Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Political Digest for October 25, 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 10k a week and over 1,150 followers here.

Free PDF Copy of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.

“I’m Tired” response from the Cradle of Western Civilization
Good day Sir, I just come across your blog ... and I am proud of you. I am just 54 and live in Athens, Greece. The article that really impressed me most was the one that you wrote back in February 2009, titled “I am tired”. Most of your views find me in total agreement and I thought of send you this mail just to say this. Good luck and God bless, --George K.

Clean Energy's Accounting Gimmick: "Free" Taxpayer Subsidies
Excerpt: The DOE loan guarantee program backs private financing for innovative projects that produce energy with low greenhouse gas emissions. Congress has provided most of the lending authority in the program ($34 billion to date) under something called “self-pay.” It is the only federal loan program with such a rule. An energy project that wins a loan guarantee from the DOE under the self-pay program has to pay the government a fee that DOE and the Office of Management and Budget estimate will fully cover the cost of the guarantee. In other words, Congress doesn’t need to budget a single penny for DOE to back billions of dollars in loans for clean energy projects, and that is where the budget gimmick comes into play. To date, the DOE has made conditional commitments to back over $10 billion in loans under the self-pay program and is reviewing a number of other applicants. (The fee for Solydra’s loan guarantee was funded with a federal appropriation, so it didn’t have to pay under the self-pay program.) Accounting rules for loan programs in the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA) effectively require that budget analysts at DOE and OMB exclude market risk from their calculation of loan program costs. Market risk is the risk that loan defaults will be more frequent and severe in times of economic stress. All lenders charge a premium to bear that kind of risk, and there’s no reason why taxpayers wouldn’t too. But the FCRA requires that budget analysts discount the expected performance of a federally-backed loan using risk-free U.S. Treasury interest rates, thereby stripping out any market risk premium that lenders would charge. The risk is excluded despite the fact that the federal government cannot make market risk go away when it backs loans, nor can it reduce it.

Overloaded: One in three Illinoisans on Medicaid by 2019?
Excerpt: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, will have a profound impact on Illinois’ Medicaid patients. It will make the program more expensive and worsen care for those who need it most by adding more people to a failing program. The only questions, then, are: How much worse will it get? How long will Medicaid patients wait to see doctors, if they can see them at all? How many more tax hikes will the General Assembly have to pass to pay for it? ObamaCare expands the Medicaid program in two major ways. First, it expands eligibility to anyone earning at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.1, 2 Today, a family of four would qualify by earning $30,843 or less.3 By 2014, the income threshold will likely be $33,037 for a family of four.4 Second, ObamaCare expands the program through increased participation among people who are eligible. The biggest factor affecting Medicaid enrollment is the participation rate. The participation rate, sometimes referred to as the “uptake rate,” is the percentage of eligible people who actually enroll in Medicaid. This rate generally varies by state, income, gender, age and whether the individual has any other insurance coverage.

How California Drives Away Jobs and Business
Excerpt: California has long been among America's most extensive taxers and regulators of business. But it had assets that seemed to offset its economic disincentives: a sunny climate, a world-class public university system that produced a talented local workforce, sturdy infrastructure that often made doing business easier and a record of spawning innovative companies. Yet the net impacts of these benefits no longer seem able to outweigh the costs of doing business within the state, says Steve Malanga, senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal. A poll conducted by a California-based business coalition states that 84 percent of business executives and owners said that if they weren't already in the state, they wouldn't consider starting up there, while 64 percent said the main reason they stayed was the difficulty of relocating their business. Between 1994 and 2008, California ranked 47th in net jobs created through business relocation, losing 124,000 more jobs to outmigration than it gained from other places. Simultaneously, it generated only 285,000 more jobs through in-state startups than it lost in in-state business failures. Researchers have traced this distressing problem of the Golden State to several distinct factors. First, extensive environmental regulations delay business projects and impose substantial financial costs (estimated at a statewide loss of $493 billion annually by professors from California State University). Second, a plaintiff-friendly legal system has caused undue caution amongst businesses and brought about costly litigation that further increases the costs of doing business in the state. Finally, a highly progressive state income tax structure with a 9.3 percent bracket that kicks in at a mere $47,000 causes the state to be unattractive to skilled workers. A high corporate tax rate of 8.84 percent further compounds tax frustration. Dozens of companies, including those that were founded in California or conduct most of their business within the state's borders, are gradually moving their operations to business-friendly states such as Florida, Texas and South Carolina. If California wants to reverse this trend, it will need to recognize the causes of the toxic work environment it has created and address them. Until then, the exodus of corporations out of places like Silicon Valley will almost certainly continue.

