Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Political Digest for October 26, 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.

Best older posts for new blog readers

#Occupy Jupiter

The Media and 'Bullying' by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Back in the 1920s, the intelligentsia on both sides of the Atlantic were loudly protesting the execution of political radicals Sacco and Vanzetti, after what they claimed was an unfair trial. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote to his young leftist friend Harold Laski, pointing out that there were "a thousand-fold worse cases" involving black defendants, "but the world does not worry over them." Holmes said: "I cannot but ask myself why this so much greater interest in red than black." To put it bluntly, it was a question of whose ox was gored. That is, what groups were in vogue at the moment among the intelligentsia. Blacks clearly were not. The current media and political crusade against "bullying" in schools seems likewise to be based on what groups are in vogue at the moment. For years, there have been local newspaper stories about black kids in schools in New York and Philadelphia beating up Asian classmates, some beaten so badly as to require medical treatment. But the national media hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. Asian Americans are not in vogue today, just as blacks were not in vogue in the 1920s. Meanwhile, the media are focused on bullying directed against youngsters who are homosexual. Gays are in vogue.

Excerpt: It is hard to know what to think of the administration’s announcement that we are leaving Iraq, since President Obama has said so many contradictory things, from ‘all troops out by March 2008’ to ‘staying on until the foundations of civil society are established and institutionalized.’ Neither happened. The U.S. military, which evolved in brilliant fashion to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, cannot be happy that in the midst of the usual contorted negotiations, we simply quit and bugged out. The so-called Arab Spring may have been inspired by the removal of Saddam Hussein, and yet without a direct U.S. presence, most countries are perhaps more likely to follow the Iranian model: removal of the tyrant, establishment of a weak elected government, the hijacking of the revolution by self-proclaimed “moderate” Islamists, and ultimately, theocracy of the Khomeinist/Hezbollah/Hamas sort. Note that Iraq, almost alone, escaped Arab Spring mass demonstrations, largely because the U.S. had shepherded a constitutional government considered legitimate and stable enough to endure the almost nonstop efforts by both Iranian agents and al-Qaedist terrorists to overthrow it. So, will the postwar American presence in 2008–11 turn out to have been sufficient, given that Iraq is still not able to defend its borders and its democracy is deeply feared by Tehran? Time will tell, but we should worry about everything from the survival of Iraqi territorial integrity to preserving the near miracle of a booming Kurdistan. As for the cost in American blood and treasure, it was immense, which to Obama and many Americans means enough is enough, but to others argues that we owe to veterans and the dead an adequate peace-keeping force to ensure their sacrifices lead to a stable and constitutional Iraq, something now within our grasp. (Our leaving Vietnam in 1973 did not mean the end of the war. It allowed the defeated North to regroup, restart the war and with no support for the South from us, to win it. Our leaving Iraq does not mean the war is over, only that it enters a new phase, as Iran and Saudi Shia and Sunni proxies struggle for dominance. ~Bob.)

Media Watchdog Calls for Defunding Public Broadcasting
Excerpt: The conservative Media Research Center has published a report documenting the 20 most biased statements of national public broadcasting anchors over the past 25 years, saying that they are the most glaring evidence that public broadcasting should be stripped of federal funding. (…) [Timothy] Graham said that cutting federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) – the entity that helps fund National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) – would not put anyone on the unemployment line, arguing that even government-funded media should have to make cuts in a tough economy. (As much as I wish for this to happen, the reality is unless conservatives control both Congressional houses absolutely and hold the Presidency, this free publicity and credibility is something the Democrats will fight for right up to the edge of violence. Unless forced to choose between saving EPA (or the Department of Education or HHS) or NPR, there is no conceivable way any liberal will support it. The funny thing is that according to NPR’s own released figures, the federal funding provides 7% or less of their total revenues. Has YOUR budget decreased in the past two or three years? Mine certainly has and by more than 7%. Ron P.)

