Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Political Digest for July 13, 2011

Thursday Collapse Radio Interview
I’ll be on Thursday, July 14, 2011, 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm EDT., 6:30 pm to 7:45 PM CDT. You cal sign in to their blog on the web to hear and post questions. You can also call The call-in number, 347-857-4364, and press '1' to be placed in the host queue. (If you just want to listen, don’t press ‘1’.)

FREAKY FRIDAY Meets Statesman & Marine Robert A. Hall
I’m to be interviewed about my book on Friday, July 15, at 2:00 PM EDT/1:00 PM CDT by Ann Ubelis on her “Southern Sense” talk radio show broadcast in Beaufort, SC. (Doubtless DIs at Parris Island will play it to abuse the recruits!) The call in number to speak with the host is (917) 889-3675.

Barnes and Nobel now has Collapse at a discount!
Also as an e-book for “nook.”

Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan president, killed by trusted guard
Even a Muslim leader can’t tell when a “moderate” Muslim is going to go Jihad on him. How can the rest of us? And who will dare take his place? ~Bob. Excerpt: The half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated by a trusted local security official Tuesday, a political killing that was immediately claimed by the Taliban and makes grimly clear the vulnerability of Afghan officials as the United States prepares to reduce its military presence. Ahmed Wali Karzai — head of Kandahar’s provincial council and widely considered the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan — was meeting with tribal elders and politicians in his heavily fortified home in downtown Kandahar city Tuesday morning, according to two people at the house at the time. Sardar Mohammad, a longtime confidant and commander of the police post near Karzai’s ancestral home, arrived and requested a private discussion, officials said. Karzai and Mohammad left for another room, and soon three gunshots rang out. Agha Lalai Destegeri, the deputy provincial council chief, said he rushed in to find Karzai shot in the head, chest and hand. Karzai’s other guards entered the room and shot and killed Mohammad, officials said. A bleeding Karzai was driven by his entourage a short distance across town to Mirwais Hospital, but he did not survive, Destegeri and other Afghan officials said.

Details on the Death of Karzai's Brother
Excerpt: Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s younger brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was killed in Kandahar on July 12 during a gathering in his house, Kandahar Governor Tooryali Wesa confirmed. Initial reports remain sketchy but it is believed that the Afghan leader’s brother was killed by multiple gunshots to the head and chest with a AK-47 fired by Sardar Mohammad, a former bodyguard to Karzai’s older brother Qayyoum. Unconfirmed reports say that the assassin was immediately killed and Ahmad Wali’s body has been taken to Mirwais Civil Hospital. One of the two official spokesmen for the Taliban, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, told the German News Agency Deutsche Presse Agentur that Ahmad Wali Karzai was killed by a Taliban sleeper agent. This particular Karzai brother has escaped assassination attempts in the past. His death comes as a major blow to President Karzai who depended on Ahmed Wali for creating a social support base for the president in Kandahar province, the homeland of the Taliban. (you have to put in your address to have the article sent to you. ~Bob.)

Family of Murdered Border Patrol Agent Considering Suing Feds Over 'Fast and Furious'
Excerpt: The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry wants justice, and that may include suing the federal government. "If the evidence shows Brian's death was proximately caused by the negligence of the federal government, there may be a cause of action," said Terry family attorney Paul Charlton. Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel while patrolling an area near Tucson known as Rio Rico.

Plea for a bold strategic energy shift: Brussels should bet on Beijing
Excerpt: In the past decade, since 9/11, there have been countless NATO workshops and conferences dedicated to energy security. Experts would talk about locking down vital energy infrastructure, preventing terrorists from blowing up pipelines, or pushing for enhanced cyber security of energy assets. Worthwhile efforts to be sure, but not what the core energy role of NATO in Europe should be about, namely, for Europe to be seen as a stable source of security for producer states straddling the European neighbourhood. This is what a European energy security strategy should have been focused on: providing a “negative” incentive, keeping awkward regimes on the political straight and narrow, as well as offering a positive security pull for producers willing to look beyond their traditional external mentors. The Libyan disaster has made it clear that if the EU has ever had such a strategy, it certainly is not working anymore. “Post-Libya” it’s not so much a case of the cracks starting to show, but the entire edifice collapsing before our eyes. (One of the odd publications I get by email is the European Energy Review. They often have “editor’s comments” in the email that don’t appear in the article(s) or editorials in that issue of the review. This is a cut & paste of part of today’s "editor's comments" accompanying this very unsettling article: “When it comes to geopolitics, we have to be fair to Brussels. It's not easy to forge an energy strategy when you don't have armed forces to back you up and your Member States all too often prefer to pursue their own ends through bilateral deals. Brussels' strategy has been to define energy "corridors", send Energy Commissioners on diplomatic missions and offer producer states "governance reforms" that they usually don't want. The predictable result has been all-around failure. Fact is that the most important "Western" instruments to back up energy strategy are NATO and the International Energy Agency (IEA) - both US-dominated institutions that the EU has never been able to really align itself with. The bad news, from the EU's perspective, is that - as "Libya" all too clearly shows - the US is increasingly less able or willing to secure Europe's energy interests in the world. Shale gas and Canadian tar sands, not to mention economic woes, are setting the US on a course for greater energy independence. So where does this leave the increasingly energy-dependent EU in a world of high oil prices and restricted access to supplies?” --Ron P.

