Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Political Digest for August 31, 2011

Old Jarhead Blog Removed?
Twice in the last two weeks, both times on Saturdays, when readers logged on to my blog at, they got a "blog removed" message with no explanation. Both times I logged on to Blogspot and posted a query and the blog returned in a few hours. They say they have a system for auto removing Spam blogs, but mine has zero advertising, except my books, I kill Spam posts, and it has been up since 2008. I don't know if it is a blogspot glitch, like the way they sometimes change scheduled posts to drafts, or an attack. It is costing me readers--weekly page views dropped in that time from over 4k to about 3k. If you get that message, please try again later.

And summer dwindles down. Sigh.

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

Best older posts for new blog readers

Response on Dennis Miller Interview
Good morning, Bob. I was able to listen to your interview with Dennis Miller and called the show right after you were on. I let him know I was gracious enough to let you stay in my bunker at Khe Sanh. I was hoping he would allow calls while you were on, but... anyway, I enjoyed the interview. –Larry.

Want a copy of the Dennis Miller interview?
They sent me an MP3 recording of the show. If you want it, post a comment with your e-address. ~Bob.

If readers have local talk shows that might interview me by phone about Collapse, please give them my contact info. Thanks ~Bob.

An Unusual Economy? By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Many in the media are saying how unusual it is for our economy to be so sluggish for so long, after we have officially emerged from a recession. In a sense, they are right. But, in another sense, they are profoundly wrong. The American economy usually rebounds a lot faster than it is doing today. After a recession passes, consumers usually increase their spending. And when businesses see demand picking up, they usually start hiring workers to produce the additional output required to meet that demand. Some very sharp downturns in the American economy, such as in the early 1920s, were followed quickly by bouncing back to normal levels or beyond. The government did nothing -- and it worked. In that sense, this is an unusual recovery in how long it is taking and in how slowly the economy is growing -- while the government is doing virtually everything imaginable. Government intervention may look good to the media but its actual track record -- both today and in the 1930s -- is far worse than the track record of letting the economy recover on its own.

A number of states have recently passed voter-ID legislation — among them, Texas, Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island. Two others, Georgia and Indiana, implemented such laws years ago. This trend has the Left hyperventilating. From former president Bill Clinton to NAACP head Benjamin Jealous, irresponsible cries of “Jim Crow” have been uttered in a losing attempt to sell Americans a great lie: that requiring someone to authenticate his or her identity at the polling place by showing a government-issued photo identification is anything like the despicable discrimination that once existed in the South. (Liberals think conservatives want to keep minorities from voting. Conservatives think liberals want minorities to vote many times in the same election. Neither fear is irrational, given our history. My suggestion: make is as easy as possible to get a government ID, but cross reference to be sure there is only one ID per person, and require an ID to vote. Enforce draconian penalties for fraud such as voting more than once, or voting in the wrong district, especially against the leaders of groups like ACORN caught promoting fraudulent voting. ~Bob.)

California City Councilman Killed After Finding Marijuana Field
Excerpt: A well-respected California community leader who was gunned down after finding a remote illegal marijuana operation was a two-term mayor whose fundraising and goodwill helped build firehouses and a first-class high school football stadium. The city of Fort Bragg was reeling Monday after the death of longtime Councilman Jere Melo, a forest land manager who was fatally shot Saturday while he and a co-worker were walking through a rugged area of timber land just outside town.

Will Congressman Eliot Ness Please Stand Up?
Excerpt: Of all the things this administration has done, the best option for having Obama removed through impeachment and conviction is Operation Fast and Furious. It is a scandal that has been percolating just beneath the surface for months now and it involves the ATF allowing weapons to ‘walk’ into Mexico; it reaches to the highest levels of the Justice Department at minimum. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, ICE agent Jaime Zapata, and countless Mexican civilians are all alleged to have been murdered as a direct result of those who authorized it. (This is a waste of resources. There is no chance that even with a wave election in 2012 there would be the two-thirds vote needed to convict Obama in the US Senate. You could have video of Obama selling guns to cartel leaders personally, and a majority of black voters would believe he was as innocent as OJ, and thus no Democrat would have to courage to vote to impeach or convict and alienate this voting bloc, crucial to their power. If the first black president was removed from office, the riots, death and destruction in our cities would make the MLK riots looks like a day at the beach. We need to concentrate all efforts of defeating Obama in 2012. Every day we drift closer to the abyss. ~Bob.)

LAPD chief: Wilmington attack on officer is part of growing trend
Excerpt: The Thursday night attack on a police officer in the Wilmington area is part of a rising trend of violent crimes against LAPD officers, police chief Charlie Beck said Friday. Beck told KPCC's Patt Morrison that as of last week violent attacks on police officers in L.A. are up 29 percent - with 125 violent assaults in 2011 alone. Three more assaults have already occurred since those numbers were released last week.

