Sunday, October 16, 2011

Political Digest for October 16, 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.

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I am the 1%

Must Read: America Wrongly Thinks Its Prosperity Can't End by Mark Steyn
When the think-tank chappies ponder "decline," they tend to see it in geopolitical terms.
Great powers gradually being shunted off the world stage have increasing difficulties getting their way: Itsy-bitsy colonial policing operations in dusty ramshackle outposts drag on for years and putter out to no obvious conclusion. If that sounds vaguely familiar, well, the State Department reported that the last Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in 2010. This intriguing factoid came deep within their "International Religious Freedom Report." It is not, in any meaningful sense of that word, "international." For the last decade, Afghanistan has been a U.S. client state; its repulsive and corrupt leader is kept alive only by NATO arms; according to the World Bank, the Western military/aid presence accounts for 97% of the country's economy. ... Dominant powers often wind up with thankless tasks, but the trick is to keep it within budget. London administered the sprawling, fractious tribal dump of Sudan with about 200 British civil servants for what, with hindsight, was the least worst two-thirds of a century in that country's existence.
These days I doubt 200 civil servants would be enough for the average branch office of the Federal Department of Community Organizer Grant Applications. Abroad as at home, the U.S. urgently needs to learn to do more with less.

Protests go global, rampage, tear gas in Rome
Excerpt: Hundreds of hooded, masked protesters rampaged through Rome in some of the worst violence in the Italian capital for years Saturday, torching cars and breaking windows during a larger peaceful protest against elites blamed for economic downturn.
Police repeatedly fired tear gas and water cannon in attempts to disperse them but the clashes with a minority of violent demonstrators stretched into the evening, hours after tens of thousands of people in Rome joined a global "day of rage" against bankers and politicians. (Things are much quieter, folks. Quieter than next year, that is. ~Bob. "What do we want?!" We don't know! "When do we want it?" NOW! --Jim.)

Judge blocks release of government documents over Kagan's role in health care law
More transparency. Where is WikiLeaks when we need them? ~Bob. Excerpt: A federal judge on Friday turned aside a request the Justice Department turn over more documents related to the role Justice Elena Kagan played in appeals over the sweeping health care law, while she was a top Obama administration official. Two conservative groups –Judicial Watch and Media Research Center– had separately sued, calling "inadequate" the documentation earlier released by the government, following a Freedom of Information Act request. Other conservative groups have questioned whether Kagan should participate in deciding the constitutionality of the healthcare law, which is expected to be taken up by the justices early next year.

Governor Cuomo Signs Agreement to Kick-Start The Rebuilding of The ST. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lower Manhattan
Excerpt: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he, joined by Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, representatives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and St. Nicholas Parish and Majority Leader Dean Skelos, signed the agreement that permits the rebuilding of the Church with a nondenominational bereavement center at the east end of Liberty Park, at 130 Liberty Street. The agreement follows a four-month independent engineering study commissioned by the Port Authority and the Archdiocese, which found that the Church could be built on the site with minor modifications to the original plan and with no impact on the World Trade Center construction schedule. "We lost St. Nicholas Church in the destruction of September 11 and for too long its future has been uncertain," Governor Cuomo said. "Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church, with a nondenominational bereavement center, is not just good news for the Greek Orthodox community, but for all New Yorkers. With this agreement, we are continuing New York's collective healing, restoration, and resurgence. Now we are finally returning this treasured place of reflection to where it belongs." (Muslims will be offended. Once they destroy a church, it’s Islamophobic to rebuild it—plus against Shari’a law. ~Bob.)

Troubled long-term care program is first casualty in the political wars over Obama’s overhaul
Excerpt: The Obama administration Friday pulled the plug on a major program in the president’s signature health overhaul law — a long-term care insurance plan dogged from the beginning by doubts over its financial solvency. Targeted by congressional Republicans for repeal, the program became the first casualty in the political and policy wars over the health care law. It had been expected to launch in 2013. “This is a victory for the American taxpayer and future generations,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., spearheading opposition in the Senate. “The administration is finally admitting (the long-term care plan) is unsustainable and cannot be implemented.”

