Monday, June 20, 2011

Political Digest for June 20, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Info about my book. All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.

Collapse book interview on the Rob Schilling Show
I'm scheduled to be interviewed about my book on Tuesday, 28th June from 1:15 pm EDT until 2:00 pm EDT (That's 12:15 pm CDT to 1:00 pm CDT). Also on the show will be Chet Nagle, author of The Iran Covenant and a former Naval Aviator and former CIA Agent. The show originates from Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia and streams live on the internet. You can get it on the "Listen Live" link at www.SchillingShow.com They welcome callers at (434) 977-1070 on their 'comment line.' Mark your calendars.

Best older posts for new blog readers

John Kass on Sarah Palin: Just a friendly game called 'the Sarah Experiment'
Excerpt: Though I'm a conservative, the charismatic and optimistic Palin isn't exactly my cup of tea. I preferred the charismatically challenged and much more pessimistic Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who's no longer running for president because his wife said so. Isn't it time we just abandon the pretense of objectivity in news-gathering when Palin is involved? The public surely picks up on the snarky tone in the coverage, that coiled seething media rage against Palin. But for what, exactly? Her fertility? Her femininity? Her pro-life views? Her ability to shoot and pray? And I've also seen seasoned journalists get as wiggly as puppies when President Barack Obama comes around. Their faces glow. Some even leave wet spots on the carpet.

Calif. Seizes 1,200 Firearms Possessed Illegally
Excerpt: California law enforcement agents have seized 1,200 firearms from people who cannot legally own them because of mental illness or restraining orders. However, Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday that more than 34,000 handguns and nearly 1,600 assault weapons are still believed to be held statewide by people who should not have them. Most people bought the weapons legally but were later prohibited from owning guns.

The Definitive Scandal: ‘Gunwalker’ Much Worse Than ‘Iran-Contra’
Excerpt: December 14, 2010, a special unit of the U.S. Border Patrol came across a group of heavily armed suspects near Rio Rico, Arizona. The Border Patrol team identified themselves as law enforcement officers, at which point the armed men open fire. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was hit in the pelvis by a single bullet and died the next morning. One of the suspects was captured, and two AK-pattern semiautomatic rifles recovered at the scene were identified by serial number as weapons that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) — acting in concert with and with the blessing of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) — allowed weapons smugglers to purchase at U.S. gun shops. The weapons were just two of more than 2,000 firearms that ATF supervisors and the highest levels of DOJ management allowed to be “walked” across the border to narco-terrorist drug cartels in Mexico, in a scandal that promises to be more damning and deadly than Iran-Contra. … The more than 2,000 weapons that the Obama Justice Department allowed to be delivered to Mexican narco-terrorist cartels are thought to have been used in the shooting of an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers battling the cartels. Two American law enforcement officers have also presumably fallen prey to these weapons, along with an unknown number of civilians on both sides of the border.

Administration to end monthly healthcare waiver approvals
So if you want a waiver after 2013, better vote Republican in 2012! ~Bob. Excerpt: The Obama administration announced Friday it is changing the way it approves waivers to the healthcare reform law. Instead of approving a new batch of yearlong waivers every month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that providers have until Sept. 22 to apply for a waiver that will carry through 2013. Starting in 2014, all plans will have to comply with the provisions of the law and the waivers will be moot.

The Porcelain Unicorn
Great short video, worth seeing. ~Bob

Al Gore Endorses Mitt Romney on Climate
Excerpt: Mitt Romney yesterday got a big thumbs up for his stance on global warming from a source that likely will not help him in the GOP primary. Al Gore, the former vice president and Nobel Prize Winner praised Romney for not heeding right wing calls to reject the science behind climate change. Al Gore wrote in his blog, ‘Good for Mitt Romney. Though we’ve long passed the point where weak lip service is enough on the climate crisis while other Republicans are running from the truth, Mitt Romney is sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party.'

Afghanistan is making undeniable progress, but it could all unravel
Excerpt: It's time to make big decisions. These decisions will have a huge impact on the future of Afghanistan. The biggest question at hand: How many troops will we keep here and for how long? The answer to that question must not be dreamed up in political strategy sessions or in focus groups. Buzzwords and abstractions won't do. This is about real people — our soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, our allies — and the people of Afghanistan. It's their lives that hang in the balance, and our judgment must respect the challenge they face and the progress they have made. Let's begin with a few facts. For the strategy we used, we never had enough troops in Afghanistan to defeat our enemies and stand up a civil society. It can be argued that today, we still do not have enough. Despite this, the coalition and the Afghans appear to finally be turning the tide in our favor, and a great deal of this can be credited to President Obama for deciding to send more troops. Unfortunately, the President has stated that we will begin bringing troops home this year.

