Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 26, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 26, 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.

Information on my books

Worth Reading: Bait and Switch. By John Goodman
Excerpt: It’s hard to believe almost any budget numbers coming out of Washington, D.C., these days. The reason? The Obama administration is cooking the books. … Health care spending in this country has been growing at twice the rate of growth of our income on a real, per capita basis. Although there has been modest slowing during the Great Recession, that’s been the trend for the past 40 years and the United States is not unique. Our health care spending growth rate is in the middle of the pack among developed countries. … But the Obama administration, desperate to promise benefits that it knows it cannot pay for, has found a solution: making up budget numbers.

Cyprus secures bailout in tense, last-ditch talks
Excerpt: Cyprus secured a package of rescue loans in tense, last-ditch negotiations early Monday, two European Union diplomats said, saving the country from a banking-system collapse and bankruptcy. The cash-strapped island nation needs a $13 billion bailout to recapitalize its ailing lenders and keep the government afloat. (It was a thrilling finish, Sports Fans, but at the last second the EU kicked the can one more time. Stay tuned. ~Bob.)

Private Exchanges Grow in Popularity
Excerpt: Sears Holdings Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc. have a new approach to offering their employees health benefits. Each firm gives their workers a sum of money and allows them to choose their health plans from an online marketplace. The system allows workers to take on health cost risks to save money, says the Wall Street Journal. … In 2012, more than 70 percent of Sears' and Darden's workers chose a preferred-provider organization (PPO) plan but that percentage dropped to 47 percent in 2013 when the workers entered the exchange. In 2013, 39 percent of workers chose higher deductible consumer directed health plans, up from 21 percent in 2012. Overall, 42 percent of employees chose plans that were less expensive and 26 percent chose plans that were more expensive after entering the private exchange.

Superintendent Pay at Top of the Class. By Elizabeth MacDonald
Excerpt: The housing market collapsed in 2008 -- but property tax bills didn’t. In fact, property taxes continued to rise in many parts of the country by 40% or more.
Why? One big reason: Increasing school costs, including growing pay packages for school superintendents now at record levels, putting a strain on taxpayers and school budgets. … That pay is often ten times what their teachers get paid—and often double the salaries governors get to run entire states.

The More Businesses Learn About Obamacare, The More Reluctant They Are To Hire. By Sally Pipes
Excerpt: Wondering why the unemployment rate has been near or above 8 percent for nearly four years? The Federal Reserve has an answer for you: Obamacare. ... The more businesses learn about the president’s health reform law, the more they’re coming to realize that “affordable care” is the last thing it will provide. 

Excerpt: One of many things I don’t understand about those on the Left is how naïve they are. Even if you get past their childlike belief that human nature doesn’t exist and that if you simply pass enough big government legislation, you can do away with greed, sloth, envy and evil, you still run into their conviction that nothing must ever be allowed to change the climate or the rate of federal spending.

The Meaning and Consequences of Israel’s Apology to Turkey. By Caroline Glick 
Excerpt: For those who don’t remember, the Mavi Marmara was a Turkish ship that set sail in a bid to break Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza’s coastline. When Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship to interdict it, passengers on deck attacked them – in breach of international maritime law. Soldiers were stabbed, bludgeoned and thrown overboard. (Next up: Obama apologizes to Japan that some Japanese pilots were killed on December 7 at Pearl Harbor. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Desmond Tutu: Godfather of Hell. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: Tutu’s favorite international targets may have their faults, but few of them are really as bad as his own native South Africa. Two years ago, Tutu denounced South Africa’s Zuma government for being worse than the Apartheid government, but he has less to say about the general state of affairs in the hell’s own acre that is the new South Africa. Last week, while Tutu was joining his campaign against tobacco, a 7-year-old girl who had been sent to deliver a set of keys by her grandmother was raped to death in South Africa.

Barack Obama’s disastrous, revealing crusade to the Holy Land
Excerpt: President Obama was heckled repeatedly in Israel and Palestine, he was challenged and defied by foreign leaders at joint press conferences and his speeches often demonstrated a galling lack of understanding of the history and struggles of the region. At one point, President Obama even compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the relationship between America and Canada, implying that if we Americans can coexist with our neighbors to the north (perhaps “South Park” was the in-flight entertainment on Air Force One ), then Israelis and Palestinians should be able to overcome their differences. The breathtaking ignorance evinced by such analogies suggests that President Obama isn’t the policy wonk the administration goes to such lengths to portray him as.

