Sunday, August 7, 2011

Political Digest for August 7, 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.

Important: United States of America Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'AA+' Due To Political Risks, Rising Debt Burden; Outlook Negative
As Joe Biden might say, this is a big F-ing deal! And very bad news for taxpayers, however expected. ~Bob. Excerpt: We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America to 'AA+' from 'AAA' and affirmed the 'A-1+' short-term rating. We have also removed both the short- and long-term ratings from CreditWatch negative. The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics. More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011. (The U.S. is no longer the premier economy in the world, and we have become a laughing stock in much of the world. The debt fiasco last week between Congress and Obama set the stage for this downgrade, but Obama is the main problem as he has been on a spending spree for the last 2 1/2 years. This is the first President who has had a rating downgrade. There must be structural spending reform to solve our fiscal problems, but this will not happen as long as the Democrats control 2/3 of the government. In addition, Obama’s socialist ideology will preclude any positive changes between now and the 2012 election, so it is going to be a problem for many Americans who will need to borrow money. This is will not be good for our US debt payments as interest rates will rise. Our annual interests payments are headed very quickly toward $1 Trillion. This may also impact the stock market Monday, which has already taken a huge hit this week. Hopefully, this downgrade will be just another reason Obama is defeated in the 2012 election. The Treasury Secretary should be fired now. -- Geoff Higginbotham, MGen USMC (Ret.))

Comment on the downgrade
Revenge has a sweet and sour taste, as you can infer from the FedUpUSA article below. The few pundits willing to tell the truth the last 2 decades or so -- voices crying in the wilderness -- have been ignored. You said "ah, it can't be that bad," and went on thinking our most important job was to get Republicans elected, even though they kept the borders open and spent so much that drunken sailors were offended at the comparison. (The GOP told you debt didn't matter as long as there was economic growth. The "conservative" media went along with the lie). Part of this vindication -- the sovereign debt downgrade, absolute proof that these lone pundits were right on target -- has to taste good. But on the other hand, knowing that your fellow Americans are about to get deathly sick from an overdose of stupid pills isn't quite what anyone wanted either. Pundits are teachers and when the student doesn't learn the lesson despite all your efforts, teachers tend to blame themselves. We were hoping that somehow, somewhere along the way -- like when simple math showed our debt plus unfunded liabilities could never be paid for because it would take significantly more money than exists on the planet or ever will exist to do so -- people would finally wake up. Like when Saddam Hussein had to go into hiding and finally admit to himself that he hadn't won the war. But even that was futile. Simple math doesn't appeal to rocket scientists who graduated from the most expensive institutions of Marxist higher indoctrination. I am in fact wondering whether actually literally drowning in a sea of debt is proof enough that people need to live within their means or perish. Could these people actually go under the waves one last time and think: NOW is when they rescue me? I don't know, and I can't believe I am saying that....Are we in a Kafka novel? --Don Hank

And so it begins...

More on the downgrade
I know it isn't good to admit it, but I am relieved. Along with pundits who know a lot more about finance than I do, I have been warning of this impending downgrade and its implications and people were ignoring all of us, calling us alarmists. Well, you were wrong and we were right, and I don’t mind telling you so. Americans don't know much about finance and even the most aware need to be reminded. Here is a brief schematic showing why a downgrade is HORRIBLE news: 1--A major rating agency downgraded US sovereign debt. Here is the time sequence as I understand it: First, the rating agencies and a lot of financial pundits (but not the mainstream media -- you were probably hanging on every word of the WSJ, the NYT, etc, right? Tough luck!) said a downgrade was inevitable if the US government didn't stop spending. 2--Instead of cutting spending, Congress held a political theater skit in which it pretended to be cutting spending (again, you were reading what a great deal this was), but the amounts were insignificant and most were based on planned, inevitable structured cuts that would have happened anyway (sort of like me promising that I will make the sun rise tomorrow and expecting you to thank me). On top of this insult, both parties agreed to raise the already staggeringly high debt ceiling of 14 trillion (debt was 10 T under Bush and that was much too high). This was tantamount to jumping off the Grand Canyon and hoping to grow wings before splattering against the ground. This proves there are no longer 2 parties in the US. America doesn't need a third party, it needs a second. 3--Moody's issued a minor downgrade by tacking a negative outlook on the AAA rating. Congress didn't even notice and the mainstream media put it on the back page. 4--But then, Standard & Poors fired a big warning shot over the government's bow downgrading the AAA to AA+. Such downgrades of sovereign debts in other countries have led to an interest hike in the countries' bonds. So what, you say? 5--"So what?" is definitely the wrong answer. Even a slight interest hike on the dizzyingly high debt of 16 trillion could easily translate into an amount that would cause the US to funnel the lion's share of its total spending into servicing the debt. There would be precious little left to spend on existing programs and liabilities like Medicare, social security, welfare, food stamps, etc. AND, nota bene: There would be no suckers left to buy our bonds. Bernanke could keep printing money all he wants, but very shortly, the dollar will be worth much less, if not worthless. We are staring down the barrel of a Howitzer right now. We actually COULD default. Obama, the Dems and the Fed have proved that government can't create jobs or even control one iota of the economy. It never did and never could. We were supposed to learn that lesson during the existence of the Soviet Union and Mao's debacle. But we didn't learn a single thing from these object lessons. We kept reading about "global warming" and "social justice." 100 million people died in vain. Now we will learn it, one way or the other. Don’t cry. You did it to yourselves, America. --Don Hank

