Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Political Digest for February 22, 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.

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Polls: Romney, Santorum Again Running Dead Even With Obama as Primary Race Tightens by Guy Benson
Excerpt: Meanwhile, President Obama's standing against two potential Republican rivals has ebbed a bit. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney leads the president 50%-46% among registered voters, Romney's strongest showing against him to date. Obama edges former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum by a single percentage point, 49%-48%.

Worth Reading: Academic Hypocrisy By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: If any business operated this way, selling customers something that was very costly in time and money, and which the sellers knew in advance was almost certain to disappoint their expectations, academics would be bursting with indignation -- and demanding full disclosure to the customers, if not criminal prosecutions. But The Chronicle of Higher Education reports "faculty resistance" to collecting and publishing information on what happens to a university's history Ph.D.s after they leave the ivy-covered walls with high hopes and low prospects.

Have our presidents become kings? By Brion McClanahan
Excerpt: Today, we spend millions of dollars per year on vacations for the president and his family — Michelle Obama reportedly spent $10 million on luxurious vacations last year alone — while the executive branch routinely violates the Constitution. The Founders’ statements are a reminder of how far we have come from the original understanding of executive power and why Americans should hold our noses while we vacation on Presidents’ Day.” (Melia: "Skiing is fun, Mommy, but what if the 99% find out?" ~Bob)

Campaign against Canadian Keystone XL pipeline driven by US foundation millions
Excerpt: A Powerpoint presentation obtained by The Daily Caller shows that during a July 2008 meeting, the $789 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund proposed to coordinate and fund a dozen environmental and anti-corporate activist groups’ efforts to scuttle pipelines carrying tar sands oil from Canada to the United States. The most recent incarnation of that pipeline plan, the Keystone XL project, was the subject of intense public controversy until the Obama administration rejected it in January.”

U.S. military chief dubious about arming Syrian rebels
Excerpt: The United States is not interested in providing weapons to opposition forces in Syria until it has a better picture of what those forces are, the top U.S. military officer said in an interview aired Sunday. "I think it's premature to take a decision to arm the opposition movement in Syria, because I would challenge anyone to clearly identify for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point," Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN/ (What, no more weapons for Jihadists as in Libya?)

New paper: A high-resolution surface mass balance map of Antarctica shows “no significant trend in the 1979–2010 ice sheet”
Excerpt: We found no significant trend in the 1979–2010 ice sheet integrated SMB components, which confirms the results from Monaghan et al. [2006].

Excerpt: Age is just a number, amirite Keith?
Excerpt: Not quite. As Stranahan pointed out, the legal age of consent in Texas is 17, a pesky law the Occupy-hating meanies in the Dallas Police Department saw fit to enforce when they arrested Richard Armstrong. And contrary to Olbermann’s debunking, the 14-year-old child — yes, child, Keith — cooperated with authorities: (Well, as Liberal Whoopi would say, "It wasn't rape, rape" when the child agrees to have sex with the leftist hero. ~Bob.)

Ben Bernanke: Supreme Socialist by Steve Forbes Excerpt: You thought socialism was dead, other than in miserable countries such as North Korea and Cuba? Think again. It’s alive and well at the Federal Reserve, and we and the world are paying a price for it. Our central bank tries to manipulate our economy in ways befitting a Soviet commissar.

Germany says solar energy is path to bankruptcy, yet Obama doubles US down on it
Excerpt: One of the biggest national investors in green energy, Germany, is coming to the realization that green energy is the path to bankruptcy. This is nothing short of blasphemy in the green world to even make a partial admission that solar power is not the panacea it was promised to be. Germany invested gargantuan amounts of money in green energy, doling out more than 130 billion in subsidies to install solar systems and spends an additional 10 billion per year subsidizing existing solar installations.

Deal reached on $170 billion Greek bailout
Excerpt: After months in which Greece teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, European officials agreed Tuesday to give the country a second massive bailout in exchange for harsh austerity measures, as grim new estimates about the country’s economy pushed off a resolution until what some officials called the last possible day to reach one. 9Amazing, Ladies and Gentlemen. They have kicked the can a little further down the road one more time. The Dow will likely rise. But stay tuned for the further adventures of Bankrupt Socialist Man! ~Bob.)

