Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Political Digest for March 8, 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.

Worth Reading: While Obama Dithers
Excerpt: Real decisions have to be made with limited information by people whose crystal balls are cloudy. And those decisions need to be made when they can still affect the outcome of events. A Perfect Plan, decided after the action is over, is useless. A timely decision that is only approximately correct, but that is made in time to impact the outcome favorably, is worth at least 1,000 Perfect Plans that are all made too late to change anything. (Ron “Count” Pittenger is one of my longest-suffering friends, a Marine comrade since 1964, a fine writer, a once-great folk singer, and a frequent contributor to this blog. He was even with me the night I ended up in the Navy Shore Patrol drunk tank, but we got separated, and he got away. I shouldn’t have had the 15th drink.)

The sound bite that’s somehow not haunting Obama
Excerpt: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

The Watchdogs: City Hall hired 139 ex-cons in two years
Cons with clout. They’ll fit right in, here in Blagobamaville. Giving them a second chance means turning away a non-felon looking for a first chance. ~Bob. Excerpt: One of them smuggled cocaine from Jamaica about a decade ago. Another was a carjacker. A third was convicted in the shooting of two Chicago cops in the 1970s, hitting one of them in the face. They are among 139 people who got hired by the City of Chicago over the past two years despite having been convicted of crimes. That’s according to a list of all of the city’s hires of ex-cons in 2009 and 2010 obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Mayor Daley has said ex-offenders deserve a second chance and has made that his policy at City Hall. Those hired under that policy include one person convicted of a crime who’d been on the “clout list” that was made public during the trial of Daley’s former patronage chief, Robert Sorich. Sorich went to prison after being convicted in federal court in 2006 of overseeing an illegal hiring scheme that gave city jobs and promotions to people with clout. “Of course I needed clout to get on,” acknowledged the ex-con, speaking only on the condition of anonymity.

Libya Army Transport Deal Frozen After US Approval
Excerpt: In the months before Libyans revolted and President Barack Obama told leader Moammar Gadhafi to go, the U.S. government was moving to do business with his regime on an increasing scale by quietly approving a $77 million dollar deal to deliver at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to the dictator's military. Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE. The congressional concerns effectively stalled the deal until the turmoil in the country scuttled the sale. Earlier last week, after all military exports to the Gadhafi regime were suspended, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls informed Capitol Hill that the deal had been returned without action - effectively off the table, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the deal's sensitive details. State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said the proposed license was suspended along with the rest of "what limited defense trade we had with Libya." The Gadhafi regime's desire to upgrade its troop carriers was so intense that a Libyan official told U.S. diplomats in Tripoli in 2009 that the dictator's sons, Khamis and Saif, both were demanding swift action. Khamis, a commander whose army brigade reportedly attacked the opposition-held town of Zawiya with armored units and pickup trucks, expressed a "personal interest" in modernizing the armored transports, according to a December 2009 diplomatic message disclosed by WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website. (“Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away, now they’re here to stay….” Maybe if the rebels win they’ll give us back the “dying” Lockerbie Bomber. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Precisely 4,734,991 Americans served in World War I. Frank Buckles was the last of them to die. He lied to get into the Army at age 16 so he could fight the Kaiser. He is the last of a generation of Americans who heard the calling for freedom in a way other did not and rose up to fight. He is the last of those men and boys who fought under an American flag across an ocean in a land most had never been who did so not because we were attacked or brought into a war, as we were in World War II, but because they heard the call of freedom in the first great war. He, as the last of the embodiment of the men and boys who heard that first call for freedom across the seas, deserves to lie in the Rotunda.

America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels
Does Obama know--or care--if any of the folks to be armed are Islamic fundamentalists who will later turn these weapons on Americans or other civilized folks? ~Bob. Excerpt: Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago. Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America's chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.

Hamas arrests leader of rival jihad group
Excerpt: This may be part of Hamas' fitful attempts to portray itself as moderate. Hamas is on the brink of respectability now, and with another push toward moderation, however spurious, could become the darling of Obama and the UN.

