Sunday, August 14, 2011

Political Digest for August 14, 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.

Marine to receive Medal of Honor next month
Excerpt: "The award honors the men who gave their lives that day, and the men who were in that fight," Meyer said, according to a Marine newsletter. "I didn't do anything more than any other Marine would. I was put in an extraordinary circumstance, and I just did my job." (The Medal of Honor is well deserved. I hope those officers who denied his unit air and artillery support on that mission live a haunted life. --MasterGuns)

Thousands honor slain San Diego police officer
Excerpt: A Marine combat veteran who was shot in the head while patrolling San Diego streets as a police officer was remembered Friday as a generous and upbeat leader whose dedication to public service inspired those around him. Jeremy Henwood, 36, was posthumously promoted to major in the Marine Corps Reserve at a funeral service attended by more than 3,000 mourners, including California Gov. Jerry Brown. Henwood died six months after returning from Afghanistan when a motorist flashed his headlights behind his patrol car, as if to seek help, then pulled alongside and shot him. Police Chief William Lansdowne said a surveillance video taken at a fast-food restaurant two blocks from the shooting showed the officer had just bought a meal for a 10-year-old boy who was watching him in awe. ... Police shot and killed Dejon White in a confrontation minutes after Henwood was shot on Saturday. Police said White, 23, shot another man in the parking lot of another restaurant shortly before he attacked Henwood.

Great column, read it all: John Kass: London riots are illiterate homage to 'Lord of the Flies'
Excerpt: It might be time for all of us to read it again. Not just in England, but in the U.S., where our feral boys are just as malevolent. Just like the ones in London, those little boys with cigarettes dangling from their lips, skinny boys who run into shops and steal vodka. Their older brothers smashing windows to steal big-screen TVs, the fires and beatings, and more boys running, girls, too, all the thugs full of thrills. And shopkeepers knocked to the ground, weeping as their savings and sacrifice and labors of a lifetime are savaged by the howling mobs. The one I can't forget is the clip of the boy with the backpack. His face has been bashed in. A thug helps the student stand up, and, as he does, another reaches into the backpack, takes what he wants and discards the rest, a brute who wanted something shiny, glumly tossing the student's papers onto the street. The mobs weren't organized to protest government policy. The excuse-makers bleated that the mobs were angered that police killed a street gangster, but the real cause is larger. This is about people giving themselves an excuse to pillage, as if the victims were figures in a video game, not people who did menial labor for years in order to open the shop where the feral boys were kicking the windows.

Lawsuit Details Depth of Berkeley Jewish Student Harassment
Excerpt: A pattern of harassment and physical assaults by members of two Muslim student groups at the University of California, Berkeley crosses the line from allowing free speech into creating a hostile campus environment, an attorney representing two students argued in court papers filed this week. Jessica Felber and Brian Maissy are suing the University of California and Berkeley President Mark Yudoff, along with Berkeley's chancellor, the Regents of the University of California, the Associated Students University of California and Berkeley's dean of students for failing to protect them from verbal and physical assaults. "Defendants assert that this Court is powerless to stop this conduct, claiming that these student groups have 'First Amendment Rights,'" wrote attorney Joel Siegal in response to a defense motion to dismiss. "But these Defendants have an equal obligation to protect the health and safety of Jewish students under Title VI," which requires federally funded educational institutions protect students against discrimination. (Be different if it were Muslims being harassed. ~Bob.)

Quotes of the Founding Fathers

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press. -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn (He should see the 21st! ~Bob)

Telegraph UK: Drop the brooms, you capitalist scum
Excerpt: This week, I met a 17year-old pupil from a girls’ public school that, in the past, has been more famous for turning out Sloaney husband-hunters than for filling its pupils with useless scientific facts. But the stereotype is out of date, it seems. The GCSE syllabus ranges far and wide, taking in the physics, chemistry, biology, geopolitics, economics and ethics of climate change. In English lessons, girls “debate” (ie, heartily endorse) the proposition that global warming will kill us all. And guess what topic has been chosen for French conversation? But parents shouldn’t worry that their girls will turn into eco-loons. “Honestly,” says my informant, “we’re all, like, sooo bored with climate change. I can’t wait to leave school to escape.”