Must read: Brokest Nation In History On Edge Of Armageddon
Excerpt: On Thursday, in honor of Barack Obama's 50th birthday, the Dow dropped 10 points for every year he has walked among us. It was the ninth-largest drop in history. We should be relieved he wasn't turning 80. The markets are apparently concerned that the entire global economy might be "stalling." You don't say? Observant fellows, these market chappies. And yet, in a certain sense, these are still the good times. At the end of the week, U.S. Treasury yields plunged to Eisenhower-era rates. America, explained Ethan Harris of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, "still gets the safe haven money." That's to say, as crazy as Washington is, Europe is perceived to be crazier. In confirmation of the point, over in Italy, which is (believe it or not) a G7 economy, police raided Moody's and Standard & Poor's over allegations that all the meanie things that the rating agencies have been saying about the Italian economy were having an impact on Italian stock prices. Apparently that's a crime in Italy. They're not yet shooting the messenger. But they are dragging him through the streets in chains pour encourager les autres. Good luck with that. ... So they usually say, "Well, fortunately I won't live to see it." And I always reply that, unless you're a centenarian with priority boarding for the ObamaCare death panel, you will live to see it. Forget about mid-century. We've got until mid-decade to turn this thing around. Otherwise, by 2020 just the interest payments on the debt will be larger than the U.S. military budget. That's not paying down the debt, but merely staying current on the servicing — like when you get your MasterCard statement and you can't afford to pay off any of what you borrowed but you can just about cover the monthly interest charge. (I've per-ordered his new book. Nice to know I'm not alone in my views. ~Bob.)

World leaders confer on debt crises this weekend
Excerpt: Global leaders on Saturday arranged a round of emergency calls to discuss the twin debt crises in Europe and the United States that are causing turmoil in financial markets. After a week that saw $2.5 trillion wiped off global stock markets, they are under pressure to show political leadership and reassure markets that Western governments have both the will and ability to reduce their huge and growing public debt loads. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chairs the G7/G20 group of leading economies, conferred with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a call planned for this weekend by G7 finance ministers and central bankers. "They discussed the euro area and the U.S. debt downgrade. Both agreed the importance of working together, monitoring the situation closely and keeping in contact over the coming days," a spokesman for Cameron said.

AP sources: Crash kills members of SEAL Team 6
Excerpt: U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that they believe that none of the Navy SEALs who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan had participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, although they were from the same unit that carried out the bin Laden mission. Sources say that more than 20 Navy SEALs were among those lost in the crash in Afghanistan. The operators from SEAL Team Six were flown by a regular Army crew. That's according to AP military sources.

