Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Political Digest for August 2, 2011

Long Digest today, with a lot of interesting pieces, as I was off-line for two days. Some may be dated, but still I think of interest. ~Bob.

Must read: A Post-American Planet: Decline starts with the money, but it doesn’t stop there. By Mark Steyn.
Excerpt: That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the “debt ceiling” negotiations the other day: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.” It’s always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to the House minority leader for putting it in layman’s terms: What’s at stake is “life on this planet as we know it today.” So, if right now you’re living anywhere in the general vicinity of this planet, it’s good to know Nancy’s in there pitching for you. (Steyn is one of the few on even the conservative side who truly gets it. His security is tight. I’d love to put a copy of Collapse on his desk, but can’t get an address. He lives, I believe, in NH. If anyone has suggestions, let me know. ~Bob.)

Notice: The Collapse has been slightly postponed to allow the situation to worsen. ~Bob. Excerpt: Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) tells reporters that she hasn’t seen all the details of the final proposal, and couldn’t guarantee her support, or the support of her caucus. “We all might not be able to support it, or none of us may be able to support it,” she said. Clearly, a significant chunk of Pelosi’s caucus is outraged. Progressive Caucus chairman Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) said the proposed deal “trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it.” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D., Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called it “a sugar-coated Satan sandwich.” The two chairmen have scheduled a joint-press conference on Monday to call on President Obama to raise the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th amendment.

Excerpt: Any doubts that this country has an insular, inept, and cataclysmically dysfunctional political class were erased long ago, but it bears repeating that only in certain elite precincts could any of the debt ”deals” discussed over the last month be seen as anything but a juvenile, cosmetic solution to a real and titanic problem. That problem isn’t going away simply because the political crisis may be pushed (the president hopes) beyond the 2012 election. The federal government receives approximately $2.2 trillion in taxes (or, as the president prefers and Republicans parrot, “revenues”). Medicare and Social Security alone eat up $1.5 trillion of that. Our unfunded entitlement liabilities are more than $100 trillion. Yet last night the president of the United States crowed that the tentative deal makes only ”modest” reforms to entitlements, as if any tinkering with entitlements were nothing more than a bothersome political maneuver designed merely to curry favor with tea-party tightwads. Under the latest “deal,” we are told, federal spending will be cut approximately $2.7 trillion. That’s false. We’re going to pretend to cut $2.7 trillion, which is somehow meant to be a greater achievement than pretending to cut $1.5 trillion, but not as great as pretending to cut $4 trillion, which is what the rating agencies would prefer. In reality (that benighted realm that exists outside the District of Columbia), spending will increase by about $6,000,000,000,000. … So will our creditors — including those countries whose geopolitical interests don’t necessarily align with ours. In particular, they will be watching as we slash our defense spending at the same time new threats emerge around the world. Some of those countries will place strategic bets. Those bets will not be made the same way they would have been during American ascendancy.

Durbin: Debt Deal Will Be The Death Of Keynesian Economics
I wish. You can never drive a steak into Keynesian economics, because like Communism, the Fountain of Youth or free money for everyone, it sounds so good, even though the results are disaster. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Republicans are killing Keynesian economics with their attempt to cut spending as the economy rebounds from a recession, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a floor speech on Sunday. "I would say ... that symbolically, that agreement is moving us to the point where we are having the final interment of John Maynard Keynes," he said, referring to the British economist. "He normally died in 1946 but it appears we are going to put him to his final rest with this agreement."

Debt deal presents small wins for Democrats, big victory for GOP – and large gamble for Obama
Excerpt: Now, with a deal that could extend the debt ceiling through the end of next year and achieve $3 trillion in deficit savings, members on both sides of the aisle are arguing that the devil is in the details. In fact, the opposite is true. When the dust settles on Wednesday, if Congress passes an agreement to raise the limit in exchange for a package of far-reaching spending cuts and fundamental changes to the way Washington spends taxpayer money, it will represent the most significant political development since the 2010 midterm election — and a pivotal moment in the Obama presidency.

A Tea Party Triumph
Excerpt: If a good political compromise is one that has something for everyone to hate, then last night's bipartisan debt-ceiling deal is a triumph. The bargain is nonetheless better than what seemed achievable in recent days, especially given the revolt of some GOP conservatives that gave the White House and Democrats more political leverage. … The big picture is that the deal is a victory for the cause of smaller government, arguably the biggest since welfare reform in 1996. Most bipartisan budget deals trade tax increases that are immediate for spending cuts that turn out to be fictional. This one includes no immediate tax increases, despite President Obama's demand as recently as last Monday. The immediate spending cuts are real, if smaller than we'd prefer, and the longer-term cuts could be real if Republicans hold Congress and continue to enforce the deal's spending caps.

Heretical Thought: The System Is Working
Excerpt: But to a few of us simpler types, this little impasse in congressional halls demonstrates that the system is functioning, and not functioning, just as the writers of the Federalist Papers and the framers of the Constitution designed it. It's called a system of divided government, and by design it is supposed to work against itself as power checks power till somehow this Rube Goldberg treadmill clanks out the Will of the People.  A heretical thought: The miracle at Philadelphia in 1787, which the sophisticated told us even then wouldn't work, is still working.

The Hill Poll: One in 3 voters say the US has passed its peak
Excerpt: More than one third of likely voters believe America’s best days are over, according to a new poll for The Hill. A clear majority also feel the United States is being overtaken by other nations in important ways. The pessimism on their part may be a reflection of the continuing effects of the Great Recession and the historically high rate of unemployment in particular. The current crisis over the debt ceiling also might be fueling negative feelings. Given all those features of the political and economic landscape, however, the number of voters who remain optimistic is almost as striking as those who take a gloomier view. (This is why most people don’t believe a collapse is possible. It’s called “denial.” ~Bob.)

