Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Political Digest for September 14, 2011

Blog Removed Again!
Tuesday Morning I logged on to check and got the dreaded “blog removed” notice—for the fourth time. The last three were on Saturday, so I thought it was fixed. I had appealed to them and was told it was fixed last week. Stay tuned. Yesterday’s Digest via e-mail got about 40 bounces. If you didn’t get it, please go to the website—it’s back up.

Insurgents attacked our embassy, were defeated, failed to penetrate. All that remains is for the media to declare the war lost and Congress to abandon anyone who supported us.

Must Read--Really: After America: Get ready for Armageddon by Mark Steyn
Followers of my Old Jarhead Blog know I read a lot of books, and because I choose carefully, I recommend about 65% of them to my readers. No book I’ve read or recommended is as important to read as After America. In May, through Amazon I published a book on the same topic, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic (in which I recommend Steyn’s America Alone), so I was eager to read this. Steyn does not disappoint. I do not view Collapse as a competitor to After America, more of a short companion piece. (Since all royalties from my book go to a charity to help wounded veterans, I have no financial loss in recommending Steyn’s book.)

Steyn is perhaps the only major writer who understands that we are in a life and death struggle we are likely to lose. He sees the same major challenges to America I laid out in Collapse: the unredeemable deficit and debt, the threat of uncontrolled illegal immigration, the rise of China as a military and economic power and the challenge of a growing Islamic supremacist movement to free institutions and civilization itself. After America is 350 pages to the 80 in Collapse, so he is able to go into a great deal of depth I didn’t have space for, particularly the causes of our degeneration. He pulls zero punches.

If I have a niggling criticism, it is that Steyn’s coruscating writing can be distracting, rather like a judge reading your death sentence and making you chuckle at his wit. I found myself enjoying his barbs and brilliant use of language so much, it at time pulled my focus from the enormity of the content.

There are many wonderful bits in After America that alone are worth the price of the book. There should, for example, be a lifetime Darwin Achievement Award for the Canadian woman who lobbied not to hunt down a cougar that killed a dog, only to be stalked and killed by the cougar herself, a bit of schadenfreude that will send a frisson up the leg of anyone scunnered by the mush-headed thinking of the environazis.

I will be buying copies of After America for friends and relatives, though with little hope that those who need it will read it. If you care about our country, you will read and circulate After America.

Old Jarhead Blog Page Views
Now over 300k since inception. Views are back over 4k a week. In the past week, the Old jarhead blog had the following page views:

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Trinidad & Tobago? Wow. Welcome.

When a tree falls, it starts to move slowly, reaches the tipping point, and crashes with sudden violence to the ground. I’m afraid the collapse is starting to pick up speed, and it will get ugly fast. My book and Mark Steyn’s book may be too late. ~Bob. Excerpt: It’s over folks, despite the protests of BNP, which reacted in predictable fashion to a WSJ “opinion piece” this morning: ‘We can no longer borrow dollars. U.S. money-market funds are not lending to us anymore,” a bank executive for BNP Paribas, who declines to be named, told me last week. “Since we don’t have access to dollars anymore, we’re creating a market in euros. This is a first. . . . We hope it will work, otherwise the downward spiral will be hell. We will no longer be trusted at all and no one will lend to us anymore.” The bank denied it, of course, and the source “declines” to be named. So what’s the truth? It’s simple: We’re all Greece. There’s no material hiring going on in the US, nor will there be. Not because business wouldn’t like to hire, but because there’s no organic demand with which to require the hiring to take place. As a former CEO I can tell you that hiring is a dispassionate decision: You hire staff to produce the goods or services you sell – and for no other reason. The Government took upon itself to create false economic demand after 2008 through deficit spending. Private business knows this cannot continue forever, or you get Greece. (Deny it all you want. Blame the free market all you want. It's looking you in the face now and look who is in power: The ones with all the "answers." --Don Hank)

Pakistan places ad in US paper touting efforts against al Qaeda
Excerpt: From The Times of India, with no comment, other than the irony meter appears to have pegged out. A copy of the full ad is below.

