Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for December 1, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for December 1, 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.

Easy Christmas Shopping that benefits charities: Information on my books

My “Fiscal Cliff” deal

How “tax the rich” works

Worth Reading: The Marine Corps 20XX? By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: The current envelopment to jam women into ground combat units continues. A crucial element of the strategy is if women can't perform the heavy lifting required of Marines in the ground combat specialties (not surprising some testing has so proven), reality based requirements, then change the standards. That is, gender, not reality, is to drive standards development.

Worth Reading: Why Economic Backwardness Persists : Elites prefer to rule an impoverished citizenry to not ruling at all. By Ronald Bailey
Excerpt: The answer to this puzzle is what the two economists call the “political replacement effect.” As they explain, “Political elites will block beneficial economic and institutional change when they are afraid that these changes will destabilize the existing system and make it more likely that they will lose political power and future rents.” Rent in this case is the wealth that political elites divert from the productive parts of society to themselves via taxes, corruption, exclusive licenses, import restrictions, monopoly ownership, and the like. (Permanent economic backwardness and tyrants is one of the benefits that have come to Africans from throwing off the evils of colonialism. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday rejected a White House offer to avert the fiscal cliff that would include $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $400 billion in spending cuts and a permanent increase in the debt ceiling, Republican aides said. (Gee, a BIG tax hike now for the promise of a LITTLE spending cut later. How could the Speaker turn down such a great deal? Regardless of what they o about the “fiscal cliff” now, America is headed for a much larger debt-and-entitlement fiscal cliff that I no longer think can be avoided. ~Bob. “Experience keeps a dear school, but Fools will learn in no other. –Ben Franklin.”)

Cliff Jumping With Barack. By Charles Krauthammer 
Excerpt: Obama is claiming an electoral mandate to raise taxes on the top 2 percent. Perhaps, but remember those incessant campaign ads promising a return to the economic nirvana of the Clinton years? Well, George W. Bush cut rates across the board, not just for the top 2 percent. Going back to the Clinton rates means middle-class tax hikes that yield four times the revenue that you get from just the rich. So give Obama the full Clinton. Let him live with that.

Second look at tax hikes on everyone?
Excerpt: You want to continue putting off reforms to Medicare and Social Security while making only token cuts to the rest of the budget? No problem. But if we can’t have fiscal responsibility on the front end, by cutting spending, then we’ll have some measure of it on the back end by squeezing a ton of new revenue from the middle class. Everyone in government understands that the rich can’t pay for all of this; if you want to keep the popping-and-wheezing Great Society machine duct-taped together for a few years longer, you’ll need to start soaking average Americans. Democrats would prefer a VAT because it can disguise future tax hikes better, but one way or another Joe Sixpack has to start meeting his obligations. The GOP can make it happen on January 1 simply by walking away.

Jim Geraghty: Let's Go Over The Cliff
Excerpt: Obama was permitted by the media to claim, or at least strongly imply, that the painful cuts Romney was talking about (and Obama, the Great Leader, was not talking about) could be averted simply by levying a small tax on the "richest 1%." It was a lie. It was further a lie the media assisted in. All those Fact Checks and not a single column noting that the central pillar of Barack Obama's Re-Election Strategy was a baldfaced lie that only the uninformed or innumerate could possibly believe.

Excerpt: So my suggestion to them is to take a page from Obama's playbook and kick the can one more time. They should extend the status quo for one more month, to February 1, 2013. The reason behind this strategy is that President Obama is legally required to deliver a budget in January. What that would do is force him to commit his budget to paper. He would be forced to blink. The Democratic Senate has gone for years without passing a budget.
Excerpt: That means that just about the time that tens of thousands are getting pink slips due to budget cuts, and millions will be seeing a smaller paycheck. the president will be showing off his impressive pecs to reporters on some pristine beach owned by a rich guy who supported him. Good to know our president cares so much about the little guy

Excerpt: President Obama made his first offer to congressional Republicans yesterday in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff”—an economic catastrophe of tax hikes just a few weeks away. The White House’s proposal? $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $50 billion in new stimulus spending, and a change that would make it easier to raise the debt limit—so that all this spending could continue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) couldn’t contain his laughter at these suggestions.

What to do if you win the Powerball
I published this article in 1999. I was going to post it before the Powerball Drawing, but it was created on a Mac and wouldn’t open for me in Word. A friend opened for me. Enjoy. ~Bob

Senate votes to prohibit Guantanamo detainee transfers to US
Excerpt: The Senate late Thursday night approved a Republican amendment that would prohibit the transfer of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) to U.S. prisons. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced amendment 3245, which would prevent the Department of Defense from using funds to move suspected terrorists from Gitmo facilities to prisons within the United States. (Meaningless. Obama will just issue an Executive Order doing so, and appoint a Czar to oversee it. “Congress? We don’t need no stinking Congress!” ~Bob.)

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen to call for cutting UN, Palestinian funds over statehood vote
Excerpt: The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will call on Congress to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority and for United Nations (U.N.) agencies that recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as a state, The Hill has learned. 

Worth Reading: ObamaCare Faces the Implementation Iceberg. By Paul Howard and Stephen Parente
Excerpt: Delaying implementation until 2014 helped the president win re-election, but now the bill is coming due. The administration can’t forestall Obamacare’s massive regulatory impact any longer, and the result will keep Congress and the media occupied for months and years to come. (The American people voted for it and they are going to get it. Good and hard. ~Bob.)

Tweet from @JeffreyGoldberg:
The emissary of genocidal Sudan, whose leader is a wanted war criminal, introduced the Abbas resolution. What's not to love about the UN?

Jailed leader calls for end of Kurdish hunger strike
Excerpt: The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party has called an end to a mass hunger strike in Turkey staged by Kurdish prison inmates and politicians. (You probably get a lot of news about the oppressed Kurds on the evening news. ~Bob)

Disgusting—please forward: Legal English Girl to be Deported
Excerpt: English immigrant Lauren Bell, currently residing in Madison, Georgia, has received a deportation order, effective on her 21stbirthday, on January 28th, 2013. Lauren was brought to the U.S. nine years ago by her parents. She has resided in Madison since 2003. She has graduated from high school and is now a junior in college. Wait a minute—isn’t Lauren covered by President Obama’s unilaterally declared unconstitutionalDeferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

Main Airport and Internet Are Disrupted in Syria
Excerpt: Syria lost two major links with the outside world on Thursday as the largest commercial airport in the capital canceled flights because of fighting nearby and Internet access disappeared across the country, perhaps signaling an impending escalation by the government against the uprising, opponents of the Syrian government said. (Local TV news this morning said the US protested shutting down the Internet. 40k dead is one thing, but denying access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and YouPorn is an atrocity! ~Bob.)