Latest counterfeit IDs are so good they’re dangerous
Excerpt: The days when faking driver’s licenses was a cottage industry — often practiced in college dorm rooms by a computer geek with a laminating machine — have given way to far more sophisticated and prolific practitioners who operate outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement. In an era when terrorism and illegal immigration have transformed driver’s licenses into sophisticated mini-documents festooned with holograms and bar codes, beating the system has never been easier. Just wire money to “the Chinese guy.” “He’s like some sort of genius in China,” said a 19-year-old for whom Eney bought shots that night. “Every kid in Annapolis has one of his licenses.” The “Chinese guy” — whose e-mail address is passed around on college campuses and among high school kids — is actually a Chinese company that mails untold thousands of fake driver’s licenses to the United States. They have been turning up in states from coast to coast.

Energy Fact of the Week: China’s Soaring ‘Clean’ Energy Sector?
Excerpt: Much is being made of China’s world-leading investment in “clean, green” energy, especially wind and solar power, though much of this is being done to create another export industry to the nations obsessed with climate change. When measured in percentage terms, China’s growth in renewable energy from 2000 through 2010 certainly sounds impressive—up 1,545 percent!! Yes, China built a lot of new coal plants, too, but its coal-generated energy only increased 132 percent. But when measured in terms of absolute energy output the numbers game being played here becomes apparent. When viewed in terms of additional total energy output by source, measured in the common unit of million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE), we see that energy from non-hydro renewable sources (mainly wind and solar) grew by only 11.4 MTOE from 2000 to 2010, while new energy supply from coal grew 976.4 MTOE—85 times as much new energy came from non-hydro renewables. New hydro power did much better than wind and solar power (up 112.8 MTOE), but much of that increase came from the massive Three Gorges dam that the global environmental community deplores. But in the absence of Three Gorges, China might well have built an additional 50 to 100 coal-fired plants.

As drawdown approaches, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan reluctant to leave
Excerpt: The relative tranquillity that has been achieved seems the necessary prerequisite for Americans to leave and hand over responsibility for security to a feisty local police chief who has surprised U.S. officers with his grit and resourcefulness. But the Marines do not want to depart anytime soon. To cement hard-fought gains and prevent Taliban holdouts from wresting back the district, Marine officers want to maintain their current force level of about 1,000 troops until the end of the year. At that point, they estimate, they should be able to get by with half as many, assuming the area receives additional Afghan security forces.

Justice Elusive for Americans Killed in Gaza
Excerpt: Since Oct. 15, 2003, John Parsons of Wayne, N.J., has fought for a measure of justice for his brother Mark, one of three Americans murdered by terrorists in Gaza that day. But the Palestinian Authority has blocked the FBI from investigating the murders of Mark Parsons, 31; John Branchizio, 36: and 30-year-old John M. Linde, Jr. All three were employees of DynCorp, a Reston, Va. firm that provided security for U.S. officials based in Tel Aviv. Today, nearly eight years later, no one has been brought to justice for the crime. The State Department and the FBI have failed to press the issue for fear of undermining PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah organization, John Parsons told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. FBI officials declined repeated requests for interviews about the investigation.

Excerpt: Have you ever noticed that when members of Congress argue with each other on national television, they do more than just disagree? They invariably seem to describe their opponent’s position using very different language than their opponent uses. For example, a conservative’s support for pro-growth tax cuts becomes “tax cuts for the rich” to a liberal opponent. A liberal’s case for investing in people becomes “wasteful, big-government spending” to a conservative. I once viewed these word twists as a mere debater’s ploy. But then I came to realize much more is involved. There are quite a few liberals who actually believe their opponents want nothing more than to cut taxes for the rich. There are more than a few conservatives who really believe that liberals favor wasteful government spending as such. … The three-decade-old school reform struggle is not partisan. It has attracted many people of good will. Some have been willing to spend millions of dollars of their own money on the effort, including the late Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate economist. However, I would guess that 90% of all people actively involved on the reform side of the struggle are conservative Republicans. The opposing teachers’ unions give almost all their campaign contributions to Democrats. When the Washington, D.C., voucher issue came to a head in Congress, the Obama administration sided with teachers against students, along with almost all the Democrats on Capitol Hill. I mention these partisan factors only because of Uwe’s very strong implication that the political left in this country supports equal educational opportunity while the political right does not. Not only is that observation wrong, if anything the reality is quite the reverse. Not only has the political left consistently supported unions against kids, I find no evidence of a belief in equal educational opportunity in their personal lives. Is there any liberal Democrat in Congress who sends his/her children to D.C. public schools? Or do they all send them to the very private schools to which they would deny poor children admission by means of a voucher?

From Morning Jolt by Jim Geraghty
Good heavens! How will the economy ever get by without replacing windows in a permanently closed visitor center in Mount St. Helens! How will the republic move forward without another $762,371 for Interactive Dance Software? Or $2 million for AntWeb, a website devoted to organizing and displaying pictures and information on the world's thousands of ant species? (See below. One grows numb to the stupidity. ~Bob.)

The University of North Carolina (Charlotte, NC) Developed An Interactive Dance Software for $762,372
Excerpt: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte received more than $750,000 in stimulus funds to help develop a computerized choreography program that its creators believe could lead to a YouTube-like 'Dance Tube” online application. 

