Friday, August 5, 2011

Political Digest for August 5, 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.

Best older posts for new blog readers

When is a cut not a cut?
Good Guest Post on spending, cuts and the deficit—worth reading. ~Bob

Excellent blog post about the Marine I noted in yesterday’s digest. ~Bob. Excerpt: Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to meet Todd and Crystal Nicely, two Marines, both American heroes. The Nicelys will "anchor" my book Courage in America. In the weeks ahead, I hope to identify nine other “characters with character” to join them in a cast of heroes. Your help in identifying other heroes from our military that might approach the caliber of Todd and Crystal is very much invited. As you will see from visiting Todd’s Facebook page (, the Nicelys set a very high bar.

CNN - Obama: Everyone has to chip in
Ah, Mr. President, does “everyone” include the 47% of Americans who currently pay no income taxes at all, or by “everyone” do you mean only the top 5%, who already pay 60% of the federal income tax bill have to chip in more? ~Bob.

Worth Reading: Spare Us the Sermons, Mr. President
Excerpt: During the recent debt crisis, President Obama talked about the need for bipartisan compromise and, as in the past, urged civility. Giving ground and engaging in polite discourse, of course, can be noble aims. But, like most one-eyed-jack politicians, Obama has rarely embraced the admirable qualities he advocates -- a fact increasingly evident to a skeptical public. In 2006, then-Senator Obama voted against the Bush administration's request to raise the debt ceiling -- when the national debt was about 60 percent of what it is now. He did not show up for similar votes in 2007 and 2008. In that regard, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opposed every request when Republicans were in control of the Senate to raise the debt ceiling. Of course, such an unthinking party-line voter is exactly the sort of partisan senator or congressman that President Obama now deplores. … Obama's partisan rhetoric has always been rough. He called his political adversaries on taxes and the debt "hostage takers" who engaged in "hand to hand combat," and needed to be relegated to the proverbial back seat. Obama even suggested that AIG executives were metaphorical terrorists: "They've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger." In an appeal to voters, Obama urged that they not act calmly, but get angry: "I don't want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry!" The polarizing talk was the logical follow-up to his campaign hype of 2008, when he ridiculed the "clingers" of Pennsylvania, called on his supporters to confront his opponents and "get in their face," and at one point even boasted, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." (Obama gets nasty when he isn’t preaching about “civility.” ~Bob.)

Did the canary just die? ~Bob. Excerpt: America’s biggest creditor – China – is signaling deep unhappiness over this week’s deal to raise the US debt ceiling and the way it was accomplished. A Chinese credit rating agency Wednesday downgraded US debt, saying the deal does nothing to address the underlying problem. And the official Xinhua news agency dismissed the negotiating process that produced the deal as “a madcap farce of brinksmanship.” Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China’s central bank, used more measured language but issued a similar message. He called for Washington to take concrete and responsible steps to rebuild confidence in US Treasury bonds, saying uncertainties are a threat to the global economic recovery. Zhou welcomed Tuesday’s deal, but said he will be watching closely to see how it is implemented. He also said China will continue seeking to diversify its investments. China’s Dagong credit rating agency said it was downgrading US debt from A-plus to A because the deal does nothing to improve the United States’ ability to repay its debts.

Dow drop in debt talks exceeds TARP loss
Excerpt: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more points in the last two weeks than it did after the House initially failed to approve a bailout of U.S. banks at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. After early trading on Thursday, the Dow had lost 899 points since July 25, the first day of trading after talks between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on a big debt deal broke off.

A Shame or a Sham?
Excerpt: The more I read this article, the more I come to the conclusion that the nomination of Willard “Mitt” Romney for the GOP 2012 presidential candidate would the be downfall of the American conservative movement. In fact, just his candidacy might have already done it. The narrative in this article alone guarantees that. Let’s look at it together. The article is about a Massachusetts group Citizens for Life, who is billed as “the state’s leading anti-abortion group” and is also a state affiliate of National Right to Life. Their newest project is to launch a ballot campaign to repeal RommeyCare. Sounds good, doesn’t it? And it sounds like it could potentially be a real headache for Romney. But I repeat myself. But as you read the article, the first glaring inconsistency is when Anne Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, explains WHY they are initiating the ballot campaign. In her words, this is a pro-life issue because RomneyCare would “ration prenatal care and other medical services.” In my words, the state may turn away pregnant women, children, or even old people who need treatment. So, they may die . . . which is definitely a “life” issue. I’m not saying I disagree with her, but does anyone else notice a glaring omission? If you have even a passing acquaintance with the life issue and RomneyCare you should be able to pick out the BIG WHITE ELEPHANT in this room. $50 taxpayer-funded co-pay elective abortions.

Liberals’ unmaking of Barack Obama: President enters predictable free-fall from godlike to Carteresque
Excerpt: Remember when liberals claimed Barack Obama was “probably the smartest guy ever to become president” and was “a sort of god”? Today they say “we are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes,” and the center point of his presidency is “a disaster.” So what changed exactly? Is President Obama really a different man today than he was before he entered the Oval Office? The same Illinois legislator who voted “present” 129 times is now the debt-crisis-AWOL president who refused to present a specific plan of his own. The same presidential candidate who wanted to “spread the wealth” has unleashed redistributionist, collectivist policies on everything from health care and energy supply to runaway Keynesian spending and ever-increasing taxes. Should we be surprised? (I was comparing him to Carter in 2008, but Liberals were too tingly to notice. ~Bob.)

