Thursday, September 2, 2010

Political Digest September 2, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

In speech, Obama says it's time to turn page on U.S. combat mission in Iraq
Excerpt: “We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people — a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page." Obama said he is “awed” by the sacrifices made by U.S. troops and their families, and hailed former President George W. Bush’s support for the troops even as he acknowledged the deep national divisions over the war. Obama called Bush earlier on Tuesday to discuss the historic moment, and in his address he noted it is “well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset.” “Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security,” said Obama, who added that it was also time to turn the page on the political fight over Iraq. “As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.” Obama did not mention the “surge” of new troops Bush sent to Iraq in 2007, a strategy Republicans credit with turning around the war. Obama and most Democrats opposed the policy at the time.

A grim speech for a grim war
And an example of a “non-grim war” would be? One doubts the writer has “seen the elephant.” ~Bob. It was shocking how little awe there was. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday night “that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended” in a grim little speech from the Oval Office. He spoke for 18 minutes and managed to avoid asking — let alone answering — any essential questions about the war such as: Did it make America safer, and was it really worth it? For almost the entire speech, Obama remained impassive. He was not awesome.

Some history behind the President’s Speech on Iraq:

Obama Sees a 'Complete Failure' in Iraq"
Excerpt: Senator Barack Obama said that even if the military escalation in Iraq was showing limited signs of progress, efforts to stabilize the country had been a "complete failure," and American troops should not be entangled in the sectarian strife. "No military surge, no matter how brilliantly performed, can succeed without political reconciliation and a surge of diplomacy in Iraq and the region," Mr. Obama said. "Iraq’s leaders are not reconciling. They are not achieving political benchmarks."

Obama on Troop Surge

Ohio now prefers Bush to Obama 50-42.
Excerpt: We'll start rolling out our Ohio poll results tomorrow but there's one finding on the poll that pretty much sums it up: by a 50-42 margin voters there say they'd rather have George W. Bush in the White House right now than Barack Obama. Independents hold that view by a 44-37 margin and there are more Democrats who would take Bush back (11%) than there are Republicans who think Obama's preferable (3%.) A couple months ago I thought the Pennsylvanias and Missouris and Ohios of the world were the biggest battlegrounds for 2010 but when you see numbers like this it makes you think it's probably actually the Californias and the Wisconsins and the Washingtons. There's not much doubt things are getting worse for Democrats...and they were already pretty bad. Somehow the party base needs to get reinvigorated over the next two months or there's going to be a very, very steep price to pay.

Interview with Dr. Thomas Sowell

Senator Concedes in Alaska's GOP Race
Big win for Palin. ~Bob. Excerpt: Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded her Alaska primary race to former magistrate Joe Miller Tuesday night, after a partial count of absentee ballots showed her gaining little ground in their tight race. The two-term senator made the concession after Alaska Division of Elections officials tallied 9,569 of about 20,000 absentee and questioned ballots for the Aug. 24 primary. Initially, Ms. Murkowski chipped away at Mr. Miller's lead, but by the end of the evening her disadvantage remained at 1,630 votes compared to the 1,688 votes that separated the two candidates before any of the absentees had been counted.

Barf Bags, anyone?
My friend Ron sent me a barf bag, with “Sick of Congress” printed on the top. They are being passed out by Marty Lamb, a Republican candidate, and go on to list the issues he supports or opposes. Should resonate with a lot of voters this year.

Europe's Light Bulb Socialism
Excerpt: Consumers are not reacting as planned: In Finland, Helsingin Sanomat reported that the new ban has not resulted in a surge of sales for the new bulbs that the bureaucrats expected. Instead, 75-watt packages have been flying off the shelves as customers fill their closets, garages and attics with lighting supplies for the long term. Such hoarding has been the rule for more than a year -- London's Daily Mail gave away 25,000 of the 100-watt bulbs as a prize in a January 2009 contest. Der Spiegel reported that German customers left hardware stores with carts jammed with enough incandescent bulbs to last 20 years. (Planned economies ALWAYS end in tyranny, as the people have to be coerced to do what their betters believe is right. ~Bob)

