Friday, December 30, 2011

Political Digest for December 30, 2011

I’ll be with family for New Years, probably with limited computer time, so there may not be Digests. Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a safe and healthy New Year, filled with the blessings brought by freedom, especially including economic freedom. It is worth preserving, if we can. "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." --Thomas Paine

Freedom Quotes

Charities I support

Worth reading: Republican Voters' Choices by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: In this, as in many other aspects of life, we can only make our choice among the options actually available. So Republican voters who want to be realistic need to understand that they are going to end up with qualms and nagging doubts about whomever they pick this time. Not all voters want to be realistic, of course.

Bachmann's Iowa chairman jumps to Paul
Not a man of honor. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman has jumped ship and is backing Rep. Ron Paul, the latest blow to her campaign and coup for his. Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R) endorsed Paul, his campaign announced Wednesday night. Paul has led in most Iowa caucus polls in the last few weeks, and most Hawkeye State observers believe he will finish first or second in the Jan. 3 caucuses, while Bachmann has been struggling in the polls.

China finds promise and setbacks in pursuit of Russian energy
Excerpt: At exactly 48 minutes past midnight on Jan. 1, Russia did something it had never done before: It began pumping oil to China across a 2,600-mile border that once bristled with tanks, troops and nerve-shredding tension. The oil flowed from eastern Siberia through a newly completed pipeline, the first such link between the world’s largest petroleum producer and its biggest energy consumer — and a symbol of what the two giant neighbors hail as a perfect symmetry of interests. (Cheaper energy will allow China to compete more strongly with us. Build the Keystone Pipeline! ~Bob.)

A warning to those who think that this story being off the front page means it’s over. It’s not. I am getting repeated reports that farmers and other producers are turning increasingly to direct deals with the users of their products, eschewing the futures markets entirely. These are not speculators. These are the people who grow the corn, wheat, soybeans and other products you wish to buy in “processed” form.

Iran Threatens To Close Strait of Hormuz
Excerpt: Obama has presented himself to the world for three years as a weak man embarrassed and ashamed of America's might, chiefly obsessed with making apologies and insulting old (colonialist) allies, and who flinches from the hard way. He's been clear on his policy of appeasement towards Iran, which emboldens Iran, and which may cause them to think they really can block traffic in the Strait with impunity. There is one snag in that chain of reasoning: It's an election year, and Obama is as a weak in the polls as he is in world leadership. We may wind up exchanging shots precisely because Obama has presented himself as so craven, and now reaches for the military option out of a different sort of cravenness. (A “splendid little war” would help Obama with average Americans, but would turn off his “America is evil” base. ~Bob.)

A Bad Year for Obama's Green Dream
Excerpt: For President Barack Obama, 2011 began with a bang -- a bold pronouncement that his green dream for America would bring forth a jobs explosion and a new economy fueled by alternative energy, a vision he likened to President John F. Kennedy's "moon shot" in the 1960s. Much to Obama's chagrin, the year has ended in a whimper with his green energy "sun shot" sputtering to the ground before it even took off.

Pentagon trimming ranks of generals, admirals
Excerpt: With the Iraq war over and troops in Afghanistan on their way home, the U.S. military is getting down to brass tacks: culling generals and admirals from its top-heavy ranks. Pentagon officials said they have eliminated 27 jobs for generals and admirals since March, the first time the Defense Department has imposed such a reduction since the aftermath of the Cold War, when the collapse of the Soviet Union prompted the military to downsize.

Alex Salmond's spell could swing it for Scottish independence
Excerpt: He learned long ago the Ronald Reagan maxim that the successful politician owns optimism and the future. Successive election campaigns have boiled down to one essential theme: that there is no limit to Scotland's possibilities. Indeed, "Yes, we can" was the SNP slogan in 1997, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama.

Frontpage’s Man of the Year: The Wounded Warrior
Excerpt: The official end of the Iraq war this month is an occasion to reflect that, for many of America’s wounded veterans, the war will never be over, that they will always carry its scars. Over 32,000 servicemen have been wounded post-9/11, spanning all branches of the military. In the sands of Iraq, and in the mountains of Afghanistan, they have suffered horrific injuries, of which the most painful often left no outward mark. Limbs lost, lives turned upside down, futures permanently altered. For those of us safe in the comforts of civilian life, the enormity of their sacrifice is utterly beyond comprehension.

Ron Paul’s War on Israel
Excerpt: Rep. Ron Paul is now in first place in the Iowa caucus polls, second in New Hampshire and third nationally. This has prompted a former close aide of his, Eric Dondero, to speak out about the anti-Israeli views he expressed to him in private. The Paul campaign is ridiculing Dondero as a “disgruntled former staffer” and another aide, an Israeli, is defending Paul. A close examination of Paul’s books, newsletters and statements give credence to Dondero.

