Friday, December 30, 2011

Political Digest for December 31, 2011

My bride had to work Friday morning, giving me some computer time to produce a short digest. Be careful New Years Eve--the drunks are out in force. ~Bob.

Cable station this morning had a map of Iowa, with colored lines showing the different routes the candidates will take around the state today. Why is that important? Why is it news? By November, everyone will be s o sick of this election no one may vote. ~Bob.

Luxury 99 per cent of Americans can only dream of...Michael Moore's stunning waterfront mansion revealed
Excerpt: He is the booming voice of the Occupy protests, encouraging activists to continue their battle against the wealthy one per cent of Americans. But it seems left-wing documentary maker Michael Moore has been uncharacteristically quiet about one thing: his own wealth. While Moore has denied he is among the top-earners in the country, tax records show he owns an extensive property in one of the country’s most elite communities. (Little nicer than a tent. Or any place this "rich" Republican ever owned. ~Bob.)

Iranian end game
This excellent article explains why the Iranians are, and will continue to be, difficult to deal with. Highly recommended. --Ron P. Excerpt: For almost a third of a century, the Islamic Republic of Iran has confounded American presidents. It has taken hostages, conducted terrorism, undermined the Middle East peace process, and worked unrelentingly to become a nuclear power and develop missiles with global reach. Tehran might frustrate American officials, but its tactics and its efforts to bolster its strategic position are both predictable and reflective of Iran's sense of its history and culture, as well as the late Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary ideology and his profound disdain for the United States.

Currency Agreement for Japan and China
Excerpt: China and Japan have agreed to start direct trading of their currencies, officials announced during a visit here on Monday by Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda.
Japan will also apply to buy Chinese bonds next year, allowing it to accumulate more renminbi in its foreign-exchange reserves. The moves were among several that emerged from Mr. Noda’s meetings with President Hu Jintao, which focused on how the two nations could work together to maintain peace on the Korean peninsula. (I suggested in The Coming Collapse of the American Republic that China's long term goal was to exert enough military and economic power to push us out of the Pacific, giving them economic dominance over Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Thus this looks like a step in that direction to me. ~Bob.)

Pair who embezzled $900,000 from disabled vets get 3 years in prison
Excerpt: A former federal employee and a financial appointee who conspired to embezzle nearly $900,000 from disabled military veterans’ accounts have been sentenced to three years in federal prison. (Three years? And that's supposed to be justice? And the sad part is that they would still be doing it had one of the disabled vets not died, and his mother went looking for funds that she knew were supposed to be there. A bank robber in Mississippi took $1 out of a packet of money the teller gave him and handed the rest back to her, and he got 14 years. Note that the article makes no mention of any restitution by the pieces of scum. Hell, what they stole is worth doing three years time for, but I'm betting that they won't even do the full three years. --MasterGuns)

Stuxnet Virus, Duqu Virus And At Least 3 Others Reportedly Built On Same Platform
Excerpt: The Stuxnet virus that last year damaged Iran's nuclear program was likely one of at least five cyber weapons developed on a single platform whose roots trace back to 2007, according to new research from Russian computer security firm Kaspersky Lab. Security experts widely believe that the United States and Israel were behind Stuxnet, though the two nations have officially declined to comment on the matter. (…) Stuxnet has already been linked to another virus, the Duqu data-stealing trojan, but Kaspersky's research suggests the cyber weapons program that targeted Iran may be far more sophisticated than previously known. (Back on 26 Sep 2010 in a comment on the article “Cyber War on Iran: the Siemens Connection,” I said “If it can be done to them, it can be done to us. Perhaps it’s time to take computer security seriously.” But, we still aren’t, are we? Plainly, if a Russian firm can identify and isolate these viruses, soon they’ll be able to redirect them at targets of THEIR choosing. Perhaps those controlling the type and amount of chemicals in someone’s drinking water? Just a thought; it’s an unfriendly world out there, you know. Ron P.)

Oldest Baby Boomers Face Jobs Bust
Excerpt: Older baby boomers are trying to postpone retirement, as many worry their savings will be insufficient to last their entire retirement. Though unemployment among those older than age 55 is lower than the national rate, the portion that is unemployed, underemployed or discouraged has increased drastically in recent years. Furthermore, those who have been lucky enough to keep jobs are slowly being pushed out of the market as employers look for younger, cheaper workers, says the Wall Street Journal. Among workers ages 55 to 64, 6.5 percent were unemployed as of October of 2011 -- more than twice the jobless rate for that group five years ago. When including those who are underemployed (working part-time or accepting a pay cut) and those who are discouraged (those who would like a job but have not looked in the past month), this figure rises to 17.4 percent, or 4.3 million Americans. Among those workers over age 55, more than half have been searching for jobs for more than two years, while this figure is only 31 percent for younger workers. Among those older workers who were able to find jobs, 72 percent report having taken a pay cut, often a big one.

Medicare and Social Security to Total 50 Percent of Budget by 2030
Excerpt: The annual share of the U.S. budget spent on programs benefiting senior citizens (i.e., those aged 65 and over) has increased rapidly in the past few decades. More importantly (and alarmingly) is that these same programs under current law are expected to continue to increase rapidly in decades to come. Data on Social Security and Medicare spending from the Congressional Budget Office is used to show the historical trends and projected share of the budget between 1970 and 2084, says Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center. In 1970, spending on Social Security and Medicare was one-fifth of the budget. This portion has since grown to nearly 37 percent of the budget in 2010; this amounts to 8.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The portion of the federal budget that is allotted to these two mandatory programs has begun to dwarf even the most traditional forms of government spending -- in 2010, they amounted to more than double defense spending.

Ron Paul does interview with Iranian state TV, bashes Israel, defends Hamas
No wonder he regrets the killing of bin Laden. They were allies on US Foreign policy. ~Bob.

Freedom Protesters From Kafranbel, Syria Determined to Get Their Message Out to the West
Excerpt: For the past year the brave people of Kafranbel, Syria have cried out to the West for assistance. For these courageous protesters revealing their identities could mean punishment or death. Despite this, they remain undeterred in their efforts.

Behind the Islamic Republic's Bluster: The regime's rants about closing the Strait of Hormuz divert the world's attention from the thousands of political prisoners in its jails. By Shirin Ebadi
Excerpt: The clerical regime that misrules Iran is imploding in slow-motion while intensifying its repression at home and threatening behavior abroad. But is the international community doing all it can to support the Iranian people and hold the regime to account? It's clear that the leadership in Tehran is wracked by internal strife, with divisions deepening between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies.

California Low-Carbon Rules Halted
Excerpt: In a victory for refiners and ethanol producers, a federal judge halted enforcement of California's low-carbon fuel rules Thursday, saying they discriminated against crude oil and ethanol imported into the state. The decision puts on hold a major portion of California's effort to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, at a time when the most-populous state's stance has taken on extra importance nationwide because of a stalemate in Washington over greenhouse-gas legislation.