The Next Fight
Excerpt: We always had limited expectations for the debt deal. We didn’t think that if Republicans pushed the showdown beyond any deadline, Democrats would buckle and endorse a balanced-budget amendment. We did think Republicans could get cuts in exchange for an increase in the debt limit, and they did. In the first phase of the two-tier plan, they got spending caps that will limit the growth of discretionary spending over time for a $900 billion reduction from what Washington was planning to spend. The second phase aims to cut at least another $1.2 trillion, meeting Speaker John Boehner’s goal of achieving cuts roughly equal to the total increase in the debt limit of more than $2 trillion. But the details matter. As they have emerged over the last days or so, they are worrisome, especially as they pertain to defense. The White House claims that $350 billion will be cut from defense in the first round. Republicans dispute this. What no one disagrees about is that defense is on the line for half of the automatic cuts that will be triggered if a supercommittee charged with coming up with at least another $1.2 trillion in cuts fails to produce, or if Congress doesn’t pass its recommendations. This would mean a roughly $500 billion reduction utterly disconnected from any strategic considerations.

Snapshot of a Sick Society: We protect the evil living and dismiss the innocent dead.
Excerpt: Walk through this story to learn something about our confused American society. First, note the discrepancy between the employed Ms. McVay — washing her car in the early morning hours on her way to work, apparently intent on having a clean automobile when she arrived — and the unidentified youth who, we are told at first, was “taking a walk,” later expanded into “wandering the streets after leaving a party.” How did we go so nonchalantly in a mere two paragraphs from “taking a walk” to “wandering the streets after leaving a party”? In our present society, an able-bodied young man of 17 has leisure to walk about at 5 a.m. after a night of partying, while a hard-working woman squeezes in such an early morning moment to wash her car in order to appear presentable at work. Note, furthermore, that our society has no compunction about letting the world know the identity of Ms. Denise McVay, who was horribly murdered and left dead on the pavement of a car wash. But it is worried that we might learn the name of the “17-year-old gang member,” also known as an anonymous “teen.” Yet why are we, as a society, more sensitive to disclosing the identity of a gang-member and suspected killer than of a slain productive worker? In the transition from a shame culture to a guilt culture, America has become a confused society that values the sensitivities of the felonious living far more than respect for the law-abiding dead.

Blame the Washington Bureaucracy for High Gas Prices
Excerpt: Americans are paying more for gasoline today than they were six weeks ago when President Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, 10 drilling rigs -- more than one-third of the fleet -- have left on Obama’s watch. This incomprehensible energy policy is not only costing Americans more money at the pump. Bureaucratic delays in Washington are also stunting job growth and adding to the budget deficit. As the Obama Administration pivots to a new jobs agenda -- at least its seventh attempt to do so -- it would be wise to review the policies that are slowing energy production. Thirty-four years to the day President Jimmy Carter created the Energy Department, it's time for America to embrace a pro-energy agenda that boosts the economy, increases federal revenue and creates jobs.

Fracking debate from The Hill’s energy e-newsletter
Environmental and public health groups are turning up pressure on the Obama administration to impose new rules on the controversial natural-gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing. Earthjustice, on behalf of various groups, will formally petition the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to require companies to conduct new testing on chemicals used in “fracking” and produce data needed to gauge the health and environmental risks. The petition indicates that fracking opponents hope to force the Obama administration to take a tougher line on the issue by crafting new regulations, even as EPA and Energy Department reviews of fracking are under way. It will also call on EPA to mandate that Halliburton and other drilling services companies “provide any documentation these companies have of environmental or health problems associated with the chemicals they manufacture, process, or distribute,” according to Earthjustice. (Every time you see “Justice” in a group’s name, you know the average person is going to get screwed in behalf of their weird dreams. In this case the poor will suffer most from spiking energy costs. “Justice” my ass. Sorry. ~Bob.)

Yikes! Look who just endorsed Obama for 4 more years: Accuses GOP of 'racism, lies, economic sabotage'
What’s with the “yikes” in the headline? Like this is surprising news. ~Bob. Excerpt: It may be early in the campaign season, but the Communist Party USA already has seen fit to endorse Barack Obama for the 2012 election. While noting he is disappointed with "some aspects" of the Obama administration's domestic and foreign policy, Sam Webb, chairman of the Communist Party USA, threw his support behind Obama's re-election bid. In an article last week at People's Weekly World, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA, Webb discussed the need for a third party consisting of the so-called working class and labor as well as "racially and nationally oppressed people, women, youth, immigrants, seniors, gay and straight."

Ethics complaint against Sarah Palin dismissed
Excerpt: Alaska officials have dismissed an ethics complaint filed against former Gov. Sarah Palin that alleged she violated state law because the TLC docu-series "Sarah Palin's Alaska" took advantage of a state film production incentives program she signed into law. Malia Litman of Dallas filed the complaint in June with Alaska Attorney General John Burns. Litman also alleged Palin benefited from the production of the eight-part series in violation of a two-year moratorium that bars former officials from being compensated for assisting others in dealing with the state. Palin resigned in July 2009, with 17 months left in her first term, citing in part ethics complaints she called frivolous. Her resignation came less than one year after she was tapped as the Republican vice presidential nominee. She is now publicly mulling whether to seek the presidency in the 2012 election. (Filed by a retired trial lawyer from Dallas, TX? A person with no standing within the jurisdiction, complaining on what basis? Why was the complaint even taken up? Couldn’t the democrats at least find someone in Alaska willing to harass the former governor? I hope we’re making them as miserable as they’re trying to make us. This is the kind of tactic that, once started by either side, can’t be stopped. And, this dismissal won’t even be back page news for most of the MSM. Ron P.)

