Thursday, May 27, 2010

Political Digest May 27, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with them. I have to say all this to give some of my critics the benefit of the doubt, assuming they are thick, rather than deliberately taking things the wrong way.

14 U.S. soldiers awarded German Gold Cross medal
Guess the Krauts don’t give the Iron Cross anymore. Too bad. Excerpt: The rescue was harrowing, but his son was calm in recounting it, Jack McDonough recalled Thursday. Capt. Robert McDonough, a pilot, called him in the States from northern Afghanistan. His son described how he had to maneuver his helicopter, which was evacuating wounded German soldiers, to avoid heavy fire from insurgents who had pinned down a German platoon. The bullets were so close, he could hear the rounds pinging off the Black Hawk’s rotors, his son said. He wanted to let his father know he was OK before he saw the incident on the news. "A German doctor told him that if they hadn’t gotten three of the other [German] soldiers back so quickly, they would have died," said Jack McDonough, of Williamsport, Pa.

Drug Cartels Take Over Local Politics
Frightening video. Why he left CA for AZ. Excerpt: According to 33 year veteran gang specialist and retired L.A. Sheriff's Sergeant Richard Valdemar, Mexican drug cartels have infiltrated city councils and political campaigns in many small cities in Los Angeles County. Valdemar cited the following cities as having been infiltrated by the Mexican drug cartels: Lynwood, Bell Gardens, Hawaiian Gardens, South Gate, Huntington Park., Vernon, Cudahy. Drug cartels set up phony businesses to launder drug money, usually used car lots, used tire shops that serve as a "front" for their operations. Valdemar says it all starts when a small business, like a restaurant, is purchased by someone with drug money from Mexico, who sets up shop and starts inviting the city fathers to come for complimentary or discounted meals. Then invitations are extended to local police and other government officials, until the business operator is well established, with powerful friends. Drug money is used to send out smear campaign literature to destroy reputations of incumbent city council members and to finance the campaigns of challengers whose goal is to get a majority voting block on the city council. Once the drug cartel controls the city council, they fire the city attorney, city manager and start giving out contracts, like the trash collection contract, to their cronies.

Obama gets an earful in clash with GOP senators
Excerpt: If President Barack Obama thought having a private lunch with Republican senators would ease partisan tensions in Congress, he grabbed the wrong recipe. The president walked into a remarkably contentious 80-minute session Tuesday in which GOP senators accused him of duplicity, audacity and unbending partisanship. Lawmakers said the testy exchange left legislative logjams intact, and one GOP leader said nothing is likely to change before the November elections. Obama's sharpest accuser was Bob Corker of Tennessee, a first-term senator who feels the administration undermined his efforts to craft a bipartisan financial regulation bill. "I told him I thought there was a degree of audacity in him even showing up today after what happened with financial regulation," Corker told reporters, with perhaps a dig at Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope."

Kilo Company Squads Engage Insurgents After Ambush
Check out the video. Excerpt: COMBAT OUTPOST REILLY, Afghanistan – Last night, I went on my last foot patrol of this embed assignment. It was eventful, to say the least. Military Times photographer Tom Brown and I pushed north from this outpost east of Marjah with Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. Two groups – 3rd Platoon’s 2nd and 3rd Squads – left on routine security patrols within a half-hour of each other. Tom and I joined 3/3, the second group – 13 Marines, a Navy corpsman and four Afghan National Army soldiers – as they stepped off at about 4:30. It was a strenuous walk. The first squad had swept ahead of us to establish security so we could safely cross open terrain, but the land was crisscrossed with canals that needed to be hurdled and boot-sucking fields that had been flooded by farmers earlier in the day. The air temperature had cooled off considerably from its 100-degree peak earlier in the day, but it was still hot enough that our shirts clung to our backs.

U.S., Europe fall out of step on global financial reform
How can this happen when Europe loves BO, who was going to reset our relationship with other countries? And it may “send American jobs overseas.” Excerpt: The global campaign to harmonize rules for financial firms is swerving off course, threatening efforts to curb the risky bets that rocked the world economy two years ago. As U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner lands in Europe on Wednesday, differences are growing among world leaders over how to keep the promise they made at the height of the financial crisis: that they would work together to reshape how finance is governed. Their aim was to avoid another upheaval by making financial rules consistent across borders and closing loopholes. But the United States and Europe are increasingly pursuing their own -- sometimes clashing -- paths to reform, potentially undermining the regulatory overhauls taking shape on both sides of the Atlantic. If this continues, a resulting patchwork of reforms could allow companies to continue exploiting national differences by moving operations to countries where conditions are most favorable and thwart the efforts of regulators to spot financial threats early on. The outcome, for instance, could be very different ways of banking in New York and the financial capitals of Europe, prompting leading American firms to shift their riskiest activities overseas beyond the purview of U.S. regulators.

