Thursday, September 29, 2011

Political Digest for September 29, 2011

Blog Removed.
If you log on to the Old Jarhead blog and get this notice, please check back. From time to time, Google’s Spam Filter pulls my blog. They restore it when I appeal, but they don’t seem to have the technical ability to fix the problem. I hate to move to another platform with page views running to 7k a week and over 1,100 followers here. 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.

Comment on: House GOP wants to cash out dollar bill  

Worth Reading: Politics vs. Economics By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: They say "all politics is local." But economic decisions impact the whole economy and reverberate internationally. That is why politicians' meddling with the economy creates so many disasters. The time horizon of politics seldom reaches beyond the next election. But, in economics, when an oil company invests in oil explorations today, the oil they eventually find and process may not make its way to market and earn a profit until it is sold as gasoline a decade from now. In short, the focus of politicians is extremely limited in both space and time -- and all the repercussions that lie beyond those limits carry little, if any, weight in political decisions. At one time, many state banking laws forbad a bank from having multiple branches. The goal was limited and local -- namely, to prevent big, nationally known banks from setting up branches that many locally owned banks could not successfully compete against. But, limited and local as such state banking laws were, their impact was both national and catastrophic, when thousands of American banks failed during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The vast majority of the banks that failed were in states that had laws against branch banking.

Supreme Court asked to review challenge to health reform law
Excerpt: The plaintiffs in a multi-state challenge to Democrats' healthcare reform law on Wednesday formally asked the Supreme Court to take up the case during its upcoming term. The petition for certiorari comes two days after the Obama administration let slip its final chance to delay the case. Two appeals courts have issued opposing rulings on the law's individual mandate, increasing the likelihood that the high court will decide to weigh in. The National Federation of Independent Businesses, one of the plaintiffs, had praised the Obama administration for not delaying a challenge to the Supreme Court. In explaining Wednesday's petition, they pointed to the urgency of getting a final legal decision from the High Court on President Obama's signature legislative achievement. 

Important, I think? Step Aside BBC "Trader": Head Of UniCredit Securities Predicts Imminent End Of The Eurozone And A Global Financial Apocalypse
These guys think my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic, is starry-eyed optimism. ~Bob. Excerpt: Among the stunning allegations (stunning in that an actual banker dares to tell the truth) are the following: "the euro is “practically dead” and Europe faces a financial earthquake from a Greek default"... “The euro is beyond rescue”... “The only remaining question is how many days the hopeless rearguard action of European governments and the European Central Bank can keep up Greece’s spirits.”...."A Greek default will trigger an immediate “magnitude 10” earthquake across Europe."..."Holders of Greek government bonds will have to write off their entire investment, the southern European nation will stop paying salaries and pensions and automated teller machines in the country will empty “within minutes.” In other words: welcome to the Apocalypse... (Geithner and the Fed just cheerfully lent Europe $200 billion of your children's money to Europe, and as the article linked below suggests, the Europeans may default on that. Something to think about: Since it was US banks that triggered the European crisis by selling their banks bad bundled mortgages given by our banks as part of a Marxist plan (supported by Bush, Clinton, etc) to provide housing for everyone, including illegal aliens, then US banks DO owe Europe. But since you and I did not cause this debacle and did not profit from it, then how come WE owe them? Well, to the extent we voted in the scoundrels that did this, I am not sure how to answer that. Trusting scoundrels and then, when it is clear what they did, failing to demand accountability (arrest, arraignment, prison), makes us somewhat guilty too. Unless, of course, the public wises up and starts demanding accountability, of both banks and government officials involved in this crime. (BTW, if you're not calling it a crime yet, then maybe you will get what you deserve). Nonetheless, Squeezing tax payers to help deflect blame from the culprits hardly seems appropriate. Let's start demanding accountability: arrests, due process, prison sentences as appropriate, for those who knowingly bundled and sold bad mortgage securities and thereby plunged the whole world into an economic crisis that is reducing the middle class everywhere. Because if we don’t demand accountability, then we too are accomplices and will pay -- even more than we have so far. Know anyone without work? It's only the beginning. --Don Hank)

Max Motors targeted by ATF, banks and General Motors
Excerpt: The next day, Muller received a call from the ATF asking him to come in for a meeting with all of his personal guns, which they insisted they had to authority to order, he said. Muller held his ground and refused to submit to the audit without first going through due process. “The ATF people were just as nice as can be. They were not mean or hateful—and finally I asked the lady on the phone: Don’t you have something better to do?” he said. He then re-explained that there were vouchers for guns and that no guns were being given away. “She said: ‘Let me tell you how important this is, the White House started their morning with a briefing on you. We got a call from Washington, D.C. this morning. They wanted you checked out,” he said. “That’s your big government in action. I’m a guy exercising his constitutional rights and I’m such a threat to security that the White House has to check in on me?” he said. (See, the ATF can give guns to Mexican drug criminals, but they have to be sure that there is no private competition. ~Bob.)