Earth's 2 Moons? It's Not Lunacy, But New Theory
Excerpt: The theory, outlined Wednesday in the journal Nature, comes complete with computer model runs showing how it might have happened and an illustration that looks like the bigger moon getting a pie in the face. Outside experts said the idea makes sense, but they aren't completely sold yet. This all supposedly happened about 4.4 billion years ago, long before there was any life on Earth to gaze up and see the strange sight of dual moons. The moons themselves were young, formed about 100 million years earlier when a giant planet smashed into Earth. They both orbited Earth and sort of rose in the sky together, the smaller one trailing a few steps behind like a little sister in tow. (Maybe, but I don’t know that I buy this. The article itself has some issues. At the speed and size being estimated, the impact would’ve taken a bit over 7 minutes to occur, not instantaneously, but not slowly, either. No human observer could have been comfortable watching it happen because it would've looked like a continuously exploding hydrogen bomb for the entire time. So, any observer would have been flash-blinded, probably permanently. Why? All that impact energy would have to convert instantly to heat, thus creating an explosion beyond anything in human experience (little radiation, though, as it is purely mechanical energy). An older theory, also unproven and not very popular, is that Earth itself was hit by something and broken in two, the second—and smaller—piece then becoming the Moon. I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. Ron P.)

Excerpt: GIVEN the past economic mismanagement in Vietnam, it’s no surprise that this week’s cabinet overhaul has engendered a hope that things may now improve. Before assessing the specifics, however, it pays to get a few things straight about the overall impact of the reshuffle. First, it has boosted the conservative wing of the ruling Vietnam Communist Party and marginalised the party’s more progressive, reformist elements. Impartial observers, and certainly those in the foreign business community, view this as a sadly predictable and retrograde step. But it has happened, and we must take stock of what it signifies for Vietnam, as well as for Cambodia and the rest of the region. In a nutshell, it means systemic reform of Vietnam’s ossified political and economic regime will not happen in the next five years. (Thirty-five years later, the people of Vietnam still suffer under the regime brought to power by American leftists like John Kerry. ~Bob.)

Top 10 Obama Birthday Party Games

Excerpt: A day after President Obama held an “urgent” meeting with AFL-CIO bosses in the White House, the Democrat National Committee is hosting a huge birthday bash for Obama’s 50th birthday tonight in Chicago. The only problem is, DNC organizers apparently chose not to use union labor for the event. While no one was in at Chicago’s IATSE local to confirm or deny whether IATSE members were ignored, an IBEW business representative seemed surprised when contacted over the telephone earlier. IBEW Business Representative Jim Kelly stated that his IBEW local (which does camera work) was not contacted for the work. He also stated that the venue where the Obama Birthday Bash is taking place is a non union venue. A call into of UNITE-HERE’s Local 1 confirmed that the Aragon Ballroom is, in fact, a non-union location.

Banks bulldoze foreclosed homes
Excerpt: Banks have a new remedy for America's ailing housing market: bulldozers. There are nearly 1.7 million homes in the U.S. in some state of foreclosure. Banks already own some of these homes and will soon repossess many more. Many housing economists worry that a near constant stream of home sales by banks could keep housing prices down for years to come. But what if some of those homes never hit the market? Increasingly, it appears that banks are turning to demolition teams instead of realtors to rid themselves of their least-valuable repossessed homes. Last month, Bank of America announced plans to demolish 100 foreclosed homes in the Cleveland area. The land will then be donated to local government authorities. BofA says the donations in Cleveland are part of a larger plan to rid itself of its least-salable properties, many of which, according to a company spokesperson, are worth less than $10,000. BofA has already donated 100 homes in Detroit and 150 in Chicago, and may add as many as nine more cities by the end of the year.

She's in trouble--the left goes after uppity blacks who don't vote and think in lock step. ~Bob. Excerpt: Ok, here’s the story. I was born and raised a Democrat. As odd as “being born a Democrat” may sound, that statement is as true as it is tragic. Both of my parents were, my aunts and uncles were, and every influential adult in my life proclaimed to be . . . a Democrat. I hadn’t considered questioning why because politics didn’t interest me much. I inherently knew that I was one, and when I became of voting age, the fundamental rule was that I must vote the party line all the way down the voting ticket. Why Democrat, you may ask? Because all black people, as far as I was told, voted Democrat. And since I was black, that made me Democrat. So when I turned 18 years of age, I registered to vote and voted as any good black American would. I followed the example of those around me and saddled that Democrat donkey every election Tuesday without understanding the issues, without learning the party platforms, and without a thorough assessment of the candidates. Heck, I didn’t even care to know such things; I just wanted the Democrats to win the election against those “racist” Republicans that I had been taught were against black people. I wanted the rich to pay their fair share like we, the poor and working class Americans, were. I didn’t even mind a little redistribution of wealth when it came to someone else’s fortune, as long as mine was left alone.

‘Supercommittee’ membership already a source of contention
Excerpt: Congressional leaders have until Aug. 16 to name the 12 members of the newly created “supercommittee” to deal with reducing the deficit, but special interest groups are wasting no time in pushing their choices for the panel. The debt-ceiling-increase legislation enacted Tuesday created a bicameral, joint committee of 12 legislators charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Nov. 23. The Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate each will pick three members for the committee, and a majority of seven members is enough to ensure up-or-down votes in Congress for the plan. Failure to come up with a plan will result in deep automatic defense and Medicare cuts. One wrong pick, lobbyists on the right and left said Wednesday, could swing the panel toward a terrible compromise. So they are not taking chances. These sources are already urging leaders to pick top lieutenants who will stick to party positions — no entitlement cuts for Democrats and no tax increases for Republicans. 

US Chamber may sue over union rules
Excerpt: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is likely to sue the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) if it finalizes a set of proposed rule changes that would hasten union elections. A senior official with the business group told reporters at the National Press Club on Wednesday that the Chamber has serious problems with the proposed rules and will seek a court injunction if they are not changed. That could stall the implementation of the new rules, if not overturn them in court.