An abhorrent ally for Democrats
Excerpt: About the only thing the Tea Party and the unwashed rabble occupying Zuccotti Park have in common is their deep loathing for the financial and political nomenklatura who precipitated the economic collapse of 2008 and -- thanks to their generous campaign donations to politicians -- have emerged unscathed while the rest of us suffer. Any other resemblance is purely coincidental. But that hasn’t stopped the Democrats from desperately latching on to the protesters, hoping to catch some of the lightning in a bottle that propelled the Republicans to their lopsided electoral victories in 2010. Without the Tea Party (“Tea,” by the way, stands for Taxed Enough Already), the often-clueless GOP leadership would never have wrested control of the House and would not be poised to snatch back the Senate in 13 months -- and very likely the White House, too. So, in a fit of me-tooism, prominent Democrats seem to want to own the Occupy Wall Street crew. President Obama, a millionaire himself, says he “understands” their frustration with a system that has served this country well from its founding. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, chaired by Rep. Steve Israel of New York, is urging party members to “stand with” the demonstrators. “God bless them for their spontaneity!” exclaimed former speaker Nancy Pelosi -- whose net worth is estimated at $35 million. Yet Democrats should think twice before staking their electoral fortunes on the mobs “occupying” various public spaces in municipalities all over the country.

Chevy-Dealing Congressman: “There Is No Market” For The Volt
Excerpt: In addition to being a representative from Pennsylvania, Republican Mike Kelly is also a Chevrolet dealer whose family has sold Chevys since 1953. But in recent hearings on government fuel economy ratings, he laid into his brand’s green halo car, the Chevy Volt with surprising zeal. Or, not-so-surprising, when you realize that he decided to run for congress in the wake of the bailout-era dealer cull: I’m a Chevrolet dealer… we have a Chevy Volt on the lot, it’s been there now for four weeks. We’ve had one person come in to look at it, just to see what it actually looks like… Here’s a car that costs $45,763. I can stock that car for probably a year and then have to sell it at some ridiculous price. By the way, I just received some additional information from Chevrolet: in addition to the $7,500 [federal] tax credit, Pennsylvania is going to throw another $3,500 to anybody foolish enough to buy one of these cars, somehow giving them $11,000 of taxpayer money to buy this Volt. When you look at this, it makes absolutely no sense. I can stock a Chevy Cruze, which is about a $17,500 car and turns every 30 to 40 days out of inventory… or I can have a Volt, which never turns and creates nothing for me on the lot except interest costs… So a lot of these things that we’re seeing going on have a tremendous economic impact on people who are being asked to stock them and sell them. There is no market for this car. I do have some friends who have sold them, and they’re mostly to people who have an academic interest in it, or municipalities who are asking to buy these cars. (I have a deal for Obama. If he’ll give me 1% of the Green Money that Solyndra got—that would be $5.35M—I will buy a Volts for both myself and my wife, and we’ll even drive them around town from time to time. I’ll but a new house to help the market and put solar panels on the roof, made at one of the Green Firms he recommends if he acts fast enough that they are still in business. I’ll make my carbon footprint 5% of or less than Al Gore’s, AND I’ll contribute $50k to his campaign, the same amount the Solyndra guy kicking in for 100 times as much Green Cash. Deal or no deal? ~Bob.)

115-year-old electric car gets same 40 miles to the charge as Chevy Volt
Excerpt: Meet the Roberts electric car. Built in 1896, it gets a solid 40 miles to the charge — exactly the mileage Chevrolet advertises for the Volt — the much-touted $31,645 electric car General Motors CEO Dan Akerson called “not a step forward, but a leap forward.” The executives at Chevrolet can rest easy for now. Since the Roberts was constructed in an age before Henry Ford’s mass production, the 115-year-old electric car is one of a kind. But don’t let the car’s 115 years let you think it isn’t tough: It’s present-day owner, who prefers not to be named, told The Daily Caller it still runs like a charm, and has even completed the roughly 60-mile London to Brighton Vintage Car Race. If you didn’t know there are electric cars as old as the Roberts, you aren’t alone. Prior to today’s battle of electric v. gas, there was another battle: Electric v. gas v. steam. This contest was fought in the market place, and history shows gas gave electric and steam an even more thorough whooping than Coca-Cola gave Moxie. But while the Roberts electric car clearly lacked GPS, power steering and, yes, air bags, the distance it could achieve on a charge, when compared with its modern equivalent, provides a telling example of the slow pace of the electric car.

