Saturday, October 1, 2011

Political Digest for October 1, 2011

Blog Removed.
If you log on to the Old Jarhead blog and get this notice, please check back. From time to time, Google’s Spam Filter pulls my blog. They restore it when I appeal, but they don’t seem to have the technical ability to fix the problem. I hate to move to another platform with page views running to 7k a week and over 1,100 followers here. Sigh.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans. E-Book available at Smash Words:
Please forward and post where possible.

Guest Post: The Hoover Myth by Jonah Goldberg

Big news: Anwar al-Aulaqi, U.S.-born cleric linked to al-Qaeda, reported killed in Yemen
Congratulations to President Obama, who ordered the assassination of an American citizen who was making war on America, without trial or reference to his “constitutional rights.” Treating it as a military, rather than law enforcement matter, as Obama’s Anti-American base like Michael Moore, Eric Holder, ACLU, et al want to do, was the right decision. ~Bob. Excerpt: Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric and one of the most influential al-Qaeda operatives wanted by the United States, was killed Friday in an airstrike in northern Yemen, authorities said, eliminating a prominent recruiter who inspired attacks on U.S. soil. In Washington, a senior Obama administration official confirmed that Aulaqi is dead. A U.S. counterterrorism official said intelligence indicates that the 40-year-old cleric, a dual national of the United States and Yemen, perished in an attack on his convoy by a U.S. drone and jet, the Associated Press reported.

Breaking News: Awlaki, Samir Khan Reportedly Dead
Excerpt: Before leaving America in 2002, Awlaki was considered a moderate voice. After the 9/11 attacks, National Public Radio cast him as someone who could "build bridges between Islam and the West," and a voice for moderation. He was even invited to give a presentation at the Pentagon in February 2002. But, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported last year, recorded sermons from that era show he already was spreading a radical message inside the United States. (Thanks, NPR. Thus the bitter joke that a moderate Muslim is one out of ammo. ~Bob.)

Same US Military Unit That Got Osama Bin Laden Killed Anwar al-Awlaki
Excerpt: Awlaki was killed in a strike on his convoy directed by the CIA and carried out with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command's firepower, according to a counterterrorism official. Yemen's Defence Ministry said another American militant, Samir Khan, who produced 'Inspire', an English-language al-Qaeda Web magazine, died in the same strike.

Tweet Keith Urbahn by JonahNRO
There's a serious disconnect in logic if you think an AQ leader can be splattered with a Pred but can't undergo coercive interrogation.

Excerpt: A high-profile legal challenge to the Obama Administration's procedures authorizing so-called "targeted killings" of suspected terrorists overseas has quietly petered out after the deadline for an appeal came and went without legal action.
In August, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit--with considerable fanfare--on behalf of the father of American-born Anwar Al-Awlaki, who is believed to live in Yemen and allegedly serves as a leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Paul condemns 'assassinating' al-Awlaki
If Paul’s the GOP Nominee, I may vote third party. ~Bob. Excerpt: Ron Paul aggressively criticized President Obama today for al-Awlaki's death. "No I don't think that's a good way to deal with our problems," Paul said in a media avail after his remarks at the Politics + Eggs event here. "He was born here, Al-Awlaki was born here, he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad.

Al Qaeda: Allah’s Waiting Room

Taking Cain Seriously: Why isn't a successful business résumé presidential material?
You hear the same thing said about Herman Cain all the time: Herman Cain has some really interesting ideas, but . . . I love Herman Cain, but . . . But what? But he can't win. Why not? At best, the answer has to do with that cloudy word "electability." Or that Mr. Cain has never held elected political office. In 2004, Mr. Cain ran for the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination in Georgia. He lost to Johnny Isakson. Last weekend, Mr. Cain ran away with the Florida straw poll vote, winning with 37%. He torched both the "Southern" candidate, Rick Perry of Texas, who worked hard to win the vote, and Mitt Romney, who in 2008 campaigned everywhere in Florida. The time is overdue to plumb the mystery of Herman Cain's "interesting, but" candidacy. Let's start at the top—in the top-tier candidacy of Mitt Romney.

Vlad Tepes: CBS Clip on American Jihadi Who Wished to Kill Lots of Innocents
Excerpt: The stunning thing about this clip is the admission that Islam in some form may have been a factor. A thing which earlier clips ignored focusing instead on the fact that he is ‘American’ and a college student and physics grad. etc. (Maybe he was driven off his camel by worrying about all those earlier predicted post-Jihad-attack “backlashes” against Muslims that never happened. ~Bob.)