June Decision Turns Skid Row Sidewalks Into a Health Hazard
Excerpt: On June 23, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez issued a ruling in a case involving a lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of homeless individuals. Two months later, the impact of his decision is clear: Skid Row sidewalks have been legally converted into scenes we'd imagine in some third world country, not blocks from our own City Hall. LAPD and Department of Public Works crews are now prohibited from removing abandoned items from Skid Row sidewalks. Attorneys for eight plaintiffs successfully argued that items such as medicines, clothing and personal papers were confiscated and destroyed after the individuals left them unattended for mere minutes while showering at a mission or using a public bathroom. It's difficult to imagine police actually having so little to do as to lie in wait to take items left for a few moments on a sidewalk, but the ruling has been made. It's the consequence of that ruling that neither the attorneys nor Gutierrez have to live with. We do. Right now, portions of sidewalks along
Sixth Street
San Julian Street
and elsewhere in Skid Row are impassable due to filthy mattresses, moldy food and items covered in urine, feces, flies and even maggots. The vulnerable physically and mentally ill, many of whom are unable to care for themselves, much less the possessions they hoard as means of protection or trade, have interpreted the ruling to mean the use of the public sidewalks for the personal storage of these items is now lawful. (Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst, Are full of passionate intensity. … And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? –W. B. Yates)

It's widely asserted that Los Angeles illegally shields undocumented immigrants from federal authorities. That is utterly false.
Excerpt: In the ever-divisive debate over the proper role of local police in enforcing federal immigration law, there is a recurrent theme, especially as it involves Los Angeles: Critics complain that this and other municipalities have become "sanctuary cities," in which those in the country illegally are shielded from immigration authorities. That complaint is widespread — it's a regular feature of letters to the editor of this newspaper, and it crops up in politics at all levels. Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman argued it during her failed effort against Jerry Brown. Even Wikipedia lists Los Angeles as a sanctuary city. That's widely believed. It's also utterly false. In a sanctuary city, the city government either actively protects undocumented immigrants from arrest or declines to cooperate with those who oversee deportations, sometimes by limiting the use of city funds. Los Angeles does none of that. The police regularly cooperate with immigration officials; recent joint efforts include gang and drug cases and investigations of organized crime. Every suspect booked by the LAPD or Sheriff's Department is fingerprinted, and those prints are shared with immigration authorities. Every day, men and women who are here illegally — either because they sneaked across the border or overstayed their visas — are removed from Los Angeles and sent home.

Obama Sending Hundreds of Millions To Rebuild Foreign Mosques!!

Iran 'discreetly aided Libyan rebels'
Excerpt: Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying. "We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi," Salehi told the daily. "The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping," he added. Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran has adopted a dual approach -- criticising the Kadhafi regime for its violent assaults on the rebels while at the same time condemning NATO's military intervention. On Tuesday, Iran "congratulated the Muslim people of Libya" after rebels overran the capital Tripoli, but it has so far distanced itself from officially recognising the NTC.

Rep. Elton Gallegly’s letter to Obama
On illegal immigration.

Doctor shortage threatens U.S. and Ohio: The Changing Face of Medicine
Excerpt: Dr. Atul Grover, chief advocacy officer of the medical colleges association, pointed to several reasons for the current and anticipated problem: There has been a cap on slots in medical schools and residency training programs for the last 34 years as the U.S. population grew by 31 percent. Federal money now helping to pay for graduate medical education could be slashed by Congress. The elderly population nationwide is expected to double in the next decade. Adults in this age group use health services more than twice as much as younger folks. One-third of physicians now in practice nationwide are expected to retire in the next 10 years. About 21 percent of Ohio's doctors are now 60 years or older. As many as 30 million people currently without insurance are expected to be pulled into the system as federal health care reform rolls out in 2014. (add to this ObamaCare, the Federal Medicare crisis, and the trial lawyers/tort system/liability crisis driving doctors out or discouraging them from entering, and your grandkids—those who survive the coming bad years—will look on our times as the golden age of American medicine, B.O. –Before Obama. ~Bob.)

Labor Dept. Signs 'Partnerships' with Foreign Gov’s to Protect Illegals in U.S.
Excerpt: U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis today signed "partnership" agreements with ambassadors from a group of Latin American nations aiming to protect what she described as the labor rights of both legal and illegal migrants working in the United States. During the signing ceremony hosted at Labor Department headquarters in Washington D.C., Solis said the agreements are aimed at educating migrant workers, regardless of how they got here, about their rights under U.S. law and to help prevent them from being abused in the workplace, either through wages, loss of job, or deportation.

Disaster aid account faces shortfall as costs of hurricane devastation rise
This is Bush’s fault for allow Katrina to hit New Orleans. Seriously, we still have money to fund the UN attacks on us, aid our enemies in Pakistan, aid Hamas to rocket Israel and rebuild mosques overseas. But expect increasing problems like this as the growing fiscal disaster limits responses to other disasters and challenges. ~Bob. Excerpt: The government’s main disaster aid account is running woefully short of money as the Obama administration confronts damages from Hurricane Irene that could run into billions of dollars. With less than $800 million in its disaster aid coffers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been forced to freeze rebuilding projects from disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina to conserve money for emergency needs in the wake of Irene. Lawmakers from states ravaged by tornadoes this spring, like Missouri and Alabama, are especially furious. The shortfalls in FEMA’s disaster aid account have been obvious to lawmakers on Capitol Hill for months — and privately acknowledged to them by FEMA — but the White House has opted against asking for more money, riling many lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the troops in Afghanistan lack good trou….

