Thursday, December 8, 2011

Political Digest for December 8, 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.

VIDEO: World War II Veterans on the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Excerpt: Why did Japan attack us 70 years ago today, other than the usually cited existential reasons and the fact that they thought they could and get away with it? We sometimes forget that their expansionism in Manchuria quickly put them in collision with the Soviet Union, and for much of the summer of 1939 they waged a vicious and costly border war against the Soviets — one that they eventually lost and which led to their signing a non-aggression pact with Russia by spring 1941.

Pearl Harbor Still A Day For The Ages, But A Memory Almost Gone
Excerpt: For more than half a century, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association gathered here every Dec. 7 to commemorate the attack by the Japanese that drew the United States into World War II. Others stayed closer to home for more intimate regional chapter ceremonies, sharing memories of a day they still remember in searing detail. But no more. The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time — of age, of deteriorating health and death — the association will disband on Dec. 31.

Rare, Unseen Photos: Aftermath of Pearl Harbor

The Pearl Harbour Anniversary is a Reminder that America Ignores the Pacific at its Peril - by Con Coughlin
Excerpt: If there is any lesson for modern-day America to learn from the 70th anniversary of Japan's devastating attack on Pearl Harbour, it is that it ignores the potential threat of the emerging powers of the Pacific at its peril. There now appears to be a general consensus that the Pearl Harbour attack happened because American President Franklin D Roosevelt ignored intelligence warnings that Japan, which was then the emerging power in the Far East, was preparing an attack on America's Pacific fleet. Fast forward 70 years and it is China, rather than Japan, that is emerging as the region's dominant power.

Sidwell Friends School, Sasha and Malia Obama's School, Opts For Asian, including Japanese Food On Pearl Harbor Day
And on 9/11, goat and hummus. ~Bib

Excerpt: When is the last time you heard a liberal describe himself as a “liberal”? It’s probably been a long time. These days, those on the left are more likely to call themselves “progressives.” Writing in The New York Times, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs said there have been two progressive eras — one in the early 20th century and the second under Franklin Roosevelt. He called on modern liberals to usher in a third era. But what exactly is “progressivism”?

Another Look for Huntsman: His record probably puts him to the right of Romney and Gingrich.
Excerpt: One wonders, therefore, if a conservative case could be made for former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, as has been suggested by several conservative columnists recently, including George Will, Jim Pethokoukis, and Joe Scarborough. Indeed, it is interesting that Huntsman was so quickly dismissed as a RINO, when many of his positions actually appear to be to the right of both Romney and Gingrich.

Class vs. Crass
Bush vs. Obama at Christmas.

The Enterprise Value Tax: Another Misbegotten Job Killer
Excerpt: President Obama's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction contains a provision that would tax, as ordinary income rather than capital gains, the net proceeds from the sale of what is deemed an "investment services partnership interest"(ISPI). An ISPI is any interest in an investment partnership that is acquired by a person as a result of activities involving the purchase and sale of certain "specified assets," defined to include partnership interests, securities and real estate holdings. This provision, which is labeled as the "Enterprise Value Tax" (EVT), would force certain partnerships to pay ordinary income tax on the sale of any part of their business, say researcher David G. Tuerck, Paul Bachman and Frank Conte.

How Taxes Drive Down Home Values: What state and local officials can do to help the housing market recover. By Nicole Gelinas
Excerpt: Standard & Poor’s released the latest Case-Shiller data on house prices on Tuesday, and the results weren’t pretty. In the past five years, house prices have declined to 2003 levels, and the average home declined in price by 3.9 percent over the last year alone. National politicians are scrambling to reverse the trend. But the remedy lies in state houses and town halls.

U.S. Prisoner Bowe Bergdahl’s Failed Attempt to Escape From Taliban
Excerpt: One night in late August or early September, 25-year-old Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, jumped from a first-floor window of the mud-brick house in Pakistan in which he had been imprisoned and headed into the nearby underbrush and forested mountains, according to three reliable militant sources who got the story from fighters who were present during the prisoner’s attempted escape.