A Long, Cold Summer at Mount Rainier
Excerpt: The calendar says summer, but the conditions are more like winter. Visitors to the Mount Rainier park are down by 30 percent this year. Usually by August, most of the snow on Mount Rainier, the sleeping volcanic giant here, has long since melted. The meadows of wildflowers are abloom, and hikers galore are tramping along the trails. But this year, temperatures have been colder than usual, keeping record mounds of old snow lying around. This has discouraged everyone, from the most rigorous climbers to backpackers, hikers and Sunday drivers. Total visitors to Mount Rainier National Park from January through July were down more than 30 percent, to 601,877, compared with the same period last year, when 868,681 people came. (Dang that global warming...Kate in LA)

Rep. Alan West's economic plan
What should we do now? At this point, the House of Representatives is not in a position to act unilaterally. We have already passed good legislation, which has died in the United States Senate. Nonetheless, there are a few options we could act upon under the following circumstances: (1) if the House is to be called back into session, (2) if the Senate will agree to come back into session and get serious about fixing our broken system, and (3) if the President will heed the wishes of the American people to fix our broken government. For example, we could pursue the following actions: 1. The House and Senate could amend the Budget Control Act passed on August 1 to increase the cuts from $2.4 trillion to over $4 trillion 2. The Senate could adopt the House (Ryan) Budget 3. The Senate could adopt the House passed Cut, Cap and Balance Act 4. Both Houses could act quickly to enact reforms to address the massive amounts of waste identified in a recent GAO report, thus saving billions of taxpayer dollars 5. The Senate could adopt all of the House passed energy bills putting Americans back to work producing safe, clean, and efficient American energy from both conventional and alternative sources (and helping provide billions of dollars in additional federal revenues to help balance our budget) 6. The Senate could pass all of the House passed legislation to reform our regulatory system and remove the crushing regulatory overreach of unelected and unaccountable Washington bureaucrats 7. We could adopt the tax reforms included in the House (Ryan) Budget to simplify our tax code, remove loopholes, lower tax rates, improve competitiveness for American job creators, and develop a fairer, flatter tax system for all Americans 8. We could adopt the House designed reforms to Medicare and Medicaid to fix these programs before they go insolvent and bankrupt America in the process, and/or 9. We can immediately begin to sell excess federal property and raise billions of dollars in federal revenues. In addition, we need to reform our broken budget process which relies on inaccurate economic forecasting models, "baseline" budgeting, and provisions that allow one or more houses of Congress to ignore their responsibility to create annual budgets. We should also implement zero-based budgets, just like American families and job creators use.

Failure 101 at Chicago State University
Excerpt: The Chicago Tribune reports: ...during the 2008-09 academic year, 449 Chicago State students received state grant money even though, under university policy, an untold number of them should have been dismissed for poor academic performance. Of those students, 106 had a grade-point average of 0.0 and still received aid from the taxpayer-funded Monetary Award Program, known as MAP. Should the students be exclusively held to blame? They have been designed and built from the ground up to expect a lifetime free-pass to the American dream. They never expected to be held accountable for their failures and now that lifetime work-free government jobs and social welfare programs are evaporating in the light of economic reality, what is to become of these kids?

UK Riots: What Would Hayek Do?
Excerpt: U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has declared “everything necessary will be done to restore order” in Britain’s riot-racked cities. With respect to the right honorable gentleman, what distinguishes free from unfree societies is not order, but ordered liberty. As the great Tory philosopher Edmund Burke taught, reconciling liberty and order is the fine art of democratic statecraft. Tweaking that balance as technology evolves requires the most careful and judicious deliberation. Only where cooler heads prevail can ordered liberty thrive. Cameron’s government has hesitated to escalate physical force with rubber bullets and water cannons, lest they lend moral sanction to the brutal tactics used by China and in the Middle East to suppress dissent. Yet however noble his intentions, Cameron could do more to undermine ordered liberty with “bloodless” measures targeting social media services like Twitter and Facebook, and improperly using photo identification. (You do not have "liberty" if you cannot own a business or walk the streets without fear. Gangs can take away liberty as surely as government. ~Bob.)

