Friday, March 29, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 30, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 30, 2013
Robert A. Hall

Happy Easter and Happy Passover
Greeting on whatever tradition you follow. (I’m not sure that “Happy Passover” is correct, but you get the sentiment.) I’ve just received word that the local bunny in Madison has been on a three-day bender, is hung over, and I’ve been tasked to take over egg hiding duties. Therefore, there will be no SitRep on Sunday, maybe not on Monday. I will post my April random Thoughts and a Guest Column for your edification and amusement. ~Bob.

Information on my books

Worth Reading: Simple as that. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: Dare say, and sadly so, most Americans have no idea who John Bradley is nor Lewis Millett. Many reading today's short comment likely do not know them.

Worth Reading: The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion. By Mortimer Zuckerman
If you hit a pay wall, a Google search for the title will usually find the article. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Great Recession is an apt name for America's current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify. The country isn't really advancing.

Army veteran charged after fighting with Syrian rebel group linked to al-Qaeda
Excerpt: A U.S. Army veteran was charged with conspiracy Thursday for fighting alongside a Syrian rebel group linked to al-Qaeda. Eric Harroun, 30, known to Syrians as “the American,” crossed into northern Syria in January and joined members of Jabhat al-Nusra to fight against the Syrian military, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors in federal court in Alexandria. 9with our military stretched thin, I’d think they would ask us old guys to volunteer for the firing squad. ~Bob.)

Speaking of people who need shooting, G-Mail has changed their compose and response features to make them much harder to use and more confusing, so my e-mail may be screwed up while I try to cope with the “improvement.” Heaven save me from computer folks “improving” programs I use regularly. ~Bob

It's the cold, not global warming, that we should be worried about. By Fraser Nelson
Excerpt: No one would wear a wristband or pin on a ribbon for the elderly victims of the cold – and yet freezing weather kills more than diabetes or breast cancer. The cause of death is perhaps too familiar, and the remedy too obvious, to attract much attention. If the money for winter fuel payments was instead used to help insulate homes, we might – like Norway – be able to joke about winter.

Columnist wants to end military funeral honors for vets who ‘did nothing heroic.’ By Jessica Chasmar
Excerpt: St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan published a column Wednesday, saying the U.S. military should do away with funeral honors, since "most veterans did nothing heroic" anyway. (To measure whether an American citizen is a “hero” or not because of his combat experiences is bordering on lunacy. By serving our country, without running off to Canada, puts us in the precarious position of becoming a “hero” IF we are called to defend our country or any people in any country. I never expected to spend time in Vietnam, but I was there anyway and I could have been a “hero” by McClellans’ standards. But I do not believe that we joined the military just so that we could be “heroes.’ If he is so concerned about saving money, he should start at the top and file his first complaint with the totally unnecessary expenditures from the illegal alien in the White House for all of those vacations and “spring breaks” his daughters take. – Gunny)

The Architect of Destruction. By Maureen Scott
Excerpt: Perhaps, because, as a child, he grew up harboring an abiding bitterness toward the U.S. that was instilled in him by his family and mentors. It seems to have never left him. It is not the color of his skin that is a problem – for anyone in America. Rather it is the blackness that fills his soul and the hollowness in his heart where there should be abiding pride and love for this country.

Decision making for the indecisive. By Lillian Cunningham
Excerpt: Chip and Dan Heath offer a road map for making better choices in “Decisive,” their third book together. … I think it’s ironic that many decisions at the top of organizations are made with less emphasis on considering alternatives and collecting data than some decisions at the bottom of an organization. We would never think about sending out a request for proposals and entertaining only one proposal. But that’s what the research says: For strategic decisions made at the very tops of government or business or nonprofit organizations, the typical number of strategic alternatives that leadership teams consider is one.

Little hope seen for millions priced out of health overhaul
Excerpt: Millions of Americans will be priced out of health insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul because of a glitch in the law that adversely affects people with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by their employers, a leading healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday. (To update the old saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and Obamacare.” ~Bob.)

