Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for June 14, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for June 14, 2013
Click on the link to see the full SitRep
Robert A. Hall

Happy Flag Day. I will likely not be posting until next week, as two classmates from Marine Radio Relay Tech School in 1965 are coming to visit me Friday through Sunday before I “drop off the face of the Earth” as they put it. Gotta love Marines.

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

Worth Reading: America’s Vast Margin of Error: Because the U.S. has so much going for it, it’s taking everything from education to freedoms for granted. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: At some point, our margins of error will disappear and with them the indulgent toying with our freedoms, defense, energy, education, and food. Americans will then have to reawaken and act more like our no-nonsense predecessors — if our successors are to inherit what we have taken for granted.

Dallas plastic bag ban bad for many reasons. By H. Sterling Burnett & Pamela Villarreal
Excerpt: Two years ago, Los Angeles County implemented a plastic bag ban effective for only the unincorporated areas of the county. However, the ban was not in place for incorporated areas. A survey conducted by our organization indicates that consumers who lived in unincorporated areas crossed over into incorporated areas to shop where plastic bags were available. Reports from Austin show similar results. Stores affected by bag bans reported an increase in missing shopping carts and hand baskets. Additionally, Los Angeles County’s bag ban negatively affected employment at stores inside the ban area. While every store inside the ban area was forced to terminate some of its staff, not a single store outside the ban area dismissed any staff. Stores inside the ban area reduced their employment by more than 10 percent. Stores outside the ban area increased their employment by 2.4 percent. This occurred despite the fact that the overall unemployment rate in Los Angeles County fell dramatically. The cost to taxpayers also will rise as lawsuits are filed challenging these bans.

Unfriendly Persuasion: Will the Labor Department disarm employers in their struggle with the unions? By Diana Furtchgott-Roth
Excerpt: A shocking change in American labor relations is brewing at the U.S. Department of Labor, which is expected sometime soon to alter a major regulation. The change involves a new interpretation of the “advice exemption” of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Specifically, businesses would have to disclose the names of, and fees paid to, attorneys and consultants who advise them on union-organizing activities. In turn, attorneys and consultants providing such advice would be required to disclose their client lists and the fees they receive.

Obama ‘Strongly Objects’ to Religious Liberty Amendment. By Todd Starnes
Excerpt: The Obama Administration “strongly objects” to a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday that would have protected the religious rights of soldiers – including evangelical Christian service members who are facing growing hostility towards their religion.

Afghan parliament upholds right to marry children. By Cheryl K. Chumley
Excerpt: Afghanistan's parliament has rejected a measure that would have barred men from marrying girls younger than 16, saying the proposal ran counter to Islamic ideology.
The measure also would have banned “baad, [the] traditional practice of buying or selling women to settle disputes,” and outlawed criminal charges being imposed on rape victims, Breitbart reported. Rape victims in Afghanistan often are charged with fornication or adultery. (It’s their culture. Who are you to judge? According to the Hadith, sacred texts of Islam, Mohammad married his youngest wife when she was 6, consummated the marriage when she was 9, and he is considered the perfect example of conduct for Muslims. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: The Resurgence of National Pride and the Future of Europe. By Geert Wilders
Excerpt: The American Freedom Association has asked me to speak to you about the future of Europe. Europe is in a terrible state. Bit by bit, European countries are losing their national sovereignty. The economy is in shambles. Islamic immigrants riot and terrorize the many locals. And when people’s throats are slit in the streets, while the murderers shout “Allahu Akbar,” the authorities appease the killers and declare that Islam has nothing to do with it.

The American retreat on the seas. By Christopher M. Lehman
Excerpt: The United States is at a crossroads, and the American people must consider carefully an issue that has been creeping up on us for two decades. For most of the past 70 years, America enjoyed unquestioned naval global superiority, and we could be confident that the U.S. Navy could establish and sustain maritime dominance wherever and whenever needed. However, since the early 1990s, America's Navy has been in decline with our fleet shrinking from almost 600 ships to just 283 ships by the end of 2012.

Excerpt: Please read the attached article on American Unemployment carefully. I have argued tirelessly about the costs of illegal aliens on our social services safety net. The article deals with the long term unemployed American citizen who is nearing the end of hope. I have said time and again that, when the money runs out, the folks that are hurt the most are American citizens. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to energize enough of you to write your legislators and demand an end to supporting illegal aliens.

