Friday, May 18, 2012

Political Digest for May 18, 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.

I’m slammed the next couple of days, so there may be no posts until at least Monday, unless I can steal some time. We’re having great weather for the NATO Summit here in Blagobamaville. The forecast is sunny, warm, 100% chance of idiots in the streets. ~Bob.

Book Recommendation: The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World By Niall Ferguson
I got hooked on Ferguson when a friend recommended Civilization: The West and the Rest. I followed that up with the equally interesting The War of the World, and I recommend both. Next up was The Ascent of Money. It’s very different from the others, but illuminating and I learned a great deal about how not only money, but stocks, bonds, credit, mortgages and other financial developments came to be—and the crucial role they play in civilization and our current standard of living. I also learned that a lot of the things that got us into trouble in 2008, credit default swaps, securitized mortgages and the like, are beyond me. And that our prosperity is not only beyond my control, but, frighteningly, apparently beyond the control of the supposed experts making the big decisions. I highly recommend this entertaining, well-written, informative and, alas, unsettling book. ~Bob

Worth Reading: Obama's Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: 'Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'
Excerpt: Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." The booklet, which was distributed to "business colleagues" in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel. … He indicated that while "almost nobody" wrote his or her own biography, the non-athletes in the booklet, whom "the agents deal[t] with on a daily basis," were "probably" approached to approve the text as presented. (As regular readers know, I’ve never been a “birther,” and stay mostly away from “birther” stories. I think conspiracy theories make us look nutty to the uninvolved middle voter who decides elections. And I believe no court would ever over-turn the results of an election, if you had video of him being born on Mars—doubly so when it would mean both a constitutional crisis and riots and mayhem in the cities. So I consider the whole thing to be a distraction from the real work of dealing with serious issues and winning the next election. Still, it’s amusing to find out that Obama’s literary agent [and perhaps Obama himself] was a “birther” back in 1991. Did not Obama see this and approve it before it was distributed? I approve all the bio notes on my books and websites. Personally, I think Obama was born in Hawaii, and that he and his agent were just lying to sell books, like Warren lied about being Cherokee to get diversity benefits. ~Bob.)

If the alternative is talking about the economy, Axelrod is happy to talk about Jeremiah Wright and birth certificates until November.

Border agents dispute claim that illegal immigrant tide is slowing
Excerpt: Federal law enforcement officials interviewed by The Washington Examiner say security is being compromised as the government seeks to keep a lid on the border as a campaign issue during the presidential election cycle. Department of Homeland Security's Border Patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are being told not to make arrests of noncriminal illegal immigrants, and not to patrol areas of high traffic along the roughly 2,000-mile Southwest border.

Darrell Issa Questions Obama On Trans-Pacific Partnership, Leaks Key Text Of Trade Deal
Excerpt: On Tuesday afternoon, Issa published the entire intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific agreement as drafted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the White House agency responsible for negotiating trade deals. The document was previously available online through unofficial channels of questionable legality, but Issa's posting of the document dramatically increases the political pressure on USTR and the Obama administration. A spokeswoman for USTR told HuffPost that it works to keep nonprofits abreast of its negotiating position, and that it has expanded the number of groups it receives input from under Obama -- including public health groups, internet freedom advocates and major labor unions. (More flexibility without Congress and US citizens in the way. --Barb. Although I’m almost always against “leaks,” I notice one of the groups prominently not listed on the distribution list for drafts is elected members of the two houses of Congress. Treaties are about the only “instantaneous” way to amend or over-rule the Constitution. The only protection we have against this is the two-thirds majority of the Senate required for ratification. If this is being done without the “advice and consent” part of advise and consent, it is a major problem. Ron P.)

