Thursday, July 21, 2011

Political Digest for July 21, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

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

Letter to HBO
About Bill Maher from a retired Marine.

Look who Obama's hired for cybersecurity team: Ex-Clinton staffer 'lost' thousands of White House e-mails, booted by DHS for faking credentials
If true, she's a perfect fit for the ethics of this administration. See link below. ~Bob. Excerpt: An elite team of computer technicians assembled by the Obama administration to protect Pentagon networks from cyberattack shockingly includes a former Clinton official who "lost" thousands of archived emails under subpoena and who more recently left the Department of Homeland Security under an ethical cloud related to her qualifications, WND has learned. The administration in May quietly hired Laura Callahan for a sensitive post at the U.S. Cyber Command, a newly created agency set up to harden military networks as part of an effort to prevent a "cyberspace version of Pearl Harbor." The move raises doubts about the administration's vetting process for sensitive security positions. In 2004, Callahan was forced to resign from Homeland Security after a congressional investigation revealed she committed résumé fraud and lied about her computer credentials. Investigators found that Callahan paid a diploma mill thousands of dollars for her bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in computer science. She back-dated the degrees, all obtained between 2000 and 2001, to appear as if she earned them in 1993, 1995 and 2000, respectively. She landed the job of deputy DHS chief information officer in 2003.

Laura Callahan: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Excerpt: Laura Callahan is a former senior director at the United States Department of Homeland Security who resigned after an investigation revealed that she had obtained academic degrees from a diploma mill. Callahan had also served as Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the US Department of Labor and was previously a senior information technology (IT) manager at the White House. Through her work in the latter position, Callahan had been involved in an earlier investigation when unspecified computer problems caused thousands of email messages to escape the reach of a congressional subpoena.

The Facts About the Debt Ceiling: Separating economic myths from economic truths
Excerpt: Myth 1: If a deal is not reached by August 2, the U.S. will default on its debt. Fact 1: The Treasury Department can prioritize payments in order to avoid a default. The Treasury Department is due to pay off $30 billion in maturing short-term debt. But we also know that the Treasury has the ability to prioritize its payments and pay that particular $30 billion out of the $172 billion it collects in tax revenue. As the Bipartisan Policy Center has calculated, after paying $30 billion in interest payments in August, Treasury could, if it ceased all other functions (see page 13 of this document), also pay for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, and payments to defense contractors. Technically speaking, there is no need to default in the absence of a debt ceiling agreement.

The Dilemma of Bailouts
Excerpt: Bailouts, with reason, are much disliked. They not only abuse the taxpayers who have to pay for them but also disregard the free market theory that maintains that bailouts prevent market forces from bringing about necessary corrective moves, says Roy C. Smith, a professor of finance in the Stern School of Business at New York University. Until now, however, the market has known that government officials prefer bailouts to a global financial or economic disaster and that when faced with such a possibility they will decide in favor of bailing out the threatened institution rather than letting it fail. The basic argument for bailing out large banks is that a single failure of such a firm can contaminate the whole financial system, which is a public good that the government must safeguard. The irony of bailouts is that whether a government carries one out or not, the government will still be involved economically in the situation that created the demand for a bailout. Indeed, after Lehman Brothers failed, the Federal Reserve's own balance sheet increased by more than $1.5 trillion owing to its various market-support efforts. By being willing to bail out large banks, however, the government provides these banks with a free, valuable subsidy of their funding costs and accepts the moral hazard that such guarantees create. Both of these effects may entail great costs for the operation of the financial system. Andrew Haldane, executive director of the Bank of England, tried to estimate the annualized cost of the too-big-to-fail subsidy. Assuming an intervention of $100 billion in the United States every 20 years, he calculated the annual premium on an insurance policy of that amount to be less than $5 billion a year, to be shared by, say, 20 banks. The top five banks would pay most of this premium. However, if the cost of lost domestic economic output from a banking crisis were included, then, according to Haldane, the combined cost would be well beyond the banks' ability to pay. Thus, he argues, the true cost of systemic risk in the United States is huge, and the government has to be realistic in thinking about how to bear it.