Greek debt nightmare laid bare
Excerpt: A "strictly confidential" report on Greece's debt projections prepared for eurozone finance ministers reveals Athens' rescue programme is way off track and suggests the Greek government may need another bail-out once a second rescue -- set to be agreed on Monday night -- runs out.

State and Local Sales Taxes in 2012
Excerpt: Sales taxes are among the most transparent forms of taxation that a government can levy, and the simplicity of sales taxes allows for state-by-state comparison, says Scott Drenkard, an economist with Tax Foundation. In a new Tax Foundation analysis, Drenkard gives the population-weighted average of local taxes in each state. This enables him to calculate a combined rate between the state and local sales taxes in order to demonstrate the real burden of sales taxes across the country. The five highest combined rates are Tennessee (9.45 percent), Arizona (9.12 percent), Louisiana (8.85 percent), Washington (8.80 percent) and Oklahoma (8.66 percent). Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon have the lowest combined rates because they do not have a statewide sales tax and only Alaska has any local sales taxes. The single highest combined rate in the United States is in Tuba City, Arizona -- with a 6.6 percent state tax, a 1.125 percent Coconino county tax and a 6 percent tribal tax levied by the To'Nanees'Dizi local government, the locality has a combined rate of 13.725 percent. (But you need to look at state income taxes and local property taxes as well. TN, for example, has no state income tax. ~Bob.)

Regulations Are Costly to American Consumers and Businesses
Excerpt: The federal government continues to create costly regulations for American businesses and consumers. This persistence in creating subpar rules is due to a number of parties involved in the process who are motivated by factors other than the public good, say Richard Williams and Sherzod Abdukadirov of the Mercatus Center. Individual business and industries are often major players in the creation of bad regulations. Though requirements imposed by federal agencies often impose harsh costs on these corporations, there are a number of circumstances under which they stand to benefit. By voluntarily imposing higher costs on an industry, larger participants in a sector can drive smaller actors out of the market and increase their own market share. Industrial giants can also advocate regulation as a means of creating barriers to entry, such that they face little competition from new startups. Regulations can also create an artificial demand for a product that consumers do not normally want -- the Renewable Fuel Standard created a demand for biofuel where one previously did not exist. Members of Congress are also culprits in the creation of bad regulations. Traditionally, members have used pork barrel spending and public policy to appease key constituents. However, as public attention has increasingly focused on federal government action (especially on spending), members of Congress have found regulation to be a more effective, less obvious means of accomplishing the same end.

If You're Ever Murdered, Here's an Idea By Dennis Prager
Excerpt: In order to make this as clear as possible, here is my proposal: Americans should be able to declare what they want the state to do on their behalf if they are murdered. Those who wish the state to keep their murderer alive for all of his natural years should wear, let us say, a green bracelet and/or place a green dot on their driver's license or license plate. And those who want their convicted murderer put to death can wear a red bracelet and/or have a red dot on their license. (What dot do you wear if you want the bastard shot by a firing squad of recruits at Parris Island, on reality TV? ~Bob.)

Three Years Later, Some of the Stimulus’ Odder Projects: Basket Weaving, Polka Training, Rats on Meth
Excerpt: Three years after the enactment of the $787-billion economic stimulus spending program, critics are still pointing out some of the stranger and apparently most wasteful programs funded by the program, which was intended to create millions of jobs and keep unemployment below 8 percent. 9here’s my plan. We pick panels on ten people at random from the voter lists. They get to review a government spending program. If six or more vote that it’s a waste, the program is cancelled and no one connected with it can ever again work for government or get government money in any form. That would cut the budget. ~Bob.)

Angry Afghans rally over Quran disposal at US base
Excerpt: More than 2,000 angry Afghans rallied Tuesday against the inadvertent burning of Qurans and other Islamic religious materials during trash disposal at an American air base. They demanded to meet the country's president over the issue and threatened to demonstrate again if their demand was not met. U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, apologized and ordered an investigation into the incident, which he was "not intentional in any way."

