Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Political Digest for February 14, 2012

The Old Jarhead Blog: Bringing you news and information the MSM is too busy covering American Idol, celebrity affairs and sensational missing person cases to cover. Please forward to friends who need to be informed.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day. Please avoid certain areas of Chicago. (Well, that’s true any day. ~Bob.)

Free PDF Copy of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.

Two Cartoons

Bombs target Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia; 2 injured
Excerpt: The wife of an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi and her driver were injured on Monday when the car they were traveling in was bombed, officials said. A second attempted bombing was defused outside the Israeli embassy in Tblisi, Georgia, at about the same time. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately blamed Iran, which has vowed revenge for the recent assassinations of several scientists involved in Iran’s controversial nuclear program. (Casus Belli. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Politics has a way of turning everything ugly. Some people will say anything to get their guy elected. Others see elections as an opportunity to settle old scores. In either case, what is lost is honesty and sober analysis. Seventeen years ago, shortly after being installed as Speaker, Newt Gingrich gave a short talk (video; full transcript) at a reception of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance. His presentation included his vision for a reformed health care system and how we could get from where we were at the time to where he saw it going. It is interesting to look back today and see how his predictions panned out — where he was right, where he wasn’t, and why.

Important: Global Evidence on Taxes and Economic Growth: Payroll Taxes Have No Effect
Excerpt: Congress is currently debating whether to extend throughout the year the payroll tax holiday, which is currently set to expire at the end of February. Proponents of the holiday argue that the economic recovery is fragile, that continued short-term stimulus is in order as a result, and that the payroll tax holiday is particularly effective in this regard because it puts cash in the pockets of those most likely to spend it. While there is a certain appeal to this argument, many economists have a different view of the short-run dynamics of stimulus measures in general and this payroll tax holiday in particular, says William McBride, an economist at the Tax Foundation. The long-term growth effects of a payroll tax holiday extension are worth considering as well, as the United States appears mired in a long run of slow growth. Here the evidence is quite conclusive: Based on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data on 34 member countries between 2000 and 2010, there is no significant relationship between payroll taxes and long-term economic growth. In contrast, corporate income taxes have a highly significant and negative effect on long-term growth. The estimates suggest that cutting the corporate rate by 10 percentage points is associated with an increase in total real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 11.1 percentage points over the period. This would move the United States from below average to above average in terms of economic growth among OECD countries. (Unfortunately, Obama’s base will never accept tax cuts for business, no matter how much it would help the economy and working people. They are in a catch 22, as the more they kill the economy to punish business and workers in favor of their growing dependency base, the sooner we collapse like Greece and there is no government to live off of. As George Will says, increasing dependency isn’t a by-product of the Obama agenda, it is the Obama agenda. ~Bob.)

What Islam is not

The bad news behind the January jobs report
Excerpt: Three years after Obama became president, even the official unemployment rate still remains high. The newly released 8.3 percent unemployment rate is still a half a percentage point higher than when he took office. But that still might be looking at the bright side. If we include those who have given up looking for work and those who could only find part-time work, the unemployment rate stands at almost an entire percentage point higher than when Obama entered office.

Excerpt: President Obama on Monday sent Congress a $3.8 trillion budget for the federal government that will fuel election-year battles over spending and taxes. The White House claims the plan for fiscal 2013 would create jobs in the short-term through billions in stimulus spending while dealing with the deficit down the road. But the GOP says the budget would simply deepen the nation’s deficit crisis while burdening the economy with tax hikes. Obama’s proposal includes $350 billion in stimulus measures and $476 billion for transportation and infrastructure that would be partially paid for by savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Excerpt: President Obama on Monday unveiled a $3.8 trillion spending plan that seeks to pump billions of dollars into the economy while raising taxes on the rich to tame a soaring national debt now projected to grow significantly faster than previously forecast. The president’s outlook for debt reduction has deteriorated markedly since September, when Obama told Congress that his proposals would hold annual deficits well under $600 billion after next year and permit the debt held by outside investors to rise to $17.7 trillion by 2021, or 73 percent of the overall economy. (Like we’ve got a decade…. ~Bob.)

