Saturday, October 29, 2011

Political Digest for October 29, 2011

Busy week coming up, annual conference and on the road. Just a heads up if there’s no digest some days, especially next weekend.

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.

Charities I support

Wall Street Replies

The Spirit of Obama

First lady event upsets local Dems
Excerpt: An upcoming Houston fundraiser featuring first lady Michelle Obama at the home of a former Enron executive who is part of a movement to convert public pensions to 401(k)-style plans is angering some local Democrats. John Arnold, a Houston billionaire and former Enron trader, is hosting the Michelle Obama event with his wife, Laura Arnold, at their Houston home on Nov. 1. Arnold is part of an organization pushing to convert public pensions — including teachers, police, firefighters and others — to 401(k)-style plans. The effort launched in California but has plans to go nationwide, according to a story by Bloomberg. The story notes that Arnold is a libertarian and his wife a Democrat. (Don’t tell OWS, but the 1% is at it again. ~Bob.)

Pelosi stays mum on proposed Medicare cuts in Dems' supercommittee plan
Excerpt: As a growing number of liberal Democrats are attacking a plan from supercommittee Democrats to slash Medicare benefits, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is being careful not to wade too deeply into the controversy. "It's no use asking me about specific things until we see the whole package," Pelosi said Thursday during a press briefing in the Capitol. "I'm not making any judgment about any package until I see the fuller package that it's a part of." Still, the California Democrat reiterated her party's insistence on a "balanced" deficit-reduction plan, suggesting that she and her caucus won't support a package that fails to spread the pain of austerity across a class spectrum.

Obama administration approves massive Medicaid cuts requested by California
Excerpt: The Obama administration on Thursday approved hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to California’s Medicaid program that the state had requested to shore up its dismal finances. The state’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, this summer requested the authority to slash Medicaid payments to providers by 10 percent to save $623 million this year and next. Cindy Mann, director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations, said Thursday that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has partially approved the request while rejecting cuts that would have affected beneficiaries’ access to care.

Liberals get 'deja vu' and complain Dems have bungled in debt talks
Excerpt: Liberals on and off Capitol Hill agonized Thursday that supercommittee Democrats had bungled early negotiations over a budget deal and put their party in a position to be bested again by Republicans. By proposing significant cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as an early offering, liberals said the panel Democrats weakened their party’s negotiating position as Republicans, who have ceded no ground on their central anti-tax message, sat back and watched.

U.S. drone base in Ethi­o­pia is operational
If it’s a secret, publishing this gives aid and comfort to the enemy and is treason. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Air Force has been secretly flying armed Reaper drones on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethi­o­pia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, U.S. military officials said. The Air Force has invested millions of dollars to upgrade an airfield in Arba Minch, Ethi­o­pia, where it has built a small annex to house a fleet of drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia, where the United States and its allies in the region have been targeting al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group connected to al-Qaeda.

Obama Backers Tied to Lobbies Raise Millions
Excerpt: At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s “bundlers” — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign. Because the bundlers are not registered as lobbyists with the Senate, the Obama campaign has managed to avoid running afoul of its self-imposed ban on taking money from lobbyists. But registered or not, the bundlers are in many ways indistinguishable from people who fit the technical definition of a lobbyist.

