senior reporter." This Journolist "journalist" offered this game plan: "If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them -- Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists." You know, eenie, meenie, minie, moe.
The medical system Donald Berwick prefers in the United States
Excerpt: From Berwick’s extensive writing and speeches we see that he favors a system in which data is dispassionately collected, analyzed and, in the most scientifically validated method, a cost benefit analysis is performed so that the proper testing, procedures and medications are dispensed in a fair, equitable, humane and compassionate manner. Mandated best practices would impose order on the chaotic unplanned, helter-skelter mess we have today. By the same token someone should impose order on the chaotic, unplanned mess that is our “grocery delivery” system. Getting food is even more important that health care. By that I mean the thousands of groceries across the country in which most of us find, most of the time, everything we want. and if we don’t, we go to the store down the street. Contrast that with the iconic empty grocery shelves of the USSR which fixed the chaotic market with best practice central planning. (Interesting column with one of the most apt metaphors for healthcare I've heard. KevinMD usually avoids "political" stuff because it riles up the readers; many of the comments following are vicious (keep in mind most of the commenters have MD tacked after their names). There's a lot of emotion involved on all sides of the (still) on-going debate over healthcare. Ron P.)
Donald Berwick Has Insurance for Life: Berwick's Real Recess Appointment Story
Excerpt: Obama's czar of Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Berwick, thinks it is just so sweet that your health care will be rationed, but much, much sweeter that he personally will never have to worry about health care for himself or his wife. Berwick's Institute for Health Care Improvement, a "non-profit health care charitable organization" of his own creation, has conferred lifetime health care for him and the Mrs. Consider the missions of Berwick's "non-profit health care charity: 1) building "the will for change" 2) "cultivate promising concepts" 3) "helping health care systems put those ideas into action Obama appointed Berwick to his lofty position in a recess-appointment, but only after the Democrat Senate failed to schedule a confirmation hearing. Or maybe there was another reason: Byron York says Senator Charles Grassley, on behalf of the Senate Finance Committee, began asking questions about Berwick's "non-profit charity." That's when Obama made the recess-appointment. The Senate confirmation of a presidential nominee is essential to the tenets of the U.S. Constitution. When the Senate is blocked in their decision, Presidents do make recess appointments, but Berwick's confirmation didn't even make it to the Senate. From Byron York at The Examiner: As it turns out, Berwick himself does not have to deal with the anxieties created by limited access to care and the extent of coverage. In a special benefit conferred on him by the board of directors of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, a nonprofit health care charitable organization he created and which he served as chief executive officer, Berwick and his wife will have health coverage "from retirement until death." In 2008, the "non-profit charity" Berwick took home $2.3 million in compensation, excluding the health care for life, $637,006 in 2007 and $585,008 in 2006.
The Lawfare Wars
Excerpt: The al-Nashiri bugout, and attack of the killer lawyers—on drones. However well our troops do on the battlefield, a reality of modern times is that the U.S. can still lose the war on terror in the courtroom. Two separate cases this week show that lawfare is alive and dangerous. The first case involves the Obama Administration's sudden, and so far unexplained, decision to stop the military commission trial of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the mastermind behind the al Qaeda suicide attack on the USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 Navy sailors. Military prosecutors have been preparing a case against al-Nashiri after the Obama Administration reviewed detainee policy in 2009 and decided to keep a few terrorists out of the civilian justice system. The Cole bombing "was an attack on a United States warship, and that, I think, is appropriately placed into the military commissions setting," as Attorney General Eric Holder put it last November. But this week the Washington Post reported that Justice Department court filings maintain that "no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to Nashiri in the near future." The Defense Department issued a statement saying that it is "actively investigating the case against Mr. al-Nashiri and developing charges against him," but there's been no elaboration from the Obama Administration. An anonymous military official speculated to the Post that the White House wants to delay the tribunal until it could find a politically palatable way to mount concurrent civilian proceedings for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, et al. Others wonder if the White House wants to avoid angering the anti-antiterror left before the November election.