Corzine gets second subpoena to testify
Not fair. How’s he going to raise big Wall Street bucks for Obama if he spends all his time testifying about bilked investors? ~Bob. Excerpt: Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine will be making multiple trips to Capitol Hill in the coming days. A second congressional committee has voted to subpoena him to appear and discuss the bankruptcy of his former firm, MF Global. The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously agreed to compel Corzine's testimony Tuesday for a hearing slated for Dec. 13. 

Fewer face deportation because of criminal charges, data shows
Excerpt: The number of people facing deportation because of criminal charges has declined steadily the past three fiscal years, according to data released by the U.S. Justice Department. Instead, in California and beyond, a growing number are accused only of entering the United States without permission.

USPS' Cost-Cutting Plan Shows Need for Privatization
Excerpt: On the one hand, it's weighed down by unions that control 85% of its workforce, impeding reasonable efficiency improvements. Example: In just the first six months of this year, the Postal Service spent $4.3 million paying postal workers to do literally nothing, thanks to labor agreements that require the service to keep workers on the payroll even when mail volume is low or machinery breaks down. At the same time, lawmakers often scuttle cost-saving plans that might affect their districts. (They used to brag about the “Union Made” label. Now we need a “Union Killed” label. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Free to Die? by Walter E. Williams
Excerpt: Another way to provide those services is for Congress to use its power to forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another. That is, under the pain of punishment, Congress could mandate that medical practitioners treat medically indigent patients at no charge. I'd personally find such a method of providing medical services offensive and immoral, simply because I find the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another, what amounts to slavery, in violation of all that is decent.

Excerpt: The chairmen of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees said the military is the number one target for terrorists within the U.S. On Wednesday Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) opened a hearing to examine the emerging threat to the military from homegrown terrorists within the U.S. and named the armed services as the “most sought-after” target for radical Islamist extremist groups.

Ten Years to Greece by John Stossel
Excerpt: America moves steadily toward the cliff. When Greece blew up, its government debt was 126 percent of gross domestic product. Ours is on track to exceed that in about 10 years. If we haven't learned from Greece, might we learn when other countries blow up? That may be about to happen, says Daniel Hannan, author of "The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America." Hannan, a British member of the European Parliament, says, "The consequences of the better part of 40 years of reckless borrowing have caught up with us." (What do you call someone who thinks we are ten years from becoming Greece? An optimist. ~Bob.)

What Are [Our Troops] Doing For Us? Nothing.
Excerpt: A tasteless letter to the editor in Iowa State's campus newspaper was floating around Twitter earlier, and I made the foolish mistake of assuming its author was an immature, misguided undergraduate. Nope. This disgusting diatribe was authored by a member of ISU's faculty: I read in Tuesday's Iowa State Daily that the College Republicans have begun collecting sundries for U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why?

S&P 500 Returns in a President's 3rd Year
Here is how the S&P 500 has performed in the third year of recent presidencies:

S&P Return
Bush I
Bush II

The Last Incarnation of Barack Obama
Excerpt: If there was any doubt where President Barack Obama's ideological heart lies, yesterday he let it be known loud and clear in a wide-ranging speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. President Obama is at his core a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who sees the federal government as the answer to all of America's problems. And he is charging full steam ahead on this far-left course toward Election Day 2012, despite the total failure of his big-government policies and an American people who have flatly rejected the message he is trying to sell.

Former Aide Reflects on Gingrich's Fall and Rise - Scott Conroy
Excerpt: [Former Gingrich spokesman of a dozen years Rick] Tyler’s confidence in Gingrich’s redemption did not last long. Less than a month later, he joined the rest of the candidate’s senior staff and high-paid consultants in a mass resignation that added insult to injury for a campaign that was regressing by the day. Now Gingrich is the front-runner for the Republican nomination, while Tyler is the spokesman for The Response -- a group whose call for a “revolution of righteousness in this country” brought it to Iowa for a prayer event Tuesday designed in part to refocus evangelical Republicans ahead of next month’s caucuses.

