Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Political Digest June 29, 2011

Collapse Interview on the Rob Shilling Show
For those who asked and couldn’t get it on their computers, you can go to the link above, and scroll down. It has the shows in order.

Best older posts for new blog readers

Afghan Hotel Reportedly Under Attack by Suicide Bombers
Barack, the Taliban Peace Negotiators are here. Shall I serve them tea? ~Bob. Excerpt: At least four suicide bombers have entered the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul, according to the Wall Street Journal. There was no immediate word on casualties, and streets leading to the Intercontinental hotel are blocked.

So Ann, why do you always carry a gun?
This was posted on June 27, may have to scroll down to find it and the video. ~Bob. Excerpt: The focus and issue here is not the quality of the violence itself. The truly frightening thing about this is the mentality. These people are fighting and brawling with each other randomly, just for the sake of doing it. They don't know each other. There is no gang delineation here - there are no "colors" lined up against each other. These people are beating the crap out of each other simply as a means to entertain themselves. This is FUN for them. It is violence for violence's sake. After discussing psychopathy and the inability to feel any empathy for other human beings, and viewing of other people as nothing more than animated objects, you can see why this is so dangerous. These people demonstrate an animalistic consciousness. History has shown that tyrants, Marxist and otherwise, use and encourage this animalistic culture, channeling mass psychopathy into a directed enforcement arm. And yeah, I used the term "animalistic" without hesitation. You want to call me a racist? Go right ahead. But remember that we saw this same animalistic behavior last week in Vancouver. We also saw it in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. We also see it in China and North Korea. It has also been seen in Japan and Southeast Asia. We also see it today among the narco-gangs in Mexico, Central and South America. Oh, and don't forget how we see this animalistic behavior throughout the entire muslim world. So, if I'm a racist, my question would be, WHICH RACE? Because I'm pretty sure that I just covered all of them. If and when this animalistic behavior breaks out anywhere near me, and people start being beaten in the streets where I live, I'm not going to walk away. I'm not going to run for cover. I am going to stand and fight for my neighbors and for my culture. They're going to have to come through me and my sidearm. And I'll have both hands free because I won't have to keep pulling up my pants. How about you? Are you going to run, or are you going to stand?

Excerpt: International Judges Order Arrest of Muammar al-Qaddafi
Cool. How about the guy in Syria, the guy in the Sudan, the guys in Pakistan, the guys in Ethiopia, the guys in China who ordered the slaughter of the Tibetans, the guys…oh, never mind. ~Bob. Excerpt: International judges ordered the arrest Monday of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi for murdering civilians, as NATO warplanes pounded his Tripoli compound and world leaders stepped up calls for him to end his four-decade rule. The International Criminal Court said Qaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam and his intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi are wanted for orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first 12 days of an uprising to topple Qaddafi from power, and for trying to cover up the alleged crimes.

Mexifornia, Quite Literally
Excerpt: “I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. “But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.” That’s a quote from an LA Times story on the booing of the U.S. soccer team by an overwhelmingly Latino audience during a U.S.–Mexico match at the Rose Bowl. Examine the odd logic: Mr. Sanchez is booing the country that gave him “everything” while cheering the country that apparently gave him very little. “I didn’t have a choice to come here,” he says; one immediately thinks, “But you most certainly do have a choice to return to the nation where your ‘heart will always be.’” Can Mr. Sanchez not even offer symbolic thanks to the country that blessed him, perhaps a clap or two at the Rose Bowl when the United States is mentioned? And if the immigration service arrived at the Rose Bowl to bus spectators without legality back to Mexico, where his “heart will always be,” would he boo or cheer? He reminds me of a former student who, during the anti–Prop 187 marches years ago, was marching with a group waving Mexican flags — that is, the flag of the country he did not wish to return to, as a Mexican national — but desecrating the flag of the United States, the country that he most certainly wished to remain in. That schizophrenia is what confuses so many about illegal immigration — the simultaneous furor over even the suggestion of compliance with federal immigration law and the occasional symbolic expressions of dislike for the United States in public fora, whether booing at the Rose Bowl at mention of America, or walking out of a California high school en masse at the sight of an American-flag T-shirt on Cinco de Mayo.

Report: Feds downplayed ICE case dismissals
Excerpt: Homeland Security officials misled the public and Congress last year in an effort to downplay a wave of immigration case dismissals in Houston and other cities amid accusations that they had created a "back-door amnesty," newly released records show.

