Sunday, July 24, 2011

Political Digest for July 24, 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.

WWII Marine Raider
Our granddaughter has been visiting. We signed her up for dance camp and for guitar lesson from the dance teacher's brother, Tim Vana. Tim saw my Marine cap and gave me a CD of a wonderful single he had recorded, "Always Faithful" in tribute to the Marines. (Copies are $5. Contact him at timothyvana (at) He told me about his dad, a WWII Marne and we asked to take them to dinner, which we did Friday night. It was a privilege for my wife and me.

Cpl. Dick Vana enlisted in the Corps early in WWII and volunteered for the Raiders. He was assigned as a replacement for Red Mike Edson's 1st Raider Bn. on Guadalcanal, arriving after much of the action. The Bn. saw action on Guam, where Cpl. Vana was hit in the head. He had just turned his head, by God's grace, and a sniper bullet pierced his helmet and grazed his head. He was treated, given a purple heart and returned to the lines the next day. After Guam, the Raiders were formed into the reconstituted 4th Marines, assigned to the 6th Marine Division. He fought on Okinawa for 99 days, which includes 17 days of patrolling after the Island was declared secure, during which members of his platoon were killed. He was wounded twice by shrapnel in each leg, but just pulled it out, bandaged it, and kept going. He didn't turn in to sick call, so received no Purple Hearts for these wounds. (Not the John Kerry type). He was training for the invasion of Japan when we dropped the A-bomb, saving his life.

Dick had been going steady with his future wife, Marion, since she was 13 and he 14. They married before he went overseas and he didn't see her for over two years. They made up for lost time, with ten kids, 28 grandkids and the 13th great-grand child is on the way. A great American family. She is gone no. Dick is 88, still driving, working a little, writing, reading and enjoying the family. He gave me copies of touching letters he received from the father of one of his close buddies who was KIA near him on Okinawa, of a letter he wrote to HBO criticizing the portrayal of Marines in "The Pacific," and of an oral history the local library created about him. There are wonderful history stories and great Americans, right in our own neighborhoods. Look around.

Must Read: Mark Steyn: Obama the man without a plan
Excerpt: Earlier this month, Moody's downgraded Irish government debt to junk. Which left the Irish somewhat peeved. The Department of Finance pointed out that it had met all the "quantitative fiscal targets" imposed by the European Union, and the National Treasury Management Agency said that Ireland was sufficiently flush "to cover all its financing requirements until the end of 2013." Which is more than the government of the United States can say. That's not the only difference between the auld sod and America. In Europe, austerity is in the air, and in the headlines: "Italy Fast-Tracks Austerity Vote." "Greek Minister Urges Austerity Consensus." "Portugal To Speed Austerity Measures." "Even Queen Faces Funding Squeeze In Austerity Britain." The word has become so instantly ubiquitous that Leftie deadbeats are already opposed to it: "Austerity Protest Takes Place In Dublin." For the rentamob types, "austerity" is to this decade what "Bush" and "Iraq War" were to the last. It can't be long before grizzled old rockers are organizing some all-star Rock Against Austerity gala. By contrast, nobody seems minded to "speed austerity measures" over here. The word isn't part of the conversation – even though we're broke on a scale way beyond what Ireland or Portugal could ever dream of. The entire Western world is operating on an unsustainable business model: If it were Borders or Blockbuster, it would be hoping to close the Greek and Portuguese branches but maybe hold on to the Norwegian one. In hard reality, like Borders only the other day, it would probably wind up shuttering them all. The problem is structural: Not enough people do not enough work for not enough of their lives. Developed nations have 30-year-old students and 50-year old retirees, and then wonder why the shrunken rump of a "working" population in between can't make the math add up. By the way, demographically speaking, these categories – "adolescents" and "retirees" – are an invention of our own time: They didn't exist a century ago. You were a kid till 13 or so. Then you worked. Then you died. ... The president is said to be "the adult in the room" because he is reported to be in favor of raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. By the year 2036. If that's the best offer, there isn't going to be a 2036, not for America. As the Europeans are beginning to grasp, eventually "political reality" collides with real reality. The message from a delusional Washington these last weeks is that it won't be a gentle bump.