The Start: Central Falls, R.I., struggles to step back from financial abyss
How the collapse starts, a bit here, a little there. ~Bob. Excerpt: At the community center, the subsidized lunch for seniors is no longer being served. The pool has been drained. Health screenings have been cancelled. The locks to the building were changed last week, and not even the acting director is allowed inside. The public library has gone dark too, a sign on the door at the top of the stone steps telling patrons to return books elsewhere - indefinitely. Central Falls, one of New England’s most distressed cities, is on the cusp of filing for bankruptcy protection - a relatively rare step for municipalities even in tough financial times. Since 1980, only about 46 cities or towns in the United States have sought such protection, according to James Spiotto, an attorney in Chicago who is an expert in municipal bankruptcies. Last year, the state took over Central Falls - a city of 19,000 residents with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 15 percent - stripping the mayor of his keys to City Hall and the rest of his authority. That move came after every teacher was fired at the underperforming high school, with most of them rehired later. ... The 1.3-square-mile city north of Providence, where 60 percent of the population is Hispanic, faces $80 million in unfunded pension and benefits obligations and an estimated $25 million in deficits over the next five years. Officials said it was hard hit by a loss in state aid and the fact that expected collections from the Wyatt Detention Facility never materialized. (Central Falls. RI is a small community just north of Providence. 20-25 years ago a few central Americans moved into town. Then a trickle. Then a flood. Some of the Central Americans were legal immigrants, most were not. With the influx of the massive population shift to Hispanics came cocaine and cocaine traffickers The legitimate community became compromised and eventually succumbed. The tax base to support the community fell precipitously. Now Rhode Island is very blue collar. Many blue collar folks are union workers and union workers vote for Democrats. Democrats embrace illegal aliens. The consequence is that the community is now on life support and about to have the plug pulled. The education system collapsed because none of the children speak English. The standard joke amongst law enforcement in Massachusetts is that if you stopped anyone from central Falls you likely have a drug dealer of trafficker on your hands. This is what is now occurring in Massachusetts. First the community of Holyoke, then Lawrence and Chelsea. All Hispanic. To make matters worse we now have large communities of Brazilians. Most illegal, most dependent on public assistance because they are unemployable, simply because they are illegal, have a criminal background or have unsuitable skills for the job market in Massachusetts. The malignancy is sweeping many parts of USA. The metastases are spreading everywhere. Think about it. We are losing our country to a foreign invasion without a shot fired. Who do we have to thank? Essentially the democrat party and democrats. Our previous presidents Bush 41 and 43 have blood on their hands as well. They rolled out the unrestrictive welcome mat twenty years ago. Come one, come all, no papers, no problem, they only want the jobs Americans don’t want. Well, that is not the only thing they want. They want everything that you have in your pockets as well. --TC)

Westboro Baptist Church To Picket Betty Ford's Funeral
Excerpt: The anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to picket this week's funeral services for former first lady Betty Ford in California and Michigan. The website of the Topeka, Kansas-based church said the fringe group will demonstrate at Ford's funerals because she divorced her first husband William Warren prior to marrying the late president Gerald R. Ford. In Westboro's eyes, that makes Ford an adulterer who "loved to sit with tawdry reporters and blather about sex."

Obama’s Presser
Excerpt: First, one of Obama’s recurrent themes was, “If not now, when?” ... If not now, when? How about two years ago? Or last year? Or in February, when Obama proposed a budget that contemplated, on the most optimistic assumptions, adding at least $600 billion of new debt every year for the next decade? Obama is now fixated on the “deadline” of August 2, 2011, but where was he in 2009? Or 2010? Or prior to last week? It has been over two years since the federal government has had a budget. For Obama to adopt a sanctimonious “eat your peas” approach to the federal budget is so disingenuous that it is not surprising that Republicans find him infuriating to negotiate with.