State Gets $5 Mil Bonus For Food Stamp Sign Up
Excerpt: In its quest to promote taxpayer-funded entitlement programs, the Obama Administration has actually rewarded one state with a $5 million bonus for its efficiency in adding food-stamp recipients to already bulging rolls. It’s part of the administration’s campaign to eradicate “food insecure households” by improving access and increasing participation in the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Incidentally, the program was recently changed to SNAP to eliminate the stigma that comes with a name like food stamps. Just a few months ago the federal agency that administers the program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), launched a multi-million-dollar initiative to recruit more food-stamp participants even though the number of recipients has skyrocketed in the last few years. This week Oregon officials bragged that the USDA has given the state $5 million in “performance bonuses” for ensuring that people eligible for food benefits receive them and for its “swift processing of applications.” The money comes on the heels of a separate $1.5 million award from the feds for making “accurate payments of food stamp benefits to clients.” So welfare recipients are clients? .

Chu takes responsibility for a loan deal that put more taxpayer money at risk in Solyndra
Nothing to do with contributions to Obama of=r Green photo ops. All Chu. Bring out the sacrificial lamb! ~Bob. Excerpt: Energy Secretary Steven Chu acknowledged Thursday making the final decision to allow a struggling solar company to continue receiving taxpayer money after it had technically defaulted on a $535 million federal loan guaranteed by his agency. Chu spokesman Damien La­Vera said in a statement that the secretary approved the restructuring agreement for Solyndra because it gave the company “the best possible chance to succeed in a very competitive marketplace and put the company in a better position to repay the loan.”

Dems want probe of Justice Thomas as health law ruling looms
Excerpt: Twenty House Democrats are demanding a judicial ethics investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas just as the high court is poised to issue a ruling on the healthcare law that could make or break President Obama’s reelection. The lawmakers on Thursday asked the U.S. Judicial Conference to formally request that the Department of Justice look into Thomas’s failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars his wife has received from groups that want the healthcare law repealed. Their letter comes after 75 House Democrats in February asked Thomas to recuse himself from the case following reports that he’d failed to report his wife Virginia’s income since he joined the bench in 1991.

The Ethnic Health Advantage
Excerpt: For decades, scholars and public health officials have known that people with greater income or formal education tend to live longer and enjoy better health than their counterparts who have less money or schooling. However, two demographic groups prevalent in the United States take exception to this rule: the immigrant and Hispanic populations. Though many theories have been proposed to explain the increased life expectancy of members of these groups (in 2006, for example, life expectancy at birth in the United States was 2.5 years higher for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites), a new study proposes that the true culprit is an old, well-known factor: smoking, says Scientific American. The results from a study focusing on tobacco use are significant: In 2009, only 9 percent of Hispanic women were current smokers, compared with 21 percent of non-Hispanic white women; 18 percent of Hispanic men smoked, compared with 25 percent of non-Hispanic white men. In 2000, smoking explained more than 75 percent of the difference in life expectancy at age 50 between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white men and roughly 75 percent among women. It also accounted for more than 50 percent of the difference in life expectancy at age 50 between foreign- and native-born men and more than 70 percent of the difference among women. The researchers who organized and performed this study are quick to emphasize that they avoided many potential traps in conducting these studies. They accounted for the tendency amongst the foreign-born population to return to their country of origin when they become fatally ill. Also, while some researchers have linked smoking habits to a multitude of diseases and conditions (some of them fatal), the administrators of this study held lung cancer as a necessary condition to classify a death as smoking-related. While the researchers in this case predict that this life expectancy differential will erode with time (as Americans gradually smoke less and populations in developing nations smoke more), the results of this study are nonetheless substantial in explaining current trends in mortality. (So Hispanics, where poverty is highest, have the longest life expectancies because they smoke less than whites. And ObamaCare is going to fix this how? ~Bob.)

Natural Gas Important to America's Energy Future
Excerpt: The need for plentiful, affordable energy, as well as a political interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil has pushed natural gas to the forefront of U.S. energy policy. Unfortunately, some policymakers are trying to promote natural gas with subsidies for natural-gas-powered vehicles and infrastructure. Others are pushing for more regulation due to environmental concerns over a critical part of the gas-extraction process, hydraulic fracturing. The reality, however, is that hydraulic fracturing is a proven process that should not be subject to overly burdensome regulations. All energy policies, including those for natural gas, should focus on increasing access, opening markets and ensuring safe operations -- not unreasonably increasing regulations or subsidizing technologies to force them into the marketplace prematurely, says Nicolas Loris, a policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. The possibilities for natural gas to be implemented in the American economy are significant and far-reaching: Natural gas is a major source of America's electricity generation, providing 23 percent today. The United States consumed 24.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2010. At current consumption rates, it has been estimated that the United States has 92 years' worth of natural gas. However, environmental regulation and market manipulation can limit the potential of this valuable resource and reduce its usefulness. Environmentalists have focused their attacks on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) -- a process by which trapped oil and natural gas are freed from shale formations. Their fears are unfounded. In the rare events of unwanted environmental outcomes, they were the result of poor well construction or problems with the concrete and steel casings around the well bore. These problems are not a result of the fracking process itself. Furthermore, market manipulation through tax credits and subsidies, though well-intentioned, will hurt the proliferation of natural gas applications in the long run. For example, the bipartisan New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act, which subsidizes natural gas vehicles, thereby selects them as a winner at the expense of all the other applications for natural gas. Both of these separate barriers to natural gas application, one unfounded and oversubscribed and the other well-intentioned but detrimental, serve to derail the use of natural gas in the long run.

