Sunday, March 31, 2013

Guest Post: What Leadership Can Do

What Leadership Can Do
Colonel Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)

I recently finished reading a book on the history of the 82d Airborne Division during World War II, The Sword of St Michael. It was fascinating to learn how often units were led by soldiers junior to what was expected for companies, battalions, and regiments. The percentage of casualties for the leaders was especially high, because they led from the front. I am currently reading the book The Generals that describes generals from World War II to the present time. The theme is always leadership or the lack of it. It was fascinating to relearn how many generals were relieved during that war because they were not getting the desired results. Victory was expected and anything short of that was unacceptable. Victory, now isn't that a novel word that has not been used lately?

After the United States forces were pushed out of North Korea by the Chinese in 1950 during the Korean war, the morale of the army was poor to say the least. General Matthew Ridgway was assigned as the new ground forces commander and he immediately educated himself on the terrain and troops while visiting all of the units. In only five weeks, he turned around the morale of the forces with his own attitude and can do approach.

General Lewis Wilson became the Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July, 1976. At that time, all of the services were having an extremely difficult time with discipline. The entire country was also having a tough time following the end of the Vietnam War and the all volunteer military. When junior leaders questioned the direction of the Corps, they were told that we were merely a reflection of society. General Wilson implemented a new approach and directed units to discharge those individuals who were impersonating Marines. Administrative programs were implemented to discharge those people and the good Marines cheered.

New York City was another disaster with crime off the page, streets dirty, and general malaise. Mayor Rudy Giuliani turned that around by enforcing current laws to such a degree, that criminals were afraid to carry weapons for fear of being stopped for minor infractions. The murder rate tumbled and other crimes dramatically reduced. One wonders why other cities such as Chicago do not follow that example. Leadership led the way.

On a national level, our country was experiencing double digit inflation, unemployment, and interest rates when Ronald Reagan assumed duties as our president. He changed the attitude of the people and the country went on a record level of growth and wealth creation. He went to the people with his plan to move the nation forward and congress reluctantly went along. Again, leadership led the way.

During world War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill assumed his duties when England was at its lowest in history. Europe had fallen under the sway of Germany and The Battle of Britain was underway. He promised the people "blood, sweat, and tears" as he led them to ultimate victory. That is what leadership did.

Today, our country continues to move at a snails pace because of all the stupid regulations and road blocks established by the government. Far too often when something stupid occurs, a new regulation is created to prevent it from happening again without ever considering the effects of unintended consequences. Many of our states are moving forward because of their leadership, but it remains difficult. Examples of how to do this are available, but far too many fail to learn while expecting the government to be the ultimate savior. It isn't.

Our history shows the way to success. There are fantastic examples in business, education, politics, military, and any other endeavor one may use. I fear that too little of that is being covered in our schools and far too little is being encouraged throughout society. Show me an organization that encourages that and I'll show you one that is probably very successful. Our system is unique in the world and because of it we continue to develop new techniques in most areas, but that must be rewarded or it will fade. True leaders encourage innovation and experimenting and an overreaching government reduces that. I remain optimistic about this great country, but there is much to fear with the direction that we seem to be moving toward. That is not the America that I served for most of my adult life. There are leaders in the country and it is up to us to select them for duty.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Random Thoughts for April, 2013

Random Thoughts for April, 2013
Robert A. Hall

The verdict is in. March sucked.

I’m looking for a bumper sticker that says: “Save Medicare—Repeal ObamaCare!”

I was surprised that Jesse Jackson didn’t condemn the “White Smoke-Black Smoke” Pope signals as racist. And I can’t figure out why every day until the Pope was picked the media reported “Black Smoke,” that is, “No News,” as “Breaking News.” And if they catch the new Pope praying, will the media charge him with being divisive, like Tebow? Or call him a “White Hispanic”?

If you are taken prisoner by militant members of The Religion of Peace, and they only kill you, you got off easy.

Yes, I know that British English makes more sense in this case, but in American English, periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks. (Except in some very limited technical writing, I understand.)

I support a strong Green agenda for the country. That is, stimulating the economy by putting more “green” in the pockets of American workers and consumers by reducing government size, government waste, government regulations and government spending, especially on Green Crony Capitalism.

Any mainstream media journalist who decides not to be Obama’s bitch, even for a day, better stand by for a whipping. The pack won’t tolerate deviation or apostasy.

From Larry, a buddy from Vietnam: “Earlier today, I heard on Fox news that a German study has concluded that people who have a negative outlook about the future tend to live longer than the smiley face people. If that's true, I figure I am damned near immortal.”

You say it’s okay to take a semi-automatic rifle or large capacity magazines from me because in your opinion I “don’t need it.” Okay, in my opinion, you “don’t need” Freedom of Speech, the Press or Religion. And your surely don’t need free birth control, abortion or ObamaCare. So if you can take things you don’t think I need, I can take things from you I don’t think you need.

They say our bodies have internal clocks. Mine would like to stay up for 18 hours, then sleep for 10, meaning I need 28 hours in a day. It begs the question, what planet am I from? (Snarky replies may be posted in the comments section of my blog.)

There is a theory that the Iraq War elected Obama. If so, we should call him “Saddam’s Revenge.”

When I was in high school, I heard a lot of smokers say, “If they ever get to a dollar a pack, I’m quitting!” They just went to over $12 a pack here in Chicago. I still see them puffing away. Liberals love cigarette taxes, and just added another dollar here in Crook County, IL, bringing the tax per pack to $6.57. Why? Because they fall heaviest on the poor and lower classes. Makes them paid their fair share for liberal fantasy programs.

