Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for May 29, 2013
Robert A. Hall
Your one-stop-shop for political news and opinion--who needs newspapers or TV? 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.
My heart catheterization (not cauterization as I wrote—damn spell check!) showed normal pressure, good for my health, but keeps my transplant score low. Thanks to all who asked. ~Bob.
Books by Robert A. Hall
Writing Well. By Robert A. Hall
Or is it “writing good”?
Excerpt: ObamaCare institutes several types of price controls on insurance premiums. The elimination of gender-based ratings forces young men to subsidize the substantially higher claims of young women, ending claims-based differentials of up to 70 percent under age 40. The 3:1 age rating limit requires younger people to subsidize older people, ending the roughly 6:1 rating that was based on actual costs. The elimination of health status as a rating factor forces those in good health to subsidize those in poor health, whether or not good health is due to self-control or lucky genetics. In 2012, Milliman calculated how much the price controls are likely to raise costs for those unlucky enough to be affected by them. Here are some examples of the variations caused by market pricing for an Anthem HSA policy for an individual living in Marion County, Indiana, in November, 2011:
: The Great Race Card Getaway. By Daniel Greenfield Reading
Excerpt: In his second term, as scandals were exploding all around him, President William Jefferson Clinton boarded Air Force One along with a few close personal friends, like BET CEO and richest black man in America Robert Johnson, and a bunch of other businessmen and politicians, along with the ubiquitous Jesse Jackson, for a jaunt to
Africa. The trip cost a mere $42.8 million, which would have been enough to feed a sizable chunk of Africa, and featured an entourage that would have shamed Alexander the Great or Jay-Z. It took 1,300 people to make ’s Great African Getaway possible including 205 personnel from the Office of the President, 60 from the State Department, 9 from the Department of Transportation and 1 from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Somehow Fish and Wildlife stayed at home. Clinton
E.U. to allow arms embargo for Syrian rebels to lapse
Excerpt: The Obama administration’s go-slow policy on
Syria came under renewed pressure Monday as European leaders opted to remove a legal hurdle that had blocked arms flows to rebel groups, while a top Republican critic swooped into to dramatize what he says is the opposition’s urgent need for direct military aid. (I agree with Obama on this. These arms will eventually be used to kill Americans, Israelis and, of course, Europeans. Nothing surer. ~Bob.) Syria
Tweet from Noah Pollak. @NoahPollak
Breaking: EU to supply
rebels with European weaponry, including international conferences, UN resolutions, & moral indignation Syria
Excerpt: Russia will not scrap plans to deliver an air defense system to Syria despite Western opposition because it would help deter "hotheads" intent on intervention in the two-year-old conflict, the deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.
McCain makes surprise trip to visit Syrian rebels
This is the sort of thing that makes me want to tear out what little hair I have left. Out of all the 435 Representatives (so called), 100 senators, the President, the Vice-President, and untold hundreds of White House czars, advisers, and other lackeys, there are probably less than a dozen who have any common sense at all. None in the White House, of course, no democrats, and maybe only a handful of republicans. Take this fool, for instance. We know the rebels who are trying to overthrow the Assad regime is crammed full of Al Qaeda, but there's McCain, wanting to provide them with arms. He's living proof that we haven't learned anything about Muslims. McCain, and every other politician I've listened to, thinks Muslims hate us because of our freedoms (what few we have left), our life-style, our...our...whatever. No. They hate us, attack us, and murder us because we are NOT MUSLIMS. That's it. That's all. Their wretched Quran, koran...however you spell the filthy thing, tells them to kill all Jews, and kill or convert all infidels. That's us - infidels. Now, it looks like we may stick our faces into another civil war, having learned nothing from
. After all the blood and treasure we spent liberating those people and helping them set up an elected government, they are at each other's throats again. Same with Iraq . As soon as we're gone (will someone tell me why we are still there?) the Taliban will take over again and start cutting off heads and stoning women to death. But this time it will be different. After we help al-Qaeda take over Afghanistan , we will all sit down together, slap each other on the back, and be friends forever and ever. Not me. I still remember 9/11. – LLW. Syria
Chemical warfare in
. By Jean-Philippe Rémy Syria
Excerpt: Searching for words to describe the incongruous sound, he said it was like 'a Pepsi can that falls to the ground.' No odor, no smoke, not even a whistle to indicate the release of a toxic gas. And then the symptoms appear. The men cough violently. Their eyes burn, their pupils shrink, their vision blurs. Soon they experience difficulty breathing, sometimes in the extreme; they begin to vomit or lose consciousness. The fighters worst affected need to be evacuated before they suffocate. (Thankfully, Obama’s “Red Line” promise came with an expiration date, like all the rest. ~Bob.)