Administration Efforts On Line-By-Line Budget Review by Veronique de Rugy, PhD Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University1
It is to laugh. Anyone who believed half of what Obama promised is an idiot. Unfortunately, when you add the idiots into the “progressives” living off government, you get a majority. ~Bob. Excerpt: United States House of Representatives, Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations The United States’ deep and structural financial imbalances are the result of decades of overpromising and overspending. With a near-stagnant economy, an already heavy debt burden, and the looming explosive growth of programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, Washington must take immediate, significant steps to get spending under control. If it does not, Americans will face very real and very painful economic and fiscal consequences. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then candidate Obama promised to streamline Washington so that it would work in tough economic times. To achieve this, he would “conduct an exhaustive line-by-line review of the federal budget and seek to eliminate government programs that are not performing and demand that new initiatives be selected on the basis of their merits, not through a political process that rewards lobbyists and campaign donors.”2 … Some wasteful spending is so obvious that it is hard to understand how it continues year after year. The federal government wastes money when it funds programs that duplicate another program or function, such as the 47 job training and 56 financial literacy programs that exist throughout the federal government.5 The federal government also loses a considerable amount of money to overpayments or improper payments, such as those made by the Department of Health and Human Services, which estimates it made $48 billion in Medicare improper payments in fiscal year 2010.6 Congress and the Administration must take immediate steps to eliminate this obviously wasteful spending. … Unfortunately, according to OMB, about half of all federal employees perform tasks that are not “inherently governmental.”

Should America Carry the U.N.?
The UN’s only purpose in the world is to allow third-world kleptocracies to bleed us of money and undermine our interests, while destroying freedom. We should withdraw from the UN and order them out of the US. Seriously. ~Bob. Excerpt: The 39-story United Nations headquarters stands on the banks of the East River in Manhattan. But now the U.N. is planning the construction of a new building next door, with a price tag pegged at $400 million -- and it could soar even higher. And since U.S. taxpayers pay 22 percent of the U.N. budget, the costs for that new building will come right out of your pocket, leading to a very serious question: Just how far should the United States go in supporting the U.N. and international organizations like it? The issue of a new building in New York isn't the only U.N. story to make the headlines this year. Take the issue of Palestine, which over the summer formally requested U.N. membership. If Palestine were to succeed in its unilateral efforts, it would be detrimental to U.S. interests in the region, isolate Israel, and deal a major setback to Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. And all of that would come at the hands of an international organization over which the United States can exert strong influence but cannot control. If Palestine is granted member status at the U.N., American interests--along with those of its allies--will be seriously harmed, requiring an even greater vigilance and financial commitment to maintain leverage for U.S. priorities. Again, the question is posed: When does our commitment to an international organization become a problem?

Oklahoma’s Improved Economic Performance Suggests Right to Work Is Working By J. Scott Moody and Wendy P. Warcholik
Excerpt: On September 25, 2001, Oklahoma voters went to the polls and passed a constitutional amendment—Right to Work (RTW)—which gave workers the choice to join or financially support a union. This made Oklahoma the 22nd state in the union to join the ranks of RTW states. However, RTW was soon challenged in court, and the matter rose all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. It took two years of legal wrangling before all the challenges were settled. When the dust settled in 2003, RTW remained in place—along with the promise of greater economic performance.

Smoking Gun? Most Gunwalker Guns Targets of Ban Efforts, but Not Wanted by Cartels
On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said. “I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.” In the meeting, she said, Obama discussed how records get into the system and what can be done about firearms retailers. Her husband specifically brought up the proposed ban on large magazine clips, and she noted that even former vice president Dick Cheney had suggested that some restrictions on the clips might make sense. “He just laughed,” Sarah Brady said approvingly of the president. Both she and her husband, she emphasized, had absolute confidence that the president was committed to regulation.