Confirmed death toll in Syrian conflict nearly 93,000, says UN
Excerpt: Syria's conflict has now claimed nearly 93,000 lives, the UN human rights commission has said, but it warned that the true death toll after 27 months of violence is likely to be even higher. (Muslims slaughtering Muslims. A 1,300 year tradition. ~Bob.)

Feds Announce Recovery Of Missing Nazi Diary
Excerpt: Federal authorities are touting the recovery of the diary writings of Alfred Rosenberg, a top Nazi party adviser to Adolf Hitler. Homeland Security and Justice Department officials planned to join U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum representatives Thursday to discuss the recovery of some 400 handwritten pages from Rosenberg's diary, covering 1936 to 1944….His diary was among several documents kept by Robert Kempner, a U.S. government lawyer at the Nuremberg trials. 

Obama's Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers
Excerpt: The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won't snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are. That's right, the government's sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized. (This is how crazy things can get when PC thinking dominates our decision makers. It's OK to check on everyone in the country except in the very centers of Muslim activities, including the radicalization of some members? That would have been like checking on everyone in the US in 1940, except the German Bunds, where they worshipped Hitler. It's time to tell Muslims that we don't give a damn about their sensitivity to being watched when atrocities are committed by jihadists who attended some mosques. The answer there is that since you haven't turned in these people, and you still distribute extremist literature, you cannot expect privacy. Shut up and get over it. If you are a real American and not a Muslim first, last, and always, you will understand and not worry about being monitored. If there had been a history of radical Catholics planting bombs, I would not have been able to really object to the FBI monitoring our churches. Even though I knew none such idiots ever came from my parish. We all have an obligation to be reasonable when it comes to a hunt for really dangerous people. –Del)

HGTV uses American flag as a tablecloth
I severely appreciated the suggestion that we use a nylon flag so that any spill can be rinsed out so the flag be hung with pride after din-din....--Bob P.

Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai rejects July 31 election date
Excerpt: An hour before Tsvangirai's comments, Mugabe fast-tracked changes to electoral laws by using a presidential decree to by-pass parliament in a bid to comply with a constitutional court order to hold elections by July 31. (Sounds familiar. ~bob.)

Worth Reading: The ‘Very Serious’ Tradition of the Internal Revenue Service: Our tax-collecting agency has been called “an invitation to corruption” for decades. By Jim Geraghty
Excerpt: In light of its recent admission that conservative groups were improperly targeted for special scrutiny in applications for tax-exempt status, and the release of a conservative group’s private tax information to liberal organizations, the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know it takes all allegations of wrongdoing by its workers very seriously.

Excerpt: “Did you kill any babies, Bruce?” As we lay in bed on New Year’s Eve 1970, this is what the girl asked who a friend had introduced me to when I returned from Vietnam a couple of months before. I got up and drove home in the snowy streets from Queens to Brooklyn. I didn’t even try to date another girl for almost a year after. But, I moved past it and didn’t dwell on that night. Some returned soldiers and Marines had worse experiences and some had better and almost all just blended back in after an initial adjustment.

Obamacare? We were just leaving …
Excerpt: Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting. The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

London-based Muslim TV channel rebroadcasts show on wife-beating to European audiences in French, English and Arabic

Tensions high in British town after "Muslim youths" attack "white girls”
Excerpt: Tensions are running high in the northern English town of Ashton-under-Lyne after a video circulating online showed a gang of what is reported as British-Pakistani youths attacking young "white girls" at a bus stop.

Antisemitic skit on Egyptian TV depicts stereotypical Jew instigating strife in Egypt
Excerpt: This vile piece is based on a Qur'anic axiom: "And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers." -- Qur'an 3:54

University of Chicago has permanently removed pews from 88-year old chapel on campus to accommodate Muslim headbangers and prayer rugs
Excerpt: Chicago NPR affiliate, WBEZ news, reported on May 23, the pews, which are now part of display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, were “removed in order to provide Muslim students a place to pray.” (The pejorative headline is probably country productive, but the news appears to be accurate. ~Bob.)

Why "Gun Free Zones" Actually Endanger Our Lives
Excerpt: Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

Excerpt: One day people will ask how the United States and several European countries became involved in mass killings, genocide, corruption, arms smuggling, and the creation of another anti-Western and regionally destabilizing government. Even if a single Western soldier is never sent, the West is on the verge of serious intervention in Syria. The choices are unpalatable and decisions are very tough to make, but it appears to be still another in a long history of Western leaps in the dark, not based on a real consideration of the consequences.

