Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Political Digest for July 19, 2011

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.

Semper Fi Fund
With the July payment, royalty payments from sales of Collapse to the Injured Marine Semper Fi fund, to help wounded vets and their families, will go over $1,000. Thanks to all those who bought the book, and to all those who helped promote it.

The Vietnam Healing Foundation
A small charity worth supporting. It helps former ARVN troops, who we abandoned to their fate in 1974, in violation of our treaty obligations. Many of them are crippled, heavily discriminated against by the Communist government (those that weren’t murdered outright). Here is the profile of one of the men they help: A lifelong Saigon resident, he joined the RVN Marines in 1960, at the age of 17, and fought in many battles over the next four years. Places like Go Khuc and Tran Giuoc and he was promoted to Corporal and awarded several medals. But finally was very badly wounded in Chu Lai at a battle in Quang Ngai. He was the only survivor of a ten-man assault on an enemy position. He lost the use of both legs and his left arm. His skull was shattered and his brain exposed, but a skillful surgeon saved his life. His condition makes it impossible to work at all, and since 1975, when the RVN pension stopped, he has had to depend on his relatives for support. He and his wife live with one of their children. He has diabetes, high blood pressure, and problems with his liver, stomach and bone damage. They need some help to pay for all his medical care. He worries about his daughter moving away someday and then he and his wife will be totally on their own. (More profiles on the site. ~Bob.)

VIDEO: New O'Keefe Investigation Uncovers Medicaid Fraud
Excerpt: Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released the first installment in a new video investigation Monday morning, this one focused on Medicaid fraud. The first video in the series shows government employees in Ohio assisting two men who have described themselves as Russian drug smugglers with applications for Medicaid. In the video, the men explain to Ohio Medicaid workers that they are Russian immigrants who sell illegal drugs, drive a modified McLaren F1 sports car with a gold-coated engine, and use their underage sisters to perform sexual favors in exchange for drugs. (In other words, the kind of poor folks Democrats want to help. ~Bob.)

Feds pay for study of gay men’s penis sizes
Excerpt: The researchers at Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies Training (CHEST) got taxpayer money as part of an NIH grant that went to Public Health Solutions and the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI). NDRI has received taxpayer money since 1985 for “behavioral science research on drug abuse, AIDS and crime.” NIH records show that NDRI has received more than $15 million since 2000. (…) At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, researchers are attempting to use video games to break “bias” against women and minorities in the so-called “STEMM” hard-science fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine). (…) Lafferty hopes these newly discovered controversial studies are enough to get NIH behavioral science funding onto the debt ceiling negotiation table for potential cuts. She’s not opposed to “hard science” research funding, but is against “the abuse of taxpayer dollars when it comes to these wacky behavioral sciences.” (Competition for these type Federal grants is quite stiff, I understand. ~Bob.)

Globaloney: The Statist Push Continues
Excerpt: It has become clear that the current Congress isn’t willing to do that. If the House were to get its way, dumb ideas like the ban on incandescent bulbs would be repealed. But the House probably won’t get its way — because Harry “coal makes us sick, oil makes us sick” Reid still runs the Senate, and Barack “Green Jobs, Clean Jobs” Obama is still the president. In the face of clear congressional opposition to going any further with regulating and taxing energy consumption, the administration has decisively shifted to a posture of “We don’t need Congress to impose our ‘green’ will on America.” Readers will see why shortly. What’s amazing is that the scientific justification for doing so, never really there in the first place, has virtually evaporated.

Congress tees up crucial votes on debt limit
Excerpt: A bipartisan effort in the Senate to allow President Obama to raise the federal debt ceiling in exchange for about $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years gained momentum Sunday, as leaders agreed they would have to act in the next two weeks to avert a potential default by the U.S. government. The growing sentiment for raising the federal limit on U.S. borrowing sets the stage for a week of largely scripted actions on Capitol Hill, where leaders in both chambers are looking to build support for the plan being crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Your Share of Uncle Sam's Debt: $534,000
This includes “households headed by a single mother drug abuser living on welfare, so the share of productive households is much larger. I hope you are saving up. Good luck on avoiding a fiscal collapse. I should have written my Collapse book 20 years ago, but most people don’t believe it’s possible now. Who would have believed it then? ~Bob. Excerpt: The gap between the money Washington takes into its coffers to pay its IOUs and what it actually owes on those IOUs is taking on Grand-Canyonesque proportions, with unfunded liabilities hovering around $62 trillion, according to a USA Today analysis. Yes, trillions, and trillions. And that breaks down to a staggering $534,000 per U.S. household, USA Today's analysis finds. By the end of September, another $5,240 that has accumulated will push the household share to nearly $540,000. Last year, the government raised $1.5 trillion in new debt to cover budget deficits. Also last year, the government added $5.3 trillion to the amount it owes in new financial obligations. Repeat such patterns year after year, and it's no wonder how these liabilities mount up. Most of those obligations are the result of programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

