Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Political Digest for February 1, 2012

The Old Jarhead Blog: Bringing you news and information the MSM is too busy covering American Idol, celebrity affairs and sensational missing person cases to cover. Please forward to friends who need to be informed.

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.

Fox projects Romney wins Florida with 47%, Gingrich 31%, Santorum with 13% Paul with 7%.
TV commenter said that exit polls suggest a lot of Gingrich voters were not for him, wanted to slow Romney in hopes someone else will get in. ~Bob

Important: CBO projects $1.08T deficit, higher unemployment
Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday predicted the budget deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012. CBO also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013. (Bad news. Can’t be just George bush—I blame global warming as well. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Getting Nowhere, Very Fast By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: California has a huge state debt and Washington has a huge national debt. But that does not discourage either Governor Jerry Brown or President Barack Obama from wanting to launch a very costly high-speed rail system. Most of us might be a little skittish about spending money if we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. But the beauty of politics is that it is all other people's money, including among those other people generations yet unborn.

High-Speed Rail Authority Follow-Up
Excerpt: Our review of the High-Speed Rail Authority's (Authority) progress in addressing issues we raised in our April 2010 report, revealed the following: Although it has implemented some of our recommendations, the Authority has not completely addressed others. The high-speed rail network's (program) overall financial situation has become increasingly risky. The cost estimates for phase one increased to between $98.1 billion and $117.6 billion—of which approximately $12.5 billion has been secured.

The Republican establishment is smearing Gingrich by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The Republican establishment is pulling out all the stops to try to keep Newt Gingrich from becoming the party's nominee for President of the United States -- and some are not letting the facts get in their way.

Allen West's Wife Sees No Conspiracy in Redistricting
Excerpt: We missed U.S. Rep. Allen West voting this morning in Plantation but caught up with his wife at her precinct. Angela Graham-West wouldn't reveal who she voted for in the presidential primary. She disagreed with suggestions that her husband got screwed by the redistricting plan that would steer his swing district in Congressional 22 more to the left. "I don't think it was deliberate," she said.

Adopted boy, 15, 'admits to murdering his prison psychologist father and physician mother before hiding the bodies in their car'
Excerpt: Colleagues of the couple also told the San Francisco Chronicle that the couple had been having problems with their son, who they believed was spending too much time in the Occupy Oakland camp. (That’ll show the 1%! ~Bob.)
Thou Shall Not Covet by Michael Prell
Excerpt: What if it’s an “Occupy Wall Street” gang? Coveting is the foundation of their movement. A movement that – in a short few months of public coveting – has already racked up multiple counts of assault, rape, murder – and stealing wallets.

The Afghan mother-in-law from hell who helped son 'tie up and choke wife to death for burdening family by having third daughter instead of a son'
Excerpt: An Afghan woman has been arrested for 'helping strangle her daughter-in-law to death because she gave birth to an 'undesired' third daughter'. Mother-in-law Wali Hazrata is said to have tied the feet of 22-year-old Stori, which allowed the victim's local militia member husband Sher Mohammad to strangle her. (Gee, she just wanted gender balance in the family. Sort of a Muslim version of Affirmative Action. ~Bob.)

Press Freedom Index 2011/2012
Excerpt: Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011. Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much. Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous. The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom. Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them. (the US fell to 47th. ~Bob.)

When 'being green' means subsidies for rich, harm for the poor
Excerpt: Yet when it comes to the environment, the president showers favors on the rich while punishing the poor. During last year's
Occupy Wall Street
protests, Obama expressed sympathy with calls for more "green" policies from the self-styled advocates for the 99 percent. So far, however, the environmental agenda has overwhelmingly favored the 1 percent.

Iran, perceiving threat from West, willing to attack on U.S. soil, U.S. intelligence report finds
Excerpt: U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran is prepared to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States in response to perceived threats from America and its allies, the U.S. spy chief said Tuesday. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in prepared testimony that an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington that was uncovered last year reflects an aggressive new willingness within the upper ranks of the Islamist republic to authorize attacks against the United States.

Important, worth reading: Germany's Role in Europe and the European Debt Crisis
Excerpt: The German government proposed last week that a European commissioner be appointed to supplant the Greek government. While phrasing the German proposal this way might seem extreme, it is not unreasonable. Under the German proposal, this commissioner would hold power over the Greek national budget and taxation. Since the European Central Bank already controls the Greek currency, the euro, this would effectively transfer control of the Greek government to the European Union, since whoever controls a country's government expenditures, tax rates and monetary policy effectively controls that country. The German proposal therefore would suspend Greek sovereignty and the democratic process as the price of financial aid to Greece. (No need to send Panzers, Herr Feld Marshall. Ve vill send Euros! ~Bob.)