Who Owns OWS?
Excerpt: “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” Harvard law professor and Massachusetts U.S. senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren claimed this fall. “I support what they do.” But since “what they do” at the Occupy Boston encampment included narcotics trafficking, knife-wielding standoffs, rampant thefts, and transforming the Rose Kennedy Greenway into a muddy brownway, Warren’s boasts continue to haunt her in her contest against Scott Brown.

Worth Reading: Child Slavery on the Arabian Peninsula
Excerpt: It is perhaps the most pernicious of evils. The words “child slavery” would cause most people nowadays to recoil in horror, but in the oil-rich countries of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, it apparently still doesn’t. The most recent and revolting incident shedding light on the continued existence of this murky and most heinous of crimes involves a thirty-five-year-old Pakistani mother who bravely refused to sell her two boys to a slaver in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. But this heroine, whose name, Azim Mai, deserves to be mentioned, paid a high price for her courageous stand. Her husband, angry at her refusal to condemn her sons to such a cruel fate, threw acid in Mai’s face, seriously disfiguring her. … During a social visit to the home of another Saudi royal prince, the princess discovered a harem of young, captive slave girls. (Slavery is, of course, endorsed by the Holy Qur’an and the NYT-endorsed Shari’a law, thus is the unchangeable will of Allah. ~Bob.)

Only One Candidate Is Right on The Two Most Important Issues
Excerpt: In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.

Worth Reading: The New Old Europe by Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Like clockwork every few decades, some self-described European "visionaries" swear that the continent can either live in peace under utopian protocols or, more darkly, be united under one grand -- and undemocratic -- system, willingly or not. But for all the noble pretensions of the Congress of Vienna or the European Union -- or the nightmarish spread of Napoleon's Continental System and the Third Reich -- and for all the promises of European-born fascism, communism and socialism, the result is always the same: disunion, acrimony and infighting.

Iraq in Political Crisis Following U.S. Withdrawal
Excerpt: The Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab who previously served as general secretary of the Islamist Iraqi Islamic Party. Hashemi fled to Iraqi Kurdistan. There, Kurdish political parties proposed to mediate tensions between the State of Law bloc led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa party and the opposition Iraqiya bloc headed by Ayad Allawi. The allegations against Hashemi include the charge that he managed and funded a death squad over the past two years, with a possible role in an attack on Iraq’s parliament last month that may have included Maliki as an assassination target.

Iran’s Dangerous Game of Chicken on the Straits of Hormuz, Sanctions
Excerpt: As if the confrontation with Iran wasn’t getting scary enough, we now have pictures of Iranian commandos with stubby machine guns on boats training to close the Strait of Hormuz. This is the entrance to the Persian Gulf through which a third of the world’s oil exports pass. Fighting there could drive up the price of oil to economy-breaking levels and could, in turn, lead to a regional war in the Middle East. (Now this from liberal Daily Beast. While I don’t see the Iranians being “deterred” from pressing on to build a bomb, I also think their first response may not be directly against the military forces of either the USA or Israel. They have proxy forces in many places around the world to act for them that are well-suited to take action against softer targets like shopping malls and schools. They saw Saddam’s forces taken down in days on two different occasions. Surely they know we can do the same to them. So, their capabilities will be widely dispersed and as covert as possible. The mullahs won’t go away without a fight. How much better it would be if we had supported the Greens and let them fight it out amongst themselves. We will regret that failure. Ron P.)

Somalia: "Alarming increase" in women and girls who have been raped as spoils of war
Excerpt: The Qur'an sanctions sex with captive and slave women: "And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you" (4:24). Al-Shabaab is acting barbarically, but as far as they are concerned, they are acting within their rights and not forbidding what Allah has made lawful. They are not at all alone among Muslims in endorsing or engaging in this behavior.

Excerpt: Walk into your local gun shop and you’re likely to be greeted by some of the hardest working salesmen and women in America. On Black Friday alone Gun dealers flooded the FBI with background check requests for prospective hand gun and long gun buyers, smashing the previous record by more than 30%. Deputy Assistant FBI Director Jerry Pender said the checks, required by federal law, surged to nearly 130,000 during the day, far surpassing the previous high of 97,848 on Black Friday of 2008. The actual number of firearms sold is likely much higher because multiple firearms can be included in a transaction by a single buyer. The FBI does not track actual gun sales.

Well, well, well, the Texas Christmas Day massacre of 7 people, including the killer, was a MUSLIM honor killing, after all.
Excerpt: As usual, the media ignored the obvious honor-killing elements of this massacre. Aziz Yazdanpanah had lost control of his family. His wife had left him. His daughter was dating a non-Muslim. And he killed them all. Just as the Ft. Hood Jihadist Massacre was labeled “Workplace Violence,” the Obama-subservient media are trying to pass off this mass honor killing as “Holiday Blues.” 