Excerpt: You know you’ve hit the big time when the New York Times does a front page hit piece on you. That’s exactly what happened to Darrell Issa (R-CA) the day before we were scheduled to meet for an interview. While the NYT story contained nothing more than recycled lies and smears, there have been misperceptions about Issa for a long time. In fact, our relationship began that way. Darrell and I first met after his failed U.S. Senate race in 1998, but I started to take a greater interest in him when he became a Congressman in 2001. The Jewish community, as well as the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, had a problem with him because of his perceived positions on Israel. The Jewish Forward, a national publication, thought he was a Muslim. I decided that it was time to start asking some questions. It turns out that everybody had it wrong. Darrell is a Lebanese Christian by background who grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio 10 minutes from where I did. We were born less than a month apart. He has two siblings married to Jews, and jokingly referred to himself as a “Shabbos Goy,” which is a term for a Gentile who assists Jews with tasks from which they are restricted on the Jewish Sabbath. I found Darrell to be an extremely sharp person, capable of grasping the big picture as well as the details – a combination rarely found in elected officials on either side of the aisle. We have developed a strong friendship, and both of my children have worked as summer interns in his Washington office.

Islamic Bloc Declines to Condemn All Terrorism
How about Muslims “occupying” land that used to be Christian? Say Egypt or Turkey? ~Bob. In a statement marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the bloc of Islamic states on Sunday reiterated a stance that has stymied efforts at the United Nations for well over a decade to develop a global convention against terrorism – the insistence that any definition of terrorism should make an exception for “resistance” against foreign occupation. As long as the loophole exists, critics say, it provides cover for violent attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, by jihadists fighting Indian control of part of disputed Kashmir, and by groups who portray the U.S. and coalition military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as “occupation.” Some of the Islamic countries that have themselves suffered the most from terrorism, notably Pakistan, are among the most determined in refusing to back down on the “occupation” exception – even though that stance has since 1996 held up the drive to formulate an international, legally-binding terrorism convention.

Greece to Build First Official Mega-Mosque in Athens
Greece, which is soon to default on its bonds. So much for separation of Mosque and state. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Greek Parliament has approved a controversial plan to build a taxpayer-funded mega-mosque in Athens. The move comes amid thinly veiled threats of violence by thousands of Muslim residents of the city who have been pressuring the government to meet their demands for a mosque or face an uprising. The September 7 vote to speed up construction of the first official mosque in Athens –- the only capital in the European Union without a state-funded mosque -– was supported by 198 out of 300 deputies from the left, right and center.

Sweden terror suspects 'tied to Shebab Islamists'
Excerpt: Four terror suspects arrested in Sweden at the weekend have ties to the Somali Islamist movement Shebab and were plotting an attack using bombs and firearms, a newspaper reported Monday. Neither Sweden's intelligence agency nor the police have confirmed the report, and have released few details about the arrests. "Police suspect the men were about to carry out a terrorist attack with firearms and bombs," Gothenburg regional daily GT said in its online edition. "Police sources have told GT the suspects are linked to the terror network Shebab," the paper said, without disclosing its sources.

Federal appeals court to hear Oklahoma Islamic law case
Excerpt: The opponents of anti-Sharia laws say that they will restrict individual Islamic religious practice. This is absurd. In reality, they are designed to prohibit the political and supremacist aspects of Islam -- the ones that contradict American Constitutional principles. That is all. If Islam did not contain those elements, no one would bother with anti-Sharia laws at all. They are not designed to prohibit individual Islamic religious practice, and would not do so. Note also that the opponents of these laws say on the one hand that they're unnecessary, and then go out of their way to stop them from being implemented. Why bother, if they just duplicate existing laws?

Muslim Persecution of Christians: August, 2011
Excerpt: This series, developed to collate some—by no means all—of the most extreme instances of Muslim persecution of Christians that surface each month, serves two purposes: 1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians. 2) To show that such persecution is not "random," but systematic, interrelated, and ultimately rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia Law. As will become evident, whatever the of persecution that took place, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya, the additional tax that can be imposed on by Muslims on non-Muslims in a Muslin state; overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class "protected" citizens; and simple violence. Oftentimes it is a combination of the aforementioned.