Couldn’t government at least cut spending by the percentage that American workers’ incomes have dropped in the Obama economy?

I told my doctor that if I die, he should look in the mirror every morning and say, “I’m a failure.” Kind of egocentric, I know, but I like to incentivize them.

Here’s a compromise. We keep ObamaCare, but give every citizen a waiver like the unions are getting.

Michael Moore tweeted that Capitalism is a Crime. Since it made him rich, he may have a point.

Since, in theory, any Christian male can be selected as pope, I thought I might apply. But I discovered they are pretty inflexible on that celibacy thing.

A Catholic who supports abortion is like a vegan who eats hamburgers every day.

The White House statement to Bob Woodward that he “would regret challenging them” was carefully worded to be read in more ways than one, giving them deniability. Like the constituent, lobbing for me to get his son’s driver’s license back after he killed someone in a DUI accident, saying, “Senator, this means a lot of money to us.” Not legally a bribe offer, but one gets the queasy feeling if I’d asked, “How much,” it could have been. I did nothing and in the next election, he campaigned for the Democrat. I won by 10,000 votes. But I never found out how much money the kid’s license was worth… Probably why I left the senate without a lot of assets or cash after five terms.

The number of good people trying to turn around places like Detroit, Illinois and California is exceeded by the number of people who have decided it’s hopeless and are relocating. This happened in Detroit years ago, and is now taking place elsewhere. It is self-fulfilling, of course, as every competent, productive citizen who leaves the progressive hellholes makes the situation worse.

If you proposed a “Violence Against Men Act,” you be eviscerated for sex discrimination.

Headlines: “Cardinals to select new leader.” (I wonder what’s going on with St. Louis.) “Titanic II called safe.” (So was Titanic I.)

People always see certainty in an uncertain world. Thus they try to quantify the unquantifiable with meaningless metrics, from Medical codes that try to measure the “intensity” of a doctor’s effort on a procedure, to “objective” salary administration plans that award raises based on the arbitrary numbers in performance reviews, to efforts to give a dollar value to PR efforts.

Sunny days make even ugly houses and bad neighborhoods look good. Go house hunting on a cloudy day.

People who speed up to block a lane when they see you signal for a lane change deserve to have a flat tire at rush hour. So I put a curse on them to do that. This avoids road rage.

Nothing guarantees an unhappy life like the lack of self-discipline.

If you usually deliver more than you promise, you will be appreciated for your rarity if nothing else. If you want to build a good, long-term reputation, under promise and over perform.

Pundits always talk about a President's "legacy." Hard to believe whoever is President, he wakes up in the morning with this on his mind.

Charges of "hate speech" directed at any disagreement with a liberal are losing their punch from overuse, just as the ubiquitous charge of “racism” has.

The Jewish war cry is, “Never again!” But European Progressives—and many in the US—look at Israel and say, “Well, once more would be fine…”

The world has become a carnival freak show. I feel the need to stick around just to see what nutty thing happens next. 

In ten years, the Dow will be priced in ammo and canned goods.

We had a big March snow storm in the Chicago area. I understand it was due to the Republicans refusing to compromise.

Some of the folks who e-mail me stuff are like the blond in the commercial, with the “French Model” for a date: “They can’t put anything on the Internet if it isn’t true.”

When my computer doesn’t respond as quickly as I think it should, I tend to click again, making things worse. Then I tend to swear at it. But how come an old guy like me is faster than a computer?

There as so many factions in Syria, I think there is zero chance that they won’t fight among themselves—with western-supplied weapons—once the regime falls. This will not be over for years.

If I was a US Senator, I’d never filibuster. I can’t even sleep more than two hours without a head call.

I’ll buy universal background checks for buying guns if we get universal prosecution for felons attempting to buy guns illegally. The vast majority are not prosecuted. Mandatory one year in prison for a felon attempting to buy a gun, five years for a felon possessing a gun, five years for using a gun in a crime, five years for selling a gun illegally to a felon, ten years for using a gun in a crime where someone is injured. Democrats are for more laws and less enforcement, because enforcement tends to fall on certain Democrat base groups that commit a disproportionate number of crimes.

I think of crackers as just a delivery system for cheese or peanut butter.

Thank God they passed the “Violence Against Women” act. Who knew that violence against women was legal? Now it will be illegal, same as violence against men.

Should not Barack Obama get a Lifetime Darwin award for spending the whole country into oblivion?

Funny how Bush water boarding three foreign terrorists was terrible, but Obama asserting the right to assassinate American citizens on American soil with drones is no big deal with the media.

I’m afraid the people who send me free address labels and other guilt gifts will figure out I’m not going to give them any money and stop. But so far, so good.

Is there anything less based in reality than “Reality TV”? Not counting, of course White House claims on the sequester or liberals’ ignorant statements on guns, such as Michelle Obama claiming on TV (edited out by their kneepad-media sycophants) that 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was killed with an automatic weapon. Police found no shell casing and believe she was murdered by a black gang member with a revolver, not even a semi-automatic pistol. But like Reality TV, they don’t let facts stand in their way. And the media protects them.

A statement of fact or a promise from Obama is like a gallon of milk. It comes with a “sell-by” expiration date. After that, it is likely to smell bad.

Most people, probably including me, have an unrealistic view of their intellect, abilities and limitations. But the closer to reality their views are, the more likely they are to have happy, effective and successful lives.

He lied about taxes, the deficit, jobs, Benghazi, drug cartel guns, Gitmo & much else. When will people catch on?

People say “Once wouldn’t hurt” about diets and worse things such as drugs. But they forget a new chance for “once” comes every day. “Once” is a killer.