Did Biden’s Loose Lips Sink a Team 6 Airship?
Excerpt: After Bin Laden was killed, Robert Gates was insistent that nothing be revealed about the unit that accomplished the deed. But one man could not keep his mouth shut: Joe Biden, who credited the SEALs in a speech: Let me briefly acknowledge tonight’s distinguished honorees. Admiral James Stavridis is a, is the real deal. He can tell you more about and understands the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALs and what they did last Sunday. Further irresponsible leaks from the Obama administration revealed the unit involved, causing the unit members to fear for their safety and that of their families: The Department of Defense is looking into ways to “pump up the security” for the team of Navy SEALs who helped kill Osama bin Laden after the commandos expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. Gates made the comment in response to a question at a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. A Marine asked what measures were being taken to protect “the identities and the lives” of the SEALs involved in the takedown of bin Laden in Pakistan a week ago, as well as other troops deployed in the region, from the threat of retaliation. “We are very concerned about the security of our families – of your families and our troops, and also these elite units that are engaged in things like that. And without getting into any details … I would tell you that when I met with the team last Thursday, they expressed a concern about that, and particularly with respect to their families,” Gates told the audience. “Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.” (I suspect the crash in Afghanistan is the kind of bad luck that happens in combat. That said, the operational security of this administration, aided by the media which are happy to publish details of operations, then stories about the tragic deaths that follows, is abysmal. ~Bob.)

Michael Yon on the loss of the Seals

Excerpt: A U.S. and Afghan-coalition force yesterday killed a Taliban leader and one suspected insurgent during a security operation in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province, military officials reported. Sheen Abdul Rahman was a Taliban leader who directed more than 70 fighters to conduct roadside bomb, landmine and other attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. He also trained Taliban fighters in building improvised explosive devices or IEDs. Afghan members of the combined force located Rahman, who was armed with an AK-47 rifle. Rahman was engaged and killed when he presented a threat to the force. ... There is also detailed evidence uncovered that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is transferring long-range rockets to Taliban elements in Afganistan. British forces intercepted a shipment of 48 122-millimeter rockets moving through Nimruz Province, near the Iranian and Pakistani borders.

Great column: No surprise: Disappoint-mints strike liberals as bad taste
Excerpt: Corrections and clarifications: In a Page 2 column on Wednesday, John Kass incorrectly asserted that by raising the federal debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, President Barack Obama had grabbed "reality by the hair" and kicked it repeatedly "in the behind." But Thursday's stock-market plunge of more than 500 points proves that reality remains immune to the president's charms. The Tribune regrets the error. So what do you give a beleaguered president who just ate a mess of birthday barbecue with his friends from Chicago? Yes, Disappoint-mints, the breath mints with President Barack Obama's likeness on the cover.

Worth Watching: Afterburner with Bill Whittle: Rich Man, Poor Man
Who is poor. Good short video. ~Bob.

Syrian Protests: Hama Shelled By Tanks
Excerpt: Although there has been a near-total communications blackout in Hama, witnesses have painted a grim picture of life in the city. "People are being slaughtered like sheep while walking in the street," a resident said Thursday, speaking by phone on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. There were also fears of an intensified assault on a second city, the oil center of Deir el-Zour in the east, where tanks have been deployed at entrances since earlier this week. Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based Observatory for Human Rights in Syria, said a quarter of the city's population of 600,000 have fled recently. Friday has become the main day for protests in Syria, despite the near-certainty that tanks and snipers will respond with deadly force. Protests on Friday spread from the capital, Damascus, to the southern province of Daraa, the central city of Homs and in Qamishli, near the Turkish border.

Government Gone Wild

And now for the real economic crisis
Excerpt: In ending the immediate debt-ceiling crisis this week, Congress did nothing to address the United States' long-term economic crisis. Its latest spending cuts won't even cover the debt we'll rack up this year. The long-term crisis is threefold: We've amassed a huge debt; we're running a massive annual deficit; and the economy has essentially flatlined: It grew at an annualized rate of less than 1 percent in the first half of the year, and but for population growth it probably would have shrunk slightly. All three have roots in an almost pathological American positivism - the very same that led to both the dot-com and housing bubbles. We seem to believe that "American exceptionalism" exempts us from the rules of economics. Decision time, folks. Will we embrace painful realism and do what's necessary to survive? Or will we simply close our eyes and hope the monster doesn't see us? The monster, incidentally, is default followed by Great Depression II. (Followed by social collapse. ~Bob.)