Excerpt: Since the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul became law in July 2010, the Fed has held 47 separate votes on financial regulations, and scores more are coming. In the process it is reshaping the U.S. financial industry by directing banks on how much capital they must hold, what kind of trading they can engage in and what kind of fees they can charge retailers on debit-card transactions. The Fed is making these sweeping changes--the most dramatic since the Great Depression--almost completely without public meetings. (I agree the Fed is probably the "best expert" to craft new financial regulations, but once again, unelected officials are making rules that will have the force of law on all the rest of us. If you think this will have no impact on you, perhaps because you view yourself as not having much money, I tell you it will hit you harder than the "rich." The rich can hire lawyers and accountants to fight it out with the regulators, you and I can't. One of the primary reasons for the American Revolution was that the colonists had no representation in Parliament, and thus, no voice in creating the laws they had to live under. How is this different? Unless Congress passes specific laws that the President then signs, how can the people know or control what powers the government will exercise over us? If it takes a Constitutional Amendment to stop this, then that's what we need to do. Ron P.)

'Buying' House Votes for Unpopular Legislation
Excerpt: An examination of "administrative earmarks" around the time of congressional votes on key pieces of President Barack Obama's agenda suggests the White House used its power to fund local projects as a means to "buy" votes for major legislative efforts. Administrative earmarking refers to the federal government's allocation of funds from its discretionary budget for specific projects. The practice is less transparent than legislative earmarking, since, according to the Congressional Research Service, "[t]here is no source that defines and comprehensively identifies Administrative earmarks." (Anyone who thought a Chicago Politician with deep obligations and connections in the Daley Machine was going to transform Washington was smoking something funny. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: As Republicans gnaw at each other’s throats, playing a desperate game of “I’m more conservative than you,” something yet more depressing and deeply ironic is occurring: Capitalism is saving Obama.

Feds Purposely Keeping U.S. Borders Wide Open, Experts Say
Excerpt: Under the guise of environmentalism, various federal agencies and departments are blocking Border Patrol agents’ access to critical areas while contributing to widespread lawlessness along the U.S. border, according to experts. Criminals, meanwhile, are taking full advantage of the rapidly deteriorating situation. Despite claims by the Obama administration that the American border is “safer” or “more secure” than ever, sources with knowledge of the reality on the ground say that is simply not true.

Why Pay to Read Lies? Newspapers in Decline by Alan Caruba
Excerpt: The day The New York Times Jersey edition published a piece I wrote, I thought I had reached some magical place amongst my fellow journalists. What I had unknowingly reached was being published in a newspaper with a long history of printing lies and doing everything in its power to influence events through its news columns.

Iran Warns of Pre-Emptive Action in Nuclear Dispute
Excerpt: As tension grew in its nuclear dispute with the West, Iran was reported on Tuesday to have struck an increasingly bellicose tone, warning that it would take pre-emptive action against perceived foes if it felt its national interests were threatened.

Somalia's al-Shabab 'forced whole classes to fight'
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Entire classrooms of Somali children - some as young as 10 - have been forced to fight for Islamist militants, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says.

A massacre at Mexican prison, then an escape
More blood on the hands of American dopers. ~Bob. Excerpt: The worst prison riot in Mexico in years was not really a riot. It was mass murder. Mexican officials said Monday that it appears all of the 44 inmates stabbed and beaten to death at a state prison in northern Mexico on Sunday were members of the same crime syndicate, known as the Gulf Cartel.

Gas prices approach seasonal highs as oil prices climb
Excerpt: Gasoline prices are approaching historical highs for February as oil prices continue to spike amid turmoil in the Middle East. The average price of gasoline is up nearly 25 cents from the beginning of the year, according to the Automobile Association of America's (AAA) Daily Fuel Gauge Report. (Gas at $2 a gallon was due, we were told, to Bush’s cronies in the oil companies. Gas at $4.50 a gallon is due, we are told, to world market conditions, nothing to do with Obama. Oh, yes, ten years ago the Left said drilling in ANWAR wouldn’t help as it would take ten years for the oil to come to market. That would have been about now. ~Bob.)

From Morning Jolt with Jim Geraghty
"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Steven Chu, now our secretary of energy, to the Wall Street Journal in September 2008. The average cost of gasoline in Europe at the time of the statement was somewhere between $7-9 per gallon.

BREAKING: Gleick Confesses
Excerpt: As many of us had surmised, Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute is the Heartland document leaker. He has issued this statement: Since the release in mid-February of a series of documents related to the internal strategy of the Heartland Institute to cast doubt on climate science, there has been extensive speculation about the origin of the documents and intense discussion about what they reveal. (First posted last night at about 7PM PST, there are already 12 updates, most with links to articles elsewhere on the net. Legal actions are certain to follow on numerous basis’s. It is important to note, though, that he denies authoring the fake document that slanders many prominent skeptical scientists. One of Gleick’s supporters—could he have been aware of Gleick’s activities?—was Al Gore’s 2000 Campaign manager, Chris Lehane. No doubt there will be more over the next few days. Ron P.)

