Friday, March 15, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 16, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 16, 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.

Advice for my Granddaughter: For When I'm Gone royalties go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (which gets a larger royalty if you order directly through Create Space.).

Worth ReadingMoney & Things - Not the Rx. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: More money and more things is not the answer to "fixing" education in America. Home schoolers have so proven. In fact, more money and more things can be argued as the cause.

Excerpt: Everybody loves the idea of the self-sufficient farmer — hardy, independent, working his own land to produce what he needs on his own terms. It is a romantic vision, unless you have the experience of having lived that way: In the modern parlance, we call that economic model “subsistence agriculture,” and it is associated with places like Afghanistan and Uganda, a neolithic standard of living, and intervals of famine. But the nice thing about having a primitive economy is that the economics gets real simple real quick. 

Worth Reading: Intellectuals and Race: Part IV. By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: Among the many irrational ideas about racial and ethnic groups that have polarized societies over the centuries and around the world, few have been more irrational and counterproductive than the current dogmas of multiculturalism. Intellectuals who imagine that they are helping racial or ethnic groups that lag behind by redefining their lags out of existence with multicultural rhetoric are in fact leading them into a blind alley.

Excerpt: President Obama asked House Democrats on Thursday to give him the political room to make concessions to Republicans on entitlements as part of a deficit-reduction deal. In a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol Visitors Center, Obama said he won't accept anything less than a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes new tax revenues, according to numerous lawmakers in the room.

Excerpt: The conservative Republican Study Committee will put forward an alternative, more aggressive budget proposal than the main House Republican budget authored this week by Rep. Paul Ryan. Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the budget amendment offered by the large conservative bloc would call for eliminating the federal deficit within four years — more than twice as fast as the Ryan budget — which balances in a decade.

Grand jury investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), people familiar with probe say
Excerpt: A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), examining his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, according to three people aware of the probe.

Rand Paul’s CPAC Speech

Affordable Care Act Is Unaffordable And Onerous
Excerpt: Does anyone remember hearing that one of the blessings of health reform would be doing your taxes a second time? Filling out fifteen pages and paying $1 trillion in taxes are just the latest ObamaCare surprises. '1040" is not most Americans' lucky number. Yet hardly as unlucky as the digits in ObamaCare. The latest is that a three-person family is going to have to fill out a 15-page form to enjoy health benefits, with 21 steps to go through over those pages. It makes the Internal Revenue Service's 1040 form a stroll in the park by comparison. (This just keeps on, getting better and better with more information about how Obamacare will really work. And we still have a ways to go. --Del)

Obamacare set to ‘implode’
Excerpt: The House Republican budget plan assumes the repeal of Obamacare, and while the political votes may be hard to find, a leading health-care expert told WND the flaws of the system will likely lead to its implosion in the near term. Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute and one of the leading policy-based critics of Obamacare. She said House Republicans are right to keep pushing for the repeal of Obamacare because of the myriad ways it afflicts the nation’s fiscal health. (I just read a resignation letter from a doctor to his association saying he was giving up his practice because of ObamaCare to move to another line of work. I don’t have permission to publish it, but it is legit. Expect to see much more of this as this monster creates a growing crisis in healthcare. ~Bob.)

The Week That Was: 2013-03-09 (March 9, 2013)
Excerpt: A critical assumption in the report was that the oil sands will get to market somehow, probably by rail. Plans for rail shipments are underway and it would be very difficult for the Administration to stop rail shipments. The hard core environmentalists are in a difficult position… the purpose of the Keystone protest was not so much to protect the environment along the pipeline route, but to prevent the oil from reaching refineries…. (All 4 of the numbered articles are worth reading, as is “Reasons to be Grateful to Václav Klaus” in the section called Challenging the Orthodoxy. --Ron P.)

School Teaches 9-11 Hijackers Were “Freedom Fighters”
Excerpt: I’m beginning to wonder what in the world is going on in Texas! First I told you how the public school system in Texas is being infiltrated with CSCOPE curriculum that teaches that the Founding Fathers, who were involved in the Boston Tea Party, were “terrorists.” Now, word is that in a Texas high school, students [...]