It’s Perry Day in America: Wake Up and Smell The Idiocy Already Hurled at Him
Excerpt: No sooner had the sun risen on the day that Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy for President, than—right on schedule— The Daily Beast, amply living up to its name, posted my personal nominee for Stupidest Article of the Week (deeming Saturday the final day of the past week, thus the competition includes everything written since Sunday.) I’ve never met Michael Tomasky, its author, and have barely noticed his existence until a friend emailed me his post of this morning. But if this column was my introduction to him, and it was, I’m not reading another by him. This one was idiotic enough. Why read more? Then why read this? Because it will give you an intimate peak into the mindset of the oh-so-urban, self-deluded, self-described “sophisticates” who cannot help but drip condescension when describing a…Republican, especially….a Republican governor… from Texas. It is just too, too much for the poor dears. They’re smelling W in the water. They’re intellectually unable to discern the distinction between a hard-scrabble Aggie and a patrician Yalie with a Harvard business degree. Both W and Perry served as governors of Texas, they’re both devout Christians, they both salute the flag. Therefore, to Mr. Tomasky, they are one and the same candidate. This is why I call Tomasky’s column the Stupidest of the Week. Surely, you jest, Belladonna, you may be thinking. Think again. For your reading pleasure, I hereby post Mr. Tomasky’s withering (and withered) take on Gov. Perry and his horror of all that he perceives. I’ll also supply my own responses, cleaned up for family reading of this beyond-absurd, grating piece of writing.

Nutter's City of Tough Love
Excerpt: This week, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter went where few black leaders have gone. And I think I can count the others who have on one hand. Nutter dared to speak the truth about the critical state of America’s black youth. In a speech addressing increasing youth violence, Nutter plainly declared: Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer. Pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt. (If a white Mayor said this, he'd be branded a racist. ~Bob.)

Panic! 1/2 Say Spending Cuts Will Lead To Violence
Excerpt: Interestingly, further down in the survey results, we find that more than 40% of Republicans and self-identified Tea Party supporters think that violence in the streets might erupt in the event of tax increases. Given that the most likely tax hikes will be on “the rich,” though, it could significantly cut down on the number of rioters. On the other hand, they’d probably be considerably better armed. (My friend Sandy says the Rodney King riots here in LA came to an end when the rioters got to the Koreatown section of the city, and the Korean business owners went up on their roofs and opened fire with rifles. Send in the Koreans, I say. - Kate in LA)

Alaska's halibut fishermen fear new regulation​s will 'bankrupt'
Excerpt: A packed room of angry and worried small businessmen fearful the federal government is about to bankrupt them got some simple advice Friday night on how to deal with the Washington, D.C. bureaucracy: "Send a letter." That was the best Glenn Merrill, assistant regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, could offer charter boat skippers facing imposition of what is being called a "halibut catching sharing" plan. Almost everyone now seems in agreement the plan will cut the 2012 halibut limit for charter anglers to one fish per day. There also seems general agreement that the halibut taken away from anglers, who are now allowed two fish per day, will be given to the commercial charter halibut fishery. The goal of the NMFS, which is operating under the guidance of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, is to make sure the charters never catch more than 17 percent of the allowable harvest in Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska and preferably are kept in the 10 to 15 percent range. The council that set this limit is an organization dominated by powerful commercial fishing interests. Arne Fuglvog, the now-disgraced former aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was a key player on the council when it set about to first freeze the charter catch beneath a "guideline harvest level" and now reduce it through the catch sharing plan. Fuglvog was at the time a longline halibut fisherman. He got out of that business to become a powerful aide to an Alaska senator, and he almost went on to become head of the NMFS.