Medicare Thieves: Stealing from the government-run health care system is much easier—and potentially more lucrative—than dealing drugs.
The United States is in grave danger of fiscal collapse, due to deficits and debt. Anyone defrauding Medicare is an enemy destroying America and should be shot out of hand. Seriously. ~Bob. Excerpt: This is exactly what’s happening all across the country, as schemers, career criminals, and unscrupulous providers take advantage of the government’s lax controls over Medicare payments. Taxpayers are lining the pockets of health care criminals. No one knows for sure exactly how much fraud exists in the Medicare system, but most experts agree that it costs billions of dollars each year. Between 2007 and early 2011, the federal government reports having won convictions against 990 individuals in fraud cases totaling $2.3 billion. In 2010, it recovered an additional $4 billion through collection of non-criminal penalties on health providers who improperly billed the government. But that’s just a fraction of the total problem. 

Federal retirement plans almost as costly as Social Security
The Collapse is coming. ~Bob. Excerpt: Retirement programs for former federal workers — civilian and military — are growing so fast they now face a multitrillion-dollar shortfall nearly as big as Social Security's, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The federal government hasn't set aside money or created a revenue source similar to Social Security's payroll tax to help pay for the benefits, so the retirement costs must be paid every year through taxes and borrowing. The government paid a record $268 billion in pension and health benefits last year to 10 million former civil servants, military personnel and their dependents, about $100 billion more than was paid a decade earlier after adjusting for inflation. And $7 billion more was deposited into tax-deferred accounts of current workers. In addition, the federal government last year made more than a half-trillion dollars in future commitments, valued in 2010 dollars that will cost far more to pay in coming decades.

Excerpt: Obama in an interview with an Orlando TV station*: “This is a great great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades,” Mr. Obama said in response to a question about the country’s economic future. “We need to get back on track.” Interesting perspective. I wonder where America could have lost its competitive edge. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with a government that blows billions on green energy boondoggles while making it harder to drill for oil while trying to make electricity rates “skyrocket.” It couldn’t have to do with extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks (and rising), or to bailouts or perhaps advice like this offered by Michelle Obama: “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.” Or maybe it has something to do with the influence of tough leaders like Nancy Pelosi who said ObamaCare was a jobs bill because:  “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.” Thank goodness we have ObamaCare now so we can compete with the Chinese at photography.

Boeing Workers Arrested in Drug Raid (Built Marine aircraft)
Excerpt: Federal prosecutors charged about three dozen current and former employees of a Boeing Co. military-aircraft plant with selling or buying prescription drugs that workers allegedly abused on the job. Federal agents raided the Ridley Park, Pa., plant Thursday morning and arrested a majority of the 37 people charged. Prosecutors said 36 of the people were either current or former Boeing employees, while one person charged was neither. The Ridley Park plant, which employs about 6,000 workers, produces the CH-47 Chinook helicopter and V-22 Osprey aircraft, a hybrid of a helicopter and airplane. Both products are used by the U.S. military. Most of the people arrested Thursday worked in the production area of the plant. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia said 23 people were indicted on charges of illegally distributing prescription drugs, including painkillers Oxycontin and Actiq, as well as the anxiety pill Xanax. (Probably a benefit in their Union Contract. ~Bob.)

Good Political Cartoon Site
One on my blog:

Herman Cain Speaks to Obama's Jobs Plan

The Solyndra Legacies
Excerpt: The Obama Administration has been knee-deep in scandal after green energy “model” Solyndra went bankrupt less than two years after receiving a $500 million loan guarantee from the federal government. Now, they are up against another controversy. Days before a recent deadline, the Department of Energy brazenly approved two additional loans for more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in the Obama Administration’s green jobs program. The latest ill-fated ventures include a $737 million loan guarantee to Solar Reserve for a 110-megawatt solar tower on federal land in Nevada and a $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150-megawatt solar plant in Arizona.