An analysis of exotic ants is to cost $1.9 million (San Francisco, CA)
Excerpt: The California Academy of Sciences is receiving nearly $2 million to send researchers to the Southwest Indian Ocean Islands and east Africa, to capture, photograph, and analyze thousands of exotic ants.  The photographs of the ants – over 3,000 species’ worth, according to the grant proposal – will be posted on AntWeb, a website devoted to organizing and displaying pictures and information on the world’s thousands of ant species.

Suspect arrested in slayings of U.S. Consulate employees
Excerpt: Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez gets the customary Mexican “perp walk” by federal police officers in Mexico City on Sunday after his arrest. Mr. Acosta, a former federal police officer, was one of Mexico's MOST WANTED Mexican authorities have arrested a former federal police officer accused of ordering 1,500 killings during a campaign of terrorism along the U.S.-Mexico border and masterminding the attack last year that killed a U.S. Consulate employee, her husband and the husband of another Consulate worker in Ciudad Juarez.

Coddling a cheater
Excerpt: North Korea fooled us once. Shame on "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il. Now Washing ton is ready to let Pyongyang fool us again. Shame on us. On Friday, President Obama's point man on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, concluded a two-day meeting with Pyongyang's deputy foreign minister, Kim Kye-gwan. Describing the atmospherics, both sides used the type of diplomatic clichés meant to obscure what took place: "constructive," "businesslike," etc. So here's another oft-used diplomatic cliché: The meeting's only significance is that it took place. That's quite a lot. It means Washington is willing to ignore much evidence about the worth of Kim's word and "explore," according to a State Department statement, "the resumption of talks, improved relations with the United States, and greater regional stability if North Korea demonstrates through actions that it supports the resumption of the Six-Party process," meant to end the North's nuclear program.
Why Canada Is Beating America
Excerpt: While the U.S. remains mired in debt and slogs through a subpar economic recovery, Canada is moving ahead steadily. Its unemployment rate peaked at a little over 8.5% and is now 7.4%, and there were no bank bailouts. Real GDP growth is expected to be roughly 3% this year. Now with the first majority government since 2004, and the first Conservative majority since 1993, the country has an opportunity to vault forward. The Conservatives led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper have a chance to build on the reforms begun under previous Liberal governments that Americans can only look at with envy. Canada's government, for example, has grown smaller over the last 15 years. Total government spending as a share of the economy peaked at a little over 53% in 1993. Through a combination of spending cuts in the 1990s and spending restraint during the 2000s, it declined to a little under 40% of GDP by 2008. (It's currently about 44% due to the recession.) Reductions in government spending allowed for balanced budgets and the retiring of debt. Federal debt as a share of the Canadian economy was almost halved from nearly 80% to a little over 40% over the same period.

Syria’s Killing Fields
Excerpt: President Bashar Assad’s bloody crackdown on protesters who are now openly seeking regime change took an ominous turn over the weekend. In the city of Hama, an armored attack on thousands of protesters killed at least 150 civilians on Sunday. There were also reports of attacks by the army in at least four other cities with dozens more killed. The severity of this latest confrontation has been attributed to the onset of the holy month of Ramadan, during which time protests are expected to greatly intensify. Some observers are questioning whether anti-regime protesters will actually be able to deal a serious blow to the Assad government during this volatile month — or whether the regime’s brutality will be too much to withstand. The escalation appears to be part of an emerging strategy by Assad to increase the brutality in hot spots across the country in an attempt to intimidate and cow regime opponents. The government is particularly concerned that the month of August will see massive protests daily, as worshipers attend prayers at their local mosques and, as has been the custom, pour into the streets afterward. The prospect of huge demonstrations breaking out all over the country at once has the government worried about the stability of the regime and the loyalty of the conscript army.

Who Are the Libyan Rebels?
Excerpt: The assassination of the chief Libyan rebel commander underscores the murky nature of the rebel opposition group and casts fresh doubts over its ability to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. General Abdul Fattah Younes, who been summoned to the Libyan opposition capital of Benghazi by the ruling Transitional National Council (TNC) for supposed questioning about military operations, was murdered there last week along with two other military officials. Younes, who had assisted Muammar Gaddafi’s rise to power in 1969, was Libya’s interior minister and commander of its powerful Lightning Brigade before he defected to the rebels in February 2011. While he quickly rose to become the chief of the rebel armed forces, his tenure was marked by claims that he was nothing more than a transplanted Gaddafi agent. Initially, it was unclear who had actually killed Younes and speculation was rife that he had been killed for either maintaining contacts with the Gaddafi regime or by rivals within the TNC attempting to settle some personal scores. TNC leader leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil did nothing to stifle the rumor mill when he refused to answer questions about why, where or by whom Younes had been killed.

Terrorists and Double Standards
Excerpt: All one need do to conclude without doubt that the mainstream media is working on behalf of Islamic terror and against the Judeo-Christian West is to compare and contrast the story The New York Times ran in the wake of Nidal Hassan’s massacre at Ft. Hood with that of Anders Behring Breivik’s carnage in Oslo. In the forty-plus paragraph story on the Muslim Hassan’s murder of 13 American soldiers, the killer’s religion was not mentioned once. Not once. This despite the fact that Hassan had been well known for giving a Power Point presentations on Islam’s holy requirement to commit mass murder of infidels. It was also widely reported that he shouted the cry of Islamic terrorists — “Allahu Akbar!!!” — as he opened fire. He even had a business card – a business card for goodness’ sake! – which identified him as a “Solider of Allah.” How many paragraphs into the story did it take The New York Times to mention Breivik’s supposed Christianity? None. It was in the headline: “As Horrors Emerge, Norway Charges Christian Extremist.”

