Friday, September 2, 2011

Political Digest for September 2, 2011

Posts may be limited over the long weekend. My bride of 19 years doesn’t think working on the blog is “romantic” for our anniversary. Go figure. I’ll try to check to see if Blogspot has pulled it for a third week, and/or fails to post what I’ll leave for Saturday, if I can get computer time. ~Bob.

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.

Book Recommendation: The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins
The Fall of Rome was recommended to me by a friend who had read my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic: and what you can do to prevent it. Dr. Ward-Perkins has done truth and scholarship a service with this short book, doubtless at some discomfort in modern academia. He is scrupulous in research and in not going beyond the extant evidence, but he dispels the PC notion that Romans welcomed the barbarians and together they fairly-peacefully transformed Europe—presumably laying the foundation for today’s early-retirement, high-vacation E-utopia. I have a master’s in history, but am far more of a dilettante than a scholar in the field, so I found the fact-base focus on the distribution of high-quality Roman pot shards as opposed to infantry tactics in key battles a bit dry. But Dr. Ward-Perkins draws many compelling factors together. His description (p136) of how specialization contributed to the collapse of living standards and population when the decline and fall forced people to a localized, subsistence economy was frightening. Most Americans are ill-prepared to survive in such a world, where our highly-compensated, specialized skills will be of little use, and I fear that it may well be coming. But, as he points out in his chilling closing, people in the late Roman Republic could no more imagine that things wouldn’t go on forever as they always had, than most citizens of the West can today. Both Europe and America have been invaded, if you will, by people from—in the PC phrase—less complex cultures. While they carry no battle axes (unless sold to them by the ATF, I suppose), neither are they met by the Legion’s shield-wall, short swords and pila. I suspect that Dr. Ward-Perkins looked on the recent riots in Britain and realized that the UK, Europe and America have created homegrown Visigoths and Vandals in our cities. I fear this is not so much an interesting book about the past as a picture of our future.

Coincidences don’t happen in presidential politics. Ever.
Excerpt: There are no coincidences in presidential politics. Strategists spend hours poring over every word a president utters, every policy position he takes and every state he visits, a level of attention to detail that makes happenstance virtually nonexistent. And so, when the White House announced today that President Obama would deliver his much-anticipated jobs speech on Sept. 7 at 8 pm — the exact same day and time that the 2012 Republican candidates are scheduled to debate in California — the idea that the timing was purely coincidental was, well, far-fetched. It’s clear that this White House saw an opportunity to drive a major — and direct — contrast between President Obama and his potential Republican rivals and took it. As to whether that’s a good idea, strategists — even within the Democratic party — are divided. (Every Republican member should politely decline to attend, saying, “We regret the President scheduled this speech when he knew we were committed to watching the debate. Since we expect him to offer the same tax and spend solutions that have created this economic mess, we will be watching the previously-scheduled even, but will read a copy of his speech with interest.” [I wrote this before he folded.] ~Bob.)

Obama relents on jobs speech to Congress, moves address to Sept. 8
Even the reliably-liberal Washington Post wasn’t buying coincidence—see above—BO had to cave. If you want to watch the NFL instead, go ahead. All BO will offer will be more taxes, more spending, more anti-jobs regulation, more “shared-sacrifice-every-one-must-chip-in-except-my-base-the-47%-who-pay-no-income-taxes.” You won’t miss a thing. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama will address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8 to lay out his plan for jobs and the economy, the White House announced Wednesday night. The date is one day later than the president requested earlier Wednesday, but that date conflicted with a scheduled debate of Republican presidential candidates in California, drawing objections from GOP lawmakers. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) responded by suggesting that Obama come to Capitol Hill on Thursday night, citing the need for the House to conduct a “security sweep” in its first day back in session. “It is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks,” Boehner wrote in his response letter to Obama.

Good comment on the tussle: Boehner to Obama: How about giving your speech the day after the GOP debate instead?
Excerpt: Meanwhile, via Mediaite, enjoy the clip below as the flack-in-chief cheerily lies through his teeth and then suggests that if Republicans have a problem with the timing, they can go right ahead and reschedule their debate — which has been set for months — in order to accommodate His Highness. You know what the worst part of this little power play is? It’s not that O is so petty that he’d try to bigfoot his competition. That can be excused, sort of, on “politics ain’t beanbag” grounds. It’s not that his jobs plan won’t do much to help or that everyone — everyone — knows that the speech will reek, filled as it’ll surely be with the usual tedious bromides from the “adult in the room” about how mean Congress is, etc. By now, expectations for Obama are so low that it’s almost impossible for him to disappoint. It’s not that doing this is actually quite stupid politically, since it risks turning the GOP debate from a Perry/Romney/Bachmann free-for-all into a free-fire zone for attacks on Obama’s economic plan. Said one Democratic consultant, “It’s a bad idea [and] seems a little small. And it suggests perhaps his jobs plan won’t be that appealing because now the coverage will be about the strategy and not the substance.” It’s not even that he’s suddenly demanding the gravitas of a joint session, signaling a crisis of utmost national urgency, after having jerked around on this singularly important issue for two and a half years. Better late than never, I guess. The worst part is that, with the economy on the brink of a double-dip and consumer confidence falling off a cliff, this guy’s mind is still so preoccupied with the campaign that he can’t muster a moment of presidential leadership without counterprogramming it against a Republican primary event. He could have given this speech at any point. Six months ago, the day after the debt-ceiling deal was struck, last week, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day before the Republican debate, the day after. Any of those would have been fine — the earlier the better, of course, given the magnitude of the problem — but that doesn’t occur to him because his own reelection is ever foremost in his imagination. We’ve known that for months, ever since he rolled out his horrendous budget that punted on entitlements so that he’d have a freer hand to demagogue the GOP, but in case you forgot, let this refresh your memory. If you could somehow promise him right now that he’ll get a second term no matter what happens with jobs, he’d tear the speech up and watch the Packers/Saints game himself. Pathetic.