Death Toll Tops 80 in Homegrown Terror Attacks on Norway Capital, Youth Camp
Excerpt: A homegrown terrorist set off a deadly explosion in downtown Oslo before heading to a summer camp dressed as a police officer to commit one of the deadliest shooting sprees in history, killing at least 80 people as terrified youths ran and even swam for their lives, police said Friday. Police initially said about 10 were killed at the forested camp on the island of Utoya, but some survivors said they thought the toll was much higher. Police director Oystein Maeland told reporters early Saturday they had discovered many more victims. "It's taken time to search the area. What we know now is that we can say that there are at least 80 killed at Utoya," Maeland said. "It goes without saying that this gives dimensions to this incident that are exceptional." ... At least two Islamic extremist groups had tried to take credit for the attacks. Many intelligence analysts said they had never heard of Helpers of Global Jihad, which took initial credit. The Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam also took credit on some jihadist web sites. Norway has been grappling with a homegrown terror plot linked to Al Qaeda. Two suspects are in jail awaiting charges. Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported from the Scandinavian country. The indictment centered on statements that Mullah Krekar -- the founder of Ansar al-Islam -- made to various news media, including American network NBC. (Later reports indicate he was not a Muslim, but a nut who once belonged to a Nazi website, but also spouted some Zionist stuff. Now imagine the scenario I laid out in Collapse. Al Qaeda pays a drug cartel say $3M to smuggle in 20 terrorists and automatic weapons and explosives for them. They split into 5 groups of four and hit an elementary school, a casino, a sporting event and so on. How many dead would we have, at small cost to them? What would it do to our economy. Never mind if Iran, N. Korea or Pakistan gives them nukes. ~Bob.)

Great John Kass Column: Chicago needs school vouchers. And Rahm needs to meditate.
Excerpt: Mayor Rahm Emanuel certainly made news over his angry, finger-wagging scolding of NBC Chicago TV reporter Mary Ann Ahern the other day. Ahern dared ask the Rahmfather whether he'd send his kids to the public schools he controls. He reportedly became indignant, took off his microphone and ended the interview. ... Emanuel runs Chicago Public Schools. He's shown grit to stand publicly and admonish the teachers union to improve the product. But he decided his children will not attend the public schools. Instead, they'll travel across the city, from the Northwest Side to Hyde Park, as students of the exclusive, pricey and private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. (It's hardly fair to expect a wealthy Democrat, rich of Fannie Mae and politics, to send his kids to be taught by the Democrats in the teachers unions. They are for the poor and middleclass who can't afford good education for their kids--and for delivering the vote to Democrats in return for tax dollars. Want to bet Chicago isn't that different from Atlanta, if someone had the guts to buck the power and dig into it? ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Fast & Furious: The blame game
When even a Chicago paper that endorsed Obama is editorializing about it, this ain't going away. It may blow wide open, as the media can't ignore it as they wish. The administration was saying we need gun control because most Mexican drug cartel guns came from the US. They numbers didn't stand up. Then they start giving US guns to the cartels, to catch them with them. And we are to believe there is no connection? ~Bob. Excerpt: You've probably heard about the ATF operation called Operation Fast and Furious. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed guns to flow illegally into Mexico. The idea was to track the guns and snag some heavy-hitters in the Mexican drug cartels. The program backfired disastrously. ATF lost track of many of the approximately 1,700 guns once they crossed the border. ... Concealing documents. Stonewalling Congress. Attempting to protect political appointees. Hmm. Sure sounds like a classic cover-up after a classic screw-up. ... What's needed here is sunlight. Justice and ATF honchos have to make full public disclosure on F&F: Whose idea was it? How did it go awry? Let those who made terrible decisions suffer the consequences, no matter their political pedigrees. That's the best way to ensure something as boneheaded as Fast and Furious never happens again.

Boehner Ends Debt-Limit Talks With White House, Turns to Senate Leaders
Excerpt: House Speaker John Boehner on Friday pulled out of negotiations with President Obama on raising the nation's legal limit to borrow money, just days before the Aug. 2 deadline when the Treasury says the government will no longer be able to pay all its bills and possibly faces its first-ever default. "The White House moved the goal post," Boehner said Friday evening in a news conference, claiming that the talks broke down when the White House demanded an additional $400 billion in new revenues, on top of the $800 billion that had been agreed on -- "which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people," Boehner said. "They refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform," he added.

Excerpt: A self-proclaimed skinhead was knocked unconscious by a black man after threatening to stab him last weekend in Bayview, Idaho, officials said Friday. Daren Christopher Abbey, 28, was booked into jail on malicious harassment charge after being treated at a hospital for facial fractures, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. Abbey is accused of threatening to stab Marlon L. Baker, 46, inside J.D.'s Resort July 3 in Bayview after telling him he didn't belong in the bar because he was black, said Lt. Stu Miller. Baker left the bar to avoid a fight, but Abbey followed to a marina about 300 yards away, called him racial slurs and again threatened to stab him. ... Abbey apparently was unaware of the writing on the back of Baker's t-shirt: “Spokane Boxing Club champion.” (here's hoping some trial lawyer doesn't sue Baker. ~Bob.)