The President Zero Jobs Bill from The Patriot Post
To hear the Leftmedia tell it, economists are giving positive reviews to the $447 billion "jobs" bill that Barack Obama proposed earlier this month before a joint session of Congress. It seems, however, that "positive" is a relative term, and that the media are shamelessly carrying Obama's water. Same story, different day. Obama Jobs Plan Prevents 2012 Recession in Survey of Economists spun the Bloomberg headline. This transparent attempt to candy-coat the story becomes painfully evident by the second paragraph: "The legislation, submitted to Congress this month, would increase gross domestic product by 0.6 percent next year and add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls, the median estimates in the survey of 34 economists showed. The program would also lower the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage point in 2012." Forgive us for not being impressed, but 0.6 percent improvement in GDP? Unemployment reduced by 0.2 percent? And 275,000 jobs at a cost of $447 billion? Let's look at the math: That comes out to roughly $1.6 million per job, and for an "investment" of $447 billion, GDP will gain less than $90 billion. Headline unemployment would remain at nearly 9 percent, a point higher than we were supposed to see with the first stimulus. Indeed, Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto's headline was far more accurate: A Rip-Off at Half the Price. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is undaunted, however. Geithner said Stimulus Jr. is worth it, though he argued that the cost per job is the wrong way to measure its effectiveness. Naturally. "You've got to think about the costs of the alternatives," Geithner said. "If the alternative plan is for Washington to do nothing, that's unacceptable." The "do something -- anything" attitude has made us $4 trillion poorer over the last three years with nothing to show for it. But what's another half-trillion if it will help re-elect Obama? Joe Biden took another tack: "Look, we should be doing all of this stuff even if we were growing by 8 percent, even if there was a 3 percent unemployment rate in America." It's not about the economy, it's about the size of government. Despite Obama's incessant calls to "pass it right away," House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT) introduced the legislation in the House just this Wednesday -- three weeks after the president's speech. H.R. 12, is identical to S. 1549, introduced in the Senate last week by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republican-controlled House is unlikely to put the bill up for a vote, given the president's insistence on $1.5 trillion in tax increases as part of the deal. Even the Democrat-controlled Senate, though, has been slow to act -- Democrats don't have the votes. When the upper chamber returns from a weeklong recess, Reid will instead push a vote on a bill to label China a currency manipulator. Of the jobs bill Reid said, "We'll get to that, but let's get some of these things done that we have to get done first." Like washing their hair.

Land Without Peace: Why Abbas Went to the U.N.

Excerpt: While diplomatically inconvenient for the Western powers, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ attempt to get the U.N. to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state has elicited widespread sympathy. After all, what choice did he have? According to the accepted narrative, Middle East peace is made impossible by a hard-line Likud-led Israel that refuses to accept a Palestinian state and continues to build settlements. It is remarkable how this gross inversion of the truth has become conventional wisdom. In fact, Benjamin Netanyahu brought his Likud-led coalition to open recognition of a Palestinian state, thereby creating Israel's first national consensus for a two-state solution. He is also the only prime minister to agree to a settlement freeze -- 10 months -- something no Labor or Kadima government has ever done. To which Abbas responded by boycotting the talks for nine months, showing up in the 10th, then walking out when the freeze expired. Last week he reiterated that he will continue to boycott peace talks unless Israel gives up -- in advance -- claim to any territory beyond the 1967 lines. Meaning, for example, that the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is Palestinian territory. This is not just absurd. It violates every prior peace agreement. They all stipulate that such demands are to be the subject of negotiations, not their precondition.
Hacking the vote
Excerpt: It's "ridiculously easy" to hack the Diebold e-voting machines that will be in widespread use for the 2012 elections, say researchers at Argonne National Laboratory. Using only $25 worth of materials, they made a low-tech, remote-controlled component about half the size of a credit card. The component was able to intercept a vote cast and change it before it was recorded by the system. All of our networked computers, voting machines, and other electronics could suffer a devastating cyber attack someday.

The Online Wall Street Journal: Peggy Noonan: Once Upon a Time in America
Excerpt: Actually, I saw a third thing. There is, I think, a kind of new patriotism among our professional classes. They talk about America now and their eyes fill up. With business people and doctors and scientists, there used to be a kind of detachment, an ironic distance they held between themselves and Washington, themselves and national problems. "The future of our country" was the kind of earnest topic they wouldn't or couldn't survey without a wry smile. But now I believe I see a deep yearning to help, to do the right thing, to be part of a rebuilding, and it is a yearning based in true and absolute anxiety that we may lose this wonderful thing we were born into, this America, this brilliant golden gift. At the end of Tennessee Williams's "The Glass Menagerie," Tom, the narrator, tells us he never stopped thinking of his sister and his mother and their sadness, for "I was more faithful than I intended to be." That, I think, is the mood taking hold among members of what used to be called the American leadership class—slightly taken aback by their love for America, by their protectiveness toward her. (“I have been faithful to thee, Cynara—in my fashion.” –Ernest Dowson. One hopes it is not too late. ~Bob.)

From "The Audacity of Hope" to Hopeless Audacity
Excerpt: It’s not Barack Obama’s policies. It is not the economic uncertainty over regulations and taxes. It is not the National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor pushing aggressively pro-union agendas that hamper competition. No, according to Barack Obama, our nation has grown soft. That’s our problem. Jimmy Carter said America was in a “malaise.” This is Barack Obama’s “malaise” moment. It can’t be about him. It cannot be about his polices. On the same day Joe Biden declares the economy belongs to Barack Obama, Obama passes the buck. This time it is directly to the American people and American businesses. It’s not him, you see. It’s us.