The Deficit Is Worse Than We Think
Excerpt: First, a normalization of interest rates would upend any budgetary deal if and when one should occur. At present, the average cost of Treasury borrowing is 2.5%. The average over the last two decades was 5.7%. Should we ramp up to the higher number, annual interest expenses would be roughly $420 billion higher in 2014 and $700 billion higher in 2020. The 10-year rise in interest expense would be $4.9 trillion higher under "normalized" rates than under the current cost of borrowing. Compare that to the $2 trillion estimate of what the current talks about long-term deficit reduction may produce, and it becomes obvious that the gains from the current deficit-reduction efforts could be wiped out by normalization in the bond market.

Remember death panels? New Medicare board, not yet active, is denounced as ‘rationing’ panel
Excerpt: So long death panels. Hello “rationing” board. An independent panel authorized by President Barack Obama’s health care law to control excessive Medicare cost increases is drawing heavy fire from Republicans. Nearly every health industry lobbying group is pushing for its repeal, as are some consumer advocates. GOP lawmakers call it a rationing panel, and at least one has suggested seniors will die from its decisions. But don’t look for the Independent Payment Advisory Board to start chopping any time soon. It doesn’t exist yet. Known as IPAB, the board may not be appointed for another couple of years, and remains in suspended animation to see if the brouhaha dies down.

Obama meets privately with Dalai Lama
Excerpt: President Obama held a closed-door meeting with the Dalai Lama on Saturday, despite the strong objections of the Chinese government. The 45-minute session in the White House Map Room broke little ground on policy. In a statement released after the meeting, the White House said Obama reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is a part of China but that he supports “the preservation of the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions of Tibet and the Tibetan people throughout the world.” (So why is Tibet, after being conquered and a brutal suppression of it’s people “part of China,” but Kuwait in the same position wasn’t “part of Iraq”? After all, we funded and supplied the Tibetan armed resistance who were brutally crushed. Could it be that Iraq didn’t hold trillions in our debt? Among the things we have sold are our right to speak for justice and freedom. ~Bob.)

The GOP’s path to a Senate majority
Excerpt: Not all of the major Senate races in the country are filled out yet, but early in the 2012 election cycle, we’ve got a pretty good idea what the GOP needs to do to win back the majority. Here’s how it works: The goal is essentially four seats, though the GOP could also win three seats and the presidency to gain an effective majority (the vice president would be the tie-breaker). But the real goal right now is four Senate seats, which would give the GOP a 51-49 majority, including independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) on the Democratic side.

Senate Debt Plan Promises Months of Budget Wrangling
Excerpt: With few signs of movement over the weekend on negotiations to raise the federal borrowing limit, Senate leaders are planning this week to unveil a back-up plan that would force more budget wrangling before the end of the year. Washington seems rudderless just two weeks before an Aug. 2 deadline for Congress to increase the $14.29 trillion borrowing authority or risk having some government bills go unpaid. White House budget director Jacob Lew used the word "Armageddon" three times on Sunday talk shows, saying a default could lead to a financial crisis that would send interest rates rising and drive up the cost of credit for all Americans. Senate officials worked through the weekend to iron out details of the back up plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.Ky.), who hope by mid-week to introduce the bill to give the president new powers to raise the debt limit. It would postpone resolution of the government's long-term fiscal challenges by creating a special new committee of Congress to draft a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit. (The Democrats haven’t proposed a budget in two years. Obama has offered “cuts,” but not specified what they would be. His past promises of cuts have vanished into thin air. Why would we not expect them to kick the can a little further down the road? ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Why aren’t employers hiring more workers? … Think of it this way. When an employer hires a full-time worker, the employer thinks of the relationship as long term. During an initial training and learning period, the employer probably pays out more in wages and benefits than the company gets back in production. But over a longer period, the hope is to turn that around and make a profit. When employers hire new employees, then, they are making a gamble. They are betting that over time, the economics of the relationship will pan out. The problem in the current economy is that hiring new workers and committing to new production has become extremely risky. As the JCA folks explain, an employer who hires workers today has no idea what the company’s future labor costs will be. Or its building and facility costs. Or its cost of capital. Or its taxes. What’s causing all this uncertainty? You guessed it. Nobody knows what is going to happen in Washington, D.C. Take the cost of labor. The Affordable Care Act (what some people call ObamaCare) is designed to force employers to provide full-time employees with comprehensive health insurance in less than three years. While the goal may be admirable, the consequences are not. Although no one knows how much this extra burden will cost, estimates are that the required family coverage will reach $15,000 a year or more — the equivalent of an additional $6 an hour minimum wage.