University of Alberta dean of medicine in midst of plagiarism scandal
Excerpt: When Philip Baker addressed the University of Alberta’s medical school graduates at a banquet last Friday, he had the audience hooked. The speech by the dean of the faculty was inspiring. To some, it was even familiar — smartphones in hand, they soon learned why. Dr. Baker is facing criticism and calls to resign after he admitted to lifting much of a speech delivered at the banquet from an American doctor’s graduation address at Stanford University last year, a talk that was later published in The New Yorker magazine. Graduates in attendance on Friday said they recognized the words dean Philip Baker was speaking and quickly searched a few phrases on their iPhones and BlackBerrys. One student’s brother found the speech on The New Yorker web site and followed along word for word. On Sunday, the dean issued an apology to students who had accused him of plagiarizing the speech from one originally penned by Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and writer for The New Yorker. In that original address, the doctor spoke of his wife’s miscarriages, his daughter’s dislocated elbow and heart defect. He invented a medical term “velluvial matrix” — all elements Dr. Baker used and did not attribute.

"Lest I keep my complacent way I must remember somewhere out there a person died for me today; As long as there must be war, I ask and I must answer, was I worth dying for?" --Eleanor Roosevelt

Consumer Confidence Falls to Another New Low, 63% Say Economy Getting Worse
Excerpt: After falling to a new two-year low on Friday, consumer confidence fell even further on Saturday. The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell three more points on Saturday to 64.8. That’s the lowest level of confidence recorded since July 10, 2009 and is down 29 points from this year’s high-water mark of 93.3. Consumer confidence is down four points from a week ago, down ten points from a month ago and down thirteen points from three months ago. Only 9% rate the economy as good or excellent while 61% say it’s in poor shape. Sixteen percent (16%) say it’s getting better while 63% believe it is getting worse.

68% Say School Discipline Is Too Easy These Days
Ya think? ~Bob. Excerpt: Most Americans think there's not enough discipline in public schools today and feel it's tougher for teachers to maintain control than it was when they were kids.

Mass Syrian protest against Assad regime adds to death toll
Excerpt: Hundreds of thousands of Syrians turned out for anti-regime demonstrations across the country on Friday with at least 11 people reported killed by security forces and tensions mounting in the runup to the Ramadan holiday. Casualty figures – collated by two Syrian human rights groups – were down on previous weeks but the numbers of demonstrators appeared to be some of the largest yet seen in the four-month uprising.

Galactic sized bathtub of water found in space
Excerpt: Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.

Walter Reed to close after more than a century
Excerpt: Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army's flagship hospital where privates to presidents have gone for care, is closing its doors after more than a century. Hundreds of thousands of the nation's war wounded from World War I to today have received treatment at Walter Reed, including 18,000 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Dwight Eisenhower died there. So did Gens. John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur.

Maxine Waters’ Ethics Trial Stalls. Again.
Excerpt: Waters is accused of using her influence to gain special treatment for Massachusetts-based bank OneUnited, which received $12 million in bailout funds. Changing a law was required in order to get them the money. Her husband, former Ambassador Sidney Williams, owned more than $350,000 in stock in the bank, and had also been a board member. Because of infighting following the November 2010 election, her trial had been postponed indefinitely. Waters is now seeking to have the case dismissed and is threatening legal action against the committee as well. (…) It’s notable that Waters is not asking for the case to be dismissed on the merits, but only because she claims she can no longer get a fair trial. (I’m curious what “court” she wants to bring suit in. Separation of powers means the Judiciary Branch has no authority to interfere with the internal workings of the Legislative Branch. Nor does the Executive. This is just a pre-election show to reassure the voters in her district, most of whom must already believe it’s all racism, anyway, or they wouldn’t have re-elected her in 2010. Ron P.)

Lame Duck President .
Excerpt: After listening to the President’s press conference today, let’s keep in mind the following: This is the same president who proposed an absurdly irresponsible budget that would increase our debt by trillions of dollars, and whose party failed to even put forward a budget in over 800 days! This is the same president who is pushing our country to the brink because of his reckless spending on things like the nearly trillion dollar “stimulus” boondoggle. This is the same president who ignored his own debt commission’s recommendations and demonized the voices of fiscal sanity who proposed responsible plans to reform our entitlement programs and rein in our dangerous debt trajectory. This is the same president who wanted to push through an increase in the debt ceiling that didn’t include any cuts in government spending! This is the same president who wants to slam Americans with tax hikes to cover his reckless spending, but has threatened to veto a bill proposing a balanced budget amendment. This is the same president who hasn’t put forward a responsible plan himself, but has rejected reasonable proposals that would tackle our debt. This is the same president who still refuses to understand that the American electorate rejected his big government agenda last November. As I said in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Tax Day Tea Party rally, “We don’t want it. We can’t afford it. And we are unwilling to pay for it.” Now the President is outraged because the GOP House leadership called his bluff and ended discussions with him because they deemed him an obstruction to any real solution to the debt crisis.