The Wealthy Are Dropping the Dalai Lama's Name, Literally
Excerpt: It was big news last weekend when President Obama refused to let journalists into his private meeting with the Dalai Lama. The maneuver reflects increasing concerns in the U.S. that emphatic public support for the Tibetan leader will alienate Chinese officials, and in turn jeopardize our strategic interests in the world’s fastest growing economy. Like the president, a rising number of international billionaires have begun to worry that backing the Dalai Lama could pose a risk to their personal wealth by potentially limiting access to lucrative markets in China. Years ago, before surging Asian industry became a force impossible to ignore, such fears were remote, if they existed at all, for the American super-rich. But now that the seat of financial power has started shifting eastward, patronage of the Dalai Lama can come at a considerable cost. (Hitler's mistake was not leading Britain and France lots of money. Then when he invaded Poland, they wouldn't have said a peep. ~Bob.)

Top U.S. Nuke Regulator: Fukushima Had No 'Immediate Health Impacts;' 'Radiation Exposures ... Minimized'
Excerpt: Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said Monday that the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NRC), caused by an earthquake and tsunami in March, appears to have resulted in no “immediate health impacts.” Jaczko said that "radiation exposures" as a result of the Fukushima accident "were able to be minimized."

Judiciary Chairman Withholding Judgment on Whether Kagan Should Recuse from Health-Care Cases
Excerpt: Smith sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on July 6 asking that Holder provide “relevant documents and witness interviews in order to properly understand U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s involvement in health care legislation or litigation while serving as United States Solicitor General.” The letter requested that Holder provide the materials and arrange the interviews by July 29. At issue is 28 U.S.C. 455, the federal law that governs when a Supreme Court justice must recuse from a case. The law says: “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law also says that a justice shall recuse from a case where “he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.” (TOJ has been watching to see if Kagan recuses since we ran "Should Kagan Recuse..." back on 30 March 2011. More directly, the question isn't "should she," but "will she?" I've been generally encouraged by her other recent recusals, but as they say in financial ads, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Ron P.)

Inappropriate Touching Among the Untouchables
Excerpt: We all know that the rich and powerful are seldom held accountable. Take, for example, the recent case of Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, and his new wife, Charlene Wittstock. Rumors that Charlene was first kidnapped, drugged, and then forced to abide by the agreement she had signed with the Principality of Monaco—or else—went almost entirely unnoticed by the media once the runaway bride had been brought back to the palace and was allegedly sedated heavily. Her father was also reportedly held hostage and threatened unless he played ball and helped palace courtiers convince Charlene to stay put.
My life as the devil's double: They forced me to stand in for Saddam Hussein's son
Excerpt: They kept me in this jail for a week before Uday asked to see me again; he was trying to torture me psychologically. This time he threatened to rape my sisters, who were only little girls at the time. "I'll do it, but leave my family alone," I told him. And that's when it all started. After that, I often saw rape, torture, killings. The torture was really sick when Uday was doing it. One time I was sitting in the Iraqi Olympic Committee office, and the father of a girl Uday had raped was brought in. She was a beauty queen — Miss Baghdad. The father had tried to complain to Saddam, so Uday wanted to take revenge. He asked me to shoot the guy in the head, but I refused. (So explain to me again why Bush was evil to removed child-rapist Uday and his poison-gas-murderer father, but Obama is righteous to destroy Gadhafi for threatening to kill those in rebellion against him? ~Bob.)

I Thought Hell Would Freeze Over Before I Defended Michele Bachmann
Liberal writer. This whole story was a typical sexist hit piece on a conservative woman. Frankly I prefer Bachmann with a headache to the headache Obama is creating for the future. ~Bob. Excerpt: But leave it to The Daily Caller to prove me wrong. Their piece about Bachmann's chronic migraine headaches--which they suggest should disqualify her from the presidency--is deeply ignorant and unfair. ... Migraines disproportionately affect women and are often talked about in a sexist way, with the implication being that women who suffer from migraines can't handle normal levels of stress. But there are other triggers, too, from alcohol to going too long between meals. The Daily Caller's Strong describes Bachmann as suffering from a migraine because of "complications with her flight schedule." As a lifelong migraine sufferer, I know that travel can be a trigger, not because of some hysterical response to stress, but because of lack of decent food and sleep. With all the medications out there today, most migraine sufferers are able to get the condition under control and go about their daily lives with a very high level of productivity. Many famous, high-achieving people have been migraine sufferers, including Ulysses Grant and Thomas Jefferson.

