Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Political Digest for August 10, 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.

Long, but some great pieces today. ~Bob.

Seal Team Six
One difference from Vietnam is that we can hope the families of the dead will not receive sneering, gloating letters—unsigned of course—from the left. It appears they were caught in what in Vietnam was called a “helicopter trap.” If the NVA could locate, say, an 8-man recon team with large forces, they hit them with a small group, enough the team would know their mission was compromised and call for extraction or need a medevac. When the bird came in, they'd hit it with hidden machine guns, RPGs etc. that had been quiet so the team couldn’t warn the bird. We lost a lot of choppers that way, including many CH46s/47s like the one just shot down. Every Vietnam vet has a great respect from the chopper aircrews. Those of us not making air assaults in them are thankful. It’s called war, and men die. It’s not a video game. Below is Michael Yon describing an air assault mission in Afghanistan:

Excerpt: Some people say we should take a lesson from the Soviets on conquering Afghanistan, but that’s like saying Bill Gates should take business advice from someone who needs a micro-grant. Firstly, we are not trying to conquer Afghanistan, though the Soviets gave it a try. The Soviets used just about everything short of nuclear weapons yet utterly failed here in and around the Arghandab River Valley. They huffed and puffed and were blown away. The Soviets were militarily defeated and abandoned Afghanistan. That defeat radiated and the Soviet Union proved to be fissile; the USSR decayed and the rest is history still unfolding. More recently, the Canadians fought hard here, and were defeated. To say otherwise is born of ignorance, denial, or likely both. Bottom line in Afghanistan: If the Canadians had succeeded in their small piece of Afghan pie, I would likely be in RC-East for the Haqqani fight, but then the United States inherited the Canadian battlespace.

Interview with SEAL family (after ad)

Always worth reading: A Pyrrhic 'Victory' by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In Don Marquis' classic satirical book, "Archy and Mehitabel," Mehitabel the alley cat asks plaintively, "What have I done to deserve all these kittens?" That seems to be the pained reaction of the Obama administration to the financial woes that led to the downgrading of America's credit rating, for the first time in history. There are people who see no connection between what they have done and the consequences that follow. But Barack Obama is not likely to be one of them. He is a savvy politician who will undoubtedly be satisfied if enough voters fail to see a connection between what he has done and the consequences that followed. To a remarkable extent, he has succeeded, with the help of his friends in the media and the Republicans' failure to articulate their case. Polls find more people blaming the Republicans for the financial crisis than are blaming the President.

Also Worth Reading: Is Obama Smart?: A case study in stupid is as stupid does.
Excerpt: The aircraft was large, modern and considered among the world's safest. But that night it was flying straight into a huge thunderstorm. Turbulence was extreme, and airspeed indicators may not have been functioning properly. Worse, the pilots were incompetent. As the plane threatened to stall they panicked by pointing the nose up, losing speed when they ought to have done the opposite. It was all over in minutes.
Was this the fate of Flight 447, the Air France jet that plunged mysteriously into the Atlantic a couple of years ago? Could be. What I'm talking about here is the Obama presidency. When it comes to piloting, Barack Obama seems to think he's the political equivalent of Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager and—in a "Fly Me to the Moon" sort of way—Nat King Cole rolled into one. "I think I'm a better speech writer than my speech writers," he reportedly told an aide in 2008. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm . . . a better political director than my political director." On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game." Of course, it's tempting to be immodest when your admirers are so immodest about you. How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he's criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he's too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble; conservatives often seem to think his blunders, foreign and domestic, are all part of a cunning scheme to turn the U.S. into a combination of Finland, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. I don't buy it. I just think the president isn't very bright.

Always Good Stuff: Random Thoughts by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: President Obama often talks about wanting to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" but -- in his actual tax proposals -- higher taxes usually begin with couples earning $250,000 between them. Apparently that makes you a millionaire or a billionaire. … As the British have lost their empire and, more important, lost their respect for laws and standards, Britannia has gone from ruling the waves to waiving the rules. … The difference between mob rule and democracy was never more sharply demonstrated than by labor unions' attempts to prevent the Wisconsin voters' elected representatives from carrying out their official duties at the state Capitol. What would it matter what the voters want if any mob can stop it from happening? … Many liberals who consider themselves friends or allies of blacks are usually friends or allies of those particular blacks who are doing wrong things, often at the expense of other blacks. (Yes, I got my idea for doing occasional “random thoughts” columns from Sowell, though his are far better. ~Bob.)

Despite pledges from world leaders, global markets continue to fall
Excerpt: Pledges of action by world leaders, and a radical move by the European Central Bank to ease fears of an escalating debt crisis in the region by buying up the troubled debt of Italy and Spain, did not halt another day of bitter losses in global stock markets. The ECB signaled after an emergency meeting Sunday that that it would invest in European bond markets in a bid to prop up hard-hit Italy and Spain, Europe’s fourth- and fifth-largest economies, which are in the midst of a worsening financial crisis.

