Friday, February 22, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for February 23, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for February 23, 2013
Robert A. Hall

February 23 is the 68th Anniversary of the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima.
The Wiki account above is pretty good, I think. I don’t watch much TV, but happened to switch on Fox Friday morning while dressing for work and caught their stirring tribute to the Iwo veterans by Peter Johnson, Jr., whose dad was a Marine wounded on the island.

Friday, February 22, was of course the birthday of George Washington
He has been called the indispensible man of America’s war for liberty. He refused a crown after the war. Others might benefit from his example.

Information on my books

Worth Reading: Mass shootings toll exceeds 900 in past seven years
Excerpt: More than 900 people died in mass shootings during the past seven years, and a majority of them were killed by people they knew, according to a USA TODAY analysis of gun-related slayings. The 934 deaths account for less than 1% of all gun-related homicides, and nearly half involve a suspect slaying his or her family members, the detailed examination shows.

Worth Reading: Shut Up or I’ll Kill You. By Michael Ledeen
Excerpt: It’s worth reminding ourselves that free speech around the world is still a rarity, and seems to be becoming even rarer. Lots of countries have the death penalty and other violent punishments for “insulting the state” or “the leader.” In religious states, such talk is branded blasphemy; in all too many secular states, unrestrained criticism of favored groups falls under the arbitrary classification of “hate speech” and is suppressed. (One of the many bitter jokes we told in Vietnam was that we were fighting for the right of protestors to spit on our graves. I doubt any of us actually thought it would really happen. --Ron P.)

Scientists use 3D printing and human cells to GROW artificial ears
Excerpt: Bioengineers have used 3D printing to achieve a breakthrough in prosthesis by creating the first artificial ears that look and act like real ones. A new study by researchers at Cornell University, New York, shows how prosthetic ears almost indistinguishable from natural ones can be 3D printed using gels made of living cells. Not only that, but over a three-month period these flexible, artificial ears grew even their own cartilage to replace the collagen used to mould them. (Today, the ear; tomorrow, the finger? --Ron P. Great. When do they do lungs? ~Bob)

Policy Uncertainty Undermines Economic Recovery
Excerpt: Partisan gridlock and debates over the debt limit, spending and taxes send signals to Americans and businesspeople that the future of economic policy is uncertain. For an economic recovery, this uncertainty can slow economic growth and employment, says Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University.

Diminishing Quality of Fiscal Institutions in the United States
Excerpt: As the debt ratio continues toward imbalance, the United States may experience a reduced rate of economic growth. The diminishing quality of fiscal institutions in the United States is cause for concern, says Thomas Grennes, a professor at North Carolina State University. The size of the debt relative to gross domestic product (GDP) has been increasing since 2001 but saw an explosion after the Great Recession that began in 2007. The debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 55 percent in 2001 to 67 percent in 2007 to 107 percent in 2012. The size of U.S. debt is now the largest in history, with the exception of World War II when it reached 125 percent. The official measure does not include contingent debt, like unfunded obligations related to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and loan guarantee to agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which would balloon the magnitude of the debt ratio.

Excerpt: With the glut of natural gas and low gas prices in the United States, energy producers are seeking to liquefy and ship domestic natural gas to foreign markets. Exporting natural gas would provide a huge boon to the U.S. economy since it would expand market opportunities for American companies, and the higher prices would act as incentives for more exploration and production domestically. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy has delayed decisions on export licenses, preventing America from realizing its energy export potential. The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris explains how the economic benefits of exporting natural gas are immense, why the economic concerns are exaggerated, and why Congress should lift restrictions on natural gas exports.

Worth Reading: The Climate and Energy State of the Union: How about a "balanced approach" to energy and climate policy? By Ronald Bailey
Excerpt: Obama announced, but the president clearly does not. "Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods—all are now more frequent and more intense." Is he right? Let's take a closer look at those trends the president cites. After that, we can assess the he wants to implement as a response. (The Progressives really want to ban carbon-based life forms. ~Bob.)