Voters Don't Expect Spending Cuts Under Either Party
Excerpt: Most voters don't believe government spending will go down if Republicans control both the White House and Congress, and they're sure spending will go up if Democrats are in charge of both branches of government. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 38% of Likely U.S. Voters believe government spending is likely to go down if a Republican is elected president and the GOP wins control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Twenty-six percent (26%) think spending will go up, and 29% predict that it will stay about the same. (Every time a politician says “No” some group gets mad. So they usually say yes. Then fiscal disaster comes. ~Bob.)

Nancy Pelosi’s Daughter: ‘My Mom Wants to Leave Congress’
Her lips to God’s ears. ~Bob. Excerpt: Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told Big Government this week that her mother wants to leave Congress–and that she remains in Washington only at the behest of her campaign donors.

An unavoidable challenge: Now is the time to make the case for military action against Iran by John Yoo
Excerpt: Our political calendar and one of our nation's greatest threats have synchronized. In the upcoming year, the American people will render their judgment on Barack Obama's presidency. Meanwhile, if the International Atomic Energy Agency's November report is accurate, Iran will soon join the ranks of the world's nuclear powers. Because of the Obama administration's reluctance to confront this looming threat, others—such as the Republican presidential candidates—must begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran's nuclear program.

Excerpt: Rep. Ron Paul’s surge in Iowa has triggered a theoretical question for his rivals this week: given his foreign policy views, would they be willing to support him over President Obama if he were the nominee? Newt Gingrich said “no,” Mitt Romney said “yes.” But it is also a kind of an intriguing gut check question for conservatives on how they balance foreign and domestic policy. Having thought about it over the last few days and debated it on Twitter for a bit last night, I’ve determined that I’d very begrudgingly back Obama in such a matchup. (Both would destroy the country, in different ways. I’d have to do a write in…and give up, I think. ~Bob.)

Jon's Business Experience
Huntsman ad. The Illinois primary isn’t until March, by which time it should be over. I might vote for him just so I can avoid responsibility for what I fear is coming. ~Bob.

An Uncomfortable Fact About Taxes: The Rich Do Pay Their Fair Share by Kevin Glass
Excerpt: There's been a lot of consternation about the U.S. status as a "low-tax nation" in anticipation of serious debates about the debt and deficit. As far as taxes as a percentage of GDP go, the U.S. is relatively low-tax compared to developed European nations. However, the discrepancy doesn't come from a lack of taxes on the rich - it's that the U.S. taxes everyone else at pretty spectacularly low rates. The primary driver of this is that the U.S. doesn't have a VAT or some other form of consumption tax that generally raises a higher percentage of income from people who don't have the luxury of being able to save and invest. (Human nature: YOU are not paying your fair share. I am paying more than my fair share. Regardless of what the numbers are. This is why politicians can get votes on appeals to envy and “fairness.” ~Bob.)

The Democratic Party's War on the Poor
Excerpt: Now, why do we turn to a foreign country for an example of the critical failing of the American Democratic Party? Because the way American conservatives and liberals react to this story of misguided social programs is the American economic debate in a microcosm.

Excerpt: $15,000,000,000,000+ in debt, Congress is incapable of protecting Americans and producing a budget, and our failed “leaders” are still selling your future to those who celebrated the deaths of Americans on 9/11 and elected terrorist Hamas into office, via US Congress frees $40 million for Palestinians – Yahoo! News. (Not so broke we can’t give money to people who would kill us if they could. ~Bob.)

99-year-old divorces wife after he discovered 1940s affair
Excerpt: An Italian couple are to become the world's oldest divorcees, after the 99-year-old husband found that his 96-year-old wife had an affair in the 1940s.

The Establishment Moves Rightward: Shrink from the left, shift to the right, in the fratricidal conservative fight
Excerpt: I’ve made a disturbing discovery: I am a member of the conservative “establishment.” I feel like Michael Douglas at the end of Falling Down: “I’m the bad guy?” Largely in response to the real and perceived excesses of the Bush years and the overreach of the Obama administration, the base has become more populist. (In reading my e-mail, I’ve figured out there are less than a dozen true conservatives. Everyone else is a RINO or member of the GOP establishment. Once they throw out every RINO the party will be delightfully pure, though leftists and statists will hold all public offices down to brothel inspector. ~Bob.)

Perry goes positive in final Iowa ad

Jon Huntsman Says Iowans ‘Pick Corn,’ Not Presidents
Excerpt: Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has put all his weight behind a solid showing in the New Hampshire primary, appeared on The Early Show Thursday morning and fired a shot right between the eyes of Iowans and the candidates vying to win next week’s Iowa caucus.

US sells $29 billion weapons package to ally Saudi Arabia
Excerpt: The U.S. has reached an agreement to sell a $29.4 billion weapons package to Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration announced the arms sale Thursday amid tensions in the region over Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil passageway. (To aid in their tough fight against witchcraft, no doubt. ~Bob.)

