Thursday, May 12, 2011

Political Digest for May 12, 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.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Info about my book. All royalties go to wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

Heritage releases budget with deeper cuts for seniors
When Medicare and other entitlement plans collapse in fiscal ruin—see my book above—the people who vote Democrat will be saying, “Why didn’t someone see this coming and do something?” ~Bob. Excerpt: The conservative Heritage Foundation released a budget plan Tuesday that balances the federal budget far sooner than the House 2012 budget resolution, in part by cutting benefits for current seniors. As a conservative vision, the Heritage plan sets down a marker that has little chance of enactment. The GOP budget passed by the House has smaller cuts than Heritage's plan and only comes into balance by 2040, but that has not stopped President Obama and Democrats from lambasting it. The budget replaces the income tax with a flat tax and caps non-defense discretionary spending at 2 percent of GDP, down from about 4 percent today.

What Do We Make Today Other Than Bureaucracy?
Excerpt: Impose the world's highest corporate income tax rate, and we can expect the result will be too few corporations and too much government. "The United States may soon wind up with the distinction that makes business leaders cringe — the highest corporate tax rate in the world," wrote New York Times reporter David Kocieniewski last week. "Topping out at 35%, America's corporate income tax rate trails that of only Japan, at 39.5%, which has said it plans to lower its rate," reported Kocieniewski.

Former special counsel Bloch sues Rove, Davis and others for $202 million
Why would anyone of ability agree to take the risk of serving in a top government post? ~Bob. Excerpt: Some might have thought the endless legal battles between former Office of Special Counsel chief Scott Bloch and officials in the George W. Bush administration ended when he was finally sentenced in March to one month in prison for contempt of Congress. Not by a long — very long — shot. Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush to head an agency that protects government whistleblowers and enforces the law against political activity in government agencies, has filed a 63-page, $202 million lawsuit against top Bush adviser Karl Rove, former Virginia congressman Tom Davis and dozens of others for allegedly trying to thwart his office’s efforts. When they failed, he claims, they launched a bogus criminal investigation to drive him out of his job.

Excerpt: I believe we could spend our entire national income on health care. Not by frittering money away, but by spending it on goods and services that even in small ways could improve the odds of better health. (Examples below.) I find that most people in health policy agree with that assessment, but rarely do they see its logical (and I would say obvious) implication. If we spent all our income on health, we would have nothing to eat, nothing to wear, no place to sleep. There would be only health care. Since that’s clearly an undesirable state of affairs, it must be good for people to refrain from obtaining all the useful care that money will buy. Further, such restraint needs to be exercised quite often. What brings this to mind is a new RAND study finding that people with Health Savings Account plans consume less care than people with conventional insurance and have lower health care costs. The people who were studied cut back on such “useful care” as mammograms, screenings for cervical and colorectal cancer and even childhood vaccinations. Some critics pounced on this result and claimed that consumer-directed care is bad for patients. The critics are, of course, very wrong.

In Massachusetts, long waits for doctor visits
Why Romney is not high on my list for 2012. That and his BS about wishing he could have served in Vietnam. ~Bob. Excerpt: Almost everyone in Massachusetts has health insurance under a state mandate, but many doctors do not accept the subsidized insurance programs available to low-income residents, a new study shows. Residents in some areas also face long waits in getting doctors' appointments, or find that overstretched primary care practices are not taking on new patients. "Insurance coverage doesn't equal access to care," said Dr. Alice Coombs, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and an emergency room physician, Massachusetts' healthcare program was introduced five years ago by then-governor Mitt Romney, a Republican now expected to run for president in 2012 after falling short in 2008.

