Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 27, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 27, 2013
Robert A. Hall

The Philosophy of the Old Jarhead Blog
The Old Jarhead SitRep is a blog of political news and conservative opinion, that has had about 700,000 page views since founded in 2008, is read in many counties (Iran? Indonesia? Russia? Go figure.) and was up to 30,000 page views a week recently. Plus I throw in some humor and human interest pieces that catch my attention for seasoning. I try to include foreign sources and info you won’t get in the MSM, but I often use links to pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, Reuters and other liberal leaning sources. No one is required to read it, or any of the links. A majority of the pieces are sent to me by readers, for which I’m grateful, others come from newsfeeds I subscribe to. I get some from Twitter, but often don’t have time to look at my feeds there. I stop sending the link to people who become nasty or too angry. I used to forward political items, but was sending too many e-mails to my list, so a few years ago, I started collecting them on the blog to access in one place. I use maybe 50% of the conservative pieces sent me, probably less than 5% of the liberal opinion sent, usually to illustrate their views. Readers who don’t like that are welcome to start their own blogs. Blogs are free and so is speech in America right now, despite leftist efforts to outlaw “hate speech” they disagree with and Islamist efforts to outlaw criticism of Islam, while retaining the right to describe other religions in vile terms. I try to avoid items that will turn off thoughtful centrists and leftists or low-information independents, including “red meat” pieces with intemperate language or wild speculation, conspiracy theories with no supporting facts and silly distractions like the so-called “birther” issue (but I don’t always succeed). I predicted correctly four years ago the “birther” thing was going nowhere, was a huge waste of time and resources, and played into the hands of the left, much as the impeachment of Bill Clinton did in the 1990s. (I said so at the time.) I do sometimes include things I don’t agree with that I think readers might find of interest. Readers are requested to read all items critically and with skepticism—just like a newspaper! Readers who send formatted pieces (title, link, and a fair use excerpt of three sentences unless the piece is very short, than fewer) to tartanmarine(at)gmail.com have a higher chance of my using them than people who just send a link. I often include thoughtful comments from contributors. (Tell me if you want you full name used.) A piece without a link has a much lower chance of being used—it depends on how interesting it is and how much time I have right then to search for it. I understand if you don’t have the time to format or even to find a link—please understand my time is pretty limited too. There are no ads on my blog, no fees and I receive no income from it. When I retire, that might need to change, but for now, that’s how it is. I do promote my books, with the royalties going to charity. Thanks for reading and contributing. ~Bob.

Not verified—they deny it: Assad Confirmed Dead, Iran Attempts to Control Syria Army
Excerpt: Russian media sources have confirmed that Syria President Bashar Assad was shot by an Iranian bodyguard Saturday night. "The lone assassination pumped several bullets at point blank range into Assad," said the source. "Assad was rushed to Al-Shami Hospital in Damascus in critical condition. He died on the operating table from heart failure resulting from massive blood loss." An Israeli security analyst believes the report to be accurate.

Syrian Embassy: Assad Not Dead – In Fact, He’s Alive and in Good Spirits
Excerpt: The Syrian regime denied reports that President Bashar Assad had been assassinated. The embassy in Moscow said President Assad was alive and in good spirits. 

Worth Reading: Can It Happen Here? By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: The decision of the government in Cyprus to simply take money out of people's bank accounts there sent shock waves around the world. People far removed from that small island nation had to wonder: "Can this happen here?"
The economic repercussions of having people feel that their money is not safe in banks can be catastrophic. 

Worth Reading: A Bad Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Radical Tree. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: After September 11, Ehrenreich complained that applying the word “evil” to Islamic terrorists made her “nervous.” “The real challenge,” she said, “is to look at terrible acts and try to work our way towards an understanding of how a human being might undertake them.” But there is one country that the morally ambiguous Barbara Ehrenreich has no difficulty branding as “evil” or refusing to understand. On the list of endorsers for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, Barbara Ehrenreich’s name appears next to that of her son, Ben.

Worth Reading: I Lived Through the Real ObamaCare. By Borek Volarik 
Excerpt: What do you expect from a dentist on a salary set by the state’s pay scales? How about a really ugly crown and no anesthetics (Novocain was in short supply, distributed by the state to dentists by a system of rations on monthly a basis); well, a small envelope with big money…casually left at the receptionist’s desk, would make miracles. … It still was not as bad as in, say, Cuba, where patients have to bring their own sheets to the hospital.