President Obama sends 1,200 troops to fortify Mexican border
Let’s see. The border is just under 2,000 miles long. So you could have two soldiers, standing watch 8 hours on, 8 hours off, 24/7, about every three miles.

Obama’s border plan looks similar to Bush’s
Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s plan to send as many as 1,200 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border appears to be a scaled-down version of the border security approach championed by his predecessor.... Some law enforcement officials along the border said they worry that Obama will repeat Bush’s mistake by limiting the troops to support roles, such as conducting surveillance and installing lighting, rather than letting them make arrests and confront smugglers. They also believe the scale of the force — one-fifth of the size of the one sent by Bush — is too small to make a difference along the length of the 2,000-mile border.... Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat who has prosecuted rings of drug and immigrant smugglers, said the planned deployment was a good first step, but believes that the president’s plan should evolve to include more troops and more authority for the soldiers. “I’ll take what we can get,” Goddard said. “Again, I don’t think this is the final response.” The Mexican government issued a statement saying it hoped the troops would be used to fight drug cartels and not enforce immigration laws. Mexico has traditionally objected to the use of the military to control illegal immigration.

Calderon's shot at American guns
Well, blaming Bush worked for BO, why not for FC? Excerpt: Mr. Calderon claimed that guns covered by the federal ban were particularly "powerful weapons." While the term "assault weapons" may conjure up visions of military hardware, the inside guts of these feared guns are essentially the same as deer hunting rifles. The firing mechanisms in semiautomatics and machine guns are completely different. The entire firing mechanism of a semi-automatic gun has to be removed and replaced to turn it into a military weapon like an AK-47. Mr. Calderon's propaganda aside, Mexican drug gangs are getting real military weapons from within Mexico, countries south of his border and other places around the world. Reports indicate that grenades and rocket launchers in use in Mexico aren't even available for sale in the United States and come from places like South Korea, Israel and Spain. Between 2007 and 2009, 2,239 grenades were seized by the Mexican government, and those weren't from here. Markings similarly show that machine guns in Mexico largely originate from China, Israel and South Africa. "If you look carefully, you will notice that the violence in Mexico started to grow a couple of years before I took office in 2006," Mr. Calderon said. "This coincides, at least, with the lifting of the [U.S.] assault weapons ban in 2004." He also patronized Americans by warning that our own gun ownership endangers the United States. The problem with these talking points is that murder rates dropped in America and Mexico between the 2004 expiration of the ban and 2008, when the latest data is available. Likewise, Mr. Calderon's claim that 80 percent of guns used in Mexican crimes come from the United States is completely false. Most weapons seized in Mexico have traceable serial numbers that show they come from countries other than the United States. The 80 percent number reflects how many guns sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for tracing end up being from America. Most weapons seized in Mexico aren't transferred to U.S. authorities, so that figure is meaningless for calculating overall totals.

Big Brother picks your pocket
Excerpt: Yes, boys and girls, a Nixon boogeyman has returned to haunt us, and the Obama administration summoned it back from the grave. For the past several weeks, White House henchmen such as Pelosi, Paul Volcker, John Podesta and Democratic Senate budget committee chair Kent Conrad have been talking up the value-added tax (VAT) as a way to resolve the debt crisis that they helped create. The president has done nothing to discourage the talk. Asked directly about the possibility of a VAT during an interview with CNBC, Obama blandly replied: "That is something that has worked for some countries." When Obama and other spend-first, ask-questions-later politicians say the VAT "works," what they mean is it permits them to enact voracious tax increases in nearly invisible ink. Unlike income tax, which shows up as a specific deduction on your pay stub, or sales tax, clearly marked on your receipt, the VAT is a stealth bomber that swoops in without showing up on the radar. With a VAT, goods are taxed not just when a consumer buys them but at every single step of production. That pair of jeans you pick up at The Gap would have been taxed when the fabric was milled, when it was dyed, when it was cut, when it was sewed and when it was purchased wholesale by the store. Now that pair of jeans you would have bought for $50 will cost $60. But because each tax payment was built into the price paid by the next business along the production chain, you won't really know that it's the government that jacked up your cost.