A Long, Steep Drop for Americans' Standard of Living
Excerpt: Bottom line: The average individual now has $1,315 less in disposable income than he or she did three years ago at the onset of the Great Recession – even though the recession ended, technically speaking, in mid-2009. That means less money to spend at the spa or the movies, less for vacations, new carpeting for the house, or dinner at a restaurant.

The failure of the ObamaCare program for long-term care must have been a huge disappointment to fans of Ponzi schemes everywhere. Just like Social Security and Medicare, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program was designed to collect “premiums” during employees’ working years and spend the money immediately — with no saving and no investment. Then, when the obligations came due, the program would have been forced to seek a taxpayer bailout. Plus, I have no doubt that the supporters envisioned this program as little more than the camel’s nose under the tent. If left to pursue its natural course it would have blossomed into a program many times its initial size — with Congress making the benefits more and more generous over time. So with its apparent demise, advocates of sound finance can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Just because CLASS has been dismissed, however, doesn’t mean the threat has gone away. In fact, in a very real sense, Medicaid itself is a stealth CLASS program. Technically, seniors can qualify for government provision under Medicaid only if they impoverish themselves by “spending down” their assets. However, an entire cottage industry of lawyers is now helping seniors protect their assets and still get Medicaid long-term care coverage. Long-term care is the fastest growing expense in the Medicaid program. As 78 million baby boomers reach the age of 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day, expect them to take full advantage of the legal opportunities to obtain Medicaid benefits at taxpayer expense.

The Hill Poll: Most voters say the United States is in decline
Excerpt: More than two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and a clear majority think the next generation will be worse off than this one, according to the results of a new poll commissioned by The Hill. A resounding 69 percent of respondents said the country is “in decline,” the survey found, while 57 percent predict today’s kids won’t live better lives than their parents. Additionally, 83 percent of voters indicated they’re either very or somewhat worried about the future of the nation, with 49 percent saying they’re “very worried.” The results suggest that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary, but instead see them continuing for many years.

Jobs Plan Stalled, Obama to Try New Economic Drive
Excerpt: The “We can’t wait” campaign is a new phase in Mr. Obama’s so-far unsuccessful effort — punctuated until now by his cries of “Pass this bill!” on the stump — to pressure Republicans to support the job creation package he proposed after Labor Day. It comes after unanimous votes by Senate Republicans in the past week to block the plan; House Republican leaders have refused to put the measure to a vote. (…) On Sunday the Senate Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, offered an alternate narrative, saying that Mr. Obama, for all his complaints about Republican opposition, had given little prominence to his signing of three free-trade agreements that won bipartisan approval this month. “They’re ashamed to mention any of the things that they do with Republicans because it steps on their story line,” Mr. McConnell said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “Their story line is that there must be some villain out there who’s keeping this administration from succeeding.” (Never forget when reading the New York Times EVERY story will be told with selective use of the facts. The unanimous vote of Republican Senators wasn’t “against Obama’s jobs bill,” it was against cutting off debate (and ending a filibuster no one had yet begun). They were joined by several Democratic Senators, producing a bi-partisan vote "AGAINST" Obama’s proposal, the same proposal Harry Reid had refused to bring to the Senate floor because he lacked the Democratic votes to pass it, indeed, the same proposal the Democrats couldn’t find a cosponsor for. I wonder how the Founders would have felt about a President who, when stymied by Congress, decides to rule by decree? Has anyone told him this isn’t Venezuela? Ron P.)