At Obama’s birthday party in Chicago, a warm embrace from die-hard supporters
Think anyone will stop BO outside his birthday bash and ask whether the bash is an example of "shared sacrifice"? –Tom.
Medicare, Medicaid tab keeps growing
Fiscal Collapse, followed by social collapse, slouches ever closer. ~Bob. Excerpt: The costs of the government's big health care programs are soaring again, expenses not tackled in the agreement President Obama signed into law Tuesday to raise the nation's debt limit and cut federal spending. Medicare and Medicaid spending rose 10% in the second quarter from a year earlier to a combined annual rate of almost $992 billion, according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The two programs are on track to rise $90 billion in 2011 and crack the $1 trillion milestone for the first time. The jump in health care spending is the biggest since the Medicare prescription drug benefit was added five years ago and ends a brief lull in the spending increases that occurred during the economic downturn. The debt limit and spending package approved by Congress and Obama don't restrict costs of Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs. The rapidly escalating costs of the health care programs will challenge lawmakers seeking to rein in federal spending in the future, especially in 2014, when coverage expands to people who are uninsured now.

How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home
Excerpt: This article introduces new NAHB estimates of the impact that such regulations have on the price of a home. The estimates show that, on average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for 25.0 percent of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale. Nearly two-thirds of this—16.4 percent of the final house price—is due to a higher price for a finished lot resulting from regulations imposed during the lot’s development. A little over one third— 8.6 percent of the house price—is the result of costs incurred by the builder after purchasing the finished lot.
Government Share of Healthcare Is Far Bigger Than Advertised
Excerpt: The conventional ways of cataloguing and reporting health spending significantly understate the government share of health spending. In announcing a new set of health spending projections from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a recent email alert from the journal Health Affairs states: “New CMS Estimates Are That Nearly Half of Health Spending in the US in 2020 Will Come from Government Sources, up from 44 Percent in 2009.” That the government share of healthcare is rising is no news. We have known for decades that the share of health spending financed by federal, state, and local taxpayers has been rising. The truth hidden from view, however, is that government’s share of health spending already exceeded 50 percent in 2009. Healthcare-related tax subsidies will this year amount to nearly $350 billion annually. The federal share of this total, $265 billion, is more than the federal government paid for its share of Medicaid in 2009. Thus, ironically, the federal government spent more that year to subsidize private health insurance than it spent on public health insurance for those who have low incomes (although this no longer is true).

It's Not Easy To Get Three Quarters of America To Disapprove of You
Excerpt: A nationwide poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage for NewsMax found that a whopping 73 percent of the country disapproved of the "overall job performance of the U.S. House, Senate, and the president in their collective efforts to raise the national debt ceiling." Take it from a veteran pollster: Seventy-three percent disapproval is a staggering number. You don't incite that degree of discontent and frustration in people without the help of a lot of folks who either don't know what they're doing, or do know but don't care. (…) Still, it takes three instead of two to tango on this matter of excessive spending. And Americans know it. Again, in our poll, they disapproved of the president and both houses of Congress.

The Real War, Ignored as Usual
Excerpt: Even experienced journalists still fall for the Obama rhetoric, believing — and their belief is evidently reinforced by “inside sources” trying to make themselves and their president look good — that real action is minutes away. Take David Ignatius, for example. He’s been around for quite a while, both in Washington and overseas, and he’s got plenty of sources. Yet, two weeks ago he wrote that Obama and Hillary had (finally!) given up on any “reform” from Bashar Assad in Damascus, and they were stepping up support “for regime change in Syria.” But there is no such support, so far as anyone can tell. Indeed, there is such a lack of support that some Arab writers are deriding the president for his wimpery, while also desperately looking for some deep strategy to “explain” our inaction, and warning that he is making things even worse…

You’re gonna pay
Music video. Not my kind of music, but…

10 Charged in $60 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
We put some black kid away for ten years for smoking crack and give people like this a slap on the wrist. We need to start hanging them from lampposts. ~Bob. Excerpt: The FBI has arrested 10 people for allegedly participating in a $60 million Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. ring early Thursday morning in the New York area, has learned. Three more suspects are expected to be in custody by the end of the day, an FBI official said. The 13 alleged members of the mortgage fraud ring include real estate attorneys, title closers, appraisers and straw buyers. They were arrested on conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud charges.

Donald Rumsfeld Torture Lawsuit Can Proceed, Judge Says
Excerpt: A judge is allowing an Army veteran who says he was imprisoned unjustly and tortured by the U.S. military in Iraq to sue former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld personally for damages. The veteran's identity is withheld in court filings, but he worked for an American contracting company as a translator for the Marines in the volatile Anbar province before being detained for nine months at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military facility near the Baghdad airport dedicated to holding "high-value" detainees. The government says he was suspected of helping get classified information to the enemy and helping anti-coalition forces enter Iraq. But he was never charged with a crime and says he never broke the law.

Pinwheel Obama pivots to jobs—again! I’m pivoting to losing weight and exercising more. ~Bob. Excerpt: Mike Allen's note this morning that "Dems plan pivot to jobs" sounded awfully familiar to me, as it apparently did to the Republican National Committee, which promptly turned out a list of 15 occasions on which the White House had allegedly announced a similar pivot. That number is, shockingly, a bit inflated, but the underlying truth of the presidency is that through a mixture of choice -- health care -- and circumstance -- the Arab Spring, the Japan earthquake -- Obama has spent very little of his presidency publicly driving a conversation about jobs. By far the most serious jobs legislation he passes was the stimulus, but over-optimistic forecasts and implacable Republican opposition put the White House sharply on defense about it almost from the start. And the story of the Administration is, in no small part, one of a constant attempt to pivot formally to jobs. Emily and I identified what seem like six really attempts at it, with the seventh starting now:

Irresistible urge to send pictures of manhood snares another Democrat
Excerpt: New Jersey Democrat Louis Magazzu, a Cumberland County Freeholder, resigned yesterday after nude photos taken with his smartphone surfaced online. The New York Daily News reports that at least two of the photos showed Magazzu's crotch, two showed him dressed to the nines in a suit, and a fifth showed him waist up without a shirt.

69% Say It’s Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research
Excerpt: The debate over global warming has intensified in recent weeks after a new NASA study was interpreted by skeptics to reveal that global warming is not man-made. While a majority of Americans nationwide continue to acknowledge significant disagreement about global warming in the scientific community, most go even further to say some scientists falsify data to support their own beliefs. (The other 31% think Global Warming is a band competing on American Idol. ~Bob.)