Democrats refuse to apologize to NYPD for anti-cop amendment
Excerpt: U.S. House Democrats are ignoring calls by Republican lawmakers for them to offer an apology to the New York City Police Department for backing an amendment that effectively rebuked the NYPD over its counterterrorism surveillance and investigative techniques. The formal rebuke of the NYPD, which failed to pass this week on a mostly party-line vote, would have punished the 40,000-member law enforcement department by prohibiting funding for police and security organizations engaged in alleged unconstitutional or unlawful discrimination.

Excerpt: But in another key development that received less attention, a Marquette Law School poll released today finds that by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin, Wisconsin voters want to preserve Walker's public sector union reforms that sparked a wave of protests last year and triggered the recall.

White House under fire for adding Obama policy plugs to past presidents' bios
Excerpt: The Obama accomplishments cited range from the significant to the mundane. On the bio of John F. Kennedy, the Obama staff cited the current president's decision to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps with a "presidential proclamation," as a way to link the current administration to Kennedy's -- which launched the Peace Corps. The only post-Coolidge president whose page is so far untouched is that of Gerald Ford. (I got this from HuffPo; even the center-left is having a hard time swallowing this stunt. And, if there are any Bibles left in the White House, somebody better check the New Testament right away. Ron P. Think Obama is more an old Testament type. You know, "Let there Be Light" and, Lo! Solyndra made solar panels, the eagle-choppers turned and the Volt burst into flame! ~Bob.)

NSA Analyst: "We Could Have Prevented 9/11"
Excerpt: Thomas Drake, a brilliant intelligence analyst, software engineer, and IT management consultant, worked at the CIA in the 1980s, then as a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), and ultimately as an NSA senior executive in 2001. But from 2006 until July 2011, he became the government's and NSA's public enemy. Why? From his high-level perch at NSA, he saw the failure to act on intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 attacks, and he saw corruption at the highest levels.

Navy Plans (Asked) To Name Ship After Gay Child Molester
Excerpt: A California Democratic congressman is asking the Navy to name a ship after the late San Francisco lawmaker and gay activist Harvey Milk, but some of the strongest opposition appears to be from the gay community. Comment on the site: Milk was notorious for his sexual relationships with underage boys, including a particularly well-documented one with 16-year-old Jack Galen McKinley when Milk was 33. (I have no facts on the molestation allegation. Note that the Navy is being asked--it doesn't say they are "planning" anything. And the Rep. who talks about the Military's DADT policy is apparently unaware that the military was following the orders of it's commander in chief, a guy named Bill Clinton. I have zero problems with gay folks, but I don't think either one's sexuality or one's being shot qualifies you to have a Navy ship named for you. 120 folks murdered in the first three month of this year in Chicago, mostly shot. Where are their ships? ~Bob.)

Unidentified Flying Object In Denver Nearly Takes Out Private Jet 8,000 Feet Over Cherry Creek
Excerpt: An unidentified flying object over Denver on Monday has aviation experts scratching their heads. As first reported by 9News, the object did not appear on radar in the area, but nearly collided with a private jet at 8,000 feet above Cherry Creek. In an audio recording from the jet cockpit, provided by, a pilot can be heard telling air traffic officials, "[I] don't know if it was a remote controlled aircraft or what, but something just went by the other way. About 20-30 seconds ago... And it was like a large remote controlled aircraft.” (Generally, FAA and other civilian radars don’t “skin paint” their targets, but trigger a response from a transponder which the FAA radar then shows on the screen. If there was a military radar aimed in that direction at that time, it may have very different results since those DO “skin paint” (you don’t really expect an invading aircraft to advertise what it is, do you?). Since NORAD is at Cheyenne Mountain (near Colorado Springs), it is possible they did have such a radar working. Which doesn’t mean they’ll tell us anything, of course. Ron P.)

Senate rejects Obama budget in 99-0 vote
Excerpt: A budget resolution based on President Obama’s 2013 budget failed to get any votes in the Senate on Wednesday. In a 99-0 vote, all of the senators present rejected the president’s blueprint. … The House earlier this year unanimously rejected Obama's budget. (I can see the campaign ad already: Obama brings bipartisanship to Washington! ~Bob.)