Bombings kill Shias in Iraq cities of Hilla and Karbala
Muslims who didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo from Barack killing fellow Muslims in Allahmurder. Ho hum, another day, another pile of multicultural dead people. ~Bob. Excerpt: At least 33 people have been killed in bomb attacks on predominantly Shia Muslim areas south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, officials say.

Qatari poet gets life for 'insulting' emir
Excerpt: A Qatari poet was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for an Arab Spring-inspired verse that officials claim insulted Qatar's emir and encouraged the overthrow of the nation's ruling system, his defense attorney said. (Better get my poetry books before I’m in the clink and they are pulled. All royalties to charity: Old Jarhead Poems: The Heart of a Marine. Share the Cup: Poetry of Love and Life, Also on Amazon, but the charities get a larger cut if you order on CreateSpace. ~Bob.)

German Lawmakers Back Latest Round of Aid for Greece
Excerpt: Lawmakers in Germany’s lower house of Parliament easily passed the next round of financial support for Greece on Friday, despite growing doubt among members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition and opposition parties that the measures will be sufficient to resolve the Greek problem. (I hate to see this. There won’t be any bailout left for us when our times comes. ~Bob.)

Eurozone unemployment rate hits new high in October
Excerpt: The jobless rate in the recessionary euro area rose to 11.7%. Inflation fell from 2.5% to 2.2% in November. (Socialist economics chickens coming home to roost. ~Bob.)

Cancer at the Heart; With Hugo Chávez in Cuba for yet more medical treatment, will Venezuela fall apart without him? By Peter Wilson
Excerpt: Belkis Martinez isn't taking any chances. Minutes after hearing that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was leaving for Cuba for another round of medical treatment, the 42-year-old hairstylist who lives in Antímano, a working-class neighborhood of Caracas, was in line at her supermarket buying canned goods and crackers.

Interesting comments on unions from a blog reader
I'd like to see an unbiased analysis of what took Hostess down. I will be very surprised if someone does not snap up the rights to Twinkies, etc and start making them in modern, automated, non-union facilities. I recall an article in Forbes I think, about Chrysler and the PT Cruiser. Talked about how critics and consumers loved it when it came out, and then fell out of love as management cut more and more corners. But the author didn't explain whether cuts were to increase profit per vehicle, or to maintain a price point in an age of inflation (not likely, given the minimal inflation of recent years), or did they have to maintain a price to sell cars so they would have the revenues to fund pensions, etc? I don't know and it's a damned shame that the media isn't asking these questions. Worse, I don't think they even know that such questions could or should be asked. When I was a kid, Dad worked for A.O. Smith, which was the SOLE supplier of frames for Cadillac (back when cars had frames, not uni-bodies). They had that special status because Smith's had never had a strike. They never had a strike in part because the company was family owned and the boss, LB Smith, was often seen on the floor, checking things out AND lending a hand with odd jobs. Also, each year he briefed the employees on the company finances: "We took in X, we spent Y; here's what the family took as profit, here's what we reinvested, here's what we're paying in salaries." Then in the 70s radical unionism came to Milwaukee and it seemed to be fashionable to strike. Smith's had its first strike, and lost the exclusive Caddy deal, its cash cow. Of course, car frames were on their way out, but Smith's no longer had the wherewithal to respond by moving into new product lines - and the new union rules were an additional obstacle. So Smith's downsized and eventually got out of auto parts all together. Another company bought that business, and failed. Scratch 2 - 3000 good jobs from the Milwaukee economy. The hell of it was that the Smith's bent over backwards to be good employers, to pay well, to stay up to date, to have a safe workplace. I recall Dad grumbling when OSHA came in and required safety cages around vent fans 25 feet off the floor. As he put it "We put them that high up so no one could reach, now we have to put cages around the?" Of course Dad's stories about the unions (Dad was a foreman) were nothing compared to the stories I heard in Britain. One friend's dad was a plant manager and tried to fire a fellow caught trying to steal a set of expensive tools. Did the workers say "Bloody hell, Joe, you're hurting all of us with shit like that?" No. They went on strike until Joe got his job back, with back pay. –Tom H.

Excerpt: Towards the same end, I have tried to persuade wealthy conservatives to stop wasting their money trying to help elect an occasional politician, and, instead, to start buying up newspapers, magazines and TV stations. After all, by the time your kids are going off to be indoctrinated by left-wing professors, the battle has already been lost. Most 18-year-olds already regard their conservative parents as political Neanderthals, so that any further indoctrination will only be a case of gelding the lily, as it were. So long as the Left continues to control education and the mass media, they will continue to control the messages your children are absorbing.

Reforming Medicare: It can be done — by learning from the free market. By John C. Goodman
Excerpt: Is there any chance that Medicare can make the right decisions on all these transactions? In a word: No. What does it mean when Medicare makes the wrong decisions? It often means that doctors face perverse incentives to provide care that is more costly, more risky, and less appropriate than the care they should be providing.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader Promises "Savage Round" of Fighting. By John Rossomando
Excerpt: A leader of the third-largest Palestinian faction told the Egyptian newspaper El-Balad Thursday that the truce with Israel will be brief and that Palestinians are braced for a "more savage and bloody round" of fighting with Israel. "We are preparing for a new, more savage round," Dr. Mohammed Al-Hindi, a leading Palestinian Islamic Jihad figure told the newspaper. "We are in a short truce (hudna), the Israeli enemy is preparing for further rounds of war in Gaza."

If it can't be expressed in figures, it's not science it's opinion. –Lazarus Long (A character of Robert A. Heinlein.)