Opponents mark Obamacare's third anniversary with lobbying surge
Excerpt: Eight months before President Barack Obama's health care law goes prime time, a confederation of industry and business groups is ramping up its lobbying apparatus for an 11th-hour assault on the web of new taxes and regulations. (I recently spoke with the CEO of one of the largest firms making medical devises. He said the ObamaCare Tax will cost their company tens of millions of dollars in compliance fees and costs, ten times as much for the actually tax, [all of which either has to come out of patients, stock holders including your retirement fund and/or works in salary and job cuts]. ~Bob.

‘Amazing Race’ Apologizes for Anti-American Episode. By Todd Starnes
Excerpt: CBS apologized Sunday night one week after the television show “Amazing Race” broadcast what critics called an “anti-American” segment that offended Vietnam War veterans. (I am happy to see that at least someone at CBS has a working brain, and knows when to back up and offer an apology when one is due. –Del. PS: Bechtel is still quoting the erroneous figure of only 850K Viet Vets still alive. This is nonsense put out by an idiot in CA playacting at being a special library.)

Little Outcry as Saudis Bulldoze Islam's Holiest Shrines
Excerpt: Recent photographs show workers in Saudi Arabia demolishing some of the oldest sections of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, London's Independent reports. (Imagine the riots and death if Israel was doing this. Say, maybe the Saudi Royal Family is secretly controlled by Jews… ~Bob.)

CT Resident Gives Outstanding Gun Control Testimony

Magpul Industries on the Colorado Gun Law
Excerpt: We are told that one of the reasons that Gov Hickenlooper will sign the magazine ban is the statistic presented by the Golden police chief that an increasing number of Law Enforcement officers have been shot with magazines that hold more than 10 rounds since the expiration of the federal AWB. Since most handguns ship with standard capacity magazines that hold more than 10 or even 15 rounds, that would make sense...but what that statistic doesn’t tell you is that the average number of rounds fired in a criminal homicide is less than 5 rounds. The capacity of the magazine never comes into play. It just happens to be what is in the firearm, regardless of how many rounds were actually fired. This is just another example of how the anti-gun lobby has to twist statistics in order to find support for their position. The real, objective facts support none of their agenda, so half truths and distorted statistics are used to tell the story they want to tell—like the recent study they touted where “more gun laws equal less crime”, except they left several states and all major metropolitan areas out of the statistics, and included all manner of extraneous data…because that was the only way to “prove” what they wanted to present as fact. Chicago is safer than Missoula, MT? DC is safer than Ft Worth? Really? That’s just insulting to even suggest.

After Four Years, Dem Senate Passes a Budget: A doomed effort defined by crushing taxes and government spending. By Arnold Ahlert 
Excerpt: After a series of debates beginning Friday afternoon and continuing for almost 13 straight hours, the Democratically-controlled Senate passed its first budget in four years. The $3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014, that contains almost one trillion dollars in tax increases, narrowly passed by a vote of 50-49. Every Republican voted against it, as did four Democrats facing reelection next year. (Every Republican? Including the disparaged RINOs? Damn, wish we had 6 or 8 more of those RINOs there, as that would put conservatives in charge of most committees. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: If blacks don't reward GOP for civil rights, why would Latinos reward GOP for amnesty? By Joel B. Pollak
Excerpt: It is worth remembering that Republicans led the fight for civil rights for black Americans, and voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act in greater proportions than their Democratic counterparts. Yet Republicans barely capture any of the black vote today. 
There are two lessons. One is that minorities tend to reward the president in power, not the opposition party, for the passage of favorable legislation. Hispanics voted for Obama, and the enactment of immigration reform would be seen as a result of that vote, not the result of Republican cooperation. The other lesson is that Democrats are able to cast Republicans as racists in spite of the facts, not because of them. 

Worth Reading: Why Not Just Put the Entire Federal Budget on Credit? By Frank J. Fleming 
Excerpt: We take big loans from our children and then die before paying them back. And we have no reason to stop. … It's not like people are going to stop giving the federal government loans -- it has nukes. Plus, the president has asserted that he can take out anyone he wants with drone strikes whenever he feels like it ("Want to know who's on my secret kill list? I'll give you a hint: No one who loans us money."). So that brings us to the obvious question: Why not just put the entire federal budget on credit? … It seems unfair that the politicians see no reason to cut spending, but we have to keep paying taxes like the federal deficit actually means something. So why not give our economy a big stimulus and just put all government operations on credit? 

Syrian opposition in disarray as its leader resigns
Excerpt: Syria’s opposition coalition was on the verge of collapse Sunday after its president resigned and rebel fighters rejected its choice to head an interim government, leaving a U.S.-backed effort to forge a united front against President Bashar al-Assad in tatters.