A Glimmer of Hope for the American Dream
Excerpt: Yesterday in the Senate, America bore witness to the glaringly obvious division in Washington, as stark as the contrast between high noon in the desert and midnight in the mountains. On the one hand is Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) failure to pass a budget over the past three years. And on the other hand is leadership from conservative senators and representatives who have put forward serious proposals to rescue America from its debt and spending crises. That division was laid bare inside the Capitol yesterday afternoon as the U.S. Senate voted 99-0 against President Barack Obama's budget -- a plan that spends more, taxes more, and slashes our military, all without making any attempt to reform America's entitlement mess.

G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama
Excerpt: Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote. The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign. “The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal…. (I think this could hurt far more than help. Hammer him on the four years just past, instead. Hold him accountable for the results of the policies he's busy bragging about. Many Americans already believe the two major parties hate each other and that each would say ANYTHING to hurt the other. How does it help us win to look and sound like a shrill fish-wife creating a public scene no one wants to see? No one cares if her husband is a bum, they just want her to shut up. So they stop listening to her. In the basic spousal (or political!) fight, there is often great temptation to stick a finger in the other person’s eye. Don’t give in to that temptation; the problems it creates later can be worse than the problem the fight was about. And, it makes you look stupid. Just my opinion. --Ron P.)

Excerpt: A proposal from a GOP-leaning super-PAC to run attack ads against President Obama based on his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was floated and rejected within hours on Thursday. Both Mitt Romney and Obama's campaign denounced the ad proposal after it was reported in the New York Times Thursday morning.

Census: Minority babies are now majority in United States
Excerpt: For the first time in U.S. history, most of the nation’s babies are members of minority groups, according to new census figures that signal the dawn of an era in which whites no longer will be in the majority. Population estimates show that 50.4 percent of children younger than 1 last year were Hispanic, black, Asian American or in other minority groups. That’s almost a full percentage point higher than the 49.5 percent of minority babies counted when the decennial census was taken in April 2010. (Predicted for decades, the time has finally arrived. In the America we dream of, this should make no difference at all, except perhaps the makers of ladies’ cosmetics will need to produce more of the darker shades. Being an American has nothing to do with race and little to do with place of birth (all of the most anti-American folks I know were born here). It has everything to do with accepting the responsibilities that necessarily must go along with the rights we enjoy. Some cultural groups find those responsibilities too burdensome or inconvenient or unfair; those are the people who will end the American dream. It will have nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with the color of the mind. --Ron P.)

In Greece, Caretaker Cabinet Is Sworn In
Excerpt: The stopgap solution was reached after President Karolos Papoulias and political party leaders failed to agree on a coalition government following inconclusive elections on May 6 that divided the parties into pro- and anti-austerity forces. … The leader of one of those parties, the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, which placed second in the elections and is now leading in opinion polls, repeated his opposition to the deal, known as the memorandum, in an interview with state television on Wednesday night. (Pay attention. We are seeing the future of Socialism play out. When the money is gone, bloodshed follows. It will come here. ~Bob.)

Important: Italy's banks shaken as economic slump deepens
Excerpt: As Greece erupts, Italy is moving into the eye of the storm. Its economy is contracting at speeds not seen since the depths of the slump in 2009 as draconian austerity bites, greatly increasing the risk of social revolt and a banking crisis. (Let me translate …(I speak very good Italian) … in other words, unless the Germans agree to back a Eurobond ….primarily dependent on them for its solvency, the Euro is toast …..That’s not to say that the Germans might not opt for this … it’s just saying that the only ‘kick the can down the road’ option left for the Euros is just that…. Because if Italy collapses …Jim. I have no idea what to do with our none-too-sufficient retirement funds. An EU collapse would take our stock market down. The rising debt may destroy the bond market. If/when the government faces default, they are likely to print money, creating hyper-inflation and making cash worthless. But real estate is still going down—the Chicago area condo we bought for $160k in 2009—previously worth $250k—is now worth under $120k. I’m only above water because I pay extra on the mortgage. Invest in ammo and canned goods, I guess. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Karolos Papoulias, the Greek president, warned party leaders that their continued failure to agree was risking “fatal consequences”. Citing a secret government document, he said Greeks were already pulling £80million a day out of the country’s banks. Almost €1 billion (£795 million) has been withdrawn since the last elections on May 6.