Rumored Energy pick stirring fears on left
Excerpt: President Obama’s rumored choice for Energy secretary is giving heartburn to some in the environmental movement. Ernest Moniz, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and familiar presence in Washington, has emerged as the front-runner to replace Steven Chu as Obama’s energy chief.

Excerpt: Some U.S.-based companies are discriminating against job-seeking American professionals and instead hiring job-hopping guest workers, including foreigners enrolled in colleges or holding H-1B visas. The skewed hiring is visible in numerous online help-wanted ads, and in a legal settlement won this month by the Justice Department.

Excerpt: On Pennsylvania Avenue, right near the end, there lived a President who wanted to spend. He knew spending meant power, so hour by hour, he thought up more spends from his Washington tower. “I’ll spend without limits; I’ll spend without blame! Raising taxes to pay—that’s the name of the game.”

Worth Reading: Commander in Brief. By George Will
Excerpt: Before Ronald Reagan traveled the 16 blocks to the White House after his first inaugural address, the White House curator had, at the new president’s instruction, hung in the Cabinet room a portrait of Calvin Coolidge. The Great Communicator knew that “Silent Cal” could use words powerfully — 15 of them made him a national figure — because he was economical in their use, as in all things.

Worth Reading: The Coolidge Lesson on Taxes and Spending. By Amity Shlaes
Excerpt: Coolidge reduced the national debt and balanced the budget. When he departed the White House for his home in Northampton, Mass., he left a federal budget smaller than the one he found. … Congress was already weary of postwar austerity and confident it could squeeze more spending out of Coolidge, who might only hold office until elections the next year. But Coolidge came in like a lion, determined to make austerity permanent.

Deadly Bombings Hit Southern Indian City
Excerpt: Two bombs on Thursday killed at least 13 people and wounded about 70 in a busy shopping district in the southern city of Hyderabad at the height of the evening rush hour, the largest terrorist bombing in India since September 2011.

India Bomb Attack: Police Search For Evidence, Motive After Hyderabad Blasts
Excerpt: Indian police are investigating whether a shadowy Islamic militant group was responsible for a dual bomb attack that killed 16 people outside a movie theater and a bus station in the southern city of Hyderabad, a police official said Friday. (They suspect members of The Religion of Peace? Show me your shocked face. ~Bob.)

Britain Convicts 3 in Plot to Rival ’05 Transit Attack
Guess they didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Prosecutors said the three men — Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all British citizens from the industrial city of Birmingham — planned to detonate up to eight homemade bombs in rucksacks in crowded places, the method used by the four suicide bombers who killed 52 other people on London subway trains and buses in 2005. … The court heard that Mr. Naseer and his fellow plotters were heavily influenced by the propaganda of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen.

Kerry’s pointless tour: ‘Listening’ instead of leading. By Amir Taheri
Excerpt: On Sunday, new Secretary of State John Kerry starts a tour of nine countries in Europe and the Middle East; the State Department calls it a “listening tour.” Yet, while listening is part of diplomacy, it can’t substitute for policy, especially in the case of the only superpower. 

GOP romance with cultural Marxism
You can't have fiscal responsibility and a moral culture by giving in to cultural Marxism--the roundabout way to socialism. The degradation of culture is a big part of why we can't stop the rampant giveaway programs, the insane borrowing and spending and the endless upward unemployment spiral. When you can't say no in your private life or to your children, you can't say no. --Don Hank

Excerpt: First up was JJJ, blubber-lipped and teary-eyed as he stood before the judge and pled guilty. Then the wife stood and sobbed so deeply that the word "guilty" was barely intelligible. They had little choice. The court had a list of purchase receipts that was almost as thick as Nancy Pelosi's Obamacare bill. So far the Feds have ignored the FBI investigation that charges JJJ with offering several million dollars to the former (now incarcerated Illinois Governor) in exchange for getting to fill Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois. JJJ could have joined the "big boys" in plundering the federal piggy bank if he could have succeeded in buying that seat!

Al-Qaeda’s 22 Tips For Dodging Drones
Excerpt: The document includes advice such as “hide under thick trees” (believed to be bin Laden’s contribution), and instructions for setting up a “fake gathering” using dolls to “mislead the enemy”. Found by the Associated Press in a building in Timbuktu, the ancient city occupied by Islamists last year, the document is believed to have been abandoned as extremists fled a French military intervention last month. (How about, “Become as peaceful as you claim your religion is.”? ~Bob.)