Excerpt: At a small airport the other day, I saw a passenger with a popular attitudinal T-shirt slogan patiently submitting to an enhanced gropedown from the TSA. It was a poignant image of the republic at twilight: a man in a “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirt being trod all over. I wonder why more Americans aren’t outraged by this: Her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia. Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search. There is a term for regimes that submit law-abiding wheelchair-bound dying nonagenarians to public humiliations without probable cause and it isn’t “republic of limited government.” Given everybody’s touchiness over Kathryn’s North Korean comparisons, I’ll say only this: George III wouldn’t have done this to you. … In a decade of existence, it has never stopped a single terrorist, but it can successfully cow a dying woman born during the Wilson Administration into removing her diaper.

Blago Conviction
From a blog reader: “It's Blago's misfortune that I was not on the jury. I would have let him go in a heartbeat and no amount of peer pressure would have changed my mind. He was just doing what they all do. It’s Illinois politics as usual (note here that our fearless leader was hatched from the same nasty nest). Blago is just a clueless doofus with bad hair. So, he is sent to prison and all the really dangerous politicians are left behind to work their mischief? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.” (Indeed. But even nailing a clueless pawn like Blago, while the other fish get away (some of them much larger fish), serves as a salutary warning that we chumbalones don’t really think it’s acceptable, even if common. Makes them work harder to steal so that they don’t wind up next to him. As Voltaire has Candide say about the execution of Admiral Byng, "In this country, it is good to kill, from time to time, an admiral to encourage the others." ~Bob.)

Blagojevich Brought to Justice
Excerpt: The governor’s defense — that he was only doing what all other politicians do in the course of their duties — fell flat with the jury. What he referred to as “horse trading” turned out to be far more than simple political back-scratching. Secret recordings made by Fitzgerald’s office prove that time and again, Blagojevich discussed either large campaign contributions or a lucrative job offer for himself in exchange for appointing a favored politician to the Senate seat.

The Robber Barons
Excerpt: Does anyone see a pattern here? Isn’t it time for Bernanke and company to admit they haven’t a clue? Trillions of dollars of spending money created out of thin air in the form of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), bailouts, loans to banksters — both foreign and domestic — and stimulus haven’t changed the economic situation. Throwing more fiat money at the problem has made it worse. Who knew? Lots of people, but none of them subscribe to the same Keynesian philosophy that Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the economic advisers to the Presidents — Barack Obama and those before him — subscribe to.

Adele vs. Taxes
Excerpt: If Adele finds her taxes too high, she can always come to America, where taxes, at least for celebrities, have long seemed optional. The IRS most recently hit rapper DMX with a tax lien in May. Actor Wesley Snipes didn’t even file from 1999 to 2004, and as a result is currently serving a three-year prison sentence. Another rapper, Lil Wayne, owes taxes from 2004, 2005, and 2007. And singer and actress Dionne Warwick, according to the LA Times, owes $2.2 million in back taxes.

Is ‘evidence’ of crimes erased before our eyes?
Excerpt: The legal complaint by a U.S.-based Islamic lobby group asking a federal judge to expunge all copies of a best-selling exposé that documents the group’s terrorist ties is an attempt to eliminate evidence that could lead to criminal prosecution, according to a lawyer defending a co-author of the book. Daniel Horowitz, who represents “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz and his son, Chris, believes the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, knows that the material is incriminating and wants it destroyed. “So far, the Obama administration has refused to prosecute CAIR,” Horowitz said, “despite undeniable evidence that following 9/11 they sought donations for 9/11 victims and passed the money to the Hamas-based Holy Land Foundation.”

Supreme Court Rejects Abu Ghraib Lawsuit Over Detainees' Abuse Claim
Excerpt: The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from former detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq who wanted to sue defense contractors over claims of abuse. The justices turned aside the appeal Monday from Iraqis who said they or their relatives were abused by interrogators employed by two firms, CACI International Inc. and Titan Corp. A divided federal appeals court had dismissed the lawsuits. (Since the lawyer-dominated Democratic party regards them as criminals rather than enemy combatants, no doubt they consider this an injustice. By Islamophobes. Ron P.)