In organizations, many of the people busy drilling holes in the boat complain the loudest when they discover it is sinking. This is true of countries as well.

If bullshit was gold, Obama would have more than kept his promise to cut the deficit in half.

When someone dies who is a loss to the world, you say, “RIP” for “Rest in Peace.” When a monster like Hugo Chavez dies, you should say, “RIH” for “Rot in Hell.”

Hugo Chavez oppressed his people, destroyed the country’s economy, particularly the oil industry through socialist policies, smashed basic freedoms like freedom of the press, enriched himself at the expense of the people to the tune of two billion dollars, and hated America. Of course loony leftists from Jimmy Carter to Michael Moore to most Hollywood twits loved him and mourned his passing.

Today’s progressives are far more Keynesian than Keynes was.

I’m not paranoid, but I don’t see how it hurts to line my baseball caps with tin foil…

Leftists say they value diversity. 50% of our immigrants are Hispanics. Why not get diversity by having a balance of immigrants from other cultures and countries? Because it’s only for show.

If Obama was half as good at governing as getting himself elected, the country would be in a lot better shape. Unfortunately, that’s true about a lot of politicians in both parties. Maybe it was true of me when I was a senator—I don’t have an objective viewpoint.

White racism is called racism. Islamic racism is called multiculturalism. Black Racism is called affirmative action.

What can I do to help the conservative cause today? I know, find some Republicans I disagree with on some issue and rip them up. That'll help.

At some jobs I’ve held, I was appreciated a lot more for what I accomplish there after I left than when I was there. I think that’s a good thing. Some of my predecessors were despised after I turned over the right rocks.

People often brag about how little sleep they get. Isn’t that like bragging about getting too little food or exercise?

I like being at work, but I hate getting out of bed in the morning and getting ready for work. Worst part of the day.

What I call “Bright Guy Disease” is a common problem. It’s the fellow who is so accomplished in his own field, and so used to dealing with folks who aren’t at his cognitive level, that he now thinks he is not only smarter than everyone he meets, but that he knows more about law than his lawyer, more about airplanes than the pilot, and so on. It leads them into a lot of traps and troubles. I would say this was true about Obama, except the only thing I know he’s accomplished at is getting elected to public office. The record elsewhere is thinner than a Vegas hooker’s nightgown.

While slavery existed in every society, and people of all races and religions were enslaved, including millions of European Christians enslaved by Muslims, we can all now agree that it was a terrible thing, and America and the world would be far better off if not one slave had been brought to these shores.

There’s an old military maxim that if you defend everywhere, you defend nowhere. This is because you are spread so thin, the defense is ineffective. The same might be said of organizations, including governments. “If you try to focus on everything you could be doing, you will focus on nothing enough to the extent that you will accomplish your goals.”

I feel about the country now like a guy who for hours has warned about a train wreck because the bridge is out, to no avail. The train is now on the trestle, the plunge into the abyss cannot be avoided, and I watch and report on it in resigned horror, having made my peace with the unthinkable. Maybe God will intervene.

I’m thinking of stopping voting for conservatives. They never give me free stuff they took from someone who worked to earn it. It’s just not fair.

If you are an unfashionable guy, you get to decide what you will wear. If you are a fashionable guy, a gay guy in New York decides what you will wear.

Obama reminds me of the old Family Circus cartoon bit, where something bad happens, and all the kids are innocent, as it was caused by a little ghost named “Not Me.

If the employment rate was declining as fast as people were leaving the work force, and the economy was growing as fast as the food stamp list, the Social Security Disability rolls, or new government regulations, we’d be in The Obama Boom.

Humans, thy name is hypocrisy.

If you want an abortion, it’s “Your Body, Your Choice.” But if you want an extra large soda, you’re out of luck.

Forgive and forget if you want to. I’m plotting revenge.

I love curry, but I suspect it was first created to cover up the taste of rancid goat.

Well, looks like I can take “Be Elected Pope” off my bucket list. Not gonna happen. But “Be Appointed Warden of the West March” is still there. Who knows what will happen if Scotland votes for independence?

Both parties and sides of the political divide are a lot better at preventing change the other side wants than instituting the change they want. So we drift toward the abyss.

I learned long ago that doing nothing is often the right thing to do. But doing nothing is hard for a guy like me. It’s very hard for politicians when the press and public are clambering for them to “do something!”

The politician’s credo: What matters is not what happens, but who gets the blame.

Real men don’t sit around talking about what “real men” do.

Everyone says "love" or "hate" when they mean "like" or "don't like." It’s wrecking the language.

Thinks made specifically to be "collectable" aren't. They are almost always a bad investment.

Talking to some people is like shouting down a well.

I have no interest in Super Hero movies where they fight imaginary monsters. If you want heroes, the world is full of real, human heroes, with all the flaws and weakness of humans, fighting real monsters. Some of those monsters are things like disease, but most look just like us.

When someone says someone else is a RINO because they disagree on some issue, they never tell you who made them the judge of what core Republican principles should be.

March Madness is high on the list of things that bore me.

Most of the former legislators I met who worked for the government after they left office were at pains to tell me it was a “real job with important work.”

We forget that the Muslim extremists kill about a hundred fellow Muslims, who interpret the unchangeable word of Allah slightly differently, or happen to be in the wrong place, for every Christian or Jew they murder. But criticizing the murderers is “Islamophobic,” so they just have to go on dying.

I know I’ve gotten old. People keep telling me how young I look.

“Utilize” is a fancy way to say “use” to sound smart.

People who credit Bill Clinton for balancing the budget forget he had a HUGE advantage—a Republican Congress. Congress has to pass the budget and every penny in spending. The current Democrat Senate took four years to pass one.