Obama will deploy troops to Africa
Excerpt: President Barack Obama informed Congress Friday that he’s deploying a force of 100 U.S. combat troops to Africa to help local forces take out the leader of a militant group accused of atrocities and terrorizing civilians, the White House announced Friday. The U.S. contingent will aid local forces fighting Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Obama said in a letter to House and Senate leaders. “Although the U.S. forces are combat equipped, they will only be providing information, advice and assistance to partner nation forces and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense,” Obama wrote. He said the goal of the mission is “removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA.” (Less than a company? Ron P. "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war." --Barack Obama. If McCain had put troops into Africa, I bet Code Pink would have show up chanting "Bush's Third Term!" --DCSeth. Not saying that the LRA is a bunch of good guys. From what I have read, they aren't. But isn't it curious that with all the slaughter of Christians by Muslim official forces in Sudan, for example, Obama would commit our troops to fight a nominally Christian group? No, I take that back. It is not at all curious. It is part of a long-established pattern of Western involvement in Africa and the Middle East (and also Kosovo), The policy has long been to support the Muslims over the Christians. Am I the only one seeing this? --Don Hank)

Dear Robert
We are very sorry for any misunderstanding about this issue. We do not have a policy at Olive Garden concerning bringing the American flag into our restaurants. Some members of our team were misinformed about company policy by our corporate office. As a company we take responsibility for that and we regret it. We take pride in how we communicate to our restaurants and we are correcting this so it doesn’t happen again. Like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes. In fact, we periodically provide American flag collar pins to our employees to wear while serving guests. We welcome anyone who wishes to bring the flag into our restaurants. Sincerely, John Caron, President, Olive Garden. (I allowed him to keep his sword, and the employees to keep their horses for the spring planting. ~Bob.)

Obama's Pig
Pigford lawyer payouts. Worth watching. ~Bob.

Woman wins right to Mecca trip
Excerpt: A Muslim woman has won her fight against a west suburban school district after being denied unpaid leave to go on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca. The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced it settled Safoorah Khan’s religious discrimination lawsuit against the Berkeley School District, forcing the district to pay $75,000 in lost back pay, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees. The district also will have to develop a policy accommodating religions consistent with the Civil Rights Acts to ensure something similar will not happen again. Khan, a teacher at MacArthur Middle School, requested an unpaid leave of absence in December 2008 to perform hajj — a pilgrimage required by Islam — but was told she had to choose between her job and her religious beliefs. She resigned. “I’m glad that we settled and I hope this does set a precedent,” Khan said. “I hope they realize that hajj means a lot to Muslims and there will be more and more people taking the trip. I hope this helps people and their employers to accommodate Muslims and their requests.”

The Politics of Race by John Goodman
Excerpt: USA Today Columnist DeWayne Wickham took presidential candidate Herman Cain to task the other day on the issue of race. His complaints: (a) Cain is vying for white votes rather than black votes, (b) Cain’s claim that blacks tend to mindlessly vote for Democrats is insulting and insensitive and (c) Cain is insufficiently critical of Republicans for pursing a racist southern strategy over the past 40 years. Now since Cain and Wickham are both black, I’m sure that most non-black columnists will choose to sit this one out and let it be just an intramural squabble. I think that’s wrong. All Americans, regardless of color, should find Wickham’s comments offensive for two reasons. First, it takes a lot of chutzpah for a pro-Democratic writer to criticize a Republican for being insufficiently critical of his own party on matters of race. For all its sins, I don’t believe the party of Lincoln has anything to apologize for to the party of slavery, the party of segregation, the party of Jim Crow and a party that even today routinely uses the NAACP to run election eve, race-baiting radio commercials in order to fan the flames of racial hatred and get out the black vote.

US Predators kill AQAP media emir: report
Excerpt: The Yemeni Defense Ministry claimed that an Egyptian named Ibrahim al Bana who served as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's "media chief" was killed last night in a US Predator airstrike. The report is unconfirmed. According to The Associated Press, the strike that killed Bana was one of five in Shabwa province in southern Yemen last night. Bana is said to have been killed in Azzan, one of several cities in the south under AQAP control. From AP: The slain media chief, identified as Egyptian-born Ibrahim al-Bana, was killed along with six other militants in the southeastern province of Shabwa on Friday night, Yemen's Defense Ministry said in a statement released Saturday.

U.S. Senator Wants Details on Bush-Era Gun-Walking Scheme
Excerpt: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) called on Congress to probe the existence of a government operation that allegedly allowed hundreds of weapons to enter Mexico illegally during George W. Bush’s presidency. Citing Justice Department sources, CBS News reported on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms gun-running probe known as “Operation Wide Receiver” that was launched in 2006 and 2007 and which purportedly allowed firearms to be sold to known straw purchasers in and around Tucson, Arizona. The revelation comes amid the fallout from another botched ATF operation, “Fast and Furious,” under which some 2,000 weapons were allowed to “walk” into Mexico between 2009 and 2010.

