Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Political Digest for November 23, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on. In some cases I post things sent to me by readers I might not have posted on my own, to get ideas circulating.

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

Book Recommendation: Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson
Having long been a fan of Hanson’s clear, focused political columns, often linked in this blog, I was delighted to stumble across one of his history books. In Carnage and Culture, Hanson considers European and American battles against non-western forces from Salamis to Tet. He links western military success to our institutions and culture, including the rights afforded citizens no where but the west, and the ability of free markets to create, innovate and build weapon systems. Some of his quotes alone are worth the price of the book. Referring to the flyers at Midway, many of whom sacrificed their lives in that great victory, Hanson writes, “One wonders if an America of suburban, video-playing Nicoles, Ashleys, and Jasons shall ever see their like again.” He also reports that, “In the first two years after the fall of Saigon (1975-77) there were almost twice as many total civilian fatalities in Southeast Asia … as all those incurred during the ten years of American involvement.” That and his comparison of the rules of engagement in Vietnam to WWII will especially resonate with Vietnam Vets. He also writes that (Capitalism) is a peculiar Western practice that acknowledges the self-interest of man and channels that greed to the production of vast amounts of goods and services through free markets and institutionalized guarantees of personal profit, free exchange, deposited capital, and private property.” The economically-ignorant OWS crowd might well wonder what they would do without credit cards, laptops, smart phones, not to mention food and clothing, if they destroy the system that has created a surplus of goods and freedom from want. I highly recommend this book.

Unwanted Guests Cartoon

Worth Reading: Alice in Liberal Land by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In the world of Liberal Land, you can just take for granted all the benefits of the existing society, and then simply tack on your new, wonderful ideas that will make things better. For example, if the economy is going along well and you happen to take a notion that there ought to be more home ownership, especially among the poor and minorities, then you simply have the government decree that lenders have to lend to more low-income people and minorities who want mortgages, ending finicky mortgage standards about down payments, income and credit histories. … The history of the 20th century is a painful lesson on what happens when collective choices replace individual choices. Even leaving aside the chilling history of totalitarianism in the 20th century, the history of economic central planning shows it to have been such a widely recognized disaster that even communist and socialist governments were abandoning it as the century ended.

Congress Balks at Across-the-Board Cuts Triggered by Supercommittee Failure
Excerpt: The first of those spending fights started before Murray and Hensarling even made their announcement, as members of both parties vowed that they will not go along with the across-the-board spending cuts slated to start in 2013, now that their committee has deadlocked on finding an alternative. The $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts would slash both defense and nondefense programs for the next 10 years by about 9 percent. Although a single-digit decrease hardly sounds like a catastrophe, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned last week that the military reductions would “devastate” the Pentagon and would result in the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in history. (All you will ever need to know about how seriously the left takes our national defense is revealed in the cavalier attitude of the Daily Beast’s editors’ teaser to get people to read this, their number one story this morning: “The supercommittee may have been a super failure, but there may be some good news to come out it: a sharp drop in annual federal deficits. Now, per an earlier agreement in Congress, spending cuts will kick in automatically, with at least half coming from defense spending in 2013. Plus, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2012. Together, the new cuts and taxes would cut the annual deficit by half. But as The Daily Beast’s Patricia Murphy reports, the bright side could soon dim—lawmakers are already setting up a campaign to block the automatic cuts.” Ron P.)

Doomsday for defense? By Arthur Herman
Excerpt: Imagine being able to aim at and hit any target on the planet within an hour; or soldiers in Afghanistan calling in a pinpoint airstrike with missiles fired from Omaha. Taken together with the successful test by the Office of Naval Research over Halloween of its hypersonic electromagnetic railgun — which, once it goes into action, can knock out approaching missiles as far away as 100 miles — and we may be entering an era as revolutionary as when gunpowder replaced the crossbow. Unfortunately, now that Congress’ supercommittee has failed to reach some kind of budget deal, we may be doomed to crossbows for good.

Worth reading: They didn’t fail – they succeeded in doing nothing by John Podhoretz
Excerpt: The supercommittee wasn’t a failure. It was a success, despite what everybody has said, is saying and will continue to say. The supercommittee triumphed in accomplishing what it was truly intended to accomplish. It was created to kick the can down the road. The only thing that mattered was that it come into existence, and it did. Its invention made increases in the debt ceiling possible through the end of President Obama’s term.