If VAT Is Rx For Deficits And Debt, Why Are VAT Users On The Brink?
Excerpt: No surprise that the worst financial basket cases all have a VAT. Iceland has the highest VAT rates, but this didn't prevent its financial crisis and the near bankruptcy of its government. Italy's VAT rates are almost as high, and its debt exceeds its GDP. Financial crises are looming in Spain and Portugal, and of course they have a VAT. Greece has a VAT, too, and when politicians ran out of money to pay government employees for more than a year's worth of work every year, they rioted in the streets. Great Britain has a VAT, and its government finances are in the worst shape since World War II — its budget deficit is expected to be bigger than that of Greece. Moreover, the OECD has acknowledged that "(VAT) tax and transfer wedges have discouraged firms from offering employment and individuals from taking it, reduced employment and increased inequality." By disrupting the economy, VAT-induced spending makes it more difficult to handle budget deficits and debt. The last thing we need is a VAT.

The First Victims of Health Care Reform,8599,2013623,00.html
From Time, hardly Fox News! ~Bob. Excerpt: Insurance agents and brokers and small insurance companies are among those who may have to scramble to stay afloat over the next few years. This is partly by design and partly an unintended consequence of a new law that is so sweeping, it will affect nearly every corner of an industry that accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Agents and brokers are so concerned they will be viewed as redundant under the new law that they successfully lobbied to get state insurance commissioners to publicly acknowledge their importance. At a meeting of the powerful National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) last week in Seattle, 25 commissioners sponsored a resolution stating that implementation of health reform should "recognize and protect the indispensable role that licensed insurance professionals play in serving consumers."

EPA fines Tesla Electric Motors $275,000 for non-compliance
Excerpt: In bureaucracy, truth is often stranger than fiction. A non polluting electric car company gets slammed with fine for “non compliance” for a car that can’t produce any emissions. That’s weird enough by itself, but even weirder is what else is in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission report under what they cite as “risks”. Here’s the relevant page of the report where they talk about risks, including the $275,000 fine from the EPA. Note what is highlighted under that. (Bean-counters gone wild. The sad reality is it would likely cost Tesla four times this much (or more) to fight it any farther. The bean-counters can ALWAYS play gotcha and look like they are winning, when the folks who are hurt most are the potential employees, current workers, and of course, those evil stockholders (have you checked your 401(k)'s exact holdings lately?). Unfortunately, this is so commonplace, I wouldn't have sent it in except for the link to Tesla's SEC filing. They are warning potential investors about.... Ron P. Maybe BO’s boys don’t want them competing with Government Motors. But these vehicles do produce emissions…from the coal-fired electric plants to power them. ~Bob)

Pistol-Packing Grandma Shoots Intruder in Alabama
Excerpt: A pistol-packing 69-year-old woman in northern Alabama believes intruders will think twice before messing with her again. Ethel Jones, 69, poses with her .38-caliber revolver behind the glass door she shattered when she shot at a burglar who broke into her Decatur, Ala., home Monday. Police said Ethel Jones shot an 18-year-old man in the stomach when she found him inside her bedroom at her home in Decatur. Jones said she sleeps with her gun under a pillow next to her and said she grabbed it after hearing a door rattle shortly before 3 a.m. Monday. (Shameful. She should have allowed herself to be robbed, raped and murdered as any good subject of the Barackracy would do. The intruder just wanted to “spread the wealth around.” ~Bob)

Cracks in the Iranian Monolith
Gotta love it—shooting down their own drones. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Iranian regime loves to boast of its military strength, international clout and hold on domestic power. Much of this is accepted by outside experts, but in fact the regime is in trouble. Iran's leaders have lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people, are unable to manage the country's many problems, face a growing opposition, and are openly fighting with one another. A few weeks ago, according to official and private reports, the Iranian air force shot down three drones near the southwestern city of Bushehr, where a Russian-supplied nuclear reactor has just started up. When the Revolutionary Guards inspected the debris, they expected to find proof of high-altitude spying. Instead, the Guards had to report to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that the air force had blasted Iran's own unmanned aircraft out of the sky. Apparently, according to official Iranian press accounts, the Iranian military had created a special unit to deploy the drones—some for surveillance and others, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged on Sunday, to carry bombs—but hadn't informed the air force. These incidents have taken place against a general backdrop of internal conflict within the regime. In late July, Mohammad Ali Jaffari, commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the regime's Praetorian Guard, admitted publicly that many top officers were supporters of the opposition Green Movement. Shortly thereafter, according to official government announcements, some 250 officers suddenly resigned. In the past weeks, several journalists from the Guards' FARS news agency have defected, some to France and others to the United States. Meanwhile, Iran has suffered a series of attacks against its petroleum industry. As Iranian media reported (detailed in the London Telegraph), a pipeline to Turkey was blown up last month, most likely by Kurdish oppositionists. Soon afterwards there was an explosion in a natural gas pipeline near Tabriz.