Five Arrested in Spain for Funding Terrorism
Excerpt: Spanish Civil Guards arrested five Algerian men in Northern Spain, on suspicion of providing financial and logistical support for al-Qaida, CNN reports. It's the latest series of arrests in Spain's campaign to root out terrorism from its territory. The five suspects were apprehended in near simultaneous raids across Spain's Navarre and Basque Land provinces, an area already suffering from domestic terrorism by Basque separatists. They are believed to have supported "terrorist groups that operate in the Algerian area of the Maghreb, specifically al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM), a Spanish ministry statement claimed. The group, aged 36 to 49, is also suspected of linking up with Islamist support groups in Italy, France, and Switzerland. Al-Qaida and its subsidiaries have been active on Spanish territory for some time. Since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800 others, Spanish police have picked up more than 400 suspected al-Qaida militants or collaborators. This included last week's arrest of a Cuban man on the country's Mallorca Island, who was also involved in recruiting and indoctrination. Most Islamist terrorist suspects in Spain have been of Arab origin, but converts from Latin American countries have also participated.

A Total Eclipse of Solyndra
Excerpt: On Friday, Solyndra execs Brian Harrison and Bill Stover invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. They refused to answer questions at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is investigating a $528 million federal loan guarantee that the Obama administration granted to their solar manufacturing company in 2009. On Aug. 31, the company filed for bankruptcy and laid off most of its 1,100 workers. A week later, the FBI raided the company's Fremont, Calif., headquarters and Harrison's home. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., the chairman of the subcommittee, said the hearing wanted to discern, "What did they know (about their financial situation), and when did they know it?" Though some committee members urged the two suits to ignore their lawyers' advice and answer questions -- one Republican even suggested that their failure to talk suggested guilt -- I thought the execs did the smart thing. Harrison and Stover have nothing to gain by talking, because there's no good way to explain how they blew close to a half-billion in taxpayer money.

Sharia Law: Battlefield London
Excerpt: There's Islamic leadership tension in Britain - with hardline Muslims trying to enforce Sharia law in London. From abstention to amputation, RT's Laura Emmett's been hearing how they want to instill their tough code on the capital. Video.

GOP gangs up to weaken Perry
Excerpt: Rick Perry’s Republican opponents have put chinks in the Texas governor’s conservative armor, turning the right’s would-be white knight into a punching bag on controversial issues. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has hit Perry on illegal immigration, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) has attacked him on the HPV vaccine, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) has criticized him on taxes and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has attacked his jobs record. The attacks seem to be sticking.

Reid playing for leverage with jobs bill
The press bleats about bipartisanship, but there is not even intra-party cooperation. ~Bob. Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made it clear that he will not schedule a vote on President Obama’s jobs package until after the upper chamber moves a China currency bill that the administration does not support. Reid is wielding a significant amount of leverage with the White House on the China legislation, which is unlikely to be signed into law in the 112th Congress. Yet passing the bill through the Senate — which is expected to happen next month — would help Democratic incumbents on the campaign trail, where China-bashing usually resonates. The bill would crack down on what critics contend is China’s policy of manipulating currency to give its companies a trading advantage. The Obama administration is not eager to confront China over its currency policy, but congressional Democrats are eager to tackle it — especially politically vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Midwestern states. They include Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), whose states’ economies have suffered because of a steady outflow of manufacturing jobs to China.

Excerpt: The U.C. Berkeley College Republicans struck a national nerve today by holding a bake sale with racially discriminatory pricing: Higher prices for white and Asian students, lower prices for black, Hispanic and female students. Why the intentional discrimination? To protest a pending new statewide law which attempts to re-introduce Affirmative Action into university admission standards, something that was been banned years ago with California’s popular Constitutional amendment requiring race-neutral admissions. The purposely inflammatory gag was very clever: the goal was to make everyone point out how racist the cupcake prices were, at which point the young Republicans reply, “Exactly! Racial discrimination is unfair. Thanks for making our point for us!” But the leftists on campus and around the state instead flew into a blind rage: The joke was too effective, so Affirmative Action proponents simply pretended to “not get it.” Accusations of racism flew back and forth and before anyone knew it we had a major FUBAR situation on our hands. (The Left flies into a rage because it is so obvious that discrimination, Jim Crow or Affirmative Action, is morally indefensible. People who support Affirmative Action are Racists. Period. ~Bob.)

Bipartisanship is dead. At least until 2013.
Excerpt: In 2008, voters seemed to send a clear mandate to President Obama as he won 53 percent of the national vote and 365 electoral votes, a massive victory by the 50-50 standards of the past decade. But, two years later, voters handed Obama and his party a major setback — giving Republicans control of the U.S. House and delivering sweeping victories to the GOP at the state and local level. One stat that tells you everything you need to know about the difficulty of predicting what the electorate wants: In the 2006 midterm election, independents went for Democratic House candidates by 18 points; four years later they went for Republican candidates by 19 points. (There can be no compromise on some things. What would a bi-partisan compromise on the middle east look like? The Muslim radicals only get to murder half the Jews? Even so, they’d be back next year for another “compromise.” What the public wants is our economic, healthcare, immigration, Jihad and international problems fixed—with no pain or sacrifice by them individually. Me, I just want to be 25, live forever and be irresistibly attractive to young women. Is that too much to ask? ~Bob.)