Excerpt: Americans who care about the solvency of this nation ought to be seriously annoyed at the contempt for them shown by the Gang of Six “plan,” which even by the standards of “bipartisan” deal-making is a total joke. Even if you take seriously their figure of $3.7 trillion in savings over ten years, that represents a clawback across a decade of about two years of current deficits. If you take Jeff Sessions’s figure of $1.2 trillion in savings over ten years as being closer to the mark, that takes a decade to reverse about three-quarters of the 2011 deficit. Neither of these numbers is sufficient. Both lead to national suicide. (Steyn gets that we are facing a collapse. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: A bipartisan group of senators is proposing to reduce the federal deficit by $3.7 trillion over the next ten years. This is seen as a way to overcome the debt ceiling impasse and deal with the nation’s long term financial crisis at the same time. What does this mean for health care? The proposal would require Congress to find $300 billion in health care spending cuts in order to avert a planned cut in Medicare doctors’ fees. It may also require another $200 billion in cuts. And remember, this is on top of about $550 billion in Medicare cuts already legislated as part of last year’s health reform bill. If I were running a hospital, I would be feeling very nervous right now. In general, the plan follows the outlines of the Bowles-Simpson (Obama debt commission) proposal. Yet when Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson were in Dallas earlier this year, they said their health care proposal was nothing more than a line on a piece of paper. “We need you to tell us how to make that work,” Sen. Simpson told me. Readers of this blog know that we regard all of the deficit reduction proposals as nothing more than lines on a piece of paper when it comes to health care. That includes the health reform law. The Obama administration’s talk about “value purchasing” is nothing more than empty rhetoric, backed by the threat of senseless price controls that the Medicare actuaries office says will put hospitals out of business and severely reduce access to care for the elderly and the disabled. … Think about it this way. If crooks who provide no legitimate services at all can manage to extract 10% of all Medicare dollars, don’t you think legitimate providers can figure out ways to soak the system for at least 20% or 30% over and above what should have been paid?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Attacks Allen West On Floor; West Responds
Excerpt: Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district! I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach. You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me! (They aren't used to this kind of truth telling in Washington. Let's hope it starts a trend. ~Bob.)

The Unabashed Literary Fondling of Petraeus; Architect of American Graves!
Excerpt: Those who know me well enough, know I bleed red blood cells branded with United States Marine Corps emblems. It also follows that as a Marine, I take my Oath very seriously. I have only taken two Oaths; one to the Marine Corps and one other to my Wife. I am still bonded to both. I have been and will continue to be, ready, willing and able to defend both my Corps, my fellow Marines, my Wife, my Daughter and anything else that falls under the purview of those oaths. I hold that as an American, there is nothing on earth as sacred as the lives of Americans and most especially, the lives of those in our Military! Scream if you want to, but shame on all who dare claim to be Americans who are not first and last concerned about this country and this country's citizenry! Having said that I will take the time to castigate anyone - ANYONE, who maliciously, carelessly or wantonly destroys the lives or well-being of any of the above; although I take no pleasure in it, I will hold all those accountable by this venue who tread on the sacred lives and honor of those precious to me and enveloped by those Oaths.

Can The U.S. Postal Service As We Know It Survive?
This is not simply a rhetorical question. The U.S. Postal Service will run out of cash to meet its obligations by the end of this fiscal year, September 30. As usual, service cuts are being strongly resisted by current USPS management, USPS unions, and Congress which also says that post offices cannot be closed just on economic grounds, among other mandates. One mandate was the USPS fund its health care costs for future retirees, and the USPS will default on this year‘s $5.5 Billion payment unless Congress comes to its rescue. Meanwhile the USPS just entered a four and a half year contract with its letter carriers and clerks union who comprise close to half its work force which provides for no layoffs, a 3.5% pay hike and seven cost-of-living increases. First class mail volume, which accounts for most revenue compared to junk mail, is declining and junk mail which provides much less per-piece revenue is not making up the difference. The recommendations of a Government Accountability Office expert brought in to review USPS operations, comparing them to both UPS and American Express, and more interestingly and realistically to postal operations in other countries, especially in Western Europe where similar problems of too many post offices, a transition to the Internet, and similar explanations for money-losing operations are being successfully and profitably addressed, have been politely received and promptly ignored. --From the Howe & Hutton Report (Another nail in the fiscal coffin. ~Bob.)