The Progressive Crisis
This is long, but interesting. I found the comments, for once, equally and in some cases more interesting. ~Bob.

The Progressive Crisis
A great response to the above essay. Comments rather more vivid and less thoughtful. ~Bob. Excerpt: It is true that if you ask the public if they want more free stuff, they say yes. But that has always been a rather stupid way to ask the question. During the ObamaCare debate, Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) always pointed at polling results for smaller bits of ObamaCare: The public wants some more options, like a public one. The public wants young adults covered on their parents' policies until they are 30 or 40 or who knows, 50. The public wants an end to pre-existing conditions. What the Democrats and the media refused to pay attention to was the public's disapproval of ObamaCare. When asked about the full package of ObamaCare, they said no. In other words, asked about elements of ObamaCare out of context, the public wanted such things; but asked the critical in-context question of "Do you want ObamaCare?," i.e., the benefits as well as the costs, they said no.

Mapping the guilt of fruits and vegetables out of state
Excerpt: From DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, probably the biggest load of crap I’ve seen in quite some time. I realize that’s harsh, and I don’t think I’ve ever used that sentence to describe a scientific study, but there’s really no other way to say it when we have massive imports of fruits and vegetables from other countries, and they are worried about carbon in crops crossing state lines and regions in the USA. But the sad part is, this sort of “science” is so bloody obvious a fifth grader could tell you that “Their calculations showed that the most agriculturally active regions, shown in blue, are carbon sinks while the regions with larger populations, shown in red, are carbon sources.” (This article currently has more than 75 comments posted, every one of them mocking it. I’m appalled to think the Department of Energy actually paid for every cent of this study and provided much of the work. As one of the many commentators says: “if you don’t want carbon dioxide in your food, don’t eat.” I think that might solve the problem nicely. Ron P)

America at risk: The emerging threat from within
Excerpt: This is Part 1 of a two-part column. The Development and Execution of Joint Operations (both civilian and military) to respond to dynamic threats against the United States has now reached a point of criticality. Over the course of the last several years, some Americans are gradually waking up to the fact that our "essence of being" as a nation and as individuals is under a constant state of attack, and this attack has been implemented methodically and slowly over time by enemies who despise our way of life. What is occurring to the great country is so heinous that it patronizes each one of us, who we are, our heritage and what we stand for as a nation. During World War II, America, The Sleeping Giant, as quoted by Japanese Adm. Yamamoto, woke up; and The Greatest Generation, as noted by Tom Brokaw, stood up and went off to fight "The Total Collective Effort of Evil" in their time. Evil has many forms, and simply stated, it is a word to describe the acts of omission or acts of commission to inflict wanton harm or destruction or, according to Wiktionary, a deliberate violation of some accepted moral code of behavior, i.e. a fiduciary obligation. Evil, as defined by The Free Dictionary, is that which causes harm, misfortune or destruction: as in a leader's power to do both good and/or evil. In the 1940s, Americans responded by waging "total war" against evil perpetrated by German Nazism and Japanese Militaristic Imperialism, in which the goals were to subjugate free people and farm resources under a new order of fascism.

Time for a Red Tape Rescue
The author even gives some suggestions to remedy the problem. Ron P. Excerpt: One of the biggest factors behind whether companies hire or not is regulation. It’s expensive to run a business, and if government agencies are saddling you with more and more expensive rules, you’re simply not going to have as much money left over to hire additional employees -- or to pay the ones you already have as high a wage as you might like. We have fresh evidence, in fact, of just how costly those myriad rules coming out of Washington can be. Regulatory experts James Gattuso and Diane Katz have a new report out on this “hidden tax” -- so-named because, unlike taxes, they don’t have their price tags out in the open. Yet, as with conventional taxes, regulations raise the price of everything for Americans, from consumer goods to health care. In the first six months of fiscal year 2011, 15 major new regulations were issued. The annual bill? $5.8 billion. And that’s after one-time implementation costs of $6.5 billion. That’s par, however: So far, the Obama administration has imposed 75 major new regulations, with an annual price tag of $38 billion.

Obama: Congress to blame for economy: Cantor: He’s ‘in over his head’
Blaming George Bush is so last year. ~Bob. Excerpt: The chairs of lawmakers departing for their summer recess had barely cooled Wednesday when the White House tried to shift blame onto Congress for the faltering economy. A day after President Obama quietly signed legislation to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, a move the administration said would calm financial markets, stocks gained ground, but not nearly enough to recover from eight days of heavy losses. At a Cabinet meeting, Mr. Obama told reporters the debt crisis - for which he blames House Republicans - created “an unnecessary negative impact on the economy.” The president also criticized lawmakers for failing to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and putting thousands out of work, calling it “a good example of how undone work here in Washington can have an adverse impact on that economy.” He said he called his Cabinet together to make sure “they are redoubling their efforts” to improve the economy.

O’Care truth sinks in
Excerpt: The first ideological tentacles of ObamaCare began snaking their way into the pocketbooks of private insurers and the consciences of religious Americans when, on Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines requiring insurers to provide free birth control -- including “morning-after” abortion pills -- in the name of “women’s health.” “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Insurers will have to provide the services without deductibles, co-pays or any other charges. In other words, the federal government -- choosing sides in the culture war -- now considers “unplanned” pregnancy to be a preventable disease. Not the most fundamental mystery of human existence. Not the fullest expression of love between a man and a woman. Not a deeply personal human activity that lies at the heart of religious moral teaching.