Libya and the LSE: Large Arab gifts to universities lead to 'hostile' teaching
The Stealth Jihad lays the foundation for the European Caliphate. How much Islamist money is going into US universities? ~Bob. Excerpt: But while it will take the LSE quite some time to regain a seat at the table of respectability, it is not the only university that has reason to feel ashamed. The LSE is said to have received no more than £300,000 of the £1.5 million it was due from Libya. Yet, on the most conservative estimate, other British universities have received hundreds of millions of pounds from Saudi and other Islamic sources – in the guise of philanthropic donations, but with the real intention of changing the intellectual climate of the United Kingdom. Between 1995 and 2008, eight universities – Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, University College London, the LSE, Exeter, Dundee and City – accepted more than £233.5 million from Muslim rulers and those closely connected to them. Much of the money has gone to Islamic study centres: the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies received £75 million from a dozen Middle Eastern rulers, including the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia; one of the current king’s nephews, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, gave £8 million each to Cambridge and Edinburgh. Then there was the LSE’s own Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, which got £9 million from the United Arab Emirates; this week, a majority of the centre’s board was revealed to be pushing for a boycott of Israel.... This is not simply scare-mongering. The management committees of the Islamic Studies centres at Cambridge and Edinburgh contained appointees hand-picked by Prince Alwaleed. Other universities have altered their study areas in line with their donors’ demands. And it works. A study of five years of politics lectures at the Middle Eastern Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, found that 70 per cent were “implacably hostile” to the West and Israel. A friend of mine, a former Oxford academic, felt that his time was largely spent battling a cadre of academics overwhelmingly hostile to the West, in an ambience in which students – from both Britain and abroad – were presented a world-view that was almost exclusively anti-Western.

Terror strikes mosque at Friday prayers; 10 worshippers killed
Didn't get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Ten worshippers, including a child, were killed and 30 others injured when a powerful bomb blast ripped through a mosque within a Sufi shrine at Nowshera in northwest Pakistan today. The explosion targeted the mosque inside Akhun Punjo Baba mazar (shrine) in Akbarpura area of Nowshera, about 15 km from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar. Scores of people were offering Friday prayers at the mosque while hundreds had gathered to take food from a 'langar' or community kitchen.... The Pakistani Taliban are opposed to the practice of worshipping at Sufi shrines and consider it "un-Islamic". The Taliban have claimed responsibility for several recent attacks on Sufi shrines in cities across Pakistan, including Lahore and Karachi. 
Slain Cabinet Minister Is Buried in Pakistan
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/world/asia/05pakistan.html?_r=2The Islamists think he got what was coming. The "moderates, if any, were afraid to attend. So the Jihad advances because terror works. ~Bob. Excerpt: Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian cabinet minister who was assassinated this week, was honored Friday at a Roman Catholic service here attended by thousands and then buried in his impoverished village, a bastion for over 100 years for the rights of minorities. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilaniwas the only senior Pakistani government official to attend. There was a phalanx of foreign diplomats, including the American ambassador, Cameron P. Munter, who sat in a pew near Mr. Bhatti’s coffin. Mr. Bhatti had served as the minister for minorities and dedicated his life to religious tolerance in this increasingly radicalized Muslim country. Wednesday underlined the anxieties among Western governments that extremists were using targeted killings as a way to move Pakistan toward an Islamic state and were doing so with impunity.

Anti-terror police foil alleged plot to kill Christian cleric in Istanbul
One wonders how so many members of a "religion of peace" get these ideas? ~Bob. Excerpt: Istanbul police’s anti-terror unit apprehended two suspects accused of plotting to assassinate a priest in the city’s Fatih district, Doğan news agency, or DHA, reported Saturday. Law enforcement officers alleged that a suspect who was identified only as E.T., and who was reported to be under 18 years of age, offered 18-year-old Okan G. 50 Turkish Liras to kill the unnamed priest. Police raided the suspects’ homes in Istanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa district and detained the pair, seizing two guns in the process. Officers later revealed that one of the guns could be altered to shoot metal balls.

German interior minister reopens bitter row over Muslim integration
Excerpt: Germany's new interior minister has said Islam does not "belong" in the country, reopening a bitter debate over the integration of Germany's 4 million Muslims. Hans-Peter Friedrich, who took office on Wednesday, was being asked by reporters about a gun attack at Frankfurt airport in which two US servicemen were killed and another two injured. Investigators suspect the attack, carried out by a 21-year-old Muslim immigrant from Kosovo, was an act of Islamist terrorism. A federal judge in Karlsruhe on Thursday ordered the suspect be remanded to jail on two counts of murder and three of attempted murder, pending further investigation. In his first press conference as minister, Friedrich said on Friday that Muslims should be allowed live in modern Germany, but he added: "To say that Islam belongs in Germany is not a fact supported by history."