From Morning Jolt by Jim Garaghty
Worth subscribing to this free e-newsletter. ~Bob. Excerpt: But if Barack Obama had the wind in his face for the first 20 or so years of his life, he had the wind at his back the moment he entered politics. He and his guys ensured he would win his first state-senate race by challenging signatures and getting all his rivals tossed off the ballot. His quixotic, failed bid to unseat a longtime U.S. House member did no serious damage to his career, and he faced no serious primary challenge afterward, despite a state-senate record that was nothing all that special. He represented a part of the state where the Republican party existed only in theory. When he decided to run for Senate, the Chicago Tribune dug into the divorce records of his top Democratic rival and then his top Republican rival -- a sudden burst of groundbreaking investigative journalism that never extended to, say, Obama's college transcripts. Jack Ryan's implosion was so spectacular that Obama roared to victory against tomato can Alan Keyes, meaning he entered the U.S. Senate without so much as a genuine attack ad run against him. Then he faced the challenge of appealing to Democratic hopes and dreams more than Hillary Clinton did -- and then running against John McCain as the economy imploded. Moreover, despite his meteoric rise, Obama seemed to be awfully lacking in the categories of hard-won legislative accomplishments, ingenious compromises, crafty deal-making, anything resembling executive leadership, or suffering the consequences of telling his allies things they didn't want to hear.

Is Rick Perry dumb?
He must be a solid candidate—the liberal smears machine is in full cry. I’m not sold on Perry; I have problems with some of his positions. But until Barack Obama can fly a C-130, create jobs at the rate Texas has or is willing to put his college grades up against Perry’s, I have to believe Perry is smarter. They said Reagan was dumb, too, and don’t many folks wish he was back? ~Bob.

Worth Reading: Why Doesn’t Politico (Or Any Other MSM Organ) Ask If Barack Obama is Dumb?
Excerpt: But on the individual cases, Perry vs. Obama, there is a better case to be made that Obama has benefited from luck, from others’ guilt, from social promotion, and from his instinct to conceal what he really thinks, than Rick Perry has. Perry learned to fly military aircraft, has built an impressive undefeated election record in bona fide contests, and led Texas as that state leads the nation in just about every economic category. In a political blind taste test — cover their names and political affiliations — Perry is by far the more impressive of the two. The fact is, east coast elitists are prone to treating anyone not from the east coast or Chicago, or who speaks with a flyover country twang, as their inferiors. And a corollary fact is, east coast elites tend to treat anyone with Harvard on their resume as automatically brilliant no matter how they actually got into Harvard (unless they’re a Republican, in which case the insults fly). Bush was dumb though he attended both Harvard and Yale and was a successful pro baseball team owner and governor; Obama is smart despite his record of failure in the presidency and his lack of real achievement prior to. Reagan was dumb because he went to Eureka College. Perry is dumb because he majored in animal science at Texas A&M. Meanwhile, we still know next to nothing about Barack Obama’s academic record, and his political record suggests that he is much more of an ideologue than an intellect. Is Barack Obama dumb? I would like to see Politico examine that question. But they won’t. They might end up learning too much.

Who’s the Dummy?
Excerpt: Joe Biden may look like Jeff Dunham’s ventriloquist dummy, Walter, but I think even Walter makes a lot more sense. Honest to God, I have no idea how Joe Biden got to be Vice President. I remember when he ran for President in 1988 but backed out soon after a report surfaced that he, uh, how should I say, borrowed some words from others without giving them credit. It was a different world back then. Fast forward twenty years and it’s still a mystery how Barack Obama selected him as his running mate when, early on in the 2008 Presidential race, Biden said about Obama, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Mugshot: Obama's Uncle Omar in jail

Court upholds 'citizen's right' to film cops
Arresting someone for filming the police is a constitutional violation, the Massachusetts district court announced Friday. The case began when Simon Glik was taken into police custody for recording an arrest with his cell phone camera, according to Tech Dirt. Glik told police he saw an officer punch the suspect and believed their use of force was excessive, sources say. Officers reportedly asked him to stop recording because audio recording — a capability of Glik’s phone — violated Massachusetts wiretap laws. Glik was charged with disturbing the peace and aiding in the escape of a prisoner — charges that were later dropped — but he sued the officers who arrested him and the City of Boston for failing to investigate the case further. His First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated, he said. (Every report on this issue that I’ve seen shows an appalling lack of context. The Illinois eavesdropping law (which probably resembles the law in this case) prohibits recording a person’s voice except when the person has consented or that speech is clearly in a public forum. For instance, a politician can’t prosecute someone for recording a speech that was delivered at an event that was clearly public. Most of us would be appalled if every word that we uttered while at work could be recorded for later playback to the general public. Bringing this back to the incident in question: The issue is whether on-duty police officers have the same right as everyone else not to have their routine business conversations recorded without their consent. It is a completely reasonable question to examine, but I don’t think that the answer is obvious. The question is whether the remarks made by on duty police officers more closely resemble the public speeches of politicians and the deliberation of elected officials, or the interaction between a customer and clerk at the marriage license bureau. If the latter, police should be protected under the same laws that protect everyone else. --Geoff)

Libya: A Premature Victory Celebration
Excerpt: The war in Libya is over. More precisely, governments and media have decided that the war is over, despite the fact that fighting continues. The unfulfilled expectation of this war has consistently been that Moammar Gadhafi would capitulate when faced with the forces arrayed against him, and that his own forces would abandon him as soon as they saw that the war was lost. What was being celebrated last week, with presidents, prime ministers and the media proclaiming the defeat of Gadhafi, will likely be true in due course. The fact that it is not yet true does not detract from the self-congratulations. For example, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reported that only 5 percent of Libya is still under Gadhafi’s control. That seems like a trivial amount, save for this news from Italian newspaper La Stampa, which reported that “Tripoli is being cleaned up” neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street and home by home. Meanwhile, bombs from above are pounding Sirte, where, according to the French, Gadhafi has managed to arrive, although it is not known how. The strategically important town of Bali Walid — another possible hiding place and one of only two remaining exit routes to another Gadhafi stronghold in Sabha — is being encircled.