Gaddafi sodomized: Video shows abuse frame by frame
Ah, those fun-loving, democratic, US-taxpayer-funded freedom fighters so beloved by the American Media and BO. Just like George Washington in our revolution, though the high school history books leave out this happening to Lord Cornwallis after Yorktown. I bet Gaddafi was thanking his lucky stars he was captured by Muslims—Americans might have poured water on a cloth over his face. ~Bob. Excerpt: An analysis of video obtained by GlobalPost from a rebel fighter who recorded the moment when Col. Muammar Gaddafi was first captured confirms that another rebel fighter, whose identity is unknown, sodomized the former leader as he was being dragged from the drainpipe where he had taken cover. A frame by frame analysis of this exclusive GlobalPost video clearly shows the rebel trying to insert some kind of stick or knife into Gaddafi's rear end. 

Report: 14-Year-Old Girl Sexually Assaulted At #OccupyDallas
Remember when this kind of thing happened at the Tea Party protests? Me neither. ~Bob. Excerpt: Some members of the group told CBS 11 they never knew the girl was 14 and that she had claimed to be 19 years old. Police were alerted after someone recognized the girl from a picture seen on a flyer asking for help locating a missing teen. When police took the girl into custody Sunday afternoon she reportedly told them she had been having sex with a man in his 20’s at the Occupy Dallas encampment and had engaged in sexual activity with several other people.

Rhode Island: Athens of America? By Walter Russell Mead
Excerpt: Rhode Island is looking more and more like Greece, and not in a good way. That is one message of this important piece by Mary Williams Walsh in the New York Times. Years of blue social policy have wrecked local and state government finance in the country’s smallest state, and now the bills are coming due. Services are being cut to the bone and elderly retirees are losing money they thought was secure. In Rhode Island, it is Democrats, not nasty union-hating Republicans, who are doing the dirty work. Democratic mayors are telling their unions that there isn’t any money — not because they are vicious corporate stooges who hate working people and want to see them suffer, but because There. Isn’t. Any. Money. Because Rhode Island listened to timeserving blue politicians too long, and union leaders and public sector workers lost their grip on any mathematical realities beyond the numbers at the ballot box, the pension system grew more and more out of control. State and local governments lurched into a crisis. Vote yourself a raise, vote yourself a pension: why not? But there is financial math as well as political math and in any war with financial arithmetic, the money numbers win. If there isn’t any money, the checks won’t clear. 

Worth reading: Rules of Engagement
Excerpt: Muammar Gadhafi is dead. Good. Naturally, in this era of litigating everything, everywhere, all the time, the question of how he actually died has become an issue because the rules of engagement generally state you can kill someone who is actively trying to kill you, but you can't kill him after you've taken him into custody. In a fascinating book titled, "The Forever War", war correspondent Dexter Filkins recounts a remarkable scene during which a legal advisor to the Marine Corps is laying out the rules of engagement preceding an attack on Fallujah in Iraq. You should read that scene to which I've put a link on the Secret Decoder Ring page. As you are reading it, put yourself in the position of an 18-year-old Marine trying to remember who he can and can't shoot, and under what circumstances, while he's preparing to go into a really nasty battle afraid that he is the only one in his unit who is afraid. (There is also a fine science fiction novel by Joe Haldeman titled The Forever War. Ron P.)

Libya's liberation: interim ruler unveils more radical than expected plans for Islamic law
Excerpt: Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de fact president, had already declared that Libyan laws in future would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its "basic source". But that formulation can be interpreted in many ways - it was also the basis of Egypt's largely secular constitution under President Hosni Mubarak, and remains so after his fall. Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi's era that he said was in conflict with Sharia - that banning polygamy. (Probably has a cute 9-year-old picked out for his second wife. Ah, those fun-loving Libyan freedom fighters. ~Bob.)

Occupy Photo of the Day

Everything you need to know about Obamanomics in one sentence
Excerpt: Your taxes pay for an electric car that gets worse mileage than an SUV and is assembled overseas so it can line the pockets of Al Gore and crony donors to the President.