Rock throwers set trap, injure Livermore officer
Excerpt: Several people set up a roadblock on a Livermore street and pelted a police officer with chunks of concrete early Friday when he stopped to clear it, sending him to the hospital, police said.
Excerpt: House Republicans said Monday that they would offer a measure to extend the current payroll tax cut for the rest of the year, dropping a previous demand that the tax break be offset. In a statement, House GOP leaders blamed Democrats for stonewalling a package that would have paid for continuing the tax break, as well as emergency unemployment insurance and the reimbursement rate for doctors treating Medicare patients.

The Essence of Contemporary Leftism And Islamism Revealed: Freedom or Slavery to Those Who Claim to Know Best? by Barry Rubin
Excerpt: Below is a fascinating exchange telling us not only about the contemporary state of Islam, Islamism, and the political issues involving them, but also about the debates and conflicts shaping Western civilization today. The exchange also taught me about the common theme between revolutionary Islamism and the revolutionary leftism that today masquerades as liberalism.

Europe in the Rearview Mirror by Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Most of us listened in disbelief as we were lectured that veritable disarmament, subsidized windmills, reach outs to a Syria or Libya, easy anti-Americanism, and sermons about cradle-to-grave socialism were the way of the new Europe. And always came the grating condescension, that a self-appointed bureaucratic class in Brussels might lecture Neanderthals what was good for them, without worry over democratic checks and balances. In understandable fear of cannibalizing Europe yet a third time within a century’s span, European academics and elite functionaries had taken a perfectly understandable notion of a European common market and transmogrified it into an anti-democratic, utopian, and utterly unworkable European Union.

Breaking: Iran’s ‘Fordow’ Nuke Plant Now Fully Operational
Excerpt: It is reported that the site cannot be destroyed even with the current bunker-buster bombs kept in the U.S. military’s arsenal. It should be noted that the Fordow facility can only house 3,000 centrifuges, and is therefore useless for providing fuel for a nuclear power plant. The only purpose is for clandestine use or for making a nuclear bomb. (We may have waited too long. Ron P.)

Excerpt: Those who like to think that mankind is making progress toward the rule of law should have a look at the considerable number of hostages nowadays. (…) Some of them, notably those in Mexico, Sinai, and Somalia, are being held for profit. Some of those sought-after profits are pretty big numbers, sometimes running into millions of dollars. Others are part of the war, the global war nobody wants to talk about. (Personally, I long for the days of “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.” Harsh, difficult for the hostage’s families, but in the long run it would remove the incentive to take hostages. Has anyone else noticed how few Russians and Chinese hostages are taken? Ron P.)

Is It Bribery or Just Politics? By George Will
Excerpt: All elected officials, and those who help finance elections in the expectation that certain promises will be kept -- and everyone who cares about the rule of law -- should hope the Supreme Court agrees to hear Don Siegelman's appeal of his conviction. Until the court clarifies what constitutes quid pro quo political corruption, Americans engage in politics at their peril because prosecutors have dangerous discretion to criminalize politics.

"This is the greatest country in the world, and I'm a part of it."
Video is slightly longer than 12 minutes, but I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and listen to Cpl Tibor Rubin's story. –MasterGuns

Emails Disclose Galloway's Syrian Support
Excerpt: Recently disclosed emails demonstrate that one of the few public figures to stand by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad during his brutal repression of anti-government protesters relied on Assad's help for his signature project. George Galloway, the founder of the British-based organization Viva Palestina (VP), sought Assad's help in August 2010 for VP's most recent convoy to the Gaza Strip. "Syria is as I have often said is the last castle of Arab dignity," Galloway wrote in email dated Aug. 11, 2010 to Bouthaina Shaaban, a special advisor to President Bashar al-Assad.

Leadership, Priorities and the Schutzstaffel
 Excerpt: We have fostered a culture that takes perverse pleasure in enforcing irrelevant standards while simultaneously ignoring or enabling true misconduct. We’ve fostered a generation of Marines who will look at the picture of the scout snipers and see facial hair, unbloused boots, and hands in pockets before they notice Nazi propaganda. They will quickly condemn failures in appearance but will enable and defend moral failings. They will ignore and allow a Lance Corporal to be hazed and ostracized. They will join in with the desecration of bodies.