Allen West, some Republican​s rethink military's role, sparking GOP debate
Excerpt: U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, is about as hawkish as they come on Afghanistan, but he sounded war-weary at a recent town hall meeting. "It has been very frustrating for me to sit back and look at us be involved in the nation-building, occupation-style warfare. It drains your economic resources. Ten years, 11 years is too long for us to be mired down in a place like Iraq or Afghanistan," West said at Lynn University. West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who will visit Afghanistan this week, remains supportive of the U.S. presence there and recently voted against a Democratic proposal to speed troop withdrawals. But his comments at the town hall and desire to eventually move to a more mobile, strike-oriented presence in Afghanistan are part of a growing debate within the GOP over military involvements in Afghanistan and Libya.

FCC quacks duck court showdown
Excerpt: June 21 marks the six-month anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) illegally imposing itself on the World Wide Web in order to assert patently absurd "net neutrality" rules. A half-year later, the FCC still has not filed the order with the Federal Register, which is where all new rules and regulations must go to begin their imposition. What's the holdup? There are several possibilities, some or all of which may be why the FCC is so thoroughly slow-playing it. (Please note that it took the FCC less than a month - April 7 to May 6 - to file its wireless data-roaming seizure - so it can get things done when it wants to.) One possibility for the delay: Two wireless providers - Verizon and Metro PCS - had filed suit to undo FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's net neutrality order. Verizon had sought relief in the same U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that unanimously ruled in April 2010 that the FCC has no net neutrality authority.

Walking the Border
Excerpt: The border's complicated. From a distance, it looks like an impossible tangle of Minutemen and La Migra, drugs and money, fence builders and fence hoppers. It's tempting to look away. But we shouldn't. The border is the place where we end and they begin, which makes it the definition of a defining place.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Air America 'was beating out right-wing radio,' but evil corporate advertisers boycotted it
The left always has a scapegoat for public rejection. ~Bob. Excerpt: The far-from-conservative Christian Science Monitor noted in 2005: ...look at Air America's ratings: They're pitifully weak, even in places where you would think they'd be strong. WLIB, its flagship in New York City, has sunk to 24th in the metro area Arbitron ratings - worse than the all-Caribbean format it replaced, notes the blog "radioequalizer." In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still. Left Wing Vanity Fair (which RFK praises later in the interview!) wrote: ...despite abundant publicity and an impressive roster of on-air talent, Air America's ratings never came anywhere near those of right-wing titans such as Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, or even those of heartland progressive Ed Schultz.

Must Read: Mark Steyn: Too Big to Win
Excerpt: Afghanistan? The “good war” is now “America’s longest war.” Our forces have been there longer than the Red Army was. The “hearts and minds” strategy is going so well that American troops are now being killed by the Afghans who know us best. Does being murdered by the soldiers and policemen you’ve spent years training even count as a “combat” death? Perhaps that’s why the U.S. media disdain to cover these killings: In April, at a meeting between Afghan border police and their U.S. trainers, an Afghan cop killed two American soldiers. Oh, well, wild country, once you get up near that Turkmen border. A few weeks later, back in Kabul, an Afghan military pilot killed eight American soldiers and a civilian contractor. On May 13, a NATO “mentoring team” sat down to lunch with Afghan police in Helmand when one of their protégés opened fire and killed two of them.

Pete Doherty: who will stop the Pied Piper of heroin?
Excerpt: Freddy’s father won’t leap to the conclusion that [Freddy's death] was all Doherty’s fault. So what he does say is perhaps all the more powerful for being so carefully thought-out. “I don’t blame Pete Doherty for Freddy’s death. But I think he could have been a factor in Freddy’s spiral downwards. I think Freddy had a propensity to addiction, and the glorification of drugs fed into that. “It was the one element of the Doherty scene that dragged Freddy down and took everything with him. It strikes me as extraordinary, when you think how hard it is to get through 13 to 16 anyway, that you have got some jerk glorifying rat poison on the side.”