Cameron deploys 10,000 more police to stop London riots
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity. --W.B. Yates. Excerpt: Prime Minister David Cameron called Tuesday for an emergency session of Parliament and announced an almost tripling of police on London streets, after the capital and other British cities burned in this nation’s worst civil disturbances in decades. Cameron, who cut short a vacation in Italy on Monday night as the violence escalated, decried the “sickening scenes” of gangs of youths looting shops, setting businesses ablaze and clashing with police in neighborhoods across London. … The images of violence — with hundreds of youths looting shops, setting businesses ablaze and clashing with police in almost a dozen neighborhoods — deeply shocked Londoners, dealing the city an enormously damaging blow less than a year before the start of the Olympics.

London riots: Before-and-after images
Excerpt: Burned-out shells are all that remain of some buildings targeted in riots in parts of London over the weekend. Google's Streetview offers a reminder of how the buildings looked before they were attacked.

Tweet from @adamsbaldwin Adam Baldwin
Presumably, London-type riots would not last long in either Texas, or Arizona.

London police, residents gird for violence
Video. Note the horses have eye shields. –Barb. Where is Mayor Richard J. “Shoot-to-kill_ Daley when he’s needed? ~Bob.

Caught On Tape: Philadelphia Teen Mob Attack
http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/caught-on-tape%3A-philadelphia-teen-mob-attack-080811 Fox 29 has obtained video of an attack on a bystander in Philadelphia's Old City by teens from a charter school group that received a $1 million donation from Oprah Winfrey. The incident happened on the afternoon of July 29th near 4th and Spruce Streets, and just blocks from the location of the Mastery Charter High School. That was the same day that saw violent attacks near
Chestnut Street
in Center City that injured two other bystanders.

Lessons from a Milwaukee Mob
Excerpt: On August 4, 2011, the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair, the worst race riot in Wisconsin history occurred. As darkness fell over the amusement park area known as the Midway before closing time, hundreds of young blacks swarmed out into the parking lot, seeking out white fairgoers to attack -- pulling people off their bikes, out of their cars, to knock them to the ground and beat them: with fists and whatever blunt instruments they had handy.( Does this ring a bell? "Police are blaming riots and looting in London and other United Kingdom cities on flash mobs organized with social media like..." How about ACORN and other community organizing groups that are endorsed and breathed into existence by Barack Obama. Community organizing is the salient item on Obama's resume! He -- along with his known terrorist friends William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn -- supported the mobs in Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc, and because he subscribes to Rev. Wright's Black Liberation Theology, there can be no doubt that wherever in the world a group of blacks (the mobs in England are ALL black) attack whites, his heart is with THEM, not US. A while back there were attacks like this in Chicago, but smaller.  If they are still going on, they are not being reported. The mayor of Chicago may have stopped them. --Don Hank)

INSTANT CLASSIC: Rush Reads Six Pages of Headlines of Obama Blaming Others

The Taboo on Mentioning Black Mob Violence
Excerpt: If you point out a wave of racial mob violence, you are "race-baiting," according to several liberal commentators. Perhaps these liberals are the ones Attorney General Holder referred to when he called ours a "nation of cowards." The wave of racist violence committed by black flash mobs is different from any other form of racism today. The neglected social problem of racial mob violence is unique in its organization, the high numbers of people involved, the intensity of the violence, and the stark racial impact of that violence. The violence is also unique in that it has been purposefully obscured by the mainstream media, with the editor of the Chicago Tribune, among others, saying that his paper will not report on the race of the attackers. The hateful murders of Matthew Shephard, who was gay, and James Byrd, Jr., who was black, were memorialized with national legislation. When similar crimes are committed by blacks against whites, they are greeted with ignominious silence. Just ask your friends how many of them are familiar with the murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome, or David Graham. How many are familiar with Hoang Nguyen, who was killed in a senseless "game" called the knock-out game, in which mostly black attackers attack mostly non-black victims?

10 key reasons why the Obama presidency continues to melt down
Excerpt: President Obama: has lost control (Photo: Reuters)In August last year I published a list of ten key reasons why the Obama presidency was in serious decline. This is a sequel to that post, which was one of the most read pieces on The Telegraph website in 2010. Twelve months on, the outlook continues to look exceedingly bleak for President Obama, with no sign of a recovery. July was the worst month for the Obama presidency since the November mid-terms which saw his party emphatically drubbed in Congressional elections across the country. The president hit an all-time low with a Gallup poll at the end of the month giving him just 40 percent approval, with his rating among independents plummeting to just 34 percent. The outlook became even worse at the start of August, with dramatic falls in the stock market, and the historic decision by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s to downgrade America’s debt. As the latest RealClear Politics average of polls shows, less than a quarter of Americans believe the country is moving in the “right direction,” a damning indictment of the first 30 months of the Obama presidency. According to Rasmussen, that figure is as low as 14 percent, the lowest level of public confidence since November 2008. I’ve outlined below ten key reasons why the Obama presidency continues to flounder, after a very short-lived bounce in the spring.