U.S. Companies Pay Income Taxes Twice on Foreign Profits
A nice incentive to move completely out of the US. ~Bob. Excerpt: The United States has a complicated "worldwide" system of taxation that requires American businesses to pay the 35 percent federal corporate tax rate on their income no matter where it is earned -- domestically or abroad. When it comes to foreign profits, companies do pay income taxes -- not once, but twice, says Scott A. Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation. Companies pay income taxes to the country in which their profits were earned, and then they pay additional U.S. taxes on any profits they return to this country. For example, if a subsidiary of a U.S. firm earns $100 in profits in England, it pays the British income tax rate of 26 percent, or $26. Since our system gives companies a credit for the taxes they pay to other countries, the additional U.S. tax the firm is required to pay is equal to the difference between the U.S. rate of 35 percent and the 26 percent British rate -- or $9. Between the two nations, the U.S. firm will pay a total of 35 percent in taxes on those foreign profits. According to the most recent IRS data for 2007, American companies paid nearly $100 billion in income taxes to foreign governments on foreign taxable income of $392 billion. Averaged across some 90 countries, U.S. companies paid an effective tax rate of 25 percent on that income, says Hodge.

Son says bin Laden sea burial demeans family: report
He got a better deal than those he murdered on 9/11 and in other terror attacks. In my view, should have fed him to the hogs. Alive. ~Bob. Excerpt: A statement purporting to come from a son of Osama bin Laden denounced the al Qaeda leader's killing as "criminal" and said his burial at sea had humiliated the family, an online monitoring service said.

My Father's Death was Criminal and I may Sue the U.S.: Osama Bin Laden's Son Omar Slams Al-Qaeda Leader's Killing
Huh. Mental illness runs in the family it appears. ~Bob. Excerpt: Omar Bin Laden, 30, who is married to a British woman 25 years his elder, has been based in the Gulf in recent years. He and his wife - formerly known as Jane Felix-Browne, but who now goes by the name Zaina Bin Laden - did not respond to emailed and telephoned requests for comment. In April it was announced that a former British pole dancer has become pregnant with the couple's baby through IVF. However, Louise Pollard, who is now a PA living in London, miscarried twins for the couple last year. Omar and Zaina split up afterwards amid claims that he was suffering from a mental illness, but it now appears they are back together despite Omar telling the Daily Mail in September that there was 'no chance' of a reconciliation.

Scroll Down for VIDEO: Pakistan to Let Chinese Plunder Secret U.S. Stealth Helicopter Downed in Bin Laden Raid
Our ally. You can’t have the chopper, but please send another billion bucks. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Chinese military could soon get its hands on the wreckage of a secret U.S. 'stealth' helicopter that crash landed in the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound, Pakistani officials have said. The previously unseen helicopter crashed in the daring dawn raid in Abbottabad earlier this month, with Navy SEALs managing to destroy all but a tail section of the secret aircraft. The U.S. has since demanded the Pakistanis return the destroyed helicopter. But according to ABC news, Pakistani officials have said the Chinese were also 'very interested' in seeing the tail section, with one unnamed official adding: 'We might let [the Chinese] take a look.' (I called it! ~Tom H.)

Iran Turns Up the Heat in the Gulf
Excerpt: On May 16, according to the state-owned Fars News Agency, Iran is going to send what they call an aid flotilla from the southern port city of Bushehr. Its destination? Bahrain. In addition to aid, the report stated, the flotilla will convey the Iranian people’s message — “Solidarity with Oppressed Bahraini People.” But that is not all. Reports from inside Iran state that the flotilla will be carrying the martyrdom forces destined to be the start of a new confrontation with the kingdom in Bahrain. The radical Islamic organization Ansar Hezbollah — consisting of Islamist thugs and ardent supporters of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who have been at the forefront in the brutal suppression of Iranian demonstrators — has now assembled volunteers, mostly from Basij forces, for a martyrdom mission to Bahrain. (It’s difficult to know how seriously to take this. I wish we had more—and better—sources to rely on. Certainly, it is possible. Ron P.)

Not Again! ANOTHER passenger tackled and arrested after trying to open Delta airplane door mid-flight
Hope they didn’t violate his rights, or the ACLU will be on them. ~Bob. Excerpt: If this is a new trend, it's one that a very jittery America could do without. Yet another air passenger has had to be tackled by other passengers after trying to open the plane's door mid-flight. It is the fourth scare in less than a week for American air passengers. Travel authorities say a Delta passenger tried to open an emergency door on a flight from Orlando, Florida, to Boston on Tuesday night, but was subdued by another passenger.