At least one student can think and make good decisions

Liberty Quotes
Excerpt: "The median family of four ... paid $4,722 in federal taxes last year. That’s enough to pay for a new curtain for the secretary of commerce’s office, to bribe a farmer not to plant 38 acres with corn ... seven weeks of salary for a Customs man assigned to save us from the terror of high-quality, low priced foreign TV sets, or the subsidy on 6,000 bushels of wheat to prop up the Soviet regime. Surely civilization would collapse without such essential services."

Occupy Wall Street is a Menace, Prepare for Violence
Excerpt: Prepare for violence. We remember this crowd. The year was 1999 and the anarchists descended on Seattle to stop a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO). We lived there at the time. (…) Early pictures of the protests reminded us of what you see currently camped in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. And as in the fall of 1999, the media is there to catalogue the strange beliefs of those involved. The Seattle protests were called a peaceful group of human rights leaders, students, environmental groups, religious leaders, labor rights activists’ etc., wanting fairer trade with less exploitation. Sounds like the group down on Wall Street. (…) But there is a darker side to these crowds as there was to the Seattle crowds in 1999, and that is why we are predicting violence to break out soon if it hasn’t when you read this. The Seattle protests started peacefully, but they ended in a hail of tear gas and rubber bullets. (First, pray for windy, cold, damp weather for several days. That should reduce their numbers considerably. Then, sweep up the stubborn at about 2AM after the media has gone to bed. Before dawn, deport every one of them to Washington, DC by bus with only the clothes on their backs, everything else—including ID—having been held as evidence. Turn them loose with directions to the SEIU or the Democratic Party offices, and wish them good luck. I know, I know, only in my dreams—but, even this is more humane than beheading. Ron P.)

The Iranian Assassination Plot: Islamic Statecraft
Excerpt: The foiled Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States illustrates the cultural fault line that divides the Islamic world from the West — and the contempt with which the Iranians hold the Obama administration. Killing a diplomatically protected person in the nation’s capital is a severe violation of international, as well as American, law. Even for the Islamic regime of Iran, which has conducted assassinations all over the world, it was an unprecedented action. Iran has never before been so bold as to consider an assassination in the American capital, especially one by explosion that would result in numerous additional casualties. Until now, Iran has conducted assassinations in countries where it felt it was unlikely to get caught or be subject to retaliation. This new tactic is an indelible statement of Iran’s contempt for the current administration.

Hillary Hits the Mark
Excerpt: In a long speech drowning in State Departmentese that will not garner the attention it deserves, Hillary Clinton said something of surpassing importance on Friday—in today’s world, economic power counts more than military punch. That point has been obvious to most leaders around the world for 20 years now, since the end of the Cold War. But it has not registered in Washington. There, in the home of the non sequitur, the inaccurate fact, the seven-second “truth bite,” and the economics-challenged, the talk is all about how much will be cut from the precious Pentagon budget over the next 10 years. That budget is all the Washington political and media elite know about. For legislators, it’s their political honey pot. For foreign-policy experts, it’s their way to show their toughness. For media, the planes and tanks are visual lollipops. But in the 21st century, money talks louder than the size of one’s military budget. (There was never any doubt where Gelb’s loyalty was; it is still with the Clintons. There is a lesson here, the lesson of why liberals can’t be trusted with national defense. A “rich” nation, group, or person can’t stay rich without adequate protection. Otherwise, some strong bully will take the wealth away. Within a society, that protection takes the form of a police force and courts. But, the police and courts of any nation-state have no authority or power outside their own borders. So, much as they may wish for it, the authorities in country A cannot exercise power in country B, even when acts that are clearly illegal to both systems are acknowledged by all involved. When a nation-state, rather than an individual, violates the norms, what remedy do liberals offer? Economic sanctions. Daily, we see how much effect those have in the various practical laboratory experiments going on in places as diverse as North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Iran, Syria, Libya, etc. When a nation-state takes its aggressiveness to higher levels by intimidating, invading or attacking another, police forces simply aren’t sufficient to address the problem (ask Georgia—the country, not the state). External defense requires a very different set of skills, equipment, and training than policing. Countries with inadequate defenses—see Poland through most of history, for example—don’t usually remain independent very long. A rich country without adequate defenses would simply be a more attractive target. And, a country that happened to be one of the richest.... We need defenses that are more than merely “adequate,” we need defenses that are strong, resilient, and arrayed in depth. We have enemies, even if we aren’t currently in a “declared” war with them. A strong defense establishment provides the security to allow nation-states to become economically rich. Weakening defenses merely makes a nation-state look like a more attractive target. Ron P.)