Thank you, Obamacare: Employment Effects of the New Excise Tax on the Medical Device Industry
Statist always assume that if they raise taxes by, say, a billion dollars, they will get a billion dollars for the government to spend and there will be no other consequences, as though the people who they took the $1B from were only going to keep it under the mattress. But there are always unintended consequence to tax increases, some quite dire. ~Bob. Excerpt: One provision of the new health care law is a 2.3 percent excise tax on the medical device industry that will take effect in 2013. In a new study, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and Harold Furchtgott-Roth, president of Furchtgott-Roth Economic Enterprises, estimate the potential effect of the device tax on employment in the medical device industry. The study finds that the tax could reduce employment in the industry by cutting back on the demand for medical devices and by encouraging American firms to shift production overseas. Key findings: In 2009, the medical device industry provided well-paying jobs to more than 409,000 employees, who earned more than $33 billion dollars in labor compensation. Under reasonable assumptions, the tax could result in job losses in excess of 43,000 and employment compensation losses in excess of $3.5 billion. The new 2.3 percent excise tax will roughly double the device industry's total tax bill and raise the average effective corporate income tax rate to one the highest effective tax rates faced by any industry in the world. Moreover, the new tax will be paid both by firms that have net income and those that do not. The tax will be especially harmful to companies that innovate and tend to suffer losses in the first years or when investing in research and development for a new product but would still be required to pay the tax. Under the tax, U.S. manufacturers will be more likely to close plants in the United States and replace them with plants in foreign countries. Foreign manufacturers will improve their competitiveness relative to American firms, and U.S. leadership in this industry could be threatened. The Joint Tax Committee estimates that the tax will raise $20 billion in revenues over the period 2013-2019, a cost to device companies and the American consumer. The economic impact of the tax on wages and output will be significantly higher.

The great train robbery: High-speed rail lines rarely pay their way. Britain’s government should ditch its plan to build one
Unfortunately, “high Speed Rail,” like bigger government, more taxes, deficit spending and global warming, is part of the statist catechism of faith. ~Bob. Excerpt: High-speed talk is everywhere at the moment. Six countries have put large sums into “bullet” trains: Japan, France, Germany, Spain, and, more recently, Italy and China. Australia, Portugal and Indonesia are all considering new lines. And the British government is pondering plans for a £32 billion ($52 billion) link from London to the north of England. Ventures elsewhere have stumbled: China suspended new projects after a fatal collision of two high-speed trains in July; Brazil delayed plans for a rapid Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo link, after lack of interest from construction firms. Yet governments remain susceptible to the idea that such projects can help to diminish regional inequalities and promote growth. In fact, in most developed economies high-speed railways fail to bridge regional divides and sometimes exacerbate them. Better connections strengthen the advantages of a rich city at the network’s hub: firms in wealthy regions can reach a bigger area, harming the prospects of poorer places. Even in Japan, home to the most commercially successful line, Tokyo continues to grow faster than Osaka. New Spanish rail lines have swelled Madrid’s business population to Seville’s loss. The trend in France has been for headquarters to move up the line to Paris and for fewer overnight stays elsewhere.

Walked Into a Lamppost? Hurt While Crocheting? Help Is on the Way
More paperwork, less doctoring and the Nanny State wonders why costs go up. ~Bob. Excerpt: Today, hospitals and doctors use a system of about 18,000 codes to describe medical services in bills they send to insurers. Apparently, that doesn't allow for quite enough nuance. A new federally mandated version will expand the number to around 140,000—adding codes that describe precisely what bone was broken, or which artery is receiving a stent. It will also have a code for recording that a patient's injury occurred in a chicken coop. Indeed, health plans may never again wonder where a patient got hurt. There are codes for injuries in opera houses, art galleries, squash courts and nine locations in and around a mobile home, from the bathroom to the bedroom. Some doctors aren't sure they need quite that much detail. "Really? Bathroom versus bedroom?" says Brian Bachelder, a family physician in Akron, Ohio. "What difference does it make?"

Important: CEI's Ten-Point Plan to Create Jobs
1. Repeal financial “reform” laws, such as Dodd-Frank and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, that are causing economic uncertainty and dissuading businesses from expanding, investing, and hiring for new projects. (This would work, but it would infuriate the leftist base who do not care how much average people suffer in pursuit of their chimeras, and are incapable of learning from experience. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: People who oppose Soviet-style collective farms, government subsidies to agriculture, or public ownership of grocery stores because they want the provision of food to be a private matter in the marketplace are generally not dismissed as uncivilized or uncaring. Hardly anyone would claim that one who holds such views is opposed to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But people who oppose government funding of the arts are frequently accused of being heartless or uncultured. What follows is an adaptation of my letter to a noted arts administrator that articulates a case for art, like food, that relies on private, voluntary provision. The person to whom I wrote shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.

US poverty rate rises to 15.1 percent; number of uninsured hits high of 49.9 million
Watch for Obama and every statist to quote this, as they demand more money from the productive to buy the votes of the poor. In Africa, poor means emaciated and starving. The middle class in most third world countries would change places with our poor, who often have cell phones, cars, TVs, AC and are obese. But not to worry. Real poverty is coming—equally shared. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Census Bureau reports the number of Americans in poverty jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, a 27-year high. About 46.2 million people, or nearly 1 in 6, were in poverty. That’s up from 43.6 million, or 14.3 percent, in 2009. It was the highest level since 1993.