The High Price of Massachusetts' Health Care Reform
Excerpt: In 2006, Massachusetts enacted landmark health care reform legislation that promised to extend health care coverage to all citizens while significantly lowering costs. The law imposes mandates on residents to obtain health insurance and on employers with 11 or more employees to provide health insurance for their employees. It also expands Medicaid coverage and establishes a health insurance subsidy program. Additionally, it creates an insurance exchange, the Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector, which helps individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid purchase competitively‐priced health plans. An assessment of the impact of the law on the state of Massachusetts was carried out by the Beacon Hill Institute. In this study, researchers calculated the effect of health care reform on state and federal governments and the private health insurance markets, including employee contributions to their private insurance plans: State health care expenditures have risen by $414 million over the period. Private health insurance costs have risen by $4.311 billion over the period. The federal government has spent an additional $2.418 billion on Medicaid for Massachusetts. Over this period, Medicare expenditures increased by $1.426 billion. This amounts to a total cumulative cost of $8.569 billion over the period. The state has been able to shift the majority of the costs to the federal government. (Just wait until all 50 states are shifting the cost to the Feds. And the GOP should nominate Romney? ~Bob.)

The Facts About Stimulus Spending: Separating economic myths from economic truths
Excerpt: Myth 1: Stimulus spending can jump start the economy and fix unemployment.
Fact 1: Recent experience suggests stimulus spending won’t help. There’s no question President Barack Obama inherited a lousy economy. Yet even many prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, now acknowledge that after two and a half years in office, the president owns the economy. Unfortunately for him, things still aren’t looking so so good. That’s why the president called on Congress last week to pass a series of spending measures that he said would boost the economy, including additional infrastructure spending and an extension of the payroll tax cut for another year. With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to update my chart on the level of stimulus spending and unemployment rates since 2009.

The Life of a Jihadi Internet Post
Excerpt: "[M]ilitary training is an obligation in Islam upon every sane, male, mature Muslim, whether rich or poor, whether studying or working and whether living in a Muslim or non-Muslim country," stated a recent article on jihadist website Islam Policy. What's unusual about the post is that it first appeared as post on an al-Qaida media site in 2000. "Therefore, those Muslims unable to participate in Jihad at this present time, whatever the reason, have no excuse before Allah for not training for Jihad." Much of the action-oriented jihadi media, including videos of suicide bombings, comes and goes. But key documents and clips often live beyond a single post. These staples of jihad capture the attention of would-be jihadis and are reposted with minor modifications for years on end.

The Specter of Success in COIN. But for Whom?
Excerpt: Juxtaposition is a literary expression of the side-by-side positioning of incongruent terms or ideas. Politics and culture seem to do this as a matter of the normal transaction of day to day business; suggesting that certain ideas or arguments make a point that is polar opposite. Most of the thinking population would describe these attempts to bolster support for an ideal or an idea, deceitful. I would agree but there is something even more devious about this tactic in that while it may be successful in convincing an audience to think or believe a certain way, the real danger is to the wielder of this tactic. At some point they become oblivious to their own act of deceit and begin to believe their own garbage or at least justify it as a must, to meet an "honorable" end. Curious: If one must lie to achieve a specific goal; can that goal really be considered honorable? There was a Country and Western song which loosely quoted Alexander Hamilton; "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything". Sadly it has become daily commentary for a government obsessed with compromise which equals giving in on a principle, equals the shedding of truth and honor, equals leadership that is, well, compromised. While the dealing of politics and business in DC may generally lead to some not-so-great legislation that could adversely affect business, savings accounts and our posterity, these things pale in comparison to the decisions (or lack thereof) that directly affect the lives of a small percentage of this population, here and now; our Military.