Excerpt: What drove Edward Snowden to go on-the-record with allegedly-classified information about the scope and breadth of what is quite-clearly illegal spying on US Citizens? Is it really that hard to figure out? It was his boss, James Clapper, who quite-clearly perjured himself by blatantly lying in an open session of Congress: (This Gordian knot situation is why some otherwise rock-ribbed conservatives (like Cliff Kincaid) are condemning Snowden while others--like me--are praising him. They are both partly right, but moral law trumps statutory law in our country and culture. (I imagine this is also why so few responded when I asked for opinions on this. One person agreed with me but another was confused by the complexity of the issue and said he needed to analyze it further.) This concept of a lower level of law being subordinate to a higher level for the individual goes back to the New Testament, which admonishes Christians to obey the law of the land, but adds a kind of proviso saying that God's law trumps man's law. By analogy, the Constitution does indeed come first and it needs to trump statutory law on all levels, even the level of the lowly civilian citizen. Odd that the US adopted this concept in Nuremberg at the trials of Nazis who invoked their official positions as a defense for committing heinous crimes, saying they were under orders to commit crimes against humanity. What's a Nazi official to do? The US judges said that was not sufficient excuse. But it looks like they only meant that to apply to foreigners. Here in the US, the government seem to be following a rigid scheme of obedience to the law come hell or high water. We need consistency. What's good for Nazi officials is good for We the People. Bring back Nuremberg in DC and put Snowden on the witness stand for the prosecution! We are prosecuting the wrong people. This kind of upside down law is tantamount to no law at all and sooner or later, the chickens of lawlessness will come home to roost. --Don Hank)

Excerpt: Comparing “global warming” to World War II, former Vice President Al Gore said America should “mobilize” to combat climate change and put a “price on carbon pollution.” “Even though we give FDR and the New Deal the credit for ending the Great Depression, what really ended it was World War II when we mobilized for a great national effort in which the survival of our country and our values was deemed to be at stake and when we decided to act, then we put people to work and the economy started booming like never before,” said Gore on Tuesday at Rhode Island Energy and Environmental Leaders Day sponsored by Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. (Puh-leeze. Hasn’t he made enough kazillions off this line? I’d feel safer if they’d stop their spraying to “cool” the planet. –Barb.)

Time to release the paranoids from the mental asylum?
Excerpt: If you have any pull with the American Psychiatric Association, could you please recommend to them that the psychological state formerly known as “paranoia” should be no longer defined as a mental illness? Asylums all across the country are filled with people whose only neurosis is the vague feeling that they are being spied on or followed by unseen powerful enemies. But now we know that everyone is being spied on every time they pick up the phone, buy something, use the Internet, or walk around in public — so it turns out that these “paranoid” patients aren’t delusional after all.

Excerpt: In June of 2013: “Germany to Spymaster-in-Chief Obama: You are on some Eastern Bloc $#!+ right now,” Jim Treacher quips: … When Germany is telling you to knock it off? German outrage over a U.S. Internet spying program has broken out ahead of a visit by Barack Obama, with ministers demanding the president provide a full explanation when he lands in Berlin next week and one official likening the tactics to those of the East German Stasi.

Europe warns US: you must respect the privacy of our citizens
Excerpt: European Union officials have demanded "swift and concrete answers" to their requests for assurances from the US that its mass data surveillance programmes do not breach the fundamental privacy rights of European citizens. The European commission's vice-president, Viviane Reding, has sent a letter with seven detailed questions to the US attorney general, Eric Holder Jr, demanding explanations about Prism and other American data snooping programmes.

Obama administration under pressure as US senators demand end to secrecy
Excerpt: The Obama administration was facing renewed pressure over the secrecy of its surveillance programs, as a group of US senators demanded it reveal how it interprets the laws that underpin them and foreign governments expressed growing concern. A bill, to be introduced in the Senate on Tuesday, would force the US government to disclose the opinions of a secretive surveillance court that determines the scope of the eavesdropping on Americans' phone records and internet communications. Separately, a leading member of the Senate intelligence committee came close to saying that James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, misled him on the scope of government surveillance during a March hearing.