Thomas Sowell: Poisoning present by distorting slavery's past
Older column I came across while researching. Worth reading again. ~Bob. Excerpt: If the history of slavery ought to teach us anything, it is that human beings cannot be trusted with unbridled power over other human beings - no matter what color or creed any of them are. The history of ancient despotism and modern totalitarianism practically shouts that same message from the blood-stained pages of history. But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people. It is true, just as it is true that I don't go sky-diving with blacks. But it is also false in its implications for the same reason. Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans; more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed. The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to Roots, and our schools and colleges don't pound it into the heads of students. The inhumanity of human beings toward other human beings is not a new story, much less a local story. There is no need to hide it, because there are lessons we can learn from it. But there is also no need to distort it, so that sins of the whole human species around the world are presented as special defects of "our society" or the sins of a particular race. If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance.
Excerpt: Over the next decade I believe we are going to see a major transformation of American medicine. It won’t be the kind of transformation that is normally discussed at health care conferences and at inside-the-Beltway briefings. Nor will it be the kind of change anticipated by the people who gave us the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Instead, what I envision is a large migration of patients and doctors, and facilities and services out of the third-party payer system. That means a major increase in concierge doctors, concierge facilities and concierge-type services. More generally, it means the creation of new markets where providers are free to repackage and reprice their services without third-party payer approval; where transparency of price and quality becomes the norm for patients; and where suppliers of services compete for patients on price, quality and amenities. The single most important cause of this transformation will be the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That is especially ironic in four ways. First, the most important purpose of the act was to bring millions of people into the health insurance system, not to push millions of people (at least partially) out of it. A second purpose of the ACA was to change the way medicine is practiced — using electronic medical records, financial incentives and regulatory powers to goad providers into providing lower cost, higher quality, more transparent care. Yet all of these goals will be achieved more quickly, more completely and more effectively outside the system. A third goal of the ACA was to create a more egalitarian system in which all have access to the same care. Yet the world we are about to enter will be the exact opposite — a two-tiered system in which access to the best doctors and the best facilities will depend very much on your ability to pay. A fourth goal of the ACA was to create universal access to care. Yet our more vulnerable populations — the poor, the disabled and the elderly — are likely to have less access to care under the new reforms than they have today.

Two Approaches to Reforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
Excerpt: There are two alternatives to reforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), says Arnold Kling, a member of the Mercatus Center's Financial Markets Working Group. The first approach returns Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to the investing public as private corporations with government backing, subject to limits on loan amounts and subject to safety-and-soundness regulation. This approach has a number of advantages: It would ensure the survival of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. It would take advantage of the substantial organizational capital that the GSEs have accumulated with respect to standardizing mortgage lending, managing credit and interest-rate risk, and using computer technology to handle complexity and achieve reliability. In addition, there is a regulatory model for the GSEs, based on stress testing, that is very robust: it only failed because political leaders imposed other priorities on the GSEs that were in conflict with safety and soundness. The second approach would be for the government to get out of the mortgage-guarantee business, and to let the mortgage market evolve in a decentralized way. This has the advantages of: Leading to a more decentralized mortgage-finance system, with a much smaller role for Wall Street, thus reviving an American tradition of smaller, independent financial institutions. Creating a playing field that is not dominated by gigantic, government-advantaged firms. Offering politicians less opportunity to impose priorities on the mortgage-lending process that produce instability and hazard.

New EPA Data Show Futility Of U.S. Carbon Dioxide Restrictions
Quick, China increased carbon output. We need to bankrupt America to make up for it! ~Bob. Excerpt: Global carbon dioxide emissions may be rapidly rising, but the U.S. is not to blame, according to newly released data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined 6% in 2009, and are now 8% below 2000 levels, the EPA reports. Global emissions, by contrast, have risen more than 25% since 2000. A closer look at global emissions trends shows how futile it would be for the U.S. to impose economically punitive self-restrictions on carbon dioxide. Underdeveloped nations, which are not required to make emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol, accounted for virtually all of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. China, which is one of the nations exempt from Kyoto Protocol emissions cuts, accounted for roughly half the global increase. In 2005 China was the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, trailing slightly behind the U.S. By 2009, however, China had left the U.S. far behind, accounting for 24% of global emissions, vs. just 17% for the U.S. When 2010 numbers are released it is a virtual certainty the gap will widen further. Most likely China in 2010 accounted for approximately 26% of global emissions, with the U.S. accounting for roughly 15%.