No-nonsense judge has special love for Prescott
Judge Cele Hancock read the instructions to the defendant before her in court on May 3 as she always does: in a staccato, rapid-fire tone, going through the terms of his sentence briskly, but always asking, "Do you understand that?" Then she stopped short of imposing the sentence itself. She'd been watching the defendant, and was not happy with his behavior. From her seat on the bench, she said, angrily, "I am extremely bothered by your demeanor in court today. You have been sitting in this courtroom smirking and rolling your eyes." "It is my opinion that you have not taken responsibility for this crime," she said. And then, she did something within her purview, but clearly unexpected by both attorneys: She sentenced the defendant to 20 years in prison instead of 13, as they had assumed she would. That case is just one example of her no-nonsense approach to the law.

Excerpt: I am curious about Republican Texas Governor, Rick Perry. Other than very favorable comments written of him and his state's phenomenal economic success in The Wall Street Journal, I really don't know much about him yet. This morning Bill Burton, a former Obama media adviser, on FoxNews Sunday attempted to dampen interest by mentioning that Governor Perry wants Texas to succeed from the US. Hmm...I have a number of Liberal friends and I have heard this mentioned before when Perry's name came up. Talk of modern-day succession-ism would be a serious matter if the Left did not throw out as a political knock, like some gotcha' torn out of context from something else. As part of the oath of office as Governor of Texas, didn't Rick Perry swear to "defend and protect the Constitution of the United States"? Has he been negligent? The question might better be, which Constitution did Governor Perry swear to defend? The old Constitution that we worked with for over 200 years, or the New Constitution that mandates everyone to buy Government Health Care or prevents a company like Boeing Aircraft from setting up a manufacturing operation in whichever state it chooses?

Head of ATF Is Likely to Go
Scapegoat Alert. Will he fall on his sword, in return for being taken care of in the future, or will he implicate higher ups? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Justice Department is expected to oust the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to people familiar with the matter, amid a troubled federal antitrafficking operation that has grown into the agency's biggest scandal in nearly two decades. Moves toward the replacement of Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director since April 2009, could begin next week, although the precise sequence of events remains to be decided, these people said. The shakeup shows the extent of the political damage caused by the gun-trafficking operation called Fast and Furious, which used tactics that allowed suspected smugglers to buy large numbers of firearms. Growing controversy over the program has paralyzed a long-beleaguered agency buffeted by partisan battles. The ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed director since 2006, with both the Bush and Obama administrations unable to overcome opposition from gun-rights groups to win approval of nominees. In November, President Barack Obama nominated Andrew Traver, the head of the ATF's Chicago office, as permanent ATF director. The nomination stalled in the Senate after the National Rifle Association said Mr. Traver had a "demonstrated hostility" to the rights of gun owners.

Excerpt: Anthony Weiner likes to do things big -- especially when it comes to his tax deductions. The disgraced former congressman's 2010 tax return shows he took $40,521 in unspecified itemized deductions on an income of $156,117. "It's definitely a very large deduction," said Manhattan CPA Jonathan Medows.

AP sources: Pakistanis tip off militants again
Excerpt: In another blow to Washington's relationship with Pakistan, U.S. officials say Pakistan failed another test to prove it could be trusted to go after American enemies on its soil by intentionally or inadvertently tipping off militants at two more bomb-building factories in its tribal areas, giving the suspected terrorists time to flee. The two sites' locations in the tribal areas had been shared with the Pakistani government this past week, the officials said Saturday. The Americans monitored the area with satellite and unmanned drones to see what would happen.

Pastor Terry Jones Rallies in Dearborn, Skips Arab Festival
Excerpt: There was a hostile welcome Friday afternoon in Dearborn for controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones. You could say he was pushed to his brink. Jones led a rally against radical Islam at city hall before trying to continue his protest at the nearby Arab International Festival, but he never made it there. Protesters got physical with Jones as he tried to head for the festival. He barely made it off the corner of Michigan and Schaefer. Dearborn police made several arrests after urging the pastor to take a car instead of trying to walk the two miles to the festival. (If he wants Freedom of Speech, he should stay in the US. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Mohamed Azahaf, a 28-year-old immigrant from Morocco, was hired by the east Amsterdam district to build trust between Muslims and non-Muslims there. But a journalist did some careful research to discover he’s a supporter of Usama bin Ladin, said Muslim women who didn’t wear “proper” clothing weren’t real Muslims, and even issued death threats against those criticizing Islamic doctrine. His response? Only after this was exposed publicly did he claim his remarks–never changed by him until that moment–didn’t represent his current views. The district council’s response? To defend him, though it’s starting to get worried. But here’s the best part: After the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the filmmaker, by a radical Islamist, Holland’s queen met with several Muslims who supposedly represented the “real” views of the community opposing such violence. Azahaf was one of them. However, apparently she and everyone else didn’t know that Azahaf had already written that he supported the murder!