Private pay shrinks to historic lows as gov't payouts rise
Think Greece can’t happen here? Greece thought that ten years ago. Excerpt: Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds. At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010. Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs. The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. "This is really important," Grimes says.

Michigan Film Subsidies: Two Years, $117 Million and No Film Job Growth
But the statists still say, “More government is the solution.”

EPA battle heats up in Senate
Excerpt: A bipartisan group of senators will move after the Memorial Day recess on a resolution to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases. It is uncertain whether the group will have the votes by the time the resolution comes to the Senate floor June 10, but it has stirred concern among environmentalists and the EPA. The disapproval resolution, introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), has 41 co-sponsors, including Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Other co-sponsors include Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). The resolution, which is part of the Congressional Review Act, cannot be filibustered or amended. It also would need approval in the House and a presidential signature to go into effect. To pass the Senate, it needs only 51 votes.

Hit job: What Media Matters and the SEIU got wrong about Fortune’s Nina Easton
Purple People Beaters strike again. Excerpt: Last week, Nina Easton, the Washington editor of
Fortune, wrote a column about the SEIU and National People’s Action. The two progressive groups had sent roughly 500 protesters to Easton’s Chevy Chase neighborhood on May 16th to picket the front yard of Bank of America’s Greg Baer. Easton had just put her 2-year-old son down for a nap, and stepped outside to ask the protesters to quiet down. They didn’t. Easton wrote a column. And now she’s become the target of the SEIU and Media Matters for America. Why? Because Easton, by “refusing” to disclose her husband’s relationship with Bank of America, was misleading her audience at Fortune, and the viewers of FOX News, where she commented on the protest. The only problem? There is no relationship between Easton’s husband and Bank of America.

Mass. health meltdown is your future
Excerpt: The future of US medicine under ObamaCare is already on display in Massachusetts. The top four health insurers there just posted first-quarter losses of more than $150 million. Most of them blamed the state's decision to keep premiums at last year's levels for individual and small-business policies, when they'd proposed double-digit hikes to match the soaring costs they've seen under the state's universal-coverage law. The companies have gone to court to challenge the state's action -- it apparently had no basis for its ruling beyond the political needs of Gov. Deval Patrick. If they win, Bay State health premiums will continue their rapid rise; if they lose, they'll eventually have to stop doing business in Massachusetts -- and the state will be that much closer to a "single payer" system of socialized medicine.

Clinton: World must act on S Korean ship sinking
Excerpt: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday the world must respond to the sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on North Korea. "This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea, and the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond," Clinton told reporters after talks with South Korean leaders. The ship sinking "requires a strong but measured response," she said at a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, though she did not elaborate. Clinton said the United States would be consulting with South Korea and members of the U.N. Security Council on what the appropriate action would be, but she declined to offer a timeline. "We're very confident in the South Korean leadership, and their decision about how and when to move forward is one that we respect and will support," she said. Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen sharply since a team of international investigators last week concluded that a torpedo from a North Korean submarine tore apart the corvette Cheonan on March 26. It killed 46 South Korean sailors and was one of the South's worst military disasters since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Nuclear forum to ignore Iran, urge Israel to sign NPT
Excerpt: Nuclear disarmament official says Iran threatened to slam U.S., western powers with 'serious nuclear noncompliance' if mentioned in final NPT conference resolution. Iran may escape censure at a meeting of the 189 signatories of a global anti-nuclear arms pact despite growing concerns that Tehran might be developing atomic weapons, according to a draft declaration. The United States and other countries say Iran is in breach of its obligations under the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a landmark arms-control pact that has been the focus of a month-long conference and review wrapping up this week. A draft declaration prepared by conference president Libran Cabactulan of the Philippines fails to mention Iran or its nuclear program, though it names India, Pakistan and Israel as NPT holdouts. Diplomats said Iran had threatened to veto any final declaration if it was named.

Climategate And The Scientific Elite
Excerpt: The news that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who popularized the idea of a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism, has been struck off the register of general practitioners in the United Kingdom testifies to the fact that, in many scientific fields, objectivity still reigns. Britain’s General Medical Council found that Wakefield had used unethical and dishonest research methods and that when his conclusions became common knowledge, the result was that far more children were exposed to the risk of those diseases than would have been the case otherwise. Unfortunately, in other areas, some scientists have been getting away with blatant disregard for the scientific method. The most prominent example, “Climategate,” highlights how dangerous the politicization of science can be. The public reaction to Climategate should motivate politicians to curb such abuses in the future. Yet it was politicians who facilitated this politicization of science in the first place.... Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. What Ike warned about has now come to pass. The scientific elite, with the help of its allies in Congress, increasingly dictates public policy and thereby secures the continued flow of research funding.