WikiLeaks suspends release of secrets to seek cash
Excerpt: WikiLeaks — the online anti-secrecy organization whose spectacular leaks of classified data shook Washington and other world capitals and exposed the inner workings of international diplomacy — may be weeks away from collapse, the group's leader warned Monday. (…) Although U.S. officials railed against the disclosures, claiming that they were putting lives at risk, it wasn't until WikiLeaks began publishing a massive trove of 250,000 U.S. State Department cables late last year that the financial screws began to tighten. One after the other, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and Western Union stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks, starving the organization of cash as it was coming under intense political, financial and legal pressure. Assange said Monday that the restrictions — imposed in early December — had cut off some 95 percent of the money he thinks his organization could have received. (The good news is WikiLeaks is running out of cash. The bad news is WikiLeaks is running out of cash and will now probably try to SELL its only assets, the secrets it has been giving away for free. The worst news is the only secrets that will still be salable—since every intel agency in the world has certainly already copied what was freely posted—are those few things being held back for blackmail of countries, corporations, and individuals, or things so sensitive that even WikiLeaks wouldn’t willingly publish them (Pssst. Wanna buy a launch code for a nuke? Cheap.). This is why they should have all been shot last year. Ron P.)

Click here: Test Your News IQ - Pew Research Center
11/11. ~Bob.

Top 10 Bad Signs for Obama
Excerpt: Bad omens abound for President Obama in his quest to win reelection in 2012. The President will have an uphill battle in his bid for a second term when faced with these Top 10 Bad Signs.

This is funny

Slashing doc pay Making US rates more like Europe’s
Excerpt: A key government panel voted this month to whack what Medicare pays most doctors to treat patients. It’s an important step on the path to ObamaCare -- because the only way to make European-style health entitlements work in America is to pay US doctors lower European wages. This is going to hurt doctors -- and hit patients even harder, as American physicians scale down their medical practices to adapt to the lower pay rates. The vote by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission involves slashing what the program for older Americans pays medical specialists -- then freezing these lower rates for years. Everyone except primary-care docs would see payments for their services cut by 5.9 percent a year for three years (totalling a 16.7 percent cut in income), followed by a seven-year freeze at the reduced levels. Primary-care providers would have their reimbursement rates frozen at today’s pay levels for the whole decade. All this is part of a larger effort to save Medicare upward of $300 billion over 10 years. This is no hollow threat: ObamaCare set up an agency called the Independent Payment Advisory Committee to fast-track these kinds of proposals into law by sidestepping Congress. We doctors have mostly ourselves to blame for this mess. Hoping to preserve some organized power for MDs, groups like the American Medical Association made two Faustian bargains with Washington on behalf of physician members.

How Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Guarantees Work In Brief
Excerpt: So the mortgage is sold to the secondary market, likely Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. In fact, the GSEs and FHA bought or guaranteed 95% of all new mortgages in fiscal year 2011! Mind blowing numbers compared to when 40% market share was seen as high in the early 2000s. The GSEs then take your loan and put it in a package with other loans they buy and sell rights to the mortgage payments in that package (a mortgage-backed security). The investor is buying rights to part of the principal and/or interest payments, depending on the structure of the deal, on your and many other mortgages. … Here is the catch, though, Fannie and Freddie do not have enough money to cover all the missed payments on mortgages that they have guaranteed. Just like AIG, which ran out of money to pay its CDS insurance contracts and needed government money to keep from going bankrupt, so to is the government giving Fannie and Freddie money every quarter so that they can make all their guarantee payments. Too many borrowers have stopped paying their mortgages and the losses are too high for the GSEs to stay solvent. That is why almost every quarter Fannie and Freddie ask for money from Treasury to cover their losses. Here are the current bailout numbers: Fannie Mae: $103.8 billion received from the Treasury. Freddie Mac: $65.2 billion received from the Treasury. Total: $169 billion in taxpayer money to bailout mortgage investors via the GSEs. And those numbers should be going up again next month. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that we are likely to see $51 billion more losses for the GSEs over the next 10 years. 

Petty Punishment for the Washington Post
Excerpt: The Washington Post this morning ran an excellent piece about how President Obama has come up way short on his promises to help the housing market. And so . . . Today, Obama will travel to Las Vegas where he will outline new steps to help borrowers refinance. The White House leaked the story to the Post’s chief competitors on the national newspaper scene, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as Reuters. But not the Post.