Vigilante Street
Justice in America
Gee, why don’t more moderate Muslims speak out? Because we cannot protect them from their many violent coreligionists. ~Bob. Excerpt: About a year ago, I posted an Arabic language poem titled “Tears at the Heart of the Holocaust” on my website, The poem expressed its Arab author’s love for the Jewish people and his mourning over what happened to them in the Holocaust. The brave poet, Mr. Alaa Alsaegh, is an immigrant to the US from Iraq, who now lives in Missouri. Such poems did not sit well with the Muslim community, which caused Mr. Alsaegh to be alienated from it. He received threats because of his support for the Jewish people, was called an infidel and a traitor to Islam, but he continued with his writing of poems and did not take the threats too seriously. Mr. Alsaegh, as well as Muslim critics and former Muslims who are accused of apostasy, are living under threats, but, lo and behold, if we dare to speak about our fears, we are immediately silenced and accused of being Islamophobes. The mainstream media insist that there is no need to fear Sharia or its enforcers in America and that we are exaggerating our plight from Islam. We are told that what happens in the Arab streets can never happen in the streets of America. Tell that to Alsaegh, after the unthinkable happened to him, when on August 14, 2011 and in broad daylight and heavy traffic, he was viciously attacked on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri.

Excerpt: The contrast could not be more stark. Casualty insurers are trying to sell you insurance based on your need for their product. Their implicit message is: we know you don’t think about insurance until something goes wrong, and that’s when you are going to need us. Health insurers, on the other hand, never even talk about why you might actually need their product — unless by “need” you mean services that healthy people want (wellness checkups, preventive care, exercise facilities, etc.). So what’s going on? The short answer is: the casualty insurance market is a real market in which real insurance is bought and sold. The health insurance market, by contrast, is an artificial market in which the product being exchanged is not real insurance at all. Instead, it is prepayment for the consumption of health care. In the casualty market, each buyer pays a premium that reflects the expected cost (and risk) that the buyer brings to the insurance pool he is entering. Insurers compete to sell the insurance features of their product, because that is what buyers are buying. Federal employees, by contrast, never pay a premium that reflects their expected cost. What they are buying is the opportunity to consume care with other people’s money.

Time for Action on Pakistan
Excerpt: The Obama Administration is quickly trying to contain the damage in another potential foreign policy debacle, this time with nuclear-armed Pakistan. Last week, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, dropped a bombshell that rocked U.S.-Pakistani relations. In testimony before Congress, Mullen declared that the military intelligence service of this supposed U.S. partner is directing the Haqqani network, a militant group responsible for attacks on Americans, including the 20-hour assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, that left 27 dead. The revelation causes immediate concern for the United States, and The Heritage Foundation believes it must result in punitive policy toward Pakistan if Islamabad continues its pattern of defiance.

Obama Supporter Worth Reading: Class Warfare - Yuck!
Excerpt: I say this as I read all of the rhetoric about Class Warfare, the rift that is being created between economic middle and lower class and as the President said “those millionaires and billionaires.” The real rift in philosophy though is do you want the Government to create jobs and stimulate the economy or do you want America’s small business to be the engine of growth? Economic Success has somehow become the new boogie man; some in the Democratic party are now casting about for enemies and business leaders and anyone who has achieved success in terms of rank or fiscal success is being cast as a bad guy in a black hat. This is counter to the American Dream and is really turning off so many people that love American and basically carry our country on their back by paying taxes and by employing people and creating GDP. This is a bad move all designed by some pollster who said this is the way to get votes during the re-election. It should be stopped. We should be healing and creating teams NOT dividing and pitting people against one another. I know the President isn’t speaking to me specifically when he talks but many times I hear stuff and I cringe personally. As a friend told me the other day who lives in China, “Every time your President talks of late, it costs us billions in market cap and in confidence in your country and your economy.” Why do we devalue success in the US when the rest of the world is trying to emulate what we have created as an economic system? … I voted for our President. I have maxed out on personal donations to his re-election campaign. I forgot his campaign wants to raise $1 billion. THAT is a lot of money–money–money–money! Money still talks. It blows my mind when I am asked for money as a donation at the same time I am getting blasted as being a bad guy! Someone needs to talk our President down off of this rhetoric about good vs. evil; about two classes and math.

Al Qaeda to Iran: Stop Spreading 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
Excerpt: The terror group al Qaeda has found itself curiously in agreement with the "Great Satan" -- which it calls the U.S. -- in issuing a stern message to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: stop spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories. In the latest issue of the al Qaeda English-language magazine "Inspire", an author appears to take offense to the "ridiculous" theory repeatedly spread by Ahmadinejad that the 9/11 terror attacks were actually carried out by the U.S. government in order to provide a pretext to invade the Middle East. "The Iranian government has professed on the tongue of its president Ahmadinejad that it does not believe that al Qaeda was behind 9/11 but rather, the U.S. government," an article reads. "So we may ask the question: why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?" (Let us hope they both try to eliminate the competition. ~Bob.)

Mexican attorney general: "Obama more involved in Fast & Furious than admitted!"
Excerpt: President Barack Obama appears to be getting it from all sides regarding a government snafu dubbed Operation Fast and Furious. Besides both houses of the U.S. Congress and a number of public-interest groups investigating what is being characterized as a rogue federal law enforcement operation, Mexico's attorney general is infuriated over the allegations that the U.S. was behind the smuggling of weapons into Mexico that ended up killing her countrymen. In a statement released by Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales, she called Operation Fast and Furious “an attack on Mexicans’ security.” Morales told Mexican reporters that she is demanding a full and honest explanation from the United States government especially since evidence is being gathered that reveals the Obama administration was more involved in Operation Fast and Furious than top officials admitted in their sworn statements. If what is being reported is true, U.S. Attorney General and other government officials may have committed perjury and/or obstruction of justice if it's proven they lied when testifying before House and Senate committees.

Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before: The worldwide death rate from weather happenings has dropped over 98 percent since the 1920s
Excerpt: Despite concerns about global warming and a large increase in the number of reported storms and droughts, the world’s death rate from extreme weather events was lower from 2000 to 2010 than it has been in any decade since 1900, according to a new Reason Foundation study. The Reason Foundation report chronicles the number of worldwide deaths caused by extreme weather events between 1900 and 2010 and finds global deaths caused by extreme weather events peaked in the decade running from 1920 to 1929, when there were 241 deaths a year per million people in the world. From 1930 to 1939 there were 208 deaths a year per million people. But from 2000 to 2010 there were just 5.4 deaths a year per million people in the world. That’s a 98 percent decline in the weather-related death rate since the 1920s. Extreme weather events were responsible for just .07% of the world’s deaths between 2000 and 2010.

State Lawmakers Pump Up Pensions
 Excerpt: More than 4,100 legislators in 33 states are positioned to benefit from special retirement laws that they and their predecessors have enacted to boost their pensions by up to $100,000 a year, a USA Today investigation found. Even as legislators cut basic state services and slash benefits for police, teachers and other workers, they have preserved pension laws that grant themselves perks unavailable to voters they serve or workers they direct. Because each state's legislature that has indulged itself with these policies does so in different, evermore creative ways, comparative analysis is difficult. However, state-by-state examination yields shocking results: State lawmakers in Missouri meet for roughly five months a year and are paid slightly more on average than a state worker, but records show a typical lawmaker's pension averages 30 percent more than a state worker's. New York has barred legislators elected after 1994 from receiving legislative pension payments while in office, but this leaves 15 lawmakers who took office before 1995 collecting a legislative pension in addition to their salary (earnings average $154,000 each year). Though the Texas legislator salary ($7,200) hasn't risen since 1975, pensions are tied to the salary made by Texas trial judges, which has nearly tripled since 1981, allowing one state legislator to receive pension payments equivalent to 17 times his salary. Though the specific policies and schemes in each state are different, the results are strikingly similar: state legislators across the country compensate themselves with exceptional generosity in belt-tightening, budget-cutting times of economic woe. These lavish systems mean that at least 570 lawmakers in 19 states have qualified for pensions that will pay them as much as (and in many cases, more than) their base legislative salaries. While many of these legislators are concentrated in only a few states, the national repercussions are substantial, as that figure represents nearly 10 percent of the 5,900 lawmakers in the 40 states with legislative pensions. (Huh. Where were these guys when I was a state lawmaker? I pulled the money I had contributed, to buy a house, as my “pension” would have been $7k a year when I was 65, and with Jimmy Carter having pushed inflation to double digits, I didn’t think that would buy a bag of peanuts. So, despite claims to the contrary posted on my blog, I will not get a pension there, or from my Marine service, as I didn’t retire. ~Bob.)

Important: Bailouts or Bankruptcy?
Excerpt: In early 2011, the states' financial travails were the stuff of headline news. Deficits for the current budget cycle were estimated at $175 billion. In some states (Texas, California, Nevada and Illinois), the shortfall exceeded 30 percent of projected budgets. One way or the other, states closed those gaps to comply with the balanced-budget amendments contained in all state constitutions except Vermont's, and public attention shifted to the budget-and-debt-ceiling melodrama in Washington, D.C. However, the parlous fiscal condition of state and local governments remains a lasting concern, says Michael S. Greve, the John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Indeed: Unfunded pension obligations are estimated at upwards of $1 trillion and are probably three or four times that amount. Unfunded health care commitments clock in at upwards of $500 billion. Bond debt issued by state and local governments comes in around $2.8 trillion. For these reasons, public debate over the course of action for insolvent states remains lively. While many advocate continued federal assistance through the subsidization of state programs and additional block grants, a growing number of scholars and GOP legislators are considering the idea of a comprehensive bankruptcy code for state governments. Distinguishing between the much more common private sector bankruptcy options (chapters 9 and 11) and the options that would need to be made available to a state, it is clear that several policies would have to be accepted and implemented for such a scheme to function. In order for states to file, they would require the ability to examine and renegotiate their liabilities at their foundations. Similar in severity to Chapter 11 bankruptcy, states would need to be able to revisit collective bargaining agreements and pension obligations (in addition to payments to bondholders) in order to make themselves solvent again. A bankruptcy option that does not address the stranglehold that these liabilities have on state governments does not tackle the real problems, nor will it lead to effective solutions. (despite money to lavish on Solyndra, buying guns for Mexican drug gangs and auto unions, the feds are broke. And states can’t technically go bankrupt as sovereign entities. They just have to raise taxes to cover their obligations. Which will kill their economies, thus eroding tax receipts, thus… We draw ever closer to a fiscal collapse, followed by political and social collapse. Buy ammo and canned goods. ~Bob.)