The Party of Know-Nothings
Excerpt: Lack of real-world experience may actually be the primary criterion for employment in the Obama White House. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, for example, has no work experience outside government. He joined the Department of Treasury in 1988, three years after graduating from college and traveling about Asia, and he has continued in government service ever since. Lawrence Summers, Geithner's invisible twin on the economic team, has no more experience than Geithner. His entire work experience can be summed up in a few words: professor, World Bank advisor, government employee. Even more limited is the experience of Cass Sunstein, regulatory czar and close friend of the president. His résumé can be inscribed on a postage stamp: professor, 1981 to present. Then there are the hardcore politicos whose relation to the private sector is not just distant, but hostile. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's Chief of Staff, worked on the Illinois U.S. senate campaign of Paul Simon even before completing his university education. From there he moved to the Daley mayoral campaign in 1989 and the Clinton White House in 1993. (...) Americans who have to work for a living understand that Obama's stimulus spending is political payola on an epic scale. They also understand that it is capitalism that produces wealth and that the profit motive is the key to wealth creation. Without the opportunity to earn a profit -- to be paid for their labor and rewarded for their investment -- workers would not work, and investors would not invest. For this reason, a society that disdains capitalism will soon find its standard of living faltering. Fewer goods will be produced, supply will be constrained, and prices will rise. With prices rising, goods will become less affordable, and less will be purchased. The result is a vicious cycle of declining production and rising prices.

Important: Why is the economy not recovering?
Excerpt: Disastrous economic policy is almost certainly the reason. And number one on my list of disasters is the new health reform law. Did you know that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) uses the term “the Secretary shall” 1,075 times? That means enormous discretionary power to make decisions about the fate of a sector that is more than one-sixth the size of the entire economy has been vested with one government department. And after Kathleen Sebelius makes all of those decisions, the election in 2012 could easily produce a different Secretary from a different political party which could have 1,075 opinions very different from those of Secretary Sebelius. Even before the passage of PPACA, personal health spending was close to one-fifth of family income. Under the new law, the cost of the mandatory health insurance coverage for a family will equal about 50% of the wage of a $30,000 a year worker. And after that, decisions by the Secretary of Health and Human Services could easily raise or lower labor costs by 5% to 10%. Will your health plan be “grandfathered”? How expansive will the mandated benefits be? Will the fine for not providing insurance stay at legislated levels? Or will it become much higher? No one knows the answers to these questions. What matters most is not the size of the mandates, but the uncertainty surrounding them. Businesses can adjust to costs — managing to pass them back to employees or forward them to customers. What they recoil from is uncertainty. Suppose you are in a position to hire new workers. Here is your dilemma:

Flip flopper of the year
"I would have voted for [the health care bill]. But I think it can be done better, I really do." --Florida Senate candidate Charlie Crist last Friday. Later that same day: "If I misspoke, I want to be abundantly clear: the health care bill was too big, too expensive, and expanded the role of government far too much. Had I been in the United States Senate at the time, I would have voted against the bill...." --Charlie Crist
The Patriot Post

Something for Nothing
Excerpt: Perhaps the most difficult economic lesson is that we live in a world of scarcity and everything has a cost. Scarcity exists whenever human wants exceed the means to satisfy those wants. For example, Rolls-Royce produces less than 4,000 cars a year but it's a safe bet that more than 4,000 of the Earth's 6.5 billion people want a Rolls-Royce. That means Rolls-Royces are scarce. But it's not just Rolls-Royces that are scarce. It's clothing, food, land and most anything a human would want. There's not enough to meet every single want. Scarcity means there's no free lunch. Having more of one thing requires having less of another. You might say, "Williams, that's where you're wrong. Someone gave me this newspaper and I'm reading your column for free!" Not true. If you weren't spending time reading my column, you might have spent the time reading something else, chatting with your wife or children, or going out for a jog. You're reading my column for a zero price but you're not doing so at zero cost. You have to sacrifice something. There are zero-price services such as "free libraries," "free public schools," "free transportation" and free whatever. It doesn't mean that costs are not being borne by somebody. The vision of getting something for nothing, or getting something that someone else has to pay for, explains why so many Americans are duped by politicians. A congressional hoax that's flourished for seven decades is the Social Security hoax that half of the Social Security tax (6.2 percent) is paid by employers, the other half (6.2 percent) paid by employees. The law says that if you are self-employed, you get to pay both halves. The fact of the matter is whether you're self-employed or not, you pay both halves of the Social Security tax that totals 12.4 percent. Let's look at it.