Libya declares liberation with an Islamic tone
Excerpt: Libya’s top leader declared the country officially “liberated” Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system. In a speech to a cheering, flag-waving crowd, Mustafa Abdel Ja­lil, head of the Transitional National Council, promised to ban interest on housing loans and scrap other laws that didn’t conform to Islamic jurisprudence. (I predict we will bitterly regret helping to bring the new Libyan regime to power. As with so many of my predictions, I hope I am wrong. ~Bob.)

Worth reading: The Red State in Your Future
Excerpt: Voters around the country are concluding it’s better to be red than dead—applying a whole meaning to an old phrase. If you do not currently live in a red state, there’s a good chance you will be in the near future. Either you will flee to a red state or a red state will come to you—because voters fed up with blue-state fiscal irresponsibility will elect candidates who promise to pass red-state policies. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 25 state legislatures are controlled by Republicans and 16 by Democrats, with eight split (i.e., each party controlling one house). There are 29 Republican governors and 20 Democrats, with one independent. And there are 20 states where Republicans control both the legislature and governor’s mansion vs. 11 Democratic, with 18 split (one party controls the governor’s office and the other the legislature). And though we are a year away from the 2012 election, generic Republican vs. Democratic polls have given Republicans the edge for more than a year. If that pattern holds—and if blue-state leaders refuse to learn from their policy mistakes, just like their true-blue leader in the White House—it likely means there will be even more red states in 2013. One reason for that shift is that red states are taking fiscal responsibility while many blue states aren’t—and it shows. …. In the economic outlook section, for example, the top 20 states are bright red or lean red, while eight out of the bottom 10 are very blue: New York, Vermont, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon and Rhode Island. Most of the “poor states” states, as ALEC calls them, have the highest personal income tax rates and the largest unfunded state pension liabilities. But instead of taking the red-state approach by lowering taxes and/or cutting spending, the blue states tend to want to raise taxes even higher, just like their White House mentor.

Better Red than Dead: By the Numbers
Excerpt: Red states are not only doing better economically than Blue states but the policies enacted in Red states are also providing conditions which make them superior, by the numbers, to Blue states in relation to job growth. This is a point I made back in late May with a two part piece I wrote called "Red States Add More Jobs Than Blue States." The breakdown over the last decade showed that Red states had a totaled 451,600 private-sector job increase from April 2001 to April 2011, Blue states had a totaled 2,041,300 private-sector job decrease from April 2001 to April 2011 and Purple states (swing) had a totaled 597,900 private-sector job decrease from April 2001 to April 2011.

Rage On—and on and on…
Excerpt: Out of all that chaos, I think there are two constants that explain the Obama frustration and the current outpouring of invective at Wall Street, “them,” the affluent, and our capitalist system in general. On a wider political level, there is a growing realization that today’s brand of liberalism is really a form of slow societal suicide. We see red states recovering from recession; blue states are still broke. Greece is a mess; so is the entire anti-democratic, statist, and redistributive EU. Keynesian economics is about as dead as global warming/climate change/climate chaos in the age of Climategate, Al Gore, Inc., and a planet cooling over the last decade.

Love it: They want $lice of the occu-pie: Even in Zuccotti Park, greed is good.
Excerpt: Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has nearly $500,000 in the bank, and donations continue to pour in -- but its reluctance to share the wealth with other protesters is fraying tempers. Some drummers -- incensed they got no money to replace or safeguard their drums after a midnight vandal destroyed their instruments Wednesday -- are threatening to splinter off. … “The other day, I took in $2,000. I kept $650 for my group, and gave the rest to Finance. Then I went to them with a request -- so many people need things, and they should not be going without basic comfort items -- and I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” Smith fumed, even as he cajoled the passing crowd for more cash.

Health expert condemns park rats
Excerpt: Close this pigpen! Filth-ridden Zuccotti Park is a breeding ground for bacterial infection loaded with potential health-code violations that pose a major risk to the public, an expert who inspected the area warned. “It’s like Walmart for rats,’’ Wayne Yon, an expert on city health regulations, said yesterday. “There’s a lack of sanitation, a lack of controls for hot and cold water,” Yon said. He saw at least 15 violations of the city’s health code -- the type that would easily shut down a food establishment. He noted the lack of lavatory facilities, as neighbors repeatedly complain about protesters defecating in the area and the stench of urine.