I was at a lecture where it was claimed that in the US, one person out of three outweighs the other two put together. Look around. Maybe it’s you?

A Progressive would always raise taxes on the “rich” and on business, even if it brought in less revenue for government programs, because it’s “fair.”

What is the difference between the proposed EU tax on the assets people have in Cyprus banks, and the ObamaCare tax on the assets people have in their homes when sold for over a certain amount?

I guess I'm old fashioned. I can't get used to having the guy next to me at the men's room urinals chatting away to his wife on his cell phone.

Do you think it's a coincident that "affluent" and "effluent" sound so much alike?

I have a rather strict view of art. If I could have done it, it's not art. No matter how much they charged the taxpayers to produce and display it.

Karaoke is one of the great evils of modern life.

Many parents look at their teenager and wish the kid had been switched in the hospital for Rosemary's Baby.

From a Vietnam Marine buddy, Larry: "My doctor told me to start killing people. Well, not in those exact words. He said I had to reduce the stress in my life. Same thing."

With drones killing people, I guess the First Law of Robotics has been repealed?

I usually can’t tell non-conformists apart—they all look the same. But at least that different drummer they all march to keeps them in step.

I’ve been fortunate to get more than one job where the previous person was incompetent, unethical or both. Then all you have to do is act with integrity, do the work and be reasonable, and you’re a star!

The two most valuable assets a person can have are health and reputation. Ask someone with a life threatening health challenge, such as my pulmonary fibrosis, if they’d rather win a ten million dollar lottery or be in good health. No contest. Health can be a matter of luck—there’s no telling why I have pulmonary fibrosis. But it is also a matter of choices: exercising, weight control, eating right, not smoking or using drugs, controlling alcohol consumption. Reputation is almost as valuable, and is almost entirely under your own control. My reputation for integrity, hard work, reliability, competence and getting things done has served me well in my life. Yet far too many people throw away these assets by making short-term, live-in-the moment decisions. It’s like dropping money down a well, but worse.

I don't have a real problem with gay marriage. I think that straight people having kids and not getting married, as happens in ever-increasing numbers, is a hundred times worse a threat to our culture and country. My marriage is strong enough that the lesbian couple next door getting married won't hurt it a bit. I don't think people choose to be gay, because, no matter how mad or hurt I was with a woman, I never said, "Damn, I think I'll date guys from now on." If you think it's a choice, to me it means you must have thought about making that choice. I never did. But when I was a young, single, Republican state senator representing a 4-1 Democrat district I had won by only nine votes out of 60,000+ cast, I agreed to be senate floor manager and first speaker for bills to prohibit employment and housing discrimination against gays. That was 1973, so I suspect I was the first legislator in the country to speak in a legislature for gay rights. (I know this makes me a RINO in some folk’s eyes and they will now demand that I vote for liberals and progressive policies like banning guns, more taxes, bigger government and green boondoggles, but I won't do it. Sorry.) The Democrats assumed I had committed political suicide and had a field day, spreading the rumor that I was gay. This was truly wonderful. It pretty much inoculated my rather robust romantic life with women from criticism. If a woman was seen leaving my place at 6:00 am, it was suddenly a political plus. And in the next election, I crushed their candidate by over 10,000 votes, carrying every city and town including the ward he represented on the city council. But—here's the But—I know that many good and decent people believe that their faith teaches them that gay marriage or homosexuality is morally wrong and sinful. Calling them bigots for their religious faith is just as evil and intolerant as calling gay people queers, homos or faggots. It is the progressive version of the Westboro Baptist Church. Let's have some tolerance both ways, okay?

*****

Robert A. Hall is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.
For a free PDF of the book, e-mail him at tartanmarine(at)gmail.com.

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.)

Quotes
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
http://clashdaily.com/2013/03/americans-are-migrating-to-more-free-republican-states/#ixzz2OwHNPoqz
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)

The Party Platforms

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 29, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for March 29, 2013
Robert A. Hall
Your one-stop-shop for political news and opinion. Please forward to friends who need to be informed. This SitRep (Military for “Situation Report”) is created by many readers who send me items for inclusion, which I would have likely missed or skipped. And I can only spend at most three hours a night pulling stuff, plus the healthcare or economic stuff that crosses my desk at work. As always, I—and you—owe them thanks and appreciation. I post articles because I think they are of interest and will stimulate thought and discussion. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article, or that I was able to verify the information presented, which is the responsibility of the author. I try not to post things that are false, or too far a stretch, regardless of the view point, but I don’t always succeed. As always on the Net, or in the legacy media, you must read critically and with skepticism.

C.Y.A. Protecting Yourself in the Modern Jungle
If you order directly from CreateSpace, the PFF receives a larger royalty:
First published in 2010, this book has been reissued through CreateSpace/Amazon at a lower price, with all royalties going to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. A humor/self-help book, this is advice with an attitude.

Worth Reading: Florida: Concealed Carry Permits Up, Violent Crime Downhttp://clashdaily.com/2013/03/florida-concealed-carry-permits-up-violent-crime-down/
Excerpt: Firearm-related violent crimes in Florida have dropped by one-third in just four years, 2007 to 2011, while concealed carry permits jumped by 90 percent in that period. Further, violent crime of any kind dropped almost as much, 26 percent.