The Failure of Al Gore: Part Deux
Excerpt: That Al Gore’s definitive statement on the crisis of the climate change movement appeared in the back pages of Rolling Stone magazine rather than in a more prominent and prestigious location is one sign of the decline in his reputation. At the peak of the climate movement, such an essay might have appeared in Foreign Affairs or any of the world’s leading newspapers. If he had chosen Rolling Stone to reach a hipper crowd, the article would likely have run as the cover story and ignited a global debate. As it was, the reaction to the most definitive statement yet on the biggest crisis in the history of the climate movement by its most prominent public spokesman (now that his Nobel yoke mate Rajendra Pachauri has been hooted off the world stage as a hot tempered poseur) was, from the former vice president’s viewpoint, deeply disappointing. The piece’s arguments, its logic, its impassioned cri de coeur sank like so many stones, like so many trees falling in a forest when no one was there to hear. It is a measure of how far Gore has fallen that almost all the scanty attention the piece received focused on Gore’s criticism of what he sees as President Obama’s failure to lead on climate change. Gore, like the global green movement he champions, has fallen by the wayside. (May we gloat? – Tom H. Yes, after we stop weeping over the lost jobs and wasted dollars, time and effort. ~Bob.)

House Democrats feel jilted by the president in budget, debt talks
Excerpt: House Democrats feel like jilted lovers. They’re looking down
Pennsylvania Avenue
for some sign of affection from President Obama in the White House. But all they feel they’re getting in return is the back of his hand.

Pawlenty to target Obama, GOP in foreign policy address
Excerpt: GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday will take on President Obama -- and his rivals within his own party -- on foreign affairs as he seeks to carve out his own niche within the Republican field. During his address at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, he will look to position himself as a hawkish candidate and draw a sharp contrast with Obama on international engagement. He'll also warn other Republican presidential candidates not to turn inward from the U.S.'s international engagements as skepticism over the Afghan war, especially its cost, has increased among GOP ranks on Capitol Hill. "What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world. History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item," he will say. "America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal; it does not need a second one."

Same Worker, Higher Wage: A Study of Workers Who Switch from Private to Federal Employment
Abstract: Numerous studies, including two separate analyses by The Heritage Foundation, have concluded that federal workers do receive a substantial wage premium. Most of these studies have used the cross-sectional human capital method, which compares federal workers to private workers who have the same skills. The cross-sectional method is not perfect, however, and supplemental analyses can be useful in confirming its results. Rather than comparing workers at a single point in time, this report follows individual workers as they switch between the federal and private sectors. It finds that workers who change jobs receive a substantially larger raise when they switch into federal employment rather than into another private job. This result corroborates the findings of the cross-sectional studies, providing further evidence that federal workers enjoy a wage premium.

States balance budgets with cuts, not taxes
Excerpt: As 2011 began, the budget situation in state capitals looked more dire than just about anybody could remember. States were entering their fourth consecutive year of a fiscal crisis, with $82 billion worth of budget gaps to close. At the same time, budget aid from the federal stimulus program was drying up. It’s turned out to be a little less horrible than expected. That’s largely because more than half of the states saw more tax revenues come in than they had anticipated, a small but significant dividend from a gradually improving economy. California discovered an additional $6 billion in tax revenues that it hadn’t counted on. In New Jersey, the windfall was more than $900 million; in Michigan it was $429 million. The extra cash helped ease the sense of emergency. But it wasn’t enough to save most states from the budget reckoning they anticipated.

Angela's message to the energy sector
Excerpt: By deciding to close down all of Germany’s nuclear power stations, Merkel and her Ministers made it clear that to them, public opinion is all that counts. Angel[a] and her team demonstrated that, when the chips are down, they don’t care one whit what business leaders want. Nor what the long-term economic costs are of their decisions. The thing that matters to them above all is the next elections. Surely the German government is not the only one to hold this attitude. I am convinced nowadays governments in other democratic countries feel exactly the same way, for reasons I will return to in a moment. This is certainly the case in my own country, the Netherlands, where recently the current right-wing government suddenly decided to scrap a long-standing project to store CO2 underground, to the consternation of the energy industry. The reason? Local voters had expressed their opposition and there were important local elections coming up. I have no doubt that readers in other countries can come up with examples from their own experience. What this means, then, is that in democratic western societies public opinion has become the all-important factor in political decision-making. (Yes, indeed. See Yucca Mountain or entitlement reform in the US. ~Bob.)