Just another act of deadly treason
Excerpt: Yesterday, The New York Times published another front-page article based on a leaked classified document. This time, it was an order signed by Gen. David Petraeus authorizing black operations against adversaries and such dubious friends as Iran, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Gee, thanks. We really needed to know that. The world's a better place now. Yet the Times' sin was the lesser one. The paper has long since given up any pretense of patriotism. (Ugh! Yuck!) Its editors are just publishing and perishing as citizens of the world. It's whoever leaked the document that bears the burn-in-hell blame. We must be able to keep secrets in wartime. But we can't. Because domestic political agendas trump national security in every administration nowadays.

Black teen murdered in LA City. Why no interest from the usual PR hounds?
Excerpt: Three doors from his house, Jamiel Andre Shaw II was murdered. Shot twice, although there were three entry wounds. The first bullet went through his hand and then entered his stomach. The second bullet hit Jamiel’s head. Jamiel’s alleged murderer, Pedro Espinoza, an illegal alien gang member from Mexico, belongs to the 18th Street Gang. Espinoza had been released from jail on a firearms charge the day before he murdered Jamiel. The Shaw Family has been continually thwarted in its demands to know how this was allowed to happen. Jamiel’s mom, Army Sgt. Anita Shaw was serving in Iraq at the time of her son’s murder. This aspect has been the most painful for me in preparing this piece. I cannot even put myself in her boots. Fighting for freedom in Iraq and receiving the news that her son was killed on his way home from the mall. Jas also left a little brother, Thomas, now ten. You’d think that a young, promising black teenager, killed by an illegal alien gang member would get all kinds of attention from leaders of the black community. The Shaw Family couldn’t even get a return call from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. How about the elected officials representing the Shaw’s district? Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council member Herb Wesson, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas have done nothing but throw up roadblocks. Their Congresswoman, Diane Watson has also ignored them. Clearly, there’s a mighty, mighty big elephant in the living room. Where can we place the blame for the circumstances that led to Jamiel’s murder? One prime culprit is Special Order 40. A law put in place by the Los Angeles City Council in 1979 that prevents Los Angeles Police from obtaining immigration status from detained suspects. This law was upheld in 2006 when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised to make Los Angeles a “Sanctuary City for Illegal Aliens”. Let’s take a look at Pedro Espinoza and his 18th Street Gang. According to a 2005 report by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), “an estimated 80 percent of [the 18th Street] gang's members [in California] are illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America."

Global Warming Brought to Book
Excerpt: I have just checked on Amazon UK: out of the top five most popular books about ‘global warming’, no fewer than four are by sceptical authors. And, it is surely about to get even more interesting as four new, highly-critical works hit the virtual and bookshop ‘shelves’ this May(.)... I believe the intellectual pendulum is at last starting to swing. It is time that some of our more right-on media and UK politicians [witness the fatuous ‘exclusive’ on The Times front page today - why did The Times waste its front page on this non-story?] woke up to the fact that ‘global warming’ is increasingly an intellectually-discredited, postmodernist trope, but worse, a dangerous economic irrelevancy. Indeed, irrational political belief in ‘global warming’ may be yet another threat to the survival of the UK and the EU as significant economic world powers.

'Recon for attack a warning to Iran'
Doubtful in my view. Excerpt: Reports that the Pentagon has okayed reconnaissance missions over Iran were seen in Jerusalem on Tuesday as the first public signs of practical preparations for a possible US military operation against Iran. The New York Times reported on Monday that Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in the Middle East, ordered an expansion of clandestine military activity in the region. According to the report, “officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.”

Al-Awlaki Says He Was Tipped Off by Washington Post
The people who want to slaughter Americans can depend on the media for help. Say, did you know the Post has a gallery in the basement of cartoons of the Prophet having sex with pigs, where the reporters and editors go everyday to have a beer and laugh at Muslims? Someone should do something about that. Excerpt: The reason I am saying this is because of Anwar al-Awlaki’s recent statement that The Washington Post is an unwitting co-conspirator in his crimes. “They shut down my website following Nidal Hasan’s operation. I had posted an article of mine in support of what Nidal Hasan did, and so, they shut down my website. Then I read in the Washington Post that they were monitoring my communications. So I was forced to stop these communications. I left that region, and then the American air strikes took place.”

