Friday, June 10, 2011

Political Digest for June 10, 2011

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
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For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

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Gingrich senior aides resign
Looks like Newt has flamed out. ~Bob. Excerpt: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded Thursday afternoon with virtually his entire senior staff leaving en masse, according to multiple sources familiar with the moves. “When the campaign and the candidate disagree on the path, they’ve got to part ways,” said Rick Tyler a longtime Gingrich spokesman who was among those who left the campaign today. Tyler as well as Rob Johnson, Gingrich’s campaign manager, Dave Carney and Katon Dawson, senior strategists to the effort and media consultant Sam Dawson have all stepped aside. Much of his early state operation was also headed for the exits, according to a one senior campaign source. Several sources said the mass resignation came at a meeting Thursday in Gingrich’s Washington office.

White House redefines ‘winning’ in Afghanistan ahead of review
Excerpt: Obama administration officials and lawmakers are lowering the bar for success in Afghanistan ahead of the first strategic review of war policy in the post-Osama bin Laden era. Washington has largely shed words like “winning” and “success” as public fatigue about the costs and duration of the decade-long conflict have increased. What is emerging is a search for a new definition for winning the war in Afghanistan that would allow most U.S. forces to leave the war-torn country without the risk of having the Taliban and al Qaeda quickly fill a vacuum. (“Winning” now means “Saving Face for Obama,” in what he called “A war of necessity” during the 2008 campaign. There was a best seller written about Vietnam by a CIA officer, entitled Decent Interval, which postulated that American policy was to withdraw our forces in such a way as to allow a sufficient amount of time to go by before the North Vietnamese forces made a final fatal thrust into the south to take over, so that America would save face by not directly involved in the action resulting in the losing of the decade-long war. That is where we are in Afghanistan. If the result is a Taliban victory, and established misogyny that forbids women to work, stones teenage rape victims to death for committing adultery, whips women for going out without a male escort and marries nine-year-old girls to old men, following the Prophet’s perfect example, tough for them. All cultures are equally valid, and they shouldn’t challenge the “religion of Peace.” See my poem, below. ~Bob.)

When the Taliban Come Back

Expert: Extending FBI chief's term would be unconstitutional
Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution! ~Bob. Excerpt: Senators pushed forward with a hearing Wednesday on whether to extend FBI Director Robert Mueller’s term by two years even as one legal expert testified that the move would be unconstitutional. Some of the lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed concern that extending Mueller’s term beyond the 10-year limit could set a dangerous precedent, though the majority of senators on the panel supported the extension, which was proposed by President Obama last month.

AFL-CIO urges recess appointment for Warren
Excerpt: The AFL-CIO is calling for a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In an email sent to the labor federation’s activists Thursday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka asked them to urge President Obama to appoint Warren to the head of the agency.

'Disrespect' Is Something You Earn
Excerpt: After informing the airline customer-service agent on the telephone that she had made an error in my itinerary, I was taken aback by her reply. She said I had "disrespected" her. A few days later I read about a small but telling incident aboard an Amtrak train traveling up the West Coast, involving a woman who talked incessantly on her cellphone in a so-called "Quiet Car." According to KATU television in Portland, passengers said the woman was being "disrespectful." Police finally removed her from the train, whereupon she told reporters that she felt "disrespected" by the entire incident. Apparently "respect" has emerged as society's favorite go-to word when we don't like someone or something, or they don't like us. Listen closely to the patter of politicians and athletes, reality-TV stars and gang members, and you'd think all they want from life nowadays is to be respected.

Another “WTF” Obama Foreign Policy Moment
Excerpt: As Governor I fought the Obama Administration’s plans to cut funds for missile defense in Alaska. So imagine how appalled and surprised I was to read this article by former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey, appropriately titled “Giving Away the Farm,” concerning President Obama’s latest bizarre actions relating to missile defense. President Obama wants to give Russia our missile defense secrets because he believes that we can buy their friendship and cooperation with this taxpayer-funded gift. But giving military secrets and technologies to a rival or competitor like Russia is just plain dumb. You can’t buy off Russia. And giving them advanced military technology will not create stability. What happens if Russia gives this technology (or sells it!) to other countries like Iran or China?  After all, as Woolsey points out, Russia helped Iran with its missile and nuclear programs. Or what happens if an even more hardline leader comes to power in the Kremlin?