How White House Wooed Wall Street in Debt Debate
Excerpt: This week's vote to avert a debt-ceiling crisis brought together a variety of uneasy political alliances. But few were as fraught with tension as the one between Wall Street and the Obama administration. Often at odds since the financial crisis, banks and the White House found themselves on the same side in recent weeks as they worked to back a compromise that would fend off a default by the U.S. government. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley even tried to enlist the help of his former employer, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., as part of a final push to get a deal done in Congress, said people familiar with the situation. White House officials including Mr. Daley and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett placed calls to banks, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Daley called a former colleague at J.P. Morgan, head of government relations Peter Scher, and tried to reach Bank of New York Mellon Corp. CEO Robert Kelly, people familiar with the matter said. The message from administration officials: contact key senators and congressman in both parties to tell them that an agreement was crucial for business confidence and the economy. Last Thursday, banks sent an open letter to President Barack Obama and Congress, urging compromise.

Obama's Deal With the Debt Devil
Excerpt: With the "Satan sandwich" debt deal signed, and his political base raging at him and at the injustice of it all, Barack Obama must have spent a few minutes alone this week in that famous Oval Office chair, wondering what to make of his three years in the presidency—and the one year he knows for sure he has left. Barack Obama's career successes so far are in large part a story of charisma and will. Some say he is the most arrogant occupant of the White House they've ever known. Maybe he had to be arrogant to get there. What we know now, and what many claimed not to know during the 2008 campaign, is that Barack Obama is a man of the left, leading a congressional Democratic delegation further left than at any time in the party's history. From the vantage of that achievement, he is now in deep tension with the nation's economy and its moody voters, who've downgraded his approval rating to Baa ("protective elements may be lacking or may be characteristically unreliable"). Here is a different way to think about Barack Obama's plight: President Hillary Clinton (a phrase somehow in the air just now) would not have had this much trouble doing a deal on the debt ceiling. The Clintons invented triangulation. The left, recently rebranded as progressives, hated triangulation and its Rubinesque accommodations with the business sector. Barack Obama's greatest accomplishment before ObamaCare was defeating the Clinton political machine—its funders, its deep political network, and its tong-like loyalties. Recall the Shakespearean tragicomedy when Ted and Caroline Kennedy talked Bill Richardson into abandoning Hillary at primary crunchtime. When the new Obama machine won, the American left, in a constant rage for nearly 30 years, swept back into power. The Obama cabinet had no private-sector persons.

Slippery Weasels, Deals, and Triggers
The United States will not default on its debts, the NFL will play this fall, and President Obama's polls are sinking to a level from which he may not recover. But not all the news is good. Though the deal is apparently done it isn't yet enacted by Congress and it may risk increasing the damage to national security already done by the Obama administration. At this writing -- late Sunday evening -- the deal has been reached between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Obama. McConnell spoke at about 8:30 p.m. on the Senate floor, confirming that the framework of the deal was done and that the Republican senators will meet Monday morning to -- they hope -- confirm a deal. Democrats and House Republicans will also be meeting, separately, on Monday to consider whether they'll do the same. Obama came to the microphones about ten minutes after McConnell's announcement. As slippery as a greased weasel, Obama announced a deal had been reached between congressional leaders of both parties. But he never said he endorsed it. Senate sources told me last night that Obama had committed to it and that McConnell wouldn't have gone on record without Obama's concurrence. But because "the liberals were going ballistic," Obama didn't have the guts to publicly endorse the deal last night.

More Medicare Cuts
Excerpt: Most everyone seems to agree that the debt deal's "super committee" is supposed to reform the entitlement state, somehow. "Yes," President Obama said Tuesday, "that means making some adjustments to protect health-care programs like Medicare so they're there for future generations." Now there's a statement of vaulting ambition. Maybe the second round will result in a real advance, and no one would be more pleased than us if it did. But what this exercise is more likely to expose is the fiscal and intellectual exhaustion of the health-care approach of both parties over the past three decades. President Reagan and a Democratic House imposed Medicare price controls in 1983—and the standard cost-control method since then of crude, arbitrary cuts to doctors, hospitals and other providers is now in collapse. Under the terms of the deal, the 12-member joint select committee is supposed to reduce the 10-year deficit another $1.5 trillion by November. If it doesn't, or if Congress rejects or Mr. Obama vetoes the package, spending would be cut by $1.2 trillion automatically, including 2% across-the-board cuts to all Medicare providers. Benefit cuts and cost-sharing for seniors are excluded. Ponder that one for a moment, though we realize it is by now routine. Congress would decree that U.S. medicine must provide the same level of services to patients but do so for 98 cents on the current government dollar. And that dollar is already below actual costs. For the same hospital services, private insurers on average pay $1.49 today, according to Medicare data on relative public and commercial rates. A doctor to whom Medicare pays $1 would receive $1.25 from a private carrier for delivering the same care. The rest of the economy does not work like this.

Sapping America’s ability to fight
Many people are writing about the threats I deal with in my book, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. My purpose was to show how what I believe are the four major threats work together against us. As this piece notes, the fiscal crisis reduces our ability to deal with other threats. ~Bob. Excerpt: The debt-ceiling deal could also be called America’s Unilateral Disarmament Plan. Over 10 years, it threatens cuts of more than $900 billion from the US armed forces -- a defense rollback more than half the size of the entire economy of Canada or India. Some would say that’s a sign of just how big the Pentagon really is. I’d say it’s a sign that America is in full strategic retreat, perhaps further back than at any time since before World War II. Friends and allies, please take note. Our enemies certainly will. Cuts of this size will mean major force reductions and restructuring, plus the end of major programs -- very probably including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It means sharp reductions in replacement parts for ships, vehicles and aircraft, which means less time for operational training and exercises.