Poliwood and the Race Card: Will Morgan Freeman Answer Ali Akbar?
Excerpt: But since then the stakes have risen. Ali Akbar – an African-American 26-year-old small business owner and Tea Party activist — has written an eloquent invitation to Freeman to come see the Tea Party for himself: “I’m not writing to rake you over the coals in the way that many conservatives have done in the last 48 hours. Heck, I wrote a passionate open-letter refuting many of your claims already, but this is not that. This is an honest and standing invitation. I do believe that you are wrong in what you said about the tea party, but I would rather prove it to you than castigate you for your comments.”

Free for all: Up to 20,000 anti-aircraft missiles stolen in Libya
Maybe Obama’s ATF sold them to Mexican drug cartels. Coming soon to an infidel airport near you. ~Bob. Excerpt: A survey of weapon depots in Libya shows that up to 20,000 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles are now missing, partly because President Barack Obama has refused to send troops to guard the weapons depots, according to a left-of-center advocate. “We were quite disappointed after talking to administration officials … that nothing more was done, even about the [storage] facilities in Tripoli, which are unsecured now,” said Peter Bouckaert, director of emergencies at left-of-centre group Human Rights Watch. ‘“The major impediment [to action] is that the administration doesn’t want ‘boots on the ground,’” he said. “If these weapons get into the wrong hands, any civilian aircraft operating in the region will be threatened,” said Bouckaert, who has just returned from a visit to Libya.

Fearing Change, Many Christians in Syria Back Assad
The NYT says Americans have nothing to fear from Shari’a, but reports that Christians there prefer the brutal Assad to it. Wonder why. ~Bob. Excerpt: Syria plunges deeper into unrest by the day. On Tuesday, government troops attacked the rebellious town of Rastan with tanks and machine guns, wounding at least 20 people. With the chaos growing, Christians visiting Saydnaya on a recent Sunday said they feared that a change of power could usher in a tyranny of the Sunni Muslim majority, depriving them of the semblance of protection the Assad family has provided for four decades. Syria’s Christian minority is sizable, about 10 percent of the population, though some here say the share is actually lower these days. Though their sentiments are by no means monolithic — Christians are represented in the opposition, and loyalty to the government is often driven more by fear than fervor — the group’s fear helps explain how President Bashar al-Assad has held on to segments of his constituency, in spite of a brutal crackdown aimed at crushing a popular uprising. For many Syrian Christians, Mr. Assad remains predictable in a region where unpredictability has driven their brethren from war-racked places like Iraq and Lebanon, and where others have felt threatened in postrevolutionary Egypt.

Al Sharpton Wisconsin Milk Story Sours
Probably eliminated Chocolate Milk, proving they are racists. ~Bob. Excerpt: Public employee unions and their apologists will tell any tale to elicit sympathy for their cause. A good example is the Rev. Al Sharpton, who now remarkably hosts a nightly show on MSNBC. He recently used a portion of his program to claim that state education cuts forced one Wisconsin school district to eliminate milk from morning snacks for elementary students. "Governor Scott Walker's budget cuts mean some kids go without," Sharpton said, according to an article posted on PolitiFact Wisconsin. Neither Sharpton nor his National Action Network responded to calls from fact-checkers who were seeking evidence to back up the claim. That's not surprising. As it turned out, Sharpton should have checked his sources.

Can a Geriatric Germany Save Europe?
Excerpt: As Greece lurches on the precipice of default on its sovereign debt, a default that could bring down banks across Europe and precipitate a global financial panic, a consensus is building that there is but one way out. First, a structured default on the Greek debt, giving creditors a major haircut, but compensating them with eurobonds of half the face value of the Greek bonds, guaranteed by the European Central Bank. Second, a huge new European Financial Stabilization Facility of trillions of euros to recapitalize stricken banks and buy up the sovereign debt of Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain, should private investors flee their bonds. Such a solution, however, depends upon Germany, the richest nation in Europe and major contributor to the ECB. Hard-money Germans, however, do not relish bailing out the deadbeat nations of Club Med who have more generous welfare states than their own. Politically, it may not be possible to cajole or coerce the Germans, indefinitely, into saving the eurozone, the collapse of which could bring on a depression and bring down the European Union itself. There is another reason the European Monetary Union and EU may be headed for the boneyard: demography. Looking over the 2008 World Population Prospects from the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs, one finds that the nation which is to carry Europe back to solvency is aging, shrinking and dying. (I’m currently reading Manstein, a new and balanced biography by British General Mungo Melvin of one of German’s most brilliant, if ethically-flawed WWII military leaders. The number of young German lives flung away by Hitler and his mad men—not to mention millions of young lives from Russia and many other countries—on the Eastern Front stuns the mind. Now there are almost no young Germans. And precious few young, native born Americans. ~Bob.)

Krauthammer Warns Obama Will Suffer Landslide Election
Excerpt: But I think even worse for Obama than the decline in the intensity of support among Democrats--because after all, where they are going to go--on election day they'll be out there for him--is the number on independents. The number on independents is staggeringly bad. 31% approval of independents.