The Universal Service Fund: What Do High-Cost Subsidies Subsidize?
Excerpt: The universal service program in the United States currently transfers about $7.5 billion per year from telephone subscribers to certain telephone companies. Those funds are intended to help achieve particular policy goals, such as subsidizing telephone service in rural areas and making phone service more affordable to low-income people. The bulk of the funds, about $4.5 billion per year, subsidizes firms operating in high-cost areas. A large literature documents the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of these subsidies, raising the question of where the money goes. This paper uses data submitted by about 1,400 recipients of high-cost subsidies from 1998 – 2008 to explore this question. The analysis reveals that of each dollar distributed to recipient firms, about $0.59 goes to “general and administrative expenses”—overhead such as planning, government relations, and personnel—rather than to making telephone service more affordable. These results, consistent with a large body of economics literature, suggest that the Universal Service Fund’s method for subsidizing service in high-cost areas should be radically overhauled as a key component of the current desire to shift USF support from voice to broadband.

Government Unions 101: What Public-Sector Unions Won't Tell You
Excerpt: Early labor leaders didn’t believe unions belonged in government. In 1955, George Meany, then-president of the AFL-CIO, said: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” In 1959 the AFL-CIO Executive Council declared, “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) gave unions extensive powers to bargain collectively in the private sector but excluded them from government. FDR believed collective bargaining had no place in public service and that a government strike was “unthinkable and intolerable.”

A Call to Violence on a Facebook Page for Upcoming Rally Supporting Illegal Immigration http://www.patriotactionnetwork.com/profiles/blog/show?id=2600775%3ABlogPost%3A3329998&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post
Be a good chance to round them up and deport them in a group. As if we had the courage to defend our culture that way. ~Bob. Excerpt: Demonstrations, rallies, and protests are all valid exercises of our constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech. However, in a democratic republic, such political speech must never include violence or threats of violence! Unfortunately, it appears that some attendees of the upcoming March 10 “Coming Out of the Shadows: Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic” rally in Chicago don’t seem to agree with this important principle of our republic.

Will the South stay solidly Republican?
Excerpt: The 2010 election was devastating for Democrats across the country, but the South was at the epicenter of the destruction. One-third of the House seats Democrats lost in November came from the 11 traditional Southern states. In the Senate, Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) was crushed and Democrats came nowhere near winning an open seat in Florida or defeating potentially vulnerable GOP incumbents in Louisiana and North Carolina.

U.S. future depends on cutting debt, voters say
Unfortunately, the enemy is already inside the gates—and it’s us! ~Bob. Excerpt: Likely voters overwhelmingly believe deficit reduction is crucial to America’s future, but generally oppose raising revenue through tax reform to cut those deficits, a new poll conducted for The Hill found. A full 95 percent of likely voters believe that lowering the debt is either very or somewhat important, the poll found, with only 2 percent finding the issue not at all or not very important. Not surprisingly, respondents had a more nuanced take on tax reform, with likely voters saying they prefer spending cuts to tax increases to shoulder the brunt of lowering the country’s debt. Still, a plurality endorsed the general idea of lowering tax rates while eliminating many tax credits and deductions. Respondents were split, however, on whether they would be willing to give up their long-held deduction for mortgage interest, a tax expenditure that has received backing of powerful supporters like President Reagan during past pushes to overhaul the tax code.

Excerpt: This thirty second video will show you everything that is wrong with public sector unions. The budget debate in Wisconsin has forced a long-overdue discussion about public sector unions. Always a questionable proposition, unionization of the public sector, for a period, seemed a luxury we could afford. Yeah, public workers had job security and great benefits, but their pay was lower, so it seemed a fair trade-off. Over the last couple decades that implicit understanding was upended…public sector pay moved much higher and those great benefits were jacked up on steroids. Worse, we’ve recently learned that the benefits aren’t actually ‘paid for.’ As a result, we face the prospect of far higher taxes to meet these past promises. At the same time, globalization and the natural forces of competition changed the economic equation for many of us in the private sector. We have had to become more productive, shoulder a greater share of our benefits and assume greater responsibility over our retirement. We’ve also realized that past politicians’ promises about Social Security were checks that couldn’t be cashed.

Taxpayer Receipt Act
Good idea—if you could keep the administration from including political spin about the wonderful spending programs the government funds. Excerpt: Under this legislation, every taxpayer who files an income tax return would receive an itemized receipt – similar to a grocery store receipt – from the IRS that lists where their payroll and income taxes are spent. The receipt would include key categories such as the interest on the national debt, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, national defense, education, veterans’ benefits, environmental protection, foreign aid – and, last but not least, Congress. Taxpayers also would be directed to a website where they could get more detailed information on programs not included on the one-page receipt. Additionally, the receipt would provide taxpayers with the amount of debt per American – which currently is more than $45,000 - and how much new borrowing we put on the national credit card in the past year.