Allen West makes waves, earns tea-party raves
Excerpt: “I’m not a vulnerable candidate, I’m a target,” he says. “I’m a target because the Democrats are not used to anyone who will stand up and confront them. “A black conservative from the inner city and a retired military veteran is something that causes them concerns,” he says. “I’m not the typical victim … and they don’t want to see me around.” There’s little about West, 50, that says “typical." His graying military-style flattop, impeccably fitted suits and wire-rim glasses say buttoned-down businessman — albeit one who rides a Harley and starts every morning with a bracing miles-long run. (He’s even incorporated his running into fundraising, inviting donors in May on a four-mile run across the National Mall).

The ULTIMATE SARAH PALIN is a Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest
Quotes about Palin interspersed with actual quotes on tape from Obama. Pretty funny. ~Bob

Don't Know Much About History
Excerpt: Mr. McCullough began worrying about the history gap some 20 years ago, when a college sophomore approached him after an appearance at "a very good university in the Midwest." She thanked him for coming and admitted, "Until I heard your talk this morning, I never realized the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast." Remembering the incident, Mr. McCullough's snow-white eyebrows curl in pain. "I thought, 'What have we been doing so wrong that this obviously bright young woman could get this far and not know that?'"

United Kingdom: Riches to Rags as Guardian Newspaper Bleeds 33 Million Pounds in a Year
Excerpt: On Thursday, Guardian News and Media (GNM) announced that The Guardian and its sister paper, The Observer, had lost £33m in cash terms last year after failing to staunch losses that ran to £34.4m the year before. Unaudited results for the year ending 31 March showed that GNM's revenues, fell to £198m last year compared with £221m the year before.

James Delingpole: Greenpeace and the IPCC: time, surely, for a climate Masada?
 Excerpt: An official IPCC report bigging up renewable energy as the power source of the future turns out to have been lead-authored by an activist from Greenpeace and based not on solid science but a wish-fulfilment fantasy scenario devised by, you guessed it, Greenpeace. Here’s how the press release of the IPCC’s Summary For Policymakers reported its findings: Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows. This was uncritically reported by its amen corner in the MSM, led of course by the BBC’s Richard Black and the Guardian. But others more diligent smelt a rat – among them the mighty Steve McIntyre whose magisterially contemptuous blogpost on the subject has been keeping climate sceptics such as Bishop Hill, WUWT, Rex Murphy, Ronald Bailey and Mark Lynas busy all week

In Arizona, Sponsor of Immigration Law Now Faces a Recall
Excerpt: It has been a rough year for Russell Pearce, the president of the Arizona Senate, as he has sought to solidify his state’s reputation as the nation’s incubator for hard-edged conservative policies. Arizona residents displayed the number of signatures recieved from registered voters in Mr. Pearce's district earlier this week. He has seen fellow Republicans defy him and the Republican governor issue a raft of vetoes to keep his agenda in check. Now, so many critics in his suburban district have signed a recall petition that he will be forced to defend himself in a special election.

Great column: Mark Steyn: Why Liberals fell for 'Muslim lesbian blogger' hoax
Excerpt: Last week was a great week for lesbians coming out of the closet – coming out, that is, as middle-aged heterosexual men. On Sunday, Amina Arraf, the young vivacious Syrian lesbian activist whose inspiring blog "A Gay Girl In Damascus" had captured hearts around the world, was revealed to be, in humdrum reality, one Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old college student from Georgia. The following day, Paula Brooks, the lesbian activist and founder of the website LezGetReal, was revealed to be one Bill Graber, a 58-year-old construction worker from Ohio. In their capacity as leading lesbians in the Sapphic blogosphere, "Miss Brooks" and "Miss Arraf" were colleagues. "Amina" had posted at LezGetReal before starting "A Gay Girl In Damascus." As one lesbian to another, they got along swimmingly. The Washington Post reported: "Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian." Who knows what romance might have blossomed had not "Amina" been arrested by a squad of Baath Party goons dispatched by Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. Tom MacMaster then created "Rania," a fake cousin for his fake lesbian, to try to rouse the world to take up the plight of the nonexistent Amina's nonexistent detention. A "Free Amina!" Facebook page sprang up. "The Obama administration must speak about this," declared Peter Beinart, former editor of The New Republic. "This woman is a hero." On June 7 the State Department announced that it was looking into the "kidnapping."