Climate Change and Confirmation Bias: A new study suggests that your values, not science, determine your views about climate change.
Excerpt: The more scientifically literate you are, the more certain you are that climate change is either a catastrophe or a hoax, according to a new study [PDF] from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project. Many science writers and policy wonks nurse the fond hope that fierce disagreement about issues like climate change is simply the result of a scientifically illiterate American public. If this “public irrationality thesis” were correct, the authors of the Yale study write, “then skepticism about climate change could be traced to poor public comprehension about science” and the solution would be more science education. In fact, their findings suggest more education is unlikely to help build consensus; it may even intensify the debate. Led by Yale University law professor Dan Kahan, the Cultural Cognition Project has been researching how cultural and ideological commitments shape science policy discourse in the United States. To probe the public’s views on climate change, the Yale researchers conducted a survey of 1,500 Americans in which they asked questions designed to uncover their cultural values, their level of scientific literacy, and what they thought about the risks of climate change.

Pakistan's Alleged American Influence Campaign
Excerpt: The Pakistani government engaged in a clandestine effort to influence American policy toward the disputed Kashmir region that goes back more than 20 years and has cost millions of dollars, federal prosecutors say. In charging Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), with failing to register as an agent of a foreign government and conspiring to hide his connections to Pakistan, prosecutors detailed a scheme that involved significant political campaign contributions, lobbying and public relations efforts which were orchestrated and funded by Pakistan's powerful military intelligence service known as the ISI. "Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose – to hide Pakistan's involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government's position on Kashmir," said Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

At second glance, Texas Gov. Rick Perry not as conservative as some think
Excerpt: Supporters and opponents alike often describe Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) as a rock-ribbed conservative — an ideologue who rarely deviates from the Republican line or stakes out unorthodox positions. And while Perry certainly falls well within the party’s comfort zone on most issues, he has made some surprising but consequential departures. His most significant departure from the conservative base came in 2007, when he bypassed the Texas Legislature and signed an executive order mandating that all girls entering the sixth grade receive a vaccine that helps protect from some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer. (I have no problem with him on this issue, except that this is one of the small social issues we are fighting over while the big issues detailed in my book are sinking the ship of state. ~Bob.)

Trade groups press NLRB to slow down union election rules
Why is business worried? They can simply relocate to another country and layoff the American workers if Obama makes costs to high to compete in a world market for American companies. ~Bob. Excerpt: Business and labor advocates swamped the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Tuesday to battle over a plan that will likely speed up union elections. The proposed changes to union election rules have become the latest flashpoint at the federal agency, which has attracted criticism from trade groups and Republicans for issuing a complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers. Many of the critics of the Boeing complaint are also opposing the proposed election changes, arguing they will give employers little time to respond to union organizing at their worksites. Unions counter that the revisions will help eliminate delays in labor organizing that can go on for months, if not years.

This is an article about USMC Vets that features a Viet Nam Marine vet I know and his son in this month's issue of Esquire, that can now be read online at: It is an extremely powerful, very well done article about the wrecked lives and bodies of too many who've served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's also an uplifting story about Marines taking care of Marines. I recommend it highly, it takes time to read it all, or even part of it, but I promise it's worthwhile. And they deserve any help any of us can find a way to give them. S/F –Del

Liberal governor's request for Medicaid cuts puts Democrats in tough spot
The fiscal noose tightens. Hard to enjoy it, though, since our necks are in it too. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama and congressional Democrats have been put in a tough spot by California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) request to cut Medicaid spending 10 percent. Brown says he needs to make the cuts to the state Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, to ease his state’s severe budget woes. But advocates say cuts of that size would be devastating to California's most vulnerable residents. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — and, by extension, the White House — must choose between helping a first-term Democratic governor who has been a leader on healthcare reform and signing off on a policy that advocates say would be devastating to people with disabilities. 

Taliban becomes the latest victim of phone hacking
Excerpt: A Taliban spokesman said Wednesday that despite the circulation of phone and Internet messages claiming the group’s one-eyed, bearded, most-wanted leader Mullah Omar had died, Omar was still very much alive.  “He is overseeing operations in the country,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the Associated Press. “Outsiders must have hacked into Taliban phones and the Web site.” Thankfully, Mujahid did not blame Rupert Murdoch’s now-closed tabloid News of the World for the hacking, instead saying U.S. intelligence agencies had pulled the stunt “to demoralize the Taliban.” (Think about it. Somewhere out there right now, there is a lawyer wondering if he can bring a class action suit on behalf of all possible terrorist organizations. I might even support it, if they list GPS locations of all the groups and name their members. “Call 1-800-SUE-THEM and get what you deserve.” Or, something like that. Ron P.)

