Thursday, March 14, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 15, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 15, 2013
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.

Charities I support

Worth Reading: Shadow of the Gun. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: Every day another one of the stories comes in. A teacher panicked by a plastic gun, an army man on a cupcake, a t-shirt, a pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun or a finger gun, hits the panic button. Suspensions and lectures quickly follow as the latest threat to the gun-free zone, usually in the form of a little boy, is tackled to the ground and lectured to within an inch of his life.

Worth Reading: Prime Cuts 2013
Excerpt: It is within the context of these looming, significant spending decisions that Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) releases Prime Cuts 2013. CAGW has been publishing the document since 1993. This year’s version contains 557 recommendations that would save taxpayers $580.6 billion in the first year and $1.8 trillion over five years. (Works for me. Problem is, every spending program (boondoggle) has an interest group that is getting the dollars, who fight like tigers to keep the cash flowing, while the rest of us yawn. Download the PDF and scroll through it. ~Bob.)

Harvard Study Shows No Effect Of Firearm Laws On Gun Deaths. By Timothy Wheeler, MD
Excerpt: Harvard medical researchers just published a scholarly paper in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, claiming that more firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of gun homicides and suicides. However, examination of their data and research methods shows the opposite. McMaster University researcher Caillin Langmann, MD, PhD noted that the Harvard authors’ own best analysis: Does not show that states with more gun laws have fewer gun deaths. Demonstrates that “assault weapon” bans have no effect on homicide. Demonstrates that laws prohibiting guns in public places have no effect on homicide

Guess What? In 2006, Obama Explained Exactly Why Debt Matters. Here’s The Speech.
Excerpt: Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. (He evolved. ~Bob.)

‘Killing Jews Is Worship That Draws Us Closer To Allah’ Ad Campaign Debuts On San Francisco City Buses
Excerpt: A controversy has been re-ignited this week as ten new ads go up on San Francisco Muni buses containing quotes used by terrorists. “Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah,” reads one of the ads, which has people debating the line between free speech and hate speech. (I’d let them run. Reveals how few got the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob.)

Poll: World opinion of US leadership at lowest point of Obama’s tenure
Excerpt: The international perception of American leadership has fallen to the lowest point of President Obama's tenure in the White House, according to a new survey from Gallup.

White House tour move backfires on Obama
Excerpt: The White House is playing defense over the decision to cancel tours at President Obama’s residence, the latest stumble for Obama in the messaging war with Republicans over the sequester. (They count on being able to say anything and have the media cover for their lies. But that is wearing a little thin, even with the knee-pad media. ~Bob.)

GOP lawmakers threaten to subpoena Benghazi survivors
Excerpt: Republican lawmakers are threatening to subpoena U.S. survivors of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Exasperated GOP members say unless they get more answers from the White House, they will call on the survivors to testify before Congress, and might hold up President Obama’s nomination to replace the U.S. ambassador who was killed on Sept. 11, 2012 in Libya. (Funny how hard it is to get information out of “The Most Transparent Administration in History.” ~Bob.)
Excerpt: After three weeks of "screaming wolf" over Sequestration, and having concluded his month long "Republican Demonization Tour", Obama came back to the capitol last week and is "making nice" with Republicans. Last week he dined with key Republicans at a posh D.C. bistro, then the next day had Paul Ryan over for a tuna salad and chicken noodle soup lunch. This week he's deigning to travel down Pennsylvania Avenue, to the capitol building and will share sweet tea and split pea soup with the Speaker of the House and other "grandma killers" from both the House and Senate. Forgive me my skepticism but I just can't help but think that his polling staff took a look at that 9 point drop in his popularity polls and figured his Sequestration "the sky is falling" tactics didn't set well with Americans.

EXCLUSIVE - U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances
Excerpt: The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

Aaron Swartz Lawyers Accuse Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Of Misconduct
Excerpt: Federal prosecutor Stephen Heymann engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by withholding key evidence from the defense team of Aaron Swartz, the late Internet activist's legal team alleged in a letter to an internal Justice Department ethics unit.

