Monday, December 3, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for December 4, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for December 4, 2012
Robert A. Hall
Your one-stop-shop for political news and opinion. Please forward to friends who need to be informed. This SitRep (Military for “Situation Report”) is created by many readers who send me items for inclusion, which I would have likely missed or skipped. And I can only spend at most three hours a night pulling stuff, plus the healthcare or economic stuff that crosses my desk at work. As always, I—and you—owe them thanks and appreciation. I post articles because I think they are of interest and will stimulate thought and discussion. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article, or that I was able to verify the information presented, which is the responsibility of the author. I try not to post things that are false, or too far a stretch, regardless of the view point, but I don’t always succeed. As always on the Net, or in the legacy media, you must read critically and with skepticism.

Advice for my Granddaughter: For When I'm Gone
All royalties go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

Diving Off the Fiscal Cliff
Excerpt: Increased rates on capital gains and dividends would lower gross domestic product (GDP) by more than 6 percent. Moreover, these tax rate increases would reduce labor income by 6 percent, as well as reduce the hourly wage by about 5.3 percent for those working. Increasing the rates on estates and gifts loses the government about $18.5 billion. Lifting marginal tax rates will cost the economy $2.20 in lost income for every $1 of new tax revenue. Moreover, GDP and labor income will be reduced by 1.2 percent. (They don’t care. It’s not about revenue. It’s about playing to the base and, as a friend says, “revenge.” ~Bob

Jay Leno on rebranding the ‘fiscal cliff’ (video)
Excerpt: “Here’s how they should explain it: It’s 4 a.m. for our economy, and Lindsay Lohan is behind the wheel. That says danger. People understand that,” Leno said. 

A fat chance: The Danish government rescinds its unwieldy fat tax
Excerpt: Yet in practice, the world’s first fat tax proved to be a cumbersome chore with undesirable side effects. The tax’s advocates wanted to hit things like potato crisps and hot dogs, but it was applied also to high-end fare like speciality cheeses. One gourmet cheesemaker cut his range of products when his creamy Danish blue saw a price increase of 25%. (The Nanny State hits the rocks. Surprise! ~Bob.)

A Medicare Reform Proposal Everyone Can Love: Finding Common Ground among Medicare Reformers
Excerpt: Medicare reform will soon be front and center in the public policy arena. The reason: Projections in the past two years for Medicare's deteriorating finances have triggered a legal requirement for the President to propose reform legislation within 15 days of the release of the next federal budget. Congress must consider the president's proposal on an expedited basis. This paper proposes a comprehensive reform that addresses both Medicare's funding and its spending. It has these features: (Obama may just ignore the trigger, as he has done with other laws. What will they do about it? Nothing. ~Bob.)

Quote from The Patriot Post
"It is a matter of record that in the German Election of 1933, the Communist Party was ordered by its leaders to vote for the Nazis -- with the explanation that they could later fight the Nazis for power, but first they had to help destroy their common enemy: capitalism and its parliamentary form of government." --author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982) (Well, until Hitler attacked Russia, he was considered a leftist socialist party [National Socialist German Workers Party, remember?], and the left defended him. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: America Went Over the Fiscal Cliff Long Ago. By Alan Caruba
Excerpt: The total amount of earnings from individuals and corporations is not sufficient to cover the debt and operating expenses of a federal government that has been steadily expanding since early in the last century. Cox and Archer noted that “all individuals filing tax returns in America and earning more than $66,193 per year have an adjusted gross income of $5.1 trillion. In 2006, when corporate taxable income peaked before the recession, all corporations in the U.S. had a total income for tax purposes of $1.6 trillion.” That’s a total of $6.7 trillion available and we have more than $8 trillion per year in liabilities.

The Drawn-Out Crisis -- It's the Obama Way: The president seems to prefer frustration to good-faith negotiation. By Peggy Noonan
Excerpt: The election is over, a new era begins -- and it looks just like the old one. A crisis is declared. Confusion, frustration, and a more embittered process follow. This is ... the Obama Way

Walmart's New Health Care Policy Shifts Burden To Medicaid, Obamacare
Excerpt: Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post. (Bet most of them voted for Obama, and are shocked that elections have consequences. ~Bob.)