Cliff Diving. By Erick Erickson
Excerpt: The fiscal cliff is the byproduct of multiple congressional compromises to kick several different cans down the road. Now they’ve all landed in the same spot. Both sides are trying to kick multiple cans at one time and are kicking each other instead. What’s really going on in Washington right now is Republicans are in theater trying to look like the reasonable party. They want back in the good graces of the American public and want to at least save some face when polling says they’ll probably get blamed and their position is unpopular.

Worth reading: You Think Obama Stole the Election? Then Read This
Excerpt: If we are going to move beyond this we have to face the facts. We were out hustled. They turned out their base and we couldn’t be bothered to turn out ours, much less do what it takes to win uncommitted voters. We lost. They won. And the nation will suffer because of it. What did not happen was any “stealing” of the election. 

Laos POWs
Interesting article on the whole subject of POWs there, and what the author saw in researching the whole subject. I tend to think he's right. –Del

Excerpt: A British physician’s disturbing testimony is shedding light on the increasingly common practice of National Health Service (NHS) hospitals sending sick or severely disabled newborn babies home or to hospices to die of starvation or dehydration. (The Brave New World of Obamacare, coming to us. ~Bob.)

Syrian Rebels May Soon Take Country’s North: Bashar Assad's forces suffer strategic losses, and are facing a dearth of manpower. By Jonathon Spyer
Excerpt: The rebellion now controls a swath of territory in the country’s north. The regime still has isolated strongholds in Aleppo and Idleb Provinces, but these are slowly being picked off by the rebels. There is a real possibility that in the first months of 2013 all of northern Syria will fall. (It looks to me likely the rebels will win, with US & European support, consolidate Syria as an Islamist Shari’a Law dictatorship, then start killing us Kuffer. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Why Is Identity Politics Evil? By Robert Wargas
Excerpt: Identity politics, you see, is a self-fulfilling prophecy: fearing some monolithic conspiracy against them, demagogues urge all sorts of groups to merge and fight the power. The alleged oppressors, tired of being slandered, gravitate toward political candidates who eschew the opinions of the identicrats. The identicrats see this as further evidence of the conspiracy against them. The full circle of idiocy is complete.

Conservative Victories of 2012. By Tim Phillips 
Excerpt: Yet out in the states we saw a year of broad-based victories for economic freedom that demonstrate anew that all is not lost. In fact, we are winning with the American people in many respects.

How to get a better deal on a Medigap policy. By Kimberly Lankford
In case you need. ~Bob.

School Orders Child to Remove God From Poem. By Todd Starnes
Excerpt: A North Carolina community is embroiled in controversy after a school ordered a six-year-old girl to remove the word “God” from a poem that she was supposed to read during a Veteran’s Day ceremony. …. The poem honored her two grandfathers who had served during the Vietnam War. “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength,” the poem read.

Excerpt: Satellite photos indicate North Korea has moved two sections of a long-range rocket in preparation for a launch that would alarm both its adversaries and lone ally China. But North Korea has yet to announce its plans, leaving some uncertainty whether and when it will proceed with a launch that would be sure to draw international condemnation.

Bard on the run: Iranian-born scholar still at risk in Holland. By Cnaan Liphshiz
Excerpt: Among his many talents, Afshin Ellian has a knack for making people want to kill him. … And he has drawn death threats from Muslim militants for zingers like this: “Radical Islamists are so determined to prove Islam is the religion of peace that they are willing to kill for it.”

Christian man and Muslim girlfriend shot in Zamboanga City
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: The relationship between a Muslim woman and a Christian man is considered ‘haram’ or forbidden among many Muslims in the southern Philippines

Iran: Muslims murder Jewish woman to seize her property for a mosque
Excerpt: They wanted her property for a mosque, and ultimately their piety could not be restrained. 

Iran "will press on with enrichment:" nuclear chief
Excerpt: Iran will go on refining uranium "with intensity" and the number of enrichment centrifuges it has operating will rise substantially in the current year, the country's nuclear energy chief was quoted as saying on Wednesday. (2015 weather forecast for Tel Aviv, Washington DC and New York City: 10,000 degrees and bright. ~Bob.)

In Cambodia, a Shooting Range Open to Tourists
Excerpt: Just after a Honda pickup truck screeched to a halt beyond the decommissioned Soviet-era Antonov aircraft, four resolute-looking Chinese men with a military escort climbed out, slammed the doors shut and neatly arranged a series of firearms they had been carrying on a nearby table.

Comment from a blog reader
Now in CA they've passed a bill requiring all new history books to make sure they have sections highlighting the contributions of LGBT groups to our history. Sure, we missed out on all the crossdressers who served in the Revolution, the Lesbians who served in the Civil War, the Transgenders in WW2, and the Gays in taming the wilderness. (Of course we know now that Gays for sure were always in the population, and must have fought in all our wars, but how in hell do you confirm that for the history books?) This is just PC carried all the way out to ridiculous and noncontributory. Now people will start making up stuff just so they can put it in the books and get them bought in CA. The state is steadily edging towards bankruptcy and they are worrying about recognizing every alternate lifestyle in history books? Where do the CA voters find these yahoos to put in office? They'd be as well off having the state run by a random selection from Freshman college students. Maybe better. –Del

Excerpt: For a country in which the consumer is responsible for 70% of GDP, one wonders: without savings and without wages where will this “recovery” we hear so much propaganda about and which every investment bank this week went all in on (just like they did in the end of 2010 only to admit their error 4 months later) come from? Because every now and then it helps to step back from the trees and observe the forest. Behold: the forest.

You Are All Underachieving Disappointments: U.K. Dad’s Scathing Letter To His Kids Goes Viral — Do You Agree?
Excerpt: That email, sent from retired British nuclear submarine captain Nick Crews to his three children earlier this year, has taken the UK by storm, and now it’s finally made its way across the pond and is going viral in the U.S. It’s easy to see why. The no-nonsense letter focuses on what a disappointment Crews’ children have been to him and their mother, and how they have failed both in life and their marriages.

‘I Can’t Even Talk About It Anymore!’: CNBC Anchor Santelli Gets So Upset Over Fiscal Cliff He Storms Off Set
Excerpt: CNBC’s Rick Santelli, the man commonly credited with starting the Tea Party, and Steve Liesman on Friday got into a heated exchange while discussing the so-called “fiscal cliff,” specifically on the topic of “fairness” and higher taxes for the wealthy.

