Sunday, December 11, 2011

Political Digest for December 12, 2011

Sorry for no digest Saturday or Sunday, due to business travel. Been stretched a tad thin. ~Bob.

Best older posts for new blog readers

Nice note on Collapse sent to me
I read your book; it is excellent. I doubt many who read it expect a feel good warm fuzzy. Those with the situational awareness to recognize that their instincts are on fire and the courage to ask themselves what they can do will be well served by your concise and well written analysis. Your synopsis of where we are as a nation and how we got here is brief and well thought out. It is what we do next that is critical, and it is there you have given the reader a compass. Fair winds and following seas to a better future for our beloved country than many of us currently see on the horizon. Semper Fidelis. You are a true patriot. --Dean.

Republican debate in Iowa: Bachmann elbows back into frame
Excerpt: Michele Bachmann led the charge against the co-frontrunners she termed “Newt Romney” at Saturday night’s debate, elbowing her way into the spotlight and forcing her rivals to engage with her. That’s a marked change for the Minnesota congresswoman, who tumbled in the polls after winning the Ames Straw Poll in August and had trouble getting the race to focus on her since. As part of Bachmann’s effort to tie the frontrunners together and contrast herself, she came charging at Newt Gingrich for supporting an individual health insurance mandate, backing cap and trade and working as a lobbyist after leaving Congress.

GM: 'Couple dozen' Chevy Volt owners request automaker buy back car following battery fires
Excerpt: A small minority of Chevrolet Volt owners are deciding to not drive the extended-range vehicles in wake of a federal investigation into two post-crash-test batteries catching fire, officials say. According to General Motors Co. spokesman Greg Martin, a “couple dozen” of the nearly 6,500 Volt owners have requested the automaker buyback their car; and another couple dozen have decided to participate in the Detroit automaker’s free loaner program.

Obama-Too much Freedom
Excerpt: Even more alarming was Obama’s freedom-smothering suggestion that if businesses know what’s good for them, they had better start factoring in some nebulous overall consideration of the community’s needs, which look amazingly similar to the Obama campaign’s needs. Rebuilding the economy, the president said, “will require American business leaders to understand that their obligations don’t just end with their shareholders.” They don’t? Even after you’ve paid your local, state and federal income taxes; even after you’ve gotten everything up to code with every clipboard-wielding bureaucrat who wants to shut you down — you still have to worry about whether Washington approves of your overall vibe.

Barack Obama's Dismal 32 Month Report Card by Rich Carroll
Excerpt: You will need researched material to mail your liberal friends and/or relatives. Mr. Hope and Change wants to create a nation humbled; humiliated, casting-aside capitalism and individual freedoms for one where “we the people” are government controlled. This would be a system that genuflects mediocrity, steals personal aspiration and opportunity, and punishes those who strive to succeed.

Attorney General Milo Minderbinder
Excerpt: It is a true pity that Joseph Heller, author of Catch 22, is no longer with us. He deserved the chance to observe his character Milo Minderbinder, come to life. Minderbinder is Heller's prototype of deceitful, arrogant authority gone so awry he undercuts the very reason for his post and its operations. I'm talking about our own Attorney General Eric Holder under whose watch arms were shipped to Mexican drug gangs, U.S. agents laundered the cartels' drug money, and hundreds of Mexicans and one -- perhaps two -- federal agents were murdered with the illegally sold guns.

FCC commissioner fears international Internet takeover
Excerpt: There is an effort within the United Nations – led by Russia, China and a coalition of developing nations with authoritarian regimes — to control the Internet, and 2012 may be a crucial year for opposition to such a shift, a key U.S. overseer warned Thursday. Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, told the Federal Communications Bar Association that “scores of countries, including China, Russia and India, are pushing hard for international regulation of Internet governance.” (Practically the only segment of retail commerce that hasn’t taken a huge beating over the past three years is taking place on line. Here at home, regulatory agencies and many state governments are trying to tax, regulate, or otherwise “control the on and off ramps” of on line activity. Until a few decades ago, Canada had “free speech” in the same sense we in the USA know it under the First Amendment. It went away for Canadians and others in Canada when they “protected” the populace from “hate speech,” especially any having to do with race, religion, and sexuality. Why does this always result in political speech being tyrannized? Because politically-appointed bureaucrats get to define what that hate-speech is—and isn’t. So, currently in Canada, you can safely defame almost any majority belief or opinion, but not any minority belief or opinion. Minorities need protecting, you see, and majorities don’t. Members of a minority can legally commend violent acts and actors as long as the violence is directed against a majority; a majority member cannot do the same with respect to a minority. One group has become “more equal” than the other. But, it only works that way in democratic countries. In autocratic countries, any speech the autocrat doesn’t like becomes hateful and thus, subject to regulation, censorship, or direct personal retribution. Why don’t Iranians or Russians have the same internet access Americans do? Is it because there are none who disagree with their governments? Or is it because they are being “protected” from other opinions? Someone please remind me why we remain members of the UN; I seem to have misplaced the list of benefits we’re supposed to get. Preserve the peace, you say? Please name one war the UN has prevented or even mitigated. With friends like these, why bother to have enemies? Also, see the climate related story "Durban: what the media isn't telling you" elsewhere in today's digest. Ron P.)