Marine to Mila Kunis: Let’s me and you hook it up at the Marine Corps Ball; Mila Kunis to Marine: Okay
Cool video. ~Bob. Excerpt: I’m trying to read this guy’s mind and figure out whether he cut the video as a goof, just messing around on a slow day at war, or whether this was actually part of a brilliantly clever scheme to make it happen. Step one: Film the clip, in full bad-ass uniform, replete with a cutesy move with the shades. Step two: E-mail it out to friends and friends of friends and wait for it to go viral. Step three: Hope that some entertainment reporter stumbles across it and asks Mila Kunis about it — on camera, preferably. If this guy really did game it out that way, he should be planning war strategy in Afghanistan.

Excerpt: Now here’s the problem. GDP is defined as C (consumption) + I (investment) + G (government spending) + (x [exports] – i [imports]) So, if we decrease “G” (cut spending) GDP goes down. If we increase taxes then either “C” or “I” goes down, since that which you tax someone else cannot either invest or spend. This is arithmetic you learned in the third grade at the latest and nothing can change it. What government was sold by the Banksters, including Bernanke, was that cranking “G” (as a deficit) up from 4% to 10% of the economy (a net increase of 6% of GDP, or about $850 billion annually) on a temporary basis (for a year or two) would “goose”, “prime”, or “kickstart” the private economy. I said at the time it would not work, because the recession we entered was due to excessive leverage and we had spent thirty years accumulating too much debt through all segments of the economy. The Krugmans of the world, along with the Bernankes, the Christine Romers and others said I was full of crap. Congress and The Administration listened to them and followed their prescriptions. We now know factually that they were wrong; the consumer has not taken the baton back in terms of debt acceptance and acceleration nor can he because nearly-none of his debt has been paid down or defaulted and on balance he’s far worse off employment-wise than he was in 2006. On top of it our financial institutions are turning to ever-more creative (and bogus) ways to avoid recognizing their losses.

Waiting for the enemy to blink
Excerpt: What we’ve got is war—a war between the taxpayers and the tax-eaters. The tax-eaters can’t understand why the taxpayers won’t shovel out the swag, salute as usual, and shut up. This time the taxpayers are fed up and they’re not going to take it any more. President Obama, the swag man for the tax-eaters, can’t understand why the Republicans won’t join his crusade to add trillions of dollars—that’s trillions with a ‘t’, not even billions with a ‘b’—to the burden of the taxpayers. Mr. Obama has never met a tax he didn’t want to kiss and cuddle, and can’t give up his itch to cuddle these new trillions. He pouts that it’s the Republicans, not him, who hold the “my way or the highway” attitude. He won’t sign “a 30-day, or a 60-day or 90-day extension” of the debt limit, even to keep the economy from a crash.

1.5 million reasons GOPers wanted Allen West for U.S. Senate
Excerpt: Broward Republican/tea party sensation Allen West just blew away the fundraising totals in Florida of every major candidate, reporting he raised $1.5 million last quarter. Just how much is for the general and how much for the primary (if he has a challenger) is unclear. What is certain: The freshman Republican Rep. outraised the four statewide candidates for U.S. Senate: George Lemieux ($950k), Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos ($900k), Adam Hasner ($560k) and Mike McCallister (paging Buzz, paging Buzz......). Early on, Republican operatives were pushing for West to run for Senate for a few reasons: He's exciting, he can fundraise, he's a vet, and he's African American. "It's not my time," the colonel would say. The other Republicans are saying thanks right about now. Two potential unexpected twists: 1) Republican-turned-Democrat Patrick Murphy had raised a whopping $450k last quarter, partly based on the fundraising pitch that he's facing West. It doesn't seem so whopping now. 2) Even with all this money, it might be tougher for West to win re-election to Congress than to a new seat in the U.S. Senate. After all, he lives in liberal South Florida. And thanks to newly passed Amendment 5, legislators can't draw a seat that favors or disfavors a political party or an incumbent. Sure, they'll probably try. But there's only so far legislators can stretch the lines, and more Democrats and liberal-leaning voters are expected at the polls in 2012 compared to 2010. Had West run for Senate, there's a good chance he could have harnessed Republican energy, picked up some swing voters and (in a general election) taken a few extra African American votes that otherwise would more likely go to Democrat Bill Nelson.

Worth Reading: A New Blueprint for Recovery: What Ails the Economy Today and What to Do About Fixing Tomorrow
Excerpt: There is a moment towards the end of every drunken party when bingers sense the ridiculousness of their epic self-delusion that taking 14 tequila shots won't come back to haunt them in the morning. Similarly, mainstream economists are waking up to their own haunting reality that the rosy economic growth scenarios they had projected for 2011 were beyond delusional. According to today's job report, unemployment rose to 9.2 percent for the month of June, the highest level this year. Housing also continues to falter, and to make matters worse, the Federal Reserve has downgraded its outlook on GDP growth for the next year. So a simple question: what is going on with our struggling economy? The answer can go on for pages and is hotly debated. However, I think we can get a sense of the problems facing the economy by taking a snapshot look at unemployment, housing, GDP, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve.