Our Very Own Greece: The major difference is that California has an even bigger budget deficit than its Balkan cousin. By Ross Kaminsky
Excerpt: Stock, commodity, and currency markets have been on a roller-coaster ride in recent days as Greece's election results leave that nation without a functioning government, and without a clear path toward staying in the euro currency. The right answer, albeit a very painful one, may be for Greece to take their medicine and leave the euro, and for Europe to stop bailing out a dysfunctional country that can never be competitive without a less expensive currency.

Pakistan seeks $5,000 transit fee for each NATO container
Excerpt: Pakistani negotiators have proposed a fee of about $5,000 for each NATO shipping container and tanker that transits its territory by land into and out of Afghanistan. The amount is a key sticking point in discussions about the terms of a deal that would allow the traffic to resume, about six months after Pakistan closed its border crossings, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials. (Sure. Just deduct it from their military aid. Or, better, yet, get out of Afghanistan, let the Taliban oppress women and throw acid of girls, and use the money to arm India. ~Bob.)

North Korea Resumes Work on Nuclear Reactor, Group Says
Excerpt: North Korea has resumed construction of a nuclear reactor that can be used to expand the country’s nuclear weapons program, an American-based institute said Thursday, citing the latest satellite imagery of the building site. (Anyone surprised may not be brain dead, but it’s on life support. ~Bob.)

Chinese boats seized by North Koreans in rare public spat
Excerpt: North Korean officials have demanded payment before they will release Chinese fishing boats with a total of 29 men on board, Chinese media reported on Thursday, in a rare public spat between the neighbors and longtime allies. (They are not only commies, but dumb commies, which is more scary. ~Bob.)

Malaysia: Three Mexicans among five sentenced to death
Excerpt: A Malaysian high court has sentenced five men, including three Mexican brothers, to death for drug trafficking. (I wonder if they have fewer drug problems destroying their kids and wrecking families than we do? ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Let Sleeping Germans Lie. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: All over Europe, the gospel is that tight-fisted Germans are at the root of the European Union meltdown: They worked too hard, saved too much, bought too little and borrowed not at all. All that may be true, in theory. But, in fact, faulting thrift and industry is a prescription for incurring anger and guaranteeing backlash -- especially in the case of the Germans, who are now asked to provide even more capital to help other European economies to recover.

A Tale of Two Commencements: For Obama, politics is life. For Romney, politics does not define us.
Excerpt: But even amid pandering one may find truths about candidates revealed, and so it was in New York City and Lynchburg, Va. The world that Barack Obama conveyed to the women at Barnard is totally, overwhelmingly political.

Federal workers raking in millions in bonuses, new database shows
Excerpt: Not bad for government work. A new in-depth database of federal worker salaries shows the government paid out a whopping $105 billion in salaries last year for most of its civilian workforce -- to boot, the workers got $439 million in bonuses.

Sacrificial Scams. By Ann Coulter
Excerpt: The real class warfare in this country isn't rich vs. poor, it's government employees vs. we, the taxpayers, who pay their salaries. Working for the government is supposed to be a trade-off: You can't be fired and don't have to exert yourself, but you will receive smaller remuneration than in the private sector, where layoffs are common (especially in the Obama economy!). Instead, government jobs are safe, secure, pressure-free -- and now, amazingly lucrative!