I’m shocked. Shocked, I say. Your tax dollars at work. ~Bob. Excerpt: The radical activist group ACORN “works” for the Democratic Party and deliberately promotes election fraud, ACORN employees told FBI investigators, according to an FBI document dump Wednesday. The documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, are FBI investigators’ reports related to the 2007 investigation and arrest of eight St. Louis, Mo., workers from ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate for violation of election laws. All eight employees involved in the scandal later pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud. Project Vote is ACORN’s voter registration arm. Project Vote continues to operate despite the reported dissolution of the national structure of ACORN. The handwritten reports by FBI agents show that ACORN employees reported numerous irregularities in the nonprofit group’s business practices.

The Week That Was: 2011-03-05 (March 5, 2011)
Excerpt: Quote of the Week: “The purpose of the 'social cost of carbon' (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that have small, or "marginal," impacts on cumulative global emissions." From: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis, Under Executive Order 12866, February 2010 (…) As suggested in the above quote, the concept of SCC is intentionally vague and lacks scientific precision. It is a bureaucrat's dream. Any suggested harm from the use of carbon can be included no matter how improbable. Of course, the current objective is controlling all carbon-based fuels. But, SCC can be used for other purposes as well. Humans are carbon based life forms, all life on the planet is carbon based. The use of vague concepts such as Social Cost of Carbon suggests life itself comes with a social cost. In recent years, the Federal government demonstrated how laws with vague concepts can be used to broaden government control of the citizenry. When the Clean Air Act was passed, it was not envisioned by many of its principal sponsors that it would be include control carbon dioxide emissions. Yet, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide, a non-toxic trace gas essential to life, is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. (Vague laws empower beancounters/regulators. Ron P.

Excerpt: After 54 years working for American Airlines, Freddy Schmitt says he just wants the same thing the US Army gave him six decades ago -- an honorable discharge. Instead, the 82-year-old WWII vet was handed his walking papers after allegedly using a derogatory term for gays during a workplace bull session about "Don't Ask Don't Tell." The fact that Schmitt was defending gay soldiers' right to serve -- "Back then, a faggot coulda saved my life" -- hasn't changed the airline's decision. Neither has his blemish-free employment record, nor the pleas of former JFK co-workers upset over the axing of their buddy known as "Papa Freddy."

New York City Rally Planned Against Hearing on U.S. Muslims
Excerpt: A coalition of over 100 interfaith, nonprofit and governmental organizations plans to rally in New York City against a planned congressional hearing on Muslims' role in homegrown terrorism. The coalition says Thursday's hearing will send the wrong message to U.S. Muslims by "demonizing" them. The Rev. Al Sharpton, entertainment promoter Russell Simmons and the imam who was an initial key supporter of plans to develop a mosque near ground zero are expected to speak at Sunday's rally in Times Square. A group calling itself the Liberty Alliance plans to hold a counter-rally in support of the hearing. The hearing was scheduled by U.S. Rep. Peter J. King of New York, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. It's the first in a series of hearings on "radicalization" among U.S. Muslims. (Let's see, if we go through the list of nasty, aggressive, and often murderous actions against Americans dating back the last 25+ years, from the takeover of our embassy in Tehran through 9-11 and on to Maj Nidal Hasan's killing spree, all of them involved radical Muslims. And now several incidents have taken place here in the US by immigrants or even those born here, some of which have been stopped by authorities before killing commenced, but not all. And we are not supposed to even look into whatever patterns can be found to explain this, and maybe enable us to avoid more of it? Great idea, let's all just smile and stop worrying and figure that if we or those dear to us die in some bombing or shooting by homegrown jihadists, it's better to put up with that than to possibly offend or upset some of the Muslim population. After all, hurting their feelings or making them feel insecure somehow is just too reprehensible to consider. Personally, my thought is take that ***** and put it *****, and then take a very long walk off a very short pier. Or try true free fall skydiving from 2000 feet, that is, skip the parachute part of it, and have a nice time, please. Yes, it's too bad that many Muslims who are no threat at all will feel unhappy about such an investigation. Unfortunately, that's just a mild form of collateral damage in the war that their own fellow religionists have declared. It's regrettable, but safeguarding the lives of all our citizens takes priority. --Del)

Why Apple Isn't Paying a Dividend
Could create jobs here, but Congress is terrified the left will accuse them of helping the successful, and the unemployed are not paying attention and don’t grasp basic economics. ~Bob. Excerpt: U.S. companies have more than $1 trillion in cash abroad. Their options for this cash are straightforward: Pay a 35% repatriation tax to bring it home, or keep it abroad. Most wisely choose the latter. There's an easy solution to this inanity: A repatriation tax holiday that lets companies bring foreign cash home with minimum penalty. It's been done before. In 2004, the Homeland Investment Act temporarily cut repatriation taxes to 5.25%. Roughly $300 billion returned to the U.S. over the following year, up from an average of $62 billion during the previous four. It worked, in other words. Quite well. Congress attempted to include a repatriation holiday amendment as part of the 2009 stimulus package, but it was voted down. There's talk today of giving it another go. One company at the heart of the lobbying effort: Apple.