Break it up and shake it up
Excerpt: The biggest winner of the Fukushima disaster is Russian gas. As everyone knows, the disaster was followed by the final German decision to shut down its nuclear plants and then by Italy’s referendum decision not to go ahead with any new nuclear plants either. To believe that Germany can fill the resulting generation gap with renewable energies is illusory. It is already massively subsidising solar and wind power at a cost of many tens of billions of euros. In addition, these renewable energies require backup capacity (as well as massive investments in the grid infrastructure to be accommodated into the system.) Relying more on coal is not acceptable if EU carbon emission targets are to be met. One is left with gas, which is the least CO2-emitting of all hydrocarbons. (This is a good article, not the usual fluff you see in a “Sunday Supplement.” The dreams (nightmares?) that produced the current Euro finance problems (PIIGS) have also impacted other economic sectors, notably, energy. Reality is about to bitch-slap the dreamers who hope to eat their cake and still have it, too. --Ron P. Actually, they hope to eat other folk’s cake and have them keep baking more and more, endlessly. The rest of us are going to get slapped with them. They will then blame the disaster they have created on George Bush or Global Warming. ~Bob.

Say Goodbye to Los Angeles
Excerpt: U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard credited several Mexican players with the win, but he was disgusted at how the officials conducted the ceremony awarding the Gold Cup title to Mexico. They "should be ashamed of themselves," said Howard. "It was a disgrace that the entire post-match ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your (expletive) that if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English." Indeed, were U.S. fans in a Mexican town to boo, jeer and chant obscenities at a Mexican team before, during and after a match, and blow horns during the Mexican national anthem, they would be lucky to get out of the stadium alive. What does this event, in which Plaschke estimates 80,000 fans in the Rose Bowl could not control their contempt for the U.S. team and for the U.S. national anthem, tell us? We have within our country 12-20 million illegal aliens, with Mexico the primary source, and millions of others who may be U.S. citizens but are not truly Americans. As one fan told Plaschke, "I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be." (Once they remake California into a crime and poverty corruptocacy like Mexico, where will their children flee to? The other states, of course, until our culture, economy and freedoms are destroyed. ~bob.)

Iran Threatens Turkey, Reveals Missile Silos
Excerpt: …on Monday June 27, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps began a 10-day major missile war game, code named Great Prophet 6. During the war game, the domestically manufactured short-range, medium-range, and long-range missiles, consisting of the Qiam, Shahab, and Sejil missiles, will be test-fired. The latest military achievements by the IRGC will be unveiled — which includes underground missile silos that were revealed for the first time on Monday. Iranian state TV footage showed deep underground missile silos, including images of missiles being fired from one silo after a large metal roof opened to facilitate the launch. They claim that the Iranian missiles stored in them are now ready to hit targets should there be any threat or aggression by the enemy.

The UN’s Terrible Record on Human Rights
Excerpt: A few blocks from the White House, what the State Department defines as a modern form of slavery is taking place every night in the form of sex trafficking. A CNN series — called The Freedom Project – recently highlighted the trafficking network, a multi-million dollar business thriving on women and children, most of whom are immigrants. “If President Obama had walked out his front door at two or three in the morning, he would go two blocks away, and he would see traffickers forcing girls and women out into the streets, every night, right here in the United States,” said Tina Frundt, a former sex slave who founded Courtney’s House, a non-profit organization that helps girls who have been victims of human or sex trafficking. And while the United States leads the way on genuinely working to eliminate these kinds of networks, many other countries stand silent or complicit. Many corrupt governments that retain good standing in the United Nations do little to combat human trafficking, a violation of natural rights against humanity. Part of the failure to curb the trafficking problem is a failure to understand the difference between human rights and natural rights, which are endowed by God.

Obama Pushes $600 Billion in New Taxes in Debt Talks
Excerpt: President Barack Obama threw the talks on the debt ceiling crisis into turmoil on Monday afternoon by proposing a $600 billion tax hike before even meeting with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. Just as Democrats and Republicans seemed to be inching toward an agreement that would stave off the prospect of a default on the nation’s debts, Obama introduced a measure that is sure to have the GOP howling in opposition.

Excerpt: So to quote a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood based on a reliable (and available) translation as saying that the Brotherhood wants an Islamist state and wants to wipe out Israel is considered to be not credible on the basis of a statement by one American who, to my knowledge, has never done any research on the Brotherhood. Yet there are scores of such Brotherhood statements, including those from both the leader and deputy leader of the Brotherhood as well as many recognized leaders and in Brotherhood publications.