The One Pollster Republicans Should Listen To
Excerpt: …when the exit polls asked voters which was the most important candidate quality, 29 percent chose “vision for the future,” 27 percent picked “shares my values,” 21 percent selected “cares about people like me,” and 18 percent chose “strong leader.” Romney bested Obama when it came to three of the four qualities. “Vision” voters opted for Romney, 54 percent to 45 percent; “shared value” voters chose Romney, 55 percent to 42 percent; while “strong leadership” voters favored Romney, 61 percent to 38 percent. Only the “cares about people like me” voters picked Obama over Romney, by 81 percent to 18 percent. Leadership, vision, and values lost out to empathy. (What this boils down to is that identity politics is what re-elected Obama. It is also what will kill the nation. If we can’t see beyond the mirror, we are no longer a nation, just a collection of ever smaller competing interest groups. Divided, we fall. Ron P.)

Washington Post Shocked To Discover Obama's Approach Not Balanced
Excerpt: Now that he's won, the Post is alarmed to discover he is pushing for tax increases while offering no cuts to entitlements whatsoever. Just how out of balance is the President's balanced approach? Enough that the Washington Post has written not one but two editorials demanding that entitlement reform be included the mix. 

Gambling With the Nation's Future
Excerpt: Good news, America: Those who believe that our nation has "barbarians at the gates" are dead wrong. The bad news: The barbarians are already well inside the gates, running the federal government. 

Five Percent. By Rich Galen
Excerpt: Let's say my family taxable income for 2013 will be a little over $250,000 -- just over the magic number making us, by specific declaration of the President of these United States, wealthy. Whoo. Hoo. According to I could reasonable be expected to pay: "$73,696 in federal, state, local and FICA taxes." That is an effect tax rate of a little over 29 percent. … If a five percent reduction in my spendable income will not pose a particular hardship on me, why can't a five percent cut in spending not pose a particular hardship on the Federal government?

Solar firm that got $26M in Miss. loans is closing
Excerpt: Mississippi taxpayers may have only an empty Senatobia building and some solar panel equipment to show for nearly $26 million in loans provided to Twin Creeks Technologies. The California-based solar technology firm is liquidating, and a company that bought Twin Creeks' assets does not intend to take over its agreement with Mississippi. 

Bing Said City Workers Feel ‘Entitled,’ Says His Job Second Only To Obama’s
Excerpt: “We are in an environment, I think, of entitlement, we’ve got a lot of people who are city workers, who for years and years, 20, 30 years, think they are entitled to a job and all that comes with it,” Bing said. (I wonder how that happened? ~Bob.)

Exclusive: The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He'd Win
Excerpt: It’s no secret that the Romney campaign believed it was headed for victory on Election Day. handful of outlets have reported that Team Romney’s internal polling showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia moving safely into his column and that it put him ahead in a few other swing states. When combined with Ohio, where the internal polling had him close, Romney was on track to secure all the electoral votes he needed to win the White House. (I have no faith in polls, but especially in internal polls. The guy you are paying wants to give you good news. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: The Obamacare-Medicare Noose And Grandma’s Neck. By Mark Horne
Excerpt: Raising the age of Medicare eligibility seems like a no-brainer. And if we raise the age to a hundred it might work. We are headed toward a “fiscal cliff” that is really a minor first fall in the approaching rapids hurling toward the Niagara of Economic Deluge. So increasing the age for Medicare from 65 to 67 seems like a small step. But thanks to Obamacare, it may be no step at all. Between Obamacare and Medicare we are in a noose that tightens no matter what you do. (Meanwhile the unions, AARP and the Democrat base are screaming, “Don’t touch entitlements!” Reality and math are going to touch entitlements and everyone, hard! ~Bob.)

The Chicago Way: Obama gives 83% of export loan guarantees to Boeing. By Timothy P. Carney
Excerpt: The Obama administration last year dedicated more than 80 percent of export loan guarantees to subsidizing a single company – Boeing. The Export-Import Bank is a federal agency on which Obama has leaned heavily in his “Export Initiative,” and his “new economic patriotism.” Known as “Boeing’s Bank,” Ex-Im is a perfect example of why Obama’s “economic patriotism” is just corporate welfare dressed in populist rhetoric. (and Boeing is based in…Chicago! ~Bob.)

The middle class: Are they really falling behind? By Matt K. Lewis
Excerpt: But are middle class Americans really worse off than they were in the past?
Ads by Google This spring, Richard V. Burkhauser, a professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University, along with Jef Larrimore, and Kosali I. Simon, authored an important paper that pokes holes in the premise.

Heh, just saw a bumper sticker that said "Electric Cars Burn Coal."

Today's national debt: $16,323,083,449,604.98. Your share as a citizen: $51,842.36. Your share as a taxpayer: $142,007.

Government Tells Pennsylvania Restaurant They Must Offer 10% Sunday Church Bulletin Discount To Everybody Or Discontinue It
Excerpt: Do you recall the furor surrounding Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen, a Pennsylvania-based restaurant, this past summer? The establishment has been offering a 10 percent discount for individuals who bring in a church bulletin on Sundays. Citing this action as discriminatory, John Wolff, a local atheist, filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).