Buddhists-Muslims violence spreads in Myanmar
Excerpt: Sectarian clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar spread to at least two other towns in the country's heartland over the weekend, undermining government efforts to quash an eruption of violence that has killed dozens of people and displaced 10,000 more. (Buddhists getting tired of turning the other cheek. ~Bob.)

14 killed in 2 drug-plagued Mexican states
Excerpt: Authorities say the bodies of seven men were found in plastic chairs placed along the side of a street in the drug-plagued Mexican state of Michoacan, while another seven people, including three federal agents, were killed in neighboring Guerrero. (They could at least have left a thank you note to Obama for the guns, the ungrateful, SOBs. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Iraq – Agony, Ordeal, and Recovery. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: At least initially, the professed case for invasion was not just predicated on worries about WMD. It also hinged on moral concerns over the horrific toll that Saddam had taken on his own people. These were crimes, for example, that made the present spectacle in Syria or the recent strife in Libya seem minor in comparison. The administration won overwhelming bipartisan support in obtaining House and Senate resolutions in October 2002 (unlike Clinton for the Balkan war or Obama for the Libyan bombing). It spent a year trying to persuade the UN (unlike Clinton in 1999, who just bombed without even going to the UN).

Even for non-Marxists, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is considered one of the most profound analyses of revolution. Marx’s imagery is taken from the coup of Napoleon Bonaparte on November 9, 1799 (the Eighteenth of Brumaire in the revolutionary calendar), but his seminal analysis is about the reign of the general’s nephew, Louis Bonaparte, who was brought to power by a coup against the Second French Republic on December 2, 1851. The work is most commonly known for its play on Hegel’s aphorism that history repeats itself.

Excerpt: The power struggle between the States and the Federal Government has existed since George Washington's first cabinet. While the U.S. Constitution clearly delineates a pretty impressive array of states rights, over the last two centuries the Federal Government has continued to encroach on those states rights. Most of the power assumed by the Feds has come via the power of the purse. By the middle of George Washington's first term his two key cabinet officers were at war with each other. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, a great admirer of Britain's governmental system, believed in a strong central government. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson greatly feared that the Federal government would place an onerous burden on both the states and their citizens and would garner powers not granted it in the Constitution. (Ironically, Jefferson is celebrated by Democrats every year as the “founder” of their party, though they spit on his principles daily. ~Bob.)

Pope: Dialogue With Islam
Excerpt: Pope Francis, in an attempt to reach out to areas that have been hostile to Catholicism, used his first foreign policy address to address the world of Islam and atheistic nations….And when Benedict logically called for the Christians in Egypt to be ensured their safety, the Al-Azhar institute, considered the most important bastion of Islamic learning among Sunni Muslims, cut off communications with the Vatican. Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with the Vatican. (When you “reach out” to Islam over anything that doesn’t agree with their views of religion, you are likely to pull back a stump. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: For some incomprehensible reason, the IRS spent $60,000 to make two parody videos, including a Star Trek parody. Seriously. TheDC's Jim Treacher has seen the Star Trek spoof: "Thanks to the sequester that Obama has been fighting even though it was his idea, we might not get a sequel to the following masterpiece. ...It’s got the same production values and acting talent as a porn movie, except the only one getting screwed is you." (The dumbest government expenditure ever? It's a tough call, considering all the tax money pissed away on the First Family's vacations and sightseeing trips around the world. Oh, and don't forget the $100,000+ salary for the Obama's dog walker. –LLW)

4 Star General Warns Marines To Prepare For New Battleground
Excerpt: Amos a 4 star general is telling Marines to save ammo and prepare for a different kind of battle. As a Naval Aviator, Amos commanded the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. He served as the 31st Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 3, 2008 to October 22, 2010. Amos assumed his current assignment on October 22, 2010.

Syria T-72 Tank Ultra Killed in Darayya 
Syrian tanks with no infantry to protect them go bye-bye. –Rod

Semper Fi, General Mattis
Excerpt: Both battlefields were declared “hopelessly lost” by the experts, and yet the Marines won in both. Indeed, they won so thoroughly that they were frustrated at the lack of action. Al-Qaeda ran from them in Anbar, and the Taliban ran from them in Helmand. The poor Marines were reduced to building roads, schools, and hospitals, and managing microloans to the locals. That is not what the Marines are trained to do, and they do not enjoy it very much. They are trained to fight and win.

