Thursday, June 9, 2011

Political Digest for June 9, 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.

Required reading for every American: 7 Responsibilities You Have As An American
Excerpt: Responsibilities are the flip side of rights. In fact, the only reason we have rights at all is because there are people who fulfill their responsibilities. Yet, if you ask people what their responsibilities as Americans are, you'll usually get vacant expressions and maybe a mumbled statement about jury duty or paying taxes. With that in mind, here are a few basic responsibilities that you, I, and all of us have as Americans. (Outstanding! –Ron P.)

Important: U.S. funding for future promises lags by trillions
All those folks who tell me that my Coming Collapse book is crazy (who haven’t read it as far as I can tell), and that America can’t collapse, need to read this. ~Bob. Excerpt: The federal government's financial condition deteriorated rapidly last year, far beyond the $1.5 trillion in new debt taken on to finance the budget deficit, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The government added $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations in 2010, largely for retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. That brings to a record $61.6 trillion the total of financial promises not paid for. This gap between spending commitments and revenue last year equals more than one-third of the nation's gross domestic product. Medicare alone took on $1.8 trillion in new liabilities, more than the record deficit prompting heated debate between Congress and the White House over lifting the debt ceiling.

Best older posts for new blog readers

US overrules Patrick on immigration
Excerpt: [Gov.]Patrick’s rejection of the Secure Communities program yesterday can do little, if anything, to impede the program from expanding statewide by 2013, said the official, who has direct knowledge of the program but spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not have clearance to speak for the agency. The data-sharing systems the program relies upon are already in place, the official said, and the governor has no legal standing to block their use. “It might delay the statewide implementation a little bit, but I think our position is we will continue to expand it when we are ready, where we are ready,’’ the official said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. Launched in 2008, the Secure Communities program runs the names and fingerprints of everyone arrested through federal immigration and criminal databases. The purpose is to ensure that offenders who are in this country illegally, especially violent criminals, are detained and deported. (Gotta be crossed wires; the beancounters are over-ruling the liberals and the people of the Commonwealth win! Seriously, this has been a very contentious issue pitting extreme liberals and “concerned ethnic-based groups” against virtually everyone else. Naturally, it was the “everyone else” who was slandered as racist (although when I last checked, speaking—or not—any particular language didn’t qualify anyone for a “racial membership”). All the public hearings held on this issue were sited in heavily ethnic areas dominated by Democrats. Just business as usual. Ron P.)

Excerpt: Europe, the deathbed of free speech. … (The Vigilance Musulmane (Muslim Vigilance) think-tank lodged a complaint with the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism (CGKR) against VUB professor of sociology Mark Elchardus, for statements about Islam and antisemitism he made in the De Morgen newspaper. On May 12 the newspaper published the results of a study ‘Jong in Brussel’ by the Youth Research Platform. In the article Mark Elchardus said that antisemitism among Muslim students was theologically inspired and that there is a direct link between being Muslim and harboring antisemitic feelings.

'A Gay Girl in Damascus' Blogger Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Syria
The Left will eventually regret welcoming the Islamists under their multicultural banner, when Gays dangle from lampposts. Then it will be too late, of course, to ask, “Why didn’t someone do something?” ~Bob. Excerpt: The popular lesbian author of the Syrian blog called "A Gay Girl in Damascus" was kidnapped by armed men in Damascus. Amina Arraf, who blogs under the name Amina Abdallah, was kidnapped while she and her friend were going to a meeting in the Syrian capital. Her blog reportedly started in February and it features poems along with criticism of the Syrian crackdown on protesters. Details about the abduction indicate that Amina was kidnapped by three armed men in their early 20s, according to a blog post from a woman who identified herself as Amina’s cousin. She wrote that the kidnappers are likely one of the security services or the Baath Party militia.

Rep. Weiner Reportedly Coached Porn Star to Lie About Online Interaction
Well, the country may be falling apart, but we’re having fun. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Anthony Weiner reportedly coached an ex-porn star to lie about their interactions online after the controversy over a lewd Twitter photo erupted more than a week ago. TMZ reports that Weiner offered professional advice to adult star Ginger Lee after she started receiving calls from reporters about her relationship with the Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Democrat.