My “fiscal cliff” deal

My “fiscal cliff” deal
Robert A. Hall

This may need some tweaking, of course. This will be fairly painful, of course (for me, too). But not nearly as painful as the coming fiscal, economic, social and political collapse. Republicans offer to vote for this if President Obama and 90% of House and Senate Democrats agree to support it:

  • Tax rates on those making over $250k go to Clinton era levels, indexed for inflation.
  • Tax rates on those making under $250k go to 50% of Clinton era levels, indexed for inflation. (They want the “Clinton Golden Years” back? This is a step towards it.)
  • Everyone with taxable income must pay at least 2% income tax regardless of how little their income is.
  • Eliminate deductions on mortgage interest for second homes, or any homes costing over $2 million. (Index this for the housing market in various areas. $2 million in NYC is different than Kansas City.)
  • Eliminate all business welfare subsidies, especially green corporate cronyism.
  • Eliminate ethanol subsidies, reduce all farm subsidies by 20% a year for next five years.
  • The “Death Tax” is not restored, to allow farms and businesses to be passed on intact.
  • Tax rates on Capital Gains stay the same to encourage job-creating investment.
  • The Social Security tax rate goes back to what it was, to postpone the SS collapse.
  • A “tax holiday” is declared for six months for any company that repatriates overseas income and invests it in expansion in the US, on that money only, of course.
  • Establish “territorial taxation” for countries invested overseas, as many countries, most recently Germany, have successfully done.
  • Put a two-year moratorium on new regulations on business
  • Social Security and Medicare age is raised by one year for those under 60, by two years for those under 55, by three years for those under 45 and by four years for those under 35.
  • Eliminate Social Security and Medicare for those with assets over $3 million.
  • Allow people to pay extra on the Medicare payment to doctors to get the care they want. Allow doctors to bill Medicare Patients with assets over $2 million their full fees.
  • Anyone convicted of Medicare Fraud, Social Security Fraud or SSDI fraud to serve at least two years in prison and be permanently barred from participation in the programs.
  • Establish a commission to review Social security Disability and Food Stamps with the power to tighten the programs. They are out of control.
  • Pass a national “right to work” law to encourage job expansion.
  • Federal pensions converted from now on to defined contribution plan equal to average contribution of private 401k/IRA contributions. This would be for new employees, but for current employees if the courts would allow.
  • Reduce federal non-defense workforce by 5% a year for next three years.
  • Raises for federal employees limited to average of private sector raises.
  • Defund Planned Parenthood, all Arts and public media, all non-medical or non-defense research.
  • Get government out of the student loan business.
  • Shut down Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac within one year, sell assets to the private sector.
  • Defund the UN 50%. Cut foreign aid 50%. Aid allies only.
  • Across the board 5% cut for the military, $10% for everything else that is non-entitlement or debt service, including federal salaries.
  • Elected officials to get no better benefits and retirement plan than other public employees.
  • Cut aid to higher education 20%. Restore 10% to universities that cut administrative staff and fluff in half within one year and lower tuition costs by at least 10%.
  • Any person with net assets of over a million dollars who publically says taxes are too low will be assessed a 5% personal tax on all assets. (Okay, I know that’s not constitutional, so can’t be done. Scratch it. But I still like the idea. A special tax on anyone who has married a rich widow sounds good too!)
Let me review the Federal Budget, and I’ll have more ideas….

If you win the Lottery

Scroll down for today's Political SitRep. I published this article in 1999. I was going to post it before the Powerball Drawing, but it was created on a Mac. A friend opened for me. Enjoy. ~Bob

What to do when you hit the big one
By Robert A. Hall
"Martha, come here NOW and read these numbers to me!" Your hand is shaking, but you're not letting go of that ticket. Martha gives you a funny look, and reads last night's lotto numbers out loud. You repeat them from the ticket, then you read them again. Yup, still the same. The idea sinks in. You've hit the big one.
Or maybe you’re at your favorite casino. You feed another three dollar coins into the slot, pull the handle, and your jaw drops open as electronic hell breaks loose. Thirty seconds ago you were a working stiff. Now you’re a multi-millionaire!
You always knew in your heart you'd win—that's why you play—but the rest of you wasn't convinced. You turn up at lottery headquarters or the casino office, where they confirm the good news. You really are a big winner. Now what?
This is not the time to go wild. Winning a ton of cash doesn't bring happiness--it's what you do with your winnings and your life that makes the difference. If you can be calm and disciplined now, your life will be much happier. Here are eight suggestions to maximize your success--suggestions I plan to follow when I join you in the big winners column.

1. Limit the number of people who know you've won. Chances are, your winning will be public record, and the bigger the prize, the bigger the media splash, but decline any publicity you can. Tell no one you don't have to tell. This may include close relatives, friends and co-workers. Sure, you want to share your joy, but security comes first. Having money makes you a target for salespeople, charity fund-raisers, greedy friends and relatives and, worse-case, criminals. The fewer of these folks who find out about your good fortune, the better off you will be. You can always tell Aunt Agatha later.
If you have to inform the immediate family or distant relatives, caution them not to talk about your new fortune. They don't want their families to become targets either.
If you've won a really significant prize, you'll probably have to move. The attitudes of neighbors may change, as they expect you to share your wealth. Nor will you want the sharks mentioned above to be able to locate you. Regardless of how much you've won, others will think you are better off than you are, and want a part of it. Don't even leave a forwarding address--you can write or call those who really need to know. If you do move--after carefully selecting a location--don't let your new neighbors and friends know about your win. Tell them you were fortunate to take early retirement.

2. Don't make radical lifestyle changes. Even if you want to stay, the publicity of your big prize may force you out of your job because of greedy folks calling and co-workers attitudes. However, don't make any sudden moves until you've had time to think, and a chance to talk to people you trust. This is not the time to buy a boat, new house and three cars. Plan first. You can, however, indulge yourself in some small luxuries you've wanted, but held off because of finances. Buy that book, fancy dinner or coat you previously thought was too much of an extravagance. Treating yourself to small things will help you resist the temptation to make huge purchases without planning and thought.

3. Get away for awhile. Don't go someplace flashy and expensive. A quiet, calm location where you have the time to think and talk things over with your family will be best. Don't let anyone--or only your closest relative or friend--know where you are. And don't tell strangers at your hide away--they might have a cousin in the mob!
Think about what kind of lifestyle you want. Have you always wanted to travel? Where should you live to facilitate that? Do you prefer cities or the country? Do you want to write or paint? Now is your chance. Are you the type who needs to work? Now's your opportunity to make a difference through volunteering in a good cause. Plan for your new life, and then ease into it.

4. Get financial advice. If you are not experienced at handling large sums of money, professional help will be invaluable. Check out financial planners, without telling them why you need help. Select one you are comfortable with, who has good credentials and is well-recommended. If you are easily fooled by plausible con-artists, get help from less-credulous relatives or friends.