Who In the MSM Will Stand Up For Michael Yon?
This really sucks. I’ve linked to a lot of Yon’s stuff and contributed to support him. Excerpt: The best war journalist of our time has been kicked out of Afghanistan and the media could not care less. Let the administration boot Helen Thomas out of her seat in the front of a White House press conference and there would be outrage. Remove Jonathan Karl from the Capitol and media would revolt. Kick Andrea Kremer off Sunday Night Football and there would be pandemonium. And yet nobody in the media seems to have much of a problem with Michael Yon being removed from the front lines by Obama/General McChrystal. Yon has openly stated the problems in Afghanistan right now and how we could lose this war, unless changes are made. He has been critical of the current rules of engagement that have put our troops in danger and could actually make this war like the Vietnam that the leftist media claimed it was early and often when Bush was president (it’s strange you don’t hear those comparisons from them anymore).Yon’s reward? He’s lost his embed status, banished to Bangkok. Yon could return but his access might be limited and you can’t just pop in and out of that theater like it’s the neighborhood movie palace. Mess with Yon enough and his resources wear thin, but his patience will not. You will not stop this soldier. He is the ultimate warrior for those who fight and die for this country. His reports are honest, chilling, gripping and are as reflective of the battles they represent as anything I have ever read. But this administration is making it as difficult for him to do his job. You can’t believe this is by accident. The most critical battle in Afghanistan is about to take place, the battle for Kandahar, and the voice of the American soldier is not allowed in.

Global Warming as Religion and not Science
Excerpt: Huxley was one of a long tradition of British sceptical philosophers. From the Bacons, through the likes of Locke, Hume and Russell, to the magnificent climax of Popper’s statement of the principle of falsifiability, the scientific method was painfully established, only to be abandoned in a few short decades. It is one of the great ironies of modern history that the nation that was the cradle of the scientific method came to lead the process of its abandonment. The great difference, then, is that religion demands belief, while science requires disbelief. There is a great variety of faiths. Atheism is just as much a faith as theism. There is no evidence either way. There is no fundamental clash between faith and science – they do not intersect. The difficulties arise, however, when one pretends to be the other. The Royal Society, as a major part of the flowering of the tradition, was founded on the basis of scepticism. Its motto “On the word of no one” was a stout affirmation. Now suddenly, following their successful coup, the Greens have changed this motto of centuries to one that manages to be both banal and sinister – “Respect the facts.” When people start talking about “the facts” it is time to start looking for the fictions. Real science does not talk about facts; it talks about observations, which might turn out to be inaccurate or even irrelevant. The global warmers like to use the name of science, but they do not like its methods. They promote slogans such a “The science is settled” when real scientists know that science is never settled. They were not, however, always so wise. In 1900, for example, the great Lord Kelvin famously stated, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Within a few years classical physics was shattered by Einstein and his contemporaries. Since then, in science, the debate is never closed. The world might (or might not) have warmed by a fraction of a degree. This might (or might not) be all (or in part) due to the activities of mankind. It all depends on the quality of observations and the validity of various hypotheses. Science is at ease with this situation. It accepts various theories, such as gravitation or evolution, as the least bad available and of the most practical use, but it does not believe. Religion is different.

Down in the polls, Dems at war with themselves
Excerpt: But the real civil war this year is going on in the Democratic Party -- and it is going largely unreported. One reason is that it is not a clear-cut battle between two easily identifiable forces, like Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Grant's Army of the Potomac. Rather, it resembles the guerrilla conflicts of the Civil War in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, with local self-starters scurrying about in all directions. So in this month's primaries we saw a skirmish between Arkansas Senate incumbent Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who suggested but did not quite promise he'd support the card check bill that would effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections -- and whose campaign received something like $1 million from unions. That race will be decided in the June 8 runoff. Another incumbent challenged on the left was Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, who got only 55 percent in the Democrats' state convention and could lose the June 22 primary to a supporter of the health care bill. Pennsylvania Democrats rejected party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter, supported by the Obama White House, in favor of Rep. Joseph Sestak, who has a longer record of supporting Obama policies -- but who after the primary declined to identify himself as an "Obama Democrat." The Democrats' one big victory, in the Pennsylvania 12 special election, was won by a pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-health care bill, anti-cap-and-trade candidate. That platform sounds more Republican than Democratic.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Chuck Schumer's Hedge Fund Lobbyist Racket
Excerpt: Basically it works like this: Schumer invites hedge funds to dinner and says "Hey guys, if you want to do well in Washington, you really gotta get better at lobbying. Then a Schumer staffer leaves and becomes a lobbyist for hedge funds (raising money for Schumer at the same time). Then Schumer ratchets up the populist rhetoric in order to squeeze more cash from the hedge funds. Finally he pushes through key regulations that help the big guys: SEC registration that imposes higher costs on small funds, and a spinoff of trading operations for the major banks. It all works great. Big hedge funds get what they paid for. Schumer gets cash to run for re-election.