Victim’s kin to Deval: Crackdown on illegals no ‘stunt’
Excerpt: The stepfather of a Milford man who was dragged to death — allegedly by a drunken driving Ecuadoran illegal alien with an arrest record — wants Gov. Deval Patrick to know he doesn’t consider the get-tough policy pushed by Massachusetts sheriffs a “publicity stunt,” while information emerged late yesterday that a Brazilian arrested Monday in a Marshfield stabbing murder was previously picked up by local police who never notified immigration authorities. “We believe our son would still be alive,” Michael Maloney, stepfather of dragging victim Matthew J. Denice, told the Herald outside the family’s Milford home yesterday. The Secure Communities program that Patrick rejected is common-sense law enforcement, Maloney said after learning of Patrick’s dismissal of strict immigration enforcement efforts as a “publicity stunt.” “If Secure Communities were used, there’s a possibility that the prints would have gone back . . . and (immigration authorities) would have said, ‘This guy’s illegal, let’s get rid of him,’” Maloney said. “Anything we can do to save people’s lives is a step in the right direction . . . anything so that Matthew’s death wasn’t in vain.” (Not to worry. Our esteemed Gov Deval Patrick stated yesterday that the outrage expressed in the media over the latest outbreak of murder and mayhem perpetrated by illegal aliens is simply a “publicity stunt” by Republicans, right wingers and the “Tea Party ilk”. The grieving families of the dead are described as “unable to grasp the big picture.” Massachusetts is one of only seven states that do not report illegal alien criminals to ICE. “Why”---you ask? Because fellow politicians like Boston Mayor Thomas M Mennino stated that illegal alien criminals should only face sanction if they commit “serious” crimes like rape and murder. Paltry crimes like armed robbery, assault, theft, drug dealing, car theft, domestic crimes are not really serious enough to warrant the sanction of possible deportation. Amazing what a sewer Massachusetts has become after it became a “one” party state. That one party would be democrat. Did I tell you that the third speaker in a row of the House of the Massachusetts State Legislature has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison? Theft is now the principle inducement to become a democrat legislator in the Massachusetts State Legislature. BTW, several days ago an illegal Guatemalan was arrested for his sixth DUI/OUI in Boxborough, MA. Check with ICE revealed he has been deported twice and unlawful re entry to USA on three occasions. Massachusetts is a “Sanctuary State” for illegal aliens who wish to commit felonies with impunity. We don’t want to be considered “judgmental” here in MA. We celebrate “inclusiveness. Wonder how that sits with the survivors of the recent dead. --Tom Constantine, US Marine Corps Ret)

Gunrunner: Cash For Cartels
Excerpt: New documents reveal the Department of Justice lied to Congress and show how U.S. officials bought guns with tax dollars and then made sure no one stopped their transfer to Mexican drug cartels. The funneling of thousands of American guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels in the operation known as Fast and Furious was not a botched sting operation or the result of bureaucratic incompetence. It was not designed to interdict gun trafficking, but to facilitate it. We now know that it involved not just the use of straw buyers, but also agents of the federal government purchasing weapons with taxpayer money, ordering the licensed dealers to conduct the sales off the books, then calling off surveillance of the gun traffickers and refusing to interdict the transfer of the weapon or arrest the people involved. According to documents obtained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), agent John Dodson was ordered to buy semiautomatic Draco pistols and was provided a letter by ATF group supervisor David Voth authorizing FFLs (federal firearms licensees) to sell Dodson the guns without filling out the required form.

Governments Don't Create Prosperity
Excerpt: Politicians say they create jobs, but they really don't. Or rather, they rarely create productive jobs. Government has no money of its own. All it does is take resources from one group and give them to another. The pharaohs might have claimed they created work when they ordered that pyramids be built, but think how much richer (and freer) the Egyptians would have been if they'd been allowed to pursue their own interests. It's individuals in the marketplace who create real jobs -- when they have the protection of life and property under the rule of law. Economic freedom is the key. The theory couldn't be more clear, and at this late date in human history, it shouldn't be necessary to rehearse the abundant evidence. Look at the various indexes that correlate economic freedom with economic growth. The healthiest economies are those with the most economic freedom. Unemployment is low in those places -- 3 percent in Hong Kong, 2 percent in Singapore, 5 percent in Australia. (The statists will never get it. They think they are so bright, they can substitute their judgment for that of millions of people making billions of economic decisions every day. ~Bob.)

Freedom of Speech down under. Don’t think the statist wouldn’t like the government to decide if your speech was “reasonable and in good faith.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt leaves the Federal Court in Melbourne during an earlier appearance in the case. AAPTHE assumed right of unfettered freedom of speech was trumped by laws protecting against racial vilification this morning after the Federal Court delivered its decision on the controversial "white Aborigines" case of Pat Eatock v Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained "errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language". Justice Bromberg said it was important to note his judgment did not forbid debate or articles on racial identity issues if done "reasonably and in good faith in the making or publishing of a fair comment".

Border security or federal land grab?
Excerpt: That question is driving a heated debate over a controversial bill to give the Department of Homeland Security sweeping authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the U. S. border. The proposed National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act would let the agency waive 36 federal environmental protection laws in the name of better border patrols on public lands. Supporters say it would help U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents secure the nation's borders. Opponents say it would give Homeland Security unchecked authority to disregard major environmental laws covering wilderness areas, national parks and wildlife refuges.

Obama flouts law with policy on deportations, senators say
Excerpt: The Washington Times published an important story yesterday, September 27 that was written by one of the most experienced journalists who has been covering the “immigration beat” for many years, Jerry Seper. His article is the basis for my commentary this evening. Jerry reported on how 18 members of the United States Senate led by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, have come forward to challenge the administration blatant flouting of its responsibilities to enforce critically important immigration laws as evidenced by policy memos that make it clear that the entire chain of command starting with the President and flowing through key members of his cabinet including the DHS, and agency I have come to refer to as the “Department of Homeland Surrender” will not only ignore the presence of illegal aliens in the United States and in hundreds of thousands of ongoing deportation cases, terminate those hearings but also seek to provide these foreign nationals whose very presence in our country represents a violation of our laws, with employment authorization!