Good column: Some belated parental advice to protesters
Excerpt: Call it an occupational hazard, but I can't look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, "Who parented these people?" As a culture columnist, I've commented on the social and political ramifications of the "movement" -- now known as "OWS" -- whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: "Everything for everybody." Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it's clear there are people with serious designs on "transformational" change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel. Yet it's not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I'm the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters' moms clearly have not passed along. Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters' mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn't, so I will:

Obama's Re-Election Model Is FDR: With the economy sinking in 1937, Roosevelt accused business of sabotage.
Excerpt: President Obama is cozying up to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, intending to make resentment of big business a central theme of his re-election campaign. Here he's following the lead of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who tried to convince the public that Wall Street was to blame for the double-dip recession that plagued his second administration. In late 1937 the American economy, which had been recovering slowly since 1932, contracted even more sharply than it had after the stock market crash in late 1929. Industrial production fell by a third, stock prices fell by 50%, durable goods production by almost 80%. Payrolls fell 35%, and unemployment climbed back to 20%. Roosevelt was initially nonplused, slow to appreciate the severity of the downturn. But once he saw the need for action, he called Congress into special session and undertook a massive new public-spending program. Roosevelt and his advisers blamed the recession on a "capital strike," trying to deflect public alarm about the United Auto Workers' sit-down strikes—really illegal occupations of assembly plants—onto the shoulders of corporations. They even claimed that big business was deliberately refusing to invest and increase payrolls as part of a political gambit to destroy the New Deal.

Google Speaks Truth to Power: About the growing regulatory state, even Google's Eric Schmidt—a big supporter of the Obama administration—now feels the need to tell it like it is.
Excerpt: Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, gave a remarkable interview this month to the Washington Post. So remarkable that Post editors preceded the transcript with this disclosure: "He had just come from the dentist. And he had a toothache." Perhaps it was the Novocain talking, but Mr. Schmidt has done us a service. He said in public what most technologists will say only in private. Whatever caused him to speak forthrightly about the disconnects between Silicon Valley and Washington, his comments deserve wider attention. Mr. Schmidt had just given his first congressional testimony. He was called before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee to answer allegations that Google is a monopolist, a charge the Federal Trade Commission is also investigating. "So we get hauled in front of the Congress for developing a product that's free, that serves a billion people. OK? I mean, I don't know how to say it any clearer," Mr. Schmidt told the Post. "It's not like we raised prices. We could lower prices from free to . . . lower than free? You see what I'm saying?" An absence of consumer harm didn't stop senators from offering some improbable recommendations. Among them: that Google replace its algorithm with a panel of experts to ensure "fair" search results. As Google tries to improve the relevancy of its search results for consumers, some sites inevitably come up higher and some lower in the results. The losers now lobby Washington.

Holder’s hack job
Excerpt: You’d think the US Justice Department would have better things to do (what with its Fast & Furious scandal, Solyndra, Gitmo terrorists ...) than micromanage New York City taxicab design. No such luck. The US attorney’s office in Manhattan just filed a 23-page court brief insisting that (get this!) all new taxis be built to accommodate wheelchairs. It claimed the city just doesn’t have enough such cabs right now, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Jeez Louise! Is there no matter too minute – or local --to concern the all-powerful Department of Justice of the United States of America? What will it try to dictate next -- taxi tire-tread depths?