Science Policy And The Constitution
Excerpt: The Founders demonstrated their understanding of the critical role of individual creativity in American progress by specifically delegating constitutional power to Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8). The economic and personal incentives for Americans to invent and publish have grown from this remarkable clairvoyance. The Founders did not intend for the “Science and useful Arts” Clause alone to give broad constitutional justification for federal funding of scientific and technology research. Clearly, the Founders only meant for this Clause to apply to the fruits of research activities by individuals. Federal protection of intellectual property by copyright and patent law flows from this constitutional power.

GM's Akerson pushing for higher gas taxes
Excerpt: General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he's confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker.

Internet tax push gains currency
Excerpt: Faced with state budget shortfalls, some large states like Texas, California and Illinois are looking to online retailers for additional tax revenues. As a result, large e-tailers — such as — have threatened to cut off affiliates who sell in those states rather than start collecting taxes. (...) Retailers that already collect sales taxes on online or offline purchases argue that the current system gives an unfair competitive advantage to online retailers like Amazon and others who do not have brick-and-mortar stores inside the state because shoppers can go online to avoid sales tax. (Sure! Let’s mess up the part of the economy that’s doing the best, no one will notice. This is actually more complex than it looks. If you’re in state A, I’m in state B, the product is in state C, and our banks (yours and mine) are in states D and E, where did the sale actually take place? So, whose sales tax laws should apply? There are surprisingly few products that can’t be purchased across national borders; shall we apply our sales taxes to items brought in from overseas, too? When we have US Senators taking the trouble to register and dock their yacht in another state to avoid the sales tax, I don’t think this will impress Suzie or George Consumer, sitting home, buying over the internet and save the $4 tax. Ron P.)

Excerpt: Hidalgo County Sheriff Department has confirmed that New Mexico rancher, Larry Link, was murdered earlier today on his property. Sources are reporting that the rancher was responding to an alleged- illegal alien on his property at Stein’s Ghost Town when the he was gunned-down. The murder took place on the southwest side of the state near the Arizona border on Interstate 10 at mile marker three.

American Mosques: Jihad's Incubators
Excerpt: How’s this for a wake-up call: America’s most cherished civil liberties and the Constitution that enshrines them are actually enabling Muslim Brotherhood operatives and other Islamists who have the declared mission of destroying our freedoms and government “from within…by [our] hands.” Specifically, our enemies are using our tolerance of religion to create an infrastructure of mosques here that incubate the Islamic holy war called jihad. If this revelation is not exactly news to those who are serious students of the Brotherhood’s decades-long, stealthy “civilization jihad” in this country (for more, see the best-selling “Team B II Report” published late last year by the Center for Security Policy: Shariah: The Threat to America), it will almost certainly come as a shock to the average American. Yet, the phenomenon of our rights being used to pursue our destruction has become undeniable – particularly now, thanks to an assiduously researched, peer-reviewed study published on June 6th by the highly respected journal, Middle East Quarterly.

Barack Obama’s economy?
Excerpt: The new Washington Post/ABC News poll paints a dismal portrait of the nation’s economy and suggests that the American public may well be beginning to blame President Obama for the country’s financial woes. Asked who they trust to do a better job on the economy, 45 percent named congressional Republicans while 42 percent chose Obama. That’s a marked turnaround from a mid-March Post/ABC survey when 46 percent said they trusted Obama to do a better job handling the economy and just 34 percent named Republicans in Congress. Among electorally critical independents, 44 percent said they trusted Republicans more to handle economic issues while 39 percent preferred Obama. In March, independents favored Obama on the question 40 percent to 29 percent.

Supreme Court Voids Ruling Against Hazleton’s Immigration Law
Excerpt: It appears that last month’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Arizona’s E-Verify law will precipitate a potent counteroffensive against the illegal immigration judicial defense industry. In light of the Court’s 5-3 decision validating the right of state and local governments to impose penalties on employers who hire illegal aliens, the high court vitiated a ruling against a similar ordinance passed by government officials in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. In 2006, following a sharp spike in violent crime perpetrated by illegal aliens, Mayor Lou Barletta (now a Republican congressman) signed an ordinance prohibiting landlords from renting to illegals and employers from hiring them. Under the Hazleton Immigration Relief Act, renters and employers who failed to verify the immigration status of renters and employees would face fines or suspension of business and rental licenses. This law was the impetus for dozens of subsequent efforts by states and municipalities to curb their growing illegal immigration problem.