President Blah Blah Blah
Excerpt: President Blah, Blah, Blah got in front of the television cameras midday on Monday to say the usual meaningless things he has been saying since he was elected, none of which are true and none of which have been able to hide the fact that he has driven the nation into the ditch with a lot of help from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Over the weekend he unleashed the White House attack dogs to blame the nation’s problems on the Tea Party when, of course, it was his administration that added three trillion to our debt. After a while we just stop listening to what a president says; especially if we have concluded he is either clueless or has a hidden agenda. “If his lips are moving, he’s lying” is an old cliché, but it fits President Barack Hussein Obama because it is quite likely that no one believes him any more with the exception of the usual brain-dead liberals who still think he is a genius. So far he has shown a genius for increasing the debt and the unemployment numbers. This is a man who was still talking about electric cars, high speed trains, and renewable energy while the price of gas continued to increase along with everything else. On Monday he was still talking about the nation’s infrastructure as a source of jobs even after recently admitting there were few “shovel ready” projects. Tired ideas, ideas that don’t work, repeated over and over again. President Obama has been boring people from the day he took office. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” The oceans have been rising a few centimeters every century and the planet is just fine. His election did not transform either the laws of nature or physics.

Did Newsweek choose Michele Bachmann cover photo to make her ‘look crazy’?
Just the usual. why no one reads it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Another Newsweek cover controversy is brewing--and once again, it involves women. A month after editor-in-chief Tina Brown Photoshopped the late Princess Diana walking alongside Kate Middleton onto the cover of Newsweek, sparking outrage among fans, Brown is drawing the ire of the tea party for selecting a photo of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for Newsweek's cover that makes the 2012 Republican hopeful look, well, crazy. The photo of Bachmann, shot in Washington on Aug. 1 by photographer Chris Buck, accompanies a cover story by Lois Romano entitled "The Queen of Rage."

Santelli: If it wasn’t for the Tea Party we’d be rated BBB (Video at Link)
Santelli slams the Obama administration for playing the blame game over the downgrade to our credit rating, noting that even if you think it’s a bad call, you don’t beat up the other coach or take the umpire out behind the barn. And he also points out that without Tea Party, we would’ve had a clean debt ceiling increase and our credit rating would have likely been dropped even lower to BBB. Listen to the end to hear his great analogy why we have a spending problem:
“Intolerant liberals” is redundant, in most cases. ~Bob. Excerpt: The problem you’ve described stems from a convergence of four factors that are far more prevalent today than at any time in the past seven decades, possibly since the Civil War (although I can’t speak personally of that era: I don’t go back that far). They are (1) the increasingly high concentration of liberals in certain sectors of the economy; (2) the militant intolerance displayed by liberals; (3) the steep decline in civility everywhere, including the workplace; and (4) the lowering of barriers to discussions of topics that were, in the not-so-distant past, deemed off-limits, especially in the workplace, but even at social gatherings in general: politics, sex, one’s earnings, and one’s religious beliefs. This is a toxic confluence of trends that afflicts our professional and social lives and results in a less tolerant environment in which one’s “zone of privacy” is far narrower than ever before.

White House Rules by Fiat Once Again
Excerpt: In the shadow of yesterday's disastrous Wall Street meltdown and President Barack Obama's address to the nation, a lesser-noticed piece of news emerged from the Obama Administration: By executive fiat, the White House is once again circumventing Congress in the name of advancing the President's agenda. It's a story we've heard before. Where President Obama can't legislate, he will use executive branch action to accomplish his agenda. In the past, he has applied that tactic in the auto bailout, EPA regulations, and Obamacare. Now he's using this approach to remake No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—the most significant K-12 education law—by granting states conditional waivers from the onerous provisions of NCLB in exchange for adopting a yet-to-be-specified set of executive branch education policy priorities. The news came in an announcement from the Department of Education: With the new school year fast approaching and still no bill to reform the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration will provide a process for states to seek relief from key provisions of the law, provided that they are willing to embrace education reform.