The Health Care Dilemma That Could Bankrupt Women
Excerpt: Over the past year, several insurance companies have announced plans to hike premiums by 50 percent. One company, California’s state-run CalPERS, is planning an 85-percent premium hike. Genworth announced plans for a 50-percent rate hike on policies for older people. It's also the first company planning to institute gender-specific pricing, which would charge women more than men because they live longer. (Women live an average of, if I recall, seven years longer than men. If it was the other way around, it would be a national scandal, calling for billions of dollars in new programs for research, education, special care programs and lots of well-paid bureaucrats. Men are expected to suck it up. ~Bob.)

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep. –Charles Maurice De Talleyrand

As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. –James Madison

Hidden in the Fridge: Police Overlook Explosives in Salafist's Home
Excerpt: German authorities investigating alleged plans by Islamists to assassinate a far-right leader appear to have made a serious mistake. After overlooking explosives in their initial search of a suspect's apartment, they then detonated the material without first taking samples for analysis. (Hey, Achmed, I’m getting a beer—want one? No! Wait! BOOM. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: The Obamas’ Unending Summer Vacation. By Arnold Ahlert 
Excerpt: Every president deserves time off. Yet the unabashed luxuriousness of the Obamas’ lifestyle reflects a genuine tone-deafness with regard to the pressing concerns of millions of Americans, as well as the president’s priorities. Even as he blamed sequestration for the decision to cancel White House tours that would have cost a total of $2 million for the rest of the year, it was revealed that the known cost of Obama’s Christmas vacation in Hawaii last year was at least $4 million. (Bash “millionaires and billionaires” while living like one at taxpayer expense. Nice gig. ~Bob.)

N. Korea orders rocket prep after US B-2 drill
Excerpt: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Friday that his rocket forces were ready "to settle accounts with the U.S.," unleashing a new round of bellicose rhetoric after U.S. nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions in joint military drills with South Korea. (I think Kim Jong Un is crazy [well, I guess that's a given] if he truly believes North Korea is going 'to settle accounts' with the U.S.. After all, in a sane world...wait a minute. Of these three words, Obama, Democrats, and sane, which word doesn't belong? – LLW)

North Korea Pre-Attack Actions Escalate
Excerpt: North Korea still has the option of doing nothing and boasting that its tough rhetoric, nationwide exercises and increased readiness plus its statesmanship are responsible for averting general war. It has conducted spoofs of that type in the past, as a setup to talks and to extort concessions from South Korea, mainly. Nevertheless, until it stands down the artillery from full combat readiness, high Allied vigilance and readiness are essential for deterrence and instant retaliation in order to break that pattern of behavior.

Excerpt: Sometimes when you are sleeping, your roommate will draw a penis on your face in permanent marker, as roommates are wont to do. But Virginian James Denham Watson, 31, was none too pleased when he awoke to find a penis drawn in permanent marker on his face March 23. Watson was not cool with this harmless practical joke AT ALL and allegedly beat his roommate until he had “extensive facial injuries” according to CBS Washington. (Is there such a thing as “justifiable whupping”? ~Bob.)

Cleric Calls American Aid to Egypt Tribute: Egyptian cleric says American aid is a mandatory tax. By Adam Kredo 
Excerpt: A prominent Egyptian cleric said U.S. aid to Egypt is a mandatory tribute that America must pay to honor the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian revolution.
This taxpayer aid constitutes a “poll tax” that America must pay to placate the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Khaled Said, a cleric who serves as the official spokesman for the country’s Salafi Front, an extremist political party that has called for Islamic law in Egypt.

Americans Are Migrating To More Free Republican States
Excerpt: It found that the freest states tended to be conservative “red” states, while the least free were liberal “blue” states.

Argentina may defy NY courts with payment offer
Excerpt: With just hours to go before Argentina has to show its last cards in a billion-dollar debt showdown in the U.S. courts, President Cristina Fernandez seems to be keeping up her "we're going for more" motto. Her government is reportedly preparing a response that analysts say could lead the country into another catastrophic default.