Fight over Ground Zero sets up most political 9/11 anniversary yet
Excerpt: The rancorous debate over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero is threatening to sweep away the political détente long reserved for the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Solemn memorials and tributes to the fallen have become tradition for the annual observance, along with a bipartisan understanding — if not an outright agreement – to give campaign politics a rest for a day. But politics could intrude on this year’s ninth anniversary, as Ground Zero has moved to a prime spot in the midterm election campaign. Opponents of an Islamic Center to be built two blocks from Ground Zero have organized a protest timed for this year’s anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The event has made the organizers’ own allies uncomfortable, prompting criticism from New York politicians in both parties. “I would schedule it for another time and place,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), an opponent of the mosque who was invited to the event, said in an interview. “It should not be a political issue on Sept. 11.”

The Couric-Rich Model of the Five Stages of MSM Grief
Excerpt: “The Five Stages of Grief: The Left Wing Now Gets Angry,” Rob Long writes at Ricochet, noting that the MSM has moved up a notch on the Kubler-Ross model of the Five Stages of Grief: Now they’re turning to Stage Two: Anger. Angry at the voters, at Fox News, at Obama himself. Next up: Bargaining. I’m not sure when that’s going to start — probably a few weeks after Labor Day. But as always, what we’re all waiting for is Stage Four: Depression. (...) Once Obama won, the MSM had to continue the charade that he was the second coming of Lincoln meets FDR meets JFK. They had to project an air of confidence about his ability to magically restore the economy, while instituting a whole host of jobs-killing legislation. And the MSM simultaneously went to work cranking out manifestos which assumed that conservatism was dead. Once the Tea Parties coalesced as a protest to Obama’s statist, reactionary economic policies (FDR FTW!), the media’s pressure cooker burst, beginning with the media openly condemning any protest against the president as racist.

The Obama Doctrine
Excerpt: Aside from the wooden performance, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about President Barack Obama’s Oval Office address on Iraq last night. The President again evinced the impression that he viewed Iraq as a distraction, and he twice said he wanted to “turn the page” to other issues. As forgettable as the address was however, once placed into the broader context of foreign policy speeches and actions, a clear Obama Doctrine can now be defined, as James Carafano and Kim Holmes do in a new paper released today.

Dear Patients: Vote to Repeal ObamaCare
Excerpt: To counter this election-year ruse, my colleagues and I at Docs4PatientCare are enlisting thousands of doctors in an unorthodox and unprecedented action. Our patients have always expected a certain standard of care from their doctors, which includes providing them with pertinent information that may affect their quality of life. Because the issue this election is so stark—literally life and death for millions of Americans in the years ahead—we are this week posting a "Dear Patient" letter in our waiting rooms. The letter states in unambiguous language what the new law means: "Dear Patient: Section 1311 of the new health care legislation gives the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and her appointees the power to establish care guidelines that your doctor must abide by or face penalties and fines. In making doctors answerable in the federal bureaucracy this bill effectively makes them government employees and means that you and your doctor are no longer in charge of your health care decisions. This new law politicizes medicine and in my opinion destroys the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship that makes the American health care system the best in the world."

What American President Would Do That?
Excerpt: Other presidents have been wrong. Other presidents have been misguided. Other presidents have been weak and pusillanimous and pathetic. Only one truly disdains America. His name is Barack Obama. How else to explain his latest outrage against the country that elevated him to the ranks of world leadership? Last week, the Obama State Department submitted a report to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on the supposed human rights violations taking place in the United States. According to the Washington Times, the report describes how the United States discriminates against the disabled, homosexuals, women, Native Americans, blacks, Hispanics and those who don't speak English. There is the expected pandering to Muslims...the report notes that until recently, the U.S. engaged in torture, unlawfully detained terrorist suspects and illegally spied on Americans communicating with terrorists ... but the report assures readers that Mr. Obama has been putting a stop to all that.

