Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for November 22, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for November 22, 2012
Robert A. Hall

Thankful on Thanksgiving
Despite the dire problems facing our Republic and the world, we have much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for having been born in the post-WWII United States. Because of our healthcare system, modern technology and farming developed by the capitalist countries, and political and economic freedom, including property rights—all those things hated by right-thinking Progressives—at 66 I’ve lived longer and better than 99% of the people who have ever lived. I remember that any time I think I should feel sorry for myself because I have pulmonary fibrosis. I owe this country far more than the service I’ve been able to render could ever repay.

I’m very thankful for my family, especially my wife, Bonnie and my granddaughter, Britnye. I’m thankful for my parents who, if not always perfect, gave me values, a work ethic and a love of country. They served me well.

I’m thankful that the United States Marines saw fit to let me wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the privilege of a lifetime, even if I stood in the rear ranks. I’m thankful for my Drill Instructors at Parris Island 48 years ago. Because they gave me the priceless gift of self-discipline—even if sometimes imperfect—I’ve had a wonderful life. I try to live by the USMC core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

I’m thankful that the citizens of the Second Worcester and Middlesex Senate District of Massachusetts saw fit to select me to represent them in the State Senate five times, and never rejected my candidacy. I tried to reward their trust with fidelity and honor.

I’m thankful for a wide variety of friends around the world, including hundreds who read this blog. And I’m thankful for the hundreds of wonderful people, both staff and volunteers, who I have had the privilege of working with over my 30+ year career as an association executive.

The future looks dark to me. (The world’s in a hell of a mess—but it always has been!) Perhaps I’m thankful I won’t be here to see what is coming. But while I draw breath, I will do all in my power to preserve this Republic to offer freedom and prosperity to Britnye and the future generations. All I can do is do all I can—I cannot do less.

Bob’s New England Maple Nut Cranberry Sauce
This is easy and good. Enjoy. ~Bob.

The Mayflower Compact, 1620. Neil W. McCabe
In the Name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. (If my genealogy is right, I’m descended from Bradford on mom’s side and Winslow on dad’s. But I tend to agree with Robert Heinlein in Time Enough for Love: “This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother's side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.” Genealogy is interesting and fun, but who your ancestors were is not nearly as important as who you are. ~Bob.)

Sure, you can pardon the turkey. But where does Gobbler go to get his reputation back?

I think it'd be awesome one year if the president didn't pardon the turkey and instead served him up for the DC homeless.

Something to be thankful for: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from Congress
Excerpt: Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson quits amid mental health issues and a federal investigation into his political dealings. Jackson submitted today a letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner, according to an aide in Boehner's office.
Information on my books

Gaza fighting rages as Clinton pursues durable cease-fire
Excerpt: A bus bombing Wednesday morning brought the Gaza conflict to central Tel Aviv, as intensified fighting between Hamas militants and the Israeli military raised doubts about the prospects of a durable cease-fire being sought by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others in hectic rounds of shuttle diplomacy.

Excerpt: Israel and Hamas will end a week of fighting in the Gaza Strip today at 9 p.m. local time, 2 p.m. ET. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced the cease-fire in a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday in Cairo. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the deal from Jerusalem, saying he had agreed after consulting with President Barack Obama. (Then Hamas will start firing rockets at Israeli kids again. ~Bob.)

A lot of people have asked the purpose of Israel’s defensive war against Hamas. Some, including those supposedly expert on the region, have been mystified. They cannot seem to figure out what is going on or what the goal of this Israeli operation could be. (If Hamas does not accept Egyptian control of their border and actions as (presumably proposed by the US) Rubin suggests, Israel should invade the Philadelhi corridor (this is the area along the Gaza-Egypt border). It should destroy every smuggling tunnel and mangle the landscape so they could not be rebuilt. If possible, they should create a linear crater so low that the Mediterranean flows in. Otherwise Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood) would have to be responsible for strictly policing Hamas' (Muslim Brotherhood) Cordially, Larry Greenberg)

Gaza Justice
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Six Palestinian men accused of being Israeli informants were shot and their bodies dragged behind motorcycles.

Joshua Neidorf, 13, Donates His Bar Mitzvah Money To Wounded Soldiers (VIDEO)
Excerpt: In a generous display of maturity and compassion, one Jewish boy made his first deed as a man in his faith a great act of charity. Joshua Neidorf, a 13-year-old boy from Los Angeles, Calif., donated a big portion of his bar mitzvah money to Operation Mend, a program that reconstructs the faces of severely burned U.S. veterans. (Just when you lose faith in American kids...~Bob.)