Important: Unfit For Work: The startling rise of disability in America. By Chana Joffe-Walt
Excerpt: In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government. … "Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench. "I have high blood pressure," the man said. "So do I," the judge said. "What else?" "I have diabetes." "So do I."

Excerpt: Well, as NPR's Planet Money argues in an eye-opening story, it turns out there already is a "de facto welfare program" for those struggling Americans. The problem is, instead of getting the unemployed back on their feet, it pays them to give up work for good. I'm talking about Social Security's disability insurance program, which over 20 years has quietly morphed into one of the largest, yet least talked about, pieces of the social safety net. 

The State of Health Care Spending
Excerpt: Why does the United States spend so much more of its national income on health care than other countries? As of 2010, the health care sector comprised 17 percent of the U.S. economy, which is a significantly greater share than all other developed countries. … The study finds that Medicare and Medicaid exhibit much more variation than the private sector. For example, over a 40-year period: The variation in Medicaid spending, as a percent of state gross domestic product (GDP), was from two to three times greater than the variation in private sector spending. The variation in Medicare spending was from one and a half to two times greater than the variation in private sector spending. The study reports that health care spending in three states -- Maine, West Virginia and Mississippi -- accounts for one out of every five dollars of state GDP. Conversely, Wyoming spends less than 9 percent.

Energy Efficiency, Not Efficiency Mandates. By Nicolas Loris
Excerpt: In order to compel American businesses and consumers to act in a manner that suits the federal government, various federal agencies have created mandates and energy-efficiency programs for vehicles, homes, manufacturing processes, appliances, and more since the 1970s. Proponents of those programs argue that they save consumers and businesses money, reduce energy use, and reduce emissions. They ignore the fact that markets already incentivize Americans to be more energy efficient. They further disregard consumer preferences as well as the unintended consequences and energy inefficiencies that mandates and subsidies cause.

Green jobs haven’t lived up to Obama’s promise: Too often, green jobs end up costing us more. By Diana Furchtgott-Roth
Show me your shocked face. ~Bob. Excerpt: America can boast only 500 green jobs in solar electric power generation, but 886,000 green jobs in government — many for passage of environmental laws, enforcement of environmental regulations, and administration of environmental programs, according to the new count of green jobs for 2011 released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this week.

50 States, 50 Different Tax Regimes
Excerpt: Tax Freedom Day represents how long Americans must work into the year before they have earned enough money to pay all federal, state and local taxes. In 2012, it was April 17 for the entire United States, with Tennessee being the earliest on March 31 and Connecticut the latest on May 5. In 2010, the average state and local tax burden per capita was $4,112, with Mississippi having the lowest burden at $2,265, followed by Tennessee, Alaska, South Carolina, Louisiana and New Mexico; Connecticut had the highest burden at $6,984, followed by New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Maryland. In 2010, as a percentage of state income, New York had the highest tax burden at 12.8 percent, followed by New Jersey at 12.4 percent and Connecticut at 12.3 percent; Alaska had the lowest burden at 7.0 percent, followed by South Dakota at 7.6 percent and Tennessee at 7.7 percent.

Arrest of Anti-Islamist Figures Is Ordered in Egypt
Excerpt: The public prosecutor on Monday ordered the arrest of five anti-Islamist political activists on charges of using social media to incite violence against the Muslim Brotherhood. The order stirred accusations of a vendetta by the group’s close ally, President Mohamed Morsi.

Thomas Sowell examines intellectuals’ damaging role in racial issues. By Caroline May
Excerpt: Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Sowell argues that the prevailing racial views that intellectuals unite around often serve to harm society and the racial groups about which they theorize. In an interview with The Daily Caller last week about his most recent book “Intellectuals and Race” Sowell explained that the desire of intellectuals — those who make their living off ideas and theories — to create all-encompassing reasons for racial differences often leaves little room for nuance or contradicting views.

Cyprus told: take bank levy or leave euro
Excerpt: Wealthy Russians stand to lose billions of euros in Cypriot banks under draconian terms being hammered out on Sunday night in Brussels to prevent the Mediterranean tax haven becoming the first country forced out of the single currency. Negotiations got underway amid a hardening of the stance held by the International Monetary Fund and Germany, who insisted that depositors must take the hit for bailing out the eurozone's latest crisis economy. (This article about comparing how things are going in international finance and what it means for the future is extremely interesting. And pretty damn alarming. It looks like everyone in the world is still kicking the can ever more desperately down the road, but the root problems are not going away at all. Which means at some point the can falls over the cliff and we go with it. 2 yrs, 3, 5? Damifino, but I feel sadly confident that more bad times are coming. Our "leaders" are not doing anything meaningful to avoid them, so figure out how to inflation-proof your assets. [And maybe lay in some crates of canned goods and boxes of ammo, if you can find any.] --Del)