Sources: Fatal gunshots on McAllen expressway point to Gulf Cartel
It’s coming here, across the undefended border. ~Bob. Excerpt: Fatal gunshots volleyed from one vehicle to another along the expressway early Tuesday morning point to a power struggle within the Gulf Cartel, sources familiar with the victim said. McAllen police continue to investigate the apparent murder of Jorge Zavala, 32, a Mission man slain when gunfire penetrated his Ford Expedition about 2 a.m. Tuesday. Zavala and a 22-year-old man fell victim to the shots when an unknown shooter attacked their dark-colored SUV from a Chevrolet Tahoe with oversized rims as they headed west past the Jackson Road interchange.

Ray Stevens - Mr. President - Mr. President
Funny song. ~Bob.

A Christian Pastor will not "convert" from Christianity to Islam in Iran and now will be put to death for this under Sharia Law.
Ok, so the West -- nominally Christian -- forces the secular, stabilizing Mubarak and the secular stabilizing Ghadaffi to resign, also putting enormous pressure on the secular Assad, effectively paving the way for the installation of radical Islamic regimes who oppress Christians and hate Israel. Meanwhile, "leaders" all over Europe, with the blessings of the EU, invite hordes of non-assimilating Muslims from all over the Middle East and Asia, most of whom don't work, collect welfare, create no-go zones for police and ambulances, and cause trouble, threatening the lives of Christians, to settle in Europe. But radical Islamic Iran, which kills Christians and seems to be building a nuclear bomb to use against Israel, gets a pass by these same Western "leaders." Oh, and our Big Business, like PayPal, refuses service to traditional Christians for their beliefs but gives radical Islamists a pass. Yeah, this really makes sense! How long will it take for the somnolent Western people to wake up and see the deliberate destruction of Western culture? --Don Hank I suppose Obama will spring into action and send him a copy of the NYT article about how great Shari’a will be for America. ~Bob.

Iranian Navy Coming to a Shore Near You?
Excerpt: The top Iranian naval commander is vowing to send the country’s warships into the Atlantic Ocean and, specifically, the Gulf of Mexico. The Iranian navy is no match for the U.S., but Iran’s move into the Western Hemisphere poses a major asymmetrical threat to the country. “Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to American marine borders,” the Iranian state media quoted Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari as saying. (I recently read a heart-pounding novel, The Woolsorter’s Plague, by Chet Nagle, a former CIA agent, about terrorists delivered to our shores by an Iranian sub. Rather timely. ~Bob.)

Inside Kim Jong Il’s Death Camps
Excerpt: Clearly detailed satellite photos released by the South Korean government reveal a rapidly growing network of six slave-labor camps, home to more than 200,000 North Koreans, one-third of whom are believed to be children. Located in the rugged, isolated mountain terrain of central North Korea, the gulags are the repository for those unfortunate North Koreans who have committed perceived “political offenses” against the despotic regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong ll. The prison system is divided into areas called “Total Control Zones,” from which no prisoners are ever released. As such, these camps hold up to three generations of North Koreans, many of whom have been born into permanent captivity.

Iran’s Secret War
Excerpt: We all know about Iran’s nuclear desires. To what extent, some may still question–do they want a nuclear weapon or are they simply seeking nuclear power to support their energy complex? GOP candidates have debated the Iranian nuclear topic, yet no GOP candidate has been asked the very real question about Iran’s current proxy war taking place throughout the Middle East—let alone, how they will deal with the rogue regime. At a time when Senator Lindsey Graham, Admiral Mike Mullen, and many others see the reality of Pakistan’s involvement in aiding enemies like the Haqqani network, very few accept or comprehend the magnitude which Iran plays into this mix supporting Pakistan’s ISI. Yes, Iran supports Pakistan’s ISI and yes, Iranian agents have been known to operate in the region. Iran has also been a major contributor to the ongoing violence in Iraq. In fact, a great majority of the weapons used against U.S. forces comes directly out of Iran. The Shiite nation patiently awaits the departure of U.S. forces so it can pursue its goal of taking over.

How to Cut $1 Trillion
Excerpt: At least it’s a start. While the Congressional “Super Committee” assigned to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions surely may butt heads until its deadline Nov. 23, a non-partisan financial study has recommended reductions of more than $1 trillion with appeal across the political divide. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NPU), although holding widely different views on tax and spending issues, joined to combine their financial know-how to identify programs that both Democrats and Republicans should see as wasteful and inefficient. Obama has made it even more difficult with his plan to cut more than $3 trillion off the debt. Close to half of the president’s pay-down plan would come from taxes on high–income earners and corporations. Specifically, just those who could help solve the unemployment quagmire. Obama would also cut deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest deductions for those evil high-income earners. Obama’s petty hatred of petroleum producers and drug companies called for taking $52 billion from oil and gas producers by changing their accounting rules and snatching some $52 billion from pharmaceutical firms. (USPIRG and NTU may agree, but the people getting that $1T are going to fight like hell to keep it coming, and the “racist” Tea Party and the future be damned. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: President Obama is on the prowl for new targets for (1) raising more tax revenue and/or (2) demonizing “the rich” for campaign purposes. Among Obama’s proposals, besides raising taxes on high-income individuals generally, is to more than double the tax rate paid by many private equity and venture capital investors from 15% to 35%, by reclassifying sales of their businesses (or shares in their businesses) as ordinary income rather than capital gains (more detail here and, drawn from prior versions of the proposal here and here). A common trope being retailed in some form or another by Obama and his allies is that taxing the wealthy and private equity and venture capital has no impact on job creation. As is common to liberal arguments, rather than argue that they are proposing a worthwhile tradeoff, liberals deny even the possibility that their policies involve any tradeoffs whatsoever. As well they might: the voters are hardly going to accept anything right now that impedes the growth of private sector businesses and jobs. Now, there are a lot of economic angles to this argument, which have been ventilated in more detail elsewhere. But a concrete example may be useful in illustrating how wealthy individuals, private equity and venture capital contribute to the growth of businesses and jobs: the story of Facebook.