Education Department Allows States to Get Waivers on No Child Tests
Excerpt: The Obama administration effectively gutted the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law Monday, giving states a way out of a decade-long policy that focused on holding schools accountable but labeled many of them failures even if they made progress. To get a waiver from the program, however, states must agree to a host of education reforms the White House favors -- from tougher evaluation systems for teachers and principals to programs tackling the achievement gap for minority students. (I didn't know this was in that law. Maybe they’ve confused executive waivers with the Presidential power of pardons. Now that the teachers are paid off, who's next? Ron P.)

Reviewing the Resumes: The Politicized Hiring of Eric Holder’s Voting Section
Excerpt: Eric Holder’s Justice Department wields enormous power over the American political landscape heading into the 2012 elections. Under the Voting Rights Act, sixteen states must submit any election law change to the Justice Department for approval. The law also gives the states the right to go to federal court for approval instead. States need to understand the biographies of the DOJ officials who will be responsible for managing the review of these submissions. PJM has learned their backgrounds weigh in favor of bypassing the DOJ and going straight to court. PJM has been investigating an unprecedented hiring blitz by the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department since Obama’s inauguration. In these lean economic times, Eric Holder went on a hiring frenzy, bringing over 130 high-paid government attorneys onto the federal payroll. After the Bush administration was accused of hiring some attorneys for ideological reasons, PJM requested the resumes of the new Obama hires back in the summer of 2010. The Bush administration satisfied similar media requests within weeks, but a lawsuit had to be filed to dislodge the resumes from the Most Transparent Administration in History. The resumes were only recently turned over — but redacted. (OMG! And this is just one small area of DOJ. I have to think the rest is just the same. 2nd column in a series; contains a link to the first, as well. Ron P. No surprises here. As usual, the media ignores Obama actions they would have blasted Bush for. ~Bob.)

Governors Break Gridlock, Still Can't Satisfy Voters
Excerpt: If states are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, the results of the latest experiments can’t be encouraging to congressional lawmakers grappling with the budget deficit. Walker was one of a number of new governors who inherited nine and 10-digit budget deficits when they arrived in January. Whether they pursued the tea party prescription of deep budget cuts, the Democrats’ preferred strategy of tax hikes, or a combination, the public has proved equally ungrateful. (Voters like spending, they don’t like spending cuts or taxes. It’s why we are in this mess. ~Bob.)

Memo to Incumbents: Tread Lightly
Although clearly a leftist (he thinks the stimulus was too small), there are many valid points in this column. Ron P. Excerpt: Until the bottom fell out of the stock market, the partisanship and dysfunction in Washington appalled many Americans, but seemed abstract. It’s more relevant now. Voters see real consequences when they look at their retirement funds; they see themselves as paying the price for the partisan games that politicians play. To them, it seems unreasonable to expect a AAA bond rating when leaders from both parties and both ends of
Pennsylvania Avenue
are turning in single ‘A’ performances.

Syrian death toll rises as Arab states protest
Excerpt: Syria defied Arab isolation and mounting international anger on Monday as President Bashar al-Assad's security forces continued attacks on pro-democracy protesters across the country. The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, urged al-Assad to return his troops to barracks and release all prisoners, one of the bluntest demands yet made of the Syrian leader, after regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia led a rare chorus of Arab states in condemning the repression. Reports from Deir al-Zor described artillery and heavy machinegun fire and snipers on roofs as troops and intelligence agents carried out mass arrests in the north-eastern city. On Sunday, 42 people were killed there, nudging the death total during five months of the uprising to more than 2,000. (…) Speaking on state TV, commentator Samir Shehadi warned that Syria would in future support Shia protestors in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in retaliation for their stand. Neighbouring Jordan also expressed concern for the first time. (Part of the problem here is the dearth of reliable sources of news. Syria is, after all, a dictatorship with all the control of information that implies. Syria remains the only place we can weaken the Iranians outside Iran's borders. Note to leftists: THIS is what a dysfunctional political system looks like; ours simply limits what can be done by the government to what the governed are willing to consent to through their elected representatives. I'd bet a whole lot of Syrians would trade their daughters' virtue to live under our kind of "dysfunctional" system. Ron P.)

Pressure Mounts in House to End August Recess
Excerpt: “I’d say that we ought to come back to work, but I’m afraid they’d just downgrade us again.” -- House Republican leadership aide joking with Power Play about the prospects of lawmakers cutting short their August recesses After a brutal legislative month surrounding the federal debt limit, House conservatives want lawmakers to return to Washington to try to press their advantage against a weakened President Obama. With the downgrading of federal debt for the first time in history, markets in turmoil and a super committee on deficits soon to convene, fired-up conservative lawmakers say that this is no time for a recess.