Michigan Union Tell-All: A memo shows how unions hope to keep coercing worker dues.
Excerpt: When Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state late last year, everyone knew unions would try to overturn or otherwise neuter the law. Less expected was that they would do so at the expense of their own members. That's the message from a December 27-28 memo to local union presidents and board members from Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook, which recommends tactics that unions can use to dilute the impact of the right-to-work law. (This is what I dislike about unions. In my opinion unions are for negotiating safety, pay disparities, and abusive supervision within respective companies and organizations. Beyond that, they have no business with fiscal intervention relative to the political process. Unions, corporations and associations should all be banned from making political contributions. Issues should be brought to their respective representative based on merit—not money. I realize that’s unlikely to happen in my lifetime, nevertheless I think it could resolve many of the issues confronting this nation today. Lobbying Congress should NOT involve money. We have evolved lobbying into a tremendous waste of money that serves little more than to fostering the greed and power mongering that appears to be taking place within the Halls of Congress. It is an epidemic. Take away the donation aspect of lobbying and [instead] educate our representatives on the issues that best serve this country and the represented communities. Again, I realize I’m na├»ve, but that’s me in a word……Greg)

Excerpt: A month from now (April 30 to be exact) is Primary Day for Democrats and Republicans in Massachusetts, as five guys vie for the chance to replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate. The Dem battle is between representatives Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch — a contest being complicated by California billionaire Tom Steyer, who is attacking Lynch, the less liberal of the two, over his support for Keystone pipeline (yesterday a Steyer-funded stunt had a plane flying over Boston, where the Bruins were playing the Canadians, trailing a banner that read “Steve Lynch says: Go Habs! And Go Canadian Dirty Oil.”).

Do Background Checks for Gun Purchases Actually Work? With so much case study available, you would think advocates could show us more convincing evidence. By Clayton E. Cramer
Excerpt: A longstanding problem with murder statistics is that some defensive killings are initially charged as murder or non-negligent manslaughter, and are reported to the FBI and CDC as such. A startling number of defensive gun uses are only reclassified days, weeks, or even months later, as the criminal justice system slowly works its way to an answer. At least with the FBI’s data, if that reclassification does not happen before the calendar month is over, it stays on the books as a murder or manslaughter.

Excerpt: In order to escape their truly wretched past (click on the link for my short book on the subject), modern Democrats have adopted as an article of faith the bedtime story that, thanks to Tricky Dick Nixon’s “southern strategy,” the racists who had been the backbone of their party for the better part of a century suddenly switched to the GOP en masse some time around 1968, with the happy result that now all the racists are on the right. Presto — instant virtuousness and a clean slate! It’s a lie, of course.

NYT: Median Annual Income Falls 1.1% In February. By John Nolte
Excerpt: As the Federal Reserve pumpity-pump-pump-pumps so the rich can get richer in the very same stock market Democrats and the media ensured you and I wouldn't be allowed to invest our Social Security in, according to a study by Sentier Research, out here in the real world, wages took a major dive of 1.1% in just a single month.

Worth Reading: Food For Thought. By Junius P. Long
It’s been and there are other versions, but still painfully close to the bone. ~Bob. Excerpt: If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally ... you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

Excerpt: Writes the owner: The most of circulating assets on our business Current Account are blocked. (Do I need to remind you that the US is also under IMF jurisdiction [IMF is one of the Troika] and that, in terms of law and order, our banking system is no better than that in Cyprus? I no longer hire anyone, but if I did I would make provisions for this sort of heavy handedness. For example, 1--Dividing my payroll accounts between 2 or among several banks, keeping less than 100,000 dollars in each 2--Sending some to an offshore bank, possibly Swiss but assuming the BRICS countries are successful in establishing a banking system outside of IMF control, I would establish at least one account in one of their banks, possibly offshore, say, in Brazil. Eventually, if BRICS carries through with their plans, a cold war may very well break out between the Western aligned nations and the BRICS. The West is deliberately debilitating its armies. It is almost a certainty that BRICS will have superior firepower and armies by that time. [China already claims to have broken even with us]. Our best hope is that law and order be restored in business and banking at some point, but I see no sign that this will ever happen. --Don Hank)

The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles. By Edward J. Erler
Excerpt: Special animus has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons—the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s—because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look—somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told—after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense—that only the military and the police need to have them. (Excellent, well-reasoned discussion of gun rights as part of the solid base of principles that underlies our entire society. --Del)

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