Army Backs Off Talk of Using Marine Camouflage Pattern
If they like it, they can earn it at Parris Island or MCRD San Diego. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Army claimed Tuesday that it's not looking to swipe the Marines' combat uniform, after a top official said in an interview that the branch might just use the same design over the Corps' objections. The Army is weighing different camouflage patterns as it moves to select a new set of uniforms. The older Universal Camouflage Pattern has been criticized as ineffective, and some soldiers see the Marine Corps' MARPAT (Marine Pattern) as vastly superior. Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, former head of Program Executive Office Soldier which is responsible for military gear, earlier told the Army Times that the Army could remove the Corps' emblem and appropriate the uniform for Army use if it proves most effective in field tests. That's something the Marines don't want to see happen, claiming the uniform is their property and that Marines should be distinguished from other soldiers. 

Pelosi Seeks Ethics Inquiry as Rep. Weiner Faces GOP Calls to Resign
Excerpt: As more women emerge describing their online dalliances with Rep. Anthony Weiner, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday urged the ethics committee to investigate whether the New York congressman violated House rules by using "official resources" to maintain illicit online relationships. Calling his actions "inappropriate," Pelosi wrote in a two-sentence letter to the committee leadership that an inquiry is "warranted." But she stopped short of calling for anything else. ("Oh, I wish I was a New York liberal Weiner, That's what I'd really like to be, Cause I could tweet the young girls jockey shots--but none for ugly, old Nancy P.!" Apologies to Oscar. ~Bob.)

Former DNC chairman Tim Kaine says Rep. Weiner should resign
Excerpt: The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee has called for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign. "Lying is unforgivable," said Kaine, the first Democrat to call outright for Weiner's (D-N.Y.) resignation. Kaine, who is running for retiring Sen. Jim Webb's (D-Va.) Senate seat, said in an interview with a local Virginia television station on Tuesday: "Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable and he should resign." (Weiner’s motto: “I will give up my House Seat when they pry my sweaty, bulging jockey shorts off of it!” My next book: Twits who Tweet! ~Bob.)

Excerpt: A cascade of bad economic and political news knocked President Barack Obama off his game today, and prompted him to revive his 2008-style criticism of his predecessor, and also to suggest that investors, consumers and even the media are responsible for today’s stalled economy. The blame-game rhetoric – which pollsters say is counterproductive – came during the White House’s joint press conference with Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. “It is just very important for folks to remember how close we came to complete disaster,” he told the watching TV cameras and reporters.
Excerpt: It is clear that both parties know there is a crisis but political concerns (their own reelection) mean more than fashioning sensible fiscal proposals to remove the threat to our nation’s health. These elected representatives might be forgiven for being confused. In November 2010, the electorate swept the Democrats out of control of the House and gained a number of Senate seats because the public seemed to have gotten the message that our debt and deficits threatened the country’s future. Now the public in at least one New York district seems to be saying “Yes the debt is a big problem but don’t fix it by taking away one of my benefits.” That is why it isn’t sufficient for Republicans to make their case by simply relying on Mr. Ryan’s very thoughtful, indeed courageous, plan. They need to demand that Democrats put a plan on the table. They need to demonstrate in the plainest possible terms that by doing nothing Medicare will be bankrupt by 2024. Joseph Antos, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, reported that Medicare has been funded by the interest on trust fund holdings since 2008, and therefore the programs are already in the hole and living on borrowed time. Moreover, the projections of bankruptcy in 2024 include a cost savings from Obamacare, which many experts say are unlikely to occur. Even Medicare’s chief actuary Rich Foster said, “the financial projections . . . do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations.”

Afghan nation-building programs not sustainable, report says
Excerpt: The hugely expensive U.S. attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan has had only limited success and may not survive an American withdrawal, according to the findings of a two-year congressional investigation to be released Wednesday. The report calls on the administration to rethink urgently its assistance programs as President Obama prepares to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer. The report, prepared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority staff, comes as Congress and the American public have grown increasingly restive about the human and economic cost of the decade-long war and reflects growing concerns about Obama’s war strategy even among supporters within his party.