Surprising Facts about America's Poor
Excerpt: The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau: 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks. Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television. Two-thirds have at least one DVD player and 70 percent have a VCR. Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers. More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation. 43 percent have Internet access. One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD television. One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo. As for hunger and homelessness, Rector and Sheffield point to 2009 statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showing that 96 percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food, 83 percent of poor families reported having enough food to eat, and over the course of a year, only 4 percent of poor persons become temporarily homeless, with 42 percent of poor households actually owning their own homes. Want an international comparison? The average poor American has more living space than the average Swede or German. (In the third world, people with all that are called “rich.” ~Bob.)

Affirmative action for the unattractive? [VIDEO]
Excerpt: When University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh released a book arguing that society may owe “ugly” people a sort of affirmative-action policy because they tend to earn less money than “beautiful” people, The New York Times gave him space to explain himself. Is Hamermesh right? We wanted to ask ordinary Americans on the streets of Washington, D.C. Are we ready for government assistance for the unattractive? (Hey, don’t overlook the stupid! We have the same rights as everybody else! We should be able to be doctors and rocket scientists, too. Whadda ya mean you gave us the fields of climate science and government regulation? We want the big time! Give us banking, politics, and the military! Everybody knows that’s where are the glory and chicks are. [I think it was Heinlein who said: “Stupidity is the only universal capital crime that administers itself.”] Interesting reactions in the video. Ron P. Ah, Ron, the stupid already have a majority in politics—look at the deficit. ~Bob.)

2012 Presidential Election: Romney vs. Obama
Excerpt: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now holds a sliver of a lead over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. Romney earns 43% support to the president’s 40% in the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters. Nine percent (9%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided. (Unfortunately, I’m not convinced any of the candidates have the vision, courage, moral fiber and political skills to take the painful actions needed to save the country, but I’m pretty sure Romney doesn’t. By the time that things are so bad the patient will agree to a massive governmentectomy, it may be too late. ~Bob.)

CBO chief warns debt panel spending cuts could slow recovery
Excerpt: The director of the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday painted a bleak picture of the nation’s fiscal future and warned the deficit reduction “supercommittee” to be wary of the nation’s ailing economy while weighing deep spending cuts and tax increases. Doug Elmendorf, the CBO chief, testified at the panel’s first official hearing as it seeks to meet its charge of finding $1.5 trillion in budget savings. His appearance came as the panelists are considering how to incorporate remedies for the stalled economic recovery into its task. Elemendorf’s message: To avoid slowing the economy even further, the deficit must get worse before it gets better. (So, well and truly fooked either way. ~Bob.)

McCarthy Debunks Reports Critical of NYPD
Excerpt: Former counter-terrorism federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has become the nation's pre-eminent "truth squad" in analyzing, dissecting and debunking the mainstream media's campaign, seemingly in collusion with Islamist groups, numerous federal and local counter-terrorism programs and operations that are portrayed as anti-Muslim, as illegal for "spying on Americans," and for the use of informants which both the media and Muslim Brotherhood front groups have virulently attacked as either illegally violating the privacy rights of Americans or for "instigating" Islamic terrorist plots. In a recently-published article on National Review Online, McCarthy once again demonstrates his sheer brilliance in rebutting the manifold falsehoods in the recent series of articles in the Associated Press as well as National Public Radio for their demonstrably false allegations of NYPD improprieties in their extensive and elaborate counter-terrorist program that emphasizes the primacy of good intelligence as the first line of defense in stopping terrorism. Not only does McCarthy dissect the false media reports about the NYPD's counter-terrorist aggressive efforts to collect intelligence but he explains the critical role of intelligence in stopping terrorism. His critique of the administration's recent "counter terrorist" strategy policy papers shows the absolute national security dangers that these policies of empowering Islamist leaders representing the wide spectrum of front groups created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood in the past 20 years.

Sorry excuses can’t conceal truth
Counting un-hatched chickens. ~Bob. Excerpt: If and when the news comes tonight that a conservative Republican has won the special congressional election in a Brooklyn-Queens district with three times as many registered Democrats as Republicans, you’ll hear excuses pour forth from liberal blogs, commentators and political experts. Take the excuses seriously, because they’ll all have merit. Then reject them -- because this surprisingly significant race has more to tell us about the election of 2012 than anyone could have expected even a month ago.