Europe Is Warning Us
Excerpt: If Americans think fuel and food prices are high, they should try Europe, where both can nearly double those in the United States -- while salaries here are often lower.
Italians, like most now-broke Southern European countries, are desperate to privatize bloated public-owned utilities. Politicians are trying to curb pensions, and to encourage the private sector to hire workers and buy equipment, as a way of attracting wary foreigner parents to lend such perpetual adolescents more bailout money. In theory, Italians accept that they are going to have to be a lot more like the Germans, and less like the Irish, Portuguese and Spaniards. In fact, they may end up like the Greeks, who are still striking and occasionally rioting because too few foreigners wish to continue subsidizing their socialist paradise. Red graffiti on Italian streets still echoes socialist solidarity, while Italian politicians talk capitalism to foreign lenders. The European Union, like the 19th-century Congress of Vienna, can point to one achievement -- a general absence of war in Western Europe for more than 60 years. Otherwise, almost all its socialist promises of an equality of result are imploding before their eyes.

Excerpt: Reuters has released a story (“Obama Presses Europe, Pledges Help for Greek Crisis“) about President Barack Obama’s attempt to bailout Greece via the IMF (International Monetary Fund) using U.S. taxpayer money. While this sounds like just an extension of his abuse of power and money that is not his from the disaster in the U.S. to the world, it is much more than this. This is about re-inflating President Obama’s ego. His ego was inflated to massive proportions immediately after his 2008 Presidential win. President Obama garnered a 79% approval rating in the U.S. in 2009. As of 2010, President Obama garnered an approval rating in Germany as high as 90%. While his approval ratings has have dropped significantly, Obama’s European approval is still quite high. After the uber failure of the U.S. taxpayer funded bank and auto industry bailouts, the continued decline of the American economy, plummeting home prices, falling stock market, rises joblessness, hatred of ObamaCare, deepening hatred of further government intrusion into the lives of private citizens, ad infinitum, there is little hope in the U.S. to increase President Obama’s popularity.

Marlton dog school trains companions for veterans with PTSD
Excerpt: Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Ellicott's nightmares can be tough to explain.
But Sierra understands. "She's actually woken me up when I was having one," says the 43-year-old Marine, whose peppy black Lab puppy is "helping me find my new normal." Sierra is enrolled in the new Semper Fido program at K-9 Basics Dog Training & Clif Wyck Kennels in Marlton, where I checked out an open house Saturday.

Falling prices whacked low-priced homes hardest
Excerpt: Nationwide, top-tier homes have lost 38% of their value since prices peaked in 2006, while prices for bottom-tier homes have dropped 63% since peaking in 2007, says real estate website The disparity is consistent across larger cities, according to a study on the state of the U.S. housing market to be released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

More job seekers give up, reducing unemployment
I think they meant 13.9 million unemployed, not 139 million. Still, this would indicate that, as has been claimed, unemployment is much worse than Obama has been telling us. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: By the government's definition, if you quit looking, you're no longer counted as unemployed. And you're no longer part of the labor force. Since November, the number of Americans counted as employed has grown by 765,000, to just shy of 139 million. The nation has been creating jobs every month as the economy recovers. The economy added 244,000 jobs in April. But the number of Americans counted as unemployed has shrunk by much more — almost 1.3 million — during this time. That means the labor force has dropped by 529,000 workers. The percentage of adults in the labor force is a figure that economists call the participation rate. It is 64.2 percent, the smallest since 1984. And that's become a mystery to economists. Normally after a recession, an improving economy lures job seekers back into the labor market. This time, many are staying on the sidelines.

