Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Political Digest for June 7, 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 a charity to help 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.

Excellent article: The Warrior Mentality
Excerpt: Developing the Warriors Spirit: “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” – Vince Lombardi. Since time immemorial warriors have always held a revered honored and respected place in society. In spite of all political meanderings and the ebb and flow of societal values, this has never changed and it never will. In terms of exposure to a spontaneous dangerous threat, it has been my observation that in general, society breaks down into two groups. Those who run to danger and those who run from it. This is not a matter of courage or cowardess and I place no judgment upon it. I believe in the idea so eloquently explained by my friend and colleague Lt. Col David Grossman that, “there is the flock and there are the protectors of the flock, the Sheepdogs,” as he puts it. Now, if you are reading this article because it is of interest to you then chances are you are a protector, a warrior. Otherwise this would be of no interest to you. Mind you, a warrior is not necessarily the 220 lb football quarterback or the professional wrestler. In fact the physical aspect of strength or size, or sex has little if anything to do with the bearing of a warrior. Many times in hostage situations it has been the petite middle age woman who has stepped forward, into the fray. Do you know who is the toughest son-of-a-bitch to walk the face of this earth? Any guesses? Well, I’ll tell you who it is. It is a 120 lb Marine just out of Boot Camp. How can this be?

Guest post: The Waste Named "Department of Education"
in case you missed it. ~Bob.

Not everyone likes my book on The Coming Collapse
I got an e-mail from a fellow who said that he read the first six pages on line, gave up because of my “Rah, Rah America” stuff. He then proceeded to tell me for two pages why both America and I were screwed up. He ended with the statement that America couldn’t collapse soon enough for him. I wrote back and asked him where he was moving to? No response.

Among GOP, anti-tax orthodoxy runs deep
Might this be because studies show that since WWII, ever $1.00 in increased taxes has led to $1.23 in increased spending? ~Bob. Excerpt: Such reasoning was common in the GOP circa 1963, when Republicans denounced tax cuts proposed by President John F. Kennedy as a road to red ink and rampant inflation. But today’s GOP adheres to a “no new taxes” orthodoxy that has proved far more powerful than the desire to balance the budget. As House Speaker John A. Boehner has said: Raising taxes is “unacceptable and a non-starter.” This orthodoxy is now woven so deeply into the party’s identity that all but 13 of 288 GOP lawmakers in Congress have signed a formal pledge not to raise taxes. The strategist who invented the pledge, Grover G. Norquist, compares it to a brand, like Coca-Cola, built on “quality control” so that Republican voters know they will get “the same thing every time.”

THE HILL POLL: Many voters expect to become poorer
Excerpt: More than one in three likely voters expect to be worse off when they go to the polls a year from this November, a somber fact for President Obama’s reelection campaign, while just 25 percent believe they will be better off, according to this week’s The Hill poll. Thirty-nine percent said they expect to be in the same economic position they are now, but 65 percent also said they believe the country is on the wrong track. The most optimistic group is liberals, with 41 percent of them expecting to be in a better position financially. Just 25 percent of centrists feel that way, and only 15 percent of conservatives. (Those who expect to be okay belong to the “everything works out for the best” school of philosophy. Hard to get them to read my book. ~Bob.)

Important: Census reveals plummeting U.S. birthrates
Excerpt: Children, the mainstay of suburbia and residential neighborhoods across the nation for more than a half-century, are fewer and increasingly sparse in many places. The share of the population under age 18 dropped in 95% of U.S. counties since 2000, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the 2010 Census. The number of households that have children under age 18 has stayed at 38 million since 2000, despite a 9.7% growth in the U.S. population. As a result, the share of households with children dropped from 36% in 2000 to 33.5%. (When I was in college, the two big scares of the “settled science intellectual elites” were global cooling and the population Bomb, leading to mass starvation and a depletion of all strategic minerals in the US by the 1990s. one of the reasons I decided not to have kids. Now western civilization is in a population death spiral, with Europe ahead of us. If you are under 55, who do you think will be working to pay for your Medicare and Social Security the Democrats are scaring you about? I’m deeply concerned about illegal immigration, but I also believe we need more immigration—Hispanic as well as non-Hispanic—to maintain our culture and country. But we need immigrants who want to come here legally, learn English, support themselves and be part of our values and culture. And, no, that doesn’t mean they need to give up tacos or celebrating that beer-created holiday, Cinco de Mayo. But we don’t need immigrants here in violation of the law who want to live off our system while reestablishing the failed and corrupt cultures they fled. Nor do we need to import members of criminal gangs—we can grow our own, thank you. ~Bob.)