Regarding "Can the Marines Survive"
Here is a "Marine Survival" article from today's WSJ. Incidentally, I don't agree that there were no military units that could have intervened in the Benghazi attack in time to save the two Seals. Where were the ready alert fighters aboard the 5th Fleet aircraft carriers? Why was a Navy Admiral relieved of his duties days after the attack and where did he disappear to? Did he try and launch fighters to disperse the attackers with low level flights or even by use of cannon fire? Was the Admiral ordered directly and forcibly to stand down, perhaps even to the extent that he was fully prepared to disobey POTUS, SecDef and CJCS Gen. Dempsey? The attack began at about 1400 D.C. time, Panetta and Dempsey in testimony that I watched stated they briefed the president around 1500 and were told to handle it whichever way they thought best, the two Seals were KIA around 2200 D.C. time. More than sufficient time for fighters to have been on scene and fighter refuelers to been airborne to fuel their return leg. Concern about the sovereignty of Libya? Horse hockey! --JP

Changing the Battlefield: The "Tide of War" is not Receding. By Shoshana Bryen
Excerpt: The wars against us have not ended – responsibly or otherwise. They are fought by people who need the United States as an organizing principle, and who will not be dissuaded by our absence our reluctance to cooperate with Israel, or the President's flattery. Separately, the Shiite and the Sunni elements despise one another; together, they despise us more. The unwillingness of the Obama administration to label the September occupation of American diplomatic facilities in Cairo and Benghazi, and the murder of an American diplomat "acts of war" make this an opportune moment to consider two lessons emanating from more than a decade of warfare in the Arab and Moslem world. (When a country sends an army to war, it is immoral and horrible policy not to fight to win and to set conditions that permanently end hostilities. What we have done in the last generation is to guarantee further attacks on us by an increasingly brazen set of enemies who understand that they will not suffer the consequences of defeat. Perhaps I should add that history shows that powerful military reprisals short of war have had chilling effects on would be enemies. Cordially, Larry Greenberg)

Why a BA is Now a Ticket to A Job in a Coffee Shop
Excerpt: …lower skilled workers are increasingly falling out of the higher paying jobs altogether as college graduates move down the skill ladder. So while college graduates are having trouble getting college-style jobs, the unskilled workers are doing even worse. This is not necessarily evidence that the college degree is producing the wage--it might be that folks capable of getting into college would be able to get that barista job even if they didn't go. (Notice that this is from reliably liberal Daily Beast; even they are noticing and speaking up. There are additional considerations, too. One of my grandfathers had to leave school in the Fifth Grade due to the death of his father. He educated himself sufficiently to become one of the leading accountants at his plastic molding company, and by the 1950s, a Federal Court-recognized master and receiver for bankrupt companies in northern New Jersey. My other grandfather left high school by running away at age 16; he was variously a farmer, a coal-yard owner, and real estate developer who retired at age 52 because, like the other grandfather, he self-educated. The final decade of my working years were spent as a recruiter for a convenience store chain. We frequently had to reject candidates with degrees (some with graduate degrees) who were unable to pass our 16 question math test by getting 70% or more correct. The test was simple, straight arithmetic geared to a Fourth Grade level. (Note: none of the failures I recall had an “S” after their degree level, they all had an “A” or some variety of “Studies.”) The inescapable conclusion I reached is that the schools have changed their standards and are passing out degrees based on attendance rather than what the student has learned. Many companies now use a degree only to show that the individual has the staying power to finish what they start. --Ron P. )

Islamic apartheid billboards
Powerful stuff. ~Bob

Cyprus crisis: capital controls loom as banks race to re-open - as it happened
Excerpt: The capital controls are meant to prevent hordes of savers descending on Cyprus's bank branches and cleaning the vaults out. So what might they be?

Three Years of Broken Promises: The president’s health-care law has done almost none of what he suggested it would. By Michael Tanner
Excerpt: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, turned three years old this week. But unlike fine wine, the ACA is not getting better with age. A torrent of recent studies and reports has provided new evidence — as if we needed more confirmation — that nearly everything we were told about this law was untrue. Compare these promises to what we’ve found out about the law in just the past two months:

Millions to Be Priced Out of Obamacare
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. Tax credits are a key component of the law and the White House has said the credits, averaging about $4,000 apiece, will help about 18 million individuals and families pay for health insurance once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, beginning in January 2014. (This is going to be just beautiful when it hits. There will be shocked, depressed, and really ticked off people in various groups all over society. 2014 election just looks more and more interesting. --Del)

NM health insurance costs could spike more than a third after reform. Dennis Domrzalski
Excerpt: The cost of individual health insurance in New Mexico under the federal Affordable Care Act will increase by an average of 35 percent, according to a new study by the Society of Actuaries. (Well, they voted for him. Elections have consequences.)

Important: Study: Health overhaul to raise claims cost 32%
Excerpt: Medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans’ individual policies under President Barack Obama’s overhaul, according to a study by the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts. ... The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said. (Well, he said it would bend the cost curve. Wisconsin is at an 80% jump in their report. They voted for him too. Enjoy. ~Bob.)

Egypt: Divers caught while cutting Internet cable
Excerpt: Egypt's naval forces captured three scuba divers who were trying to cut an undersea Internet cable in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, a military spokesman said.

CNN finds that spending is the only thing fast about high-speed rail
Excerpt: "We're not building pieces of high-speed rail, we're just wasting high-speed money fixing up old slow rails," Griffin says in this video segment on Anderson Cooper's "360" program. (Show me your shocked face. ~Bob.)

Burma’s “Opening” No Human Rights Fairy Tale. By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: The flames of intolerance spreading to new areas of Burma are a reminder that the country’s “democratic reform” period is not a happy human rights tale.

Muslim Persecution of Christians
Excerpt: Egypt: A court sentenced an entire family – Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children – to fifteen years in prison for converting to Christianity. The year 2013 began with reports indicating that wherever Christians live side by side with large numbers of Muslims, the Christians are under attack.