A Primer On The Social Security And Medicare Trustees’ Reports: Part Ii -- Quantitative Findings
Excerpt: Social Security is currently running a deficit of tax income relative to annual expenditures. One of the headline findings of this year’s report is that this deficit will be a permanent feature of program finances, growing enormously in the future under current law. (Technically the program can no longer run a deficit after its trust fund is ultimately exhausted, but the deficit is permanent in the sense that benefit obligations will forever exceed tax income). This operating deficit emerged last year. Total program costs were $713 billion while $664 billion in tax revenues were collected, for a total deficit of $49 billion. This year, dedicated tax revenues will lag a full $151 billion behind payment obligations, meaning that Social Security’s operations will add $151 billion to the federal deficit. This is much bigger than last year’s shortfall primarily because the Social Security payroll tax has been temporarily reduced from 12.4% to 10.4%. That legislation that cut the payroll tax is also transferring $105 billion in (debt-financed) general revenues to the Trust Funds, making up part of the shortfall. The rest of the deficit will be made up with interest payments from the general fund to the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund and its interest earnings were explained in my last piece. Of note here is that even though there is a deficit of tax income relative to payment obligations, the Trust Fund balance continues to rise because of ongoing interest payments. As explained before, these interest payments are made from one government account to another, and do not lessen the amount by which Social Security adds to the larger federal deficit.

Food for thought
Going around the Net: Imagine living with 4 wives and 23 kids in one compound and never leaving the house for 5 years. I think Bin Laden called the US Navy SEALs himself.

Ala. governor signs tough illegal immigration law
Oh, great—more drug gang-bangers will come to Chicago. ~Bob. Excerpt: Alabama's governor on Thursday signed a tough new illegal immigration crackdown that contains provisions requiring public schools to determine students' immigration status and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride. The bill also allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if they're stopped for any other reason. Alabama employers also are now required to use a federal system called E-Verify to determine if new workers are in the country legally.

Zombie Protesters Interrupt Special Olympics Event to Protest Wis. Gov. Walker
To be fair, their hero President Obama denigrated the Special Olympics. They naturally think making their political point trumps supporting the organization. ~Bob. Excerpt: There’s protesting an event and exercising your First Amendment right, and then there’s dressing up as zombies and interrupting a Special Olympics event to trumpet your cause. I’m not sure many people will have much respect for the latter method, but that’s exactly what a group of protesters did today to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

New Bill to stop Sharia law operating in the UK
Excerpt: On 7 June 2011 Baroness Cox introduced a new Bill in the House of Lords intended to outlaw the use of Sharia law where it conflicts with English law. In proposing the new Bill she said: “Equality under the law is a core value of British justice. My Bill seeks to preserve that standard. My Bill seeks to stop parallel legal, or ‘quasi-legal’, systems taking root in our nation. Cases of criminal law and family law are matters reserved for our English courts alone. “Through these proposals, I want to make it perfectly clear in the law that discrimination against women shall not be allowed within arbitration. I am deeply concerned about the treatment of Muslim women by Sharia Courts. We must do all that we can to make sure they are free from any coercion, intimidation or unfairness. Many women say, ‘we came to this country to escape these practices only to find the situation is worse here’.” (Huh. Don’t they know that supporting equal rights for Muslim women is Islamophobic? ~Bob.)

Concerns Over Illegal Immigration Becoming Mainstream
Excerpt: Once upon a time opposition to illegal immigration was championed by a few special interest groups and outspoken leaders like Tom Tancredo and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Not so anymore. Regular sheriffs like Arizona’s Paul Babeu of Pinal County and Larry Dever of Cochise County are speaking up loudly about their frustrations dealing with it. The Obama administration gets credit for mainstreaming the issue. Obama moved the country backwards on fixing the problem by suing Arizona over SB 1070 and decreasing funding for enforcement. One federal prosecutor in Texas refuses to prosecute illegal immigrants until they have been arrested seven times. He will not prosecute them with a felony until they have been caught 14 times. Even more egregiously, he does not prosecute coyotes smuggling fewer than six illegal immigrants. These policies are in place throughout Texas. All the progress Arizona has made the past few years reducing illegal immigration and associated crime due to the efforts of Sheriff Arpaio, Senator Russell Pearce and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is now being eroded.