Just voted to ensure health care decisions are made by patients & doctors (not govt), & to stop $800 billion in new taxes.

Excerpt: The 22-year-old Oklahoma mother, Misty VanHorn, tried to sell her two-year-old and 10-month-old baby via the social network in order to raise money to bail her boyfriend out of jail, Sky News reported.

I have a logical question: if deficits don't matter, then why doesn't the President cut taxes AND spend more?

Suicide bomber kills 10 spectators at Afghan goat polo game
Excerpt: A suicide bomber blew himself up during a traditional Afghan game of buzkashi, a game of horse polo played with a dead goat, killing at least 10 spectators in the northern province of Kunduz on Wednesday, the local governor's office said. (Geeze. It's getting so you can't ride around on horses ripping a dead goat to shreds, bashing your fellow players without another member of The Religion of Peace blowing you all up. Sad. ~Bob.)

Man arrested after fatal vacuum cleaner beating
Excerpt: Police have arrested a man in California on charges that he fatally beat his wife with a vacuum cleaner in North Las Vegas. (Enough! Why do people need vacuums, anyway? If we can save just one life, we must ban them. ~Bob.)

Christians “unsafe” at Muslim conference
Excerpt: The Christians were told that, due to expected anti-Islamic protests outside the Showgrounds, IREA “could not guarantee your safety.” 

The new pope was all, "Let me be Frank." And they said, "OK. But officially you'll be Francis."

When will the Catholic Church dump the Cardinal College and let the Pope be elected through direct vote!?

Just a hunch here, but based on headlines it seems like members of the media are more liberal than Catholic church leaders.

Quote from Jim Geraghty in Morning Jolt
If your beef with the Catholic Church is the role it gives women, well . . . there's another big global faith with about a billion adherents who you may want to examine, too. I mean, whatever you think of the role of nuns, they are allowed to drive themselves, you know.

Okay. It ain't so. Just silly. If Clinton is the Democrat nominee, she gets to pick the VP. It won't be the wife of the guy who beat her in 2008, especially when picking Michelle could get Hillary shot to have a black female president. She may talk about it, but Hillary knows where the real racism is on this country, and MO as VP would make her a target. Clinton would pick the person she thinks is most likely to help her get elected, period. ~Bob.

Intellectuals and Race: Part III. By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: The desire of intellectuals for some grand theory that will explain complex patterns with some solitary and simple factor has produced many ideas that do not stand up under scrutiny, but which have nevertheless had widespread acceptance -- and sometimes catastrophic consequences -- in countries around the world. The theory of genetic determinism which dominated the early 20th century led to many harmful consequences, ranging from racial segregation and discrimination up to and including the Holocaust. 

Free the Human Trafficking Victims in Russia
Excerpt: 15 young Vietnamese women, including a 16-year old minor, went to work in Russia only to find themselves forced into prostitution at a brothel near Moscow. They have all been held captive by their traffickers for one to four years. One victim is seriously ill but has been denied medical care. On Feb 2, 2013 four victims managed to escape but their freedom was short-lived. (Slavery is not dead, just has new forms. Don’t think this doesn’t happen in the US. ~Bob.)

'Miserly' Scots more generous than the English: They are renowned for being miserly, but Scots are actually more generous than the English when it comes to charity, a new report has found.
Excerpt: Scotland was the country with the highest donations from mainstream donors, on average £356 a year, a third more than Londoners who gave £268 – despite the fact that per capita household income is 25 per cent higher in the capital. (Dinna let this get oot. They’ll aye be wantin’ tae put their han in my sporran for bawbies. ~Bob.)

South Africa: 'Over 25% of schoolgirls HIV positive'
Excerpt: At least 28% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive compared with 4% of boys because "sugar daddies" are exploiting them, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said. He said 94,000 schoolgirls also fell pregnant in 2011, and 77,000 had abortions at state facilities, The Sowetan newspaper reports.