Tuition assistance to end for military, but not for illegal aliens. By Jim Kouri
Excerpt: Across the board budget cuts, a/k/a sequestration, has forced the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force to halt their tuition assistance programs which are important to America’s warriors, according to Pentagon Press Secretary George Little on Tuesday. However, this week the state of Colorado announced it was extending in-state tuition to illegal aliens, which amounts to thousands of dollars per student.

Greek businessman cited in scheme to sell Iranian oil, defying sanctions
Excerpt: The Obama administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on a Greek shipping magnate accused of secretly helping Iran sell its petroleum in defiance of international restrictions on Iranian oil exports. (Helping Iran helps them get nuclear weapons and is treason to civilization. A shooting offence. ~Bob.)

UN says US drones violate Pakistan's sovereignty
Excerpt: The head of a U.N. team investigating casualties from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan declared after a secret research trip to the country that the attacks violate Pakistan's sovereignty. (Ut-oh. Now we’ll get a strongly-worded note. Unless they decide to get really tough and not let us pay for every stupid thing they do. ~Bob.)

Obama says Iran more than a year away from nuclear weapon
Excerpt: President Barack Obama told Israelis Iran is still more than year away from developing a nuclear weapon and sought to reassure them that military force remains a U.S. option if sanctions and diplomacy fail to thwart its nuclear ambitions. (He doubtless got that from the CIA—the folks who convinced both Bush and the Senate democrats that Iraq had WMDs. But if true, probably take them an additional year to get it to terrorists and develop a plan to put in a shipping container to New York City. So if you live there, you have two years to find a job in Idaho and move. ~Bob.)

Biden's office apologizes for pressuring student journalist to delete photos
Excerpt: Vice President Biden's office apologized to a student journalist after he was told not to take pictures of the vice president at an event in Maryland. …. The dean for the University of Maryland's journalism school, Lucy Dalglish, sent a letter to Biden's press office describing the situation as "pure intimidation." (Biden is such a loser. Obama at least intimidates real journalists, not students. ~Bob.)

Obama support group off to sluggish start
Excerpt: Two months after Organizing for Action was founded to bolster President Obama’s agenda, his poll numbers are slipping and the group remains on the defensive. A link between Obama's declining approval numbers and the group's struggles is tenuous at best, yet questions about how effective the group can be in cajoling Congress to work with Obama were swirling this week at a summit meant to showcase OFA. (Maybe the shine is off the Shinola. ~Bob.)

Donors to Obama ‘Non-profit’ Pay $50,000 for Night of Access. By Arnold Ahlert 
Excerpt: Organizing for Action (OFA), Barack Obama’s former campaign apparatus reincarnated as a nonprofit advocacy group, initiated a two-day “founders summit” on Wednesday at the St. Regis hotel, located two blocks from the White House. The group characterizes themselves as a grassroots organization, driven from the bottom up. 

No Bank Is Too Big to Fail
Excerpt: During the Great Depression, 9,000 of the nation's 25,000 banks failed as depositors as everyone rushed to withdraw their funds amidst great panic about the liquidity of banks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) was established in June 1933 to ensure deposits, resolve banks that fail and reduce the likelihood of another run on the banks. Subsequent actions by the FDIC created banks that were "Too-Big-To-Fail." The failure of large banks can cause instability but the FDIC must allow them to occur, say James R. Barth, the Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance at Auburn University, and Apanard Prabha, an economist in the Financial Research group at the Milken Institute. (When a bank is “too big to fail,” it has no limit on taking risks, because if it wins, it gets the profits and if it loses, the taxpayers get the losses. I’d go to Vegas and put everything I have on Red if I knew someone would cover me if Black came up. Duh. See next story. ~Bob.)

JPMorgan Faulted on Controls and Disclosure in Trading Loss
Excerpt: JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s biggest bank, ignored internal controls and manipulated documents as it racked up trading losses last year, while its influential chief executive, Jamie Dimon, briefly withheld some information from regulators, a new Senate report says.

Government-Funded Preschool Is a Failure that Obama Wants to Spread Nationwide: Oklahoma and Georgia are held as models but show few results. By Shikha Dalmia & Lisa Snell
Excerpt: But the real evidence from those states suggests that preschool doesn't deliver on even its most basic promises. (It’s not about the kids. It’s about teacher union votes and campaign money. Duh. ~Bob.)