Tipping Point?
Excerpt: Every post-World War II president with a Gallup job-approval rating of 50 percent or higher going into Election Day won. Each one with an approval rating of 47 percent or lower lost. Obama’s approval rating only reached the tipping point in two months last year: 49 percent for January and 50 percent in May (the president announced Osama bin Laden’s killing on May 1). From July through December, his monthly Gallup approval rating ranged from 41 to 44 percent, hardly a level likely to get a president reelected. There are growing signs that some of these factors might be changing, which warrants watching them very closely. (Maybe he can kill bin Laden again this summer. Ron P. Iran better tread with care. He will bomb the snot out of them if it will get him reelected. ~Bob.)

Obama's Racial Politics
Excerpt: There's been a heap of criticism placed upon President Barack Obama's domestic policies that have promoted government intrusion and prolonged our fiscal crisis and his foreign policies that have emboldened our enemies. Any criticism of Obama pales in comparison with what might be said about the American people who voted him in to the nation's highest office. Obama's presidency represents the first time in our history that a person could have been elected to that office who had long-standing close associations with people who hate our nation.

Poll: Nearly One-in-Five Adults Would Miss the Birth of their Own Baby to Go to the Super Bowl
Excerpt: What would you miss or give up in order to go to the Super Bowl? Fifteen (15) percent of U.S. adults who have a favorite NFL team would miss the birth of their own baby to attend the Super Bowl, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive. Another 19 percent would miss the funeral of a loved one, 20 percent would miss the wedding of a close friend or family member, 21 percent would miss an important work responsibility and 23 percent would give up a vacation in order to watch the Super Bowl.

Worth Reading: Onward Civilian Soldiers by George Will
Excerpt: Well. The armed services' ethos, although noble, is not a template for civilian society, unless the aspiration is to extinguish politics. People marching in serried ranks, fused into a solid mass by the heat of martial ardor, proceeding in lockstep, shoulder to shoulder, obedient to orders from a commanding officer -- this is a recurring dream of progressives eager to dispense with tiresome persuasion and untidy dissension in a free, tumultuous society.

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of power … it is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. -- Daniel Webster

10 States With The Highest Debt Per Person: Report
Excerpt: The total of U.S. state debt, including pension liabilities, could surpass $4 trillion, with California owing the most and Vermont owing the least, according to an analysis released on Monday. The nonprofit State Budget Solutions combined states' major debt and future liabilities, primarily for pensions and employee healthcare, unemployment insurance loans, outstanding bonds and projected fiscal 2011 budget gaps. It found that in total, states are in debt for $4.2 trillion. The group, which follows state fiscal conditions and advocates for limited spending and taxes, said the deficit calculations that states make "do not offer a full picture of the states' liabilities and can rely on budget gimmicks and accounting games to hide the extent of the deficit."

FDA staffers sue agency over monitoring of personal e-mail
Excerpt: The Food and Drug Administration secretly monitored the personal e-mail of a group of its own scientists and doctors after they warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients, government documents show.

Drone strike on al-Qaeda 'kills 13' in southern Yemen
Excerpt: At least 13 people have been killed in air strikes on militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in southern Yemen, residents and officials say. One tribal leader said at least four of the dead were local al-Qaeda leaders, the Reuters news agency reports.

For Sailors: "CPO Standards" by Mike McCaffrey, Admiral (retired USN)
Excerpt: One thing we weren't aware of at the time, but became evident as life wore on, was that we learned true leadership from the finest examples any lad was ever given, Chief Petty Officers. They were crusty old bastards who had done it all and had been forged into men who had been time tested over more years than a lot of us had time on the planet. The ones I remember wore hydraulic oil stained hats with scratched and dinged-up insignia, faded shirts, some with a Bull Durham tag dangling out of their right-hand pocket or a pipe and tobacco reloads in a worn leather pouch in their hip pockets, and a Zippo that had been everywhere. Some of them came with tattoos on their forearms that would force them to keep their cuffs buttoned at a Methodist picnic.

Excerpt: Almost everything you read about the “increasing tension” between Iran and the United States revolves around the rhetorical question, “will there be a war?” Whether it’s our own pundits or the Europeans who watch us, “war” seems closer every day. … Serious thinking, and a serious strategy, must begin with the fact that the war is on. To repeat: the war is on. It’s been on for three decades. Ayatollah Khomeini declared war on the United States in February, 1979, and the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been killing Americans ever since. (This is the most intelligent thing I’ve read about the situation with Iran in a long time. Ron P.)