How to Fix the Economy, Democrat Style
Excerpt: Sounds great, right? You don’t own a corporate jet, so you won’t get hurt – and we’ll cut the spending we’ve been needing to cut. Only one problem: Obama hasn’t put a concrete proposal on the table. More than that, his theory itself is deeply flawed. By raising taxes during a recession, Obama’s plan actually fosters a decline in tax revenue over the long haul, meaning that our deficit grows larger rather than smaller. Only a consistent and flourishing Rolls Royce economy can generate the kind of tax dollars America needs to pay off her Boeing-sized debt. If we shrink our economy to the size of a Toyota Tercel – which is precisely what raising taxes does – we can forget about fixing the debt crisis anytime soon.

Obama, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood
Excerpt: On February 15, 2008, long before the revolt against Gaddafi began, the US embassy in Tripoli (capitol of Libya) sent a secret cable to Washington warning our government that eastern Libya, the area from which the revolt started and where the rebels have their strongest base and greatest number of supporters is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment. Three years later, with the revolt in full swing, we learn that Gaddafi is accusing al-Qaeda of fomenting the revolt. Of course Gaddafi is such an erratic personality, as well as a tyrant in trouble, that it might be hard to take him seriously; except that in addition to the warning that our State Department received in 2008, al-Qaeda documents captured in Iraq in 2007 reveal that almost 20% of all al-Qaeda fighters coming to Iraq to fight Americans came from Libya. Moreover, one of the Libyan rebel leaders, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, stated in a March, 2011 interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, that he and his troops are allies of al-Qaeda who came from eastern Libya to Iraq to fight the Americans, and now they are back in Libya to fight Gaddafi, and they are still allies of al-Qaeda.

Obama administration pushing forward with India-style nuclear pact for Saudi Arabia
Excerpt: The Obama administration is quietly moving ahead on the groundwork for a possible civilian nuclear trade agreement with Saudi Arabia — an agreement that could prove to be the most controversial of a string of such US deals in recent years. The US plans to hold what State Department officials are calling "exploratory talks" in Riyadh this week to gauge Saudi objectives behind their interest in a civilian nuclear deal. The US also wants to explore whether the Saudi government would accept restrictions to ensure its nuclear fuel is used purely for civilian purposes, according to congressional sources. The US has recently concluded civilian nuclear trade deals — or so-called "123" agreements — with India and the United Arab Emirates and is in advanced discussions with countries including Jordan, Vietnam, and South Korea.

In This Brave New World, 160 Million Girls Are 'Missing'
There is a certain irony in the feminist support for unlimited aborting destroying the female gender. A woman’s right to choose often means choosing boys. ~Bob. Excerpt: The world is becoming unbalanced. In pockets across the globe, women are giving birth to too many boys. In China, the sex ratio is 121 boys to 100 girls. In India, it's 112-to-100. Sex selection also is a force in the Balkans, Armenia and Georgia. In her eye-opening book, "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," journalist Mara Hvistendahl estimates that ultrasound and abortion have "claimed over 160 million potential women and girls -- in Asia alone." That's more than the entire female population of the United States. If you think that scarcity makes women more valuable, you are right -- but that does not mean females benefit. As "surplus men" have trouble finding mates, young girls are forced into prostitution. Others are forced into arranged marriages. On Taiwan's eBay, Hvistendahl finds three Vietnamese women for sale for $5,400. Those women who do well economically in the new order sadly are likelier to abort daughters in favor of sons. The results are equally bleak for men. Many boys grow up knowing they are unlikely to marry and start a family.

Judge Judy - Here's Who You Support With Taxes
Why we are broke. Must watch. ~Bob.
Biden Charges Secret Service to Rent Cottage Next to His Home
Excerpt: In between keeping Vice President Biden and his family safe, the Secret Service is also cutting him a rent check every month. The Secret Service pays the vice president $2,200 per month to rent a cottage next to his waterfront home outside Wilmington, Del., FoxNews.com has confirmed. The Washington Times first reported that Biden has raked in more than $13,000 since April from the agency tasked with protecting him, and under the terms of their contract could make up to $66,000 by the end of 2013.

The Week That Was: 2011-07-30 (July 30, 2011)
Excerpt: EPA continues its highly questionable expansion of regulatory powers based on dubious claims of public health. Even the National Academy of Sciences has warned the EPA science committee that EPA must improve on its science or face scientific irrelevance. However, it is uncertain that scientific relevance is important to the leadership of the EPA. Reports this week indicate that, for political purposes, EPA adjusted its rules on cross state emissions it announced last week. At the last minute, many east coast states that supported the president in the last election were excluded from the rules. Texas, which certainly does not support the administration, was suddenly included. Apparently, EPA considers premature deaths, heart attacks, and asthma, which it used to justify the regulations, are a function of state political boundaries. EPA announced that it is considering employing the Clean Air Act to regulate drilling wells for oil and natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing “fracking.” Drilling wells for oil started in 1859. Hydraulic fracking techniques have existed for over 60 years. Recent advances in these techniques permit a rapid development of oil and gas reserves that were previously uneconomical to extract. No doubt, affordable energy alarms this administration and EPA, so EPA must regulate it under the guise of public health, no matter how scientifically irrelevant the guise is. Please see Article # 2 and articles referenced under “EPA and other Regulators on the March.” (As usual, the excerpt is from Ken Haapala’s summary overview of the week’s news. Many of this week’s articles have already been carried in TOJ, but A Tale of Two Shale States (TOJ 30 Jul) may not have let non-subscribers to WSJ read more than the first few graphs; this link appears to be able to read the whole article. Also, some articles under the EPA and Other Regulators heading are worth reading. There are other items of interest as well. Ron P.)