Why Americans Should Know and Care About South Africa. By Jack Kerwick 
Excerpt: One such voice belongs to that of former South African resident Ilana Mercer.
If you find Ahlert’s analysis engaging, then you are guaranteed to be riveted by Mercer’s, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. The latter supplies readers with an intimate account of daily existence in South Africa that at once confirms and deepens Ahlert’s analysis. Upon reading Mercer’s work, what one discovers is that life in South Africa isn’t as bad as Ahlert says. It is dramatically worse. (Both whites and educated blacks have been fleeing the country, guaranteeing collapse. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: From Affirmative Action to Diversity. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Sometime in the new millennium, "global warming" evolved into "climate change." Amid growing controversies over the planet's past temperatures, Al Gore and other activists understood that human-induced "climate change" could better explain almost any weather extremity -- droughts or floods, too much heat or cold, hurricanes and tornadoes. Similar verbal gymnastics have gradually turned "affirmative action" into "diversity" -- a word ambiguous enough to avoid the innate contradictions of a liberal society affirming illiberal racial preferencing. (The only diversity progressive academics hate is diversity of thought. ~Bob.)

Germany bans three Salafist groups as anti-democratic
Excerpt: Germany on Wednesday banned three ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim groups which the Interior Ministry said wanted to overturn democracy and install a system based on sharia, or Islamic law.

Will Pope Francis Challenge Muslim Persecution of Christians? By Robert Spencer
Excerpt: orge Bergoglio, Pope Francis, assumes the papal throne at a time when Christians in many countries around the world are more threatened, and are living more precariously, than they have for centuries. Christians face violent persecution on an increasingly frequent basis in Pakistan, Egypt, and Nigeria, and to a lesser degree in Malaysia, Indonesia, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Islamic world.

Worth Reading: Michelle Antoinette’s Big B-Day Bash. By Ben Shapiro 
Excerpt: This week the Obama administration announced that due to the awful, terrible, nasty, horrible sequestration, they would have to shut down the White House tours for the public. The same week, a White House source told the Daily Mail that Michelle Obama was planning a birthday blowout for her 50th. In attendance: Adele and Beyonce.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says UN document on violence against women violates Islamic rules
Excerpt: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood sharply criticized an anticipated U.N. document on combatting violence against women, saying on Wednesday that it was “deceitful,” clashed with Islamic principles and undermined family values.

Detroit's decline. By Cal Thomas
Excerpt: During the mid-20th century, Detroit was a vibrant city with a population of almost 2 million. Today, it stands near ruin. The number of residents has now been estimated at just over 700,000. According to the Chicago Tribune, "The city has a crushing debt of $14 billion, and a budget deficit of as much as $327 million. The pay and benefit structure of public employees can't be sustained. ... The city could run out of cash in a matter of weeks." And yet the city's main courthouse reports having $280 million worth of uncollected fines and fees. (Just another Progressive Utopia. Only a little ahead of the rest of the country. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a ban on the sale and manufacture of more than 150 types of semi-automatic weapons with military-style features Thursday in a party-line vote. The 10-8 vote came after a heated exchange between Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who Feinstein scolded for giving her a "lecture" on the Constitution. (If it passed, gun makers would make rifles with wood, rather than black, folding stocks, without hand grips or bayonet lugs, and with magazines for nine rounds, if ten is the limit. They would look different, but be just as efficient for killing. And since hammer are used in murders more often than rifles, the dead would continue to pile up in gun-free zones like Democrat Chicago. ~Bob.)

Prison agents catch Calif. parolee after 32 years
Excerpt: Richard Bradford had been living under the false identity of James Edward Heard and owned several properties in the Pasadena area, including a drug rehabilitation facility, authorities said. Bradford was sentenced to life for first-degree murder in 1971, was paroled in 1978, and skipped out on his parole supervision in 1980, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement Wednesday.