Victim in Chief --What if racism really is what's ruining Obama's presidency?.
Excerpt: Barack Obama's difficulties are the result of racism: It has been a frequently recurring theme ever since he emerged as a serious presidential candidate. Obama himself has raised it occasionally, though not often, but his supporters fall back on it all the time--including now. Here's DeWayne Wickham in yesterday's USA Today: "This total lack of respect is downright contemptible--if not unpatriotic. Such contempt, I'm convinced, is rooted in something other than political differences. . . . The presence of Jim Crow, Jr.--a more subtle form of racism--is there." What prompts these accusations of racism? In Wickham's words, Speaker John Boehner "contemptuously waited more than half a day to return a call from the president," and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor complained to reporters that Obama cut short a meeting, "as though the president needs his permission to end a White House gathering." In reference to the Cantor spat, Wickham writes: That encounter might have reminded Obama of the open letter Frederick Douglass, a runaway slave and abolitionist who became one of this nation's first black diplomats, wrote to his slave master. It would be "a privilege" to show you "how mankind ought to treat each other," Douglass told the man who had badly mistreated him. "I am your fellow man, but not your slave." This is overwrought to the point of absurdity. Neither Obama nor Cantor is in a position remotely comparable to that of a slave, but Obama is the higher-status of the two. Perhaps Cantor failed to show due respect for the president's authority, but that is very different from insulting an underling's basic humanity. As for Boehner, he is the head of a coequal branch of government, yet Wickham faults him for not deferring to Obama as if he were the boss.

Who's to Blame for Terrorism?
Excerpt: Who deserves the blame for the terrorist attacks in Norway? My answer would be the perpetrator and no one else — unless it turns out there really is a modern Knights Templar or some other group that sent him on his mission of mass murder. But there are those who disagree, who see this atrocity as part of a wider conspiracy — or, perhaps, as a convenient stick with which to beat their political and ideological opponents. One example: The New York Times last week ran an editorial arguing that Anders Behrig Breivik was “influenced by public debate and the extent to which that debate makes ideas acceptable.” The “broader” issue, says the Times, is that “inflammatory political rhetoric is increasingly tolerated.” Which raises the questions: Who decides what constitutes inflammatory rhetoric? And if such rhetoric is unacceptable and intolerable, who should censor it and by what means?

Illinois Bad Dream!
Excerpt: An insolvent state hemorrhaging jobs enacts its version of the federal DREAM Act, holding out another carrot to illegal aliens by setting up a college scholarship fund for their children. Illinois' Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday illustrated why liberals tend to run governments and economies into the ground by signing into law Monday the Illinois DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a seemingly innocuous and compassionate piece of legislation that sets up scholarships for anyone with a Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. At a time when the Land of Lincoln is driving away business and jobs through increasingly burdensome taxation, liberal ideology trumps practicality by seeking to attract illegal immigrants to a state struggling to meet the needs of its citizens. It seeks to educate the children of illegal aliens to compete for jobs American citizens can't find. An estimated 95,000 children of illegal aliens will benefit. Supporters say that since the scholarships are privately funded, and Quinn was quick to make his own $1,000 donation, no state money is involved. Yet state money will go to support a nine-member commission to establish and dispense these scholarships. State money goes to fund another interesting part of the law, the requirement for high school teachers and counselors to get special sensitivity training on the needs of illegal immigrants.

Palestinian Grad rocket explodes near Kiryat Gat
Excerpt: A long-range Grad rocket fired from Gaza landed in open territory in Lachish, near Kiryat Gat late Wednesday night. A police bomb squad arrived in the area and was searching for the location of the rocket. The attack represents an escalation in the firing of longer-range rockets. The last time such rockets were fired at Israel was in March, when a number of projectiles landed in the Ashdod and Lachish area, and schools in the area were closed. (How is it that the desperate, poor, starving Palestinians who need relief boats to bring them food and medical supplies can still get rockets? Better rockets, it seems. ~Bob.)

Punched in the face, but fat chance charges will be laid
Excerpt: What constitutes a physical assault in Toronto these days? This would appear to be straightforward. If, for example, one individual punches another, surely that’s assault. Especially if the punch in question was witnessed. And photographed. But as I learned firsthand on Sunday, a fist in the face doesn’t necessarily constitute assault in our increasingly culturally sensitive Toronto. The details: I was at Yonge-Dundas Square with my nine-year-old son. We ate pizza. We drank bubble tea. And I used my new Canon camera to take photos of this neon shrine. Suddenly, a woman wearing a hijab ran toward me. She was part of a group that included two women wearing full face-covering burkas. She was screaming: “We are Muslim! You do not take pictures of us!” (Odd. I can’t find the “no photos” rule in the Qur’an.) I informed the lady I was in a public square in a democracy. I can actually take pictures of whomever I please. And then: Ka-pow! Her fist collided with my face. Worse, she almost knocked my new camera from my hands. My son and I were then surrounded by a mob of about 20 people, many of whom were speaking Arabic. One kept demanding I surrender my camera to him.

Futile Bail Out of Italy Up Next
Excerpt: A critical Italian government bond auction is coming up Thursday, August 4. That bond auction is highly likely to fail. However, if it does fail, don't expect results to be reported that way. The chief economist at Citigroup says “ECB to Revive Bond-Buying to Protect Italian Auction This Week.” Former Bank of England policy maker Willem Buiter said the European Central Bank will revive its bond-buying program to safeguard this week’s auction of Italian bonds. “The ECB will intervene on whatever scale is necessary to allow Italy to conduct its auction on Thursday,” Buiter, now chief economist at Citigroup Inc., told reporters in London today. “If the ECB doesn’t come in, the Italian bond auction is likely to fail.” Nonsense from Citigroup Buiter's statements are of course complete nonsense. If the ECB steps in it will be because the auction failed. The act of intervention will not turn a failed auction into a successful one. What the hell is the matter with chief economists who do not understand simple economic principles? Protection? Really?

Excerpt: #BeforeBlackPresidents you could depict the President as a chimp without being called a racist. [with a reference to this:]
#BeforeBlackPresidents before we had a black president, Barack Obama opposed raising the debt ceiling.
#BeforeBlackPresidents before we had a black president, Barack Obama didn’t want us to go to war without congressional approval.