Schoolboy throws plastic bottle at France's Sarkozy
Excerpt: A schoolboy threw a plastic bottle at France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday during a visit to discuss violence in French schools, but failed to hit his target.

Living in Obama's Loony Parallel Universe
Excerpt: According to my psychoanalyst, I have issues. She believes our nation's dichotomous political climate and divisive political dialogue is affecting my mental state and I'm beginning to show a "disconnect." It's disconcerting to confess that you're coming unhinged -- to admit you're losing touch with reality and are living in some loony parallel universe. Just this month, famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking expressed his belief that humans are capable of time travel. No kidding. Welcome to my world. My therapist says my anger issues are revealing, but it's not a personality disorder that's got me. It's not an addictive disorder because I'm still meeting society's expectations and functioning effectively. And it wasn't what I originally feared -- schizophrenia -- because I show no signs of a psychotic disorder. It's much worse than that, she said -- she suspects I'm turning into a liberal.

Illegals and the Election
As the cost of illegal immigration grows in dollars and violence, the majority opposing it will grow. It will include Americans of Hispanic ancestry who do not want to see their life styles and finances destroyed by this invasion. Excerpt: A similar process is at work involving the illegals crisis. The attempt to bulldoze opposition through demos and marches has failed. Instead, the left, along with the captive legacy media, will hard-pedal questions vaguely related to the topic while by no means central to it. We will hear endless talk about "rights" (always the rights of illegals, never the rights of citizens), racism, and the government as an oppressive force unleashed against third-world victims. All contrary arguments, on the other hand, will be abstracted out of comprehension or flushed down the memory hole, in the same way that rancher Rob Krentz, murdered by an illegal on his own land, and Deputy Louie Puroll, shot by cross-border drug smugglers, have become nonpersons to the eastern media and liberal politicians. They may not be able to win the debate, but they can fix it so they don't lose either, at the expense of the country as a whole.... So what are the proper tactics for debating the illegals question? (...) We should give them their wish. The illegals can become the anvil upon which the hammer of generalized voter anger descends. Responsibility runs up and down the political staircase: Obama invited Calderón here and commiserated with him (I notice he didn't bow, though). Napolitano cut off funding to complete the "virtual fence" while doing nothing to arrange for a replacement. Reid is insisting on an amnesty bill within weeks to in hopes of saving his Senate seat. There's a price to be paid for this kind of thing. We need to see that all involved pay it.

Iran: From Hostage Crisis to the Bomb?
Excerpt: We measure their rhetoric, we monitor their actions both within their borders and abroad, and we wonder: “Once they get it, would they use it?” But perhaps we are asking the wrong question when it comes to Iran’s race to get the bomb. That question may have been answered 31 years ago in the very first days of the Iranian Revolution. The regime was barely born when it manifested personality traits that clearly told us this was no ordinary group of rulers. The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran and established the Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979. Seven months later, on Nov. 4, 1979, the Iranians threw out centuries of international diplomatic rules that every other country on earth observes, stormed the American Embassy, and held everyone inside hostage for over a year. What does tossing out diplomatic immunity really mean? Is immunity some quaint old custom or is there a greater message in this act? Here’s a clue: In the middle of the bloodiest global conflict in human history—World War II—even Adolf Hitler understood and respected the importance of diplomatic immunity. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. rounded up the Germans and Japanese in their embassies in Washington and put them in hotels under guard (including the luxurious Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia). Germany and Japan did the same with our embassy staffs in Berlin and Tokyo (although their hotels were not as deluxe).

"It is incredible how as soon as a people become subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and willingly that one is led to say that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement." --French judge, writer, philosopher Estienne de la Boétie (1530-1563) The Patriot Post

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