The liberal campaign against SCOTUS conservatives
Once the statist revolution wins, the “Useful Idiots” will be the first to be dragged to the wall and shot, wailing, “Why didn’t someone do something?” we won’t survive to see it, of course. ~Bob. Excerpt: Still reeling from a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to an explosion of political ads from corporate interests, and fearful the court could overturn President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, liberal groups have launched an aggressive – and at times personal – attack on the court’s most conservative justices. The sharp questioning of the impartiality and ethics of Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and to a lesser extent Samuel Alito represents the most concerted attack on a bloc of justices since the early 1970s, when conservatives waged a long campaign against the liberal justices of the Warren Court, most notably Justices William O. Douglas and Abe Fortas. Thomas and Scalia have been accused of undermining public confidence in the court by engaging in partisan politics and making decisions that could benefit the political and financial interests of their family and associates. And both justices have faced calls for the Justice Department to investigate alleged conflicts of interest and possibly to invalidate their votes in the 2010 decision on political spending, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. One low-profile liberal watchdog group last week even asked the Missouri Supreme Court to disbar Thomas. Alito has been criticized for speaking at fundraising events for conservative groups opposed to Obama’s agenda. Only Chief Justice John Roberts, the fourth staunch conservative on the court, has been relatively immune from the same kind of criticism.

Abuse allegation leads to international fugitive living in Modesto
Making drugs, molesting kids—are they the jobs Americans won’t do? ~Bob. Excerpt: A child molestation accusation in Modesto led to the discovery of a wanted drug fugitive, Stanislaus County Sheriff's detectives said. On Friday, Sheriff's deputies were called to Bret Harte Elementary School for a report of child abuse, detectives said. Deputies said that a child told a staff member her father had been molesting her for years and she feared going home. Detectives brought in the girl's father, a man by the name of Caesar Murillo-Guizar, for questioning. Murillo-Guizar cooperated with detectives, but when they ran his fingerprints, detectives discovered Murillo-Guizar was not who he said he was. "He had been in our fingerprint identification system, but he had a different name than what he told detectives," said Raj Singh, with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Dept. It turns out Murillo-Guizar is really Juan Lopez, Singh said. He was arrested in Santa Clara back in 2003 for a methamphetamine manufacturing charge. Before his court appearance, Lopez fled the country. He and his family lived in Mexico for a year, but then returned to Modesto as Murillo-Guizar. "He also managed to get a fake social security number and was defrauding the state by collecting welfare," said Singh.
The Muslim Brotherhood in America: Deputy National Security Advisor McDonough Meets with Hamas Support Entity
Excerpt: It is being reported that on Sunday, March 6th, Denis McDonough, the Deputy National Security Advisor to the President of the United States attended the ADAMS Interfaith/Government Summit in Sterling, Virginia. The implications of this are frightening and shocking – and may be criminal. ADAMS (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) is led by its Executive Director, Mohammad Majid. Majid is also the President of the largest Muslim Brotherhood / Hamas support entity in North America – the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). A significant amount of evidence has been entered into federal terrorism trials revealing ISNA is not only the largest Muslim Brotherhood entity in North America, but is a cover and support organization for Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement). Hamas is designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO) by the United States Government.

Foreign policy braggadocio on Libya and AIDS
Alert Joe Wilson. ~Bob. Excerpt: There is an understandable need among politicians to exaggerate, not only about their achievements but also the problems that the nation faces. Exaggeration makes the issue seem a little more urgent, or the accomplishment just that much better. Last week, in separate appearances, both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed the envelope on foreign-policy issues in subtle yet distinct ways. To the casual ear, their comments may have seemed correct or perfectly reasonable. Let's look closely at what they said -- and why they said it.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Says Way Out of the Unemployment Crisis Is to Change the Constitution So Every Ghetto Kid Gets an iPod and a Laptop
Imagine if Jackson (D-Bud Lite—his dad strong armed bud into giving the kids dealerships to withdraw “racism” charges) had succeeded in his efforts to buy Obama’s senate seat from Blago. ~Bob.