Eating Our Peas
Excerpt: Rarely, though, has any administration been so disconnected from Reality as is the one now lecturing us. Who strong-armed through Congress a health insurance measure on the supposition that somehow we, the taxpayers, will cough up the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of billions necessary to pay for it forever? As everyone and his dog knows, the Affordable Care Act was the Obama administration's bright idea. Ironically, the president plans next year, while seeking re-election, to pat himself enthusiastically on the back for winning passage of the very measure that makes control of federal spending so devilishly hard. Having told us to eat our peas, he plans next to remind us how good they tasted. The democratic political process is a wonderful thing until it becomes -- like now -- not very wonderful at all. A little foresight is necessary to make it work. A little care and caution. A little civilized restraint. Of these treasured commodities, none has been visible in American politics for some years. If the Bush administration went overboard with creation of an expensive Medicare prescription program, the new president and his helpers dived with glee and gusto into the surrounding sea of red, whooping it up. We didn't have the money to do what they wanted. Bless their hearts, they didn't care. They wanted to do it.

Why Hasn’t The Earth Warmed In Nearly 15 Years?
Excerpt: Reality may be a bit simpler, or much more complicated. But the reason this is all so important is that if there is no good explanation for the lack of warming, then an increasingly viable alternative is that we have overestimated the gross sensitivity of temperature to carbon dioxide in our computer models. One problem is that we really don’t know how much cooling is exerted by sulfates, or whether they are just a convenient explanation for the failure of the forecasts of dramatic warming. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which grants itself climate authority, states that our “Level of Scientific Understanding” of the effects range between “low” and “very low,” with a possible cooling between zero (none) and a whopping 3.5 degrees (C) when the climate comes to equilibrium (which it will never do). That’s a plenty large range from which to pick out a number to cancel about as much warming as you’d like. (But the media, slavishly worshiping at the Church of Gore, blames every event, for heat spells, to melting glaciers to snowfall, on “Global Warming.” I mean “Climate Change,” the new liturgy since warming stopped. Personally, I blame George Bush, who probably ordered warming to stop in a fiendish plot to discredit Democrats. ~Bob.)

Jane Fonda: 'I Have Never Done Anything to Hurt My Country'
In a just world, she would have been shot within two weeks of returning. ~Bob. Excerpt: In the same statement Fonda said, "I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us." In 1972, during the Vietnam War, Fonda took a two-week trip to North Vietnam, where she was photographed sitting on an antiaircraft gun that North Vietnamese forces otherwise used for shooting at American planes. When she returned from her sojourn in Vietnam, as Time Magazine reported at the time, she accused U.S. forces of deliberately trying to bomb and destroy dikes, whose destruction could have caused the death of many civilians. "The outcry was joined by Actress-Activist Jane Fonda," Time reported in its August 7, 1972 edition. "Returning from a two-week trip to Hanoi, where among other things she interviewed several American prisoners of war, she presented a 20-minute film of the visit at a New York press conference that purported to show several recent bomb craters in dikes near Nam Sach, 40 miles southeast of Hanoi, and further damage near the provincial capital of Nam Dinh.

What the Debt Limit Battle Is All About
Excerpt: It's hard to keep up with all the arguments and proposals in the debt limit struggle. But what's at stake is fundamental. The bedrock issue is whether we should have a larger and more expensive federal government. Over many years, federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of gross domestic product. The Obama Democrats have raised that to 24 or 25 percent. And the president's budget projects that that percentage will stay the same or increase far into the future. In the process, the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product has increased from a manageable 40 percent in 2008 to 62 percent this year and an estimated 72 percent in 2012. And it's headed to the 90 percent level that economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have identified as the danger point, when governments face fiscal collapse. This is a level of spending as a share of the economy Americans haven't seen since World War II. It seems more like Europe than like the America we have known.

Alternative Media Is Today’s Free Press
Excerpt: Here we confront the modern American dilemma. Much of the nation acts perplexed as to why our society no longer seems to work quite right — but considers the routine defiance of our Constitution to be virtually inconsequential. The bold declarations contained in the Bill of Rights are clear and concise. But, more importantly, they are timeless axioms intended to be the glue which binds the Constitution, ensuring its efficacy. Once the tenets of the Bill of Rights are ignored or become twisted to mean something other than what was intended, the Constitution quickly becomes unraveled and is bit by bit rendered meaningless. (…) The rise of a new press is nothing less than an attempt to re-establish a free press — an essential component of a free society. Sadly, this too has also been misconstrued and confused in the public mind. In our modern age, everything is politicized precisely because government has involved itself in virtually all aspects of life. (It’s entirely possible the alternative press is just a passing fad. The statists are attacking it on many fronts, such as the FCC’s desire to “control the on- and off-ramps” to the information highway. Like every other “right,” we’ll have this one only as long as we’re willing to fight to keep it. Ron P.)    