Newt's flat tax would do a lot more to attract capital, spur growth and reduce compliance costs. By Arthur B. Laffer
Excerpt: If we judge both leading contenders in the Republican primary, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, by what they've done in life and by what they propose to do if elected, either one could be an excellent president. But when it comes to the election's core issue—restoring a healthy economy—the key is a good tax plan and the ability to implement it. Mr. Gingrich has a significantly better plan than does Mr. Romney, and he has twice before been instrumental in implementing a successful tax plan on a national level—once when he served in Congress as a Reagan supporter in the 1980s and again when he was President Clinton's partner as speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1990s.

Hamas and the Washington establishment By Caroline B. Glick
Excerpt: To date, the Republican presidential primary race has been the only place to have generated any useful contributions to America's collective understanding of current events in the Middle East. Last month, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich became the first major political figure in more than a generation to pour cold water over the Palestinian myth of indigenous peoplehood by stating the truth, that the Palestinians are an "invented people."
Free speech --- for some: Uncle Sam is joining in efforts to crack down on Islamists' critics By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
Excerpt: According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), there is a grave threat to America that must be suppressed at all costs. The threat is that Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin might be allowed to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

The Third Jihad website

Masked Occupiers Attack NYC Cops With Bottles During Nighttime March
Black masks—so much cooler than brown shirts. ~Bob. Excerpt: If you thought the Occupy movement was dead and buried, you may be disappointed. … On Monday evening, the drama spread to New York City, among other localities, where
12 Occupy Wall Street
demonstrators were arrested after they held a march in solidarity with their Oakland compatriots.

Obama green jobs program faces further investigation
Excerpt: House Republicans are expanding their probe into the Obama administration's energy programs, investigating $500 million in green job training grants that placed just 10% of trainees in jobs, according to a government report. The program's goal was to train 124,893 people and put 79,854 in jobs. But 17 months later, 52,762 were trained and 8,035, or roughly 1 in 10, had jobs.

The True Face of Occupy Wall Street
Excerpt: The Oakland riot is proof positive that whatever claim to innocence and idealism the movement purported in the early days of occupations around the country has been lost to the gimlet-eyed revolutionary left, now openly seeking violent confrontation with authorities using the bodies of the naive and foolish who still believe that OWS is a protest against income inequality and corporatism. (Where is the Freikorps when you need them? Yes, it’s a joke, but violence produces counter violence. ~Bob.)

Press Freedom in Peril?
Excerpt: One thing you likely would not think is that the extensive coverage of OWS indicated a dramatic decline in American press freedom. That is, unless you were the France-based journalism watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RWB). In the latest version of its annual report on global press freedom, RBW downgraded the U.S. 27 spots, to number 47 in the world. To put this in perspective: By RWB’s measure, the United States, home of the First Amendment, sits just a few notches above Haiti.

Denmark: No comprehensive car insurance in Muslim area -- too many burned cars
Excerpt: I recently posted a couple of articles about the Muslim area Vollsmose in Odense, Denmark ("Denmark: More Muslim violence against non-Muslims" and "Danish police: Immigrant criminals target Danes to make them move out of the (Muslim) area"). The latest development is that the major Danish insurance company GF-Insurance no longer offers comprehensive insurance on cars in the area.

Iran may be wild card in 2012 election
Excerpt: What happens in Iran over the next few months may be one of the biggest wild cards in the 2012 election, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was characteristically blunt about the stakes. “If they decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon," Panetta told CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday. (“If they decided…”? Is there a question? But there’s nothing like a splendid little war to help the incumbent’s poll numbers. George H. W. Bush timed his wrong. This one should start in, oh, August, 2012. ~Bob.)

Liberal super-PAC picks its first six House targets
Excerpt: A new liberal super-PAC called Credo has announced its first six targets of the 2012 campaign: GOP Reps. Joe Walsh (Ill.), Steve King (Iowa), Allen West (Fla.), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Chip Cravaack (Minn.) and Frank Guinta (N.H.). All six are vulnerable: Walsh and West face uphill battles for reelection, while Duffy, Cravack, King and Guinta are all top Democratic targets.

Occupy Wall Street protesters throw condoms, drown out speakers at Rhode Island pro-life rally
Excerpt: Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street movement threw condoms on Catholic schoolgirls, refused to allow a Catholic priest to give a closing prayer, and shouted down a pro-life speaker at a Rhode Island right to life rally on Thursday, according to its organizer. The event marked the third time protesters associated with the movement have disrupted a pro-life meeting in a week. (Obama says they are why he ran for office. Elizabeth Warren, MA Democrat Senate candidate says she created the intellectual foundation for what they do. Pretty shallow foundation. ~Bob.)