Zimbabwe's government reportedly stole $2 billion worth of diamonds
Excerpt: At least $2 billion worth of diamonds have been stolen from Zimbabwe's eastern diamond fields and have enriched President Robert Mugabe's ruling circle, international gem dealers and criminals, according to an organization leading the campaign against conflict diamonds. (Sure, but at least they don't have evil white rule, like they had back when black life expectancy was about 63, instead of 50 years for men and 47 years for women [that's up from 37 years a short while ago], as it is today under enlightened black rule campaigned for by all right-thinking progressives. ~Bob.)

Sources: Office of the DNI cut "al Qaeda" reference from Benghazi talking points, and CIA, FBI signed off
Excerpt: Brennan says her source wouldn't confirm who in the agency suggested the final edits which were signed off on by all intelligence agencies. Another source, a senior U.S. official familiar with the drafting of the talking points, tells CBS News the "controversy this word choice has caused came as a surprise."

Excerpt: Israeli hospitals, amid the ongoing conflict, are treating dozens of patients of all ages who came to Israel from Gaza to get healthcare unavailable there, and are making provisions for accompanying persons. “We at Rambam Medical Center are taking care of sick children and adults, and we are not looking at their religion or where they come from. At the moment, we have four—a baby girl in the nephrology department, two children in oncology and an adult in urology,” Rambam director-general Prof. Rafael Beyar said. (What other country while under attack treats the ill and infirm of its attacker? --LG)

The Truth about Gaza. By Bret Stephens
Excerpt: Sometimes it behooves even a pundit to acknowledge his mistakes. In 2004 as editor of the Jerusalem Post, and in 2006 in this column, I made the case that Israel was smart to withdraw its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip. I was wrong. (It is hard to imagine anything less than a cordon sanitaire around Gaza, including the Philadelphi corridor being effective. If Israel cannot control who and what comes into Gaza and the West Bank, missile attacks and terrorism will resume and Israel will have to repeat this episode again and again. Cordially, Larry Greenberg)

New 3.8% Tax on Sale of Real Estate Effective January 1, 2013
Excerpt: This tax, imbedded in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is actually a Medicare tax. Medicare and Social Security Taxes have always been paid on wages, some by each the employer and employee. However, until now, sales of appreciated property, including real estate, have been subject to capital gains tax but not Medicare or Social Security Tax. This new provision imposes a 3.8% tax on investment income, including capital gains, dividends, interest income and net rental income, on those taxpayers who have adjusted gross income in excess of $200,000 for individual filers and $250,000 for joint filers. (Remember they knew this was going to happen if they reelected Obama. Yet they will all act like it just came up... Have a good night - Chris)

Reducing Debt and Other Measures for Improving U.S. Competitiveness
Excerpt: American competitiveness is at risk as the burden of the national debt continues to take its toll on the economy, say Jason J. Fichtner and Jakina R. Debnam of the Mercatus Center. … Additionally, high levels of debt create uncertainty about the appropriate tax levels needed to service the debt as well as the potential for inflation, which hurt overall productivity and growth. As the debt continues to increase, the government is forced to either increase taxes or make difficult spending cuts, or both. In either case, it hurts the ability of the government to provide essential investments to improve the nation's productivity.

Worth Reading: New York Times Can't Distinguish Good From Evil. By Dennis Prager
Excerpt: This war is as morally clear as wars get. Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to annihilating the Jewish state. It runs a theocratic totalitarian state in Gaza, with no individual liberty and no freedom of speech or press. In a nutshell, Hamas is a violent, fascist organization. (Prager is a classic conservative, and as such is aware of the reality of Good vs Evil in the world. Things are not always just simple Good/Evil contrasts, sometimes there are gray areas where it's difficult to classify two opposing groups or forces as obviously Good/Evil. But we all like it when it is clear that way, such as when it was the Allies versus fanatic Nazis and fanatic imperialists. People will point out that Israel can be criticized for some things, that they are not perfect in every way. And that is true, but the question is not whether they are perfect in every way, the question boils down to is morality clearly more on their side than on Hamas? Since Israel does have a right to exist, and Hamas (plus others) deny that right and insist that their central goal is the eradication of the Jewish state, morality has to be on the side of Israel. As the saying goes, if the Arabs put down their weapons, what happens? No more violence. If the Israelis put down their weapons, what happens? No more Israel. Presenting conflicts and violence always as if there is no particular group more responsible than anyone else is not good journalism. In 1945 would the Times have reported the genocide of the Jews as just being due to the "chaos of war." --Del)

Excerpt: Federal employees—who work on average a month less than private-sector workers and get paid more—are lobbying for higher pay. Government unions know that Congress is looking for ways to nip and tuck the federal budget, and they’re counting on being left out of the deal.