War Games, An Energy Crisis, and the Iranian Threat
Excerpt: The Strait of Hormuz lies between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, providing passage for some 15.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, amounting to one third of the world's seaborne oil shipments. In a word, it is a 34-mile-wide chokepoint, making Iran's threat this week to shut down the strait all the more serious for the global community.

Opening+Christmas in Eurabia
Funny...but sad. ~Bob

High-seas diplomacy --Only US Navy can check Iran By Arthur Herman
Excerpt: Anyone wondering if we still need a strong US Navy should consider the current commotion over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has decided to raise the tension over its nuclear-weapons program by threatening to shut down that all-important waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf if Washington and its allies tighten sanctions on its crude-oil exports.

Pols urge DA to go easy on gun-toting Ground Zero tourist
Excerpt: The Manhattan DA should show mercy to a Tennessee tourist who was busted for bringing a gun to the 9/11 Memorial, considering the weapon is registered in her home state, lawmakers and legal experts told The Post yesterday. City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens), chairman of the Public Safety Committee, personally asked Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office not to push for the 3 1/2-year minimum sentence for Meredith Graves, 39. “By prosecuting this woman and seeking 3 1/2 years of jail, we are shooting our own [gun-control] efforts in the foot and giving the rest of the country ammunition,” Vallone said.

Worth Reading: Are we alone in the universe? By Charles Krauthammer
Excerpt: It’s called the Fermi Paradox, after the great physicist who once asked, “Where is everybody?” Or as was once elaborated: “All our logic, all our anti- isocentrism, assures us that we are not unique — that they must be there. And yet we do not see them.” ... Modern satellite data, applied to the Drake Equation, suggest that the number should be very high. So why the silence? Carl Sagan (among others) thought that the answer is to be found, tragically, in the final variable: the high probability that advanced civilizations destroy themselves.

Obama's foreign policy failures have yet to explode, but when they do...By Caroline B. Glick
Excerpt: These support levels tell us a great deal about the insularity of the American public. For when one assesses the impact to date of Obama's foreign policy it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that if the US public was more aware of the actual consequences of his policies, his approval rating in foreign affairs would be even lower than his approval rating in domestic policy. Indeed, a cursory examination of the impact so far of Obama's foreign policies in country after country and region after region indicates that his policies have been more damaging to US national interests than those of any president since Jimmy Carter. ... At a minimum, forewarned is forearmed. And the dimensions of Obama's failures are so enormous, that it is clear that the American people will suffer their consequences for years to come.

New York Times Ridicules Gingrich on Sharia
Excerpt: On December 21, the New York Times​ published an article by reporter Scott Shane titled “In Islamic Law, Gingrich Sees Mortal Threat to U.S.” The article tried to subtlety discredit Gingrich and others talking about the Islamist agenda in the U.S., twice stating that “many scholars” feel the threat is being overblown and it is “roundly rejected” by most experts. (I know a doctor who would strongly disagree. Of course, he grew up in an Islamic household in Iran, so unlike the NYT, has seen Shari'a first hand. If Shari'a is so great, why doesn't the NYT require all employees to comply with it's provisions? ~Bob.)

Obama’s Loyal Allies
Excerpt: During the 2008 campaign, the network morning shows were cheerleaders for the Democratic field. In 2012, they are sure to be providing far more hostile coverage of various Republicans who are running, while treating Obama’s re-election campaign to the same personality-driven coverage that was so helpful to the then-Illinois Senator four years ago.

Excerpt: The Huntsman campaign just released this video, which scores a pretty solid hit on Paul with the newsletter issue, ending with his embarrassing flight from the Gloria Borger interview:

Once Again, Red Staters Lead the Nation in Private Charitable Giving
Excerpt: The Fraser Institute has released their latest report on charitable giving in the U.S. and Canada, and once again North America’s leaders in charitable donations from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle reside overwhelmingly in red states. This has been the case for some time, and the reason for it almost certainly comes down to a difference in philosophy regarding charity and the role of private/public institutions in its application. It’s unsurprising that conservatives – who by and large believe in the sovereignty of the individual, particularly in terms of fiscal decision-making – choose to give of their own net incomes to charitable causes and organizations that they find worthwhile. It’s also unsurprising (and stereotypical) that liberals choose to give less of their own net income to charity, instead leaving that responsibility to the government, which replaces the individual as the evaluator and benefactor of charitable organizations and endeavors.

Russia: Nuclear submarine fire finally out
Excerpt: Firefighters extinguished a massive fire aboard a docked Russian nuclear submarine Friday as some crew members remained inside, officials said, giving assurances that there was no radiation leak and the vessel's nuclear-tipped missiles were not on board.

I'm allowed to kill infidels, man tells judge
Excerpt: A mentally disturbed man who stabbed a witness to death in court told an appeals court judge yesterday that as a Muslim he was entitled to kill "infidels". (Muslim equals "mentally disturbed"? ~Bob.)

Nearly 200,000 books in Egypt reduced to ashes at the hands of Islamic supremacists
Excerpt: Yet another nail in the coffin of the dangerously delusional idea that the 'Arab Spring' is a step forward for freedom, democracy, human rights, et cetera. Earlier this month, in a development nearly two weeks old (as of this writing), approximately 192,000 rare books and manuscripts belonging to the Institute of Egypt in Cairo went up in flames, destroyed by rampaging Muslim mob. This wanton destruction is a fresh reminder -- as if we needed another -- that the 'Arab Spring' does not just equal an Islamic winter for Muslims and any unfortunate non Muslims in the vicinity. This self-inflicted Islamic-inspired lobotomy equals a massive setback for the human enterprise and a victory for the forces of ignorance and darkness. In the wake of the silence from the West and other supposed voices of liberty and freedom, such forces can only grow stronger.

Louis Woodhill: Even the Warmists Don't Believe In Global Warming
Excerpt: can always tell what they are truly committed to by how they negotiate. If someone really wants to do something, they will react to a suggestion by engaging it. They will “work with” the suggestion, trying to see how it can help them do what they say they want to do. If someone says that they want to do something but they really have some other agenda, they will respond to a suggestion with an instant, “Yes, but…” (...) Given that geoengineering has the potential to actually do something about the climate change “problem”, the reaction of the climate change crowd to it has been illuminating. They have gone all-out to stop geoengineering experiments from being conducted, and they are doing everything they can to prevent geoengineering from even being discussed. (If AGW is actually happening, I’m not sure geo-engineering can help, but it would be a far more palatable answer than another layer of bureaucrats. The really interesting thing this author points out is the reaction of the warmists to an alternative solution that would leave them with neither power nor money. Ron P.)