Philadelphia's Burqa Crisis. By Daniel Pipes 
Excerpt: Philadelphia, the city where I live, has quietly and unassumedly become the capital of the Western world as regards female Islamic garb as an accessory to crime. … By my count, the Philadelphia region has witnessed 14 robberies (or attempted robberies) of financial institutions in the past six years in which the thieves relied on an Islamic full-body cover.

Interesting: States Most Likely To Go Bankrupt
Excerpt: Several states in the Union are discussing bankruptcy, despite opposition in Washington. How bad is it? The Daily Beast crunches the numbers of all 50 states to find who's in the deepest debt—and it isn't who you think. (I talk about state debt and unfunded liabilities in a chapter in The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. Cities, too. ~Bob.)

Palestinians Plan Violence to Force the US to Extract Concessions from Israel. By Khaled Abu Toameh
Excerpt: The Palestinian leadership is hoping that anti-US demonstrations and uprisings will scare Obama and force him to exert even more pressure on Israel. There are many signs that the Palestinian Authority is seeking to escalate tensions in the West Bank ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to the region next month.

Jews Under Muslim Attack in Europe. By P. David Hornik
Excerpt: Meanwhile the French Jewish community reports a record rise of 58% in anti-Semitic incidents for 2012—a total of 614 compared to 389 in 2011. While seemingly not directly relevant to the question about Obama’s visit, the situation in France—and Western Europe generally—in fact tells much about the Middle East and Israel’s position in it.

To Kill a Murderer. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: Twenty years ago, Nathan Dunlap walked into a Chuck E. Cheese in Colorado. Dunlap had been fired from the restaurant earlier that year and told a friend that he wanted to get even and take all the money. One cold wintry evening he walked in, put a gun to the head of a 19-year-old girl at the salad bar and pulled the trigger. Then he killed three others and stole $1,591 before being arrested by the police. Over the next twenty years, Dunlap and his lawyers did everything possible to get their client off. (As a State Senator, my position was that we should have two chairs, no waiting, like a barber shop. I was asked to debate the death penalty on John Kerry’s TV show, against Henry Schwarzschild, head of the ACLU’s anti-death penalty project. I was given four days notice to prep, against a guy who debated it for a living, but I think I more than held my own. ~Bob.)

Boom: “The Obama Sequester”
Excerpt: The Republican National Committee has President Obama dead to rights on his breathtaking hypocrisy and demagoguery regarding the impending automatic “sequestration” cuts that he’s now trying to attribute to the GOP. This video doesn’t break any new ground on substance, but its stark juxtaposition of Obama’s 2011 veto threat and this week’s attempt at blame shift is absolutely damning:

Santa Fe Releases Names of People who Participated in ‘Anonymous’ Gun Buyback: Is “Operation Safe Streets” Really 'Safe?'
Excerpt: After the shooting in Newtown, New Mexico officials in a couple cities have supported a ‘gun buyback.’ Among cities coming up with their own plans are Albuquerque and Santa Fe. People who participated in the Santa Fe buyback, which was dubbed “Operation Safe Streets” were given up to a couple hundred dollars per firearm they turned over. These citizens were lead to believe that their participation would remain anonymous. 

Oscar Pistorius: Perfectly Able to Kill. By Jim Goad
Excerpt: What’s perhaps most unsettling about his alleged crime is the fact that he’s disabled and is therefore presumed to always be a victim and never a perpetrator. But I like to believe in an equality of corruptibility. I cling to the hateful fantasy that blacks, women, gays, and the disabled are every bit as capable of malice, ill will, and murderous intent as are fully ambulatory straight white males.

Americans Absolutely Need to Own Advanced Firearms. By Ron Pisaturo
Excerpt: The U.S. government does not trust every American soldier to possess nuclear weapons. Likewise, the U.S. government should not trust private citizens to possess nuclear weapons. But the U.S. government does trust more than a million American soldiers to possess advanced firearms. Likewise, the U.S. government should trust private citizens to possess such firearms.