Marcellus Shale drilling creates 48,000 jobs, report says
Excerpt: Nearly 48,000 people have been hired in the last year by industries related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and 71 percent of those people were Pennsylvania residents. Nine thousand of them were hired in the first three months of 2011. The average salary was higher than the statewide average. And the rate of hiring is accelerating. While there has been much talk of the economic impact of the Marcellus, most of it has been anecdotal, until the Department of Labor and Industry quietly published its most up-to-date hard numbers about two weeks ago. (Not green, so the Obots aren’t happy about these jobs. ~Bob.)

Solar energy plans pit green vs. green
If all the “greenies” would stop exhaling carbon dioxide for an hour or so, the world would be a happier and greener place. ~Bob. Excerpt: Plans to create huge solar energy plants in the deserts of California, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere in the West are pitting one green point of view vs. another. Janine Blaeloch, executive director of the Western Lands Project, a non-profit group that examines the impacts of government land privatization, supports developing America's renewable energy sources but says fields of mirrors along miles of open desert isn't the way to do it. "These plants will introduce a huge amount of damage to our public land and habitat," she said.

Excerpt: Would you like the government to tell your doctor how to take care of you? That possibility is not as remote as you may think. Medicare recently announced it will start paying more to hospitals that follow a dozen procedures, including administering antibiotics prior to surgery and anti-clotting medication to heart attack patients. It will pay less to hospitals that don’t comply. The same thing is about to happen to doctors. Those who comply on up to 194 different metrics— including adopting electronic medical records — will get higher fees. Those who resist will get lower ones. These are examples of a much larger trend: Washington telling the medical community how to practice medicine. Even though a recent study finds little relationship between the inputs Medicare wants to pay for and such outputs as patient survival, and even though the latest pilot programs show that paying doctors and hospitals for performance doesn’t improve the quality, we are about to usher in the era of big brother medical care.

The Week That Was: 2011-06-04 (June 4, 2011)
Excerpt: There are many sources of GHGs [GreenHouse Gasses—RGP]. To expand its regulatory powers, EPA freely interpreted the legal ruling concerning new motor exhausts to a self-proclaimed requirement that it must regulate human emissions of GHGs from all sources, and not be limited to new motor vehicles. Then, claiming that such an interpretation led to an absurd result, with a huge public backlash; EPA freely interpreted the Clean Air Act gave it the power to "tailor" its regulations to only the major producers of these GHGs. Such is how some Federal agencies create policy and power in Washington - ignore science, ignore legal constraints from court rulings and the law, and assert the power when the opportunity arises. (I sometimes have to remind myself TOJ is primarily a political blog. While there is a lot of “political” news in this week’s TWTW summary, some may find the “other” news interesting, too (Worms From Hell, under “Other Scientific News,” for example). Today’s excerpt is from the initial commentary by Ken Haapala. Ron P.)

Citizenship and Immigration: The Debate on the Fate of Illegal Migrants
Excerpt: The current debate over the fate of migrants who have illegally entered the United States is a complicated one, not solvable by simply re-warming President Dwight Eisenhower's 1954 "Operation Wetback." Were we to round up the estimated 12 to 18 million Latinos and Hispanics currently here illegally and dump them across our southern border into Mexico, it would have a dramatic impact on some areas of the country, and the illegals would be right back in short order, given the present state of our border insecurity. What is not complicated is the requirement and necessity of enforcing the law, which in this matter stipulates that every person within the political borders of the U.S. who is not a citizen should be documented and either authorized to be here by way of temporary permits, qualified for the strenuous legal process to seek citizenship, or deported. It is equally clear that in order to secure our nation from re-entry by deported illegal migrants, we must secure our borders.