New data on low-dose radiation
Excerpt: The prevailing method to deal with this area of uncertainty is to extrapolate the observable effects of high doses and assume the same relationship applies to low doses with no observable effect i.e. assume that all levels of exposure come with a commensurate health risk, no matter how small. This approach is used in practice as a basis for the management of occupational and public exposure worldwide. It is a safe assumption that the amount of DNA damage increases in line with radiation exposure, but Mina Bissell of Berkeley's life sciences division said today: "Our data show that at lower doses of ionizing radiation, DNA repair mechanisms work much better than at higher doses." She added that this "casts doubt on the general assumption that any amount of ionizing radiation is harmful and additive." (Why is this important? Have you ever heard an anti-nuclear activist argue that there is NO safe dose of radiation? Any and every dose is dangerous for the rest of your life, they say. Although every human is constantly subjected to radiation every day as long as we live, and any fool off the street can tell you too much of something is probably worse for you than a smaller amount, exactly that argument has been made countless times trying to stop the operation of nuclear plants. Will this stop the argument from being used? Of course not. The left never gives up a tool that can fool some of the people some of the time. But for the first time, there is a study from a respected school that says maybe it's not so. If they don’t hang this poor researcher out to dry, she’ll wreck their racket like pushing Humpty Dumpty off the wall. Ron P.)

America’s Two-Front War
Excerpt: Sometime about mid-2009 America began changing psychologically. (…) In short, a sizable fraction of the upper-incomes is hesitant, defensive, unsure — and to such a degree that for a while longer it is not hiring, buying, or investing in the old way. It believes not only that there is no certainty in the tax code, the cost of new entitlements, or our national finance, but that even if there were their own successes would be suspect and earn antipathy rather than praise. In mirror-image fashion, those of the lower incomes are likewise hesitant to take risks — unsure that the rewards of work in the private sector are all that much better than what government can offer through subsidies. (The goose that laid the golden eggs was the American work ethic and free-market, private-sector capitalism. They have pretty much killed that, consigning future generations born in America to Third World poverty. ~Bob.)

2011: You can't win for losing by Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: In January, a deranged madman killed a bunch of people in Arizona and horribly wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It was a true tragedy, disgustingly exploited by liberals who saw it as the perfect opportunity to demonize political opponents. Against the weight of logic, facts and decency, allegedly serious people claimed that a map on Sarah Palin's Facebook page inspired the shooter. The Tucson tragedy also let Barack Obama deliver perhaps the best speech of his presidency -- on the need to tone down the extreme rhetoric on both sides. Alas, when liberals lecture "both sides," they mean, "Everyone who disagrees with me should shut up."

Political Digest for December 30, 2011

I’ll be with family for New Years, probably with limited computer time, so there may not be Digests. Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a safe and healthy New Year, filled with the blessings brought by freedom, especially including economic freedom. It is worth preserving, if we can. "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." --Thomas Paine

Freedom Quotes

Charities I support

Worth reading: Republican Voters' Choices by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In this, as in many other aspects of life, we can only make our choice among the options actually available. So Republican voters who want to be realistic need to understand that they are going to end up with qualms and nagging doubts about whomever they pick this time. Not all voters want to be realistic, of course.

Bachmann's Iowa chairman jumps to Paul
Not a man of honor. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman has jumped ship and is backing Rep. Ron Paul, the latest blow to her campaign and coup for his. Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R) endorsed Paul, his campaign announced Wednesday night. Paul has led in most Iowa caucus polls in the last few weeks, and most Hawkeye State observers believe he will finish first or second in the Jan. 3 caucuses, while Bachmann has been struggling in the polls.

China finds promise and setbacks in pursuit of Russian energy
Excerpt: At exactly 48 minutes past midnight on Jan. 1, Russia did something it had never done before: It began pumping oil to China across a 2,600-mile border that once bristled with tanks, troops and nerve-shredding tension. The oil flowed from eastern Siberia through a newly completed pipeline, the first such link between the world’s largest petroleum producer and its biggest energy consumer — and a symbol of what the two giant neighbors hail as a perfect symmetry of interests. (Cheaper energy will allow China to compete more strongly with us. Build the Keystone Pipeline! ~Bob.)

A warning to those who think that this story being off the front page means it’s over. It’s not. I am getting repeated reports that farmers and other producers are turning increasingly to direct deals with the users of their products, eschewing the futures markets entirely. These are not speculators. These are the people who grow the corn, wheat, soybeans and other products you wish to buy in “processed” form.

Iran Threatens To Close Strait of Hormuz
Excerpt: Obama has presented himself to the world for three years as a weak man embarrassed and ashamed of America's might, chiefly obsessed with making apologies and insulting old (colonialist) allies, and who flinches from the hard way. He's been clear on his policy of appeasement towards Iran, which emboldens Iran, and which may cause them to think they really can block traffic in the Strait with impunity. There is one snag in that chain of reasoning: It's an election year, and Obama is as a weak in the polls as he is in world leadership. We may wind up exchanging shots precisely because Obama has presented himself as so craven, and now reaches for the military option out of a different sort of cravenness. (A “splendid little war” would help Obama with average Americans, but would turn off his “America is evil” base. ~Bob.)

A Bad Year for Obama's Green Dream
Excerpt: For President Barack Obama, 2011 began with a bang -- a bold pronouncement that his green dream for America would bring forth a jobs explosion and a new economy fueled by alternative energy, a vision he likened to President John F. Kennedy's "moon shot" in the 1960s. Much to Obama's chagrin, the year has ended in a whimper with his green energy "sun shot" sputtering to the ground before it even took off.

Pentagon trimming ranks of generals, admirals
Excerpt: With the Iraq war over and troops in Afghanistan on their way home, the U.S. military is getting down to brass tacks: culling generals and admirals from its top-heavy ranks. Pentagon officials said they have eliminated 27 jobs for generals and admirals since March, the first time the Defense Department has imposed such a reduction since the aftermath of the Cold War, when the collapse of the Soviet Union prompted the military to downsize.

Alex Salmond's spell could swing it for Scottish independence
Excerpt: He learned long ago the Ronald Reagan maxim that the successful politician owns optimism and the future. Successive election campaigns have boiled down to one essential theme: that there is no limit to Scotland's possibilities. Indeed, "Yes, we can" was the SNP slogan in 1997, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama.

Frontpage’s Man of the Year: The Wounded Warrior
Excerpt: The official end of the Iraq war this month is an occasion to reflect that, for many of America’s wounded veterans, the war will never be over, that they will always carry its scars. Over 32,000 servicemen have been wounded post-9/11, spanning all branches of the military. In the sands of Iraq, and in the mountains of Afghanistan, they have suffered horrific injuries, of which the most painful often left no outward mark. Limbs lost, lives turned upside down, futures permanently altered. For those of us safe in the comforts of civilian life, the enormity of their sacrifice is utterly beyond comprehension.

Ron Paul’s War on Israel
Excerpt: Rep. Ron Paul is now in first place in the Iowa caucus polls, second in New Hampshire and third nationally. This has prompted a former close aide of his, Eric Dondero, to speak out about the anti-Israeli views he expressed to him in private. The Paul campaign is ridiculing Dondero as a “disgruntled former staffer” and another aide, an Israeli, is defending Paul. A close examination of Paul’s books, newsletters and statements give credence to Dondero.