Cost-Cutters, Except When the Spending Is Back Home
Excerpt: Freshman House Republicans who rode a wave of voter discontent into office last year vowed to stop out-of-control spending, but that has not stopped several of them from quietly trying to funnel millions of federal dollars into projects back home. They have pushed for dozens of projects in their districts, including military programs opposed by the president, replenishing beach sand lost to erosion, a $700 million bridge in Minnesota and a harbor dredging project in Charleston, S.C. Some of their projects were once earmarks, political shorthand for pet projects penciled into spending bills, which Republicans banned when they took over the House.

Boston Editorial: On budget deficit, Obama cries wolf
Excerpt: What planet is President Barack Obama living on anyway? Yesterday the previously press conference-averse president had his third news conference in two weeks to once again make his pitch for a “big package” to close the federal deficit, to which he has already managed to add $4 trillion. His solution remains what it has always been — taxes. But then you knew that. Or did you? “You have 80 percent of the American people who support a balanced approach,” Obama said yesterday. “Eighty percent of the American people support an approach that includes revenues and includes cuts. So the notion that somehow the American people aren’t sold is not the problem. The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically.” Wow, wouldn’t you love to know where that opinion sampling came from? … Another day, another Armageddon reference. Perhaps it’s time the president reread that fable about the boy who cried “wolf” too often.

Cut Someone Else
Excerpt: Every dollar of the $3.7 trillion dollars that the Federal government is scheduled to spend before September 30, 2011 has got a patron - someone who believes that dollar is not just a good and necessary expenditure; but better and more crucial than any other of the dollars the government is scheduled to spend. Cut someone else. They all can't be the most important. Some of those dollars have to be less important than some of the other dollars. Same as tax benefits. Every line in the 3.7 trillion page U.S. tax code has a patron - someone who believes that every dollar of a tax exemption, tax extension tax credit, tax deduction, or tax abatement is not just good and necessary but is better and more crucial than any other of the dollars the government is scheduled to collect. Cut someone else. Our national motto, "In God We Trust" is done. Finished. Null. And. Void. The new national motto is: "Cut Someone Else." Well, boys and girls, the days of pretending we can have as much we want and for it we can pay as little as we want are over. Finished. Null. And. Void.

Jane Fonda Quote from The Patriot Post
"Jane Fonda, who was set to appear on the QVC home shopping channel to promote her new book, got axed instead. She blamed it on 'well funded and organized political extremist groups.' I guess that's what aging leftists call Vietnam Vets. Yet with her foot only half-way in her mouth, Fonda decided to finish the job with a little historical revisionism. 'I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us,' said Hanoi Jane. The title of her book is 'Prime Time.' In a better world, it would be 'What I Learned in Prison Serving Time for Treason.'" --columnist Arnold Ahlert

Humor from The Patriot Post
"Starting next year, all U.S. savings bonds will be electronic rather than printed. So they'll be paperless, as well as valueless, useless, and worthless." --comedian Jay Leno

"President Obama scheduled a big fundraising party in Chicago on his fiftieth birthday on August third. It's the day after the U.S. runs out of money. Lots of men have a midlife crisis on their fiftieth birthdays, but they don't usually bring the whole country along on the Apocalypse." --comedian Argus Hamilton

How Congress Sabotages Space Exploration
This is a pair of manned-space-related opinion columns. Begin with the Simberg piece that explores the political problems we’ll be looking at for the foreseeable future. Ron P. Excerpt: The Space Shuttle Atlantis closed its hatch at the International Space Station on Tuesday, for the last time, not just for that orbiter, but for any. It separated from the ISS, and will perform a few final tasks in orbit over the next couple days. Then, weather permitting, it will fire its orbital maneuvering engines to slow itself, and start its long, last fall back into the atmosphere, with a final stop of the wheels on the runway in Florida, where it will spend the rest of its days in a museum at the NASA Kennedy Space Center. After a little more than three decades of operation, the Space Shuttle program will be over. Ironically, it takes place on the forty-second anniversary of the first landing on the moon (July 20th), an event that many at the time thought would kick off a great age of space exploration, to be followed by lunar bases and human missions to other planets. In fact, the Shuttle program, initiated shortly after that monumental achievement, was thought to hold the key to the rest of the solar system. Instead, it served to keep us trapped in low earth orbit for almost four decades. (…) AN OPPOSING VIEW FROM J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: “Obama Pulls the Plug on a Great Run in Space”