Rick Perry Stands By Texas DREAM Act
Excerpt: In sharp contrast to the national Republican Party line, Texas Gov. Rick Perry still supports his state's version of the so-called DREAM Act, which permits foreign-born children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. "To punish these young Texans for their parents' actions is not what America has always been about," the potential dark horse GOP candidate told the New Hampshire Union Leader in his first New Hampshire interview of the 2012 campaign cycle.

Retired Military Translator's Home Reportedly Raided in DEA Mix-Up
And if he’d shot one of the “intruders”? ~Bob. Excerpt: A retired military translator who served in Iraq says he was treated like a criminal when agents from the DEA barreled into his Detroit home just after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning,

Obama Gives It All Away
Excerpt: Back when George W. Bush and Karl Rove were wrecking the country, my liberal friends and I had many a hearty laugh about Rove’s boast that he was realigning American politics. Yep, we thought, but toward the left! Those hopes seemed vindicated when Barack Obama won the presidency. But just as Bush and Rove helped revive liberalism, it now seems plausible that Obama is ushering in a conservative era. The former did it through rank incompetence, while the latter is simply handing the Republicans the keys to the house and saying “take what you want.” If the Obama/McConnell deal goes through—and it’s still sort of iffy, at least with respect to the House, where Tea Party dead-enders may find common cause with disgusted liberals to doom it—conservative governance will have made several extremely consequential strides, in both the short and long term. Here are four. (Wow. Talk about anger and bitterness. Since I read it at least once daily, I can assure you Daily Beast is only a moderately leftist outlet. That’s why this is so scary. If moderate leftists feel this way, what does the hard left feel? Secret Service, I hope you’re watching the hard leftists, at least as much as Tea Partiers. Ron P. Let us hope so. If Michael Moore took a shot at Obama, the media would blame Sarah Palin. ~Bob.)

Support for Rick Perry growing among Tea Party Republicans, poll finds
Excerpt: Gov. Rick Perry is gaining support from members of the Tea Party, a new by the Pew Research Center has found. Twelve percent of poll respondents said the Texas Republican was their pick for the GOP nomination, second to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tied for the No. 3 slot among all Republicans. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, received 9 percent of the vote and businessman Herman Cain took 8 percent. Perry’s support swelled among voters who identified as member of the Tea Party. Sixteen percent of Tea Party voters support Perry for the GOP nomination – the same percent that supported Romney. Bachmann received 14 percent of the vote and Palin and Cain both received 12 percent. Paul garnered 9 percent of the votes.

Thank You, Scott Walker
Excerpt: Governor Walker is looking like Winston Churchill next to these cobs. Residents of the Badger state are lucky to have a Governor and legislature who did their jobs and passed responsible budget reform as their first order of business. The results have been immediate, remarkable, and indisputable. Washington could learn something from Wisconsin, and here it is: you balance a budget by balancing a budget. Go do your job. Walker inherited a $3.3 billion deficit mess from his predecessor, including a cynical $144 million turd dropped in the punchbowl on his way out the door. Unlike some U.S. President who shall remain nameless, Governor Walker did not make blaming the last guy his re-election strategy on day one of his first term. He went to work; he did his job; he fixed the budget. It was not easy; doing the right thing rarely is.

Sen. Rubio: "Save The Whole House Or It Will All Burn Down"

Deadly Syrian crackdown continues
Excerpt: A witness in Deir ez-Zor told Al Jazeera that government forces launched fresh attacks on the town early on Monday morning. "Military forces stormed the city from the west side and 25 people are killed and more than 65 injured," the witness said. "Artillery and anti-aircraft weapons are being used. The situation in the city is very bad, and medical and food supplies are low." Deir ez-Zor, Syria's main gas and oil-production hub in the east, has become a rallying point for protests along with Hama. (…) He said the crackdown on Hama came after more than 500,000 people rallied in the city on Friday following Muslim prayers during which a cleric told the congregation "the regime must go". (Western media report lower numbers of both casualties and demonstrators, but Al Jazeera may have people on the ground and western media don’t. Despite the hoopla of the uprisings in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, the one in Syria might be the only one the USA should directly support. How do I know? It’s the only one opposed by the Iranian mullahs. Ron P.)

Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s faith adviser, helped craft ‘Imagine a Perfect Islamic State’ project for implementing a Muslim caliphate…HERE!
Excerpt: Dalia Mogahed, appointed to President Obama’s faith advisory council, was a partner in an Islamic project whose stated goal was to define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times. Klein Online -The project was founded and directed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Muslim cleric behind the proposed 13-story, $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

Debt Crisis Shows Obama Lacks Presidential Skills
This is news? ~Bob. Excerpt: As the negotiations and the vote-getting on raising the debt ceiling have dragged on these last two weeks, it's became clear that President Obama really is not a good negotiator. Several times, just as a deal seemed imminent, the discussions have collapsed—and very publicly. There were leaks from the administration, he-said-she-said accounts from both sides, angry White House press conferences—just a "parade of horribles," as lawyers would call it. The result is a rising tide of public disgust and frustration. Not only has he lost bipartisan support in both the House or the Senate, his lack of ability to persuade people to join his cause has cost President Obama the vital center of the electorate.

President's socialist takeover must be stopped
Excerpt: President Obama has engaged in numerous high crimes and misdemeanors. The Democratic majority in Congress is in peril as Americans reject his agenda. Yet more must be done: Mr. Obama should be impeached. He is slowly - piece by painful piece - erecting a socialist dictatorship. We are not there - yet. But he is putting America on that dangerous path. He is undermining our constitutional system of checks and balances; subverting democratic procedures and the rule of law; presiding over a corrupt, gangster regime; and assaulting the very pillars of traditional capitalism. Like Venezuela’s leftist strongman, Hugo Chavez, Mr. Obama is bent on imposing a revolution from above - one that is polarizing America along racial, political and ideological lines. Mr. Obama is the most divisive president since Richard Nixon. His policies are Balkanizing the country. It’s time for him to go. He has abused his office and violated his oath to uphold the Constitution. His health care overhaul was rammed through Congress. It was - and remains - opposed by a majority of the people. It could only be passed through bribery and political intimidation.