Regulator sets conditions on Keystone oil line restart
Excerpt: The corrective action order from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration added uncertainty to the timing of resuming flows on the 591,000 barrel a day pipeline, pushing oil futures up as much as 50¢ a barrel as traders braced for a longer loss of Canadian crude imports. (...) While both leaks were small and the environmental impact was contained, regulators have been under pressure to get tough with operators after a series of pipeline ruptures, leaks and outages over the past 12 months, many of which have complicated operations for Canadian shippers and U.S. refiners. PHMSA is generally quick to approve resumption plans providing there are no systemic issues, but not always. Last year they held up clearance for a smaller Enbridge Inc line for nine weeks, demanding a more rigorous response. “Effective immediately, this order prevents TransCanada from restarting operations on their Keystone crude oil pipeline until PHMSA is satisfied with the ongoing repairs and is confident that all immediate safety concerns have been addressed,” the regulator said. (While “speculators” may have some very minor role to play in the current high price of oil, regulation plays a much larger part. And, when combined with political uncertainty in so many areas of the world.... Ron P.)

Wikileaks: Inside story of Lockerbie bomber’s return home
Excerpt: The cables reveal that the regime's handling of the homecoming was heavily influenced by Col Gaddafi's simmering resentment towards the West over the case of six Bulgarian nurses freed from a Libyan jail in 2007. The nurses had been jailed for life for allegedly infecting 400 Libyan children with the HIV virus. European Union diplomats negotiated their release - but then reneged on a deal that the nurses should serve the rest of their sentences in jail in Bulgaria. Col Gaddafi's lingering anger at this diplomatic "insult" is revealed in a cable, written by a diplomat, describing a meeting in Tripoli between the colonel and US senator John McCain, shortly before Megrahi's release.

The NAACP sells out
Excerpt: Friday's anti-charter-school mini-rally by the NAACP's New York chapter demonstrated dramatically how far the group has drifted from its historical mission.
Barely 50 "protesters" turned out -- most from the usual rent-a-mob crew. The rally was supposed to prove that the once-venerable civil-rights group was not "selling out" minority kids when it joined a United Federation of Teachers lawsuit to block charters and keep failing traditional schools open. It showed just the opposite. In truth, there's scant support among blacks and Hispanics for blocking charters and keeping lousy schools open. Indeed, a week earlier, several thousand parents, teachers and others marched in protest of the NAACP position.

How Bad Is The Employment Picture? This Bad
Excerpt: Via Business Insider, it’s been called the scariest jobs chart you’ll ever see, and every month it gets updated it just looks worse.

State government ban on consulate I.D.'s
Damn. I suppose this means my “Pakistani Peace Corps” ID is no good either. ~Bob. Excerpt: A new bill signed by Governor Jan Brewer will ban the legal use of consulate issued ID's. Here in Arizona, they are typically issued from the Mexican Consulate office and have been accepted as government-issued identification. Effective July 20th, local and state governments will not recognize them as a valid form of ID. Now, some immigrant rights advocates say that makes no sense.

5 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq Rocket Attack
I was at Da Nang in July of 1967 when we caught 50 rockets. Exciting, but not a lot of fun to be on the receiving end. Tends to adjust attitudes. The fact that Obama is pulling the troops out of Iraq doesn’t seem to matter to these adherents of the “Religion of Peace,” does it? ~Bob. Excerpt: Five American troops serving as advisers to Iraqi security police in eastern Baghdad were killed Monday when rockets slammed into the compound where they lived. The deaths were the largest single-day loss of life for American forces in two years.