Worth Reading: Avoiding the ‘Doom Loop’: Romney plans to steer us away from the Greek example. By Jim Geraghty
Excerpt: Mitt Romney on getting Americans to focus on the difficult, sometimes abstract issues of the deficit and accumulating national debt: “There is also a recognition in this country that what Greece and Italy and Spain are facing could conceivably be brought home to us. The recognition that you reach a point where the world decides that your obligations are perhaps not going to be met, or that they will be inflated away — in which case people will ask for higher interest rates, and you’ll find yourself in a doom loop.”

Dems in despair on Wisconsin
Excerpt: On Monday, local party officials began complaining bitterly about the lack of resources national Democratic groups are committing to the recall effort in Wisconsin. …
Back in January, the complaints were coming from the other end: National Democrats were irked that labor unions and others planned to spend tens of millions of dollars to recall Gov. Scott Walker — leaving less for President Obama’s re-election drive and congressional contests.

California screaming: Spending its way to oblivion
Excerpt: Look upon California and despair. Last weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown delivered the latest in a long line of bad news. Turns out the budget deficit is far worse than he claimed in January: What then looked like “just” $9 billion worth of red ink is now $16 billion. And tax revenues in April came $2 billion short of state projections. (No one wants “austerity.” But we are all going to get austerity. Just how well planned, how bad and in what form is yet to be determined. ~Bob.)

Friends and foes call Deb Fischer formidable
Excerpt: But as Deb Fischer emerged from obscurity Wednesday as the overnight favorite to be the next U.S. senator from Nebraska, there is no dissonance on this point: She is, allies and rivals agree, a tenacious, unflinching force in state politics.

Research links coffee to lower death rates
Excerpt: A new study that tracked the health and coffee consumption of more than 400,000 older adults for nearly 14 years found that java drinkers were less likely to die during the study than their counterparts who eschewed the brew. In fact, men and women who averaged four or five cups of coffee per day had the lowest risk of death, according to a report in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Malians riot as rebels impose Sharia law
Excerpt: The protests come amid reports that rebels were intensifying attempts to impose sharia law in northern Mali, smashing TV sets claiming they were being used to play video games or watch content considered un-Islamic. Ansar Dine blocked an aid convoy with tonnes of food and medical supplies for the northern city of Timbuktu on Tuesday, objecting to the presence of women in a reception committee set up for the aid. (Will the pro-Shari’a New York Times have harsh words for these rioters? Will the federal courts that struck down anti-Shari’a laws in the US have to step in? Stay tuned. ~Bob.)

Pro-life group’s ad: Orwellian Obama waging real ‘war on women.’ By Caroline May
Excerpt: A women’s pro-life advocacy group is hitting President Barack Obama for his handling of women’s issues. The Susan B. Anthony List’s new Web video, released Wednesday, claims the real “war on women” is “politicians wanting us to think alike.” The ad, titled “Womanhood,” is premised on the Orwellian idea that Obama has created a “Bureau of Womanhood Conformity,” laying out the rules women must adhere to. In the Bureau, the video says, “independent thoughts are considered subversive.”

Black churches: Betrayed again by Dems. By Larry Elder
Excerpt: Several members of the black clergy now say they intend to sit out the presidential election. One poll from last November found black opposition to gay marriage at 58 percent, higher than the rest of the country, which is about evenly split. The real question is this: What took black church leaders so long to reconsider their near blind support for the Democratic Party?

Autopsy results reportedly indicate Trayvon Martin suffered injuries to knuckles
Excerpt: Autopsy results reportedly indicate that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin had injuries to his knuckles when he died, which could support George Zimmerman’s claim that the unarmed teenager assaulted him before he was fatally shot. reports that a medical examiner found two injuries on Martin’s body: the fatal gunshot wound to the chest and broken skin on his knuckles. The autopsy results surface as court records indicate that Zimmerman had a pair of black eyes, a fractured nose and two cuts to the back of his head after the fatal shooting on Feb. 26. (This article from HuffPo makes two questions jump to my mind. First, considering the closeness of HuffPo’s relationships with the legacy media, why is almost all the coverage of facts favorable to Zimmerman coming from Fox and not the MSM? Second, if someone initiates violence by hitting you with a closed fist, do they “suffer” injuries to their knuckles or are they more likely to glory in them (assuming they win the fight)? Ron P.)