Glenn Beck's Rally --Nothing to fear
Excerpt: Predictably, last Saturday's "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall has evoked a lot of consternation. Because the rally explicitly and studiously avoided trumpeting a political agenda, it freed up a lot of people to fill in the blanks themselves. For instance, The Washington Post's Greg Sargent insists it was all a con: "As high-minded as that may sound, the real point of stressing the rally's apolitical goals was political." By leaving the listener to infer an anti-Obama agenda from all of this talk of lost honor, host Glenn Beck was practicing "classic political demagoguery." Let me get this straight: If Beck had done the opposite, and invited hundreds of thousands of anti-Obama signs, and carved up President Obama like a turkey dinner, folks like Sargent would think the rally was less demagogic? Hmm. Obviously, Sargent's not entirely wrong about the rally's political resonance. It was a conservative-and-libertarian-tinged event; it would've been impossible without the right-leaning Tea Party movement -- and the fact that Beck and Sarah Palin managed to attract so many people to the Mall is not a ringing endorsement of the Democrats. But the partisan implications of the rally aren't that interesting. Nor is the argument that the relentless celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. amounted to some grave insult to his memory. One striking feature of the rally was how deeply religious and ecumenical it was. It seems like just yesterday that everyone was talking about how Christian evangelicals were too bigoted to vote for upright and uptight Mormon Mitt Romney.

The China challenge: Is the U.S. military up to snuff?
Excerpt: The Pentagon’s just-released report to Congress on Chinese military power is alarming for two reasons: First, Beijing’s military buildup continues; second, the modernization of our armed forces may come up short of what’s needed to meet the China challenge. While the outcome of these troubling trends can’t be foretold, there are solid reasons for worry about America’s power and position in the Pacific Ocean in the years to come. The People’s Liberation Army clearly is developing doctrines and deploying capabilities for throwing its weight around in the Pacific and beyond. The Pentagon paper talks of Chinese “power-projection,” “anti-access” and “area-denial” strategies and forces, all aimed at keeping America at bay in Asia, should Beijing decide to do so. The report notes, for instance: “China has the most active land-based ballistic- and cruise-missile program in the world” and is sending to sea cruise missiles on ships and intercontinental-range missiles aboard subs. Of particular concern to our Navy is China’s development of an anti-ship ballistic missile with a maneuverable warhead and range of more than 1,000 miles. This DF-21 variant is a “carrier-buster” and a threat our navy has never faced. Beijing’s robust building program has made it the largest naval force in Asia, outstripping the likes of Japan and South Korea, the region’s other major military powers. (“If we could catch the American fleet in port with a surprise attack, maybe on a Sunday….” ~Bob)

Obama's wandering economic message
Excerpt: July's jobs report was again dreary, with 181,000 discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force entirely. Advice for the president from Democratic strategists and nervous Democratic legislators was nearly uniform: Focus on jobs. The president proceeded to enter the Manhattan mosque controversy, mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and address the nation on Iraq and Afghanistan. During an interview with Brian Williams last weekend, Obama made news commenting on his religious faith, on Glenn Beck's rally in Washington and on the "birther" movement. This is a president who has lost control of his public message. It wanders unleashed from park to alley, stopping to sniff every cable news story along the way. Some blame a political and communications team that is reactive and undisciplined. But there is another possibility. Perhaps the president doesn't talk about job creation because he doesn't have much to say.

Brian Williams: from Musketeer to Mouseketeer
Excerpt: The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina recalls a horror show on two levels. There's the actual disaster, which killed hundreds of people, and then there's the media smear job on the Bush administration and first responders. No one should forget pompous grandstanders like "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams signing off three months after the floods from the Lower Ninth Ward: "This is a neighborhood that's been left to die." How those network anchors loved hurricane hyperbole! Williams, for one, lectured the nation that the hurricane should "necessitate a national discussion on race, on oil, politics, class, infrastructure, the environment and more." He underlined that a top local radio station decided not to air President Bush's remarks from the city since "nothing he could say could ever help them deal with the dire situation unfolding live in the streets of New Orleans, where people were still dying during his visit." It never mattered to these nattering nabobs that, as Popular Mechanics magazine documented, Katrina spurred by far the largest and fastest rescue effort in American history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall, rescuing an estimated 50,000 residents. (Interesting that polls show residents of LA think Bush did a better job with Katrina than Obama did with the oil spill. ~Bob)