NY-26 shifts Democratic playbook as party hardens line on Medicare reform
Save Medicare from Obamacare. ~Bob. Excerpt: Democrats have hardened their stance on Medicare since the program helped propel them to an upset victory in a New York special election. Party leaders suggested as recently as last month they were open to changes in the entitlement program. Now the leadership, particularly in the Senate, say they won’t accept any Medicare benefit cuts — even policies that would stop far short of the dramatic overhaul proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and included in the House GOP budget resolution. But in the early days of Democrats’ attacks on the Ryan budget — before their win in the May 24 New York race — leaders said Medicare would be, in some form, “on the table” during negotiations over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

Experiment to lower Medicare costs did not save much money
Excerpt: A key government experiment that set out to lower costs and coordinate care for Medicare patients — now the blueprint for an innovation the Obama administration is trying to move to a national scale — has failed to save a substantial amount of money. The five-year test enlisted 10 leading health systems around the country and offered financial bonuses if they could save enough by treating older patients more efficiently while providing high-quality care. In 2010, the final year, just four of the 10 sites, all long-established groups run by doctors, slowed their Medicare spending enough to qualify for a bonus, according to an official evaluation not yet made public. Two sites saved enough to get bonuses in all five years, the evaluation shows, but three did not succeed even once.

Families stunned as power bills soar to £1,391
That’s about $2,400. Coming soon to a “green” socialist economy near you. ~Bob. Excerpt: Many are already feeling the squeeze of rising inflation and pay freezes, forcing consumers to tighten their belts to be able to afford basic living costs. In a further blow to household budgets, figures published today by the British Retail Consortium show food bills increased at the fastest pace in nearly two years last month as volatile commodity prices continued to push the cost of living higher….Joe Malinowski, founder of energy price comparison website, added: "Consumers need to take this warning seriously. The waiting game is over and all hell is set to break loose.”
(You might recall that Scotland has one of the largest wind farm industries in Europe. It appears that it is not all that efficient because …..)

Scotland's wind farms 'often able only to boil 6,667 kettles'
Excerpt: WIND farms are much less efficient than the industry claims, according to new research.
A report produced for the conservation charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) says turbines are producing below 10 per cent of capacity for more than a third of the time

Ten Questions for Leon Panetta
The “Arab Spring” may well be followed by a “Nuclear Winter.” ~Bob. Excerpt: The war in Afghanistan rages on, as does the conflict in Libya. U.S. troops are still deployed in Iraq. Unrest continues in the Middle East’s Arab Spring. Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear efforts are accelerating, and the global war against terrorists remains. And yet despite an aging military, President Barack Obama has called for $400 billion in cuts to national security spending over the next 12 years, in addition to the $400 billion in cuts he has already made. It is against this backdrop that Leon Panetta, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, will go before the Senate tomorrow for questioning on how he would shepherd the department into the future. The American taxpayers deserve some answers from Panetta. Panetta, who is currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has already responded to a 79-page set of answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, but his responses largely lacked specifics.

Excerpt: Last August, the Office of the Medicare Actuary predicted that within nine years Medicare will be paying doctors less than what Medicaid pays. Think about that. In most places around the country Medicaid patients have extreme difficulty finding doctors who will see them. As a result, they end up seeking care at community health centers and in the emergency rooms of safety net hospitals. In a few more years seniors will be in that same position — with this difference. From a financial point of view, the seniors will be perceived as less desirable customers than welfare mothers. Also, by that point one in seven hospitals will have to leave the Medicare system. As Medicare Chief Actuary Richard Foster (page 282) said in the 2010 Medicare Trustees’ report, “Well before that point, Congress would have to intervene to prevent the withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market and the severe problems with beneficiary access to care that would result.” But suppose Congress didn’t intervene. Suppose that the law continues on the books exactly as it is written. Consider people reaching the age of 65 this year. Under ObamaCare, the average amount spent on these enrollees over the remainder of their lives will fall by about$36,000 at today’s prices

White House Initiative Aims to Match Students With Manufacturing Jobs
Excerpt: The administration says that a lack of a standardized credentialing system is an obstacle to the growth of manufacturing jobs as students pay for training programs that don’t line up with the skills their employers are seeking. With input from the Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and various national manufacturing organizations, the Manufacturing Skills Certification System will be available in 30 states as a for-credit program of study. (Who could possibly have guessed the Liberals' solution to a largely government-created problem would be more government intervention? Why am I also reminded of the Wizard of Oz giving the Scarecrow a diploma to "prove" he had a brain? Please notice there's no mention in changes to curricula, standards, or requirements; no mention of what skills are being "certified." As Dorothy might have said, “What a humbug!” Ron P.)