Riding in the Desert: Child Sexual Exploitation, Drug Running, Human Smuggling and Violence
Excerpt: This week I was privileged to participate in a ride along with the Arizona Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and got a first hand look at what deputies are dealing with on a daily basis. Although we didn’t get into any major cartel chases during my time with them, the education I received about a number of border issues was eye opening.

Russia downgrades ties with Qatar after attack
Russia said on Monday it was downgrading relations with Qatar and withdrawing its ambassador after he was beaten by customs officials at Doha’s airport last month, causing possible difficulty over a major energy deal between the two countries. Moscow has “made the decision to downgrade relations with Qatar,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani by telephone, a Ministry statement said.

Obama and the Hezbollah Terrorist
Excerpt: In Jan. 2007, Ali Musa Daqduq helped kill five Americans in Iraq. He may soon be released into Iranian custody. Call it the triumph of ideology over national interest and honor. Having dithered for nearly three years, the Obama administration has only a few weeks to bring to justice a Hezbollah terrorist who slaughtered five U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2007. Unfortunately, it appears more likely that Ali Musa Daqduq will instead be transferred to Iran, to a hero's welcome.

This is what a real market crash looks like - by Scott Cendrowski
Excerpt: Investing sage Jeremy Grantham sounded a little guilty in his latest report to clients, titling it "The Shortest Quarterly Letter Ever." He should hold the apologies. Grantham, one of the pithiest market writers around, includes a chilling graphic in the four-page note that is one of the most mesmerizing market visuals of 2011. Grantham is a value investor who oversees nearly $100 billion at his Boston-based firm, GMO.

Occupy London and Everywhere Else - British Goons Call For Global Revolution - by Brett M. Decker
Excerpt: The British Occupy movement is more focused than the American rabble that stands for anything from universal unionization and a global ban on fossil fuels to forgiveness of all public and private debts for everybody, especially student loans. On the other side of the pond, professional public-relations flacks have refined their talking points to three broad areas: unregulated finance, broken democracy and corrupt institutions. When you boil down the ingredients, however, occupiers worldwide all have two things in common: They want more government intervention in the market and redistribution of wealth. This is a revolution seeking world socialism or bust.

U.S. Says Mexico Tortured American in Custody
Excerpt: The U.S. Justice Department has determined that an American convicted in Mexico of drug trafficking was tortured by authorities while in Mexican custody, a move that immediately freed him from prison and added troubling official allegations of abuse in Mexico's drug war. (Many tourists caught up in Mexico's super-corrupt system realize: Dorothy--I don't think we are in Kansas anymore. –Dave H.)

Death Penalty Dropped Against Mumia Abu-Jamal
Excerpt: Prosecutors announced Wednesday that they will no longer pursue the death penalty against former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, meaning he will spend the rest of his life in prison for gunning down a white police officer nearly 30 years ago. 9the left’s favorite cop killer. ~Bob.)

Issa demands info from Holder after report that Justice smuggled millions to cartels
Excerpt: House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa announced late Monday that he’s expanding his probe into the Justice Department’s questionable gun-walking programs to include drug money the Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly helped smuggle into the hands of the drug cartels in Mexico. The New York Times reported on Sunday that “in operations supervised by the Justice Department and orchestrated to get around sovereignty restrictions” drug enforcement agents “laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels.”

