Saturday, September 17, 2011

Political Digest for September 17, 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.

Found some computer time, so a Digest today. ~Bob.

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.

Deep Corruption at the Obama Justice Department
Excerpt: Americans should get furious, and fast, about the abuses. Start rattling the chains. Start ratcheting up the hue and cry. Fire up the masses. It's long past time to force mass resignations at, and possible prosecutions of members of, the Obama Justice Department -- and, more broadly, of the West Wing itself. Forgive all the links, but the scope of the corruption is so large as to defy adequate descriptions, in a single column, of each abomination. The reality is that these Obama/Holder minions at DoJ are dangerous to the very heart of constitutional, republican (small 'r') government. Last fall in the Spectator's print edition I did a broad overview of the problems. In the September issue of The New Criterion, Andy McCarthy does a wonderful job outlining the problems with the Holder department and with other examples of Obamite executive overreach. Of course the Black Panther case, the dismissal of which I (on the Washington Times editorial page) and the Times' ace reporter Jerry Seper on the news side were the first toreport in print (I later discovered that the fabulous Michelle Malkin wrote on it online a day or two earlier), still hasn't been adequately handled. And the outrageous DoJ blocking of non-partisan elections in Kinston, N.C., solely to benefit the Democratic Party , is now being examined in the courts, with the administration having lost, big, in the latest round.

Rick Perry Takes a Stand on Israel
Excerpt: It was a mistake President Obama to distance himself from Israel and seek engagement with the hostile regimes in Syria and Iran. The historic friendship between the United States and Israel stretches from the founding of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. Our nations have developed vital economic and security relationships in an alliance based on shared democratic principles, deep cultural ties and common strategic interests. Historian T.R. Fehrenbach once observed that my home state of Texas and Israel share the experience of “civilized men and women thrown into new and harsh conditions, beset by enemies.” Surrounded by unfriendly neighbors and terror organizations that aim to destroy it, life has never been easy for Israel. Today, the challenges are mounting. The Jewish state faces growing hostility from Turkey. Its three decade-old peace with Egypt hangs by a thread. Iran pursues nuclear weapons its leaders vow to use to annihilate Israel. Terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians from Hezbollah and Hamas continue. And now, the Palestinian leadership is intent on trashing the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the conflict with Israel in favor of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations. The Palestinian plan to win that one-sided endorsement from the UN this month in New York threatens Israel and insults the United States. The US and UN have long supported the idea that Israel and its neighbors should make peace through direct negotiations.

Autistic Man Singing National Anthem Gets Some Help
Excerpt: There is still great hope in humanity, and this video shows that when the entire crowd at Fenway Park comes to the aid of an autistic man singing the National Anthem. Praise God, this is so inspirational. (Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and sincere renditions of our National Anthem I have ever heard. THIS is the America that I love so much. MasterGuns)

If It Feels Right ...
Excerpt: During the summer of 2008, the eminent Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith led a research team that conducted in-depth interviews with 230 young adults from across America. The interviews were part of a larger study that Smith, Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson, Patricia Snell Herzog and others have been conducting on the state of America’s youth. Smith and company asked about the young people’s moral lives, and the results are depressing. It’s not so much that these young Americans are living lives of sin and debauchery, at least no more than you’d expect from 18- to 23-year-olds. What’s disheartening is how bad they are at thinking and talking about moral issues. The interviewers asked open-ended questions about right and wrong, moral dilemmas and the meaning of life. In the rambling answers, which Smith and company recount in a new book, “Lost in Transition,” you see the young people groping to say anything sensible on these matters. But they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary to do so. (We live in a culture where elite (academic) thinking has told us that all cultures are equally valid, even if they practice things we find reprehensible, and all ethics are situational. The 60s preached, "If it feels good, do it," and much of America bought this as a value system. A few years ago, the Marines discovered that the recruits they were getting, unlike past generations, had no values. They developed core Marine values (Honor, Courage, Commitment) which are now taught in boot camp along with traditional military skills. –Bob.)

Can’t figure out why US jobs are going overseas? Read the next four articles. ~Bob.