America’s Funniest Bloopers by Presidential Candidates
Excerpt: “I don’t know? Does Cuba have a government-run health-care system?” Imagine a secret tweet by Sarah Palin disclosing such ignorance. But this was no secret tweet--nor an off-the- cuff comment. It was two-time Democratic Presidential candidate and current Federal indictee John Edwards speaking on the record at Iowa Caucus in August 2007. The comment was recorded by ABC News, where it languished all but ignored, withered, and finally perished. No “going viral” for this amazing boner by a (fully-declared) two-time U.S. Presidential candidate. “I’m going to be honest with you,” runs the entire blooper as blogged by National Review’s Jim Geraghty. “I don’t know a lot about Cuba’s healthcare system. Is it a government-run system?”

Mark Steyn: Blank Page
Excerpt: So take a look at this picture of last week's Throne Speech in Ottawa: The Governor-General is reading out the government's program, and Miss [Brigette] DePape steps in front of him to hold up for the cameras her own ingenious substitution for representative government: A "STOP HARPER" sign. When she's removed from the chamber, she's ready with a press release and a publicist to book media appearances. She says Canada needs its own "Arab Spring". What, you mean with virginity tests for female protesters? … The west is facing not an Arab spring but a long bleak winter of post-prosperity discontent.

Mark Steyn: Over the Rainbow
Considering that a lot of mainstream Islamic thought considers homosexuality a death-penalty offence, stickers doesn’t seem like a big deal. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: From multicultural London, more fun with the internal contradictions of “diversity”: A Muslim fanatic who posted homophobic stickers declaring London’s East End a “gay free zone” has been fined £100. Mohammed Hasnath, 18, posted stickers warning gays that homosexuality was wrong and that “Allah is severe in punishment”. The stickers showed a rainbow flag with a black line through it stating “Gay free zone”. Even converted into increasingly worthless Obamabucks, 100 quid isn’t a lot of money and, given that young Mohammed is unemployed and living on welfare, it will in any case be picked up by British taxpayers.

Excerpt:  Whatever the outcome of “Weinergate,” I blame the women. (…) When a politician’s cheating goes public, the mistresses usually find out they’re a dime a dozen. Gennette Cordova now knows that her “boyfriend” was sending the same pictures to dozens of other girls, who no doubt swooned and expressed fawning gratitude for his attention. After Lewinsky professed her love to Bill Clinton, he went on TV and sneeringly referred to her as “that woman.” These women aren’t special—they’re one of many a narcissistic politician keeps around to remind him of his virility. (An interesting and reality-based assessment of this latest sex scandal. I think it demonstrates just how incredibly stupid a person can be and still get elected to Congress. [“He is an idiot and a Congressman and excuse me for repeating myself.” ~Mark Twain] Ron P. I can’t say I’ve never done anything stupid in relation to sex. Elected officials get so much deference, they start to think they are above the rules. I was lucky that when I served as a state senator, I had already served as a Marine corporal. My DI’s convinced me I wasn’t special, and the NVA that I wasn’t invincible. ~Bob.)

Technical Lessons Learned from the Fukushima-Daichii Accident and Possible Corrective Actions for the Nuclear Industry: An Initial Evaluation
This PDF of a Faculty Report from the Nuclear Science and Engineering department at MIT is very level-headed. The report begins with some pages of the authors’ credits and a blank page or two, typical of PDF files, so don’t be discouraged by an empty page if you see one, just keep scrolling down. Ron P. Excerpt: The release of radioactivity from the plant has been large (with contributions also from containment venting and spent fuel pool overheating) and some workers have received significant radiation doses (>100 mSv whole-body equivalent), but health risks for them and the general population are expected to be negligible (see Appendix A). In fact, no loss of life has occurred as a result of the accident. Direct damage and casualties inflicted on Japan by the earthquake and tsunami far exceed any damage caused by the accident at the nuclear plant. The Fukushima accident has been rated at the maximum level (Level 7) on the IAEA nuclear event scale, indicating an accident with large release of radioactivity accompanied by “widespread health and environmental effects”, like Chernobyl. However, there are very significant differences between Fukushima and Chernobyl. Briefly, the amount of the release (~10% of Chernobyl), the presence of the containment structures, the radionuclides released (mostly iodine and cesium isotopes vs. the entire core inventory), the physical form of the releases (mostly aqueous vs. volatile), the favorable currents and winds at the site, and the timing of the release with respect to population evacuation resulted in vastly smaller overall consequences. Having said this, it is important to analyze the technical lessons that can be learned from Fukushima, so that the safety of nuclear plants in the U.S. and worldwide can be further enhanced and the attractiveness of nuclear energy sustained over the long term. An initial attempt to identify the key lessons from the Fukushima accident is presented here. (…) The initial response of the nuclear industry and the U.S government to the Fukushima accident has been measured and rational (see Appendix B). However, the risk of over-reacting to an accident, particularly one as dramatic as Fukushima, remains high.