STUNNING revelation: FBI responsible for Fast and Furious death of Brian Terry!
Excerpt: Since the December 2010 shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and its Department of Justice masters have represented the tragedy as a chance encounter between Terry’s patrol unit and armed, illegal alien drug runners in the Arizona desert. But new information makes it clear that Attorney General Eric Holder’s DOJ has labored for the past year to hide the fact that the heavily armed gang which exchanged fire with the bean-bag equipped members of Terry’s border patrol unit that night was in the Peck Canyon, Arizona location thanks to a tip from an FBI confidential informant. (I can’t believe this. But s o much about this case that I just couldn’t believe has turned out to be true. ~Bob.)

The Occupy Movement Spreads to the North Pole

Obama to Iran: Enjoy Your Nukes!
Excerpt: Barack Obama and his minions — Suha-bussing Hillary Clinton who disses Israel every chance she gets and Ambassador Howard Gutman who thinks Islamic anti-Semitism began at a Tel Aviv felafel shop a week ago Thursday (he should read Andrew Bostom) — love to put pressure on our supposed ally… but on Iran’s despicable mullahs not so much. So it should be no surprise that our president is pushing back on last week’s Senate vote for stronger sanctions on Iran.

Hi There, Iranians! I’m Hillary, Let’s Chat
Excerpt: For those who may have thought the Obama administration lacked real spine on responding to the 32-year old Iranian war against us, there is now a dramatic response (mild sarcasm alert). The State Department has launched a “virtual Embassy” to Iran, a website with some useful material about the Iranian regime’s systematic distortion of America, and American policy towards Iran, a collection of old speeches and statements from Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama, links to Hillary herself doing TV interviews, and “news” from the Voice of America. The best of it, aside from information about visas and student exchange programs (stuff that is easily available online in any event), comes in a section about “myths” about American policy, in which the “Embassy” takes pains to point out that the United States is aware of the repression of the Iranian people, and has sanctioned the officials guilty of it…. (What an incredibly stupid message to send to a people under siege from their own government. Whoever designed this site deserves the award for “Unconscious Buffoonery.” Ron P.)

The EU Crisis Comes to a Head
Excerpt: As the European Union debt crisis moves towards an ostensible resolution on December 9th, complications arise. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has warned that the failure to reach an agreement may result in an unprecedented downgrade of as many as 15 EU countries simultaneously. “Systemic stresses in the euro zone have risen in recent weeks to the extent that they now put downward pressure on the credit standing of the euro zone as a whole,” S&P said in a statement. Cutting through the economic jargon, a “resolution” of the crisis comes down to a single choice: there will either be a European Union, or individual countries will retain some semblance of national sovereignty.

Excerpt: Were it Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, all we’d hear about for the next week is that they went to Kansas and said it was “Good to be back in Texas.” Except it wasn’t Perry or Bachmann. It was Barack Obama not using the teleprompter.

Obama’s Spin On Israel
Excerpt: To hear it from Obama and Obama’s Propagandists . . . Obama’s Presidency is the most supportive American Administration for Israel – EVER! It is really NOT nice to call a President, especially a sitting President a LIAR, but, it is much worse to “pretend” that the President is NOT a liar when in fact he is.

Somali Muslim Women 'Not Used to Drinking' Walk Free from Attack on White Woman
Excerpt: "We were just minding our own business but they kept shouting 'white bitch' and 'white slag' at me. "When I turned around one of them grabbed my hair - she literally wrapped her fingers in my hair - then threw me on the ground. That's when they started kicking me. "They were taking turns to kick me in the head and back over and over. I was lying on the ground the whole time, crying and screaming. It was terrifying. I thought they were going to kill me.

US Officials: Drone Was Gathering Intelligence When It Went Down in Iran
Excerpt: The super-secret drone that Iran claims to have recovered was on a CIA "Focal Point" mission, gathering intelligence and likely crashed though it remains uncertain whether it was able to self-destruct, U.S. officials told National Journal on Tuesday. Controllers lost contact with the prized stealth unmanned aerial drone, the RQ-170 "Sentinel", last week over western Afghanistan, said one government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Based on its projected glide path, officials assume it fell just inside the Iranian border.