Who Owns OWS?
Excerpt: “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” Harvard law professor and Massachusetts U.S. senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren claimed this fall. “I support what they do.” But since “what they do” at the Occupy Boston encampment included narcotics trafficking, knife-wielding standoffs, rampant thefts, and transforming the Rose Kennedy Greenway into a muddy brownway, Warren’s boasts continue to haunt her in her contest against Scott Brown.

Worth Reading: Child Slavery on the Arabian Peninsula
Excerpt: It is perhaps the most pernicious of evils. The words “child slavery” would cause most people nowadays to recoil in horror, but in the oil-rich countries of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, it apparently still doesn’t. The most recent and revolting incident shedding light on the continued existence of this murky and most heinous of crimes involves a thirty-five-year-old Pakistani mother who bravely refused to sell her two boys to a slaver in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. But this heroine, whose name, Azim Mai, deserves to be mentioned, paid a high price for her courageous stand. Her husband, angry at her refusal to condemn her sons to such a cruel fate, threw acid in Mai’s face, seriously disfiguring her. … During a social visit to the home of another Saudi royal prince, the princess discovered a harem of young, captive slave girls. (Slavery is, of course, endorsed by the Holy Qur’an and the NYT-endorsed Shari’a law, thus is the unchangeable will of Allah. ~Bob.)

Only One Candidate Is Right on The Two Most Important Issues
Excerpt: In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.

Worth Reading: The New Old Europe by Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Like clockwork every few decades, some self-described European "visionaries" swear that the continent can either live in peace under utopian protocols or, more darkly, be united under one grand -- and undemocratic -- system, willingly or not. But for all the noble pretensions of the Congress of Vienna or the European Union -- or the nightmarish spread of Napoleon's Continental System and the Third Reich -- and for all the promises of European-born fascism, communism and socialism, the result is always the same: disunion, acrimony and infighting.

Iraq in Political Crisis Following U.S. Withdrawal
Excerpt: The Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab who previously served as general secretary of the Islamist Iraqi Islamic Party. Hashemi fled to Iraqi Kurdistan. There, Kurdish political parties proposed to mediate tensions between the State of Law bloc led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa party and the opposition Iraqiya bloc headed by Ayad Allawi. The allegations against Hashemi include the charge that he managed and funded a death squad over the past two years, with a possible role in an attack on Iraq’s parliament last month that may have included Maliki as an assassination target.

Iran’s Dangerous Game of Chicken on the Straits of Hormuz, Sanctions
Excerpt: As if the confrontation with Iran wasn’t getting scary enough, we now have pictures of Iranian commandos with stubby machine guns on boats training to close the Strait of Hormuz. This is the entrance to the Persian Gulf through which a third of the world’s oil exports pass. Fighting there could drive up the price of oil to economy-breaking levels and could, in turn, lead to a regional war in the Middle East. (Now this from liberal Daily Beast. While I don’t see the Iranians being “deterred” from pressing on to build a bomb, I also think their first response may not be directly against the military forces of either the USA or Israel. They have proxy forces in many places around the world to act for them that are well-suited to take action against softer targets like shopping malls and schools. They saw Saddam’s forces taken down in days on two different occasions. Surely they know we can do the same to them. So, their capabilities will be widely dispersed and as covert as possible. The mullahs won’t go away without a fight. How much better it would be if we had supported the Greens and let them fight it out amongst themselves. We will regret that failure. Ron P.)

Somalia: "Alarming increase" in women and girls who have been raped as spoils of war
Excerpt: The Qur'an sanctions sex with captive and slave women: "And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you" (4:24). Al-Shabaab is acting barbarically, but as far as they are concerned, they are acting within their rights and not forbidding what Allah has made lawful. They are not at all alone among Muslims in endorsing or engaging in this behavior.

Excerpt: Walk into your local gun shop and you’re likely to be greeted by some of the hardest working salesmen and women in America. On Black Friday alone Gun dealers flooded the FBI with background check requests for prospective hand gun and long gun buyers, smashing the previous record by more than 30%. Deputy Assistant FBI Director Jerry Pender said the checks, required by federal law, surged to nearly 130,000 during the day, far surpassing the previous high of 97,848 on Black Friday of 2008. The actual number of firearms sold is likely much higher because multiple firearms can be included in a transaction by a single buyer. The FBI does not track actual gun sales.

Well, well, well, the Texas Christmas Day massacre of 7 people, including the killer, was a MUSLIM honor killing, after all.
Excerpt: As usual, the media ignored the obvious honor-killing elements of this massacre. Aziz Yazdanpanah had lost control of his family. His wife had left him. His daughter was dating a non-Muslim. And he killed them all. Just as the Ft. Hood Jihadist Massacre was labeled “Workplace Violence,” the Obama-subservient media are trying to pass off this mass honor killing as “Holiday Blues.” 

Voters Don't Expect Spending Cuts Under Either Party
Excerpt: Most voters don't believe government spending will go down if Republicans control both the White House and Congress, and they're sure spending will go up if Democrats are in charge of both branches of government. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 38% of Likely U.S. Voters believe government spending is likely to go down if a Republican is elected president and the GOP wins control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Twenty-six percent (26%) think spending will go up, and 29% predict that it will stay about the same. (Every time a politician says “No” some group gets mad. So they usually say yes. Then fiscal disaster comes. ~Bob.)

Nancy Pelosi’s Daughter: ‘My Mom Wants to Leave Congress’
Her lips to God’s ears. ~Bob. Excerpt: Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told Big Government this week that her mother wants to leave Congress–and that she remains in Washington only at the behest of her campaign donors.

An unavoidable challenge: Now is the time to make the case for military action against Iran by John Yoo
Excerpt: Our political calendar and one of our nation's greatest threats have synchronized. In the upcoming year, the American people will render their judgment on Barack Obama's presidency. Meanwhile, if the International Atomic Energy Agency's November report is accurate, Iran will soon join the ranks of the world's nuclear powers. Because of the Obama administration's reluctance to confront this looming threat, others—such as the Republican presidential candidates—must begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran's nuclear program.

Excerpt: Rep. Ron Paul’s surge in Iowa has triggered a theoretical question for his rivals this week: given his foreign policy views, would they be willing to support him over President Obama if he were the nominee? Newt Gingrich said “no,” Mitt Romney said “yes.” But it is also a kind of an intriguing gut check question for conservatives on how they balance foreign and domestic policy. Having thought about it over the last few days and debated it on Twitter for a bit last night, I’ve determined that I’d very begrudgingly back Obama in such a matchup. (Both would destroy the country, in different ways. I’d have to do a write in…and give up, I think. ~Bob.)

Jon's Business Experience
Huntsman ad. The Illinois primary isn’t until March, by which time it should be over. I might vote for him just so I can avoid responsibility for what I fear is coming. ~Bob.