NSA surveillance: anger mounts in Congress at 'spying on Americans'
Anger was mounting in Congress on Tuesday night as politicians, briefed for the first time after revelations about the government's surveillance dragnet, vowed to rein in a system that one said amounted to "spying on Americans". Intelligence chiefs and FBI officials had hoped that the closed-door briefing with a full meeting of the House of Representatives would help reassure members about the widespread collection of US phone records revealed by the Guardian. But senior figures from both parties emerged from the meeting alarmed at the extent of a surveillance program that many claimed never to have heard of until whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked a series of top-secret documents.

NSA surveillance played little role in foiling terror plots, experts say: Obama administration says NSA data helped make arrests in two important cases – but critics say that simply isn't true
Excerpt: Lawyers and intelligence experts with direct knowledge of two intercepted terrorist plots that the Obama administration says confirm the value of the NSA's vast data-mining activities have questioned whether the surveillance sweeps played a significant role, if any, in foiling the attacks….But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programmes played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots. Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations.

A Guardian guide to your metadata
Excerpt: Metadata is information generated as you use technology, and its use has been the subject of controversy since NSA's secret surveillance program was revealed. … The data collected generally does not contain personal or content-specific details, but rather transactional information about the user, the device and activities taking place. In some cases you can limit the information that is collected – by turning off location services on your cell phone for instance – but many times you cannot. 

Excerpt: This is an important distinction because, while the content of our communications is considered private and is protected by the Fourth Amendment and exacting federal statutes, telephone usage records are not private. Indeed, by nature, they are not the phone user’s records at all, they are owned and kept by third-party service providers. 

Joe Biden: Al Gore ‘was elected president of the United States of America
Excerpt: Vice President Joseph R. Biden heaped praise on Al Gore Tuesday night, saying he was the rightful winner of the presidency in 2000, and did a noble act by conceding the office to President George W. Bush. “This man was elected president of the United States of America,” Mr. Biden said at a Washington fundraiser for Senate candidate Rep. Ed Markey... “But for the good of the nation, when the bad decision in my view was made, he did the right thing for the nation.” (I guess like Nixon not seeking a recount in 1960 of Illinois and Texas, despite allegations of massive vote fraud. ~Bob.)

Stand with Rand; Join The Class Action Law Suit
Recent news reports revealed that Barack Obama's NSA is looking through billions of our emails and phone records every day. I'm OUTRAGED -- and I'm going to do everything I can to END this madness. That's why I've asked Internet providers and phone companies to join me in a class-action lawsuit to STOP Barack Obama's NSA from snooping on the American people. (May end up on a drone-to-do-list or unplug-from-internet-list or….may get a percentage….Barb. Probably just an audit list. ~Bob.)

Hill’s team eyed in Honduras-slay ‘coverup’
Excerpt: A top State Department official stymied investigators trying to get to the bottom of four killings in Honduras involving DEA agents and local police — yet another revelation from internal memos leaked by a whistleblower claiming a pattern of coverups. The incident ended in the deaths of two pregnant women and two men last year, after Honduran national police opened fire from a State Department-owned helicopter on a small boat.

GOP's Amash: Clapper should resign
Excerpt: GOP Rep. Justin Amash says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should resign because of his denial of NSA surveillance programs. The Michigan Republican in a message on Twitter said Clapper's March testimony before the Senate intelligence panel was tantamount to perjury. "It now appears clear that the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lied under oath to Congress and the American people," Amash tweeted Wednesday. 

The federal surveillance programs revealed in media reports are just "the tip of the iceberg," a House Democrat said Wednesday. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said lawmakers learned "significantly more" about the spy programs at the National Security Agency (NSA) during a briefing on Tuesday with counterterrorism officials. "What we learned in there," Sanchez said, "is significantly more than what is out in the media today." (Ahh, the flexibility a la Putin…--Barb)

House committee advances national late-term abortion ban
Excerpt: The House Judiciary Committee sent a national late-term abortion ban to the floor Wednesday on a vote of 20-12. The ban is among the most expansive anti-abortion measures offered by Republicans since they claimed the House in 2010. It is expected to pass next week over the objections of Democrats. (Has all the chance in the Senate of a black baby in a Planned Parenthood clinic. ~Bob.)

CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell retiring
Excerpt: Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Michael Morell on Wednesday announced his retirement….In May, news broke that Morell and former CIA Director David Petraeus disagreed about how much information to disclose to the public in talking points about a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. State Department officials reportedly argued against Morell removing mention of previous CIA warnings of threats in Libya, according to administration officials.