YFrog Glitch Generates Random, Offensive Tweets to Verified Lawmakers' Twitter Accounts
Excerpt: Confusing and offensive postings to, allegedly from the certified Twitter accounts of various U.S. lawmakers, have been caused by an apparent technical failure affecting users of the image sharing site. “I love to smoke the good..” writes @NancyPelosi above a smoke-trail laden image of Space Shuttle Discovery’s February 24, 2011 launch from Kennedy Space Center — an odd bit of wording for what was earlier publicly shared using the tweet, “Just watched Discovery launch @NASAKennedy – spectacular! Follow @NASA for more on #STS133”

Anthony Weiner Sponsored Internet Sexual Predators Legislation
Excerpt: In the interest of protecting the children, U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (Pervert – N.Y.), sponsored the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 a.k.a. KIDS Act of 2007. The text of the legislation is below. But here’s a great quote from the Weiner about his interest in stopping Internet predators. “Sadly, the Internet is the predator’s venue of choice today. We need to update our strategies and our laws to stop these offenders who are a mere click away from our children.” – Anthony Weiner.

75% Support Showing Photo ID At The Polls
Excerpt: Support remains high for requiring voters to show photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots. An increasing number of states across the country are putting that requirement into law. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely U.S. Voters believe voters should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to vote. Just 18% disagree and oppose such a requirement. (To see survey question wording, click here.) Eighty-five percent (85%) of Republicans support a photo ID requirement at the polls, as do 77% of voters not affiliated with either major party and 63% of Democrats. But then support for such a law is high across virtually all demographic groups.

Weiner Says He Has No Plans to Resign Following Sexting Scandal
Of course, he also said he didn’t do it. ~Bob. Excerpt: In an exclusive interview with The [New York] Post, Weiner, 46, said the sexting scandal that has plagued him for the past week is not reason enough to give up his House seat. "I'm not," Weiner said when asked by a Post reporter whether he planned to resign.

Weiner's Wife on Parade: Pregnant Huma Appears Alongside Hillary as Democrats Demand Shamed Husband Quit
Excerpt: Ms Abedin now faces the ordeal of coping with the fallout of her husband's scandal as well as the physical and emotional turmoil of the early stages of pregnancy. She is also continuing her high-profile job by the side of the Secretary of State, today joining her for a meeting with Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Emirates Palace Hotel. News of the pregnancy, reported by the New York Times, was leaked on the same day Ms Abedin faced the ultimate humiliation of an uncensored photo of her husband's genitals being published on the internet.

Teenagers Do Not Kill Strangers for 200 Pounds because they are in Poverty
Excerpt: The most Orwellian term of social worker-speak is “vulnerable”, a word now used more often to apply to predators, not their prey. Santre Sanchez Gayle was not “vulnerable;” he may have had poor judgment, or a lack of foresight, or weakness of character, but those are different things altogether. So what did the impoverished Santre Sanchez Gayle spend his £200 on? Food for his mother? Emergency medicine for his granny? Magic beans? Answer: a designer gold Dolce and Gabbana beanie hat.

The Problem with Obama's Re-Election Pitch
Excerpt: The president’s team might want to reconsider electoral trends over the past 16 years. For the first time in American history, we’ve just seen three straight presidents lose control of the House (and Mr. Obama probably would have lost control of the Senate, too, like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did, had it not been for the Tea Party’s intervention in 2010). All that party-switching has very little to do with ideology. It’s about impatience with the status quo. It’s about changing horses in midstream, just because you can. (The problems are massive, very painfully to fix and getting worse every day. I think you may see the congress and White House changes hands every election for awhile, until the public figures out that neither party can fix them painlessly. ~Bob.)