Man holds would-be New Haven robbers at gunpoint until cops arrive
Excerpt: Brandon Kruse went out for some sushi and a beer on State Street, but instead found himself surrounded by three young teens. One punched him in the head. Surrounded and believing he was about to be mugged, Kruse, a 29-year-old sales manager, pulled out his .40-caliber handgun — and ultimately helped police capture all three assailants. The incident happened Saturday night at State near Wall Street. Kruse was walking down State from his nearby apartment to the Kumo Hibachi Steakhouse. He had heard good things about it. While he’s licensed to carry a firearm, he doesn’t usually, he said Monday. (In Chicago, he’d probably be dead. ~Bob.)

Accused drunk driver faces judge and Marine's family
Excerpt: A 21-year-old woman accused in a hit-and-run crash in Rancho Bernardo, in which she allegedly drove drunk and hit a decorated Marine from behind on his motorcycle, leaving him hospitalized on life support, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three felony charges. Jessica Marie Bloom, who is being held on $100,000 bail, faces a maximum of nine years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Williams. Police said 34-year-old Gunnery Sgt. Dave Smith was eastbound on Bernardo Center Drive near West Bernardo Drive about 12:30 p.m. last Sunday, waiting at a red light, when he was hit from behind by a woman driving a Chevrolet TrailBlazer. The collision launched the victim onto the hood of the mid-size SUV, then into the street, Williams said. The prosecutor said Bloom got out of the vehicle and appeared to be upset, frantically asking witnesses, "Is he dead?" referring to the victim. The defendant loaded her front bumper into her SUV and drove off, but witnesses followed her to her apartment a short distance away and called police, Williams said. After her arrest, Bloom's blood-alcohol level was measured at .37 percent, more than four times the legal limit for driving, according to the prosecutor.

Birth control plan: Conscience vs. special interests
Excerpt: President Obama this week used his health care law to hand a lucrative special favor to two industries that have ardently supported his party: Planned Parenthood and the drug industry. The largesse came in the form of a rule proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services that would require all new insurance plans to cover the entire cost of all forms of prescription contraception -- including those that also act as abortion drugs. This free-pills-for-all proposal embodies two dark themes of the Obama era: cronyism and trampling on the freedom of conscience.

Eric Holder has got to go
Excerpt: Let's impeach Eric Holder. Journalistic protocol requires that I use the phrase "U.S. Attorney General" in front of Holder's name. But I just can't. Now I could use phrases like "pathetic excuse for an attorney general," or "so-called attorney general" or "bogus attorney general," but I won't go there. I'll simply call Holder what he is: the worst attorney general in American history. And I thought former Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno were bad. My all-time candidate for worst U.S. attorney general ever was A. Mitchell Palmer, who was responsible for the notorious "Palmer Raids" of 1919, in which hundreds of suspected left-wingers were rounded up and imprisoned. The Palmer Raids might arguably be called the most widespread violation of civil liberties in American history, but at least Palmer had an excuse: Someone tried to blow the guy up in his home. Whatever bad or good might be said about Palmer, Ashcroft and Reno, at least they tried to uphold the law. Holder is cut from a different mold: He thinks it's his job to give aid and comfort to lawbreakers, to mollycoddle them, to hold their little hands and to pussyfoot when it comes to making them accountable for their criminality.

When Obama Hands You Lemons . . . the state enforcers won’t let you make lemonade.
Excerpt: Iain Murray wrote yesterday about the spate of lemonade-stand crackdowns by this once great republic’s depraved regulatory class. This is not a small thing. A land in which a child requires hundreds of dollars of permits to sell homemade lemonade in his front yard is, in a profound sense, no longer free: It is exactly the kind of micro-regulatory tyranny of which Tocqueville warned two centuries ago. Guest-hosting for Rush a week or two back, I suggested en passant that we needed a children’s version of the Tea Party — a Lemonade Party. I see now that a concerned citizen is organizing a Lemonade Freedom Day for August 20th. By the way, our fellow NR cruiser Ed Driscoll has posted an excerpt from my new book about another curious priority of the control freaks of the Brokest Nation In History: The church bake-sale pie crackdown. I hesitate to channel Martin Niemöller (“First they came for the kid next door’s lemonade stand and I did nothing, then they came for the widder woman across the street’s maple pecan pie”), but this is a sustained assault by the state on civic participation, and thus on citizenship itself. The proper response of any self-respecting seven-year-old girl on being told she needs the state’s permission to sell homemade lemonade is, “You’ll never take me alive, copper!”

Who’s Pro-Choice?: Democrats like to allow women to have abortions, but not much else.
Almost unanimously, Washington Democrats call themselves “pro-choice.” “I support a woman’s right to choose!” they thunder into any open microphone. “Choice,” of course, means abortion, though they rarely yell that word as loudly. Being able to have abortions is where the Democrats’ passion for choice starts and stops. Elsewhere, Democrats sabotage a woman’s right to choose. Instead, they demand to make that choice for her, as they do for men.

Excerpt: My jaw hit the floor while reading the Wall Street Journal’s excellent editorial this morning on the tattered state of Medicare. The Journal recounts the latest insanity: The spending cut provision in the debt-ceiling deal. It immunizes the program’s swelling millions of beneficiaries from cuts and cost-sharing. Instead, any purported Medicare slashing from the across-the-board $1.2 trillion in cuts (once the vaunted Super Committee deadlocks) is to be borne — again, purportedly — by providers. The editors demonstrate that this is a racket (I’d call it a racket within a racket). Medicare reimbursement rates are already so low that providers are squeezed to the breaking point. Beltway politicians always claim, on paper, that they are going to control health-care costs without hurting beneficiaries by such artifices as the “sustainable growth rate” imposed on physicians fees and “productivity adjustments” to inpatient treatment. But at the eleventh hour they reverse themselves by enacting “doc fixes” and the like — just as they knew they would do all along.

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