Blue Pill or Red Pill: The Limits of Comparative Effectiveness Research
Executive Summary: Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) measures the effects of different drugs or other treatments on a population, with the goal of finding out which ones produce the greatest benefits for the most patients. Used properly, CER gives the patient, doctor, and payer hard information from thousands, or even millions, of cases, saving them time and money that otherwise would be spent on a trial-and-error quest for the right treatment. Public and private payers for health care hope to use CER to cut costs without reducing quality of care. Great expectations have been placed on this approach. "If there's broad agreement … [that] the blue pill works better than the red pill," President Obama has said, "and it turns out the blue pills are half as expensive as the red pill, then we want to make sure that doctors and patients have that information available to them. The potential short-term savings are significant. For example, antipsychotic drugs represent one of the largest and fastest-growing expenses for Medicaid. In 2005, a CER analysis of antipsychotic drugs found little difference between the effectiveness of older, cheaper antipsychotics and that of more expensive "second-generation" drugs. We determined that if reimbursement policies had been changed in response and Medicaid had stopped paying for the more costly drugs, it would have saved $1.2 billion out of the $5.5 billion that it spent on these medications in 2005. However, the consequences of this policy shift would have been worse mental health for many thousands of people, resulting in higher costs to society that would equal or outweigh any savings in Medicaid costs. This result seems counterintuitive: How can it be that, when a CER study shows no difference between two drugs, limiting coverage for the more expensive drug could actually increase costs? The answer is that in most CER studies, it is the drug or treatment with the larger average effect on an entire population that "wins." In the president's hypothetical, the blue pills are "just as effective" as the red ones because, on average, they do as much good for patients. But the average patient is not the same as any particular individual patient. Declaring a treatment most effective based on an average is a medical and an economic error, for two reasons. First, individuals differ from one another and from population averages. Therefore, what may be on average a "winning" therapy may simply not work for a large number of patients. Conversely, a drug that is less effective on average may still be the best, or only, choice for a sizable proportion of patients. The second reason is the variance in dependence in patient responses across therapies.

Clinton says Assad has 'lost legitimacy'
Excerpt: Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has issued one of Washington's strongest condemnations yet of Syria's government, saying President Bashar al-Assad has lost his "legitimacy". "President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power," Clinton told reporters on Monday. "If anyone, including President Assad, thinks that the United States is secretly hoping that the regime will emerge from this turmoil to continue its brutality and repression, they are wrong." The comment comes hours after protesters loyal to Assad attacked the US and French embassies in the capital, Damascus. The latest incident seems to have damaged what was always a tense US-Syrian relationship beyond repair.

Are We Going to Do Anything to Those Who Kill Americans?
Excerpt: Along with other military families, and a tiny handful of pols and pundits, I have been adamant about this matter for many years of Democrat and Republican administrations. I once sent a personal note to a senior government official in which I asked why he should not be considered in violation of his mission for failure to act, or at least speak out, against the Iranian regime’s murder of Americans. All to no obvious effect. The Gates and Mullen statements seemed altogether too easy to me, a sort of conscience-balm for two men who had failed to do their duty over many years. But then came a similar statement from Ambassador Jeffrey in Iraq, and I had to say “whoa!” And then Panetta said the same thing. Those are different, those come from officials who are there right now, and their words count for a lot more than those of guys entering retirement. Indeed, I think we must now read the Gates and Mullen statements as part of an administration campaign to raise public consciousness. It looks like the sort of campaign that is designed to lay the groundwork for a policy shift. Can it be? (…) The first rule is that self-defense is legitimate and important. Failure to actively defend Americans under assault will only multiply the number of assaults against Americans. Dithering encourages our enemies; we have to be decisive. The second rule is that we must strike — politically in almost all cases, not militarily — directly at the heart of the regimes that organize the killing of Americans. We must support their enemies, who, in both Iran and Syria, constitute a clear majority of the Iranian and Syrian people. The third rule is that those responsible for killing Americans must be held accountable.

Worth Reading: The Unbearable Smugness of Liberals: A Guide for the Perplexed
Excerpt: It is unpleasant to be treated as a moron, or criminally insane, a traitor to all that’s good and true, and, of course, a pariah, just because of your politics. It’s even more than unpleasant to incur wrath because you don’t want to dive head first into the blue seas of the liberal Democrats around you. In regions like yours it’s easy to be blindsided — stunned, really — by the unanimity of idolatry toward the current president. It’s galling to be presented with this uncongenial Venti, topped off as it invariably is by the latte of condescension. Disdainful liberals are unable to hide their contempt for those who differ with them. (This morning I was rereading Thomas Sowell’s The Quest for Cosmic Justice and noticed the following on the same subject: “On issue after issue, the morally self-anointed visionaries have for centuries argued as if no honest disagreement were possible, as if those who opposed them were not merely in error but in sin.” Ron P.)