Another Unhappy Labor Day
Excerpt: 'This is a chance to do something big, man!" So proclaimed Vice President Joe Biden in a recent Time magazine article about the Obama administration's "all-out effort to exploit the [economic] crisis" to advance its agenda. Outside of Washington, D.C., most Americans aren't concerned with doing things "big." They're looking for less government spending, lower taxes and good jobs. And they see today's economy as a tragedy to be resolved—not a political opportunity to be exploited. This coming Monday marks the second Labor Day of the Obama administration, and the American work force has little to show for it other than higher unemployment, stagnant wages, last year's $1.4 trillion federal deficit, this year's $1.3 trillion deficit, and next year's anticipated $1 trillion-plus deficit. Oh, and a slew of new federal regulations and programs—like ObamaCare—that will make it even more expensive for businesses to retain current workers, much less create new jobs. No wonder American confidence in the future is evaporating. And when confidence crumbles, consumers won't spend, lenders won't lend, investors won't invest, and businesses won't hire. Today we see businesses husbanding cash rather than hiring. Nonfinancial S&P 500 companies are sitting on a record $837 billion. Personal savings are increasing dramatically, to over 6% of income today compared to barely 1% in 2005. Those small businesses still willing to take on more debt to expand are having tremendous difficulty finding credit. The politicians who promised a "summer of recovery" have delivered nothing but economic doldrums. Most economic indicators these past few months have been disappointing—when they haven't been downright dismal.
Barack Obama has bowed before the UN over Arizona immigration law
From Britain. Excerpt: There can be few sights more humiliating for the American people than that of a US president kowtowing to a foreign leader or to supranational institutions. Continental Europeans are used to this sort of thing after decades of dominance by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, and have grudgingly accepted over time the gradual and undemocratic erosion of their freedoms. But most Americans fiercely defend their national sovereignty, and find the idea of giving international organisations a say over their laws and lives completely unacceptable. The Obama administration however has submitted a report to the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, South African judge Navanethem Pillay, which makes direct reference to a popular Arizona immigration law aimed at tackling illegal immigration, which is fiercely opposed by the White House, and is the subject of legal action by the Justice Department.
Militancy and the U.S. Drawdown in Afghanistan
Excerpt: The drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq has served to shift attention toward Afghanistan, where the United States has been increasing its troop strength in hopes of forming conditions conducive to a political settlement. This is similar to the way it used the 2007 surge in Iraq to help reach a negotiated settlement with the Sunni insurgents that eventually set the stage for withdrawal there. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, the Taliban at this point do not feel the pressure required for them to capitulate or negotiate and therefore continue to follow their strategy of surviving and waiting for the coalition forces to depart so that they can again make a move to assume control over Afghanistan. Indeed, with the United States having set a deadline of July 2011 to begin the drawdown of combat forces in Afghanistan — and with many of its NATO allies withdrawing sooner — the Taliban can sense that the end is near. As they wait expectantly for the departure of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan, a look at the history of militancy in Afghanistan provides a bit of a preview of what could follow the U.S. withdrawal.
Gov. candidates in 20 states endorse anti-immigration laws
Excerpt: It’s not just Arizona. In states far from the Mexico border — from liberal Massachusetts to moderate Iowa — Democrats and Republicans in gubernatorial races are running on strict anti-illegal-immigration platforms, pledging to sign an array of tough enforcement measures into law come January. Of the 37 gubernatorial races this year, candidates in more than 20 states have endorsed adopting a strict Arizona-style immigration law or passing legislation that makes it harder for illegal immigrants to live, work and access basic public benefits in their states, according to a POLITICO analysis. The prevalence of the issue means the Obama administration could find itself battling Arizona-style flare-ups in statehouses across the country, raising pressure on the White House and Congress to break the deadlock in Washington over comprehensive immigration reform. The Justice Department sued Arizona in hopes of discouraging other states from following its lead and won a ruling blocking provisions of the law that immigrant advocates found most objectionable. But that hasn’t stopped some gubernatorial candidates from trying to one-up each other on the issue. Georgia Democratic nominee Roy Barnes endorses an Arizona-style law for the state, saying he would sign similar legislation if elected. So does Georgia’s Republican nominee, former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a staunch critic of comprehensive immigration reform who used the first ad of his primary campaign to endorse the Arizona crackdown.