Libyan Rebels Dissolve Cabinet Amid Discord
You remember Obama’s “days, not weeks, no-fly-zone” war? It was in all the papers, as Mark Steyn says. Well, it’s not going well. Not that the public cares. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rebel leaders dissolved their own cabinet on Monday, in an effort to placate the family of an assassinated rebel military leader and quiet discord in a movement already struggling to remove the country’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from power. A rebel spokesman said that the prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, the only member of the cabinet who kept his job, would have to present a new slate of cabinet members to the rebel legislative body, the Transitional National Council, for approval in the coming days. The cabinet was dissolved, the spokesman said, “for improper administrative procedures” that led to the arrest and subsequent killing of the military leader, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, a former top Libyan commander who defected to the rebel side.

Business Who Made Nearly a $1 Billion Bet on U.S. Debt Downgrade?
Excerpt: In the first trading day following S&P’s announcement that the U.S. government credit rating would go from Triple-A down to AA+, U.S. stocks have sharply declined and investors are scrambling to rid themselves of risky assets. With Wall Street in disarray, one investor is smiling after having walked away from the crisis possibly 10 billion dollars richer. ETF Daily News reports that the investor bet on the downgrade, and is now heavily benefiting from it: “Someone dropped a bomb on the bond market Thursday – a $1 billion Armageddon trade betting the United States will lose its AAA credit rating. In one moment, an invisible trader placed a single trade that moved the most liquid debt market in the world. The massive trade wasn’t placed in bonds themselves; it was placed in the futures market. The trade was for block trades of 5,370 10-year Treasury futures executed at 124-03 and 3,100 Treasury bond futures executed at 125-01.” Jack Barnes of Money Morning suggests hedge fund manager John Paulson, Bill Gross’s PIMCO, or U.S. and Chinese central banks could be the betters, as they are some of only a few shops or central banks that could even take on such a level of market risk. Barnes notes that Paulson made about $6 billion on a similar trade not too long ago when he bet against subprime mortgages, the investments that helped bring down Lehman Brothers in 2008. That seems plausible. But there is one more possibility. At least one outlet is suggesting that liberal financier and billionaire investor George Soros could be the one.

The Dow Lost 634 Points Today
Excerpt: The president can go around quoting Warren Buffett and calling us a “AAA nation” all he wants. But if our government was run along European parliamentary lines and Obama was the prime minister, there would have already been a vote of no confidence to drive him from office by now. The Constitution he seems to despise so much is the only thing keeping him in power after the last couple of weeks. It was clear during the debt ceiling debate that not only was not leading, he wasn’t even capable of leading. Every time he spoke his own poll numbers went south. Now, he has shown even less ability to lead, by making no substantive moves at all to calm the markets. He was silent for days while his political team engaged in one of the most obviously dishonest responses in living memory, and then he was late to his own speech today. Everything shouts instability. One move he could have made was to fire Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner and replace him with someone with something approximating an actual strong reputation. That would have at least shown that the president’s head wasn’t in a golf round or in his fundraisers tonight, and was engaged in our economic problems. That would have been the easy move, but the president didn’t do it. To date, he has done nothing else. (I called my broker to ask what I should do, but I couldn’t hear him. It was that windy out on the ledge. ~Bob.)

Fascist Fairy Tales--- Once upon a time, there lived a Good Prince. Wait! Make it a Bad Prince!
Excerpt: The collapse of the Cult of Obama is triggering a variety of reactions from its erstwhile followers. Some, such as Jacob Weisberg (see our Friday column), attempt to resolve the cognitive dissonance between the reality of Obama and their idealized image of him by taking refuge in extreme oikophobia. They lash out at the American people for being unworthy of the great leader that they still imagine Obama to be. On Saturday the Daily Beast carried this to its reductio ad absurdum, publishing an article by liberal Republican Charles Fried titled "Obama Is Too Good for Us." Another approach was on display in a fascinating if overlong op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times. The article, by Emory University psychologist and Democratic tactician Drew Westen, weighed in at a morbidly obese 3,300 words, leading us to wonder if the Times has had to cut back on its budget for editors. Still, amid all the excess verbiage, there is some very revealing stuff. Westen acknowledges having been a follower of the Cult of Obama. Unlike Weisberg, he has a moment of clarity in which he acknowledges the disconnect between the fantasy Obama and the real one:

Welcome to the AA+ presidency
AA+? Actually we are rated BBB—Busted By Barack. ~Bob. Excerpt: A few months ago, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner predicted with unshakable confidence that there was “no risk” of a downgrade of US debt. In fact, he argued, “Things are better than they’ve been if you want to think about the prospects for improving our long-term fiscal position.” In his self-assured cluelessness, Geithner reflected the president he serves. Upon taking office, President Obama gravely misread the historic moment. He has brought us to a dangerous pass where a few slips -- another sharp recession, a spike in interest rates -- could bring on another terrifying economic crisis. To borrow his own put-down of Congress during the debt-ceiling fight, he’s an AA+ president of an AAA country. Financial crises like that of 2008 always create vast overhangs of debt, but Obama believed he should heedlessly add more. And he’s never once “pivoted” to responsibility. In February, six months before the downgrade, Obama offered a budget that increased spending and the debt. After 10 years, the deficit still would have been more than $1 trillion. In April, four months before the downgrade, Obama delivered a gimmicky budget speech with no specifics. On April 11, just seven days before S&P assigned a negative outlook to our AAA rating, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president wanted a debt-ceiling increase with no deficit reduction whatsoever. Now that the downgrade is upon us, the administration is lashing out. It reeks of desperation and blame-shifting, but, hey, this is the way the game is played down at AA+.