Freedom is an Academic Right, Not a Business Privilege
Excellent editorial from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. –Ron P. Excerpt: Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, the attorney general of Virginia, issued administrative subpoenas earlier this year to the University of Virginia — a corporation created and run by the state — seeking documents related to the work of former professor Michael Mann, a co-author of the so-called hockey stick graph cited by proponents of anthropomorphic global warming theory. Cuccinelli, piggybacking on public and professional criticism of Mann’s research, which was funded by a number of government grants, said he was investigating whether Mann, now a professor at Penn State, violated the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA), which allows the attorney general (or a private whistleblower) to prosecute any person accused of “getting a false or fraudulent claim” paid by taxpayer dollars. UVA fought Cuccinelli’s administrative subpoenas, even though it is a subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia represented by Cuccinelli as attorney general. The University, through separate counsel, asked the Albemarle County Circuit Court to set aside the administrative subpoenas, arguing they were not only deficient under the FATA, but that “their sweeping scope is certain to send a chill through the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities.” The University said Cuccinelli had no right to investigate the scientific research of a faculty member under the guise of enforcing anti-fraud statutes: “Enforcing the [administrative subpoenas] will interfere with recognized First Amendment principles and important public policies protecting the academic freedom of institutions of higher learning from government intrusion into research and scientific inquiry.” Yesterday, the circuit court awarded UVA victory in the battle, but not the war. Judge Paul M. Peatross, Jr., said the administrative subpoenas failed to state a specific allegation against Professor Mann: “What the Attorney General suspects that Dr. Mann did that was false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth is simply not stated.” Furthermore, Peatross found that the FATA did not apply to the five specific grants identified in the subpoenas: Four of the grants came from the federal government and the fifth grant, which involved Virginia funds, apparently came before the FATA took effect. But Peatross rejected UVA’s argument that it was not subject to an FATA investigation. As for “academic freedom,” Peatross declined to insulate researchers from the attorney general’s jurisdiction. He noted that if Cuccinelli had reason to believe Mann misused “funds paid by the Commonwealth for a grant,” Cuccinelli could lawfully investigate under the FATA. (...) Noting the Supreme Court’s defense of this position, the amici explained, “the Court recognized universities’ right to make academic judgments … educational matters in part because these judgments represented the expert determination of educational professionals.” (...) I am sympathetic to these arguments, but they raise an uncomfortable question: If a decentralized system of peer review works so well for academic research, then why can’t it work for the rest of us non-academics who want to engage in commerce without the threat of expensive government intervention? Academics are usually the first to demand the state do to businesspeople exactly what Cuccinelli tried to do to UVA and Mann. (...) Many of the academics who insist the First Amendment creates a special level of protection for “academic freedom” simultaneously argue there must be a lesser degree of protection for “commercial speech,” because there is supposedly too great a risk of fraud originating from the latter to merit full constitutional protection.

Charlie Crist’s Ally Hosted Hamas Fundraiser
Excerpt: A key Muslim ally of Florida Governor and US Senate candidate Charlie Crist, Imam Muhammad Musri, hosted a fundraiser in Orlando for the terrorist group Hamas in June 2009, and a camera crew from ACT for America infiltrated the event held at Masjid Al-Rahman, Musri’s mosque, to record the proceedings. Imam Musri, head of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, serves on Crist’s Faith-Based and Community Advisory Council and was appointed by Crist to his 2010 Sunshine Census Committee. The Orlando Hamas fundraiser featured as its keynote speakers former UK parliamentarian George Galloway and Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society-Freedom, and was intended to raise money for Galloway’s Viva Palestina organization. That Galloway and Viva Palestina have provided material support for Hamas through the funds they have raised across the U.S. and elsewhere is hardly a secret. In March 2009, Galloway was videotaped by Al-Jazeera giving a duffel bag full of cash to Hamas social minister Ahmad Kurd, who called Galloway “a hero.” Kurd was designated a global terrorist by the U.S. government in August 2007.