Important: Solyndra Filing a Disaster for Obama
I predict that the word “Solyndra” will not be uttered in BO’s jobs speech, nor will it be in a question from any of the MSM, except, perhaps FOX. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama faces political catastrophe in the form of Solyndra -- a San Francisco Bay area solar company that he touted as a gleaming example of green technology. It has announced it will declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy. More than 1,100 people will lose their jobs. During a visit to the Fremont facility in spring of 2010, the President said the factory "is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. " It's not his statements the administration will regret; it's the loan guarantees. The President was celebrating $535 million in federal promises from the Department of Energy to the solar startup. The administration didn't do its due diligence, says the Government Accountability Office. "There's a consequence if you don't follow a rigorous process that's transparent," Franklin Rusco of GAO told the website iWatch News.

Excerpt: You will be shocked to learn that Solyndra’s majority owner, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign.

King’s speech writes itself
Excerpt: OK, so the idea doesn’t exactly send a tingle up your leg or make you swoon with visions of Hope & Change. In that case, you don’t have to wait a minute longer for him to actually declare how he’ll create jobs. Here’s what he will say next week. “Folks are hurtin’.” “We have to invest in the future.” “We need a balanced approach.” “My hope and expectation is that we can put country before party and get something done for the American people.” The first three are boilerplate arguments for ever-more government spending and ever-higher taxes. Whatever else he says, that will be the heart of his “pivot” to jobs. There’s nothing new in the approach because it’s exactly what he’s said and done since he took office. He probably calls for tax hikes in his sleep. It’s the last phrase -- “put country before party” -- that is especially noteworthy and troubling.

Poll: President Obama approval on economy dips
Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s disapproval rating has hit yet another series of new lows on his handling of the economy, the federal budget deficit and unemployment, a new poll shows. Nearly two-thirds — 65 percent — of respondents to a CNN/ORD poll released Thursday said they disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy. Voters also gave thumbs down to other aspects of Obama’s policies as they relate to the economy. CNN found that 66 percent of respondents disapproved of Obama’s handling of the federal deficit, and 62 percent disapproved of his handling of unemployment.

Turkish need for Israeli UAVs may unite once close allies
Excerpt: Turkey's patience in the face of frequent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK ) ended last week, when it began a war targeted at areas with high concentrations of members of the movement, which is defined as a terrorist organization. On Thursday the Turkish army announced that it had killed 100 PKK members in areas along the Iraqi border and inside Iraq as well, a week after the PKK killed eight Turkish soldiers. Turkey censured Israel for its activities in Gaza, but operates in a similar manner against the PKK: It penetrates Iraq's air space and bombs villages or sites suspected of housing PKK members, causing the deaths of innocent people, including women and children. And like Israeli diplomats, Turkey's ambassador was summoned to a reprimand: the Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, demanded of the ambassador that his country cease its military activities on Iraqi soil immediately. Members of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament added the demand for an apology for Turkey's attacks in its country to this reprimand.

Special Forces impersonator in Md. gets 21 months
Excerpt: For years, William Hillar's tales about his exploits as an Army Green Beret and a puffed up resume helped him land jobs teaching counterterrorism and drug and human trafficking interdiction, but the scheme has now earned him 21 months in federal prison. Hillar, 66, of Millersville, pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier this year and was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court. He must pay $170,000 in restitution to the law enforcement and first responder organizations and schools that hired him believing that he had spent 28 years in the U.S. Special Forces, reaching the rank of colonel. He must also perform 500 community service hours at Maryland's veteran cemeteries. His scheme started to unravel when a skeptical veteran emailed members of the Special Forces community to see if anyone knew of Hillar, former Green Beret Jeff Hinton testified Tuesday. Hillar's story was suspicious because there were only a handful of colonels during the period Hillar claimed to have served, he said. (Next they’ll take away the “V” I’ve been wearing on my Good Conduct Medal. [It’s a vet joke.] Nice they got one of these mutts. ~Bob.)

Screw Up, Move Up, Cover Up: Why are those responsible for Fast and Furious getting new federal jobs?
Excerpt: There are now enough Operation Fast and Furious officials playing hide-and-seek in the Obama administration to fill a “rubber room.” That’s the nickname for taxpayer-subsidized holding pens — such as the ones in the New York City public schools — where crooked employees are separated from the system and paid to do nothing. Perhaps the White House can stimulate a few construction jobs by adding an entire rubber room annex for “reassigned” scandal bureaucrats at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
. It’s getting mighty crowded.

