Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Political Digest for August 24, 2011

Best older posts for new blog readers

Dennis Miller Interview
I’m scheduled to be interviewed about The Coming Collapse of the American Republic on Dennis Miller’s radio program at 11:34 am, EDT on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. If I get details to follow on the web, I’ll post them.

Collapse now up to 14 reviews on Amazon!
Which, alas, leads us to the next item…

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency
Excerpt: Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency. Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs. The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants - many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved - and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years. New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry, too, leaving it unable to pay full benefits as well. (Note that the “trust fund” is only a box of government bonds which cannot be sold on the open market, as the government has borrowed and spend everything in the “fund.” So either way, it has to come up with the cash. Another sign of the pending fiscal collapse. ~Bob.)

It’s a Real War, Stupid. A Big War. A Worthy Challenge for America
Ledeen is one of the few who actually seem to understand what’s happening in the Middle East. Ron P. Excerpt: If we are going to win in the Middle East, we have to get the context right. As I wrote in The War Against the Terror Masters, long before the invasion of Iraq, we cannot just “do” a country like Iraq, or today, Syria, and then move on. That’s one of the strategic mistakes Bush, Rice, Hadley, Cheney and Rumsfeld made. They viewed Iraq in isolation. They thought they could just “do Iraq,” and then consider their options. We then belatedly discovered (even though our enemies publicly announced what they were going to do) that Iraq and Afghanistan could not have decent security so long as Syria and Iran actively supported terrorists in those countries. (…) To date, insofar as we have had a regional strategy, it has largely been based on wishful thinking, even when applied to more than one problem at a time. The Administration hoped that Syria would choose friendship with us rather than strategic alliance with Tehran, that Tehran would accept our “outstretched hand” rather than continue to wage its 32-year old terror war against us, that Turkey would be our proxy ambassador to Syria and Iran, helping us to “peel off’ Assad from the mullahs and to convince Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to be reasonable about nukes, and that Obaman diplomacy would bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. None of it worked.

I told you so, again
Excerpt: Back in March, I found no commentators criticizing the West’s role in this operation or in Egypt. In fact, there has been a steady stream of “conservative” criticism against Obama for not going after Kadaffi more resolutely. (The clueless candidates — most recently Bachmann — mostly followed their clueless lead, bleating similar statements). Generally, there is a dearth of substantive criticism of any Western military involvement by left or right, for political reasons (many fear appearing unpatriotic, even though honest and objective commentary would ultimately save Western lives and Western embarrassment), but also due to a serious shortage of brain power. By contrast, I (who have nothing to lose — I’m not being paid for this and answer to no one) was warning repeatedly about the error in our involvement in the Middle East and pointing out then-unheeded facts to state my case, reminding, for example, that the local Christian populations were always the ones who paid the biggest price when a stable secular leader was replaced by a mob, which eventually, inevitably, turned into an Islamic-led government with significantly less freedom for the people than before – as well as vastly less diversity, which, oddly, Western powers prize in their countries. Israel, of course, came closer to the brink of war with each successive “win” and Iran was given a permanent pass by the West, as though these merciless enforcers of brutal Sharia law, who execute countless people for sexual misdeeds and inappropriate clothing, were lily-white defenders of human rights (as we speak, there are 2 Americans jailed in Iran for “spying,” on flimsy evidence). I sent links to each of my articles on this subject to thousands of potential readers, including major news outlets. I sent links to all Fox News personalities. News people typically do not respond, but judging by last night’s commentary by Sean, perhaps they read some of what I said....

Biden to China: ‘I fully understand’ your one-child policy
Excerpt: During his ongoing visit in China, the vice president had this to say (in prepared remarks) regarding China’s controversial “one-child” policy: “But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable. So hopefully we can act in a way on a problem that’s much less severe than yours, and maybe we can learn together from how we can do that.” Now let’s examine why this “gaffe” is much more serious than asking a paraplegic to stand for a round of applause. Life News explains: The one-child policy, instituted by the Communist government in the late 1970s to stem rising population, compels couples in urban areas to have just one child and limits couples in rural areas to two children if the first child is a girl, as girls are seen as having lesser value than boys in some parts of the Asian nation. The policy has stirred global controversy since it was implemented, as it has resulted in massive campaigns of forced abortions and sterilizations, fines for families violating the rule, sentences to prison and forced labor camps for violators and their families who shelter them from government officials, home detention, loss of jobs or government benefits, beatings and other human rights abuses. Surely the vice president is aware of this controversy…? If so, how can he “fully understand” it? And in not “second-guessing” it, is he not condoning it?