‘I’ve Got…Islamophobia!’
Excerpt: I stared stoically forward. “I hear air raid sirens, and I think…they’re shooting at me. Rockets.” I added, “I hear…booms.” Finally he spoke, slow, patient, and kind: “Who is shooting at you?” I sunk my face in my hands again; raked it with my fingers. “Who? Well…Muslims.” Again his slow, gentle voice: “From where are they shooting?” I removed my hands from my face, gazed forward like a grade-school kid who’s been asked a tough question in front of the whole class. “From Gaza.”

Krugman Fails Climate Science 101
Excerpt: Krugman’s central thesis is that theory that mankind is causing catastrophic climate change has to be true, because “97 to 98 per cent of scientists” agree that it’s true. You’ll see the “97 to 98 per cent” number appearing quite often now. It’s become a key talking point of the alarmist crowd, as they struggle to regain relevance in a world that has a harder and harder time taking them seriously. But where does that amazing number come from? It arises from a 2009 survey that two University of Illinois researchers conducted. 10,257 Earth scientists responded and, much to the U of I professors’ chagrin, the results were far from satisfying to the alarmist crowd. Many of the respondents indicated that they believe that natural forces are much more important than mankind’s paltry contributions to climate trends. Some questioned the validity of the models that have been used to predict massive forcing attributable to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. All in all, it wasn’t the kind of response that the researchers were looking for when they were trying to prove consensus. So, the professors decided that 10,180 of the scientists who responded weren’t qualified to comment on the issue because they were merely solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists, astronomers and the like. Of the remaining 77 scientists whose votes were counted, 75 agreed with the proposition that mankind was causing catastrophic changes in the climate. And, since 75 is 97.4% of 77, “overwhelming consensus” was demonstrated once again.

What Drives Gas Prices: Cartels, Speculators, or Supply and Demand?
Excerpt: Once again, high gasoline prices are in the news. As of this writing, the national average gasoline price per gallon is hovering around $3.50.[1] The public is unhappy with these high gas prices, and politicians are scrambling to find ways to reduce the pain--or, failing that, to publicly shoot the messenger by investigating, penalizing, or punitively taxing oil companies. This Outlook explores the true causes of oil price fluctuation and explains how policymakers can help lower gasoline prices. Key points in this Outlook: High gas prices are inducing consumers to tighten their belts and politicians to call for taxes on oil companies. About 85 percent of oil price hikes are due to supply and demand, and the remaining 15 percent is likely attributable to environment-conscious regulations. To help lower gas prices and promote domestic employment and trade benefits in the future, policymakers should facilitate drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and lift boutique-fuel requirements.

Low Standards for Education Majors
Excerpt: American schools of education have often been spotlighted as the weak link between K-12 schooling and college preparedness. In his recent paper, "Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade," University of Missouri economics professor Cory Koedel shows that education school courses typically have very low grading standards. In many courses, A grades are heavily predominant; in some, every student gets an A, says George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Why do the education schools operate this way? One reason, Koedel observes, is that in the field of education, which is "notoriously ineffective at identifying high- and low-quality workers," there is no penalty for easy grading. Another reason, one Koedel doesn't mention, is that easy grading is a case of practicing what you preach -- one of the reigning ideas among education theorists is that students must have high self-esteem so they will want to keep learning. As a partial solution, Koedel suggests that college administrators step in and impose stringent grading standards on education departments. But it's pointless to insist on rigorous grading of courses that revolve around the inculcation of sociopolitical belief systems. Giving every student an A is not the problem. The course itself is the problem, says Leef. It doesn't have to be that way. Japan, a country that regularly outpaces the United States in international comparisons of student knowledge, doesn't have education schools at all. There, students must first earn an undergraduate degree in an academic field and then those who wish to enter teaching apply to become apprentices -- only a small fraction are accepted. The apprentice works with a master teacher for several years. America's system for training teachers needs dramatic change, far deeper than making A grades less plentiful, says Leef. (I transferred to U-Mass, majored in Government, but took a minor in Education so I could teach if I couldn’t get elected. The School of Ed required all courses to be pass-fail, which prevented me from graduating with honors, though my average was high enough, because the university required you to have more graded credits than I could get, with my required pass-fail courses. Thankfully I got elected to the senate and my career hasn’t involved teaching, though I also have a masters in education with a history focus. ~Bob.)