What tummy tucks can teach us about health care reform. The conventional wisdom is that market forces don't apply to pricing for medical care. A new study of the cosmetic surgery industry shows how wrong that belief is. By Shawn Tully
Excerpt: We're constantly hearing why the market forces that bring us great deals on cars, cellular phones, and houses can never work in health care. One leading myth is that each patient is so different, and every procedure so tailored, that doctors can't determine the cost, or tell patients the price, in advance. Hence, providing consumers with prices they can compare is totally impractical. Another holds that medicine is so sophisticated that consumers are incapable of choosing deals that combine low cost with the promise of excellent outcomes. A third is the concept that -- in contrast to every other area of the economy -- new technology inevitably makes everything more expensive. Those oft-repeated beliefs are wrong. And the best evidence is the ultra-competitive field of cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive treatments.
Legal group comes to aid of Army instructor ousted over Muslim groups' complaints. By Perry Chiaramonte
Excerpt: An Army lieutenant colonel who was on the fast track until Muslim groups complained about a course he taught on radical Islam has a legal foundation in his foxhole. Attorneys for Lt. Col Matthew Dooley, a West Point graduate and highly-decorated combat veteran, was an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College at the National Defense University, where by most accounts he won praise from students and faculty alike. But when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey excoriated Dooley during a Pentagon press conference in May, characterizing his course, “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” as objectionable, unprofessional, and “against our values,” Dooley's once-bright career effectively hit a dead end, say his backers. (The Red Army in WWII had Commissars to be sure everyone was politically correct. We now have the same, God help us. ~Bob.)
Government Spending Enthusiasts’ Three Sleights of Hand
Excerpt: Those who believe more government spending is the antidote to the current economic malaise generally rely on one or more assumptions to defend their nonsensical position: (1) the future costs of servicing debt issued to finance larger deficits don’t matter or are trivially small; (2) the central bank can control future interest rates, so we need not worry about a spike in future borrowing costs; and (3) the only channel through which government borrowing can negatively impact economic activity is through higher interest rates at full employment. Let us take each in turn.
: The Bullying Pulpit. By Thomas Sowell Reading
Excerpt: We have truly entered the world of "
in Wonderland" when the CEO of a company that pays $16 million a day in taxes is hauled up before a Congressional subcommittee to be denounced on nationwide television for not paying more. Alice
The Real Story Behind "Rising"
Income Inequality U.S.
Excerpt: Why is income inequality rising for
families and households, but not for individual Americans? Having now shown that there has been absolutely no significant change in the level of inequality among U.S. individual income earners from 1994 through 2010, we thought we'd take a step back and look at the data for U.S. families and for households to examine those trends over time. U.S.
Excerpt: Dunham, who famously recorded that "First Time" video on behalf of the future Scandal in Chief's re-election, followed up a previous urine-themed Tweet on May 25 with a new one tied to Memorial Day.