Excerpt: When asked what posed the greatest challenge to statesmen, Harold Macmillan, the former British prime minister, responded, “Events, my dear boy, events.” That’s because events tend to throw everybody off their plan. For example, Hurricane Irene ended President Obama’s vacation early. And the hurricane’s steady deterioration upset the plans of news producers who anticipated something more dramatic for their wall-to-wall coverage. In a similar fashion, Obama and his advisers predicted the economy would do better — much better — than it has, and those predictions were wrong. The president blames events: the European debt crisis, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the political tsunami of the 2010 elections. Some of that is plausible, but the two years of anemic job and economic growth that preceded those events can hardly be blamed on them. An earthquake in Japan didn’t make Obama’s green-jobs initiative a bust, and the euro crisis didn’t render “shovel-ready jobs” a myth. And it’s those failures that have scuttled Obama’s plans for an easy reelection in 2012 and left him and his supporters stunned and shocked.

Excerpt: As recent news stories explain, the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI), which gives money to workers who become disabled, will be insolvent in six years. While the causes of this trend are various, a new book suggests that the solution might be simple: Encourage people with disabilities to work, rather than encouraging them not to. The explosion in disability is easy enough to document. Over the last ten years alone, the number of disability recipients has grown by about 50 percent. The average award has grown faster than inflation. A large portion of this has to do with the simple fact that our population is aging. As you can see on this spreadsheet, which I created with federal data, the increase in disability beneficiaries occurred overwhelmingly among those 50 and older — a demographic that is growing as the Baby Boomers join its ranks. For example, between 2000 and 2010, the number of Americans in the 55–59 age bracket rose by 42 percent. But at the same time, the number of disability beneficiaries in this demographic grew by 73 percent — meaning that while the ranks of the middle-aged and elderly have swelled, individuals in these ranks have become more likely to claim disability. If Americans in each age bracket still went on disability at the rate they did in 2000, there would be 22 percent fewer beneficiaries.

Yes, It Is a Ponzi Scheme: In fact, Social Security is a bit worse than that.
Excerpt: Texas governor Rick Perry is being criticized for calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” Even Mitt Romney is reportedly preparing to attack him for holding such a radical view. But if anything, Perry was being too kind. The original Ponzi scheme was the brainchild of Charles Ponzi. Starting in 1916, the poor but enterprising Italian immigrant convinced people to allow him to invest their money. However, Ponzi never actually made any investments. He simply took the money he was given by later investors and gave it to his early investors, providing those early investors with a handsome profit. He then used these satisfied early investors as advertisements to get more investors. Unfortunately, in order to keep paying previous investors, Ponzi had to continue finding more and more new investors. Eventually, he couldn’t expand the number of new investors fast enough, and the scheme collapsed. Ponzi was convicted of fraud and sent to prison. Social Security, on the other hand, forces people to invest in it through a mandatory payroll tax. A small portion of that money is used to buy special-issue Treasury bonds that the government will eventually have to repay, but the vast majority of the money you pay in Social Security taxes is not invested in anything. Instead, the money you pay into the system is used to pay benefits to those “early investors” who are retired today. When you retire, you will have to rely on the next generation of workers behind you to pay the taxes that will finance your benefits. As with Ponzi’s scheme, this turns out to be a very good deal for those who got in early. … Social Security is facing more than $20 trillion in unfunded future liabilities. Raising taxes and cutting benefits enough to keep the program limping along will obviously mean an ever-worsening deal for younger workers. They will be forced to pay more and get less.

Wisconsin schools buck union to cut health costs
Excerpt: The Hartland-Lakeside School District, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee in tiny Hartland, Wis., had a problem in its collective bargaining contract with the local teachers union. The contract required the school district to purchase health insurance from a company called WEA Trust. The creation of Wisconsin's largest teachers union -- "WEA" stands for Wisconsin Education Association -- WEA Trust made money when union officials used collective bargaining agreements to steer profitable business its way. The problem for Hartland-Lakeside was that WEA Trust was charging significantly higher rates than the school district could find on the open market. School officials knew that because they got a better deal from United HealthCare for coverage of nonunion employees. On more than one occasion, Superintendent Glenn Schilling asked WEA Trust why the rates were so high. "I could never get a definitive answer on that," says Schilling.

Worth Reading: The Obama Administration's Lone Star Mistake
Excerpt: The Obama administration made what was supposed to be a pre-emptive strike on Texas Governor Rick Perry, but which turned out to be, in baseball terms, a “swing … and a miss.” The administration unleashed Education Secretary Arne Duncan to attack Texas’s record on education, with Duncan saying he feels “very, very badly for the children.” When pressed to explain precisely what Texas has done wrong on education, Duncan came up a bit short on specifics. The Education Secretary’s arguments have generated a lot of useful discussion across the web, but I thought I would throw some rudimentary data analysis into the picture. To start, if you want to get an accurate picture of the quality of a school system, you ideally want to measure inputs and outputs: what does a school system generate given what it starts with? One input is money, which we’ll look at. But another, more important, input is the kids entering the system. Put simply, Texas schools start with many kids from poor or single parent homes, or for whom English isn’t a first language. You wouldn’t, after all, expect schools in inner city Chicago—those once overseen by Secretary Duncan—to outperform schools in suburban Lake Forest. Controlling by race isn’t a perfect way to handle this, but to ignore race is to say that schools bear full responsibility for the performance of kids who come from extremely challenging backgrounds, which is silly. … Texas looks particularly good when you consider how much it spends on education. The next chart shows the weighted average fourth and eighth grade reading and math scores against state spending per pupil. The idea is to get some feel for the “bank for the buck” generated by the education systems of different states. The diagonal regression line shows the average relationship between spending and test scores—for each extra thousand dollars of per pupil spending, average test scores rise by around 1.1 points. The chart and regression exclude two huge outliers, Hawaii and Washington, D.C., which have very high per pupil spending but generate low test scores even after adjusting for the racial composition of their populations. (Hawaii may fall into this group because of its large population of Pacific Islanders, who are lumped together with generally high-performing Asian students. D.C. is, well, D.C.)