Housing Market Outrage
We bought our condo in 2009 for $160k. They were selling for $250k in 2007. Now selling for $130k. We have to pay extra to stay above water. When government interferes in the market, this is the result. ~Bob. Excerpt: There is little question that the root of our current economic problems is the housing market crash. The severity of the problem is daunting: at the end of 2010, 23.1 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage were “underwater,” meaning that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth. That “negative equity” totals $750 billion. Moreover, the housing market is largely frozen, due in large part to the fact that banks attempting to foreclose on delinquent homeowners cannot produce titles for said properties. They were “bundled” to sell on Wall Street, and the “paper trail” determining who actually owns the deed to a given property has been obliterated. This reality produces an extremely troubling question: how much moral hazard are Americans willing to accept to get the housing market functioning again? With to respect that market, moral hazard has been an all-encompassing affliction. Lending institutions were more than happy to grant mortgages to borrowers manifestly ill-equipped to pay them back. Borrowers were more than happy to sign on the dotted line and take the money, even as they ignored the implicit contractual obligations. Government was happy to pressure lending institutions to make sub-prime loans to unqualified applicants, often with ridiculous terms attached, such as no money down.

Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth?
Another part of the looming fiscal collapse. ~Bob. Excerpt: We calculate the present value of state employee pension liabilities using discount rates that reflect the risk of the payments from a taxpayer perspective. If benefits have the same default and recovery characteristics as state general obligation debt, the national total of promised liabilities based on current salary and service is $3.20 trillion. If pensions have higher priority than state debt, the value of liabilities is much larger. Using zero-coupon Treasury yields, which are default-free but contain other priced risks, promised liabilities are $4.43 trillion. Liabilities are even larger under broader concepts that account for salary growth and future service.

Excerpt: But there is a very simple reason that this is viewed as more of a campaign effort. Boasting bulletproof windows, five inch thick doors, and its own oxygen supply, the President has made the rounds for these speeches in a multi-million dollar bus, dubbed “The Beast” by its critics. There’s been no shortage of opinions from people and pundits on this bus and how having the President tour around the midwest in a caravan of cars and seated on a tour bus sends the message that he is on the campaign trail and using taxpayer dollars to do it. It appears however, that this might not be the case. According to some sources he hasn’t really been riding these buses much at all. They say, he’s been flying them. Apparently President Obama only rode the buses for a couple of miles at a time, spending the rest of the time flying from community to community in Air Force One. What’s more, the buses were flown from stop to stop as well. It’s normal practice for the President’s entire motorcade to be loaded up on cargo planes and flown from destination to destination. The buses were just a new part of that motorcade. But why wouldn’t the presidential limousine have sufficed? Or one of the other armored vehicles that routinely travel with the President? Apparently because the President wanted the imagery of a bus. And buses are what he got

Tolerance is un-Islamic? Are these people Islamophobic? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Islamic Defender Front (FPI), an extremist Muslim organisation, is promoting a protest campaign against SCTV, a Jakarta-based private TV station, for scheduling “?”, a movie deemed offensive to Muslims that was directed by a young talented filmmaker, Hanung Bramantyo. Even though, the movie tells a story about tolerance and respect between Indonesia’s various religious groups, the FPI and other Islamist groups say it “pollutes the morality” of Indonesian Muslims. Jakarta FPI leader Habib Salim Alatas warned the SCTV management that thousands of Muslims would join to demonstrate in front of the TV station should it broadcast the movie Monday night.

Senior Official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad: If We Come to Power, We will Launch a Campaign of Islamic Conquests to Instate Shari'a Worldwide: 'The Christian is Free to Worship His God in His Church, but if the Christians Make Problems for the Muslims, I Will Exterminate Them'
Excerpt: On August 13, 2011, the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef published an interview[1] with Sheikh 'Adel Shehato, a senior official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), who, on March 23, 2011, was freed from prison in the wake of the Egyptian revolution. He was imprisoned in 1991 upon returning from a three-year sojourn in Afghanistan. In the interview, Shehato expressed complete opposition to democracy "because it is not the faith of the Muslims, but the faith of the Jews and Christians." He said that although the youth of the Arab revolutions have not declared the implementation of shari'a as one of their goals, the mujahideen nonetheless identify with their aspiration to overthrow the Arab rulers, whom they had always considered "infidels who must be killed because they do not rule according to the shari'a." He added, however, that "once Allah's law is applied, the role of the people will end and Allah will reign supreme." He went on to say that although he supports Al-Qaeda's ideology, shari'a law would not be enforced by violence but by da'wa (preaching), whereas violence would be used only against the infidel Arab rulers.

Gaza-Based Salafi Group Launched Rockets at Israel
Excerpt: A radical Salafi Islamist group affiliated with the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization has taken responsibility for launching Sunday morning's Grad rocket attack at southern Israel. The Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad (JTJ) jihadist organization (Group of Monotheism and Jihad) allegedly issued a statement claiming “credit” for the attack on Be'er Sheva, the largest city in Israel's southern region. The missile was intercepted and neutralized by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system at about 7:15 a.m. local time. Residents were warned by the Color Red air raid alert siren before the missile arrived in Be'er Sheva's air space. Salafi groups have slowly grown to be a major power in Gaza in the past several years, with thousands of Hamas members switching sides to join the more radical Islamic factions, all of which are linked to Al Qaeda and many of which operate in Judea and Samaria as well.

International Space Station May Be Evacuated By Late November, NASA Says
Excerpt: Astronauts may need to temporarily abandon the International Space Station this fall if last week's Russian launch accident prevents new crews from flying, a NASA official said Monday. If Russia's essential Soyuz rockets remain grounded beyond mid-November, there will be no way to launch any more astronauts before the current residents are supposed to leave, said NASA's space station program manager, Mike Suffredini. A space station supply ship was destroyed last week following liftoff from Kazakhstan. The failed upper stage of the Soyuz rocket is similar to what's used to launch astronauts. The launch of the very next crew already has been delayed. It had been scheduled for Sept. 22. (Even if NASA took one of the shuttles back from the museums they’ve been donated to, NASA has no boosters or external “re-usable rockets” to launch it with. No wonder we’re failing in space, we’re trying to conquer space with a committee in charge. Ron P.)