We Can't Wait Either, Mr. President
Excerpt: Take a stroll through your neighborhood
Occupy Wall Street
protest--whether it's in New York or Chicago, Detroit or San Francisco--and you're likely to see a recurring theme emblazoned across cardboard signs: redistribute wealth from the 1 percent to the 99 percent, all in the name of fairness, whether or not it makes good policy. Or if you want to hear that message without fighting the crowds, you could save yourself some time, turn on the TV, and tune in to President Barack Obama's latest campaign swing across America, this time titled "We Can't Wait." "I'm here to say that we can't wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will," President Obama proclaimed in Las Vegas, Nevada. "There is no excuse for the games and gridlock we've seen in Washington. Where we don't have to wait for Congress, we're just going to go ahead and act on our own." The actions the President is proposing? More money for "underwater" mortgages and a yet-to-be-announced student loan initiative.

Judge Blocks Florida's New Welfare Drug Testing Law
Excerpt: A federal judge temporarily blocked Florida's new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits on Monday, saying it may violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Judge Mary Scriven ruled in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 35-year-Navy veteran and single father who sought the benefits while finishing his college degree, but refused to take the test. The judge said there was a good chance plaintiff Luis Lebron would succeed in his challenge to the law based on the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from being unfairly searched. (So, it is okay to drug test your employees randomly; but if someone is taking state government/federal money and addicted to crack and meth and benzos, it is “illegal search” to get them to pee in a cup before handing over a check….. Let’s just keep that ol’ status quo. Obviously, the fed govt. WANTS people stoned and taking money, sucking on the teat, being nonproductive and enslaved….. Can we defund the friggin federal judges? --Barb.)

Border Patrol Agent Diaz gets two years in prison for handcuffing illegal alien
Excerpt: Border Patrol Agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz received a two-year prison sentence for mishandling his handcuffs on a known-illegal alien drug smuggler. He was charged by the Obama Administration Justice Department using the vague “civil rights” strategy and was convicted last week of lifting the arms of a prisoner while handcuffed. According to the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council, the government's case is based on false testimony that is contradicted by the facts. This includes the charge that Agent Diaz was physically abusive to the then minor "MBE" as noted by court documents and transcripts that Diaz allegedly put his knee on his back and pulled back on his handcuffs.

Who lost the world? Obama has paved the way for an explosive era by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Excerpt: Conventional wisdom has it that the 2012 presidential election will be all about the dismal economy, unemployment and the soaring deficit. That appears a safe bet because such matters touch the electorate, are much in the news at the moment and have indisputably become worse on Barack Obama's watch. It seems increasingly likely, however, that the American people will have a whole lot more to worry about by next fall. Indeed, the way things are going, by November 2012, we may see the Middle East - and perhaps other parts of the planet - plunged into a cataclysmic war. Consider just a few of the straws in the wind of a gathering storm:

Worth Reading: Libya and Iraq: The Price of Success by George Friedman
Excerpt: In a week when the European crisis continued building, the White House chose publicly to focus on announcements about the end of wars. The death of Moammar Gadhafi was said to mark the end of the war in Libya, and excitement about a new democratic Libya abounded. In Iraq, the White House transformed the refusal of the Iraqi government to permit U.S. troops to remain into a decision by Washington instead of an Iraqi rebuff. Though in both cases, there was an identical sense of “mission accomplished,” the matter was not nearly as clear-cut. The withdrawal from Iraq creates enormous strategic complexities rather than closure. While the complexities in Libya are real, but hardly strategic, the two events share certain characteristics and are instructive. … The National Transitional Council (NTC), the umbrella organization crafted to contain the insurgents, is in no position to govern Libya by any ideology, let alone through constitutional democracy. Gadhafi and his supporters ruled Libya for 42 years; the only people in the NTC with any experience with government gained that experience as ministers or lesser officials in Gadhafi’s government. Some may have switched sides out of principle, but I suspect that most defected to save themselves. While the media has portrayed many of these ex-ministers as opponents of Gadhafi, anyone who served him was complicit in his crimes. … The most likely course ahead is a NATO presence sufficient to enrage the Libyan people but insufficient to intimidate them.