Conservative news sites launches for Hispanic audience
Excerpt: Shark Tank blogger Javier Manjarres launched a conservative-leaning news site in Florida Thursday that specifically targets the Latino community. The idea behind Hispolitica, Manjarres told The Daily Caller, is that Hispanics are inherently conservative.

Excerpt: HISPOLITICA seeks to influence the political debate within the Latino community as well as in the country at large.  First and foremost, We believe that the overwhelming majority of Latinos live and embrace conservative values- hard work, self reliance, belief in God, respect for life, and have an increasing distrust of expansive government that seeks greater control over their private economic activity. During the 2010 election campaign, Democrat Senator Harry Reid shamefully commented that “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican.” It is precisely this kind of soft bigotry and ignorance that we believe needs to be confronted. Memo to Harry Reid- Latinos and Hispanics can think for themselves– and it is not you or the Democrat Party who knows what is best for them; rather it is individuals who happen to be of Latino descent that already know what is in their best interests and can form their own political opinions accordingly without your ill-informed advice.

Another Blue Dog bites the dust
Excerpt: Another one bites the dust. On the heels of an election that decimated the Blue Dog ranks in Congress, one more conservative House Democrat is packing it in. Unlike the Blue Dog Democrats who were tossed out by voters, Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren is leaving of his own accord, announcing Tuesday he will not seek a fifth term. His departure is the latest blow to the party’s moderate-conservative wing, a faction that is beginning to look like the nearly extinct Gypsy moth Republicans of the Northeast. (The problem with “Blue Dog” Democrats is that it doesn’t matter how conservative they are, they vote Democrat to organize, that is, they vote to put Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and liberals in charge of the committees and the flow of business. That’s the most important vote. ~Bob.)

The American public’s great depression
Excerpt: A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that nearly half of Americans think a new Great Depression is likely to occur in the next year. Whether or not that Great Depression actually materializes in the economy, it’s pretty obvious that a (lower-case) great depression already exists when it comes to the American psyche, and it’s casting a pall over the 2012 race for president. Pessimism about the economy permeates almost every poll that has been released this week, and it is starting to be one of the first defining characteristics of next year’s race. This isn’t an entirely new development. In fact, the American public started taking a turn for the pessimistic a couple months ago, when gas prices started to rise. But it’s just gotten worse and worse. And these new numbers are among the most striking we have seen to date.

Like the Fed? You'll love Obama's federal health board
Excerpt: If you like the Federal Reserve Board, you'll love President Obama's Medicare rationing panel. It may seem far-fetched to suggest that the Fed has anything to do with the Democrats' vision for the future of our health care system, but Obama himself once embraced such a comparison. Back in 2008, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Obama's original choice to serve as secretary of health and human services, proposed a new entity he called the Federal Health Board. As Daschle described it in his book "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis," the board would be an independent panel of experts tasked with finding ways to save money and improve quality in the health care system. Because it would be "insulated from political pressure," it would be able to make tough decisions that eluded elected officials. Obama praised the idea on the back cover, writing that Daschle's "Federal Reserve for Health concept holds great promise. ..."

Santorum's record of politics trumping principle
Excerpt: Former Sen. Rick Santorum is running for the Republican presidential nominee as the principled, unbending conservative stalwart -- which means he's also running from his past. Santorum's beliefs are conservative, and he's been a hero for pro-lifers nationwide. But last decade he exhibited the standard Bush-era misguided pragmatism of shunting aside principle in calculated gambits aimed at political gain. Unsurprisingly, these ploys often backfired. Bush's principle-free game playing culminated in his bailout bonanza of 2008. Remember: "I have abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." But the height of Santorum's political scheming came in 2004 with his relentless and spirited support of pro-choice liberal Arlen Specter that proved decisive in the 2004 GOP primary against pro-life conservative Pat Toomey. Making it worse, Specter was in line to chair the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over abortion law.