Interesting: China's 'Ripples of Capability': An Interview with Andrew Erickson
Excerpt: For any Westerner observer struggling to understand Chinese military developments -- and let's be serious, that's most of us -- Andrew Erickson is an indispensable resource. A professor at the Naval War College, Erickson has edited an influential series of books about the People's Liberation Army, each volume based on close scrutiny of Chinese-language journals and new sources. Erickson's latest volume, Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles, takes a hard, sober look at Beijing's growing air and missile forces and their effect on the Pacific balance of power.

National Park Service to Marines: Don't Shine That Brass
Excerpt: The National Park Service has renewed its war against active duty troops who have the brass to polish the brass plate at the base of the flagpole at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I first reported on the anti-brass shining stance of the National Park Service after Memorial Day 2009. I followed up with another post two days later, which said the Vietnam Memorial Fund planned to refinish the base, which sports the emblems of all four services plus the Coast Guard, with a coating approved by the Park Service. The new finish was installed in 2009, but the Park Service still has a dim view of any shine-on efforts, based on the experience of Marine Sgt. Andrew Piskator this past weekend. Piskator, who has served one tour in Iraq and is now stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia, was applying Brasso polish to the base of the flagpole with an old T-shirt, when he was interrupted by a Park Service volunteer in uniform. Teresa Piskator, his wife, told me in an email, that at first the volunteer politely told Andrew he could not polish the brass, but did not provide any explanation. Then it got ugly.

Why Mitt Romney needs Sarah Palin
Excerpt: While much of the political world is past the “will she or won’t she” debate about Palin and the 2012 race, there’s one candidate who should be rooting hard for the 2008 vice presidential nominee to run. And his name is Mitt Romney. Up until the last few weeks, the former Massachusetts governor had been coasting in the contest — watching as his opponents squabbled amongst themselves while polling suggested he remained atop the field. Then, Texas Gov. Rick Perry decided to run. In the two weeks since Perry has been in the race, he has soared to the top of two national polls leading Romney by 12 in each one. And, if you dig into the guts of each of those polls — and Fix loves poll guts — it becomes clear that Perry’s strength is in his ability to appeal to the tea party and establishment wings of the party.

George Will: Obama Blames Everyone But James Madison for Economic Problems
So-called black “leaders” have handicapped blacks by teaching them that anything bad in their lives is someone else’s fault. ~Bob.

'Exterminate Christians, close pyramids, Sphinx': Rising leader in Egypt has astonishing
Excerpt: A rising leader in the radical Islamic movement in Egypt that has become a major political player since the demise of Hosni Mubarak's regime says Christian churches may need to be blown up and Christians exterminated to allow the advance of Islamic law, or Shariah. The comments come from Sheik 'Adel Shehato, a senior leader with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. The sheik was jailed in 1991 because of his positions but was released earlier this year in the revolution that removed Mubarak from power. (Don’t know how serious a “rising leader” this guy is, but the Arab Spring may not work out as the Pollyanna types in the media think. ~Bob.)

ATF head removed by DoJ after 'fast and furious' controversy
Tallyho! The scapegoat has been spotted. Release the hounds. ~Bob. Excerpt: The head of the ATF has been removed after months of speculation about his role in a botched gun tracking operation that may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday that acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Kenneth Melson was being replaced. Melson is being transferred to the Office of Legal Policy, where he will be a senior advisor. U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Todd Jones will take over as acting ATF director, according to the Department of Justice.

Fast and Furious
Gets more curious. ~Bob. Excerpt: In Phoenix, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley, who oversaw Fast and Furious on a day-to-day basis, was reassigned from the criminal to civil division. Also in Phoenix, three out of the four whistleblowers involved in the case have been reassigned to new positions outside Arizona. Two are headed to Florida, one to South Carolina. Hurley's reassignment came after three ATF supervisors responsible for the operation were promoted. William G. McMahon, a former deputy director of operations, took over the Office of Professional Responsibility. Field supervisors William D. Newell and David Voth also moved up despite heavy criticism. The moves follow a series of reports by Fox News detailing the face-off between Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, whose investigators have recently broadened their probe. It now reportedly shows a deeper involvement of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

NEJM Study Reconfirms Need for Medical Liability Reform
Excerpt: A study in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine provides the most comprehensive analysis of the risk of liability claims by medical specialty in more than two decades, and reinforces the need to put an immediate end to medical lawsuit abuse. The study reports that in any given year, an average of 7.4 percent of doctors are faced with medical liability lawsuits, but nearly 80 percent of those claims result in no payment at all by the defendant. The likelihood of being faced with a medical liability lawsuit did not necessarily correlate to payment by a physician – further proof that the system is broken and does not serve the needs of patients. Neurosurgeons were the most likely to be targeted by personal injury lawyers, with over 19 percent of all neurosurgeons facing a medical liability lawsuit each year. However, they were less likely to be found negligent, and ranked 4th behind other surgical specialties in payments made to claimants.