After Arab Spring, danger arises for Christians
Excerpt: IN THE first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the hard-line Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6 percent of the vote and the even harder-line Salafist party, Al-Nour, won 24.4 percent. The Egyptian Bloc — a coalition of liberal, social-democratic, and secular parties — drew only 13.4 percent. So now we know what the “Spirit of Tahrir Square’’ looks like when it’s put to a vote: In the world’s largest Arab nation, the forces of sharia and jihad are winning in a landslide. (Only idiots are surprised by this. ~Bob.)

Durban: what the media are not telling you
Excerpt: A new International Climate Court will have the power to compel Western nations to pay ever-larger sums to third-world countries in the name of making reparation for supposed “climate debt”. The Court will have no power over third-world countries. Here and throughout the draft, the West is the sole target. “The process” is now irredeemably anti-Western. (…) The real lunacy comes in the small print – all of it in 8-point type, near-illegibly printed on grubby, recycled paper. Every fashionable leftist idiocy is catered for. (No wonder the climate madness is supported so completely in the “third world.” It offers wealth beyond the imagination of any normal person—and I have a pretty good imagination!—to be collected and distributed by bureaucrats at the UN. Monckton is known for having his facts “all in a row,” so I’m inclined to believe he’s giving us the real scoop, here. The list is too long and complicated for me to comment in depth, but the final sentence of the excerpt is fully justified. We may not have any choice about remaining members of the UN. If we do, they may be able to compel us to pay this extortion. At least as non-members, we might be able to defend ourselves against such obvious theft by bureaucratic edict. Ron P.)

Obama: Unemployment Benefits Will Create More Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline
Excerpt: That’s another lie. The Keystone creates pipeline 20,000 jobs immediately up to a half a million. Unemployment benefits create jobs? (laughing) Think of that. Unemployment benefits create jobs. What was it that Pelosi said the return was? For every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, the economy grows by a buck and a half or two dollars or whatever? I mean, it’s absurd.

Chinese 2,485 year tree ring study shows natural cycles control climate, temps may cool till 2068
Excerpt: A blockbuster Chinese study of Tibetan tree rings by Liu et al 2011 shows, with detail, that the modern era is a dog-standard normal climate when compared to the last 2,500 years. The temperature, the rate of change — it’s all been seen before. Nothing about the current period is “abnormal”, indeed the current warming period in Tibet can be produced through calculation of cycles. Liu et al do a Fourier analysis on the underlying cycles and do brave predictions as well.

Report: untold grief of Gunwalker victims demands justice
Excerpt: In a report published today at American Thinker, M. Catherine Evans provides an excruciatingly honest look at the untold grief of the victims of the Gunwalker scandal--the family and friends of those killed as a result of the U.S. government's illegal scheme to take American guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels. It is a brutally candid story but a necessary one, particularly in light of the failure of the mainstream media to report it or mention the sinister mindset that led to it.

Iran's Captured RQ-170: How Bad Is the Damage?
Excerpt: No one in the U.S. government has officially confirmed that Iran has captured a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel UAV. But just an hour after Iranian state television aired images purporting to show off its prize, the Air Force's top uniformed officer raised the specter of a foreign power copying the stealthy jet's top-secret technology.

The Pathetic State Of Science Journalism
Excerpt: If scientists take public money for their research they, individually and collectively, have an obligation to make some effort to communicate their work to their paymasters. But science, and communicating science, is too important to be left to the scientists. An essential component of the scientific enterprise is the science journalist, and there as the saying goes, we have a problem. (Dr. David Whitehouse is a respected contributor at the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Although this article is linked through GWPF, it was first published by Huffington Post. Ron P.)