The Real Jihad: Dry Runs and Probes: Those culturally enriched air travellers are at it again, this time on a flight coming into San Francisco, among others.
Excerpt: Federal agents are investigating Almurisi’s background. He was carrying a Yemeni passport and a California identification card, authorities said. Whoops! Even if we scrub the forbidden “of Middle Eastern appearance” from all the descriptions in the news reports, that Yemeni passport drops a little stink bomb into the DHS media spin. But maybe the California ID card will fix things up — in fact, you know that’s the game plan, since the headline assigned to this piece by Fox is “Suspect in flight disturbance had Calif. ID”.

'Maybe he was looking for the bathroom': Family defends Yemeni passenger who stormed cockpit, shouting 'Allahu Akbar' as plane came in to land at San Francisco
I mean, who hasn’t shouted “Allah Akbar” when pounding on the bathroom door on a plane? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Yemeni man who was wrestled to the floor after pounding on the cockpit door of a plane approaching San Francisco may have mistaken it for the bathroom. Rageit Almurisi cannot speak English very well and could have misunderstood the signs inside the jet, his cousin claimed. The maths teacher, who was heard yelling 'Allahu Akbar' as he allegedly battered the door, had also only been on three planes in his life and would have been unfamiliar with the layout.

The left has contributed to this belief by trying to treat the war they are fighting against civilization as a police matter. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama deserves credit for killing bin Laden, but his administration’s pitiful and virtually non-existent legal defense of the mission is inexcusable and has given activists the opportunity to argue that the mission was unlawful. But there is no serious question that the killing of bin Laden was lawful. And that’s true under any of the several scenarios given out by the White House. Yet activists have been able to cloud the issue because most people today have not served in the military and thus have no experience with military rules of engagement. Their most ready frame of reference is criminal or human-rights law. In their minds, if a police officer shoots an unarmed man, the police officer has committed a crime. But that analogy is grossly misleading. In fact, it’s plain wrong, as this operation was conducted under the laws of war.

Republicans Unveil YouCut II, now with real legislative power
Excerpt: Republicans will unveil Wednesday YouCut, the sequel, their newly-improved crowd-sourced spending cuts program that allows Americans to vote online for which bloated bureaucracy ought to get the ax. Now, the stakes are real. The “winning” government program each week will more than likely actually get a House vote to cut its funding, sending the proposal over to the Senate, where Republicans hope public participation will spur action there.

Senate Dems Split With Obama On Tranferring Tax Credit Revenue From Oil Companies To Alternative Energy
Excerpt: Democrats agree that it’s time to end tax credits and write-offs for the most profitable oil companies, but when it comes to spending the billions that would be added to government coffers if the bill passes, Congress is ignoring President Obama’s call to use the extra money to subsidize alternative energy. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, unveiled legislation Tuesday that would end tax breaks for the five largest oil companies — ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Texaco, and BP — and funnel the resulting revenue toward deficit reduction.

Illegal Immigration Is No Laughing Matter
Excerpt: The White House correspondents’ dinner might have been two weeks ago, but President Barack Obama continued his comedy routine yesterday in El Paso, Texas, only this time Donald Trump wasn’t the butt of the jokes. Instead, during a speech on immigration, the president mocked Republicans at large, the rule of law, and any American who takes the defense of our nation seriously. Respectfully, Mr. President, illegal immigration and border security are no laughing matter.

Newt Gingrich's route: Leave no state behind
Excerpt: For Newt Gingrich, who will announce his candidacy Wednesday, the road to the Republican nomination runs through Iowa. And New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida. Unlike some of his likely rivals, who are looking to downplay or even flat out skip some states on the primary calendar, Gingrich is headed down a different path, a more traditional route in which he competes aggressively all across the early-state map and among all blocs within the party.