5. Remember your winnings are limited. Perhaps you've won a small lottery, and can only keep your current lifestyle--minus that job. Even if you've hit a major prize, it is not a bottomless well. You will still need to budget. Someday the money will run out, and unless you are already old enough to be sure you won't outlive the checks, you will need an investment plan for the future. You will still have money decisions and money problems--they will just be a better class of money problems. Back in the seventies, I knew a guy who worked in the building trades. He won a $1 million lotto--$50K per year for 20 years, a lot on money then, when as a State Senator, I loved on $12k a year. Six months after he won, he was back pounding nails, waiting for the next check, because he couldn't budget for a full year.

6. Get your legal affairs in order. Chances are, your will provides only for your spouse and kids (if you're married). If you now have a significant fortune, you may want to provide for other relatives and/or friends as well. Knowing this is set in writing will help you sleep at night--but think about it carefully first. (And if none of your relatives deserve the money, well, I'm a fine fellow!)

7.  Treat yourself well. Even a wonderful lifestyle change like winning the lottery is very stressful, and stress is hard on your health. Watch your diet. Hold down the drinking. Quit smoking. Get exercise. If you lose your health, the money won't be worth anything. You've really got something to live for now. Money won't keep you healthy--discipline will.

8. Don't feel guilty.  Deep inside, some people believe they didn't deserve to win. Of course you didn't--but you didn't deserve that nasty headcold you had last winter, either. Relax and enjoy your good fortune. Don't let other people put a guilt-trip on you either. Regardless of how much you've won, it's not enough to save the world, and that's not your job alone. Support those good causes you would have supported anyway. Nothing says you have to send me fifty thousand bucks to fight the tragedy of toe-fungus!

And congratulations! I can't think of anyone who deserved to win more--not counting myself, of course. Enjoy.

How tax the rich works

Click on picture if too small to read.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for November 30, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for November 30, 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.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans. E-Book available at Smash Words:
Please forward and post where possible. For a free PDF of Collapse, write to me at tartanmarine(at)

Mortgage-interest deduction could be on the table in ‘fiscal cliff’ debate
Excerpt: Of all the deductions woven into the sprawling U.S. tax code, few have been more fiercely guarded than the enormous tax break that lets homeowners deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages. But as Congress and the White House negotiate the first major rewrite of tax laws in decades, changing the generations-old mortgage-interest deduction — which costs the government roughly $100 billion a year — has gone from far-off possibility to part of the conversation.

Excerpt: Hey, these people are rich — so who cares? Well, you should. Because Buffett's proposed tax hike is just another way of removing investment capital — the engine of economic growth — from the U.S. economy. It would also do next to nothing to close our long-term budget deficits, now running at $1 trillion plus a year.

Why the Rich Should be Taxed More
My previous article on "soaking the rich." ~Bob

Excerpt: Even if the country doesn’t slide over the fiscal cliff, any deal to blunt the impact of the scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts is likely to create at least some drag on an economy that is still growing only modestly. The full package of changes set to take effect in January would suck more than $600 billion out of the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And while the outlines of any deal are still sketchy to say the least, Goldman Sachs economists are modeling a $233 billion economic hit as their “base case scenario.”

Excerpt: Is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) really so dumb - or unprincipled - that he will buy into a plan that raises $1.2 trillion in tax revenue starting next year in exchange for $400 billion in entitlement cuts between 2023 and 2033?

Long but interesting: The World in 2013: Ten predictions for a year of brewing conflict. By Jessica T. Mathews 
Excerpt: Three major forces will loom behind the headlines in 2013, driving events in the new year: the crisis of the Western political order, rising sectarian strife in the Middle East, and worries about American withdrawal from the world. The most immediate challenge is the crisis of the Western democratic model, caused by the inability of the United States and Europe to deal with their respective fiscal and financial issues. The problems are economic, but the weaknesses are fundamentally political.

Quote from NRO's Morning Jolt By Jim Geraghty
If you're a House Republican, what incentive do you have to give ground on tax increases that you think will be damaging to the country? The only significant one is the conclusion that going over the fiscal cliff will inflict worse damage on the economy. And that's a pretty big one, but it may or may not be worth violating the Grover Norquist pledge, infuriating the base, and giving a diehard, no-holds-barred opponent in the White House exactly what he wants.

Just Bumps in the Road by Col. William Bauer, USMC
We're the Battling Bastards of Benghazi, no fame, no glory, no paparazzi.
Just a fiery death in a blazing hell, defending the country we loved so well.
It wasn't our job, but we answered the call, fought to the consulate, 'n scaled th' wall.
We pulled twenty countrymen from the jaws of fate, led them to safety, 'n stood at th' gate.
Just the two of us, 'n foe by th' score, but we stood fast to bar th' door.
We called for reinforcement, but it was denied, so we fought, 'n we fought, 'n we fought, 'n we died.
We gave our all for our Uncle Sam, 'n Obama didn't give a damn,
Just two dead SEALS, who carried the load, no thanks to us, we were bumps in the road.
(This poem came via e-mail from a Marine and I assumed the Colonel wanted is circulated. ~Bob.)

Cuban-American vote explains why America is in decline. By Dennis Prager
Excerpt: If you want to understand why President Obama was re-elected despite a largely unsuccessful presidency and almost unprecedentedly high and continuous unemployment, just look at the Cuban-American vote. In fact, if you want to understand America today -- specifically, why it is in decline -- just look at the Cuban-American vote. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, "The president captured 48 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida -- a record high for a Democrat." (A really insightful examination of how people's ideas are affected by their personal history and exposure to a slanted educational system. I have often said that when a person is raised in a society of plenty and freedom, it becomes much easier to be taken in by various inputs that paint the world in a particular slanted way. It's easier to believe that all people are subject to the kind of reasoning and tolerance that is common to Judao-Christian societies. It's a nice idealized picture of the world as made up of societies and cultures that readily mutually accepting, where enough good communication can overcome all difficulties. Unfortunately, the flaws in humanity bring into being societies and cultures that have basic values in great contrast to Western values, and who are not tolerant nor willing to become tolerant, and for whom no amount of attempts at meaningful communication will have any real impact. And who sometimes are dominated by individuals or groups who are fundamentally at odds with Western values, and who employ violence and brutal suppression to achieve their goals. To put it simply, there was no negotiating with Hitler or Pol Pot or any of several other individuals or groups whose agenda is for the conquering of others and imposing their own harsh system of government on everyone. --Del)

The President is bluffing. By Keith Hennessey
Excerpt: If there is no bill, the U.S. economy will probably dip into recession for much/most/all of 2013, and it’s impossible to predict whether such a recession would be short-lived. A 2013 recession would be terrible for the country and terrible for the Obama Presidency. It would limit the President’s options across his entire policy agenda, economic and non-economic. And it could define and dominate his entire second term.