Hurricane Irene Rebuilding Is No Economic Boost
Anyone who thinks that a hurricane is good for the economy would think an Iranian terror nuke attack on DC would be a great thing. Okay, bad example, but you get my point. ~Bob. Excerpt: Get ready for a bunch of demand-side economists telling you the post-Hurricane Irene rebuilding phase is a good thing for future economic growth. Don't believe it. Who has it right? Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., delivered my favorite quote on the subject to the New York Times: "If you're in the middle of recession, you just wander around blowing up buildings, and that would be your path to prosperity. And clearly that's not the case. It's not the case with a natural disaster either." Echoing this thought, Ian Shepherdson, the chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, bluntly noted on CNBC's website that "no one is made better off by the destruction of their home or workplace." He acknowledged the benefits of reconstruction work, but he dismissed the idea that somehow this is a net win for the economy. It sounds to me like both of these gentlemen are recalling the parable of the broken window, introduced by French free-market philosopher Frederic Bastiat in an 1850 essay called "That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Unseen." While Bastiat agrees that repairing broken windows is a good thing, encouraging the glazier's trade and income, he argues that it is quite different from the idea that breaking windows is a good thing, in that it would cause money to circulate and encourage industry in general. Why? Because a shopkeeper who spends money to fix broken windows cannot spend or invest that money on new ventures.

DOJ Advises Gibson Guitar to Export Labor to Madagascar
The Gibson Guitar saga has taken a sinister turn. It seems that the Department of Justice wasn’t satisfied with merely raiding the law abiding factories of Gibson Guitar with armed agents, shutting down their operation costing them millions, and leaving the American company in the dark as to how to proceed without going out of business. Now, according to CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, agents of the United States government are bluntly informing them that they’d be better off shipping their manufacturing labor overseas.

Huntsman tax plan goes big and bold
This would certainly be more pro-growth, pro-jobs than any thought that has crossed Obama’s mind. One problem would be the effect on the already disastrous housing market of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction (and the property tax deduction?). ~Bob. Current polls say Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn’t a top tier candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. But he certainly has a top-tier economic plan. Huntsman will offer a broad proposal later today – covering taxes, regulation, trade and energy. But I already had a peek at the tax part. And I think it is excellent. Huntsman says he would do the following: 1) Eliminate all deductions and credits in favor of three drastically lower rates of 8%, 14% and 23%. 2) Eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. 3) Eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends in order to eliminate the double taxation on investment. 4) Reduce the corporate rate from 35% to 25%. Huntsman would also shift to a territorial tax system and implement a tax holiday for the repatriation of foreign earnings.

Too Many Takers --- Not Enough Givers
Excerpt: The Irish cabdriver complained almost nonstop during our half-hour drive to the Belfast International Airport. He especially worried about the job prospects for his 20-something son and, for that matter, about those for the generation of young people who face a "sh-tty" future on this beautiful island full of friendly people. "Give me," I finally said, "the No. 1 reason for the economic problems here." He looked almost stunned. "Huh..." he said, "let me think." We drove silently for nearly a half-mile. Then he turned to me and said, "Too many takers — not enough givers." Little by little, inch by inch, drop by drop, governments both in America and in Europe began taking more and more from people, diminishing the incentive of those on both sides of the transaction — the taker and the giver. In America, nearly half of wage earners pay not one single dime in federal income taxes. Many of them trudge down to the local polling place or vote via absentee ballot — and vote themselves a raise.

Worth Reading: What's Off the Table in 2012?
Excerpt: What should we not expect during next summer's presidential campaign, given what was put off-limits in 2008 and later? There is much talk about what some are perceiving as the fringe religiosity of possible Republican primary candidates such as Michele Bachman and Rick Perry. But the media established the precedent four years ago that no candidate can be held responsible for his church. Barack Obama's pastor of more than 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was an unapologetic racist and anti-Semite, and a raving conspiracy theorist whose parishioners gave him standing ovations for his hate-filled "G-d damn America" rants. Prior education and college preparation should not be 2012 issues either. Recent articles have referred to a leaked Texas A&M undergraduate transcript of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, showing some dismal grades and thus apparent proof that Perry was not much of a past student -- or current thinker. But in this regard, Obama has never released either his Occidental or Columbia transcripts. In response, the media in 2008 shrugged and chose not to pursue the matter the way it had with the C-grade records of George W. Bush, Al Gore and John Kerry. Apparently Obama has established another wise precedent that long-ago college transcripts, like churchgoing, are irrelevant. Civility is off the table, too. Candidate Obama once called sitting president Bush "unpatriotic" for borrowing $4 trillion in eight years -- a sum he matched in less than three. He advised Latinos to "punish our enemies" and mocked opponents for wanting to put "alligators and moats" on the border. Obama's advisors reportedly promised to "Kill Romney." So civility is out the window, and 2012 will once again be a typically American no-holds-barred slugfest of anything goes from both sides. Public campaign financing won't come up either. Both sides will raise obscene amounts of money.