Impeach Holder and DOJ Officials for DOJ Lies
Excerpt: This week in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder doubled down, then tripled down, on Fast and Furious. He dug in, fought back, and pretended nothing is systemically wrong inside his Justice Department. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) even accused him of potential contempt of Congress, a crime (2 U.S.C. 192). Holder’s testimony was not merely shameful, it was a maturing manifestation of a lawlessness which I first warned about in July of 2010 when I testified about the New Black Panther dismissal. Small acts of lawlessness have given way to larger ones.

Eurozone banking system on the edge of collapse
Excerpt: Senior analysts and traders warned of impending bank failures as a summit intended to solve the European crisis failed to deliver a solution that eased concerns over bank funding. The European Central Bank admitted it had held meetings about providing emergency funding to the region's struggling banks, however City figures said a "collateral crunch" was looming.

PETERSEN: Washington doesn’t need to regulate rain
Excerpt: The main culprits here are the lowly drainage ditch and the only slightly more fashionable culvert, a steel cylinder buried beneath the road surface that directs rainwater away from the road, reducing the threat of flood-caused soil erosion. It is this rainwater that the three-judge panel thinks the federal government must regulate. (…) By instructing the EPA to oversee every ditch and culvert that runs alongside a forest road, the 9th Circuit is subjecting public and private timber landowners to an unnecessary and costly regulatory labyrinth that won’t make water any more suitable for fish and wildlife than it is now. Worse, every project, no matter its insignificance or urgency, will be appealed and litigated by environmental groups that oppose economically productive use of the nation’s forests. (You have to read this to believe it. Ron P)

Pakistani Taliban confirm peace talks with Islamabad
Excerpt: At the end of September, Pakistan's government pledged to "give peace a chance" and talk with its homegrown militants. There was no immediate comment from the administration on whether talks were taking place. The United States, the source of billions of dollars of aid vital for Pakistan's military and feeble economy, is unlikely to look kindly on peace talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which it has labeled a terrorist group.

Hollywood: Gunman shouting "Allahu akbar" fires upon random passersby at Sunset and Vine
More workplace violence. ~Bob

Excerpt: Democrats seem to have more "street smarts" than Republicans when it comes to grass roots politics. In 1983, both parties agreed to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age and adopting other reforms. How did they explain that change to voters in the next election? Republicans typically told voters they had to "pare back the program to something we could afford." Democrats typically said they had "saved Social Security."

Corzine. Democrat. by Rich Galen
Excerpt: There once was a Wall Street firm named MF Global. I'm not sure what they did to make money, but they hired a guy named Jon Corzine, a Democrat, to help them do it.  Jon Corzine had once been the head of Goldman Sachs. He was fired from his job while he was on a ski trip with his family by Hank Paulson who was also a Goldman Sachsian, and later became the Secretary of the Treasury who invented the whole TARP thing.  Don't think that Mr. Corzine and his family had to live out of an A&P grocery cart under the Manhattan Bridge. He made $400 million when Paulson took Goldman public.

2012 Update: Magnetic Pole Reversal Happens All The Geologic Time
Excerpt: The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today's magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth's destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be 'no.' Reversals are the rule, not the exception. (Some months ago, I got an email from someone I know basically saying “REVERSAL OF THE EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD MEANS THE END OF THE WORLD.” Usually, I ignore stuff like that, but this time I wrote back: “I’m more worried about the Y2K computer crash than this.” It is clearly known that the poles have “moved” many times. But, we have no reason to think it happened quickly, let alone instantaneously. Unless the Mayans were right*, it isn’t as if the Earth had a schedule to keep. Ron P. *Another friend asks if anyone tried turning the Mayan calendar over to see if it continues on the other side?)

Seattle Terrorist Plotter Pleads Guilty
Excerpt: One of two defendants charged with plotting to attack a military recruiting location has pled guilty, according to the Department of Justice. The plot was intended to inspire other young radicals to launch attacks on American forces, and was itself motivated by the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, prosecutors argued. "Why don't we all just go into there with guns blazing and just lay everybody down," Walli Mujahidh said in a recording by investigators. Mujahidh, alongside codefendant and jail convert Abu Khalid Abdul Latif, planned the massacre of military personnel at the Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) in Seattle.

Reaganomics and the American Character
Excerpt: If you want to see the effect of bad government policy on character, simply turn on the news and see how Greek civil servants have been behaving recently. (…) But what made Americans who we are is a historically unprecedented level of freedom and responsibility. The real danger today is not merely a loss of prosperity, but a loss of the kind of character on which prosperity is based. (Gramm compares the causes of, and solutions to, the tough economic times of the 70s (and they WERE tough—I was unemployed for nearly the entire year of 1976) to the current “recovery.” He notes the ultimate justification of Reagan: that his policies worked. In those days, results counted. It’s also worth noting that Gramm’s job before entering elective office was as a professor of economics. Ron P.)