Brotherhood Assurances Not Backed by Track Record
Excerpt: Following a major split in the Muslim Brotherhood over elections, reports are emerging that the Brotherhood is much closer to its affiliate political party than it previously admitted. Recent moves are yet another sign that the Muslim Brotherhood has not committed to participating in Egypt's democratic elections in a transparent and straight-forward way. Last week, the Brotherhood's authoritarian tendencies drove one group of Brotherhood youth to split with the movement and campaign on its own. "Muslim Brotherhood youths once again defied the leaders of the Islamic group by revealing their intention of establishing a new political party, El-Tayar El-Masri (Egyptian Current), ignoring a strict rule that stipulates the Freedom and Justice Party [FJP] is the only party MB members are allowed to join," reported al-Ahram English.

Arab spring could become an Islamist winter
Excerpt: In the past three months, the international media has heaped abuse on President Basher al-Assad’s government with a lack of objectivity that has not been witnessed since the buildup to the Iraq War. With few, if any, correspondents in Syria, and almost none in the disturbed areas, the international media has, in the words of al Jazeera, “trawled social networking websites” and used their estimates of casualties and amateur videos with the barest of caveats about the reliability of their sources. They have ignored Syrian assertions that the uprising is not spontaneous but carefully engineered by Salafi Islamist elements spearheaded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood living in exile. And lastly, it has treated Assad’s efforts to meet the demands of genuine civil society activists for political liberalisation as window dressing by a government desperate to buy time in the hope that the movement will run out of steam. As happened before the Iraq War, the media has again donned the mantle of a crusader for democracy. The Assad regime has been in power for 42 years, so it must therefore be brutal, oppressive and unpopular and therefore has to go. Its messianism is pushing the West towards a mistake that could be even more costly than the Iraq invasion. The evidence that the Syrian uprising is not spontaneous but engineered has been staring us in the face from the beginning.

Report: Obama Films Campaign Ad In White House, Possibly Violating FEC Laws?
Excerpt: NRO's Jim Geraghty raises the question of whether Barack Obama filmed a video for his reelection campaign in the White House, which may possibly be a violation of federal election laws. (UPDATE: RCP's Alexis Simendinger reports that the White House disputes any inference of wrongdoing. A presidential spokesman said that the video does not constitute fundraising under the law, that portions of the White House can legally be used for that purpose anyway, and that previous presidents have done so. Simendinger's complete story is here.) In the video, President Obama promotes a "Dinner With Barack" raffle. To participate in the contest you need to donate at least $5 to the president's re-election campaign and your name will be raffled off to enjoy a dinner with the President, airfare and accommodations included. In a new web video, Obama announced Vice President Joe Biden will also be attending the dinner. (huh. Since when is Obama subject to law? ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Why aren't young people in their 20's and early 30's more furious? Why aren't they marching in the streets for Paul Ryan's budget? … And yet: no protests in the streets. No marches. No student sit-ins. No youth agitation at all, really, except for a couple of College Republicans in blue blazers. What? Are they stupid? After all of that college tuition? Are young people in their 20's just dumb?

What a Real Victory in 2012 Would Look Like
Excerpt: We now have it from a conservative political observer whose judgment has proven sound over the years, Emmet Tyrrell, of The American Spectator, "I believe Barack Obama will be retired to private life (after 2012)." Assuming for the purposes of this essay that Mr. Tyrrell is correct, how ought the opposition comport itself from now until November, 2012 so as to wring the maximum benefit from the impending electoral victory? Or, to put it more elegantly, how can we produce the maximum bounce from this dead cat? We hear plenty from the overexposed and overrated Republican consultants about who can win and what combination they need to put together to do it; that is not my interest here. Let's instead consider what a real victory should entail. That goes well beyond Candidate X or Y, slips they might have made back when the world was different, or even the size of their potential majority in the House or Senate.

The Latest From Obama’s Labor Dept: “You Might Be Union Busting If…”
Excerpt: Last week, the union extremists controlling the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board conducted a coordinated attack on America’s job creators. The first punch, a 160-page rule-making proposal by the Department of Labor was issued on Monday for public comments. However, it was quickly drowned out by the second punch: Tuesday’s NLRB rule-making proposal to modify election procedures, which are intended to fast track union elections giving unions greater ability to unionize employees. It is important to note that both rule-making proposals are intended to work together and, like an axe in an executioner’s hand, they are intended to make an employer’s resistance to unionization futile.