Excerpt: The wait is over, First Lady Michelle Obama’s second Vogue cover is out… and she is sleeveless….The profile delves into the first couple as “exemplars of a new paradigm—the super-involved parenting team for whom being equally engaged in the minutiae of their children’s lives is paramount.” Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor David Axelrod, and former White House communications director Anita Dunn all speak highly in the piece of the first family as a model of good parenting.

Excerpt: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Republicans are “at war” with their “own government” by trying to “shrink” its role in society. Pelosi added that it is impossible for Congress to balance the federal budget in one decade, as House Republicans have proposed.

Obama administration fails watchdog’s transparency test
Excerpt: The report found the average agency grade to be a “C-minus.” According to Cause of Action, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense were among the worst FIOA responders, with each department receiving an “F” based on their grading system…. “What ‘Grading the Government’ shows is an inconsistency at best, and a failure at worst, by federal agencies in not just compliance with the President’s pledge for transparency, but compliance with basic FOIA protocol,” said Dan Epstein, Cause of Action executive director in a statement. (Read the report card. –Barb)

Worth Reading: Dead Economists Debate Bang for the Buck from Spending. By Caroline Baum 
Excerpt: Economists talk about the negative impact from the $85 billion of automatic spending cuts with such authority, you would think these forecasts were written in stone. Hardly. These are projections spit out by econometric models that are pre-programmed with a specific multiplier: a number that reflects the effect of a $1 change in government spending or taxes on gross domestic product.

Obamacare will hurt young, low-skill workers the most, according to former chief economist of U.S. Department of Labor
Excerpt: Furchtgott-Roth, who is the former chief economist of U.S. Department of Labor, insisted during the hearing that “the cost of health care is going to rise” under the Affordable Care Act. “Young, low-skill workers — these are the people who are hurt…the people paying student loans,” she said. (As long as liberals get to feel good about being for progressive things, who gets hurt doesn’t signify at all. ~Bob.)

Chelsea Clinton buys new $10.5 million apartment across the street from her husband's $4 million 'starter pad' bought just before they married
Excerpt: Most young couples could only dream of buying a luxury four-bedroom apartment in the centre of Manhattan. But Chelsea Clinton, 33, and husband Marc Mezvinsky, 35, are about to swap their $4 million pad for a huge new $10.5 million one nearby. (I’m sure we can expect Occupy Wall Street to protest and picket such extravagant living by members of the One Percent. But I think I won’t hold my breath. ~Bob.)

Nuke Program? Turkey’s Got an App for That. Reports: Germans accuse Turkey of exporting items with ‘nuclear applications’ to Iran
Excerpt: German prosecutors have accused Turkey of exporting to Iran nearly 1,000 items with “nuclear applications,” according to German and Turkish media reports.
German prosecutors allege Iran has established multiple “front companies” in Istanbulaccording to Today’s Zaman, an English-language publication in Turkey. These illicit companies are believed to have shipped nuclear-related material back to Iran. (Not our Islamic NATO ally, who wants to join the EU? ~Bob.)

Obama Administration Plans to Cut Medicare Advantage Reimbursements
Excerpt: The Obama administration is planning new cuts to Medicare, a federal regulatory filing reveals, cuts that could mean higher premiums or seniors losing their coverage altogether. The new cuts come in the form of a planned reduction in the reimbursement rates the government pays to insurance companies that operate Medicare Advantage plans, which are services administered by private for-profit or non-profit providers that offer additional services than can be found in traditional Medicare.

Jack Kemp: You get what you subsidize!

Excerpt: Investors in wind farms around British and Danish coasts are facing financial ruin as a new study from the University of Olso affirms a catastrophic design oversight. Newly identifed flaws mean that all windmills currently in operation are in real danger of snapping like matchwood during severe storms. 

NTSB: Flash In Sky Before Okla. Helicopter Crash
Excerpt: A witness reported seeing a flash in the sky before a medical helicopter crashed into the parking lot of an Oklahoma City nursing home, killing two people, according to a preliminary report released from the National Transportation Safety Board.