What Do Corporations Pay in Income Tax?
Excerpt: A number of recent news stories and think tank reports have drawn attention to the amount of income taxes paid by large corpora­tions, says William McBride, an economist with the Tax Foundation. Stories such as these mislead the public. The largest corporations pay the lion's share of taxes. Data collected from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) corporate tax returns shows some of the following finds: The effective U.S. federal corporate tax rate (taxes paid after deductions and credits) has averaged 26 percent between 1994 and 2008. In 2008, the largest corporations (with assets greater than $2.5 billion) paid an effective corporate tax rate of just 21.2 percent. In that same year, midsize and large corporations (those whose assets are within the ranges of $5 million to $100 million and $100 million to $500 million, respectively) paid effective tax rates of 32.5 percent and 31.7 percent, respectively. While the differential between the rates paid by midsize and the largest corporations has given rise to the belief that the largest companies exploit substantial tax loopholes, the fact that large corporations conduct more business in foreign nations creates this divide -- not tax code abuse. Because income received by American companies from foreign operations is taxed by that foreign government, it cannot be double-taxed by the IRS. Therefore, these corporations appear to pay a lower effective tax rate while still shouldering a comparable package of domestic and foreign taxes: Taking into account taxes paid on foreign income, American corporations pay an effective tax rate between 32.1 percent and 33 percent, which is close to the statutory rate of 35 percent. Some corporations actually pay an effective rate greater than 35 percent, if their foreign operations are located in a country with a higher corporate tax rate. Even ignoring taxes to foreign governments, the 1,937 largest U.S. companies were responsible for 68 percent of corporate tax revenue in 2008. This explanation answers squarely the accusation put forth in numerous headlines that the largest corporations dodge their share of the corporate tax burden. As is often the case in tax discussions, anecdotes do not tell the whole story.

Excerpt: The number and scope of federal regulations, along with the costs of those regulations and the number of federal regulators, are all growing despite an executive order from President Obama that was touted as a measure to curb over-regulation, according to a new report by the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. The report says the Obama administration has "imposed 75 new major regulations costing more than $380 billion over ten years." In addition, the report says there are 219 more "economically significant regulations" in the works which will cost businesses $100 million or more each year -- for a minimum cost of $21 billion over ten years. The number of pages in the Federal Register, in which such rules are recorded, is increasing rapidly, the report says, and "pages devoted to final rules rose by 20 percent between 2009 and 2010, and proposed rules have increased from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010."

Labor Market Dysfunction during the Great Recession
Excerpt: A new paper by researchers Kyle F. Herkenhoff and Lee E. Ohanian of the National Bureau of Economic Research documents the abnormally slow recovery in the labor market during the Great Recession and analyzes how mortgage modification policies contributed to delayed recovery. By making modifications means-tested by reducing mortgage payments based on a borrower's current income, these programs change the incentive for households to relocate from a relatively poor labor market to a better labor market. Herkenhoff and Ohanian find that modifications raise the unemployment rate by about 0.5 percentage points and reduce output by about 1 percent. This reflects both lower employment and lower productivity, which is the result of individuals losing skills as unemployment duration is longer.

EPA Regulations Still Killing Jobs
Excerpt: Steven Miller, CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, warns of job losses totaling 1.4 million over the next eight years and a 23% jump in electricity rates in states dependent on coal-fired plants. Well, Obama did promise he would make energy prices "necessarily skyrocket."

GOP lawmaker wants probe of White House support of LightSquared
Excerpt: Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces subpanel, called Thursday for an investigation of whether the White House inappropriately intervened to support wireless startup LightSquared. “In my capacity as a member of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, I will be asking Chairman [Darrell] Issa [(R-Calif.)] and ranking member [Edolphus] Towns [(D-N.Y.)] to promptly investigate this matter,” Turner said at a subcommittee hearing Thursday.

Solyndra Scandal Ends Green Jobs Myth
Excerpt: President Barack Obama's solution for America's unemployment woes has been a stubborn campaign to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on economic "stimulus"--much of it on so-called "green jobs." Report after report has shown the approach to be a total failure. And now, a new scandal involving Solyndra, a bankrupt solar panel company in California, should be the final nail in the coffin for the government’s meddling in the free market. "[W]e can see the positive impacts [of the stimulus] right here at Solyndra," Obama claimed when he spoke at the company's newly unveiled factory in May of last year. He was correct that the results of his stimulus would be on display at that factory. But he was wrong that those results would be positive. Little more than a year later, the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to lay off more than 1,000 employees.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
Excerpt: In the Mauritanian village of Bassiknou, al-Qaida members approach a crowd at a local trading market. Carrying video cameras, they preach fiery sermons encouraging locals to engage in holy war and ask those at the market if they will read aloud poems for the late Osama bin Laden. The scene from early last month represents one of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)'s most important contributions as part of the al-Qaida network: propaganda. When picked up and distributed by news outlets, AQIM videos, public statements and stories of its terrorist attacks and kidnappings lend legitimacy to the global al-Qaida network and moral support to al-Qaida fighters operating in other branches.