Colonel Allen West’s Address to the Wednesday Morning Club
Excerpt: So with that being said, came here to talk to you about what I think is still the most important issue for the United States of America. And that’s our national security. How do we stand strong in the face of internal and external threats that seek to tear us down? There are those who are uncomfortable talking about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. But I think it’s critical that we have that conversation. You see, our enemies believe that the things which make us great — they think it actually makes us weak. They see us as tolerant, pluralistic and inclusive. And they believe that those values will be our undoing. If we avoid mentioning the dangers we face for fear we’ll offend someone, then we let our oppressors win. Because when tolerance becomes a one-way street, it will lead to cultural suicide. And if we continue to show them that they’re right — and that we are weak and unable to defend ourselves — then we are not holding true to our American way. We must not fall prey to the need of being PC, politically correct, to those who are morally devoid. Instead, we must demonstrate that we can still be strong when it comes to protecting those principles and values for which we stand — that we are doubly capable of rooting out evil and bringing it to justice. Our values animate us and give us the legitimacy that allows us to exist in this republic — and that far from bringing about the downfall of this great experiment in democracy that we call America, those are the reasons why we thrive.

Worth reading: The Libyan Pandora’s Box
Excerpt: While no one mourns the death of Muammar Gadhafi, the triumphant notes emanating from the Obama administration ignore the fact, as evidenced by Jalil’s comments, that toppling a tyrant remains the easiest part of the regime change equation. One need only look at US forces taking 60 days to topple the Afghan Taliban in 2001 and 30 days to oust Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003. It was only in the aftermath of those early successes in which sectarian civil unrest reared its head and engulfed both countries. For Libya, Gadhafi’s removal from the scene has now given rise to competing Islamist, secularist and tribal factions that threatens to throw Libya into a similar morass of sectarian violence. Of course, such an outcome should produce little surprise given that the Obama administration threw its support behind a Libyan rebel force that included a collection of al-Qaeda insurgents, Islamist militants, criminals and former Gadhafi loyalists. … Those chemical weapon stocks include approximately 11 tons of deadly mustard gas, 1,000 tons of uranium powder, as well as large quantities of radioisotopes and radioactive waste, elements which according a former UN weapons inspector “could be used as ingredients for dirty bombs.” Some of that chemical material included 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells reportedly sold for several million dollars to both Hamas and Hezbollah by Libyan rebels after they seized control of the eastern city of Benghazi and its weapons arsenal in March 2011. If truth be told, the US effort to secure Libyan weapons is a case of locking the barn door after the fire. Since as early as April 2011, the United States has acknowledged that nearly 20,000 shoulder-fired missile launchers (MANPADS) were missing from Gadhafi’s armories. The MANPADS, which are portable and easy to use, make an ideal terrorist weapon, especially when targeted against a civilian airliner.

Veterans March on Washington
I know little about this organization, and cannot vouch for them. I pass the link on for those who might wish to find out more for themselves. ~Bob.

Vocational Guidance by Burt Prelutsky
Excerpt: For the past three years, as we've watched Obama try to deal with a lot of things that we can all agree are way above his pay grade, we've been constantly mindful of the fact that this schmuck has never really held a job in the private sector. The good news is that we are now less than 400 days away from November 6, 2012, when we can fire his sorry butt. The bad news is that no matter who replaces him in the Oval Office, we will still be stuck with a House and Senate filled with men and women who, for the most part, have spent their entire adult lives sitting on their butts making uninformed decisions that dictate how the rest of us get to live our lives. Who, after all, do you think gets to decide all the regulations that often determine if companies succeed or fail, whether employers can hire more workers or have to file for bankruptcy? Who decides if people are allowed to turn a wasteland into a housing development or have to scuttle those plans because some wacko environmentalist has found, or planted, an insect that's listed on the endangered species list? By this time, I suspect that this sacred text has more names in it than the New York City phone book. There is a solution to the problem, though, but first let me share a couple of facts that led up to my insight. First of all, during the Iraq invasion, a large number of reporters were embedded with the American troops. The idea was that if they lived with the troops, they would come to identify with them, and they would shed the anti-military attitude that seems to infect just about everyone who works for an American newspaper or TV network. For the most part, it worked. (How about before you can serve in Congress, you must read a dozen books and get 80% on a test on them? I’d suggest “Basic Economics” and “Race and Culture” by Tomas Sowell, “Race and Economics” by Walter Williams, “Advice to War Presidents” by Angelo Codevilla, “After America” and “America Alone” by Mark Steyn, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” by Robert Spencer,” “Sowing the Wind: The Seeds of Conflict in the Middle East” by John Keay, “Liberty and Civilization: The Western Heritage” edited by Roger Scruton, “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark Levin, “A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq” by Mark Moyar and “A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror” by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. (Reading this list would make for educated voters as well, but that’s too much to hope for. Yes, I have read them all.) I’d throw in a copy of “The Coming Collapse of the American Republic.” ~Bob.)