Alarmist climate science and the principle of exclusion
Excerpt: And so, while alarmist climate scientists are quite within their rights to propose the AGW hypothesis, they should also be cautious: AGW is an hypothesis. It has not reached the status of a scientific theory (it has not passed enough scientific tests for that), nor is it a scientific fact, as the public is told. Instead, alarmist climate scientists have thrown the proper scientific caution to the winds to make claims that aren’t supported by the evidence, and to smear those who point out the possible errors in their hypothesis. To repeat Darwin’s words: “My error has been a good lesson to me never to trust in science to the principle of exclusion.” This caution is especially true when climate-science errors could lead to anti-carbon policies that will cost billions of dollars and destroy millions of livelihoods, while having no effect upon the climate because humans are only a small part of a much larger picture.

Delta Charges U.S. Troops Returning From Afghanistan $2,800 In Baggage Fees
Excerpt: Delta Air Lines is facing intense criticism after charging 34 U.S. soldiers returning from Afghanistan $2,800 in baggage fees. The incident came to light on Tuesday after a couple of the new-media savvy soldiers recorded a video about their ordeal and posted it on YouTube. "We showed up and found out we had too many bags," said Army Staff Sgt. Robert O'Hair in the video, which was shot on their flight. "We had four bags, and Delta Air Lines only allows three bags. Anything over three bags you have to pay for, even though there's a contract between the United States government and Delta Air Lines: When returning from Afghanistan on military orders, you're authorized up to four bags."

Feds Accuse Calif. Gang Of Targeting Blacks
Excerpt: A Latino gang conspired to rid a Southern California city of its black residents through intimidation, threats and violence dating back to the early 1990s to exert its influence and show its loyalty to the Mexican Mafia prison gang, according to a federal racketeering indictment unsealed Tuesday. More than 50 people were charged as authorities made early morning raids targeting the Varrio Azusa 13 gang. Federal prosecutors said the gang engaged in a host of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to hate crimes that have hobbled Azusa, a city of about 45,000 residents near Los Angeles. "We hope that this federal case will signal the end of this racist behavior and will help vindicate all of the victims who have suffered over the years," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.

Jury Deliberates Chicago Businessman's Ties to Mumbai, Denmark Plots
I have PTO time coming, be glad to take a morning off to serve on the firing squad. No charge for my time. ~Bob. Excerpt: Jury deliberations began Wednesday morning in the case of a Chicago businessman charged with aiding the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist strike. The attacks were carried out by armed militants from the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT). Tahawwur Rana's immigration company provided cover to American Lashkar operative David Headley to scout targets for the attacks. Prosecutors say this was because he supported the attacks. Rana is charged with supporting the Mumbai plot, along with a plot in Denmark that was not carried out, and with support for the LeT.

The Cancer of Regulation
Excerpt: Licensing prices poor people out of the business. "Compare New York City, where a license to own and operate a taxi is $603,000, to Washington, D.C.," George Mason University economist Walter Williams told me. "There are not many black-owned taxis in New York City. But in Washington, most are owned by blacks." Why? Because in Washington, "it takes $200 to get a license to own and operate one taxi. That makes the difference." Regulation hurts the people the politicians claim to help. People once just went into business. But now, in the name of "consumer protection," bureaucrats insist on licensing rules. Today, hundreds of occupations require expensive licenses. Tough luck for a poor person getting started. (As bad as the examples cited by Stossel are, they pale compared to the abuse of authority by Federal Agencies that are allowed to write their own proposed rules, publish them in the Federal Register, and enforce them UNLESS Congress specifically acts to forbid it. How did Congress ever get away with delegating the law-making power to unelected boards and agencies? What madness afflicted the courts to approve it—if they ever did? Ron P.)