Worth Reading: White House Spin Machine Hits Brick Wall
Excerpt: Yesterday, the newest White House chief of staff, Jack Lew, took to the Sunday talk shows to get a head start on promoting President Barack Obama's FY2013 budget, which is set to be released today. But just as he was getting warmed up, Lew ran smack into a brick wall when he was forced to defend the Democrat-controlled Senate's failure to pass a budget in the last 1,019 days. "You can't pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes, and you can't get 60 votes without bipartisan support," Lew said on CNN's State of the Union. "So unless... unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, [Majority Leader] Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed." Lew repeated the claim in a slightly different form on NBC's Meet the Press, saying "One of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people have realized is that it takes 60, not 50, votes to pass something." The trouble is, Lew is absolutely wrong. As ABC's Jake Tapper points out, budgets only require 51 Senate votes for passage.

Greece MPs pass austerity plan amid violent protests
Excerpt: Tens of thousands protested in Athens, where there were widespread clashes and buildings were set on fire. Violent protests were reported in cities across the country. Protesters outside parliament threw stones and petrol bombs, and police responded with tear gas. Scores of police and protesters were injured. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos urged calm, insisting that the austerity package would "set the foundations for the reform and recovery of the economy". (This will be us, with the only question when. Two years, five years or may we by desperate measures hold it off for ten? ~Bob.)

UK man accused of plotting to sell missile parts to Iran will be extradited to US
Excerpt: A retired British businessman accused of plotting to sell missile components to Iran will be extradited to the United States, his lawyer said Monday. (Where, alas, he will not be shot. ~Bob.)

U.S. Navy: Iran prepares suicide bomb boats in Gulf
Excerpt: Iran has built up its naval forces in the Gulf and prepared boats that could be used in suicide attacks, but the U.S. Navy can prevent it from blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the region said on Sunday.

Al-Qaeda Throws Lot in with Syrian Rebels
Excerpt: Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri reiterated his call for jihad against the Syrian dictatorship in a message posted on the Internet yesterday. The conflict in Syria pits the Assad regime, Iran and Hezbollah against the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and the Arab states. Non-Islamist Syrians desiring genuine democracy, including the Christian minority, are caught in-between. Zawahiri tells Muslims to support the uprising “with all that he can, with his life, money, opinion, as well as information.” The message comes after 25 were killed and 175 were wounded in two suicide bombings in Aleppo of security service buildings. The attacks are believed to have been directly ordered by Ayman al-Zawahiri and carried out by Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq.

Worth Reading: A Tale of Two Wars
Excerpt: There are two possible conflicts on the table in Washington. One is with Iran and the other with Syria. The Iran conflict is the one that Washington doesn’t want. Its most likely trigger at this stage is an Israeli assault on Iran’s nuclear program. Like most of the wars centering around Israel, this one is existential and of no interest to the philosopher kings in D.C. who wage wars with the grand purpose of making the world a better place.

The GOP Can Add 10 Million Jobs and $15 Trillion to US Economy without Spending a Dime by John Ransom
Excerpt: There are many contrasts that the GOP can use to go after Obama on the economy. None present such a black and white contrast as the dispute about the black, tar-sands crude that Canada would like to ship through the US to refineries on the Gulf via the Keystone XL pipeline. The dispute isn't about the environment, is about creating 10 million U.S. jobs.

Afghan soldier boasts of shooting Australians
Excerpt: An Afghan soldier who opened fire on Australian troops at a remote base last year has claimed he and his fellow army recruits had often discussed killing the foreigners, according to a report. … "I had one mission on my mind -- to kill foreigners and teach them a lesson. We are Muslims. We cannot accept foreigners," The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday cited Roozi as saying in the video.

Cleansing Hindus From Pakistan
Excerpt: When British India was partitioned in 1947 Hindus and Sikhs constituted about twenty percent of the population in what is now Pakistan. Now it is barely one percent. This is a demographic catastrophe which has hardly warranted attention in the media, or from human rights groups and other NGOs.

Excerpt: It seems actor Samuel L. Jackson didn’t care about either the hope or the change Sen. Barack Obama promised back in 2008. The young Chicago politician shared the same skin color as Jackson, and that was enough. (Media only interested in white racists who voted against Obama because he was black. Black racists are PC. ~Bob.)

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