Retired Army Officer: DHS Must Surrender Their War Weapons to Dept. of Defense
Excerpt: If left unresolved, the peace loving citizens who have sworn to defend the United States Constitution “against all enemies, both foreign and domestic” are left no option except to prepare to defend themselves, and the U.S. Constitution, against this Administration’s “coup” against the People and the foundations of liberty fought for and defended for the past 238 years. We have no choice if we honor our oaths.

Worth Reading: American Withdrawal and Global Disorder. As Obama ends U.S. security guarantees, nuclear weapons and violence will spread. By Eliot Cohen
Excerpt: Over the past four years, the U.S. has scaled down its presence, ambitions and promises overseas. Mr. Obama has announced the end of the early-21st-century wars, though in truth the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are merely shifting to new, not necessarily less-vicious phases. He has refrained from issuing unambiguous threats to hostile states, such as Iran, that engage in bellicose behavior toward the U.S., and he has let his staff speak of "leading from behind" as a desirable approach to foreign policy. (No, this isn’t about your IRA account [but stay alert!]. As America pulls back from its international involvements, many are questioning that move. I personally think we need a limited withdrawal period in order to recharge our batteries, catch our breath, and turn the looming challenges of our economy around. Without a dynamic engine of economic growth in place, it will be impossible to maintain the demands national and world security requires in a evolving reckless world. This is a challenge of epic proportion. This is the challenge of leadership. –Greg.)

The ‘Uncle Tom-ing’ of Ben Carson Begins
Excerpt: MSNBC host and commentator Touré fired a clear and distinct shot at Dr. Ben Carson Friday, hammering the African-American Presidential Medal of Freedom winner for daring to challenge the Obamadoxy parroted by Touré and progressive journalists bent on supporting the President's policies at all costs. … A black man who doesn't blindly support the president and the big government programs that has created a dependency on government that has crippled America's underclass is susceptible to name calling that, otherwise, would not be tolerated in American political discourse. … In short, Touré has a special contempt for black men who criticize President Obama. (Consider the source, but hire a bodyguard and watch the air overhead. –Barb. Clarence Page, ever a black slave catcher intent on keeping blacks on the Democrat plantation, piled on Carson in a column this weekend. ~Bob.)

Obama Pledges $200 Million In Aid To Jordan
Excerpt: On March 22 President Obama pledged to provide $200 million to Jordan to help with the "nearly half a million refugees who have fled the civil war in neighboring Syria." Obama made this pledge at "a press conference with King Abdullah II in Amman." (What sequester? ~Bob.)

Obama Admin Unblocks $500 Million In Funding For Palestinian Authority
After jet-setting to Israel to lecture citizens of the Jewish State about how they needed to empathize more with Palestinians who elect Hamas and back Israeli extinction, President Obama demonstrated what empathy means to him: the State Department has announced that it will unblock $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. Congress froze funding for the Palestinian Authority just a few months ago in the aftermath of the PA’s attempt to unilaterally declare statehood via the United Nations. (What deficit? ~Bob.)

The Iraq war elected Obama
Excerpt: The latest estimate of the Iraq war’s final price tag comes in at $6 trillion. Coincidentally, the national debt has soared by more than $6 trillion since Barack Obama has been president. Granted, the war-related spending is spread out over 40 years while the trillions in new debt under Obama was accumulated in just four. 

Excerpt: If state lawmakers really want a clear picture of what Medicaid expansion under Obamacare will look like, they should start with Arizona, where expansion was tried more than a decade ago — with disastrous results. In 2000, Arizona received a federal waiver to extend Medicaid to all childless adults and parents earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. This is nearly the same group that would be eligible for Medicaid under the federal health care law, except that Obamacare would include those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, a slightly larger group.

PA removed monument in shape of map of "Palestine" that encompasses Israel so that Obama would not see it. By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Excerpt: Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the official maps of the Palestinian Authority erase the entire State of Israel and replace it with "Palestine." These maps appear in the offices of PA officials, in schools and on monuments, just to name a few examples. Before his first election, US President Obama criticized such maps that anticipate a world without Israel, calling them a threat to Israel's security:

Israel fires into Syria after Golan attack on troops
Excerpt: Israel said it fired into Syria on Sunday and destroyed a machinegun position in the Golan Heights from where shots had been fired at Israeli soldiers in a further spillover of the Syrian civil war along a tense front.

Excerpt: I don’t want to encourage people to do it,” Paul said. “I think even marijuana is bad to do….“The last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use, and I really think — look what would have happened,” he continued. (Fox commentator says, “Actually, I think it would be the last three Presidents….” –Barb.)