Report: 2 union lobbyists qualify for state teachers’ pensions after 1 day of subbing in 2007
Poor guys put in a whole day in the classroom, ands now the Union-busing Republicans want to deny them the million dollar pensions they earned doing so. ~Bob. Excerpt: Two lobbyists with no teaching experience will be allowed to count past years as union employees toward state teacher pensions after substitute teaching for only one day in 2007, according to a published report Sunday. The Illinois Federation of Teachers' political director, Steven Preckwinkle, and another union lobbyist, David Piccioli, took advantage of legislation allowing union officials to get into the teacher pension fund and count previous years as union workers after quickly obtaining teaching certificates and conducting classroom work before the legislation was signed into law in 2007, according to a Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV investigation published Sunday (http://bit.ly/oYeWTM). According to the report, Preckwinkle, 59, could collect $2.8 million by the time he's 78. Piccioli, 61, could receive around $1.1 million by age 78.

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Excerpt: The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 19% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21 (see trends). Given a choice, 41% of the nation’s adults say that their views are closer to the Tea Party than to Occupy Wall Street. Thirty-four percent (34%) are closer to Occupy Wall Street.

Quote from The Patriot Post
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. --Benjamin Franklin

Excerpt: Today the Senate voted for an amendment to give a subsidy to rich people. Not the first time, and it won’t be the last time. But is a perfect microcosm of today’s politics and the politics that got us into the housing crisis. Next time any of the Senate Democrats say anything about “Occupy Wall Street”, they should get asked a simple question: if you are so worried about the 99%, why are you subsidizing housing for the wealthy. Here’s what happened. Senators Bob Menendez and Chuck Schumer, who represent rich Democrats in New Jersey and New York respectively, offered an amendment to raise the amount of a mortgage that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will backstop. The level that was backstopped by Fannie and Freddie was lowered to $620k, but they raised it again to $729k. So the government will offer a loan guarantee so that people can buy a $720k house.

Econ. Professor Explains to #OccupyWallSt Crowd How Marxist America Will Work: Of course, it's only a coincidence Democrats support the #OWS movement...
Excerpt: Nearly a year ago, union appointees within the Obama Labor Department launched their ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts‘ initiative on America’s employers (obviously, not their name for it, but that is what it is). Since then, American businesses (large and small)—those that are America’s job creators—have been under unprecedented attack by the Obama Administration and its union handlers. Now, perhaps by coincidence, the Democrat-supported Marxists occupying city parks across the country are calling for socialism (or whatever nom du jour they want to call it, with whatever coherency they can muster on a given day). Only an idiot (or a liar) would argue that the Marxist movement is not out to destroy American free enterprise.

Kenya Says Western Nations Join Fight in Somalia, as U.S. Denies Role
Tough position for Obama—his ancestral homeland attacking Muslims. Hope they go far enough to clean out the pirates, but that’s a long way. ~Bob. Excerpt: Foreign military forces have joined the offensive against the Shabab militant group in Somalia as Kenyan troops advanced toward the rebel stronghold of Kismayu from two different directions, Kenya said Sunday. A Kenyan military spokesman, Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir, said that “one of the partners,” possibly the United States or France, had been behind airstrikes in the past few days, killing a number of Shabab militants. The French Navy has also shelled rebel positions from the sea, the Kenyan military said in a statement.

Quebec woman charged with trying to export assault rifle parts to Lebanon
Another “moderate” Muslim who didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Young and striking in her black hijab, Mouna Diab was once active in a Quebec youth group that fought discrimination against Muslims by challenging the stereotypes that too often associate them with violence and terror. But the outspoken 26-year-old activist had little to say this week after appearing in a Montreal courtroom to face a charge alleging she had violated a United Nations Security Council arms embargo that prohibits the export of weapons to Lebanon.

Egyptian Researcher Muhammad Galaa Idris: The Jews Are Behind the Spread of Depravity and Sin in the World and Have Brainwashed Europe
Another freedom-loving Egyptian democrat, supported by our government. ~Bob. Excerpt: Muhammad Galaa Idris: Another cause for the hatred of Jews is the social cause. Due to the sense of superiority of the Jews, they lived in separate quarters in all societies. These were called ghettoes in the West. […] The Jews were responsible for all the depravity that has spread in society. The gangs of thieves… The stories of Charles Dickens – Oliver Twist and others – exemplify that. They show how the Jews would deal with stolen goods and so on. The Jews were behind the spread of immorality, prostitution, and licentiousness in Europe. They were behind the spread of all sins, and they are to this day. This is written in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. We've discussed this. Moral corruption is part of the conspiracy.