Black (liberal) History Month by Cal Thomas
Excerpt: Black History Month honors the achievements of African Americans throughout history and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, a reliance on family and faith, which allowed many African Americans to survive the horrors of Reconstruction, racial injustice and violent acts of discrimination, has become a casualty of the modern welfare state, which has contributed to the destruction of family cohesion, supplanted faith in God with faith in government and fashioned many African-Americans into a Democratic voting bloc that has not improved the lot of the impoverished among them.

Cost to operate a Chevy Volt
Excerpt: Eric Bolling, Fox Business Channel's "Follow the Money", test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors. For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine. Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles. (No matter how many of your tax dollars they pump into it, this turkey is going to die. ~Bob.)

Why Syria Will Not Be Another Libya by Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: The architects of the Libyan disaster in France, the UK, the United States and Qatar have decided that Syria is the next step in replacing dictators with Muslim Brotherhood allied “democratic” parties. But no matter how eager they are to roll the Arab Spring forward with a month of bombing raids, this won’t be a relative cakewalk like Libya. … Syria has an extensive WMD program; it has nerve gas and if things get bad, it may be willing to deploy chemical weapons against its enemies, the way its fellow Baath Party did across the border in Iraq.

Black Swans That Could Obliterate America's Future by John Hawkins
Excerpt: Default on the Debt: This is, far and away, the scariest option on the list because all we have to do to ensure that it occurs is maintain the status quo for the next 10-15 years -- if that long. Congressman Mike Pence says we may only be a decade away from a default and Senator Tom Coburn thinks we may be less than 5 years away. By 2020, it'll take 19% of the world's GDP just to finance our debt and by 2030 it'll take 36% of all our tax revenue just to pay the interest on the debt. (Huh. Pretty much all things I covered in my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic, published last May, except he missed a low-grade conflict with China that drives us out of Asia, brings Taiwan, South Korea and Japan under the Middle Kingdom, creating an economic system larger than the US and Europe combined. Not “Black Swans” if they can be foreseen, though. ~Bob.)

WSJ: Concerned Scientists Reply on Global Warming
Excerpt: In summary, science progresses by testing predictions against real world data obtained from direct observations and rigorous experiments. The stakes in the global-warming debate are much too high to ignore this observational evidence and declare the science settled. Though there are many more scientists who are extremely well qualified and have reached the same conclusions we have, we stress again that science is not a democratic exercise and our conclusions must be based on observational evidence. The computer-model predictions of alarming global warming have seriously exaggerated the warming by CO2 and have underestimated other causes. Since CO2 is not a pollutant but a substantial benefit to agriculture, and since its warming potential has been greatly exaggerated, it is time for the world to rethink its frenzied pursuit of decarbonization at any cost. (Wow, this letter is worth reading. Although this letter was published in Monday’s WSJ, I’m linking it where it is reprinted in full. Brilliantly written, this letter addresses the points thrown at them in rebuttal to their WSJ letter of 27 Jan 2012, No Need to Panic About Global Warming (carried in that day’s TOJ) and crushes them in short order. Ron P.)

Warning: 'Lone wolf' terrorists work in packs
Excerpt: Khalifi was not was simply a "lone wolf," as assumed by officials like Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the Maryland Democrat who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as by most reporters and editors in the mainstream media. Lone wolves don't band together with others claiming to be comrades on a lethal mission. Khalifi believed he was acting in concert with al Qaeda, which he asked to join.

Finkelstein on BDS: A Cult of Dishonesty
Excerpt: Professor Norman Finkelstein is an odious character, infamous for his anti-Israel activities and his book on the “Holocaust Industry”. Finkelstein is also a supporter of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Which is why a video of Finkelstein calling out the BDS movement as dishonest is causing such a stir. It’s the video that the BDS movement didn’t want you to see as Finkelstein leaves his BDS supporting interviewer speechless. (This is important. This vocal Jewish critic of Israel unequivocally condemns the BDS movement that aims only to put an end the Jewish state. Cordially, Larry Greenberg.)