Tomato Protest at Trader Joe’s:
Excerpt: So: What do you do? How to solve the perceived problem? Well, according to Alinsky, what you do is find a visible target, especially one that is sensitive about its reputation, and then savagely attack them in public, bullying them and shaming them so that they cave in to your demands just to make you go away. If you can’t attack the people or group directly responsible for the problem, then attack a secondary target anyway, so that the secondary target will out of fear solve your problem for you — again, just to make you shut up and go away. So, in this case, the altruistic Alinskyites came up with a solution: Go to produce retailers, and demand that they raise their tomato prices, so that they could then take that extra money from the customers and use it to voluntarily pay more per pound to the tomato growers, who would then take that extra money and give it to the farmworkers. (This is a Perfect Example of Wishful Economics. The very first comment under the article expresses my opinion well: “Brother J ~ Pelt them with tomatoes. They’re cheap right now.”  Thank you, Brother J, whoever you are. Ron P.)

Simple lifestyle changes could help prevent Alzheimer's, study says
I knew this, but I forgot it. ~Bob. Excerpts: A provocative new analysis identifies the biggest risk factors for Alzheimer's disease — and concludes that more than half of all cases are potentially preventable through simple lifestyle changes, such as exercising, quitting smoking and losing weight. It offers no magic bullet against the devastating disease, which kills brain cells and leaves people mute, incontinent and unable to care for themselves.

Now it's the Arabs who are disillusioned with Obama, experts say
Excerpt: President Barack Obama isn't living up to his promises in the Middle East, and it's driving Arab attitudes toward the United States to their lowest point in years, analysts say. In a Zogby International poll released last week, respondents in four out of six countries surveyed had a lower opinion of the United States than at the end of the Bush administration in 2008. Photo caption: Apparently, all of that apologizing and "thinking out of the box" hasn't helped alter America's image in the Muslim world. (Seneca said, "Oderint, dum metuant" ~Bob.)

Obama’s Muslim Outreach: Epic Fail
Excerpt: When Barack Obama took over the Oval Office from George W. Bush in 2009, he was riding the crest of a tidal wave of gullibility among his supporters, who believed him to be the Chosen One bringing salvation and deliverance from the wasteland of the Bush years. In their fevered imagination, the inept, moronic, old-fashioned cowboy Bush had disastrously bungled his terms in office and caused the world to hate us. Now the multicultural, transnational, post-American demigod Obama had arrived, a deus ex machina from the heavens, offering hope and change to all. He was going to get the world to like us, really like us again. But this self-delusional, media-assisted narrative has a tragicomic twist: two and a half years into his term, Obama not only hasn’t healed the oceans, harmonized the races, boosted the economy, or repaired our supposedly tattered reputation abroad, he has actually exacerbated all those issues. And now it’s confirmed that he hasn’t been any more successful at resolving the clash of civilizations either. “My job to the Muslim world,” Obama said in his very first interview as President, for the Arabic-language network Al-Arabiya, “is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.” In that case, to quote from Cool Hand Luke, what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. According to a stunning new poll of six Arab nations – Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia – by the nonpartisan Arab American Institute, the United States is viewed even less favorably in the Arab world today than it was during the final year of Bush’s administration.

U.S. backs off tough rhetoric against Syria, Assad
Excerpt: After sharply escalating its criticism of Syria's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, the Obama administration has abruptly scaled back its condemnations, injecting fresh uncertainty about its willingness to confront President Bashar Assad's regime.