Gun Control Lobby Would Allow For An American Holocaust
Excerpt: While Gun Control advocates and lobbyists would have us believe that they have the best intentions for American citizens at heart, they are easily betrayed by their own words and actions. The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) is just such a group.

Detroit groundskeeper fired after finding loaded gun, handing it to cops
Excerpt: A Detroit groundskeeper, who turned in a loaded handgun he found hidden in weeds while working, was fired by the Wayne County Department of Public Services, reports.

The Death of the Hockey Stick? The iconic symbol of the global warming panic may have taken a hit from which it will never recover. By Rand Simberg
Excerpt: Unfortunately for those promoting the theory (and the potentially economically catastrophic policy recommendations supposedly supported by it), recent events indicate that the last basis of scientific support for the hockey stick may be crumbling.

Military Detention Law Blocked by New York Judge
Excerpt: Opponents of a U.S. law they claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism persuaded a federal judge to temporarily block the measure. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan yesterday ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.

We Do Get You, Joe: Why Liberals Are the Crazy Ones. By Tad Cronn
Excerpt: In a speech the other day in Youngstown, Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden screamed at the audience, “They just don’t get us! They don’t get who we are!” “They,” of course, means you and me, conservative types who are just too dim to understand all the wonderful things the Obama Administration is doing for the country.

Wisconsin April Unemployment Rate Declines To 6.7 Percent
Excerpt: The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary data for April, showing Wisconsin’s unemployment rate declined to 6.7 percent seasonally adjusted from March. Compared to a year ago, more people are working. “Wisconsin’s unemployment rate continued its decline, dropping to a preliminary rate of 6.7 percent in April from 6.8 percent in March and 6.9 percent the previous two months,” Secretary Reggie Newson said. “A year ago, the rate was 7.5 percent. Meanwhile, we had more people employed and fewer unemployed in April 2012 compared to the previous year.” (Let’s see, the national rate under Barack Obama is 8.1%, not counting the millions who quit working. The Illinois rate under Pat Quinn (D-SEIU) is 8.8%. What’s different in Wisconsin? Oh, year—Scott Walker. ~Bob.)

53,000 Dead Voters Found in Florida
Excerpt: How could 53,000 dead voters have sat on the polls for so long? Simple. Because Florida hadn’t been using the best available data revealing which voters have died. Florida is now using the nationwide Social Security Death Index for determining which voters should be purged because they have died. Here is the bad news. Most states aren’t using the same database that Florida is. (I’m surprised it’s that few. Boston, Chicago, Detroit, LA, and many other large cities probably each have more than that all by themselves. Registering to vote in a major Democrat-controlled city may be the closest thing to immortality many of us will achieve. Ron P.)

Pickpocket: Sen. Jim DeMint’s new blog. ~Bob. Excerpt: Board members of a government-sponsored travel promotion agency, created to boost tourism in the United States, held a public meeting and high-end VIP launch party last year that was far from any location in the United States. They went to the United Kingdom.

Holder considers releasing ‘Merchant of Death’ arms trafficker to Russians
Excerpt: Attorney General Eric Holder told Russian news outlets that the U.S. may return convicted arms dealer and terrorist Viktor Bout, the infamous “Merchant of Death,” to Russia to serve out the remainder of his 25-year prison term related to his terrorism conviction in the United States. In 2010 Holder called Bout “one of the world’s most prolific arms traffickers.” He has also labeled the Russian ”a source of concern around the globe for decades.”

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