All heads of Turkish General Staff resign
Excerpt: According to the UK Telegraph, the Turkish top brass resigned en masse on Friday to protest the Erdogan government’s plans for a military promotions board scheduled for next week. The generals apparently want to promote officers whom the Erdogan government wants to block, based on the claim that the officers participated in the alleged “Ergenekon” conspiracy of 2003 (known as Operation “Sledgehammer”) against the civilian leadership. The Turkish General Staff has had a history of occasionally enforcing centrist, secular government by mounting coups. The most recent occurred in 1997, when the General Staff induced the government of Necmettin Erbakan to resign by imposing conditions on it – largely prohibitions against instituting Islamic customs.

Losers All Around in Debt Limit Debate
Excerpt: We have on our hands a colossal mess, in which no one seems to have improved their standing with the public, and it is unclear how this will get worked out in the next few days. The investment markets, after assuming this was politics and posturing, as usual, and that everything would work out in time, are now considering for the first time the real possibility of a deal not getting done by the Treasury Department’s announced deadline of Tuesday, August 2. That date may be a soft deadline, it turns out. The stock market had its worst week in a year in the week ending Friday, and if no resolution appears imminent on Monday, it could be the start of another heavy down week. Harry Reid is hoping Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can save him and the president from appearing to be the obstructionists to getting a deal done, now that the House for the second time in a week has acted and passed a bill that he and the Democrats tabled.

The Significance of Congressman Allen
Excerpt: Amidst the rhetorical pyrotechnics surrounding July’s debt-ceiling debates, another controversy streaked across the sky like a comet, flared for an instant, then receded into the maelstrom of ongoing partisan attacks. The shooting star in question involved an exchange between two of Congress’ most controversial members, Allen West (R-Fla.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), whose regard for one another constitutes something of a congressional equivalent to how the Earps and Doc Holliday felt about the Clanton-McLaury gang at the OK Corral.

Excerpt: Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up. Communities have been bombarded with the posters, which read: ‘You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced.’ The bright yellow messages daubed on bus stops and street lamps have already been seen across certain boroughs in London and order that in the ‘zone’ there should be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’. Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for the scheme, saying he plans to flood specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the UK and ‘put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term’. (Don’t laugh—we’re next. ~Bob.)

Gunmen kill 11 Shiite Muslims in SW Pakistan
As always, the main victims of Allahmurder are Muslims. ~Bob. Excerpt: Gunmen opened fire on a minibus carrying minority Shiite Muslims in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing 11 people in what appeared to be a sectarian attack, police said. Two people were also wounded in the ambush in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, senior police official Hamid Shakeel said. The dead included one woman and two children. Shakeel said the victims were heading to the nearby town of Hazara when the four gunmen ambushed the minibus before fleeing. Angered over the killings, dozens of Shiites briefly blocked a main road and torched two cars and two motorcycles, Shakeel said. Police regained control of the situation with help from local Shiite elders. Shakeel said police were trying to track down the assailants. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities have blamed majority Sunni militant groups for such violence in the past.

Iraq Violence Grows Amid Concerns About Iranian Involvement
Excerpt: In a report to Congress, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen Jr., highlighted the fact that June was the deadliest month for U.S. soldiers in Iraq in two years. Fifteen soldiers were killed, 14 of them in combat. In recent briefings, the U.S. military has attributed 12 of the 14 deaths to attacks by Iranian-backed Shi’ite groups, and the remaining two to Sunni insurgents.

China Nuclear Sub Accident?
Excerpt: A nuclear submarine in the port of Dalian in northern China has suffered an accident and is leaking radiation, according to a story that appears to have originally been carried on the Boxun.com site, and then picked up by a former Japanese fighter pilot-turned-blogger. ‘The area is strictly closed off by the Chinese military, and the situation is said to be very dangerous,’ Mamoru Sato wrote in Japanese of the alleged July 29 incident. As with all news stories about Chinese military developments, the account should certainly be read with a healthy dose of scepticism. As of August 1, no major media had reported on the alleged accident.

Obama Kills Another 500,000 Non-Union Jobs
Excerpt: Obama just destroyed another 500,000 jobs for Americans- at least ones who aren’t unionized. Flanked by flunkies from the government-dependent auto makers, the world’s largest shareholder in the American auto industry, Brarack Obama, imposed increased fuel standards on companies making cars in the United States. By 2025 auto makers will have to meet fuel efficiency standards that brings “new cars to 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025, roughly double the current level, in a bid to reduce U.S. oil consumption,” says the Wall Street Journal.

Climate Change Alarmist Alarmed They're Wrong
Excerpt: For most of the last decade, alarmists have rung the global warming bell. Back in 2006, when Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was released, it seemed folks were beginning to wake up to the alarm. Public concern regarding global warming peaked following the release of Gore’s movie and is now back down to pre-propaganda levels. Addressing the declining public alarm about global warming, Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, said, “The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue.” Ed, Al, et al, should be alarmed, as three different news items in one week add to the public’s growing skepticism about global warming. Most notable is the announcement of an “ongoing internal investigation” into potential scientific misconduct and integrity issues of Charles Monnett—the Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, whose 2004 observation of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the man-made global warming movement. Monnett’s paper “Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea” was released in 2006. (Interestingly, Al Gore started his for-profit company, Generation Investment Management in 2004 and released his film in 2006.) The scientist who reported on dying polar bears gave the global warming movement its mascot—even though he wasn’t studying polar bears. His study was on whales. He saw dead polar bears. While working on the whales, he made some observations based on anecdotal evidence—not science. Monnett’s report is filled with words like: speculate, suggest, may, presume, apparent, almost, and could.