Stimulus funds helped some stocks soar
Excerpt: As Congress and the White House launch investigations into renewable-energy loan guarantees made to companies such as Solyndra under the 2009 stimulus bill and related legislation, a USA TODAY analysis shows that a series of public companies that got help have soundly beaten the stock market and most venture-capital funds raised in 2008. 9there’s a name for government picking winners from corporations favored by the government. No, it’s not “crony capitalism.” Historically, it’s “fascism.”

Seeming Green by Bjørn Lomborg
Excerpt: When Denmark’s new government ministers presented themselves to Queen Margrethe II last month, the incoming development minister established his green credentials by rolling up to the palace in a tiny, three-wheeled, electric-powered vehicle. The photo opportunity made a powerful statement about the minister’s commitment to the environment – but probably not the one he intended. Christian Friis Bach’s electric-powered vehicle was incapable of covering the 30 kilometers from his house to the palace without running out of power. So he put the electric mini-car inside a horse trailer and dragged it behind his petrol-powered Citroën for three-quarters of the trip, switching back to the mini-car when he neared the television cameras. The stunt produced more carbon emissions than if he had ditched the electric car and horse trailer and driven a regular car the entire distance.

Excerpt: US Army MEDEVAC helicopters in Afghanistan are marked with Red Crosses. Helicopters sporting a Red Cross are not allowed to be armed. The enemy knows this. The enemy tries to shoot down these unarmed helicopters with the added advantage that our people cannot shoot back. And so, we push people into combat while advertising to the enemy that our people are unarmed. The best that can be said for this policy is that it’s wrong. The worst that can be said might be that it borders on criminal.

Why the Super Committee Failed: Democrats were unwilling to agree to anything less than $1 trillion in tax hikes, and unwilling to offer meaningful reforms for health-care entitlement spending. By Jeb Hensarling
Excerpt: President Obama summed up our debt crisis best when he told Republican members of the House in January 2010 that "The major driver of our long-term liabilities . . . is Medicare and Medicaid and our health-care spending." A few months later, however, Mr. Obama and his party's leaders in Congress added trillions of dollars in new health-care spending to the government's balance sheet.

Newt’s Freddie payoff--- No excuse for his cashing in
Excerpt: Newt Gingrich racked up between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in payments from Freddie Mac through the years for, the former speaker maintains, essentially doing nothing. It’s not inconceivable that he’s right. Such was the incredible largesse available to the government-sponsored mortgage giant that one or two million dollars over the course of a decade was practically chump change. Gingrich says he didn’t lobby for Freddie, and in response to a question about his payments at one of the Republican debates, said he only offered advice to Freddie “as a historian” that its lending practices were insane.

Government vs. Soup Kitchen
Excerpt: This Thursday, in a parish hall not far from the New Jersey town green where George Washington once made his winter headquarters, as many as 300 people will gather for their Thanksgiving meal. Some will be homeless, some will be mentally ill, some will be old, and some will be folks and families who have just hit a hard patch. For all of them, Morristown's Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center is one of the few blessings they can count on.

Bachmann still in the running, whacks AWOL Obama
We don’t have any perfect candidates. If I were Bachmann, I would not only whack Obama for being AWOL on vital issues, I would also come out strongly against the whole idea of a super committee. But she is still more conservative than the others and as Obama's approval rating plummets, her chances of leading him in the polls improve. --Don Hank

Disabled Illegal Alien Felon Files Hundreds of Phony Claims – On Taxpayer’s Dime
Excerpt: Over a year ago, SWA reported on an illegal alien felon in Los Angeles – Alfredo Garcia – who had been filing hundreds of mostly-frivolous Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits against California companies – using our own legal system to enrich himself despite his illegal status. Incredibly, not only has he still not been deported – despite wide media attention – but he has filed hundreds of additional phony lawsuits, left free by our insane legal system to wreak havoc on SoCal businesses. (Once all 12 million illegals discover this scam, the whole ADD scam and courts will collapse in short order. ~Bob.)