Ezra Klein Learns a Lesson on How Economics Work

We Just Lost Another Junkie
Excerpt: Heroin addiction isn’t a disease, as Russell Brand so despondently put it. It’s an indulgence—like obesity, but in reverse. Russell says we need to stop treating junkies like criminals and treat them “as sick people in need of care.” But England already treats them like sick people, with little success. In Scotland, that approach has fallen flat on its face like a junkie on the nod. “Drug addicts don’t need kid gloves. They need an iron fist.” Drug addicts don’t need kid gloves. They need an iron fist. I know this because I’ve watched a dozen heroin addicts die over the years, and the ones who survived always say the same thing: “I can’t believe you didn’t just punch me in the face.” If you know a drug addict, there will be that moment when they say they’ll call you back and then they don’t. Then you call them, but there’s no answer. What do you do? I’ll tell you what you do: nothing. If you charge over there and kick their door down to make sure they’re OK, you will have tagged yourself as a mark. The junkie then knows you can be relied on to help him get out of trouble, AKA loan him money. They will lie to your face and steal from you like common politicians because the drug has taken over their brain like a parasite. I’ve known junkies who committed crimes even when they knew they were going to get caught because, as one put it, “I didn’t care. I was so junk-sick, all I cared about was getting money to get high right now. What happened ten minutes later was totally irrelevant.” (Having been on the receiving end of junkie lies and theft, I feel this writer's pain. ~Bob.)

IRS: Not enough rich to cover the deficit
Excerpt: They do not have the money. A report from the Internal Revenue Service found that the rich — 8,274 people with incomes of $10 million per year or more — earned a total of $240 billion in 2009. Even of you confiscated every dime they earned, you would barely have enough money to cover government spending for 24 days. Of course, about a quarter of that money already goes to the federal government for federal income. So make that 18 days. Another 227,000 people earned $1 million or more in 2009. Millionaires averaged taxes of 24.4% of their income — up from 23.1% in 2008. They, too, did not earn enough money to come anywhere close to covering the annual deficits that are $1.5 trillion a year….Individual tax collections totaled $1,175,422,000,000 in 2009 — or 15.4% of all income. Doubling federal income taxes for everyone would still leave us $400 billion or so shy of balancing the budget.

Dear Members of Congress,
From a joke e-mail: The last decade I mismanaged my funds, and this year my family and I cannot decide on a budget. Until we have come to a unified decision that fits all our needs and interests, we will have to shut down our checkbook and will no longer be able to pay our taxes. I'm sure you will understand. Thank you very much for setting an example we can all follow.

The Regulatory Recession
Excerpt: …[T]axing and spending tell only part of the story. Much of the growth of government occurs off-budget, through regulations that often go largely unnoticed. As Wayne Crews, Vice President for Policy here at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, notes in his annual report, “Ten Thousand Commandments,” hidden regulatory costs approach $1.7 trillion this year. Those costs slow innovation, hampering the economy and job growth.

Where Have All the Liberals Gone?
Excerpt: What’s happening isn’t that conservatives have all the good ideas or that they are smarter than liberals. What’s happening is that conservatives are trying to solve problems and liberals aren’t. Ironically, if liberals were equally intent on finding solutions, the two sides might agree 90% of the time! But as it is, liberal commentators have been largely on the sidelines in almost all the important public policy struggles. The school choice battle has been raging all over the country for the last two decades. But that has been mainly a battle pitting conservative reformers against special interests (the teachers unions). For the most part, liberals haven’t really been involved. Similarly, the struggle for welfare reform, the flat tax, Social Security privatization, etc., has cast conservative reformers against special interests and entrenched bureaucracies. Liberals have been mainly irrelevant. (Well, Obama was there to help the teachers unions in DC at the expense of poor black kids in the charter school fight. ~Bob.)

Left-Wing Politico Says Obama's Cooked
At first glance, I read "cooked" as "crooked." Wonder why. ~Bob. Excerpt: The politics of the debt fight were a drag for President Barack Obama, yanking his popularity to new lows. Here’s an even bigger drag: Obama emerges from the months-long fracas weaker – and facing much deeper and more durable political obstacles – than his own advisers ever imagined. The consensus has been that for all his problems, Obama is so skilled a politician – and the eventual GOP nominee so flawed or hapless — that he’d likely be re-elected. Don’t buy into it. This breezy certitude fails to reckon with how weak his fundamentals are a year out from the general election. Gallup pegs his approval rating at a discouraging 42 percent, with his standing among independents falling nine points in four weeks.