The Politics of Liberals Bashing Obama
Excerpt: This week the president’s positive ratings are hovering around 40-42%; in some polls there is a 10% gap or more between negative and positive appraisals. I expect that they will go back up, and then even lower as the year wears on. But the latest nosedive has prompted many on the left to attack Mr. Obama, from a psychological portrait offered by one Drew Westen to unusual carping from Maureen Dowd, Richard Cohen and E. J Dionne. Cornel West is back again, in rather vicious fashion reminding us that he supposedly helped to introduce Obama to us and now regrets that he did, given the president’s purported ingratitude. Often the critics invoke everything from Jimmy Carter parallels to the unease of European statesmen to emphasize their own disappointment (I think that is a fair and tame term, since I doubt their present disenchantment will result in not voting to reelect Obama). How Could He? As I can fathom this August of discontent, it runs something like this: at best Barack Obama is too aloof, professorial and unable temperamentally or unwilling politically to mix it up with Republicans. Therefore he has compromised far too much on various budget deals, which in part explains his sagging ratings and the general laments in the American and European press that Obama lacks leadership qualities. The nearly $5 trillion in new debt since 2009 is a needed, if too timid, “stimulus”; and if it is seen by some as too excessive, it can be easily remedied by new taxes on the wealthy — something Obama talks about a lot but does little to enact, this buskin Theramenes who bends with the wind.

Mark Steyn: Lessons for Us from London in Flames
Excerpt: This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the "abolition of want" to be accomplished by "co-operation between the State and the individual." In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life's vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: "Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity." The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays and Muslims. From page 204: "For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ's Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population."

Fast and Furious Program
Good report. ~Bob.

It’s no time for a presidential vacation
Excerpt: Is there anyone in the White House with nerve enough to tell Barack Obama that Martha’s Vineyard is the last place on earth that the president of the United States should find himself next week? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge the chief executive a little time off from the Oval Office. But to be leaving town to spend 10 days luxuriating in an affluent, New England summer town when millions of Americans can’t find work? To fly off to the Vineyard when the public is losing faith in Washington’s ability to fix the nation’s economic problems, and with people anxious about their futures?

English Defence League - Standing Firm
Excerpt: The war against radical Islam has no borders, even if Israel is the front line of the battle. It is an international problem, and it would be foolish of us not to ally ourselves with like-minded individuals and organisations across the world. Already, we have seen supporters from all over the world travel to this country to stand side by side with us at our demonstrations. We are thankful for their support, and have reciprocated by joining the demonstration against the Ground Zero Mosque and attending La Marche des Cochons. We should not be afraid to show solidarity with ordinary people who are continuing to suffer at the hands of radical Islam, wherever they may be. Wherever there are Muslims who support a hostile, aggressive, 7th century interpretation of Islam, we will do what we can to aid those who are working to defeat it – be they Christian, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Americans, Europeans, Brits, Israelis – whoever they are.

London Riots: Public misled on death that led to riots
Excerpt: THE police watchdog has admitted that it may have misled journalists and the public into believing police shooting victim Mark Duggan fired at officers before he was killed. The shooting of the 29-year-old in Tottenham, north London, last Thursday sparked riots that then spread to other English cities. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said yesterday it may have "inadvertently" led journalists to believe Mr Duggan had fired at officers.

NLRB fails to comply with congressional subpoena
Excerpt: The National Labor Relations Board ignored a congressional subpoena on Friday that requested information about its lawsuit against Boeing for building a manufacturing plant in a non-union state. “The National Labor Relations Board and Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon have thus far failed to comply with a lawful subpoena,” Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who issued the subpoena, said in a statement. “This refusal by NLRB to abide by the law further heightens concerns that this is a rogue agency acting improperly. The integrity of NLRB and its leadership is clearly in question.” Mr. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, drew criticism from Democrats on the committee for issuing the subpoena last Sunday. In a letter sent on Friday, they asked him to drop the subpoena, which he had been threatening to issue for months. “We are aware of no precedent for your actions, and we are particularly concerned that they are taking us down a dangerous path of interfering directly with the decisions of prosecutors and even of judges who are charged with carrying out the laws Congress enacted,” they wrote. “We urge you to reconsider your approach, to withdraw your subpoena, and to identify a legitimate purpose for this investigation before taking any further steps.” The NLRB did not respond to requests for comment.