Most Liberal Country Abandon Multiculturalism
Excerpt: Islamic invasion, full of hate and disrespect to the host nations, has destroyed the tolerance of the most liberal country in Europe. The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands. A new integration bill, which Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on June 16, reads: "The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society."

Slip-Up in Chinese Military TV Show Reveals More Than Intended --Piece shows cyber warfare against US entities
Excerpt: A picture of the hacking software shown during the Chinese military program. The large writing at the top says "Select Attack Target." Next, the user choose an IP address to attack from (it belongs to an American university). The drop-down box is a list of Falun Gong websites, while the button on the left says "Attack." (CCTV)A standard, even boring, piece of Chinese military propaganda screened in mid-July included what must have been an unintended but nevertheless damaging revelation: shots from a computer screen showing a Chinese military university is engaged in cyberwarfare against entities in the United States. The documentary itself was otherwise meant as praise to the wisdom and judgment of Chinese military strategists, and a typical condemnation of the United States as an implacable aggressor in the cyber-realm. But the fleeting shots of an apparent China-based cyber-attack somehow made their way into the final cut.

A Lovely Little NATO Intervention
Excerpt: World powers sometimes have to fight wars not for some material interest, but for bolstering a nation’s prestige in order to deter more dangerous aggressors. As Margaret Thatcher said after England’s defeat of Argentina in the 1982 Falklands War, the conflict showed that “now once again Britain is not prepared to be pushed around” and that Britain has “ceased to be a nation in retreat.” So too with Reagan’s 1983 invasion of Grenada, which was as much about showing the Soviet Union that Carter-era retreat and appeasement were over, as it was about rescuing 800 American students and forestalling a Soviet-Cuban military airbase in our geopolitical backyard. The European-instigated NATO involvement in the Libyan civil war was no doubt seen as just such a prestige-building exercise. The EU nations were in need of some action that could show they were, as Jacques Chirac said in 1995, an “essential pole” in the “multipolar world” created by the end of the Cold War.

KRCG EXPLICIT: Woman Goes off on Highway Patrol

Excerpt: Immediately prior to breaking for the August recess, Congress passed a bipartisan agreement to cut spending. Well, sort of. Leaders in both parties got together to do something evil and stupid; they agreed to the largest increase in the debt ceiling, without solving our debt problem. They cut discretionary spending by $6.67 billion for FY 2012, from $1.0497 trillion to $1.043 trillion. That’s a bit more than half a percentage point. Worse, discretionary spending (budget authority) only accounts for roughly 28% of our projected $3.7 trillion in outlays for FY 2011. So we cut about 0.6% of 28% of our federal budget for next year! But, fear not; the best is yet to come. The mandatory entitlement spending reforms will be tackled by the super committee. The only problem is that a committee with such luminaries as John Kerry, Patty Murray, and James Clyburn – will never cut a dime from mandatory spending.

Egyptians demonstrating opposite Israeli Embassy in Cairo show sign with swastika saying, "The Gas Chambers Are Ready"
How’s that peaceful, democratic Arab Spring working out for you? ~Bob.