The Geography of Pain
Excerpt: But while virtually all states have lost ground since 2008, a National Journal analysis of the census survey found that many of the swing states likely to decide the 2012 election have suffered the heaviest losses. The nine states that switched from voting for George W. Bush in 2004 to Barack Obama in 2008 experienced a greater decline in their median family income than did the nation overall. It’s the same story in the partially overlapping list of 14 states in which Obama attracted between 45 and 55 percent of the vote last time. Both groups, according to separate employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have also lost a higher percentage of their jobs since 2008 than the nation overall. That’s because the economic crisis did much of its deepest damage in the Rust Belt, which includes many of American politics’ traditional battlegrounds, and in the Sun Belt, which contains many of the newly emerging swing states. (Pay back from economic karma, I suppose. ~Bob.)

Teacher penalizes students for saying "bless you"
Support vouchers and charter schools. ~Bob.

EPA Rules … and how they don’t follow their own
At the end of the article are links to the summary and full body of the IG’s report. This is as indefensible as letting the Black Panthers off for intimidating voters--until the next election. --Ron P. Excerpt: Most folks would not be surprised if I were to make the claim that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not properly consider the science when it issued its “Endangerment Finding” saying that CO2 was a pollutant and a danger to humanity. It is that scientifically unsupported finding that allows them to regulate CO2. And you likely would not be surprised if I made the claim that: 1. The EPA did not release the findings supporting its Technical Support Document (TSD), as is required by law. Instead, it has kept them secret. 2. The EPA was supposed to get a panel of outside scientists to provide an impartial analysis of the science. Instead, it put an EPA employee on the panel. (…) 3. The EPA has different regulations for normal decisions and for a “highly influential scientific assessment”. Anyone with half a brain would certainly say that a ruling that will cost billions and billions of dollars and affect nearly every single business in America is a “highly influential scientific assessment”. (…) Those are not my views. They are the published views of the US EPA Office of the Inspector General, as expressed in their latest official report on the question.

Plants gobbling up CO2 – 45% more than thought
From solidly warmist Nature, it seems the settled science needs adjusting (once again). --Ron P. Excerpt: The global uptake of carbon by land plants may be up to 45 per cent more than previously thought. This is the conclusion of an international team of scientists, based on the variability of heavy oxygen atoms in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere driven by the El Niño effect. As the oxygen atoms in carbon dioxide were converted faster than expected during the El Niño years, current estimates for the uptake of carbon by plants are probably too low. These should be corrected upwards, say the researchers in the current issue of the scientific journal NATURE.

The coming breakdown of the power grid
Roughly translated into simple English: “Unless we do it carefully, we’re screwed,” followed by the reasons why. --Ron P. Excerpt: If millions of Germans were to switch to electric cars, would this put an unbearable strain on Germany's power generation capacity? Not at all, says German technology executive and Eurelectric specialist Peter Birkner. But it would lead to a breakdown of the power grid. There is only one solution, according to Birkner: the widespread introduction of smart charging systems. The consumer will have to become an integral part of the electricity system. (…) It may come as a surprise to some, but according to Birkner, who is also a board member at the Frankfurt-based energy supplier Mainova AG and former managing director at an RWE-owned grid service company, the problem of e-mobility is not about generation capacity. Germany’s generation capacity is more than adequate to accommodate the rising demand for e-mobility, he says. “One million electric vehicles can run on just 0.3 percent of Germany’s electricity supply.” (…) The problem, Birkner says, lies in balancing the daily load patterns on the grid. If millions of Europeans came home from work in the early evening hours and plugged in their electric vehicles all at once, there wouldn’t be an electric grid in all of Europe that could sustain the resulting peak load.

The Constitution and Limited Government
Excerpt: Two cases that are currently making their way to the Supreme Court may well in the short term decide the constitutional issue of the reach and extent of the federal government. At stake, in other words, is the future of limited government. And together, these two cases present an exceedingly odd situation. In the case of the Arizona illegal alien law, the federal government is suing a state for constitutional violations; and in the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—that is, Obamacare—more than half the states are suing the federal government, contesting the Act’s constitutionality. It is indeed a litigious season. But the Supreme Court’s decisions in these two cases may not be the last word, because both of them present eminently political issues that will have to be decided ultimately by the American people. (Every month or so, Hillsdale College publishes a brief talk, often adapted from a lecture, seminar, or address to their students, faculty, and/or alumni. It is always worth reading. --Ron P.)

Michelle Obama's Mirror: What Would Jackie Wear?
Excerpt: It’s not as if we haven’t seen Lady M sport this look before: So once again we find ourselves faced with the question, “What would Jackie wear?” While I can’t answer that question definitively, I believe I can say with certainty, “not this.” Ever. (I publish this because it was sent to me, but I couldn’t care less what she wears. A waste of concentration needed for real issues. ~Bob.)