In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing
He’s in the Marine Brig at Quantico. Not good to get sarcastic with brig guards. They don’t want to treat him like this—I’d guess they want to shoot him. Female Warrant Officer in command—I have the feeling I would not want to be on her bad side, if she can command a Marine brig—used to call them “red Line “Brigs.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Military jailers are forcing Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old soldier accused of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks.org, to strip naked in his cell at night and sleep without clothing, a requirement his lawyer says was imposed after Manning made a "sarcastic quip" about his confinement.

In Search Of The Internet Kill Switch
Excerpt: Surprisingly, the president has the power to shutdown the Internet already. This authority originated well before the Internet existed, in the Communications Act of 1934 that created the FCC. Section 706 gives the president authority, in a state or threat of war, to “cause the closing of any facility or station for wire communication” with no advance warning. [PDF] “A station for wire communication” may not sound like the routers that power the Internet. But the Department of Homeland Security has cited the 1934 Act as one of the powers the president would rely on if the nation was under a cyberattack. (I distrust censorship of content far more than I fear a “kill switch” option. As frightening as the “kill switch” sounds, I suspect we really do need some form of it. At a minimum, we need to be able to quarantine some segment(s) of the net from the rest. I can imagine attacks large enough and dangerous enough that shutting off the net might be our only defense. The problem then would be recognizing the threat and reacting to it quickly enough for quarantine to be an effective response—and this may not be within human capability, so we’d have to rely on computer programs to do it for us, which involves still more risks. The only solution to the inappropriate use of a kill switch being used to stifle opposition opinion within our borders is to never again elect a chief executive We the People cannot trust. Ron P.)

With The Warriors: How our Marines go about the business of destroying the Taliban
Excerpt: In the fall of 2010, the British forces left, having suffered 106 killed in four years. U.S. Marines took over and changed the strategy from trying to win the cooperation of the farmers into a straight-up assault to drive the Taliban from the 40-kilometer-long valley. The British lost an average of 26 men per year on the defensive; the Marines lost 26 men in 100 days on the offensive, while driving the Taliban north. The patrol base, named Fires because of the intensity of the daily fighting, was at the northern edge of the Marine advance. When I arrived in mid-January, Lt. Vic Garcia, the seasoned platoon commander, handed me two tourniquets. "If someone goes down near you on patrol," he said, "wrap him real tight and watch where you step." Garcia explained that the Taliban roam in small gangs among the farm compounds, sow mines, and attack from the flanks. When we set out on a combat patrol, the 15 Marines walked in single file across brown, furrowed farmlands suggestive of New England in early spring. Lance Cpl. Colby Yazzie, a full-blooded Navajo Indian, swept a narrow path with his metal detector, while his Irish-American partner, Lance Cpl. Kyle Doyle, watched out for snipers.

Networks Go Crazy over Sheen Story, Downplay Planned Parenthood Scandal
“Advocacy journalism” is just a fancy word for “propaganda.” ~Bob. Excerpt: If they ever take a break from publicizing Charlie Sheen’s cocaine dos and don’ts, or detailing the power politics within his Beverly Hills harem, the networks should grab a copy of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. And they may want to pay special attention to this entry: “Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.” From Feb. 1 through March 6, the three networks distinguished themselves by devoting 20 times more broadcast time to Charlie Sheen’s porn stars and drug issues than to the Planned Parenthood video scandal and the subsequent vote in the House of Representatives to defund the organization.

Schieffer Scolds McConnell for Claiming Obama Isn’t Serious About Budget Two Weeks After Saying Same Thing
Excerpt: Bob Schieffer on Sunday scolded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for saying President Obama wasn't serious about the budget. Two weeks ago, the "Face the Nation" host made the very same observation in a discussion with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis:…. So two weeks ago, Schieffer asked a Democrat Congressman, "How can you really say that the President is serious about this when his budget does not mention Social Security or Medicare, the two biggest items in the budget?" Now, just fourteen days later, he's challenging the opposition Party leader in the Senate for saying the President isn't serious?

Obama to resume military commission trials for Guantánamo detainees
Having been bitten in his tender parts by reality, our Fearless Leader still wants it both ways. Ron P. Excerpt: President Obama on Monday ordered trials by military commission to resume at Guantánamo Bay. The move signals another defeat for Obama, who pledged to close the terrorist detention facility in Cuba within one year of taking office. In a fact sheet, the White House said Obama “remains committed” to closing the facility, but the president’s decision to lift the ban on military commissions signals the unlikelihood that Obama will successfully transfer all of the prisoners in Cuba. Shortly after Obama came to office and announced his goal of closing the facility, the administration suspended new charges in military commissions in Cuba.