Dems see chance for payback in 2012
Be there just in time to turn out the lights. ~Bob. Excerpt: Six months ago, one thing seemed certain about the 2012 election: While the White House and the Senate might be up for grabs, the House surely wouldn’t. The new Republican majority seemed too big to erase in a single night. And the upcoming round of redistricting was poised to lock in recent GOP gains — and probably expand them. That was then. Now, thanks to the outcome of a May special election, resistance to the Republican-led plan to overhaul Medicare and the growing sense that new congressional maps aren’t going to produce a GOP windfall, an idea only dead-ender Democrats clung to is starting to gain currency: The House might be in play next year after all.

Besieging the Israeli Border: A Syrian Production
This was my take at the time. But if it involves Israel, the anti-Semitic media takes the Jew haters’ statements as fact. ~Bob. Excerpt: The same official pointed out that President Assad has good reason to engineer a confrontation between the IDF and protesters while inciting violence that was sure to gain worldwide headlines. “One can only suppose that there was a decision taken in Syria to exploit the situation to change the subject from what is going on inside Syria,” he said. What is going on is a slaughter. Human rights organizations say that 70 people were massacred on Friday in the city of Hama while dozens of other murders were reported among protesters in several other cities, including an unknown number of demonstrators killed in the city of Deir al-Zor when thousands rushed a square trying to topple a statue of President Assad’s father Hafez. A witness told Reuters, “The crowd reached President’s Square when it was met by…bullets from the security police and armored cars that had deployed there to prevent the ‘sanam’ (false deity) from being toppled.” The report rings true given the fact that the Syrian army deployed tanks to battle protesters in Hama.

The Un-Recovery
Excerpt: There’s an old saying that when all you have is a hammer, every problem you encounter looks like a nail. Thus, it should come as no surprise that, despite a slew of economic indicators which suggest that our so-called economic recovery is virtually non-existent, the Obama administration continues to pursue its progressively-inspired infatuation with government-driven “solutions” to the crisis. To use a word that is becoming an indispensable part of the mainstream media’s efforts to mitigate the obvious failures of this administration, one can only wonder how many more “unexpected” economic developments Americans can tolerate. The statistics paint a bleak picture. (Obama insists this is not a “jobless recovery.” He’s right. Not about the “jobless” part. About the “recovery” part—it’s not a recovery. ~Bob.)

Palestinian youths charged with slaughter of Fogel family
Somehow, if you can cut the throats of sleeping children, you must have missed the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. Had I these two in my power, you would not view me as a civilized person if you saw the results. ~Bob. Excerpt: Two Palestinian youths from the West Bank village of Awarta, arrested in April on suspicion of murdering five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, were charged with five counts of homicide at a military court on Sunday. The defendants, 17-yearold Hakim Awad and 18-yearold Amjad Awad, who are from the same clan, have confessed to stabbing and shooting two young brothers, their parents, and a three-month-old baby in the attack. “I don’t regret what I did, and would do it again,” Amjad Awad told reporters in court. “I’m proud of what I did and I’ll accept any punishment I get, even death, because I did it all for Palestine,” he added.

PM wins row with Nick Clegg over crackdown on Muslim extremists
Excerpt: David Cameron will emerge as the victor from a bitter cabinet battle over multiculturalism this week as the government unveils a hardline approach to tackling Islamist extremism. Home Office sources say that Cameron has quashed Nick Clegg's argument for a more tolerant attitude to Muslim groups by insisting on a strategy centred upon the notion that violent extremism is incubated within the ideology of non-violent extremism. The shift in approach will be outlined when the government's counter-terrorism strategy is unveiled by the home secretary, Theresa May, on Tuesday. Central to the Prevent strategy is a broader definition of extremism that will be extended beyond groups condoning violence to those considered non-violent but whose views, such as the advocacy of sharia law, fail to "reflect British mainstream values".

Tennessee Trumps Wisconsin: Kills Teacher Collective Bargaining
Must not have a judge whose son was a union organizer, like WI does. ~Bob. Excerpt: To fix public schools, you have to control public schools. And there’s little control when teachers unions, with their self-serving agendas, question every cost-cutting proposal and reform on the table. That’s why so many state governments have taken swift action to limit the power of organized labor in public schools. Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Idaho and Michigan were the first, and Tennessee added itself to the list on Wednesday. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam affixed his signature on House Bill 130 and Senate Bill 113, ending collective bargaining and giving local school boards the full authority to operate their districts in the manner they choose.