Obama Says No to Oil Leases, But Yes to Windmills, Off the Atlantic Coast. By Susan Jones
I’m okay with this. The sooner these green fantasies fail, the sooner we can get to a realistic energy policy. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama's plan for the Outer Continental Shelf does not include any new oil and gas leases in the Atlantic Ocean over the next five years, but it does include windmills.

Excerpt: Worse, Delaware’s Eric Bodenweiser didn’t just have a change of heart: He was indicted on 113 felony counts related to accusations he raped a boy 39 times between 1987 and 1990 — beginning when the victim, now in his 30s, was 13 years old. (Probably crappy staff work—but an elected official is responsible for his staff. If George Bush had done this the media….oh, never mind. ~Bob.)

The Chart That Keeps Ben Bernanke Up At Night. By Tyler Durden 
Excerpt: What changed in the last 30 days? Did the world just wake up to the idea that the only way out of this quagmire is a twisted currency war that appears to have re-ignited thanks to Abe's efforts? Something appears to have snapped in the American psyche as the last 30 days have seen the largest physical gold sales on record.

Bill Whittle on the US vision
This is a 15 minute screed by Bill about our nation and the visions that different Parties have for it, and how the conservative vision has not been effectively communicated by politicians. He does a great job in this, it's a stirring call to proud Americans everywhere. –Del

Wounded Warrior Project Backpedaling On Gun Stance
Excerpt: After a few days of getting bludgeoned over the head with bad press and threats of recalled support wafting through the ether, Wounded Warrior Project has seen fit to pretend that it was all just a misunderstanding. (The flak has been flying about WWP for some time, and now they are seeing the light and trying to back out of the mess they stupidly made. What I found interesting is that 55% of their budget goes to the salaries of administrators. That's a whole lot of bucks for people to take who are supposed to be working primarily for the good of those who have suffered badly while serving us all. There are charities that have a good deal less of their money in salaries, and those are the ones I like to support. –Del. I don’t contribute to the WWP. I notice that, like the Susan G. Koman fund for breast cancer, they spend a LOT of money on TV advertising. I contribute to Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and also to The Vietnam Healing Foundation, with which Del is associated. ~Bob.)

From NRO’s Morning Jolt By Jim Geraghty
So predictable, isn't it? During these seemingly more frequent showdowns, the purpose of every lawmaker appearing on a Sunday show, no matter the party, is to emphasize how committed they are to a sensible bipartisan compromise that put's the nation's interest ahead of the special interests, and how the opposition is being extreme, divisive, unyielding, outrageous, et cetera. This latest round is so irritating because a) it's just like the campaign rhetoric that we were supposed to see ending on November 6, right down to the president doing rallies in Philadelphia; b) it's a rerun of the players, issues, tone and rhetoric of last summer's debt-ceiling fight; and c) if every outcome of the fiscal cliff stinks, then this is the policy-debate equivalent of taking the Band Aid off really slowly —like over the course of a month. I don't know when buyer's remorse will kick in for any portion of the slim majority that voted for President Obama, but I look at this fight and wonder how many Americans will look at Washington and groan, "This stuff again? Already?"

Egypt's top court shuts down, blames protesters
Excerpt: Protests by Islamists allied to President Mohamed Mursi forced Egypt's highest court to adjourn its work indefinitely on Sunday, intensifying a conflict between some of the country's top judges and the head of state. (There will be blood. There always is when fanatical members of the “religion of Peace” get any power. As often as not, it is Muslim blood. ~Bob.)

Russia, China urge North Korea to drop rocket launch plan
The neighbors are getting worried. ~Bob. Excerpt: Russia and China urged North Korea on Monday not to go ahead with a plan for its second rocket launch of 2012, with Moscow saying any such move would violate restrictions imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

Japan readies missile defence over North Korean rocket
Excerpt: Tokyo has begun deploying a surface-to-air missile defence system and is putting its armed forces on standby ahead of a planned North Korean missile launch this month, reports and officials said on Monday. Public broadcaster NHK reported that a naval vessel carrying PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3) ballistic missiles left a western Japan naval base on Monday, headed for the country’s southern Okinawa island chain.