Black Tea Party Member Attacks Obama’s Hypocrisy
Excerpt: Jackson points out that Obama wants the wealthy to pay more in taxes because of the financial problems facing the nation. Yet at the same time the president takes half a dozen or so vacations a year, taking not only his wife and daughters, but other family members and friends all at taxpayer expense. The president also wastes taxpayer money by hosting lavish parties at the White House, some of which have nothing to do with politics.

Hunkered Between Santorum and Paul Lies Peace Through Total War
Excerpt: There is a legitimate argument for refocusing our military, but not as Ron Paul and many of his supporters articulate it. Paul imagines a world where there are no credible threats, and thus nothing worth responding to. He imagines that the Constitution of the United States is binding over the lot of man, regardless of whether they are citizens or foreign enemy combatants. (The author has identified exactly the problem I have with Ron Paul. Unfortunately, the problem he ascribes to neo-conservatism can’t be truly solved by either of the other remaining major candidates, either. The problem is we in the West have forgotten what real war is. We expect all others to play by the same rules we bind ourselves to, and even when they don’t, we give them a pass on it. In EVERY war before 1960, non-uniformed combatants were routinely tried by courts martial on the spot and shot or hung, generally within hours of capture. Today, we lawyer them up. But, only on OUR side, of course. When our people are captured, in uniform or not, they’re frequently tortured and killed, often beheaded; I’ve heard of no prisoner exchanges, have you? No western government, media, or international organization seems to have any big problem with this situation. Did Amnesty International rail against the desecration of American corpses in Iraq or Somalia? Our Islamist enemies consider EVERY ONE OF US to be legitimate targets regardless of age, sex, or infirmity. One of their preferred targets is schools and school-children. When we howl with outraged grief, they consider us weak. If I were able to make a single change to our war-time legal framework it would be that doing to the enemy what he does to us should be acceptable conduct. The terrorists in Israel claim every Israeli is a legitimate target and get support—or at least a blind eye—from virtually all their fellow Muslims. I wonder how long that would last if the Israelis wiped out a town or two for every incident? It isn’t like the Israelis could get much worse press, either. Announce the policy as beginning on a particular date, and then enforce it. The so-called “peaceful” Muslims would suddenly have a reason to speak out and stop the terrorists—something they currently don’t have, and consequently, don’t do. I know, I know, I’m a monster. I’ll hang my head in shame right after the war is over. Ron P.)

CBO says federal employees rake in much more pay: Comparison with private sector likely to heat up debate over ending freeze
Excerpt: Buoyed by generous benefit packages, federal workers earn significantly better compensation than similarly educated workers in the private sector, according to a report released Monday from Congress‘ chief scorekeeper that threatens to reignite at the national level last year’s state battles over public-employee rights.

Catholic Church Rejects Surrender Terms from Obama By Cliff Kincaid
Excerpt: My Catholic priest, Father Larry Swink, delivered a homily on Sunday that I told him would make headlines. In the toughest sermon I have ever heard from a pulpit, he attacked the Obama Administration as evil, even demonic, and warned of religious persecution ahead. What was also newsworthy about the sermon was that he cited The Washington Post in agreement—not on the subject of the Obama Administration being evil, but on the matter of its abridgment of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

The Republican Establishment's Strategic Blunder By Steve McCann
Excerpt: The Republican Party has a tenuous hold on the conservative movement in America.   At present the only home for the 40 per cent of the electorate that identify themselves as conservative is the Republican Party, but it appears that those who are nominally identified as the "Republican Establishment" are doing all they can to alienate the vast majority of the current base of the Party. There is no office on
Connecticut Avenue
in Washington with a sign reading "The Republican Establishment" or the "The Democratic Establishment"; rather it is an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings.

A great development but how will the Government tax the air?!
Excerpt:  Will it be the next big thing?  Tata Motors of India thinks so.  What will the Oil Companies do to stop it?  It is an auto engine that runs on air. That’s right; air not gas or diesel or electric but just the air around us.  (,,,)  The Air Car, called the “Mini CAT” could cost around 365,757 rupees in India or $8,177 US. (No burning battery?  No replacing a battery in two to 4 four years for half the price of the car?  No more being robbed at the gas pump?  If this can pass US safety requirements, it’ll sell like wildfire just because of the price.  Of course, it’s “coal powered,” as we like to call electric cars, but so what?  More concerning to me is that it has no way to create heat, not so good in the cold parts of our country, which is most of it.  Ron P. I’d have to see it—I take “miracle car” stories with a grain of NaCl. Heard too many over the years. ~Bob.)

