Friday, February 17, 2012

Political Digest for February 17, 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.

New Book: Advice for my Granddaughter - For When I'm Gone by Robert A. Hall
Advice for my Granddaughter is a short, east-to-read guide that will light the path in a chaotic world for that tween or teen girl in your heart. From the Secret of Happiness to the Secret to Avoiding Poverty, from Reputation to Contentment, from Education to Driving to Drugs to Tattoos, this loving Grandfather draws on a wealth of life experience to provide a sure hand on the helm for the future of the girl he loves. Your beloved girl will be able to return to this slim volume again and again to help her make good decisions. (And it wouldn't hurt the boys in your life to read it as well.) $8.99. All author royalties from this book are donated to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. (Also available on Amazon, but the PFF gets a larger royalty when you order from the publisher, CreateSpace, though the price is the same.

Another blog milestone
The Old Jarhead blog now has 1,200+ followers. Since I started it in October of 2008, it has had about 440,000 page views, with many countries represented (including 256 page views from the Ukraine in the last week). When I launched it a friend said there were seven million blogs and only two million blog readers, so I seem to be getting my share. I thank my readers, and especially my contributors, without whom I could not put the Political Digest together. Maybe I should do an IPO, like Facebook, for a few billion dollars? Hopefully my health will hold so I can do it a while yet.

Obama Administration Cracks Down on Crime

Whitney Houston – Guest Post

Our Saudi Problem by Ralph Peters
Excerpt: It’s time to shift our focus to more-serious Islamist enemies of civilization, freedom and elementary decency: the Saudis. Al Qaeda carried within it the formula for self-destruction, but the Saudis are the kind of threat that lasts: pernicious, perverted and patient. I don’t worry much about the Obama administration’s recent blessing of the sale of another $30-billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, since the Saudis are too cowardly, lazy and incompetent to use them effectively. The threat from Riyadh isn’t military—it’s militant.

Iran threatens to cut some oil exports to Europe, touts nuclear advances
Excerpt: The threatened cutoff was announced after state media reported that Iran has started loading fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor, an aging U.S.-supplied nuclear reactor used to make medical isotopes, and has begun operating a new generation of centrifuges at the country’s main uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz. While official media had reported that Ahmadinejad would also formally declare fully operational the underground Fordow uranium-enrichment facility, he did not mention the complex in his speech. (If George Bush had done this, the entire western world would be screaming about how he wanted countries to be “with us or against us.” Here, it’s treated as just a vague threat with no particular objective or consequences. Iran acts very sure of itself, its allies, and their capabilities, and now makes demands on those perceived as wavering. They’re getting ready for war. Ron P.)

Obama Billions Pay to Play Scandal Snapshot
Excerpt: A great graphic from the RNC that captures the essence of the Obama regime’s taxpayer funded pay to play scheme that has resulted in BILLIONS of dollars going back into the coffers of Obama political supporters – and it seems more and more of these dealings are being discovered every day. (It’s the Chicago way. ~Bob.)

Interesting: Jack Kennedy, 'Elusive Hero,' Has No Clothes
Excerpt: The problem is that any honest historian couldn't claim that Jackie was JFK's sweetheart. He had lots of 'em. And now CBS has utterly ignored what NBC just exploited — er, reported — in prime time: Former White House intern Mimi Alford has written a memoir revealing how Kennedy pressured her into Jackie's bed in 1962 to take her virginity. This affair began when she was 19 and four days into her internship. It would last until the eve of Kennedy's assassination.

Negotiators reach deal; vote expected soon on $150B economic package
Excerpt: Congressional negotiators gave final approval early Thursday to an economic plan worth more than $150 billion that would extend a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits. A key roadblock was overcome when the lawmakers agreed to require new federal workers to contribute more to their pension plans, clearing the way around 12:30 a.m. for a majority of the House-Senate conference committee to begin signing onto the deal. The pension provision represented a concession to key Maryland Democrats who, even after prodding from President Obama, did not grant their support until current federal workers were shielded from the new pension plan, aides in both parties said.

Important: Understanding the true cost of state and local pensions
Excerpt: The financial health of defined benefit pension plans for state and local government workers is a matter of policy concern and analytical contention. Pensions have come under increased scrutiny as funding levels have dropped and required contributions have risen. According to standard actuarial accounting, the average public pension was 76 percent funded in 2009, down from 95 percent in 2001.1 Likewise, annual required contributions (ARCs) -- the costs of benefits accruing in a given year plus the amortization (generally over a 30-year period) of unfunded liabilities from prior years -- were over $74 billion in 2009, up from around $29 billion in 2001, with further increases likely in future years.2 Overall, public pensions reported underfunding of $660 billion as of mid-2009, the most recent date for which complete information is available.3 … Current pension accounting rules rely on a potential taxpayer bailout to lower measured funding costs, but never reveal the importance of this potential recourse to taxpayers, nor discuss its costs. (Where in hell will the “bailout” money come from? ~Bob.)