Back to the Future? By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Those who are impressed by words seem to think that President Barack Obama made a great speech to Congress last week. But, when you look beyond the rhetoric, what did he say that was fundamentally different from what he has been saying and doing all along? Are we to continue doing the same kinds of things that have failed again and again, just because Obama delivers clever words with style and energy? Once we get past the glowing rhetoric, what is the president proposing? More spending! Only the words have changed -- from "stimulus" to "jobs" and from "shovel-ready projects" to "jobs for construction workers." If government spending were the answer, we would by now have a booming economy with plenty of jobs, after all the record trillions of dollars that have been poured down a bottomless pit. Are we to keep on doing the same things, just because those things have been repackaged in different words?

Congressman Issa Facing Ethics Charge From Soros Group
Issa must be closer to nailing Obama on Gunwalker than I thought, if they are trying this hard to silence him. ~Bob. Excerpt: As he continues to take on Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department, Congressman Darrell Issa now faces his own push-back ethics complaint filed by liberal advocacy group. Darrell Issa, who just yesterday declared Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to be so incompetent as to be a danger to the United States, is now facing what appears to be a clear push-back scandal meant to both intimidate and silence the outspoken California Congressman The liberal advocacy group American Family Voices has announced its intention to file an ethics violation complaint against Congressman Issa. The complaint alleges the Mr. Issa has utilized his position in Congress to enhance his own personal wealth and influence. American Family Voices is pushing for full investigative hearings against Mr. Issa. The California Congressman already ranks among the wealthiest members of Congress due to his considerable success as a business owner prior to running for public office.

Worth Reading: The California Corridor: Some Lessons on Government Largesse From the New Frontier
Excerpt: The Toyota is always around when theft occurs, and always speeding off when anyone spots it. Rural California is also like North Africa circa 420 AD: the few family farms left are mostly fenced or walled, the dogs large, the owners armed — trying to survive against organized Vandal attacks. All we need are mosaics in the courtyard portraying happier times as a testament to future archeologists. Maybe a “Cave Canem!” on the doorstep. I know of no neighboring farm that has not been broken into or fought/scared off such intruders. … Civilization ends when the pampered beneficiaries of the hard work of the now dead have the luxury of ignoring how hard it was — and is — to build shelter from the elements, to erect public buildings from scrub, to grow food and sprout farms from sage. Our contemporary criminals are protected from the elemental struggle and so have the indulgence to gnaw away at civilization’s veneer — and we, in our conspiratorial silence about them, likewise forgot that to keep still about the destruction of the work of others is to be complicit in it.

Rumors of growing rift between Brotherhood and military over constitution
Excerpt: Informed sources report a growing rift between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) over the military council's alleged intention to appoint the members of the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution after the parliamentary elections. According to leaks circulated in the media last month, the SCAF is considering appointing all 100 members of the constitutional committee, whereas the Brotherhood continues to insist that it should be appointed largely from among those elected to parliament in the coming elections. The sources also said that Ali al-Selmy, deputy prime minister for political development and democratic dialogue, has suggested a compromise, whereby 50 percent would be appointed from among the new MPs and the 50 percent chosen from outside parliament. So far, there has been no agreement to his suggestion.

Volatility Now the Watchword
Excerpt: This column is supposed to be about politics, not economics, but in recent years it has grown impossible to write about national political trends without a heavy dose of economics. These dire conditions will be driving voters’ attitudes next year in ways that we cannot begin to understand this year. Although the political process always plays a role in the economy, the public debt-ceiling debacle has formed a nexus in voters’ minds. They watched as a dysfunctional political process vainly tried to cope with an economic challenge of enormous magnitude. Very few Americans understand the importance and global consequences of a default by Greece on its public debt, the resignation of the head of Europe’s Central Bank, or just the sovereign debt problem overall. But they know this isn’t good, and it feeds into a maelstrom of uncertainty that is encircling their lives and futures. Add to the economic turmoil the increased turbulence in American politics, manifested by three back-to-back “wave elections” in 2006, 2008, and 2010 as well as the fact that as of mid-August, 44 percent of Americans surveyed by Gallup said they consider themselves independents—the highest total in the history of its poll. (Charlie Cook may lean Democrat, but he’s very bright, and he often finds trends in polling that others overlook. This should cause shivering on both sides of the political divide. Ron P.)