Excerpt: In a dramatic exchange Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) demanded National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander explain why the agency was legally authorized to obtain his personal cellphone data. Waving his Verizon phone from his seat, Merkley asked Alexander to explain "what authorized investigation gave you the grounds" to seize information on his calls and those of millions of other Americans. Alexander sidestepped the question, saying the Department of Justice was responsible for outlining the legal authorities under which the agency could request such data.

Fast And Furious Special Agent Vince Cefalu Tells All After He’s Fired in Denny’s Parking, Shocking Video
Excerpt: Special Agent Vince Cefalu has worked for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms for more than 25 years. …Tuesday evening, Cefalu was asked to meet Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division Joseph Riehl at a Denny’s Restaurant near Lake Tahoe. When he arrived, he was served termination papers in the parking lot. Classy move. The exchange was secretly recorded by a confidential source. David Codrea has more: (This reveal an horrendous mess at ATF, which finally explains how something so far past mere stupidity as the Fast & Furious gunrunning debacle could take place. And it's a mess that is not going away, the wagons have been circled, Mr. Obama has pledged full support, and none of the taxpayers will get anything positive for the money they contributed to this department's budget. How terribly, terribly sad. --Del)

Boehner: IRS Scandal Touches Oval Office

Excerpt: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says it’s inconceivable President Obama did not know about the Internal Revenue Service decision to arbitrarily discriminate against conservative, tea-party and Christian organizations with invasive and probably illegal delays and questioning. “It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test,” he said on a recent “Good Morning America” appearance. …But Boehner insisted Congress will hold the IRS accountable.

NSA Slapped With $20 Billion Class-Action Suit

Excerpt: The National Security Agency surveillance scandal could now cost the federal government and its corporate cronies a cool $20 billion or more. The NSA, Department of Justice, President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and the 12 companies allegedly collaborating with the government to conduct warrantless surveillance of American citizens are all named defendants in a class action lawsuit brought by former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch.

Excerpt: Young teens at a pricey Upper West Side private school were asked to write first-person suicide notes — a macabre assignment that some of their parents have blasted as “inappropriate.” Newbie English teacher Jessica Barrish’s assignment last month (above) focused on having kids channel fictitious character May Boatwright by writing in first person — as if they were her — about her legacy and how they wanted to be remembered by her sisters… Simon Critchley — a philosophy professor at The New School university in Greenwich Village who recently taught a suicide note-writing workshop for adults — said he believed the concerns, even for young teens, were overblown. (What happened to “Thou Shalt Not Kill”? –Bob)

Damage control: Hillary Clinton loyalists suspected of criminal cover-ups for diplomats
Excerpt: Congress and the State Department’s inspector general are examining allegations that senior officials working under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may have suppressed investigations into suspected criminal activity among U.S. diplomats abroad — including the alleged solicitation of prostitutes by an ambassador in Europe. Lawmakers from both parties said the charges are “very serious” — and point out the need for a permanent inspector general at the State Department. (Notice it is “loyalists” and not HC. –Barb)

Allen West on Bill Cosby’s pro-Muslim post: Are you crazy?
Excerpt: Former Floridian Rep. Allen West had a blunt response to comedian Bill Cosby’s published weekend opinion piece, speaking of the attributes of Muslims and encouraging Americans to emulate them: Have you lost your mind? “Bill Cosby said we should [be] more like Muslims,” Mr. West wrote, on his Twitter account. “[You] mean honor killings, beheadings, suicide bombings?

Excerpt: Battle-hardened Al Qaeda-linked fighters helping insurgents in Syria are winning over their fellow warriors with a newfound discipline that could make them even more formidable in the war for the hearts and minds of civilians caught in the crossfire of a bloody civil war. Syrian fighters seeking to topple strongman Bashar Assad told the jihadists from the Al Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra are ferocious in battle, but then share their spoils with suffering villagers while other insurgents line their own pockets with loot. (I believe they have done this before….another domino to fall. –Barb)

Excerpt: Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and two other jihadist ideologues have released a statement criticizing the Democratic Jihad Party in Egypt. Ahmed Ashush and Jalal Abu Fotouh, both of whom are leading figures in Ansar al Sharia Egypt, are Zawahiri's co-signatories on the statement, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

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