Military Humor
Funny Pictures

Health Care Law
Excerpt: Voters still want to see the national health care law repealed and remain more closely divided over whether the law will force them to change their existing health insurance coverage. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters favor repeal of the health care law while 40% are opposed. Those figures include 41% who Strongly Favor repeal and 27% who are Strongly Opposed. (To see survey question wording, click here.) This marks virtually no change from a week ago or from more than a year ago when the bill was first passed. A majority of voters have favored repeal of the measure every week but one since it was passed by Congress in March 2010. During that time, support for repeal has ranged from a low of 47% to as high as 63%.

Worth reading: Unknown Unknowns by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: There are similar kinds of gaps in our knowledge in the economy. Unfortunately, our own government creates uncertainties that can paralyze the economy, especially when these uncertainties take the form of "unknown unknowns." The short-run quick fixes that seem so attractive to so many politicians, and to many in the media, create many unknowns that make investors reluctant to invest and employers reluctant to employ. Politicians may only look as far ahead as the next election, but investors have to look ahead for as many years as it will take for their investments to start bringing in some money. The net result is that both our financial institutions and our businesses have had record amounts of cash sitting idle while millions of people can't find jobs. Ordinarily these institutions make money by investing money and hiring workers. Why not now? Because numerous and unpredictable government interventions create many unknowns, including "unknown unknowns." The quick fix that got both Democrats and Republicans off the hook with a temporary bipartisan tax compromise, several months ago, leaves investors uncertain as to what the tax rate will be when any money they invest today starts bringing in a return in another two or three or ten years. It is known that there will be taxes but nobody knows what the tax rate will be then.

A New Political Primer
Excerpt: A recent study disclosed that 47% of Detroit's residents are functionally illiterate, which suggests that 53 % are just acting uppity. The fact that so many Americans have only a passing acquaintanceship with the English language, in spite of the fact that $13,000 is the amount spent annually to educate each Detroit student, is an indictment of public education in America. That sum happens to be a few thousand dollars over the national average, so the pathetic reality can't be attributed to a lack of money. That such widespread illiteracy exists in a major American city is a testament to the power and gall of the teachers union and to their shameless cohorts in the Democratic Party.

Libya and the Problem with The Hague
Excerpt: The war in Libya has been under way for months, without any indication of when it might end. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s faction has been stronger and more cohesive than imagined and his enemies weaker and more divided. This is not unusual. There is frequently a perception that dictators are widely hated and that their power will collapse when challenged. That is certainly true at times, but often the power of a dictator is rooted in the broad support of an ideological faction, an ethnic group or simply those who benefit from the regime. As a result, naive assumptions of rapid regime change are quite often replaced by the reality of protracted conflict. This has been a characteristic of what we have called “humanitarian wars,” those undertaken to remove a repressive regime and replace it with one that is more representative. Defeating a tyrant is not always easy. Gadhafi did not manage to rule Libya for 42 years without some substantial support.

“A new report shows that 454 White House aides will make a total of $37 million this year. Ya know, you'd really think a steady stream of bad advice would be a LOT cheaper!” -- Fred Thompson

Worth Watching: Special Interests...EXPOSED!!!
Government Gone Wild video. I have not verified the numbers, but the jibe with the rest of what I’m reading. We are very close to the tipping point. Their website is linked. ~Bob.

On treaty, team O is 'lost' at sea
Excerpt: After inking the scary new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and pushing to revive the once-dead Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Obama administration is acting like it belongs in a foreign-policy horror flick: "Stop Me Before I Sign Again!" In the latest round of the administration's treaty-mania, it and like-minded Senate denizens, supposedly led by Sen. John Kerry, are rounding up supporters to resurrect the once-rejected, zombie-like 1982 UN Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) for another go at ratification. LOST's navigational tenets for operating on the high seas, including establishing territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, are little disputed. But some of its "non-navigational" provisions are downright frightening. For instance, were we to ratify the treaty, a UN agency, the International Seabed Authority, located in Kingston, Jamaica, would have a say over activities on our continental shelf.

Three unlearned lessons about appeasement may yet again cause massive loss of life
Excerpt: GENERALLY SPEAKING, the war taught us three lessons. The first lesson is that you can't convince terrorists to lay down their arms simply by walking away. Israel withdrew from its security zone in southern Lebanon in 2000. The withdrawal was a precursor to its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. In 2006, Israel was attacked from both territories.