Europe Tries To Kick The Can Down The Road But It Will Only Lead To Financial Disaster
Excerpt: Have you heard the good news? Financial armageddon has been averted. The economic collapse in Europe has been cancelled. Everything is going to be okay. Well, actually none of those statements is true, but news of the "debt deal" in Europe has set off a frenzy of irrational exuberance throughout the financial world anyway. Newspapers all over the globe are declaring that the financial crisis in Europe is over. Stock markets all over the world are soaring. The Dow was up nearly 3 percent today, and this recent surge is helping the S&P 500 to have its best month since 1974. Global financial markets are experiencing an explosion of optimism right now. Yes, European leaders have been able to kick the can down the road for a few months and a total Greek default is not going to happen right now. However, as you will see below, the core elements of this "debt deal" actually make a financial disaster in Europe even more likely in the future. (My mom used to give me haircuts, but she was always a little nervous and often nicked me in the ear with the scissors. That really hurt. This haircut on the Greek bonds will hurt a LOT MORE. See this Quote: “In essence, the haircut on Greek debt [haircut: partial default, in this case, decreed by law. DH] is a signal to investors that they should require a much higher rate of return on the debt of all of the PIIGS. This is going to make the financial collapse of all of the PIIGS much more likely.” Absolutely. Not only that, the Greek government officials and Greeks benefitting from government largesse have lived high on the hog for years, and for them, that is an unalienable entitlement. Many of them get nasty when someone touches their entitlements. They burn tires, wreck vehicles, throw stones through windows, etc, breaking things they can't afford to replace. Now that Europe has given a 50% haircut on their sovereign debt, many will figure they can continue to live like kings and the next time around, good old Germany and the ECB and EFSF will just bail them out again, with more "haircuts" for their bonds and more leverage. Dream on. The German people are already PO'd and aren't about to issue more bailouts, and the borrowing party will come to a screeching halt when bond investors finally catch on! As this author points out, the party can't go on forever. They are tightening the noose around Europe's neck. "Leverage" in this context means that the banks will be able to lend 4-5 times more than before simply by issuing more credit -- NOT MONEY, because they have no money at the bottom line of the balance sheets, only debt. Now even before this re-leveraging, they were leveraged to the max and already issuing loans against nothing but hot air. That's the same as printing money, as they did in the failed Weimar Republic. Weimar failed BECAUSE they did this, but the money printing was sold as a "solution" to their problem. Now they're trying a little -- no a LOT -- of hair of the dog that bit them in the butt before, except not just Germany but most of Europe. How short their memories are. This money the banks are lending is money they don’t have. It is debt, the opposite of money. They are dealing in red numbers, paying off red numbers with more red numbers. That is like climbing higher up the mountain to reach the bottom. GUARANTEED it won't work and when the crash comes it will be dramatic, people will get hurt and Greeks will be back burning tires again. Maybe someone will hire them to do that. They're getting pretty proficient at it. --Don Hank)

Did ‘Big Sis’ lay some big eggs before House Judiciary?
Excerpt: Under intense questioning Wednesday by Congressmen Darrell Issa and Trey Gowdy during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security Secretary seemed to weave, dodge, protest and perhaps demonstrate some ignorance about Operation Fast and Furious. Later, when interviewed by Lou Dobbs on Fox News’ business channel, both Issa and Gowdy expressed their frustration and disappointment at Napolitano’s performance. Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been holding hearings on Fast and Furious. He seemed appalled at Napolitano’s responses to his questions, and there was no small amount of verbal combat between the Secretary and both Gowdy and Issa. At one point, she suggested that Gowdy was trying to interrogate her. Gowdy’s questioning of Napolitano began with a not-so-surprising inquiry. After recalling that Napolitano had been both a state and federal prosecutor (prior to being Arizona governor and taking the appointment as DHS secretary), he simply asked:

Advancing the Meme
Excerpt: Be nice if someone had a job whose responsibilities included asking follow-up questions. I don't know, that person could be called a 'journalist', and they could ask things like "So when you had control of the Executive & the Legislative, why didn't you go ahead and pass a jobs bill that worked or, hell, even something as fundamental and constitutionally mandated like a budget, instead of spending your political capital on an unpopular health care bill?" But then, doing so would allow the average reader to grok the hypocrisy in the following statement: Over 240 days and this Republican Congress has not put forth one jobs plan,” Belcher told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper last month. Democratic operatives defend Belcher’s choice of words, even though Democrats control the Senate. Of course we see the standard media tactic of providing editorial color to Republican statements. Republicans are "crowing" the success of their dastardly authority. Democrats' statements are given with no adjectives.

Support waning for Obama healthcare law: poll
Excerpt: Americans' opinion of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform in October reached its lowest point since the law passed in March 2010, according to a monthly poll by the non-profit, non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The view of the law has been roughly evenly split since its passage, but in October 51 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion, while 34 percent said their opinion was favorable, poll results released on Friday showed.