Arizona farmer outfitted with Glock, bullet-proof vest for safety
Worse than Chicago. ~Bob.

The Orwellian American Left by David Limbaugh
Excerpt: As I heard Barack Obama and his propaganda minister, Jay Carney, endorsing tax cuts as a vehicle for economic growth, I was reminded, again, of George Orwell's "1984" and the striking similarities between his Oceania and the American left's vision for America. Oceania's Big Brother regime had "four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided," the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Plenty. Each department was dedicated to the opposite principle suggested by its title.

Gingrich Talks About the Individual Mandate
Excerpt: In the parking lot outside House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s first event on Thursday, someone distributed fliers pointing out that the former speaker had in the past supported the individual mandate, requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance. “As recently as May,” I pointed out to him in our interview, “you said that you supported the idea that individuals should either have insurance or should have to post a bond. But you’ve also said that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Explain that.”

Obama: Limited Gov't That Preserves Free Markets 'Doesn't Work. It Has Never Worked'
Excerpt: In a speech delivered at Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kansas, on Tuesday, President Barack Obama argued that while a limited government that preserves free markets "speaks to our rugged individualism" as Americans, such a system "doesn't work" and "has never worked" and that Americans must look to a more activist government that taxes more, spends more and regulates more if they want to preserve the middle class. (Gee, I’m glad Obama is a “constitutional scholar.” He must have found an article that was omitted in the copy of the constitution hanging on my wall, the article creating this country as a monarchy. These are NOT the parts of his speech that were aired on the news I saw last night, so thanks alphabet networks. His declaration can’t get any clearer or nakeder than this. Frankly, I gave his speech-writers credit for more sense than to say it so baldly, but this news article contains a link to the White House Press Office’s official transcription. So, since “limited” government doesn’t work, what flavor of UNLIMITED government is he offering? Barack the First’s coronation? Dictatorship of the proletariat? Rule of “the Smart?” Does he suppose that like some Middle Eastern thug, he can offer us the right to elect our own city council, but allow him and his cronies to be the strongmen at the national level? Has he looked at how well those forms of government have worked where they’ve been tried? He said he was for fundamental change; no one understood just how fundamental he meant. Ron P. West Germany was a capitalist, limited government society. East Germany was an unlimited government, socialist society. No one risked getting shot climbing over the wall to get into East Germany. ~Bob.)

Lawmakers Blast Administration For Calling Fort Hood Massacre 'Workplace Violence'
Excerpt: Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation's Armed Forces at home. (From Obama’s point of view, Pearl Harbor was “workplace violence” too. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Illegal Immigration Is Immoral: Among its victims: the American underclass, the law, and legal immigrants.
Excerpt: Meanwhile, in California, some legislators want to grant de facto state amnesty to illegal residents. But lost in the continuing furor, pro and con, is the moral dimension. The strange notion has developed that supporting something as immoral as illegal immigration is somehow ethical. It is not, and there are several reasons why.

Obama’s Kansas speech: some suspect facts
Excerpt: To bolster his case about unfairness, the president is also relying on a suspect statistic about billionaires paying as little as 1 percent in taxes. Even if true, it is a clearly a rare event. Moreover, it is certainly surprising that the White House would rely on such a dubious, unverified source for a major presidential address. Three Pinocchios.

Documents: ATF used "Fast and Furious" to make the case for gun regulations
Excerpt: Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales. In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the "big fish." But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called "gunwalking," and it put thousands of weapons on the street.

Obama threatens veto if pipeline decision is added to payroll tax cut
Excerpt: President Obama has warned Republicans he'll veto an extension of the payroll tax if it includes a measure forcing quick approval of the Keystone oil sands pipeline.
“Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut I will reject,” Obama told reporters Wednesday after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House. (Fine. Let him explain vetoing a bill that cut taxes for working folks and created 100k jobs. ~Bob.)

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