Counting the hidden costs of energy
Excerpt: It is often claimed that introducing variable renewable energy resources such as solar and wind into the electricity network comes with some extra cost penalties, due to “system effects”. (…) Any electricity generation technology can cause grid instability and price fluctuations if it goes offline unexpectedly. But a key finding of the OECD report is that renewables that are particularly variable, such as wind and solar, generate system effects that are at least an order of magnitude greater than for “dispatchable” technologies such as coal, gas, and nuclear.

One of the nastiest and most immoral political acts in modern times. By Max Hastings
Excerpt: People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves. Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers’ Cyprus bank accounts, to ‘save the euro’ for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship. It is nothing of the sort. (Hastings is a great historian and wonderful writer, but I think he ain’t seen nothing yet. Worse is coming. ~Bob.)

The End of Syria. By Tony Badran
Excerpt: Last week marked the second year anniversary of the popular uprising in Syria. On its current trajectory, Syria is headed toward geographical fragmentation. As the security situation deteriorates and Washington persists in its refusal to lead, neighboring states will begin to carve out effective buffer zones inside the country. Once that process is complete, Syria will become a unitary state in name only. Two years in, we’re beginning to see this take place.

Report: CIA Helping Boost Arms Shipments to Syrian Rebels
Excerpt: Assisted by the CIA, Arab nations and Turkey have dramatically increased military aid to Syrian rebels in recent months, The New York Times reported Monday….The airlift has increased to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and at other Turkish and Jordanian airports, the report said. (Some of these arms will eventually kills Jews, Americans and other infidels. Bet on it. ~Bob.)

120 inmates freed in Nigeria attacks, 25 die
Excerpt: Officials say gunmen attacked a remote town in Nigeria's northeast, killing 25 and freeing 120 inmates. (I was at a conference in downtown Chicago last week. I asked a cabby where he was from. “I am from Nigeria, Sir.” Troubled country, I replied. “That is in the north. I am a Christian, Sir. We will not let them come into the south. We will fight them!” He was quite vehement. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Iran’s hard-line regime has intensified its violent crackdown on Christians and other religious minorities, even imprisoning nursing mothers for practicing their faith, according to a new UN report. (Apparently, no one told the Mullahs that Islam is a tolerant faith. ~Bob.)

Obama Kids Vacation at Bahamas’ ‘Atlantis’ Resort
Excerpt: I guess we’re supposed to be happy that someone is getting to enjoy themselves on the taxpayer’s dime. And you can pretty much guarantee they’re not in the cheap rooms! (Gee, Malia, I wonder what the 99% are doing now? ~Bob.)

Sasha, Malia Obama Vacation At Bahamas’ ‘Atlantis’ Resort
Excerpt: Sasha and Malia Obama are quietly vacationing at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Breitbart News has learned. A source tipped Breitbart News off to the First Daughters’ spring vacation, which was not publicly announced or reported. Breitbart subsequently confirmed President Barack Obama’s daughters’ trip with other sources.

Hundreds of Parents Send In Photos of Their Child With A Gun
Cute pictures. ~Bob.

Judge to rule on insanity verdict in Midtown shooting trial (Black man kills whites because they were white)
Excerpt: Thandiwe suggested that his reason for even purchasing the gun he used in the shootings was to enforce beliefs he’d developed about white people during his later years as an anthropology major at the University of West Georgia. “I was trying to prove a point that Europeans had colonized the world, and as a result of that, we see a lot of evil today,” he said. “In terms of slavery, it was something that needed to be answered for. I was trying to spread the message of making white people mend.” (It all started when Obama suggested that the killing of thug Trayvon Martin by a community watch man was racially motivated. Keep inciting hatred, Obama. You're doing a great job of making America 'post-racial.' --Don Hank)

Excerpt: How much are we spending on education? Actually, far more than we know—because as it turns out, states are hiding some of the teachers’ benefits. In a new paper, Heritage expert Jason Richwine reveals that “Proper accounting would reveal tens of billions of dollars in extra teacher pension costs, equivalent to somewhere around $1,000 in unreported spending per student.”