Sunshine Week: FOIA use grows but transparency declines despite Obama promises
Excerpt: Thanks to the FOIA, the transparency issue will be widely discussed this week as journalists, non-profit advocates, academics and others celebrate Sunshine Week with speeches, news reports and features, forums, surveys and panel discussions across the country. The week is timed to coincide with the March 16 birthdate of First Amendment author James Madison, who was also the country's fourth president.

Difference In What Medicare Spends On Cancer Care May Not Affect Survival Rates
Excerpt: Although Medicare spending for patients with advance cancers varies regionally, a new study suggests that those differences are not related to survival rates. The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examined Medicare spending on patients with advanced lung, colorectal, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.

Rob Portman Reverses Gay Marriage Stance After Son Comes Out
Excerpt: Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has reversed his stance on same-sex marriage two years after learning that his son is gay, several Ohio news outlets, including the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reported Friday.
In an interview with Ohio reporters in his Senate office, Portman said that his son, Will, came out to the senator and his wife in February 2011.

Florida lawmakers look to ban EBT use at strip clubs, casinos, liquor stores, and gun shops
Excerpt: Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban those receiving government assistance from using their electronic benefits (EBT) cards at strip clubs, casinos, liquor stores, and gun stores. (You mean a poor guy can’t stick a tax dollar in a G-string? That’s discrimination. Expect the courts to knock it down, with support from the Obama administration. ~Bob.)

Line of the day, from GOP activist attending CPAC: 'Can we at least have two Reagans before we have three Bushes?

The friendliest restaurant in America
Excerpt: Tim Harris was born with Down Syndrome, but with his natural loving demeanor and some help from his family, he runs the friendliest restaurant in America: Tim's Place in Albuquerque!

Attack on Iraqi Justice Ministry kills 24
Excerpt: Attackers unleashed a carefully planned assault with car bombs and gunmen disguised as police on the Iraqi Justice Ministry on Thursday, killing at least 24 people as hundreds of others crouched terrified in their offices. The large and complex raid in the heart of downtown Baghdad came less than a week before the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, showing how vulnerable this country remains to insurgent attacks.

70-year-old twin sister prostitutes retire after 50 years in the industry
Everyone has to postpone retirement in the current economy. Gotta love their last name. ~Bob. Excerpt: 70-year-old identical twin sister prostitutes have decided to retire after working 50 years in the Amsterdam industry. Louise and Martine Fokkens are both 70, and claim to have slept with 355,000 men between the two of them.

Quote from The Patriot Post
"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." --Thomas Jefferson

Excerpt: What would you folks say if I told you I could eliminate the trillion dollar annual federal budget deficits in 24 months? What if I said those ten year deficit reduction plans are silly and un-serious and not grounded in reality? And, to sweeten the pot, what if I told you that Uncle Sam gets to keep every wasteful government program they now fund....and still achieve balanced annual budgets year after year, without a penny of further government borrowing? What if I promised that every street prostitute, every drug dealer and every personal and business tax cheat in the nation would finally be paying their fair share of taxes? Sound good?

Nine financial rules you should never forget

Beware of the New Elites. By Scott Rasmussen
Excerpt: For most Americans, the context is very important. If a CEO gets a huge paycheck after his company received a government bailout, that's a problem. People who get rich through corporate welfare schemes are seen as suspect. On the other hand, 86 percent believe it's fair for people who create very successful companies to get very rich. In other words, it's not just the income; it's whether the reward matched the effort.

Worth Reading: Democracy Is Not the Answer. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: To understand how we got to the point that spending hundreds of millions of dollars to support a government run by people who have been at war with us for almost a century is a policy that most foreign policy experts endorse, it helps to take a brief trip back in time.

Brown University to teach male students how to attain ‘prostate pleasure’
Excerpt: Brown University is set to hold an event on Thursday aimed at teaching its male students how to find sexual pleasure from their prostates. The workshop, entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure,” will be conducted by sexologist Charlie Glickman and promises to show attendees “how much fun prostate stimulation can be.” (This will be very useful when they are living on the street or in an Occupy Wall Street rape slum. ~Bob.)

Venezuela may be unable to embalm Chavez's remains
Excerpt: Chavez died last week aged 58 after a two-year battle with cancer. His body has been on display in a glass-topped coffin at a grandiose military academy in the capital Caracas, where millions of people have filed past to pay homage….Russian and German scientists have arrived to embalm Chavez and they tell us it's very difficult because the process should have started earlier.