Organized Minority Anti Nuclear People Hurting Millions of Good People. By Richard McPherson:
Excerpt: American Anti-nuclear fear-mongers Arnie Gunderson and Helen Caldicott stated Fukushima Unit 4 is tipping over and the spent nuclear fuel pool will put enough radiation into the atmosphere that we should all be moving south of the Equator. Arnie Gunderson in these 40 minutes on May 7, 2012 is a horrible example of the few hurting hundreds of millions of good people in Japan & America. … Today (February 7, 2013), in cold light-blowing snow, I walked on top of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Unit 4 in Japan looking at Units 1, 2 & 3. I know first hand Unit 4 is not tipping over - I felt safe.

Christian: It’s Time To Vote With Your Feet. By Chuck Baldwin
Excerpt: I confess right out of the gate that this column is not going to be enjoyable for me to write. It may not be enjoyable for some to read. But the time has come that it has to be said. If Christians truly have any intentions of helping to preserve liberty for their children and grandchildren, they must put rhetoric, tradition, friendship, and personal feelings aside and take action. Christian: it is time to vote with your feet. 

Firearms Industry Breaking With Liberal States. By Michelle Malkin 
Excerpt: Here's the latest example of head-splitting cognitive dissonance in Washington: President Obama used his State of the Union address to crusade for a revitalized U.S. manufacturing sector. But while he pays lip service to supporting businesses that build their products on American soil, Obama and his left-wing operatives are hell-bent on driving a key sector of the U.S. manufacturing industry six feet under: the American firearms and ammunition industry. (If the firearms manufactures were smart, they’d unionize their shops and contribute to Democrats. All the fuss would go away. ~Bob.)

Hagel: The Hits Just Keep Coming from The Patriot Post
If Joe Biden didn't already have the job of Barack Obama's chief life insurance policy, the gaffe-tastic Chuck Hagel might be the next best bet. As the perceived inevitability of his confirmation as secretary of defense draws closer, the former RINO senator from Nebraska continues to see more of his alleged past statements unearthed. The rub is that many of the sources that have quoted Hagel as saying that the State Department is "controlled by Israel," or that America is acting like a "schoolyard bully" in the Middle East gleaned their information from second-hand sources in events that were either closed to the press or garnered little interest at the time. During his Senate confirmation hearing Hagel denied making many of the statements. However, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did have a chat with Hagel about using the term "Jewish lobby" and explained why that was a hurtful double standard. "[H]e almost had tears in his eyes when he understood," Schumer said. Hagel was just showing his softer side. No wonder 15 GOP senators sent a letter to Obama asking him to withdraw Hagel's nomination, even if it is too little too late -- Hagel now has the votes necessary for confirmation.

Greedy class-action lawyers take it on the chin
Excerpt: What do you call a plaintiffs' attorney who negotiates a settlement that secures $3 million for his clients -- and pays him $14 million for his services? Plenty of words come to mind, but none suitable for publication. Happily, the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals shares our dismay. This week, the court threw out the settlement, which all told came to $35.5 million

"Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice." --Adam Smith

Excerpt: A Missouri lawmaker is proposing to send colleagues to prison for introducing gun control legislation — a plan that even its sponsor acknowledges has no chance of passage but nonetheless highlights the increasingly strident tone of gun measures in Missouri’s generally pro-gun Legislature. (Not helpful, as it feeds the “gun-owners-are-crazy” narrative of the left. ~Bob.)