Handicapping The Contenders by Burt Prelutsky
Excerpt: If I could cobble together a dream candidate, he would have Romney’s looks, Cain’s charm, Santorum’s values, Bachmann’s decency, Gingrich’s grasp of the issues and Ron Paul’s passionate followers. Jon Huntsman’s problems are myriad, not the least of which is that he looks exactly like every villainous politician ever portrayed on “Law and Order” whose corruption begins but doesn’t end with his having a bunch of chippies on his office staff. The good news for the GOP is that Barack Obama, the four trillion dollar man, is the most beatable Democrat since Jimmy Carter. The bad news for certain segments of the party is that Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Chris Christie, decided not to run. For some, the problem is that Tim Pawlenty tried but failed. For still others, the heartbreak of psoriasis is nothing compared to the fact that Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Mr. Gingrich, haven’t managed to gain any traction, with the Iowa caucus looming right around the corner. That leaves Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, to duke it out. Of the three, I prefer Mr. Cain, even though I don’t believe his 9-9-9 (aka 9-0-9) plan would do much, if anything, to turn around the economy. I like him and I trust him and, of all the candidates, he’s the one with whom I could bear to spend time. That may not be the best reason for electing a president, but it’s a better reason than I usually have.

Internet Joke
There is finally conclusive evidence that Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi are dead. Yesterday, they both registered to vote in Chicago.

Obama Doctrine: Ignore American Interests by Mona Charen
Excerpt: Two successful assassinations -- those of al-Awlaki and bin Laden -- have persuaded some that President Obama, whatever his domestic failures, has presided over a successful foreign policy. This is way too generous. In fact (with the exception of targeted assassinations and the surge in Afghanistan), the president seems to conduct foreign policy based on seat-of-the-pants responses to events, rather than relying on any over-arching strategy. And his reactions to such events are more often based upon reversing what he regards as past American sins than on pursuing America's interests in the world. This first became evident when the Iranian street erupted in 2009. There is no regime in the world that represents a greater threat to the lives of Americans than Iran's. The mullahs have shed more American blood than any entity except al-Qaida (and they have assisted al-Qaida) over the course of the past three decades. Iran constantly plots to damage the U.S. by sponsoring terror groups, allying with American enemies like Hugo Chavez, and supplying and training the Iraqi militias and Taliban, who in turn kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fall of the Iranian regime would be the greatest victory imaginable against worldwide terror (to say nothing of what it would do for Iranians). Yet when the regime was rocked by weeks of protests, Obama let the opportunity to support the demonstrators, and possibly affect the outcome, slip through his fingers. (The primary responsibility our Constitution defines for the presidency is to be commander in chief. Either Obama bloviates utopian nonsense in a dangerous world or goes after international nasties who don't threaten us. Cordially, He makes nice to real threats, Iran, Syria, N. Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Russia. At PS 197 we would call him an 8th grade bully picking on 3rd graders. --Larry Greenberg)

General: Marine Corps Is The 'Cheap Force'
Excerpt: However, Amos sold the Marine Corps as the “cheap force,” and said America needs a military “that’s not going to break the bank.” “You get a lot of bang for the buck with us,” Amos said of the Marines. ”We don’t need fancy hotels or air conditioned hooches to live in.” “For decades the Marine Corps was known as — in some circles as the cheap force,” Amos said. “We were known to be the penny-pinchers. So to begin with, we’re going back to that.” Amos said the Marines Corps planned to go down to 186,000 personnel from 202,000 - cuts approved by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He added that he was not sure 186,000 was the floor. For those looking to join the Marines now, he said, there was such a backlog of those wanting to join that it would be at least eight months before being sent to boot camp.