A Pattern of Appeasement and Retreat
Excerpt: Take two headlines, one about Iraq, the other about Afghanistan. The Iraqis told us to honor our signed agreement, and pull out all our troops by year’s end. Over in Kabul, Karzai said he’d go to war against us if we attacked his neighbor, Pakistan. It’s the same story in both places, but the real headline is the thirty-year-old one: U.S. fails to come up with an Iran strategy. It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? You’re a Middle Eastern leader, and you’ve been working and fighting alongside the Americans. The United States was magnificent on the battlefield, and you either won (as in Iraq) or were winning (Afghanistan) when the Americans announced they were leaving. And they even set a date for their departure. Where does that leave you? It leaves you high and dry, at the mercy of the Iranians, who aren’t going away, and who, although defeated in one battle and bloodied in another, intend to keep on killing. (…) The reaction from the administration is predictably pathetic. Having failed to convince the Iraqis to rewrite the Status of Forces Agreement they signed with Bush, Obama declared victory. He proclaimed it a triumph of his diplomacy, and the fulfillment of a campaign promise. As I remember it, he promised to run away right away, but no matter. (…) Before I forget, let me remind you that anti-Americanism comes in two distinct versions. The first is the one we’re most familiar with, the hatred of America because it is held to be arrogant, imperialistic, militaristic, and insensitive to the needs of the rest of the world. The second, which is very much in play nowadays, is contempt for America because the Americans just aren’t up to the role history has assigned them: global policeman.

US's most powerful nuclear bomb being dismantled
Excerpt: The last of the nation's most powerful nuclear bombs — a weapon hundreds of times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — is being disassembled nearly half a century after it was put into service at the height of the Cold War. (Iran wants a bomb. We want to get rid of one. Say, I have an idea….~Bob.)

55% Want U.S. Troops Out of Europe
Excerpt: Voters are increasingly skeptical of the level of spending on the military and national security, and they feel more strongly than ever that the United States should remove its troops from Western Europe. Fifty-five percent (55%) of Likely U.S. Voters now say America should bring home the troops that have been stationed in Europe since the end of World War II.

66% Oppose Forgiveness of Student Loans
Excerpt: One of the loudest demands by the Occupy Wall Street protesters is for forgiveness of the nearly $1 trillion worth of student loans, but Americans strongly oppose forgiving that debt. Even as President Obama talks about easing the burden on those with student loans, in fact, Americans are more inclined to think the government should help those who haven’t gone to college instead. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 21% of American Adults think the federal government should forgive the nearly $1 trillion in loans it made or guaranteed to help students pay for a college education. Sixty-six percent (66%) oppose the forgiveness of all student loans. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. 9Guess the 21% don’t have any money in saving or checking that would be lost when the banks fail. Or they are just stupid. ~Bob.)

Is Occupy Oakland as Bad as They Say?
Excerpt: Much ado has been made about recent media reports describing Occupy Oakland as a cross between Lord of the Flies and Animal House. The leftist magazine Mother Jones was furious about the negative coverage, deeming it “The Right-Wing Media Assault on Occupy Oakland,” and attempting to debunk the bad press. But Big Journalism lashed back with an article entitled MotherJones: Truth To Unflattering Reports On OWS. Out of curiosity, I decided to check out the scene for myself to settle the matter. (This excellent straight-forward photo-essay will tell everything you’ll ever need to know about the Occupiers. In doing so, it will also tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about the truthfulness and political agenda of Mother Jones magazine and the rest of those supporting the Occupiers. No naked or pooping pictures; I hardly knew it was California. Ron P. I apologize to my readers for the lack of naked or pooping pictures. ~Bob.)