Disney grants man $8,000 after ride malfunction forces him to listen to It's a Small World for 30 minutes 
That is not near enough to compensate him. ~Bob.

Quote
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. - H. L. Mencken

China Purchases Fighter Jets, Subs from Russia
Excerpt: Following China’s recent announcement that it would increase its military budget, the country reached an agreement on a weapons technology purchase with Russia, according to Rima News.

Concerns Proliferating: China confirms nuclear deal with Pakistan
Excerpt: China confirmed this week it will sell a new 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor to Pakistan that the United States says would violate Beijing’s obligations under a nuclear supplier control group. They are on a major campaign to grow their offensive military power, especially on the high seas. They protect North Korea from pressures on nuclear proliferation. They seem to have moved into a much more aggressive role in Asia, and we have to wonder where this will go. It just doesn't seem like good news. -Del. There's a reason why the rise of China as a military and economic power is one of the four major threats I cite in The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. There are, of course, others, such as trends against marriage and work in our culture. ~Bob)

Excerpt: Regulatory agencies don’t consider the possible impact they may have on labor markets, even though they have been, since 1971, increasingly subject to requirements that they consider the effect of regulatory change on the economy. Unfortunately, the failure to focus effectively on the employment impact of regulation means that the analysis misses several important aspects of regulation First, agencies ignore the economic cost of job loss in the regulated industry, despite strong evidence that job displacement of any type is very costly for individuals, families, and communities. Second, agencies ignore the economic cost of indirect job loss in other industries resulting from higher priced regulated goods or services.

A Collective Veto Could Nullify ObamaCare
Excerpt: Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") seek to expand access to health care but are not in the best interests of the states. Thirty-four states have already refused to create health care exchanges and many others are currently deciding whether to expand Medicaid coverage as envisioned by the ObamaCare mandate. The Obama administration is still trying to coerce states into implementing parts of the expansion the Supreme Court viewed as optional. States should collectively veto the exchanges and Medicaid expansion, which would force Congress to reconsider or repeal the mandate, says Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute. States can reduce federal deficits by $1.7 trillion if they refuse to implement the exchanges and Medicaid expansion mandated by ObamaCare. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the federal government cannot force states to create the exchanges, the creation of which would violate state law and raise taxes in many states. Each state has the ability to takes its time implementing an exchange and always has the ability to switch to a state-funded exchange.

Excerpt: Actress Ashley Judd is not running for Senate in Kentucky, she announced on her Twitter feed Wednesday afternoon. "After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family. Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate," she tweeted. (Translation: “With all the nutty stuff I’ve said and done over the years, they would grind me into cat food.” ~Bob.)

Sean Penn’s Son Goes on Racist Tirade [VIDEO]
Excerpt: Hopper Penn, Sean’s 19-year-old son, was following his father into a building when his sickening racism came pouring out of him and onto an African-American reporter. (This is what many of the oh, so politically correct left really think about blacks. Remember, it wasn't the Democrat party who freed the slaves. But it was the Democrats who started the Ku Klux Klan. Why, even their corrupt, but beloved Sen. Robert Bird had been a Klan recruiter. And it was the Democrats who fought and filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So, I guess doper, racist, and all around asshole Hopper Penn [honest, that's what Sean named his son] is simply living up to Democrat values. To be fair, Hopper might have just been a little testy, what with the recent death of his father's pal, Hugo Chavez. – LLW)

KrisAnne Hall puts Liberal Attorney in his place 
Very short but really solid video of a knowledgeable person schooling a board of people at some kind of public forum. KrisAnne Hall posted this video of her participation in a town hall style forum that was broadcast on a social media channel. I admit that I have never heard of her before this. But go to her website for more of her commentaries and her biography. She writes very clearly, logically, and factually about our current problems. http://krisannehall.com/ Maybe we'll see her in politics in the coming years. I hope so. --Del

TSA simplifies screening process for wounded soldiers
Excerpt: The Transportation Security Administration has announced it will be offering an expedited airport screening process to severely injured members of the armed services.

North Korea to cut all channels with South
Excerpt: Reclusive North Korea is to cut the last channel of communications with the South because war could break out at "any moment", it said on Wednesday, days of after warning the United States and South Korea of nuclear attack. (If I was running things, I would wait until the wind was blowing just right, then nuke those crazy bastards off the globe. But, alas, I'm not running things. Maybe that's a good thing. But then, maybe not. – LLW. I think they just forgot to pay their Verizon bill. ~Bob.)

North Korea Increases Preparedness level
Excerpt: Most ominous is that the North Koreans seem to be deliberately misinterpreting Allied and UN actions as threatening a nuclear war. That artificially electrifies the atmosphere. The intent appears to be to persuade the US and the UN how dangerous the situation is without a permanent peace treaty. That judgment is based on the mismatch between the North's "war preparations" and the likely damage that tactical nuclear weapons could inflict on all those assembled forces. (Today’s Night Watch is unusually well detailed. The situation in North Korea just seems to get “worser and worser” as an old friend used to say. When we tolerate rogue powers being nuclear armed, this is the result. Just think how much fun it will be when Iran is also fully nuclear-capable. --Ron P.)

A photo that makes North Korea look a lot less scary. By Max Fisher
Excerpt: The threats – turning Seoul into a sea of flames, eradicating the American military presence and maybe America itself – are empty, of course. And not just because North Korea doesn’t actually have any incentive to start a second Korean War (it has every incentive to make empty threats). They’re also empty because the North Korean military is just not that powerful anymore.

The Cannibals of North Korea. By Max Fisher
Excerpt: Fear of cannibalism, like the famine supposedly driving it, spread. People avoided the meat in streetside soup vendors and warned children not to be alone at night. At least one person in Chongjin was arrested and executed for eating human flesh.