Op-Ed: How the Man-in-the-Street Saw Obama's Visit
Excerpt: An intense sandstorm had arrived and had blotted out heaven and earth. The Presidential helicopter was grounded. … The President had to ride a hostile gauntlet through clusters of Arab protesters holding signs, the most creative of which said, 'Gringo, return to your colony.' Friday’s plan to hold a departing ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport was also cancelled: the sandstorm was too strong. Then the media tent at the Airport collapsed from high winds. (Locusts, meteors, sandstorms….Anyone getting a message? –Barb.)

Excerpt: I am depressed beyond reason upon reading of the hardships our leaders in Washington are enduring as a result of that 2% Sequestration cut in their staff budgets. Just last week Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz was lamenting that her staff may not be getting the nutrition they need after seeing her staff budget cut by 2%. While most of us might not think such as tiny percentage cut would have any effect, apparently it is tragic. Staff members have been forced to fore go Filet Mignon for lunch and settle for Porterhouse or T-Bone. So sad. Then the next day we learned that Vice President Joe Biden had to scrape by on $585,000 dollars for one night for his hotel in Paris! No doubt Joe was forced into not using the mini-bar!

25 Examples of Liberal Racism in Quotes. By John Hawkins 
Excerpt: "Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness." -- Mary Frances Berry, former Chairwoman, US Commission on Civil Rights.

Burma Shave Signs of the Fifties
Excerpt: Soon Allan and his brother Leonard were putting up signs all over the dang place. At first the signs were pure sales pitch but as the years passed they found their sense of humor extending to safety tips and pure fun. And some good old-fashioned down home wisdom. At their height of popularity there were 7,000 Burma-Shave signs stretching across America. (It seems to me that the America I loved slowly, very slowly, began to disappear about the time the Burma-Shave signs did, and by the end of the twentieth century it was gone. – LLW. When I was a kid, we used to take my great grandmother on Sunday Drives and always looked for the Burma Shave signs. There are still remnants of America in places like small town Wisconsin, outside Milwaukee, Madison and some other larger burgs. But you are right, it is going fast. My granddaughter will not know it. ~Bob.

These Color Photos of the Third Reich Are Absolutely Chilling. By Derek Mead
Excerpt: Hitler's Nazi party is well known for its heavy use of symbolism in campaigns. Today, that use of massive banners and massive eagles and massive crowds all lined up at attention has left a deservedly sinister impression, and has been effectively copied in just about every brutal totalitarian state in fiction. (You have to give credit where credit is due, and the Nazis could organize and stage mass demonstrations with superb skill. They did brainwashing too, when they took over the schools, and raised class after class of Hitler Jugend boys who were highly motivated fanatics. Many of them died in the latter days of the war, when they let every boy over the age of 14 go to serve in combat units. It's bad to have evil enemies, but having smart, organized evil enemies is much, much worse. And the West has some of those today. –Del. A German friend of my father said that he attended a Nazi rally as a boy, and “it was the most emotional experience of my life.” He wasn’t proud of that, just stating a fact. The repetition of slogans [Yes We Can!] is emotional for the masses. ~Bob.)

Weather groundhog Phil 'indicted,' accused of lying as winter continues
Excerpt: That's what a prosecutor in Ohio says. He has filed a criminal "indictment" against the famed groundhog, who, year for year on February 2, emerges from his burrow at Gobbler's Knob to predict whether spring will come early or winter will linger. (Why are liberals blaming Phil? He fell for the global warming hoax just like they did. – LLW)

Worth Reading: On Marriage — Again. By Roger L. Simon
Excerpt: America’s problem isn’t gay marriage; it’s marriage. Conservatives should be grateful to gays. These days they seem to be the only ones who want to uphold the institution. Well, some of them anyway. And that’s part of the point. Those gays and lesbians who want to get married are largely domestic types who seek to participate in a traditional lifestyle that conservatives normally admire and advocate. (Exactly. The danger to America is not gay people wanting to marry. It’s the soaring number of straight people having kids without getting married. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The problem with this approach is that it completely ignores the human dimension of the economic depression in Southern Europe. The stark reality facing millions of Spaniards, Italians, Greeks and Portuguese is hidden, buried deep under a mountain of economic data, much of which is massaged to suit the purposes of the central planners-in-chief. The result is that we are often unable to see the trees for the wood.

No Sequester for Joe Biden
Excerpt: Vice President Joe Biden stuck taxpayers with a hotel bill of more than $1 million from London and Paris on a diplomatic trip through Europe last month, documents made public yesterday revealed. (Remember back when old "working class Joe" bragged about being the "poorest man in the Senate"? And commuted from Delaware to Washington on Amtrak, with his lunch pail, just like the "common people"? Well, it looks like those days are long gone, if they ever really were. – LLW)

Morsi Threatens Opponents. By John Rossomando
Excerpt: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi warned opponents Sunday that he would act against the Muslim Brotherhood's opponents if rioting continues. Morsi's threat followed violent demonstrations Friday at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters that left 160 people injured.