Iran defence experts 'are stationed in North Korea'
Iran has stationed defence staff in North Korea since late October, apparently to strengthen cooperation in missile and nuclear development, Japan's Kyodo News agency reported yesterday, quoting a Western diplomatic source. The report came after North Korea had said on Saturday that it would carry out its second rocket launch of 2012 between December 10 and December 22. The Iranian mission, Kyodo said, was made up of four experts from Iran's Ministry of Defence and firms close to it. (Oh, my, the window includes 12/21/12…..Barb)

UK and France summon Israeli envoys in settlements row
Excerpt: Britain and France have both summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at Israel's decision to approve the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (Funny how they are more upset about Jews building houses than Muslims building A-bombs. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: America not paying its fair share. You cannot simultaneously enjoy American-sized taxes and European-sized government. One or the other has got to go. By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: As America hangs by its fingernails, wiggling its toesies over the vertiginous plummet to oblivion, what can save her now? An Even More Super Committee? A bipartisan agreement in which Republicans agree to cave, and Democrats agree not to laugh at them too much? That could be just the kind of farsighted reach-across-the-aisle compromise that rescues the nation until next week's thrill-packed episode when America's strapped into the driver's seat of a runaway Chevy Volt careering round the hairpin bends on full charge, or trapped in an abandoned subdivision overrun by foreclosure zombies.

Vietnam Veterans, Discharged Under Cloud, File Suit Saying Trauma Was Cause
Excerpt: Today, Mr. Shepherd, 65, is part of a class-action lawsuit against the armed forces arguing that he and other Vietnam veterans had post-traumatic stress disorder when they were issued other-than-honorable discharges. The suit, filed in Federal District Court, demands that their discharges be upgraded. (Friend told me because I’ve had so many jobs [8 in 40 years] I doubtless qualify for PTSD benefits. I suppose I could tat saying I’ve had flashbacks and can’t sleep, and get on the dole too. Hard to see myself doing that. ~Bob)

The Rise and Fall of Wealthy Nations. By Scheherazade Rehman
Excerpt: An often forgotten fact amongst economists is that significant and lasting shifts in a county's wealth, i.e. becoming a rich nation, tends to transpire over very long periods of time and is cyclical. Past patterns in premodern civilizations reveal that it took more than 200 years for a country to become wealthy then—now it is taking less time. On average it is about five generations—approximately 100-150 years. 

Worth Reading: Store Clerk Shoots Black in Self Defense – Now Black Community in Uproar
Excerpt: Police watched the surveillance tape of the incident and ruled that the clerk shot in self-defense and that his actions were justified. Of course, the clerk is not black, so even though he was the one who was first assaulted, Calloway’s father, along with a number in the local black community are all up in arms and want the clerk arrested and convicted.

The cold, hard realities behind Medicare cuts
Excerpt: Democrats have said they can cut Medicare spending without touching seniors’ benefits. But here’s the reality: They can’t get several hundred billion dollars out of Medicare without at least some beneficiaries taking a hit. (Progressive fantasy is about to collide with math, and math is going to win, hands down. ~Bob.)

The Republican Hispanic Challenge. By Star Parker 
Excerpt: We’re stuck in a deadly spiral where economic growth is retarded because the economy is larded with enormous and ever-increasing government spending and debt. Yet, more and more Americans want the lard. President Obama got re-elected by promising to continue to serve it up.

Men Find Careers in Collecting Disability. By Michael Barone 
Excerpt: In 1960, some 455,000 workers were receiving disability payments. In 2011, the number was 8,600,000. In 1960, the percentage of the economically active 18-to-64 population receiving disability benefits was 0.65 percent. In 2010, it was 5.6 percent. (With modern medical advances like hip and knee replacements, there should be fewer disabled people today, I’d think. ~Bob.)

Northeastern U’s Students for Justice in Palestine Cheerlead Hamas & Call for the Murder of Jews. By Richard L. Cravatts 
Excerpt: The members of SJP who attended Tuesday’s demonstration, along with their fellow travelers of anti-Semites, Israel haters, and such psychologically mystifying groups as Jewish Voice for Peace, apparently were not sufficiently concerned when some 12,000 rockets and mortars were launched almost daily into southern Israeli towns from Gaza by Hamas over the past seven years, aimed at civilian targets for no other reason than the intended victims were Jews. In fact, nearly 600 rockets plunged into Israeli neighborhoods just since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s current campaign to suppress further assaults on its populace.