Doctor Gone Missing? Check Texas.
Second story down. ~Bob. Excerpt: If you live in New York and suddenly your doctor is nowhere to be found, you may want to send a search party down to Texas. Since September of 2003, when Texas passed comprehensive medical liability reform, 1,271 physicians from New York have fled south to greener pastures, and friendlier liability climates.

A Plea to Generation Vexed: Overcome the Desperation of Non-Deprivation
Excerpt: The Los Angeles Times has coined a new term for the generation presently aged 18 to 29: “Generation Vexed.” The term captures all the economic anxiety, the future-related frustrations, the delicate disgust with disappointed expectations of those who grew up accustomed to comfort, but came of age in the midst of a financial crisis. The label soberly cloaks what was formerly the “Self-Esteem Generation,” that group of supremely self-satisfied youngsters who were taught to regard themselves highly, regardless of whether they had done anything to deserve high regard; who classified themselves always and irrelevantly as “winners”; who assumed any completed assignment at all was worthy of an “A.”

US White House’s 9/11 Anniversary Guidelines Ask Officials to ‘Minimize References to Al Qaeda’
Excerpt: The leftist/Islamic machine is in full throttle now with the White House is strong arming officials to omit who and why we were attacked. The White House has issued guidelines detailing what the White House has deemed the important themes that must be discussed, as well as the tone the 9/11 observances should take. …the document states that officials should “minimize references to Al Qaeda.” Within the text, Osama bin Laden’s death is the reason given for this request. In what could be interpreted as somewhat of a political call to arms, the guidelines tell officials to place emphasis on the fact that “Al Qaeda and its adherents have become increasingly irrelevant.” If this is not surrender, what is?

Greek Bailout Talks Face Hurdles
You may not live in Europe, but when the EU spins apart, your IRA is likely to suffer collateral damage. ~Bob. Excerpt: Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter said Tuesday a dispute over Finland's demand for collateral to participate in Greece's €109 billion ($158.17 billion) bailout won't be resolved before a finance ministers' meeting next month. Meanwhile, Germany delayed by a week a crucial parliamentary vote on changes to the euro zone's rescue fund. The developments are the latest signs that progress in resolving challenges to the latest Greek aid package will be slow.

Excerpt: Why should Finland provide any more money to Greece at all? Greece has proved that it will lie, cheat and steal to get what it wants from the rest of the Euro zone, and it's not alone. The Euro Zone treaty obligations to keep deficits to no more than 3% of GDP are not suggestions. Of course they're treated as such, for one simple reason: Nations have gotten away with this sort of crap for years, and banks have gotten away with helping nations to lie. Nobody has faced sanction, say much less indictment, for what amounts to deception upon the public and the other nations in Europe (and elsewhere.) Yet this sort of deception is well-recognized in the corporate space as actionable conduct - so why isn't it at this level? Ultimately the problem is that currency unions don't work well without some sort of enforcement mechanism, and that enforcement mechanism is problematic when you have nations with disparate economic fortunes. The premise that opening the door to trade benefits everyone and thus currency union is a good thing because it obviates exchange-rate differences and potential tariff problems is a chimera - some nations will inevitably be bled of capital if there are differences in productivity, social spending and economic health between the members. Bereft of the adjustment that normally takes places when one has floating currencies in the presence of these capital flows the incentive to cheat becomes strong, as the alternative is an admission that what you did originally wasn't workable.

Old Blighted
Excerpt: I quote a little bit of Anthony Burgess in my book. Burgess isn’t as famous a name in the futuristic-dystopia biz as Orwell or Huxley, but he was remarkably prophetic and in a rather lightly worn way. His most famous novel is A Clockwork Orange, thanks to the Stanley Kubrick movie. At one point in the book, the precocious psychopathic teen narrator offers his dad some (stolen) money so his parents can enjoy a drink down the pub. “Thanks, son,” says his father. “But we don’t go out much now. We daren’t go out much now, the streets being what they are. Young hooligans and so on. Still, thanks.” Burgess published his book in 1962, an era when working-class Britons lived in cramped row houses on dingy streets that were nevertheless some of the most tranquil on the planet. Their residents kept pigeons and tended vegetable allotments. The idea that the old and not so old would not go out, “the streets being what they are,” “young hooligans and so on,” was not just the stuff of fiction but of utterly transformative fantastic fiction. But it happened in little more than a generation. The men on our TV screens rampaging through the streets were born three decades after Burgess’s novel, yet he had their measure. There is no great “cause,” despite the best efforts of leftie commentators to kit them out with one. They are the children of dependency, the product of what Sir William Beveridge, the father of the British welfare state, called a world without want. And certainly these ski-masked bandits do not want. … My book’s thesis is stated upfront: It starts with the money, but it never stops there—in part because it’s never really about the money. What’s worse than debauching your finances? Debauching your human capital. As London reminds us, much of the Western world is too far down that grim path.

WikiLeaks Leaves Names of Diplomatic Sources in Cables
Excerpt: In a shift of tactics that has alarmed American officials, the antisecrecy organization WikiLeaks has published on the Web nearly 134,000 leaked diplomatic cables in recent days, more than six times the total disclosed publicly since the posting of the leaked State Department documents began last November. A sampling of the documents showed that the newly published cables included the names of some people who had spoken confidentially to American diplomats and whose identities were marked in the cables with the warning “strictly protect.” State Department officials and human rights activists have been concerned that such diplomatic sources, including activists, journalists and academics in authoritarian countries, could face reprisals, including dismissal from their jobs, prosecution or violence. (And, NYT thinks “not printing the names” after telling where on the web to find them leaves NYT with clean hands. I think if a few dozen revealees got together, they could hire lawyers as a class and end up owning NYT. Assuming they don’t just burn it down first. WikiLeaks needs to be dealt with harshly by some alphabet agency. Ron P.)