Fleeing another leftist paradise. This could be said about California or Illinois too. As the productive leave, the situation spirals downward. ~Bob. Excerpt: I was trying to imagine why 1.6 million people left New York over the last decade and came up with a few thoughts (“NY Turns Into Flee Market,” Aug. 3). New York has the highest taxes and an unfriendly business environment. It’s a mecca of liberalism and political corruption. It has strict gun control, but only for law-abiding citizens, and no death penalty. New York is one of three states that didn’t dump their incumbents in last November’s election. And, finally, there are traffic and tolls everywhere you turn. Goodbye, New York. Hello to the South. --John Comparetto, Calabash, NC

Mike’s got to face the poverty facts
Excerpt: Last Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced a $127 million Young Men’s Initiative -- funded half by his philanthropies and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, and half by the city -- aimed at connecting “at risk” black and Latino youth to employment and careers. Though surely well-intended, this latest Bloomberg social-engineering effort is mistaken in several painful ways. The failure to include poor white and Asian men -- which perpetuates the racial stereotyping that the mayor and Soros claim to be fighting -- is only the most obvious. Worse, Bloomberg hasn’t learned from the failure of his last anti-poverty initiative, which gave cash rewards to poor families and/or their children for doctors visits, prenatal care, good grades and so on. That program had no impact because it didn’t change the family dynamic. The new initiative gives young men incentives to “stay involved” with their children -- but it does nothing to encourage them to marry the mothers and stay married. That is, it doesn’t target the overwhelming issue in persistent poverty. Unmarried women with children are at a disadvantage (and not merely financial) compared to two-parent households. “Serial parents” -- men with children with different mothers; women with children with different fathers -- are as much a menace to family stability as are absent fathers.

They Once Loved Jimmy, Too--- Like Obama, Carter enjoyed the intellectuals' favor.
Excerpt: In a polarized nation, on the eve of another divisive contest for the White House, those seeking a unified America are not without hope. For amid the partisan bickering, there remains one principle on which all Americans are agreed: Any comparison to Jimmy Carter is always and everywhere a put-down. Given Mr. Carter's Democratic affiliation, it's mostly Republicans and conservatives who traffic in Jimmy Carter allusions. That makes for something of a yawn, as Mitt Romney is finding out with his claim that the community organizer from Chicago is worse than the peanut farmer from Georgia. More in the man-bites-dog category is when one of Mr. Obama's own sticks the Carter tag on him. So it must have stung when the New York Times's Maureen Dowd recently quoted an unnamed Democratic senator moaning that "we are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes." She was not alone. Eric Alterman earlier this year weighed in with a column in U.S. News whose headline declares, "Obama's Awful '70s Show Echoes Jimmy Carter." The unkindest cut of all comes from Zbigniew Brzezinski—Jimmy Carter's national security adviser and one of the first to hop aboard the Obama bandwagon—who on MSNBC last month brought up the word most associated with Mr. Carter, though he never actually said it: "malaise." Many have noticed this trend. Few appear to appreciate that the record shows an even stronger parallel between Messrs. Obama and Carter.

How Silent Cal Beat a Recession: The late president inherited a bad economy, and he cut taxes and slashed spending to spur growth.
Must have been a Fox-News-Watching, Tea Party Terrorist! ~Bob. Excerpt: Eighty-eight years ago this week, Calvin Coolidge took office upon the sudden death of President Warren Harding. Like the current administration, the Harding-Coolidge administration faced a tough recession from 1919-1921. But unlike the current administration, the Harding-Coolidge and Coolidge-Dawes administrations cut taxes, balanced budgets and slashed government spending, reducing federal debt by over a third in a decade. The economy grew, averaging just over 7% from 1924 to 1929, the years of his presidency. So did Coolidge's popularity. He was so popular that even during the Great Depression's height song-writer Cole Porter compared his lover to the "Coolidge dollar." … In Coolidge's time, as now, the educated class harbored contempt for the philosophic underpinnings of our republic and for those who would defend them.