Excerpt: The only consolation to being in my 70s is that I got to spend most of my life in a pre-Obama America, and probably won’t have to spend too many years in the post-Obama one. I hate to be a gloomy Gus, but prior to the election, I wrote that the nation could probably survive another four years of this schmuck, but what it couldn’t survive is an electorate that would give him another four years in which to do his dirty work.

India Hangs the Only Surviving Mumbai Attacker
Excerpt: Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that left 166 people dead, was hanged Wednesday in a surprise action that analysts in both India and Pakistan said was unlikely to derail improving ties.

Libya: Benghazi police chief assassinated
Excerpt: The police chief of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has been assassinated overnight, officials have said. (Breaking: Obama and Susan Rice condemn YouTube anti-Islamic video trailer for inciting violence. ~Bob.)

‘Real killer’ found in OJ Simpson case?
Excerpt: Could OJ have been right after all? New evidence suggests Glen Rogers, a little-known serial killer, was actually the murderer of NFL star OJ Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The 1994 murder trial shocked the world when OJ was found innocent despite what many considered conclusive evidence. (I had dinner with the expert who did the DNA tests for the prosecution. He said the evidence against Simpson was stronger than in 99% of the cases where they get convictions. ~Bob.)

Brace yourself: The high art of handling problem people. By Hara Estroff Marano
Excerpt: Ever wonder how an encounter goes so quickly awry? Doubt your own perceptions? Feel thrown totally off balance by another person? Find yourself acting crazy when you're really a very nice person? Manipulation comes in many forms.

Hotels and Hassles. By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: Few things can make you appreciate home like staying in a hotel. This includes not only low-budget, bare bones hotels but also sweepingly large and ornate luxury hotels. What many hotels seem to have in common are needless hassles.

Democracy and Majority Rule. By Walter E. Williams 
Excerpt: How many decisions in our day-to-day lives would we like to be made through majority rule or the democratic process? How about the decision to watch a football game or "Law and Order"? What about whether to purchase a Chevrolet Volt or a Toyota Prius? Would you like the decision of whether to have turkey or ham for Thanksgiving dinner to be made through the democratic process? Were such decisions made in the political arena, most of us would deem it tyranny.

US defends Israeli attacks on Gaza at emergency UN meeting
Excerpt: Arab nations wanted the council “to condemn that barbaric attack” by Israel and “send a strong message to call for a cessation of hostilities,” said Sudan’s UN envoy Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, chairman of the Arab bloc at the UN. The United States strongly defended the actions of its key Middle East ally however.

Excerpt: The disintegration of an economy and a society can take two courses. One course is like rust. It is slow and barely perceptible. The other is a sudden collapse. The first course, if left untended, eventually turns into the second. The US economy is now rusting away. Arguably it has been for decades. For anyone interested in looking, the signs are there. They will soon become unavoidable for even the most disinterested of our citizens.

Israel: Muslim students protest for Hamas in Jerusalem, until they have to flee Hamas rockets

White House Announces $6 Billion to Promote Clean Energy – in Asia. By Fred Lucas
Excerpt: he White House announced the federal government will spend $6 billion over four years for a “sustainable energy future” plan with Asian countries that involves loaning tax dollars to other countries to increase their purchasing power for U.S. technology, services and equipment. (Which we will borrow from China and send the bill to the grandkids. ~Bob.)

Obamacare helps big hospitals, kills small practices, drives up costs
Excerpt: Bloomberg reports today on how Medicare payment rules have led to hospital consolidation, with small practices selling out to big hospitals. The article notes about consolidation:

Tweet from ‏@ByronYork
Top Romney aide: Just days before election, some top surrogates were angling for Romney cabinet jobs. Days later, they were trashing Romney.

Israel is way more restrained than I would be. If I were a nation. You know what I mean. Fewer warning and more daisy cutters.