Bob Costas Exploits NFL Murder/Suicide to Take Our Guns. By John Nolte
Excerpt: We saw it after that terrible movie theatre shooting in Colorado back in July, and now we're seeing it with the tragic murder/suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Damn logic, damn facts, damn waiting for a little something known as an investigation -- we have a tragedy, we have a gun, and now we have yet another opportunity to push an agenda meant to strip Americans of their God-given Second Amendment rights. (I was watching football when an announcer took it on himself to read Costa’s piece to the viewers. Didn’t mention that as legal gun ownership has gone up, violent crime has gone down, or the places with the most violence, like Chicago, also try hard to keep guns out of the hands of the decent citizens. ~Bob.)

Top High Schools in America.
You almost surely know about the ranking of top high schools in America by U.S. News and World Report. What I found interesting was the evident domination of private and charter schools in this list. -- John Jaeger

Worst run states

According to a detailed survey that's done every year, the five worst run states are: California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey . CA wins again, second year in a row. I was surprised that Connecticut and New York didn't make the bottom list, but they aren't that far up, and maybe after this year their rating will be even worse. CA, NJ, and Il were expected to be there, the other two were mild surprises. Interesting, and the question remains the same as it has been for a couple of years now. When will one of these states really hit the wall and a major mess takes over? My money is on CA, but somebody else might actually fall over the cliff sooner. It will be interesting. –Del

A short but useful video, really makes it simple. And says a lot about how our leaders should be looking at taxation rates. What it doesn't go into is that it isn't just about federal taxation rates, although that is the primary application people consider. However, if a person lives in a state where there are a whole myriad of special taxes adding to the load on people, some people with a federal rate below the particular percentage this demo uses can still get to feeling overtaxed and act accordingly to find ways to pay less in taxes. Including moving away, especially on retirement. Politicians who only see the population as the place where they can keep squeezing out money can and have in the past fallen afoul of the Curve, with the result of lower actual tax income. There's a lesson there, but I don't know if it's really understood everywhere. –Del

The Boeing computer-blitzing drone that could cripple a nation's electronics: What if Israel plans to use this against Iran's nuke facilities? STUXNET was an indication that they have such a capability.
Excerpt: Down the years and across the universe, the heroes of science-fiction classics from Dan Dare to Star Wars and The Matrix have fought intergalactic battles with weapons that wipe out enemy electronics at the touch of a button. Now scientists have turned fantasy into reality by developing a missile that targets buildings with microwaves that disable computers but don’t harm people.

The Noose Around Israel's Neck: Only by resisting the noose, can Israel survive. Only by fighting to free its hands, can it resist. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: Israel is being hanged on a public gallows erected on the grounds of the United Nations with yards of rope gleefully supplied by the Muslim world. But the hangmen are mostly Westerners who still think that the Muslim lynch mob at their doorstep can be pacified with the death of a single victim.

Allen West: ‘Lincoln Only Served One Term In Congress, Too’
Excerpt: On National Public Radio last Friday, former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) explained his future role in politics. “Look,” said West, “you know, God closes a door so that he can open up greater doors. I will continue to, you know, stand up and fight for this country. ….Rep. West added, “And always remember, Abraham Lincoln only served one term in Congress, too.” (Hint? –Barb. I like West, but my advice to him in 2008 was to focus on working the district, be firm in principle, but willing to work with anyone. That’s how I won re-electing four times in a D+20 senate district. Of course, the GOP hurt West in redistricting—I don’t know why. ~Bob.)

China's neighbors express alarm over militant new South China Sea policy
Excerpt: China's neighbors are expressing alarm over China's belligerent new actions in claiming sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including regions that historically belonged to other countries, including Brunei, the Philippines, MalaysiaTaiwan, and VietnamChina's new passports contain the "nine-dash map," a map that China uses to designate its claims with nine dashes circling the entire South China Sea. As I reported two days ago, China is now sending warships to the South China Sea and is preparing to board and take control of any ship in what china considers to be its sovereign "territorial waters."

ObamaCare’s Menu-Labeling Regs Hike Costs And Stifle Creativity
Excerpt: According to President Obama’s own Office of Management and Budget, the menu display requirements of ObamaCare rank as the third most burdensome statutory constraint enacted that year. For the pizza industry, the new regulations require cumbersome and costly menu boards that must contain calorie information for each variety of whole pizza that is prepared in the restaurant. Ironically, however, customers of many pizza establishments will never even see the elaborate menu boards, which could cost about $5,000 per location, since most generally call in a delivery order without ever stepping foot inside the restaurant. (Gov regs will strangle businesses “not in favor” with the Party. What? Chicagoland hates pizza? Will they make same FDA regs on Kobe beef , lobster and champagne, so favored by the left elite? –Barb.)