The Coming Islamist Takeover of Yemen
Excerpt: The Arab Spring is about to add another dictator to its tally: Yemeni President Saleh. He is still being treated in Saudi Arabia for wounds from a dramatic assassination attempt, and officials say it will be “months” before doctors release him. It is increasingly unlikely he’ll come back to his home country, and if he does, civil war may erupt. This regime change is hardly being talked about, but it is one that Islamists are eagerly awaiting. The Yemeni Vice President says he has no idea when Saleh will be released, and other officials are saying it will be months before he comes back. A Saudi official says that Saleh definitely will not return, but it still needs to be worked out where he will go into exile. If Saleh tries to return, he will meet a massive crowd of protesters and resistance from the U.S. and the Gulf Cooperation Council. At least half of his generals have defected, and over 100 members of his Republican Guard recently quit. The most powerful tribe and General Ali Mohsen, considered the second most powerful man in the country as the head of the 1st Armored Division, have also turned against him. It is hard to see how Saleh stays in power, raising the question of what comes next. (The best we can hope for is a brutal dictator, bent on power and riches, who will crush the Islamists and leave us alone. The worst is a new version of the Taliban, a brutal dictatorship that crushes the people and attacks us. ~Bob.)

Why I Read the New York Times
Excerpt: I get a lot of ragging from my fellow conservatives for reading The New York Times every day. But as I tell them, you have to know how the other side thinks. Progressive ideology reflects a narrative founded on unexamined ideas long exposed as unworkable, incoherent, or just plain false. Countering those ideas requires seeing how they function in their natural habitat as they reinforce the narrative and create received wisdom. I’m not talking about the obvious ideologues like Paul Krugman, whose progressive dogma is as predictable and formulaic as a Hollywood romantic comedy. More insidious are the pieces that have a legitimate and interesting point, but then inevitably fall back onto unexamined nostrums. (The sooner the Old Gray Whore goes into bankruptcy, the better for freedom. ~Bob.)

Iran to 'speed up' uranium enrichment at nuclear plants
Excerpt: Iran says it is installing newer and faster centrifuges at its nuclear plants, with the goal of speeding up the uranium enrichment process. The foreign ministry says the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has "full supervision" of the operation. The French government has condemned the move as a "new provocation". France and other Western powers fear that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its programme is for civilian use. … France was quick to condemn the announcement. "Iran is engaging in a new provocation by announcing the imminent installation of next-generation centrifuges," the French foreign ministry said in a statement. "[It] clearly confirms the suspicions of the IAEA and of the international community about the finality of a programme with no credible civilian application," the statement said. (France is wrong. It has a “civilian application.” The plan to apply it to civilians in Tel Aviv, London, New Your, Washington, DC…~Bob.)

Iran Hits U.S. Spy Plane: Report
Excerpt: Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that was trying to gather information on an underground uranium enrichment site, a state-owned news site said Wednesday. (Hard to know if credible. During the Vietnam war, the Communists shot down the entire US Air Force several times over, according to their media. Which thus had the credibility of the New York Times. ~Bob.)

Malaysia media claims Jewish plot after rally
Damn Joos—plotting again! ~Bob. Excerpt: Malaysia's government-linked media claimed Monday that foreign Jewish groups might try to use an opposition-backed push to reform electoral laws to interfere in this Muslim-majority country.

Why is that man shouting at you mummy? Taxi driver hurled racist abuse at mums outside Jewish school in Crumpsall
Excerpt: A taxi driver ranted racial abuse outside a Jewish school after getting stuck in a traffic jam. Taha Osman shrieked ‘All Jewish children must die!’ after his car was hemmed in by parents picking up pupils outside King David School in Crumpsall.

Pa. wind turbines deadly to bats, costly to farmers
Excerpt: The butterfly effect suggests the flapping of a tiny insect's wings in Africa can lead to a tornado in Kansas. Call this the bat effect: A bat killed by a wind turbine in Somerset can lead to higher tomato prices at the Wichita farmers market. Bats are something of a one-species stimulus program for farmers, every year gobbling up millions of bugs that could ruin a harvest. But the same biology that allows the winged creatures to sweep the night sky for fine dining also has made them susceptible to one of Pennsylvania's fastest-growing energy tools. The 420 wind turbines now in use across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year -- mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission. That's an average of 25 bats per turbine per year, and the Nature Conservancy predicts as many as 2,900 turbines will be set up across the state by 2030. (Green energy—worse than DDT! Given to us by batty environmentalists. ~Bob.)