Saudi woman to be lashed for driving car
Assume the NYT approves, since they think Shari’a Law id wonderful. ~Bob. Excerpt: Amnesty International reported the sentence just two days after Saudi King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run in municipal elections. "Flogging is a cruel punishment in all circumstances but it beggars belief that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have imposed lashes on a woman apparently for merely driving a car", Philip Luther, an Amnesty regional deputy director, said in an emailed statement. "Allowing women to vote in council elections is all well and good, but if they are still going to face being flogged for trying to exercise their right to freedom of movement, then the king's much trumpeted 'reforms' actually amount to very little," Mr Luther said.

A Democrat lets the truth out of the bag.
Excerpt: Do you want to know how Democrats really feel about elections? Do you want to know what Democrats really feel about giving the people a voice in the government? From the Daily Caller: As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years. “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, N.C., according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.” Perdue said she thinks that temporarily halting elections would allow members of Congress to focus on the economy. “You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things,” Perdue said. (Probably a fire in the Reichstag, er, Capital would do it. ~Bob.)

DEM NC Gov Says: "Suspend Elections for Congress"
Excerpt: Welcome to Democrat Fantasy Island, where the people who run our country have things exactly backwards. They may be short on brains, but they don’t seem to be short of ideas, especially bad ideas. That’s the only explanation I have for the latest proposal from the brain trust that has brought you Recession Part Deux, Obamacare, Solyndra, Fast and Furious and Barney Frank. The Democrat governor of North Carolina has suggested that the country dispense with Congressional elections for two years in order to help the “economic recovery.”

Fast & Furious: Congress expanding probe to include grenades
Excerpt: The U.S. Congress will expand their investigation of Operation Fast and Furious to determine its connection to the smuggling of explosives ordinance into Mexico, a police source in Washington, DC, told the Law Enforcement Examiner on Saturday. According to the law enforcement source -- who requested anonymity -- besides the firearms and ammunition allowed to "walk" by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), grenades and explosives may have also been allowed smuggled across the border into Mexico, ending up in the hands of drug cartel members. Investigators are renewing their probe into a narco-terrorist attack in which 60 people were killed and upwards of 30 were wounded on August 24 when the perpetrators tossed three grenades into a casino in Monterrey, Mexico, the capital of Nuevo Leon.

Obama's Jobs Bill Has No Co-Sponsors
Excerpt: The Daily Caller has learned that Connecticut Democratic Rep. John Larson has introduced President Barack Obama’s jobs plan in the House of Representatives “at the request of the president” and that the bill has no co-sponsors. (Bi-partisan hatred of Obama’s bill? ~Bob.)

The Franc Rises and the Village Declines
Excerpt: The expensive Swiss franc is another problem altogether. When I first came to Gstaad and moved into the Palace hotel, one dollar got you 4.3 francs. Living at the best hotel in town cost me around ten dollars a day, tips included. The most expensive chalet was worth around 100,000 francs; you do the math. A season ticket for all the mountains in the region was less than 100 dollars. My season began on December 22nd and ended around Easter. The place was full of Americans, many of them pilots who had bailed out over Switzerland while bombing the industrial Ruhr. Those were very good types: tall, blond, sports-loving daredevils with an eye for the girls. Most of them were WASPs. Alas, all of them are now dead, but I have some very fond memories of deep-snow skiing without guides and with very little light left. Once you’ve been flying against flak, skiing down unknown slopes in the dark is child’s play. (The world’s finance people remind me of the guy who used to spin plates on sticks, running frantically back and fourth to keep them spinning, not crashing. How long? ~Bob.)

Roundup of Europe's Meltdown
Excerpt: OK. Things are heating up in the old continent after a boiling summer. October will be the cruelest month, as the poet didn’t exactly say, but it might also be crunch time. Europeans seem more sophisticated than the parochial, law-abiding, taxpaying suckers in the good old US of A, but they’re no better than the pompous, self-proclaimed elite within the Beltway. Multiculturalism (human rights for those who don’t respect others’ human rights), high taxation, and open borders are what the bureaucrooks in Brussels are all about. So what is there to say about the old continent, except that it’s a rotten ship ready to sink unless Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has triplets? (It will ensure Nicolas Sarkozy’s reelection next year). Talk about a gang that can’t shoot straight.