Jihad’s Child Suicide Bombers
Pure evil. ~Bob. Excerpt: Despite the Taliban’s denial that it uses children as human explosives, its spring offensive began with a suicide bombing by a 12-year-old boy. The attack is just one more sign that the militant group and its terrorist allies are increasing their efforts to recruit, train and utilize child suicide bombers. The young terrorist’s suicide blast, which killed four Afghan civilians and wounded twelve in the Afghan province of Paktika, was roundly condemned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai as “inhumane and against all Islamic principles.” Yet, it was one of two such suicide attacks carried out by child bombers in eastern Afghanistan over the past several weeks, attacks that killed over 15 people. Soon after those assaults, Afghan authorities showed off five captured would-be suicide bombers –all under the age of 13 — trained by Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan.

The Islamic Infiltration, Part 1: Inside Our Government, Armed With Our Secrets

Why We All Can't Get Along
Excerpt: If you think I'm being unfair to liberals, let me remind you that when Obama's predecessor was in office, not a day went by when the MSM didn't let us know how many American soldiers were dying in Bush's wars. Garry Trudeau even devoted Sunday editions of Doonesbury to listing the names of the fallen. Anyone find it odd that now that Obama is in charge, you don't get a daily, weekly or even monthly, update of numbers and names? Well, just for the record, nearly 1,500 American warriors have died in Afghanistan over the past 10 years, with two-thirds of the fatalities occurring since it became Obama's war in 2009!

Quote from The Patriot Post
"Without education we are in the horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously." --English writer G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Ultimate bug repellant may help fight malaria and other insect borne diseases
Excerpt: Imagine an insect repellant that not only is thousands of times more effective than DEET – the active ingredient in most commercial mosquito repellants – but also works against all types of insects, including flies, moths and ants. That possibility has been created by the discovery of a new class of insect repellant made in the laboratory of Vanderbilt Professor of Biological Sciences and Pharmacology Laurence Zwiebel and reported this week in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In preliminary tests with mosquitoes, the researchers found the new class of repellant, called Vanderbilt University Allosteric Agonist or VUAA1, to be thousands of times more effective than DEET. The compound works by affecting insects’ sense of smell through a newly discovered molecular channel. (If this turns out to be useful commercially, these researchers may have saved MILLIONS of lives and earned themselves a place in the records next to both Jonas Salk and J. P. Morgan. And, they’ll deserve every bit of it. Ron P. great news, given the millions of black, brown and yellow kids who died because we banned DDT. ~Bob.)

Pakistan: Tiny Minority of Extremists buys 100,000 Osama bin Laden posters
Excerpt: Is there any other poster outselling this one? Is the Vast Majority of Peaceful Muslims Who Abhor Bin Laden and Abominate Al-Qaeda buying up Gandhi posters at this clip? Or maybe Justin Bieber posters?

Seven suspected Islamists arrested in Paris
Gee, I thought the killing of OBL meant the war on terror was over? ~Bob. Excerpt: FRENCH police captured seven suspected Islamist militants in raids in Paris and its suburbs, officials said on Tuesday, as France tightened security in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden. Six suspects were detained on Monday but the main target of the operation, an Indian national who recently arrived from Algeria, was taken on Tuesday, according to officials close to the inquiry. Interior Minister Claude Gueant had said on Monday that France had no concrete evidence of a specific attack being planned, but security forces were in a heightened state of vigilance over the Jihadist threat.

History weeps at the partition of India and Pakistan
Excerpt: When you get into discussions about the Middle East with certain people, you start hearing that the great mistake was the partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. If that had somehow just not happened, you hear, everything would be all right. That's not my view. I think the big mistake made in a British possession around that time was the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947. The British thought that Pakistan under the leadership of the secular lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah would turn out to be an acceptable counterbalance to an India led by Jawaharlal Nehru's Congress party. But Jinnah was suffering from cancer at the time and died in September 1948, 13 months after partition. And Pakistan ever since has been -- well, let's say it has been a problem.

Do you know how many times Chuck Schumer voted against raising the national debt ceiling?
Excerpt: If you answered "four times" to the question posed in the headline above, you are either spending way too much time in the Congressional Record, or you have superb research and recall skills! Let's just assume it's the latter. Anyway, the right answer is indeed four times, at least. For the record, here's the four occasions, as documented by congressional records.