Morning Bell: What Is Poverty in America?
Excerpt: What Is Poverty in America? As Congress struggles to find a way to cut spending as part of raising the $14 trillion debt ceiling, they should take a close look at the more than $1 trillion spent every year on welfare. You'll be surprised to learn that many of the 30 million Americans defined as "poor" and in need of government assistance aren't quite what you'd expect—rather than homeless and on the streets, the average poor American household has luxuries like air conditioning, cable TV, and X-box video game consoles. In their new report, What Is Poverty?, The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield analyze what it really means to be poor in America. The reality they found is much different than the picture painted in movies and on TV: According to the government’s own survey data, in 2005, the average household defined as poor by the government lived in a house or apartment equipped with air conditioning and cable TV. The family had a car (a third of the poor have two or more cars). For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, a DVD player, and a VCR.

Just Say No
Excerpt: One of the most difficult things for parents to do is to tell their children “no” when they are dead set on doing something that the parents fear will have dire negative results. Temper tantrums usually follow, but the wise parents do not budge. As a country, we are in somewhat the same situation. We are facing an extremely difficult decision concerning our uncontrollable spending. Most people agree that the current spending is unsustainable, but there is total disagreement about what to do about it. The Democrats want to increase taxes and reduce spending by a small amount while the Republicans want more dramatic cuts in spending and no increase in taxes. The president went on TV Monday and stated that he would not sign a partial and temporary solution to extend the deadline of August 2nd when we will be unable to meet our debt obligations. That is a false premise. There is no deadline of August 2nd other than the fact that that is the date when we supposedly reach the debt limit and no more money can be borrowed. We do not need to borrow money in order to service the debt. The treasury receives about $200 billion in revenue each month and servicing the debt costs $20 billion a month. There will be plenty to service the debt.

$35M of Obama’s $86M traced to bundlers
Excerpt: The campaign fundraising efforts of President Obama raised $86 million in the past three months from 500,000 people — but at least $35 million of it can be traced to just 244 well-connected supporters who collected contributions from wealthy friends. Just 634 donations from people giving $30,000 or more to the Obama Victory Fund comprise $23 million, while the 1,335 donations the fund received from those giving $250 add up to about $336,000, a Washington Times analysis shows. The campaign has branded itself as a new type of political operation and touted its reliance on a grass-roots network of everyday people writing reasonably sized checks.

The deficit Americans should think about most: Personal character
Excerpt: That's because the deficit that matters most is not denominated in dollars at all. Its currency is of the heart and mind. It's a manifestation of the values with which we circumscribe our actions, our purposes, and our values. I speak of a deficit of character, which arguably is the root of all of our major economic and social troubles today. Your character is not defined by what you say you believe. It's defined by the choices you make. History painfully records that when a people allow their personal character to dissipate, they become putty in the hands of tyrants and demagogues. Such tyranny often takes the form of actual rulers, but it can also involve the serfdom of our nobler nature to a lord of lustful impulse. Decadence can destroy democracy as surely as dictatorship. Among the traits that define strong character are honesty, humility, responsibility, self-discipline, courage, self-reliance, and long-term thinking. A free society is not possible without these traits in widespread practice.

Excerpt: We are now at a time when the world is transitioning into the Information Age. This is where all the new wealth is located. Capital is now Information. Creators of Google and Facebook are now the ultra-wealthy, look at Larry Page, Sergy Brin and Mark Zuckerberg. This is the direction that the financial leaders of this planet are headed. Imagine all the money that these two business models are making and of very little significance of what they really produce other then the transfer of information. We use them in one form or another at one point or another. Imagine what will happen once this becomes the standard with which all things are conducted and they are beginning. Smart companies are those that are able to adapt to the Information Age and so are the people that also do. There are still many ideas that are yet to be thought of and can you imagine when they are, what they will be? The world has transitioned before through different stages. The first one that our current age went through was when the hunter-gatherers stopped roaming the land and began farming. The Agricultural Age began where societies that were able to adapt, were able to grow and prosper. The people that didn't would continue to live as barbarians, some well into the 19th century, the American Indians are an example. There are still some hidden tribes that exist unchanged in South America who have yet been able to move into the Agricultural Age.