Taxpayer Funds For Radical-Leftist Group La Raza Skyrocket After Obama Nominates One Of Its Top Leaders To Powerful White House Post…
Excerpt: A Judicial Watch investigation reveals that federal funding for a Mexican La Raza group that for years has raked in millions of taxpayer dollars has skyrocketed since one of its top officials got a job in the Obama White House. The influential and politically-connected National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has long benefitted from Uncle Sam’s largess but the group has made a killing since Obama hired its senior vice president (Cecilia Muñoz) in 2009 to be his director of intergovernmental affairs. Ignored by the mainstream media, Judicial Watch covered the appointment because the president issued a special “ethics waiver” to bring Muñoz aboard since it violated his own lobbyist ban. At the pro illegal immigration NCLR, Muñoz supervised all legislative and advocacy activities on the state and local levels and she was heavily involved in the congressional immigration battles that took place in the George W. Bush Administration.

Security Fail… Illegal Immigrant With Stolen ID Discovered Working As Flight Attendant
Excerpt: An illegal immigrant from Guyana stole the identity of Anthony Frair of NY and used it to get a job as a flight attendant with Spirit Airlines. Jophan Porter, 38, is charged with identity fraud and is currently in Miami-Dade County jail.

Furious unions threaten strikes as minister springs pensions surprise
Britain will collapse before us, but when the EU goes into the abyss, it will pull us in after it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Months of talks to negotiate a new pension deal for public servants are on the brink of collapse after unions reacted with fury to the government's surprise confirmation of the new scheme weeks before talks had concluded. Union leaders were incensed after Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, appeared to undermine talks by announcing crucial details of the new pension plan for 6 million public servants ahead of a meeting with union representatives this month. They warned that the appearance of a fait accompli by the government risked tipping more unions towards striking. One union, the National Association of Head Teachers, immediately announced it would move to a ballot and the head of the FDA, which represents the most senior civil servants, described the talks as becoming "doomed to failure".

Karzai: Afghanistan, U.S. Negotiating With Taliban
Excerpt: President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that Afghanistan and the United States are engaged in peace talks with the Taliban, even as insurgents stormed a police station near the presidential palace, killing nine people. The brazen attack in the heart of Kabul's government district provided a sharp counterpoint to Karzai's first official confirmation that the U.S. and Afghan governments are holding discussions with the Taliban. The Obama administration neither directly confirmed nor denied Karzai's statement. (Negotiating with the Taliban is only an attempt to save face, but giving us a way out and a "decent interval" until they resume control of the country and begin stoning women and training terrorists to kill us. There is no more chance that they will abide by any agreement than the North Vietnamese abided by the Paris Peace Accords once they got us out and could impose tyranny on the South. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The Danish Conservative Party MP Naser Khader, a Muslim and an immigrant from Syria, has received threats from Syrians via Facebook and by telephone. One Muslim threatened to cut Khader into pieces; another said he would trample him to death. The threats appeared shortly after Khader criticised the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and also declared that he was considering converting to Christianity. One angry Muslim wrote about Khader on Facebook that "the Muslims in Denmark are very angry at him. He defended and supported the Muhammad drawings. He says that being a Muslim is secondary to being a democrat. He fights Islam and has declared war against Sharia." It is interesting to know that Naser Khader started the organisation Democratic Muslims in 2006. A survey showed that only 14 percent of Muslims in Denmark could identify with this organisation, seeing themselves as "Muslim, democrats and Danish."

Rogue Informants Imperil Massive U.S. Gang Bust
Excerpt: Members of San Francisco's MS-13 gang met at the city's Mission Playground, above, to discuss gang business, according to testimony in a trial of gang members now under way. As a paid undercover informant, Jaime Martinez helped federal agents take down the San Francisco chapter of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a violent gang spanning the U.S. and Central America. But while providing information to federal authorities from 2005 to 2008, Mr. Martinez also served as the gang's leader. He ordered underlings to kill and steal, while he himself stole cars and led a home robbery that ended with a stabbing, among other transgressions. Federal rules allow informants to engage in certain nonviolent criminal acts—such as drug dealing—to maintain their covers as long as they get prior authorization from agents. In testimony last month, Mr. Martinez detailed a pattern of violent behavior that violated those rules.

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