Anti-Semitic Protester at Occupy Wall Street - LA

Excerpt: At a recent fundraiser for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Providence, Rhode Island, the first lady told her audience: “We stand at a fundamental crossroads for our country. You’re here because you know that in just 13 months, we’re going to make a choice that will impact our lives for decades to come … let’s not forget what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices … let’s not forget the impact that their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come.”

The promise of Cain
Excerpt: Could anyone have imagined even a few years ago that the 2012 presidential race might end up as a contest between two black candidates? Yet, with Republican candidate Herman Cain’s recent surge in popularity, the possibility is there. This says a great deal about race in America -- all of it good. In many respects, Cain’s advance in the GOP primary contest is more striking than Barack Obama’s rise in 2008. Unlike Obama, whose father was African and who was raised largely in Hawaii by his white grandparents, Cain is a product of the segregated South. Obama benefitted from affirmative action, attended Ivy League schools and taught law at one of America’s most prestigious institutions, the University of Chicago. He lived and worked in a rarified world where being black (or in his case, being of mixed race) was -- if a factor at all -- an advantage. Cain, on the other hand, was raised in the South by a father who worked three jobs -- as a barber, a janitor and a chauffer -- and a mother who was a cleaning woman. Cain grew up at a time when schools were still mostly segregated and attended Morehouse, a historically black college in Atlanta, where he earned a degree in mathematics. (Imagine the slogan: "Don't be a racist--vote for the black guy against the half-white guy. ~Bob.)

President masters art of prevarication by John C. Frock
Excerpt: Getting older courtesy of the grace of God and excellent non-Obama-care has added small bytes of knowledge and experience to my aging brain. These two, combined with being an incurable news-junky, have brought me to the precipice of terminal cynicism. The by-far-the-worst president in my lifetime is making any hope of personal recovery from this affliction impossible with his incessantly strident prevarications. On a positive note, however, he has elevated Jimmy Carter to no-longer-the-worst-president status. Obama has taken this political art form — prevarication — to heights previously thought unimaginable, especially with all the skilled and more experienced political liars already entrenched in Washington. Excuse me, "politician" and "liar" are rather redundant. Perhaps it would be more politically correct to suggest that he just manipulates the truth. However, as Columnist Deroy Murdock observed in his Sept. 26 column in the Standard-Times, "Obama evidently believes that if he can keep spouting clever lies and distortions, no will call him on it. Well, it's time to do so." For those who have paid a modicum of attention to history, this is known expediently as the (if I may paraphrase) "if you repeat a lie often enough, there are enough dolts out there who will come to the believe it" school of political manipulation.

ICE official fired for sending email that offended Muslims by pointing out the fact of jihad terrorism
Excerpt: He sent around this email, which I have received thousands of times; you probably have, too. Its language is harsh, but neither Hamas-linked CAIR nor Shahid Haque-Hausrath claim that anything in the email is actually false; they can't do that, because there is no false statement in it. It calls on Muslims in America to show clearly that they oppose jihad terrorism. Instead, here again they act in a high-handed, bullying manner toward non-Muslims who dare point out the fact of terrorism committed in the name of Islam. This only arouses more suspicion, which they then ascribe to "Islamophobia."

American Nazi Party Declares Its Full Support For Occupy Wall Street Protests
Like Germany before Hitler came to power, the Nazis often joined with the Communists to create chaos for the democratic government. ~Bob.

1 comment:

  1. If Mr. Obama wants to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, let's see him do a live reading of "A Time For Choosing." I'd like to see how he handles the passage about "an intellectual elite in a far away capital."

    I still lean towards the conclusion that the alleged Iranian assassination plot is a "Wag The Dog" diversion by the Administration. The plot simply seems to reckless to be credible. Plus the Administration's reaction shows no sense of urgency. Reports have it Mr. O was informed of the plot in June. Yet in October his only response is a vague threat of "sanctions."

    Of course, it is possible the Iranian regime has decided to be madly reckless, and that Mr. O's response is truly incompetent. In which case we might draw some solace from the thought that Mr. O has finally found an opponent as incompetent as he is.