These Are 11 Things That Could Be More Expensive in 2012
Excerpt: Although the U.S. economy has performed poorly over the last couple of years, Americans have lucked out with relatively low inflation (emphasis on the word “relatively”). However, there’s little reason to believe that the prices you pay today will stay where they are — meaning 2012 will most likely bring about increases to your everyday costs as well as some luxury items.

The price of Freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle; Anywhere, Anytime, and with utter recklessness. --Robert A. Heinlein

Unified Theory of Climate
Excerpt: Global surface temperature is independent of the down-welling LW flux known as greenhouse or back radiation, because both quantities derive from the same pool of atmospheric kinetic energy maintained by solar heating and air pressure. (…) Modifying chemical composition of the atmosphere cannot alter the system’s total kinetic energy, hence the size of ATE (GHE). (…) Equation (8) suggests that the planet’s albedo is largely a product of climate rather than a driver of it. This is because the bulk of the albedo is a function of the kinetic energy supplied by the Sun and the atmospheric pressure. (This is a fairly long technical exposition but is worth reading anyway. If correct, it blows ALL the existing AGW arguments away. Among other things, it accounts for the Earth’s lack of warming since 1996, and for the global warming on the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and other planets and their satellites, things no previous explanation can do. The excerpts are from the section on the implications of the research. Unlike most “climate science” articles, this one reveals most of its sources and methods, so others CAN attempt to duplicate or falsify the conclusions. As of this writing, there are 199 comments—mostly from VERY knowledgeable professionals in the climate field—and almost all are positive; even the negative comments are niggling minor things. While I can read the graphs and the reasoning, I confess I lack the math skills to do much more than read the equations, but there will be plenty of peer review, both hostile and supportive, before the dust settles. This is a great New Year’s present. Ron P.)

Sen Brown accuses Dem leaders of targeting him
Excerpt: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is claiming that Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Senate leader Harry Reid, are alienating him by sending a message to their fellow lawmakers not to work with him on legislation. The Massachusetts Republican said Wednesday that Reid and other Democratic leaders are trying to deny Brown credit for initiatives he's sponsored in an effort to isolate him politically. … “I'm a Republican from Massachusetts. I have the scars on my back to prove it,” Brown said. “It's a blood sport here.” (So much for “bipartisan cooperation.” As a former Massachusetts GOP state senator, I can relate to the last line. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Many Americans are no doubt making resolutions to eliminate their bad habits in the New Year. The federal government would be well advised to do the same. President Obama and members of Congress could start by reviewing the jaw-dropping report put out by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) outlining 100 examples — totaling more than $6.5 billion — of wasteful federal spending over the past year alone. What follows is a collection of some of the more outrageous examples.

Economists fear withdrawal symptoms if payroll-tax cut vanishes
Social Security is going broke? I know, let’s reduce income for it! ~Bob. Excerpt: It was the tax cut that nobody noticed when Congress enacted it a year ago. Now the question is, can anyone live without it? The $120 billion payroll-tax cut, which was extended for two months until March just before Congress left town last week, turned out to be an addictive fix for consumers this year, providing an extra $20 to $30 in extra cash in every paycheck that - while nothing to write home about in any given week - provided a cumulative boost to consumer spending over the course of the year.

Ron Paul’s foreign policy worse than Obama’s, says John Bolton
Excerpt: Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton hasn’t endorsed any of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates yet, but it’s clear there is one he won’t be endorsing: Ron Paul. Bolton, appearing on Fox News’s “Sean Hannity Show” Wednesday, said that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is “worse than the Obama administration.”

Egypt: Organization headed by sheikh of al-Azhar demands shutdown of Christian TV station, says it offends Muslims
Excerpt: This case demonstrates one of the many problems with curtailing "offensive" free speech and criminalizing hurt feelings. Simply expressing a belief at variance with Islam can be seized upon as "blasphemy," or as "offending religious sentiments," and simply being visible in daily life as an adherent of a non-Islamic faith can be seized upon as "proselytizing." It is all in the eye of the overlord/beholder. The move against this station is just a higher-tech extension of Sharia's traditional ban on the display of crosses, ringing of bells, preaching in public, and of course, evangelization.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Senator Hall: Your 'I'm 73 and Tired' post has reared it's head, again attributed to Actor/Comedian Bill Cosby. As I was forming a partial rebuttal, I discovered that this is being attributed to you. If I misunderstood the piece, or it's wrongly attributed to you, please forgive me.....however, I'm involuntarily unemployed for the first time in 35 years and I resent being lumped in a category labeled 'lazy.' I have 2 masters degrees and am ABD for a doctrate and yet I, literally, cannot get a job as a dogcatcher.