The NLRB Fear Factor: How the Boeing case poisons investment.
Excerpt: The National Association of Manufacturers asked its members last month how the National Labor Relations Board's decision against Boeing's South Carolina plant case is affecting their decision-making. Some 60% said the government's case already has—or could—hurt hiring. Sixty-nine percent said the case would damage job growth. And 49% said capital expenditure plans "have been or may be impacted by the NLRB's complaint." Around 1,000 of the association's 11,000 members contributed to the survey. That's a lot of lost jobs. Some might dismiss these results as self-interested, or predictable given the general business distaste for regulation. But that ignores the role that confidence plays in reviving the animal spirits essential for economic growth. When CEOs or entrepreneurs fear political intervention that might impose higher costs, they are more reluctant to invest or to hire new employees. That's especially true when the economy is already growing slowly, or emerging from recession. The NLRB's assault on Boeing has been especially damaging because it violates what most Americans consider to be a core tenet of U.S. capitalism—the ability to move capital or business where you think it has the best chance of success. Boeing's executives are being punished for remarks they made long ago about strikes at their Washington plants.

Rick Perry's Crony Capitalism Problem: The presidential candidate's signature economic development initiative has raised questions among conservatives.
Excerpt: Gov. Rick Perry's presidential pitch goes something like this: During one of the worst recessions in American history, he's kept his state "open for business." In the last two years, Texas created over a quarter of a million jobs, meaning that the state's 8% unemployment rate is substantially lower than the rest of the nation's. The governor credits this exceptional growth to things like low taxes and tort reform. It's a strong message. But one of the governor's signature economic development initiatives—the Texas Emerging Technology Fund—has lately raised serious questions among some conservatives. The Emerging Technology Fund was created at Mr. Perry's behest in 2005 to act as a kind of public-sector venture capital firm, largely to provide funding for tech start-ups in Texas. Since then, the fund has committed nearly $200 million of taxpayer money to fund 133 companies. Mr. Perry told a group of CEOs in May that the fund's "strategic investments are what's helping us keep groundbreaking innovations in the state." The governor, together with the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the Texas House, enjoys ultimate decision-making power over the fund's investments.

Ezam wants to burn down online news portals
Didn't get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Umno senator Ezam Mohd Nor said he has to come to the defence of Islam and will wage war against those who tarnish the religion, including burning online news portals. He also warned Muslim staff of Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider not to become agents for infidels. “Don’t be a (Brutus) for the infidel’s agenda. You can find employment elsewhere,” Ezam said after claiming that these portals showed strong stance against the JAIS action at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC). “We give you a last warning. If you don’t stop, we’ll burn,” said Ezam, a former ally of Anwar Ibrahim. He also extended his threat to the Muslims who abet the non-Muslims in conversions out of Islam. “We have no choice but to wage war to protect the Muslim faith,” said Ezam in front of 500 fellow Muslims at the compound of the Selangor state mosque in Shah Alam

Girl in Uganda Loses Use of Legs after Leaving Islam for Christ: Muslim father locked 14-year-old in room with almost no food or water for months.
Most schools of Islamic thought proscribe the death penalty for leaving Islam. Her father only tortured her. I suppose he was a moderate. ~Bob. Excerpt: A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda is still unable to walk 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam and putting her faith in Christ, according to area Christians. Susan Ithungu of Isango village, Kasese district, has been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital since October 2010 after neighbors with police help rescued her from her father, Beya Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released, sources said.

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