Bombing Iran a ‘Bad Idea’? Probably. But It’s the ONLY Idea
Excerpt: Dalia Dassa Kaye at the Foreign Policy website argues that bombing Iran is a “bad idea.” She’s absolutely right. It’s a bad idea, except all the others are worse. (…) So the argument boils down to this: Iran is a terrorist state ready to murder American citizens and American allies all over the Middle East and around the world. Which means that we had better not stop them from acquiring nuclear weapons, because then they might be mad at us, and hurt us. What does that imply about what a nuclear-armed Iran might do? (This is probably true now, but it wasn't true even only a few years ago. Of course, a few years ago, we already had an army in the area, and now.... Ron P.)

Excerpt: Last week, we heard about the Fisker Karma, the new electric vehicle being built in Finland using a $529 million loan from U.S. taxpayers. Beneficiaries of this deal include one Albert Gore, partner in the “green” venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Now Forbes contributor Warren Meyer weighs in with an analysis of the Karma’s true energy efficiency, rate in miles-per-gallon equivalent according to a DOE formula:

Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Suspected Muslim insurgents have killed at least seven people in back-to-back shooting and bomb attacks in Thailand's troubled south, police said Monday. On Sunday evening an unknown number of gunmen dressed as women, travelling in three pick-up trucks, opened fire on a checkpoint in the main town of Narathiwat province killing two rangers. Shortly afterwards a bomb exploded at a nearby supermarket, followed by a second bomb at another supermarket about 300 metres (yards) away, causing fires that spread through shophouses and took three hours to extinguish. Police said they found two charred bodies of the male owner and a female teacher in the first shop, while a young boy and his parents were found dead in the second.

Labor board stalls Boeing worker's complaint against union
It’s not about protecting workers. It’s about protecting unions that contribute to Democrats. ~Bob. Excerpt: In contrast to the NLRB's haste to decide Lamons Gasket before the end of Liebman's term, the board is now dragging its feet on another case bearing on the right of individual workers to decide for or against union representation. In September 2009, workers at a new Boeing plant in South Carolina voted 199-68 to decertify the International Association of Machinists (IAM). Then in March 2010, the IAM filed its unfair labor practice complaint against Boeing, seeking to force the company to shut down the South Carolina plant. According to Boeing employee Dennis Murray, who filed a counter-claim against IAM on June 15, 2011, "the IAM unions are attempting to sabotage the jobs and work of the employees in North Charleston, SC, for the sole or primary reason that these employees rejected IAM representation and chose to work for Boeing without the interference of a labor organization." An NLRB spokesman did not return our call regarding the status of the Murray complaint.

Gutting the military: Looming cuts mean US retreat
Excerpt: In about a month, if a congressional “super committee” can’t come up with a plan to slim down the federal budget by $1.5 trillion in 10 years, the Pentagon will be facing the budget cleaver-- again. That’s right, if the super committee can’t agree on a drastic budget diet, the 2011 Budget Control Act (the law passed this summer, raising the debt ceiling) will trigger a spending “sequestration” (automatic reduction) of $1.2 trillion, with half -- or more -- coming from defense coffers. Team Obama has already slashed the Pentagon by some $850 billion over 10 years, including canceling some 50 major weapons programs, so this is nothing less than double trouble for our troops -- and our national security.

Shell Gets Permits for Arctic Drilling: 'A Genuine Long-Term Stimulus Plan’
Excerpt: The Shell oil company plans to start drilling multiple oil and gas exploration wells in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukckhi Seas next summer, unless environmental activists can persuade the Environmental Protection Agency to change its mind. The EPA on Friday issued an 87-page air permit for Shell’s Kulluk drillship to explore for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea on Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf. And last month, the EPA issued a permit for Shell’s Discoverer drillship to begin similar work in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. “We look forward to drilling in 2012 and validating what we believe is a valuable national resource base,” Shell said, noting that the approval process has taken almost five years. (And it ONLY took FIVE YEARS to get permission to explore, not to produce. By itself, this will produce zero barrels of oil, merely set the stage for more years of legal wrangling and bickering before—if ever—the first oil for consumption is produced.  It would take a miracle for production to begin by 2015. If the mood took them, the Russians could start in 6 months and be in full production within 2 years. But, of course, the regulations are good for us, just like castor oil, and with about the same result. Ron P.)