U.N. Agreement Should Have All Gun Owners Up In Arms
Excerpt: It may not come as surprising news to many of you that the United Nations doesn’t approve of our Second Amendment. Not one bit. And they very much hope to do something about it with help from some powerful American friends. Under the guise of a proposed global “Small Arms Treaty” premised to fight “terrorism”, “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates” you can be quite certain that an even more insidious threat is being targeted – our Constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to own and bear arms.

Irksome Things
Excerpt: There are a lot of things, large and small, that irk me. One of them is our tendency to evaluate a presidential candidate based on his intelligence or academic credentials. When Obama threw his hat in the ring, people thought he was articulate and smart and hailed his intellectual credentials. Just recently, when Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy, people hailed his intellectual credentials and smartness as well. By contrast, the intellectual elite and mainstream media people see Sarah Palin as stupid, a loose cannon and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal. There was another presidential candidate who was also held to be stupid and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal who ultimately became president -- Ronald Reagan. I don't put much stock into whether a political leader is smart or not because, as George Orwell explained, "Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them." All the evidence that I see is that academics and intellectuals have messed up the world. I challenge anyone to show me a major calamity that was engineered by a stupid, inarticulate person, but those caused by intelligent, articulate persons are too numerous to count, from the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao to Woodrow Wilson, FDR and Obama.

U.S. Congressman Says The Obama Administration Materially Supporting Terrorists
Excerpt: Last Friday, May 20th, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert of the First District of Texas indicated the current Administration appears to be complicit in supporting the designated terrorist organization Hamas. Thus far, there has been nearly no media coverage on the Congressman’s comments, which, one would think, would have a significant impact because of the implications of such an accusation.

Dirty Spending Secrets
Easy to guess the answers—always worst case. ~Bob. Excerpt: It’s the seedy underbelly of Washington, D.C. The hallways of Congress are often dark alleys of wasteful spending and pork-laden deal-making. Down these lanes, shadowy special interests and empire-building bureaucracies lie in wait to relieve innocent taxpayers of their hard-earned money. They spend billions on wasteful programs, pet projects, and the accumulation of personal power. They threaten to bankrupt our country as our national debt soars out of control. The victims often don’t even know it’s happening. Many don’t realize how bad it is. Do you?

Excerpt: Arizona is on fire- literally. There are three large fires burning out of control and Arizona firefighters will have to fight the perilous blazes in triple-digit temperatures. To make matters worse residents and officials say the Murphy fire (near Arivaca where Agent Brian Terry was murdered) was human-caused by illegal drug smugglers seeking to escape apprehension by Border Patrol Agents. It’s been reported that Border Patrol Agents jumped a group of 12 marijuana backpackers who intentionally set the fire. Residents say agents arrested three smugglers; two have admitted to starting the fire, while a third smuggler was taken to an area hospital with serious injuries.

The Coordinates of Radicalism: Sharia compliance correlates with violent attitudes among American Muslims
Excerpt: What is it that radicalizes Muslims, including American Muslims? Is it American foreign policy? Israeli “occupation” of the ancient Jewish territories of Judea and Samaria? Cartoons depicting the warrior-prophet as a warrior? Korans torched by obscure Florida pastors? The life of Osama bin Laden, or, perhaps, his death? Any of a thousand claimed slights, real or imagined, that purportedly provoke young Muslims to “conflagrate” — if we may borrow from the forgiving rationalizations of Faisal Rauf, would-be imam of the would-be Ground Zero mosque? Here is the unsettling but sedulously avoided truth: What radicalizes Muslims is Islam.

Cadaver Dogs Find No Evidence of Bodies at Texas Farmhouse After Mass Grave Scare
And the cost to taxpayers? ~Bob. Excerpt: Police dispatched cadaver dogs to a Texas farmhouse Tuesday after receiving a tip from a person claiming to be a psychic who said bodies were buried there, but the dogs found nothing suspicious, a local judge said. Judge Craig McNair of Liberty County said the sheriff's office received a Monday night call from a person claiming to be a psychic, who said many bodies were at a farmhouse about 70 miles northeast of Houston. McNair says the caller claimed some of the bodies were dismembered and some children.