The FBI, CAIR and Subterfuge in Connecticut
Excerpt: The FBI's New Haven, Conn. field office organized a community outreach program last October that featured two speakers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in apparent violation of FBI policy not to partner with the Islamist group. Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that field office officials repeatedly referred to the policy in the months leading up to the event, called "Bridging the Gap between Law Enforcement and the Connecticut Muslim Community." To avoid openly violating the ban, the records show, officials drew semantic distinctions and seem to have tried to conceal the field office's role in organizing and developing the event. These internal documents show officials in the New Haven FBI field office clearly developed, facilitated, co-sponsored and co-hosted the October 2010 conference with the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, and did so with full knowledge and tacit approval of participation by CAIR-CT. To avoid violating FBI policy, the agents and field office managers involved ensured the FBI was not formally named as a sponsor, and sought to "dis-associate" it from an event that likely would not have happened without their efforts.

To Catch a Journalist, Part I - Sam Stein, Huffington Post

Hispanic voters: Stick with Obama or go with GOP?
Excerpt: A year before the 2012 presidential election, Hispanic voters are facing a choice. They can continue to support President Barack Obama despite being hurt disproportionately by the economic downturn or turn to Republicans at a time when many GOP presidential hopefuls have taken a hard line on immigration.

The Tyrant is Dead, Long Live the Tyrant
Excerpt: The tyrant is dead, and the head of Libya's Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, (who was also Gaddafi's former Justice Minister), has declared that Libya has been liberated. What a glorious day it is when a country is liberated from its justice minister by its justice minister. If only Gaddafi had been quicker on the ball, he could have staged a revolution against himself and liberated the country from himself. We mustn't laugh. Now that American troops are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan has declared that it will back Pakistan in any conflict with the United States, we must have the highest hopes for Libyan democracy. Didn't we declare an undeclared war on Gaddafi to have a fallback position? Even if Egypt and Tunisia go down the tubes, and Yemen declares an official Bin Laden day, we'll always have Libya. But don't pop the champagne corks just yet. Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, who liberated Libya from himself, has also declared that it will be governed under Islamic law and that laws which contradict Islam will be abolished. So expect to see fewer female bodyguards and more women in need of bodyguards. Out with the uniforms, in with the Burqas. And the champagne is most definitely against Islam. What can the Libyan people look forward to? In Egypt, a fellow who said something about Islam on Facebook got sentenced to three years of hard labor. Egypt, lest we forget, is a moderate Muslim state. How can you tell Egypt is a moderate Muslim state? He didn't get the death penalty, the way he would have in Pakistan. … There are less than a thousand Jews left in Tunis, which makes them an ideal target for refighting the Battle of Khaybar. It's easier to go after a few elderly unarmed men in Tunis, than to fight the IDF. And their prospects of refighting the Battle of Khaybar against the Jewish senior citizens of Tunis have been provided by Obama and Thomas Friedman and every pol and pundit who championed the Arab Spring. Back in Libya there is no Jewish community, and a foolishly optimistic fellow who traveled to rebuild the synagogue there was quickly told where he could shove his liberty, fraternity and equality.

Open Letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and President Barack Obama
Excerpt: For the last seven years I have written about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have covered the US Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy. I’ve also covered the British, Lithuanian, Afghan and Iraqi forces, among others, in places ranging from Iraq to the Philippines and beyond. My most recent embed in Afghanistan was at personal invitation from then-General David Petraeus. It is said that I have spent more time with American combat forces than any writer in US history. I do not know if this is true, but it’s got to be close. I’ve written three books and probably a thousand articles. My work is known worldwide. On 12 October, I published a dispatch called “Red Air,” detailing policy shortcomings with US Army Dustoff MEDEVAC procedures. The kernel of the matter is that under the Geneva Conventions, when our Army “Dustoff” MEDEVAC helicopters wear red crosses, they are forbidden to be armed. If they do not wear red crosses, they can be armed. The Taliban and other enemies in Afghanistan regularly fire upon and hit our helicopters. In Afghanistan, a red cross means “Shoot me; I’m defenseless.” We’d have a better chance warding off vampires with crucifixes. This battlefield reality causes commanders to send Apache attack helicopters as top cover for the Army Dustoff MEDEVAC helicopters. Yet with perpetual shortages of helicopters in Afghanistan, this leads to delays in evacuating terribly wounded troopers. Importantly, US Air Force, Marines, and the British flying in the same areas do not wear red crosses and are armed. Only the US Army, not the Geneva Conventions, is preventing Dustoffs from using machine guns. Meanwhile, we require yet more helicopters to perform top cover, adding to helicopter stresses, causing delays, and pulling the Apaches away from other fights.