The New Old World Order
Excerpt: The post-Cold War new world order is rapidly breaking apart. Nations are returning to the ancient passions, rivalries and differences of past centuries. Take Europe. The decades-old vision of a united pan-continental Europe without borders is dissolving. The cradle-to-grave welfare dream proved too expensive for Europe's shrinking and aging population. Cultural, linguistic and economic divides between Germany and Greece, or Holland and Bulgaria, remain too wide to be bridged by fumbling bureaucrats in Brussels. NATO has devolved into a euphemism for American expeditionary forces. Nationalism is returning, based on stronger common ties of language, history, religion and culture. We are even seeing the return of a two-century-old European "problem": a powerful Germany that logically seeks greater political influence commensurate with its undeniable economic superiority. The tired Israeli-Palestinian fight over the future of the West Bank is no longer the nexus of Middle East tensions. The Muslim Arab world is now more terrified by the re-emergence of a bloc of old familiar non-Arabic, Islamic fundamentalist rivals. With nuclear weapons, theocratic Iran wants to offer strategic protection to radical allies such as Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, and at the same time restore Persian glory. While diverse, this rogue bunch shares contempt for the squabbling Sunni Arab world of rich but defenseless Gulf petro-sheikdoms and geriatric state authoritarians. Turkey is flipping back to its pre-20th-century past. Its departure from NATO is not a question of if, but when. The European Union used to not want Turkey; now Turkey does not want the shaky EU.
Algeria: Gunmen fire on crowded mosque
Jews? Christians? Buddhists? Probably not—more Muslims who didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: One person has been killed and at least eight injured when gunmen burst into a mosque during prayers southwest of the Algerian capital of Algiers, local newspaper Ennahar reported. A large number of people were gathered for Ramadan prayers late on Tuesday when the attackers opened fire on the crowd in the Algerian province of Ain Defla, the report said. The sheikh guiding the prayers was killed in the incident while some of the wounded were taken to hospital serious condition. A bloody civil war broke out in Algeria in the 1991 after the government cancelled results that awarded a national election victory to an Islamist party. Government officials estimate that more than 100,000 Algerians died in terrorist attacks and fighting, according to GlobalSecurity.org, a website for military policy research.
Three Danes on al-Qaeda death list
Didn’t get the memo. “If you depict Mohammad as violent, we will kill you for the insult!” ~Bob. Excerpt: Terrorist network al-Qaeda has released an official death list, naming nine people who have mocked the prophet Mohammed – three of whom are Danish. The list was published in Inspire, the organisation’s first ever English language magazine. It is now five years since Jyllands-Posten newspaper published their now notorious cartoons of the prophet, but it would seem the terrorist network has not forgotten the incident, as the three people on the list were all involved in the drawings. They are the newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Carsten Juste, its culture editor Flemming Rose, and the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew the now infamous picture of the prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.
The Gadsden Flag
Wow, the founders were Tea Party Racists. Who knew? ~Bob. Excerpt: Where the Gadsden flag first appears in recorded history: at the first mustering of the U.S. Marine Corps and the first mission of the Continental Navy.
Hezbollah car bombs on our border
Excerpt: Why isn't Obama's Department of Homeland Security concerned? An indictment was handed down Aug. 30 by the Southern District Court of New York that shows a connection between Hezbollah - the proxy army of Iran and a designated terrorist organization - and the drug cartels that violently plague the U.S.-Mexico border. In short, a well-known international arms dealer was trying to orchestrate an arms-for-drugs deal in which cocaine from FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which works with Mexican drug cartels to take cocaine into America - would be traded for thousands of weapons housed by a Hezbollah operative in Mexico. This most recent case brings up several questions: Why would a member of Hezbollah be in Mexico? Why would Hezbollah need thousands of weapons in Mexico? Why are members of Hezbollah willing to work with FARC? Perhaps to exchange weapons for drugs? If Hezbollah has guns in Mexico and wants drugs, isn't it logical to assume that it is trading with more accessible Mexican drug cartels? (Anyone using cocaine is an accessory to the murder of 28,000 Mexicans by the drug cartels over the past four years. Now it appears they are accessories to terrorists planning to murder Americans. ~Bob)
VIDEO: The Unseen Crowd at the Beck Rally
Excerpt: Like hundreds of thousands of others, I attended the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C. last Saturday. The crowds were massive. I figured the best way to document the size and scope of the crowd was in one continuous video shot, no cuts, no edits, walking from the back to the front. The walk took over 43 minutes. Starting at the Washington Monument as people continued to pour in at 10:00 am, walking through the crowds using the hill at the monument as amphitheater seating, I made my way through the crowd and to the World War II Memorial, which was jam packed with photographers atop every place they could crawl to get a better angle on the Mall shot.