Obama and the Narcissism of Big Difference​s
Excerpt: Whatever the rhetoric that preceded this week's deal, the debt-ceiling debate was never really about the debt at all. It was about the terms on which the debate would continue. The "two different worldviews" that divide Washington, explains Eric Cantor, are too far apart for anything more than an armistice. Still, listening to the House majority leader—who says the deal is "not perfect" but "there were some achievements"—it's remarkable that the two parties were able to agree even to its modest terms. The "philosophical starting point" of today's Democrats, as Mr. Cantor sees it, is that they "believe in a welfare state before they believe in capitalism. They promote economic programs of redistribution to close the gap of the disparity between the classes. That's what they're about: redistributive politics." The Virginian's contempt is obvious in his Tidewater drawl. "The assumption . . . is that there is some kind of perpetual engine of economic prosperity in America that is going to just continue. And therefore they are able to take from those who create and give to those who don't. We just have a fundamentally different view."

Let’s try new ways to go bankrupt
Excerpt: Uncle Sam now owes more on his credit cards than he makes in a year. The national debt passed the total US GDP this week. Mull that over for a bit. Now mull this over: Until the budget deal this week, the federal government borrowed 40 cents for every dollar it spent. And the budget deal didn’t do very much to change that. It “cut” $2 trillion over 10 years, which means Uncle Sam will overspend slightly less. If we hold to the deal -- and who among us doubts that Congress won’t keep its word? -- spending will “only” increase by $1.8 trillion over 10 years. That’s because in the topsy-turvy, laugh-clown-laugh world of “baseline budgeting,” we’ve been talking about trimming the rate of increase. Think of Uncle Sam walking in a wind tunnel leading to insolvency. The cuts increased the headwind he has to walk into, but they don’t do anything like force him to turn around. More importantly, there are no structural reforms. It’s the difference between trimming the grass and re-landscaping the lawn. Now, the one great advantage the forces of the status quo have had in the budget debates over the last year is that they like the current system. Recall that the Democrats’ preferred position was a “clean” debt-ceiling hike (no spending cuts at all), and President Obama’s original budget called for increasing the deficit and extending the status quo until he was re-elected, if not into retirement. In May, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked what her plan was to fix Medicare, she responded, “We have a plan, it’s called Medicare.”

S&P Goes Tea Party
Excerpt: Big headlines for a Friday night: “U.S. Loses Top Credit Rating!” Yes, as most now know, Standard & Poor’s went ahead with its warnings of the past weeks and downgraded the sovereign debt of the United States government from its pristine triple-A to a still stellar but one notch less so AA+. And after a miserable week in global equity markets that was almost as ugly as it gets, a week that began with the conclusion of a universally reviled debt-ceiling deal, the late-night downgrade was the fitting end. The symbolism is undeniable. This is the first downgrade in history, as commentators rushed to remind us. (…) The worst part of the downgrade is this: S&P spent considerable time in the body of their explanation about debt and GDP and growth. But they didn’t lead with that. That wasn’t the kicker. No, this was: “the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges.” The company assailed the Washington culture of “brinkmanship” so in display during the debt ceiling fiasco, and used that as the primary reason to take us down a notch. (The view from the left. Notice how the attack is structured: first is the complaint—from the White House—that the math is wrong, followed by ‘it won’t really hurt us anyway,’ followed by ‘who put these guys in charge,” followed by attacking the methods of S&P’s decision-making [perhaps we should tell them it’s settled science], followed by ‘how dare you criticize our decision-making process’ [even though I’m comfortable criticizing yours], and overall leaving the impression that credit rating should be regulated by some government agency. Have you ever tried to get back the $20 you loaned to someone who didn’t want to pay even though he had the money? Doesn’t all this sound familiar? If it wasn’t the future of our country, it’d be funny. They really can’t see the problem. The Chinese may be willing to explain it to them. Ron P. Ron, you will recall that red-headed Marine who challenged me to a chess game on a $5 bet in 1965, when we were at MCRD electronics school in San Diego, and didn't pay after I crushed him? I always wondered what happened to him. Now I know--he's working for the Feds. ~Bob.)