Lord Chief Justice says courts should use more English common law in their decisions
Excerpt: Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, complained that judges were allowing the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg to take precedence in their decision-making. He said it was up to judges to “save” English common law - which dates back to the 12th century - by relying on it for precedents in their cases, rather than always looking to Strasbourg for guidance. English common law, which has built up over the past 900 years, comprises legal decisions made by judges who have applied their common sense and knowledge of legal precedents to the facts placed before them.

Occupy Alone
Funny picture.

Occupy Black Friday
Excerpt: And who is really going to be hurt? If sales are down, it’s the employees who’ll lose their jobs, starting with the newest and the lowest paid. So who is the inspiration for this occupy movement? This gathering the young Americans?

A video of Halal slaughter of turkeys
Where is PETA. ~Bob

Taxpayer Losses on GM Bailout Are Going to Be Massive
Excerpt: Last week the Treasury Department revised its loss estimate for the General Motors (GM) bailout from $14.33 billion to $23.6 billion, thanks to the company's sinking stock price. GM's September 30 closing price, on which the new estimate is based, was $20.18, about $13 less than its December IPO price and $35 less than what is needed for taxpayers to break even, says Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst at the Reason Foundation. The $23.6 billion represents a 25 percent loss on the federal government's $60 billion direct "investment" in GM. But that's not all that taxpayers are on the hook for. As explained previously, Uncle Sam's special GM bankruptcy package allowed the company to write off $45 billion in previous losses going forward.

Be Thankful
Excerpt: Be thankful for the men and women of this nation who volunteer each day to place themselves and their lives between you and anyone – foreign or domestic – who would deprive you of your freedom to choose. Be thankful that you are in a land that is more blessed than any nation in the history of the world and that you get to choose peacefully its leaders – a most important present choice. Be thankful. (SgtMaj Pendry, USA Retired, puts it all in perspective. Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless America. MasterGuns)

The Fannie and Freddie University
Excerpt: It used to be that one did not dare go to a DeVry or Phoenix for-profit school for computer certification or accounting, because one would miss out on the rich undergraduate experience, both social and intellectual — best exemplified by the core curriculum of some 50-60 units in liberal arts and sciences. But if the university is serially subsidizing panels about global warming, lauds Palestinian activists, and runs workshops on homophobia (all without balance and counter-opinion), and if its GE required courses, whether so titled or not, are too often little more than the melodramatic obsessions of over-specialized, ranting professors who otherwise would have small audiences, then why spend the money and go through the charade of classically liberal instruction, especially given that the trade school is cheaper and more honestly pragmatic? (Hanson is merciless today. From reading want ads and my observations over the course of a long and border-line evil life, I recommend the following fields to those aspiring to careers: becoming a truck driver*, heating/cooling technician, small engine repairman, plumber, electrician, or accountant. These are all skills that can be learned inexpensively, are skills easily transferable from place to place, pay well enough to justify their expense, offer a measure of independence and will be in demand for the foreseeable future. I noticed surprisingly few openings for persons with degrees in Studies of Transgendered Contributions to Early American History or similar fields. *Yes, truck driver surprised me, too, but they say there is such a huge shortage of them, some trucking companies are even paying for the schooling provided the graduating student then works for them.  Ron P.)

Kan. plane maker says Air Force bars it from bid
Excerpt: The Air Force has notified Hawker Beechcraft Corp. that its Beechcraft AT-6 has been excluded from competition to build a light attack aircraft, a contract worth nearly $1 billion, the company said. The company had hoped to its AT-6, an armed version of its T-6 trainer, would be chosen for the Light Air Support Counter Insurgency aircraft for the Afghanistan National Army Corps. … The decision appears to favor the Super Tucano built by Brazil's Embraer for the initial contract to supply 35 with the potential for 55 aircraft worth up to $950?million, which does not include foreign sales, the Eagle reported.

Law Professor Quits Job After Colleague Calls Care Packages for U.S. Troops 'Shameful'
Excerpt: A law professor who served overseas in Afghanistan has quit his job at a Massachusetts university after a colleague sent out a controversial e-mail declaring it "shameful" to send care packages to U.S. troops. U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Robert Roughsedge cut ties with Suffolk University in Boston in response to fellow law professor Michael Avery's defamatory e-mail regarding troops fighting overseas, Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reports.

Obama refuses to enact stiff economic punishments against Iran
Excerpt: The Obama administration slapped Iran with a new round of sanctions for its alleged nuclear and terrorist activities, but stopped short of the tough economic punishments favored by many in Congress.

Excerpt: Media Trackers discovered that over 20 individuals voted, some illegally, from one of Senator Lena Taylor’s (D-Milwaukee) properties during the April 5, 2011 spring election. According to a Media Trackers open records request with the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, the property at
1018 N 35th St.
in Milwaukee currently has 36 active voter registrations and at least 23 individuals voted using the address. Media Trackers was tipped
off to Senator Taylor’s property by the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, who found 11 individuals that registered on election day to vote from Taylor’s property, 7 of which were corroborated by Senator Taylor’s mother, Lena J Taylor.

Lena Taylor denies fraud allegation
Excerpt: Media Trackers, a Mequon-based nonprofit that does political research targeting liberals, released records showing that 36 people were registered to vote using the address of Mama Delta's Lovehouse, a group home and homeless shelter run by Lena J. Taylor. The home is at
1018 N. 35th St.
, property that is owned by the senator and next door to her law office. Of the 36 registered voters at that address, about 20 voted in the April 5 election for county executive and a state Supreme Court seat, records show. And 11 of those individuals registered to vote on election day.

Polio in Nigeria 'shows big increase'
Allah punishes the stupid. ~Bob. Excerpt: In 2003, the northern Nigerian state of Kano backed Muslim religious leaders in opposing an immunization programme, claiming it was a Western plot to make people infertile. Health experts say this led to many people becoming infected by polio.

Climategate 2.0 – They’re real and they’re spectacular!
Excerpt: Early this morning, history repeated itself. has produced an enormous zip file of 5,000 additional emails similar to those released two years ago in November 2009 and coined Climategate. There are almost 1/4 million additional emails locked behind a password, which the organization does not plan on releasing at this time. (Originally posted at WUWT this morning and already updated 3 times, it appears Dr. Michael Mann has said some of the emails appear to be his. Tentatively accepted as real by the (UK) Guardian and other major news organizations, the MSM is avidly watching this story develop. The few emails I’ve read seem similar to the ones in the first Climategate release with no big surprises (yet), so the headline may be a bit hyped. Ron P.)

Excerpt: President Obama was heckled on Tuesday, during an appearance at a New Hampshire high school. … Just as the president started his speech, protesters, apparently from the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, used the “human mic” technique to amplify their voices. It was unclear what the protesters were saying, or what point they were attempting to make. (So, business as usual for OWS—unclear. Glad it was OWS, not the Tea Party, or the media would be crying “racism.” ~Bob.)

Should the Rich Be Condemned? By Walter Williams
Excerpt: Though Edison, Watson, Conover and Pfizer became wealthy, whatever wealth they received pales in comparison with the extraordinary benefits received by ordinary people. Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.

NAS-Kingsville installs new solar array as part of push to reduce fossil fuel use
Excerpt: A $3.1 million solar array is up and running at Naval Air Station Kingsville. The array is expected to offset the base's consumption of conventional energy by 2.5 percent and is part of the Navy's push to provide 50 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020, spokesman Jon Gagné said. At current prices, the 3.3-acre solar array will save $55,400 a year in energy costs, he said. (Let’s see, $1.3M divided by $55k gives us a breakeven point of about 56 years. Any bets on how long this will be in service? The government has gone mad. ~Bob.)

Marines Over Medicaid
Excerpt: The failure of the supercommittee is a testament to Democrats’ tax obsession. With the supercommittee having fizzled, the next step is the automatic sequestration process, which imposes 50 percent of the cuts on a program that accounts for only 20 percent of spending (national defense) while leaving the entitlements largely untouched. But the country needs the Marines more than it needs Medicaid.

DOJ Ignores Guam Voting Discrimination: Forget voter ID; a U.S. territory is guilty of actual racial discrimination.
Excerpt: Once again, the Obama Justice Department is refusing to enforce federal voting-rights laws in a race-neutral manner.

The Bloody Face of OWS: Not quite the poster child many hoped for.
Excerpt: It’s a pathetic image — like many from
Occupy Wall Street
, of the homeless and deranged who have descended on Zuccotti Park over time. But Watts’s story demonstrates multiple facets of OWS — the brash, immature criminality of it all, the sad delusions of many occupiers, and the directionless, anarchic refuge it has established.

The Ideas Behind the Alleged Bomber
Excerpt: Often it's the paper trail that brings down a would-be terrorist. Accused lone-wolf jihadist Jose Pimentel was arrested as he assembled a pipe bomb in his home. But he leaves an extensive collection of writings and online postings which show his devotion to waging jihad in America. New York police arrested Pimentel Saturday for plotting to bomb American police and soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, using homemade pipe bombs based on an al-Qaida magazine article…

Why Newt Gingrich deserves your respect
Excerpt: The relationship between conservatives and Newt Gingrich used to remind me of a line in The Godfather II: “Your father did business with Hyman Roth, he respected Hyman Roth,” Frank Pentangeli told Michael Corleone, “but he never trusted Hyman Roth!” Conservatives respected Gingrich — even if they didn’t always trust him. But more and more, I’m witnessing a disturbing trend — conservatives who disrespect Gingrich. And that strikes me as wrong.

Excerpt: Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said the congressional supercommittee's failure Monday to come to an agreement on spending reforms was “good news” because it will help to end the Bush-era tax cuts and give Democrats more bargaining power in budget negotiations. The supercommittee’s failure to reach an agreement prompts an automatic $1.2 trillion in spending cuts in January 2013 through sequestration. Half of those cuts are to defense initiatives, which has hawks in Congress vowing to undo them. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said Monday that he was readying a bill that would prevent the defense cuts.

Is Obama’s Truman-esque approach working?
Excerpt: It’s been a few months now since President Obama started talking tougher with Republicans in Congress. And in the aftermath of the debt-reduction “supercommittee” and its failure to come to an agreement on Monday, it’s worth asking the questions: is this new, Truman-esque tactic actually working? In policy terms: not yet. And politically, it’s not looking great either.

Excerpt: Three young men from the American University in Cairo are accused of throwing flaming canisters and Molotov cocktails at Egyptian security forces in
Tahrir Square
. (If true, that’s dumber than hiking in Iran. ~Bob.)

Firms can deter litigation by being junkyard dogs
Maureen Martin is senior fellow for legal affairs at The Heartland Institute.
Excerpt: Lost in the coverage of Herman Cain's alleged sexual harassment episodes is a lesson for tort reformers: It always costs more in the long run to settle frivolous cases.
Just ask the National Restaurant Association.

Justice accused of withholding records on Kagan's role in healthcare defense
Excerpt: The Justice Department withheld records about Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s role in healthcare reform, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said Tuesday. Smith pressed Attorney General Eric Holder to provide documents and witnesses about Kagan’s time as solicitor general and her role in preparing to defend President Obama’s healthcare reform law in court. Republicans have clamored for Kagan to recuse herself when the Supreme Court takes up a case challenging the law.

Video: UC Davis Occupiers Agreed To Be Pepper Sprayed Before Incident…

Why there is a 70 percent chance of a U.S. recession by James Pethokoukis
Excerpt: What are the odds of the U.S. slipping back into recession? Many Wall Street firms put the chances at around 30-40 percent — assuming no EU financial crisis. But research from the Federal Reserve finds that that since 1947, when two-quarter annualized real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 48 percent of the time.

The UC Davis Police Were Right to Pepper Spray the Occupy Protesters
Excerpt: You have a First Amendment right to free speech. You do not, however, have a First Amendment right to trespass or set up a hobo camp. This is the problem with the Occupy protesters, well, besides the fact that most of them don't seem to know why they're protesting. They believe the law applies to everybody but them.

Excerpt: It just doesn’t get any clearer than this. Here is Obama back in 2009 pledging to cut spending and even more so to cut the deficit he inherited in half by the end of his first term: (The entire Obama presidency has been one long series of lies, but THIS may B the biggest whopper. –Kevin.)

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