NY synagogue plot suspect heard boasting on tape
Excerpt: A down-and-out Muslim man, under pressure from a paid FBI informant, admitted he was eager to attack a New York synagogue to vent his rage against Jews and U.S. military might in the Middle East, according to tapes played Tuesday at his trial. "I don't care if it was a whole synagogue of men," James Cromitie boasted during a visit last year to the informant's bugged home. "I would take them down." As the day set for the attack approached, prosecutors say, Cromitie responded with even greater enthusiasm. "I'm ready to do this damn thing," he said. "Anything for the cause." After bombing two synagogues - sites the men code-named "joints"- they hoped to "do the planes," he added. "I don't care. I'm going in hard." Cromitie, 43, and three men other co-defendants - Onta Williams, 34, David Williams, 29, and Laguerre Payen, 28 - have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles to kill U.S. officers and employees. (Gee, where would members of a “Religion of Peace” get ideas like this? Maybe from the Qur'an which says that the Jews are the worst enemies of the Muslims in Sura 5:82. ~Bob)

Four killed as terrorists open fire near Kiryat Arba
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. Excerpt: Victims, shot while driving, include 2 men, 2 women, one reportedly pregnant; attack comes before Netanyahu and Abbas set to meet in Washington for peace talks.

90-year-old Saudi to get 100 lashes
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. ~Bob. Excerpt: A 90-year-old Saudi man will be lashed 100 times with the whip after he was convicted of smashing the windscreen of a judge’s car to retaliate against a previous verdict against him, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

New York Asks Schools to Avoid Pupil Immigration Status
Can they ask if they speak English? ~Bob. Excerpt: The State Education Department has sent school districts a memorandum strongly recommending that they not ask for information that might reveal the immigration status of enrolling students, after a civil liberties group complained that scores of districts were requesting such information in possible violation of federal law. The memo, which was sent on Monday, explained that a 1982 Supreme Court decision had recognized the right of all children, regardless of immigration status, to attend public school as long as they met the age and residency requirements established by state law. “Accordingly, at the time of registration,” the memo said, “schools should avoid asking questions related to immigration status or that may reveal a child’s immigration status, such as asking for a Social Security number.”

Audits: ICE turning blind eye to undocumented workers
Excerpt: Immigration inspectors poring over the hiring paperwork of a California company last summer found that 262 employees — a whopping 93 percent of the total workforce — had “suspect” documents on file. At an Illinois service company, auditors found dubious documents for nearly 8 in 10 of its 200-plus employees. Inspectors examining records at a Texas manufacturing firm found suspicious paperwork for more than half of the 107 employees on the payroll. But the companies didn’t pay a penny in fines. None of the employers was led away in handcuffs. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials didn’t even issue them a formal warning, the agency’s internal records show. Instead, they were instructed to purge their payrolls of illegal immigrants. Armed with assurances that the employees with suspect documents were fired — or, in the Texas case, “self-terminated” — the ICE auditors closed the cases.

New political news blog

The Summer of Recovery
Great letter. Not a relative, except in spirit. ~Bob. Excerpt: Dear Joe, I need a job. As you are in charge of the Summer of Recovery, it seems logical to tap you for help. Although we haven't met, I rely upon your empathy. Like you, I am the grandson of a coal miner. I never met him, but I do have his carbide miner's lamp. My father was a barefoot schoolboy who learned to read by the light of a kerosene lamp. Like your boss, I was law review, although I bailed after one semester. The free beer in the law review offices was nice, but not worth the price - becoming PC. By the way, could I have a Summer of Recovery pin to go with the "WIN" pin Jerry Ford gave me? Hope and changed reached me more than a year ago. I lost a job that I loved. I thought perhaps it was time for public service. After all, six figure private sector jobs are over rated. The State Department, I thought. A chance to see the world and serve my nation. After all, who really wants to be able to support their elderly parents? I understand that I did not contribute enough to your campaign to qualify for an ambassadorship, but I presumed I could more than handle an administrative post in some remote and unpopular embassy. I passed for Foreign Service exam, and heard nothing more. I wrote to Secretary Clinton as a follow up, and heard nothing. Perhaps she knew more of my health than I did. The heart surgery a year ago certainly took me by surprise. To add insult to injury, the heartless capitalists who formerly employed me bent some rules and opened their purse to ensure that I had health coverage throughout the ordeal. Doubtless ObamaCare will prevent such travesties in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, the surge was a battle for improving a War, not winning it. Our military did everything asked of them and more and frankly deserve better than be spread too thin for far too long without being adequately equipped. Thank God we are getting out, what a waste of our Youth and Treasury set on a bed of lies. According to “W” we already had a Mission Accomplished Ceremony, right? I would only give Bush credit for our current financial mess.