Hillary Clinton Fares Better Than Obama In Matchups Against GOP Frontrunners: Poll
Excerpt: The poll, released as part of a series for the magazine's latest cover story, which features Clinton, shows Obama's 2008 rival leading Romney by 17 points, Cain by 22 and Perry by 26 in a hypothetical competition. Obama leads Romney by 3 points and both Cain and Perry by 12 in the same poll. The results are just the latest buzz in an ongoing saga of speculation and denial about Clinton's aspirations for higher office. Some have suggested that she'd replace Joe Biden as Vice President ahead of Obama's 2012 reelections campaign, while others have posited, or perhaps just hoped, that she'd mount a primary challenge to Obama in 2012. Clinton's response has been unequivocal denial to both. In fact, she's said that she wouldn't serve in Obama's cabinet past 2012, and that her role as Secretary of State was likely her "last public position." (It might be worth pointing out both Time and Huffington were (and presumably, still are) strong early supporters of Clinton. My point is that even Democrats are thinking it might be to their advantage to dump Obama. And, while I was relatively sure we could've beaten her in '08, I'm not so sure of that today. In retrospect, her indiscretions seem almost innocent after the last 33 months. Ron P. Even if Obama went happily onto the multi-million dollar speaking tour—locking him into the 1%--black voters would assume he was forced out by racists and stay home. ~Bob.)

Some Democrats Wary of Welcoming OWS to the Fold
Excerpt: [T]he new tone and, most notably, the emergence of the populist-fueled Occupy Wall Street movement, have some Democrats worried. They are nervous that the president’s rhetoric will alienate key swing voters, and they’re urging a softer tone that they think hews more closely to moderates' views. The dilemma is an old one for Democrats--as well as Republicans, for that matter. Political parties always have to balance the competing demands of their most fervent base of supporters with their moderate wings. But Democrats face fresh tensions this year because of the perilous state of Obama’s reelection bid and the evident fraying of their coalition, one inherently more dependent on moderates than the GOP coalition. Some Democratic lawmakers are already carefully crafting their own messages, while taking a cautious course with OWS. (…) The president’s populist shift is noteworthy less for its substance — the tax breaks, infrastructure spending, and increased taxes on the wealthy are broadly popular — than for the rhetoric surrounding it. In Obama’s speeches, mixed in with his bottom-line assertions that the math doesn’t add up without extra revenue are populist pleas for “fairness.” (…) But Democrats did not rush to embrace the jobs bill. First, there was widespread hesitancy to get behind it before the president outlined how he proposed to pay for it, even among Democrats from liberal-leaning areas. (I don’t know. Be a great organizing gimmick. “Join the Democrats ‘Crap on a Million Police Cars’ March!” ~Bob.)

The Case For Student Loan Reform, But Not How You Think…
Some interesting ideas here. Ron P. Excerpt: [S]tudent loans should be subject to the same earnings litmus test that applies to other credit, but more strictly. Credit cards, home loans, and other consumer debt limits are typically predicated on your ability to repay that debt. Amex doesn’t hand out black cards to college kids with no income for good reason – they have little ability to repay. Home loans, at least in theory if not in practice, require you to prove income before you can qualify for more home than you can afford. (…) Student loans should be capped at no more than the average annual salary for a student with that degree. If a student is likely to make no more than $32,000 with a degree in social work, they shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate loans of $57,500 or more. (They should only give loans for fields the economy needs to grow: nursing, medicine, engineering, science, technology. Not for “_____studies,” theater, art, law… ~Bob.)