The Taxonomy of Scandals: Is Obama Nearing a Breaking Point? By Lloyd Green
Excerpt: Not every scandal is Watergate Redux. If the G0D-fearing voters of South Carolina could forgive Mark Sanford for his "hike" off the Appalachian Trail, then it may not come as a shock that Americans are cutting the president some slack over IRS overreach, a concerted Justice Department war on the press, and the deadly fiasco in Libya, followed by a bumbling attempt to get the story straight.
Professor of Constitution goes to war against it. By A. Barton Hinkle
Excerpt: As a general rule, politicians tend to whipsaw between two poles. Conservatives try to increase economic liberty but show less regard for civil liberties. Liberals care deeply about civil liberties while trying to restrict the economic kind. But the Obama administration is remarkable for its degree of disdain for both. (To be fair, I think he was a lecturer, not a professor. ~Bob.)
Thus civilizations fall to the barbarians. ~Bob. Excerpt: For the last week, Stockholm has been lit up by what the great Australian wag Tim Blair calls the nightly car-b-q, started by “youths” after the police shooting of (you’ll never guess!) a Muslim man waving a machete. John Hinderaker notes that the authorities are taking a somewhat insouciant attitude to their blazing metropolis: But while the
riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday. Stockholm
Gunmen kill three soldiers in east
Excerpt: President Michel Sleiman, according to a statement from his office, said the killings were part of a “series of terrorist and criminal acts that seek to provoke strife in the country and [target] soldiers who are working to prevent such strife.”
While You Labor . . . Lois Lerner is on leave, still collecting her annual salary of $177,000. By Deroy Murdock
I told my Board I was retiring, but frankly, I’d much rather be put on indefinite paid administrative leave. Wonder how bad I have to screw up in the next few months to get that? ~Bob.
: Contrary to Obama, the Terror War Has Barely Begun. By David P. Goldman Reading
Excerpt: The collapse of Middle Eastern states from
Libya to vastly increases the terrorist recruitment pool, while severely restricting the ability of American intelligence services to monitor and interdict the terrorists. In addition, it intensifies the despair that motivates Muslims like the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo to perpetrate acts of terrorism. That makes President Obama’s declaration that Afghanistan is winding down the “war on terror”–a misnomer to begin with–the worst decision by an American commander-in-chief since the Buchanan administration, perhaps ever. America
Excerpt: Hackers have gained access to the designs of more than two dozen major weapons systems, the Washington Post says. (Not to worry. Obama wouldn't be gutting our military if
was a threat, right? – LLW) China
Gun control supporters facing recall bids in
Excerpt: A handful of Democratic state lawmakers in
face recall petition efforts in what looks to be the first wave of fallout over legislative votes to limit gun rights. In an era in which recall efforts are booming, from governor's offices down to town councils and school boards, the Colorado efforts will serve as the first test of gun-rights groups' ability to punish elected officials who expanded gun control laws after last year's Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., shooting massacres. (Hopeless, probably. It's not about "gun" control. It's about CONTROL. – LLW) Colorado
Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense
Excerpt: “Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson's chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. ….By contrast,
Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles. "We feel that Gibson was inappropriately targeted," Juszkiewicz said at the time, adding the matter "could have been addressed with a simple contact (from) a caring human being representing the government. Instead, the government used violent and hostile means."
At Least 53 Are Killed in Bombings in
Excerpt: More than 50 people were killed in a wave of car bombings on Monday that struck Shiite neighborhoods in
despite tightened security measures, officials and security forces said. (There will be blood until one branch of the Religion of Peace gets complete power and is able to oppress the other. As my former CO from the 25th Marines told me a few years ago, “ Baghdad Mesopotamia has been ruled by despots for thousands of year. Trying to bring Democracy to those people is Mission Impossible.” ~Bob.)
Excerpt: Holder not only personally signed off on the warrant, he judge-shopped to get the best deal he could get to keep the snooping so secret that Rosen didn’t even know he’d been snooped on until the story broke. He shopped for judges the way White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler shops for shoes. But it’s ok now, because Holder feels bad about it and Obama has set him to investigate himself and promise never to do it again.