Excerpt: What was once presumed would be a sleepy affair between Democrat David Weprin and Republican Bob Turner in the race to succeed former Rep. Anthony Weiner, has become anything but, with Republicans rushing to frame the race as a referendum on the president and his agenda - specifically his administration's policies toward Israel.  Now Democrats, playing defense on that front and faced with a staggering economy and the president's free-falling approval ratings, find themselves with at serious risk of losing this seat, despite the district's three-to-one registration advantage. Obama dragging Weprin down: Turner's campaign seized early on the Obama message on Israel, but it wasn't just his Middle East policies that made him a threat to Weprin. On the economy especially, Obama has become a liability, and in this district he once easily won, his unfavorable ratings in the final Siena poll were upside down at 54 percent. Weprin is hemorrhaging over a third of Democratic voters as well as losing independent voters more than two-to-one. (An urban New York district with a heavy Jewish vote is unhappy with Obama’s treatment of Israel and the economy? Who could have guessed that might happen? Back when Mike Dukakis was first Governor of Massachusetts, he lost re-election to a fellow Democrat, Ed King. I nearly voted for Dukakis in that election; I reasoned anyone who could provoke anger from EVERY voting bloc imaginable had to be doing something right. On later reflection, I realized he—like Carter at the federal level—was just a bad governor. Tonight’s vote count will tell the tale. And, if Turner wins, won't it come as a surprise if the district disappears in redistricting? That'll teach those uppity voters. Ron P.)

America vs. Jihadists: States can and will support al Qaeda, unless they continue to fear an American response.
 Excerpt: Has America been successful in its war against terrorism? Yes, without a doubt. Although Islamic militancy remains a potent force, especially in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Washington’s relentless pursuit of armed jihadists has severely damaged the capacity of Sunni radical groups to strike the United States, at home and abroad. Al Qaeda chose to make Iraq the mother of all battles against America. Its decisive defeat in that war—the astonishing spectacle of seeing Sunni Iraqis, who’d once welcomed al Qaeda to wage a guerre à outrance against the Iraqi Shi’a and the Western coalition, damn its holy warriors on Al Jazeera for their savagery—has probably permanently changed the conception of jihadists in the Arab world. 

Ten years after 9/11 Tony Blair says Iran is a greater enemy to the civilised world than Al Qaeda
 Excerpt: Tony Blair has said that he believes regime change in Iran is necessary and there needs to be military intervention if it acquires nuclear weapons capability. While Al Qaeda poses a significant threat to people across the world he believes the bigger evil is Iran which 'support groups that are engaged with terrorism and the forces of reaction'. Speaking ahead of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 the Prime Minister said that for the sake of international security, President Ahmadinejad must be ousted from power.

Rape case turns focus to Jordan's factory problems
Don’t get excited. It’s their culture and all cultures are equally valid. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, a U.S. watchdog that helped the woman report the rape, says that abuses are rampant at the factory, which employees some 4,900 workers, most of them women from South Asia. Victims are usually too afraid to report abuse, the institute said. Workers at the Classic factory outside Irbid appeared fearful during a recent visit by an Associated Press reporter. Managers allowed the reporter in and lined up six roommates of the woman who reported the rape for interviews in a small cubicle. Two factory inspectors kept peeking through the cubicle's windows, and the women constantly looked over their shoulders at the inspectors. Only two were willing to answer questions, and they trembled as they spoke.

Health ‘reform’ has sent costs soaring
Excerpt: Overall job growth hit zero in August, but jobs in health care are growing steadily. That would be good news, except that growth in this industry is increasingly paid for by taxpayers or new federal borrowing. And despite the sales pitch to the contrary, the Obama health law is making things worse. The actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now forecast health-care spending to reach 19.8 percent of GDP by 2020, up from 16.6 percent when President Obama took office. And half this spending (49 percent) will be by government. The actuaries’ predictions suggest that, in the long run, the largest threat to the nation’s solvency isn’t Medicare; it’s the Obama health law’s vast expansion of Medicaid, which will cost more than Medicare once baby-boom demand peaks. Simply put, the president’s “reform” is converting Medicaid from a temporary safety net to a permanent, taxpayer-paid health entitlement, replacing private insurance.

Weiner Flees
Excerpt: Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner did his fellow Democrats no favors yesterday -- moving out of his district just as his panicking party struggled to hold on to his endangered congressional seat. Wiener took the last remaining items from his Queens co-op just in time to remind voters why they have to vote today -- because he resigned in a sexting scandal that made him a national laughingstock. Weiner is ditching the neighborhood that sent him to Congress six times, and is renting a three-bedroom apartment on a high-rent Greenwich Village street, sources said.