GOP Should Accept Obama’s Proposal, Without Endorsing. By John Wohlstetter
Excerpt: Alas, Republicans seem ready to fall into a classic political trap: sharing blame if a deal goes wrong while getting none of the credit if the deal works well. There are several reasons for this. First, Obama, a re-elected president with a mainstream media that will blame the GOP for any logjam or breakdown, holds most of the high negotiating cards. 

Excerpt: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that House Republicans should stop negotiating with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats on the fiscal cliff, saying that by doing so, they give Obama all of the leverage in the talks.

ENOUGH! The GOP Should Give Obama What He Wants
Excerpt: Here’s the reality: Obama is willing to go over the fiscal cliff instead of giving on tax hikes because he knows the GOP will get blamed for whatever happens if a deal isn’t reached. Republicans simply don’t have the skills to pull off blaming it on Democrats. They also don’t have a complicit media to help explain the reality of who is really holding the economy hostage (aka Obama).

Welcome to Belgistan
Short, worth watching. we're next. ~Bob.

New blow for Rice: Moderate senator voices concern
Excerpt: A moderate Republican senator, vital to any White House hopes of getting U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice confirmed as secretary of state, said Wednesday she couldn't back any nomination until more questions are answered about the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya and Rice's State Department role during the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya.

America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. --Claire Wolfe

Excerpt: Five years ago, every American would have considered a trillion-dollar budget deficit a national tragedy. If you believe the CNBC parrot show, NOT having a trillion-dollar deficit is now a sure sign of the Apocalypse. I speak of course of the cleverly dubbed “Fiscal Cliff,” which panicked CNBC apologists are required to mention no less than 5,000 times a day. We’re told ad nauseam that going over the cliff will drag the US into recession. Here’s what we’re not told: The US has been in recession 9 of the last 10 years. 

Jewish Mother Fights Armed Terrorist, Prevents ‘Itamar 2’
Excerpt: “Suddenly I saw a terrorist in a kefiyyeh [head scarf] standing opposite me,” she told Maariv. “I decided that if I didn’t fight, he would murder me and my four children, there would be a massacre like in Itamar, where the Fogels and three of their children were murdered in their home.” (Doubtless the NYT will deplore this example of Jewish aggression against peaceful Muslims. ~Bob.)

T-Ball War in the Middle East. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: In terms of the Middle East, contemporary T-ball war works out like this: A far weaker Gaza sends a shower of missiles into Israel, hiding its launchers among civilians to ensure collateral damage and favorable propaganda during Israeli retaliation. Israel, with its technological savvy, knocks down most of the incoming rockets, but then retaliates inordinately to the aggression by killing far more Palestinians in Gaza than it lost inside Israel. That is considered unsportsmanlike play. (War may be hell, but losing one in the real world is worse. Ask any local Vietnamese-American if you doubt this. A shocking—to me, at least—proportion of our countrymen have no concept of what it would mean to our lives if we lost a war to Islamists. It’d just be “business as usual but with different guys on top,” they think. And, they don’t want to hear any other answer; if you give them one anyway, you’ll be socially outcast or worse. Unless we in the West face, confront, oppose, and defeat our enemies, most of us won’t have any “business as usual.” We’ll be dead. War—and cultural survival—is too serious to leave to politicians and social commentators. Ron P.)

Excerpt: I have no idea what will be happening in the Middle East by the time this article is posted, but it almost doesn’t matter. If there’s a ceasefire, as now seems likely, everyone knows it will merely be a temporary stopgap until Iran supplies the barbarians with more missiles. What I have found peculiar about events in that part of the world is how predictable they are.

Excerpt: Democratic Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt Jr. are challenging the Obama administration to release documents it uses to legally justify drone strikes overseas…. “We must reject the notion that protecting our national security requires revoking the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. No president can act as judge, jury and executioner, and any attempt to do so is in direct violation of our Constitution, which gives our citizens a right to life and a fair trial,” Kucinich said. (This would only be an issue if, say, President Romney was doing it. Then the media would howl. ~Bob.)

GAI: Four-Part Plan Needed To Keep Foreign Cash Out OF U.S. Elections
Excerpt: Throughout the 2012 election cycle, Breitbart News provided extensive coverage of the threat of illegal foreign and fraudulent online campaign donations. The Government Accountability Institute’s comprehensive 108-pagereport—“America The Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?”—revealed myriad gaping online security holes that leave U.S. elections vulnerable to fraudulent campaign contributions. In Wednesday’s USA Today, Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer proposed a simple, four-part plan to increase transparency and begin safeguarding U.S. federal elections from illegal foreign money. (Too little, too late. Damage done. No one cared. Massive fraud in 2008…continued. –Barb)

Note to the President
No one is a failure until they blame somebody else. –Charles ''Tremendous'' Jones

The News in Zingers. By Argus Hamilton
Excerpt: Jamie Foxx addressed the Soul Train Awards Sunday where he thanked his Lord and Savior Barack Obama. That can't be true. If Barack Obama can heal the sick and raise the dead with the touch of his hand why on earth do we have to pay for health care reform?

The tyranny of good intentions at U.S. colleges. By Michael Barone
Excerpt: In recent weeks, two books have appeared about another of America's gleaming institutions, our colleges and universities, either of which could be subtitled "The Shame of the Universities."

What Medicare needs is a consumer-driven market. By Jeff Jacoby
Excerpt: Neurologists are about to feel the sting of the Affordable Care Act. Beginning Jan. 1, Medicare will be paying them less for electrodiagnostic procedures used in identifying and treating a wide range of nerve and muscle disorders. Reimbursement rates for some tests will be slashed by more than 50 percent, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that payments to neurologists overall will shrink by 7 percent next year.