Admitting Clarence Thomas’ genius
Excerpt: In the glossy pages of The New Yorker, in graceful prose and with good reporting, the dreams and nightmares of the admirers of Barack Obama and his policies lie exposed. The dreams include, this week, as Tripoli seemed about to fall, the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, hailing Obama’s “calculated modesty.” The nightmare appears in last week’s issue, in Jeffrey Toobin’s lengthy article on Supreme Court jurisprudence, titled “Partners” and subtitled “Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan?” It’s possible to read the article as a partisan hit, but the bulk of it is worthy of attention because Toobin, despite his obvious distaste for Justice Thomas’ views, takes him seriously as a judicial thinker and pathfinder. “In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court,” Toobin writes. “Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.” Toobin is on particularly strong ground when he discusses the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. For years, it was considered a dead letter in sophisticated legal circles, protecting only the right to bear arms as a member of the National Guard.

Unredacted US embassy cables available online after WikiLeaks breach
Excerpt: WikiLeaks published a statement blaming the documents' release on the Guardian's book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, by investigations editor David Leigh and Luke Harding, published in February 2011. The statement, released on WikiLeaks's official Twitter feed, alleged: "A Guardian journalist has, in a previously undetected act of gross negligence or malice, and in violation of a signed security agreement with the Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, disclosed top secret decryption passwords to the entire, unredacted, WikiLeaks Cablegate archive. We have already spoken to the state department and commenced pre-litigation action. We will issue a formal statement in due course." The Guardian denies WikiLeaks's allegations. (Very seldom do I act out one of email’s acronyms, but I really did ROFLMAO when I read this. WikiLeaks expects confidentiality? WikiLeaks is threatening legal action for an unauthorized disclosure of information? That’s like a $20 street hooker suing someone’s mistress for alienation of his affection. Emphasis added by me. Ron P.)

What US cybersecurity needs: A few more good guys ... to be hackers: In high-tech America, high-stakes fighters are in short supply
Excerpt: America's next generation of cyberdefenders did battle recently at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition finals in San Antonio, the Super Bowl of college computer-security tournaments. The collegians' assignment: to defend a business computer network with digital defenses as porous as Swiss cheese from a "red team" of professional hackers from the military and federal agencies. After 17 grueling hours, computer science graduate student Alexei Czeskis and his "cyber swat team" buddies from the University of Washington emerged victorious, slamming their digital doors on the red team's top guns. The truth is, America could use several thousand more cyberwarriors just like Mr. Czeskis and his teammates to address an embarrassing national computer glitch: The tech-savvy nation that invented the single-chip microprocessor is weak on cyberdefenses and lacks the "human capital" to protect itself.

Security Weekly: Why Al Qaeda is Unlikely to Execute Another 9/11
Excerpt: It is Sept. 1, and that means we are once again approaching the anniversary of al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. In the 10 years that have passed since the attacks, a lot has happened and much has changed in the world, but many people can still vividly recall the sense of fear, uncertainty and helplessness they felt on that September morning. Millions of people watched United Airlines flight 175 smash into the south tower of the World Trade Center on live television. A short while later they heard that another plane had struck the Pentagon. Then they watched in horror as the World Trade Center’s twin towers buckled and collapsed to the ground. It was, by any measure, a stunning, cataclysmic scene, a kind of terrorist theater that transformed millions of television viewers into vicarious victims. Excerpts of the just-released memoir of then-Vice President Dick Cheney demonstrate that it was not just ordinary people who were affected by the attacks; America’s leaders where shocked and shaken, too. And judging from the statements of foreign citizens and leaders in the wake of 9/11, those who proclaimed, “We are all Americans,” it was also apparent that the toll on vicarious victims did not stop at the U.S. border.

Political Path to Citizenship
Excerpt: For some Latinos, it is more than they could have hoped for. The Obama administration will stop deportation of illegal aliens if they are in school, have a family member in the military, are responsible for a family member’s care, or are elderly. Most criminal aliens can stay except “convicted felons.” Work permits will be available—meaning fewer jobs for U.S. jobless citizens. But is this fairness or backdoor amnesty with unadulterated politics at its roots? What to do about illegal aliens is certain to be a major theme in the 2012 election. The Hispanic vote has been one of the support structures for Barack Obama. But support is slipping, according to recent polling. And now that Texas Governor Rick Perry increasingly appears the Republican front-runner for president, the Hispanic vote is by no means in Obama’s corner. Perry won 38 percent of the Latinos in his 2010 race for Governor. He also supports in-state tuition for illegal immigrants who are high school graduates, even though he opposed the federal version of the pro-Hispanic DREAM Act.