Barack Obama, the anti-science president
Excerpt: The Washington Post's editorial board has it right today on the Obama administration's politicization of nuclear science. Thanks to Obama and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., we have nuclear waste spread throughout the nation, instead of in the facility we've already spent $15 billion to develop:

Excerpt: Washington is suddenly embroiled in one of its most time-honored traditions, a debate about the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, specifically how it should be applied to our efforts in Libya. But don’t worry! This is not a column about the War Powers Act, the term-paper topic of choice for earnest AP social-studies students for roughly the past four decades. Instead, it is about the bipartisan problem of institutional cowardice in the American political system. The War Powers Act — which sets an arbitrary deadline for presidents to seek congressional approval for military engagements — is just one facet of a much more serious malady: acute buck-passing.

Peace Process, RIP: Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Hamas. Or Fatah.
Excerpt: When President Obama said last month that “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist,” he was referring to Hamas. In its charter, Hamas calls Palestine an “Islamic endowment” and specifically rules out a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel. Hamas describes itself as “one of the links in the Chain of Jihad.” It uses terrorism to achieve its goals — which include the advance of Muslim power and the expansion of Muslim territory — and its spokesmen openly mourned the death of Osama bin Laden, calling him an “Arab holy warrior” who deserves to spend eternity with the “true believers and the martyrs.” Nevertheless, Obama also made clear that he believes the “peace process” can and must move forward. If the Israelis cannot be expected to negotiate with Hamas, surely they can negotiate with Fatah, the other main Palestinian faction. Though now in the process of forming a coalition with Hamas, Fatah does recognize Israel’s right to exist. Or does it?

Judges sharply challenge healthcare law
Excerpt: Judge Stanley Marcus chimed in: "I can't find any case" in the past, he said, where the courts upheld "telling a private person they are compelled to purchase a product in the open market.... Is there anything that suggests Congress can do this?" After nearly three hours of argument Wednesday, the three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals seemed prepared to declare at least part of last year's law unconstitutional. The law's requirement that nearly everyone buy health insurance by 2014 is the question at the heart of the constitutional challenge. The argument that the mandate exceeds Congress' power initially was waved aside by many legal commentators, but it has now sharply divided the federal courts. Three federal district judges have upheld the law and two have ruled it unconstitutional. Three cases have reached appeals courts, with a fourth appellate panel scheduled to hold a hearing in September. (…) Usually, when passing a complex law, Congress includes a provision known as a severability clause that says that if one part of the law is struck down, the rest can stand. The House included such a provision in its healthcare bill, but it was not included in the Senate version. And in the last-minute scramble, the House adopted the Senate's version. Both sides agreed that the court faced an all-or-nothing decision. (If Obamacare fails constitutionally because of this one section, it will be because of the reason for the “scramble” to pass it: the Massachusetts Miracle that elected Scott Brown to the Senate. And, THAT, folks, is the difference between having a RINO or a DINO in office. Ron P.)

Chicago State's Attorney Lets Bad Cops Slide, Prosecutes Citizens Who Record Them
Excerpt: When Chicago police answered a domestic disturbance call at the home of Tiawanda Moore and her boyfriend in July 2010, the officers separated the couple to question them individually. Moore was interviewed privately in her bedroom. According to Moore, the officer who questioned her then came on to her, groped her breast and slipped her his home phone number. Robert Johnson, Moore's attorney, says that when Moore and her boyfriend attempted to report the incident to internal affairs officials at the Chicago Police Department, the couple wasn't greeted warmly. "They discouraged her from filing a report," Johnson says. "They gave her the runaround, scared her, and tried to intimidate her from reporting this officer -- from making sure he couldn't go on to do this to other women." Ten months later, Chicago PD is still investigating the incident. Moore, on the other hand, was arrested the very same afternoon. Her crime? At some point in her conversations with internal affairs investigators, Moore grew frustrated with their attempts to intimidate her. So she began to surreptitiously record the interactions on her Blackberry. In Illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent, even (and as it turns out, especially) on-duty police officers.

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