Official: Suspension unrelated to polar bear paper
Excerpt: The recent suspension of Alaska wildlife biologist Charles Monnett is unrelated both to an article that he wrote about presumably drowned Arctic polar bears and to his scientific work, a federal official said Friday. The director of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation, told agency staff in Alaska via email that it instead was the result of new information on a separate subject that was recently brought to officials' attention. (Follow-up on yesterday’s TOJ story about the wildlife official being suspended: it appears the actual issue being investigated is still secret, but unrelated to bears. Ron P.)

Washington's Budget Theater
Excerpt: We have heard a lot lately about plans to slash spending by trillions of dollars. Though these sound like deep cuts, they are not even shallow cuts. Under the plans being discussed in Washington, federal spending would rise, and so would the federal debt -- not by a little, but by a lot. Consider Speaker John Boehner's blueprint, which envisions savings of some $3 trillion over 10 years. The biggest chunk of savings comes from a cap on discretionary outlays, letting them grow as fast as inflation -- meaning they would gobble up more dollars every year. In real terms, they would remain just as high as they are now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's version likewise allows federal departments to spend more each year to offset the effects of inflation. All these "cuts" are modest reductions in the growth of outlays envisioned in President Obama's budget, which would boost annual spending by 57 percent over the next decade. Everyone is talking about cutting the overall budget, without actually doing it. Our leaders are not even saying exactly which programs will be trimmed. Neither party wants to reveal which constituents will lose their spots at the federal trough.

27 Rifles Stolen from California Military Base
Probably drug cartels. They were smart enough not to take the crappy M-16s we give our troops. ~Bob. Excerpt: More than two dozen assault rifles have been stolen from a Southern California military base, and investigators sought the public's help as they looked to arrest suspects and recover the weapons, federal officials said Friday. Twenty-six AK-74 assault rifles and one Dragunov sniper rifle were stolen from a supply warehouse at Fort Irwin in San Bernardino County on July 15, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says in a statement. Some arrests have been made and one rifle has been recovered, but the agency is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to further arrests, the statement said.

Secrecy Surrounds Silver Star Medal Revocation
Excerpt: What is clear: so far, the revocation of the third-highest honor in the pantheon of military medals is unrelated to the conviction of retired Navy Capt. Wade Sanders for possessing horrid child pornography. He is serving a 37-month sentence in a federal prison for that felony crime, perpetrated in 2008, also largely unknown until now. Military medals for gallantry are not lightly revoked. Recipients are entitled to recognition due for their heroic self-sacrificing deeds as portrayed in medal citations. Medals are a way for a grateful nation to thank its real-life heroes for risking their lives in uniform. Knowingly false reporting for medal consideration is a court-martial offense. All the more reason higher grades of medals, leaving out "good conduct" stuff, ought to be based on facts, not fancy, nor on exaggerated tales of faux bravery. Fudging facts is off-limits. (…) At a minimum we know the revocation was factually based. Thank God for small truths, but must the rest of the story be left to speculation? (…) Having a medal withdrawn is not small potatoes. Newsworthy, especially considering the Kerry connection. So why the lack of publicity? (Within my lifetime, I’ve NEVER heard of a medal being revoked, not even an undeserved Good Conduct Medal (I have one of those, myself). Perhaps I’m just uninformed. Ron P. )

When you hear cable news anchors bemoan the inability of the two parties to play nicely one with the other ask yourself what we call systems which don't have two contentious political parties. Dictatorship. ~ Rich Galen

NYTimes poll-graph on debt crisis: public rejects extreme partisan solutions, but false premise skews results
Excerpt: Thus the cluster of dots at the upper left corner represent hardcore libertarians and Tea Partiers — people who want a lot less spending and no new taxes. The cluster at the lower right are the socialists and welfare-staters — people who want more spending and more taxes to pay for it. The tiny cluster at the lower left are the crazy people — people who want more spending, but don’t want to pay for it in any way. We can safely ignore them. But as the chart instantly reveals, the vast majority of respondents are in the upper right — people who want less spending and more revenue. In other words, the mid-point between the two extremes: the Tea Party position of cutting runaway spending is now the mainstream position; but the liberal Democrat call for higher taxes is also now the mainstream position. This is why no one can figure out who’s “winning” the debt battle. Both political factions have a monopoly on only one of the two favored positions, while their opponents lay claim to the other. (Very interesting look at how to prejudice answers by asking questions the way that forces the answer you want. Ron P.)

Top 10 Examples of Government Stupidity
Excerpt: With Americans burdened with high taxes, one would hope that the government they pay for would at least be used efficiently and wisely. These Top 10 Examples of Government Stupidity from around the country would suggest otherwise: 1. Sensitivity training: The Omaha, Neb., public school district spent $130,000 in federal stimulus money to buy manuals to instruct teachers and school administrators on how to be culturally sensitive. The book, The Cultural Proficiency Journey: Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change, says that teachers need to work for social justice in order to overcome a white-privileged society. The book says racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism are forces of oppression in schools, and that institutions in America “channel wealth and power to white people.” 2. Green car bust: The city of Salinas, Calif., invested more than $500,000 in Green Vehicles, an electric car venture that failed to produce a single car. In addition to the city money, the State of California chipped in another $187,000, but the owner of the company said it folded due to a lack of investors. The city ponied up the money after the company promised it would create 70 new jobs and generate some $700,000 in tax revenue annually for city coffers. City officials were reportedly irked when they learned of the company’s collapse by e-mail.