China demands U.S. 'live within its means'
Excerpt: China called on the United States to "cure its addiction to debts" and "learn to live within its means" in a searing commentary published Saturday by the official New China News Agency in response to Standard & Poor's historic downgrading of the U.S. government's credit rating a day earlier. China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. federal debt, blamed "short-sighted political wrangling in Washington" for creating the current financial morass that now threatens to undermine the global economy. "China, the largest creditor of the world's sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets," the commentary said. (It appears the Chinese ARE willing to explain it to the left. Ron . But they won't listen, ~Bob.)

Bam’s surprise charisma deficit
Excerpt: One thing is clear in the aftermath of the debt-limit debate: President Obama has lost his glamour. The alluring icon of hope and change has become just another pol, derided by his supporters as well as his opponents. As one headline succinctly put it: “Obama succumbs to the ways of Washington.” Most striking was how irrelevant the president seemed to the entire debate. Obama didn’t present his own alternative to the various congressional plans or make a case for a particular policy. When he tried to address the public, he came off as condescending, self-interested and detached. His pulpit proved anything but bully. Contrary to some of the headlines, however, the crisis didn’t mark a dramatic shift in the president’s standing. Gradual disillusionment set in long before the debt-ceiling fight. Back in October, a Bloomberg National Poll asked people who’d at some point been Obama supporters how they now felt about him. Forty-two percent said they were less enthusiastic than they’d once been, with 35 percent still supporting the president at least some of the time and 7 percent either no longer supportive or actively opposed to him. In the 10 months since, the president’s general approval ratings have been trending down, hitting a new low in Gallup’s survey last week. And Obama’s real weakness, according to Gallup, comes from eroding support among moderates. Less than half of them now approve of the job he’s doing, compared with 59 percent in early June. (Anyone not totally naive saw this in the fall of 08. ~Bob.)

No Limitations-adapt, improvise and overcome
Great picture. ~Bob.

Toronto: Synagogue spray-painted with swastika, "Islam will rule"
Excerpt: The Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Toronto, Ontario, was vandalized late Thursday night. Staff members of Beth Tikvah Synagogue found a swastika and the words "Islam will rule" spray-painted on one of the exterior walls of the temple, Canada's CTV reported on Friday. The report, quoting a statement published by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, said that the Toronto Police were investigating the incident and that security around the synagogue and been enhanced.

Tariq Ramadan openly calls for Muslim colonization of the U.S. -- Dallas, July 27, 2011
Excerpt: French journalist Caroline Fourest has published a book-length study of Tariq Ramadan's sly duplicity, Brother Tariq. Fourest concludes that this much-lionized putative Muslim Martin Luther is actually anything but a reformer: in reality, Ramadan is "remaining scrupulously faithful to the strategy mapped out by his grandfather, a strategy of advance stage by stage" toward the imposition of Islamic law in the West.

Muslim girl, 19, ‘stoned to death after taking part in beauty contest’
Yet another Muslim victim of Allahmurder. Pretty girl, very young. ~Bob. Excerpt: A teenage Muslim girl was stoned to death under ‘Sharia law’ after taking part in a beauty contest in Ukraine. Katya Koren, 19, was found dead in a village in the Crimea region near her home.

71% Support Five-Year Lobbying Ban For Ex-Members of Congress
Excerpt: Most voters don’t think members of Congress should be allowed to lobby for several years after they step down. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 71% believe members of Congress should be banned from lobbying for five years after they leave office. Only 17% disagree, while 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) Most voters across virtually all demographic lines agree with a five-year ban on lobbying for former congressmen.

More Obama Spending Won’t Do It. And stocks know it
Excerpt: There he goes again. Out on the campaign trail, President Obama is proposing more federal spending as his answer to sluggish growth and jobs. That won’t do it, Mr. President. He wants more infrastructure spending, undoubtedly in the form of an infrastructure bank. That’s a terrible idea. It’s borrowed from Latin America, where bloated and corrupt bureaucratic construction agencies have helped bankrupt any number of countries in the past. He wants to lengthen 99-week unemployment insurance, although numerous studies have shown that continuous unemployment benefits are associated with higher unemployment. And he wants to extend the temporary payroll tax credit, which is not a permanent reduction in marginal tax rates, has no incentive effect, has not worked so far, and is really a form of federal spending -- not real tax relief.