Pakistan jails doctor who secretly collected DNA for bin Laden raid
Excerpt: Pakistani authorities have jailed a doctor who helped the CIA by creating an elaborate plot to get DNA samples of Osama bin Laden's family before the al-Qaida leader was killed in a special forces raid here. The doctor, who holds a senior government health post in Pakistan, used nurses, who were able to gain entry to the residence on the pretext of giving vaccinations to children living there, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials and local residents. … American officials are concerned that Pakistan is more focused on finding out how the CIA tracked down bin Laden than on determining how he managed to remain undetected for as long as five years in Abbottabad, a military garrison town where the nation's premier military academy is less than a mile from the bin Laden compound. So far, no one is known to have been arrested for helping to hide bin Laden. (Huh. Ya think? ~Bob.)

Syria Embassy Attack: The Last Straw?
Excerpt: Protestors bused into Damascus by the Syrian government attacked the US and French embassies in what is seen as a shocking escalation by Syria in a growing diplomatic dispute over a visit to the city of Hama by the ambassadors from the two countries. Some of the rioters managed to get into the US embassy itself, tearing down State Department plaques, smashing windows, and spraying obscene graffiti on the walls. Mobs also vandalized the residence of Ambassador Robert Ford a couple of blocks from the embassy compound. Ford was not at home when the attacks occurred. … This is a far cry from the attitude shown toward Syria by the Obama administration in the first days of his presidency when the byword was “outreach” and the State Department considered Assad to be a partner in the peace process. All that is left now is to pick up the pieces of an empty, failed, and ultimately naive policy which has benefited Iran, and did nothing to moderate a brutal regime.

Obama Fails Economics 101
Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s weekend proposal to raise $1 trillion in new taxes over ten years in the wake of a spike in the unemployment rate illustrates why the American economy won’t arise from its three-year rut anytime soon. Present leadership is incapable of leading us out of the morass because present leadership doesn’t understand basic economics. With the American people against both massive tax increases and raising the debt ceiling as solutions to the debt problem, President Obama faces an impasse in budget negotiations that has as much to do with his Republican bargaining partners as it does with the electorate he will face next year. The president’s economic illiteracy is matched by a political tin-ear. (Obama desperately wants to fix the economy, if only to get reelected. But the deeply-held almost-religious worldview he, his advisors and his base hold means he will, given a choice, always jump towards statist intervention and tinkering in the markets, accelerating our decline towards disaster. Even if he understood, he can’t win the conservative base by doing the needed things, only lose his own base. Fiscal collapse is coming. ~Bob.)

Stop Talking to Wolves
Excerpt: Admiral Michael Mullen’s recent announcement that Iran is sending weapons to our enemies in Iraq, including rockets and explosively formed projectiles designed to penetrate armor, is almost a foreign policy dog-bites-man story. Ever since it declared war on the United States over 30 years ago, Iran has stained its hands with American blood. And ever since, we have refused to take seriously and respond to this aggression.

The Obama Transparency Myth
Excerpt: Does it matter how much Americans know about what Obama does? Believing voters wanted to know, Obama in 2008 promised total transparency if elected. Instead, according to revelations at a May 4 House hearing and on so many occasions, Obama has been more opaque than transparent. Most Americans thought he was a man of promise. Instead, he is only a man of promises. The May congressional hearing was chaired by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla), chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. No one from the White House testified, even though an invitation was sent. At the hearing, even Anne Weismann of the left-wing Center for Responsibility for Ethics in Washington, testified that Obama hasn’t kept his word. In 2008, voters aged 18 to 29 voted for Obama over McCain by the dramatic imbalance of 66 percent to 32 percent. He promised enthusiastic crowds: transparency, accountability, and participation for all citizens.

Worth reading: Lessons from the Economic Wreck-covery
Excerpt: On Friday, more “unexpected” news came out regarding the economy. Or perhaps a more accurate description would be unexpected for those who have hitched their economic wagons to the Obama administration’s Keynesian economic star. For Americans astute enough to see the tremendous wishful thinking behind the claims of “green shoots” of recovery, “Recovery Summer,” or the president’s April pronouncement that we are “turning a corner,” the so-called economic recovery has been little more than a media-abetted myth. Are there lessons to be learned? Two come immediately to mind. One, free-market capitalism can only be distorted for so long. Two, human nature is fundamentally misunderstood by progressive ideologues. Why is free-market capitalism the most effective economic system in the world? Because it is the best manager of mankind’s baser instincts.