Unchained World
This is outstanding, even for Hanson. Ron P. Excerpt: A perfect storm of events is eroding the perception of American deterrence—and the world will shortly become an even scarier place. The fiscal crisis has cast doubt on the government’s ability to act forcefully, especially the president’s emasculation during the entire process. (…) Instead, defense spending is seen by the administration as the preferred target for cutting, especially in comparison to entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. That sometimes 18- and 19-year olds learn more in the military on a flight deck than taking 6-units of -studies courses per semester for 7 years on federal grants is near libel. No matter—defense is going to be cut and the perception that it is going to be cut will be almost as important as from where exactly the ships and planes are withdrawn. (…) Obama has done the almost impossible: he is losing a war to a country on the Mediterranean with less than 7 million people, and an almost perfect topography, weather, and location for NATO air operations. World War II American Liberators and B-17s on bombing runs from Sicily would have been more effective than Anglo-French jets. All that can be said for the mess is that Obama seems to have wanted to embarrass the usually parasitic, ankle-biting Europeans, and at least accomplished that—at the expense of Western military prestige. (The only thing worse than fighting a needless war against a savage weak regime is losing it to a savage weak regime.)

Obama, Geithner Hold All the Face Cards in Debt Ceiling Fight
Excerpt: There are still a number of conservative voices — including some presidential contenders — who are smugly watching the approach of the debt ceiling deadline and treating it like a paper tiger. Their argument, in essence, is that our spending addicted government is in need of a rehab style intervention, having all of its credit cards cut up in front of it and locking Washington up in a Betty Ford Center for Terminal Shopaholics. This, they conclude, is precisely the sort of foul tasting, cod liver oil style medicine which will put the system to rights and strong-arm us back onto the path of reason. I have a confession to make here. In some of my darker moments, I find the idea appealing. But then I recall the law of unintended consequences and remind myself to be careful what you wish for. (…) Congress is, of course, responsible for setting the future spending agenda. (Or they would be, had the Democrats bothered to actually pass a budget in the last 800+ days.) But once the deal is done, the revenues have been collected, and the bills come due, they really don’t retain much control beyond that point. The sad fact of the matter is that it will be pretty much exclusively the executive branch bean counters — under the watchful eye of President Barack Obama — who will be sending out those checks and deciding who gets paid and who doesn’t. (This author comes to the same conclusion I did (though I expect more impact on transfer payments), but via a different line of reasoning. At this point, barring miracles, this is how to expect it will play out. In the stock market, they say something like ‘bulls and bears both make money but pigs just go to slaughter’ (the message is not to be greedy). Let’s hope that doesn’t apply to ideological purity as well. Ron P)

Groups quit Egypt rally saying hijacked by Islamists
Excerpt: More than 30 political parties and movements withdrew from a rally on Friday that was organized to send a united message to the ruling army about reform, saying the event was hijacked by Islamist groups. "Islamic law above the constitution," read banners in Cairo's Tahrir Square that was packed with tens of thousands of people. Protesters who fear Islamists will seek to dominate plans to rewrite the constitution demanded they be taken down. "Islamic, Islamic, we don't want secular," they chanted in the square filled with many followers of the strict Salafist interpretation of Islam. "There are so many (Islamic) beards. We certainly feel imposed upon," said student Samy Ali, 23. He said Salafists had tried to separate women and men camping there. (The kindest thing one could say about anyone surprised by this is that they haven’t been paying attention. ~Bob.)

Satellite Data Blows Hole in Global Warming
Excerpt: NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed. In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted. Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds.

Nancy Pelosi posts questionable chart on debt accumulation by Barack Obama, predecessors
Excerpt: We find so much wrong with this chart that we don’t think it contains any significant approximation of the truth. It made a major calculation error that dramatically skewed the debt increase away from Obama and toward George W. Bush. It glossed over significant variations in time served in office. It cherry-picked the measurement that was favorable to its cause. And it is contradicted by statistics for GDP-adjusted debt, which show Obama to be the most, rather than the least, debt-creating president of the last five. (In other words, figures lie and liars figure, especially when liberal liars are manipulating the figures. Go figure. MasterGuns)

Obama's Failed Presidency
Excerpt: There comes a time and a point in history which indelibly define a President. Oftentimes the event may not be of major import in the greater scheme of things but the management of it is of such prominence that the success or failure in the handling of the issue is permanently attached to the individual. Such a moment has happened to Barack Obama. His incompetence, inability to lead, prevarications, petulance and immaturity in the debt ceiling crisis have indelibly created an image of abject failure in the minds of a critical mass of people in the United States and around the globe. He will never be able to overcome the portrait that has been etched in too many minds. Barack Obama's only interest in the debt ceiling debate was to raise the borrowing limit sufficiently to get by the next election, and as a cudgel to denigrate the Republicans. His concern was not for the American people and the impact of overwhelming national debt, nor an impending and inevitable credit downgrade. Rather, he was determined that raising the debt ceiling would not become an issue during the presidential campaign. Thus, spending cuts created out of whole cloth, combined with tax increases aimed at stoking the embers of class envy, were bandied about by his party in order to justify an increase in the debt ceiling of $2.4 Trillion.

Getting Bin Laden
Excerpt: Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. (Excellent—but long—article on killing Bin Laden; not all “old news,” several new bits revealed. Ron P.)

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