Legal obedience What laws are we morally obligated to obey? Help with the answer can be found in "Economic Liberty and the Constitution," a 66-page pamphlet by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Hornberger offers a hypothetical whereby Congress enacts a compulsory church attendance law that requires children to attend church service each Sunday. Parents are penalized if their children fail to comply. Would there be any moral or constitutional legitimacy to such a congressional mandate? The law would be a clear violation of one's natural, or God-given, rights to life and liberty. As to whether it would be constitutional, we have to see whether mandating church attendance is one of those enumerated powers of Congress found in Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution. We'd find no such authority. Our anti-federalist Founding Fathers didn't trust Congress with religious liberty, so they sought to protect it with the First Amendment to explicitly deny Congress the power to mandate religious conduct. Suppose there's widespread popular support for a church-going mandate and the U.S. Supreme Court rules it constitutional; do Americans have a moral obligation to obey the law? You might say, "Williams, while there are gray areas in the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court would never brazenly rule against clear constitutional prohibitions!" That's nonsense. The first clause of Article 1, Section 10 mandates that "No State shall ... pass any ... Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts." During the Great Depression, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Minnesota law that restricted the ability of banks to foreclose on overdue mortgages, thereby impairing contracts made between lender and borrower. To prevent this kind of contract impairment — routinely done under the Articles of Confederation — was precisely why the Framers added the clause.

Obama's best hope for reelection is destroying GOP nominee
Excerpt: When President Obama broke with long-standing tradition and blasted the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United even as members of the court sat before him at the 2010 State of the Union address, he was giving voice to the collective anxiety of the Democratic Party over a suddenly level political playing field. In the decision's aftermath, the unions lost an enormous advantage in fundraising and campaign spending in that all individuals and organizations - including corporations - were suddenly entitled to spend on political messages any amount those individuals and organizations deemed wise. The president was angry. However, chances are today he is very, very thankful for Citizens United as Campaign 2012 gets underway. We are entering the first campaign in which the full effects of Citizens United will be felt, and Republican voters should be considering not just who can raise the most money or be the beneficiary of the most independent expenditures, but who is best positioned to survive the coming deluge of independently-funded politics of personal destruction. For although the president lambasted the court for returning the operation of the First Amendment to its original intent of protecting political speech, he now may well be celebrating the decision for empowering the best hope he has of re-election: the demonization and destruction of his GOP opponent.

A Malfunctioning 'Reset'
Excerpt: It’s been two years now since President Obama heralded a new era in U.S.-Russian relations -- a “reset,” as he put it. His plan was to “cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest.” He and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were “committed to leaving behind the suspicion and the rivalry of the past.” Fast forward to the present. Have things improved? Considering that Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently called the United States a “parasite” on the global economy, and the U.S. State Department has put 64 Russian officials on a visa blacklist, it’s fair to say: Not much. (Just in case you’d forgotten about the rest of the unfriendly world out there besides the Middle East. Ron P.)

Muslims see ‘foreign law’ bill as attack on Shariah
Excerpt: The Michigan bill, which mirrors “American Laws for American Courts” legislation introduced in more than 20 other states, was introduced in June by state Rep. Dave Agema, Grandville Republican. He has argued that it has nothing to do with Islam or the faith’s Koran-based Shariah law, but is designed to stop anyone who seeks to invoke a foreign law in state courts. Mr. Agema’s proposal has not made it out of committee, but still has raised cries of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia from groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Michigan chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which have threatened to file a lawsuit if state lawmakers approve the measure. “If anybody has a problem with this, that means they don’t agree with U.S. laws,” Mr. Agema told the Detroit News. “If they don’t want it passed, then they have an ulterior agenda. It shows the people accusing me of bigotry are guilty of it themselves.”

Excerpt: Robert Gibbs and others have lately tried to answer questions about why Obama’s vaunted economic plans have not led to the expected recovery from recession. Their reply seems to be something along the lines that the president does not control Congress, and therefore has not been able to implement policies that otherwise might have led to prosperity. That “do-nothing Congress” defense cannot be a serious argument, since Obama came into power with a large House majority and a filibuster-proof Senate, and still controlled both houses of Congress until January of this year — and thus could and did do anything he pleased. The keystones of his economic plan — a second massive stimulus, a federalized take-over of health care, multi-trillion-dollar deficit spending, massive green-power subsidies and discouragement of fossil fuel production, new financial and environmental regulations, large expansions of food stamps, unemployment insurance, and other entitlements, etc. — all were enacted through the end of 2010. And when Obama lost Congress, he was still able by executive fiat to sidestep legislative oversight on everything from the Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the effort to shut down a Boeing plant and the decision to grant de facto amnesty by not deporting illegal aliens who are not wanted for crimes. 

Washington Monument Leaning After 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake?
Hard to know with Photoshop now days. ~Bob

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