Make the Dems own the Obama economy. By Ann Coulter
Excerpt: One bright spot of Barack Obama's re-election was knowing that unemployment rates were about to soar for the precise groups that voted for him -- young people, unskilled workers and single women with degrees in gender studies. But now the Democrats are sullying my silver lining by forcing Republicans to block an utterly pointless tax-raising scheme in order to blame the coming economic Armageddon on them. 

Excerpt: As quantified, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”

Worth Reading: A cliff of their own choosing. By George Will
Excerpt: With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved health care — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics.

Poll: Americans Who Believe Economy Will Worsen Jumps 27 Points Since Obama Reelected. By Elizabeth Harrington
Excerpt: Half the country now believes the economy will be worse off in one year, a 27-point increase since President Barack Obama’s reelection, according to Rasmussen Reports.

Worth Reading: 5 Dirty Little Secrets About the Bush Tax Cuts. By John Merline
Excerpt: And in the years since, those cuts have been the source of constant attacks. Critics charge they gave away too much to the rich, exploded the deficit, contributed to income inequality, did little to spur economic growth, and so on. … In fact, IRS data show that the richest 1% paid $84 billion more in taxes in 2007 than they had in 2000 — that's a 23% increase — even though their average tax rate went down. (Isn't this interesting information? Amazing how different reality is so often as compared to what the media seem to say and what becomes "everybody knows". One strategist has said the GOP guys should shut up and let the cuts expire, and then within a year when the reality of the result can be seen, people will figure out who was really more right about how things work and what can or should be done in the tax code. –Del)

Egyptian Christians sentenced to death for anti-Islam film 

Supporters of Obamacare Admit It Hurts the Poor
Excerpt: David Gamage is an assistant professor of Law at UC Berkeley who has worked on the tax provisions of Obamacare for the Treasury Department. In an October 30 article in the Wall Street Journal (“ObamaCare’s Costs to the Working Class“), he expresses sincere concern over the presumably unintended consequences of the Obamacare law as written.

The Problem With Multiculturalism. By David Solway
Excerpt: The multicultural project in its contemporary form suffers from two grievous flaws: the filter is too wide, allowing into the country unskilled people who are poorly equipped to participate in a modern, technologically oriented economy and who consequently become a financial burden to the nation, disproportionately swelling the welfare rolls; and, no less critical, many of these immigrant groups import the hatreds, prejudices and conflicts of their countries of origin, sequester themselves with official approval into closed or aggressive enclaves, and often cause violence and disruption in the public life of their new home. 

City shocked after mall cops let attempted-kidnapper go free.
Excerpt: Officials of the security company that patrols Fashion Square mall say they will review officers’ actions in escorting a man who attempted to abduct a child during post-Thanksgiving shopping off the property.

Grim milestone approaching: 20,000 jihad terror attacks worldwide since 9/11
Excerpt: 19,999 jihad attacks as of this morning. But remember: "Islamophobia" is the far greater problem!

Excerpt: Those who are part of the Black Conservative Movement are hoping to give people a better understanding of the meaning of being conservative. Demetrius Minor, a member of the National Advisory Council of Project 21, or the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, said he became a conservative after receiving advice during the turn of the millennium.

Major Garrett Blows Up Carney for Dodging Rice Keystone Question
Excerpt: White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged questions about Ambassador Susan Rice and her husband’s investment in Canadian oil companies–including up to $600,000 in the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada–in a Thursday press briefing, oddly turning to the Benghazi issue in his response. … “You didn’t answer the question,” CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett interjected. 

If GOP continues to ignore health care, U.S. will end up with single payer. By Philip Klein
Excerpt: At some point in the future, liberals will be arguing that any ongoing problems with the health care system are a result of Democrats leaving the private sector with too much control. They’ll be renewing their push for a “public option,” with the ultimate goal of achieving single-payer health care. And if Republicans don’t present compelling alternatives, that’s exactly where America will end up.

Whoops: UN tweet calls for one-state solution in Israel/Palestine conflict
First, Allah willing, you kill all the Jews….~Bob

U.S. Chamber: Europe is dying
Excerpt: Europe's once vibrant economy is slowly dying, robbing American companies of business and prompting calls for a new trade deal to revive the economic health of the continent. "Europe is in a slow decline," said Thomas Donohue, president of the Chamber. "We need to see them get stronger." (Hell, we can’t make ourselves stronger. Are they now TBTF and need a bailout from our Bank of Red China VISA card? ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Video appears to show a Syrian government helicopter being struck by a guided surface to air missile. CJ Chivers offers context and an additional video of the helicopter at the NYT At War blog.

Lightning strike off the Eisenhower
Cool pic. ~Bob

I still say Time Magazine should make "The Uninformed Voter" man of the year... for re-electing an incompetent President. (Not uninformed. Willing to loot-the-future voters, and to hell with the grandkids. ~Bob.)

Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50p tax rate
Excerpt: Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed. (Rich people respond to economic incentives? Who knew? Coming soon to the US. ~Bob.)

Benefits and Considerations for Replacing the $1 Note with a $1 Coin
Excerpt: GAO reported in February 2012 that replacing $1 notes with $1 coins could potentially provide $4.4 billion in net benefits to the federal government over 30 years. (This has long needed to be done. A dollar won’t buy what a dime would when I was a kid, and we got along without dime bills. Need to scrap the penny as well. A dine now might buy what a penny did back in the day. When the UK went to One Pound coins, folks bitched, but got used to it. ~Bob.)

Pray 4 Kati, BC grad. Pregnant w cancer. Chose to carry baby and save its life even if it might take her own … #prolife (Will Time pick her as the Person of the Year? No chance. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: A sordid tale of Chicago politics that reveals how Obama got his start. By Andrew Malcolm
Excerpt: As a loyal former elected Democrat, Mel Reynolds writes a plea to the White House for a commuted sentence. The letter is delivered to Democrat Bill Clinton by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Democrat father of Reynolds' Democrat successor. Hours before President Clinton surrenders the White House to his GOP successor, he commutes Reynolds' federal fraud conviction.

Obama taking 20-day, $4M fiscal cliff Hawaiian vacation
Oh, go ahead, show me your shocked face. ~Bob.