The Senate's Lawsuit Factory
Excerpt: Somewhere, in some secret drawer at Tort Bar Headquarters, is an instruction manual labeled "How To Wring Legal Jackpots Out of Congress." It reads something like this: 1) Identify a law or regulation that prevents trial lawyers from cashing in. 2) Identify a "victim" of this law or regulation. 3) Get congressional allies to turn said victim into a cause célèbre. 4) Use ensuing moral outrage to get the law or regulation changed. 5) Buy a yacht. It is to the trial bar's credit that it manages to pull this formula off again and again, even in today's more tort-reform environment. Consider Jamie Leigh Jones. Remember Ms. Jones? She's the former Kellogg, Brown & Root worker who in 2007 made the explosive claim that she'd been gang-raped by colleagues in Iraq's Green Zone. Pro-litigation politicians and lawyers seized on her story as an excuse to make it easier to sue federal contractors. And now comes the end of the tale: A Houston jury recently dismissed Ms. Jones's claims, unanimously finding (in one day's deliberation) that she had not been raped or defrauded by her employer. The Jones case played out in Washington in textbook trial-lawyer style. In recent years, one of the tort bar's top priorities has been getting rid of mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts.

Every mind has a choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, you can never have both. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gunmen kill Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran
Excerpt: Gunmen on motorcycles assassinated an Iranian nuclear physicist on Saturday, Iranian media reports said, in a killing that bore similarities to other slayings of scientists involved in the country's nuclear work in recent years. The semi-official ISNA news agency identified the victim as Darioush Rezaei, a 35-year-old physics professor involved in Iran's nuclear program, and said he was shot dead in front of his home in Tehran. Iran's official IRNA news agency also reported the killing but had few details on the attack or the man's background. Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been murdered in recent years in attacks that Iran has blamed on the U.S. and Israel, which both accuse Tehran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the cover of its civilian atomic energy program. Iran denies the accusations and says its program has entirely peaceful aims.

Cartoon Gallery: Obama vs. the Republicans cartoons

Worse Than Gunwalker? State Dept. Allegedly Sold Guns to Zetas
Unbelievable. But I didn't believe the first reports of "gunwalker" either. The press should be hammering the administration. ~Bob. Excerpt: Phil Jordan, a former CIA operative and one-time leader of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center, claims that the Obama administration is running guns to the violent Zetas cartel through the direct commercial sale of military grade weapons: Jordan, who served as director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center in 1995, said the Zetas have shipped large amounts of weapons purchased in the Dallas area through El Paso. Robert “Tosh” Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot, told the Times he supported Jordan’s allegations, adding that the Zetas have reportedly bought property in the Columbus, N.M., border region to stash weapons and other contraband. “From the intel, it appears that a company was set up in Mexico to purchase weapons through the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales Program, and that the company may have had a direct link to the Zetas.”

NATO kills 50 fighters, clears Afghan training camp
Excerpt: Foreign troops and Afghan special forces killed more than 50 insurgents during an operation in the east of Afghanistan to clear a training camp the Haqqani network used for foreign fighters, NATO said on Friday. The Haqqani network, considered one of the most dangerous militant groups fighting in Afghanistan, was responsible for several high-profile attacks, including the deadly raid on Kabul's Intercontinental hotel in June, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement. Disenfranchised insurgents told security forces where the Haqqani network camp was located in eastern Paktika province and the operation began late Wednesday and ended early Friday, the coalition said.

Prosthetic hand allows Medal of Honor recipient to return to war
Excerpt: The gold Medal of Honor drapes around Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry's neck, but it's his right hand -- a remarkable silver prosthetic -- that draws your eye. The hand can grasp a cup or offer a firm handshake, such as the one extended July 12 to President Barack Obama as the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army Ranger became the second living soldier since the Vietnam War era to receive the nation's highest military honor. All of these hand movements are directed by a network of sensors that pick up muscle contractions in Petry's arm. And the new hand allowed Petry, even after his injury, to return to front-line duty. In February, he embarked to Afghanistan for his eighth tour of duty to a war zone. Now, back from war, Petry can modify his prosthetic to improve on the hand for everyday life. In the kitchen, he sometimes unscrews the hand and selects the appropriate knife to insert into the prosthetic, which he then uses to help prepare dinner for his wife and four children. When out on the golf course, the 31-year-old Petry abandons the hand in favor of a small device formed from tube and pipe, which is attached to the prosthetic so that he can clasp his club. "I'm not very good at it, but I have fun with it," Petry said Tuesday in a meeting with reporters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "It's so relaxing and calming to get away from everything. ... And I've met so many great people golfing." Petry lost his hand on May 26, 2008, while grabbing a grenade that exploded as he tried to toss it away. For that action, credited with saving the lives of two other soldiers, he received the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony.

The cost of illegal aliens - A look at the numbers...

No comments:

Post a Comment