An Uncomfortable Fact About Taxes: The Rich Do Pay Their Fair Share by Kevin Glass
Excerpt: There's been a lot of consternation about the U.S. status as a "low-tax nation" in anticipation of serious debates about the debt and deficit. As far as taxes as a percentage of GDP go, the U.S. is relatively low-tax compared to developed European nations. However, the discrepancy doesn't come from a lack of taxes on the rich - it's that the U.S. taxes everyone else at pretty spectacularly low rates. The primary driver of this is that the U.S. doesn't have a VAT or some other form of consumption tax that generally raises a higher percentage of income from people who don't have the luxury of being able to save and invest. (Human nature: YOU are not paying your fair share. I am paying more than my fair share. Regardless of what the numbers are. This is why politicians can get votes on appeals to envy and “fairness.” ~Bob.)

The Democratic Party's War on the Poor
Excerpt: Now, why do we turn to a foreign country for an example of the critical failing of the American Democratic Party? Because the way American conservatives and liberals react to this story of misguided social programs is the American economic debate in a microcosm.

Excerpt: $15,000,000,000,000+ in debt, Congress is incapable of protecting Americans and producing a budget, and our failed “leaders” are still selling your future to those who celebrated the deaths of Americans on 9/11 and elected terrorist Hamas into office, via US Congress frees $40 million for Palestinians – Yahoo! News. (Not so broke we can’t give money to people who would kill us if they could. ~Bob.)

99-year-old divorces wife after he discovered 1940s affair
Excerpt: An Italian couple are to become the world's oldest divorcees, after the 99-year-old husband found that his 96-year-old wife had an affair in the 1940s.

The Establishment Moves Rightward: Shrink from the left, shift to the right, in the fratricidal conservative fight
Excerpt: I’ve made a disturbing discovery: I am a member of the conservative “establishment.” I feel like Michael Douglas at the end of Falling Down: “I’m the bad guy?” Largely in response to the real and perceived excesses of the Bush years and the overreach of the Obama administration, the base has become more populist. (In reading my e-mail, I’ve figured out there are less than a dozen true conservatives. Everyone else is a RINO or member of the GOP establishment. Once they throw out every RINO the party will be delightfully pure, though leftists and statists will hold all public offices down to brothel inspector. ~Bob.)

Perry goes positive in final Iowa ad

Jon Huntsman Says Iowans ‘Pick Corn,’ Not Presidents
Excerpt: Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has put all his weight behind a solid showing in the New Hampshire primary, appeared on The Early Show Thursday morning and fired a shot right between the eyes of Iowans and the candidates vying to win next week’s Iowa caucus.

US sells $29 billion weapons package to ally Saudi Arabia
Excerpt: The U.S. has reached an agreement to sell a $29.4 billion weapons package to Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration announced the arms sale Thursday amid tensions in the region over Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil passageway. (To aid in their tough fight against witchcraft, no doubt. ~Bob.)

These Are 11 Things That Could Be More Expensive in 2012
Excerpt: Although the U.S. economy has performed poorly over the last couple of years, Americans have lucked out with relatively low inflation (emphasis on the word “relatively”). However, there’s little reason to believe that the prices you pay today will stay where they are — meaning 2012 will most likely bring about increases to your everyday costs as well as some luxury items.

The price of Freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle; Anywhere, Anytime, and with utter recklessness. --Robert A. Heinlein

Unified Theory of Climate
Excerpt: Global surface temperature is independent of the down-welling LW flux known as greenhouse or back radiation, because both quantities derive from the same pool of atmospheric kinetic energy maintained by solar heating and air pressure. (…) Modifying chemical composition of the atmosphere cannot alter the system’s total kinetic energy, hence the size of ATE (GHE). (…) Equation (8) suggests that the planet’s albedo is largely a product of climate rather than a driver of it. This is because the bulk of the albedo is a function of the kinetic energy supplied by the Sun and the atmospheric pressure. (This is a fairly long technical exposition but is worth reading anyway. If correct, it blows ALL the existing AGW arguments away. Among other things, it accounts for the Earth’s lack of warming since 1996, and for the global warming on the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and other planets and their satellites, things no previous explanation can do. The excerpts are from the section on the implications of the research. Unlike most “climate science” articles, this one reveals most of its sources and methods, so others CAN attempt to duplicate or falsify the conclusions. As of this writing, there are 199 comments—mostly from VERY knowledgeable professionals in the climate field—and almost all are positive; even the negative comments are niggling minor things. While I can read the graphs and the reasoning, I confess I lack the math skills to do much more than read the equations, but there will be plenty of peer review, both hostile and supportive, before the dust settles. This is a great New Year’s present. Ron P.)

Sen Brown accuses Dem leaders of targeting him
Excerpt: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is claiming that Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Senate leader Harry Reid, are alienating him by sending a message to their fellow lawmakers not to work with him on legislation. The Massachusetts Republican said Wednesday that Reid and other Democratic leaders are trying to deny Brown credit for initiatives he's sponsored in an effort to isolate him politically. … “I'm a Republican from Massachusetts. I have the scars on my back to prove it,” Brown said. “It's a blood sport here.” (So much for “bipartisan cooperation.” As a former Massachusetts GOP state senator, I can relate to the last line. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Many Americans are no doubt making resolutions to eliminate their bad habits in the New Year. The federal government would be well advised to do the same. President Obama and members of Congress could start by reviewing the jaw-dropping report put out by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) outlining 100 examples — totaling more than $6.5 billion — of wasteful federal spending over the past year alone. What follows is a collection of some of the more outrageous examples.

Economists fear withdrawal symptoms if payroll-tax cut vanishes
Social Security is going broke? I know, let’s reduce income for it! ~Bob. Excerpt: It was the tax cut that nobody noticed when Congress enacted it a year ago. Now the question is, can anyone live without it? The $120 billion payroll-tax cut, which was extended for two months until March just before Congress left town last week, turned out to be an addictive fix for consumers this year, providing an extra $20 to $30 in extra cash in every paycheck that - while nothing to write home about in any given week - provided a cumulative boost to consumer spending over the course of the year.

Ron Paul’s foreign policy worse than Obama’s, says John Bolton
Excerpt: Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton hasn’t endorsed any of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates yet, but it’s clear there is one he won’t be endorsing: Ron Paul. Bolton, appearing on Fox News’s “Sean Hannity Show” Wednesday, said that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is “worse than the Obama administration.”

Egypt: Organization headed by sheikh of al-Azhar demands shutdown of Christian TV station, says it offends Muslims
Excerpt: This case demonstrates one of the many problems with curtailing "offensive" free speech and criminalizing hurt feelings. Simply expressing a belief at variance with Islam can be seized upon as "blasphemy," or as "offending religious sentiments," and simply being visible in daily life as an adherent of a non-Islamic faith can be seized upon as "proselytizing." It is all in the eye of the overlord/beholder. The move against this station is just a higher-tech extension of Sharia's traditional ban on the display of crosses, ringing of bells, preaching in public, and of course, evangelization.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Breakthrough in Solar Technology

Political Digest for December 29, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on. In some cases I post things sent to me by readers I might not have posted on my own, to get ideas circulating.