Excerpt: As the American people head into another election year some will be puzzled by the rise and the staying power of Progressive ideals—according to which government manages the private economy supposedly for the social welfare. But in truth they’ve been operating at the local level for more than a century. Overestimating the power of Progressive ideas locally is difficult. Many who eschew the heavy hand of the federal government—railing against corporate bailouts, Medicare, or government ownership of companies—embrace even more extensive government manipulation of private market activity closer to home.

Can Obama Win Re-Election by Promising Free Stuff
Excerpt: By now we all know that the candidate who four years ago told us he would bring us together has become the president who will run for re-election by trying to drive us apart. The president can’t say two words without saying these two words: “Fair share.” The rich, we’re told, aren’t paying their “fair share” and that’s not fair. (Of course he can. When Clinton fell afoul of a blue dress, I predicted in my political column in the Courier Post that he’d get re-elected by going on TV daily and promising expensive new programs. He did. ~Bob.)

SECRET: Don’t tell anyone! US and Afghan governments begin three-way peace talks with Taliban
Excerpt: The U.S. and Afghan governments have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal, disclosing an important breakthrough in efforts to end the 10-year war. (Like the Vietnam Peace Talks, designed to give political cover for surrendering people to tyranny. Marguerite de Valois: “In love, as in war, a fortress that parlays is half taken.” ~Bob.)

Doubting Greeks’ Resolve, Euro Zone May Hold Back Full Bailout
Excerpt: Distrustful of Greek politicians, European leaders considered a plan on Wednesday to hold back a significant share of the $171 billion bailout for the deeply indebted country even if Athens passes the austerity measures demanded by its international lenders. “Statements and assurances from Greece are no longer taken at face value,” said Wolfram Schrettl, professor of economics at the Free University in Berlin. “There is a growing belief that Greece is looking for a sucker — and Germany’s playing the sucker.”

Liberia ex-first lady proposes tough anti-gay bill
Excerpt: Former Liberian first lady Jewel Howard Taylor has introduced a bill making homosexuality liable to a death sentence, amid a raging debate over gay rights in the country, a lawmaker said Wednesday. The bill submitted by former president Charles Taylor's ex-wife, now a senator, also seeks to amend laws to prohibit gay marriage. (Must be okay with the Federal Courts, which struck down Oklahoma’s law against Shari’a Law—which calls for the execution of Gays. Shari’a is endorsed by the NYT as well. Besides, remember the progressive mantra: “All cultures are equally valid.” ~Bob.)

What Would Clint Eastwood Do? Regarding the nation's purpose, Clint Eastwood and Barack Obama couldn't be further apart.
Excerpt: This being so, it behooves us to revisit the most controversial political event of the past two weeks—Clint Eastwood's Super Bowl commercial for the Chrysler car company. This ad was widely viewed as an argument for a second Obama term. It is undoubtedly true that the pro-Obama admen who created the commercial embedded a pro-Obama spin. Asked about this afterward, Clint Eastwood said simply: "I certainly am not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama."

The Kerry Kickback: Senator Secures $3.5 Billion Windfall for Massachusetts Hospitals
Excerpt: Massachusetts hospitals are poised to receive a $3.5 billion windfall in federal funding over the next 10 years thanks to a little-known provision Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) inserted into the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, also known as “Obamacare.” The increased funding—$367 million a year in the form of Medicare reimbursement payments, according to the Federal Register—would not only come at the expense of hospitals in the 49 other states, but would also directly benefit an organization that has given generously to Kerry’s campaign. (For that kind of cash, they should let him bring his Yacht back from RI tax free. ~Bob.)

Preet’s sweet press... But prosecutor’s no Eliot Ness
Excerpt: The rumor mill out of Washington says Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, is on the short list to replace his boss, scandal-tarred Attorney General Eric Holder. He may get there — but for the wrong reasons. Bharara’s glowing press accounts paint him as the perfect law-enforcement official for the modern era: bright, selfless and doing his best to crack down on the corporate scourge of insider trading.

Reid Ally Target of FBI Probe into Campaign Donations
Excerpt: A major Democratic power-player in Nevada is under FBI investigation for illegal campaign contributions. Harvey Whittemore, former lobbyist and land developer who has close ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is being investigated by federal agents for reportedly funneling donations through family members to skirt campaign finance laws, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Friday.

For Dems, No One ‘Plays By the Same Rules’
Excerpt: With all due respect to the president, everyone “playing by the same rules” is completely at odds with the prevailing ethos of the Democratic Party. To begin, perhaps the president could explain how “playing by the same rules” translates into granting waivers from the healthcare bill.