Interesting: Global Economic Downturn: A Crisis of Political Economy
Excerpt: Classical political economists like Adam Smith or David Ricardo never used the term “economy” by itself. They always used the term “political economy.” For classical economists, it was impossible to understand politics without economics or economics without politics. The two fields are certainly different but they are also intimately linked. The use of the term “economy” by itself did not begin until the late 19th century. Smith understood that while an efficient market would emerge from individual choices, those choices were framed by the political system in which they were made, just as the political system was shaped by economic realities. For classical economists, the political and economic systems were intertwined, each dependent on the other for its existence. The current economic crisis is best understood as a crisis of political economy. Moreover, it has to be understood as a global crisis enveloping the United States, Europe and China that has different details but one overriding theme: the relationship between the political order and economic life. On a global scale, or at least for most of the world’s major economies, there is a crisis of political economy. Let’s consider how it evolved.

It's ‘crazy’ to ignore Shariah
Excerpt: more compelling justification would be if we were fighting to prevent the success of those who, like the Taliban, adhere to the politico-military-legal doctrine they call shariah. According to that doctrine, the entire world - not just Afghanistan - must submit to divine dictates as recounted by Mohammed and refined, interpreted and applied for over 1400 years by Muslim rulers (caliphs), scholars, institutions and jihadists. It is the particular mission of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, notably al Qaeda, to accomplish this objective and establish a new, global caliphate to rule in accordance with shariah. Unfortunately, many in this country remain clueless about this threat. A particularly egregious example of official willful blindness was evident in an outburst last week by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In response to criticism that he had appointed to his state's superior court a Muslim lawyer known for his ties to shariah-adherent terrorists and their sympathizers, Christie declaimed: "[This] shariah-law business is crap...and I'm tired of dealing with the crazies!"

Families of suicide bombers given £5m in British aid cash
Excerpt: British aid cash is being given to the families of suicide bombers, it was claimed last night. The Palestinian Authority, which gets £86million of British aid a year, has authorised payments of almost £5million to the families of ‘martyrs’. Another £3million has been given to 5,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The payments, using taxpayers’ cash donated from Britain and the European Union, have been described as ‘ludicrous’ by one Tory MP.

Tampa Police crime scene tech now admits "fear of Muslim reprisal" in honor killing classified as accidental death
Excerpt: Tampa Police CSI tech admits “fear of Muslim reprisal” in Palestinian woman’s death. Florida Family Association asks Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate. Florida Family Association (FFA) now has direct evidence that officials with the Tampa Police Department are intimidated by the possible involvement of religious creed in the death of the Palestinian woman named Fatima Abdallah. The Tampa Police Department claims that Fatima Abdallah killed herself by repeatedly beating her head against a coffee table. FFA and numerous other organizations call that assertion preposterous. Florida Family Association contends that Fatima Abdallah died as the result of an honor killing and not an accident. Florida Family Association’s full report on the mishandling of the death of Fatimah Abdallah is posted here at Floridafamily.org

Excerpt: A vendor who parked his buns on Central Park West a decade ago and hasn't moved since has become a 24-hour hot-dog hotel, disgusted neighbors say.
And if you dare criticize him, he'll roast you with racism. "He's there 24/7, day and night. It's a pig sty," said neighbor Reinhart Nitzl of the fixture on the corner of West 86th Street. "I see that guy sleeping in there." But the dog-slinging cart owner, Mohamed Abdalla, a native of Egypt, claims the clamor is just an anti-Muslim conspiracy. Sounding like he knows a thing or two about bigotry, Abdalla, 60, ranted that his cart is opposed by "homosexuals," "Jewish people," ignorant bureaucrats, "rich people" and freebie-seeking doormen. "The people at the Health Department are not educated, and it's a blessing to them that they get a job," Abdalla told The Post. "When the Jewish people complain, they say, F--k Mohamed. Who's stronger?"

DEA now linked to "Fast & Furious" ..On the record
Excerpt: It would appear that the DEA does not want to be the fall guy in Operation Fast & Furious*, either: DEA head Michele M. Leonhart admitted in a letter to Senator Grassley (Judiciary) and Rep. Issa (Oversight) that her organization was in fact involved in the investigation, and provided support for it. This is a significant admission by Ms. Leonhart, given that (as Bob Owens** of Pajamas Media reminds us) there is an existing allegation by the former head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (BATFE) Phoenix office that the DEA was a full partner in the proceedings.

The Top 5 Ways The Tea Partiers Are Ruining America
Excerpt: If it wasn't for those darn Tea Partiers, we’d already be in Obamatopia with unicorn-powered cars and an economy driven to new heights by unity, hope, and most importantly, THE POWER OF LOVE. Why, oh why, do those Tea Partiers want to ruin all that? Why can't they be more agreeable and civilized -- like Meghan McCain or David Frum? Worse yet, their numbers seem to be growing. According to Gallup, there are now as many people who consider themselves to be Tea Partiers as there are people who consider themselves to be liberals. Obviously there can be only one reason for that: the incredible, pro-conservative bias of the American press. Well, never fear, friends -- for today you will read the truth spoken to power! Feel free to pat me on the back for my stunning courage at any time.