What do the press have to say about the English Defence League?
Excerpt: The fact is that we have a diverse group of supporters who most certainly do not deserve to be written off as ‘undesirables’, any more than all Muslims deserve to be branded as would-be-extremists. Of course, some journalists don’t do their readers a disservice, and do actually provide an informed and fair-minded analysis. Patrick Hayes of Spiked.com argues that, “The greatest threat to… [our] liberties comes not from radical Islam, but the odious triad of smug observers, censorious left-wing groups and interfering politicians”. His view is clearly that we’re wrong to focus on Islamic extremism – and that is, at least, a legitimate argument.
Worth Reading: Obama’s Silly Rule: The Buffett rule doesn’t address the deficit or inequality. By Rich Lowry
Excerpt: The so-called Buffett Rule to make millionaires and billionaires pay at least 30 percent in taxes is such an obvious exercise in poll-driven populism, it should come with cross-tabs attached. It shows that as an economist, David Axelrod is a hell of a political consultant. It is a non-solution to a non-problem, the intellectual basis of which is a badly distorted anecdote repeated over and over.

Excerpt: Santorum sees hope to the west, from the Upper Midwest to the Rocky Mountain region. Leaving behind Florida’s air wars, where television advertising ruled, he is confident that he can impress. On Saturday, Nevada will hold its caucuses, and his campaign is hustling, organizing volunteers. It’s a similar scene in Minnesota and Colorado, which will hold caucuses next week.

Ex-Syracuse Coach's Wife "had sex with players and compared their attributes while discussing sex acts she performed" - Daily Mail UK
Excerpt: The suit is also seeking damages saying that the team's head coach Jim Boeheim defamed Fine's accusers when he called their allegations of sexual abuse lies. Bernie Fine, 66, was fired in November after ESPN released a taped conversation it had obtained between [one of the accusers] Mr Davis and Laurie Fine in which Laurie said that she knew that her husband [Bernie Fine] molested his players but she did not do anything about it.

Investors face more than 70 pct loss in Greek deal
Excerpt:  Investors participating in a deal to slash Greece's massive debt would face an overall loss on their bond holdings of more than 70 percent, a person involved in with the negotiations said early Tuesday. European leaders at a summit in Brussels said a final debt deal could be signed off in the coming days, together with a second multibillion-euro bailout package designed to save the country from a potentially disastrous bankruptcy. (How many years until holders of US Bonds take an Obama Haircut? ~Bob.)

Red Alert: Credit Default Swaps Explained by Ann Barnhardt
May have to scroll down. Scary and frustrating if she’s right. ~Bob.

After Rescinding Mistaken Acceptances, Vassar Delivers an Apology - by Daniel E. Slotnik, New York Times
Excerpt: Vassar College’s president, Catharine Hill, apologized on Sunday night to 76 students who were mistakenly informed they had been accepted to the college. The apology came after Matt Flegenheimer reported that Vassar accidentally posted a test letter that led 122 early-decision students to think they had been admitted when only 46 of them had.

Obama's Gerrymander By Lois Beckett/ProPublica
Excerpt: We've been following the ways that politicians and special interests try to influence the redistricting process for their own gain, often at the expense of voters. An article this week in The New Yorker suggests that President Barack Obama's own political rise in Chicago was partially the result of gerrymandering. As The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reported, Obama worked with a Democratic redistricting consultant to draw a state senate district tailored for him. (Then there was the mysterious way the Chicago Trib got the sealed divorce records of Jack Ryan, Obama's presumptive GOP opponent for the US Senate, forcing Ryan out. The stuff of legends in Chicago's underhanded politics. ~Bob.)

Rick Santorum: The Tim Tebow of Politics?
Excerpt: For awhile you couldn’t even watch sports on the local news without seeing denunciations of Tebow interspersed with clips from a humorless Saturday Night Live segment ridiculing him for his faith. That’s the sort of wall-to-wall derision Santorum would be exposed to as the nominee. But the media campaign against Tebow didn’t turn out so well: The Denver Broncos quarterback finished first in an ESPN Sports Poll asking Americans about their favorite active athlete. The more degenerates assail Tebow for being good, the more people love him.

Ron Pelosi’s Connection to Tonopah Solar Energy
Excerpt: Q: Did the Energy Department give a loan to an energy company connected to Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law? A: Yes.

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