Excerpt: Over the last several weekends, I have had the distinct privilege to personally get to know a number of American heroes at Walter Reed Hospital. Reese from Tennessee, Christopher from Iowa, James from New York, Mark from North Dakota, and Justin from Florida to name a few. During my Saturday visits it is especially gratifying for me to meet these heroes’ moms, dads, sisters brothers and cousins who provide needed family support. In listening to their stories, I am amazed at the matter-of-fact manner in which they describe how they were injured, the extent of their rehabilitation, and their optimistic outlooks for the future. The looks on their patriotic parents’ faces vary from being deeply drained in thought to beaming with pride in the courage of their sons. All of the guys I met believed that their training prepared them to do what had to be done.

Cut, Cap & Balance Veto Threat
Huh. Obama’s against a balanced budget. Who would have guessed? ~Bob. Excerpt: The White House has issued a formal veto threat against the Republican "Cut, Cap and Balance" budget plan, which will be voted on in the House on Tuesday. Here is the release from the White House, with the formal veto threat language at the end:

Why do blacks still let Obama off the hook?
Excerpt: The national unemployment rate stands at 9.2 percent, while black unemployment is over 16 percent. There’s more, but you get the picture. The nation has been hit hard, but blacks much harder. Which raises a point of interest. Approval rates for President Obama among whites have dropped from 56% in early 2009 after he became president to 39% now - a drop of 17 points. But over this same period, Obama’s approval rating among blacks has dropped just 8 points – 93% to 85%. (She must be a racist. Wait, she’s black. How will they smear her? Ah, she must be an Aunt Jemima, as a liberal talk show guy called Condi Rice. ~Bob.)

FBI more deeply involved than ATF in gun smuggling scandal
I wish I had faith we would get to the bottom of this, but unlike Watergate, the mainstream media is on the side of the cover-up. ~Bob. Excerpt: Congressional sources who are investigating the scandal at the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives say that they now have evidence showing that the FBI may be more deeply involved than the ATF in the gun smuggling scandal. The scandal, known as 'Operation Fast and Furious,' or 'Project Gunwalker,' centers on illegal activity perpetrated by federal government agents in smuggling guns to Mexico and Honduras in order to pad statistics that would supposedly 'prove' that U.S. guns are arming the drug cartels.

Rick Perry: Game changer
Excerpt: This weekend, we got some of the strongest signals yet that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will indeed run for president. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) said he thinks Perry will run, and Perry himself seems more inclined than ever, telling the Des Moines Register that he now sees the race as his calling. “I’m not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in,” Perry said in a lengthy profile piece. “But I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do, this is what America needs.” Perry has emerged late as a potential presidential candidate, but it’s quite possible that he could affect just about every other candidate if he gets in. Here’s how he fits into the race:

Tim Pawlenty’s secret weapon: his wife, Mary
Excerpt: Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will spring a secret weapon on the 2012 presidential campaign trail in Iowa this week: his wife, Mary. By most accounts, he needs one. Pawlenty will spend much of the next two weeks criss-crossing Iowa in a pull-out-all-the-stops effort to improve his lackluster standing in most recent polls of the Republican presidential field. His goal: a strong showing at next month’s closely watched Ames Straw Poll, a key test of organizational strength six months ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. In stump speeches, Pawlenty almost always mentions his wife, whom he met in law school and who grew up in an affluent Minneapolis suburb. She is the youngest of five daughters so widely spaced that her mother was pregnant with her at the same time her oldest sister was expecting her first child.

What Eric Cantor wants
Excerpt: Democrats like to mention Rep. Eric Cantor’s high school yearbook quote: “I want what I want when I want it.” Right now, it seems as if both Democrats and the House Majority Leader want the same thing: for Cantor (R-Va.) to become the face of the House GOP. If a budget deal collapses because Cantor refuses to budge, Democrats can blame in­trac­table Republicans — and Cantor can boost his own reputation by saying he held the conservative line. But what’s good for Cantor and the Democrats isn’t necessarily good for the GOP as a whole. First elected to the House in 2000 after 10 years in the Virginia state House of Delegates, Cantor has always been known for his hard work and intense focus. He’s been in leadership since his second term in Congress. That ambitious attitude makes it easy to understand why Cantor has been frequently mentioned for higher office. He’s spent more than $10,000 on speech coaching from a go-to firm for Republicans seeking higher office. He’s been named as a possible candidate for governor, but he’s never put the time in with local leaders in Virginia that would suggest he’s truly interested. He was also mentioned as a possible candidate for Senate in 2006, 2008 and 2012, but each time he’s taken a pass. Some believe his staff leaked rumors that Sen. John McCain(R-Ariz.) was considering him for vice president. (Isn’t it odd that the media knows what Cantor’s high school yearbook says, but nothing about Obama’s college career? ~Bob.)