The Bitter Fruit of Insolvency
Excerpt: If a nation wishes to maintain its solvency and continue to expand its economy, it should not experience deficits higher than 3% of its Gross Domestic Product and, in today's quasi-welfare societies, unemployment rates above 6 to 7%. On an aggregate basis, a combination of these percentages should always remain below 10. The higher this "National Insolvency Index" above 10, the greater the problems that country is experiencing, and if that index remains above 10 for three years or more the viable solutions to solve the dilemmas will be increasingly difficult to enact.
The United States has not only one of the worst National Insolvency Indices in the world since 2009 -- the year Barack Obama assumed office -- but the most dismal picture imaginable over the next ten plus years assuming nothing is changed. (The lesson we were supposed to learn from the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, Mao's China, etc, was that socialism, i.e., a command economy, can never work under any circumstances and never has. Note the extreme diversity of the conditions, economic, cultural, linguistic, etc, in just those 4 examples. That's all the trappings of a controlled experiment and the disastrous results have been IN for decades. Yet to hear the Democrats talk, you'd think those planned economies were just the greatest and the results couldn't have been better. What's worse, as we import these failed ideas to our shores, we are seeing the most grandiose colossal economic and financial flop the world has ever known. Experts of a wide variety of backgrounds are unanimous in this assessment. Why don't the graduates of our most expensive institutes of higher indoctrination -- oops, I beg your pardon, learning -- understand basic math? Will hunger be our final teacher? Did it have to come to this? --Don Hank)

America Will Not Have a King
Excerpt: This afternoon a little after noon Eastern time, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, made a colossal mistake, based upon regal presumptions. Because he apparently sees himself as King of America -- with all the regal perks, privileges, and allegiances -- he approached the TV network microphones with the idea that a few soothing words from him and the market on Wall Street would rebound. CBS-TV network ran a running tally of the market's reaction in the lower right hand corner of the screen as the President King spoke. Wall Street was not impressed. Perhaps they were not impressed because he ran off-track with his first few words. Either the current President of the United States is so badly served by those around him, or is deliberately ignorant of the facts behind America's downgrade by Standard & Poors, whom, incidentally he verbally backhanded by calling them "some rating agency." Someone needs to inform the President King that America received its AA+ verses AAA+ rating not because of the political squabbles in Washington -- he went on to make it clear this was the Republicans' fault -- but because, according to S&P, in passing the latest bill and debt ceiling raise the Congress did not come up with an organized plan to solve America's growing debt problem. Not long after that he mysteriously tied together the idea that by having the Congress extend unemployment benefits and taxing the rich, that would create more jobs. Apparently, if you are King you can tie together nonsense notions and they become true. It's good to be King. Someone close to the President King might also whisper in his imperial ear that it is not helpful to speak one moment about the need for bipartisan efforts, and then in the next breath bash the other party. Even Kings are not able to bridge the gulf of back-biting and non-cooperation that creates.

Obama plan: Destroy Romney
Excerpt: Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s reelection campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early-stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee. The dramatic and unabashedly negative turn is the product of political reality. Obama remains personally popular, but pluralities in recent polling disapprove of his handling of his job, and Americans fear the country is on the wrong track. His aides are increasingly resigned to running for reelection in a glum nation. And so the candidate who ran on “hope” in 2008 has little choice four years later but to run a slashing, personal campaign aimed at disqualifying his likeliest opponent. (The frightening thing about this isn’t the personal demonization, that’s just standard leftist politics, it’s that the Democrats are openly and publicly adopting this as their preferred main tactic. I’m not a big Romney fan, but I could live with him as nominee and/or President. The real message here is that no matter who the Republicans nominate, that person will be portrayed as Satan’s younger, more ambitious sibling by the Democrats and their lapdog media. Is there a way to fight fire with fire? Ron P.)

Conquering the Storm
In the coming days we’ll sort through the repercussions of S&P’s downgrade of our credit rating, including concerns about the impact a potential interest rate increase would have on our ability to service our suffocating $14.5 trillion debt. I’m surprised that so many people seem surprised by S&P’s decision. Weren’t people paying attention over the last year or so when we were getting warning after warning from various credit rating agencies that this was coming? I’ve been writing and speaking about it myself for quite some time. Back in December 2010, I wrote: “If the European debt crisis teaches us anything, it’s that tomorrow always comes. Sooner or later, the markets will expect us to settle the bill for the enormous Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending binge.

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