Father of the Groom
Birds of a feather. Note how the big time crooks never miss any meals. ~Bob E-Mail excerpt: Edward "Ed" Mezvinsky, born January 17, 1937, is a former congressman. A Democrat, he represented Iowa’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for two terms, from 1973 to 1977. In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after Mezvinsky's indictment, Mezvinsky was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense. After serving five years in federal prison, Mezvinsky was released in April 2008. Mezvinsky is expected to remain on federal probation until 2011, and owes substantial restitution to his victims. Who exactly is "Ed" Mezvinsky? He's Chelsea Clinton's new Father-in-Law. Of course, there is no mention of this in any main stream press. Guess it shouldn't be any shock.
Larry Sabato predicts a Republican House majority
Excerpt: In a report issued this morning, University of Virginia political handicapper Larry Sabato estimated that Republicans will pick up 47 seats in the House on Nov. 2, more than enough to restore the party to majority status at the start of the 112th Congress. “Conditions have deteriorated badly for Democrats over the summer," writes Sabato. "The economy appears rotten, with little chance of a substantial comeback by November 2nd. Unemployment is very high, income growth sluggish, and public confidence quite low." He adds: "To most voters--fair or not--it seems that President Obama has over-promised and under-delivered." Sabato's prediction comes amid increasingly pessimistic assessments of Democratic chances in the fall from the political prognosticator class. Last week, Time magazine's Mark Halperin said that if circumstances didn't change Democratic House losses could total as many as 60 seats. And, on Wednesday, Charlie Cook, a former Fix boss and editor of the Cook Political Report, wrote that "Democrats find themselves heading into a midterm election that looks as grisly as any the party has faced in decades." Cook added that there are 32 Democratic incumbents who currently trail their Republican challengers in either public or private polling -- far more than the 11 GOP incumbents who were losing at this time in 2006. (Democrats re-took control of the House that year.) Dire predictions like these add to a growing perception problem for Democrats with just 60 days left until the midterms. People like Sabato, Cook and Stu Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, are quite influential within the Washington chattering class and can shape the tone and demeanor of the campaign conversation for both parties. Their gloom and doom predictions for Democrats, therefore, can have real world implications as donors are less likely to pony up crucial dollars, targeted Members go into panic mode and party strategists become more willing to throw their side overboard in conversations with reporters. For Democrats trying to hold the House majority then, these increasingly pessimistic prognostication add another layer of complexity to the challenge.
Will the media call the Silver Spring/Discovery Channel gunman an environmental terrorist?
No. But if he ever drank a cup of tea…. ~Bob. Excerpt: The gunman appears to have been protesting the cable channel for sometime, and has left behind an internet manifesto dedicated to pushing a radical environmental and anti-population growth philosophy. In the manifesto, he demands: “The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY.”
Obama Administration Reverses Course, Forbids Sale of 850,000 Antique Rifles
Excerpt: The South Korean government, in an effort to raise money for its military, wants to sell nearly a million antique M1 rifles that were used by U.S. soldiers in the Korean War to gun collectors in America. The Obama administration approved the sale of the American-made rifles last year. But it reversed course and banned the sale in March – a decision that went largely unnoticed at the time but that is now sparking opposition from gun rights advocates. A State Department spokesman said the administration's decision was based on concerns that the guns could fall into the wrong hands. "The transfer of such a large number of weapons -- 87,310 M1 Garands and 770,160 M1 Carbines -- could potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes," the spokesman told FoxNews.com.