Excerpt: When local California official Susan Muranishi retires from her job in a couple of years, she’s going to be walking away with a fat paycheck -- $423,664 a year – for the rest of her life. (And you wonder why CA is going broke? –Don Hank)

Excerpt: This is the second installment of a two-part series on the terrorist campaign, supported by Turkey’s Islamic-supremacist government, to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Part I ran yesterday here on Ordered Liberty and can be accessed here. As further discussed in the introduction to this series (here), Israel, under pressure from the Obama administration, has apologized to Turkey for defending itself against the aggression of a purported “peace flotilla” which, under the direction of Turkish jihadists aboard the Mavi Marmara, provoked a violent clash with Israeli forces in 2010.

‘Seasonally Adjusted’: Is Housing Market Improving, or Not? Five years of the Obama economy render the government's seasonally adjusted numbers virtually worthless.
Excerpt: Attempting to interpret economic data produced by the federal government these days while merely looking at its published seasonally adjusted results is a dangerous exercise. Anyone doing so is by definition hoping that the statisticians’ concocted forest represents what’s really going on down there in the trees. Yet now, more than at any time since World War II, that is not the case.

Largest U.S. Muslim Group Features Terror in Flagship Publication: The Islamic Society of North America fills its literature with jihadist organizations and individuals.
ISNA issues a bi-monthly publication titled Islamic Horizons. At face value, the magazine seems innocuous. However, it is filled with features and advertisements linked to radical Islamic thought and activity.

Excerpt: In my first post on this incident, I asked what would have happened if Professor Poole had decided to use Mohammed’s name for a class stomp instead of Jesus’s name. I think we all know the answer to that (how about “international incident” for starters?). Now in this second post, here is a follow-up question: “Why was there only one student in the class who found stomping on Jesus objectionable?” That question is worth pondering anytime, but especially during Holy Week.

Home Defense: Double Barrel Shotgun vs. AR15
Maybe Joe Biden Should Watch This One. –Rod

Lesbian Mary, Mother Of God! Public school performs 'gay' play mocking Bible, laughing at bestiality
Excerpt: Students from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, or PVPA – which serves 400 pupils, grades 7-12, in South HadleyMass. – on March 15-17 performed the controversial play, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.” A 1998 Paul Rudnick comedy that had a run in theaters in New York City, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” alters the biblical Book of Genesis to include homosexual couples Adam and Steve and Jane and Mabel in the Garden; as well as a “horny” rhinoceros that tries to seduce men on the Ark; and Mary, the mother of Christ, arguing she can’t be pregnant, because she’s a lesbian “bull-dyke.” (Very brave. Let’s see them do a play where Mohammad is gay… Can’t say the Rhino upsets me, though. ~Bob.)

Dangerous Times: Crypto-Fascism in ItalyHungaryGreeceAlbania
Excerpt: A great sense of alarm is spreading among ordinary Europeans today, especially in the south and east of the continent. ….Americans do not want to hear this, either. Well, you may not be interested in evil, but evil may be interested in you.

Holy Week and Holy War (Part 1)
Excerpt: Last week, I discussed how religious liberty in foreign countries is being suppressed. This week, I will begin to address how it has been assaulted right here in the U.S. I will give you roughly 36 examples this week and next.

Here comes Team Obama's carbon tax. By Phil Kerpen
Excerpt: The Treasury Department’s Office of Environment and Energy has finally begun to turn over documents about its preparations for a carbon tax in response to transparency warrior Chris Horner’s Freedom of Information Act request. The documents provide solid evidence that the Obama administration and its allies in Congress have every intention of implementing a carbon tax if we fail to stop them. (Ban carbon-based life forms! ~Bob.)

Report Puts Obamacare's Cost at $30.8B, 114M Paperwork Hours. By Todd Beamon
Excerpt: Obamacare has so far cost $30.8 billion and 111.4 million hours to complete paperwork to individuals, healthcare institutions, and small businesses, according to a new report.

Bill Gates' $100 million database to track students
Excerpt: The system has been in operation for several months and already contains millions of K-12 students’ personal identification ranging from name, address, Social Security number, attendance, test scores, homework completion, career goals, learning disabilities, and even hobbies and attitudes about school.

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