Gird Your Loins, This Is War Against Capitalist Bloodsucker America: New Black Panther President Shabazz Tells Harlem Audience To Fight War Here At Home
I thought you would find this story from horrifying. This is the environment Obama came from on the South Side of Chicago. I fear this is his army. (Note the “uniform” Pres. Shabazz has on.) Why else would the D.O.J. give the New Black Panthers a pass when they threatened a “white” (a civil rights activists by the way), at a polling place in 2010? As the Left continues to call the Tea Party racists, they are the ones who continue to perpetuate the hatred. Frightening. Sad. Scary. Call me crazy. Call me paranoid. I’m just sayin’. –Gail

The Cook Report: Isn’t That Special?
Excerpt: Whenever there’s a special election for a House or Senate seat, the two parties react predictably. The victorious party proclaims that the election was a national referendum of huge significance. The losing party attributes the outcome to local problems—perhaps the candidate was weak or the campaign was disorganized and off-message. In truth, special elections aren’t all the same. Sometimes they tell us something about what is going on nationally; other times the peculiar aspects of the election make it difficult, if not impossible, to divine any relevance beyond the boundaries of that district. Often the outcome reflects a combination of factors—some uniquely local, some national. (…) More instructive was the outcome in New York’s 9th Congressional District, a seat that opened when amateur photographer Anthony Weiner resigned. This district voted 67 percent for Al Gore in 2000, 56 percent for John Kerry in 2004, and 55 percent for Barack Obama in 2008 (an admittedly anomalous trend line). Yet Republican Bob Turner, who lost to Weiner 59 percent to 41 percent last November, defeated Democrat David Weprin 54 percent to 46 percent. (…) So was the loss local and unique, or was it national and significant? The answer is probably both.

Carville: I’d like to see some panic at the White House right about now
Excerpt: The man who once famously advised Bill Clinton and the news media that “it’s the economy, stupid” has some advice for the famously cool Barack Obama. Look around for a bright red button in the Oval Office labeled “panic,” and then — hit it. Repeatedly: People often ask me what advice I would give the White House about various things. Today I was mulling over election results from New York and Nevada while thinking about that very question. What should the White House do now? One word came to mind: Panic. … Carville also wants Eric Holder to start indicting people on Wall Street, and if he doesn’t, advises Obama to can him. That’s about as blatant a call for politicizing prosecutions in the US as I’ve ever heard, and it’s utterly shameful. Does anyone believe that Holder’s DoJ wouldn’t have gladly indicted people on Wall Street if the career prosecutors who make the cases think they could sustain a conviction? Telling a President to get indictments issued in order to save his political skin regardless of whether actual criminal wrongdoing could be proven would put Obama in position to be impeached, not winning a second term. Besides, thanks to Operation Fast and Furious and now Solyndra, Holder has more to worry about indictments coming against officials in the executive branch — including, perhaps, himself. Anyone recall when politicizing the DoJ was bad? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

These Are Your Servicemembers
Excerpt: What kind of person is willing to sacrifice everything nice, everything they love to go into some of the worst places in the world to make a difference and protect America? Those unique creatures we call servicemembers. They are your warriors on the pointy end of the spear. They will put their own concern aside and demonstrate countless selfless acts that will take everything from them and sometimes it does. Through repeated selfless acts and dedication they continue to succeed. These are your servicemembers. (With my thanks and undying support for those who serve today, standing on the wall to protect everything we hold dear. MasterGuns)

Stimulus Jr. quotes from The Patriot Post
Obama has a little work to do to gain support for Stimulus Jr. -- from his own party.
"I have serious questions about the level of spending that President Obama proposed." --Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
"I am not supporting a repeal of tax cuts for the oil industry unless there are other industries that contribute. ... That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that. Maybe it's just for his election." --Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
"When you start singling out certain industries [oil and gas], there's an unfairness to it. On the pay-fors, I have a problem." --Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
"Every dollar that is spent on the jobs bill ... is not going to be available to Congress to deal with the debt. And to me, the top priority of ours should be long-term major debt reduction." --Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT)