One in five US Muslims knows of extremist support in community
One in five ADMITS to knowing of jihadist support. The % who know but don’t say may be far higher. ~Bob. Excerpt: As the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches, 21 per cent of respondents told a study they had detected "a great deal" or "a fair deal" of support for extremism in their areas. While the vast majority said that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians to protect Islam were never justified, 19 per cent of respondents did not agree with this statement. Peter King, a Republican congressman for New York, said the findings "reinforce the need" for him to continue holding controversial hearings on the radicalisation of American Muslims. "There is a small percentage of American Muslims who are sympathetic to al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda is trying to recruit them. They are the ones we should be looking for," said Mr King.

Suicide bombing near Pakistani mosque kills 11
Didn’t get the memo. Once again, the victims of Allahmurder are Muslims. ~Bob. Excerpt: A car suicide bombing on Wednesday killed at least 11 people and injured 21 in south-west Pakistan, police said. The attack took place in the parking lot of a mosque when hundreds of Shia Muslims were leaving after Eid al Fitr prayers for the end of Ramadan in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

Rick Perry panic fires up the left
Excerpt: In his two weeks as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry has done something that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney could do: wake up the left. Perry panic has spread from the conference rooms of Washington, D.C., to the coffee shops of Brooklyn, with the realization that the conservative Texan could conceivably become the 45th president of the United States, a wave of alarm centering around Perry’s drawling, small-town affect and stands on core cultural issues such as women’s rights, gun control, the death penalty, and the separation of church and state. The epidemic of lefty angst isn’t just a matter of specific Perry policies though; it goes to the heart of the liberal worldview. His smashing debut on the presidential stage suggests that the victory of an urban liberal Democrat, Barack Obama, wasn’t a step toward a more progressive nation, but just a leftward swing of an increasingly wild pendulum, now poised to rocket to the right.

Was Obama Smart Enough to Make It as an Air Force Pilot?
Excerpt: In their quest to widen the low-road and increase its rider-ship, the liberal Washington, D.C-based Politico just offered up this hackneyed but oh so predictable headline: “Is Rick Perry Dumb?” Really? While it’s no surprise to conservatives and independents that the liberal mainstream media would pull out the old “attack Ronald Reagan” hand-book, dust it off, and use its previously discredited assaults to go after the surging Perry, a better question to be asked is: “What are they all so afraid of?” First of all, something which must be highlighted and stressed by all who care about fairness and accuracy is that Texas Gov. Rick Perry not only honorably served in our military but that he was a decorated Air Force pilot. At about the same age that President Obama (by his own admission) was trying to find himself and experimenting with drugs, Perry was strapping himself into the cockpit of multi-million dollar Air Force aircraft. For those on the left who may not understand as many look down upon our military and mock its very existence, getting through flight training and becoming a pilot in the United States Air Force is a very exacting process which actually does take a high degree of intelligence, skill, judgment, and even courage. Between Obama and the front-runners now seeking the GOP nomination, only Perry served in our military and only Perry was an Air Force officer and pilot. Should that service make a difference? Absolutely. As terrorism grows and our borders weaken, every president for the foreseeable future will be a “war-time” president. A candidate with military service brings a unique and needed perspective into the Oval Office.

Nightmare on
Pennsylvania Avenue
Excerpt: In advance of a "major speech" on the economy and jobs, President Obama has selected Princeton University professor Alan Krueger to be chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Krueger is no relation to the horror film character Freddy Krueger, though if his ideas are implemented, they might further "slash" the economy. Alan Krueger is the latest in a long line of professors and academics to populate this administration. Few, if any, have held real jobs in the private sector. They are mostly theorists, whose theories are often proved wrong, but in academia, as well as in government, being wrong rarely disqualifies one from a leadership post. Intentions are all that matter. As an economic theorist, Krueger's record for accuracy is not a good one and doesn't produce confidence that adding him to the Obama team will revive an economy in the doldrums. Krueger, writing for The New York Times blog in 2009, proposed as an object of discussion, instituting a 5 percent consumption, or value added tax (VAT), on top of the income tax, which he said would "raise approximately $500 billion a year, and fill a considerable hold in the budget outlook." He acknowledged, though, that a consumption tax would "reduce economic activity" and be a "greater burden for the poor, who spend a relatively high share of their income."

Obama's Immigration Directive to Face Congressional Hearings
Excerpt: Instead of worrying about Americans and legal residents, President Obama, looking towards the 2012 election, has decided to usurp Congress and push his immigration policy. According to those interviewed by American Thinker, the Obama administration is making a mockery of America's laws. Recently, the Obama administration said it would review the cases of illegal immigrants currently in deportation proceedings. It has been reported that this directive will affect more than 300,000 illegals. These "low-priority" offenders, including the elderly, crime victims, and those who have been here since childhood, will be allowed to stay in the United States through a work permit. This is an unconstitutional power-grab by the president since he does not have the authority to repeal, suspend, or reinterpret federal laws. He tried to implement his own agenda, going through the back door, doing this while Congress is in recess. California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) emphasized, "[T]he illegals were designated to be deported and now the president wants to figure out who the good illegals are and separate them from the bad ones." Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce (R) is one of the original leaders to make sure the states have the inherent authority to enforce the immigration laws. He told American Thinker that this latest ploy by the president shows that Obama "has no respect for the rule of law. When you enter this country illegally you are breaking the law. This shows he has no intention of enforcing the law and has circumvented it. This is a complete abuse of authority. The president does not understand that these policies are hurting our nation’s ability to recover."