Group Says It Hacked U.S. Law Enforcement Websites
Excerpt: The group known as Anonymous says it has hacked some 70 law enforcement websites across the southern and central United States in retaliation for the arrests of its sympathizers in the U.S. and Britain. The hacking group also claims to have stolen 10 gigabytes of data, including emails, credit card details, and other information from local law enforcement bodies.

USA Today poll on gun ownership
Vote early and often. ~Bob

The Fallacy of Compromise
Excerpt: Again and again, we are told that we must make a compromise between our vision of freedom and the left's vision of slavery. It is not possible to be slightly enslaved or partially shackled. Either we will emerge victorious and free or we will lose and our children and grandchildren will be born into slavery.

Barack Obama and the Betrayal of Black America
A little old, but of interest. ~Bob. Excerpt: When Barack Obama was elected as the president of the United States, black liberals dreamily believed that the numerous maladies in the black community would cease to exist. They believed that his election was indicative of a vigorous wind of political and social change that was blowing across the country. Barack Obama himself vowed that his election would demarcate the conclusion of grisly "politics as usual" from the commencement of political and democratic freshness. However, as this administration continues on, it is abundantly clear that Obama has not only failed to deliver in a general sense, but he has also completely betrayed his most loyal constituency -- the black community. 

Gunwalker: It Must Have Been Eric Holder... Or higher. An informed examination of the facts leaves no other answer.
Excerpt: Now that the debt ceiling debate is over and done, let’s turn our attention back to Operation Fast and Furious and its alleged sister operations. The multi-agency operation (or operations) of the U.S. government allowed thousands of guns to be supplied to Mexican drug cartels, while American federal law enforcement effectively provided the straw purchasers and smugglers with the cover to operate with impunity. Despite the tens of thousands of words of outrage written about the Obama administration’s botched Operation Fast and Furious, most of the focus has been on the horrific impact of the program as measured by the number of firearms smuggled over the border and the number of lives lost. Some attention has been consequently paid to the potential political and criminal impact of the operation and cover-up within the Department of Justice. Sadly, the media has focused very little attention on the probable origins of the plot, or why Gunwalker was created as an adjunct of the longer-running and more successful Gunrunner campaign. Of course, that may not be entirely true. The crack investigative reporters of print, network, and cable news organizations may very well have done the research and followed the various clues about the origins of Gunwalker to their logical conclusion, and then simply decided that the most probable story was one they not dare tell. The story is this: no competent federal law enforcement officer would ever have concocted an operation as obviously doomed to catastrophic failure as Operation Fast and Furious.

What? Gov’t Let Cartel Smuggle Drugs in Exchange for Intel?
Excerpt: Remember when things like this were just the realm of conspiracy theorists? A Sinaloa drug cartel member is claiming that the federal government allowed the cartel to smuggle cocaine into the United States in exchange for intelligence information about rival cartels. Attorneys for Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla claim that in addition to being the drug-trafficking son of a Sinaloa cartel kingpin, Zambada was a Drug Enforcement Administration informant who was assured he could continue smuggling drugs in exchange for information by his DEA handlers. Zambada’s defense team is claiming that because he was an informant and promised immunity, charges against their client should be dropped. According to the Houston Chronicle, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo has given the government until September to respond.

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Editorial: It’s not Amazon that’s greedy
Excerpt: How perverse is it when wanting to keep money that you've earned is considered being greedy? Amazon, the online retail giant, has been castigated for not collecting sales taxes in states, including California, where it has no physical presence, and therefore no legal requirement to do so. Nevertheless, critics would have us believe Amazon has no right to do what nearly every taxpaying American probably does routinely – minimize how much of its income is handed over to the government. One headline labeled it, "Amazon's shameful California tax dodge." Shameful? Hardly. It's very likely the critics, just like most people and no doubt like Amazon, take advantage of every legal tax break available to them. No one is obligated to pay more than the law requires. Is it shameful to pay only what's required? (well, I want that greedy Obama to give me half the proceeds from his book sales, because mine are not selling nearly as well. I call it "The Campaign for Literary Justice." And I'm willing, in a bi-partisan manner, as the only adult in the room, to compromise on 25%. But will he budge? No. ~Bob.)

Semper Fi - Trace Adkins

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