War on Women Is Democrats’ 2012 Rallying Cry
Excerpt: Democrats and allied groups including Emily’s List are framing Republican moves to cut federal spending as a war on women, an effort aimed at influencing the 2012 elections. Support from women voters helped propel Republican gains in the 2010 elections. Democrats are hoping to reverse that next year by arguing that measures including the Republican push to end traditional Medicare would disproportionately affect women, who live longer than men. Republican efforts to repeal collective-bargaining rights for public employees also are being characterized as anti-woman. For example, 73 percent of the American Federation of Teachers’ 1.5 million members are female.

Scary: The Future of the Middle East
Excerpt: In recent weeks, the emerging Middle East has given pause to the early optimists of the Arab Spring. Egypt reopened its border with Gaza, Amr Moussa seems poised to win the presidency there, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has been ruthlessly cracking down on anti-regime protests, Yemen has descended into something close to civil war, and a Hamas-Fatah unity government is set to call for a vote at the UN General Assembly on unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. To get a sense of where these and other issues in the region are headed, I spoke with Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor and publisher of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. He is the author of more than a dozen books on the Middle East.

Muslim Woman Seeks to Revive Institution of Sex-Slavery
Excerpt: Last week witnessed popular Muslim preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini boast about how Islam allows Muslims to buy and sell conquered infidel women, so that “When I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.” This week’s depraved anachronism comes from a Muslim woman—Salwa al-Mutairi, a political activist and former parliamentary candidate for Kuwait’s government, no less: She, too, seeks to “revive the institution of sex-slavery.” A brief English report appeared over the weekend in the Kuwait Times (nothing, of course, in the MSM): Muslim men who fear being seduced or tempted into immoral behavior by the beauty of their female servants, or even of those servants “casting spells” on them, would be better to purchase women from an “enslaved maid” agency for sexual purposes. She [Mutairi] suggested that special offices could be set up to provide concubines in the same way as domestic staff recruitment agencies currently provide housemaids. “We want our youth to be protected from adultery,” said al-Mutairi, suggesting that these maids could be brought as prisoners of war in war-stricken nations like Chechnya to be sold on later to devout merchants. (All cultures are equally valid—so the leftist multiculturalists say. ~Bob.)

Iran's illegal arms trade: 'Hypocritical and dangerous'
Excerpt: "Hypocritical, two-faced and highly dangerous." Strong words from British Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt, referring to Iran's flouting of UN sanctions to sell arms to militant organisations like the Taliban.

Important: Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi: New study shows that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don't teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism
Excerpt: In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the "extremist ideology." Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom's 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project's 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule. And now comes yet more confirmation that mosques in the U.S. are teaching these things, and again the percentage is remarkably similar: around 80% of mosques are found to be teaching jihad warfare and Islamic supremacism. This study is extensive and detailed.

The Collapse of a Rotten Edifice
Excerpt: Nemesis is always hot on the trail of hubris, across time and space, and the goddess has been particularly busy in destroying the carefully crafted images of Bono, John Edwards, Timothy Geithner, Al Gore, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and a host of others. What do their tax hypocrisies, sexual indulgences, and aristocratic socialist lifestyles all have in common? Collectively, they represent a self-appointed or elected global elite that oversees, lectures about — in sanctimonious fashion — the ethical responsibilities of the redistributive state. Bono and his ensemble may be the highest paid rock group in the world, the most eager to shake a finger at Western governments on their moral duties to help the less fortunate. He is a pop icon always ready to fault the consumerist Western lifestyle. But Bono and his pals are quite determined to avoid Irish tax laws to ensure more of their hard-won capitalist profits so necessary to support their global lifestyles, at a time when their alma mater is broke and unable to fund its once ample entitlements.

CQ Roll Call: Daily Briefing: Andrew Weiner
Excerpt: SLOW ROAST: Anthony Weiner has survived to play with his congressional BlackBerry for another day. But if he’s looking for messages of encouragement from other Democrats, he’ll find an empty screen. Members of his staff (who were accepting Weiner’s lies as the truth until he fessed up to them Monday afternoon, just before facing the cameras) have left his Rayburn suite largely unattended while they roam the halls looking for other jobs. Pelosi (ditto) has written an official letter doubling down on her call for a full-up Ethics Committee investigation — assuring the drip-drip of coverage will continue for months unless the one-time king of Queens politics quits Congress.

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