Mexican Drug War Update: The Polarization Continues
Excerpt: While there has been a reshuffling of alliances among Mexican drug cartels since our July cartel update, the trend discussed in the first two updates of the year continues. That is the polarization of cartels and associated sub-groups toward the two largest drug-trafficking organizations, the Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas. Meanwhile, the three primary conflicts in Mexico’s drug war remain cartel vs. cartel, cartel vs. government and cartel vs. civilians. Operations launched by the military during the second quarter of 2011, primarily against Los Zetas and the Knights Templar, continued through the third quarter as well, and increasing violence in Guerrero, Durango, Veracruz, Coahuila and Jalisco states has resulted in the deployment of more federal troops in those areas. The northern tier of states has seen a lull in violence, from Tijuana in Baja California state to Juarez in Chihuahua state. Violence in that stretch of northern Mexico subsided enough during the third quarter to allow the military to redeploy forces to other trouble spots. In Tamaulipas state, the military remains in charge of law enforcement in most of the cities, and the replacement of entire police departments that occurred in the state during the second quarter was recently duplicated in Veracruz following an outbreak of violence there (large numbers of law enforcement personnel were found to be in collusion with Los Zetas and were subsequently dismissed).

George Will column on Mitt Romney: 'Has conservatism come so far ... for THIS?'
Excerpt: Playbook has a sneak peek at George F. Will's Sunday column, which fires a shot through the growing GOP establishment consensus that Mitt Romney would be an acceptable, electable nominee: Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate: Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the tea party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming. Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ ... Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?

The Divider vs. the Thinker: While Obama readies an ugly campaign, Paul Ryan gives a serious account of what ails America.
Excerpt: People are increasingly fearing the divisions within, even the potential coming apart of, our country. Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue: The things that divide us are not new, yet there's a sense now that the glue that held us together for more than two centuries has thinned and cracked with age. That it was allowed to thin and crack, that the modern era wore it out. What was the glue? A love of country based on a shared knowledge of how and why it began; a broad feeling among our citizens that there was something providential in our beginnings; a gratitude that left us with a sense that we should comport ourselves in a way unlike the other nations of the world, that more was expected of us, and not unjustly—"To whom much is given much is expected"; a general understanding that we were something new in history, a nation founded on ideals and aspirations—liberty, equality—and not mere grunting tribal wants. We were from Europe but would not be European: No formal class structure here, no limits, from the time you touched ground all roads would lead forward. You would be treated not as your father was but as you deserved. That's from "The Killer Angels," a historical novel about the civil war fought to right a wrong the Founders didn't right. We did in time, and at great cost. What a country.

Obama Rakes In Cash From Lobbyists, Enron Executives
Occupy Wall Street, please pick up the courtesy phone. by John Hayward
Excerpt: On Thursday, the New York Times took a look at where President Obama’s mountain of re-election cash is coming from. Guess what they found? Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid. At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s “bundlers” — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign.

Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile
Excerpt: Pakistan's military says it has test-fired a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. An army statement says the missile was fired on Friday. It says the missile, named Hatf-7, has been developed in Pakistan and has a range of 440 miles. (When will Allah whisper in the ear of the guy with a finger on the button? ~Bob.)

Obama: I’ve fulfilled 60% of campaign promises
He says it, the media reports it, that settles it in the public’s mind. ~Bob.

Excerpt: The Washington Post is out with another shot at Marco Rubio. This one, titled “Marco Rubio on national ticket could be risky bet for Republican Party,” focuses on whether or not including Rubio on a national ticket would help the GOP win Hispanic votes. It also notes that, Rubio’s role in recent controversies, including a dispute with the country’s biggest Spanish-language television network and new revelations that he had mischaracterized his family’s immigrant story, shows that any GOP bet on his national appeal could be risky. This makes me wonder if they are giving him the “George Allen treatment” (relentlessly publishing a series of negative articles about a Republican rising star — most of which advance a narrative the Post started in the first place)? Regardless, the Post does make a fair, if obvious, point: Hispanics are not monolithic. It would be wildly naive to assume that simply putting Rubio on the Republican ticket would automatically send Hispanics flocking to the GOP in 2012. But this is a straw man. The assumption that Rubio’s appeal rests solely – or even his primarily — on his ability to attract Hispanic voters is insulting. Rubio is a young, smart, charismatic, and articulate U.S. Senator from a very important swing state.