Mainstream Media Try Low-Info Voter Outreach to Help Obama’s Scandal-Plagued Enablers: Ooh! Look! White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has cute shoes!
Excerpt: AG Eric Holder, White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, and White House spokesman Jay Carney all stand at or near the center of various Obama scandals. ….. Ruemmler met numerous times with the Treasury Department’s chief counsel as the IRS abuse of conservatives was in full swing, leading to reasonable suspicions that she knew more about that abuse earlier than she has admitted. Her role potentially brings one of the worst scandals in
history directly into the White House. U.S.
: Coercive Compassion. By Joël Valenzuela Reading
Excerpt: Those who would use the brute force of the government to achieve their sense of morality are acting neither effectively nor morally.
Producing ‘Scandal Exhaustion’ - That's the Obama administration's apparent strategy.
Excerpt: For those who believe that a government owes its citizens the truth regardless of the political season, and that failure to provide it during a contested election campaign means that its results are arguably illegitimate, Benghazi, despite the appearance of other scandals which seem to have been deliberately timed to distract the nation’s attention (more on that later), still deserves consideration as Number One in the Obama scandal hit parade.
Strassel: IRS Scandal’s Roots in Obama’s 2008 Campaign; Attacked Clinton, Edwards, Too
Excerpt: Strassel notes that Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign (and later White House) general counsel, wrote letters to the Department of Justice in August 2008 attacking a conservative 501(c)4 called the American Issues Project for running an ad that highlighted Obama's connection to former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Bauer did not stop there; he also contacted the Federal Election Commission. That same month, a left-wing activist created a 501(c)4 called Accountable America that was designed to intimidate GOP donors.
Strassel: Conservatives Became Targets in 2008. The Obama campaign played a big role in a liberal onslaught that far pre-dated Citizens United.
Excerpt: The White House insists President Obama is "outraged" by the "inappropriate" targeting and harassment of conservative groups…On Aug. 21, 2008, the conservative American Issues Project ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground. The Obama campaign and supporters were furious, and they pressured TV stations to pull the ad—a common-enough tactic in such ad spats. …. Bob Bauer, general counsel for the campaign (and later general counsel for the White House), on the same day wrote to the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into AIP, "its officers and directors," and its "anonymous donors."
House bill would force HHS to prescribe exercise guidelines ‘for all Americans’
Excerpt: Two House members have proposed a bipartisan bill that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prescribe exercise guidelines for Americans. Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) proposed their Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act, H.R. 2179, in an effort to help promote healthy exercise habits, especially among schoolchildren. "Public health and physical fitness are pressing concerns for our country, and in order to get the best results it's important to instill healthy habits and routines early in life," Kind said last week. (They’ve already eliminating God/religion/10 Commandments from schools/culture; next, they will have camps for girls and boys and tell them it is okay to have sex and then they will start the enlightening breeding program, since children will belong to the State and not to their parents…..Sound familiar to anyone from WWII? Slippery slope. –Barb.
See: How did the Nazis control leisure?
Excerpt: The Nazi Party established control even over leisure time. Physical fitness was at the core of Nazi philosophy. Compulsory deductions were made from workers’ wages to pay for the ‘Strength through joy’ programme. ~Bob.)
Fox News vs. the Cult of Obama. By Joel B. Pollak
Excerpt: It is impossible to understand the Obama administration's uniquely hostile treatment of Fox News without understanding the self-image of the Obama team. On the one hand, the targeting of Fox News for isolation and surveillance suggests an administration so lacking in competence that it cannot tolerate criticism or scrutiny. On the other, the attacks suggest hubris, a confidence that few would ever object to its conduct. That contradiction has a religious quality to it.
Afghan police defectors return to fold, kill seven colleagues
Excerpt: Two Afghan police officers who had recently rejoined the force after defecting to the Taliban, shot dead seven of their sleeping colleagues on Tuesday, a police chief said.