Excerpt: The ambitious Amb. Rice agreed to do the campaign’s dirty work. The incident in and of itself should be disqualifying for Rice’s quest to become secretary of State — imagine telling your boss right after the worst malfeasance of a checkered career that you deserved a big promotion. … There is her remarkable propensity not to show up at work, including in crucial moments like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the General Assembly on Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons — a powerful signal of Obama’s distancing of our government from a beleaguered ally, a signal communicating the emptiness of the administration’s occasional lip service about “having Israel’s back.”

Choke The Life Out Of Obamacare: Chuck Norris applauds efforts to peel away law's 'unconstitutional layers'
Excerpt: Obama’s federal takeover of the nation’s health insurance is unconstitutional on its face. It exceeds Congress’ power to regulate commerce among the states. It expands the federal government’s authority beyond the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution. It threatens religious liberty, and it imposes an unconstitutional tax on Americans.

Pensioner who went blind after drinking vodka has his eyesight saved... by a bottle of whisky! By Anthony Bond
Excerpt: As surgery got underway, the doctors thought he could have formaldehyde poisoning , which can be treated by administering ethanol, which is a strong type of alcohol found in drinks such as whisky. Unfortunately, the hospital did not have enough medical ethanol so a registrar was sent to the local store to buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky. (Scotch—the Water of Life! ~Bob.)

Socialists Outline Democrat’s Agenda for Next Two Years
Excerpt: Contrary to popular opinion, the US Democratic Party does not set much of its own policy. Democrat policy is actually dictated by the labor unions and radical think tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, and the Institute for Policy Studies. The unions are dominated by the US’s largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America – which also works closely with the C.A.P. and I.P.S. So, by a process of osmosis and deliberate orchestration, D.S.A., and their friends in the Communist Party USA, effectively dictate Democrat policy at state and national levels. (Looks like Allen West was on the mark. –Barb.)

Communist Party USA Celebrates Obama Win: Praises blacks, Hispanics, women for working together to defeat 'white people'
Excerpt: The comment was in a report to the Communist Party USA national committee from the party’s chairman, Sam Webb. “We meet on the heels of an enormous people’s victory. It was a long and bitterly contested battle in which the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top. ….He said blacks, Hispanics and women worked together to defeat “racist … white people” and that it now is time for the Communist Party USA to work on the foundations established by Obama on issues regarding the environment, homosexual marriage and minorities to its potential. (He calls those supporting communism “angels.” Communists do not believe in God, at least the ones in the old USSR did not; supposed to be a country of atheists without religion or its conscience. (Of course, those not in the party practiced their faith secretly or were persecuted if did so publically. The churches were turned into museums. The Intourist guides asked the meaning behind the biblical masterpieces in their museums. I knew, in time, God and Radio Free Europe would break the Iron Curtain and crumble it.) So to attempt to wrap themselves in the robes of religious reference for good—angels-- is the antithesis of good—rather—evil. And to be branded racist by the color of one’s skin, i.e. white = racist—well—that is the very definition of racist thought, is it not? –Barb.)

What Do You Expect
Excerpt: Americans should expect a president to offer cabinet positions to people with moral integrity equal to his own; thus we should not be surprised with the Petraeus fiasco and the Fast and Furious felonies of Eric Holder. …It is politics, and we can accept the fact that Rice is an Obama stooge. She willingly and knowingly participated in a coverup of the Benghazi atrocity, but all of the Obama appointees will lie for the president or they would not have their positions.

Excerpt: The typically quiet town of Casa Grande, Arizona, was rocked by an explosion at the local Social Security Administration office early Friday morning of what appears to an improvised explosive device (IED). No one was hurt in the explosion, which occurred shortly before the office was scheduled to open. The explosion was reportedly heard and felt all over the area. … Please note that the Daily Kos was first out of the gate, blaming the bombing on “right-wing extremism”

Excerpt: House Republican leaders have made a counteroffer to President Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

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