Russian authorities search Human Rights Watch offices
Excerpt: Russian authorities searched the Moscow offices of Human Rights Watch and three other prominent advocacy groups on Wednesday, part of a wave of hundreds of inspections that activists say is a campaign to silence criticism of President Vladimir Putin. (Apparently you will be punished for criticizing Dear Leader in Russia as well as here. ~Bob.)

Cyprus banks to reopen on Thursday after bailout closure
Excerpt: Customers will also be limited to withdrawing 300 euros ($383; £253) a day, to prevent everyone fleeing with their savings.

Mexico vigilantes detain police in Guerrero
Excerpt: Hundreds of armed vigilantes have occupied a town in south-western Mexico after one of their leaders was killed. Armed with shotguns, the self-styled "community police" marched into Tierra Colorada in Guerrero state. They detained the local police chief, accusing him of involvement in the killing and working with drugs gangs. (If we allow Mexico to collapse into chaos and warring mini narco-states, we will need five divisions fighting on our southern border to contain the violence. ~Bob.)

New BRICS bank to rival World Bank, IMF
Excerpt: The BRICS group of emerging economies has unveiled a new development bank, which is aimed at breaking the monopoly held by Western-backed institutions. … Finance ministers of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – met in Durban, South Africa for the opening of the fifth BRICS summit this week as leaders are expected to make an official announcement on Wednesday. (The IMF, along with the rest of the Troika, is badly discredited in the wake of its Cyprus bank robbery in which thousands of depositors lost 80% of all their cash in excess of 100,000 euros. Now comes BRICS with an alternative. --Don Hank

Older Piece: Woman killed for tip money, 2 men charged, 1 at large
Excerpt: Three men have been charged with killing 24-year-old Jacqueline Gardner and taking the tip money she earned from her restaurant job on May 19. (Funny how everyone knows Trayvon Martin’s name, but almost no one has heard of Jacqueline Gardner. Might be because she was white and the three killers were black, thus not big news in our media. ~Bob.)

Buzzkill? Cash-strapped states eye pot tax
Excerpt: Now that voters in Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana use, dope smokers there can light up without the usual paranoid fear that the cops are at the door. The taxman is another matter. (How about an abortion tax? ~Bob.)

Excerpt: For the last few months we're beginning to see a trend that just might bode well for Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections. Obama lost millions of his "brain dead" Kool Aid drinkers when he upped the payroll tax back to the 6.2 percent rate established previously. Most of us knew the temporary cut was just to put a couple of hundred extra dollars in worker paychecks, enabling him to buy an election using the Social Security Trust Fund. (And of course underfunding Social Security which is already under assault) So things weren't so "kumbaya" between Obama and his groupies even before being sworn in to his second term. Then this month we learned that the average health care premium (already up 25% since Obamacare was signed) is scheduled to increase another 32 percent next year! The political boards are on fire over these explosive increases.

Quote
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy. –Bertrand Russell

Death to freedom. By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: Last month, the Canadian supreme court, at a stroke, undid all the good work of the last five years, reaffirmed the state's role in the thought-crime business, rejected truth as a defense, and took a narrow, generation-old ruling on "hate speech" and carelessly broadened it. And they did it unanimously. Nearly four centuries after John Milton declared, "Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties," on the highest court in one of the oldest democratic jurisdictions on earth there is not a single vote for the rough-and-tumble of unfettered speech necessary to any free society.

It's not just school grades that parents buy. By Harry Wallop
Excerpt: The confidence that privately educated children are supposed to possess is generated not just by small class sizes, world-class facilities and an encouragement to aspire. It comes from an innate understanding that they will grow up knowing the right people, that there is a network they can tap into.

Worse is better. By James Delingpole
Excerpt: These times, we're beginning to appreciate, are not like other times. There's simply no precedent for the kind of depression we're experiencing now. Certainly not for the way our political class, in league with the bankers and corporatists (and their inevitable battery of lawyers) are conspiring against the people and adopting measures absolutely guaranteed to make things worse.

Web slows after 'biggest ever cyber attack.' By Matt Warman
Excerpt: A Dutch web-hosting company caused disruption and the global slowdown of the internet, according to a not-for-profit anti-spam organization. The interruptions came after Spamhaus, a spam-fighting group based in Geneva, temporarily added the Dutch firm, CyberBunker, to a blacklist that is used by e-mail providers to weed out spam.

Here comes Team Obama's carbon tax 
How to squeeze more money from all of us, for the chance to redistribute our wealth to other countries that the Enlightened Ones know we owe help to, since they are poor and we are not. Sure, we all want that, don't we? If they had asked us to vote on raising our taxes to send more money to selected poor countries, wouldn't we all have rushed to vote yes? And of course the tax is about carbon which is about Global Warming, which is totally accepted as scientific fact by... some people, but not a whole lot of others who have qualifications just as solid as their opponents. And in any case, nothing we do, nothing at all including not burning another gallon of gas or pound of coal from right now until the next century, will have any significant effect on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. But hey, why worry about such minor matters? Remember, you are not paranoid if they really are out to get you. Or your money. --Del

Crowning Erdogan as the New King of Islamists. By Ryan Mauro 
Excerpt: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey for the deaths of its citizens during the 2010 flotilla raid misses the point. The tension with Turkey was never really about the operation. It was about making Israel bow to Turkey, crowning Prime Minister Erdogan as the new king of the Islamists. (Concessions to monsters—Hitler, Stalin or Jihadists—are seen as weakness and only bring more aggression and violence. ~Bob.)