Obama Executive Orders Impose New Gun Rules
Tell me again why we need a Congress? ~Bob. Excerpt: A few days ago, the Blaze reported on the low-key plans of the Obama administration to increase the penalties for certain gun law violations, and add steps to the background checks for legal gun ownership. Today the administration’s plans are beginning to come into effect. Through an Executive Order, the Obama administration is implementing new restrictions on the sale of certain weapons in border states, and increasing the penalties for violating certain firearms laws.

So, a member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors – Jeff Stone, a Republican – has proposed splitting the state of California, with San Diego and the largely rural, Republican-leaning south east of the state becoming “South California,” and LA remaining with the liberal coast and northern part of the state. You can follow the link to the LA Times for the map of what his proposal would look like. Secession proposals of this nature are a hardy perennial on the Left and Right alike, and are almost always bad ideas, although there is at least a fair argument that California as currently constituted is (1) too large any longer to serve the role of responding to local needs unmet from Washington that is a major part of why we have a federal system in the first place (as the LAT notes, “[t]he proposed 51st state would be the fifth largest by population, more populous than Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania”), (2) essentially dysfunctional, and (3) particularly unresponsive to the needs of the 13 million residents of the 13 counties in question. But what’s really interesting here isn’t a proposal by one member of the board of one county, but rather the response by a spokesman for Governor Jerry Brown: “If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there’s a place called Arizona,” Brown spokesman Gil Duran said. (Actually, pretty good advice. Anyone with a business, job or assets that are re-locatable would be well advised to get the hell out of California. ~Bob.)

Former Czech PM sued over statements on Islam
Europe continues its assault on free speech to appease the Jihadists. It won’t work—they will kill you anyway. ~Bob. Excerpt: Retired politician Milos Zeman, Czech prime minister in 1998-2002, faces a criminal complaint over the statements on Islam he made in June at an international conference on Europe. "The enemy is the anti-civilisation spreading from North Africa to Indonesia. Two billion people live in it and it is financed partly from oil sales and partly from drug sales," Czech news servers quoted Zeman as saying about Islam at the recent conference.

Suspect in Mutilation of an Afghan Woman Is Freed
Women are, after all, only property in their world. ~Bob. Excerpt: The only suspect arrested in the case of a woman mutilated for leaving her husband has been released, local Afghan officials and the woman’s father said Monday, in a move that has angered human rights advocates and the woman’s family. The suspect, Sulaiman, who like many Afghans has one name, was released with the knowledge of the governor in south-central Oruzgan Province, said the provincial attorney, Ghulam Farouq. Police officials had said that Mr. Sulaiman, the woman’s father-in-law, had confessed to taking part in the mutilation in 2009, though Mr. Farouq said he had recently insisted he was innocent.

Panetta stokes tensions with Iran over attacks
Does he think empty threats scare them? ~Bob. Excerpt: The United States could take unilateral military action against Shia militias armed by Iran if they continued to attack US troops, Leon Panetta, the new US Defence Secretary, said on a visit to Iraq yesterday. The threat marks an escalation in the long-running battle for influence in Iraq between Washington and Tehran that has gone on since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The US has long accused Iran of supplying weapons to Shia militia groups, which it holds responsible for attacks in which some 18 US soldiers have died since the beginning of June. Washington would also like to keep between 8,500 and 10,000 troops in Iraq after the end of the year, despite an agreement for all US soldiers to be out by that date.

Stoning is not just stoning, it's Allah's revenge
Excerpt: Creating a society of obedient fear of death is their goal. In this environment, there is always one who cast the first stone. "Stoning is not just stoning, it's Allah's revenge." Thus spoke a mullah...his name was Asul Kasimov. After a few hajj pilgrimages, he believed that Allah controlled his actions. In a "Sharia short course" that Asul gave me, he and other spiritual leaders of the Caucasus jihadists argued that Sharia courts offered the only fair trial on earth. Even the smallest doubt and objection was not accepted by them as evidence, and discussion was not part of the arsenal of the jihadists.

Video shows children of killed Taliban fighters being trained to kill our troops
Excerpt: The chilling video was shot at an Al Qaeda camp where boys as young as THREE are turned into trained killers ready to wage war on ­British soldiers.