America’s Secret Libya War
Excerpt: Officially, President Obama handed the lead role of ousting Muammar Gaddafi to the European members of NATO. For this he was criticized by Washington war hawks who suggested that Europeans working with a ragtag team of Libyan rebels was a recipe for stalemate, not victory. But behind the scenes, the U.S. military played an indispensable role in the Libya campaign, deploying far more forces than the administration chose to advertise. And at NATO headquarters outside Brussels, the U.S. was intimately involved in all decisions about how the Libyan rebels should be supported as they rolled up control of cities and oil refineries and marched toward the capital, Tripoli. The Libya campaign was a unique international effort: 15 European nations working with the U.S. and three Arab nations. The air offensive was launched from 29 airbases in six European countries. But only six European nations joined with the U.S. and Canada to fly strikes against Gaddafi’s forces. The scale of the unpublicized U.S. role affirms hawks’ arguments: a divided NATO simply couldn’t have waged the war it did without extensive American help. What the hawks underestimated was the U.S. ability to operate without publicity—in military lingo, beneath the radar. (I guess this means the War Powers Act can be ignored for all time. We don’t need no stinkin’ Congress. Ron P.)

Four Lions Trailer-UK Television to Screen Controversial “Comedy” on Suicide Bombers for Anniversary of 9-11
Excerpt: A controversial film about Muslim suicide bombers is to be screened as part of a season of programmes to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 on Channel 4. It will show Four Lions by comedian Chris Morris days before memorials take place for the terrorist outrages in New York. Insiders at the broadcaster say Morris wanted to air the 2010 film on the anniversary itself, but bosses refused. In the comedy, a group of British terrorists bungle a plan to kill thousands of people at the London Marathon in a terror attack. Channel 4 will premiere it alongside documentaries about heroes from the emergency services and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The Underreporting of Crime is Epidemic
The underreporting of crime in our country has become an epidemic that threatens our Republic with increased violence and urban anarchy. The lack of accurate data about crime in our communities results in more risk to citizens and law enforcement personnel. If towns and cities don’t report crime data accurately, state and federal statistics won’t be accurate and planning and resource allocation cannot be effectively deployed to combat the criminals in our society. It is a bottom-up process. The F.B.I. Uniform Crime Reports are only as accurate as the information they receive, or don’t receive, from local jurisdictions. Underreporting of crime has always existed. Typically 25-30 percent of crimes are not reported to police at all. (I don't know if this has crept into the Calif. Highway Patrol repertoire, but cities and counties were participating in this since the early 90's. CHP officers referred to this as "Kissing it off", i.e., not taking the time, expending the effort65 to write a report, and convincing the crime victim that a report would not solve anything. I knew of an officer who was FIRED for not taking a Hit & Run report, even though there was not enough to locate the offender or prosecute. –DH)

A Vineyard Too Far: People who rail against “fat cats” shouldn’t vacation with them.
Excerpt: The president’s latest Martha’s Vineyard vacation was a public-relations disaster, wholly unnecessary, and in part responsible for Obama’s most recent slide in the polls. Part of the problem was purely coincidental and no one’s fault: Who could have expected that while the president of the United States was resting on an exclusive private beach on a tony island on a calm August day, millions of Eastern Seaboarders around him would be engaged in a media-driven frenzy of emergency preparation and evacuation? Yet most of the negative perception was the president’s own doing. For nearly three years, there has been something strange about the First Family’s ritzy getaway tastes. The annual Martha’s Vineyard rentals were bookended by First Family junkets to Vail, Costa del Sol, and Hawaii. The choice of venues spawned at least three problems for the president that have nothing to do with the First Family’s right, and indeed duty, to enjoy a little well-earned vacation time — or with the fact that other presidents have vacationed in nice places. First, Obama’s fiery rhetoric (“fat-cat bankers,” “corporate jets,” “millionaires and billionaires,” “redistributive change,” “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” etc.) has demonized the better off. … Again, in our upside-down world of race, a Clarence Thomas or a Condoleezza Rice, who grew up amid the authentic African-American struggle against Jim Crow, could never quite be as legitimately “black” as was Barack Obama (preppie, half-white/half-Kenyan), simply because liberal identity politics offers instant superficial authentication in a way real life cannot.

Father slit throats of three daughters in 'honour killing' after they were raped by Gaddafi's troops
Cutting your child’s throat isn’t just a good idea—it’s the Shari’a Law! Who is the bigger monster here, the rapist or the father? ~Bob. Excerpt: A Libyan father killed his three daughters after they were raped by Gaddafi's troops to lift the shame on his family, a human rights group said today. The girls, aged 15, 17 and 18 were allegedly assaulted by soldiers at a school in the town of Tomina, near the war-shattered city of Misrata, during a two-month siege. When they returned home, their father slit their throats in a so-called honour killing, according to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).


  1. Will you be making your book available on Kindle?

  2. has e-book versions. ~Bob