The Little Sisters of Limousine Liberalism
Excerpt: How much is Sr. Carol Keehan worth to the pro-Obamacare Catholic Health Association? Answer: $962,467. I called up the Catholic Health Association (CHA) yesterday. I wanted to nail down the exact compensation figures for some of its executives, including the salary and benefits of Sister Obamacare, also known as Daughter of Charity nun Carol Keehan, who last week helped Barack Obama engineer his latest con job -- the bogus conscience "compromise" designed to hoodwink Catholics into voting for his reelection.

Worth Reading: The Progressive Legacy: Part III by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: He said, "they are children and we are men in these deep matters of government and justice." If that sounds racist, it is perfectly consistent with President Wilson's policies at home. The Wilson administration introduced racial segregation in Washington government agencies where it did not exist when Wilson took office. Woodrow Wilson also invited various dignitaries to the White House to watch a showing of the film "The Birth of a Nation," which glorified the Ku Klux Klan -- and which Wilson praised. All of this was consistent with the Progressive era in general, when supposedly "scientific" theories of racial superiority and inferiority were at their zenith.

Air-quality study: Electric cars out-pollute gas engines
Excerpt: A Chinese study found electric vehicles in China are creating a bigger dent in the environment than gas-burning vehicles. While electric car sales now outnumber those of conventional gas vehicles two-to-one in China, fine-particle pollution has increased as the “green” cars’ popularity has increased. Researchers found that generating the electricity used to power an electric car releases more pollution into the atmosphere than burning gasoline to drive. (Duh. It’s NOT about the environment. It’s about making Al Gore, Barack Obama and the Green Elites feel warm and fuzzy while getting votes from the airhead progressive base. Hang the environment and the cost to working people. ~Bob.)

How the West Is Fanning Islamic Extremism by Ali Sina
Excerpt: Muslim dissidents face dire consequences in Islamic countries. To a great extent the western media and the western governments are to be blamed. Not only they don’t condemn these human rights violations, they are often reticent to report them. This silence is interpreted as a green light by the governments in Islamic countries and a seal of approval.

20,000 Muslims Attempt to Kill Pastor and Torch Church in Egypt
Excerpt: A mob of nearly 20,000 radical Muslims, mainly Salafis, attempted this evening to break into and torch the Church of St. Mary and St. Abram in the village of Meet Bashar, in Zagazig, Sharqia province. They were demanding the death of Reverend Guirgis Gameel, pastor of the church, who has been unable to leave his home since yesterday. Nearly 100 terrorized Copts sought refuge inside the church, while Muslim rioters were pelting the church with stones in an effort to break into the church, assault the Copts and torch the building. (Nothing to worry about. Ethnic cleansing is PC as long as it’s directed at Christians. ~Bob.)

CalPERS report undermines Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension overhaul plan
Excerpt: The California Public Employees Retirement System is the nation's largest public pension fund, and its new report undermines Brown’s efforts to change California’s pension system -- which the governor insists is unaffordable and unsustainable.

Obama's Irrational Warhead Cuts: Nuclear Gun Control
Excerpt: The commander in chief who once pined for a world without nuclear weapons has decided a world without an American deterrent is a good start, seeking to cut the U.S. arsenal by 80%. In a world where rogue states with unstable leadership are either in possession of or pursuing nuclear weapons, and with Russia rearming and China emerging as a world military and nuclear superpower, President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to consider cutting U.S. strategic nuclear forces to as few as 300 deployed warheads — below the number believed to be in China's arsenal and far fewer than current Russian strategic weapon stocks.

Barack Obama: In the Footsteps of Twentieth Century Despots By Steve McCann
Excerpt: How many times will the American people have to be hit over the head before they understand that Barack Obama is the most corrupt, dictatorial, and ideologically driven president in American history? That his entire being and psyche are devoted to transforming the country not only into a socialist utopia, but into a nation permanently governed by a radical oligarchy?

Washington could learn a lot

Tunisia arrests 3 journalists in morality dispute
Excerpt: Three Tunisian journalists have been arrested after publishing a photograph of a footballer frolicking with a nude woman, raising fears of a media crackdown by the country's new Islamist rulers.

'Islamists' spring 200 in Nigeria prison break
Excerpt: Suspected Islamist gunmen bombed their way into a prison in central Nigeria before opening fire on the wardens and emptying the jail of its 200 inmates, a spokeswoman said Thursday. The attack in the central Kogi state left one warden dead, and while there was no official confirmation of the raiders' identity, local residents suspected the Boko Haram Islamist sect which has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria.

Excerpt: Perhaps the greatest single piece of sociological, cultural and political legerdemain in the last 40 years has been liberals convincing the country that they have not moved left since John Kennedy’s death. Despite George McGovern, Roe v. Wade, the welfare state, gay marriage and now the Obama attack on religion, liberals have managed to present themselves as the voices of reason in a country gone crazily right wing. And the more liberals move left, the more hysterical their rhetoric about the right grows. At this point, anyone who claims that a balanced budget is good economics or that there are physiological differences between men and women is stamped a Nazi.