Al-Shabaab: A Jihadist Threat to America
Excerpt: The Somali jihadist organization al-Shabaab did not exist a decade ago. Today, its success in recruiting and radicalizing Muslims inside the United States has made al-Shabaab "a direct threat to the U.S. homeland," according to an investigative report by the House Homeland Security Committee. Al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with al-Qaida, is fighting to oust the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), an "interim" regime that has served as the nominal government of Somalia since 2004. The TFG is supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) military force, comprised of approximately 8,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi. Until recently, the Somali government controlled little more than a few parts of Mogadishu, the capital, while al-Shabaab exercised control over much of southern and eastern Somalia and part of Mogadishu. But al-Shabaab has been plagued by defeats and desertions, and last month the terror group withdrew from territory it occupied in Mogadishu.

Will the President and the Congress Send a Message to Turkey and Egypt That An Attack Upon Israel Will Be Viewed As An Attack Upon the U.S.?
Excerpt: Israel is now surrounded by Arab and other Muslim nations who believe this is the moment when they can finally destroy the Jewish state. They tried and failed to conquer Israel in five different wars since 1948. They are still trying. Since the "Arab Spring" revolts in the Arab heartland of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, opinion-makers in the Western world have sought to glamorize those revolutions by comparing them to those by which eastern European countries freed themselves from Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviet Union. So when the uprisings took place against the existing repressive Arab governments, the media labeled the various revolutions the "Arab Spring." That title was intended to convey that finally, the Arabs, heretofore stuck in medieval times, had come out of those dark ages and were now to be applauded and welcomed to the western world. Some observers, including myself, have voiced great concern about the blind support in the west, particularly in our government, for the Arab revolutionary movements everywhere.

Lessons from the embassy takeover: Why both Israel and Washington should prepare for war
Excerpt: We are able to consider the lessons of the weekend's mob assault on the Israeli embassy in Cairo because the six Israeli security officers who were on the brink of being slaughtered were rescued at the last moment and spirited out of the country. If the Egyptian commandos hadn't arrived on the scene at the last moment, the situation would have been too explosive for a sober-minded assessment of the rapidly deteriorating situation with our neighbor to the south. Any assessment of the weekend's events must begin by recounting a few key aspects of the assault. First, this was the second mob attack on the embassy in so many weeks. During the first assault, an Egyptian rioter scaled the 20-story building where the embassy is housed, tore down the Israeli flag, and threw it to the frenzied mob below which swiftly burned it. Rather than being arrested for the crime of assaulting a foreign embassy, the rioter was embraced as a hero by Egypt's military regime. The governor of Giza awarded him an apartment and a job.

Child Abuse as Public Policy in the Palestinian Authority
The West is training its children for a life of infantile dependency on the state. They are training theirs for war. ~Bob. Excerpt: From Aristotle to Gandhi to Jimmy Carter, world leaders have asserted that one must judge a nation by the way it treats its most vulnerable. How then should one judge a society whose leaders condemn the most vulnerable, its own children, to a lifetime of sociopathic hatred and to the macabre belief that the highest calling in their precious young lives is to wage unremitting war and die a martyr’s death?

Individual Mandate Ruling: Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Health Care Law Provision
Excerpt: A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that the requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that individuals buy health insurance is unconstitutional. Judge Christopher Conner in Harrisburg issued the ruling Tuesday in one of more than 30 lawsuits nationwide that have been filed over the law. He says the individual mandate is an unconstitutional extension of authority granted to the federal government under the Constitution's commerce clause. (If nothing else, this almost guarantees these cases will go to the Supreme Court with different lower Federal Court rulings in many different districts. Ron P.)

Great Cartoon
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Excerpt: The theory that human activity is causing potentially catastrophic global warming is not science. It is politics, driven by special interests with ideological, political and economic stakes in the theory. For environmentalists, global warming corresponds with the authoritarian goal at the core of their movement: repeal of the industrial revolution (which President Obama's EPA has begun to implement). For governments, it presents an opportunity to vastly expand their power and control through taxes, regulation and bureaucracy. The theory also presents an opportunity for the United Nations to vastly expand its power and control. As an organization of world governments who would also gain enormously from acceptance of the theory, the UN is doubly corrupted as an honest broker on the issue. Yet, perversely, governments across the globe have delegated authoritative inquiry on the issue to the UN through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Wily environmentalists have also successfully weaved economic stakes in the theory for some in the business community, starting with tens of billions -- growing into hundreds of billions -- of government subsidies for businesses that will pose as potential producers of the "green energy of tomorrow." This enables wily politicians to attempt to snooker voters with promises of "green jobs." Of course, those jobs would only become available if self-supporting producers of abundant low cost energy are replaced with an entire "green" industry that can survive on corporate welfare while producing unreliable high cost energy for the economy (resulting in job loss and a decline in America's standard of living). (According to this article, bought-and-paid-for scientists who attribute global warming (if such is actually the case) to man-made actions, are being more widely discredited by real evidence. The article cites the predominance of natural causes to the recent trend of rising temperatures. It reports the finding that much of the "excess" heat is absorbed by the oceans or escapes the atmosphere. That being the case, these new studies find no danger to humans or the ecosystem. Such studies argue forcefully against knee-jerk, catastrophically draconian economic dictates to cut carbon fuel use. Cordially, --Larry Greenberg)