Iran’s Two-Front War
Excerpt: While you were busy wondering if Obama could manage the hurricane, the Azeris erupted against the regime. When they riot in Azerbaijan, it’s a big deal. The Azeris are — by far — Iran’s biggest tribe. About half of the population is ethnic Persian, and half that number, a quarter of Iranians, are Azeri. We’re talking 15-20 million people, many of whom speak their own language in addition to Farsi. In the videos linked below, most of the chants are in Azeri. The Azeris matter a lot: to take the two most famous examples, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is one, as is Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Moussavi. So when they get upset, it’s worth noticing. Azerbaijan is over in the northwestern part of the country, a hot spot for other reasons as well. (Remember the Kurds?) The proximate cause of the demonstrations (videos here, here, here, here and here) is the failure of the regime to do anything to save Lake Orumiyeh, the largest lake in the Middle East, and the third largest salt water lake in the world. It is drying up. Sixty per cent of the lake is gone, and the salt flats are expanding, just as they did in the great ecological disaster back in Soviet days, the Aral Sea. The failure of the regime to do anything to stop this looming catastrophe has convinced many of the locals that the regime actually wants the lake to die, as reflected in their chant of “The lake is taking its final breaths and the Parliament issues its death sentence.” (While there doesn’t seem to be any really good coverage of the Middle East in any English language media, this author, Michael Ledeen, seems to have the straight scoop most of the time. He also seems to have his brain fully engaged. It appears things—and national relationships—in the Middle East are evolving very quickly. This could work to our advantage, if anyone in the administration had the gumption to make timely decisions. The final two paragraphs of this article are especially apt. Ron P.)
Economist Calls Entitlements A Massive Ponzi Scheme And Says US Is Actually $211 Trillion In Debt
Excerpt: "We're focused just on the official debt, so we're trying to balance the wrong books," Kotlikoff said, naming Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the skyrocketing unofficial figure. If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That's the fiscal gap... Why are these guys thinking about balancing the budget?...They should try and think about our long-term fiscal problems.

25 Signs That The Financial World Is About To Hit The Big Red Panic Button
The investment advisor for the organization I manage, from a big company, manages many millions, says credit is fine right now. I don’t know what the hell to believe. ~Bob. Excerpt: Most of the worst financial panics in history have happened in the fall. Just recall what happened in 1929, 1987 and 2008. Well, September 2011 is about to begin and there are all kinds of signs that the financial world is about to hit the big red panic button. Wave after wave of bad economic news has come out of the United States recently, and Europe is embroiled in an absolutely unprecedented debt crisis. At this point there is a very real possibility that the euro may not even survive. So what is causing all of this? Well, over the last couple of decades a gigantic debt bubble has fueled a tremendous amount of “fake prosperity” in the western world. But for a debt bubble to keep going, the total amount of debt has to keep expanding at an ever increasing pace. Unfortunately for the global economy, sources of credit are starting to dry up. That is why you hear terms like “credit crisis” and “credit crunch” thrown around so much these days. Without enough credit to feed the monster, the debt bubble is going to burst. At this point, virtually the entire global economy runs on credit, so when this debt bubble bursts things could get really, really messy. Nations and financial institutions would never get into debt trouble if they could always borrow as much money as they wanted at extremely low interest rates. But what has happened is that lending sources are balking at continuing to lend cheap money to nations and financial institutions that are already up to their eyeballs in debt. For example, the yield on 2 year Greek bonds is now over 40 percent. Investors don’t trust the Greek government and they are demanding a huge return in order to lend them more money. Throughout the financial world right now there is a lot of fear. Lending conditions have gotten very tight. Financial institutions are not eager to lend money to each other or to anyone else. This “credit crunch” is going to slow down the economy. Just remember what happened back in 2008. When easy credit stops flowing, the dominoes can start falling very quickly.

Why Perry Can Beat Obama and Romney Can't
Excerpt: Most of the GOP establishment is uncomfortable with Rick Perry. Few have openly attacked the Texas governor, as Karl Rove did when Perry criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. However, the grumblings of former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, a number of former Bush aides, and sundry other Republican luminaries have made it clear that they would prefer to see Mitt Romney as the GOP standard-bearer in 2012. Even inveterate RINO-basher Ann Coulter has said "Romney could actually beat Obama" and that Perry "won't live up to expectations." Coulter and the GOP establishment are wrong. Not only is Perry the favorite of rank-and-file Republicans, he is far better positioned than Romney to debate the President on the two issues that will inevitably dominate next year's campaign -- jobs and health care. On jobs, Perry has a story to tell that Romney can't hope to match. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, "Some 37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began were created in Texas." While most states have experienced anemic job growth since June of 2009, and eighteen governors have watched their states endure actual declines in growth, Governor Perry has presided over a state economy that has added 265,300 new jobs. That makes Texas the most prolific job generator in the nation. By contrast, Mitt Romney's record on job creation is lackluster at best. Job growth during his single term as Governor of Massachusetts was less than one percent, which "badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%)."