Tunisia's new premier promises inclusive government
Excerpt: Tunisia's prime minister-designate Ali Larayedh, a hardliner from the main Islamist Ennahda party, said on Friday he hoped to form a "government of all Tunisians", but opposition leaders swiftly signaled discontent. (It is likely that none of this would have happened had Obama not made it clear that he supports Islamist governments while discouraging secularist leaders. He did this implicitly by supporting the Arab Spring, by snubbing Netanyahu early on, by doing nothing to intervene in the attack that killed our Libyan Ambassador, and even by pretending that murder was the result of a protest against an anti-Islamic movie, by sending heavy arms and materiel to radical Islamic Egypt, and in so many other ways too numerous to mention. Radical Islam has a champion in the White House. Who champions you? --Don Hank)

Lawsuit reform supporters tout impact on state’s business climate
Excerpt: Texas in 1994 was seeing “out of control lawsuits” and companies that were not expanding, doctors retiring or leaving the state and Lloyds of London was charging a 20 percent liability surcharge to its Texas clients. The situation, said Dick Weekley, a Houston real estate developer and home builder, was “ruining the state and would ruin the country. Doctors were having to leave because they were getting sued. People were leaving the state.

Judges Tell Ohio Woman: No More Frivolous Lawsuits!
Excerpt: Listen to this: a woman in Ohio has filed dozens of frivolous lawsuits in the last decade, against judges, government agencies, companies, and celebrities, including Denzel Washington. To give you an idea of just how ridiculous her lawsuits are, in 2011 she sued NBA star Kobe Bryant, claiming he proposed to her but never followed through. (“Loser pays” would put an end to this nonsense. ~Bob.)

Connecticut woman has filed 70 lawsuits in 2 years
Excerpt: According to WFSB, Lebby is a self-trained litigator who spends almost every day at the New Britain Superior Court, where she researches claims, handwrites her lawsuits and files them for free.

Strippers at teen's party lead to mom's arrest
Excerpt: An upstate New York mother is accused of hiring strippers for her son's 16th birthday party late last year, according to the Saratoga County District Attorney.
Judy Viger, 33, of Gansevoort is charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, District Attorney James Murphy said in a statement. (The comments are great. –George. None of my friends had cool moms like this. ~Bob.)

Why you can't hear what people are saying on TV. By Matt Warman
Excerpt: Chief among the complaints has been that dialogue is increasingly hard to hear; such criticism may often be put down to deafness, but in fact it’s sometimes also due to the way TVs process sound. Speakers using simple left and right channels neglect the fact that speech in films is easier to hear if it's given a separate, third channel of its own. As TVs with straightforward stereo combine the dialogue with the rest of the sound, its clarity is lost. (Huh. I’ve been blaming it on my time with arty. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: It looks like Congress is finally getting worried — as they should be — about “monetary policy.” Specifically, they appear to be rather concerned as to whether The Fed can “unwind” its “extraordinary measures” without utterly destructive side effects. The real problem, unfortunately, is that The Fed has enabled Congress to deficit spend without limit and without the market signals that would ordinarily constrain such behavior.

I Am John Galt: Today's Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It. By Donald Luskin
Recommended by a friend. Have a huge reading pile already, but will consider. ~Bob. Excerpt from Amazon: Inspired by Ayn Rand's characters in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, penetrating profiles of both the innovators who move our world forward and those who seek to destroy the achievement of others.

Remembering Tet
The Vietnamese Festival of Peace 1968 ... 65,000 dead at the hands of men and women with lists of the names of those who were to be eliminated ... I stood watch over the lime covered bodies of those teachers, doctors, nurses, ...and productive members of society ... all eliminated by communists who thought it would be a better idea if the government took care of you. –Bob Greer. (Bob Greer is a Marine Vietnam vet who saw a lot of action. ~Bob Hall)

Clint Eastwood Latest Celebrity Swatting Victim
Excerpt: TMZ reports L.A. police rushed to the home of acting icon Clint Eastwood yesterday as part of the latest celebrity swatting incident. The site says a report indicating "multiple males armed with assault weapons inside the actor's house and people had been shot" inspired the house call. (These evil jerks seem to mostly go after conservatives. They are going to get someone killed, but being leftists, they don’t care. They need to be found and made an example of. ~Bob.)

Your TV might be able to spy on YOU
Good--but scary--brief video report on the ability of hackers to use YOUR TV to spy on YOU. Also includes some tips on prevention. --Ron P. (There's an annoying 10 second commercial to suffer through first.)

Most of us favor deportation
You mean we want to treat Mexican illegal aliens the way THEIR GOVERNMENT would treat us if we sneaked into their country? NOOOOOO!! How unfair! --Don Hank

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