Oh my: Perry Edges Obama in North Carolina Poll
Excerpt: “For the President to be trailing an unannounced candidate in a state he barely won in 2012 has to be concerning for the Obama team,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca. “If Obama is hoping to catch lightning again and win North Carolina, he is going to have to hope for a weaker opponent than Gov. Perry or a big bounce from having the Democratic National Convention here next year.” (Yay. – Kate. Not sure this is good. In a state like NC, any Republican should be beating Obama by 15 points. ~Bob.)

You Don’t Get It: Congresswoman Agrees With Obama, Americans Too Stupid to Understand Complicated Debt Ceiling Debate & Social Security Threat While She Can’t Seem to Explain It
My Congress Critter. Jan Schakowsky (D-Trotsky) ~Bob.

Why My Father Hated India
Excerpt: Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice.” My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947. Though my father's attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.

CalWatchdog: Member of California's Redistricting Committee Has Secret Political Past
Excerpt: In a June 2011 profile in his hometown paper, the Ventura County Star, Gabino Tlamatini Aguirre was described as the “manifestation of the California Dream.” Born in Mexico to a farm-working family with 10 children, he immigrated to Texas as a child and “followed the crops from Texas, to Oregon, to California, to Arizona.” After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Aguirre enrolled in college, where he was introduced to the Chicaco-American political movement. “He successfully transferred to U.C. Santa Barbara, where, motivated by the mobilization of his fellow Latinos during the Chicano Movement, he joined the La Raza Libre group and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztl├ín or MEChA,” writes Gustavo Adolfo Cubias II, who interviewed Aguirre on April 7 for his senior thesis at Claremont McKenna College. MEChA and La Raza have been favorite targets of the Republican Party. It has been called a “radical racist group.” In a piece for Human Events in April 2006, the late Rep. Charlie Norwood, a Republican from Georgia, called MEChA “one of the most anti-American groups in the country.” Norwood’s criticism of the Chicano student group was based on the disputed interpretation of the organization’s motto, “For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada” — “For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing.” (There are members of MEChA on the campus of Los Angeles City College. The one with the fattest bottom always gives me a dirty look. I have NORTH American Indian ancestors. It is he who is in my ancestral homeland. - Kate)

Menstruating at the Mosqueteria
Excerpt: Since November 2008—with the, er, blessing of the Toronto District School Board—Muslim prayers have been matter-of-factly conducted within an Ontario public school’s walls every Friday afternoon. Which is against the law. “Belligerent Muslims come as no surprise. It’s their infidel enablers and defenders that have me confused (again).” For more than two years, the father of one of the school’s few non-Muslim students complained about this to the newspapers. Naturally, they ignored him. Then two weeks ago, somebody published his story. Now pretty much everyone in Canada is buzzing about that Toronto public-school “mosqueteria.” The “somebody” who finally listened is a lowly blogger whose nom de Web is “Blazing Cat Fur” and who happens to be my husband.

Elaborate Welfare Housing Project
If true, a cure for low blood pressure. ~Bob.

An Alien Pod Person in a Room Full of Leftists
Excerpt: How did we get to this point? The way I remember things, the left used to be the chin-scratching, idea-weighing side where dissent was encouraged. I don’t think my views have changed. I still hate the government and despite the laughter it brings, I’d still call myself a feminist. The problem is, when the president is black and the fanatics who are oppressing women are brown, it’s racist to complain about the government and religion. The left went from thinking outside the box to becoming myopically fixated on anything that sounds mean or benefits “white males” (AKA someone who reminds them of dad). What remains is a sea of knee-jerk liberals who aren’t just intolerant of other points of view, they literally can’t handle the truth. I don’t get that from the other side. Maybe it’s because the so-called conservatives I know live in the eye of the storm, but if you say something to William McGowan or Peter Brimelow or John Carney or even Jared Taylor that totally contradicts their beliefs, they’re as polite as British butlers. They’ve usually heard the point before and after a nod will say, “Yeah, but…” followed by a calm and reasonable explanation of why they think I'm wrong.

Black America vs. Obama?
Excerpt: Though 10 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force, African-Americans are 18 percent of U.S. government workers. They are 25 percent of the employees at Treasury and Veterans Affairs, 31 percent of the State Department, 37 percent of Department of Education employees and 38 percent of Housing and Urban Development. They are 42 percent of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., 55 percent of the employees at the Government Printing Office and 82 percent at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. 9ah, I thought private companies could be sued for discrimination under the “disparate impact” doctrine, if their workforce % didn’t match the general population. Clearly the government discriminates against whites. ~Bob.)