Obama administration boasting about border security
Excerpt: President Obama traveled to El Paso, Tex., Tuesday to give a speech on immigration, even though virtually no one in Washington thinks there is any desire in Congress to tackle the issue. For that reason, as colleague Chris Cillizza noted on “The Fix,” the speech should be understood as “a political document rather than a policy one.” In that context, it’s important for the president to demonstrate he is working hard to improve border security. We were struck by the section above, in part because it sought to claim credit for a doubling of agents but also acknowledged a debt to former president George W. Bush. (We will not delve in the historical question of whether “more boots on the ground” is accurate, since our colleagues at did a fine job of exploring that question last year.) How much did the Obama administration do on this issue?

Renewables and efficiency cannot fix the energy and climate crises (part 2)
Excerpt: Some critical demand, however, never goes away – the power required to run hospitals, police stations, street lights, water and sewerage pumping stations, refrigerators and cold storage, transport (if we are to use electric vehicles), and so on. If the power is lost to these services, even for a short while, chaos ensues, and the societal backlash after a few such events is huge. On the other side of the energy coin, there are times when huge power demands arise, such as when everyone gets home from work to cook their meals and watch television, or when we collectively turn on our air conditioners during a heatwave. If the energy to meet this peak demand cannot be found, the result can be anything from a lot of grumpy people through to collapse of the grid as rolling blackouts occur. (…) The reality is that any of these solutions are grossly uneconomic, and even if we were willing and able to pay for them, the result would be an unacceptably unreliable energy supply system. Truly massive amounts of energy would need to be stored to keep a city or country going through long stretches of cloudy winter days (yes, these even occur in the desert) or calm nights with little wind and no sun, yet energy storage (batteries, chemical conversion to hydrogen or ammonia, pumped hydropower, compressed air), even on a small scale, is currently very expensive. A mix of different contributions (solar, wind, wave, geothermal) would help, but then we’d need to pay for each of these systems, built to a level that they could compensate for the failure of another. What’s more, in order to deliver all of our regular power demand whilst also charging up the energy stores, we would have to ‘overbuild’ our system many times, adding to the already prohibitive costs. As a result, an overbuilt system of wind and solar would, at times, be delivering 5 to 20 times our power demand (leading to problems of ‘dumping’ the excess energy that can’t be used or stored quickly enough or in sufficient quantity), and at other times, it would deliver virtually none of it. (...) The cost to avoid 1 tonne of carbon dioxide would be >$800 with wind power compared with $22 with nuclear power. (Important! This is the site that we used to get most of our now-validated information on the Fukushima reactor crisis. It is run by Barry Brooks (a statistician I think), who firmly believes in CAGW but also sees the realities of so-called green energy. This article contains a link to Part 1, in which he discusses the various possible sources of non-combustible energy and their costs and efficiency. I wish there was a way to force-feed this information to our Washington decision makers; alas, there is no such way. Just remember this is written by a true believer. Then, hang onto your wallets. Ron P.)

Citizen Cain
Excerpt: Now is the time to test whether the Tea Party means business because, judging by last week's Republican presidential debate, the Tea Party candidate for president in 2012 is self-evident. Herman Cain is the ideal Tea Party candidate. Herman Cain is the ideal citizen candidate among the eminently forgettable posse of professional politicians. Cain has and utilizes, as he did last week in Greenville, South Carolina, the one asset that will unite constitutional conservatives: he is a plain-speaking Gadsden flag. Generations of career politicians who, in the words of Daniel Webster, "mean to govern well, but mean to govern," have bankrupted our country in a slow side toward socialism and the withering of our liberty. Patriots are clamoring for an individual who, as president, can calmly and confidently reorient this country to the Constitution and fiscal sanity. We the People must nominate the next Republican nominee, even (especially) if it means making an end run around the party establishment to put forth someone who is not of Washington, nor political moderation. We must eliminate candidates who have had a part -- large or small -- in contributing to the current crisis. That means no Romney, no Huckabee, no Gingrich, no Palin. The boldest statement that can be made is to elect a private citizen president.

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