When Affordable Health Care Died. By Arnold Ahlert 
Excerpt: On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was forced to concede that some people who will be buying health insurance for themselves next fall will face higher premium costs due to provisions in the healthcare bill. A new study released the same day reveals that insurance companies themselves will be paying out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims. Both stories join the growing list of indicators that point toward a grim reality: when it is fully implemented, the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 will be anything but. (When Obamacare was about to be shoved through in 2010, a doctor who had voted for Obama told me, “This is going to be a disaster.” “Yes,” I replied, “But I knew that in November of 2008.” ~Bob.)

Iraq a convenient scapegoat. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Bring up Iraq -- and expect to end up in an argument. Conservatives are no different from liberals in rehashing the unpopular war, which has become a sort of whipping boy for all our subsequent problems.

Tunisians Raise Alarm on Possible Fatwa Encouraging 'Sexual Jihad'
Excerpt: Tunisia witnessed controversy yesterday [March 26] regarding a fatwa that permits “sexual jihad” in Syria. Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine al-Khadimi rejected “sexual jihad” fatwas, saying that the Tunisian people and state institutions are not obligated to adhere to them. Khadimi’s statements follow reports that Tunisian teenagers have headed to Syria in response to this fatwa. (My fault. I said, “Screw the Syrian Jihadists,” and they misunderstood. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Federal investigators, according to the ACLU’s analysis of Justice Department emails, have “routinely” used a portable technology called a “stingray,” which masquerades as a cellphone tower by emitting a powerful signal. The goal is to trick nearby cellphones into connecting to the stingray, which can then gather data transmitted by the phones. (Per article, “A September 2012 investigative report by LA Weekly found that law enforcement across the country — including Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Worth, and Gilbert, Arizona — are secretly using the technology.” –Barb)

Tax Reform
Krauthammer and Marty Feldstein's income tax reform makes good economic sense—both on the blackboard and in practice. The concept is straight forward: get rid of all the exemptions and tax credits, except those that are so politically sensitive that proposing them would doom the entire reform (e.g. charitable contributions). I would rather get rid of the income tax all together, and substituting a VAT or a General Consumption Tax. These result in taxes being levied on income used to buy stuff, but not on savings, thereby providing incentives to save and invest in productive capacity and jobs. Some expenditures, as for food and shelter, could be exempted from either tax. Economically unwise, but maybe politically necessary. Prospects for this kind of reform are poor, because a small majority of the current crop of elected representatives seems to prefer that every government policy focus on redistributing both income and wealth from the top 50 percent of earners to the bottom 50 percent. But there is a strong logical foundation for either this or the Feldstein kind of reform. That is, it assumes people follow the incentives, and it provides incentives for saving and investment—the foundations of economic growth and strength, and it affords protection for those with modest incomes who spend most of their incomes on food and shelter. It takes the government out of its impossible role as decider of what to produce and how. An additional and significant advantage of the VAT or General Consumption tax is that in would permit massive dismantling of the massive bureaucracy not employed to administer the zillion-page Internal Revenue code. Simplicity—and therefore efficiency—is gained as one of our country's most despised institutions (IRS) is reduced to a role of actually producing "service." These gains, to me, are of immeasurable value. Of course the legions of both private sector and public sector employees whose current livings are made in jobs made necessary by the antiquated IRS code could be counted upon to mount an all-out war against such gains in efficiency. Arnold Ahlert’s concept is quite a different matter. Basically it draws upon a lot of 1960s style conspiracy slogans (world-wide conspiracy of the powerful to further exploit the less powerful), to assert lots of impending doom, but offers no theoretical or logical path to lead us to dire conclusions. It displays a deep and broad lack of knowledge of the IMF, the role of Central Banks in market-like economies, yet makes bold assertions about where they wish to take us (i.e. all us regular folks!). Not worth spending much time puzzling over. – Samuel L Skogstad. (Dr. Skogstad is an economist, a blog reader and a brother Marine. His comments are in response to articles on tax reform going around the net, which I don’t think were on my blog, but I thought his remarks had stand alone value. ~Bob.)

Vial of deadly virus missing at Texas bioterror lab
Excerpt: A Texas lab can't find a frozen vial of virus that is a potential bioterror agent. Lab officials say it's most likely the vial was accidentally destroyed inside the facility.

Colonel relieved of command for failing fitness test: Colonel had a waist measurement of 2 inches more than the limit.
Excerpt: Col. Tim Bush is no longer in command of the 319th Air Base Wing at the base as of Wednesday, Maj. Mike Andrews, spokesman for Air Mobility Command, said in a statement.

Indoctrination And Data Mining In Common Core: Here’s Why America’s Schools May Be In More Trouble Than You Think
Excerpt: TheBlaze has been at the forefront in uncovering the disturbing details of the nationalized curriculum standard known as Common Core. One of the most troubling aspects of this federal program is that government bureaucrats are currently mining sensitive and highly personal information on children through Common Core’s tracking system.

Democratic Headquarters
Robert -- We are conducting a membership audit before the first FEC deadline of President Obama’s second term. Your membership is pending. If you support President Obama’s agenda, it is CRITICAL that you renew your membership in the next 72 hours. (Darn. I’ve been so busy it keeps slipping my mind. And only a $3 minimum. ~Bob.)

Report: ICE investigators cooperated with ‘Fast and Furious’
Excerpt: Homeland Security agents cooperated with the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” operation that allowed firearms to flow to suspected gun traffickers, despite knowing some of the tactics violated strict department policies on tracking smugglers, according to an inspector general’s report. (Show me your shocked…oh, never mind. Typical of this administration. ~Bob.)