Hacker Targets Clinton Confidant In New Attack: Breach exposed years of e-mails exchanged with Hillary Clinton
Excerpt: The hacker who has spent the past several months breaking into the e-mail accounts of family, friends, and political allies of the Bush family has crossed party lines and illegally accessed the AOL account of a former senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton. The intrusion into Sidney Blumenthal’s e-mail account apparently occurred this week, days after the hacker--who uses the alias “Guccifer”--defaced Colin Powell’s Facebook page and breached the former Secretary of State’s AOL account.

Unfit For Office: Thomas Perez As Labor Secretary
Excerpt: A secretary of labor's job is to be a fair arbiter between workers and employers. But Thomas Perez, now shortlisted for the job, is so radical he makes the last labor secretary, Hilda Solis, look like Ayn Rand. Just say no. Make a list of all the most outrageous, extremist and divisive acts of the Obama administration and odds are they will intersect in the person of Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who's run the Department of Justice's troubled civil rights division since 2009. (Will Mr. Obama ever run out of radicals/activists/ideologues to appoint to high positions in the government? Sorry, a purely rhetorical question. --Del)

Iran to present special prize for Michelle Obama
Excerpt: The Head of Iran’s Basij Organization, in an ironic style, has appreciated and awarded Michelle Obama for her unwanted role in exposing Hollywood and Oscars Academy’s allegiance to the US government. (Her next vacation to accept the award? ~Bob.)

Ben Affleck could be hanged for war crimes: US intelligence expert
Excerpt: Is Argo “just a movie?” Or is it a disguised intelligence operation - maybe even a war crime? These questions may soon be answered in court. Well-known French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre has met with Iranian officials planning a lawsuit against the makers and distributors of the controversial film. 

Wisconsin’s New Concealed Carry Law (And A Former Marine) Just Saved This Woman’s Life
Excerpt: Charlie Blackmore, a Marine Corps veteran, saw a woman on the ground being repeatedly kicked in the head and stomach. Blackmore quickly got out of his car and told the male assailant to stop attacking the woman. And that’s when the perpetrator, 44-year-old Kenneth Harris, started charging toward him. Little did Harris know, but Blackmore was carrying a gun.

Optimistic people want to hear the bad news first, while pessimists ask for the good. Realists just start drinking.

Obama has enough taxpayer cash to fly to Chicago today - but not enough to let kids tour the WH.

Excerpt: A judge on Thursday blocked the federal government from requiring the founder of Domino's Pizza to provide mandatory contraception coverage to his employees under the health care law.

Excerpt: On one level this is an implicit acknowledgement from President Obama that his decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq at the end of 2011 was a mistake: Contrary to his overoptimistic claims, Iraq was not, and still is not, ready to take over its entire defense. There has been a corresponding degradation of Iraq’s capacity to fight groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq, which helps to account for their resurgence in the past year and now their spread to Syria.

Americans’ Dislike for Egypt Increases to Twenty-Year High. By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: On the eve of President Obama’s trip to the Middle East, this Gallup favorability poll highlights some of the challenges he will face. Most startling is the fact that Americans’ dislike of Egypt has increased to a twenty year high, with 53 percent holding an unfavorable view. That’s the highest percentage since Gallup starting asking this question in 1991. (50s song: “See the pyramids along the Nile…” Ah, no thanks. ~Bob.)

#NewCareersForKeithOlbermann Play-by-play announcer for the Pyongyang No Sox

Dianne Feinstein: Assault Weapons Like Child Pornography
Excerpt: The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Feinstein’s gun-grabbing bill that bans over 150 different types of guns, but it didn’t pass without a fight from Republicans. Ted Cruz grilled Feinstein on the Constitutionality of her gun ban, reminding her that the same “right of the people” applies equally to the 2nd Amendment as it does to the 1st and 4th Amendments.

Americans Flocking South and West to Red State Boom. By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: As the shock of the recession fades and the US energy miracle gets underway, Americans are migrating south and west in search of opportunity. The US Census Bureau reports that the Great Plains and Texas are experiencing the country’s most rapid population growth. 

Sudden Jihad Syndrome? Muslim man accused of stabbing two people at a Starbucks was quoted as saying he was “willing to die for Islam”

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