Unemployment Below 9 Percent ‘Bolsters Recovery Hopes’ in 2011, But Little ‘Consolation’ in 1983
Excerpt: The unemployment rate finally dropped below 9 percent in February 2011, after 21 months at that rate or higher. The Labor Department reported March 4 that the rate had dropped 0.1 percent to 8.9 percent. The New York Times called it a “notable” improvement, but in 1983, the Times was downbeat about better jobs news. “The economic waiting game may soon be over, as businesses signal that they are finally willing to resume widespread hiring,” the March 5, 2011, story by Catherine Rampell began. In that report, Rampell also emphasized that the 192,000 jobs added that month were the most for job growth in almost a year. Her Times report suggested the rate “could rise temporarily in the next few months, as stronger job growth lures some discouraged workers to look for jobs again.” The last time the unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent after a long period above that marker was in 1983 under President Reagan. Back then the Times was much less encouraged by the jobs report, despite a monthly drop that was five times the size of this year’s. On Nov. 6, 1983, the Times led its jobs story by saying that the 0.5 percent drop in unemployment to 8.8 percent “can’t have been much consolation for the 9.9 million Americans who are still out of work.” (Times can’t understand why readership is dropping. ~Bob.)

John Ensign to retire in 2012
Excerpt: Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) will retire rather than seek reelection in 2012, he announced Monday afternoon. The decision brings to an end a tumultuous several years that saw him go from one of the party's rising stars to persona non grata. "There are consequences to sin," Ensign declared at a news conference in Las Vegas. He said he did not want to put his family though an "exceptionally ugly" campaign.

Meet the lobbyist who turns 'green' into greenbacks
Excerpt: Environmental policy is not driven by tree-hugging activists, earnest liberal bloggers, or ecologically minded citizens. Instead, it flows from the lobbyists and executives of well-connected multinational corporations and built-for-subsidy startups that see profit in the loan guarantees, handouts, mandates, and tax credits Congress creates in the name of saving the planet. K Street is the epicenter of this green-industrial complex, and ground zero might be the firm founded by Democratic revolving-door earmark lobbyist Steve McBee. McBee, a former top staffer for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and powerful House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., reportedly wrote key provisions in the stimulus bill to open the spigot of green corporate welfare. Also, he has hired up the Capitol Hill staff at the center of big environmental legislative pushes like cap and trade. Exploring corporate lobbyists' central role in Obama's "green energy" push provides us two important lessons. First, it reveals as hypocritical the Democratic attack that opponents of cap and trade and other green policies are simply shills for big business. Second, it ought to heighten our skepticism that these "green" policies are really crafted with an eye to helping the environment -- they are more likely skewed toward the bottom line of lobbied-up Big Business.

Excerpt: "Energy is the capacity to do work." That simple truth from Physics 101 has everything to do with gas prices spiking at the pump as Moammar Gadhafi's war planes bomb Libya's rebel-held oil district and the whole Middle East seethes in unrest. With shaky foreign energy supplies threatening to deepen the worst recession since World War II, why doesn't America protect its capacity to do work by drilling for more oil and gas here at home? Simple truth from Politics 101: Big Green's extreme anti-energy ideology permeates the Obama administration. Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the D.C.-based Institute for Energy Research, told me, "The Obama administration is deliberately embargoing our own domestic energy from us, from Americans. He and his agency heads all believe in the politics of scarcity -- force society to live with less. The most anti-energy interior secretary in history is Obama's Ken Salazar -- who is also presently in contempt of court for withholding deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil drilling permits." Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado well practiced in Washington's pretended niceties, wields power with self-assured arrogance that needs no bluster. Two days before Christmas last year, he issued Secretarial Order 3310, in which through bureaucratic fiat he created a new category of off-limits federal property that he calls "Wild Lands."

White House pleads ignorance to ‘Project Gunwalker’
Excerpt: “White House press secretary Jay Carney did not shed any light Monday on the allegations uncovered by CBS News that ATF intentionally let thousands of assault rifles and other weapons fall into the hands of Mexico's drug cartels. Insiders call the controversial practice letting guns ‘walk’,” Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News reports. When questioned by chief White House correspondent Chip Reid if President Obama was "aware of the specific allegations,” Carney replied “I don’t know.”

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