Ring of Steel Around Scottish Court as Stockholm Terror Suspect Appears
Excerpt: ARMED cops threw a ring of steel around a court yesterday as a terror suspect faced Scottish judges. Police carrying rifles, side arms and holdalls tightened security for the hearing at the Court of Appeal. The drama came as Ahmed al-Khaledi - allegedly linked to a suicide bombing in Sweden - was ordered to be held without trial. (Claymore! Claymore! ~bob.)

Chavez Imperiled
Excerpt: Despite weeks of deception and affectation of good health, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is in Cuba for chemotherapy, heightening speculation about whether he’ll still run for re-election in 2012 and how the regime will survive after him. His declining health adds another burden to his campaign for a third term, as a majority of Venezuelans already oppose his re-election due to a horrible economy, a soaring murder rate, and relentless power grabs. Rumors about Chavez’s health began when he disappeared for weeks in Cuba, absent from the limelight he craves. His government originally claimed he had a pelvic abscess, but reports that he had prostate cancer quickly spread. Chavez has since admitted that a baseball-sized tumor was removed on June 20, without offering any details. He says he is now cancer-free, but is going back to Cuba for chemotherapy to prevent the return of the cancer. Chavez’s decision to go to Cuba reflects his closeness with the Castro brothers. 9Probably saw Michael Moore’s movie about how great health care is in Cuba. Needs lead therapy in my view. ~Bob.)

The Death of an African People?
Obama doesn’t care about skin color, except as a talking point on race. He cares where they vote. And it’s not here. ~Bob. Excerpt: The sounds of genocide in Sudan are getting louder and louder, but the White House does not seem to hear them. Like his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, who criticised the Bush administration when a presidential candidate for its lack of “strong consequences” in regards to the Darfur genocide, may be about to experience his own “Rwanda moment.” Reports continue to filter out of Sudan of attacks by the Arab Khartoum government against the Nuba tribes in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state. The Nuba are black African descendants of Sudan’s original peoples from the old Nubian kingdoms that used to reach to Egypt. The Nuba Mountains, an area about the size of Austria, became their refuge after their last kingdom collapsed in the early 1500s.

Morality police hit Tehran streets
Coming soon to a Shari’a-compliant jurisdiction near you. ~Bob. Excerpt: Iran's special police unit commences annual campaign to uphold Islamic dress code in country, leading to arrests, fines for not wearing hijab headscarf, nail polish, sandals.

Barack Obama accused of crimes against humanity for Osama bin Laden killing
If you think Obama is as far left as it goes, you’d be wrong. ~Bob. Excerpt: Daniel Fiol lodged a written complaint at the International Criminal Court accusing the US president of breaching the Geneva Convention. Navy Seals acting on Mr Obama's orders shot the al-Qaeda leader dead on May 2 after storming his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In his written complaint, the Majorca-based lawyer said bin Laden should have been "pursued, arrested, tried and convicted" on behalf of "the victims of some terrible and appalling atrocities". The killing of bin Laden was even worse as it took place in foreign territory, Pakistan, without the permission of that government, he said.

Karzai Adviser Is Killed at Kabul Home
Obama’s main worry is will our troops fight hard enough, and shed enough blood, to delay the coming defeat until after the 2012 election. ~Bob. Excerpt: A close adviser to President Hamid Karzai was killed on Sunday night after two gunmen stormed his walled home here. It was the second killing in less than a week of one of the president’s trusted but controversial political allies. The aide who was killed on Sunday, Jan Mohammed Khan, served as governor of Oruzgan Province until 2006, when he was removed at insistence of Dutch officials over concerns that he was linked to drug rings. Since then, he had been a regular presence at the presidential palace. He was killed alongside Mohammed Hasham Watanwal, a member of Parliament from Oruzgan.

Political couple leaves legacy in Wilmette: Keats' have seen enough Illinois politics
Excerpt: When Roger and Tina Keats drive away from their Sheridan Road home in Wilmette for the last time in a few weeks and head for their new home in Texas, they will be leaving behind a formidable political legacy. Keats, who served as the Republican state senator for much of the North Shore from 1978 to 1992, worked closely with Harold Washington to enact legislation that adopt judicial sub-circuits for Cook County and cleared the way for minorities and Republicans to hold judgeships. The reform, fought by many Democrats, was an integral part of the cleanup of corruption in the Cook County court system that was uncovered by Operations Greylord and Gambat.

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