Karzai's Gauntlet; Unfortunate Rambling or Veiled Truth?
Excerpt: For well over two years now I and others, have been questioning the wisdom of conducting a Counter Insurgency effort in the center of an ideologically monolithic society. The problem with COIN is that it assumes a much flatter playing field than what we, as a non-Shariah compliant society, can expect when conducting military operations in countries where religious adherence to Islam is above 98%. The truth is, if we had chosen to understand the religion and the dedication of it's adherents in a way that is consistent with how they have identified themselves -over and over again, COIN would never have been on the table in the first place. Instead; we chose to ignore the obvious in deference to our westernized vision of "harmony among all peoples" and this, to our detriment. This is also an indictment of the very "nation building" nonsense that has plagued this country at least since the end of World War II.

Excerpt: Some might say this RNC web ad is tough, but Obama sure makes it easy for them, spending as much time fundraising and on “sure, it’s not really a campaign trip” bus tours through swing states:

No shame. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Los Angeles Times scoops today that Steven Spinner, a former Energy Department official linked to Solyndra helped plan Obama's Sa n Francisco fundraiser that he will attend on Tuesday.

Worth reading: Biden’s Fourth-Grade Economics by Mark Steyn     
Excerpt: In one of those inspired innovations designed to keep American classrooms on the cutting edge of educational excellence, the administration has been sending Joe Biden out to talk to schoolchildren. Last week, it was the fourth grade at Alexander B. Goode Elementary School in York, Pa., that found itself on the receiving end of the vice president’s wisdom: "Here in this school, your school, you’ve had a lot of teachers who used to work here, but because there’s no money for them in the city, they’re not working. And so what happens is, when that occurs, each of the teachers that stays have more kids to teach. And they don’t get to spend as much time with you as they did when your classes were smaller. We think the federal government in Washington, D.C., should say to the cities and states, look, we’re going to give you some money so that you can hire back all those people. And the way we’re going to do it, we’re going to ask people who have a lot of money to pay just a little bit more in taxes." Who knew it was that easy? So let’s see if I follow the vice president’s thinking: The school laid off these teachers because “there’s no money for them in the city.” That’s true. York City School District is broke. It has a $14 million budget deficit. So instead Washington, D.C., is going to “give you some money” to hire these teachers back. So, unlike York, Pa., presumably Washington, D.C., has “money for them”? No, not technically. Washington, D.C., is also broke — way broker than York City School District. In fact, the government of the United States is broker than any entity has ever been in the history of the planet. Officially, Washington has to return 15,000,000,000,000 dollars just to get back to having nothing at all. And that 15,000,000,000,000 dollars is a very lowball figure that conveniently ignores another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities that the government, unlike private businesses, is able to keep off the books. So how come the Brokest Jurisdiction in History is able to “give you some money” to hire back those teachers that had to be laid off? No problem, says the vice president. We’re going to “ask” people who have “a lot of money” to “pay just a little bit more” in taxes. Where are these people? Evidently, not in York, Pa. But they’re out there somewhere. Who has “a lot of money”? According to President Obama, if your combined household income is over $250,000 a year you have “a lot of money.” Back in March, my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson pointed out that, in order to balance the budget of the United States, you would have to increase the taxes of people earning more than $250,000 a year by $500,000 a year.

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