Video – Allen West “The Republicans Proud History of Standing Up for African-Americans”

Excerpt: On Monday, I noted that the president’s budget, with all its tax increases and “spending cuts,” fails to close the deficit — ever. Questioned on this point by Representative Scott Garrett during a House Budget Committee hearing yesterday, OMB acting director Jeffrey Zients had to agree: Under the proposed plan, the budget is never balanced. So much for a balanced approach. This is bad news. As we know, most of the spending cuts will never materialize.

Homeland Security takes on The Carrington Event
Excerpt: While we worry about future threats like global warming, and present threats like Iran’s escalating nuclear program, the sun’s propensity for belching out monstrous solar flares (like the Carrington event of 1859) could almost instantly create a world without modern conveniences, or even electricity. The sun could literally “bomb us back to the stone age”. Imagine a world without iPhones, and you’d understand why Homeland security rates New York and Seattle the highest for likelihood of major social unrest. Humans don’t do well in the dark. DHS has taken notice. (We have good news, bad news, and worse news. The good news is that any step we take to mitigate a solar geomagnetic (Carrington) event will also act as protection from the far weaker manmade EMP of nuclear weapons. The bad news is there isn’t much public information available on “hardening” your personal items or home (and no information at all on how to harden yourself if you, like me, have an implanted medical device like a pacemaker or defibrillator—perhaps we’ll just explode and not have to worry about it?). Few companies, even in the financial field where a few electrons are the difference between poverty and mega-wealth, have taken any steps to protect either their data or their physical assets; few are even aware of the problem. The worse news is that over the past two years, there have been at least three solar CME events—Coronal Mass Ejection events—that caused significant auroras over both hemispheres of the globe. A CME is just a slightly smaller version of a Carrington Event. And, you thought we already had plenty to worry about. Ha! Ron P.)

Freedom and Tyranny
Excerpt: This president, who so vigorously asserts and imposes state power against Americans, is much more comfortable supporting dissident movements against American friends than against American enemies. At a certain point, after unconscionable dithering, he announced that Qadaffi must go, and he ordered our armed forces to help that happen. Qadaffi wasn’t killing Americans.

Please, A Little Honesty About Illegal Immigration
Excerpt: If aliens are free to ignore federal immigration law, then cannot citizens likewise pick and choose which statutes they find inconvenient? Finally, illegal immigration has wrongly been couched in terms of a xenophobic and insensitive exploiter preying on a more noble and defenseless guest. In truth, the United States is the most generous host in the world, and never more so than during the present age.

The Noble Savage
Excerpt: Competing with Bacon's vision of a society based on science is the older and more persistent fable of the Noble Savage. The Noble Savage is not a person, but an idea. It is cultural primitivism, the belief of people living in complex and evolved societies that the simple and primitive life is better. The Noble Savage is the myth that man can live in harmony with nature, that technology is destructive, and that we would all be happier in a more primitive state. (While I doubt there are many “Noble Savage” admirers here at TOJ, I guarantee every one of us knows at least one of them. Here’s a chance to ruin their day by forwarding them this excellent article by Prof. David Deming. Ron P.)

Iran Talks Possible, New Letter From Tehran Says
Excerpt: Tehran made the offer in a letter to the EU's foreign policy chief obtained by Reuters on Thursday, a day after it trumpeted several advances in nuclear know-how and sent oil prices upward with suggestions of economic retaliation in what may have been moves to boost its leverage before any fresh negotiations. Iran's president vowed no retreat from its atomic path on Wednesday only for state television to announce the proposal to re-launch talks after a year's hiatus - mixed signals making it difficult to divine what Tehran's ultimate intentions were. Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili's letter said he would have "new initiatives" but did not spell them out. (I think it was Sun Tzu who said “Excellence in war is to keep your enemies divided and confused.” The Iranians won’t change anything, they’re just trying to buy more time. Perhaps the horse will learn to sing. Or, in this case, explode. Ron P.)

Excerpt: President Obama spent much of last year pretending that he had a plan to tackle the nation's long-term debt crisis. He never released an actual plan, but he gave a bunch of speeches pretending that he had. And Obama pushed the idea that he was privately ready to cut a "grand bargain" on the debt were he not thwarted by intransigent Republicans. This was a narrative dutifully reported by the media, despite the lack of any formal plan. Now, the pretending is over. (The media, Reid and Pelosi will go on pretending for him, never fear. ~Bob.)

New CBO Report Decimates 'Obamanomics': Real Unemployment Hits 15%
Excerpt: The official unemployment rate excludes those individuals who would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work; if those people were counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate in January 2012 would have been about 15 percent.

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