In Praise of the 'Iron Lady' -- Margaret Thatcher
Excerpt: Margaret Thatcher celebrated her 86th birthday in October. It was a private affair. Yet more than 20 years after her departure from office, the “Iron Lady” remains a titan on the world stage. In fact, she remains such an icon that Meryl Streep will play her in the forthcoming film, “The Iron Lady.” Her successors at No. 10 Downing Street haven’t come close to matching her legacy as Britain’s greatest post-War Prime Minister. Her partnership with Ronald Reagan epitomized Winston Churchill’s description of the Anglo-American relationship as The Special Relationship. In Brussels, she hand-bagged her way to securing Britain’s historic rebate from the European Union. And her international statesmanship was such that the entire world still knows her simply as “the Iron Lady.” When Lady Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, vast economic and social problems confronted Britain. The previous government had been forced to go, cap-in-hand, to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. She took over from a Labour government so driven deeply by class warfare that its Chancellor, Denis Healey, is famous to this day for saying he would squeeze the rich with extra taxes ‘until the pips squeaked.’ And the pips did squeak–private enterprise shuttered its doors and voted with its feet. As the “winter of discontent” rolled on, with half the country on strike, militant trade unionists had beaten the Callahan government into total submission. Yet in just a decade’s time, Britain would boast a balanced budget, lower taxes, a vibrant middle class, two million new (working class) home owners and a thriving business sector. Margaret Thatcher took Britain from being ‘the sick man of Europe’ to a model of free enterprise. And she did it despite the opposition of many in her own party.

Grand Wizard of the KKK Endorses #OWS – Neo-Nazis Patrol #OccupyPhoenix With AR-15s… Media Silent
But let one Tea Party member get a parking ticket…~Bob.

On Tyranny and Liberty
Excerpt: There’s indeed a lot of petty tyranny going around. The question is, at what point do many little tyrannies add up to Tyranny? Likely voters suggested a troubling answer in an August Rasmussen poll: 69 percent of them said they didn’t think today’s U.S. government enjoys the consent of the governed. And in September, 49 percent of respondents, an unprecedented high, told Gallup pollsters that “the federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”

Excerpt: A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will vote next week on whether to subpoena the White House for documents on the Solyndra case. Republicans scheduled a business meeting of the committee’s investigative panel for Nov. 3 to vote on a resolution to authorize a White House subpoena. The meeting comes after the White House rejected Republicans’ request for all internal communications related to Solyndra.

Excerpt: Once again, I feel the need to point out that members of the Tea Party never did anything like this. Occupy Madison has temporarily been denied an extension in their protesting permit because members of the movement violated "public health and safety conditions." The group also did not properly fill out the form. City officials cited several specific reasons for their decision. The most notable was repeated complains from a nearby hotel, which stated that protesters were "publicly masturbating" in full view of passersby. The city also cited health violations because the group had "no restrooms," implying that the protesters may have been defecating in public as well.

Halloween and its Discontents
Excerpt: What caused Halloween to become a fall holiday on par with Thanksgiving and Christmas? When did the memo go out? A hundred years ago, when I was a young tike growing up in South Jersey, you wore a thin vacuformed polystyrene spaceman mask that attached to your head with an elastic band, and wore your regular clothes under what seemed like a gray Hefty bag with a NASA logo that tied in the back like a hospital gown, which your parents bought for you at the local Woolworth’s for $4.99 or so.

How To Speak Liberal: 20 Words And Phrases Translated
Excerpt: It was very inspirational because I have to tell you, it’s also pretty tough for most people to figure out what liberals mean sometimes. You think they’re on your side, but they’re not. You believe they’re saying “yes,” but they mean “no.” You think they’re offering you a ride home, and next thing you know, you’re at the bottom of a tidal pool and they’re swimming away.

‘We continue our resistance to full revenge. I am in Libya, alive and free’ – Gaddafi’s son
Excerpt: The son and one-time heir apparent of the late Colonel Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, is still in Libya. He is free and will go on with the resistance, he reportedly claimed in an address to supporters aired by Syria’s Arrai TV Channel.

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