The Unity and Beauty of the Declaration and the Constitution
Excerpt: We need government if we are not to descend into anarchy. But since human beings will make up the government, government itself must be limited or it will become tyrannical. Just as we outside the government require to be governed, those inside the government require to be governed. And that has to be strictly arranged because those inside the government need, and they will have, a lot of power. (Structured as an interview with Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, this wide-ranging discussion covers many topics. Pay special attention to the discussion of President Wilson and Wilson’s attitude toward the Constitution beginning near the bottom of page 3. Perhaps Obama resembles Wilson even more than he does Carter. Ron P.)

Climate Corruption 101
Excerpt: Never mind where you might stand on the question of global warming, global cooling, climate change or plain old weather. If there’s one constant to this entire climate debate, it is that in the name of “climate,” the United Nations wishes to regulate and tax the economy of the planet — stripping resources from the most productive economies to hand them out as assorted UN bureaucrats deem fit. This is an agenda for global central planning — which, at the extreme, is what the Soviet Union envisioned as the radiant future of mankind, at least until the USSR itself collapsed as a basket case of monstrously misallocated resources, pervaded by the nightmare repression required to enforce such a system.

The President Who Never Was
Excerpt: How odd that Obama has tried on every mask except one that naturally fits him, that of Jimmy Carter. Carter, remember, railed about luxury boats and three-martini lunches, as if that kind of indulgence had sent the economy into 8% unemployment, 12% inflation, and 15% interest rates. Our problem was always Nixon of old, never Carter of the present. Beneath the utopian Christian caring was the mean streak and petulance; Carter, you see, loved humanity but not humans. (What a perfect description of Carter, Obama, and most liberals! Ron P.)

In case you haven't seen these.
They put Newt in a very positive light. It is his speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition (who knew there was such a thing.) I think he knocks the Q&A out of the park. --Steve

Wanted: Blue-Collar Workers: Who will power America’s new industrial revolution?
Excerpt: Driving the skilled-labor shortage is a remarkable resurgence in American manufacturing. Since 2009, the number of job openings in manufacturing has been rising, with average annual earnings of $73,000, well above the average earnings in education, health services, and many other fields, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Production has been on the upswing for over 20 months, thanks to productivity improvements, the growth of export markets (especially China and Brazil), and the lower dollar, which makes American goods cheaper for foreign customers.

For Obama's Green-Car Revolution, Fits and Starts
Excerpt: The Obama administration has poured roughly $5 billion in taxpayer funds into the electric-car industry, offering incentives to manufacturers, their suppliers and even car buyers who might want to go green. But analysts say the risk is rising that taxpayers in many cases will not see a return on their money soon, if ever. Instead, they warn that some federally subsidized companies could be forced to shut down in coming months, says the Washington Post.

Tax Rates, Inequality and the 1 Percent
Excerpt: A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says, "The share of income received by the top 1 percent grew from about 8 percent in 1979 to over 17 percent in 2007." This news caused quite a stir, feeding the left's obsession with inequality, says Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute. But here's a question: Why did the report stop at 2007? The CBO didn't say, although its report briefly acknowledged -- in a footnote -- that "high income taxpayers had especially large declines in adjusted gross income between 2007 and 2009." Once these two years are brought into the picture, the share of after-tax income of the top 1 percent by Reynolds' estimate fell to 11.3 percent in 2009 from the 17.3 percent that the CBO reported for 2007. The incomes that top earners report to the IRS have long been tightly linked to the ups and downs of capital gains.

Navy buys biofuel for $16 a gallon
Excerpt: This is going to help the Defense Department weather looming budget cuts, for sure. Teaming up with the Department of Agriculture (which has a cheery Rotary Club ring to it), the Navy has purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuel for about $16 a gallon, or about 4 times the price of its standard marine fuel, JP-5, which has been going for under $4 a gallon. You won’t be surprised to learn that a member of Obama’s presidential transition team, T. J. Glauthier, is a “strategic advisor” at Solazyme, the California company that is selling a portion of the biofuel to the Navy. Glauthier worked – shock, shock – on the energy-sector portion of the 2009 stimulus bill. (Yes folks---this is your government hard at work—at least the executive branch! Let’s make sure this gets around and sees the light of day. TC)

Saudi Arabia to spend $ 100bn on 16 nuclear plants
Excerpt: Saudi Arabia will spend more than $ 100 billion to establish 16 nuclear energy plants in different parts of the country within the next few years, Commerce and Industry Minister Abdullah Zainal Alireza told a Saudi-US business forum in Atlanta. (Paid for by you, at the pomp and power outlet, because we don't build nukes. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: John Mearsheimer, once an appropriately obscure political scientist at the University of Chicago, was little noticed outside academia until 2007. That was the pivotal year his inaccurate, sloppily-written, barely-researched, and venomously anti-Israel book was published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, which paid an astounding $750,000 advance for The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-written with an equally unknown Harvard academic, one Stephen Walt.