The Demagogic Style
Excerpt: The noun dêmagôgos first appeared in Thucydides’ history, mostly in a neutral, only slight disparaging way (usually in reference to the obstreperous Cleon), in its literal sense of “leader of the people.” But very soon — in later fifth- and fourth-century authors (e.g., Aristophanes, Xenophon, Aristotle, the Attic orators) — both the concrete and the abstract nouns (demagogue and demagogy/demagoguery) and the verb (to demagogue) became ever more pejorative, describing crass popular leaders who alternately flattered and incited the masses (ochlos). Their trick was to obtain and expand their own personal power by clever rhetoric directed against the better off, coupled with promises of more entitlements for the “poor” paid for by a demonized “them.” We often associate demagoguery in the U.S. with wild right-wing nationalists or cultural chauvinists, such as Joe McCarthy or Father Coughlin, or with folksy Southern “spread-the-wealth” populists, such as William Jennings Bryan (“The Great Commoner”) or Huey Long. And, of course, abroad there were no better demagogues than Mussolini and Hitler, who both started out as national socialists and then united the classes by transferring class hatred onto foreign bogeymen, in a fashion we later see most effectively in Juan and Eva Perón.

Pray. Vote. Buy More Ammo.

American sovereignty and Republican politics in Texas execution
If Obama was really concerned about dead Mexicans, he wouldn’t have supported Holder and the ATF giving guns to the drug cartels. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama joined Mexico and foreign powers condemning Texas’ execution of a convicted murder-rapist on July 7. But Obama has no one to blame but himself, in a story that will affect Texas’ Senate race and presidential politics. In 1994, a 16-year-old American girl was raped and murdered by Humberto Leal Garcia—a Mexican—in San Antonio, Texas. When police interviewed Garcia in a non-custodial setting (meaning he was not under arrest), Garcia’s answers led to his conviction and death sentence. Although Mexico does not deny Garcia’s guilt, it nonetheless objects that under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (a treaty the U.S. ratified in 1969) Garcia should have been connected with the Mexican embassy so it could provide him a lawyer to advise him not to answer questions. American courts and Texas Governor Rick Perry both rejected Mexico’s call to stop the execution. Obama got involved, siding with Mexico and calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the execution or for Governor Perry to grant clemency. Obama was joined by various foreign and U.N. authorities, and also by Texas’ former governor, President George W. Bush.

The 2011 war against nonsense: Anthony, Smith or Tomcat - it's all silly
Excerpt: Many people over the last few years have gone onto the Internet or turned on the television and typed or heard the following words…Casey Anthony. Natalee Holloway. Anna Nicole Smith. Bennifer. Brangelina. Tomkat. The former Vinnifer Vaughniston. Inside Edition. Access Hollywood. Entertainment Tonight. Lady Gaga. J-Lo. K-Fed. Britney Spears. Joy Behar. Paris Hilton. Tara Reid. Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay Lohan’s dad. The Real Housewives. The Jersey Shore. Snooki. Anybody caring about any three of the items mentioned above is an imbecile contributing to the decline of society. We are in the middle of World War III with Islamofacists, and people want to waste time with nonsense. The murder of Caylee Anthony is horrific. It is also not hard news. Thousands of murders happen annually, including those of children. Not one of these stories should become the sole focus of the news day after day and night after night while the world is burning. Celebrity trials and voyeurism are nonsense. Bashar Assad and Armageddonijad matter. I am not concerned with Barack Obama in a bathing suit or any other suit. Until he talks about what to do about Moammar Ghadafi and hot pursuit, he is Barack Obama the empty suit.

Fresh doubt cast on Obama's health care story
Like the story he told of his parents getting together because of the Selma march—four years after his birth—lies are always okay to serve the greater interest of advancing his career. ~Bob.

Fact Check: Obama wrong on Social Security
Excerpt: At Monday’s debt limit press conference, President Obama claimed: “With respect to Social Security, Social Security is not the source of our deficit problems.” This is simply false. The Social Security Board of Trustees 2011 Annual Report found that Social Security added $49 billion to last year’s budget deficit and is projected to add another $46 billion to this year’s deficit. fact checked a similar claim by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., earlier this year.

‘Fast And Furious’ Smoking Gun Right Here (Watch)
Zen update: If a leftist does something stupid or corrupt and the media protects him by ignoring it, did it happened? ~Bob. Excerpt: Project Gun Runner (Fast and Furious) was launched under the orders of President Barack Obama with the knowledge of Attorney General Eric Holder. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden announced the Obama Administration’s new and aggressive ‘comprehensive plan’ on March, 24, 2009. The plan was aimed at disrupting gun trafficking between the United States and Mexico.

Worth reading: Failing Liberty 101 by Walter Williams
Excerpt: The ignorance about our country is staggering. According to one survey, only 28 percent of students could identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Only 26 percent of students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Fewer than one-quarter of students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States. Discouraging young Americans from identifying with their country and celebrating our traditional American quest for liberty and equal rights removes the most powerful motivation to learn civics and U.S. history. After all, Damon asks, "why would a student exert any effort to master the rules of a system that the student has no respect for and no interest in being part of? To acquire civic knowledge as well as civic virtue, students need to care about their country."

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