Obama's Rehabilitation Tour, or 'I Promise I'm a Leftist'
Excerpt: Poor President Obama. His leftist backers have momentarily fallen out of love with him for not destroying the country fast enough. Obama must ask himself, "What would Hugo Chavez do?"
What Is Bill Clinton Up To?
Excerpt: There are no off-hand moments, no unconsidered spontaneous comments, and no random observations in the world of Bill Clinton. His tongue is entirely at the service of his ambition, each remark considered and calculated to achieve a specific goal. And right now, Bill Clinton’s prime ambition is to elect his wife president. Nothing else really matters to him. And Bill must be feeling the same vibe we do: That Obama may pull out. (While I am not a big fan of Dick Morris and rarely forward his material, I found this to be interesting...personally, I think that should Hillary wish to run against POTUS, she would have total support from the Democratic establishment...should she be the party presidential nominee, she would crush her Republican the moment, she is the frontrunner even though she is not running...I do think she will be POTUS in the future... –Wayne)

From Rep. Allen West
President Obama's comments at the CBC dinner Saturday evening telling the black community to "stop complaining" were disrespectful and reprehensible. With unemployment in the black community at 16.7 percent, food stamp enrollment up, and our national poverty rate at epic proportion, the people have a constitutional right to redress their grievances to the government. If President Obama believes he is above criticism and reproach for his failed economic policies, then he should either change his policies or step down. Regardless, as a Member of the Congressional Black Caucus, I admonish President Barack Hussein Obama to apologize to America for his callous remarks.

A serious plan to replace Obamacare
Excerpt: Republicans seem to understand that repeal of President Obama's health care law is necessary. Unfortunately, many of them seem to think repeal is sufficient as well. It isn't. This is why it's so important that a GOP leader like House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., began presenting a viable plan to replace it with his speech Tuesday at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Grilling the GOP candidates on forced unionism
Excerpt: The question is simple: Do you think the federal government should force millions of workers to pay union dues or be fired? Every presidential candidate should answer that question. We know where President Obama stands. His record shows that he will use the White House as a tool to expand forced unionism. In just under three years, Obama and his pro-forced-unionism allies nearly passed the "card check" bill to eliminate the secret ballot in unionization elections and the Police and Firefighter Monopoly Unionization Act designed to force all of America's first responders under union control; punished Boeing for starting up a manufacturing plant in a right-to-work state; and use the federal bureaucracy to restrict workers' and small businesses' ability to resist unwanted unionization.

Excerpt: But Daniels' message, based on his new book, "Keeping the Republic," was important, one that every presidential candidate should heed -- because it was about a looming issue that Barack Obama has so far decided to duck but that one of them, if he is elected, may have to confront. We face, Daniels said, "a survival-level threat to the America we have known." The problem can be summed up as debt. The Obama Democrats have put us on the path to double the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product, bringing it to levels that, as economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have written in "This Time Is Different," have always proved unsustainable. Daniels put it this way. Debt service will permanently stunt the growth of the economy. And that will be followed by a loss of leadership in the world, because "nobody follows a pauper."

Coca-Cola: China More Business Friendly Then US!
Excerpt: Coca-Cola now sees the US becoming a less friendly business environment than China, its chief executive has revealed, citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure as reasons its home market has become less competitive. Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, said “in many respects” it was easier doing business in China, which he likened to a well-managed company. “You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other,” he told the Financial Times.

Add The Ukraine To List Of Countries On Verge Of Technical default
Excerpt: In this messed up post-Keynesian world which is so insolvent, it is virtually impossible to keep track of who is about to default, either technically, selectively, or really, who is already bankrupt, who is hyperinflating, and so forth. And while we all know that Europe and the US can at best hope to kick the can for a month at a time until finally they all have to face the truth, we are happy to bring to your attention the latest entrant to the technical default club: Ukraine, which will shortly join its former USSR satellite Belarus in the hyperinflation club. The fact is that the Ukraine is slowly imploding - the government had stopped Treasury payments for all budget expenses in an attempt to accumulate the cash needed to make a coupon payment on debt and which apparently investors are unwilling to roll. In all fairness, the news update indicates that the country just barely made the 5.3 billion hryvnia payment, but that may be it for now. What about the next one? Time to add some Ukraine CDS to that bankrupt sovereign basket, no matter how overflowing it may be at this point.

Sens. Lieberman, Coburn press for big cuts to Medicare
Excerpt: Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) are pressing the deficit-reduction supercommittee to consider their proposal to cut more than $500 billion in Medicare spending over 10 years. Lieberman’s support for Medicare reform is significant because he caucuses with Democrats and holds sway with centrist senators such as Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Lieberman and Coburn argue that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction cannot adequately deal with the nation’s projected deficits without reforming the healthcare entitlement program.
Energy Department approves $1B in solar energy loan guarantees
What would it take for them to get the message? Blood? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Energy Department announced Wednesday that is has finalized more than $1 billion in loan guarantees for two separate solar energy projects. The decision comes several weeks after Solyndra, a California-based solar manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration in 2009, filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers, setting off a firestorm in Washington.

Teachers union launches ad campaign supporting Obama jobs bill
Excerpt: The National Education Association (NEA) launched a multistate television ad campaign Wednesday in support of President Obama's American Jobs Act.
The 30-second television ad urges lawmakers to vote for the legislation, with several children saying school programs are being cut and teachers are being laid off. The president's proposal includes $30 billion to pay for teachers and another $30 billion to modernize schools. (Using the kids who will foot the bill. Need signs demanding: “PRINT MORE MONEY!” ~Bob.)

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