Napolitano, FBI Give Non-Answers to Questions Surrounding Operation Fast and Furious
Excerpt: Despite ATF Special Agent William Newell admitting in sworn testimony that multiple government agencies, including the FBI and DHS, were responsible for the development and implementation of Operation Fast and Furious, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitiano and FBI Director Robert Mueller denied knowing anything about the operation until Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with guns from the program and avoided getting into details about their involvement by referring the case to the Inspector General in the Justice Department and citing an "on-going investigation" when asked by Arizona Senator John McCain recently on Capitol Hill. On top of Newell's testimony, President Obama called for a complete review of current gun control policies in April 2009:

Raison Debt: Gov. Mitch Daniels explains America’s impending fiscal catastrophe — and how to avert it.
Excerpt: You might suppose that a political book appearing less than six months after Indiana governor Mitch Daniels indicated that he would not run for president must have been written as a campaign prop. But that’s not Daniels’s style. “Keeping the Republic” is a deadly serious (though frequently witty) effort to lay before the American people the perilous state of the nation. Be prepared: The first few pages of Chapter Two can turn your blood to ice. America’s decline, Daniels writes, may not be a gradual slide, but instead a sudden plunge into chaos. Sketching what a financial collapse could look like if we fail to control our debt, he writes, “Monday, 6 a.m. — a Chinese official issues a statement saying that China will no longer be buying Treasury securities because ‘we see no evidence that the U.S. will take the steps necessary to grow its economy or limit its spending so it can afford to repay’ . . . Monday 9:30 a.m. — the dollar drops 10 percent . . . NY Stock Market opens in free fall . . . Monday afternoon . . . other nations’ central banks begin to sell off U.S. Treasuries . . . ”

Excerpt: So a superior court judge in a relatively civilized jurisdiction is happy to extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a legal person – that’s to say, someone who has managed to make it to the post-fetus stage. How long do those mitigating factors apply? I mean, “onerous demands”-wise, the first month of a newborn’s life is no picnic for the mother. How about six months in? The terrible twos? Speaking of “onerous demands”, suppose you’re a “mother without support” who’s also got an elderly relative around with an “onerous” chronic condition also making inroads into your time?

Maybe he can explain how rich bureaucrats not paying taxes helps. How long until Obama declares Europe “to big to fail” and borrows $5T from China to bail out the PIIGS? ~Bob. Excerpt: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner makes a one-day trip to Poland this week for an unprecedented meeting with euro zone finance ministers as growing fears of a potential Greek debt default rip into Europe's banking sector. The trip comes as a surprise since Geithner returned only on Saturday from a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers in Marseilles, France, where he said Europe's strongest economies must offer "unequivocal" backing to the weakest. (Forget the Euro. Greek bonds now paying in Gyros, the rest in Zeros. ~Bob.)

The Dodd-Frank Layoffs: As regulation cuts profits, Bank of America cuts 30,000 jobs.
Excerpt: What is the cost of overregulation? Bank of America appears to have provided part of the answer by announcing yesterday that the nation's largest bank will cut 30,000 jobs between now and 2014. CEO Brian Moynihan said the bank's plan is to slash $5 billion in annual expenses from its consumer businesses. Mr. Moynihan didn't say this, but we will: These layoffs are part of the bill for the last two years of Washington's financial rule-writing. After loose monetary policy had combined with insane housing policy to create a financial crisis, the Democrats who ran Washington in 2009 and 2010 enacted myriad new rules that had nothing to do with easy money or housing. Take the amendment that Illinois Democrat and Senator Dick Durbin (with the help of 17 Senate Republicans) attached to last year's Dodd-Frank financial law. Mr. Durbin's amendment instructed the Federal Reserve to limit the amount of "swipe fees" that banks can charge merchants when customers use debit cards.

Is SS a Ponzi Scheme: Poll
Actually, sort of a Ponzi Scheme combined with a protection racket. ~Bob.

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