What makes The Old Jarhead different?
Of all the sources for news and opinion on the Internet, this may be the only one who doesn’t try to make money selling you stuff and/or begging you for donations. (Yes, I push my books, but the royalties go to help wounded vets, and I give away free PDFs of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.) This might have to change when my disease forces my retirement, but for now, enjoy this without any “year end appeal” for cash. ~Bob.

Looking for a fit

Blocked articles
The NYT and the WSJ sometimes block access to subscribers, even though I was able to read the article. (I don’t subscribe and don’t l=include anything I know is behind a firewall). Often you can read by pasting the title in Google and searching for an unblocked copy. Trouble, I know, but there it is. Below may be a case in point. ~Bob.

The Federal Reserve's Covert Bailout of Europe. When is a loan between central banks not a loan? When it is a dollars-for-euros currency swap. By Gerald P. O'driscoll Jr.
Excerpt: America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, is engaged in a bailout of European banks. Surprisingly, its operation is largely unnoticed here. The Fed is using what is termed a "temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangement" with the European Central Bank (ECB).

Ron Paul and the racist newsletters (Fact Checker biography)
Excerpt: Paul offers implausible explanations for why so many derogatory statements made it into his publications, insisting he knew nothing about them. It’s hard to believe that a man who wants to oversee the entire U.S. government — albeit a smaller version — would provide zero oversight of his publications, or even bother to read them from time to time. The Texas congressman has to take responsibility for the newsletters that bear his name, or at least acknowledge negligence as the former head of the company that produced them. He earns three Pinocchios for failing to do so. (However you view this and Paul, this would be a major distraction if he were the nominee. ~Bob.)

Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing
Excerpt: In the space of three years, the administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force­ ­cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents. (There’s a long list of things I don’t like about Obama, but this isn’t one of them. Only he could have done it, because the media would have slaughtered McCain or any Republican who did. ~Bob.)

Washington’s year of drama leaves little done regarding debt
Excerpt: Last week, however, Ribble went home for the holidays with little to show for all the political drama. The debt stood at $15.1 trillion, $1 trillion more than when he got to town. By the end of next year, projections show, it will grow by an additional $1 trillion. Ribble said he and his allies had cut spending for 2012 by only about $7 billion, a sliver so tiny Ribble could measure its impact in minutes.

EMILY's List ranks Gingrich as 'worst' GOP presidential candidate
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is ranked as the worst GOP candidate in this year's presidential contest by EMILY's List, a group that supports pro-abortion rights Democratic women. … It includes candidates' positions on abortion, healthcare reforms, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, economic stimulus and "workplace fairness" laws. It also penalized candidates for changing their positions on those issues, which hurt Gingrich and Mitt Romney the most. (Poor Newt. Some conservatives think he’s a RINO, while progressive feminists think he’s the worst conservative candidate. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: As depression overcame me, I vacillated between reaching for a tissue or another cup of eggnog …. until it dawned on me that all of the people who are recycling this (basically failed) idea are people who don’t believe in prices. To a man (are there any women in here?), they believe that no one should ever have to face a real price – certainly not for health care and not for health insurance either. My one contribution to this discussion is the observation that if everyone faces perverse incentives, you are going to get very perverse outcomes. My only regret: my conclusion has not been recycled enough to stop the policy wonks from continuing to think they can give people incentives to do perverse things and then successfully stop them from doing those things. Okay, halt. I’m going to put these people out of their misery. Folks, we already know enough to design an insurance plan that will cut health care spending in half and improve quality and access to care at the same time. Explanation below the fold. (Great ideas, but they require people to be responsible. And politicians love to rush in and secure the votes of the irresponsible by rescuing them. See the housing market. ~Bob.)

Medicare Whac-A-Mole
Excerpt: Medicare as we know it is the nation's biggest fiscal disaster. For years members of Congress and the executive branch have been trying, and failing, to find ways to restrain the growth of government health spending on seniors. As the single largest driver of long-term federal debt, the program is projected to increase in costs rapidly over the next few decades, with the twin drivers of a gradually aging population and rising health care costs that outstrip inflation and economic growth, says Peter Suderman, an associate editor at Reason Magazine. Medicare is a $500 billion program on track to become a $1 trillion program before hitting estimated insolvency in 2024. President Obama has made modest inroads, having signed a debt deal with Republicans over the summer that allowed for a 2 percent cut to Medicare spending. He also endorsed a $248 billion Medicare cut as part of his own debt reduction proposal in September.

53% Still Favor Building Keystone XL Pipeline
Excerpt: Most voters continue to favor the building of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas that congressional Republicans are prodding President Obama to approve in legislation passed last week. Republicans see the pipeline as a job creator, while Democrats view it as an environmental risk. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor building the Keystone XL pipeline. (Just one more case where Obama takes the side of the 1% fuzzy green elites against the poor and middleclass. ~Bob.)

The EPA's Fracking Scare
Believe nothing the liberal environmental lobby tells you. As the climate-gate e-mails prove, they will openly lie to scare people into doing their bidding. They are determined to raise energy costs, and if that means working people don’t, or poor people can’t afford heat, lights and food, that’s just tough. ~Bob.) Excerpt: The shale gas boom has been a rare bright spot in the U.S. economy, so much of the country let out a shudder a few weeks ago when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a "draft" report that the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing may have contaminated ground water in Pavillion, Wyoming. The good news is that the study is neither definitive nor applicable to the rest of the country, says the Wall Street Journal. This is the first major study to have detected linkage between fracking and ground-water pollution, and the EPA draft hasn't been peer reviewed by independent scientific analysts. Critics are already picking apart the study, which Wyoming Governor Matt Mead called "scientifically questionable."

U.S., Israel Discuss Triggers for Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Infrastructure
Excerpt: When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opined earlier this month that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret,” the Israelis went ballistic behind the scenes. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, lodged a formal diplomatic protest known as a demarche. And the White House was thrust into action, reassuring the Israelis that the administration had its own “red lines” that would trigger military action against Iran, and that there is no need for Jerusalem to act unilaterally. (If I were the Israelis, I wouldn’t trust the administration to follow through on its promises. And, if I did plan to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, I WOULDN’T tell the administration until mere minutes before I did it because it’s a foregone conclusion that they’d instantly tell the Iranians or the press or both. This lack of trust between us and the Israelis is no accident; the administration worked long and hard to achieve it, aided and abetted by the MSM’s constant portrayal of the Israelis as aggressors. The simplest and safest thing we could have done to help defuse the rush to an Iranian bomb would have been to support the Greens back in 2009 and 2010, but instead, the administration wanted to give the mullahs a hug. Alas, that opportunity has surely passed. Now, it’s just a question of “when.” Ron P.)