BRITAIN’S relentless big freeze has sparked fears of the highest winter death rate for five years.
Excerpt: The brutal Arctic blast has seen temperatures plummet to -13C (9F) amid what could be the coldest March for almost three decades. Pensioner groups warned the death rate among Britain’s elderly has already soared this winter with fears it could hit 30,000 - 6,000 more than last year.

2012 Election Statistics—Voter Turnout

Eleven countries exempted from Iran sanctions
A loop hole you could drive an A-bomb through. ~Bob.

Asia Now Spends More on Defense Than All of Europe. By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: Historians may mark 2012 as a key year in tracing Europe’s decline as a global military player. For the first time in centuries, annual defense spending among Asian countries has exceeded that of European countries.

Millionaire points gun at burglar who broke into his home - but cops arrest HIM because weapon was unlicensed 
Excerpt: Critics of the greenhouse gas theory and it's supposed role in climate change have presented a fresh analysis of a CIA report that suggests climatologists created a false scientific basis to link global warming to levels of carbon dioxide. An assumption that wrongly fixed cloud cover as a constant factor encouraged scientists to incorrectly assume changes in CO2 rather than changes in cloud cover determine temperatures.

British MP blames jail term on Jewish 'conspiracy'
Excerpt: A British politician jailed for causing a deadly road accident while texting behind the wheel, has reportedly blamed his prison sentence on a Jewish conspiracy. Lord Nazir Ahmed, 55, who became one of the first Muslim peers in the UK after former British prime minister Tony Blair appointed him in 1998, has said that his prison sentence was a result of pressure applied on the court by Jews “who own newspapers and television channels,” the Times of London quoted him as saying Thursday.

There's nothing conservative about bailing out Wall Street/There is nothing progressive about bailing out millionaires to build solar panels.

N. Korea 'likely' to launch attack on South this year
Excerpt: North Korea is likely to launch a provocative attack on South Korea this year, a top analyst said Thursday at the launch of his think tank's annual report on the world's military capabilities. The International Institute for Strategic Studies said North Korea's "military first" doctrine remained clearly intact under youthful leader Kim Jong-Un.

Why Obama's 'charm offensive' on Republicans isn't working: The president and House Republicans don't seem any closer to compromise after a lengthy meeting on Capitol Hill. By Keith Wagstaff |
Excerpt: That we refer to basic outreach over pressing political issues as a "charm offensive" is sad enough. The aftermath of President Obama's hour-long meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday is even more depressing. Did they come any closer on issues like the budget or immigration? Highly unlikely.

U.S. Government Loans $28.6 Million to Wind Farm--in Honduras
Excerpt: The federally chartered Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved a $28.6 million direct loan to a high-tech wind power company in the Central American country of Honduras. The loan will enable 200 workers in six U.S. states to assemble 12 high-tech wind turbines for export. The cost of those jobs works out to $143,000 per job created. (Well, at least they shut down those wasteful White House tours and military tuition assistance. ~Bob.)

#POTUS says he can't find anything to cut except for White House tours. I say, not a penny more to countries that burn our flag.

China: “Japan Must Recognize Beijing’s Will.” By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: This tense atmosphere is extending outside the realm of politics and into everyday life. At a recent soccer game between clubs from Hiroshima and Beijing, in the Beijing’s Worker’s Stadium, a small contingent of Hiroshima fans occupied one end of the stadium. They were separated from rival fans by columns of heavily armed police and rows of empty seats.

Boston Phoenix to close; Portland, Providence papers remain open
Excerpt: The Boston Phoenix, which only six months ago reinvented itself from a tabloid-sized weekly newspaper known for its gritty coverage of politics and the arts into a glossy magazine, will be closing immediately, while its sister publications in Providence and Portland will remain open, according to a statement from the company. (Counter culture paper around when I was there. Guess math and deficits do matter. ~Bob.)

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