Why 2012 looks like 1860
Excerpt: But profound differences divide us today, as was the case in the 1850’s. The difference in presidential approval rates between Democrats and Republicans over the course of the Obama presidency and the last few years of the Bush presidency has been in the neighborhood of 70 points. This is the most polarized the nation has been in modern times. This deep division is driven, as was the case in the 1850’s, by fundamental differences in world view regarding what this country is about.

Defeating Denial to Avert Disaster
Excerpt: The upcoming election may become less about candidates and more about whether enough voters believe America faces a looming collapse that must be addressed now. Democrats minimize the threat of unfunded entitlements and our growing debt and promise to stay the course to "protect" those who depend on government support. Republicans, pointing to a looming crisis brought on by our unsustainable entitlement culture, the exploding deficit, and an anemic economic recovery, propose an austere budget and program changes that can easily be demagogued as severe and uncaring. One party campaigns on “caring enough to give you what you want" while the other campaigns on "caring enough to confront America’s unsustainable path." As a result, the 2012 election may be the most important choice Americans have faced in decades. (I’m not alone. Unfortunately. ~Bob.)

The Depravity Factor
Excerpt: It doesn’t matter how great a law professor or diplomat you are. It doesn’t matter how masterly you sequence the negotiations or what magical lines you draw on a map. There won’t be peace so long as depraved regimes are part of the picture. That’s why it’s crazy to get worked into a lather about who said what about the 1967 border. As long as Hamas and the Assad regime are in place, the peace process is going nowhere, just as it’s gone nowhere for lo these many years. That’s why it’s necessary, especially at this moment in history, to focus on the nature of regimes, not only the boundaries between them. To have a peaceful Middle East, it was necessary to get rid of Saddam’s depraved regime in Iraq. It will be necessary to try to get rid of Qaddafi’s depraved regime in Libya. It’s necessary, as everybody but the Obama administration publicly acknowledges, to see Assad toppled. It will be necessary to marginalize Hamas. It was necessary to abandon the engagement strategy that Barack Obama campaigned on and embrace the cautious regime-change strategy that is his current doctrine.

Taxpayers are still subsidizing billionaire bankers
Excerpt: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, and other giant U.S. banks have been profiting at your expense through an implicit taxpayer guarantee of their debt above and beyond the bailout funds they have already received, a recent report from credit agency Moody's shows. Last week, the ratings agency announced a review of whether these bailout assumptions still apply after passage of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. The Moody's review will be the truest test yet of President Obama's promise that the legislation -- derided by Republicans as a bailout bill -- can end the "Too Big To Fail" dynamic that has encouraged financial risk taking and given these banks an unfair advantage. The implicit government guarantee these banks enjoy is a subsidy.

Taxpayers lost $6.44 billion on Chrysler bailout
Excerpt: President Obama told a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, today: “Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes the American taxpayer from the investment we made during my watch.” That is just not true. Here is the math.

China’s Turn to Be Hacked
Excerpt: The Vietnamese hacking occurred at a time of escalating tensions in the South China Sea, where Beijing is embroiled in disputes with fellow communist-ruled Vietnam, as well as the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, mostly over the presence of natural resources in areas where countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) overlap. On May 26, three Chinese ships entered waters claimed by Vietnam and reportedly severed cables linking a survey vessel belonging to Vietnam’s state-owned oil and gas company to sensitive exploratory equipment. (...) Beijing’s aggressive assertion of its territorial claims was raised during a security summit in Singapore late last week, attended by defense ministers from across the region, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie. (Other than providing a lead in, the headline has little to do with the important parts of this article. The Chinese appear to be flexing their muscles, and the Viets and others with South China Seas claims don’t like it one bit. Ron P.)

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