Federal Judge Overturns Lejeune Base Commander
Excerpt: Jesse Nieto is one of those many unsung patriotic Americans. He served 25 years in the Marine Corps, including two combat tours in Vietnam. His youngest son, Marc, and 16 of Marc’s shipmates were killed on October 12, 2000, by Islamic terrorists who bombed the USS Cole. Nieto has worked as a civilian employee at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina since 1994.Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard delivered good news to Mr. Nieto. He ruled that Camp Lejeune officials violated his free speech rights when they ordered him to remove decals attacking Muslim terrorists from his vehicle. Judge Howard enjoined Marine officials from further enforcing the ban against Nieto.

An ObamaCare Legal Precedent?
Excerpt: The Supreme Court's most important ruling this year may have been its unanimous decision in Bond v. United States, which held that individual citizens can challenge federal statutes when they encroach on authority the Constitution reserves to the states. The decision, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, has far-reaching implications—especially for the government's efforts to defend ObamaCare. The facts of the case were curious, to say the least. Defendant Carol Bond, having discovered that her close friend was pregnant by her husband, sprinkled caustic substances on a mailbox, car-door handle and door knobs. The substances worked: The hated paramour suffered minor burns.

Worth reading: The Divided States of Europe
Excerpt: Europe continues to be engulfed by economic crisis. The global focus returns to Athens on June 28 as Greek parliamentarians debate austerity measures imposed on them by eurozone partners. If the Greeks vote down these measures, Athens will not receive its second bailout, which could create an even worse crisis in Europe and the world. It is important to understand that the crisis is not fundamentally about Greece or even about the indebtedness of the entire currency bloc. After all, Greece represents only 2.5 percent of the eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the bloc’s fiscal numbers are not that bad when looked at in the aggregate. Its overall deficit and debt figures are in a better shape than those of the United States — the U.S. budget deficit stood at 10.6 percent of GDP in 2010, compared to 6.4 percent for the European Union — yet the focus continues to be on Europe.

Worth reading: Austerity Is for ‘Little People’
You may think this doesn’t affect you. You’d be wrong. ~Bob Excerpt: As economic uncertainty continues to take its toll on people in Europe, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Leona Helmsley during her 1989 tax evasion trial. According to housekeeper Elizabeth Baum’s testimony, she had the following exchange with Helmsley shortly after being hired in September 1983: ”You must pay a lot of taxes,” said Baum. Helmsley’s ostensible reply? “We don’t pay taxes,” she answered. “Only the little people pay taxes.” What does Helmsley’s quote have to do with the current economic conditions? It parallels the view of economic, financial and political elites whose economic policies are currently playing themselves out in Europe and America. To wit: Austerity is for “little people.” When one views the latest Greek bailout through this prism, it makes far more sense. The European Union, the transnational entity which orchestrates the parameters by which industrious Germans and French will bailout out profligate Greeks, has no particular concern for the people of the individual countries involved in this drama. In fact, the people subject to the conditions of the bailouts — on both ends of the equation — want no part of the deal. On one end, Greek unions are calling for a 48-hour general strike on June 28 and 29, to protest further austerity policies that must be enacted if the government, facing what amounts to a “take it or else” ultimatum from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, aka the “troika,” is to stave off insolvency. And on the other end, while the French citizenry is taking the bailout in stride, the Germans are furious. On both ends, the citizens of the individual countries involved have virtually no say in the matter. … Another part involves funding by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose largest shareholder at 17 percent is the United States — meaning that American taxpayers will also be on the hook for Greek profligacy, to the tune of billions of dollars.

Important: War Is in the Air
Excerpt: When one surveys the world situation, one cannot react with anything but intense disquiet and apprehension. The premonition of imminent catastrophe cannot be shunted aside as unthinkable or as the capricious imaginings of the congenitally unstable. War is in the air, as it was in 1914 and 1939, before the actual outbreak of hostilities. And the flashpoints are instantly discernible, namely, the Middle East and the South Asian theater. The sequel appears to be pretty much inevitable. In a certain sense, assigning blame for the coming eruption is a useless enterprise. Al-Qaeda and the Iranian Shi’ite regime are only acting in character; they are the carnivores of the current political world and cannot be expected to begin acting like herbivores. They have openly declared their intentions many times over and have given every indication of being willing to use nuclear weapons once they control or develop them.