Wait Times for Surgery Vault to Record High in Canada
Excerpt: Canadians seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatment faced a median wait time of 19.0 weeks in 2011, the longest wait time since 1993 when the Fraser Institute first began measuring wait times. The median surgical wait time in 2011 jumped to 19.0 weeks from 18.2 weeks in 2010, exceeding the previous all-time high of 18.3 weeks recorded in 2007, according to the 21st annual edition of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, released by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free market public policy think tank.

The Case for Newt Gingrich: How easily his great and solid conservative achievements are forgotten. By Peter Ferrara
Excerpt: Gingrich's rebellion against Bush's 1990 betrayal of Reaganomics was his finest hour. That leadership is what led to the House Republican takeover in 1994. If conservatives and supply-siders do not rally around Gingrich now, and allow the Bush crowd to win with Romney, Reaganism will have been routed out of the Republican Party. Undoubtedly, John Sununu will pick Romney's budget director (remember his pick of Supreme Court Justice David Souter over the conservative alternative that would have given conservatives a firm majority on the Court). The first thing Romney will do if elected is exactly the reprise of the 1990 tax increase budget deal for which the Washington establishment that will run a Romney Administration is always pining. That will require another round of Democrats in the White House before conservatives can even get a chance at winning again, which America cannot survive at this point. (My vote will be decided by who will have the backbones to become deeply unpopular by doing the very painful things needed to repair our fiscal situation and face down the threats of illegal colonization, jihad and China. Having trouble seeing Mitt in that role. ~Bob.)

At West Point, a quiet place to honor warriors
Excerpt: Americans will argue for years over what was won in Iraq. To understand what was lost, come to the U.S. Military Academy cemetery and walk through Section 36, a garden of unrealized potential and thwarted dreams that sits on a windy bluff over the Hudson River.

Are Democrats Using Ron Paul To Create Primary Election Chaos?
Part of how screwed up our nominating system is. ~Bob. Excerpt: Recent polling indicates Republican candidate Ron Paul is receiving close to a majority of his support from voters who don’t affiliate with the Republican party. Could this scenario be an intentional plan to create chaos within the Republican primary race?

The GOP's Answer to Union Money: Achieving parity with the Democrats in campaign spending would be no small feat. Yet it appears possible By Fred Barnes
Excerpt: When Steven Law was deputy secretary of labor in the George W. Bush administration, he routinely scrutinized the disclosure forms of labor unions. Unions had recently been required to report new details about how they spent their members' dues money. Mr. Law discovered that organized labor was contributing millions to a variety of liberal groups—environmentalists, gay-rights advocates and left-wing blogs, among others. For Mr. Law, it was a revelation and a lesson. He concluded that the labor movement had enlarged and strengthened the coalition that helped produce Democratic landslides in 2006 and 2008.

Merry Christmas From Saudi Arabia Holiday greetings from a regime that prohibits Christians from worshipping publicly or wearing crosses. By David Keyes
Excerpt: If you want a good laugh, read the holiday card sent out by Saudi Ambassador to the United States and public relations genius Adel al-Jubeir. Citing a Quranic verse, he writes "Behold, the angels said: 'O Mary, God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God.'" Christmas greetings from an ambassador whose government prohibits Christians from worshiping publicly, building churches, wearing crosses or importing Bibles. Invoking the names of Mary and Jesus while representing a government that this year beheaded Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar and Abdul Hamid Al Fakki for "witchcraft."

The Air Force Grounds Its Officers
Excerpt: This holiday season, the Air Force has "separated" (that is, fired) 157 officers on the eve of their retirement, including pilots flying dangerous missions, to avoid paying their pensions. According to Department of Defense Instructions, those within six years of their 20-year retirement (with no disciplinary blemishes on their record) have the option to remain in service. Nevertheless, the Air Force is committing terminations of airmen a few years away from retirement en masse, citing budget constraints.

Romney in striking distance of Iowa win by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns
 Excerpt: Don’t look now, but Mitt Romney suddenly seems like the Iowa front-runner. The former Massachusetts governor has carefully tempered expectations in Iowa all year, visiting only a handful of times and saving the bulk of his television spending for the final weeks of the race. But as a crowd of conservative opponents keep the anti-Romney vote divided, his odds of a victory in the state that humbled him four years ago have never been better.

Nelson exit gives Dems bleak outlook by David Catanese
Excerpt: The Nebraska senator's retirement deals a mental and mathematical blow to a party already struggling. ($10 says Nelson doesn’t go home to his beloved Nebraska, instead stays in DC as a high-paid lobbyist. ~Bob.)

Ron Paul’s Destructive Foreign Policy
Excerpt: Rep. Ron Paul believes the United States is a greedy, militaristic empire that brought 9/11 upon itself. He believes that Iran poses no threat to U.S. or Israeli security and that Iran deserves to have a nuclear weapon if it wants one. As for Israel, he does not think it should have ever come into existence as a Jewish state. Nevertheless, Ron Paul, whose crackpot beliefs would be disastrous for the United States and the free world if ever implemented, is a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination.

Hamas leader Haniyeh: Goal is destruction of Israel in stages
Excerpt: At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may work for the "interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem," but that this "interim objective" and "reconciliation" with Fatah will not change Hamas' long-term "strategic" goal of eliminating all of Israel:

Ex-Muslim: "These and many other hadeeth and Quranic verses have proclaimed that women are inferior to men and that men have an upper hand on them"
Excerpt: I was always fascinated with the idea of marrying a western non Muslim man who would love, honor and respect me as an equal instead of getting married to some clone of Mohammed. I am sure everyone is aware of his famous words “Women are deficient in their minds” or “I have been to hell and seen it full of women”.

The Year in Obama Scandals -- and Scandal Deniers by Michelle Malkin
Excerpt: With 2011 drawing to a close, it is time to account. As an early-and-often chronicler of Chicago-on-the-Potomac, I am amazed at the stubborn and clingy persistence of President Barack Obama's snowblowers in the media. See no scandal, hear no scandal, speak no scandal.

The economic truth hurts by Len Mead
Excerpt: Did you think Republicans would “raise your payroll taxes” starting in January if no deal had been reached? Do you think unemployment just dropped to only 8.6 percent? If you answered “yes” to these questions, the
Main Street
media has succeeded in deceiving you — and most other busy readers and viewers. Like our economy, truthful journalism has sunk to lows unseen in our lifetimes.

Islamic Muslims will kill you if they can.
Excerpt: The Nigerian Islamic group Boko Haram has proudly claimed the responsibility of the bombing of 5 Churches on Christmas day killing dozens while they gathered to celebrate the birth of Yeshua (Jesus the Holy One of Israel). This is nothing new for Nigeria, Sudan or Ethiopia they have been killing Christians by the tens of thousands yearly for the past few decades with little to nothing being said in the main line media.