Bernanke is Wrong, Gold is Money
Excerpt: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke today said that the Federal Reserve is prepared to act with an additional round of quantitative easing if there is any weakening of the U.S. economy and threat of deflation. Bernanke also said that the Fed could act in other ways to stimulate the economy, such as cutting the interest rate that the Fed pays to banks on their $1.5 trillion in excess reserves that they currently keep parked at the Fed. NIA believes this $1.5 trillion alone would multiply into $15 trillion once it circulates through the U.S. economy and if Bernanke on top of that unleashes any additional quantitative easing, it will just about guarantee hyperinflation. Bernanke has made it very clear that he is prepared to print money until the U.S. dollar becomes worthless and the incomes and savings of all U.S. citizens are destroyed. Ron Paul today asked Bernanke whether or not he watches the price of gold and if he thinks gold is money. Although Bernanke admitted that he does watch the price of gold, Bernanke said that gold is not money, but it is only an asset. Bernanke explained that central banks only hold gold as a "tradition". The truth is, gold has been accepted as money throughout all civilizations over periods of thousands of years. Bernanke doesn't want U.S. citizens to wake up and realize that they can opt-out of the criminal Federal Reserve system if they get rid of their U.S. dollars and store all of their wealth in gold and silver.

Victory, War and Geography
Once upon a time a victory meant that the victor got the spoils, the girls, gold, and all the portable goodies one could load on one's Fibre Fueld Forward Expeditionary Mobility Mechanism (FFFEMM) aka ‘The Horse’. Civil Affairs Units consolidated the sorting and classification of the former combatants, men, women and children into optimized investment opportunities. In order to discourage violating our national laws against following globalist alien laws, all forms of terrain-oriented facilities will be razed, disassembled, and the sites sown with radioactive PCB. After all that, after everything else has been done, one looks at the Pamir Know around which the Eurasian Continent is twisted, leaving but one avenue of approach to (and from) India, which goes through Kabul and most major traffic from China to parts west, is through the Fergana valley, just to the north. With China opening up the old roads known as the Silk Road, to reach the oil ports that the Ancient Abbasid Caliphate ruled, that leaves the Tsar more reason than ever to get back into the Great Game. War used to be God's way to teach Americans geography. What happened? -- LTC Gordon Fowkes, USA (ret.)

House Ethics picks outside counsel to handle Waters case
Excerpt: The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday announced it would appoint an outside attorney to handle ethics charges against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calf.). The move is an apparent reaction to complaints from Waters and ethics watchdog groups that the Ethics Committee cannot deal with her case impartially. "The Committee's decision reflects the high priority of this unique matter and the need to resolve it with the utmost care, diligence, and integrity," Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and ranking member Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement. (The Committee’s decision reflects their cowardice, as they are scared silly she will play the race card on them, aided by a media that covers up for liberal corruption. ~Bob.)

Arbitrator: Quinn can’t freeze out state workers on pay raises
Quinn was elected through a devil’s bargain with the unions. But you live by the unions, you die by the unions. And Illinois swirls closer to the drain. I can here the sound of flushing from my condo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Bruce Springsteen may have gained 30,000 new fans in Illinois overnight, but don’t count Gov. Pat Quinn as one of them. In a legal oddity, The Boss’ lyrics were cited in a ruling Tuesday that blocked Quinn from withholding 2-percent pay hikes to unionized workers on the state payroll. Arbitrator Edwin Benn quoted Springsteen’s obscure 1992 song, “With Every Wish,” to dramatize how multi-year agreements between the state and its public-employee unions would be “dead” if Quinn were to prevail in his pay dispute with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. “Before you choose your wish, you better think first. With every wish, there comes a curse,” Benn quoted Springsteen as singing.

Terry Jeffrey: Workers at Government Lab Used Dead People's SSNs
Excerpt:  Two employees of contractors working at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used dead peoples' Social Security numbers, according to DOE's Office of Inspector General. Four others used Social Security numbers the government has not yet issued, and two shared the same Social Security number. (...) "For example, we identified eight Form I-9s containing duplicate Social Security numbers, the use of Social Security numbers that belonged to deceased individuals, or the use of Social Security numbers that had yet to be assigned." The IG referred this "possible misuse" of Social Security numbers to the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It should surprise no one that a government that will not adequately enforce the immigration laws within its own Energy Department facilities will not adequately enforce them anywhere else. (One possible innocent explanation: they’re just Detroit or Chicago voters. Ron P.)

Quote of the Week from The Weekly Standard
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible: avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of Peace to discharge the Debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. —George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796.

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