Lieberman: Obama's concern with offending Muslims hurts war effort
Excerpt: The Obama administration’s fear of offending Muslims will hurt the U.S. war against terrorism, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Thursday in a speech blasting the president’s new counter-terrorism strategy. Lieberman said that Obama’s strategy, which was released in June, “was ultimately a big disappointment” and while it successfully identified the core of the domestic radicalization problem, it did not establish a clear plan of attack to deal with the growing issue.

White House downgrades jobs, economic forecasts for 2012
Excerpt: The Obama administration downgraded its forecast for economic growth Thursday, predicting turmoil in the economy will likely keep unemployment above 9 percent through next year’s election. The unemployment rate is considered to be one of the most important factors in presidential elections, so if the White House’s assessment holds, President Obama is in for one of the toughest reelection fights in memory. When the “substantial” economic “turbulence” of the last two months are considered, the administration expects the economy to grow as little as 1.7 percent in 2011 compared to last year. That is down from a rosier projection of 2.7 percent growth, made in February. The assessments on unemployment are contained in the administration’s midsession budget review, which is an update on the president’s February budget request. (I’ll be happy if they are right. When the collapse starts to really take hold, things could get very bad, very fast. ~Bob.)

Self-defense story of the day
excerpt: No one wants to talk about long-standing, brown-black tensions in southern California and elsewhere. When I do, I’m called a RAAAAACIST and accused of “trying to pit the Latinos against the African-American people.” Law-abiding victims of such violence know the truth, though. Ask the family of Jamiel Shaw. Or Cheryl Green or Shatavia Anderson. Today’s self-defense story of the day — which will be ignored by anti-gun Democrats open-borders activists, and multi-culti propagandists — comes from Norwalk, Calif., which is known as an illegal alien sanctuary city (h/t Cameron Gray):

Pregnant Palestinian woman at Israeli checkpoint
A little old. From the e-mail forward: This is a woman who about a year earlier was treated for massive burn over her body from a cooking gas tank explosion. She is stopped at the border when she wants to return to the same hospital in Israel due to pregnancy. Due to suspicion and security integrity, she is asked to undress at the border terminal. And the world asks: "why do the  Israelis need checkpoints, and a border fence?" watch the video, and "get" the answer. Too bad the world doesn't "get it”!!

Another embarrassing fail betrays a White House in a bubble
Excerpt: Here was the headline on Yahoo News tonight: "Obama bows to Boehner on jobs speech." Bows to Boehner: I can tell you what any progressive who has been paying attention thought, "Oh boy, here we go again." President Obama has now changed the day of his address to Congress to accommodate the Republicans. They were having a GOP presidential debate on the original date he picked. So, Boehner told him to move his speech. He is the president for Christ's sake. Of course, they should have accommodated him, not the other way around. But as usual, President Obama bowed. So, this leads to the eternal question of whether Obama is just weak or if he is a brilliant strategist who has been playing rope-a-dope all along. I am so silly that I still had hope. My hope this morning was that Obama was laying a trap for the Republicans. He picks a day for his speech that is the same as the GOP debate. Then if Boehner says he won't let him give the speech on that day, he seems so petty and harsh.

"The Knock-Out Game" - A Violent Racist Game Claims More Victims
Excerpt: Excerpt: One man was stomped to death and another man nearly killed in a racist amusement called the "knock-out game," currently being played by black teenagers. The victims were both white, and that fact needs to be raised in our national conversation about race. PC disclaimer: only a tiny fraction of blacks play this game, and the vast majority of blacks do not condone violence of any kind. With that established, consider the facts: Half-brothers Elliott T. Murphy, 18, and Deonta "Fuss" Johnson, 16, were recently convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in the heinous stomping death of 61-year-old Jerry Newingham and the stomping attack of 46-year-old Kevin S. Wilson.

California Assembly Passes Ridiculous Baby-Sitting Bill
Excerpt: The nanny state impulse runs strong in the Golden State, where the State Assembly has passed a bill that would virtually regulate babysitting out of business. After 2 hours of babysitting, a mandatory 15 minute break must be give, meaning that a stand-by babysitter must be present. Then there are the paperwork requirements, and the severe penalties that kick in for any parents who fail to dot the i's and cross the t's.

Excerpt: It was no great surprise that Merkel’s cabinet yesterday approved the expanded Eurozone bailout fund. The greater drama will be in the German parliament, where a vote in the lower house (the Bundestag) on this matter is now scheduled for September 29th. Merkel’s problem is that discontent within her coalition is growing over the deal. Theoretically, there may be enough rebels to force her to rely on opposition votes to get it passed. That’s doable (easily so: the parties on the left are even more euro-federalist than those on the right), but were that to happen, it would shake the governing coalition, and maybe even lead to an early election. That’s a contest the coalition could well lose, and do so in circumstances that could be truly disastrous for its smallest partner (the classical liberals of the FDP). The FDP has lost so much support that it now risks falling below the 5% threshold it needs to get into parliament. All this leaves the rebels with a dilemma somewhat akin to that faced by the British anti-Maastricht rebels who did so much to destroy John Major’s Conservative government in the 1990s. They won the argument, but, by paving the way for the election of the disastrously europhiliac Tony Blair, they lost the war. So it is in Germany. If rebels opposed to the endless euro bailouts bring down Merkel, the likely new government will be even more willing to loot taxpayers in the name of a dishonest, dangerous and disastrous monetary experiment..

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