Testimony Under Pressure from The Patriot Post
U.S. Air Force Gen. William Shelton dropped a bomb this week when he alleged that the White House had pressured him to modify testimony before Congress to make it more favorable toward a company that made donations to Democrats. The four-star Air Force general oversees U.S. Space Command, and he was scheduled to testify before a House committee on Aug. 3 regarding a new wireless project of a satellite broadband company in Virginia called LightSquared. Shelton's testimony was leaked in advance, revealing that he was prepared to tell the committee that LightSquared's project would interfere with the military's sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities. The majority owner of LightSquared, however, is an investment fund run by Democrat donor Philip Falcone. The company saw that the testimony could damage their business, and the White House intervened. Shelton says the White House requested that he alter his testimony to voice support for the administration's policy of adding more broadband for commercial use and to say that the Pentagon would work to resolve questions regarding LightSquared with testing in only 90 days. It seems that this administration will stop at nothing to politicize any issue in favor of their donors. Congress has a duty to investigate and find out just who pressured Shelton, and from whom those orders came.

Is Gillibrand the next Weprin?
The shocking Republican landslide in Anthony Weiner’s Brooklyn-Queens congressional district should not only be a wake-up call to President Obama but to New York’s Republicans. They need to get serious and find themselves a creditable and impressive candidate to run next year against incumbent Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
The NY-9 results suggest Gillibrand can be beaten by someone who runs a clever and well-wrought campaign. Gillibrand hasn’t made the sale with New York’s voters despite having served in the Senate for nearly three years. She was appointed to the seat in 2009, and then won it herself last year against a comically hapless Republican.

Turkey no economic powerhouse, Erdogan’s credit bubble will soon explode
Excerpt: Some refer to him as “the Middle East’s new sultan in a neo-Ottoman empire” – yet the truth about Erdogan’s kingdom is utterly different. We are not facing an economic power, but rather, a state whose credit bubble will be exploding any moment now and bringing down its economy. The budget deficit of the collapsing Greece compared to its GDP stands at some 10%, and the world is alarmed. At the same time, Turkey’s deficit is at 9.5%, yet some members of the financial media describe the Turkish economy as a success story (for comparison’s sake, Israel’s deficit stands at some 3% and is expected to decline to 2% this year.) While Turkey’s economy grew by some 10% this year, this was merely the result of financial manipulation.

Angry activists say Turkey handed deserted officer to Syria
Excerpt: Syrian activists are denouncing the Turkish government in the wake of the Syrian regime's announcement that it has a deserted army officer in custody. Lt. Col. Hussein al-Harmoush defected months ago and began broadcasting video statements denouncing the Syrian government, before eventually fleeing to neighboring Turkey. News of his detention by Syria comes amid persistent international consternation with that country's regime for its fierce crackdown on anti-government protesters, a six-month outpouring that has resulted in more than 2,600 deaths.

Russia Sends Nuclear Subs To Patrol Cyprus Waters - Report
Excerpt: Russia has sent two nuclear-powered submarines to patrol Eastern Mediterranean waters around Cyprus and enforce the island's right to explore for undersea oil and gas in its territorial seas, according to information from, citing a Russian FM spokesman. Alexander Lukashevich said that Russia supports Cyprus and guarantees its security if it is threatened: "Under the UN Convention on International Law, among 162 other signatory states, including Cyprus, each state has sovereign rights in its EEZ for exploring, exploiting and protecting both live and non-living natural resources, including water, the seabed and subsoil," said Lukashevich in comments made on August 19th and reported by (in Greek).

Judge's ruling on Miranda rights in terrorism case touches off legal debate
Excerpt: A judge's decision Thursday to let prosecutors use a terrorism suspect's incriminating statements -- even though he wasn't read his rights -- has triggered a legal debate. Some say it was the right call, because agents needed to find out quickly whether other suicide bombers were in the air. Others say the ruling sets a dangerous precedent that could open the door to coerced confessions. The case involves Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, who goes on trial Oct. 11 on charges that he tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underwear.

Wounded troops shot dead after bomb in Thai south
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Five soldiers were killed after suspected insurgents opened fire on those injured in a roadside bombing in Thailand's restive deep south on Thursday, police said. The blast targeted an army truck carrying six troops in Pattani province, one of three provinces in the Muslim-majority deep south where a seven-year rebellion has claimed thousands of lives. Police said all five of the dead had suffered injuries in the explosion, but had also been shot in the head after apparently being dragged from the wreckage. One soldier remains in a critical condition.