Stephanopoulos Tries Savaging Bachmann
Now that she looks like a serious candidate, the media Obama water-carriers are going to Palinize her. ~Bob. Excerpt: ABC News' George Stephanopoulos said the media plans on investigating all 23 of Michele Bachmann's foster children, tries to get her to say she'd eliminate the minimum wage, tries to stir up trouble between her and Palin, and debates her about the founding fathers and slavery.

Is the Taliban using young girls in suicide bombings?
Maybe Barack can make that one of the Taliban Treaty points. No children suicide bombers under the age of ten! Please? ~Bob. Excerpt: Such lack of ground control highlights a pitfall in the Afghan peace process. Even if the United States manages to cut a deal with the Taliban leadership, it's not certain low-level commanders would fall in line.

Omaha prof gets scare in Egypt
The people of Egypt, Israel and the US are going to come out of the media-celebrated “Arab Spring” much worse off. Not a hard prediction to make, to anyone paying attention. ~Bob. As he looked into the eyes of the six Egyptian thugs who'd surrounded him in a Cairo square and accused him of being an American spy, the thought occurred to Omahan John Calvert that this whole democracy-building thing wasn't going to be easy. Actually, that thought was more like his conclusion after two weeks of travel in Egypt this month, a trip the Creighton University historian said he'd been longing to make since February, when Egyptian demonstrators forced 30-year ruler Hosni Mubarak to give up power. That event galvanized the Arab Spring uprisings around the Middle East. Calvert, author of a new book on the philosophical underpinnings of radical Islamic groups such as al-Qaida, was eager to see Egypt again and taste the heady tang of young democratic hope. The thugs seemed eager to have him taste something else. “I looked in their eyes. They meant to do me harm. … There was no reasoning with them,” said Calvert, who speaks Arabic.

July 4th by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Some clever people today ask whether the United States has really been "exceptional." You couldn't be more exceptional in the 18th century than to create your fundamental document -- the Constitution of the United States -- by opening with the momentous words, "We the people..." Those three words were a slap in the face to those who thought themselves entitled to rule, and who regarded the people as if they were simply human livestock, destined to be herded and shepherded by their betters. Indeed, to this very day, elites who think that way -- and that includes many among the intelligentsia, as well as political messiahs -- find the Constitution of the United States a real pain because it stands in the way of their imposing their will and their presumptions on the rest of us. More than a hundred years ago, so-called "Progressives" began a campaign to undermine the Constitution's strict limitations on government, which stood in the way of self-anointed political crusaders imposing their grand schemes on all the rest of us. That effort to discredit the Constitution continues to this day, and the arguments haven't really changed much in a hundred years.

A Word of Caution for Rick Perry
Excerpt: For tens of millions of Americans who see our Republic coming off the rails as unemployment rises, public employee unions cripple the financial well-being of a growing list of cities, counties, and states, the housing market continues to tank, corrupt teachers’ unions putting themselves well before public school children, our health-care system being hijacked by liberal zealots, our sovereign borders becoming more porous, and Islamic terrorist groups outside and inside our borders plotting their next horrific attack, it’s become harder and harder for them to understand why the minute handful of Republicans who could possibly make a positive difference have decided to take a powder on the fight of our lives. Very hard.

Harold Koh, Top Obama Lawyer, Defends Libya Operation Over Congress' War Powers Objections
Excerpt: The New York Times has reported that Obama ignored the advice of Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who argued that the U.S. bombing runs over Libya, under NATO command, met the definition of "hostilities" set out in the 1973 law and necessitated congressional authorization. The Times reported that Obama instead latched onto legal advice from inside the White House and the State Department that the bombing missions fell short of "hostilities" and that they could continue without the green light from Congress. (The imperial presidency of Barack I. ~Bob.)

Ignorance, Stupidity or Manipulation
Excerpt: My questions for those who condemn the three-fifths compromise are: Would blacks have been better off if slaves had been counted as a whole person? Should the North not have compromised at all and a union not have come into being? Would Rangel and Sharpton have agreed with Southerners at the Constitutional Convention, who argued slaves should "stand on an equality with whites" in determining congressional representation and Electoral College votes? Abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was "a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding states" that deprived them of "two-fifths of their natural basis of representation."