Will America lose its dominance of the skies? by Michael Auslin
Excerpt: There were a number of reasons last week to look up to the sky and wonder about the future of airpower. In a world in which the United States will have smaller ground and naval forces, we will likely become more dependent on land- and sea-based airpower to deter or defeat enemies. The proper employment of air assets as part of a joint force allows for nearly instantaneous response to crises, saves American lives, and can bring pinpoint devastation to an enemy's forces and command-and-control systems. Yet along with the sunshine, clouds dot the airpower horizon.

Main Street
New Newt ad.

Police beef up security for Occupy Rose Parade protests
Excerpt: Protesters intend to march with large banners that decry wealth inequality in the United States and to unveil a few colorful "floats" of their own, including a giant people-powered octopus, said Pete Thottam, an Occupy spokesman. (Our next float features a hippie made of azaleas pooping roses on a cop car made of sunflower seeds. –Iowa Hawk.)

99 Percent? Top 25 Occupy Wall Street Backers Worth Over $4 Billion By Paul Wilson
Excerpt: Occupy Wall Street attacks income inequality and the richest 1 percent, adopting as its slogan ''we are the 99 percent.'' In October, its protesters staged a ''millionaires march' 'in New York City, parading to the homes of wealthy citizens such as Rupert Murdoch and David Koch. But only some riches bother the Occupiers, who have ignored the massive wealth of celebrities in their own ranks.

Excerpt: A U.S. Marine officer has told the incredible story of how he survived a street robbery by plugging bullet holes in his body with his fingers. Lieutenant Colonel Karl Trenker, 29, of Miramar, Florida, was shot three times as he confronted two men who had stolen a gold chain from him. He said he used his battlefield training from Afghanistan and Iraq to stem blood from chest wounds by shoving his finger into the gaping wound. (Huh. Back in the “Old Corps” we weren’t allowed to use fingers, had to plug bullet holes by using will power. LOL. Think they got his age wrong. ~Bob.)

Vigil for man who died after Occupy Eugene fight
Excerpt: More than 30 people gathered for a vigil to remember a man who died after a fight in the Occupy Eugene camp. Occupy Eugene leader Kristen Carpenter told KVAL-TV, "We're sorry we couldn't have stopped the violence in the system sooner." She said the Friday night vigil was not just for 54-year-old Rich Youngblood of Florence but also for all victims of street violence. (Remember all the Tea Party rally deaths? Me neither. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) caused a bit of a stir when he announced he was not seeking re-election. Frank, a high-visibility member of Congress for more than 30 years, is in one of the safest Democratic districts in the nation. Yet he is not alone: there are several other Barney Franks fleeing the 112th Congress. Eight other veteran House Democrats who reside in safe congressional seats are throwing in the towel. (If they are safe seats, why retiring? ~Bob.)

2012: A Year of Media Savagery
Excerpt: This time around, the Obama machine cannot run on the fairy dust of hope and change. It cannot suggest after four years of dreadful executive-branch performance, that the promised one is on the horizon. Its only path to victory is the one that finds its opponents even more disliked. So it can be guaranteed that whoever wins the Republican contest will face one of the most scorching personal assaults the country has ever witnessed. (Why is it that the MSM can tell us what marks candidates with an “R” behind their names got in grade school, but can’t find any of Obama’s thesis, early girl friends, or boyhood friends? Why is it so one-sided? Because they’re all on the same side. Ron P.)

Scott Brown haters, consider the alternative
Excerpt: I’d like to address a question to all the people I hear from who tell me how bad U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is, how he’s a turncoat, sellout, backstabbing, snake-in-the-grass Republican in Name Only (RINO). My question is, if Scott Brown is so damn liberal, how come the Democrats already are spending millions upon millions of dollars to knock him out of the Senate next year?

Shutting down power plants: Imaginary benefits, extensive harm
Excerpt: The Environmental Protection Agency claims its “final proposed” Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules will eliminate toxic pollution from electrical generating units, bring up to $140 billion in annual health benefits, and prevent thousands of premature deaths yearly – all for “only” $11 billion a year in compliance costs. This may be true in the virtual reality of EPA computer models, linear extrapolations, cherry-picked health studies and statistics, government press releases and agency-generated public comments. However, in the real world inhabited by families, employers and other energy users, the new rules will bring few benefits, but will impose extensive costs that the agency chose to minimize or ignore in its analysis. (If there was a woodshed for agencies, this piece’s author would have EPA in it, giving it a well-deserved spanking. Ron P.)

Congress ends corn ethanol subsidy
Excerpt: Congress adjourned for the year on Friday, failing to extend the tax break that's drawn a wide variety of critics on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Critics also have included environmentalists, frozen food producers, ranchers and others. The policies have helped shift millions of tons of corn from feedlots, dinner tables and other products into gas tanks. (...) The subsidy has provided the oil and agribusiness industries with 45 cents per gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline. (So you have a yardstick to measure that 45 cents against: when I was in the gasoline business (about 20 months during 2003-4), the amount of profit we hoped to get was in the range of 8 cents per gallon. We expected the distributor and refiner to each make about the same. When a subsidy is 5.5 times as large as an honest profit, it will distort any marketplace, but especially one whose prices change minute by minute like gasoline’s does. This is good news. Ron P.)

House balance may hinge on court rulings
Excerpt: The 2012 congressional elections are more than 10 months away, but some key votes already have been cast — and not by the electorate. Judges, rather, are playing major roles in reshaping the House landscape this election cycle, as the courts in many states have ruled — or soon will — on disputed redistricting maps in several battleground states.

US Prepared For Military Option Against Iran
Excerpt: The top U.S. military commander says his forces are prepared for a mission against Iran if one proves necessary. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told CNN that the military option with regard to Iran is “executable if necessary” but it would be “a tragedy for the region and the world.” (Only a tragedy if we fail to flatten their military and nuke capabilities. ~Bob.)

Gunmen kill toddler near Nigeria flashpoint city
Excerpt: Gunmen have shot dead a three-year-old girl and her parents near the volatile central Nigerian city of Jos, a government spokesman and residents said Wednesday. The killing in the Christian-dominated village comes amid growing fears of civil unrest in the country following a deadly string of Christmas attacks claimed by Islamist group Boko Haram.

Pro-Bachmann group defects to Romney
Excerpt: An outside group that had promised to back Michele Bachmann is instead airing ads on behalf of Mitt Romney. The group, Citizens for a Working America, is spending nearly $500,000 on an ad promoting Romney in Iowa, according to FEC documents. News app The Daily first reported the unusual shift. The move may suggest the group's restructured leadership has lost faith in Bachmann's ability to win in the state.

For President in 2012, Mitt Romney
Excerpt: It is time for Republicans to get serious. After flirting with just about every candidate in a large presidential field, it is time to come home to the one candidate who has the demonstrated ability to run the largest organization in the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government; who has never been touched by the slightest taint of scandal; whose success in the private sector makes him the outsider that Republicans say they are looking for; and who has by far the best chance of beating President Obama: Mitt Romney.