Excerpt: Saudi Arabia threatens to block Skype, WhatsApp, Viber
Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications regulator has threatened to block messaging applications, such as Skype, WhatsApp and Viber if telecommunication companies fail to monitor the applications. The Saudi Telecommunications and Information Technology Commission urged telecom companies to examine possible ways for security oversight with the companies who own those ‘apps.’

As VP, Biden Has Been Flying To Delaware on the Weekends
Vice President Biden has been flying home to Wilmington, Delaware most weekends at enormous expense to taxpayers, even though he has an exclusive government-provided residence in Washington….The distance between Washington and Wilmington is only about a hundred miles, but it’s safe to assume that between flying time and the time spent on the takeoff and landing, the total flight takes at least 45 minutes. That would amount to a roundtrip cost to taxpayers of about $13,200. This price still is conservative, though, because it doesn’t include the cost of transporting Biden to and from the plane, both in Washington and Delaware. (Biden said Secret Service “told him” to use Air Force Two. Wonder how many chefs it has? –Barb.)

Syria chemical weapons: finger pointed at jihadists
Whatever happened last week in the town of Khan al-Assal, west of Aleppo, it achieved something extraordinary in the Syrian civil war: unity among Washington, Moscow and Damascus…. The military source who spoke to Channel 4 News confirmed that artillery reports from the Syrian Army suggest a small rocket was fired from the vicinity of Al-Bab, a district close to Aleppo that is controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra - a jihadist group said to be linked with al-Qaeda and deemed a "terrorist organisation" by the US.

Climate hustlers destroying our civilization for a lie. By Ron Arnold
Excerpt: "What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They'll kill us probably." … The first and second email batches contained conversations among "scientists" documenting that their claims of a man-made global warming crisis were deliberately contrived for career gain, research funding and "the cause," as climate scientist Michael Mann calls it. The emails sparked a furious "hide the lies" denial campaign that ironically calls skeptics "deniers."

Cuomo’s Shameful SAFE Act: Rushed law is bad law, even when it’s “for the children.” By Charles C. W. Cooke
Excerpt: All things being equal, New York State’s infamous new gun laws will go down in history as a prime example of the folly of hysterical calls to action; and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who led the chase for the measures, will join them in disgrace. … Legislation cast in the wake of tragedy invariably carries with it the stench of the mob, and when it’s contrived in haste to protect “the children,” this is doubly so.

Geopolitical ADHD: The Iraq War’s fair-weather hawks revealed an emptiness at the heart of American power. By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: Ten years ago, along with three-quarters of the American people, including the men just appointed as President Obama’s secretaries of state and defense, I supported the invasion of Iraq. A decade on, unlike most of the American people, including John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, I’ll stand by that original judgment.

Sen. Tim Johnson to retire in 2014
Excerpt: The retirement gives Republicans another prime pick-up opportunity as they work to win back control of the Senate. Mitt Romney carried South Dakota with 57 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.

Black Professor Melissa Harris-Perry Calls Pre-Born Baby ‘This Thing
Excerpt: “But the reality is that if this [as she holds up a marble-sized object representing the fertilized egg] turns into a person, right, there are economic consequences, right? The cost to raise a child, $10,000 a year up to $20,000 a year. When you’re talking about what it actually costs to have this thing turn into a human, why not allow women to make the best choices that we can with as many resources and options instead of trying to come in and regulate this process?” (Planned Parenthood was founded to keep more of “the unfit” [read: blacks] from being born. They are doing well at it. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Al Jazeera reports on the emergence of Libya as a major source of weapons for jihadists in North and West African, and the Levant after the Western-led effort to topple longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Libya rebels and the West failed to secure Qaddafi's massive weapons depots after Qaddafi's fall. Libya weapons, from assault rifles to anti-aircraft missiles, have appeared in the hands of jihadists on the battlefields of Algeria, Mali, Egypt, Syria, and the Palestinian Territories. (Thank you, Barack Obama. Allah is truly beneficent! ~Bob.)

Unhappy Birthday for Obamacare: Doctors are fleeing their profession, and patients like the reform less and less. By John Fund
Excerpt: Obamacare marked its third birthday last Saturday. It is now even less popular than when it barely passed Congress in March 2010. The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, which has always shown the highest support for Obamacare of any major poll, found that 46 percent of Americans approved it when it originally passed. Kaiser’s latest survey this month finds that only 37 percent approve. 

Excerpt: President Obama’s signature health-care law, which turned three over the weekend, has already accounted for $31.3 billion in regulatory costs and liabilities, as well as 71.5 million hours of paperwork, according to a study from the American Action Forum (AAF) released Monday.

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