SOOPERMEXICAN: Egyptian Protesters Fire Bomb Al Jazeera Office Over Muslim Brotherhood Bias
Excerpt: The offices of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, located above Cairo’s Tahrir Square, was torched by unknown assailants at 10:30am on Wednesday, as street battles in the vicinity between protesters and Egyptian security forces enter the third day.

10 Worst-Rated States for Retirement

Today is Day 1,302 without a budget from Senate Dems. And Day 474 since S&P downgraded our credit rating (Think the media will even notice? Nah. ~Bob.)

Denmark shocked by story of brain-dead donor’s recovery
Yikes. ~Bob. Excerpt: But Carina Melchior did not die after her respirator was removed. She is now undergoing rehabilitation and may make a full recovery. About 500 people immediately removed their names from Denmark’s organ donor register.

Converting Denmark into a Muslim Country. By Soeren Kern 
Excerpt: Muslim immigrants in a town near Copenhagen have forced the cancellation of traditional Christmas displays this year even while spending lavishly on the Islamic Eid celebration marking the end of Ramadan. The controversy has escalated into an angry nationwide debate over the role of Islam in post-Christian Denmark, where a burgeoning Muslim population is becoming increasingly assertive in imposing its will on a wide range of social and civic issues. (Why would European countries support Israel's right of self-defense when they will not even defend their own cultures? –LG)

I'm not brash; I'm tough. When you grow up with Soviet immigrant parents that endured the worst b/c of communism, you cannot be quiet.

Today the IDF has targeted 50+ terror sites, including tunnels, underground rocket launchers & #Hamas command centers.

Obama spent $29M building port that can’t be accessed because it was ‘shovel ready’
Excerpt: President Obama sought to fund “shovel ready” projects with the 2009 stimulus, so the federal government spent $29 million in taxpayer money to dig a port in Alaska that has no roads connecting it to other towns.

TSA reportedly exposed breasts of Rep. Ralph Hall’s teen grandniece, called it ‘accidental’; Update: TSA internal report released, blames girl’s ‘loose fitting’ dress

“Middle Class Joe” Takes Thanksgiving on Nantucket
Excerpt: Vice President Biden, who thinks of himself as middle class and self-identifies with average Americans, embarked Tuesday for the exclusive resort island of Nantucket, where he and his family spend Thanksgiving every year. According to Nantucket’s Inquirer and Mirror, it’s the 36th straight year the Biden clan has celebrated the holiday on the island.

Sea ice extent linked to ocean currents – hindcast model works. By Anthony Watts
Excerpt: From MIT, now if they could work the wind patterns in, as NASA suggests, we might have a clearer picture of why the Arctic summer sea ice extent has changed.

Citizens rush council members as chaos erupts at Newark City Hall meeting
Excerpt: A behind-the-scenes political maneuver by Newark Mayor Cory Booker to fill a vacant council seat with his choice led to a near-riot in city hall tonight, with dozens of residents rushing the council stage and police responding with pepper-spray.

Former RNC Chair Makes 'Conservative Case' for Same-Sex Marriage
Excerpt: Some misperceive the issue of marriage equality as exclusively progressive. Yet what could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. (The threat to the American family is not gays getting married. It is the sharp decline of marriage among straight people, tied to the sharp rise in non-marital births. ~Bob.

This country has come to feel the same when congress is in session as when a baby gets hold of a hammer. - Will Rogers

Excerpt: Such as it is that most leftists do not realize that the freedoms they have so vocally and stridently advocated for so long — the social freedom to say and do whatever you want, and the economic freedom to avoid meaningful employment — are about to be obliterated. The useful idiots will be astounded to find themselves in a full-fledged police state and bound in a state of serfdom to the demands of the central government. (I think a police state unlikely, just a full out- all-against-all tribal war as we collapse. Maybe some local war lords getting power to keep order, though. ~Bob.)

Police: Armed robber killed in Millcreek shooting threatened store clerk
Excerpt: A clerk at a Millcreek Township beer store told township police that a man wearing dark clothing and a ski mask over his head walked into the business with a gun on Saturday night and demanded money.

Worth noting: while Hamas rained rockets on Israel, not much happened; when Israel took action, world leaders rushed to intervene.

Atheist Bullies Shut Down Christmas Displays
Excerpt: Once again, atheists have shut down the First Amendment rights of Christians and Jews with the blessings of a federal court.

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