Excerpt: In the wake of Apple CEO Steve Jobs's death -- and in the midst of the ongoing "Occupy Wall Street" protests--came an ominous report from Bloomberg News last week: "Beltway Earnings Make U.S. Capital Richer Than Silicon Valley." According to the latest Census figures, Washington, D.C. is now the wealthiest metropolitan area in the United States. That's good news for local property values, but I can't say it fills me with hometown pride. After all, Silicon Valley's wealth was earned -- just rewards voluntarily given for producing innovations that have dramatically improved our lives. In contrast, D.C.'s prosperity reflects a parasite economy that battens on wealth created by others. We live in a vast, metastasizing tick of a city, swollen on the lifeblood it drains from the body politic. This is one race the home team deserved to lose.

Occupy Wall Street campground becoming spot for vagrants, ex-cons & 'takers' to call home
Excerpt: Zuccotti Park has become a haven for the homeless. Enticed by the allure of free food and a community of open-minded people, increasing numbers are leaving New York's shelters to join the Occupy Wall Street protesters. "I think this is a better situation to be involved with," said Matthew Maloney, 49, who was released from prison on Sept. 30 after serving time for a probation violation. Maloney moved into a shelter in Staten Island and learned about Occupy Wall Street while watching television. Then the ex-con headed to Zuccotti Park on Oct. 13 and never left. "I am around a good cause and around positive people, rather than in that other environment," he said. Maloney has drifted in and out of the state prison system for more than three decades for a variety of crimes, including robbery and possession of stolen property. … "If you're going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back," Digioia said. "There's a lot of takers here and they feel entitled." (Imagine that. They feel “entitled.” Who could have guessed? ~Bob.)

Yeah, but remember all the drug dealers at the Tea Party protests? Me neither. ~Bob.

New Report Exposes Cozy Relationship Between State Attorneys General and Trial Lawyers
Excerpt: The Center for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute released a troubling report Tuesday on the unholy alliance between individual state attorneys general across the country and the plaintiffs’ bar.

Oops: Palestinians Shoot Themselves (Really) in Welcome-Home-Prisoner Revelry
Excerpt: The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reports 20 Palestinians were injured in Gaza due to celebratory shooting-in-the-air upon the return of convicted terrorists freed by Israel in exchange for Hamas’ release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. After surveying hospitals last Tuesday, the Center reported that among the injured were six children and three women. Gaza hospitals reported admitting patients with bullet and shrapnel wounds, including a 24-year-old with a serious bullet wound to the head, a 17-year-old with a bullet to the face, a seven-year-old with a bullet to the neck, a five-year-old with shrapnel in the thigh, and a two-year-old with shrapnel in the hand.

Occupy Wall Street in chaos: Money disputes, freeloaders imperil protest
Excerpt: Organizing a global anti-capitalist revolution is not as easy as one might think – at least that is what Occupy Wall Street leaders are discovering. From money squabbles and freeloading ex-cons to the complaints of New Yorker residents and the specter of public health code violations, protesters are being given a crash course in Government 101, whether they like it or not. Recently, Occupy Wall Street organizers have found themselves besieged with problems from all corners. Questions are now being raised about the $500,000 in donations Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has collected since the protests began. The irony of the situation is not lost on Occupy Wall Street campers, who claim that Finance has yet to “redistribute the wealth. (They just need to get organized. Get everybody in the same color shirts so they can tell their supporters from the 1%. Brown is nice; doesn’t show dirt or blood stains. Then…~Bob.)

Dem Rep. Berkley Told Businessman Steve Wynn: I Know Obamacare Was a Terrible Bill, But If I Didn’t Vote For It Pelosi Would Have Punished Me (Video)
Does giving in to intimidation make her less despicable? ~Bob.

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