Corzine’s ‘clueless’ confession
Excerpt: Jon Corzine says he has no idea of the whereabouts of up to $1.2 billion in customer money that disappeared amid the implosion of the firm that he ran, MF Global. His “Sgt. Schultz” defense yesterday before a congressional committee would be pretty funny —if it weren’t a major Wall Street CEO and Obama economic adviser who was playing the goof from “Hogan’s Heroes.” In fact, Corzine was booted from Goldman Sachs in the late 1990s for precisely the same reasons his MF Global is now bankrupt — his inability to manage risk. When he left Wall Street, he became a US senator and governor from New Jersey — whose already dodgey finances only got worse on his watch.

‘Furious’ twisting
Excerpt: For the sake of argument, let’s assume that everything Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee yesterday was true. That the answer to several questions about who ordered Fast and Furious — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “deeply flawed, reckless, misguided and inexcusable” (Holder’s words) gun-trafficking operation — is: “We don’t know yet.” That concerns over the program’s death toll (one, probably two American agents, hundreds of Mexicans) and demands for accountability — including for Holder’s resignation and that of his deputy, Lanny Breuer — are “inflammatory and inappropriate rhetoric to score political points.”

Carbon capture? Go for the source: New analysis shows pulling CO2 from the air would not be cost-effective in the foreseeable future.
I thought they had such technology already, designated the TR-double E. ~Bob. Excerpt: Since most of the world’s governments have not yet enacted regulations to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, some experts have advocated the development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air. But a new MIT study shows that, at least for the foreseeable future, such proposals are not realistic because their costs would vastly exceed those of blocking emissions right at the source, such as at the powerplants that burn fossil fuels. (Funny how people forget the billions in tax dollars spent on the first wind farms and solar projects in the Carter administration (dust in the wind). But even these and the solyndra solar bust looks like a wonderful investment compared to CCS. Turns out at carbon capturing may be the big green fraud ( CCS ). Billions have been invested/burned in this program. (I have been reporting for a few years the 10's of billions blown on CCS here:  "Capturing and compressing CO2 requires much energy and would increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired plant with CCS by 25%-40%.[2] These and other system costs are estimated to increase the cost of energy from a new power plant with CCS by 21-91%.[2]) Just tragic that the billions burned up on carbon cap capturing, ethanol and other mythical green tech that could have been invested in smart hydro and geothermal projects that have proven profitable for nearly a century WITHOUT subsides. Thanks again for your hard work on the book. I think I may have to send out a few for Christmas Gifts. –Chris)

Cannabis and PTSD Clinical Trials Announced
Ah, man…was that trial today…~Bob. I wonder if they need any volunteers. –TH.

Lawmakers: Heads should roll over gun-walking
Excerpt: Republican lawmakers told Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to fire some Justice Department subordinates over the flawed arms-trafficking investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.

Official Confirms Authenticity of Iranian TV Images Showing Lost U.S. Drone
Excerpt: A senior U.S. official has confirmed to Fox News that images aired by Iranian state television do in fact show the secret U.S. drone that went down last week in eastern Iran. "Yep, that's it," the official told Fox News. "And it's intact."

We No Longer Have A Justice System In The US
It’s simply gone. “I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date,” Corzine’s prepared testimony read. “I do not know which accounts are unreconciled or whether the unreconciled accounts were or were not subject to the segregation rules.” Sarbanes-Oxley requires him as the CEO of a company to (1) guarantee that effective risk controls and rules are in place and (2) monitor their compliance. It renders failure to do so — that is, the old-fashioned “I didn’t know” defense that was routinely used after 2000-era failures in the Internet space – a felony.

Who said the following?
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing [the] struggle against the state of Israel for ...Arab unity." a. Newt Gingrich b. Sarah Palin c. Gingrich and Palin d. PLO executive committee member e. Nancy Pelosi on a weekend bender f. Reverend Jeremiah Wright Answer d On March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein, who maintained: "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

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