SIOA exclusive: Hamas-linked CAIR "Know Your Rights" workshop in Brooklyn tells Muslims not to cooperate with police
Excerpt: The New York chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) presented a "'Know Your Rights' workshop" featuring Islamic supremacist lawyer Lamis Deek last Thursday in Brooklyn. Along with Hamas-linked CAIR, Brooklyn's Community Board 5 and Officer Marcus Johnson of the 75th Precinct were involved in the event -- and a SIOA operative was there. Our operative reports that Deek told the assembled Muslims not to offer the full, open and honest cooperation with police that Islamic supremacist groups in the U.S. always claim to give, but instead to repeat "Am I free to leave?" as the answer to every question and request. (They sure do keep their leftist apologists busy ginning up excuses for them. ~Bob.)

Suicide bomber in wheelchair kills two in Iraq
Change of pace from using little girls. ~Bob. Excerpt: “A suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest at the entrance to a police station, killing two civilians and wounding 17 people, including nine policemen in Tarmiyah,” a town north of Baghdad, an interior ministry official said. A defence ministry official confirmed the report. “The suicide bomber came up to the entrance in a wheelchair,” said Colonel Tawfiq Ahmed al-Jenabi, chief of the town’s police, who added he did not know if the attacker was genuinely handicapped.

New York Times' ridiculous lie: "Immigrant crime not visible in statistics"
Excerpt: Denmark has decided to reinstitute national border control. With the euro losing credibility on the world market and the present Danish attack on the freedom of movement within the European Union, the two legs that the EU is standing on are both on their knees. The EU has put Germany in charge of threatening and bullying Denmark to drop its plans. The media is also doing its part to keep the Danes from protecting themselves from illegal immigrants, multiculturalism, weapons, drugs and organised crime. The International Herald Tribune and the New York Times lie through their teeth when they claim that official statistics do not support the claim that immigrants are a cause of rising crime rates: "Many of her supporters (Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of Danish Peoples Party who introduced the idea of reinstalling border control) are like Rene Schultz, a 42-year-old furniture mover from Ishoj who is wistful for simpler times and blames immigrants for a rise in crime, though official statistics do not support this claim." This is ridiculous, and so easy to disprove that it is hardly worth the work to do so. Here is a bit of the overwhelming amount of evidence: (The NYT is not a “news outlet.” It is a propaganda arm of the transnational progressive movement dedicated to the destruction of the west. And they are winning. ~Bob.)

Last week, nearly all Senate Republicans signed a letter to President Obama asking him to present a plan to Congress to reform Medicare. Conservatives should understand why we did this, and why all of us need to keep the pressure on the White House to respond. The Medicare Trustees have made the situation clear. Medicare’s trust fund will be insolvent in 2024. Medicare’s unfunded liabilities are more than $24 trillion and growing, which means there’s a $24 trillion gap between Medicare’s future benefit costs and the future taxes and premiums it already expects to collect. The president has submitted no plan to save Medicare as we know it, and his lack of leadership is bad enough. But by not submitting a plan, the president is also violating the law.

The Authentic Palestine Freedom Flotilla
No! I do not mean the motley crew of terrorist enablers, terrorists and assorted curs and knaves that is taking to the briny to defame Israel and bring “humanitarian” aid to the denizen of Gaza. Never mind those immoral misfits who forgot how the residents of Gaza trashed and looted and destroyed the farms, greenhouses, state of the art farming tools and implements, organic fertilizers and even seeds in the lush gardens of Gush Katif which provided 70% of Israel’s produce and $120,000,000 in exports of foods and flowers. I speak of a real Palestine freedom flotilla….that fleet of ancient and ramshackle ships and the valiant volunteer crews that transported the wretched survivors of the Holocaust to Palestine in defiance of the perverse British blockade between 1946 and 1948.

Michele Bachmann: Washington Is 'Corrupt Paradigm,' and I'll Change It
Excerpt: House Tea Party Caucus leader Michele Bachmann is surging in the GOP presidential polls and now is virtually tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa, the crucial early-voting state. Despite joining the primary race in earnest only two weeks ago, when she shone in a debate, Bachmann trailed Romney only narrowly, by 1 percent, this weekend in a Des Moines Register poll. And then on Monday, Bachmann stole the spotlight again as she announced her candidacy officially from her home state of Iowa. Bachmann’s speech announcing she is officially tossing her hat in the right aired just after 10 a.m.

Senator Johnson Speaks on the Senate Floor 6/28/2011

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