Obama Charts a New Route to Re-election
Excerpt: With his support among blue-collar white voters far weaker than among white-collar independents, President Obama is charting an alternative course to re-election should he be unable to win Ohio and other industrial states traditionally essential to Democratic presidential victories. Without conceding ground anywhere, Mr. Obama is fighting hard for Southern and Rocky Mountain states he won in 2008, and some he did not, in calculating how to assemble the necessary 270 electoral votes. He is seeking to prove that those victories on formerly Republican turf were not flukes but the start of a trend that will make Democrats competitive there for years. “There are a lot of ways for us to get to 270, and it’s not just the traditional map,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist. “That’s why we’re laying the groundwork across the country to compete on the widest possible playing field next year.” (I think this might be “whistling past the graveyard.” Every poll shows independents running away from Obama in a hot sprint. They may not be “pro-Republican,” but many feel betrayed and are actively “anti-Obama.” Also, the article will be clearer if, instead of “educated,” you substitute the word “indoctrinated.” It’s a good thing Obama “doesn’t need”—or expect—as many white voters, cause he won’t get them. Ron P.)

Will Obama Take a Page from W.'s 2004 Playbook?
Excerpt: A plethora of articles in recent days have noted President Obama’s sudden shift in emphasis back to his party’s liberal base, following his largely unrewarded dalliance with independents. What has gone unnoticed, however, is that this move could mimic the strategy that Karl Rove pursued in President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign. When faced with a bloc of independent voters who viewed Bush with skepticism, the campaign began focusing more on expanding its base than on throwing huge amounts of resources at independent and undecided voters. (Less than 20 minutes ago, I read Obama Charts a
New Route
to Re-election in the NYT. I think Cook’s assessment here makes a lot more sense. Ron P.)

Morning Jay: Why Cain Could Be A Game-Changer
Excerpt: After a well-received debate performance last week, Herman Cain surprised everybody by finishing atop the Florida straw poll. This week, he's finally seeing traction in the polls, and now serious people are starting to take him seriously. It's far past time for us to take a closer look at Cain, who appears to be making a credible bid for top-tier status. Earlier this week, Herman Cain asserted that he could win about a third of the black vote. Is this possible? And if so, what would it mean, for Republicans as well as African Americans?

China Space Station: Tiangong-1 Experimental Module Launched
Excerpt: China launched an experimental module to lay the groundwork for a future space station on Thursday, underscoring its ambitions to become a major space power over the coming decade. The box car-sized Tiangong-1 module was shot into space from the Jiuquan launch center on the edge of the Gobi Desert aboard a Long March 2FT1 rocket. It is to move into an orbit 217 miles (350 kilometers) above the Earth and conduct surveys of Chinese farmland using special cameras, along with experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity. China then plans to launch an unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to practice remote-controlled docking maneuvers with the module, possibly within the next few weeks. Two more missions, at least one of them manned, are to meet up with it next year for further practice, with astronauts staying for up to one month. (...) The space station, which is yet to be formally named, is the most ambitious project in China's exploration of space, which also calls for landing on the moon, possibly with astronauts. (The article says this puts the Chinese at about our 1960 level. That’s not a true picture. First of all, and most importantly, they know it can be done because both we and the USSR/Russians have done it. Second, they have certainly gotten all of the basic science, and most of the specific technology from a combination of open sources and effective intelligence gathering from every space-faring nation. They should appear to make 30 years of progress in about 10 years at most. Why is it “good” (at least in the eyes of our liberal media) when they do manned space, but “bad” if we do it? The Chinese have more “poor” and “truly poor” than our entire population. Ron P.)

Net Neutrality Rules Challenged Around the Country
Excerpt: Free Press, a national media reform group, announced on Wednesday that it was taking the Federal Communications Commission to court over the so-called net neutrality rules, which are designed to prevent companies from blocking or hindering Internet access. That was the first publicized lawsuit, but the D.C.-based Media Access Project confirmed to National Journal on Thursday that it has filed lawsuits in at least three different courts on behalf of two media groups and a nonprofit Internet service provider in North Carolina.

Who Owns History?
Excerpt: When Common Core, an advocacy group for educational standards, surveyed American teenagers in 2008, they found that nearly a quarter were not able to correctly identify Adolf Hitler, but 97 percent knew who delivered the "I have a dream" speech. Care to speculate about how many would know who Joseph Stalin was? Teaching history is inevitably a somewhat political act -- which is why an effort during the 1990s to establish national standards foundered in acrimony and bitterness. Some textbooks in wide use in America devote pages and pages to the so-called "McCarthy era" while neglecting much else and are written in a tone of condescension toward our forebears. Fights over textbook content in leading states like Texas have become protracted tugs of war between competing visions of our nation. (…) When liberals tell the story of America -- and they overwhelmingly dominate the education establishment -- they tend to focus excessively on our flaws and sins. By all means, our kids need to know about the civil rights movement, just as they should know all about slavery and Jim Crow. But they should also be taught that this country overcame an ugly history of slavery and racism to a degree unequaled by any other nation on Earth. (A few days ago, I observed that conservatives seem far more interested in history than liberals. Perhaps liberals, seeing how the history they have lived through has been rewritten to be almost a surprise ending, don’t trust the history we have from before them? They may think it’s ALL propaganda.  Ron P.)