Pakistan: Muslim strangles his niece on suspicion she had illicit relations with Christian
Excerpt: It is no accident or coincidence that Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but "the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour 'provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'" And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values." Nonetheless, the media drumbeat is constant: honor killings have nothing to do with Islam. And as long as that continues, we will see more and more murders like this one.

China Faces Hard Landing
Excerpt: China risks hard landing as global woes spread ... China's carefully-managed soft landing is turning harder by the day, threatening to deflate the torrid credit bubble of the past three years. Beijing is alarmed by inflation above 6pc and price-to-income ratios for property in the rich coastal cities ... "There is a large potential risk," said Zhu Min, the deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund and a former Chinese official. Mr Zhu said China had doubled the loan ratio from below 100pc of GDP before the Lehman crisis to roughly 200pc today. The danger is that this excess could start to unwind just as the West goes into a sharp downturn, and possibly a double-dip recession. China and emerging Asia are fundamentally in weaker shape this time, having used up their "fiscal cushions", leaving them with little leeway to cope with a fresh global shock. – UK Telegraph

President Obama Signs The Law Giving Cover To Politically Connected Law Firm Wilmer Hale For Its 214 Million Dollar Malpractice !
Excerpt: Yes…the President signed the all important new Patent Law Bill…but buried within the bill was a provision to give cover to a big corporate law firm – Wilmer Hale – so that it now does not have to pay the $214 million malpractice deal that it would otherwise have had to. So a big win for the SPECIAL INTERESTS and a politically connected law firm.

The Big Hoss: With Perry’s entry, the GOP presidential race got the adrenaline shot it lacked.
Excerpt: You could tell Rick Perry was going to be a big problem for Mitt Romney as soon as the Texas governor started blowing him kisses. Asked a question on his first campaign leg about a Romney talking point, Perry brushed it off with a smooch and said, “Send him my love.” It was classic Perry — audacious, a little gauche, and entertaining as hell. Surely, Romney didn’t get blown many “right back atcha” kisses in the offices of Bain Capital or during his time as Massachusetts governor. The message was that Romney was about to get a challenge from a competitor less polite and earnest than erstwhile candidate Tim Pawlenty.

Excerpt: Speaker of the House John Boehner gave an important address to the Economic Club of Washington today. The speech has a lot of potential newsmakers. The press will probably most immediately focus on the criticism of the president: “The president’s proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America”. Others will focus on the specific policies that the speaker highlights. First, the need for more sensible and efficient regulation and the REINS Act’s promise in reaching this goal. Second, the need for tax reform. And finally, the pro-growth benefits of getting debt and spending under control. All are absolutely on the mark, while a continuation of the status quo — government-centric policies, broken entitlement programs, anti-growth redistributionist philosophies, and anti-competitive tax and regulatory schemes — is dangerous to America.

LightSquared: Another Solyndra?: A pattern of providing White House support to favored companies — at taxpayer risk — is emerging.
Excerpt: There’s a White House scandal involving favoritism towards a specific company high on President Obama’s political agenda — and it’s not Solyndra. In this case, the company owner happens to be a big Democratic Party donor. And in the pursuit of giving preference to a specific company, the White House undercut a legendary four-star general and potentially undermined U.S. national security. Adding fuel to the explosive story: at one time President Obama was a personal investor, with $50,000 of his own money. The company? It’s called LightSquared. And you’re likely to hear more about it in the future. It includes the White House overruling the Pentagon, endangering the American GPS commercial marketplace and playing favorites to a single company — all to please a well positioned Democratic donor and advance an Obama pet project. (Oddly, 'green' businesses seem based on the same business model as Chicago asphalt contractors. –Iowahawk.)

Funny Tweets
gdthomp01 gary thompson by BradThor
Just think how many guns could've been bought & shipped to Mexican drug lords with the money we wasted on Solyndra. #tcot #p2 #solargate

Ladies, help me out here. What does a man normally intend 2 do 2 U when he begins w/ preamble, "If you love me then..." #Obama #passthisbill

Obama I'm confused. If I see someone suspicious should I use #AttackWatch or this illegal class III AK-47 an ATF agent gave me? #tcot

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