Obama's auto whopper By Henry Payne
Excerpt: Here come the GOP primary, Michigan. And here comes the media misinformation. Exhibit A is the fiction that Mitt Romney "was willing to let (the American auto industry) just die" as President Obama repeatedly puts it in speeches - uncorrected by his MSM allies.

The True Unemployment Rate: 36%
Workforce participation is the metric that really matters. by John Hayward
Excerpt: Would you define “unemployment” as measuring “people who want a job, but can’t get one?” This is, broadly speaking, the definition embraced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The trick to making those numbers dance lies in measuring “people who want a job.”

Adolf Hitler had a son with a French teenager while serving as a soldier during the First World War, according to new evidence.
Excerpt: Jean-Marie Loret, who died in 1985 aged 67, never met his father, but went on to fight Nazi forces during the Second World War. His extraordinary story has now been backed up by a range of compelling evidence, both in France and in Germany, which is published in the latest edition of Paris's Le Point magazine. Hitler is said to have had an affair with Mr Loret's mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, 16, as he took a break from the trenches in June 1917.

The Obama Economy
Cartoon. ~Bob.

Excerpt: Over the past two years, Texas has regained as many non-farm jobs as it lost in the recent recession, the state's chief revenue estimator is expected to tell House budget writers on Tuesday. The state economy has added 440,000 payroll jobs since December 2009, the recession's low point, John Heleman said in written testimony. In the 16 months before December 2009, it lost 433,000 payroll jobs, or 4.1 percent of all Texas non-farm jobs, said Heleman, who works for Comptroller Susan Combs. (May have to give Rick Perry another look. What? ~Bob.)

The Educator’s Educator Likes To Call Women He Disagrees With “Conservadouche”
Excerpt: What does an assistant professor call a woman with whom he disagrees? A “conservadouche” (I was nice and corrected the professor’s typo). At least that’s what one assistant professor of education at Towson University called Dana Loesch, a radio talk show host, award winning editor for, and conservative contributor for CNN. (A Sexist Leftist—but I repeat myself—who missed Obama’s “civility” lecture. ~Bob.)

Taliban behead four alleged spies: official
Excerpt: Taliban militants have beheaded four men for allegedly spying for the government in southern Afghanistan, an official said Tuesday…The Taliban had found satellite phones in the men's possession and thought they were spies, he said, adding that mobile phones do not work in that district and it is normal for people to use satellite phones. (To be fair, I’ve thought of this when a phone rings in a movie. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Nuclear Realities When it comes to nukes, who has them matters a lot more than how many there are. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Otherwise insignificant nations and failed states gain credibility by shorting their own people to divert billions of dollars to acquiring a bomb. Take away that fact from Pakistan, and the United States would probably have reduced aid to such a de facto belligerent long ago. Without the ongoing appearance of possessing nukes, North Korea would probably earn about as much foreign aid as Chad or Niger.

Latest NC Terror Report Offers More Baseless Conclusions
Excerpt: Federal law enforcement has amassed an impressive record identifying and interdicting would-be jihadists bent on waging terrorist attacks before they can acquire the means to kill people. The American military has killed or detained senior terrorist leaders, including those tied to a slew of homegrown terror plots. So when a spike in those plots from 2009 ebbs, those seeking an explanation might start by looking at these documented successes.

Hugo Chavez Needs Surgery after Finding New Lesion during Trip to Cuba
Excerpt: "The test in Havana found a lesion in the same spot where the other tumor was removed one year ago," Chávez said on state television.

Obama Super PAC Leans on Chicago Machine
Excerpt: The sole major contributor to Obama’s Priorities USA PAC for the month of January is a longtime ally of the president with ties to the Illinois political machine, including convicted fraudster Tony Rezko and disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Priorities USA raised a mere $59,000 in January, according to the Federal Election Commission. Almost all of it came from Obama fundraiser John W. Rogers, who donated $50,000.

Math Matters
Excerpt: In a New York Times article — "Do We Need Foreign Technology Workers?" (April 8, 2009) — Dr. Vivek Wadhwa of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University said "that 47 percent of all U.S. science and engineering workers with doctorates are immigrants as were 67 percent of the additions to the U.S. science and engineering work force between 1995 to 2006. And roughly 60 percent of engineering Ph.D. students and 40 percent of master's students are foreign nationals." American mathematics proficiency levels leave a lot to be desired if we're to maintain competitiveness.

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