Tina Brown & Co. Are Ditching Obama
Excerpt: But Obama is not an FDR, nor a Lincoln, nor a liberal Reagan. At this point he’s simply hoping not to be a Carter. And that’s fomented establishment despair. Tina Brown, editor of both the Daily Beast and Newsweek, recently let it slip on MSNBC (a trifecta of establishmentarian liberal media outlets!) that she thinks Obama “wasn’t ready” for the job in 2008. The establishment can’t bring itself to blame liberalism (or themselves). So instead they blame the system. Obama’s own reelection theme of running against “Washington” — a town he had near total control over for two years and in which he is still the most powerful figure — is a variant of the same argument. Obama can’t blame the party he leads, so he blames the “system.” That idea — that the system itself is to blame — has now gone viral.

Should Texas GOP support Arizona style immigration laws?

Excerpt: They're referring, of course, to the Republican presidential candidate's proposal to throw out today's tax structure and replace it with a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent business tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax. Cain would eliminate capital gains taxes, the payroll tax and the estate tax. For Cain, a Georgia businessman, 9-9-9 is a perfect platform. It's specific, but it doesn't bury people in details, like Mitt Romney's 59-point, 160-page plan. And it's not a vague promise like Rick Perry's look-what-I-did-in-Texas position. To a lot of voters, 9-9-9 is an enormously appealing proposal that is easy to grasp. It's audacious, too. "I had a kind of pivotal moment in this," says Rich Lowrie, the head of an investment firm in Cleveland who serves as Cain's top economic adviser. "I was with Mr. Cain and I asked him, 'How bold do you want to be?' and he leaned toward me with his big, booming voice and said, 'BOLD.' " So bold it was. But is 9-9-9, for all its boldness, a good idea? I talked with a number of conservative economic policy experts who don't want to take sides in the campaign and thus asked to remain anonymous. They found some important things to like in 9-9-9. They favor its low rates, and they like its elimination of various types of double taxation. Most agree it would stimulate growth and create jobs, at least in the short run.

Important: The Economist: Be Afraid: World Economy Heading Towards A Black Hole
Excerpt: But those hopes are likely to fade, for three reasons. First, for all the breathless headlines from the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, DC, Europe’s leaders are a long way from a deal on how to save the euro. The best that can be said is that they now have a plan to have a plan, probably by early November. Second, even if a catastrophe in Europe is avoided, the prospects for the world economy are darkening, as the rich world’s fiscal austerity intensifies and slowing emerging economies provide less of a cushion for global growth. Third, America’s politicians are, once again, threatening to wreck the recovery with irresponsible fiscal brinkmanship. Together, these developments point to a perilous period ahead.

Fast and Furious Telephone Transcripts
Satire. Funny but sad. ~Bob.

Democrats Admit They Don’t Have The (Democrat) Votes To Pass Obama’s Jobs Bill
Oh, they’ll find a way, with media help. ~Bob. Excerpt: Well, they’re going to be hard-placed to blame this one on Republican obstructionism: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, at the moment, Democrats in Congress don’t have the votes to pass President Obama’s jobs bill, but Durbin added that that situation would change. “Not at the moment, I don’t think we do, but, uh, we can work on it,” Durbin said, according to Chicago radio station WLS. (…) Durbin added that the president’s bill would need bipartisan support because there are senators both on the left and the right opposed to aspects of it. “The oil-producing-state senators don’t like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies,” Durbin said. ”There are some senators who are up for election who say ’I'm never gonna vote for a tax increase while I’m up for election, even on the wealthiest people.’ So, we’re not gonna have 100 percent of Democratic senators. That’s why it needs to be bipartisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen.”

George Will: Herman Cain's Florida Straw Poll Win Caused Liberals Heads To Explode
Excerpt: “The Florida straw poll, which was a tea party event essentially, caused liberals head’s to explode because here is the racist tea party voting for a black man,” Will said. COMMENT from anneinarkansas said: When liberal heads explode is there anything to see there?

HuffPost: Allen West Unloads on Debbie Wasserman Schultz Again
Excerpt: Berry asked West, whose military career ended after he tortured an Iraqi policeman by firing a pistol past his head [GO WEST! - Kate in LA], if he had used any "psychological intimidation tactics" against Wasserman Schultz. "I think I did, because she's been pretty quiet." He defended his characterization that she is "not a lady." "I don't think how she carries herself – gentleman, gentlelady -- she is not that way when you think about some of the things that she has said in the position that she's in as the DNC chair and also as the congressional representative." (”Tortured”? Nice bias. Need to ship this reporter to Waziristan to find out what real torture is. ~Bob.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how you could have missed one, about John Bolton to clean out the State Department...the Augean Stables.

    And I made a great discovery: an Obama relative who's not a deadbeat: a cousin on his momma's side is a doctor and hates Obamacare.

    Milton Wolf, M.D.: