Thursday, December 15, 2011

Political Digest for December 15, 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.

Collapse royalties
The Coming Collapse of the American Republic has earned over $1,800 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, according to CreateSpace, which published it through Amazon. Thanks to everyone who has helped promote it. But don’t quit now. ~Bob.

Old Jarhead Blog page views in past week
United States             4,169
Canada                        196
Germany                      184
Russia                          154
United Kingdom           153
Australia                       100
Ukraine                        30
Japan                           29
Nigeria                         29
France                          28
Google only reports the top ten countries. Tell your French friends that Nigeria is whipping them! ~Bob.

China's Hu Urges Navy to Prepare for Combat
Excerpt: The PLA Navy should "accelerate its transformation and modernization in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security," he (President Hu) said...In a translation of Hu’s comments, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the president as saying China’s navy should ‘make extended preparations for warfare.’ (The rise of China as a military and economic power, prepared to dominate Taiwan, Korea and Japan, is one of the four factors I cite in Collapse. ~Bob.)

Immigration probe: Lawmakers threaten Secretary Napolitano
Excerpt: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent another letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano following the Department’s continued delay in providing a list of illegal and criminal immigrants that have been flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but have not been detained or placed in removal proceedings by the agency. If DHS fails to produce the requested data in its entirety by December 9, the Committee intends to move forward and consider a resolution to hold DHS in contempt of Congress, Rep. Smith stated. December 9 came and went without a Napolitano response. (Ah, the pledged Obama transparency. ~Bob. Wonder why fewer illegal Mexican entrants are being detained and sent back? It's not because they aren't entering the US. It's because the DHS is ordering the agency to apprehend fewer and is cutting back the already severely lacking security forces along the border. Here is a clue for you. --Don Hank)

Witness: Corzine knew about loan made with customer funds
Excerpt: An executive of a financial exchange monitoring MF Global told senators Tuesday that Jon Corzine, the former head of the financial firm, knew that loans were improperly made with customer funds. The claim was made just minutes after Corzine professed his ignorance for how up to $1.2 billion in customer funds had gone missing. (Corzine needs to #OccupyJail. ~Bob.)

Tax the Rich

Everything You Know About Education Is Wrong by Jordan Weissmann
Excerpt: Think of the ingredients that make for a good school. Small classes. Well-educated teachers. Plenty of funding. Combine, mix well, then bake. Turns out, your recipe would be horribly wrong, at least according to a new working paper out of Harvard. Its take away: Schools shouldn't focus on resources. They should focus on culture.

Economic Performance and Government Size
Excerpt: Researchers António Afonso and João Tovar Jalles of the European Central Bank construct a growth model with an explicit government role, where more government resources reduce the optimal level of private consumption and of output per worker. In the empirical analysis, for a panel of 108 countries from 1970-2008, they use different proxies for government size and institutional quality. Their results, consistent with the presented growth model, show a negative effect of the size of government on growth. Similarly, institutional quality has a positive impact on real growth, and government consumption is consistently detrimental to growth. Moreover, the negative effect of government size on growth is stronger the lower institutional quality, and the positive effect of institutional quality on growth increases with smaller governments. The negative effect on growth of the government size variables is more mitigated for Scandinavian legal origins, and stronger at lower levels of civil liberties and political rights. Finally, for the European Union, better overall fiscal and expenditure rules improve growth. (Gee, who would have guessed? ~Bob.)

Crossing to the dark side?
Excerpt: Largely missing from the debate, however, has been a more detailed look at how traditional and for-profit institutions differ in important areas like administration, instructor experience, mission and governance, data collection and use, and student recruitment and retention. This paper is an effort to get beyond sensationalized headlines and examine these questions from the point of view of individuals who have moved from the traditional to the for-profit sector—or kept a foot in both. These insiders highlighted a variety of characteristics they say distinguish the for-profits where they work from the nonprofit institutions with which they are also familiar.

Household Electricity Bills Skyrocket
Excerpt: Electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity, says USA Today. Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010, the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate. The jump has added about $300 a year to what households pay for electricity. That's the largest sustained increase since a run-up in electricity prices during the 1970s. Electricity is consuming a greater share of Americans' after-tax income than at any time since 1996 -- about $1.50 of every $100 in income. (Okay, so the poor and working class get screwed. On the plus side, rich elites like Obama and Gore get to feel all green and fuzzy about themselves, like bad meat. ~Bob.)

The White House says its rule-making isn't costly or unusual. The evidence shows otherwise
Excerpt: The White House is on the political offensive, and one of its chief claims is that it isn't the over regulator of business and Republican lore. This line has been picked up by impressionable columnists, so it's a good time to consider the evidence in some detail.

Alexander Graham Bell recordings played from 1880s
Excerpt: Alexander Graham Bell foresaw many things, including that people could someday talk over a telephone. Yet the inventor certainly never could have anticipated that his audio-recording experiments in a Washington, D.C., lab could be recovered 130 years later and played for a gathering of scientists, curators and journalists.

NYT Smears Gingrich Over EMP Threat Comment
Excerpt: The Missile Defense Agency has every reason to claim that the scenario of an ICBM launched from halfway around the world would be an easy target for them to destroy. Unfortunately, the most likely avenues of attacks are locally launched missiles from submarines or freighters in the Gulf of Mexico or off either coast, where distance to detonation from launch is measured in seconds, and which are not the focus of our outward-facing early warning and detection systems. Such vessels could be easily scuttled after launch, and the rogue agent responsible for the attack may not be found until well after the attack is over, rendering our nuclear counterstrike abilities utterly moot.

MF Global's Fractional Reserves
Excerpt: Corzine is the member a few exclusive clubs: he is a Goldman Sachs alum, former US senator, and former New Jersey governor. After the incumbent Corzine was beat by Chris Christie in the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race, the MF board probably rejoiced, believing the guy to fix their problems was suddenly available. Now he's in the club of taking a mere 20 months to create the eighth largest bankruptcy in history. (Thanks to a lack of rules and a set of rules designed only to benefit the "house," financial institutions are now nothing but glorified casinos and only the most foolhardy will eventually be gambling in them. If people are still worthy of the name "sapiens," these institutions should by rights eventually go into oblivion. But there will always be those die-hards who can't resist "one more hand" of poker, even though the deck is stacked against them. For the rest of us, the time to fold the cards is long overdue. --Don Hank)

The Russian Spring Has Begun
Excerpt: There is a remarkable consistency over the course of Russian history: Every authoritarian regime perished not because of destiny's blows or enemy onslaught but because of internal disease. In the 20th century, it happened twice: the February Revolution of 1917 and Mikhail Gorbachev's Perestroika. The slow-motion collapse of Vladimir Putin's regime is no different. After more than a decade of authoritarian rule, Mr. Putin's self-described "glorious deeds" have become the object of contempt not just on opposition websites but increasingly on the streets of Moscow and in the mainstream media.

TLC’s “All-American Muslim” is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.
Excerpt: The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.

Newt Versus the Ruling Class
Excerpt: The media elite and the Republican ruling class are remarkably similar in their political projection for the coming year. Journalists spent the entire year savaging every fast-rising challenger to Mitt Romney. The GOPs power pundits became equally agitated at the sniff of a conservative anywhere near the top of the GOP pack. It's the odor of extremism that both the elites in the media and the GOP have detested -- always. So here we are, on the cusp of the election year, and both these groups have one primary target: Newt Gingrich. Both are using the same ammo: Newt is too unstable, immature, flawed and arrogant. Or as power pundit Peggy Noonan put it, Newt is "a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, 'Watch this!'" The Washington Post's political cartoonist drew him as a suicide bomber.

Resurgent Republicans close gap in key states
Excerpt: Since the heady days of 2008, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Swing States Poll finds the number of voters who identify themselves as Democratic or Democratic-leaning in these key states has eroded, down by 4 percentage points, while the ranks of Republicans have climbed by 5 points. Republican voters also are more attentive to the campaign, more enthusiastic about the election and more convinced that the outcome matters.

Deal Or No Deal? The Climate Con Lives On In Durban
Excerpt: Despite the uncertainty of such a proposition, one official, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's foreign minister, nevertheless had the nerve to claim "We have saved planet Earth for the future of our children and our great-grandchildren." Apparently she's forgotten that the alarmists have said that global warming must be solved now — that Prince Charles traveled to Rio de Janeiro 33 months ago and lamented that the world had "less than 100 months" to save itself. So if we have roughly 67 months left, that puts the beginning of the end at some time in 2017. So why bother with framing a treaty that won't start until 2020? Won't that be too late?

Quotes from The Patriot Post
"There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly." --American author and poet Henry David Thoreau

"Vladimir Putin slammed the U.S. government for noting how his United Russia Party stuffed ballot boxes and cheated to win on Tuesday. He misunderstood. When the U.S. president and the Secretary of State are both from Chicago there's a real chance it was a compliment." --comedian Argus Hamilton

Worth Reading: The next Corzine Q’s By Charles Gasparino
Excerpt: By playing the fool in two high-profile hearings, Jon Corzine so far has been able to deftly sidestep lawmakers’ questions about the now-infamous implosion of MF Global, including the disappearance of a whopping $1.2 billion in customer money that should have been kept safe in brokerage accounts. But new questions are about to arise. Specifically: How did Corzine manage to convince regulators that a relatively small brokerage like MF Global was ready for big-time status, both as a risk-taking hedge fund and (even more startling) as a primary dealer of US government debt — a status that only a very few firms are allowed? The likely explanation involves Corzine’s long experience at the nexus of politics and finance — as CEO of Goldman Sachs, then US senator and New Jersey governor, and of course as a leading Obama fund-raiser. In other words, crony capitalism.

52% Support Arizona-Like Immigration Law in Their State
Excerpt: The U.S. Supreme Court Monday announced it will decide whether the Arizona immigration law passed last year violates the Constitution, and a new survey finds that half of voters still support a similar immigration law for their own state. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 52% favor passage of an immigration law similar to Arizona’s in their state. Thirty-four percent (34%) oppose such a law in their state, while 15% more are undecided.

Why righty elite can’t stop Newtzilla
Excerpt: One gets the sense that many “establishment” conservatives are asking everybody that question — in staff meetings, at the chiropodist, even at the McDonald’s drive-thru. (“I’ll have two happy meals, two chocolate milks — and by the way, do you have any idea how to stop Newt?”) The other night while having drinks with some prominent conservatives, I said I thought that Gingrich might not only win the nomination but that he might be the next president. By their expressions, I might as well have said I’d put a slow-acting poison in their cocktails.

The Truth About the Balanced Budget Amendment
Excerpt: In case you’re not keeping track, it has been nearly 1,000 days since the United States Senate passed a budget. Meanwhile, America’s fiscal nightmare keeps growing, and those on the left—including Members of the Senate—keep advocating for even more spending despite America’s $15 trillion national debt. That’s an important record to keep in mind as the Senate votes today on two versions of the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA).

Excerpt: The most prevalent theme in President Barack Obama's Dec. 6 Osawatomie, Kan., speech was the need for greater "fairness." In fact, though the president never defined the term fair(ness), he used it 15 times. Explaining his new hero, Teddy Roosevelt, Obama said: "But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can. He understood the free market only works when there are rules of the road that ensure competition is fair and open and honest." What's fair competition is somewhat subjective, but let me suggest a few examples of what's clearly unfair.

National Academy of Sciences appointee caught “making up stuff” to win lawsuit, RICO lawsuit follows
Excerpt: Watch the video below, it is quite something. Amazing that they were stupid enough to tape themselves saying this much less turn it into a documentary! (This falls into the genuine OMG category. These idiots seem to think being caught in lies in Ecuador is all in good fun with no repercussions here. They’ll have a really difficult time escaping massive USA fines and, just possibly, some time in the grey bar hotel. Because WUWT has links to all the other parts of the story, I linked through there, but be sure to follow the link to the NYT—and keep in mind the NYT is on the same side of the environmental fence as these so-called scientists. Ron P.)

Christmas Lights—support the troops

Jet Fuel-Gate Is Obama's New Solyndra
Excerpt: SolyndraGate was no isolated case of corrupt government misspending. The U.S. Navy was just forced to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels from an Obama-connected firm at an outrageous $16 per gallon. The massive Obama stimulus was supposed to generate millions of jobs, but the $535 million loan guarantee it gave to solar panel maker Solyndra on the eve of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy illustrated the fundamental incompetence of Obama's neo-Keynesian economic ideology.

The Americans Elect Threat
Excerpt: President Obama's re-election team is keeping a wary eye on a group pledging to put an independent ticket on the ballot in next year's elections, top Democratic strategists hinted Tuesday. In a meeting with reporters, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and top strategist David Axelrod said they expected the group, Americans Elect, to be on the ballot in most states next year. And though the group says it will use the most open, democratic process possible to select a nominee, Obama's campaign is questioning both their means and motives. (I’ve never even heard of these people. How did they get on the ballot in ten states so quickly without getting all sorts of attention in the media and blogosphere? Of course leftists question their means and motives, that’s what leftists do. Running in a third candidate is such an old Democrat tactic in state and local elections, I have to wonder if the purpose is to split the anti-Obama vote. Maybe when we find out who they are, we’ll have a better idea what their intention is. Ron P.)

Lebanese Drug Lord Indicted, Linked to Hizballah Funding
Excerpt: A Lebanese drug lord, with connections to Hizballah, has been indicted on charges of moving over 100 tons of Columbian cocaine to the Zetas drug cartel and into the United States.'s Sebastian Rotella states it is a "politically explosive case" that the terrorist organization funds itself through drug sales to America, which is backed up by previous government press releases.

Marines Apologize for Sending Christmas Ornaments to Fallen Marines and Sailors
Excerpt: The Marines are apologizing for a well-intentioned Christmas gift gone wrong that has upset the families of about 1,150 fallen Marines and sailors who received a Purple Heart Christmas tree ornament in the mail addressed to their deceased loved one. (No doubt in my mind that this was done with all the right intentions, but somebody dropped the ball. Still, I'm guessing that even among those whose Marine or Sailor is deceased, more of them are appreciative of the gesture than those who are upset. MasterGuns)

New Haven to propose allowing non-citizen immigrants to vote in municipal elections
Excerpt: New Haven is taking its immigrant-friendly approach one step further and has proposed allowing non-citizen residents, including those who are undocumented, to vote in municipal elections. The proposal is part of a package it will submit to state lawmakers for the session that starts in February. Mayor John DeStefano Jr. Tuesday said the impetus behind the proposal is “to build a more engaged participatory community” and it follows the example of other cities that have already done this. (It’s pure racism that you have to live in the city to vote. Every person in the world should be allowed to vote absentee in New Haven. A culture that cannot protect itself, dies. ~Bob.)

At Fort Bragg, Obama hails the end of the Iraq war
Leaves on Bush’s timetable, not the one he promised in 2008, declares victory in war his ally Harry Reid declared lost. Wonderful. ~Bob.

U.S. authorities probing alleged cyberattack plot by Venezuela, Iran
Excerpt: U.S. officials are investigating reports that Iranian and Venezuelan diplomats in Mexico were involved in planned cyberattacks against U.S. targets, including nuclear power plants.

Mickey Mouse, Adolf Hitler Allowed On Wis. Recall Petitions
see, you don’t need voter ID. In Wisconsin, Adolf and the Mouse are reliable Democrat allies. Even if they are undocumented. ~Bob. Excerpt: The signatures of Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler will be counted on recall petitions targeting Gov. Scott Walker as long as they are properly dated and include a Wisconsin address, the board charged with reviewing the petitions was told Tuesday. Suspicious signatures will be noted when the Government Accountability Board reviews the petitions, but reviewers will look to see that signatures are accompanied by a Wisconsin address and are dated as having been signed during the circulation period, board elections specialist David Buerger said.

Widow of Fallen Marine Pleads with Marine Official to Keep Memorial Cross
Excerpt: In a letter written on behalf of a Marine widow and her seven year old son, the Thomas More Law Center urged camp commander, Colonel Nicholas F. Marano, USMC, to defend the memorial cross erected this past Veterans Day at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California. [Click here to read letter] The memorial cross in question was a replacement for the original cross erected in 2003 and later destroyed by a brush fire in 2007.

The Queen is Not Simply an Ornament. She is the Linchpin of the Realm
Excerpt: And the order of service commanded that we sing three verses of the National Anthem [God Save the Queen] including: O Lord our God arise, scatter our enemies And make them fall, Confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks, On thee our hopes we fix, God save us all. It’s not often we get the chance to sing that verse at services in the City.

Boxer: "Poison Pill" In GOP Payroll Tax Bill "Will Kill 8,100" People For Christmas
Excerpt: "They[Republicans] have attached a poison pill -- literally, colleagues -- because it will kill 8,100 more people more than would have otherwise been killed from pollution," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.) said on the Senate floor today about Republicans trying to roll back a Clean Air Act provision. (This woman is certifiably nuts. –Jerry.)

The Killing of Agent Brian Terry - The One Year Anniversary
Excerpt: December 14th is the one year anniversary of the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. A U.S. Marine and BORTAC agent, Terry was killed in a shoot out in Peck Canyon just north of Nogales, AZ with known border bandits that had been under observation by the Border Patrol for months. Inexplicably Terry and another agent were armed with non-lethal bean bag rounds, while the illegal aliens were armed by the U.S. Justice Department. At least two AK-47 rifles, possibly a third, recovered at the site of the deadly shootout were guns from the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious sponsored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, ATF, the same government agency that brought us Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians.

Excerpt: The White House said Wednesday it will not veto the Defense authorization bill because its updated language would not constrain the Obama administration’s counterterrorism efforts. A statement released by Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president’s advisors would not recommend a veto, a threat that had been hanging over the Pentagon policy bill the past month.

The New Deal Was A Failure: Hoover and FDR Prolonged the Great Depression with Big Government

Mikhail Prokhorov, N.J. Nets owner, announces Russian presidential run against Putin
Annoying for Putin. Too prominent to kill. ~Bob.

Worth Reading: The Gingrich Gamble: The real choice is: Gingrich/Romney vs. four more years of Obamian disaster. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: All the Romney-alternatives — Bachmann, Cain, Christie, Giuliani, Palin, Perry, Rubio, Trump — came and went, or never came at all, except the most unlikely one, Newt Gingrich. With the implosion of the Cain campaign, and the realization that there are for now no more great conservative hopes on the horizon, Gingrich has pulled off one of the more unlikely comebacks in presidential-primary history, and finds himself ahead in the Republican polls.

US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?
Excerpt: A former official from within the ranks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting that US and NATO forces have landed outside of Syria and are training militants to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama’s ‘Victory’ In Iraq
Excerpt: Professor Kori Schake at West Point has a devastating piece on President Obama’s declaration of “victory” in Iraq. As she points out, much of the heavy lifting was done by President Bush, not by Obama. And since he has become Commander-in-Chief, things have become worse, not better. She writes:

Conservative outlet. ~Bob. Excerpt: The headlines Wednesday morning brought the stunning news that Newt Gingrich had surged to a 40-23 lead over Mitch Romney among likely GOP voters. But the more important story in the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll of 1,000 registered voters was what happened when Romney and Gingrich were pitted against Barack Obama. The president barely edged Romney 47-45, within the margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Against Gingrich, Obama held a commanding 51-40 lead. Most importantly, half of all of all voters said they wouldn't vote for Gingrich.

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